BulletinGold #197
June 2018  
Vol 18 #6 

June 2018                         BG# 197                         Vol. 18 No. 06
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In this issue ...

 Can There Any Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth?
By Clifton Angel

 DAD
By Ron Thomas

 The Gift of a Father
By David A. Sargent

 Be a Mentor
By Robert Guinn

 You're Number Two
By Alan Smith

 Godly Grandparenting
By R.W. McAlister

 Namesake
By Steve Higginbotham

 The Origin of Decoration Day
By David Bragg

 Do You Hate God?
By Seth Myers

 Privileged to Work for the Lord
By Larry Miles

 No Matter Where You Go - There You Are
By Charlie Gamble

A Smoking Fire Pot and a Flaming Torch
By David R. Ferguson

Can There Any Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth?
By Clifton Angel

    In the opening chapter of John's gospel account we read that Jesus found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." Philip immediately found Nathanael and said, "We have found the one that Moses and the prophets wrote about, Jesus of Nazareth" (paraphrased from John 1:43–45). Nathanael responded: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46a). "Philip saith unto him, Come and see" (John 1:46b). What is the significance of Jesus being from Nazareth?
    First, Jesus, being from Nazareth is a fulfillment of prophecy. In Matthew 2, we learn that Herod declared a genocide on all children ages 2 and under in Judea, in hopes that he would kill the child Jesus. Because of this, an angel informed Joseph to flee into Egypt with Jesus and Mary until further notice from the angel. Read Matthew  2:19–23. This is just one of the numerous prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus.
    Furthermore, Jesus, being  from Nazareth is an example of His paradox. A paradox is something that appears to be a contradiction, but is not. Jesus was a walking paradox. God taking on flesh is a paradox. God tasting of death is a paradox. God choosing to be a servant is a paradox. Yet, all of these were fulfilled in the Person of Jesus. Likewise, Jesus being from Nazareth is a paradox. According to Paul N. Anderson (www.huffingtonpost.com):
(1) Nazareth was very small in population during the days of Jesus;
(2) "Following the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC, the Roman armory in Sepphoris (four miles from Nazareth) was robbed, and the Romans retaliated by crucifying 2,000 Jews as a disincentive to such revolts. Sepphoris was burned to the ground, and its inhabitants were sold into slavery;"
(3) "Less than a decade later, when Jesus was just a boy, Judas the Galilean instituted a tax revolt, evoking another crackdown by the Romans in which many were also crucified."
    Therefore, in the minds of the Jews and Romans at that time, Nazareth was an unpopular location. While Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David, He was mostly associated with Nazareth. Nazareth was not a royal city, but a wasteland. Nazareth was not a beloved city, but a despised place among the Jews and Romans. This better helps us understand Nathaniel's question to Philip: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"
    Finally, Jesus, being from Nazareth is a picture of His power. Being from Nazareth, Jesus came from a place associated with oppression, slavery, and crucifixion. Furthermore, while He deserved none of it, He subjected Himself to oppression, slavery, and crucifixion, so that we might go to a place of joy, liberty, and eternal  life. I am reminded of the wasteland that was the earth at the Noahic flood, and yet the beauty that we see today is the aftermath. What a wonderful picture of the power of our Savior! This same power can be seen in our lives. If you will allow Him, if you will obey Him, Jesus can transform your life from wasteland to worthiness.
    "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Like Philip, I invite you to, "Come and see." Subject yourself to faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, and begin walking with Jesus, so that you might know the BEST thing that came out of Nazareth.

 - Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/
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DAD
By Ron Thomas

    When the Lord established the family in the Garden of Eden, He set forth the roles early on. In the family, the male (husband/father) is the leader of the family, and the female (wife/mother) is to support the male in this endeavor. The male in God’s established family will bring glory to God and enhance his family as he keeps in mind these things.
    First, he is to be a man of Devotion. By this I mean, he is to be devoted to the Father of all glory and devoted to his family. Devotion to God means one hears, obeys, and then leads the family toward heaven.
    Second, he is a man who gives Assurance. By this I mean he not only has assurance from God as he revealed Himself in His word, but he extends that same assurance to those whom he leads. For instance, it is a most unfortunate thing to see the children grown up longing for peace, security, and assurance in acceptance. A dad plays a significant role in this.
    Third, he is also a man who is Disciplined. By this I mean that he is disciplined in his reading of God’s word, he is disciplined in his work ethic, and he is disciplined in his attendance when the church gathers together.
    All these things that he exhibits will, through influence and example, pass to the family. Now that is a D.A.D.

 - Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/
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The Gift of a Father
By David A. Sargent

    Vinnie Holloran and Larry Mack were the best of friends from childhood. Even in adulthood, they shared holiday celebrations, family functions, and many games of their beloved New York Jets football team. They even joined the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) together.
    On September 11, 2001, Vinny perished while responding to the disaster that occurred on that fateful day. Vinny left behind a wife, five sons, and a daughter on-the-way. Larry stepped in to help. Even though he had a family including two children of his own, he also became a surrogate dad to the children of his best friend.
    He took the Halloran children camping with his own family, spent time with them on weekends, and shared with them the love he and their father shared for the Jets, whose home games they often attended together.
    Mack's own children, 25-year-old Bryan and 22-year old Candice, are proud of their father for helping the Hallorans, and the Hallorans say they will never forget what Mack has done.
    After my father passed away, he was someone who really stepped in," Kieran Halloran, now 24, said.
    Connor Halloran, now 26, said his family went through a tough time. While many people sent notes of condolence or a casserole, Mack "was there in a much more real way," Connor said. "And he helped keep everything together when we couldn't."
    His brothers, Declan and Jake, said Mack was a kind of father to them. Not only did he take them on trips and hockey games, but he was a role model for them and their siblings.
    "I love him … his smile is like contagious and you just can't help be happy whenever you're around him," Phelan, the 12-year-old daughter Vinny Halloran never met, said of Mack.
    Jake Halloran said Mack is happy when he's giving to others. He called Mack's selflessness "an incredible example" to him and his siblings. "He himself is the gift and he gives that to my family … and so many other people," Jake added.
    Kieran Halloran says he knows Mack never had to do what he did for them.
    George Stephanopoulos concluded a video tribute to Larry Mack with the words, “We honor the memory of one father… and the gift of another.”
    Because of our sins, we are like orphans – without a father and without hope (compare Ephesians 2:12).
    But God loves us so much that He gave His One and Only Son to die for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins, become His children, and live eternally with Him (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
    God didn’t have to do this for us.  He wanted to do it because He loves us!
    “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice [or, “the propitiation”] for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
    God will save and “adopt” into His family those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
    So, on this “Father’s Day,” we celebrate the Gift of a Father: the Gift of God’s Son, who through His atoning sacrifice, enables each of us to know God as “Father” and to receive the eternal blessings that He gives to His children.
    Won’t YOU accept His offer and become a child of the Heavenly Father?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

* Information gleaned from ABC News.  To see the full report and the celebration in honor of Larry Mack on Good Morning America, see http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2014/06/new-york-city-firefighter-gets-early-fathers-day-football-surprise/
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Be a Mentor
By Robert Guinn

    We all have at least one mentor in our lifetime. It is the person we think of when we close our eyes and hit the rewind button on our mental players when asked the question, "Who has significantly impacted your life?" Perhaps we see the face of the person that taught us the Gospel of Jesus. Maybe we see a teacher that not only taught from their lesson plan, but also taught us about life in some fashion. Depending on our field of expertise, we might see the face of the person that took us under their wing to show us the ropes. In all these circumstances, whether briefly or long-term, we see a person that became to us a wise trusted adviser, or a mentor.
    Why do we value such people? We value them because at some point in our lives, they took the time to invest in us personally. Mentors are of extreme importance as we develop mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Consider the relationship between Paul and Timothy in the New Testament. Probably one of the first things we notice about a mentor is their encouragement. Paul wrote to Timothy saying, "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Timothy 2:1-2, NKJV). Paul, being Timothy's mentor, shows this encouragement by: 
1) Emphasizing a personal bond coupled with a supportive spirit ("my son"),
2) Challenging Timothy ("be strong"),
3) Reminding Timothy about his blessings ("grace that is in Christ Jesus"),
4) Reminding Timothy about his training to this point ("things that you have heard from me") and
5) Emphasizing the challenge to be a mentor to others ("commit these to faithful men").
    How would our lives be if our mentors never took the time to invest in us? The truth is, God has designed the family and the church to be a form of "mentorship", having one generation teach the next. Fathers are supposed to mentor their children in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).  Mothers, grandmothers, and "older" women are to guide the younger in what it means to love their families (Titus 2:4). This is why children are to show respect to their parents and other authority figures (Colossians 3:20). In the church, ministers are to proclaim God's word being mindful of the eternal impact their words and actions have on those they are trying to encourage (James 3:1). Elders are responsible for shepherding the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2). All Christians are to help each other spiritually (1 Peter 5:9; Galatians 6:2).
    Each of the aforementioned have some type of role that can be considered a type of mentoring. What happens though if we remove one of these mentors from the equation? Numerous groups and organizations have been formed to help those whose parents were/are non-existent as mentors. Many congregational problems can be traced back to the lack of proper "mentorship" on the part of the leadership and/or others.
    Who was the last person we mentored? Did we encourage them in the direction they need to spiritually go? Do we challenge each other to constantly improve ourselves? Remember what we have been blessed with and how far we have come. Now, it is our responsibility to pass on these blessings to the next generation. Be a mentor for the Lord!

 - Robert Guinn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org
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You're Number Two
By Alan Smith

    I heard about a couple that was celebrating their second anniversary. The husband arranged to have flowers sent to his wife at her office. He told the florist to write "Happy Anniversary, Year Number 2" on the card.
    His wife was thrilled with the flowers, but not so pleased with the card. It mistakenly read, "Happy Anniversary. You're Number 2."
    While I chuckle at that story, the truth of the matter is that if the same thing had happened to my wife, she would have reacted in a totally different way -- she would have been thrilled! Perhaps a word of explanation is in order as I share something very private with you.
    While we were dating, I came up with a pet name for Sueanne. She was my "little number two" (usually written as "lil no. 2"). That was how I would address her when I wrote her notes or sent her cards -- "Lil no. 2." That was my way of saying to her, "God comes first in my life, but you are second."
    It never bothered my wife that she was number two in my life. She never saw that as an insult. In fact, I think she understood that as long as God stood in the number one place in my life, she would always be treated with dignity, love and compassion. We are approaching 29 years of married life, and she remains my "lil no. 2". She always has been, she always will be. She will never be number one. But that's OK with her.
    "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)
    Seek to make God number one in your life and I promise it will improve your relationship with "number two."
    Have a great day!

 - Alan Smith, minister for the Cruciform Church of Christ in Spring Lake, North Carolina, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@gmail.com or through the congregation's website: http://www.cruciformcoc.com/
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Godly Grandparenting
By R. W. McAlister

    National Grandparents Day is celebrated each September. How did it all get started? Marian McQuade and her husband Joe were residents of Fayette County, West Virginia. They were the parents of 15 children, grandparents of 40 and great grandparents of 8.
    In 1973, after a 5-year campaign, Mrs. McQuade pushed legislation that Congress passed proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. September was chosen to honor Grandparents because it symbolized the “autumn years” of life. President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation.
    How many of you are grandparents? Do you think your life will have any influence on your grandchildren? How about your great grandchildren?
    In Genesis 5, we have an account of Enoch. He was the Father of Methuselah. Methuselah was the father of Lamech. Lamech was the father of Noah. The Bible says Enoch walked close to God (Gen. 5:22). What does the Bible tell us about Noah? Genesis 6:8-9: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” So Enoch walked with God and so did his great grandson Noah!
    Grandparents, do you think your faith will affect future generations? You better believe it will! Grandparents, are you living a life like Enoch’s? Listen to what Hebrews 11:5 says: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
    Don’t you want your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to turn out like Noah? Give it some thought.

- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/
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Namesake
By Steve Higginbotham

    It’s difficult to receive correction, isn’t it? It’s easy when being corrected to fall into judging the person’s motives for correcting us, taking offense at the way they corrected us, and searching out inconsistencies and errors in the life of the one correcting us.
    But I guess that’s why David was said to be a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). You see, David faced the stinging rebuke by the prophet, Nathan. In fact, Nathan set him up in such a way that David had to have been humiliated and embarrassed. But what did King David do? Did he criticize Nathan for the way he rebuked him? No. Did he make excuses for his conduct?  No. Did he seek out a way to discredit Nathan? No.
    Do you know what King David did? He named a son after Nathan! Check it out (1 Chronicles 3:5). Not only did David not take offense at what Nathan did to him, he later named one of his son’s “Nathan.” That’s true humility and reflects a genuine desire to be right with God. David didn’t hate Nathan for his rebuke, he loved him for it.
    Friends, those who have the courage to confront you for your own good aren’t worthy of our hatred or vengeance. In fact, in David’s case, his confronter was worthy of “namesake.” Give it some thought.

 - Steve Higginbotham preaches for the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.karnschurch.org Copyright © 2018 MercEmail
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Finding Peace in a Turbulent World
By David Bragg

    Susie Maroney did something that nobody else had ever done. On May 12, 1997 the 22-year-old Australian became the first person to swim from Cuba to the Florida Straits. For 110 miles in shark infested waters she swam nonstop for 24 1/2 hours. To protect her from the sharks she swam in a special cage pulled by a boat moving with her. To encourage her along the way her mother and brother rode in the boat cheering her on. Along with this amazing feat of endurance she arrived in the Florida Keys she was dehydrated, sunburned, and covered with jellyfish stings. Even more amazing to me is the fact that Maroney was born with cerebral palsy. She took up swimming at the age of four and began competitive swimming three years later. As a teenager she had pushed herself to the point where she could compete in long distance swimming contests.
    Life is lived in a turbulent world with obstacles that seem to challenge us at unexpected turns. Health problems. Financial concerns. Family conflicts. Career upsets. Sometimes the challenges of life make us feel like we are swimming with sharks and no shore is in sight.
    Jesus has the perfect solution for handling life’s ups and downs. To those who have obeyed Him in baptism and who strive daily to maintain their faith He offers peace. To His disciples He proclaimed, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). That promise is just as available today as then. Jesus will surround His faithful followers with a peace the world can never penetrate. Live your life with determination and faith and Jesus will give you peace.

- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/ or his blog: http://davidbragg.blogspot.com/
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Do You Hate God?
By Seth Myers

    Do you hate God? Don’t answer yet. Properly ponder over this pragmatically prolific profundity—er, just think about it for a few seconds.
    In Mark 12:30, Jesus said the greatest commandment is that man love God with every fiber of his being (cp. Deut. 6:4,5). So, what about you? Do you love God, or hate Him?
    (Thinking “love”?).
    OK, let’s skip ahead to the necessary follow-up question: What does it actually mean to “love God”? Since loving God is the greatest commandment (Mk. 12:30), it is probably a good idea to find out what it means to love God!
    Thankfully, God has not left us to puzzle it out: for He—in His written word—has told us exactly what it means to “love” Him. Consider the following “God-breathed” passages (2 Tim. 3:16,17):
  • “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
  • “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, HE it is who loves me…” (John 14:21a).
  • “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word…” (John 14:23a).
  • “For THIS is the love of God, that we keep his commandments…” (1 John 5:3a; cp. 2 John 6).
Thus, according to the Lord, Himself: To “Love God” = To “OBEY God” (cf. Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; John 3:36; 2 Thess. 1:7-9).
    As with all spiritual matters, the only definition that matters is God’s definition. Thankfully, He has spoken (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9-13; Heb. 1:1,2; 1 Pet. 1:20,21; 2 Tim. 3:16,17):
  • Those who love Him are those who keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15,21,23).
  • All those who do not keep God’s commandments, by His own definition, hate Him—even if they “feel” that they love Him (Jn. 14:24).
So what about you? Do you love God (obey His word), or hate Him (disregard His word)?

 - Seth Myers preaches for the Highway Church of Christ in Sullivan, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: https://hwycoc.com/
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Privileged to Work for the Lord
By Larry Miles

    My  fellow Christians, are you  seeking to serve the Lord Jesus in the  best way you  possibly can? Are you seeking to be “conformed to the image of the Son of God?” Are you putting the Lord Jesus Christ  first in your  lives? We  need to make Him the Lord of our lives. A chorus says, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
    It must be our aim to uplift the Lord Jesus before a lost world. Are we letting our lights shine, or are  we indifferent toward the  lost?
    We need only to  look to Calvary to see what it cost the Lord Jesus for us to be saved. Let that motivate you to greater service for the Master. He’s coming again! It will take effort for us to serve Him; anything worth  having is worth working for. As the Word of God says, let’s work out our own salvation with fear and  trembling.” We are not saved  by works, but are saved to work (Ephesians 2:8-10).

 - Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and publishes "Larry's Lines" several times a week. Copyright 2018. Visit his website: http://larryslines.com/
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No Matter Where You Go - There You Are
By Charlie Gamble

    Sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? A more serious comment from a Christian should be, “No matter where I go, He will be there with me.” This idea was a part of Jesus’ prayer in the garden that night., “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world? John 17:24 (NKJV) Of course, there is an immediate context to these words but the prayer extends far beyond that.
    With our summer season coming there will be many opportunities to travel. The places we go and activities of our vacations must include Jesus. Our dress and behavior must glorify Him at all times. There is no vacation time from Christianity. We can be assured that the Devil isn’t going to take a break.
    We have surrendered everything about ourselves to Jesus all the time.

 - Charlie Gamble preaches for the Brunswick Church of Christ in Southport, NC. He may be contacted at cgamble64@gmail.com
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A Smoking Fire Pot and a Flaming Torch
By David R. Ferguson

    In one of the most beautiful, as well as one of the most significant chapters in all of God’s word, a wonderful scene is pictured. God, Who is portrayed so vividly in this chapter as the wonderful, loving Father He is, appears to Abram in a vision of a cutting rite ceremony, and assures the aging Abram that He, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, will be the guaranty that His promises will be fulfilled. After having Abram cut the sacrificed animals in two and placed the pieces facing each other, and “behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces” (Genesis 15:17 [RSV]). Just as God would appear to the descendants of Abram centuries later as a pillar of fire to light their way in the darkness, God chose these forms of fire and light to offer Himself as the guarantor to Abram during his time of “dread and great darkness” (Genesis 15:12 [RSV]). The full significance of what God did for Abram is not really seen until we reach the New Testament. There, in Christ, the covenant of grace reaches its highest expression. In Christ, God keeps the covenant promises and suffers the covenant penalties. For it is Christ Who perfectly obeyed the law in our place (Philippians 2:8) and it is Christ Who also bore the curse of the law in our place (Galatians 3:13).
    Certainly, there is an application in all of this for the Christian. God will fulfill all His promises to us: “For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why we utter the Amen through Him, to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20 [RSV])! God's covenant promises to us were confirmed by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. All the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, including those in this covenant ceremony in Genesis 15, pointed forward to the one great sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who place their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior are "qualified . . . to share in the inheritance" with Him (Colossians 1:12 [RSV]). God has given us “an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in Heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4 [RSV]). More of God's wonderful promises to us are listed in Ephesians 1:3-14, and these promises are guaranteed to us by the Holy Spirit Himself!
    Just as Abraham and Sarah were, we, too, are called to leave our attachments to home and family, to our ideas of what religion is or should be, to make God our only loyalty. We are to seek His approval, rather than the approval of those around us. We are called to be a family of God through Whose name nations will bless themselves. We are called to live the intensity of life, as well as the peace of life. We can have the harmony of life when we live with God awareness. We are called to be salt and light to the world, a leaven of peace, through the saving love of God.
    Yes, indeed, we are called to a journey of faith. And our faith is and will be reckoned to us as righteousness, just as it was with Abraham, when we rest in the fact that His promises are sure, and His promises are true.

 - David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation'sFacebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or davidferguson61@yahoo.com
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Editor: David Bragg