The Reality Is That America Is at War!
Do the dates 1861-1865 mean anything to you? Those were the years of our American Civil War! (What was civil about it?) It was a time when America was at war with herself, and the terrible hatred and bloodshed of that war took more American lives than any other military war that USA has experienced. Now in the year of our Lord, 2023, America is at war with herself once again. The cultural war has been dragging on for decades, and the war on our unborn babies through abortion has cost America about ten times more American lives than were lost in our “Civil War.” Under President Abraham Lincoln, the slaves were freed of bondage, slavery was banned in USA and the Union of our states was preserved. However, the bitterness of that war has lingered for more than a century. Some leaders in the northern states wanted to inflict harsh punishment on the southern states, but, by the grace of God, Lincoln’s strong Christian convictions moved him to declare and promote forgiveness and reconciliation to preserve the union of the “United States of America”!
Where is that unity now? The Cultural war has become bloody warfare once again! During 2020 the bitterness and hatred burst out in city after city in unchecked rioting, looting, burning, and bloodshed. Our Marxist administration has allowed millions of illegal aliens to flow across our borders unchecked, including criminals and sex traffickers and terrorists. America’s war with herself intensifies as Marxist-indoctrinated students threaten bloodshed to America for siding with Israel after the terrible bloody attack by Hamas on October 7, intensified by attacks from the north by Hezbollah. Haven’t you also noticed how the news reports come out over and over again of bitterness and hatred exploding into bloody, senseless murder – sometimes targeted and sometimes random? What will happen in the future when the terrorists already inside our borders express their hatred?
Are we going to be paralyzed by anxiety, or obey God? “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:4-8 (ESV)
The reality is that America is at war! The world is in turmoil! The question is – what are we going to do about it? Fear and fret? Gripe and complain? Run and hide? Stand and fight? Or are we going to choose to obey God and bask in the glory of His promises? “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-4; “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (NKJV)
Historically, more people come to Christ during wartime because they recognize their need of God, His forgiveness and His grace! And an early Christian leader, Tertulian, said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church!” So, are we going to sit, soak in self-pity, and shiver in fear, or boldly witness, work, and wait for the glorious appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ – the King of kings?
I believe that the closing paragraphs of Jonathan Turner’s new book, Coming Home, are pertinent and potent!
“Through it all, I learned an extremely important lesson: I had been searching for home in the wrong place. Home is not a location – whether it be Pakistan, the United States or any of the countries we traveled through. Home does not consist of people – even those who are close and dear to us will, on occasion let us down. Instead, we find our true home only when we fully commit to following Jesus Christ. He said, ‘…If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’” (John 14:23) Until I made that commitment, I was like the people the writer of Hebrews mentions – not really fitting in. ‘…And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.’ (Hebrews 11:13-14)
I didn’t find my country until I surrendered fully to Christ. But Christ dwelling in me is only a foretaste of my true home which is to come. ‘But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.’ (2 Peter 3:13) That promise keeps me going, especially when the journey becomes rough. May you, also, find your true home in Christ!”
Which translation is most accurate concerning the message of the heavenly host to the shepherds? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” Luke 2:14 (NKJV) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 (ESV) Either way, it is my choice and your choice to obey God and experience the peace that passes all understanding, or to choose disobedience, fear, and frustration while singing, I did it My way!
Never twist the truth to fit your will. Submit your will to Him Who is the Truth!
Do you have some pet sin that you love and pamper while making excuses and pretending that God doesn’t care or doesn’t notice? Consider the Word of God: “be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23. In one of Adrian Rogers’ messages, he shared a vivid illustration to illustrate the importance of waiting on God to make things right, but it also clearly illustrates the truth that your sin will find you out. Can you imagine Potiphar asking his wife: “Do you remember that Hebrew slave I sent to prison a few years ago because you accused him of trying to rape you?” She nods that she remembers him. “He is out of prison now and Pharoah has promoted him to prime minister of Egypt. I hope you weren’t lying to me because I answer to him tomorrow!” (See Genesis chapters 39-41.) “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 (NKJV)
The Symbol of Christ
Remember, the symbol of our faith in Christ is a cross (old rugged cross), not an easy chair! Speaking the truth in love sometimes requires strong, uncomfortable confrontation that could reap harsh retaliation. Nathan the prophet must have realized that confronting and rebuking King David for living a lie, committing adultery with Bathsheba, and using Joab and enemy soldiers to kill Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband and David’s loyal soldier) could cost him his life. “But the Lord sent Nathan to David” and gave him a parable that captured David’s attention and stirred his anger. Then Nathan hit David in the gut with the punch line: “You are the man!” Could it be that Nathan was David’s best friend (equal with Jonathan)? See 2 Samuel 11 and 12.
What Does the Word of God Say about Persecution?
“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. ‘God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.’” Matthew 5:10-12 (NLT)
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’” 1 Peter 4:12-18 (ESV)
“The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: ‘Jesus is the Messiah.’” Acts 5:40-42 (NLT)
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV)
“If you never mention sin, you may never experience persecution. But if you are bold, expect to suffer. It comes with the territory, but you are never alone in it; that is the blessed partnership of believers through history.” ~ John MacArthur “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25 (ESV)
America – A Great Nation?
I recently heard about a T-shirt that says: “America! A land so great that even its enemies won’t leave!” It’s ironic, but true! Sadly, the America designed and founded by our forefathers, which still has the national motto: “In God We Trust,” has internal enemies seeking to destroy it from within. Please pray!
What Is Your Foundation?
Are you building your life on the solid Rock, our Lord Jesus Christ – or on the shifting sand of human opinions, religious doctrines of mere men, or your own lusts, ambitions, and desires warped by corrupted culture? Matthew 16:13-20 is a confusing passage for many people, who after a surface reading, assume that Jesus built His church on Peter, because the Greek word for Peter, petros, means rock. However, petros actually means a small stone or pebble. Peter’s original name was Simon, but Jesus gave him a new name to signify that He would change Simon from sifting sand to solid stone! But is Peter the foundation upon which Jesus would build His Church? NO! Absolutely not! The foundation for His Church is the truth that Simon Peter had just confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”
Actually, the word that Jesus used (in Greek) was “petra” – a word which means bedrock or plateau – and such a plateau was in view in the district of Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made this confession. Let’s look at his confession in context: “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’” Matthew 16:13-19 (ESV)
Can we be certain that Jesus did not build His Church on Peter? Yes! Definitely! Consider this potent portion of Scripture: “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (ESV) What about the fact that Jesus gave to Peter the authority of binding and loosing? Actually, Jesus gave this power to all of the apostles. You will find this in Matthew 18. Verses 18-20 say: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (ESV)
For an expansion of our understanding of the Biblical teaching about the foundation of his church, Christ Jesus, as the Master Builder, used the apostles and prophets as stones in the foundation. He is the Cornerstone, and everything in the building is to be measured by the Cornerstone. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these pertinent passages of clarification to Christians in Ephesus: “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:18-22, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)
Pre-dawn Prayer on November 8, 2023
Oh, Lord, in my younger years I never even thought about attaining the age of 80 years on this earth, and now here I am. I realize, Lord Jesus, that You have a purpose for my life, and you have a precise reason for having me here and now, so please lead me and show me what you want me to do and to become. And thank you, Lord Jesus, for keeping Della here with me at my side for this final chapter of our lives on this earth. Also, thank You so much for our family and the Family of God. Please fill us with Your Spirit and use us as the examples You want us to be. Please use us to shine brightly in reflecting Your light and love to those who are lost, lonely, and broken. Thank You for all you are planning for us! Amen
From Our Mailbox
“Rick and Della, words are inadequate to express my thankfulness for your many and often repeated kindnesses and blessings – but I do not know how else to express it – so l will merely say – “thank you so much.” The monthly newsletters – the October issue was truly a blessing. Della’s testimony – I marvel at my Dear Lord’s working and blessings and at Della’s beautiful faithfulness to Jesus. The sermon CDs and the issue of the One Body magazine highlighting the truly Incomparable Lord Jesus Christ. As you wrote concerning the darkness that is enveloping our nation on so many fronts – may that darkness impel us as the church of Jesus Christ – each of us individually – to pray the more earnestly the prayer directed by the Lord God to Solomon – “If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land…” 2 Chronicles 7:14. Please use the extra $20 for the work in the beleaguered nation of the Ukraine. May my Beloved Lord Jesus bless you both. Ken (Morris)”
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“It’s easy to look at the world round about,
And see so many things that we are without.
We’d like to have that and we’d like to have this,
With all of these things, oh, our life would be bliss.
But those thoughts that we think, just simply aren’t true.
Joy does not come with all things bright and new.
So rather than want what we really don’t need,
And envy, and fuss, and fill thoughts up with greed,
Let’s practice contentment and give thanks and praise,
To God who gives all that we need for our days.”
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
Love, Shasta (Hutton)”
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From ARM Prison Outreach:
“Jonathan is in prison for drugs and just completed his fifth Bible study, Acts: Volume 2. He writes, ‘I came into prison full of pride, rage, hate, resentment, and bitterness. But, by the grace of God and through the blood of Jesus Christ, I’m redeemed, and I always want to ‘strive to keep my conscience clear before God,’ as Paul did in Acts 24:16. I wanted to write this letter to say ‘thank you.’ Thank you for helping me grow in the Lord Jesus, my Christ. The study of the Book of Acts was full of examples of believers full of courage as the Holy Spirit led them; no matter what they faced, they moved forward and never looked back. That is amazing inspiration and dedication to see from fellow brothers in Christ. It has shown me that Christ can change anyone and is willing to forgive all if we take up His cross and let the Holy Spirit guide us.’ (I don’t know his last name, but this is not referring to Jonathan Turner. R.D.)
Together, we are helping to turn prisoners’ imprisonment into an opportunity for their rescue through Jesus. Please help us to do good to those experiencing their darkest moments in a prison cell, and let’s give them hope through Jesus through a gift to the ‘Seed Campaign.’ Your Fellow Prisoner in the Lord (Eph. 4:1), Troy B. Nelson”
Note: Joe Garman, founder of ARM, and I were classmates at Ozark Bible College. We have partnered with him in outreach by donating many of our books to ARM.
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Note: Della and I are Northwest representatives for Peace on Earth Ministries (POEM), founded and led by Victor & Evelyn Knowles. We partnered with them in helping in financial outreach to Poland and Ukraine, and recently received this response:
“By the grace of God, we still live in peace and freedom here in Poland. We are very, very thankful to God. You live far away from this ‘hell ’that is going on in Ukraine. We get the TV news from there and also from the refugees who are staying in our church and as well as from some who have returned to Ukraine and send us reports of what is going on there. Some churches fill a van with food and deliver it to a region near the front lines where the fighting is going on, because the people there need everything. Drivers that go there risk their own lives, but after seeing the need they rely on God and go. It happened that one van and later another one was fired upon, but the drivers were not killed. Our church here in Poland helped financially the two churches for this ministry with the money we received through Brother Victor and POEM ministries for the refugees. Your help has and still is a great blessing to us so that we could furnish, accommodate, and supply rooms for 27 refugees in our church building, plus 2 families (12 people) in two nearby villages. It was also a great blessing for the Christian refugees that they could live and worship God with us, having all their needs supplied because of what you have sent!
Our church sent 3 vans full of supplies to Ukraine and helped 3 other churches in our area to send supplies to Ukraine. We also helped some war orphans in Ukraine. Our church also helped a new Music School organized by Christian people in a church in Belarus. They have the same rights as public schools, but can also teach music and the Bible, preparing musical leaders for the churches and winning their non-Christian students (and even some of their parents) for Christ. This school is only fundamental church in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. All the professors in this school are members of this church. In the present situation this school is in a very difficult financial situation, but they don’t want to close this school. The director of the school is a son of a choir director in the Church of Christ in Kobrin, Belarus, where Victor has preached. He with his choir and orchestra have visited our Church in Bielsk Podlaski five times. His 2 sons and their wives are professors in this school, we know them well. We want to help them more.
We don’t know when and how this war in Ukraine will end. We know that the one who started this war is very angry at our country, because Poland helped Ukraine more than any other country besides the USA. Depending how it will end, we can be safe – or we could be the next country which will be attacked! Please pray that this war will not come to Poland. Part of Russian army is located in Belarus, and we live just 30 miles from Belarus. But we trust in the Lord that He will protect us.
In September, several churches in our area churches celebrated Thanksgiving, each church on different Sunday, so people could participate in different churches. We have also been in two other churches, where I was invited to preach the Word of God.
We are praying for you and for all you do for us, asking God to reward you abundantly. In this time of inflation your help is very valuable for us.
The Lord in His grace is still giving us health and strength to be active in the work for the Lord and we are happy and thankful to Him. Our son Andrew is also very busy in his ministry in Warsaw. He and his wife Martha are leading the meetings for parents who have difficult teenagers. Many parents from the church and also from outside the church are attending.
Soon you will celebrate your Thanksgiving. We hope that your celebration this year will be joyous one as in former years and will be blessed by the Lord. May He grant you peace!
In Christ, Kostek and Mary; Andrew and Martha”
Friends, Kostek sent us this brief note after I wrote to him thanking him for the report:
“Dear Rick, the words you wrote touched our hearts. To know that our Brothers and Sisters thousands of miles away will read and pray for us, what a wonderful Family God made. We are praying for the wonderful POEM Ministries and now we will include also your Ministry and all who will pray for us, the Lord will know them. Some glorious Day we will have a joy to see the Family we belong to. Thank you for writing to me. In Christ – Kostek and Mary Jakoniuk”
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Before mid-November, I wrote a message to friends in Germany to ask how they are and to let them know I was thinking of them and praying for them. In the email replies from Filipp & Karin Peschut, we learned not only that they are well, but also that they are a host family for three refugee children from Ukraine. Also, that they receive our email prayer letters, read them, and pray for our requests. What a joy and encouragement! (This is a summary of two emails. Although both Filipp and Karin are fluent in English, Filipp wrote to me in German.)
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“Rick and Della, thank you so much for your kind words! The Lord truly went before Georges and I in Ukraine. We were able to see how much He is doing through our local team of workers. His Revival is in Ukraine! Thank you for standing shoulder to shoulder with us in prayer and financial support!
Natasha Reimer, Mulberry International”
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“According to Christianity Today, Ukraine has become the ‘Bible Belt’ of Eastern Europe and is the ‘hub of evangelical church life, education and missions’. The Russian army has destroyed almost 500 churches and religious institutions, including numerous evangelical churches. Often Russian army men threaten to kill all evangelical Christians in Ukraine, believing them to be American spies and enemies of the Russian Orthodox people. Please pray for Ukrainian Christians. Pray particularly for the pastors. Life is difficult. Like Paul said in 2 Cor 7:5, ‘we were afflicted on every side: conflicts on the outside, fears inside.’ Praise would like to bless Ukrainian Christians in a special way. Would you like to join us?” Praise International, Fall 2023
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Portions of: Molodchy Ministry Update September-October 2023, Vienna Austria
“Our dear friends and prayer partners,
We cannot say enough about the importance of your support of us in the face of the unknown journey. And as Christians we should not be surprised by the unknown which we face. It was always like that when God called His people to mission. He is calling us as well today with our families and churches. Your financial contributions, prayers and letters help us live day by day, seeking God’s will and trusting Him in our life here in Vienna. This month is also filled with reminiscing about being thankful for the things we had until this time. This is a good time to say, ‘Thus far the LORD has helped us.’…
Not so long ago we came across the following post in Vienna. ‘There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.’ We believe that this is our motto to the ministry here. We need to look for cracks in people’s lives, sometimes they talk about it! Jesus is the One who is the Light to the world and our souls. We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to be ready ourselves and to send us people who are ready to talk about their brokenness. Please pray with us for that…” (The brokenness is the opening for light to shine in!)
Our landlord may transfer the ownership of the building soon and depending on the new person, we may or may not have to find a new apartment or a house. We really need prayers for our trust the in Lord’s guidance for our family in this respect. Again, thank you for your love and care, Zhenya, Natasha, our kids and parents!”
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Snippets from the Fall issue of World News by Literature and Teaching Ministries:
“All of these books were produced with LATM partner Sergei Golovin. They are being made available in print and online so that even Ukrainians who find themselves displaced are able to have access to these books. Sergei reports that the need for books in Ukraine is greater than ever. Because of this Sergei and his team have published more books in Russian and Ukrainian than ever before. Life in the Vine: A Guide for Living Out Basic Christianity. Kontaktmission missionary Jon Gainer writes of the need of this small book: Ukraine is seeing Christian revival. Thousands are repenting and thousands more are seeking out what it means to be a Christ follower. Who is God? What is the Bible? How do I pray? These are all questions which they are desperately wanting to know the answers.”
As in our recent prayer letter, our prayer requests are scattered throughout this one too. So please review the pages and pray as the Holy Spirit moves your hearts.
What is Christmas About?
Is Christmas about lights, parties, decorating, shopping for family and friends? Is it about sleigh bells, jingle bells, pine trees, snow scenes, etc.? Or are we missing something?
God’s purpose was “And she (Mary) will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:21-22 (NKJV).
If the heart and soul of Christmas is not about Christ and centered on the truths of His first coming in preparation for His second coming, we are missing the mark!
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God…..And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Revelation 19:11-14 and 16 (NKJV)
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Have a joy-filled Christmas with your family or friends, and let’s all remember the One who made Christmas and keep Him first place in our hearts!
Rick & Della