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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 12 Verses 13-14

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 41 )

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spiritual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 12:13-14 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Solomon now shares with us the end lessoned learned from all his research and life experiences…

 

Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 

Solomon’s conclusion is three-fold…

  1. fear God – recognize His greatness and His authority over us. Humbly recognize we cannot stand before Him of our own merit.  Recognize our inward and outward sins we have committed against Him.  Recognize our dangerous condition apart from His grace shown to us.
  2. keep his commandments – seek out, protect and follow his desires for our lives.  Keep in mind He only desires what will be for our good.   We only gain by following His instructions for our lives.
  3. these are the “whole duty” of man – Please note “duty” is not in the original manuscripts.  Solomon is telling us that fearing God and keeping His commands is the “whole of man”.  In others words, they should be the center of our lives.  They are the whole purpose for our existence.  These are our “whole” life.

These three give our lives true meaning and purpose, apart from them all of our accomplishments and life experiences are truly vain.

 

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Solomon not only shares with us the need to fear God and keep His commandments, but he also gives us a motivation to do  these things.  The future judgment.  The Bible makes it clear that in the future every man will stand before the Lord and answer for what we have done with our lives….

 

2Co 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

May we all heed Solomon’s advice to us all and “fear God and keep His commands”.  Folks this is what our life is all about.  May we all be motivated to fear and obey Him knowing that we will stand before Him in eternity and answer for all we have done with our lives.

The first, and most important way we are to fear Him and keep His commandments is by turning from our sins and coming to Christ believing in Him as our Lord and Savior.  It is through faith in Him that we will receive the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life in Him.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events
24. 9:4-12 A recognition that life is better then death
25. 9:13-18 A recognition of the excellence and rejection of Godly wisdom
26. 10:1-15 A recognition of the dangers of foolishness
27. 10:16-17 A recognition of principles for good rulership
28. 10:18 A recognition of the dangers of slothfulness
29. 10:19 A recognition of the value of money
30. 11:1-6 A recognition of the need to sow our seed for the benefit of others.
31. 11:7-8 A recognition of the need to enjoy the days of blessings and expect the troublesome times of life.
32. 11:9-10 A recognition of the need to use the blessings of youth in service to the Lord.
33. 12:1-7 A recognition of the devastating effects of the aging process on all mankind.
34. 12:8-12 A recognition of the vanity of all the world’s offerings and the need to appreciate Solomon’s dedication to proclaim the truth to us.
35. 12:13-14 The Conclusion of The Whole Matter

 

 

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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 12 Verses 8-12

 SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 40)

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spiritual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 12:8-12

(8)  Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.  (9)  And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.  (10)  The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.  (11)  The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.  (12)  And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. 

Everything offered by this world is short-lived and worthless if it is not dedicated to the Lord in His service.  Solomon emphasizes the vanity of this world’s offerings by using the phrase “vanity of vanities…. In other words, “worthless above all that is worthless” or “worthless to the extreme”.

 

And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.  The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 

In addition to this, because Solomon was a wise man, he continued to instruct people concerning his observations about the world in which we live.  He listened attentively and researched his  subject thoroughly.  Then he sat down and recorded his findings in a series of wise sayings.  He took the time to choose words that would be accepted by his students.  His completed project was filled with proper words that revealed the truth to those who heard them.

 

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.  And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 

When wise men speak words of truth, their words are like prods and sharp nails that drive their listeners to take action.  All of these words of truth proceed from one shepherd (Christ) given to ministers throughout time to share with the people of God.

Solomon’s students are to allow his words to be warnings and sources of instruction… spending your life researching these subjects have no end to it.  There is always more to be learned.  Likewise, these types of lifetime studies will weary the flesh of man.  There is no reason for each of us to experience all that Solomon experienced and study all that Solomon has already studied for us.  We are to take his teachings, apply them to our lives, and serve the Lord, instead of wasting our lives researching what Solomon has already researched for us.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

May we all be thankful for Solomon, whom the Lord raised up to invest his life and learning a very important lesson for all of us…. “vanity of vanities all is vanity”.

y we accept his words as truth and seek to live our lives in the pursuit of Godly service and not waste our lives living for the vain things of this world.

 

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events
24. 9:4-12 A recognition that life is better then death
25. 9:13-18 A recognition of the excellence and rejection of Godly wisdom
26. 10:1-15 A recognition of the dangers of foolishness
27. 10:16-17 A recognition of principles for good rulership
28. 10:18 A recognition of the dangers of slothfulness
29. 10:19 A recognition of the value of money
30. 11:1-6 A recognition of the need to sow our seed for the benefit of others.
31. 11:7-8 A recognition of the need to enjoy the days of blessings and expect the troublesome times of life.
32. 11:9-10 A recognition of the need to use the blessings of youth in service to the Lord.
33. 12:1-7 A recognition of the devastating effects of the aging process on all mankind.
34. 12:8-12 A recognition of the vanity of all the world’s offerings and the need to appreciate Solomon’s dedication to proclaim the truth to us.

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 12 Verses 1-7

 SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 39 )

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spiritual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 12:1-7

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;  (2)  While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:  (3)  In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,  (4)  And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;  (5)  Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:  (6)  Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.  (7)  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Folks, as we grow older we find ourselves changing and, in most cases, the change is not for the better.  These changes take place due to mankind’s fallen condition and the effects of sin that touch each of our lives.  Solomon, as he observes the world around him, explains the need to serve the Lord while we are yet in our youth…

 

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say,

In Eccl 12:1-8, King Solomon reminds us of the need to always keep our Creator, and His desires for us, in the forefront of our minds, especially during our days of youth.

Solomon backs up his statement by explaining that as we progress in life it gradually becomes more difficult to serve the Lord.  He gives this advancing time of life the description of “the evil days” (ie the days of adversity and distress).    He calls them evil days in the context of aging’s devastating effects on both our physical and mental health.

He goes further and explains the effects that aging brings upon us,  He does this by using the symbolism of a vibrant city, and its individual citizens, that slowly become inactive and finally deserted…

 

 

I have no pleasure in them;

Physical aches and pains take the pleasure out of many of the activities that we used to find enjoyable.  As the aging process continues, for many of us, pleasurable days seem to become scarcer with each passing day.

 

 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened,

As we age, our eyesight grows dim, causing many sources of light to become darkened as we find it much harder to see.

 

nor the clouds return after the rain: 

Old age has a tendency to bring with it a series of health problems that return on a consistent basis.  Instead of having physical issues “every now and then”, they begin to appear more frequently, and in many cases become chronic.

 

In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,

Our immune system begins to struggle and we find ourselves becoming ill more frequently, and acquiring illnesses that we had previously resisted.

 

and the strong men shall bow themselves,

Our physical strength begins to wane, as we can no longer do the heavy manual labor that we were used to doing.  Our weakness progresses until we cannot hold ourselves erect and we begin to stoop.

 

and the grinders cease because they are few,

Our teeth decay and we lose them until only a few remain.

 

and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

We can no longer see clearly with our eyes.  Not only do we need more light to see (vs 2), but also our eyes become cloudy with cataracts and other eye ailments.

 

And the doors shall be shut in the streets,

The doors of our mouths and lips are closed (Psa 141:3, Micah 7:5), no longer able to receive or digest the nutrients we need to survive.  We are no longer able to eat the foods we enjoy due to digestive distresses and, eventually, we struggle to eat any food at all.

 

when the sound of the grinding is low,

Aging brings upon us gradual hearing loss (and deafness) that does not allow us to hear ourselves chewing our food.

 

and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird,

Arising early due to an inability to sleep due to worries and light sleeping that is awakened by any small noise are common as we grow older.

 

and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 

Our natural talents and abilities are gradually lost.  Those who could sing joyous songs can no longer praise their Lord and bring joy to the heart of their listeners, as their talent to sing is taken away from them.

 

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way,

Fear of accidents, falling, etc seem to dominate old age.  In our youth we could climb ladders to high places, now we are afraid of falling off a simple stepstool.  These fears have a tendency to stop us from attempting to perform activities to which we did not give a second thought.

 

and the almond tree shall flourish,

The almond tree has gray white blossoms.  This speaks of us losing our youthful hair color as gray hair replaces it.

 

and the grasshopper shall be a burden,

In our youth, we could easily deal with small pests by catching them and/or stepping upon them etc.  Now, as we get older, our reflexes are slowed.  These creatures evade our efforts to catch them and we have difficulty stepping upon them.

 

and desire shall fail:

As our age advances, we find our desire for activity and service reduced due to the pain and suffering that accompanies them.  Even our very “zest for life” is stolen by the aging process, stealing away our enjoyment of life itself.

These effects of aging come to dwell within our bodies like companions who move into our home and begin to reside with us.  With the passage of time, these companions increase in number and length of their stay, until they finally reside with us on a permanent basis.  They leave us only when, through their presence within us, they bring our life to an end…

 

because man goeth to his long home,

Our physical death

 

and the mourners go about the streets: 

Our funeral

 

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 

Our death described as:

  1. the silver cord binding our spirit to our body is broken, releasing our spirit to depart.
  2. the golden bowl of our body is broken taking away its usefulness and ability to perform the purposes of its creation, to glorify God in all we do.
  3. the pitcher of our body is no longer able to retain the spirit within it.
  4. the wheel of our body is no longer useful to anyone desiring water from the cistern.  Once dead our ability to serve others come to a complete end.

 

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. 

As aging brings about physical death, the spirit departs from our physical body.  At that point in time, our body returns back to the ground and our spirit enters into the presence of God for its eventual judgment and consignment to its eternal dwelling place.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In this passage, Solomon explains in great detail the devastating effects of the aging process on all of us.  He does this in an effort to emphasize the need to live for the Lord while we are young and not hindered by the many ills that aging brings upon us.

May we all take Solomon’s words to heart and seek to serve our Lord throughout our lifetimes.  No matter what our current age, we should serve the Lord now… before the aging process takes a greater effect on each one of us with the passing of time.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events
24. 9:4-12 A recognition that life is better then death
25. 9:13-18 A recognition of the excellence and rejection of Godly wisdom
26. 10:1-15 A recognition of the dangers of foolishness
27. 10:16-17 A recognition of principles for good rulership
28. 10:18 A recognition of the dangers of slothfulness
29. 10:19 A recognition of the value of money
30. 11:1-6 A recognition of the need to sow our seed for the benefit of others.
31. 11:7-8 A recognition of the need to enjoy the days of blessings and expect the troublesome times of life.
32. 11:9-10 A recognition of the need to use the blessings of youth in service to the Lord.
33. 12:1-7 A recognition of the devastating effects of the aging process on all mankind.

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

“Our Companions In Old Age”

SIH STSTA ICON(The Lord’s Grace To Meet Our Physical Weaknesses As We Age)

 

 

 

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ecc 12:1-8 (KJV)

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;  While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:  In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,  And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;  Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:  Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.  Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

 

Isa 46:4 (KJV)

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

 

 

THE STUDY:

Folks, as we grow older we find ourselves changing and, in most cases, the change is not for the better. These changes take place due to mankind’s fallen condition and the effects of sin that touch each of our lives.

 

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say,

In Eccl 12:1-8, King Solomon reminds us of the need to always keep our Creator, and His desires for us, in the forefront of our minds, especially during our days of youth.

 

Solomon backs up his statement by explaining that as we progress in life it gradually becomes more difficult to serve the Lord. He gives this advancing time of life the description of “the evil days” (ie the days of adversity and distress).   He calls them evil days in the context of aging’s devastating effects on both our physical and mental health.

He goes further and explains the effects that aging brings upon us, He does this by using the symbolism of a vibrant city, and its individual citizens, that slowly become inactive and finally deserted…

I have no pleasure in them;

Physical aches and pains take the pleasure out of many of the activities that we used to find enjoyable.  As the aging process continues, for many of us, pleasurable days seem to become scarcer with each passing day.

 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened,

As we age, our eyesight grows dim, causing many sources of light to become darkened as we find it much harder to see.

nor the clouds return after the rain: 

Old age has a tendency to bring with it a series of health problems that return on a consistent basis.  Instead of having physical issues “every now and then”, they begin to appear more frequently, and in many cases become chronic.

In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,

Our immune system begins to struggle and we find ourselves becoming ill more frequently, and acquiring illnesses that we had previously resisted.

and the strong men shall bow themselves,

Our physical strength begins to wane, as we can no longer do the heavy manual labor that we were used to doing.  Our weakness progresses until we cannot hold ourselves erect and we begin to stoop.

and the grinders cease because they are few,

Our teeth decay and we lose them until only a few remain.

and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

We can no longer see clearly with our eyes.  Not only do we need more light to see (vs 2), but also our eyes become cloudy with cataracts and other eye ailments.

And the doors shall be shut in the streets,

The doors of our mouths and lips are closed (Psa 141:3, Micah 7:5), no longer able to receive or digest the nutrients we need to survive.  We are no longer able to eat the foods we enjoy due to digestive distresses and, eventually, we struggle to eat any food at all.

when the sound of the grinding is low,

Aging brings upon us gradual hearing loss (and deafness) that does not allow us to hear ourselves chewing our food.

and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird,

Arising early due to an inability to sleep due to worries and light sleeping that is awakened by any small noise are common as we grow older.

and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 

Our natural talents and abilities are gradually lost.  Those who could sing joyous songs can no longer praise their Lord and bring joy to the heart of their listeners, as their talent to sing is taken away from them.

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way,

Fear of accidents, falling, etc seem to dominate old age.  In our youth we could climb ladders to high places, now we are afraid of falling off a simple stepstool.  These fears have a tendency to stop us from attempting to perform activities to which we did not give a second thought.

and the almond tree shall flourish,

The almond tree has gray white blossoms.  This speaks of us losing our youthful hair color as gray hair replaces it.

and the grasshopper shall be a burden,

In our youth, we could easily deal with small pests by catching them and/or stepping upon them etc.  Now, as we get older, our reflexes are slowed.  These creatures evade our efforts to catch them and we have difficulty stepping upon them.

and desire shall fail:

As our age advances, we find our desire for activity and service reduced due to the pain and suffering that accompanies them.  Even our very “zest for life” is stolen by the aging process, stealing away our enjoyment of life itself.

 

These effects of aging come to dwell within our bodies like companions who move into our home and begin to reside with us.  With the passage of time, these companions increase in number and length of their stay, until they finally reside with us on a permanent basis.  They leave us only when, through their presence within us, they bring our life to an end…

because man goeth to his long home,

Our physical death

and the mourners go about the streets: 

Our funeral

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 

Our death described as:

  1. the silver cord binding our spirit to our body is broken, releasing our spirit to depart.
  2. the golden bowl of our body is broken taking away its usefulness and ability to perform the purposes of its creation, to glorify God in all we do.
  3. the pitcher of our body is no longer able to retain the spirit within it.
  4. the wheel of our body is no longer useful to anyone desiring water from the cistern. Once dead our ability to serve others come to a complete end.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. 

As aging brings about physical death, the spirit departs from our physical body.  At that point in time, our body returns back to the ground and our spirit enters into the presence of God for its eventual judgment and consignment to its eternal dwelling place.

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

The Hebrew word for vanity describes a air bubble in water. A bubble of air in the water that lasts only a short time then hits the top of the water, breaks apart, and totally disappears with no lasting worth.  As Solomon recalled what he had experienced during the aging process, he came to the conclusion that physical life was like this bubble…. LIFE IS SHORT-LIVED WITH NO PERMANENT VALUE.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Sounds depressing and hopeless doesn’t it?  Looking at things from a strictly human perspective, all that we have, looking forward, is future suffering and eventual death.  And all of this is endured for no lasting value.

But, as God’s people we know there is more to this story. We have much by which to be encouraged, we are not alone as aging comes upon us.  We are promised another, more intimate, Friend who will be with us through every step of the aging process…

Isa 46:4 (KJV)

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

 

Just as the Lord promises physical Israel, that He would be with them and meet their every need as they grew older; so too, as the spiritual nation of Israel we can claim this very same promise.

As we age and our physical life slowly draws to a close we can know, WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, our Lord will be with us.  He tells us that He will never “leave you nor forsake you.”    It is just as the Lord says, as our physical health fails us, the Lord will meet our needs… everytime.

 

And even to your old age I am he;

Our Lord does not change, the same Lord that has been so faithful to us during our youthful years, he will remain faithful to us as our age progresses…

and even to hoar hairs will I carry you:

When we can no longer walk, He will carry us…

 I have made, and I will bear;

As our Creator, He will be our support and bear our weight as we lean upon Him….

even I will carry, and will deliver you.

He will carry us during our times of physical weaknesses and will, at death, release us to enter eternity with Him.

 

What a wonderful Lord we serve!  What encouraging words for each one of us to take to heart as we struggle with the effects of aging that falls upon us all.

May the Lord allow His Word to comfort His people, taking away all their fears and increasing their faith as they continue to grow older and seek to serve Him throughout their remaining years.

 

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Questions, Comments, or Suggestions?  

Email me at:    rob.barkman@settledinheaven.org

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

The Meaning Of Our Life

SIH STSTA ICONHave you ever asked yourself  “What is the purpose of my life?”  or perhaps, “How can I best use the time I have been given to live life on earth?”  For some, these questions are unanswerable… they struggle their entire lives trying to come to the true meaning and purpose of the life which we have been given.

Solomon was a great example of this type of person.  King Solomon lived his life in pursuit of the answers to these questions.  It was only in his old age, just prior to his death, that he came to an understanding of his purpose in life.  You can read about his pursuit for these answers in the book of Ecclesiastes.

However, for others, these answers are known from a young age… Solomon’s father, King David is an example of this type of person.

Do you desire to know the purpose of your life?  Do you want to know the most fulfilling way to live your life on earth?  Let’s spend some time to look at events in the lives of King Solomon and King David that will clearly explain these most sought after answers.

And then, finally, lets look at the writings of the Apostle Paul on the subject of the meaning of our lives.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Eccl 12:13-14 (KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

1Sam 17:45-47 (KJV)  Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.

Col 3:4 (KJV)   When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

THE STUDY:

In our quest to find the true meaning of our lives, we will begin by studying the conclusion that Solomon drew from his life-long pursuit to find the purpose of his existence.

In the book of Ecclesiates, we find that Solomon, throughout his life, tried many different pursuits in an attempt to find self-satisfaction and contentment and purpose for his life.  He tried everything from the carnal pleasures of this world to wealth, education, the arts, political power, and other selfish pursuits, all to no avail.

Finally, in his old age, after living a wasted life seeking the truth, he finally came to an understanding of his life purpose.  Listen to what he came to in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14…

13) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.

14)For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

The second example we will look at is King Solomon’s father, King David… David is described as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) and we see him living out his calling as a very young man facing the giant Goliath (1 Sam 17:).

It is of utmost importance that we understand the motive behind David’s actions in the Goliath incident.  Why did David choose to face Goliath when no one else in Israel was willing to face the giant?   For David it was an issue of God’s glory….

1 Samuel 17:45-47

45) Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

46) This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

47) And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.

David did not desire the praise of men, nor did he stand against Goliath to receive worldly wealth or power.  He only did it to honor, glorify, and obey his heavenly Father.  Bringing honor and glory to God was the purpose of David’s existence on earth.  He was simply doing what he had been called to do.  He was fulfilling God’s purpose for his life.

Just as his son Solomon, David came to the conclusion that putting His God’s will above his own, by seeking God’s will and glory in all things, was the reason he was living on earth.

Finally, let’s look at one verse that the Apostle Paul gives us in Colossians 3:4…

4) When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

In this verse Paul makes 3 very important “points to ponder” in our pursuit of the the true meaning of our lives….

Point #1 –  “When Christ, who is our life” – We owe Christ our lives.

Paul here clearly declares that Christ, as God, is everything to us.  He is our Creator, our Savior and our Sustainer (Acts 17:28).  Without Him we truly are nothing (John 15:5).  We owe Him our very existence and both the physical and spiritual life that we possess.  This is why Paul affirms that living our lives for Him is simply our “reasonable service”, that we owe Him (Roms 12:1)

Point #2 – When Christ… shall appear” – Christ is coming again.

Paul is stating that we can be assured Christ will come back someday.  We are simply left on earth to “occupy” until He comes again.   What does it mean to “occupy” ?  Very simply we are to faithfully use the graces, gifts, talents and opportunities the Lord gives to us during our life on earth.  All of us must realize that we all will stand before the Lord someday and give an account of how we lived our lives on earth.  (Luke 19:12-27).

Point #3 – “ then shall ye also appear with him in glory. “ – If we are followers of Christ, we can be assured of spending our eternity with Him.

As we seek to fulfill our calling in life, by serving Him, we can rest assured that we have an eternity awaiting us.  Living a life that centers upon Christ, is one of the greatest proofs that we have truly been saved by His grace.

Remember, anyone who has been forgiven of their sins has become a “new creature in Christ”.  By this we mean that we have a new motive for living, a new set of desires within us and a new eternity awaiting us.

Realizing that the trials of this world are only for a fleeting moment is a great blessing to us all.   As we serve Him on earth, we are to always keep in mind we will be spending an eternity with Him.  What a glorious  promise this is to all of us….

John 14:1-3 (KJV)

1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In our study of the true purpose and meaning to life a few things becomes crystal clear… first, our purpose in life is to glorify and honor our Lord by living a life in submission to His will and ways.  Secondly, our Lord is coming again, to take an account of our life and the many opportunities and gifts He has given to us.  And finally, if Christ has become the Lord of our life, through our salvation, we can rest assured we will spend eternity in His presence.

For those who are saved, let us be encouraged as we study, understand, and act upon the knowledge we have been given of the purpose of our lives on earth.

For those who have never experienced His grace in their lives, let them come to a knowledge of the importance of submitting to His will and relying upon Christ for their salvation…  living a life apart from this is living a wasted, fruitless, and meaningless existence on earth.

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Halloween Part #2 – The Death Symbols

SIH STSTA ICONWith the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s look at part 2 of our series on Halloween:

  1. A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
  2. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein Vampires, and Bats
  3. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
  4. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
  5. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

May the Lord be glorified in our study….

THE SCRIPTURE:

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (2Co 5:1-11)

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecc 12:7)

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. (Php 1:20-24)

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luk 23:42-43)

THE STUDY:

The History of Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats:

Skeletons & Ghosts – Both were reminders of the death and the afterlife.  Keep in mind, the central theme of the Samhain eve festival was to honor and pacify the souls of the dead who walked upon the earth.  (Please refer to Halloween Part #1 – The Celebration)   The skeleton and the idea of ghosts were the ideal symbols for death.  The skeleton refers to a dead body; while a ghost refers to the spirit after its departure from the body at the time of death.

Jack O Lantern – Based on a legend about Jack, a lazy drunken farmer, who had trapped Satan with the use of a cross.  In exchange for his release Satan agrees to never take Jack’s soul.  At his death, Jack, who couldn’t enter heaven due to his sinfulness, nor could he enter hell due to his agreement with Satan, is trapped forever wandering the earth looking for a resting place.  He uses a hollowed out turnip with a burning coal in it to light his way.  This turnip that gave forth light was gradually changed to a pumpkin over time.

In some societies, the lighted pumpkin face was symbolic of the god of the darkness, Samhain, who would turn away other weaker evil spirits.  The people would place these pumpkins on display to ward off the evil spirits.

For more information about the history of Jack O Lanterns please refer to:  http://www.history.com/topics/jack-olantern-history

Frankenstein – The story of the Frankenstein monster was presented in a book by Mary Shelley, “The Modern Prometheus” or “Frankenstein”.  The tale of “Frankenstein,” revolves around Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s attempt to assemble a human body from parts derived from various dead bodies that were obtained from a graveyard.  Once assembled, Frankenstein then successfully brings the body to life. Over time, the monster demands to have a mate created by the Doctor.  After a failed attempt to create the mate, the monster rebels against the doctor. Dr. Frankenstein is forced to destroy his own creation.

The basic idea of this book was derived from a dream of Mrs. Shelley in 1815. In this dream, Mary saw her dead daughter suspended over a fire, warmed, and then brought back to life.

It is plain to see how easily the Frankenstein monster fits into the Halloween scheme.  Once again, we have the story of one who was once dead, possessing life and walking upon the earth.

http://www.thingsinthebasement.com/index.php/site/comments/the_history_of_the_frankenstein_monster/

http://www.phobos-deimos.com/History/Frankenstein/Frankenstein%20History.htm

Bats & Vampires – According to legend the Vampires, also know as “the living dead”, came out at night to feed upon the blood of their victims.  They soon became associated with bats due to the vampire bat of South America that came out at night, drank blood of animals to survive.

Most historians believe that both of these then became associated with Halloween due to their nighttime activity and their association with evil and death.

Vampires were ideal characters for Halloween due to their status as the living dead.

Bats, became associated with Halloween from their activity in ancient times. The druids would build fires to offer sacrifices and worship their false gods.  These fires would attract insects, who in turn would attract bats who feed off of them.  With the bats flying and congregating over the fires, they soon became associated with the spirits of the dead who were seeking a resting place.

http://www.hauntedbay.com/history/bat.shtml

All four of these groups of Halloween symbols share a common thread… death and restless spirits wandering on the earth.

What does the Bible say about the spirits of dead men walking the earth?

In our texts, the Bible makes it plain, that once a spirit departs from it’s earthly house (human body), the spirit goes into it’s eternal state:

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”

“To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Note: this was spoken by Christ to the thief on the cross moments before His death.

This is one of the greatest of all Christian desires… that once we are done being used of God on earth, He will take us to our eternal home….

“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:”

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope,”

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ;”

For those who are not saved, physical death and the accompanying entrance into the afterlife is a dreaded event.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;”

There is not a shred of Scripture that indicates that once a spirit leaves a body the spirit continues on in the earth, not entering it’s eternal state.  This teaching is made to order for Satan to mislead the lost into thinking that there is a way to escape eternal punishment for sins.   And yet, the Bible is clear…. All lost mankind will be punished eternally for the sins they have committed.

“Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” (Col 3:24-25)

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”(Rev 20:12-15)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

Can we honestly say that we “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22) when we participate in the Halloween festival?  Please prayerfully, consider this question.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Remember, the Bible is plain…. After death we all must face a final judgment, answering for what we have done in our lives.  There is no escaping this.  If you realize you have committed sin and desire for to live your life for Him, then turn to Him realizing you can do nothing to save yourself.

The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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