Avoiding Distraction

Any individual who has sat to ponder knows about how the mind likes to bob around. It’s like having an unparalleled view to some sort of cirque du soleil circumstance. Our capacity to remain with one theme is always in danger, now and then because of variables that we can control and now and again to those we can’t.

Chris Bailey, creator of HyperFocus: How to be More Productive in a World of Distraction put in a year doing escalated inquire about on how we center, and all the more significantly, how we can concentrate better. Center can make us more beneficial, however in all actuality, it can likewise make us more present. When we figure out how to block out the steady pings and chimes of our lives, we can be more mindful of every minute, and have the chance to completely cooperate with the without further ado.

As indicated by Bailey’s exploration, there are two primary kinds of diversions: those we have no power over and those we do have command over. For those we can’t control, it’s extremely about figuring out how to restore your concentrate once you’ve been occupied, Bailey proposes on giving careful consideration to those you can control. With regards to work, having the capacity to concentrate at last means having the capacity to be beneficial.

In our working life, there are basically two sorts of work that should be finished. The principal benefits the most from diversion free core interest. Winding up totally retained in your work will enable you to finish essential errands with the full advantage of your engaged consideration – this is the way you enter the condition of stream. Your psyche may oppose diving deep at first, so it’s indispensable that you evacuate “each question of consideration that is possibly more animating and appealing than what you plan to do, you give your cerebrum no decision yet to take a shot at that assignment.” Bailey recommends introducing a diversion blocking application on your PC that does not enable you to peruse for a specific measure of time, putting your telephone on ‘don’t aggravate’ mode and utilizing clamor dropping earphones, particularly on the off chance that you are endeavoring to work some place loud.

Since it takes around twenty minutes, (once in a while longer), to get once more into your stream once you’ve been intruded on, it’s critical to constrain what you open yourself to. Since it’s not alway conceivable to go into finish diversion free mode, you need to pick what you permit in, basically, what merits losing those twenty minutes. Things like messages, gatherings, writings and web based life would all be able to be put on a calendar. Bailey proposes killing all alarms on your telephone so you don’t have a consistent pulling of your consideration. With our telephones as keen as they may be, you can simply indicate if there are individuals you generally need to have the capacity to contact you, and set their contact up that way. He makes two particular telephone proposals that can enable you to prepare your mind to center:

Mind the holes. On the off chance that you check out you when you are remaining in line or holding up anyplace, you’ll likely notice individuals looking down at their telephones, carelessly flipping through web based life. Bailey recommends that you “utilize these little breaks to think about what you’re doing, to revive, and to think about substitute ways to deal with your work and life.” You can likewise transform these minutes into chances to wind up totally careful, submerging yourself in the impressions of the at this very moment.

Make a “Careless” envelope. Notice where you get lost the most on your telephone or PC. Presently take those applications and place them in an envelope marked “Thoughtless.” Simply observing the name of the organizer could trigger you to settle on an alternate decision when you absentmindedly open one of those applications.

We presently realize that when you wind up careful, your likewise end up more joyful, or, in other words of investing energy in a condition of stream. As we prepare and furthermore assist our brains with staying concentrated and assimilated on the present minute, we permit ourselves the chance to be more beneficial and furthermore to be in state where we encounter all of what life brings to the table, and thus, appreciate a greater amount of it.

Offspring of God

When one turns into an offspring of God, he is conceived again profoundly (John 3:1-5) turning into an otherworldly darling who is to grow (1 Pet. 2:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:18). One develops profoundly by sustaining upon the expression of God (Acts 20:32), building up an otherworldly craving with a specific end goal to yearning and crave nobility (Matt. 5:6).

2 Peter 1:5-11 recounts the need and nature of such development. “Yet in addition for this very reason, giving all constancy, add to your confidence goodness, to uprightness learning, to information poise, to discretion persistence, to determination righteousness, to purity selfless benevolence, and to caring graciousness adore. For if these things are yours and proliferate, you will be neither infertile nor unfruitful in the information of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who does not have these things is foolhardy, even to visual deficiency, and has overlooked that he was purged from his old sins. Accordingly, brethren, be considerably more determined to ensure, for on the off chance that you do these things you will never bumble; for so a passage will be provided to you richly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

“Goodness” is the assurance to do right. “Learning” is information of God’s statement since it is the main source which tells what is correct. “Poise” is the utilization of that information in your life utilizing it to administer your considerations and activities. “Diligence” is staying immovable to the Lord and His motivation. “Righteousness” is resembling God, as He would have you to be. “Charitable thoughtfulness” is delicate warmth toward brethren in Christ. “Love” is dedication to God, Christ, and your fellowman which is communicated in dutifulness to God and administration to man.

In the event that you are to be productive in your administration to Christ, these things must possess large amounts of your life. On the off chance that you need them, you are visually impaired regarding what your life in Christ ought to be.

Marraige is a Covenant Relationship

Writen by my friend Sim Lee.

A proper biblical context for the love between a married coupe is to be a “knowing” kind of love, a covenantial love, as based on Gensis 4:1 KJV “And Adam knew Eve his wife;”. The Hebrew tern Yada` [know]* is used by Moses here in the context of a covenant relationship. This covenant basis is again empahisised again by Moses in Gen 2:24 KJV “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”. Marriage is the making of a relationship that should not be broken.

Further, to “know each other” under this coventant relationship of marriage requires a minimum expectation that both parties will have equal respect and consideration for the other and that both will remain exclusively dedicated to the other’s best interests for the duration of their life together. That God holds all married couples accountable for these coventantial expectations is well portrayed by the bible verse: “Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. KJV Mal 2:14. Under His covanent provision enabling marriage, we are to be faithful in all circumstances.

In light of the context of the aforementioned, a marriage based upon a coventantial relationship, that pleases our loving God, cannot fail, and although America’s national statistics may indicate a failing institution of marriage, it is very much alive and well among the majority of believers. It will continue to be so, given that 20% of our freicely independent Millenils now indicae wanting to start a menainful life through marrige when they reach 30 years of age, . As married believers, from decade to decade, contiinue in their heartfelt coventantial compliance to God and themselves, they are a light to the future for all who seek of the permanence and joy that only marriage can bring. And hopefully, through prayer, so it shall go.

* The Hebrew Word ××”×(yada‘) As a Covenant Term in the Bible and the Ancient Near East by Tim Hegg • TorahResource.Com

Not By Bread Alone

Written by my friend Gene Taylor

“It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). This statement was made by Jesus while He was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. Following His baptism by John “to fulfill all righteousness,” Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil for 40 days. During that period, He had nothing to eat. The text says, “He afterward hungered” (Luke 4:2). What an understatement! Most of us are quick to complain if dinner is a few minutes late. If we have to miss just one meal, we are inconsolable. We cannot begin to fathom the hunger the Savior felt after not eating anything for 40 days. The physical condition of Jesus must have been extremely poor following such a fast. The fatigue, the constant desire for food must have been nearly unbearable. His weakened physical condition was only part of what should be considered if one is to fully understand the situation. His mental state must also be considered. It too must have been diminished by the lack of food and nutrition.

Did you ever notice how hard it is to be mentally alert when you are really hungry? Nutritionists and educators have known for years that if a person is going to be sharp mentally, he needs a good breakfast to start the day and a proper lunch to keep him his keenest. It was in this weak physical and mental state that Jesus met the devil face to face. “If He is ever going to succumb, now must be the time,” Satan might have speculated. Knowing His hunger, Satan told Jesus to use His Divine power to make stones become bread (Luke 4:3). As weak as Jesus was, though, He resisted this temptation, as He did all others, by finding strength in the word of God. Scripture was His source of strength and should be ours today. It supplies us with all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and furnishes us completely (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Jesus relied totally upon it. So should we. Notice also the attitude demonstrated by Christ in His response to Satan. Even though He greatly hungered, He recognized that the fleshly, material things of life are secondary to things spiritual in nature and secondary to doing the will of God.

In Matthew 6 Jesus preached this attitude to the multitude. He told them not to be overly concerned with things temporal and material but to seek first the kingdom of God and all these would be provided (Matthew 6:24-33). A person’s first concern must be to do the will of God. He must put material things in the background. Yet, many people reverse this order. Most people spend their lives solely in pursuit of things physical and never give any attention to the Word. Jesus spoke of such a one in Luke 12 in the parable of the rich fool. This man was a prosperous farmer. He had diligently worked and had gotten such a large harvest that he was going to tear down his existing barns to build larger ones in order to house his bountiful crop. He was then going to enjoy material life to the fullest. But Jesus called him a “fool” — that very night his life was required of him — he had lived solely for the material and had not been “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).

Christians are not always free from this kind of thinking. Sometimes the material things start having a lot more prominence in their lives. Sometimes, even unnoticed, they overtake them and fill their hearts (Matthew 13:22). Though once Christ and His Word were most important to them, now they are not. Paul said the love of money caused some to err from the faith and pierce themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10). To be successful in life and pleasing to Him, be concerned with doing the will of God. Put material things second. Do not live by “bread alone,” but by the Word of God.

The Blessing in Christ

It is one thing to receive a blessing; it is quite another to receive “the” blessing. The blessing which is ours in Christ takes us back to the time when God made His promises to Abraham. The Lord said to Abraham, who at that time was known as Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:1–3).

The promised blessing through Abraham’s seed is Christ. Paul says, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). In Christ, we are the spiritual descendants of Abraham and heirs according to promise (Gal. 3:29). This is the blessing God promised long ago.

The apostle Paul describes the promised blessing to Abraham under the heading of faith in Galatians 3:25 where he says, “But now…faith has come” (Gal. 3:25). The original text carries an article indicating that the apostle is referring to the system of faith as opposed to the law. He says that we are (1) no longer “kept in custody under the law…” (Gal. 3:23); that we are (2) “justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24); that we are “no longer under a tutor” (Gal. 3:25); and that we are “all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). Then, by way of explanation, he adds, “For all of [us] who have been baptized into Christ have clothed [ourselves] with Christ” (Gal. 3:27). These are some practical implications that pertain to the coming of the faith and how we may take hold of the blessing promised centuries ago to Abraham through Christ.

The blessing of Christ enriches our whole outlook on life because we know that in Christ we are “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” (Eph. 1:3). In Christ, we are of all people, most blessed! When our focus is on Christ, our outlook is bright because He is the source of every spiritual blessing. “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1–4). May God bless each of us with the blessing which comes only through knowing Jesus, the promised Messiah (Jn. 14:6).

Protector or Proclaimer

Very familiar to us is Paul’s affirmation of the power of the gospel. He expressed his ardent desire to preach the gospel to those who were at Rome, explaining, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rm. 1:16). James agrees, saying that, when the implanted word is humbly received, it has the power to save souls (Jas. 1:21). We believe this intellectually but, sometimes, our willingness to allow God to work through His powerful word is hindered by our desire to protect others from the force of the gospel.

Influenced as we are by the overly tolerant and non-judgmental philosophies of the world, we are driven to protect those in religious error from being exposed to the convicting power of the truth. God’s word “is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hb. 4:12). While we must “preach the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), there is no Bible precedent for withholding truth for the sake of avoiding personal offense? When we shield people from the penetrating power of God’s word, we are walking on dangerous ground. Who are we to withhold the soul-saving power of the gospel when it is within our power to enlighten souls? There is great value in teaching the gospel in a logical, orderly fashion. Some matters are better approached after laying a proper foundation. But this is part of the teaching process—a process which includes difficult moments of self-reflection and conviction of wrong-doing. No one is converted to Christ without risking personal offense. Driven by a spirit that seeks first not to offend, we may soon find ourselves preaching a message void of the power to save sinners.

The lost are best served by those who simply trust in God’s power to save. We are planters and waterers; but God is the One who causes the growth (1 Cor. 3:6-7). In the Parable of the Seed, Jesus says, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know” (Mk. 4:26–29). We do not know how the seed grows. Therefore, it is not our place to protect people from the truth but to preach the gospel and allow God to give the increase. Otherwise, we may find ourselves doing very little preaching and a whole lot of protecting. It is only by preaching and teaching the gospel that souls be given opportunity to accept or reject the salvation which is available in Christ Jesus.

The Gift of Forgiveness

 

At a time of year when giving and receiving gifts seems so important to so many, it may prove helpful to pause and reflect upon a far-greater gift—the gift of forgiveness. It is both a gift given and a gift received. Jesus says, “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt. 5:44). How completely foreign to human reasoning! Yet, He followed up this teaching with personal example when He looked upon His tormentors, praying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34).

If we are completely honest, we must confess that forgiving others is not an easy thing for us to do. C.S. Lewis writes, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” But, in spite of its difficulty, forgiveness is essential in that Jesus went on to say, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions” (Mk. 11:25-26).

Someone has astutely observed: “We are most like beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we forgive.” Alexander Pope wrote these familiar words: “To err is human, to forgive divine.” Indeed, offering the gift of forgiveness draws us closer into the image of God than does resentment. In fact, there is no disposition more destructive to the emotional and spiritual well-being of a person than harboring an unforgiving attitude. Such a spirit contaminates every other emotion. Injured egos and hurt feeling move us from anger to hatred and then from hatred to retaliation. Human nature demands revenge. This is why it is so important for us to immediately forgive even the smallest deed done against us. Someone has written: “Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of spirit.” When bitterness and hatred rage within, we should take warning, for in the words spoken to Cain, “sin is crouching at the door” (Gen. 4:7).

What is forgiveness? Webster defines it as “pardon, acquittal, or remission; or to cancel, remit or to give up resentment against.” The word most often translated “forgive” in the New Testament means “remit, send away, to set or put apart, forsake, or leave.” Consequently, the principal meaning of forgiveness has to do with putting away all grudges and forgetting the wrong that has been done to us. This is what God promises to do for us in Christ. He will not hold our sins against us anymore (Heb. 8:12). Thank God for the precious gift of forgiveness through the blood of Jesus!

 

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Once Is Not Enough

We will never understand the beauty of forgiveness until we understand our need for it. Why do we need forgiveness? Because we are guilty of sin. In Romans 3:23, Paul says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….” Later, John confessed the same truth, saying, “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us….If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:8, 10). Because we are guilty of sin, we all need God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus our Savior.

Perhaps, a more penetrating question is: “Why should I forgive others?” We must forgive others or our own sins will remain unforgiven. Jesus taught us to pray as follows: “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt. 6:12). Then, He adds: “for if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Mt. 6:14-15). Sounds like people have always struggled with forgiveness. But someone might object, saying, “I would forgive, but they do not deserve it!” While that may be true, neither do we deserve God’s forgiveness.

Closely related to our need for God’s forgiveness, is the question of how often must we forgive others. Peter asked, “‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’” (Mt. 18:15-20). Peter may have thought he was being generous in being willing to forgive seven times; after all, the Jewish rabbis taught that a man should only be forgiven three times. We might say that it was a “three strikes and you’re out” policy on forgiveness. But, Peter doubled that amount and added one more for good measure. He might have even patted himself on the back, thinking that Jesus would be proud of the way he had grasped His teaching about forgiveness. But, instead of praise, Jesus provided correction. He replied, “Not seven times, but seventy times seven.” Peter’s math was way off.

The number “seven” often has a special meaning in the Bible. Seven or multiples of seven sometimes imply completeness or perfection. It is likely that Jesus was suggesting to Peter that forgiveness ought to occur an inexhaustible number of times. He was not teaching Peter to forgive 490 times and no more. He is saying that we must always be willing to forgive. Once is not enough.

Thoughts from the Mound

 

Thoughts About Daniel

As the story of Daniel’s life unfolds, we learn that he, along with other members of the royal family in Judah, had been carried away into Babylonian Captivity. Although captives, Daniel and his friends were well-treated. In fact, the king appointed daily provisions for them from his own table (Dan. 1:5). However, Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the king’s meat or wine (Dan. 1:8). The most likely reason for Daniel’s refusal is that the meat served would have been unclean according to regulations under the Mosaic Law.

There is little doubt but that Daniel and his friends were under tremendous pressure to conform to the king’s expectations rather than maintain their own religious convictions. Initially, his overseer was reluctant to grant Daniel’s request that he and his friends be allowed to refrain from eating the king’s choice food. However, a compromise was worked out and they were allowed to eat their preferred diet of vegetables and water for a trial period of ten days. At the end of their trial period, Daniel and his three friends were found to be distinctly superior to their counterparts for God has blessed them with “knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom” and Daniel, himself, had been given understanding into “all kinds of visions and dreams” (Dan. 1:17).

Daniel did not “go along to get along.” Too many in our day have little real conviction and are willing to compromise on most any point of doctrine or matter of faith in order to be accepted by others and avoid the possibility of being labeled as intolerant. Jesus was intolerant of sin and error. The people He was hardest on were the religious leaders who knew the word of God but refused to stand for it. In our day, many have swallowed the lie denying the existence of absolute truth, choosing instead the false belief that every person determines their own standards of right and wrong. When tempted to follow this crowd, we should remember the words of Solomon, who said, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12). We must not surrender our convictions to the changing tides of human opinion but ground our beliefs solidly upon the word of God. Paul encourages us, saying, “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17). May God bless each of us as we seek to stand firm in true conviction of our faith.

A number of years ago, in an article published by the Big County Christian News, we were informed of the decision of a panel of judges in Florida who upheld a $108,000 fine against a man who poached 1,088 turtle eggs from one of the state’s parks. The defense argued that an egg isn’t a turtle until it hatches. The prosecution affirmed that 80 to 90 percent of marine turtle eggs are fertile and should be consider a unit of marine life. The judges sided with the prosecution.

Under a decision like this, if human babies were hatched, they would enjoy some measure of protection under the law. But, as it is, many pro-abortionists do not consider a human being a “person” until birth. Apparently, the Supreme Court agreed, and declared all laws protecting the unborn unconstitutional. The article cited asks this very important question: “Isn’t it more than ironic that laws protecting unhatched marine turtles are perfectly all right, but laws protecting unborn human beings are unconstitutional?”

Abortion is more than just a political issue; it is a moral issue. This is not a matter of a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. It is a matter of a human being’s right to exist. The fetus is not a potential human being; but a human being with potential. Legislation cannot legitimize what is inherently wrong.

The Bible describes life in the womb. The apostle Paul was called to be an apostle from his mother’s womb. Likewise, some of the prophets expressed their calling in similar words. David spoke to the matter quite clearly, saying, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” This he said in reference to the fact that God had formed his inward parts even while he was in his mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13-14). It was not just a blob of tissue; it was David in his mother’s womb. In the Law of Moses, the life of an unborn child was protected. Apparently, God considers the unborn to be a living human being.

Science and medical technology have made a strong case supporting the proposition that life begins in the womb. Increasing pressure is making it more and more difficult for those insisting on a woman’s right to get an abortion, even in the later stages of her pregnancy. However, medical science has also provided an abortion pill which is becoming more and more popular in the United States and throughout the world. This allows the unthinkable to occur quietly and conveniently behind the scenes. Abortion is the deliberate termination of that which has already begun—life. Just because the unborn are unable speak for themselves does not mean that actions taken against them are without consequence. Among those things which the Lord hates—things that are an abomination in His sight—are “hands that shed innocent blood” (Prov. 6:17). Pray that the passing of time does not cause us to lose sight of how precious is the life of the unborn.

 

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Preparing the Way for Forgiveness

 

Jacob was returning home after twenty years. His hasty departure and long absence is explained, in part, by his brother’s oath to kill him. Esau was upset at Jacob for stealing his birthright. It is understandable, then, that Jacob’s eventual return would be marked by fear and apprehension. How would Esau react to his return? Would he carry out his threat to kill him? Jacob prepared for the worst. He placed his wives and children in an order which reflected his favorites and divided his flocks and herds in hopes that some might be saved in the event of conflict. Then, he sent servants to Esau with overtures of peace along with gifts, hoping to soften Esau’s attitude toward him. The gifts were not accepted and his servants returned warning him that Esau was on his way with 400 men. It would be an understatement to say that the situation was tense.

Having done the best he could to protect his family, Jacob prayed to God for protection. He reminded God of His promise that He would make of his seed a great nation. That night, in an event unparalleled in human history, God appeared in human form and Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night. Following the struggle, God provided assurance to Jacob, changing his name to Israel, meaning “prince of God” (Gen. 32:28).

As Esau approached the next morning, Jacob left his family behind and went out to meet his brother, bowing seven times before him. Esau ran to meet his brother, fell upon his neck kissing him, and they both wept. Jacob expressed his gratitude, saying, “I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably” (Gen. 33:10). There was no hint of the bitterness which had characterized their previous time together. All had been forgiven.

Centuries later, another situation arose—a situation intense beyond comparison. Jesus faced the men who nailed Him to the cross, the soldiers who cast lots for His clothing, and the Jews who had condemned, ridiculed, and mocked Him. These angry, hardened souls might have expected words of condemnation, anathema, and cursing as was common place among those being crucifixion. Instead, they heard words of love for His mother, cries of anguish to His Father, and words of mercy for His tormentors. How could He do it? How could He forgive those who had treated Him so badly? Paul answers the question, saying, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rm. 5:8). In light of the fact that our sins put Jesus on the cross, it is remarkable that He should be so utterly selfless in His sacrifice. Since He was so gracious in preparing the way for our forgiveness through the blood of the cross, how earnest ought we to be in extending mercy to those who sin against us?

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