Day 213 Bible Reading Plan

God is in Control

God is in Control

The end times can be a scary thing to think about. But No matter what is going on around us or what is to come, God is in complete control of it all. And God wins and triumphs over evil. And the amazing thing is that this great, kind God sees us and considers us precious in His sight.

Bible Reading of the Day: Daniel 7-12

We are reading the second half of the book of Daniel today and we read about some pretty amazing dreams that Daniel had. The visions terrified and overwhelmed Daniel.

Overview of Today’s Reading

In Chapter 7 is Daniel’s vision of the four beasts and the court in Heaven.

Chapters 8-12 contain a vision involving a ram, a goat, and several horns – also referring to future kingdoms and their rulers.


Daniel chapter 9 records Daniel’s “seventy weeks” prophecy. God gave Daniel the precise timeline of when the Messiah would come and be cut off. The prophecy also mentions a future ruler who will make a seven-year covenant with Israel and break it after three and a half years, followed shortly thereafter by the great judgment and consummation of all things. Daniel is visited and strengthened by an angel after this great vision, and the angel explains the vision to Daniel in great detail.”

“Daniel’s vision of the four beasts provided a prophetic look at future world events. Looking back from our perspective, we see these events as world history and can easily see the correlation between each beast and a world empire. However, there was more to Daniel’s vision, and some of it is yet future, even for us.”

“Given the fact that the Antichrist emerges from the fourth beast leads us to surmise that, in the end times, there will be a “revival” of the Roman Empire, featuring a coalition of ten world leaders. The Antichrist will take his position of leadership at the expense of three of those leaders, and he will eventually wield global authority. A true tyrant, the Antichrist will demand worship and seek to control all aspects of life (see Revelation 13:16–17).”

“Daniel’s vision of the four beasts warned Israel that there would be a procession of enemies and world rulers holding authority over them; however, they should not lose heart. In the end, God is in control, and the Messiah to come will defeat the kingdoms of this world and establish His throne forever (Daniel 2:44; 7:13–14; Revelation 11:15).”

From the Easy English Bible Commentary

“The first kingdom was the kingdom of Babylon. The kings of Babylon thought that they were like lions and eagles. In the book that Ezekiel the prophet wrote, an eagle means Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 17:7-12).

When Daniel had the dream, this kingdom was nearly finished. Belshazzar was the last king (Daniel 5:30-31). The power of the *kingdom was almost gone, like the animal without its wings.

Somebody made the first animal stand up like a man. They gave it the mind of a man. This reminds us about Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:34-36).

Then the kingdom of the Medes and Persians came. The third kingdom was the kingdom of Greece. It defeated people quickly like the third animal. The fourth kingdom was the kingdom of Rome. The fourth animal had iron teeth. The image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had iron legs. Its feet were partly iron and partly clay.

All these kingdoms seemed very powerful, like the animals. It seemed that nobody could defeat them. But God was the judge. He was in control. He only allowed them to be powerful for a certain time.

The kingdom that God gives to Jesus will never end. Nobody can defeat it. The people who are loyal to God will be in Jesus’ kingdom.”

God is in Control—He is the Supreme Judge

As someone who has had my days in court, courthouses still turn my stomach. But there is something about this court in Heaven. Judgement is perfect there. Because God is the perfect Judge. Remember a couple of days ago I shared about the joy in being numbered in the  Book of Life. There are some scary visions, but we who are in Christ have the victory.

God is in Control—He Knows the Future

“11 I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech. I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire. 12 The other three beasts had their authority taken from them, but they were allowed to live a while longer.

13 As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.

15 I, Daniel, was troubled by all I had seen, and my visions terrified me. 16 So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this: 17 “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth. 18 But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.”

There is good news for us – we don’t have to be terrified of the future. Our God holds the future in His hands. He knows the end.

Scripture of the Day: Daniel 9:22-23

“22 He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. 23 The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.”

God is in Control—You Are Precious in His Sight

“10 Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11 And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.

God is in Control—He Hears Our Every Prayer

12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.”

From the first prayer, God hears. His timing is not our timing. He views us as precious in His sight and we are in His book of life when we have accepted His free, glorious salvation.

Friends, we need to be in prayer. The end is coming – we don’t know when. But God knows the end.

Those Who Know God Have Nothing To Fear

Daniel 11:31-32

31 “His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration. 32 He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.”

Daniel 12:1-2

12 “At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation, will arise. Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued. 2 Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. 3 Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”

9 But he said, “Go now, Daniel, for what I have said is kept secret and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials. But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means.”


  • Our prayers are heard. Don’t stop praying.
  • We are precious in God’s sight. Don’t let anyone take your worth.
  • We don’t have to be terrified of the future. God holds the future in His hands.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #213: Daniel 7-12

Scripture of the Day: Daniel 9:22-23


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Day 212 Bible Reading Plan

Don't Live Like a King

Don’t Live Like a King

What influences you in our culture? The kings of old were influenced negatively and influenced others negatively. But there were also righteous kings who chose to influence others for righteousness. We have much to learn from the kings we read about today. What “not” to do, for sure, but also so much can learn about what we need to do, as well. Don’t live like a king—imitate Christ the King.

Overview of Today’s Reading

2 Kings 21 details the reign of  Judah’s King Manasseh and then King Amon. In chapter 22-23 we learn about Judah’s King Josiah’s reign and the reforms he made, along with a couple more Kings in Judah—Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim. In Chapter 24 Jehoiakim’s rebellion and deportations to Babylon happens. And then we end today’s reading with Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem.

Bible Reading of the Day: 2 Kings 21-25

Reading from 2 Kings 21:1-2, “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.”

Y’all – the king was 12 years old!!! But that does not compare with Josiah who was 8. It was a different time and culture for sure. But notice why God was displeased and what was evil about King Manasseh. He followed the detestable practices of the pagan nation.

Don’t Live Like a King—Don’t follow the culture

I see it more now than ever. I think once you are over 50 years old everything comes together. The culture around us is pervasive with anti-God messages. If we don’t resist these messages, we will be carried away by them.

Don’t Live Like a King—Don’t Serve Idols

Manasseh’s son King Amon wasn’t any better than Dad. In 2 Kings 21:20 it says “He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. 21 He followed the example of his father, worshiping the same idols his father had worshiped. 22 He abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and he refused to follow the Lord’s ways.”

Kings imitated the culture around them and influenced kings who followed. Don’t live like a King who follows the culture. We can decide to be counter-culture.

Don’t Live Like a King—Be Like King Jesus

We are all imitating someone or something. Influences are all around us. God’s word. The culture. People.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul said “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”

Friends, not only do we need to not imitate the wicked culture around us, but we need to set an example for the believers and for the culture around us.

I used to tell my children when they were little that it was not just the avoidance of evil, but the example of righteousness they needed to set. King Josiah would be a king worth imitating. He imitated King David. 2 Kings 22: 2, “2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.”

Let God’s Word Be The Biggest Influence In Your Life

2 Ki 22:8 “Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it. 11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12 Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 13 “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found.”

Josiah then made reforms in accordance with the influence the word of God had on him. You see it is not enough to say we believe. We act according to that belief.

Josiah tore down altars and high places used for idolatry and spiritual adultery and he reinstituted the celebration of the Passover.

Friends, we might feel like our culture is too far gone, but God is asking us if we will be like King Josiah today. Will we influence our culture more than it influences us? Will we imitate Christ?

Scripture of the Day: 2 Kings 23:25

“25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.”

After King Josiah, King Jehoiakim became king and then Nebuchadnezzar laid siege of Jerusalem. Such a consequence for turning away from the LORD, friends.


  • Live for an audience of One.
  • Don’t imitate the culture. Imitate Jesus.
  • It is not enough to say we believe. We act according to that belief.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #212: 2 Kings 21-25

Scripture of the Day: 2 Kings 23:25


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Day 211 Bible Reading Plan

What’s in a Number?

Today’s my birthday, y’all. And it got me to thinking about numbers . . . of course, the Bible reading plan today starts the book of Numbers, too. The most important number and the greatest gift we can ever have is to be numbered with those who are in the book of life. Have you been born again? What’s in a number? A lot more than numbers.

Bible Reading of the Day: Numbers 1-4

We are starting a new book of the Bible this morning, friends! Making our way through the Pentateuch – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and now Numbers!

Overview of Today’s Reading

Whenever we read a new book, I like to dig in a little bit and get the background and an overview. Numbers was one of the first five books of the Bible, also called the Torah or the Pentateuch, that were written by Moses. The book as a whole is about the faithfulness of God to an unfaithful people as God’s people had just left Egypt two years prior and made their way through the desert.

Chapter one starts with a census of God’s people, males age 20 years old and older—what else would we expect from a book called Numbers, right? Chapter two is telling each tribe where they are going to camp out. In Chapter three we see a Levitical census, male ages 1-month-old or more and duties assigned to the priests. And In chapter four we see censuses taken of the clans of the Levites – the Kohathites, Gershonites and the Merarites.

What’s in a Number—More Than a Census

The Hebrew name for this book is, “in the desert”. And the book can be broken down into three parts, depicting the journey of the Israelites:

  1. The Israelites at the start of their journey (chapters 1-10).
  2. And then the  Israelites travel through the desert (chapters 11-20).
  3. Finally, the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land (chapters 21-36).

So, why a census? According to

The stated purpose of the Israeli census, according to Numbers 1:3, concerned war preparations. This would explain why women were not included in the census and males under twenty were not counted. The census did not leave out women and young people due to anything related to their social status but rather due to their military ineligibility.

What’s in a Number—Moments That Matter

The first 25 chapters of the book chronicle the experiences of the first generation of Israel in the wilderness, while the rest of the book describes the experiences of the second generation. The theme of obedience and rebellion followed by repentance and blessing runs through the entire book, as well as the entire Old Testament.

The theme of the holiness of God is continued from the book of Leviticus into the book of Numbers, which reveals God’s instruction and preparation of His people to enter the Promised Land of Canaan.

Just as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness 40 years because of their rebellion, so too does God sometimes allow us to wander away from Him and suffer loneliness and lack of blessings when we rebel against Him. But God is faithful and just, and just as He restored the Israelites to their rightful place in His heart, He will always restore Christians to the place of blessing and intimate fellowship with Him if we repent and return to Him.”

1 John 1:9, “9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Scripture of the Day: Numbers 3:11-13

11 And the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Look, I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites to serve as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me, 13 for all the firstborn males are mine. On the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both of people and of animals. They are mine; I am the Lord.”

  • Luther commentary: “God’s right to the firstborn sons of Israel is anchored in the story of the exodus. Since God spared Israel’s firstborn, God says that they “shall be mine.” In some ancient religious practices, this might have meant human sacrifice, but God rejects that option and allows instead that the firstborn be “redeemed” or bought back (see Exodus 13:11-16; Numbers 18:15-16). Here in Numbers 3, God accepts the Levites, a tribe not included in the census for service for war or in the distribution of land, as “substitutes” for Israel’s firstborn (see also 3:40-51). This will be part of the basis for the Levitical priesthood.”
  • Friends, Christ is the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 3:15).
  • He chooses us.
  • Just as God chose the Levites to serve Him, friends, we are set apart to serve God, too.


  • We are more than a number.
  • The most important number is being included in the Book of Life.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #210: 1 Thessalonians 1-3

Scripture of the Day: 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6


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Day 210 Bible Reading Plan

What prevents you from sharing the good news with others? Is it the fear of man? Persecution? Of the enemy of our souls? The resistance that Paul endured is still the resistance we endure today, as we try to speak truth into a lost world. But being aware of the hindrances helps us to overcome them. What hinders your walk might not be from the outside but the inside.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #210: 1 Thessalonians 1-3

Scripture of the Day: 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6


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Day 209 Bible Reading Plan

Follow Jesus Not Religion

Follow Jesus Not Religion

Which Jesus do you follow? The Jesus of the Bible or a Jesus of your own imagination? Jesus wanted to help open the eyes of the people, but they could not see because their idea of what a Messiah would do or what He should look like did not match up with their own view or religion. Follow Jesus—Not Religion.

Bible Reading of the Day: John 5-6

Jesus wanted to help open the eyes of the people, but they could not see because their idea of what a Messiah would do or what He should look like did not match up with their own view or religion. Don’t follow religion. Follow Jesus.

Overview of Today’s Reading

In John 5 we see Jesus’ third miracle and Jesus teaching about His relationship with the Father, about life and judgment and His testimony and witnesses about Himself. Jesus is laying a case to help people believe. Much like a court of law, there is the burden of proof and Jesus tries to help the people see.

Follow Jesus Not Religion—Jesus is Our Healer

In John 6 there is the fourth and fifth sign or miracle, and then reveals Himself as the Bread of Life.

We open up today’s reading with Jesus’ third sign or miracle, healing a man who had been disabled for 38 years. The man was near the pool called Bethesda which was well-known and the site of which can still be visited today. People believed that the water there had the power to cure people.

But while many disabled were in the pool and the man could not get into the pool, it was a word from Jesus that healed him.

Follow Jesus Not Religion—Not Rules

The Jewish leaders were angry at this healing because the man was carrying his mat on the Sabbath. Though they said this was against God’s law, it wasn’t. God had told the Jews that they must not work on the Sabbath. It was a special, holy day (Exodus 20:8-10). But the Jewish leaders added many extra rules about the Sabbath. These rules explained what ‘work’ meant. Evidently carrying a mat meant work to them.

Because of this, persecution began for Jesus as it says in John 5:16, “Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.”

And more than that, the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus because of His testimony of being God’s son as it says in John 5:17-18, “17 Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” 18 This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill him: Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.”

We learn from this Don’t follow religion. Follow Jesus.

Follow Jesus Not Religion—Jesus is the Judge

Jesus explains to us Who He is—the Son of God—and the Son of Man—and explains that God has made Jesus the judge.

John 5:22 “The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all people may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”

And in John 5:27, “And he has granted him the right to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man.”

Notice that Jesus has this recurring phrase, “Truly I tell you” This appears in John 5:19, 24 and 25 and in several places in John 6, as well. Commentary:

“At various times in the gospels, Jesus introduces a statement using phrases such as “Verily, I say” or “Truly, I say this to you.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus frequently uses the phrase “Truly, truly” (ESV) or “Verily, verily” (KJV) or “Very truly” (NIV). These expressions all use the Greek word amēn, taken directly from the Hebrew word āˈmēn. This word has different implications depending on how and where it is used. Jesus’ application of the term is noticeably different from prior uses.”

“In modern use, the word amen is typically used at the end of a prayer. It may also be spoken to show agreement with some statement or idea. This is slightly different from, but closely related to, the original use of the term as seen in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word āˈmēn literally means “so be it.” The term is an expression of complete and total agreement. In passages such as 1 Chronicles 16:36 or Deuteronomy 27:15–26, this is how the term is used. Placing the word amen at the end of a statement is a way of accepting, agreeing, or endorsing what came before.”

“Jesus, however, was fond of saying, “Amen,” before making a statement or giving a message. When used in this way, the word amen has slightly different implications. Leading off with amen not only implies that what follows is true but also that the person making the statement has firsthand knowledge and authority about it. Saying, “Verily, verily,” before making a statement is a strong claim to truth, presented from an almost audacious attitude. Speaking on worldly or secular matters, saying, “Verily, verily,” would imply that what follows is that person’s own original idea.”

“So, when Jesus leads off with the words verily, verily in verses such as Matthew 18:3, Mark 3:28, Luke 23:43, and John 8:51, He is not merely saying, “Believe me, this is true.” He is actually saying, “I know this is true firsthand.” Since many of these comments are on heavenly, spiritual, or godly issues, Jesus’ use of verily, verily is part of His consistent claim of divinity. Jesus is not merely aware of these truths: He is the One who originated them!”

“The disciples and others listening to Jesus’ words would have understood His use of these phrases in exactly that way. So, when we read Jesus’ words and see statements beginning with “verily,” “truly,” or some variation, we should recall the deeper meaning. Those claims are not only Jesus’ opinion on the truth. Those are ideas about which He has intimate, personal, firsthand knowledge.”

Jesus had authority and His authority convicted others. Jesus used His authority to try to open their eyes and ears so they could understand. He provided a backdrop of those who were witnesses to Him.

Scripture of the Day: John 5:38-44

38 “And you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you. 39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.

41 “Your approval means nothing to me, 42 because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. 43 For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. 44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.    

It is not just knowing or reading the Scriptures that leads to eternal life. We have to come to a point of belief. The Pharisees missed it. The work of God is to believe.

John 6:29 Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the one he has sent.” 30 “What sign, then, are you going to do so that we may see and believe you?” they asked. “What are you going to perform? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” 32 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Easy English Bible Commentary

Verses 60-66 Jesus’ speech in the *synagogue was difficult to understand. But it was difficult also for his *Jewish audience to accept as the truth. Jesus was saying that he had come down from heaven. And he was saying that he would return there again. Also, he was saying that people had to eat his *flesh. And they had to drink his blood. This idea would have upset them very much.

But Jesus did not argue with them. Instead, he tried to explain that his words had a *spiritual meaning, not a physical meaning. People need the help of the *Holy Spirit in order to understand that they need God’s *life. It is the *Father who makes them come to Jesus. They can receive that *life only by means of the same *Spirit. Jesus’ words were from the *Spirit.                                                                                                                                   


  • Don’t follow religion. Follow Jesus.
  • The work that remains is that we believe.
  • When we don’t understand what Jesus or God’s word means, we can ask the Holy Spirit.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day 209: John 5-6

Scripture of the Day: John 5:39-44


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Day 208 Bible Reading Plan

Don't Despise Discipline

Don’t Despise Discipline

Anyone here like discipline? Discipline is an ugly word to our flesh, right? And yet if we don’t change our attitude about discipline, we harm ourselves. Don’t despise discipline. Discipline is a gift bearing beautiful fruit for those who yield to it.

Bible Reading of the Day: Proverbs 12-13

In our reading today Solomon is comparing and contrasting the righteous and the unrighteous or wicked, the foolish and the wise man. And he reveals some important points about discipline. The wise person is wise because he heeds discipline.

Overview of Today’s Reading

In Proverbs 12 there is a side-by-side analysis of the motives, thoughts, and actions of the righteous and the wicked. In Proverbs 13 the comparison and contrast continues of the wise, righteous man and the foolish, wicked man.

Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but one who hates correction is stupid.” There’s the “S” word. We don’t say that in our house because it can be used to demoralize others and I will never forget my children from time to time when we would go out in public and someone would invariably say the “S” word, “Stupid” and my kids would come tell me, “momma! Someone said the “S” word.”

And yet in this context Solomon wants us to understand that if we do not love correction we are ignorant. Stupid. Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge. We don’t love discipline because it humbles us. Discipline requires humility.

Don’t Despise Discipline—It blesses us.

Proverbs 13:1, “A wise son responds to his father’s discipline, but a mocker doesn’t listen to rebuke.” What is our response to discipline? Do we respond by being teachable, or by resisting and rejecting discipline?

We often don’t love discipline because we aren’t teachable.

Parents need to break through the hardened hearts of their children when they are not teachable. We break through with love and seeking to help them understand why discipline is necessary. There are consequences when we don’t respond to discipline with a right heart.

Don’t Despise Discipline—Be Self-Disciplined

We are all disciplined in this life, whether it be by others or by God. If someone loves us enough, they will speak in our life not to judge us, but to help us. But the discipline I speak of today is not necessarily punitive discipline, but we do see that in these chapters. Self-discipline is what we need today. Our flesh will resist self-discipline every step of the way. But the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak.

Don’t Despise Discipline or Ignore It

Proverbs 13:18, “Poverty and disgrace come to those who ignore discipline, but the one who accepts correction will be honored.”

Now I must confess this is one method with dealing with discipline that I am pretty good at—ignoring it. When it comes to disciplining myself in healthy eating and exercise, and maybe you can identify with me here—it is HARD!

I can ignore this discipline by rationalizing or making excuses, but in the end ignoring discipline will bear consequences. Poor health and sickness. Maybe a shorter life. And it is hard when our bodies get older and quite frankly we just don’t need the nutrition that our bodies used to require. It is self-discipline to eat less than half than we used to. But self-discipline bears beautiful fruit, friends.

Don’t Despise Discipline—Be Diligent in it

Proverbs 13:24, “The one who will not use the rod hates his son, but the one who loves him disciplines him diligently.”

As a parent, I did despise having to discipline my children. I just wished they would do what was right. But I was not loving my children if I let them be undisciplined. The world tells us to let our kids figure it out. Let them have their own way.

This allows their flesh to grow so strong that it will be so difficult to be self-disciplined, friends. And now I see the beautiful fruit that came from the discipline I hated to do with my children who are now grown adults who love God. They aren’t perfect, but oh the fruit in their lives is beautiful. And they belong to Jesus.

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 13:5-6

5 “The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace. 6 Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.”

  • In Solomon’s analysis of the righteous and the wicked in chapters 12 and 13 remind us to look at the fruit of those choices and our willingness to apply discipline in our lives.
  • Favor – Proverbs 12:2
  • Security – Proverbs 12:3
  • Thoughts – Proverbs 12:5
  • Words – Proverbs 12:6
  • Fruit – Proverbs 12:15-16
  • Truth or lies – Proverbs 12:17
  • Words – Proverbs 12:18


  • Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge.
  • We don’t love discipline because it humbles us
  • We often don’t love discipline because we aren’t teachable.
  • Don’t ignore discipline—it might just save your life.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #208: Proverbs 12-13

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 13:5-6


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Day 207 Bible Reading Plan

The Source of Happiness

The Source of Happiness

Life can bum us out, right? Especially today when it feels like the world is cray-cray. But if we are looking to be cheered up by anything this world offers, it will be temporary. The source of happiness is found in only one place.

Happiness does not just happen—it is chosen. But before we choose happiness, we need to find it. And in our reading today, the Psalmist gives us the answer to the source of happiness. Happiness cannot be found in the creation, but it can be found in a relationship with our Creator.

Bible Reading of the Day: Psalms 84-86

What do you long for, friends? What if our longings are in the wrong place? Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 (NIV) Our hearts grow weary when our longing is unfulfilled.

Overview of Today’s Reading

In today’s reading, Psalm 84 is about how the Psalmist’s unfulfilled longing. God’s restoration takes center stage in Psalm 85, followed by a lament and petition or prayer in Psalm 86.

The Source of Happiness is Found When We Yearn For God

Psalm 84:1-4, “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of Armies. 2 I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself where she places her young—near your altars, Lord of Armies, my King and my God. 4 How happy are those who reside in your house, who praise you continually. Selah.”

The Source of Happiness is Found When Our Strength is in God

Psalm 85:5-7, 10-12, “5 Happy are the people whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a source of spring water; even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings. 7 They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion.10 Better a day in your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than live in the tents of wicked people. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord grants favor and honor; he does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. 12 Happy is the person who trusts in you, Lord of Armies!”

The Source of Happiness is Found as We Yearn for God.

David longs and yearns after God. Psalm 84:2, “I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God.” What are we yearning for, friends? When our yearning and hungering are in the right place, we find what it is we are really looking for—happiness. We aren’t looking anymore for happiness from things that cannot provide it.

The Source of Happiness is found by those who reside with God.

  • “How happy are those who reside in your house, who praise you continually.” (v4)
  • When we drift away from the purpose of our creation, knowing God and abiding in His fellowship, we are burdened by this world.
  • We lose focus when we spend more time with the things of this world than the Maker of this world.
  • We can stay in His presence, friends. This is what gives us joy.

The Source of Happiness is Found When we Stay on Mission

“Happy are the people whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” (Psalm 84:5). What are your hearts set on this morning? Outcomes? Circumstances? Something we desperately yearn for? These other things distract us from staying on mission. It is when we do what we were created to do that we find joy.

The Source of Happiness is Found When We Trust in God

“Happy is the person who trusts in you, Lord of Armies!” (v. 12) Do we trust that God can truly satisfy? My 21-year-old son, Daniel, asked some friends to do a Bible study with him recently. They said that would be boring. Time with God was labeled as being boring. Truly, no one has tasted and seen that the LORD is good if they think time with God is boring. And when God is our portion and joy, we realize that trying to get joy out of things or people set us up to fail. When Christ is our joy, we are able to bring joy to others.

Why God is the Source of Happiness

In Psalm 85 the Psalmist shares just a few of the reasons why we can be happy in our relationship with God. “Lord, you showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave your people’s guilt; you covered all their sin. Selah 3 You withdrew all your fury; you turned from your burning anger.”

  • God has given us favor where we didn’t deserve favor.
  • And God has forgiven us when we were His enemies.
  • He has covered our guilt and all of our sin. All!!!
  • He withdrew all of His anger toward our sin.
  • There is such a joy when we have been forgiven, right?

The Source of Happiness is Found When We Do Not Have a Divided Heart

Our hearts are divided when we search for happiness in the creation rather than in the Creator. Happiness does not flow from a divided heart. Because there are many distractions, it can be easy to be divided. Despite this temptation, being divided makes us miserable. When we are no longer divided, our joy returns. And when we put Christ first in our lives, life makes sense.

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 86:11

“Teach me your way, LORD, and I will live by your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name.”


  • Guys, don’t let this world divide or separate you from God, the Lover of your souls.
  • Don’t search for happiness in the creation. Search for happiness in God’s word.
  • We cannot be faithful when our heart is divided.
  • When we do what we were created to do, we find joy.
  • We lose focus when we spend more time with the things of this world than the Maker of this world.
  • We find joy when we stay in His presence.
  • When our yearning and hungering is in the right place, we find what it is we are really looking for—happiness.
  • But we aren’t looking anymore for happiness from things that cannot provide it.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #207: Psalms 84-86

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 85:8-9


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Day 206 Bible Reading Plan

How We Live Matters

How We Live Matters

Not just because it impacts our eternity, but in the here and now. How we live matters because those around us can catch a glimpse of our great God when we rely on God rather than on ourselves. And the world can be changed.

Bible Reading of the Day: Daniel 1-6

The book of Daniel was written according to a few sources, in the sixth century BC, between 540 and 530 B.C. It is one of four major prophets in the Old Testament, though originally the book of Daniel was not placed in the prophets section of the Bible – it was in the Writings section along with Psalms, Lamentations, Song of Songs, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther.

The genre for this book of the Bible is Apocalyptic literature, meaning a divine revelation is given to a prophet concerning the end times. The book of Revelation is another example of Apocalyptic literature.

Matthew 24:15, Jesus validates the book of Daniel, “15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),”

Overview of Today’s Reading

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Judah in 605 B.C., and deported many of its inhabitants to Babylon along with Daniel. Daniel served in the royal court of Nebuchadnezzar as well as other rulers who came after Nebuchadnezzar. The Book of Daniel records the actions, prophecies, and visions of the Prophet Daniel.

In chapter 1, it details the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Daniel and his three friends were deported to Babylon, along with many other exiles and because of their courage and the obvious blessings of God upon them, they were “promoted” in the king’s service (Daniel 1:17-20).

Chapters 2-4 record Nebuchadnezzar having a dream that only Daniel could correctly interpret. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great statue represented the kingdoms that would arise in the future. Nebuchadnezzar made a great statue of himself and forced everyone to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused and were miraculously spared by God despite being thrown into a fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar is judged by God for his pride, but later restored once he recognized and admitted God’s sovereignty.

Daniel chapter 5 records Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar misusing the items taken from the Temple in Jerusalem and receiving a message from God, written into the wall, in response. Only Daniel could interpret the writing, a message of coming judgment from God. Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den for refusing to pray to the emperor, but was miraculously spared.

How We Live Matters—Live a Determined Life.

“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.”

Other translations say resolved, or that he made up his mind, or that he purposed in his heart.

Daniel was a disciplined man of God. Eating the king’s food might have been wrong because it is likely the royal food did not follow kosher laws.

We are not sure why Daniel felt he needed to refrain from eating the King’s food, but sometimes when we grow accustomed to luxury, we grow comfortable and can lose perspective.

From a spiritual perspective, a Daniel Fast can be a helpful way to focus on God. Changing our habits and not relying so much on the comforts of food can be a physical reminder that we rely on God. True satisfaction is found only in Him.

Ever had one of your children upset because they did not get what they want?

Daniel sets his heart on denying himself. Notice that this was a decision he made ahead of time. It was also a conviction.

How We Live Matters—Live a Humble Life.

Daniel was also humble. He did not attribute any insight to Himself, but to God. When Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill all the wise men if no one interpreted his dream, Daniel relied on His God.

Reading from Daniel 2:14-22

14 Then Daniel responded with tact and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon. 15 He asked Arioch, the king’s officer, “Why is the decree from the king so harsh?” Then Arioch explained the situation to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went and asked the king to give him some time, so that he could give the king the interpretation.

17 Then Daniel went to his house and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah about the matter, 18 urging them to ask the God of the heavens for mercy concerning this mystery, so Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of Babylon’s wise men. 19 The mystery was then revealed to Daniel in a vision at night, and Daniel praised the God of the heavens 20 and declared:

May the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. 21 He changes the times and seasons; he removes kings and establishes kings.

He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals the deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I offer thanks and praise to you, God of my ancestors, because you have given me wisdom and power. And now you have let me know what we asked of you, for you have let us know the king’s mystery.”

How We Live Matters—In the Hard Places, too.

When we face hard times, may we follow Daniel’s example of humility and reliance on God. We don’t have to panic when the world around us panics – we have a refuge. We get to have an audience with the God of this universe and He rules over all Kings and authorities on this earth. Do we live into that reality, friends?

Scripture of the Day: Daniel 2:20-22 

“20 He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. 21 He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. 22 He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light.”


  • How we live matters.
  • Live disciplined, holy lives so someone else can be saved.
  • Demonstrating lives of grace and strength changes this world.

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7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #206: Daniel 1-6

Scripture of the Day: Daniel 2:20-22


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Day 205 Bible Reading Plan

Overcoming the Big But

Overcoming the Big BUT

God’s people have a long history of following God – in part. They fear God BUT they also follow the surrounding culture. Overcoming the big but in our lives will take commitment and reliance on God.

Bible Reading of the Day: 2 Kings 16-20 

King Ahaz was king over Israel in Samaria, and he did evil in the eyes of the LORD. Sacrificed his son in the fire. King after king would obey God in part, but they would compromise.

Reading from 2 Kings 17:6-17 to get the complete picture and understand why Israel fell, which also includes the Scripture of the day:

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah, along the Habor (Gozan’s river), and in the cities of the Medes.

Why Israel Fell

7 This disaster happened because the people of Israel sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt and because they worshiped[b] other gods. 8 They lived according to the customs of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites and according to what the kings of Israel did. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. They built high places in all their towns from watchtower to fortified city.

10 They set up for themselves sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 And they burned incense there on all the high places just like the nations that the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did evil things, angering the Lord. 12 Then they served idols, although the Lord had told them, “You must not do this.” 13 Still, the Lord warned Israel and Judah through every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commands and statutes according to the whole law I commanded your ancestors and sent to you through my servants the prophets.”

Overcoming the Big But Happens when we Listen to God

14 But they would not listen. Instead they became obstinate like their ancestors who did not believe the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his statutes and his covenant he had made with their ancestors and the warnings he had given them. And they followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves, following the surrounding nations the Lord had commanded them not to imitate.

16 Then they abandoned all the commands of the Lord their God. They made cast images for themselves, two calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed in worship to all the stars in the sky and served Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire and practiced divination and interpreted omens. They devoted themselves to do what was evil in the Lord’s sight and angered him.”

Scripture of the Day: 2 Kings 17:14-15

14 But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the Lord’s command not to imitate them.”

Don’t follow the culture. Follow Jesus. Don’t let a big BUT get in the way.

32 They feared the Lord, BUT they also made from their ranks priests for the high places, who were working for them at the shrines of the high places.”

33 “They feared the Lord, BUT they also worshiped their own gods according to the practice of the nations from which they had been deported.”

Overcoming the Big But Requires Obedience

35 The Lord made a covenant with Jacob’s descendants and commanded them, “Do not fear other gods; do not bow in worship to them; do not serve them; do not sacrifice to them. 36 Instead fear the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm. You are to bow down to him, and you are to sacrifice to him. 37 You are to be careful always to observe the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandments he wrote for you; do not fear other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant that I have made with you. Do not fear other gods, 39 but fear the Lord your God, and he will rescue you from all your enemies.”

40 However, these nations would not listen but continued observing their former practices. 41 They feared the Lord but also served their idols. Still today, their children and grandchildren continue doing as their ancestors did.”

Overcoming the Big But By Relying on God

There is another BUT that is good to have. Hezekiah modeled this for us. He chose to say, “but God”. He relied on God wholeheartedly.

2 Kings 18:3-6

3 “He did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the high places, shattered the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for until then the Israelites were burning incense to it. It was called Nehushtan.

5 Hezekiah relied on the Lord God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him. 6 He remained faithful to the Lord and did not turn from following him but kept the commands the Lord had commanded Moses.”

When Hezekiah was threatened by King Sennacherib of Assyria, He relied on God. Even when he was taunted and threatened. He chose “But God” as his mantra.

Even on his death bed, King Hezekiah relied on God and God gave him 15 more years of life. King Hezekiah was told to get his house in order in preparation for his death. Oh how we need to have our house in order every day, right?


  • Our world is crazy right now. Our culture is deceived. We need to rely on God and His word right now.
  • Rather than being culture followers we can be culture changers.
  • Don’t let a big “but” get in your way.
  • Don’t walk the fence by following God in part “but” following the culture, too.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #205: 2 Kings 16-20

Scripture of the Day: 2 Kings 17:14-15


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Day 204 Bible Reading Plan

The Reason Behind Rules

The Reason Behind Rules

God made rules we need to follow. But our nature is to break rules, right? And He has entrusted us with His truth and many belongings on this earth. How we use what God has given matters. How we live out our faith matters. The consequences for disobedience are grave while the blessings for obedience are grace. But when we understand reason behind rules that God has given and when we know the heart of God, we know he made the rules for our good.

Bible Reading of the Day: Leviticus 25-28 

Leviticus 25:4

“But during the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest. It is the LORD’s Sabbath. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during that year.”

  • God is calling His people to a Sabbath – for their land.
  • In researching about the Jubilee and

How we use what God has given matters.

Today we don’t have this year of Jubilee but there are principles we can apply to our lives. Acknowledging that all we have was given to us by God. Stewarding it well and being generous with others is how we honor God with what we have.

Scripture of the Day: Leviticus 25:17

“Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the LORD your God.”

The ESV says do not wrong one another. The CSB says do not cheat one another.

The key principles in this passage are to:

  • Treat one another rightly.
  • To keep God’s statutes and ordinances so we may be secure:

“You are to keep my statutes and ordinances and carefully observe them, so that you may live securely in the land.

  • To Recognize that we are servants of God.

Leviticus 25:55 “For the Israelites are my servants. They are my servants that I brought out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.”

The Reason Behind Rules—Sin Destroys Us and God Loves Us

Friends, we were bought by God. Don’t make idols and worship false gods.

Leviticus 26:1-2, “Do not make worthless idols for yourselves, set up a carved image or sacred pillar for yourselves, or place a sculpted stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God. 2 Keep my Sabbaths and revere my sanctuary; I am the Lord.”

If we will obey God, He has promises in store for us. And obedience is something our flesh does not like to do.

But in telling us to obey God is not just lording it over us, though He is lord of lords and King of Kings. Getting our own way leads to our destruction. Sin destroys us. God loves us and does not want us to suffer.

Leviticus 26:11-13

11 “I will place my residence among you, and I will not reject you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to live in freedom.”

The Reason Behind Rules—Consequences of Disobedience or Blessings for Obedience

The consequences for disobedience are grave while the blessings for obedience are grace. God is a jealous God. He loves us so very much. We choose life and obeying a good God who loves us. Or we choose to make ourselves our own gods and to suffer severe penalties for it.

14 “But if you do not obey me and observe all these commands— 15 if you reject my statutes and despise my ordinances, and do not observe all my commands—and break my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will bring terror on you—wasting disease and fever that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will sow your seed in vain because your enemies will eat it. 17 I will turn[c] against you, so that you will be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even though no one is pursuing you.

18 “But if after these things you will not obey me, I will proceed to discipline you seven times for your sins. 19 I will break down your strong pride. I will make your sky like iron and your land like bronze, 20 and your strength will be used up for nothing. Your land will not yield its produce, and the trees of the land will not bear their fruit.”

You can keep reading in chapter 26, because when God’s people’s hearts are hardened and they continue to sin, the consequences continue to get even worse. God would not be loving to not have consequences. A loving God would not leave disobedience unpunished. Sin is deceitful. God was telling his people to observe a Sabbath for the land every 7th year and then to mark off a year of Jubilee.

Got Commentary

“The word “jubilee”—literally, “ram’s horn” in Hebrew—is defined in Leviticus 25:9 as the sabbatical year after seven cycles of seven years (49 years). The fiftieth year was to be a time of celebration and rejoicing for the Israelites. The ram’s horn was blown on the tenth day of the seventh month to start the fiftieth year of universal redemption.

The Year of the Jubilee involved a year of release from indebtedness (Leviticus 25:23-38) and all types of bondage (vv. 39-55). All prisoners and captives were set free, all slaves were released, all debts were forgiven, and all property was returned to its original owners. In addition, all labor was to cease for one year, and those bound by labor contracts were released from them. One of the benefits of the Jubilee was that both the land and the people were able to rest.

The Jubilee presents a beautiful picture of the New Testament themes of redemption and forgiveness. Christ is the Redeemer who came to set free those who are slaves and prisoners to sin (Romans 8:2; Galatians 5:1; 3:22). The debt of sin we owe to God was paid on the cross as Jesus died on our behalf (Colossians 2:13-14), and we are forgiven the debt forever. We are no longer in bondage, no longer slaves to sin, having been freed by Christ, and we can truly enter the rest God provides as we cease laboring to make ourselves acceptable to God by our own works (Hebrews 4:9-10).”

Easy English Bible Commentary

“These rules about Sabbath Years and Jubilee Years help us to understand the real meaning of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not only about a pause from our usual work. It is about the special time when we worship God. And especially, it is about the rest and the freedom that God gives to his people (Hebrews 4:9-11).”

Behind all of the rules is a loving God Who is guiding His people. When our hearts are hard, we rebel against rules. But when we understand the heart of God, we know he made the rules for our good. When we understand that all we have belongs to God, we will be about making sure His Kingdom work is done. And when we repent and turn back to God, He restores us.

40 “But when they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness that they practiced against me, and how they acted with hostility toward me, 41 and I acted with hostility toward them and brought them into the land of their enemies—and when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob. I will also remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.”


  • How we use what God has given matters.
  • The consequences for disobedience are grave while the blessings for obedience are grace.
  • But when we understand the heart of God, we know he made the rules for our good.
  • Behind all of the rules is a loving God Who is guiding His people.
  • All we own belongs to God. We just get to steward it for His glory.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day 204: Leviticus 25-28

Scripture of the Day: Leviticus 25:17


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