What is the best GPS? ∙

What is the best GPS?

I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me. – Psalms 86:7

Psalms 86:1-13

 1 O LORD, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help.

 2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God.

 3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly.

 4 Give me contentment, O Lord, for I give myself to you.

 5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

 6 Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD; hear my urgent cry.

 7 I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.

 8 No pagan god is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do!

 10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God.

 11 Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.

 12 With all my heart, I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever,

 13 for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death.

GPS, or the Global Positioning System, was invented by the U.S. Department of Defense (D.O.D) in 1973 primarily for military purposes. It was seen as a necessary addition for the U.S. military as an integral part of its deterrent to the ever-present nuclear threat. 24 satellites in orbital planes spaced 120 degrees apart, and their ground stations formed the original GPS. Using these man-made “stars” as reference points to calculate geographical positions, GPS was initially accurate to a matter of meters. Newer advanced technology has advanced accuracy to within a centimeter. It became fully operational in 1995. Civilians were allowed to use it beginning in the 1980s.

In the era of GPS systems, we are used to asking for directions and getting specifics and a map to guide us.

The Father has had a GPS in place for thousands of years. His advice is precise and accurate. It also anticipates all contingencies, both in the now and the future.

There is a vast difference between the modern GPS systems we carry on our cell phones or vehicles and the Father. It may be obvious, but it is worth saying. A GPS is merely an instrument, a tool that helps us to go from one place to another.

But the Father is the living being who interacts with us in time and space. We have the opportunity to be in a loving, personal relationship with Him. David was deeply in love with his Father God. Psalm 86 sparkles and shimmers with David’s love for the Father and his certainty of the Father’s love for him.

Because of that loving relationship with Father, David deeply desired to do whatever the Father was inviting him to do. He reiterated in his prayer the nature of their relationship, the love that he had for the Father, and the Father’s repeated faithfulness and kindness towards him. I doubt if we will ever talk to a GPS that way. And certainly would not respond out of love or concern for our welfare. Yet we often find ourselves totally dependent upon accurate advice and direction.

Psalm 86 is one of the many prayers of David when he is in a desperate situation and cries out to his Father God. His enemies are out to destroy him. David had a special relationship with the Father. After years of experience, he knew well the Father’s character and what He is like as a person. As a result, David had tremendous confidence in the Father’s love for him and willingness to protect him.

Based on the Father’s magnificent and delightful character, David appeals to Him. His prayer overflows with his knowledge and experience of the Father’s nature and personality. He is gracious, kind, good, forgiving, and abounding in mercy and lovingkindness. He is dependable and steadfast.


When we understand who the Father is and what He is willing to do, it is easy to trust and rely upon Him.

Father I want to live according to Your ways and participate in what You have for me to do. Please help me learn to stop seeking my own way and instead seek Yours.


So often, when we pray, we ask the Father to do what we think is best. Put another way; we ask Him to endorse our plans and carry them out. This is one of the main reasons our prayers are ineffective, we feel defeated, sad, or angry.

Effective prayer is praying that the Father’s Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is always about His plans. It is never about our plans or desires. The Father is always at work and invites us to participate with Him (Blackaby). Effective prayer is praying to participate in His plans. Effective prayer involves recognizing what the Father has in mind and asks us to do.

Our part in effective prayer is focusing on our walk with the Father. We need to clean up our act and get our motivations straightened out. We can do definite things that prepare us to hear His directions.

Self-check: A good self-check and cleansing should be our first step. We simply ask the Father if there is anything in our life that is hindering our prayers. Then, if He brings something to mind, we can receive His forgiveness and cleansing through confession (1 John 1:9).

Surrender: When our hearts are set on our own desires, things do not work out as we hope. We must exchange our desires for His. We yield our self-interest to the Father’s interest (Luke 22:42).

Spend time in the Word and wait: The Father has given us his Word as the firm foundation to rest our lives, security, and aspirations. The Father’s word is our light and guide. The more we become acquainted with the truths of Scripture, the clearer the way will become (Psalm 119:105). We must resist the urge to run ahead of the Father to get our own way.

Psalms 86:11-13

 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.

 12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever.

 13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great.

David wanted to walk in a manner that delighted and honored the Father.  He wanted to be one in heart with Him. “Unite my heart” means “I want to have an undivided heart, wholly fixed on the Lord.” A perfect heart is a sincere heart that loves God alone and is true to Him (Wiersbe).

Perhaps it is time to do some “recalculating’ of your destination and find a means to get there. We have access to a far more accurate and reliable GPS than we could ever imagine.

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© Dr. H 2022

Everyone understands desperation ∙

Everyone understands desperation

I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

Psalms 13:1-6 

 1 O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?

 2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

 3 Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.

 4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

 5 But I trust in your unfailing love, your lovingkindness. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.

 6 I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city, you go into the desperate country and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind” (Henry David Thoreau).

“Nowadays, most men lead lives of noisy desperation” (James Thurber).

When you are desperate, what should you do?

“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on” (Theodore Roosevelt).

David had a better idea. He often experienced frustration, fear, despair, and desperation. But he worked his way through it.

Over time he learned how to trust in the Father in all circumstances, even when he felt abandoned and alone. He was confident in the Father’s unfailing love. He acquired the habit of rejoicing in the midst of his difficult circumstances. – Psalm 13:5

When it seems our back is up against the wall, and we grow weary because of the unceasing challenges that life throws us, we often start to question. We question our own worth and identity. We question the faithfulness and loyalty of those around us. But most of all, we have serious questions and doubts about the Father’s love and involvement in our lives. Is He really there for us? So often, we ask, “Where is God while my life is falling apart? Why has God abandoned me?” (Johnston).

And so it was with David. Four times David entreats and challenges, “How long?”

How long will you forget me?

How long will you look the other way?

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul?

How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

How long do you ask the Father, “How long?”

David felt ignored and neglected, forsaken, and downcast. He was seeking the Father, but, in his despair, he began to think that the Father was hiding from him.

This is one of the strange things that the Father seems to do. As we grow and develop spiritual maturity, we get used to it and realize what it is all about as part of the maturation process. “At times we might feel as though God has slammed the door to heaven in our face. Yet these times do not last. Often, He is testing us to see if we will continue to follow Him, regardless” (Stanley).

Eventually, most of our questions are answered, gaining perspective and understanding. We gain wisdom that can only be obtained through periods of isolation.


David is frustrated and questions the Father. But then a transformation occurs. And his questions become prayers. And his prayers become worship. Remarkable

Father, thank You that there is nothing wrong with asking questions. Encourage me to allow my questions to become worship, praise, and confidence.


Most everyone understands and can identify with David’s desperation and doubts. Desperation has been with the human race since the time of the Fall. It is part of the curse. We live in a fallen world, and we are fallen creatures. But not everyone has found genuine help by turning to the living God, our heavenly Father. When we find ourselves in desperate, lonely situations, David shows us the way to find hope when there seems to be none. 

“The Christian life thrives on both memory and hope. We remember how God has shown us mercy in the past, and so we look forward to how He will save us in the future” (Stanley).

However great the pressure, the choice is still ours to make, not the enemy’s. The Father never changes; His lovingkindness is everlasting. David “entrusts himself to this pledged love and turns his attention not to the quality of his faith but to its object and its outcome, which he has every intention of enjoying. David’s certainty, faith exercised, looks back at the whole way he has been led” (Kidner).

Do not be afraid of asking difficult questions. The Father already knows what is in your heart.  He patiently and lovingly hears them all, even when you are angry. Often a miraculous transformation takes place as we transition from doubt to confidence. Voicing our doubts often becomes a spiritual catharsis. And we are set free from our desperation and isolation.

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© Dr. H 2022

Shallow repentance ∙

Shallow repentance

I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. – Hosea 6:6

Hosea 6:1-6

 1 Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces; now, he will heal us. He has injured us; now, he will bandage our wounds.

 2 In just a short time, he will restore us so that we may live in his presence.

 3 Oh that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.

 4 O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you? asks the LORD. For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight.

 5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces – to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light.

 6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

The Chrysler Corporation was founded as the Maxwell Motor Company Inc. in 1913. In 1925, Walter P. Chrysler took over control of the company. The Dodge Brothers, famous for their engines, joined him in 1928. Soon Chrysler was a major player in the U.S. automotive industry. All that changed in 1973 with the oil crisis. After decades of expansion, the company’s success came to a screeching halt. The skyrocketing cost of gasoline and tough new government regulations for emissions hit them especially hard.

Chrysler was known for its “muscle cars” in the 1960s. They built cars with powerful, gas-guzzling engines. Now virtually nobody wanted them.

By the end of the 1970s, Chrysler was in dire financial straits. Lee Iacocca, became Chrysler’s president and chairman of the board in 1978. Iacocca appealed for and received a federal loan. With the economy in shambles, Iacocca gambled that the federal government could not allow the third-largest carmaker in the United States to declare bankruptcy.

Iacocca’s gamble paid off. Chrysler was brought back from economic collapse and bankruptcy. With the funds, new life was breathed into the dying company.

Treasury Secretary Miller stated that the government “recognizes that there is a public interest in sustaining [its] jobs and maintaining a strong and competitive national automotive industry.”

The terms of the $1.5 billion in loans required Chrysler to raise another $2 billion on its own. Iacocca pulled it off by persuading union leaders to accept some layoffs and wage cuts, implementing extreme cost-cutting measures, and streamlining operations.

Lee Iacocca’s high-profile personal leadership, combined with a focus on more fuel-efficient vehicles, steered Chrysler to one of the most legendary corporate comebacks in modern times. He paid off the government loans ahead of schedule. In 1984, the company posted record profits of the neighborhood of $2.4 billion.

Chances are pretty good that no matter what happens to us, we will never be desperate enough to borrow $1.5 billion. But Chrysler’s difficulties did not occur overnight. Instead, it made a series of choices, often harmful, over time that resulted in dire circumstances.

The same is true in our own lives.

In the days of Hosea, circa 755-715 BC. The children of Israel had forgotten the Father. For all practical purposes, for them, “God was dead” (Psalm 10:4).

Psalms 10:4 The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.


The Father desires that we enjoy the personal experience of knowing and loyally loving Him.

Father I so easy to get caught up with things and forget You. Encourage me to seek You and walk with You daily.


When casually reading Hosea 6:1-3, one’s initial take might be that the people had gotten their act together and had repented. But their “repentance” was very shallow and fleeting. They were mouthing pious religious sentiments, but the reality behind them was totally absent. The Father saw right through their charade.

Hosea 6:1-3

 1 Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.

 2 He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.

 3 So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.

The Father knew they were just going through the motions. It was no more than a superficial, duplicitous subterfuge.

Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”

They were only pretending. It was like a childish game of “make-believe.” They appeared to be seeking the Lord and returning to him (Hosea 7:10). They put up a good front, but in fact they are speaking lies (Hosea 7:13). They were looking everywhere except to the Father (Hosea 7:16).

“Their concern was for healing and not for cleansing. They saw their nation in difficulty and wanted God to ‘make things right,’ but they did not come with broken hearts and surrendered wills. They wanted happiness, not holiness, a change of circumstances . . . [They] treated God like a celestial lifeguard who should rescue them from danger but not deliver them from their sins. They shed tears of remorse over their suffering, but not tears of repentance over their sin” (Wiersbe).

For them, the Father was like the legendary genie in a lamp, granting wishes when they rubbed it. They mistakenly believed that they were in a give-and-take relationship with Him. They gave what they misguidedly thought the Father wanted. In return, they expected to receive what they wanted.

Their “god” could be bought, manipulated by words, religious formulas, and superficial acts of religious devotion. And in their minds, their religious practices had a “money-back guarantee.” To paraphrase Hosea 6:3, “If we seek Him, His blessing is sure to come just as the dawn comes each morning and the rains come each spring and winter” (Wiersbe).

The Father was nothing more to them than a cosmic vending machine. Put in the right amount of money, press the right combination of keys, and out comes the desired result. They were indeed religious, but a relationship with the Father was abysmally and tragically absent.

The Father set the record straight for all time. Man-made religion with outward acts of devotion and cut-and-dried religious formulas recited a by rote were totally misguided.

Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. (c.f. Matthew 23:23-37)

Repeatedly in the Scriptures, the Lord tells us that while He has no desire for half-hearted religious ritual, He greatly desires hearts on fire for Him – those who will joyfully love God and love others (Stanley).

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© Dr. H 2022

First Responder ∙

First Responder

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. incline your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Psalms 46:1-2

 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of need.

 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological, motivational theory that explains the five levels of human needs. The five needs are physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. People are motivated to satisfy their needs in a hierarchical order beginning with the bottom physiological requirements.

It is part of our human DNA to seek safety. People want a safe and secure hiding place. All the more so during the era of 21st century “social distancing” and “shelter in place” precautions.

David sought such a safe place. But the marvelous thing is that he did not need to seek out a physical location. Instead, he needed only to look to his Father God, the King of the universe. As we read David’s story found in the Scriptures, David endured frequent and repeated threats. He was a hunted man. He was stalked by Saul and spent years fleeing from him. Yet David’s prayers revealed his close and intimate relationship with the Father and his profound confidence in Him. He realized early in life that true safety was found only in the loving-kindness of his Father God.

Psalms 17:8 Guard me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.

Safety and security are available for every child of the King. Confidence and peace are only moments away when we pray and reflect on the Father’s concern for us and readiness to come to our aid. David’s close intimate relationship with the Father and the confidence it brought him is available to each child of the King.

Hebrews 13:5 God has said, “I will never leave you. I will never abandon you.”

Because of our Father’s precious promises, we can have complete confidence and trust in Him daily. He is our “safe place.” He is to be there for us. He wants only for us to realize it and come to Him. God delights in all those who place their trust in Him. He considers each one of His children the apple of His eye, the object of His special devotion. They find both protection and shelter in His loving presence (Stanley).


Safety is not the absence of danger but the presence of God.

Father thank You that You are our “safe place.” Sometimes it seems our world and the peril it brings into our lives are threatening, overwhelming, and closing in. Yet You provide supernatural peace, serenity, assistance, and the strength to get us through.


Psalms 46:1-2

 1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

 2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.

The Psalms are often written against the background of personal anguish, fear, frustration, and hopelessness. People like David continually bring their everyday practical life issues to the Father in prayer and worship. He seeks help and the Father’s intervention at all times.

Psalms 46:1 was the inspiration for Martin Luther’s magnificent hymn, “A mighty Fortress is our God.” The Father is always ready to help. In our challenging, troubled times, He always has our back. “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold” (Helen Keller).

When the Father’s children take their refuge in Him, they find inner strength and the confidence to face whatever comes their way.

In our connected 21st century world, we are bombarded with worldwide upheavals, catastrophes, and disasters. Consider devastating weather, the onset of famines, plagues, and pandemics.

Without modern technology, the ancient world faced similar catastrophes without advanced warning. The most immutable and impregnable things in their world were the earth itself and the mountains (Kidner). Yet they could be tossed about as though they were mere like pebbles through the upheaval of violent earthquakes. Severe weather, drought, locust plagues, military invasion, local floods, and violent storms were always possible.

During such difficult times, we can be confident and unafraid. He is our strength, but what does that mean? He is there for us to keep us strong, powerful, secure, and brave.

He is our refuge, our fortress. What does that mean? “God is the one who protects us” or “God is the one who shelters us” (UBS). The Hebrew noun translated refuge is machaseh. A refuge is a fortress, often built at high elevations for protection. It is derived from the Hebrew verb chacah to be safe, to seek refuge. The Father is the one who takes care of us. The Father is the one who protects us from danger (UBS).

“He is first like a strong fortress into which a man may flee and be absolutely safe; He is at the same time an unfailing source of strength, enabling one to cope” (Leupold).

But there is more. The Father is not merely our fortress and able to help, He is eager to do so. We have only to invite Him.

The terms very present translates a phrase meaning “very accessible”; the verb means “be present, near.” He is “ever-present.” He is available and ready to be found and depended upon. He is not absent, distant, aloof, missing, or in hiding. And He is adequate for every situation. He is always on our side. And He is also by our side.

The Father is near and eager, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). “Much promised help from the world is worthless when trouble comes, but that is when God shines and performs so faithfully” (Butler). He is the ultimate “First Responder.” He runs toward danger.

On some days, we may feel as if our world has been shaken, and everything we depend upon will be cast into the sea. But if we put our hope in God, we have no need to fear because we have a refuge that can never be moved. (Stanley)

There is one more thing. Hebrew does not have a way of making characters bold, italicizing them, or underlining them for emphasis. Instead, Hebrew uses “word order” to indicate emphasis. The most important word in a sentence is often placed at the front. Psalm 46 begins with the word Elohim, “God.” This is intended to draw our attention to the Father. He is of utmost importance. Our needs, circumstances, and difficulties are a distant second.

When times are tough, we reach out to the Father. But we always need Him. Dependence upon Him should become our steady state.

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© Dr. H 2022

Recalculating ∙


In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9

Proverbs 16:1-3

 1 We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.

 2 People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.

 3 Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.

Have you ever been traveling in your vehicle and missed a turn? Then you hear the relatively passive-aggressive monotone words from your GPS “recalculating.” This little subtle reminder indicates that you are not following directions properly.

Perhaps a bit of GPS humor might help set the tone.

My GPS asked me how much I loved it. I replied, “Well, I’d be lost without you.”

My Dad kept using this GPS in his car, directing him to cliff edges. I think that is what led him to his downfall.

I tagged Waldo with a GPS device. Problem solved.

I recently gave my soulmate a new GPS for her car. I am not saying she is a bad driver, but after driving a bit with her new GPS, it blurted out, “After 400 feet, stop and let me out!”

One wise tip is not to set your “Home” address on your GPS to your actual home address. This is in case someone steals your car. They will know you are out and can then proceed to ransack your property. Instead, you should set the “Home” address to that of your local police station. That will teach the rascals a much-needed lesson.


“How do we commit our works to the Lord? Not merely by asking Him to bless what we’ve already done, but by committing ourselves and our plans to Him before, during, and after we have done our work” (Stanley).

How often do we bring unwarranted expectations to our experiences and aspirations? We develop our plans and timeframe and hope everything will go smoothly and turn out as desired. So often, expectations are unmet. Eventually, we come to realize that life does not work that way. This is even more true in the kingdom of God.

The Father often throws in totally unexpected and unanticipated events as He mysteriously works in our lives and circumstances. For example, recall the following events are found in the Scriptures: the burning bush; spending a night in the lion’s den totally unharmed; horses and chariots of fire; cryptic handwriting on a wall; prison doors and chains suddenly unlocked; and the parting of the Red Sea.  

We are unable to anticipate the unexpected. And so, it is on the spiritual level. The Father has a way of rerouting our lives, speeding things up, or slowing things down. Of course, He is not “recalculating.” He is simply actualizing His predetermined plan and dream for our lives.

Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, was well aware of what we today experience as “recalculating.” Recalculating is necessary on the human level when we make our plans without regard to the direction and guidance of the Father. Solomon, of course, did not have a GPS, but he knew all about recalculating. Solomon contrasts making plans apart from the Father’s input versus making plans as the Father directs.

We could paraphrase the comments of Solomon in Proverbs 16 as follows: we often make our own plans, but the Father has the final say; success comes when we determine to allow the Father’s plans to become our plans; we propose and aspire, but the Father will have the last word.

The best and wisest course of action is to ask the Father what He wishes to accomplish and what His plans are. When we receive divine guidance, we have a choice to make. We can choose to follow His direction and pray that it will be done as He desires.

So often in life, we have this exactly backward. We make plans, and then we pray and ask the Father to bless them. As they say in parts of the southern United States, “that dog will not hunt.” And we become very disappointed when He does not come through as we expect and hope. This often leads to discouragement and disillusionment. Anger usually follows along with bitterness, resentment, and separation.


Trade trust for frustration and disappointment. The Father will guide your way.

Father I recognize that I make plans without involving You, only to be extremely disappointed and discouraged when I do not get my own way. Help me trust You and depend on You to guide me step-by-step.


The Father is always at work around you. He has been actively involved in human affairs throughout history. In fact, He is orchestrating history. The Father invites you to become involved with Him in His work.

The Father is the sovereign ruler of the universe. He has been working throughout history to accomplish His purposes. He does not ask us to dream our dreams for Him. He does not invite us to set magnificent goals and then pray that He will help us achieve them.

He already has His own plan when He approaches us. He desires to get us from where we are to where He is working. He leads us from being self-centered to being God-centered. When the Father reveals to you where He is working, that becomes His invitation to join Him in His activity. When the Father reveals His work to you, that is the time to respond to Him (Blackaby).

It is deplorable but common that we repeatedly lose track of this spiritual truth. We make our plans, forgetting to ask Him what His plans are.

In place of disappointment with its consequent anger, we could choose to follow Solomon’s advice. It is simply a matter of trusting the Father and allowing Him to present His plans to us. As we choose to follow, He will direct our ways.

On the human level, we need to develop a bit of flexibility and expect “recalculating” and “redirection” as required.

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© Dr. H 2022

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