For eight wonderful, fruitful years, God asked me to write and publish an electronic magazine (e-zine) that ended up being read by about 10,000 people around the world each month before God asked me to cease writing and publishing it a few years ago. Through the years of its publication, I received many positive and encouraging comments about how helpful the e-zine was to numerous people around the world.
The very first issue of the e-zine, titled The Traveler, featured these two statements:
Each of us is a traveler through the eons of time and beyond—into our final, eternal state of being.
As I journey along the King’s High Way, it is the King Himself in Whom, with Whom, and to Whom I travel. He was the Beginning of my journey, will be the end of my Journey, and is the Journey itself.
Yes, all of us—you, me, everyone, all humanity—are on a lifelong journey back to where we originated in the heart of God Who deeply loves all his vast creation—especially all humanity! This is a very brief teaching about that amazing journey each of us is on all the way back to where each of our journeys began.
Believe it or not (some people do believe me, some don’t), a few years ago I was actually invited by God to make a brief visit to our final destination, our heavenly Homeland; I wrote about my observations and experiences during my visit there in a book you can purchase from Amazon in three formats: as an e-reader, softcover, or hardcover, titled Heaven: Our Home Sweet Homeland. (I receive no personal income from my book, so I’m not trying to sell you something for my personal financial gain.)
Yes, we’re all on an amazing lifelong journey, and I’m going to make an attempt in this teaching to describe only a few aspects of that journey. So…come walk alongside me as we journey together to our True Homeland.
Let’s begin by me inviting you to view and listen to four of my favorite all-time songs on YouTube.com, all four songs are by the contemporary Irish musical group, Celtic Woman, and are about our long journeys Home: This is My Homeland, Long Journey Home, The Parting Glass, and Going Home. They’re not all necessarily spiritual or religious songs, but I view and listen to all four songs often…and sometimes weep tears of joy because they cause me to become very homesick for my True Homeland. It’s strange for me to experience such strong feelings of homesickness for a Home where I’ve never lived, but only visited briefly.
The Bible (God’s written revelation of Himself to all humanity) has much to teach us about us travelers—and our journeys. From Genesis to Revelation we read about many travelers—people just like you and me who traveled through their own time and space…and God deliberately left us with written accounts of many of their journeys. Many of those travelers of long ago trod journeys in their lifetimes that relate to our own journeys thousands of years later. They were people like Noah, Moses, Abraham, King David, the prophet Isaiah, Jesus, his mother Mary, Paul, Peter, and many others.
Some of you reading this have been traveling with me almost from the very beginning of my own journey beginning many years ago. Some of you joined me half way or three-fourths of the way on my journey. Some of you have only recently become my fellow travelers. We’re all at different stages of each of our journeys, but we’re all journeying the same “route” from conception to death…and beyond.
Here’s how it all began—long before humanity was created, and long before you and I were born. A reference from the Bible states that before there was anything—except God—He chose each person to be his very own special treasure, joining us to Himself even before He created the universe. (Ephesians 1: 4) Don’t ask me to explain that; God is God, and He can do that sort of thing.
Think of it, before anything existed except God, before the universe was created, God looked down from Eternal Realms through the long ages of time and deliberately chose all humanity—including you and me—to go on a special journey with Him through this life. That’s amazing, beyond belief, but that’s what God did. That tells me that all humanity, including you and me: we’re all very important to God and greatly loved and highly valued by Him.
So, at the moment of conception our journey began. We didn’t know it, of course, during our infancy and early childhood, but, nevertheless, we were at the beginning stages of our long journey through this life. Perhaps later in childhood, or in your early teens, or in young adulthood or later, you were born again (John 3: 5 – 8), and you began to understand more clearly that you are on a lifelong journey to your eternal Home.
Or, perhaps you still didn’t know until right now that you are on that journey, but you are…you are. And, it’s a lifelong journey—and beyond—to our True Home in Jesus’ eternal Kingdom. In fact, for thousands of years millions of people around the world have prayed “Thy Kingdom come…” That’s where we’re headed on our journeys: to Jesus’ coming Kingdom.
If we are followers of Jesus, we must always remember that our journeys are taking place in a world in which for the most part, we are aliens, pilgrims, wayfarers, and strangers simply because of our relationship with Him. This present world is not our True Home! Our True Home is in a new world, a freshly restored world ruled by King Jesus—a loving and benevolent King—after He returns to earth to usher in his Kingdom. There’s a stanza in an old Gospel song that states: “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passing through…” Always keep that in mind as you travel: you’re just passing through this very short life on your way to your True Home.
At this point, I want to take a few moments to write about a widely held myth about God. It’s not only a myth—it’s a lie. An evil being well-known as a liar and “the father of lies” has spread that lie worldwide for centuries—especially in the western world. The lie has been around for centuries, but it was sort of “popularized” by the teachings a few centuries ago of a man named John Calvin. Since then, many thousands of people in the western world have believed the lie. Here’s the myth, the lie: Humans start out from conception separated from God and forever remain that way unless at some point they say some magic words to invite Jesus into their lives, thus connecting with God, no longer separated from Him.
If God is really Who He says He is (with all the attributes of God), it is not possible for anything or anyone in God’s entire creation to be separated from God! If God is allwhere and allwhen, then everything in all creation down to the smallest known particle has never been separated from God. It is true that we humans can feel we are separated from God, but that’s a myth, an illusion, a lie. True, there are biblical references such as Isaiah 59: 2 that seem to indicate that our human sin separates us from God, but that reference must be understood in light of many other biblical references that teach otherwise.
Even if it were possible for our sins to separate us from God, He—the Great Shepherd—will move heaven, earth, and hell to seek out and find his separated, lost sheep! So…as we journey on, please travel your lifelong journey knowing that from the moment of your conception, you have never been separated from God. He is with and in each of us before our journeys, is with us during our journeys, and will be with us at the end of our journeys—and beyond!
On what path or road do we begin our journey and continue on to our True Home? In the Old Testament Book of Isaiah we learn of a Road called the King’s High Way. It’s a Highway of Holiness (wholeness); it’s a Highway built up from the surrounding morass, the world as a whole. It’s a narrow Highway and uphill most of the way, but it’s not beyond you or me to travel on it. The “starting point” to get on that Highway is from a Hill called Golgotha, the Hill of Calvary outside old Jerusalem, upon which Jesus bled and died to attain and seal our forever relationship with God.
Let’s say you step on the Highway at that starting point; that Royal Road stretches out before you into the unseen distance. Fortunately, the Road is bathed in light, the Light of God, Jesus–and that Light illumines every step of our way toward our True Home, the Heavenly City, New Jerusalem. However, on either side of that Highway, there is darkness, creeping right up to the edge of the Road. Sometimes we can slip off the Road into the darkness (generally caused by our self-centered sin).
If and when we slip off the Road, Jesus is always there to pick us up and help us get back on the Highway; He is there to bind up our wounds caused by our slip off the Highway and to slake our thirst with the Water of Life. He even comes alongside and supports us while we are still weak and recovering from the wounds we have inflicted upon ourselves while stumbling around in the dark trying to find our way back to the Highway.
You are not the only one who has ever slipped, fallen, and even died alongside the Royal Road. In the New Testament portion of the Bible, the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is about some fellow travelers of long ago who died during their journey, never having reached the end, nor having yet received all that had been promised them. They had journeyed during their mortal lives as ones who belonged to another “world” they had not yet reached. They died longing for their True Home, a Heavenly City prepared by them for God. Also, there’s the familiar Psalm 23 in the Old Testament about King David longing to ultimately reach that Heavenly City to dwell in the “house of God” forever.
During our long journey, at various times we will all experience detours, switchbacks, obstacles, and delays. Mostly, there will be sunny days to travel, but there will also be some dark, gloomy days shrouded in mystery and fog when we might not even be sure we are still on the right Road.
It is important that we surround ourselves with other warm, friendly traveling companions, but there will be times when the journey will seem very lonely when we might feel we are the only ones on the Road.
If you don’t know this already, God doesn’t “…promise you a rose garden,” as a country and western song puts it. Even if your journey is through a rose garden, keep in mind that roses have thorns! However, into whatever type of garden you find yourself in, God will be with you in that garden. A popular religious song of a few generations ago puts it this way: [In the garden, Jesus]…walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am his own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
Also, right here near the beginning of my thoughts about our journeys, I need to tell you plainly that you will suffer many losses during your journey: loss of youth and vitality, loss of family and friends by death, loss of income, loss of prestige, loss of hair, loss of success, loss of bodily functions as you age, loss of strength, loss of personal control over your life, loss of home, perhaps, and—finally—loss of your own mortal life. But that final loss is merely the gateway entrance into your brand-new, immortal, eternal LIFE toward which you have been journeying.
Speaking of the loss of family and friends, for some reason unknown to me, years ago I began keeping a listing of family members and friends whom I’ve lost by death along the way; I know, I know, that’s kinda morbid, but I’ve been keeping that list for many years now. As of today that list contains the names of almost 300 (!) family members and friends I have lost along the way during my brief mortal journey. The two greatest losses on that list are of my firstborn daughter, Heather Lee, who lived only a few moments after her birth, and my best human friend, my sister, Barbara, who was murdered a number of years ago. Yes, you, too, will experience many losses during your journey!
There will be some pleasant stops along the way too, but also some stops filled with sorrow and pain. At times, each of us might lose our way, wondering if we will ever get back on the right path. At times, we will encounter robbers and thieves who will try to rob us of God’s provision for our journeys. There will be parts of our journey when we feel strong and well-equipped for the journey, but there will also be seasons of extreme exhaustion and weariness. We will each experience seasons of extreme heat and extreme cold, but there will also be warm, balmy days of joy and peace as we’ve travel along, singing as we go.
Ah! For each of us there will be those magic moments during our journeys when God will remind us with startling clarity: The journey—not the destination—is what it’s all about! Yes, the destination is important, but since our arrival at our destination has been predetermined by God, let’s joyfully enjoy the journey in getting there!
Where are we headed? Where is our journey taking us? What is our destination? The same place Father Moses and Father Abraham and millions of others—our fellow sojourners and pilgrims—were headed: our homeland, a heavenly country, a magnificent city, in a freshly restored earth and universe—especially prepared for each of us by the Master Traveler and Builder, Jesus, Who eagerly awaits our arrival in our eternal homeland. (See Hebrews 11: 14 – 16 and Revelation 21: 1 and 2)
Yes, that’s our destination, but how do we get there? If we’re all fellow travelers through this life…and beyond, where is that destination located, where are we headed? To begin to answer such questions, we must start with God. He is both our beginning and our ending—and the journey itself; God must be our starting point. I’m not going to attempt to prove God’s existence. According to the Bible, only “foolish” or unwise people believe there is no God.
Every human ever born starts out with some awareness of the reality of God–that He exists. Even if at some point in their lives they deny His existence, they’ll believe again at some point in their journey—even if it’s not until after the end of their journey. I am not writing to the foolish and unwise; I’m writing to those who have chosen to journey along the Way of the Wise. God was at the beginning of each of our journeys. God will be at the end of each of our journeys. God is with us each step of our journeys. Our journeys begin and end with God.
If that’s not true, then the journey is in vain and we are very foolish indeed! But we are not foolish. We are wise. And we are journeying along the King’s High Way. We walk in the light of God’s eternal day, not in the darkness. We know the beginning, we see the end, and we understand where the journey is taking us. We have many “signs” to guide us on our journey and we will look at some of those signs, the foremost being the Bible, God’s written “Traveler’s Guide,” full of detailed travel information.
A man named G. A. Young lived around the turn of the 20th century; in 1903, he wrote a song titled God Leads Us Along. Mr. Young knew something vital about our journeys, and completed his own journey almost a century ago. His song is very meaningful to us now, 118 years later; here are the first and last verses and the chorus of Young’s song:
In shady green pastures so rich and so sweet,
God leads his dear children along.
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads his dear children along.
Refrain: Some thro’ the waters,
Some thro’ the flood,
Some thro’ the fire,
But all thro’ the blood,
Some thro’ great sorrow,
But God gives a song
In the night season
And all the day long.
Away from the mire, and away from the clay,
God leads his dear children along.
Away up in glory, eternity’s day,
God leads his dear children along.
We know He who said “I am the Way” was with us at the beginning of our journey, He is with us and in us throughout the journey, and He will be there to greet us at the end of our journeys. Yes, we are wise—not foolish; the journey is secure; we are safe; there are unseen Great Ones who guard us and surround us as we journey with joy in our hearts and songs on our lips! God calls to each of us: “Come, journey with me; together we are bound for the Promised Land and the Celestial City. Who will come and go with Me?”
“To the place where I am going, you know the Way: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; those who journey to the Father’s House arrive at last only through and with Me.” –Jesus, in John 14: 4 – 6
The Way is the journey itself. The Truth is Who and what we choose to believe about God and Jesus during our journeys. The Life is the eternal LIFE of God He implants inside us when we choose to become followers of Jesus during our journeys.
Every human ever born knows instinctively he or she is on a life-journey. Just as with their knowledge of God, some deny the reality of that journey, but they know…they know. All who admit their knowledge of the journey hope they are on the “right” journey, but the only right journey is through The Way to the Father’s House. And therein lies the dilemma for uncounted humans: there are other ways that seem right to many people, but unfortunately the end of those ways is death. (Proverbs 12: 15 and 14: 12)
Let’s establish another fact before we proceed any further with this teaching: God is the only Being Who is not a traveler, sojourner, or pilgrim. He simply is—the Great I AM. He doesn’t travel anywhere or go anywhere. Everything—everywhere and everywhen—is absolutely simultaneous to God. He always lives in the eternal present, not restricted in any manner as we are by the limitations of time and space!
Many centuries ago, one of our fellow human sojourners named Hildebert of Lavardin (1055 to 1133 A.D.) wrote these lines about our non-traveling God:
“God, You are within all things,
but not enclosed;
outside all things,
but not excluded.
You are above all things,
You are wholly outside,
embracing all things;
filling all things.”
For this next portion of this teaching, I want to share with you various “nuggets” of truth about our journey that I’ve either thought of myself or simply picked up along the way during my own journey.
–It’s important to realize we’re on a journey to our New Home in the freshly restored universe and on the freshly renewed earth; we must not stop along the way to “homestead” somewhere before we reach the end of the journey.
–When on my journey, I try to seldom look down before taking my next step. Instead, I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus’ Kingdom on the far horizon in order to stay headed in the right direction. It reminds me when as a youth I would walk behind our tractor and plow with a one-bottom plow; the only way to keep the furrows straight was to fix my eyes on a fence post or tree on the horizon and try to plow straight toward that post or tree in order to keep the furrows straight.
–In the Old Testament Book of Daniel, we read about the journeys of three young men; even though they were loyal to God and were serving Him, they still ended up in a fiery furnace of affliction and testing. Fortunately for them, a fourth Man—Jesus—joined them in the furnace and protected them so that when they emerged alive and unscathed from the fire, there wasn’t even the smell of smoke on them.
–There’s a paradoxical phenomenon that occurs during each of our journeys. We are already “in Jesus,” but at the end of our mortal journeys Jesus will be fully formed in us! As we trod our journeys through this mortal life, we are really journeying toward Jesus, our True Destination, yet, in a sense, we are not. Instead, Jesus is always and ever on the far horizon journeying toward us, and is fully present to meet us at any moment when we need Him. He meets us for forgiveness, for perpetual cleansing from sin, to fill us with his own joy, to help us carry our burdens—even to support us for a while when we are exhausted. Yes, He is ever-present during our journeys, yet we are always journeying toward Him!
–Real belief—real faith—is when we simply make a quality decision to follow Jesus. Once we make that decision, He then says, “Come walk alongside Me.” As we journey, He often says “Here’s what I want you to do as we travel.” Most often what He commands us to do along the way is to serve others in some manner, empowered by Him. That calls for our obedience. When we obey (sometimes blindly) what He wants us to do, then understanding what He asks us to do in humble service to Him will follow our obedience. But first we must obey!
–During my journey, I must have the courage to follow beyond what I can see!
–As I journey, I must not be afraid to “go out on a limb” from time to time: that’s where the fruit grows!
–During my mortal journey, many voices will call to me, whispering their siren songs; I must listen to the One whose voice I know rather than to such unknown whisperers.
–Some people seem to spend their entire journeys trying to turn around and run in the opposite direction trying to reach some place they’ve never been. The fact is they may spend a lifetime trying to flee in the opposite direction—only to find that when they arrive, God has been there all along waiting for their arrival at Home!
–If you’re like me, there are probably times in your life that if you could you would love to return to rest at some treasured place in your past instead of always journeying forward. The English poet Wordsworth (1770-1850) once felt that way:
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and freshness of a dream.
Heaven lies about us in our infancy;
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing child,
But the child beholds the light, and whence it flows,
The child sees it in its joy;
At length the adult perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
–Sometimes I will reach stretches of the Royal Road where the path is extremely narrow, where only one person can walk at a time. During such times, especially if the day might be dark and overcast, I must understand that the Bible is my GPS locator.
–The Calvary Road upon which I journey—all too often a road of pain, testing, loneliness, sorrow, and lessened hope—doesn’t end, but leads directly to and merges with a beautiful Highway in Eternal Realms: the King’s Highway leading straight into Jesus’ Kingdom.
–I have a fixed, appointed rendezvous with my loving Heavenly Father at the end of my long journey; I will see Him running towards me to welcome me Home at last! And what a luscious feast He has prepared for me as I sit down at his eternal dining table! There has been one vacant chair awaiting me since before my beginning.
–During my journey, when I have those moments of feeling I have no home—as we all do, when I feel homeless, that is exactly what I am not. Yes, I’m away from my True Home, but I am never homeless. I am never headed nowhere; I am always headed somewhere—unerringly to my True Home.
–Throughout my mortal life, as I journey along the King’s Highway I will sometimes catch brief glimpses of that City toward which I journey. It is because God has placed eternity in my heart (Ecclesiastes 3: 11), allowing me to get an occasional glimpse of those Eternal Realms and that Bright City toward which I am bound.
–One thing about the Royal Road upon which I journey: At the very least, for the time being it’s much less crowded than other roads!
–The New Jerusalem, that capitol City toward which I journey, is the capitol or a Far Country that stretches to the vast boundaries of the universe and beyond—and when at long last I reach that City, God will continue creating a new, unbounded universe that will surpass anything I could ever imagine.
–In addition to being my travel guide for my journey, the Bible is also the mile markers, directional signal, and guard rails to guide and protect me from veering off the Royal Road.
–I have deep joy during my journey, not because I know I won’t die on the Road, but because I know if I do die, the best part of my journey will just be beginning!
–If I don’t know where I’m going on my journey, how will I ever be able to recognize and know when I’ve arrived?
–The King’s Highway isn’t meant to be walked alone. The Bible says I must stay with a group of other travelers, for us to help and encourage one another, to keep each other headed in the right direction on the King’s Royal Road. The Bible calls such togetherness “fellowship,” or deep communion with one another spirit to spirit. Such communion with one another is not optional; it’s necessary and vital to our wellbeing as we journey. Unless one is alone on a desert isle, there can be no “Lone Ranger” travelers.
–During my journey, if I want to travel far and unerringly, I must travel light: get rid of all my envies, jealousies, judgments, unforgiveness, selfishness, doubts, and fears.
–As I journey along the sometimes winding Royal Road, there’s always a way forward if I search for it, but on that Road, there’s never a way back.
–I should never expect too much of swiftly passing time. When I began my journey I didn’t know how it will end or when.
–Sometimes during my journey I will come to various forks in the Road to test me. Some of the forks put me just one choice or decision away from turning down a detour that’s very steep and difficult to climb back up from, once I see it’s a dead end.
–I don’t know how it is with you, but sometimes during my journey with Jesus it feels like I’m paddling upstream through thick air in slow motion. It feels like I’m wading upstream against a strong current or swimming upstream in gelatin.
–My true self must always be journeying, following God: in motion like music, a flowing river of life, changing, adapting, moving forward, sometimes falling, all too often suffering and wounded, learning, shining from within with God’s inner Light.
–In part V of his poem, “Little Gidding,” the famed poet, T. S. Eliot (1888 to 1965), once addressed the matter of our journeys in these words:
“We shall not cease from our exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive at where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Eliot wrote another profound thought about our long journey Home:
“I have had a tremor of bliss, a wink of Heaven, a whisper, and I would no longer be denied; all things proceed to a joyful consummation.”
–My mortal journey consists of lifelong daily choices and decisions. There is one big choice everyone must make; it’s actually a two-part, multiple choice test:
- God is altogether good and is in absolute control of my life.
- He is not.
I choose “A”
–The Highway of Holiness I journey upon is an infinite figure 8 loop, constantly leading me forward to my ultimate destiny in God, yet also continually leading me back to the cross upon which Jesus died, both the starting and ending point of my journey. The cross upon which Jesus died stands solidly anchored in eternity, infinitely towering over—and penetrating all time, space, and eternity.
–In some respects, my journey is like a river. I am born and then begin to move toward a place I cannot see, but know is there. Along my winding river’s journey, people and events flow into me, and I become a part of everyone and everywhere I pass as the river flows. Each event, each person changes me in some manner. Even in times of drought I continue to flow because Living Waters gushes out from within me. But when the rains come, I grow and expand the most—when water flows from all directions toward me, touching and enriching my river of life.
Now let’s look at just a few poignant biblical references that seem to say something about our journeys; there are numerous similar references throughout the Bible, but I chose these few simply because they seem to encapsulate and summarize what the Bible teaches about our journeys:
“My days [during my journey] are marked by the lengthening shadows of death, but then I remember that you, O Lord, still sit enthroned as King over all.” (Psalm 102: 11 & 12)
“How fleeting and frail our lives are [during our journeys]! We’re nothing more than a puff of air.” (Psalm 39: 12)
The entire first chapter of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament can be summed up in this manner: There were people that wanted to discourage others during their wilderness journeys. There were people who wanted to encourage others during their wilderness journeys. Which are you?
“Yes, this is our God, our great God for all time and eternity. [During our journeys], He will lead us onward until the end, through all time, beyond death, and into eternity!” (Psalm 48: 14)
Only a few years after the life and times of Jesus, many of his followers began to write Christian songs and music. Much of the imagery of those songs came right out of the Old Testament (and later the New Testament, too). For example, a lot of songs have been written based on the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt 3,500 years ago as a word-picture of our wilderness journeys through life. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the land of Canaan God had promised them, crossing the Jordan River was symbolic of death and dying. Entering the land of Canaan—the Promised Land—was symbolic of entering Heaven.
With that imagery in mind, I want to share some words from an old Gospel song, the words of which were written in 1787 and the melody in 1895; it’s titled “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks”:
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
to Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land;
I am bound for the promised land.
O who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.
I invite you to come and go with me on this amazing, joyful journey through this mortal life to our True Home God has promised us in Jesus’ coming kingdom!
To begin to bring to an end this brief introductory teaching about our long journey home, I want to invite you to read another teaching on this website titled City of Mystery; it’s been one of the most widely read, popular teachings on this website.
I will now end this teaching with the words of one of my favorite songs, written by the late Johnny and June Cash; it’s a song sung by someone who is nearing the end of his own mortal journey, is just about to “cross over Jordan,” and is singing to loved ones he is about to leave behind to complete their own journeys; you can view it performed by many musicians on YouTube.com. It’s titled The Far Side Banks of Jordan:
I feel my steps are growing wearier each day.
Still I’ve got a journey on my mind.
Lures of this old world have ceased to make me wanna stay,
And my one regret is leaving you behind.
Refrain: I’ll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan.
I’ll be sitting gazing over that fair land.
And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout,
And come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand.
If it proves to be his will that I am first to cross,
And somehow I am feeling it may be.
When it comes your time to travel likewise, don’t feel lost,
For I will be the first one that you see.
Through this life we’ve labored hard to earn our meager fare;
It’s brought us trembling hands and failing eyes.
I’ll just rest here on this shore awaiting that bright golden day
Until you come; then we’ll see paradise. (I changed a few words of the song)
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First posted March 2021