Georgetownrose

…from glory to glory

Archive for the tag “WONDER!”

Too Good To Be True…

He has made everything beautiful.png

At a recent church membership class we were asked to introduce ourselves to each other, to tell where we were born and a notable thing about that city. Our city is always in the news about the seedy things; but no one reports about the work of the Kingdom of God in this town. Since I have been at McLean Presbyterian Church I have discovered some beautiful secrets scattered all over this area. Some are directly “daughter” ministries of McLean Presbyterian; many are close relatives within the Body of Christ, ministering sacrificially and faithfully to individuals at every season of life in their needs both physical and spiritual. So, Hello, from Washington, DC area, the city that is known for Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, Reformed Theological Seminary, C. S. Lewis Institute, The Lamb Center of Fairfax, Assist Pregnancy Center, Central Union Mission, Project Belong, Casa Chiralagua, Cornerstone School, Bethany House of Northern VA, etc… In the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, Christ Jesus tells John to write letters to seven different Church centers in Asia Minor during the First Century, A.D. I wonder what He would tell John to write to the Church in the Metro DC area. Take heart, there are great things of God that are going on in the Metro DC area, under the noses of those whose world view and preoccupation with a worldly kingdom is tragically fallen–where its dark web lures and traps men who seek to be rulers of the world.

My journey into membership at our new church was completed in March; and both my husband and I have been enjoying being immersed in the substantial teaching on Sunday mornings.  FYI, there’s a link on my page which will give readers access to the sermons at McLean Presbyterian Church.

Solomon prayed for wisdom

As a follow-up to the Sunday teaching in the Scriptures, our pastors usually direct our attention to thoughtful questions to discuss in our local community group gatherings. One question during the series on “The Gospel in Solomon” was this: “If God answered, in this instant, all the prayers you prayed this week what would happen?” Another one was convicting: “Do you pray simply for your life and circumstances to be more comfortable or are you confident that God will take care of that with your heart compelled for His Kingdom?”

Solomon's moment with God

We have been studying the Bible together in the late mornings. I call these times our “second breakfasts.” Technology has been the instrument which has enabled us to engage with the Word and with each other in this department. We have an elaborate, but effective, array which feeds the intercouple surfing webnet into our large screen video display. From that internet feed, we can stream and view and read  the online Bible, daily commentaries from Ligonier Ministries’ “TableTalk” publication. The series has been following the historical books of the Bible. We began in January with Joshua and are now deep into the monarchy under David in 2 Samuel. Our time together includes reading daily portions from the Bible in a plan to read through the Bible in a year. We sometimes choose to select an audio reading while we read the print on the screen; but we also take turns reading the passages aloud—this helps my husband rehab his speech and cognition with the aphasia he battles.

Wisdom-Quotes-3Our time in prayer follows our exploration of the Scriptures and usually responds to the convictions impressed upon us by the work of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. Prayer is the chief weapon in our arsenal for warfare in times like these. Our unshakeable certainty of the sovereignty of God provokes us to prayer in all things… I wrote in December that many in our country are struggling with loss of home, belongings, livelihoods and loved ones from fire, monster storms and floods. The same is true again as I write this in Springtime. We are learning to pray Kingdom-of-God kinds of prayers as we observe the times, trusting God for the answers–things so great that the skeptics of this age would say they are too good to be true.

One somewhat unexpected development in my prayers has been that as I began the process of application for children’s Sunday school teaching, I realized that I would be premature in making a commitment to that ministry at this time. As I have waited and sought God’s leading and my husband’s thoughts on the subject, I believe God would have me be more available to my husband; in one key area since he is no longer able to drive, that I would be available to bring him to church without conflict of service.  Thanking God for His wisdom and the joy that has come to my soul in this pruning work. Nevertheless, if you would have told me 38 years ago that when my husband and I became old and weaker in body that we would enjoy the manifold blessings God has given us, with peace in our hearts, purpose and re-productivity  in our last season of life together, and joy which no circumstances can rob, I would have said it too good to be true. Thanks be to God who blesses us with every blessing in heavenly places. By His grace we will finish well.

In the meantime, I am continuing weekly with our local Community Bible Study group. We started in September with the book of Daniel, and in January, we began the book of Revelation. We are nearing the the end of the book of Revelation and it has been one spectacular lesson after another. Some studies of these books can get sidetracked into speculations on imagery and symbolism and miss the whole point and substance of the narrative. CBS has handled the study wisely; what a difference it is making in my here-and-now life.

thorns and gold2The early spring razzle-dazzle is quickly turning to the deeper greens on the trees as the leafing matures; and pollen abounds!   The razzle-dazzle of spring and the spectacular  beauty and stunning drama of Christ Jesus in His glorious atoning death and resurrection coming together has been exquisite; it continues to touch and resonate through all my senses and makes me cry, “Holy! Holy! Holy!”

Look around you! Spring’s Rising! (a link to one of my recent reflections).

“Fear not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

–Revelation 1.17-18

Glory be to God and may the Peace of Christ be with you.

 

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Spring’s Rising!

Blessed are your eyes, for they see.

–Matthew 13.16

Early Spring2

“Bring forth,” He said,

     to all the waiting branches of the trees,

Their lacey crown’ed silhouettes under bluing skies

     of th’ earliest winds of spring;

To every slumb’ring tendril of the shrub along

     the path, ev’ry bush a resting place for feathered

     prophets bearing promise on their wing.

“’Tis the hour,” He said, “to wake and bear your

     young!

Fear not the last remaining lash of winter’s breath!

Heed not the darkness

     which now sees its timely hast’ning death!

Look up to see the ever lightening, brightening,

     dazzling blues of days,

Waking early from the passing nights of starlit

     indigo, adorned in myriad twinkling blaze!

There’s a message to be spoken to mankind

Whose eyes have dimmed with all their futile

     notions, fabrications of their busy, frantic

     musings in all their fantasies, striving in their

     vanities,

Conceiving an illusion, pretending life immortal

     from their factories of the dead.”

 

“We will,” they answered. “Thy will,” they said.

And all the wood from tallest, robust trees

     whose trunk so stout could feel in every woody

     bone the memory of pain and grace in mankind’s

     greatest story,

To smallest bushy bush of delicate twig and branch:

They all began their laboring to please the King

Who made them for His glory.

 

And every man whose eyes would see could now

     behold,

In ev’ry lacey crown’ed top of tree

     ‘neath cathedral blue of skies,

And ev’ry fring’ed, tasseled shrub and bush

     of earthy ground on which it lies:

On every inch of outstretched arm and limb of every

     one, came forth those orbs of blood-red bud.

These bloody little bodies speaking of

     Redemption’s glory

When once blood poured upon a tree which bore

     the pain and grace in mankind’s greatest story;

And not only His bloodied body did that tree once bear,

but all the weight of rebellious man

who mutinied against their King among the trees

‘Neath cathedral blue of skies in a Garden

     from of old.

And cast away their sight of all the goodness

     they had known,

Their minds now captive, pris’ners trapped in

     darkened musings,

Endless, futile fabrications of their own;

     and by their quest to wield the sovereign sceptre

     of the One in whom their life and breath reside

They brought upon the whole of all creation,

In all its living beauty, the judgment of the dead.

 

Here, then, now in tide of spring, is the message

     to be spoken

To mankind whose eyes have dimmed with all their

     futile notions, fabrications of their busy frantic

     musings,

As on each branch and bushy twig those bloody orbs

     break open, beneath the vaulted ceiling

     of the lightening, brightening, dazzling blue

     of skies of spring, new and verdant life bursts

     forth from blood-red bodies broken–

Life not fashioned from the daydreams of man’s vanity–

But created and designed

     by the True and Living One, after winter’s frozen

     sleep of death is now left far behind.

And every man whose eyes would see

     can now behold,

In ev’ry lacey crown’ed top of tree

     ‘neath cathedral blue of skies,

     and ev’ry fring’ed, tasseled shrub

     and bush of earthy ground on which it lies,

On every inch of outstretched arm

     and limb of every one:

A splendorous array of neo-natal green,

     brilliant pink and yellow dazzeling,

     stunning beauty spoken into life at His command

     for all whose eyes are blest to see in spring

The message of Redemption’s glory

When once blood poured upon a tree which bore

     the pain and grace in mankind’s greatest story.

 

Truth it is! No legend, no vain and futile fable

     of some hope pretending life immortal;

Nay! Creation which man’s vain rebellion

     brought to suffer death,

Now in spring declares the truth:

     the sovereign sceptre of the God

In whom reside all life and breath;

And His Son the Holy One, the Righteous One,

     named Jesus

Whose beaten, bloodied body once upon

     a fallen tree was nailed,

And having suffered all the judgment due

     rebellious, wicked man,

With arms outstretched in God’s great plan,

     yielded up His soul to death.

In Passover’s third cool morn of spring,

     beneath the vaulted ceiling

     of the lightening, brightening, dazzling blue

     of skies

Creation’s Lord came forth in glory as He said,

Triumphant from the grave wherein He laid

     among the dead,

Under lacey crown’ed tops of trees, embraced by

     ev’ry fring’ed, tasseled shrub and bush

     of earthy ground on which it lies:

For all whose eyes are blest to see The One

     in whom all life and breath reside,

Jesus, the risen, reigning, ever-living King!

Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 

–1 Corinthians 15.20-22

 

Graphics courtesy The Printshop 4.0 Professional, by permission, user license; copyright Patricia Stachew, 2019, all rights reserved.  

Always Christmas; Never Winter…

Jesus Christ has come in the flesh! (John 1.14, 1 John 4.1-3) Glory Be to God!

Mine Eyes Have Seen2

Praying you are all staying well amid the frantic flurry of seasonal activity.

For some of you there might have been an empty chair at your table this year. For those who read this for whom that is the case, I am praying that God is showing you how able and ready He is to fill the empty place in your heart with His magnificent love. Many in our country are struggling with loss of home, belongings, livelihoods and loved ones from fire, storms, floods and mass shootings. As I consider the devastation in the wake of these sorrows, I pray that those among the suffering who know the Lord Jesus Christ will demonstrate their hope and faithfulness to trust in the God who provides for our needs in all circumstances and by their quiet and thankful trust, will strengthen and encourage others. I pray that everyone who benefits from all avenues of humanitarian assistance will realize that it is by the mercies and Providence of God that they receive it—and be thankful to Him: for “The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away; blessed be the Name of the LORD.” (Job 1.21b).

Speaking of Job 1.21b, I took some time off from teaching children’s Sunday School in November, thinking I would have time to just chill out a bit. I felt plenty guilty about asking for some Sundays not to be teaching the children; and I had a sinking feeling in my kishkes (yiddish: inner parts) that the separation would be painful–a new twist on “separation anxiety.” I had no expectation of how busy my heart and soul and mind would be in the stillness. God does some pretty extensive work in a person’s life when she sits down and stops the busy preoccupations with trying to keep up her momentum in ministry. It’s not that I neglect daily time in the Word of God and prayer. Everyone who has known me since I came to faith 30+ years ago knows that the Word of God and prayer are like breathing for me. However, when a time of transition comes to call, it takes some extra time to be prepared for it and to learn courage and discipline to face it and follow through.

One of the aspects of the time of transition was a reluctant and somewhat surprising change in congregations. After 14 years at my church, this change has been painful–increasing my “separation anxiety;” but God is using it to bring about growth in my life.

Be careful what you pray for; I had been praying for growth, and God is answering it “in spades.”

I am learning more and more in this time of transition into a new, larger church body that Christ’s grace is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12.9). Those who know me and correspond with me regularly via e-mail know that my signature line most often includes the quote from Scripture: 

I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Messiah Jesus my Lord, that I may gain Messiah and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…”

–Philippians 3.8-10

This time of stillness and transition has been a test as to whether I truly do count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3.8-10). And it has all come at the advent of the Christmas season…

The Christmas season has always been a challenge for me for a variety of reasons, none of which I can describe to fit the post-modern reader’s tolerance for words. I will summarize by saying I owe it all to the Word of God. My studies in the Word of God this year have changed my Christmases forever; this year I have been mining deeply into the truth of Jesus’ coming in the flesh. As a result, the impact on my mind and heart has made my celebration of the incarnation of Christ impossible to contain in one season of the year. The Scriptures say,

“But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!”

–2 Chronicles 6.18.

Well, that’s how I feel about trying to hold the enormity of Messiah’s coming in the flesh to one binge season. The declarations of John 1.14 and 1 John 4.2-3 are greetings that can be shared every day of the entire year. Of course, if you want to say, “Merry Christmas!” along with the words of one or both of those passages, that works, too: because, in Christ it is always Christmas and never winter…

I am praying that the “smorgasbord” of seasonal sensations will not have eclipsed the length, height, depth and breadth of the love of God through His good and perfect Gift of Christ in the flesh.

Why the Wise Men Really Sought the Babe of Bethlehem…

Here is a link to a message by John MacArthur which exposes the historical background of the magi and the reason they embarked on their quest for the King born in Israel during the times of Roman occupation…

Who Were the Wise Men?

There is also a written transcript to the audio message on the site…

O Come! Let us adore Him!

 

In the Image of God…

..Thought questions from our community study of  “WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE…”

WLA_vanda_1520_Adam_and_Eve

WLA_vanda_1520_Adam_and_Eve Loy Hering [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

How does the idea of God’s image reinforce the priority of our knowledge of God as the chief component of a worldview? In this respect, how does the biblical worldview differ from those based on moral relativism or macroevolution?

Ideas have consequences. The consequences of the idea that man is created in the image of God are that there is, indeed, a God who is sovereign and providential in and over all things in the world. Furthermore, such a God-centered, Biblical worldview sees that man is not a grown up germ, but rather that man bears the personal image of God in his being–a dignifying quality of life, with design and purpose. If we retain our knowledge of God in our worldview, then we also are confident in the knowledge that there is absolute truth.

Conversely, the consequences of the idea which refuses to have the God of creation in its thinking, negates the image of God in mankind. Furthermore, a worldview predicated on this idea leads to the shifting of morality at man’s own whim and inclination, and while exalting humanism, it simultaneously devalues the sanctity of human life.

Without the certain knowledge of the God in whom we live and move and have our being, there is a denial that persons are made in the image of God. A humanistic worldview ultimately suffers the loss of the identity of “personhood,” struggles with finding purpose in anything; and its logical end is futility.​


Teaching Children to Develop a Biblical World View

  • Our days began to be numbered; our bodies began to become frail and to decay…
  • We lost our innocence before a holy God…
  • Our knowledge of our purpose in life became darkened…
  • Our memory that we are created in the image of God became darkened…
  • We became adversaries to God’s plan and His good purposes…
  • We gave up our dominion over Satan who is one of the creation over whom we were meant to rule (Romans 1.18-25),,,

  • Did not take away His image from us; we can still learn and work to make life better…
  • Did not take away His Spirit to guide, convict, counsel and correct…
  • Promised One–His Son Jesus–who would come to conquer the power of Satan…

A world view question for everyone:

Psalm 51; Matthew 1.21; 1 Timothy 1.15

Greetings and Blessings at the Feast of Tabernacles…

1890 Holman Bible - Tabernacle with Scripture

Graphic: Public Domain, The Tabernacle in the Wilderness; illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible
http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1890holmanbible/color/thetabernacleinthewilderness.jpg
Bible verse added by user

…On this Festival of Our Joy, sending a greeting and blessing to all fellow image bearers of the God of creation…

While you sojourn in this wilderness world in an earthen vessel, may you know the blessing of God’s true presence in Messiah Jesus, our Immanuel, wherever God takes you, whatever God ordains for your life this side of glory…

While you wait for what next unfolds in this wilderness experience, may you rest confidently in the knowledge of the purpose God has breathed into your life in all things…

While you walk through this world of shadows and barren places, may you drink deeply from the wells of the sweet water of salvation in Messiah Jesus…

While you contend boldly with the consequences of life in a fallen vessel, may you embrace walking in the light of the gaze of a holy God bathed in the oil of the joy of the Holy Spirit, clothed in the pure righteousness of Messiah Jesus…

May you know the joy and peace of His Kingdom and Government increasing in your heart and life.

Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles

L’Chaim b’Yeshua – To LIFE in Jesus!

Pray for Awakening…

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” –Psalm 122.6

Greetings on Yom Kippur…

Yom Kippur Image - Fall Feasts on WP

Bible verse added by user

Taking this moment to share in the celebration of our Great Atonement in Messiah Jesus. For all who know the manifold grace of God through His Son, this day is a day of earnest intercession for all who remain in peril of missing the blessing of His forgiveness…

May all who realize the pure righteousness of Messiah imputed to them by God’s grace, remember, rejoice and walk daily as those whose names are written in Heaven…

May all who know the holiness and pure righteousness of the Lord Jesus declare the Truth with boldness and grace in a world which is on an irrevocable course to discover Him who holds the Books of men’s works and the Book of Life…

Yom Kippur – So Great an Atonement

To LIFE in Jesus!

Pray for Awakening…

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” –Psalm 122.6

Greetings at the Feast of Trumpets…

trumpets stained glass 3

Feast of Trumpets – Year of Our Lord 2018

The Second Coming of Christ – Ron DiCianni

Taking this special opportunity to share the joy of anticipating the return of Messiah Jesus. For all who realize the holiness of God, this season brings with it expectation and an exquisite mixture of joy and trembling, as we remember what the Lord Jesus’ work will be upon His second coming…

May all who know Him, abandon the shadows and give Him the preeminence in all things this side of glory… not only for this day, but for every day in your life as you wait His return…

May all who know the Lord Jesus declare the Truth with boldness and grace in a world which is on an irrevocable course to meet His holy appearing…

https://georgetownrose.wordpress.com/fall-feasts-of-israel/

To LIFE in Jesus!

Pray for Awakening!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” –Psalm 122.6

 

Natural Theology…

In the last session of course in The History and Overview of Philosophy, there were discussion questions presented to the students. I spent a good deal of time thinking how to answer the question featured here, since I was not immediately certain I could articulate on the basis of the logical necessary being of God. Logical necessary being of God and natural revelation… Here is the question…

Creation: How much can we learn about God from creation?

This is an exciting question.  The painful thing I see in creation is that it seems troubled and put to grief–something my soul recognizes should not be so, unless a terrible event plunged it into trouble and grief. Perhaps I see in this the wrath of the God of all creation, His expressed grief and yet His carefully restrained justice, revealed from heaven against all that mankind thinks and does to deny Him and to exalt man above God–because in the natural, we think we are so very smart; we think we are God. When I look at me–one of the creation–I see that big old “I” problem at the center of SIN… and I am real good at seeing it in others, too…

Then when I look at nature, I think no wonder God sometimes expresses His anger toward us through the elements of creation… Actually, that’s not too far off from what the native Americans or the Incas or the Aztecs realized; the difference is that they responded by worshiping the creation as receptacles of spirit gods, denying the God who is King over all creation…

Nevertheless, I love meditating on the attributes of God which can be known of His Being and character from creation. When I see a thunder cloud advancing in the summer skies, I realize my dependence upon the sovereignty of God to control the natural forces building up inside it; so I see His power to execute wrath and His power to exercise mercy; and these attributes of God are communicated through the mediate medium of His own creation–how He governs the vapors of the firmament for the good or the remaking of the earth beneath…​ summer-clouds

When I see the young fawn grazing in the tall summer ferns along the paths of the Blue Ridge, I observe the providence of God for this creature and I remember His providence in my own life… White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawn, also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, in spring ferns at Mount Porte Crayon in West Virginia.

When I see the swells of sea water form only yards away from me as I bob buoyantly in the watery firmament oc waves2beneath skies, I feel and know the power of God to govern the motion of the water as it becomes a wave which can either delight me with its rhythmic movement, carry me in its curl to shore, or overtake me and plunge me tumbling and rolling like so much flotsam, till it releases me both laughing and sputtering and disheveled from the humiliation of its tossing…

I could go on and on and on… I could not in my lifetime realize from nature the Way God has provided as the means of redemption for my rebellion against Him to satisfy His grief and justice… But then, this extraordinary God who IS, revealed His necessary being from creation to my once humanistic heart, and then led me to His Word–37 years ago as time is counted. I have not been the same ever since…

What are you all learning about God from your observations and experiences in creation?

Early Edition…

senior-woman-reading-bible-and-holding-glasses.jpg

Lately, my husband and I have taken to watching a series on television entitled “Early Edition.” The series began airing in 1996 and lasted through 2000.  We enjoyed it 20 years ago, and now that it is airing again on Heroes&Icons TV, we are enjoying it again…

The stories are about Gary Hobson, a Chicago man who was fired from his job as a stockbroker, and then divorced by his wife for being uninteresting.” After starting a new job as the owner of McGinty’s Pub, he begins awaking every morning to the cries of an orange tabby cat at his door. The cat is delivering an unusual newspaper—it’s always tomorrow’s newspaper: hence, “Early Edition.” And it launches Gary into a daily adventure of warning others of deadly danger that awaits them in some location or activity in the city. Invariably his job of declaring the warning becomes a life-and-death mission to save them…

What makes the shows provocative is not so much the ultimate labors Gary undertakes to rescue the people, as his efforts to persuade the smug and the unbelieving that danger awaits them in a specific place at a specific time. His warnings of imminent danger go unheeded and are often rejected as folly by the people whose lives he desires to save…

Here’s another story from another very “early edition.” You could say that it is truly “tomorrow’s newspaper” today…

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying,

‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’

For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat: both the earth and works that are in it will be burned up…”

–2 Peter 3.1-7,10 NKJV

creation beauty

Why did God see fit to awaken me to “tomorrow’s news” today? Certainly to save me from the wrath to come; but not merely for me to absorb all the pleasantries of worldly life while I can, and not so that I can sit at my computer and write pleasant little “feel good” stories to share with those who love lullabies so they can go on sleeping…

Gary Hobson was always questioning why he was getting tomorrow’s newspaper; he was always searching for the source of the “Early Edition” delivered on his doorstep each morning by the orange tabby. The weight of accountability for Gary Hobson was nearly threatening to his own life until he met with the warning of his own death and nearly died saving the lives of two others. After that experience, he began embracing the gift and accountability which arrived at daybreak with the cat’s “meow…”

I know the Giver of the Early Edition on my desk as I write this; and I know His warning to me of the gift and the accountability I have in it…

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”

–Ezekiel 3.18 ESV

Many scoffers will continue to scoff; but perhaps God will use this warning to awaken some from their slumbers to discover that the very God who will bring the wrath to come is also the very God who will save from that same wrath all those who trust in His Son Jesus, the Messiah:

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…”

–1 Corinthians 15.3-4 NKJV

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