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THREE ARTICLES BY Nathele Graham: SHOW ME THY WAYS: WHATEVER: and THE REMNANT MUST STAND STRONG

SHOW ME THY WAYS

By Nathele Graham – Published on: July 14, 2019 by RRadmin7 Category:General Articles, Ron & Nathele Graham
“Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths” (Psalm 25:4).
When we meet Jesus and trust Him for the redemption of our soul, that encounter should be a life-changing encounter.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
True faith in Him secures our salvation, and works don’t make us any more saved. Works on earth done for the Glory of God do earn crowns in Heaven, and they also serve as a witness to others. If we desire to serve Jesus, He will teach us. It takes a lifetime of lessons to learn His ways, and applying the lessons He gives will mold us into more trusting followers who live by faith. If we are willing students, He’s a willing teacher.
Saul, also known as Paul, is an example. He was an angry man who hunted the Jewish converts to Christianity with vengeance.
“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2).
He met the Messiah while travelling to Damascus, and all that changed. His encounter with the risen Lord left him blind. For a man of action, that must have been frustrating. There’s no record of Paul encountering Jesus prior to the crucifixion, but he must have heard about the miracles. Paul had studied under the most revered rabbi of the day, Gamaliel, who had certainly known of Jesus’ ministry. When Peter and James disobeyed an order to stop preaching about Jesus, the Pharisees wanted to kill them. It was Gamaliel who was the voice of reason.
“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39).
Gamaliel admonished his fellow Pharisees to have patience and allow this new faith to just die out on its own. It’s been over 2,000 years, and it hasn’t died out yet. The remnant may be few, but our faith is strong.
Like so many people, Saul had “book learning,” but he had no real knowledge. His first encounter with Jesus left him blind, and that’s when God’s teaching began.
“And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus” (Acts 9:8).
The gang of thugs Saul travelled with had no idea what had happened, so they led him to Damascus and abandoned him. Old friends may abandon you when you meet Jesus, but don’t allow that to hinder your new faith in Jesus. Move forward and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. God has bigger plans for you than continuing in sin; and if you learn His ways, you can be a witness to those whom you once called friends.
“And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink” (Acts 9:9).
In truth, we’re all blind when we come to Jesus. Our first encounter with Him will show us just how blind we have been. Past prejudice and mocking of Him will turn to understanding of just how precious salvation through Jesus Christ is as the scales fall off of our eyes and we see Him in a new light. Even though we don’t understand everything, our encounter with Jesus should begin to change us. From that moment, we should desire to learn His ways.
Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths” (Psalm 25:4)
should be the desire of every Christian.
Saul’s idea of Christians was that they were blasphemers who opposed the Jewish Law established by God, and thus needed to be put to death. There are people today who have misconceptions about Christians. Muslims are required to do what they can to destroy us because we won’t worship their false god. The loony left also desires to destroy Christianity because Biblical moral values stand in the way of their pagan decadence. Gay pride parades turn into orgies, but if you try to help these people out of their sin, you are the lawbreaker.
Though Saul had been highly educated, once he met Jesus his real education began. He had to wait, which was a lesson in itself. His personality was such that he desired to jump right in with both feet and start serving Christ, but first he had to be shown the ways of the Living God. His blindness gave him time to think. He could do nothing; so, for three days, he was left to consider what had happened.
I often wonder what went through his mind during that time. Surely, he had heard of the blind men whom Jesus healed, but now his encounter left him blind. Did he think about his life and recognize his own sin? Most likely he prayed, but still there had to be some fear of what would happen to him. When God teaches lessons, they aren’t always easy. If we continue trying to live life on our own terms, we will miss the value of what God would have us to learn.
There were more lessons to be learned through that encounter than what Saul was being taught. Even people who’ve been Christians for many years have lessons to learn.
“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord” (Acts 9:10).
Ananias was probably on the list to be arrested. He had no idea what Jesus would ask him to do, but he was willing. The details of God’s mission frightened him. He was to go to find Saul and heal his blindness. Could Jesus have healed Saul’s blindness without the help of Ananias? Yes, but He usually chooses to work through His followers.
By stepping out in faith, we learn the lesson of trust. In this instance, Ananias wasn’t sure he had heard correctly. He knew who Saul was and the mission he was on, so he mentioned this detail to Jesus. It’s OK to ask questions, but we cannot allow questions to get in the way of obedience. Jesus assured him that Saul was chosen to serve Him.
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my names sake” (Acts 9:15-16).
It’s a blessing to many generations that Ananias obeyed and went to Saul. The change in Saul, now known as Paul, was evident. Because Ananias stepped out in faith and Paul was willing to be taught, Paul’s mission work changed from hatred to one of love and spreading the Gospel. Because of his enthusiasm for serving Jesus, we have his Holy Spirit-inspired letters to teach us lessons.
Every day we have lessons to learn. Do you still hold on to the old friends you had before meeting Jesus? If so, are they stunting your growth in Jesus? On the day of Pentecost, Peter had given a Holy Spirit-inspired sermon, and thousands gave their lives to Jesus. They didn’t hang on to old habits, but embraced their salvation.
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
Was Ananias one who heard on that day? Whatever prompted his faith, we are shown evidence that he wasn’t stunted by old ways and sinful habits. His obedience to God led him to approach the man most feared by Christians. That obedience began a work by God that continues today.
Every one of us will have failures in our walk with Christ. That’s when we learn lessons. If you’ve been controlled by anger, learn to give that anger to Christ. Is your life ruled by lies and deceit? If so, you need to ask for forgiveness and learn the Christian way of truth. No matter what sin may stumble you, there is always forgiveness through Jesus, but you need to ask. If you don’t recognize your sin, then God is hampered in showing you His ways and teaching you lessons.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
That’s a blessed promise from God.
How do we learn the way to handle lessons from God? He has given us a precious gift. We have Scripture to guide us.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
The Bible contains lessons in life and how to react in a Godly way when we are tempted to sin. The book of Judges teaches us that if we don’t continue to follow God, we will continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Read the Psalms for lessons in overcoming fear, being broken over sin and repenting, and also singing praises to God.
The book of Esther is a lesson in courage. The Gospels show us Jesus and how much He loves us. He shed His blood for our salvation. The New Testament letters give lessons in day-to-day Christian life. If you neglect studying your Bible, then you’re missing many lessons that God wants all of us to learn. Then, when a test of your faith comes along, you will fail. Allow God to show you His ways, and apply them to your life.
“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:5).
God bless you all,
Nathele Graham
[email protected]
www.straitandnarrowministry.com
[email protected]
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.
If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.

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WHATEVER

By Nathele Graham – Published on: July 7, 2019 by RRadmin7 Category:General Articles, Ron & Nathele Graham
If you’ve seen any news lately, you know that we live in a violent and ungodly time in history.
Wars and rumors of wars abound. It seems as if there’s no end to the violence, hatred, and murders. The hearts of people are growing colder each day, and unnatural affections are being touted as normal. It’s easy to become discouraged, but there’s always been violence in the world. The weapons we use to maim and kill may have changed, but the satanic influence over weak minds is still the same.
Jesus spent much time in His ministry preparing His followers to live in this fallen world but not to be a part of it. He also taught those who followed Him to spread the Gospel; and in one incident, they came back to Him rejoicing that even devils were subject to them through the name of Jesus Christ.
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).
The serpents and scorpions that Christ mentions in this verse are demons and evil power. Christians need not fear Satan, and whatever obstacles we face, we are to spread the Gospel. Whether we witness to a neighbour or are called to go to a foreign country, use the Biblical example of Missionary work to spread the Good News boldly and without fear. No matter how many demons flee before you when you speak in the name of Jesus, there’s something even more joyous to keep in mind:
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
Everyone has challenges, but a Christian’s view of life shouldn’t be ruled by the fallen world, but by Jesus. Are you having trouble at work? If so, you can still rejoice that your name is written in the Book of Life. Health and financial problems happen, but because your name is written in the Book of Life, there should still be joyfulness in your life. The good things? Oh, they’re wonderful, but pale at the joy of the fact that your name is written in the Book of Life. Whatever comes your way, remember your salvation, and find joy in the Lord.
The Apostle Paul lived in a time when persecution of Christians was strong. Because of his faith in Christ and his boldness to speak God’s truth, he was beaten and jailed many times. He certainly could have become discouraged and turned his back on Jesus, but Paul is an example of the attitude a Christian should have. He took every opportunity to glorify Christ. When in a prison in Philippi, he spent his time singing songs and praying. Instead of escaping when an earthquake destroyed the prison where he was chained, he stayed and witnessed to the jailor, who came to Christ for salvation because of what he heard from Paul.
Whatever circumstances we face in life, we can show our faith by what we say and do. Christians are just passing through this world and headed to our eternal Home and life everlasting with Jesus.
When we look at this life as temporary, our view of things changes. Every circumstance can be used to glorify God. That’s how Paul, while under Roman house arrest, was able to write a letter to the Philippians, which was full of encouragement. The congregation in Philippi had been established when he was on a missionary journey. In that city he had been arrested and beaten, and that’s where the jailor found salvation. Now Paul sat in another prison and encouraged the Christians in Philippi to live to glorify Christ. Whatever they faced, he encouraged them to rejoice.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
We need to heed these words today. Whatever you face, rejoice in the Lord always.
If you think about all that’s bad in this world, the anxiety and stress can show in your face. We read headlines that make it clear that the Biblical end-time prophecies are coming to life. Those headlines can bring stress even if you don’t relate them to prophecy. Other things can also ruin your whole day, like an argument with your spouse or trouble at work. Instead of stewing on problems, go to God in prayer.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“Be careful for nothing” is one of those King James phrases that needs to be understood in modern terms. Modern translations say “don’t be anxious.”
Anxiety can be caused by many things. Yes, an argument can make you anxious, but so can waiting for the results of a medical test or a troublesome class in school, or worry over the world situation. Whatever has you worried and anxious, pray about it.
The peace that comes from giving your cares to God can’t be matched by anything this world has to offer. No matter what the medical test reveals, if your name is written in Heaven, then you have nothing to be anxious about. That tough class? Pray, study, pray. Let God guide your daily life, and you’ll find His peace in spite of whatever you face.
We will always have problems on this side of Heaven. Jesus said we would, but He also encouraged us.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The tribulation that Jesus spoke of would require faith to face. He told them that they would soon weep but the world would rejoice, which referred to His crucifixion. He warned His disciples that they would face persecution because of Him and be scattered. Whatever they faced they had to understand that Jesus had overcome the world.
Today we all face the loss of loved ones and face fear when witnessing to family and friends. We fear persecution, and in many parts of the world, that persecution is violent. Whatever it is you face, be of good cheer. If you’re a Christian, then you know that Jesus Christ has redeemed your soul; and whatever happens in this life, we can rejoice over our redemption and that our names are written in Heaven.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t among those who followed Jesus, and in fact was one who persecuted Christians. His life was changed when he met Jesus.
In the years that followed, Paul spread the Gospel but also faced persecution. When he wrote the letter to the believers in Philippi, he could honestly encourage them because he had lived through so many challenges to his faith. He faced shipwrecks, beatings, and imprisonment, but his faith stayed solid.
He also had times when money was short and food was scarce. Whatever he faced, he trusted Jesus; his faith was strengthened; and he found peace instead of anxiety. When he wrote to the Philippians, he was in one of those troubled times but had received help from his friends in Philippi. He thanked them for their kindness.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”
(Philippians 4:11-13).
Whatever we face in life, we must remember that Jesus overcame the world, and nothing in this life can take away our salvation. Paul knew that whatever tribulation he faced, his strength came from Jesus Christ. That’s an example to us today. Whatever we face, we can be content because of our faith in Jesus.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Whatever you face in life, keep Jesus first and foremost in your thoughts and dwell upon the blessings. Whatever your past sin, if you’ve repented and asked forgiveness from Jesus, you’ve been forgiven. Jesus has forgiven you; now forgive yourself. Whatever fear you harbor, give it to Jesus in prayer and don’t dwell on it. If you learn to think about the good things in life, and there are many good things, you won’t be stumbled by the bad things. You’ll learn to be content.
Remember, if you can’t think of anything else to rejoice in “… rejoice, because your names are written in Heaven” (Luke 10:20b).
God bless you all,
Nathele Graham
[email protected]
www.straitandnarrowministry.com
[email protected]
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.

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THE REMNANT MUST STAND STRONG

By Nathele Graham – Published on: June 30, 2019 by RRadmin7 Category:General Articles, Ron & Nathele Graham
A remnant is a scrap leftover from a larger thing. It could be a piece of material that’s left after making a garment or food scraps left from a delicious meal. As it pertains to Christianity, the remnant consists of those of us who hold God’s word as truth and live accordingly. In our world today, many people claim to be Christians but don’t hold the Bible as God’s inerrant truth. They encourage fellow Christians to “move ahead” and update Scripture to fit modern society. God’s word has never changed; so, to “change with the times” is altering God’s truth and is nothing less than heresy.
Not long ago, an elderly Episcopalian priest made news when he married a much younger man and said that theology needs to be updated to fit modern needs. In other words, he wants to pretend that God approves of his sin. Many un-Scriptural ideas are sneaking into our congregations, and God is mocked. Should we move forward with the times? Absolutely not. God set the rules and He doesn’t change. Christians must stand firm on God’s word.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5).
We are saved by God’s grace, but we must conform to Him, not Him to us. If we’re only a remnant few, so be it.
Scripture gives examples of what a remnant believer is, and it would be worthwhile to study those examples. The first is recorded in Genesis. After Adam’s Fall, people began to multiply and fill the earth. Satan still wanted to corrupt and destroy God’s creation, so the angels he had led in rebellion against God began mating with human women. The result of this ungodly union were Nephilim.
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Genesis 6:1-2).
The “sons of God” are angels. These fallen angels had tainted all of creation, including the human population…all except Noah and his family. They kept themselves from the evil that was around them and were the remnant of that day. Because these eight people remained uncorrupted and true to God, they were saved from the judgment of the Flood which God sent to destroy all who were corrupted. God directed Noah to build an ark; and Noah, his family, and certain animals would be saved through the judgment of God.
God’s judgment is coming again. This would be a good time to be sure that your faith is placed in Christ Jesus for salvation and live accordingly. Be a part of the remnant who live for Jesus.
Joshua and Caleb are also examples of a remnant who stood against those who doubted God and His power. Moses had led the Israelites out of captivity, and many miracles were done by God to keep them safe. When they came to the border of the land God had promised to them, God directed Moses to send twelve men in to survey the land. They found some frightening things. For instance, it took two men to carry one cluster of grapes. The report given to Moses upon their return was that there was a problem: Nephilim were in the land. Ten of the spies were frightened and didn’t believe God would help them conquer the land.
“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:32-33).
Only Joshua and Caleb believed that God would help them conquer the land. Because the majority didn’t believe God, they brought condemnation upon themselves. None of them would enter the Promised Land but would wander for 40 years until all unbelievers died. Only Caleb, Joshua, and the children under 20 years of age would enter the Promised Land.
Fear hinders our faith, but at those times it’s important to remember God is all powerful and well able to take us through whatever we face. The majority feared the giants, but Caleb and Joshua were the remnant who knew God would defeat the giants; and they eventually entered into the land God had promised them.
Feeling alone and isolated can be devastating to the remnant. Isolation can cause you to compromise what you know is truth, or it can cause you to completely give up.
Elijah was a powerful prophet of God in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Two of the most evil people in the Bible ruled that nation, King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.
The pagan culture in that kingdom was strong because of them, but Elijah didn’t back down from serving God Almighty. This brought persecution upon him. When he challenged the prophets of the demon god Baal and utterly defeated them, Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life. That was just too much for Elijah. He went into the wilderness, sat down under a tree, and asked the Lord to take his life. He had given up.
God had other plans, but Elijah had to come to the end of himself before he could be refreshed by the Lord. God miraculously provided food and water for him, and he traveled to a cave. There, he and the Lord talked.
“And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10).
God listened, then showed Elijah that it’s important to trust God in storms, but also to see Him in the small things, like a “still small voice.” God revealed to Elijah that even though he felt as if he was the only one who didn’t bow down to the pagan practices around him, the reality was that there were more like-minded people around.
God said,
“Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him”
(1 Kings 19:18).
God knows who does and doesn’t belong to Him, and if Elijah had been aware of the remnant, he wouldn’t have been so discouraged.
Christians today face the same troubles seen from the beginning of time. Persecution, discouragement, and the temptation to give up are realities, but we can be encouraged by men like Noah, Joshua and Caleb, and Elijah. They fought the same enemy we fight today…a spiritual enemy.
Noah and his family were the only ones who kept clear of the evil.
“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).
He was the remnant of his day and wasn’t corrupted by the evil happenings around him.
Caleb and Joshua did enter the Promised land, and Joshua led the fight to conquer it. He challenged people to choose to follow the Lord.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14).
Those are the words of a man who isn’t afraid to be a remnant believer.
Elijah teaches us to trust God even if we feel alone.
“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him” 
(1 Kings 19:19).
Instead of isolation, Elijah found someone to mentor in God’s ways and who would carry on the battle after him. Sometimes it feels as if there are no Christians who stand firm on God’s word. It’s easy to become discouraged and give up the fight. The battle is a spiritual battle, and the weapons we need are spiritual.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13).
PUT ON THE ARMOUR OF GOD AND DON’T TAKE IT OFF.
We cannot rely upon our local pastor to uncompromisingly stand upon God’s truth and preach Biblically sound sermons. A sign of the times in which we live is the fact that most Christians are starving because they’re fed milk instead of meat.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12).
Where are the preachers like Peter who stood up on the day of Pentecost and boldly spoke a powerful sermon, which is recorded in Acts chapter 2? He explained exactly who Jesus Christ is, and he used the Old Testament to prove his point. Those listening were convicted and asked what to do.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
It’s recorded that 3,000 people repented that day and were baptized.
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
We are hard pressed today to find strong preachers who call sin by its proper name…sin, who don’t sugarcoat it nor turn a blind eye to it. People want their ears tickled, and pastors are more interested in overflowing collection plates than preaching truth.
Preacher, ask yourself what angered Christ. He was never angry over the failures of sinful people, but He never said it’s OK to continue sinning. On the other hand, the religious leaders who used God for their own selfish gains were called sons of Satan. Preacher, where do you stand? If you don’t preach God’s truth from Genesis through Revelation, then you probably aren’t a part of the remnant. You’re leading your flock to destruction.
WHERE ARE THE REMNANT FEW? They’re around, but sometimes hard to find. Just like God knew that there were 7,000 in Israel who didn’t bow to the pagan gods, God knows that there’s a remnant of true Christians today. We may be few and far between, but God knows who we are, and the remnant must stand strong.
God bless you all,
Nathele Graham
[email protected]
www.straitandnarrowministry.com
[email protected]
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.
If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.

 

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