Two Thanksgiving Poems, Two Stories, One Quotation and Three Scripture Passages

An Attitude Of Gratitude

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered; Thanks for what Thou dost deny!

 Thanks for storms that I have weathered; Thanks for all Thou dost supply!

 Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure; Thanks for comfort in despair!

 Thanks for grace that none can measure; Thanks for love beyond compare.

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The Preacher Who Never Failed To Give Thanks

John Gray, a circuit-riding preacher, never failed to thank God for something, no matter how bad the times or how severe the trial.

One day when Gray had had to battle through wind and sleet to his preaching appointment at a distant village chapel, the small congregation waiting for him wondered what he could be thankful for in such weather.

When it came time for prayer, John prayed, “This is a wretched day, dear Lord, no doubt about it; but we thank Thee, Lord, that every day isn’t as bad as this one!”

When Matthew Henry Was Robbed

A man once stole Matthew Henry’s wallet. In reflecting on the incident, Henry said, “1.) I am thankful that he never robbed me before. 2), I am thankful that although he took my wallet, he did not take my life. 3) Although he took all I had, it was not much. And 4), I am glad that it was I who was robbed, not I who did the robbing.” Matthew Henry knew how to make lemonade out of a lemon — how to be grateful despite a bad experience. That is how mature people react in tough times. They learn to be grateful even for small blessings. They realize that ingratitude toward God is the first step toward backsliding from God. We see this in Romans 1. The Apostle Paul described the path people take in departing from God. The first step is an attitude of ingratitude. Paul says, “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.” Ingratitude leads to many bad choices. Even for believers, when we take God’s’ blessings for granted and neglect to give him thanks, we slowly have little time for God, little time for worship, and little time to help others. We become self-centered. Before we know it, we have wandered far away from God, and we wonder what happened to that glowing relationship we once enjoyed with God. That is why we must worship and give thanks to God. Gratitude toward God leads to peace, joy, and satisfaction.

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Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer, but richer for having made it.  -A.W. Tozer

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Habakkuk 3:17-19 King James Version (KJV)

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Psalm 105:1-5 King James Version (KJV)

105 O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth…

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 King James Version (KJV)

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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…and one more for the road

Be Thankful!

You don’t need a bank full of cash to be thankful; Be thankful you have what you do.  Don’t envy your neighbors the fruits of their labors; Your fortune rests solely with you.  Here’s cause for thanksgiving: The fact that you’re living

Where freedom of enterprise reigns, Where all can aspire to what they desire, Each welcome to what he attains.  If you have what’s needed, you can’t be impeded  By limits on courage and skill.  No blessing is greater, so thank your Creator And ask His guidance and will.

-Sawdust Trail

 

A Magnanimous Politician

mag·nan·i·mous
maɡˈnanəməs/
adjective
  1. very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself.
    synonyms: generous, charitable, benevolent, beneficent, big-hearted, handsome, princely, altruistic,philanthropic, unselfish, chivalrous, noble; More

    From the original Latin, the word is derived from magna and animous.  When placed together they literally mean large soul.

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    A character in the Bible shouts out to us for being magnanimous.  That would be Barnabas, referred to often throughout the book of Acts.  He gave all of his possessions to the Church, hence he really gave them to the Lord, and he did it because he loved God, and not seeking man’s adulation.  He trusted the Apostle Paul when no one else would!  Hey, like the other apostles, I would have been the last to trust Paul, believing him to be a spy and attempting to infiltrate the church.  Praise the Lord for Barnabas and his large soul.  Unlike Paul later on, he was quick to forgive John Mark when he abandoned them on a mission trip.  What a Godly man.

    May I suggest to you that president elect Donald Trump often reveals the same traits.  He values loyalty and trust in professional relationships and is quick to forgive.  During the Republican primaries, Ted Cruze, Republican Texas senator, said that “No one called The Donald would ever be elected president.”  That is typical politics, but there is more to follow.  After Donald Trump won the Republican primaries, Ted Cruze spoke on the stage of the Republican National Convention and refused to endorse Trump!  He told people to “vote their conscience,” and was promptly booed off of the stage.  I thought his political career was over at that point.  So what do I learn this morning?  Ted Cruze met with Donald Trump for hours at the Trump Tower, and Cruze is being considered as a serious candidate for Attorney General!  Donald Trump looked beyond the petty bickering of politics and recognized that Ted Cruze was indeed a man qualified for the job.  …And he is.  I just learned today that Trump is going to meet another foe in Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney said that Donald Trump was in no way fit to become president, and lacked all of the qualifications.  He continued to vilify him further.  Mitt was vehemently against Trump’s nomination by the Republican National Convention (RNC), even threatening to challenge it.  Now Mitt will also be considered for a cabinet position with this administration.  What is truly amazing is that both Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney would claim that they are great moral agents themselves, but at the end of the day, who took the higher road?  It blesses my heart to occasionally observe Christian principles carried out in the political arena.  We should pray that it happens more often.


    New American Standard Bible
    “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”   Romans 12:20

    <><  Pastor Steve

Never Give Up!

Our Daily Bread

August 2, 2016

Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-15
Bible in a Year: Psalms 60-62; Romans 5

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. —2 Timothy 4:7

Joop Zoetemelk is known as the Netherlands’ most successful cyclist. But that’s because he never gave up. He started and finished the Tour de France 16 times—placing second five times before winning in 1980. That’s perseverance!

Many winners have reached success by climbing a special ladder called “never give up.” However, there are also many who have lost the opportunity to achieve success because they gave up too soon. This can happen in every area of life: family, education, friends, work, service. Perseverance is a key to victory.

The apostle Paul persevered despite persecution and affliction (2 Tim. 3:10-11). He viewed life with realism, recognizing that as followers of Christ we will suffer persecution (vv. 12-13), but he instructed Timothy to place his faith in God and the encouragement of the Scriptures (vv. 14-15). Doing so would help him face discouragement and endure with hope. At the end of his life, Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (4:7).

We too can allow the Scriptures to strengthen us to press on in the race marked out for us. For our God is both a promise-making and promise-keeping God and will reward those who faithfully finish the race (v. 8). —Jaime Fernández Garrido

Heavenly Father, give me strength of character and perseverance to serve you better. Help me not to get discouraged when things get tough but to rely on You to see me through.

Faith connects our weakness to God’s strength.

INSIGHT: Paul experienced great persecution in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. In Antioch, he faced aggressive opposition from the religious leaders (Acts 13:45; 15:1-2). In Iconium, Gentile and Jewish leaders conspired to have him killed (14:4-5). And in Lystra, he was stoned and left for dead (v. 19). Yet in his final letter to Timothy, Paul uses these three cities as examples of perseverance. He recounts these terribly painful events not to garner pity but to remind Timothy of God’s faithfulness during times of hardship and pain. Dennis Moles

The Pastor’s Conference And Southern Baptist Convention ~ June 12-15, 2016 ~ Part 9

Monday Evening, June 13, 2016

Pastor’s Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis

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Johnny Hunt served at Woodstock, Georgia for thirty years.  

Johnny’s theme is enthusiastically finishing the journey for God.  2 Timothy 2:6-7  The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.  Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

Johnny Hunt was touched by Adrian Rogers and Jerry Falwell.  Paul pressed towards Christlikeness.  Paul poured into Timothy.  May our lives inspire others to obey.  Martin Luther:  “There are two days on my calendar:  This day and that day.”

Johnny Hunt’s two life verses:

James 1:25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Romans 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Johnny Hunt was saved forty three years ago.  Paul never got over his Damascus Road experience.  Live not for ourselves but for others.  Johnny teaches Timothy Barnabas ministries.  God is the great promise keeper (not us).  Our giants make us grow.  Caleb –  “Give me this mountain.”  May God help us want what we wanted when we finished, as we wanted when we started.

Christianity Is The Only Truth On The Planet, And A Cause Greater Than Our Lives

INSIGHT: After appointing twelve men as His disciples (Matt. 10:1-4), Jesus gave them their first assignment to go and preach the good news that “the kingdom of heaven has come near” (v. 7). Jesus warned that people in the world would not want to hear about Him: “You will be hated by everyone because of me” (v. 22). We, too, may be ignored, opposed, rejected, persecuted, and even killed (vv. 16-22). It may cost us to share the gospel with others, and we may experience hostility even from our own family (vv. 35-36). To overcome these challenges, Jesus calls for a commitment to Him that is greater than any other (vv. 37-39). Sim Kay Tee

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Many of the Old Testament prophets were slain.  John the Baptist was beheaded.  All of the original apostles, as well as Paul, were killed for their faith with the exception of John.  There have been more Christians martyred for their faith in the last century than in the rest of the church age combined!  Foxe’s Book of Martyrs includes many of the great saints throughout the church age who gave their lives for their faith.  The only one not martyred in the book was Martin Luther.

Why did they give their lives?  Because they loved their Lord like Patriot Nathan Hale loved his country:

Now, let us rephrase this quotation according to the committed Christian:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my Lord.”

The cause of Christianity is MUCH greater than our lives.  Never forget that:  “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

 ~ Tertullian 197 A.D.

 

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 2

Day #1

We departed from Stafford Baptist Church (Stafford, Virginia) at 9:30 A.M. for New York.  We passed the Washington monument, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, and the World Trade Building on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport.  At the airport I encountered a security official at Israel Airlines and he said no one could enter their waiting area due to “tight security.”  The security is mainly because of bomb threats, etc. from Arab, Third World countries.  No other airlines had such a policy and a security guard as did Israel.  The “Zionists” have many enemies.

We met Jo Anne and Steve Abbott at the airport.  They just flew in from Oregon, and were joined by their son Mark, in the Air Force, and on leave from the Philippines.  Their other son, Paul, is a missionary from Africa and will join us in Amman, Jordan.  What a place and what a time for a family reunion!

I was quickly exposed to the culture of the Middle East on the airplane.  The gentleman seated next to me was born and raised in Damascus, Syria; he moved to the United States and raised a family of five children.  He told me he was returning to Damascus, and then he gave me some history of the city.  He said it is the world’s oldest capital city, and the world’s oldest inhabited city.  He claimed the tomb of John the Baptist is there, and there is a castle left by the Crusaders from about 1100 A.D.  As a Christian, I know Damascus was once part of the Hasmonean Dynasty.  Even of more significance, the Bible (Acts, Chapter 9) reveals that it is the place where Paul went to persecute Christians.  However, due to his conversion along the way to the city, he ended up preaching the gospel message of Jesus Christ there.  Paul now ended up as the one being persecuted, and his friends had to lower Paul in a basket outside the walls of Damascus so he could escape with his life.  No one promised that it would be easy to follow Jesus.

We lost seven hours of time as we flew towards the sun.  We will gain the seven hours back when we are going home.

Day #2

While still on the airplane, we saw some very scenic, desolate, hilly and craggy terrain about one hour and one quarter prior to our arrival in Jordan.  We guessed that it was probably Turkey that we saw.  I saw another sign of the tension in the Middle East while still on the airplane.  While glancing at a map of the various flight routes which Royal Jordanian makes, I noticed that Israel was not even listed on the map in the airplane!  On the plane I tried to speak with a Jordanian to ask him about this, but he could only speak Arabic.  We ate several meals on the airplane, and I had trouble figuring out if it was day or night- jet lag.  After thirteen hours of flying time we finally set down in Jordan, and after a very scrutinizing passport/visa/luggage check and frisk, we were carried away to our hotel.

I did not care for the Jordanian food at the hotel.  I also noticed that Arabs engage in close body contact, and do not observe the “space” that Americans are use to having.  They elbow, poke and push.  Arabs commonly have body odor.  I was glad that we were going to spend only one night in Jordan.  I already found that some things in other countries make me appreciate the United States of America all the more.  How many things we just take for granted.

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***   Dear Folks,  I am embarrassed to read the last paragraph of my own journal above.  It reveals my immaturity in regards to other people around the world.  Since then, I have learned to appreciate the food given to me, whatever it is.  A Christian should adapt to the customs and environment of the lands we visit, just as long as it does not compromise our faith.  I included it because it is my journal.  On the bright side, it reveals spiritual growth.   ***

Blessings, Pastor Steve 

Purge Out The Leaven Before It Destroys Your Church…

…this is scriptural.  I Corinthians 5 gives a complete synopsis of this teaching.  Be advised, the scenario in this situation was incest, however it refers to ALL fornication, i.e. sexual unions outside of holy matrimony:

I Corinthians, Chapter 5

The incestuous person among them

1 It is actually reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even among the Gentiles, that one of you hath his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he that had done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing, 4 in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

The Christian church must be purged of the contamination of sinners, and separated from pagan influences

7 Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ: 8 wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote unto you in my epistle to have no company with fornicators; 10 not at all meaning with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world: 11 but as it is, I wrote unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no, not to eat. 12 For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.

1 Cor 5:1-13 (ASV)

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Note the very last scripture, I Corinthians 5:13  “But them that are without God judgeth.  Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”  Today, brazen fornicators are NOT purged.  They live their ungodly lifestyles while attending church.  Preachers, teachers and church leaders today often do not even confront or challenge their sin.  They look the other way instead of being faithful to God.  The problem is that these situations never resolve themselves.   This is a church one would want to leave if they do not require repentance from the one(s) involved.

It would behoove the church and professing Christians to read the following passage from Ephesians 5 very carefully:

to flee fornication

3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them; 8 For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; 11 and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; 12 for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. 13 But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee. 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
21 subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. 22 Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; 26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: 29 for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; 30 because we are members of his body. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. 33 Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband.

Eph 5:3-33 (ASV)

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…here is another scripture passage that is usually totally ignored by the church of today, thus rendering the church powerless-

“Them that sin reprove in the sight of all, that the rest also may be in fear.”

1 Tim 5:20 (ASV)

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Here is a question to think about:  Who is worse in the sight of the Lord?  Those who engage in sexual sin without repentance and remorse, or the church that is aware of it and prefers to not address it?

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When we ignore sin in our lives and refuse to repent, whether a church or an individual, we will suffer separation from the Lord God and punishment.

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Psalm 66:18   King James Version (KJV)  

 

Valentine’s Day

The world’s idea of love is grossly distorted. I love pizza, football and my motorcycle. God’s idea of love revolves around the Greek word “agape.” The theme is sacrifice and stretching out, and humbling ourselves to God and others. The world focuses on “me,” while the believer focuses on “Thee.” The world promotes greed, envy and pride. The Lord gives perfect peace to the one whose mind is stayed upon Him. (Isaiah 26:3) Perfect love casts out fear. Have a blessed Valentine’s Day. Pastor Steve

 
Below is the real origin of this holiday:

Even Steven

Another devotional from the Days Of Praise, a ministry of the Institute For Creation Research:

Days of Praise

Valentine’s Day

“Who so findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:22)

Embedded in many of our customs and holidays are a mixture of pagan and biblical principles. Saint Valentine’s Day is no exception. Mystery surrounds who Valentine really was. He was probably a priest martyred in 269 A.D. at Rome. Among Roman Catholics, he is called the patron saint of affianced couples, beekeepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers, and young people. He is one busy (and confused) man!

In the Western world, the emphasis is on human expressions of love and friendship. That is certainly of importance and, when guided by the biblical principles, a godly ardor worth commemorating. Here are a few…

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What Does The Apostle Paul Have In Common With Ebenezer Scrooge?

Even Steven

Our Daily Bread

Daily Devotionals

 December 19, 2014

 
   
           
             
             
             
       

The Heart Of Christmas

Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol was released on December 19, 1843, and has never been out of print. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, sour, stingy man who says, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding!” Yet, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is radically changed into a generous and happy man. With great humor and insight…

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Greek Word Study, Part XI

123)parabole- parable/  This is a story with a strong spiritual meaning and truth behind it.  Jesus is the Author of the Biblical stories that were understood by believers, and often confused unbelievers such as the Pharisees.

124)doxazo- glorify/  doxa- glory.  The doxology in the worship service brings glory to God.

125)prognosis- foreknowledge/  A straight one to one translation gives us the same word in English with the same exact meaning.  It is commonly used in the medical field, referring to the expected outcome in a given situation.   What is his prognosis for recovery?

126)Christianos- one who belongs to Christ/  The believers were first called Christians (named after Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior) in Antioch of Syria, mentioned in the book of Acts.

127)musterion- mystery/  A situation filled with intrigue and the unknown.

128)metamorphoo- transform/  A caterpillar goes through a metamorphosis as it turns into a butterfly, as does a tadpole when it changes into a frog.  This beautiful word can describe the transformation of a born again Christian as well.  II Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are past away; behold, all things are become new.”  (KJV)

129)sarx- flesh/  One can see this Greek transliteration as the root of the word sarcophagus, which is an ornate casket covering for the deceased.

130)kainos anthropos- new man/  If any man is in Christ, he is a new man.  (see #128 above and II Corinthians 5:17).  Anthropos refers to man as an upright creature.  Man is examined throughout history in the study known as anthropology.

131)morphe theou- form of God/  This word combination could refer to the different forms of God.  i.e. the Spirit or Holy Spirit; and God Incarnate, Immanuel, our Lord Jesus Christ.

132)prototokos- firstborn/  A parallel English word is prototype, which refers to the example, model or original standard upon which others are compared or built.

133)parousia- presence, second coming/  This word is often used to describe the rapture or “catching up” of the church.  The Lord will come for His own when the church age ends.  It literally means the coming of a person, hence in the Christian sense, it could refer to Christ’s coming in the rapture, or when He later comes in judgment.

134)epistole- written letter/  The apostles wrote epistles or letters.  Many of the letters (but not all) were inspired by God and ended up in our Bibles.  Paul wrote thirteen epistles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

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