Month: November 2022

Bread Baking Fresh Home Made Food Bakery Healthy

Did I Tell You, You Have a Great Body?

I hope the title got your attention. I mean every word of it! To understand why I think you have a great body let’s take a look at God’s Word.

17 And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 18 Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar? 

1 Corinthians 10:14–17 NLT

When we come together in our local church and participate in Communion – Lord’s Supper – Eucharist, we are not just connecting as a local Christian community; we are sharing in the Communion that all Christians share. We are one body. (1 Corinthians 12:12–27)

These verses about the Lord’s Supper show the spiritual aspect of participating in this distinctively religious ceremony. When we understand what we’re doing, then the Apostle Paul’s warning makes sense:

29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:29–31

We join with other Christians in Holy Communion; its spiritual requirements are similar to those God, through Moses, gave to the Israelites concerning the laws about the ark of the covenant. 

9 But the Lord killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the Lord. And the people mourned greatly because of what the Lord had done. 

1 Samuel 6:19

Often, modern Christians take no thought about God’s requirements, let alone anything spiritual. However, our views and opinions do not negate God’s will. So, when we take Communion, we need to be in right standing with God. To be in right standing, we need to confess, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing for our sins so that we take the cup and the bread as pure children of God, living in obedience to Jesus our Lord and in right standing with all the saints of God.

Hey, you are part of the same loaf of bread I am. We are one body, and it looks good!

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay


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Cranberries Thanksgiving Wine Salad Turkey

Enjoy That Turkey Leg

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, take note of you’re bountiful meal and treats that you may be blessed with. Remember the poor and give graciously to their needs, but enjoy what you eat1!

No, I’m not talking about diets or permanent changes to our meals. I am referring to the food we eat during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. I’m a traditional guy. For me, it’s ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, plus all the extras. And delicious desserts: Pecan pie, yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and java bombs are always on my list. BTW, my daughter invented java bombs. If I told you how to make them, you’d never make another dessert for Thanksgiving.

Yes, we can enjoy many wonderful meals, and we should, within medical conditions and avoiding gluttony. But I’ve written these two paragraphs to remind us that eating food is temporary for all Christians. It’s true.

Let’s look at a brief verse that the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, tucked away.

You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) 

1 Corinthians 6:13

Enjoy It While It Lasts

Now before you remind me that after Christ’s resurrection, He ate fish2, Scripture confirms this, but God had not yet done away with eating; He still hasn’t. But there is coming a day.

Will we still be eating during the Marriage Supper of the Lamb3? I don’t know. Will God wait until Jesus’ thousand-year reign4? I haven’t a clue. Perhaps, God will wait until He makes the new heaven and earth5. Your guess is as good as mine. But there is coming a day when God does away with food. On that day, God will provide all we need. No longer will there be a sun or a moon, for God will be the light 6.

So, go ahead and take a second helping of cranberry salad. Savor that pecan pie with a scoop of ice cream. Relax with a good cup of coffee and a small bite of cheesecake. It’s ok (within reason). In this life, “food was made for the stomach and the stomach for food.” But don’t become too attached; food is one of those things that will pass away.

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1: 1 Timothy 6:8.
2: Luke 24:42–43.
3: Revelation 19:6–9.
4: Revelation 20:2–7.
5: Revelation 21.
6: Revelation 22:5


Image by Julie Rothe from Pixabay

coffee cup sitting on coffee beans

The Story of the Coffee Droplets

National Espresso Day!

Two national coffee days in November. Who knew!?

This morning, a small array of coffee droplets pooled on my desk, forming a rough outline of Lake Michigan. They had arrived when I sloshed coffee from my morning coffee cup. Of course, the droplets didn’t land someplace I could easily ignore, a place where I could clean them up later. Instead, they were positioned directly in front of my keyboard. I was thankful they had dodged my keyboard, but I was annoyed that I had to deal with them before getting down to business.

Looking around, I discovered I didn’t have a single napkin, paper towel, old rag, or even a shirttail to remove Lake Michigan from my desk. 😟 So I made my way back to my home; you see, my office is separate from my house and I don’t walk well. Retrieving a bit of paper towel, I hobbled back to my office.

Sitting down, paper towel in hand, I looked at the droplets and saw a life lesson. How amazed I was that four or five drops of coffee, in just the right place, stopped my work, sending me off on an errand and disrupting my morning plans. Every day Godless people make plans. Some own lots of stuff and have lots of people at their disposal. But you and I can be those few drops of coffee that change the trajectory of evil. 

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.

Psalms 16:1-2 ESV

Prayer: God guide us, I pray, so our prayers and actions disrupt the world’s plans of iniquity. Help us to be bold and allow You, our God, to use us like drops of coffee. In the Name of Your beloved Son, Father, we pray.

Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash

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Public Domain

Give Thanks

In the blink of an eye, it will be time to celebrate Thanksgiving. My family knows that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Truth be told, I treat every day the same, filled with God’s mercy, grace, and opportunities to share Christ’s beautiful salvation. But, for this one day each year, I feel a vitality, a specialness in the air that I find hard to capture into words.

The Creation of Our Thanksgiving Holiday

Just two years after the US Consitution was signed into law, we were blessed with the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving in America has thwarted nearly every attempt to commercialize it. Yes, the NFL has taken advantage of this merchandising vacuum, as has “Black Friday.” But taken on the whole, our day to give thanks still stands nearly as it has since its inauguration in 1789.

“On September 28, 1789, just before leaving for recess, the first Federal Congress passed a resolution asking that the President of the United States recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. A few days later, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a ”Day of Publick Thanksgivin“ – the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution.”

The Center for Legislative Archives

The implications of this official proclamation are wonderful. First, it is a day for unity, something our nation needs. This special day is for the public to join together. It is a day for “we the people.” The word “we” define a people group that shares at least one common attribute. For us, it is the United States of America. Americans are the collective “we the people.” (If you want to gain some first-hand insight into the issue of slavery, I’ve added a link at the bottom of this post2.

Why Thanksgiving is Special

In America’s Constitution, we find something that can be grasped, a unifying commonality covered today in a slurry of animosity and division. It is “we the people.” This shared agreement is about as rare as hens’ teeth. But there it is, right in front of all of us.

There may be a thousand things that separate us. Our nation may seem like Humpty Dumpty, fragmented to the point of no recovery. Yet, in this holiday, we find hope. We see something of value and choose not to destroy it but to grasp our shared fate, found in our shared freedom and our shared responsibilities; our common good is an anchor, steadfast in the storms of strife and turmoil as they ravage the nations of the world.

To Whom Are We Thankful

We are Americans. We, the people, commonly and publicly share in our thankfulness. What or to whom are we thankful? This was a question that nearly upended the founding of this nation. The founders fell into one of three groups1.

The smallest group was men that had abandoned their Judeo-Christian heritage. A larger group of founders were practicing Christians, and the largest group consisted of men who retained Christian loyalties but had shifted their spiritual beliefs to Deism.

It took 116 days for the delegates of the Constitutional Convention to reach a consensus and produce a document they deemed worthy of signing; there were thirty-nine signatories out of the fifty-five delegates.

How did they find an agreement they could sign in good conscience? Their act affirms that our nation has broad enough shoulders to hold differing beliefs when bound together by the “we” of “we the people.”

God At Work

Whew. We waded into the deep end of the pool. As Christians, we know that God’s will was at work in the founding of this nation. As a nation, along with the good, we have done bad things, even horrible things. That’s not so different from our personal lives. If we believe that God forgives us, His children, when we confess, repent, and recommit our lives to Jesus, then we surely can believe that we as a nation can still do the same.

Enjoy your day off from work. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your traditions. And yes, even enjoy your football game. Still, I pray you to take time to thank Jesus for His salvation and blessings. I’ve traveled the world and can say publicly, with great confidence, “I am thankful for our America. I am thankful that I am one of we the people.”


1: The Faiths of the Founding Fathers

2: If you want to gain insight into the mindset on slavery, I recommend reading the article written by Frederick Douglass, a former slave that became an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman: WHAT SHALL BE DONE WITH THE SLAVES IF EMANCIPATED?, Douglass’ Monthly, January 1862


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Do You Realize Who You Are?

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/thorge-4613952/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3670674">Thorge</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com//?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3670674">Pixabay</a>
Image by Thorge from Pixabay

The lineage of God’s chosen people traces back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We know His promise came through Isaac even though Abraham had at least one other child. (Romans 9:7) But Isaac was the child of God’s promise. God told Abraham that: “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” (Genesis 21:12 )

This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are counted as Abraham’s children.

Romans 9:8 NLT

Of the children of Abraham, it was Isaac that God chose. Then, of the children of Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, it was Jacob who God chose. And now, if you have received Christ as your beloved Savior, it is you that God has chosen, for you did not decide to live a Christian life by your intellect nor by some sense of family tradition.

Spiritual Awakening

“Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:2)” It was by faith. Only by the Holy Spirit’s call was your spirit awakened, and by faith, you received salvation. And, by the blood of Jesus, you were made right and reconciled to God, for these things are the will of the Father. For Jesus is the only Son of God:

begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;

Nicene Creed

Therefore, you are a child of Abraham since you were chosen just like Isaac and Jacob. You can be confident that God called you for a purpose. We can confidently say that you are a child of the promise, and therefore, you have the full backing of Almighty God for your purpose in life.

But What Is My Purpose?

Now you may say, “I don’t see my purpose, or how can I find God’s purpose for me.” God is not playing a trick on you, but you must see with spiritual eyes. Look at what God has put in your hands to do; that is where you start. But growth only comes through your faithful actions.

Fake faith is foolish, but God grows us through Spirit-led faith. As the famous missionary Hudson Taylor said, “Unless there is an element of risk, there is no need for faith.”

Called To Be An Ox

Look and see what God has already placed in your hands. Do that work by faith in God. Working in harmony with Almighty God will equip you for more wondrous works. God’s will is for you to grow and be productive. We know Jesus said that seeds that fall on good soil produce a crop. (Matthew 13:8) And we know God wants us to be productive from the wisdom found in Proverbs 14:4: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

I pray that you have the strength of an ox!

Image by Thorge from Pixabay


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Janitor Cart Cleaning Equipment Mopping

From Caretakers to Disciple Makers

Relevance of Local Churches

It has been decades since we have witnessed widespread Christian revival in churches in Europe and America. During this time, the Church has quietly but methodically transitioned from proclaimers of Good News to caretakers and groundskeepers. For the most affluent or financially endowed churches, their exteriors have been maintained and upgraded into beautiful edifices with sumptuous gardens, marvelous stained glass windows, and meticulously manicured woodwork. Yet, these churches echo when one enters their sanctuaries, for they are devoid of humanity.

For the less affluent churches, they simply crumble and are being sold off for homes, business offices, or torn down to make room for parking lots. Indeed, the Church universal has been bleeding membership for such a long time that we now have several generations of people that have never set foot in a church except for a wedding or funeral.

These millions of unchurched people have woven their own religion by taking bits and pieces of everything from Buddhism to Marxism. But this decline is ending. Jesus no longer allows His Bride to be a prostitute, selling Herself to anyone at any price.

Past Christian Movements

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 27:19

In the 1700s, Charles Wesley and two students started the Holy Club. Charles’ brother John joined them. The result was a movement that transformed England and was transplanted into America, resulting in a dramatic growth of relevant local churches with Biblical veracity. In the 1800s, a movement led in part by D.L. Moody swept America with similar results.

During the 1900s, America and the world experienced multiple renewals. First, In 1905, William J. Seymour, a one-eyed 34-year-old son of freed slaves, began preaching in a shack located on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Out of this tiny church was birthed the Holiness Movement and revitalized Baptist, Mennonite, Quaker, and Presbyterian denominations.

Then, in the mid–1900s, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham came on the scene. From the services of these evangelists, churches across America and England saw dramatic growth and renewed vigor. Towards the end of the 1900s, the world experienced terrific revivals in Toronto, Canada, and Pensacola, Florida.

Now, during the 2000s, astonishing church growth is witnessed in such unexpected places as Sierra Leone and Albania. This new move of God is taking hold in America. It has surfaced in Arkansas and a few other places. But it’s time for Christians across America to come into this movement. It’s time for us to stop being caretakers and become disciple-makers.

From Caretakers to Disciple Makers

Let’s remember that a local church is not a building. Instead, a local church is a congregation, a group of Christians that have gathered and established a common community, wholly submitted to the commands of Christ and accountable to a proven Christian bishop (overseer1). A primary work of a local church is making disciples. The word disciple means a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher. Every Christian is a disciple, for we follow Jesus and continually strive, as dedicated students, to learn more and apply more of God’s Word in our lives.

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2

As a disciple, Jesus has equipped us to make other disciples. The old way, like “pact a pew,” no longer works. However, people are more desperate than ever for a personal, relevant relationship with the one true God. We have the right message, and Christ has commissioned us for this work. What remains is for us to physically get up and go out and do it – to make disciples of Jesus.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12

Not every Christian is gifted with oratory skills, but every believer has a personal testimony. Telling people your testimony is how most people begin their journey to salvation and discipleship.


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Footnotes

Overseer: Philippians 1:1, Acts 20:28, Titus 1:6-7

Picture of a group of soldiers during WWII

We Can Do It!

In case you forgot, today is Veterans Day. The picture that I have included is of my dad during WWII. He, like so many of his fellow soldiers, was a farm boy. He rarely talked about his life in the military, but when he did, the first story he told was about how fantastic the food was. Yes, you read that correctly.

Dad grew up during the Great Depression. His mother died when he was young, and my Grandpa Moore struggled to feed his kids. So, Dad was nearly speechless when he entered the military and had a full belly of a well-prepared meal. He said he was shocked when men around him complained about the “chow.” We never understand what we lack until we experience an increase.

The same is true with salvation. Until you receive Jesus as your Savior and are reborn, you have no idea how wonderful it is to be reconciled to God. The new life that Jesus gives us is inexpressable. We all try to communicate what it’s like for God to be alive in us. I suppose that’s why there are thousands of hymns and praise songs; we long to worship our God for His marvelous grace and mercy.

Famous Slogan During WWII

Public Domain

One Thanksgiving many years ago, we had a small reunion at my parent’s home. As the evening was winding down, I asked Mom and Dad if they ever were worried that Germany and Japan would win. In an instant, my mother chimed in and said, “Never! We didn’t know when, but we knew we would win.” In a way, this is how our confidence in Jesus has been and is for every Christian that has ever lived.

We know that Jesus will win. We don’t know when, but we know He will win. And we will be with Him when He does. Now I think that’s Good News.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Romans 14:10–12

Clouds In My Coffee

Clouds In My Coffee

Listen on Spotify

Flash!

Today is National Cappuccino Day, so I can use coffee in my post!

I’ll bet you can’t remember who sang a song with the phrase “clouds in my coffee.” There are no fair Googling lyrics! I was listening to that song today, and the “clouds in my coffee” phrase caught my attention. I mean, it says “coffee”; how could the song not be a hit?

I got to thinking about clouds in my coffee. I nearly always drink my coffee black. However, when I pour cream into my coffee, it does look like billowing clouds. That is, until I stir it. Then the coffee and the cream are indistinguishable from each other. 

The Holy Spirit Does Disrupt Us

Just like cream clouds are disruptive to black coffee, so is the Holy Spirit when He comes into our lives. I think “clouds in my coffee” is a good analogy for receiving the Holy Spirit. When He first comes in, He does disrupt us. 

We all receive the Holy Spirit at the time we are saved. Suddenly, God is inside us, and we are energized new Christians. We run around to all of our friends and tell them our good news and encourage them to accept Jesus. This usually severs those old friendships because we no longer have the same worldview or interests. 

People are often afraid to teach about the Holy Spirit, which is disappointing. There are some basics that we need to know. For example, when we talk about the Holy Spirit, we often use the Old English word “indwelt.” The definition of indwelt means to be permanently present. A Christian indwelt by the Spirit is indwelt by God. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Ephesians 2:22)

Hyper-Awareness

We become Christians because we become hyper-aware of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus and our wretched condition. That hyper-awareness is called “conviction,” and the Holy Spirit is the Person of God who does this for us so that we see the truth of the Gospel. (John 16:8–11)

The Holy Spirit unites believers with Jesus and places believers into the body of Christ; the body of Christ is the Church. The Holy Spirit also unites believers with Jesus in His death, enabling believers to live victoriously over sin. (1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 6:1–10)

We receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of our rebirth. And the Holy Spirit sovereignly endows spiritual gifts or abilities for service to every believer. ( Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4) However, there is more that God makes available to believers. If we become hungry for God, God will give more of Himself to us. The Bible says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

Recognize the Holy Spirit of God lives “in” every believer. However, it’s like that cream you pour into your coffee. You have a cloud of God in you, but God may not be in all of you. You may be holding on to things of the world or shutting God out because you want to be in control of your career, your lifestyle, and your money.

God Will Give Us More

However, when we ask for more of God, God will give us more of Himself through the Holy Spirit and stir us up. One of the things Jesus does is baptize with the Holy Spirit. We know this because John the Baptist testified,” ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'” (John 1:33)

With a greater fullness of God within a believer, the Holy Spirit guides and empowers the believer who yields to God and submits to God’s Word. (Romans 12: 1, 2; Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16) When we meet these conditions, the believer lives in the power of the Holy Spirit and produces the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16, 22, 23)

Aspects of Salvation

See, that wasn’t so difficult. Of course, many aspects of salvation, sanctification, the works of the Holy Spirit, and so forth often cause separation between believers. This separation is unfortunate.

It’s good to embrace the understanding that God has given us, but we should not shut out fellow believers who emphasize other aspects of salvation. We should fellowship with all Christian believers. We are to be known by our love. But, we must not bring into the Church people that embrace heresies, doctrines not found as truth in the Bible.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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Chest Treasure Pirate Money Box Coins Valuable

A Worship Box

I often learn new insights into God’s Word when I read familiar verses in a different translation. I am not saying that the meaning is changed. Instead, I am saying it’s like when we hear a familiar hymn sung by a person from a different country. The singer brings an interesting accent, phrasing, and emphasis. It’s that fresh experience I had this morning when I read Apostle Paul’s inspired text in the New Living Translation.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1

This is truly the way to worship Him” I wonder how often Jesus shakes His head when He sees the heavy burdens I carry. They are not the light burden He made for me. This is acutely apparent when it comes to my worship of God.

Jesus, my Lord and God (John 20:28), made known to me His power. He walked on water, healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. With His ascension back to heaven and seated in His rightful place (Mark 16:19), He presented His blood as the single sacrifice once for all eternity (Hebrews 9:23–28. So why do I fail to ask for His help? Why do I practice prescriptive Christianity instead of intimate Christianity? Why have I put Jesus in a worship box, one that has a hymnal, a few worship songs, and a clock for assigning the time and length for when I worship God?

What we see in Romans 12:1 is that with all of the good ways to praise God, the one He desires the most is our worship by the sacrifice of all we are, giving our lives wholely and unconstrained to God’s will; that is worship that God desires more than anything.

So now I stand at a chasm. I see a great divide between my worship and true worship. Can I cross this? No, I don’t have the strength, but the Holy Spirit can carry me there. For the Holy Spirit plucked Phillip out of the water and carried him to the small village of Azotus, located just north of Gaza after Phillip baptized the eunuch. (Acts 8:26–40) Since the Holy Spirit has done that and so much more, I know He can carry me across this great divide, and He will do the same for you if you, too, have put your praise in a box.

Image by PIRO from Pixabay


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Rhino Rhinoceros White Rhino Calf Running

What He Already Owns

The skies are grey, and shadows come early. The wind blusters as it blows leaves around. The frost in the mornings tells me that surely, it won’t be long ’till there’s snow on the ground.

Autumn seems to affect people in one of two ways. Either they throw themselves into fall, attending football games, soccer games, yard sales, and making smores over fire pits, or they begin a long slow slide into a melancholy and even depressed state of mind. Thankfully, God’s Word is bursting with encouragement. One verse that I find great encouragement from is this:

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:13

I find great comfort in this verse’s message and strength in the word “Lord.” The term “Lord” means master or owner. It means that I am not just a friend but that I belong to Jesus. As my kinsman redeemer, Jesus bought me to save me from God’s coming wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). The price for my ransom (Matthew 20:28) was paid by the blood that came from Jesus (Hebrews 9:11-13) when He was on the cross. Therefore, anyone that messes with me is messing with what belongs to Jesus. I like that. 🙂

Today, I was listening to some songs from Amy Grant on Spotify, and they played a song I’d never heard before. It gave me a different perspective on the ownership of Jesus. The lyrics carry us from desperation to confidence, something many people need to do as winter sets in. Here’s the last part of the song:

I will be faithful
Help me be strong
’Cause you will protect what you already own
You still protect what you already own.

Amy Grant, “What He Already Owns”

It is comforting to know that, as believers, we belong to Jesus. Surely, He protects what He already owns.


Image by Nel Botha from Pixabay

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