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The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives

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How differently would we live if we believed that every dimension of our lives---from the happy to the tragic to the mundane---were part of a beautiful and purposeful design in which no thread were wrongly woven? That's what best-selling author and internationally-known apologist, Ravi Zacharias, explores in The Grand Weaver.As Christians, we believe that great events such How differently would we live if we believed that every dimension of our lives---from the happy to the tragic to the mundane---were part of a beautiful and purposeful design in which no thread were wrongly woven? That's what best-selling author and internationally-known apologist, Ravi Zacharias, explores in The Grand Weaver.As Christians, we believe that great events such as a death or a birth are guided by the hand of God. Yet we drift into feeling that our daily lives are the product of our own efforts. This book brims with penetrating stories and insights that show us otherwise. From a chance encounter in a ticket line to a beloved father's final word before dying, from a random phone call to a line in a Scripture reading, every detail of life is woven into its perfect place. In The Grand Weaver, Dr. Zacharias examines our backgrounds, our disappointments, our triumphs, and our beliefs, and explains how they are all part of the intentional and perfect work of the Grand Weaver.Also available: unabridged audio CD.


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How differently would we live if we believed that every dimension of our lives---from the happy to the tragic to the mundane---were part of a beautiful and purposeful design in which no thread were wrongly woven? That's what best-selling author and internationally-known apologist, Ravi Zacharias, explores in The Grand Weaver.As Christians, we believe that great events such How differently would we live if we believed that every dimension of our lives---from the happy to the tragic to the mundane---were part of a beautiful and purposeful design in which no thread were wrongly woven? That's what best-selling author and internationally-known apologist, Ravi Zacharias, explores in The Grand Weaver.As Christians, we believe that great events such as a death or a birth are guided by the hand of God. Yet we drift into feeling that our daily lives are the product of our own efforts. This book brims with penetrating stories and insights that show us otherwise. From a chance encounter in a ticket line to a beloved father's final word before dying, from a random phone call to a line in a Scripture reading, every detail of life is woven into its perfect place. In The Grand Weaver, Dr. Zacharias examines our backgrounds, our disappointments, our triumphs, and our beliefs, and explains how they are all part of the intentional and perfect work of the Grand Weaver.Also available: unabridged audio CD.

30 review for The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pete Foley

    Another excellent book by Dr. Zacharias. His understanding of Scripture is so strong that it compels me to study the Bible even more diligently. The book provides great personal stories, as well as a secure grounding in Scripture to illustrate his main point that God works all circumstances - our strengths, our shortcomings, our circumstances (etc.) - to achieve his ultimate purpose for our lives. Seemingly disconnected events, tragic circumstances, supposed "coincidences", are all seen through Another excellent book by Dr. Zacharias. His understanding of Scripture is so strong that it compels me to study the Bible even more diligently. The book provides great personal stories, as well as a secure grounding in Scripture to illustrate his main point that God works all circumstances - our strengths, our shortcomings, our circumstances (etc.) - to achieve his ultimate purpose for our lives. Seemingly disconnected events, tragic circumstances, supposed "coincidences", are all seen through the lense of God's ultimate purpose for our lives. I highly recommend this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John

    This was another audiobook loaned to me by my friend Jack. I was listening to it while doing other things, so I didn't give it the hearing it deserves. But it gives me an excuse and a motivation to read it sometime in the future. On the other hand, listening it allowed me to enjoy Ravi Zacharias' unique speaking voice and style, which I've always enjoyed. A point that struck me on first "hearing" of this book -- and perhaps this seems obvious -- was Zacharias saying you need to establish what This was another audiobook loaned to me by my friend Jack. I was listening to it while doing other things, so I didn't give it the hearing it deserves. But it gives me an excuse and a motivation to read it sometime in the future. On the other hand, listening it allowed me to enjoy Ravi Zacharias' unique speaking voice and style, which I've always enjoyed. A point that struck me on first "hearing" of this book -- and perhaps this seems obvious -- was Zacharias saying you need to establish what the purpose is for your life, and everything you do needs to be judged against that purpose. He put it much better than that, and I'm retelling it in an overly simplistic way, but that's the essence of it. That simple point is causing me to do a lot of reflecting about what my purpose might be and how my life might be different if I judged everything according to that purpose.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jesseca Wheaton

    Wow. This book was really good. I think it's one of the very few non-fiction books that I actually looked forward to reading every morning. Ravi Zacharias writes and explains things in a way that makes it easy to understand without toning down the message. Definitely looking forward to reading some of his other books. :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I have listened to Ravi and even heard him speak at the Ligonier National Conference 2 years ago. He is a great speaker, has wonderful illustrations, and talks to practical topics. [return][return]The Grand Weaver is the first book I ve read by Zacharias. He does a good job with this book in illustrating various areas of our life that God designed and uses to weave our lives. [return][return]In the chapter on our DNA he discusses how we should accept and celebrate our personality, that this I have listened to Ravi and even heard him speak at the Ligonier National Conference 2 years ago. He is a great speaker, has wonderful illustrations, and talks to practical topics. [return][return]The Grand Weaver is the first book I ve read by Zacharias. He does a good job with this book in illustrating various areas of our life that God designed and uses to weave our lives. [return][return]In the chapter on our DNA he discusses how we should accept and celebrate our personality, that this begins our understanding of the Grand Weaver s design for our lives. Then he discuss our disappointments, explaining that we need to allow our heart to be made tender by God, not callous, by the pains of this world. Then we must strenghten our mind through faith. And always, the cross should be primary, the bridge between him and us.[return][return]The chapter on our calling defines it as God s shaping of your burden and beckoning you to your service to him in the place and pursuit of his choosing. Zacharias mentions that this calling may not always feel pleasing, but it will tug at the soul. We are encouraged to submit to God s design and live a life of humility.[return][return]I found the chapter on morality interesting. We cannot escape the need for morals but there is a lot of discussion about who creates morals. Morality can become legalism if it isn t tempered with grace and mercy. Zachias mentions that perhaps the point to some of the parables isn t what appears to be the main point. Perhaps the older brother was the real point to the story of the prodigal son. I find the story of repentance and acceptance (younger son and father) very reassuring, but the action of the older brother hits too close to home sometimes. Or maybe the real point of the stofy of the good Samaritan is the priest and Levite and their behavior. He uses another one - maybe the point to be learned from the women arriving first at the tomb was the fact that the disciples hadn t. I think this one is the most surprising for me. I ve always been amazed that the women were headed to the tomb even though they were aware that there was a big stone they couldn t move, they trusted that a way to handle it would come up as long as they did what they needed to do. I wonder if the disciples didn t go because they knew there was this big stone in the way?[return][return]The chapter on spirituality gets to the point that it is truth what separates true spirituality from false spirituality. We are warned not to get sidetracked by ceremony or legalism. He discusses our will and how salvation also brings a change in our hungers. We will new things. But in our fallenness we often put our energy into peripheral or wrong pursuits instead of concentrating on following Christ alone. [return][return]We are made to worship, it seems. But our worship belongs to God and we are too quick to turn to other things. In this chapter Zacharias talks about the church and how we are supposed to build each other up, bring hope and healing to each other. But too often there is pulling down, condemnation, and reprimand. Worship is primary and here Zacharias uses the imagery again, worhip pulls the many threads of life into a beautiful whole. [return][return]He ends with a chapter about our Destiny; our eternal life in heaven being known by God and knowing God. I have always thought the image of being completely known is one of the most comforting allures of Heaven. I seldom feel truly understood and often don t understand myself. To be known completely by a loving God, and perfected to boot, sounds wonderful![return][return]I am glad I read this book and found much to meditate on. I found his writing to be a bit distracted and had to search for his point a few times. He speaks much the same way, the stories and illustrations may be disconnected, but each is worthwhile and the effort required by the listener to interpret the whole out of the pieces is a good exercise.

  5. 4 out of 5

    mirela Darau

    helped me realize again we're not just forgotten creatures with random destiny and that everything counts: our specific genetic buil-up, our way of living, our abilities, our will, even our disappointments. we're work in progress, and i almost forgot that, so i read these kind of books to freshen my mind:) one weak point: it's a bit simplistic... reading too much tires in the sense of boredom of language and way of reasoning, but this may also be a fault of the translation - i have it in helped me realize again we're not just forgotten creatures with random destiny and that everything counts: our specific genetic buil-up, our way of living, our abilities, our will, even our disappointments. we're work in progress, and i almost forgot that, so i read these kind of books to freshen my mind:) one weak point: it's a bit simplistic... reading too much tires in the sense of boredom of language and way of reasoning, but this may also be a fault of the translation - i have it in romanian. i'd give 4.5 stars for the content and the ideas, but the style... well, 3 is probably a sort of compromise

  6. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This book may help you understand more of how events caused by or allowed by God shape his story in you. It discusses issues like the Will, our Destiny, our Wordhip, our Calling, our Spirituality, our DNA, and our Disappointments in such a way that with some time to think, we can begin to see how all the twists and turns of our life come together in such a way to (ultimately) demonstrate God;s glory to all we encounter

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maria Connor

    There are a few good "nuggets" in here, but not really my style of reading. He is a good storyteller, but it takes a long time to find the take-aways.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John

    I enjoy all of Ravi Zacharias' books, and this is no exception. He covers God's grand plan, and our part in it. As always, it's well written and challenging.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Murray

    4.5! This is an excellent book. I listened to the audiobook, and it's read by the author. Sometimes I get a little lost in his illustrations, but his main points had me saying "Amen." I'd enjoy listening to it again.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maire Slater

    None of us can help the things life has done to us. They are done before you realize it and once they are done, they make you do other things, until at last everything comes between you and what you'd like to be, and you've lost your true self forever. (11, quote from Long Day's Journey into Night) Once you begin to see God's hand in your life, you will know that his workmanship within you and through you was tailor-made, just for you. His design for your life pulls together every thread of your None of us can help the things life has done to us. They are done before you realize it and once they are done, they make you do other things, until at last everything comes between you and what you'd like to be, and you've lost your true self forever. (11, quote from Long Day's Journey into Night) Once you begin to see God's hand in your life, you will know that his workmanship within you and through you was tailor-made, just for you. His design for your life pulls together every thread of your existence into a magnificent work of art. Every thread matters and has a specific purpose. I pray that...you will see those threads come together and know that God is indeed the Grand Weaver of your life. (17) To be able to accept the wonder and the marvel of one's own personality, however flawed or "accidental," and place it in and trust it to the hands of the One who made it, is one of the greatest achievements in life. His "registration number" is on you. Your DNA matters because the essence of who you are matters and whose you are by design maters. Every little feature and "accident" of your personality matter. Consider it God's sovereign imprint on you. (28) ...at the end of your life one of three things will happen to your heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken, or it will be tender. Nobody escapes. Your heart will become coarse and desensitized, be crushed under the weight of disappointment, or be made tender by that which makes the heart of God tender as well. God's heart is a caring heart. As the writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us, our infirmities deeply touch God (see Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:14-5:3)...God the Grand Weaver seeks those with tender hearts so that he can put his imprint on them. (40) Because we are all priests before God, there is no such distinction as "secular or sacred." In fact, the opposite of sacred is not secular; the opposite of sacred is profane. In short, no follower of Christ does secular work. We all have a sacred calling. (65) I do not believe that one can earnestly seek ad find the priceless treasure of God's call without a devout prayer life. Each of us is the temple of the Lord, and it was the Lord who said, "My house will be called a house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:7). (70) Truth is the thread that separates true spirituality from false spirituality. Spirituality does not give relevance to life; rather, truth gives relevance to spirituality. (109) Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things; in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the Spirit, then that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself. [quote from Susanna Wesley] (118) When you sow a thought you reap an act; when you sow an act you reap conduct; when you sow conduct you reap character; when you sow character you reap a destiny. [old adage] (128) What exactly does "worship" mean? The Bible uses several words to describe worship, but the two key terms mean "to bow down" and "to serve." ...Plainly put, worship means "reverence and action." (133)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lila Spengler

    I had just previously read Zacharias' autobiography, Walking from East to West, with great joy and, admittedly, tears of appreciation for the evidence of God's work in this humble man. So, wanting to preserve that first experience of Zacharias, the author, I cautiously, yet with great anticipation, cracked open this book. Although of a slightly different bent and with a little different flavor, this book also took my breath away at times with its depth of insight into life. It was quite deep to I had just previously read Zacharias' autobiography, Walking from East to West, with great joy and, admittedly, tears of appreciation for the evidence of God's work in this humble man. So, wanting to preserve that first experience of Zacharias, the author, I cautiously, yet with great anticipation, cracked open this book. Although of a slightly different bent and with a little different flavor, this book also took my breath away at times with its depth of insight into life. It was quite deep to my shallow mind yet it satisfied my penchant for organization and order. Ravi (I feel like we are on a first name basis after reading his autobiography) managed to break down his subject matter into categories of what matters: Our DNA, Disappointments, Calling, Morality, Spiritualty, Will, Worship and Destiny all matter in the Grand Weaver's shaping of our lives. I found the description in the chapter on Our Morality Matters of how morality precedes redemption in all religions except Christianity particularly breathtaking. It is only in Christianity where God redeems and saves before He calls us to live life in service to Him... that being a moral life, the underpinning of which is the Law. He used the introductory verse of the Ten Commandments as evidence! "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Eqypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:2-3) Wow! God brought His people out of slavery and then gave them the Law. That turns all religion and human nature on its head. Serve because we are redeemed, not serve and hope for redemption in the end. I'm thankful that Ravi has written several other books for me to add to my reading list. Thank God for this faithful man who uses his gift to serve others.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    I enjoy hearing Ravi speak more than reading his books, which is ironic, because he says he would much rather write than be in front of a crowd, speaking. Still, this book addresses long-standing questions that most people confront. The premise of the book is that God is the Grand Weaver who gathers all the threads of our lives and makes a beautiful tapestry that makes sense. He talks about finding our calling as being like "hand in glove", which is something that has eluded me all my life. (If I enjoy hearing Ravi speak more than reading his books, which is ironic, because he says he would much rather write than be in front of a crowd, speaking. Still, this book addresses long-standing questions that most people confront. The premise of the book is that God is the Grand Weaver who gathers all the threads of our lives and makes a beautiful tapestry that makes sense. He talks about finding our calling as being like "hand in glove", which is something that has eluded me all my life. (If only it were as smooth as Ravi suggests.) I read and discussed this book with two friends, and it stirred plenty of helpful and challenging discussion of the applications of our faith.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    I'm reminded of the fact that God is too kind to waste a hurt in our lives. Everything whether it happens because of discipline or Satan's attacks will be used by God to weave the tapestry of our lives. Ravi did a great job discussing the aspects of our lives (DNA, disappointments, calling, morality, spirituality, will, worship, and destiny)and how God is interested in each part. I've read other reviews that didn't like the flow of this book, but I found it made sense.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    While the right information and intent are present, organization of thought and clarity of proof are not. This is a good example of a book that could have been great but simply was not. Ultimately, it is not for failure of truth or attempt that the book becomes disorganized but rather as a result of poor analogy and not-so-tight writing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    I found myself wondering all through the reading of this book if the author was ever going to get to the main point. There were a couple interesting stories that stood out, but I really didn't remember anything the author was trying to say about God as being the "Grand Weaver".

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Jankowski

    I've always enjoyed Ravi. He seems to have an endless list of fascinating stories from his life's experience. This book is similarly filled with anecdotes, but it's hard to understand where he intended to go with it. The book seems to lack and sort of structure or purpose.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Asif

    God is the Grand Weaver who is weaving the threads of our lives into a beautiful tapestry even though we may not understand His choice of thread at the moment.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Keith Brooks

    Excellent book , especially when viewed from the perspective of vocation . I think this is better than Os Guiness' The Call. Ravi is at his finest here .

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim Baumgartner

    Notes from this book: INTRO: I like how he starts out discussing the 'hiddenness of God' (God has infinite power. Why has He made it so difficult to see His presence and plan?). It SEEMS like a powerful question, but let's think through it more. "For example, how often would we want God to reveal Himself? Once a day? Every time there is an emergency? Would we like to hear a voice every now and then, saying, 'Trust me?' The interesting thing about this demand is that some HAVE seen God's presence; Notes from this book: INTRO: I like how he starts out discussing the 'hiddenness of God' (God has infinite power. Why has He made it so difficult to see His presence and plan?). It SEEMS like a powerful question, but let's think through it more. "For example, how often would we want God to reveal Himself? Once a day? Every time there is an emergency? Would we like to hear a voice every now and then, saying, 'Trust me?' The interesting thing about this demand is that some HAVE seen God's presence; some HAVE heard His voice--yet it did not make it any easier for them to believe. It turns out that when you are all-powerful, someone will always demand that you demonstrate the fact" (9-10). "Our life contains a thousand springs, and dies if one be gone; strange that a harp of a thousand strings should keep in tune so long!" (stanza from Isaac Watts' hymn on God's majesty) (17) Ch 1: YOUR DNA MATTERS Think of the ring of Gyges (Plato's Republic). What if a criminal had a ring like that? The body is both individual and identifiable. But it is more than that. (24) "In his [Francis Collins] last slide, he showed two pictures side by side. On the left appeared a magnificent photo of the stained-glass rose window from Yorkminster Cathedral in Yorkshire, England...the right side of the screen appeared a slide show showing a cross section of a strand of human DNA." [See description and picture at: https://reflectionsfrommyporchswing.w...] (29) Ch 2: YOUR DISAPPOINTMENTS MATTER Ravi shares the story of a friend who died in a plane crash and he asks, "Why do so many destructive people live to a ripe old age, while so many who dedicate themselves to serving others and God seem to get snuffed out so soon? The problem of pain has remained the single greatest question, not only for the skeptic who uses it as an excuse to doubt God's existence, but also for the believer who questions God's purpose." (34-5) "In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart" by Ruth Bell Graham. Ravi shared how he grew up In India and saw magazines from the West and wondered how beautiful life would be here. As he got older, God placed a lot of these people in his path, who lived out the American Dream and obtained numerous material successes. When he got one-on-one with them, the masks came off and they shared how they breathe the same sorrows and have the same longings. (37) "Every journey requires deliberate steps. I believe we need to take three distinct steps in this journey before the pattern becomes visible and we begin to see the work of God. The first involves the heart (an instant transference from thought to body)...one of three things will happen to your heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken, or it will be tender. [David's is considered tender] ...not because he led a perfect life...but because God could reach him in the midst of his failures and his tragedies. (39-40) The hurts you live through will always shape you. There is no other way. (40) For example, the Bible calls Job a perfect man (Job 1:1). How could he earn such a description if he had not yet been subjected to the tests necessary for perfection? Perfection, then, is not a change in the essential character, but a completion of a course. This is precisely what Jesus must have meant [in Matthew 5:48]. We can never be who God is, but we can complete the task he assigns us to do. (40-1) Only if you are willing to pray sincerely for God's will to be done and are willing to live the life apportioned to you will you see the breathtaking view of God that he wants you to have, through the windows he has placed in your life. You cannot always live on the mountaintop, but when you walk through the valley, the memory of the view from the mountain will sustain you and give you strength to carry you through. (41) The second step involves the mind...where you watch the signposts carefully. Noah story, God provides SO many details but leaves out 2 things: the sail & rudder. (43) People say they have no faith, but the entire financial structure depends on credit, trust, belief and faith. (44) Someone once asked G.K. Chesterton, 'If you were stranded on an island and could have just one book, what would it be?' Instead of the very spiritual or literary-minded answer expected, [he said] 'Why, A Practical Guide to Shipbuilding, of course!' (45) Story of Glencoe [the slaughter of the clan of MacDonald in 1692 by the Campbells. They tried to act as friends, but killed them in the middle of the night. See the song "The Massacre of Glencoe." (46-7) Psalm 23 elaboration: The Lord is my Shepherd--that's relationship! (50) Ch 3: YOUR CALLING MATTERS Superstition story from the East [Going to be a politician!] (53) Dwight Gooden story [success to drugs]. (55) John Howard, contemporary of Wilberforce, prison reform. A calling is simply God's shaping of your burden and beckoning you to your service to him in the place and pursuit of his choosing. (58) God reinforces his call as we respond to his nod. (60) 'Each of us is 3-4 generations from being forgotten." (66) Pgs 70-4: Ch 4: YOUR MORALITY MATTERS ??? Ch 5: YOUR SPIRITUALITY MATTERS "It used to be said, 'It can't be wrong when it feels so right.' Now it may be said, 'If you believe it, it has to be right.'" (93) "As I was growing up in India, I read a story about a man who had two idols in his home. One was large and rather fierce looking. The other was small, with a cheery face. Every day the father would carry out his worship rituals--placing fruit offerings before the idols and chanting hymns while the son watched with great curiosity. Finally the son asked, 'Why are you talking to stones?' The father was clearly upset...One day the father went to work and the son smashed the small idol to pieces. Then he took the stick and placed it in the hands of the big idol. When the father came home he was stunned and yelled, 'Who did this? What happened here?' The son came running and blamed it on the big idol, since he has a stick in his hands. This infuriated the father, who said, 'he couldn't have done it! Because he is made of stone. He can't move. There's no life in him!' Then the son dropped his act and said, 'That's what I've been trying to tell you, haven't I?'" (93-94) "In fact, the people had even set up an extra altar, just in case they had missed some deity and offended it (see Acts 17:16, 23). This is precisely the nature of spirituality today" (95). "How has Islam persuaded millions that the only way to pray is to turn in the direction of Mecca and that you have to do it five times a day? (The original revelation to Muhammad called for prayer fifty times a day, but he interceded and got it reduced to five.)" (96) The skeptics are partly right that religion can be born out of fear and superstition. How can we counter the charge, and how do we rescue ourselves from pursuing spirituality for spirituality's sake? (96) Jesus challenged three different types of spirituality: traditionalism, legalism, and superstition. Each has its own particular attraction and error. (96) Superstition and ritual may have innocent beginnings, like wading into what one thinks is a shallow pool, but its undercurrent will paralyze true worship. (102) Remember the story of the Philippine 'faith healer' who 'healed' a 12 year-old by 'digging' out the cancer...it was eventually placed in a jar for all to see. (103-104) How does one find the right threads to bring about the perfect design? By far, the most important thread is truth--and yet the death of truth has been the single greatest casuality of our time. In no segment of our society can we survive without truth. In each of these ways of looking at reality, unfortunately, one thread dominated and obliterated the others. In rationalism it was reason above all else. In empiricism it was scientific single-vision. In existentialism it was the triumph of the will in the face of despair. In postmodernism it was the absence of absolute truth as something that is possible to know. God remarkably gives each one its rightful place. (104-5) Think of Robert Shapiro's response on Larry King's show (after O.J. Simpson was acquitted) when asked, 'What do you think is the truth about that night, Bob?' Shapiro answered cavalierly, 'It's not our job to deal with the truth, Larry.' One wonders if Mr. Shapiro would have felt the same emotional distance from the truth had his daughter been the murder victim. (105) Pilate asked the most important question of all time: 'What is truth?' (108) Did you know that two major universities in the United States (Southern Methodist University and Johns Hopkins University) use Jesus' words [John 8:32: 'The truth will set you free.'] as their motto?But it seems they have failed to remember Jesus' preceding words: 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free' (verses 31-32). Our society has struggled ...and concluded that truth cannot be known, especially when it comes to ultimate matters. Jesus challenges this assumption. ( Spirituality does not give relevance to life; rather, truth gives relevance to spirituality. 109) Ch 6: YOUR WILL MATTERS Check out the September 1985 Readers Digest story "Letter in the Wallet" by Arnold Fine. It explains how people's willpower can be so completely strong and devoted. Certain keys to the will can unlock the huge potential God has placed within human power. Rightly understood, it yields humility; wrongly understood, it yields arrogance. 3 scenes in the Bible put the will at the center of the discussion. (115) 1) Writing down your purpose [Joshua 24:15] When John Wesley asked his mom to define sin, she said, "Son, whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things; in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the Spirit, then that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself." (118) [another example] David Livingstone prayed, "Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any ties but the tie that binds me to your service and to your heart." (119) 2) Doing what's right Revealing, knowing and doing--these are the implicit ideas. In this context, we learn that God really does reveal his will; and if we walk in the known will of the Father, he reveals aspects of his will not so easily known. The hard part is to do that part of his will we already know. ...the most important aspect of the Spirit's presence: the power that he gives us to do God's will. (120) 3) It can be done See Jeremiah 35. [Here Jeremiah goes into the Temple to get wine for the Recabites. But they were told generations ago to avoid wine and buildings. God does this to show that if they do this for earthly fathers, why can't his people do that for Him?] 4) Submitting to God's will Self-crucifixion. "To this day I am absolutely convinced that when you work under God's will and your will submits to that will, you become a different person before people. (122) The ABCDs of a willful walk with the Lord: Ask without pettiness [Luke 11] Being before doing [God is the eternal 'I AM'] Time, contingency, and name give us our identity. To 'be'=I am a child of God related to my heavenly Father. I must be this child in my own understanding. I am not my own. I belong to him. Resting in that knowledge, I know what it is to be his. I should pursue doing God's will, then, and by his grace he will enable my will. (126) Convictions without compromise [See Genesis 39:9] A conviction is not merely an opinion. It is something rooted so deeply in the conscience that to change a conviction would be to change the very essence of who you are. (127) Discipline without dreariness [But think of the benefits of discipline] ONE FINAL WARNING Old adage: 'When you sow a thought you reap an act; when you sow an act you reap conduct; when you sow conduct you reap character; when you sow character you reap a destiny.' (128) Illustration: 2 Samuel 23:15-17. What if he reacted the same way when he saw Bathsheba. G.K. Chesterton once said that there are many angles at which you can fall and only one angle at which you can stand straight. (129) Ch 7: YOUR WORSHIP MATTERS There's a story in India that says a rich man went into a village to buy it. One by one, people sold off their property except for an old, stubborn man in the middle. He offered to double it, then again, but to no avail. Then he brought in the former residents and they showed off what they did with their money from their huts/shacks. Then one said, 'I hope he isn't telling you he owns the entire village because he doesn't. That belongs to me.' In the same way, all too often the enemy of our souls taunts us in our worship of God; one little part of us still belongs to someone other than God. This thread of worship binds together all the rest of the threads in the design of our lives. We cannot see the pattern if this thread goes missing. If this thread breaks, the whole design falls apart. If this thread is absent, nothing holds the design together when it comes under stress or gets strained by tension. (132-3) 3 principle realities combine in worship: mystery, community, and liturgy. 1) Mystery. The term mysticism has been redefined lately because [Deepak Chopra] has been so influential. He says things like 'Your hands must be full and your head empty.' If you asked him what is so revolutionary about his message, he would say, 'A new technique in breathing.' [This is so reductionistic.] (134) The truth is when we lose mystery, our worship becomes merely a grocery list of actions and pronouncements. 2) Community. Sociologist Daniel Yankelovich wrote an article on America's search for answers. He defined culture as "the effort to provide a coherent set of answers to the existential situations that confront all human beings in the passage of their lives." A cultural revolution is "a decisive break from the shared meanings of the past." (137) Think of 'shared meanings of the past' and how that describes a family, a community. Inside jokes come from this. We are also supposed to be a healing community. Think of Ravi's story of the nurse who hurt his back even more after his surgery. But he did similar things with words in the past. 3) Liturgy. 5 main components of worship: the Lord's Supper, teaching, prayer, praise, and giving. Thomas Merton said, "We cannot be at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we cannot be at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God." Brokenness describes the human condition. W can never find unity until we find the reason for the brokenness. Taking part in the Lord's Supper can renew fellowship with God, which then renews human relationships. Marriage is an expression of worship because the two become one. Merton also said, "I left the altar rail and went back to the pew where the others were kneeling like four shadows, four unrealities, and I hid my face in my hands. In the temple of God that I had just become, the once eternal and pure sacrifice was offered up to the God dwelling in me. The sacrifice of God to God. Now, Christ born in me, a new Bethlehem, and sacrificed in me his new Calvary, and risen in me: offering me to the Father, in himself, asking the Father, my Father and his, to receive me into his infinite and special love--not the love he has for all things that exist, for mere existence is a token of God's love, but the love of those creatures who are drawn to him in and with the power of his own love for himself." This is the mystery, the majesty, and the grandeur of holy Communion--God's love shed in our hearts to keep us from fragmentation and dissolution. (142-3) Teaching=Ravi tells the story of what is a symbol of what has happened to the church in worship (144-5). Then he went to the 100th anniversary of the Welsh revival and people hadn't been to church in 25 years. The song of Evan Roberts (whose preaching triggered the revival), "Here is Love as Vast as the Ocean," had replaced teaching and now most people had not been to church in twenty-five years. If you don't believe the arts of worship have replaced teaching, ask a teen to show you, using the Bible, the plan of salvation, and then ask them to cite the top songs. They will likely feel more comfortable with the latter. Prayer=In our understanding of prayer, I fear we take one finger of it and think we have the whole fist (See story by Indian Christian mystic Bakht Singh who was asked by a Hindu to pray for rain). Sometimes people come to others to pray, why not tech them to pray as well? Praise=See Malachi 1:13, which has to be the ultimate insult: the finite had found the Infinite boring, that the creature had found the Creator insufficient! Giving=The Israelites brought their leftovers to God (Malachi 1:7-14) instead of bringing their best. To consume the best for yourself and give the crumbs to God is blasphemy. Ch 8: YOUR DESTINY MATTERS There is something special about the human touch--ask the apostle Thomas. Hedonist Oscar Wilde wrote 'De Profundis,' in the darkness of his fears said something fascinating: Out from the mist, from the mist, I cry, Let not my soul in numbness die! My life is furled in every limb, And my existence groweth dim. My senses all like weapons rust, And lie disused in endless dust. I may not love, I may not hate, Slowly I feel my life abate. Oh, would there were a heaven to hear! Oh, would there were a hell to fear! Ah, welcome fire, eternal fire, To burn forever and not tire! Better Ixion's whirling wheel, And still at any cost to feel! Dear Son of God, in mercy give My soul to flame, but let me live! Wilde begged God not to take away his capacity to feel, even if it was just to burn...To not feel is to be dead in the truest sense of the term. To feel is to be alive. (162) C.S. Lewis masterfully expressed the longings of the human heart in his essay The Weight of Glory: In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find ourselves in even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you--the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. (163) See the letter written by Koos Fietje's daughter (a friend from undergrad who was martyred in Thailand). His legacy is 20 year after his death, 18 churches formed, amongst other things. (168-9) EPILOGUE: Charles Wesley prayer: O Thou who camest from above, the pure celestial fire to impart; kindle a flame of sacred love upon the mean altar of my heart. There let it for thy glory burn, with inextinguishable blaze, and trembling to its source return, in humble prayer and fervent praise. Jesus, confirm my heart's desire to work and speak and think for thee; still let me guard the holy fire, and still stir up thy gift in me. Ready for all thy perfect will, my acts of faith and love repeat, till death thy endless mercies seal, and make my sacrifice complete. (173)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joy Stalder

    I so appreciate Ravi Zacharias! He writes in a very personal and compassionate way, with lots of illustrations, and never compromises the message of the Gospel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul J.

    Are our lives just random and meaningless strands of thread, or could they possibly be precise designs woven with remarkable care, thought, and intent? So begins the dust-jacket blurb on The Grand Weaver, and this book does a very good job digging into that questiona question that Ive asked many times, as Im sure most people have. I enjoy listening to Zacharias on the radio, but this is the first book of his that Ive read. Hes a great storyteller, and in each chapter I found myself captivated by “Are our lives just random and meaningless strands of thread, or could they possibly be precise designs woven with remarkable care, thought, and intent?” So begins the dust-jacket blurb on “The Grand Weaver”, and this book does a very good job digging into that question…a question that I’ve asked many times, as I’m sure most people have. I enjoy listening to Zacharias on the radio, but this is the first book of his that I’ve read. He’s a great storyteller, and in each chapter I found myself captivated by the tales (real and apocryphal) he shares. The book is eight chapters long, each chapter dealing with an aspect of your life that “matters”…for example, your DNA, your calling, your morality, your destiny. Maybe it’s my A.D.D. talking, but some of the chapters bordered on a bit long for me. Zacharias is very intelligent and thorough, and this is a book that I’m definitely going to have to revisit at least one more time. The highlights of the book for me were the chapters dealing with our DNA (our family of origin, background, etc.) and our worship (guess the interest there is a given for me). This would be a great book to give to someone that wants to believe in God, but they just have those nagging “If there IS a God, then…” type of questions. For me, it was encouraging in some places, convicting in others, but overall, a great reminder that God IS in control and our lives DO matter.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim Ainsworth

    This is my first read of Zacharias and I found his writing style pleasing and open. The book addresses the question of whether the threads of our lives are accidentally tangled or intentionally arranged. I am not sure if he completely answered that question, but he certainly offers valuable insight. I have written many times (as have others) that life is lived forward, but understood backward. In a section called Hindsight, the author offers excellent insight. God reinforces his call as we This is my first read of Zacharias and I found his writing style pleasing and open. The book addresses the question of whether the threads of our lives are accidentally tangled or intentionally arranged. I am not sure if he completely answered that question, but he certainly offers valuable insight. I have written many times (as have others) that life is lived forward, but understood backward. In a section called Hindsight, the author offers excellent insight. “God reinforces his call as we respond to his nod. If we were to see the final design in prospect, we would find ourselves acting on the basis of self-love and pragmatism—and then who would need faith? God often reinforces our faith after we trust Him, not before.” In his ABCDs of a willful walk with the Lord, he puts forth: “Ask without pettiness, Being before doing, Convictions without compromise, and Discipline without dreariness.” And then this—“Hardly anyone likes the word discipline. It is both the blessing and the bane of our lives”. Though he does not delve deeply, I learned a lot about other religions and more about the story of two of Abraham’s sons, Isaac and Ishmael, whose descendants are now wreaking havoc on the world. This book is worth your time. I will read his other books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cyril Danthi

    I have listened to many podcast of Ravi Zacharias, listening to his lectures brings a kind of eagerness as he relates the life with scriptures to get engaged for a Purpose. I didnt know that Ravi would be meeting God, on the day, when I started reading this book Grand Weaver. In the introduction of the book Wander Weaver, the author simply asks why has God made it so difficult to believe in him? This can be a common metaphor for many of the believers, especially in the difficult and struggling I have listened to many podcast of Ravi Zacharias, listening to his lectures brings a kind of eagerness as he relates the life with scriptures to get engaged for a Purpose. I didn’t know that Ravi would be meeting God, on the day, when I started reading this book “Grand Weaver”. In the introduction of the book – Wander Weaver, the author simply asks “why has God made it so difficult to believe in him? This can be a common metaphor for many of the believers, especially in the difficult and struggling time. This book is around Gods design and is mysterious intervention in our lives to know the specific purpose for each one of us. The authors belief that God intervenes in the lives of everyone and God speaks to us in different ways and at different times. The book is about calling for each of us, designed to fulfil each individual uniqueness. Once you being to see Gods hand in our life, we will know that his workmanship within us and through you was tailor made, just for you. That’s why the title of the book Grand Weaver. I have tried to summarize these 8 chapters. Chapter – 1: DNA Matters: Gods gifts are unique and these gifts even when in flaw has a great message to convey. It depends upon the way one view and treasure the gift. It reminds that each person is unique and special but not flawed. # Accepting and celebrating the thread of your own personality is the first grasp of the Grand Weaver’s design in your life. You are not a number. He knows you by name. Every stage of the process may not look picturesque, but every detail will come into focus and possess its share of beauty. Chapter – 2: Your Disappointments: Every individual born in this earth will undergo pain and suffering and disappointments in their own way. There cannot be a measurement to know who suffered more main and who had highest disappointments. We always feel that we are carrying the heavy burden, compared to others and author narrates a beautiful story of Golden Window. One can observe the patterns of the disappointments and take three distinct steps in this journey before the pattern becomes visible and we being to see the work of God. The author suggests three steps in this journey before the pattern becomes visible to see the work of God 1. Involves the heart: Three things happen to heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken or it will be tender. God the grand weaver seeks those with tender hearts sothat he can put his imprints on them. Your hurts and disappointments are part of that design, to share your heart and the way you feel about reality. A heart is close communion with God helps carry out through the pain, beyond the power of words. 2. Involves the Mind Brain is to the body and the mind is to the soul. Faith is a thing of the mind. The entire finaicnal structure depends on credit, trust, confidence, belief and faith. 3. Finding the road Chapter -3: Your Calling Matters Immense success does not always bring meaning or fulfilment. A calling is simply God’s shaping of your burden and beckoning you’re to your service to him in the palace and pursuits of his choosing. It is God’s vital purpose in positioning you in life and giving you the vocation and context of your vall to serve him with a total commitment to do the job well. God trained Moses in a palace to use him in a desert. He trained Joseph in a desert to use him in a palace. Some come through winding paths, some through the nicely paved road of privileged birth or influential friends. Others come through the visitation of circumstances with wandering and sudden signposts. Finding one’s calling is one of the greatest challenges in life, especially when one has gifts that fan out in many directions. One simply cannot know one’s call without coming near to God in prayer. The purpose of prayer and of God’s call in your life is not to make you number one in the worlds eyes, but to make him number one in your life. The second significant clue - the willingness to be outshone while shining for God. Humility is the touchstone of serving God. The preparation for the call through prayer and the attitude of living out the call in humility, takes the final step. Chapter – 4: Your Morality Matters: The fundamental difference between a naturalist worldview and a religious worldview is the moral framework. The first four of the ten commandments have to do with our worship of God, while the next six deals with our resulting responsibilities to our fellow human beings. These commandments base a moral imperative on our spiritual commitment, first towards God and second towards humanity. Morality is the fruit of your knowledge of God, conscious or otherwise. Morality can build pride as well philanthropy true spirituality will never submit to pride. Chapter – 5: Your Spirituality Matters: Jesus challenged three different types of spirituality; Traditionalism, legalism and superstition. Spiritual seduction is the deadliest of all seductions because it barters away the soul. Truth is the thread that separates true spirituality from false spirituality. Chapter -6: Your will Matters: We must take hold of God’s promise to bless us. The gospel declares that the Holy Spirit brings about the new birth and that because of the Spirits power within us, we gain the ability to do God’s will. Wilful walk with the lord – Ask without Pettiness | Being before Doing | Convictions without Compromise | Discipline without Drudgery. Chapter -7: Your worship Matters Worship is coextensive with life. Worship is ultimately seeing life Gods way. Three principal realities combine in worship; Mystery, Community and Liturgy. Chapter – 8: Your Destiny Matters: The cemetery new or old is not our ultimate destination; it is merely a place in which to remember the symbols of a farewell. The person is not there; only the last memory is there. The respect shown in a cemetery comes not becomes it is home, but because it is where we bid believing loved ones a temporary good bye. A wonderful book, with a beautiful flow with real life’s stories that connects with present experiences or few heard stories make this awesome read and reflection.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    Zacherias brings his usually clarity and eloquence to the topic of living as a called follower of Christ in the ebb and flow of life. The style of this book lends itself to inspired thinking. There are ample anecdotes that exemplify what the writer is attempting to argue, yet there is a clear attachment to Scripture on each of the key themes of the book. At the center of this work is the belief that biblical living is the supreme anecdote to our modern lifestyle that is void of overarching Zacherias brings his usually clarity and eloquence to the topic of living as a called follower of Christ in the ebb and flow of life. The style of this book lends itself to inspired thinking. There are ample anecdotes that exemplify what the writer is attempting to argue, yet there is a clear attachment to Scripture on each of the key themes of the book. At the center of this work is the belief that biblical living is the supreme anecdote to our modern lifestyle that is void of overarching purpose. Zacharias demonstrates how worship, calling, work and social engagement must have a vertical dimension to make them truly Christian. There is ample apologetical materials (which is to be expected from this writer) yet it is essentially addressed to the Christian community. What I appreciate most about the book is the blend of Zacharias' cultural/intellectual diversity into a view of God and life that is very practical. For all the high minded concepts that The Grand Weaver addresses, this book is filled with practical suggestions for living the love of Christ in our times. I definitely recommend this book for all those serious about their calling in Christ.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David J. Harris

    Life is not meaningless. That's a claim with which all Christians will heartily agree. Yet we don't always talk as if it is the case, and we often don't think as if it was true. As the author points out in an opening illustration, we often respond to news of a terrible event or disappointment with the words "that's life," as if to say that the grand sum of things in this life is made up of disconnected purposeless events. In this book, Gospel preacher, author and apologist Ravi Zacharias takes Life is not meaningless. That's a claim with which all Christians will heartily agree. Yet we don't always talk as if it is the case, and we often don't think as if it was true. As the author points out in an opening illustration, we often respond to news of a terrible event or disappointment with the words "that's life," as if to say that the grand sum of things in this life is made up of disconnected purposeless events. In this book, Gospel preacher, author and apologist Ravi Zacharias takes several different "threads:" threads that are thought to be insignificant unrelated details of our lives. These threads include elements such as our personality, will, worship, disappointments, vocation and even destiny. Ravi demonstrates how these things are not meaningless, but rather meaningful, and how God weaves all of these threads together as the great Designer, assembling His workmanship for His glory. This was an edifying book that helped reorient my view of God's providence by helping me see its place in all things. It also helped me see how I often think too little of things which God has infused with meaning.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Will Robinson Jr.

    Ravi Zacharias is probably one of the most renowned teacher and speaker on Christian Apologetics. I always enjoy reading his books and watching the forums he speaks at on various college campus. He has a fierce passion and intelligence for people and defending belief in Christ. This book is exceptional. Ravi guides the reader into a clear understanding of the grand plans God has for each of us. He takes the time to answer the hard and deep questions of life, Like the purpose of suffering and why Ravi Zacharias is probably one of the most renowned teacher and speaker on Christian Apologetics. I always enjoy reading his books and watching the forums he speaks at on various college campus. He has a fierce passion and intelligence for people and defending belief in Christ. This book is exceptional. Ravi guides the reader into a clear understanding of the grand plans God has for each of us. He takes the time to answer the hard and deep questions of life, Like the purpose of suffering and why we need a God. This book is especially good for those skeptics of the Christian faith and those who claim to be atheist but are still hungry to have their personal philosophies challenged. I really love how Ravi not only uses the Bible but uses real life experiences, other philosophers and even renowned intellectual skeptics to build a case for the understanding of why God is the grand weaver. I feel it is also great that he expands on the differences between the Eastern and Western worlds concerning the supernatural. This book really increased my understanding of the nature of God.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mmtimes4

    How differently would we live if we believed that every dimension of our livesfrom the happy to the tragic to the mundanewere part of a beautiful and purposeful design in which no thread were wrongly woven? That's what best-selling author and internationally-known apologist, Ravi Zacharias, explores in The Grand Weaver. As Christians, we believe that great events such as a death or a birth are guided by the hand of God. Yet we drift into feeling that our daily lives are the product of our own How differently would we live if we believed that every dimension of our lives—from the happy to the tragic to the mundane—were part of a beautiful and purposeful design in which no thread were wrongly woven? That's what best-selling author and internationally-known apologist, Ravi Zacharias, explores in The Grand Weaver. As Christians, we believe that great events such as a death or a birth are guided by the hand of God. Yet we drift into feeling that our daily lives are the product of our own efforts. This book brims with penetrating stories and insights that show us otherwise. From a chance encounter in a ticket line to a beloved father's final word before dying, from a random phone call to a line in a Scripture reading, every detail of life is woven into its perfect place. In The Grand Weaver, Dr. Zacharias examines our backgrounds, our disappointments, our triumphs, and our beliefs, and explains how they are all part of the intentional and perfect work of the Grand Weaver.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tim Sheppard

    I enjoy reading about all of Ravi's experiences and he brings out the differences between worldviews so clearly. I thought the book wimped out a bit in the end, but the middle parts were worth it. Especially his discussion of morality and how Jesus is central. He has a chapter on spirituality and talks about the failings of legalism, traditionalism, and superstition. He has some awesome stories to go along with these and then says this, too after referencing Matt. 12 - In effect, Jesus said that I enjoy reading about all of Ravi's experiences and he brings out the differences between worldviews so clearly. I thought the book wimped out a bit in the end, but the middle parts were worth it. Especially his discussion of morality and how Jesus is central. He has a chapter on spirituality and talks about the failings of legalism, traditionalism, and superstition. He has some awesome stories to go along with these and then says this, too after referencing Matt. 12 - In effect, Jesus said that he is greater than religion, greater than any religious teacher, and greater than any miracle. True spirituality is not a religion, a guru, or a miracle. True spirituality must follow where all these lead in ultimate truth - and that is to Jesus Christ alone. He goes on to talk about Jesus and Pilates question about truth and how Pilate felt good about asking the question, but really didn't want to listen for (or to) the answer - Jesus.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Minnie

    "Eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil basically gave humanity the power to redefine everything. God had given language, identification, and reality to humankind. He imparted to humans the power to name the animals. But essential to the created order was a moral framework that the creation was not to name or define. This was the prerogative of the Creator, not of the creation. I believe that this is what is at stake here. Does mankind have a right to define what is "Eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil basically gave humanity the power to redefine everything. God had given language, identification, and reality to humankind. He imparted to humans the power to name the animals. But essential to the created order was a moral framework that the creation was not to name or define. This was the prerogative of the Creator, not of the creation. I believe that this is what is at stake here. Does mankind have a right to define what is good and what is evil? Have you never heard this refrain in culture after culture: “What right does any culture have to dictate to another culture what is good?” Embedded in that charge is always another charge: “The evil things that have happened in your culture deny you the prerogative to dictate to anyone else.” ... God is the author of moral boundaries, not man and not culture."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I keep a framed note from my oldest child in which she shares with me a list of things she loves about me. The note closes with: "Even though you are so weird with your beautiful things. But I still love you." I try to drive home to them that we are surrounded by beautiful things and, in the spirit of remaining grateful, we should notice them. We gravitate towards ordinary things that are often overlooked, but if you take a moment, you can see their beauty. The girls hoot, "Remember when you I keep a framed note from my oldest child in which she shares with me a list of things she loves about me. The note closes with: "Even though you are so weird with your beautiful things. But I still love you." I try to drive home to them that we are surrounded by beautiful things and, in the spirit of remaining grateful, we should notice them. We gravitate towards ordinary things that are often overlooked, but if you take a moment, you can see their beauty. The girls hoot, "Remember when you said your salad was beautiful?!" But it was! I was reminded the importance of teaching this to my children (and myself) while reading The Grand Weaver. Ravi Zacharias makes a strong case that God uses all parts of ourselves (the good, the bad, & the ugly) to weave us into living a meaningful life. Bonus: This is one of the best audio voices ever! So entertaining!

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