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cafeinst
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I am an Orthodox Jew who has always been interested in magic. There are some Orthodox rabbis who say doing magic tricks is prohibited. My rabbi says as long as people know it's just tricks, it's OK. But I think all Orthodox rabbis will agree that convincing people that you have real magic powers with magic tricks is against Jewish Law.

I am wondering what Christian magicians have to say about this.
Dan Bernier
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It's also against our Christian faith to allow others to believe that we have real supernatural powers. We take extra measures to assure that our audience is aware that what we do is just tricks. Or, as Mr. Laflin would say, "Surprises for the eyeses!"
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Kif Anderson
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Cafinst -

Many of us meet with the same kind of opposition. You can find many such discussions on this and The Good News forums.

I think it has a lot to do with how the message is presented. If you stand up in front of a crowd waiving a magic wand and claim to have magical powers...yeah...that doesn't come over all that well in a religious setting. However, if it is an object lesson which helps illustrate a point, tell a story, then it can be very powerful.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a website that sells a couple of collection of magic tricks designed exclusively for the Jewish Community. You can find them at: http://www.loudini.com/judaic_magic.htm

I'm fascinated by some of the routining. I'm not as familiar as I should be about the traditions of the Jewish faith, which I see as part of the history of my faith.

I believe God gives us talents (God's gift to us), and when we choose to use those talents to glorify Him, (Our gifts to God) it pleases Him. But the key in gospel magic as I believe it would be in using magic to teach about the Jewish faith, is the glory for the lessons goes to God, not glory to ourselves.

The following are the advertised effects...which for the most part are just basic magic effects with a creative message. These are from the website I mentioned above. I hope that the routine descriptions do not come across disrespectful...that certainly isn't the intent of sharing them. It is just the creative thinking of others to help teach the messages.

Kif

Squeaky Latke Gets the Grease: This is a great trick to do when you serve latkes for that Hanukkah dinner. As you are about to try your first bite, let everyone know that you have been having problems with your recipe. Explain that it seems, that your lotkes squeak when you touch them with your finger. Sure enough, when you touch your potato pancake, it lets out a little squeak. But nobody else can get their lotkes to squeak. No skill required just an appetite.

Oil's Well That Ends Well: This trick uses a little brown jug that is filled with oil (actually water). The magician empties out the jug by turning it upside down. They set the jug on the table next to the menorah. They light one candle...then…surprise…the empty jug is full of oil again. You empty it out again, set it down and when you go back to it, the jug is full of oil again. You repeat this trick eight times between candle lightings. It is mind boggling and so easy to do.

Zig Zag Candle: Here, you take a candle from your menorah, and put it inside the candle box. Then instantly, the candle is broken into three parts. As soon as you say Hanukkah-dabra, you make the candle come back together again. The candle can be inspected before, during and after the trick. It is unbelievable! And requires no skill at all.

Star Vision Box: This trick features the Star of David. Instruct your spectator to secretly place a multi-colored star block into a plastic box. Cover the box with a lid. With the power of magic, you determine which color star appears face up in the box. It is easy to do! And you can repeat it for every night if you want. This trick is easy to do and fun to perform.

Nun of Your Business: When explaining what the letters mean on a dreidl, pull out this colorful trick. Show the letter gimmel and explain what it means. Instantly it turns into a hay when you give the dreidl card spin. Then say Hanukkah-dabra, and the hay turns back to gimmel. Everyone thinks they know how you do the trick, only to be wrong and totally surprised. Although your friends may think differently, there is no skill involved.

Destroyed and Restored Temple: Hand the spectator a card with a picture of the ark curtain that was destroyed inside The Temple. They rip it into four parts and keep one for in their hand. They put the remaining three parts back inside The Temple Case. The door to the case is closed and as soon as you say Hanukkah-dabra, and open the door, the picture card is restored.

Tzedakah Box: Tzedakah plays an important role in Judaism. Especially during Hanukkah when we exchange gifts. Fill the treasure box with Tzedakah each night of Hanukkah. The Tzedakah remains very safe inside this clever little box. Because, no one, unless they know the secret can get the Tzedakah out. Only the magician can open the box.

Eternal Light Bulb: Explain that Hanukkah is the festival of lights. To see if you are ready to light the menorah, you need to check the candles. Hold a light bulb in your hand, touch an unlit candle to the bulb, and the bulb begins to light up! The light turns on and off in your hand every time you touch a candle to it. And it only works for you. Watch with a smile when everyone wants to try their hand at the Eternal Light bulb. You will learn this effect in a flash.

Oil Vey!: Have you ever wondered where the oil was found in the destroyed Temple? This traditional “3-card monte” magic trick tells you exactly where. A fan of three cards is shown. A spectator removes the middle card and it appears to change to an “oil” card. It’s very easy to perform and you’ll learn it in minutes.

Dreidl-Dynamo: Predict the colors of two dreidls before a spectator even makes a choice! The magician writes a prediction of two colors on a piece of paper. The spectator makes a chain using dreidl domino cards. The two colors at the end of the chain match the prediction. The best part…you can repeat this trick! And the result is always different.

Wacky Wicks: Show the spectator three pieces of different length candle wicks (rope).After a few magic words and a little “Hanukkah-dabra,” all the ropes become the same length. It fools everyone. But a word of caution…you will need a little extra time to learn how to perform this powerful illusion. And it’s well worth the effort!

Temple Restorama: The window of the Temple is destroyed and restored instantly. Begin by having your friend draw a Hanukkah-like picture on a white card. Then, using a pencil, the magician penetrates the card and solid clear plastic “window” yet when the pencil is removed, there is a hole in the card BUT no hole in the window. Sounds impossible…but it’s very sneaky and easy to perform.

Hanukard Monte: You show your friends two cards -- one with a dreidl and the other with a menorah. One of the cards is placed behind your back. No matter how hard the spectator guesses, he or she cannot figure out which card is behind your back. You will learn it immediately and want to show everyone your new magical skills.

Menorah-Go-Round: A spectator chooses a word off of the Menorah-Go-Round card. With the help of a Hanukkah candle and a little magic, the magician reveals the selected word. It’s a mystery but very easy to do.

Vanishing Candles: Actually, this should be called the “Appearing Candles” because you make the candles appear EVEN THOUGH you can make them disappear. Show the drawer box empty, say “Hanukkah-dabra” and instantly Hanukkah candles appear! If you want, close the drawer again and the candles disappear. And you don’t even need to wear long sleeves to perform this one.

Hanukkah Gelt-o-meter: Get more for your Hanukkah gelt using the amazing Gelt-o-Meter. A penny covered by a magic block changes to a dime. This is self-working and can be learned instantly!

Vanishing Wine: When you get to the part of the seder when the door is opened for Elijah, pour some wine from Elijah's wine bottle or cup into a folded newspaper. Turn the newspaper upside down then open it up one page at a time showing Elijah's wine has vanished. Is Elijah at the table? Did he drink the wine? No--because you fold up the newspaper and pour the wine back into his cup. It is easy to do and a long sleeve shirt is not required.

Vanishing Afikomen: When you break the middle matzah...remind your guests that you found a new and quicker way to hide the the middle matzah. Proceed to wrapped it up in a napkin and watch everyones eyes when you open up the napkin and show that it instantly vanished into thin air. This trick adds a whole new element to the hunt for the Afikomen.

Seder Plate Prediction: After you discuss the meaning of each item on the Seder plate -- perform the Seder plate Prediction. Someone at your Seder table chooses one of three Seder plate items only to find that you predicted the item they were going to choose. It's a great way to keep the Seder moving with along in a fun and memorable way. It is amazing yet simple.

The Mystery of the Middle Matzah: After you discuss the meaning behind the middle matzah, you will want to do this three card monte effect. A fan of three normal playing cards is shown. A guest is asked to try and find the middle card. The middle card is pulled out by someone at the table and it appears to change to a matzah card. This too, is easy magic and requires no sleight of hand. No skill is required.

Who knows 63?: This trick is performed during the Seder when you ask the all important question Who knows one?. This trick is a great way to get guests laughing and amazed at the same time. A guest secretly selects a number between one and 63. Using six magic cards, you mysteriously find the number the guest chose. Requires no practice. And it comes with six other punny Passover jokes...for no extra charge.

Maror or Less: This trick works well when you discuss the meaning of the Hillel Sandwich. You show your guest two cards -- one with matzah on it and the other with a picture of maror. One of the cards is placed behind your back. No matter how hard the guest guesses, he or she cannot figure out which card is behind your back. No skill is required.

Floating Matzah: As you introduce the concept of matzoh during the Seder, explain that no yeast or leavening is used to make this unleavened bread. Discuss that once the matzah is made that it can never rise again. Then instantly, without warning, a piece of matzah next to your plate begins to RISE OFF OF THE TABLE. That’s right, the matzah begins to move up and down. And if you are daring, you can even break off a piece of matzah and get it to spin in midair! This trick is the most difficult to learn, but well worth the practice.

Slates of Elijah: Wouldn’t it be interesting if Elijah would leave a note when he visits your Seder? Well, now he can with Elijah’s Slates. You show two chalk boards blank on all sides. Then place them together next to Elijah’s cup. After you read the part in the Seder about Elijah, separate the slates to see a written message from him. No skill is required for this mysterious effect.

Escape from Bondage: There is no better way to discuss how God helped free the Israelites from bondage than with the popular chain escape that made Jewish magician Harry Houdini famous. The wrists of someone at the Seder table is shackled with a lock and chain, but instantly escapes. No skill is required, but please use discretion when performing this amazing feat.

Pick-A-Plague, any plague: Before this effect, the magician hands a prediction to a guest at the seder table. Then, 10 slips of paper are shown with one plague written on each. All 10 plagues are tossed into a clear plastic bag. Nine plagues are removed, one at a time by spectators, leaving one in the clear bag. The last plague is poured out on the table and opened by the spectator. This last plague matches the prediction that was presented at the very beginning. This will fool everyone, yet it is so easy to do.

AfikomANIA: Before anyone tries to find the afikomen, pass around a very magical brochure and see if anyone can find the afikomen inside – without ripping or tearing the paper. This puzzling effect will leave your audience amazed and confused during the big afikomen hunt. The principle is a combination of origami and a little magic. No skill is required...just a little patience.

The Matzah Ball Maker: Imagine being served a bowl of matzah ball soup without the matzah ball. When this happens during your Passover dinner, simply pull out your aluminum matzah ball maker pan. Show it empty. Place the cover on top of the pan and say a few magical words. Remove the cover and a steaming hot matzah ball instantly appears. Add it to your bowl of broth and smile as you take your first bite. The trick is self-working.
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Sam Sandler
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As a Jew myself although a Messianic Jew who has discovered Jesus is indeed the Jewish Messiah but that's another discussion.

I have performed for many Synagogues and other Jewish organizations and I always make it abundantly clear what I do is a trick what god does is a miracle.

I have never really had any issues with a Rabbi having a problem with my show as I believe it has to do with my presentations in that I am making sure that the audience knows I am just a magician that's why I have all this equipment here.

oddly enough it is churches and Christians that I find much more Oppositions with. many pastors freak when I read some ones mind or cause something or some one to float in the air.

you will find it varies from place to place

sam
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Dan Bernier
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Kif, you never fail to amaze me! I admire your creativity, and especially your passion for God.
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Greg Collett
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"zig zag menorah'... oy veh! that was funny and very creative. I agree, G-d gave us the ability and personality to entertain people. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with doing magic tricks to entertain. In fact, I think taking someones mind off their troubles or performing for sick children could be considered a mitzvah.
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I also was raised in the old testament. I still love performing at synogogues and temples.

Only God can do the supernatural.

I just do sleight of hand and scientific magic.

There is a "magician" who tries to buy his way in. Peter had some not so kind words for him.

love brother Harris
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KC Cameron
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If real magic is "satanic" or wrong, then how can pretending to do magic be right? It seems to me that if G-d says it is bad, pretending to be bad can't be good. Not a bet I would want to take with the all powerful.
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I think it's important, and pretty easy, to get the point accross that this is entertainment, not real miracles. We live in a world full of technological "miracles" and I think most adults understand the difference between magic as entertainment and the supernatural. Mentalism, working for kids, etc can be on a fine line though and probably deserves a comment that this is for fun, etc.

As a Christian I'm really more concerned with offending someone with cards. Cards imply gambling. I don't gamble with cards; well other than the gamble of not getting caught in a palm. But, I want to always be sensitive to people who are offended. Walking up to a table full of Baptists (and I am one) and doing a card trick can be a bad way to start a set. As far as God goes, I'm sure he knows I can't do miracles and as far as people go I'm sure I'll never be good enough to come accross as doing miracles.
Philip Busk
Ed_Millis
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Quote:
As a Christian I'm really more concerned with offending someone with cards. Cards imply gambling.

At my house, cards would more imply Spades (or "not another trick!!").
In my area, gambling is more associated with casinos and slot machines.

Personally, I would thing it rather arrogant for someone - even a good Christian - to see em with a deck of cards and immediately imply that was a gambler. Especially if it's known that I am a magician and am coming to you to entertain - as if cards aren't used for far more tricks than anything else??

How am I supposed to know if a person is of a certain persuasion that would make cards - or rubber bands, or sponge balls - offensive?
<end rant!>

Quote:
As far as God goes, I'm sure he knows I can't do miracles and as far as people go I'm sure I'll never be good enough to come accross as doing miracles.

I like this!! Smile

I also personally maintain that, as long as I go to normal and reasonable lengths to present what I do as entertainment only and not with supernatural help, I can not do a blasted thing about what pops into other people's heads, and I refuse to carry that burden on myself that I walked just a bit too hard on the eggshells and they were lost!

I wouldn't even bother with a disclaimer or adjustments to a routine if I wasn't a Christian and concerned about how I appeared to others. I'd just go for it and do all I could to appear as "power-full" as possible. But I do care - both about what the unsaved may come away with should they ever connect me the magician with me the Christian, and what honest Christians who don't share my knowledge and point of view might have to deal with in their hearts. (Many years ago, I saw a world-class mentalist perform and had the opportunity to accuse him of working by demonic power. Then I saw an Abbott's catalogue and became at once educated and ashamed.)

Some have pressed me hard that "well, if it's just a trick, then tell me how you did it!" I think from now on I will simply offer to purchase them their very own copy of the trick, complete with intructions, so they will know that I'm not lying. $159.95, plush shipping and handling - about right for Magic for Dummies or 101 Easy Magic Tricks??

Ed
Philip Busk
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Quote:
At my house, cards would more imply Spades (or "not another trick!!").

Growing up it was Solitaire. My dad would say he won with only 5 cheats. or 6, 7, 10.
Quote:
In my area, gambling is more associated with casinos and slot machines.

I understand. I live in the south. Need I say more. But, to your point, there really is no way to tell what someone is predisposed to disliking. It's all about reading the audience right. One could just as easly walk up and pull little red bals out of thin air and then get that "hit the road" look. It's a lot better than it used to be around here as more people are exposed to decent magic.
Philip Busk
Dougini
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Does doing bizarre stuff like mind reading and the "horror genre" as entertainment go against the Bible and Christianity? No, I don't think so. There are many, I'm afraid, who would disagree with me on that. Spirits knocking, things flying off the shelf, levitating, and "whispering ghosts" is just too close to "real" for some folk. Even though they know it's just entertainment, I have taken them on a fantastic voyage into the unknown...

Am I wrong here, or is there justification for having a unique and emotional half-hour presentation? Again, not for churches, of course. But what if some people come away thinking it was all real, even though you stated in the beginning, this is all entertainment?

Doug
Carrie Sue
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I think there will always be those who think that what we do might be real. But we can only inform them that it is all illusion, and let Truth witness to Truth.

It's kind of like, "I know Harrison Ford's an actor, but he IS Indiana Jones!"

Carrie
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Danny Kazam
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There is a great verse that I believe answers your question Dougini. First, allow me to state an opinion on the matter. I believe that I can on occassions rather than trying to find an answer to my question, try to find the answer I am looking for. God has an answer for eveything, but the problem is sometimes we don't like the answer so we think of excuses to convince ourselves it's okay.

The Christian ought to be so minded as becomes his heavenly calling, and his life and conversation ought to be worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

If it doesn't glorify God, then don't do it. If it lifts you up before your audience, don't do it. We are slaves first, and as slaves for God we should always be wanting to please our Master and not our desires to be the center of attention, or to get a standing ovation. As we move closer to God, the less we will want to lean on other things and the more we will lean on God.

Why do we want to entertain people? Are we submitting ourselves as slaves, or lifting ourselves up to be honored in one way or another? Do we stand in the way of God getting all the credit and glory? Does what we do lift up God, or lift ourselves up? I think when we ask ourselves some tough, but honest questions, God will make clear to us His Will. But, are we willing to listen?

I'm one of those guys who struggles in that department, but I keep trying.
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Ed_Millis
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The biggest problem that I see is that when you enter this business as a businessman, then you *must* "lift yourself up" before men. That's how we get repeat business from testimonials, that's why we put awards and laughing audiences on our web sites. We are in business to make them say how good we are.

I also think there's a bit of bad doctrine there. Yes, I am going into a show situation (birthday party, stage, walk-around) to serve these people the best entertainment I can provide.

But I don't think that's necessarily a situation in which God is going to be glorified. Unless I'm speaking the gospel, there may be nothing at all of God for an hour or more. Because I'm not there to preach - I'm there to work.

Okay - in the private recesses of my heart, God is glorified in the spritual realms as long as I stay humble, grateful, and holy. (See today's "My Utmost" for some excellent thoughts on holiness!) But in the earthly realm, I am presenting myself as a most excellent magician, worthy of your attention and accolades. And I see nothing wrong with that.

Ed
Danny Kazam
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I guess I was speaking just about performing Gospel magic, and when we are there to direct the attention onto Jesus Christ. I see what you are saying about Christians in the workplace. Being one myself, I understand that the job I'm doing may not exactly be glorifying God directly, but I do by my attitude and my integrity in the workplace, and my work ethics should try to reflect my honor and glory to God.

I see nothing wrong with a Christian competing in the workplace by means of advertising and promotion, but I don't think we have to lift ourselves up do we? Who are we lifting ourselves up above? Our competition? I don't think it would be a right thing to lift ourselves up above anyone, and I don't think it's neccessary to be successful in the workplace.

I see what you are saying because the example you give, "I am presenting myself as a most excellent magician, worthy of your attention and accolades" I too find nothing wrong with. It's when we have to lift ourselves up above our competition that pride becomes involved. We don't need to knock others down either to get a head.

I think you brought up a valid point. Thanks!
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Sam Sandler
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If you want to get right down to it this is the old "christian" music discussion. in the 80s there was the whole is christian rock and roll ok?

well yes the music is ok and so is the magic!

just because the enemy uses some thing for evil does not mean God can use it for his glory. actually I think it all the better that we use it for His glory.

we are entertainers and the issue really is not whether we present ourselves as "magicians" that can do cool things the issue is that there are so many lost people in this world searching for the truth and sadly looking in all the wrong places.

as a christian magician I want to make sure I lead them down the path the leads to Messiah Jesus.

as I said before I make sure my audience always knows what I do is a trick what god does is a miracle.

the best advice I can offer any one is this - pray and seek God - ask Him what you should or should not be doing in your shows.

sam
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Dougini
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You guys are fantastic! Smile
Ed_Millis
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As a Christian magician, I want to make sure I am Christian first and magician as a far distant second.

Personally, I find it so very easy to get caught up in a great presentation that I can stray very close to the edges. I am not my own; I do not get to do just whatever I feel like. My heart belongs to Jesus -- that means the rest of my life and decisions do too.

So there are effects and routines that are crazy good, but may take me or the audience too close to the edges. A routine may be presented as an ungodly, unholy effect, but I know the underlying method is common and adaptable to anything. What will it do to me to immerse myself in that unholy mess just to learn a new method? I must consider that, because I am His, not my own.

There are many things hell uses for evil that I do not believe can ever be made to glorify God - so I'd be careful tossing out statements like that without qualifications.

There's a lot more stuff that hell uses to blur the lines and give people tacit permission to open doors into unclean and forbidden territory. The unsaved can not be expected to discern that. It's up to me to look at a routine, the story line, the effect it has on the audience, and discern where it may take them and what permissions they will take away with them.

The ultimate question is not whether devils and hell fires awaits on the other side of that door, but whether I have just so blurred the lines that two years after opening that door, they can't tell if it's God or not. I'm not responsible for all of that - but I will walk and perform as if their soul depends on it.

And, at the end of it all, if I can pull back from my enjoyment of performing and thrill of presenting amazing stuff, and I'm satisfied that all is clean and well from my start to their finishing applause, then I will rock the house!

Ed
Danny Kazam
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Quote:
On 2012-09-01 23:19, Sam Sandler wrote:
If you want to get right down to it this is the old "christian" music discussion. in the 80s there was the whole is christian rock and roll ok?

well yes the music is ok and so is the magic!

sam


Can you provide scripture to back that statement up. I will present a scripture that I believe can answer such a question.

"All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Corinthians 6:12)

I am a believer that rock music is not healthy spiritually, and when you take something unhealthy and mix it with something healthy, it doesn't make the unhealthy healthy, but rather the healthy unhealthy. Christian rock music is something I wouldn't be going around and saying is okay to listen to, nor is it wise to teach such things to our children.

God has a high tolerance level, but doesn't mean He approves of all we do just as long as we say it's in His name and Glory. Some Christians believe the same thing about Gospel Magic, and who are we to dispute what they feel. I have had a few Christians tell me that it's not because they think it's real, but because they believe God doesn't want us playing around with such things. And even though all things are lawful for me, not all things are benifical. They don't see any thing benifical about Gospel magic, and look at it as an unhealthy way to present the healthy message.

My conclusion is that we are all wrong, but because God loves us so much He tolerates us. And yes, God can use us regardless of what we do, but that never makes what we are doing right.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
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