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12391783_10153896933934063_1370699690669412725_nMARY, DID YOU KNOW?12345634_10208183142242404_5058561542345176667_n

Matthew 1:16, 18,“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:  When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost.”

 

Luke 2:7-19 – “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:  and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

 

skipslighthouse.blogspot.com/2015/12/mary-did-you-know.html

Bill & Gloria Gaither – Mary, Did You Know? [Live] ft. Mark Lowry

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SAME JESUS – DIFFERENT REACTIONS

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just as it had been prophesied concerning the Messiah, 700 years earlier (Mic. 5:2).  His birth would be miraculous in that His mother would be a virgin (Isa. 7:14).  He would be from the lineage of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David (Gen. 3:15; 12:3; 17:19; Num. 24:17; Gen. 49:10; Jer. 23:5).  There is little doubt that Jesus was Israel’s long-awaited Messiah! And if the Old Testament prophecies were not enough to show His true identity, we have the reaction of those involved with Him the first eight days of His life.  The following examples all come from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke.1482924_10152143584510775_1533230295_n *  The Angels of the Lord at the announcement of Christ’s birth to lowly shepherds:  “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (2:13-14).294810_535593889819545_1876234634_n *   The shepherds, after seeing the Christ child: 

“And when they had seen [Him], they

made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child” (2:17). 1464610_750125815015509_1841342734_n

*  Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Christ:

 “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (2:19).

*  Simeon, who had been promised by God that he would not die until he had seen Israel’s Messiah:

  “Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word:  for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation” (2:29-30).

  And he prophesied concerning Mary’s future grief (2:34-35).

*  Anna, a prophetess, reacted as well, for the Word says,

“And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (2:38).

As can be seen from these five examples, not everyone reacts the same.

  But they all have one thing in common:  from the moment they meet Him,

He becomes the center of our thoughts and their conversations!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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1527022_752435308117893_1977815790_n CHRIST’S BIRTH, AS I UNDERSTAND IT

A virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, was

pregnant with the Son of God, which was the result of the miraculous
working of the Holy Spirit.  When Joseph, to whom she was engaged, found
out, he, being a just man and not wanting her to be stoned to death for
having committed adultery, was trying to think of how he could quietly
break off their engagement. 

But while he was thinking about it, he fell asleep, and the Angel of the
Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, of the family of
David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife.  The Child she is
carrying is a miracle, conceived of the Holy Spirit.  And she shall
bring forth a Son, and you are to call His name JESUS: for He shall save
His people from their sins.” 

Now all this was done that Isaiah 7:14 might be fulfilled, which was
spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall
be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call
His title, “Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”  [Note:  Mary’s
pregnancy, like all pregnancies, involved a child, not a fetus, not an
embryo, not even a fertilized egg; she was with Child!]

When Joseph woke up, he did as the Angel of the Lord had told him,
and he married Mary.  And Mary remained a virgin until she gave birth
to her firstborn Son: and Joseph called His name

“JESUS” (Mt. 1:18-25).
And there were, in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.  And suddenly, the Angel of the
Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord surrounded them: and
they were so afraid.  And the Angel said unto them, “Fear not: for,
behold, I bring great news, which shall be a blessing to all people.
Just as the Word of God promised, your Messiah, Christ the Lord, has
been born today in Bethlehem, the City of David.”  

And this is
how you will recognize Him; you will find the Baby wrapped in a
receiving blanket, lying in an animal’s feed trough.  And suddenly,
there was with the Angel, a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth, peace and good will
to all men.”  And it came to pass, after the angels were gone, the
shepherds said one to another,
“Let us go and see this thing which has
happened, this thing which the Lord hath made known unto us.”

And
when they arrived in Bethlehem, they found Mary and Joseph, and
the Baby was lying in an animal’s food trough, just as they had been
told. And when they had seen Him, they told everyone what they had been
told concerning the Child, Israel’s Messiah
(Lk. 2:8-17).

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Passion Week A. Friday/Saturday: Jesus arrives in Bethany

This post corresponds to the related Google map of Jesus’ Passion Week you can access here.

This is a telling of the Gospel story and event of Jesus and Mary who annointed Jesus’ head with oil, one week before he was to be crucified. The Gospel is told by C.J.Mahaney and transcribed by Alex Chediak for a Desiring God conference in 2007. You can read the entire message here

Extravagant Devotion

We then were asked to open our Bible’s to Mark 14:1-11. C.J. read the text. C.J. assured us that his text, Mark 14:1-11, revealed a truly historic moment as it contained a profound pronouncement. Nobody else except this woman receives this promise from the Savior: “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Why? Why her? Why now? Just her. Why her? C.J. wanted to help us discover “why her” so that we all might be affected by her.

The Mark 14 passage begins with disturbing descriptions of the chief priest: Only Jesus’ popularity and the threat of a riot slow have slowed them in their goal of killing him. That’s the backdrop to our passage. At the end of the evening, the chief priests will get some help from Judas.

The Alabaster Flask

And in between the intrigue of verses 1-2 and 10-11, there is a party taking place in Bethany. Jesus and his friends are gathered. They are in the home of “Simon the leper,” who – had he still been a leper – could not have been hosting the get-together. C.J. suggested he might have been previously healed by Jesus. John’s gospel, in a parallel passage, informs us that Lazarus was present, having recently been raised from the dead.

[C.J. joke: “Imagine being there with Lazarus. I’d find some way to recline next to him at some point in the evening. I’d have lots of questions for him. It’s not often you meet someone who has died. What was it like to die? Is it a bummer you have to do it again? What was heaven like? Who broke the news to you that you had to go back? How did they break the news to you? ‘Lazarus, your sisters won’t stop crying, now the Savior is crying, you’re going back, pal.’ And what was that like? Hearing the Savior say, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ Going from Paradise to the graveclothes. What was that like? If I’m disoriented by frequent travel, how disoriented is Lazarus?”]

John also tells us Martha is present; the quintessential servant, she is catering the party. And most important, the Savior is there. Presumably, he is the guest of honor. One would expect the atmosphere to be warm and friendly – there are no Pharisees or chief priests present. Only those with every reason to be grateful to Jesus are present (except perhaps Judas, who is still under the radar at this point).

Suddenly, a woman (John tells us it was Mary) stands by Jesus and proceeds to break an alabaster flask of very expensive perfume. She pours the entirety of its contents over his head. The fragrance fills the room. It was impossible to ignore this public, dramatic, passionate display of affection. The disciples do not appreciate this act, and they scold her. The scene is no longer festive. Suddenly there is a dramatic change in the mood and atmosphere. A voice says leave her alone.

The Savior then makes the profound promise: “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Why? Why does he make this promise to her at this moment? What she has done must be told wherever the gospel is preached, because Mary uniquely exemplifies the transforming effect of the gospel, which is extravagant devotion to the Savior. She demonstrates the effect of the gospel by her extravagant love for Jesus. She was to be an example of piety to the church universal throughout history. Her story is told so that we might evaluate if we have been appropriately and effectively transformed by the gospel. Not just applause, but application: We should evaluate ourselves in relation to her.

Two points to be drawn:

1. Extravagant devotion is an evidence of conversion.

Earlier in Mark’s gospel we encounter a teacher of law who is told, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). It was surely both an encouragement and a warning to this man. You are near, but not in. Well, it is clear that Mary’s not simply “near.” She’s “in.” Big-time. This is what being “in” looks like.

Where there is a profession of faith without affection for and obedience to the Savior, it’s authenticity should be questioned. Be assured if you are truly saved. If you have genuine affection for the Savior, and genuine obedience to the savior, then you can have fresh assurance.

C.J. expressed concern regarding the prevailing tendency among many in the church to grant false assurance to those who profess faith in the Savior, but whose lives bear no evidence to the miracle of regeneration (namely, affection for and obedience to Jesus Christ). C.J. lamented that in the U.S. evangelical church, it is quite common for someone to retain the lifestyle of those in the world, but with the (false) confidence that they possess eternal salvation.

Where does that confidence come from? In his novel The Painted House, John Grisham describes a Sunday school teacher eulogizing a mean character Jerry Sisco, killed the night before: “She made Jerry sound like a Christian, and like an innocent victim. As baptists we’d been taught that they only way you get to heaven is by accepting Jesus. Accept Jesus, or you went to hell. That’s where Jerry Sisco was, and we all knew it.” C.J. exhorted us not to emulate the example of this Sunday school teacher who gave false assurance to someone whose life displayed no evidence of salvation: affection or obedience. We are not serving the children we have the privilege to lead if we impart false assurance to them. Let us not encourage assurance where there is the absence of affection for, or obedience to, the Savior.

Given the size of this conference, C.J. noted, he would be remiss to assume that everyone present is genuinely converted. “I think I can assume most everyone here is, but given the large number, it would be unwise to assume that all are converted, and perhaps even now God is drawing near those who have maybe even made a profession of faith, are serving in children’s ministry, but without evidence of affection or obedience. There are other things you are more passionate about than the Savior. If that is a description of you, I would warn you right now to receive this plea as an expression of God’s mercy. If you are not genuinely converted recognize that God is demanding you to turn from your sins to the Savior for the forgiveness of your sins. Because extravagant devotion is an evidence of genuine conversion.” (My paraphrase of C.J.’s warning)

If I witness a person who is unaffected by truth, uninvolved in the local congregation, and uninterested in spiritual things, that individual is very unlike Mary, and therefore unconverted. Extravagant devotion to the Savior cannot be concealed. It must find expression. It is evidence of true conversion. This is the significance of Mary.

2. Extravagant devotion is the increasing experience of the converted.

C.J. asked us to consider if we recognized ourselves in the following illustration:

A woman took her children to the park to break the monotony of the summer days. Instead, she broke her heart. A young attractive woman skipped to a picnic table in a secluded spot. The mother wondered who she might be so eager to see. The mother grew preoccupied with her children and forgot to watch. But when she did look again, it made her heart hurt. The young woman was reading her Bible. She had so eagerly run from her car to meet the Lord. The mother knew she had lost this passion. Something had happened over the years of her walk with the Lord. She would not now be one to skip to meet the Lord. She wept in the park for her loss.

The question C.J. put to us is: Are we still skipping? Now all who are genuinely converted can, at times, recognize themselves in this illustration. In the Mark 14 episode, we are sometimes more like those criticizing Mary than we are like Mary.

What should have happened there in Mark 14? As Mary stood over the Savior pouring out the perfume, affectionately, passionately, appropriately, over His head….quietly, everyone present should have gotten up and formed a line behind her and should have said to her, “Mary, could you please save some for me to pour? For he has forgiven all of my sins. Mary, can I pour some? For he healed me of my leprosy. Mary, thank you for your example. Can I follow your example?” That’s what should have happened.

So who do you resemble more? The arrogant and critical disciples? Or humble Mary, expressing her love for the Savior through this extravagant display of affection. How can we become more like her? How can we cultivate extravagant devotion to Christ?

Application: We must review and reflect upon the gospel.

We must regularly read, and meditate upon, the gospel, particularly the events surrounding Christ’s death. The transforming effect of the gospel is extravagant devotion to the Savior. Therefore, if extravagant devotion is diminished, it normally means the gospel has been neglected. Charles Spurgeon said:

Are you content to follow Jesus from a distance? O, let me affectionately warn you for it is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Savior’s face. Let us work to feel what an evil thing this is – little love to our own dying Savior, little joy in our precious Jesus, little fellowship with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Don’t stop at sorrow. Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only can you get your spirit aroused. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let’s go again in all the rags and poverty, and defilement of our natural condition. Let’s clasp that cross, let’s look into those languid eyes, let’s bathe in that fountain filled with blood – this will bring us back to our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and the tenderness of our heart….The more we dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard the more noble our lives become. Nothing puts life into men like a dying Savior.

How often do we dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard? Those cries were all necessary because of our sins, and those cries were sufficient for our salvation. The transforming effect of those cries is extravagant devotion to the One who uttered those cries.

C.J. than cautioned that if we don’t intentionally review and reflect upon the gospel each day, we will inevitably review our own sin – and, consequently, be more aware of our sin that of God’s grace. Reflection upon sin should be a means, never an end. Cry out for grace, and be amazed by grace.

C.J. encouraged us to custom-design a play so that we can each day survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died. And express extravagant devotion each day through the experience of dwelling where the cries of Calvary can be heard.

If our affections have grown cold, C.J. suggested we consider restricting our spiritual diet to dwell where the cries of Calvary have been heard. Study a gospel, particularly the passion week. Study the Savior as he resolves to go to Jerusalem, as he is overwhelmed in the garden of Gethsemane, and contemplates the experience of God’s full and righteous wrath against sin.

C.J. movingly recounted Jesus’ words on the cross as we sat with eyes closed. He then encouraged us to have Christ-centered, Sunday school curricula, so that the attention of our children is drawn to Christ and Him crucified with regularity. Finally, he prayed that all present would be encouraged in their ministry and sense the Savior’s pleasure, even as we take appropriate measures to maintain our first love for Christ.

Books which C.J. commended for “dwelling where the cries of Calvary can be heard”:

J.I. Packer quote C.J. displayed:

The preachers’ commission is to declare the whole counsel of God; but the cross is the center of that counsel, and the Puritans knew that the traveler through the Bible landscape misses his way as soon as he loses sight of the hill called Calvary.

Reblogged from rodi in http://rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/passion-week-a-fridaysaturday-jesus-arrives-in-bethany-2/

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CHECK YOUR MANGER SCENE

 Have you ever noticed that most witnessing involves travel?  The Lord told His disciples to go (Mt. 28:19).  If we are to be witnesses for Jesus, we will have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel (Eph. 6:15)!  And if we are to be His witnesses, we ought to know the truth about our Lord’s miraculous birth. 

Jesus, the Savior, was born in the City of Bethlehem, “a little town” in Judea, to Mary, a virgin (Mt. 1:23; Lk. 1:27), who was from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, approximately seventy miles due North “as the crow flies.”  Joseph, the Lord’s soon-to-be stepfather, had accompanied his espoused wife on the arduous journey which must have taken several days (Lk. 2:4-5).  I am not sure of the route they took, but looking at a map of Israel, it is likely that Joseph and Mary travelled via the Jordon River Valley Road, east of the mountain range which runs the entire length of the country.  They could have travelled west of the range, but that would have taken them through the much-hated Samaria (Mt. 10:5; Lk. 9:52-53; Jn. 4:9).

Near the City of Bethlehem, there were shepherds tending their flocks (Lk. 2:8-20).  On the night He was born, the Angel of the Lord told them of the Savior’s birth, and they left their flocks and travelled to see Him.  The Scriptures say that after they had seen Jesus, they became His witnesses (testified about Him to others), and returning to their flocks, they glorified and praised God (Lk. 2:17, 20)

On the eighth day, Joseph took Jesus and Mary from the place they were staying in Bethlehem, and travelled to the temple in Jerusalem so that He could be circumcised according to Jewish Law (Lev. 12:3).  There, two witnesses saw the fulfillment of prophecies given to them by the Lord:  Simeon and Anna (Lk. 2:25-38).  Following their blessing of Jesus, Joseph took Jesus and Mary to live in Nazareth, their home (Lk. 2:39).

Some time must have passed before the wise men arrived to make their offerings to the King of the Jews, because by the time they arrived, the family was staying in a house in Bethlehem (Mt. 2:2, 11).  It is very likely that these travellers had arrived on the first of one of the Lord’s yearly trips to Jerusalem for the seven day Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, where His family would have been staying with family or friends (Lk. 2:41).  Based upon the fact that Herod had all the children of Bethlehem killed up to the age of two (Mt. 2:16), and that Jesus was no longer called a “babe” but was now called a “young child,” it is likely that Jesus was about a year old when the wise men arrived with their gifts.  Fearing Herod’s wrath, the wise men return home via a different route than the one they had used to get to Bethlehem (Mt. 2:12).   Although it is not stated, there is little doubt, thatin explaining their long journey, they were witnesses for Jesus. 

Following the Angel of the Lord’s warning and their sojourn in Egypt, most likely financed by the gifts of the wise men, Joseph took his family back to Nazareth (Mt. 2:21-23).  We have no indication that anyone in Egypt had a clue who was living in their country, so, it is doubtful that any of them became His witnesses.  Just as the wise men had done before, Joseph took an alternate route on his return to Nazareth (Mt. 2:22-23).

 Like the wise men, you and I are not witnesses of the Lord’s birth.

        But if we truly believe in Him, our birth will be a witness for the Lord! 

 http://skipslighthouse.blogspot.com/2012/12/check-your-manger-scene.html

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EXTRAVAGANT DEVOTIONS

 Read›

John 12:1-8
Mary took a twelveounce jar of expensive perfume made from
essence of nard, and she anointed Jesusfeet with it, wiping His feet with
her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance (v.3).

What is Jesus worth to you? Most Christians would
answer, “Everything.” But if He were here in
the flesh, would you sell all your possessions
and throw Him a $50,000 party? Would you sell a prized
family heirloom to fill His house with a million roses?
We can hardly imagine Jesus accepting such
generosity, especially in a world of hungry people. But
there was at least one time that He did.

In Jesus’ day, traveling preachers were often invited to
be the guest of honor at banquets. They gave a lecture
and were “paid” with food. One day, when Jesus was
honored at a special banquet, Mary, Jesus’ close friend,
prepared the food out of love, not to “pay” him. She also
brought a large jar of perfume that was worth a year’s
wages (probably a family heirloom). She cracked the
seal and began pouring the precious, expensive perfume
on Jesus’ feet, wiping them with her hair (John 12:3).

Feet were washed with water, not anointed with oil.
And a woman’s hair was to be kept out of the gaze
of men. But Mary’s worst sin, according to Judas, was
her extravagance at the expense of the poor (vv.4-5).
Everyone shamed her for it (Mark 14:5).

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied (John 12:7). “You
will always have the poor among you, but you will not
always have Me” (v.8). Since Jesus came for the poor
(Luke 4:18), blessed the poor (6:20), and taught others
to remember the poor (11:41, 14:13), something important was being taught
here. Someone even more important than the (very important) poor was here.
Mary’s actions ended up being more meaningful than she realized (John 12:7).
In her own way, Mary threw a $50,000 party for Jesus and filled His home
with roses.

He was that valuable to her.

—Sheridan Voysey

Jesus Anointing

Image via Wikipedia

more›

Read Luke 10:38-42 to see Mary’s devotion to Jesus expressed in
another way, and read John 11:1-44 to see one reason for her love.

next›

What is your most valuable possession? Would you sell it and

spend its value on Jesus? Why?

Daily Devotional – March 15, 2012

http://www.godtube.com/devotionals/our-daily-journey/daily-devotional-march-15-2012-extravagant-devotion.html?utm_source=GodTube%20Today&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=03/15/2012

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CAN PEOPLE TELL YOU ARE ENGAGED?

 


Born again believers are engaged in a war with the god of this world, with the prince of the power of the air, (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12). He is known by many names, but primarily as “the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan” (Rev. 20:2). And while he may be able to steal, kill, and destroy the lives of God’s children, he cannot separate us, that is, our souls from the love of God (Jn. 10:10; Rom. 8:35-39). He is fighting a war that he cannot win, and his end is already determined (Rev. 20:10)!

Born again believers are also engaged to be married. The Apostle Paul wrote, “… for I have espoused you to One Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2). In other words, the Church is engaged to Jesus Christ, and in the eyes of God, we are pure, or righteous, because He has made us so (Matt. 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Jn. 3:2-3).

Even though the marriage of the Church to Christ is yet future, for all practical purposes, we are already married to Christ. Using the relationship between Joseph and Mary as an example of how the Jews viewed marital engagement, we see that the Law considered engaged couples as already being married. Matthew wrote:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily” (Matt. 1:18-19).

“Betrothal,” getting engaged, included marriage vows, and a divorce was required to break the engagement (Wycliffe Bible Commentary p. 932). The woman was considered the man’s wife, and since Mary was pregnant by “Someone” other than Joseph, had he made it public, she would have been stoned to death (Deut. 22:23-30; Lev. 20:10).

Paul, in describing the perfect relationship between a husband and wife, used our relationship with God as a pattern. He wrote:

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:24-27).

According to the Book of Revelation, the Church will be officially married to Christ in heaven while the Tribulation is occurring on earth (Rev. 19:7-9). That means, we are espoused to Him now. We are engaged to Christ.

Do you live like you belong to Jesus, or you living in “spiritual adultery?”

http://skipslighthouse.blogspot.com/2012/03/can-people-tell-you-are-engaged.html

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