In the World But Not of the World

fire-covering-up-the-sunThe Forever Day and Night

One cannot read The Book of Revelation in the Bible and still maintain that God is some white-haired, jolly grandfather figure winking and chuckling at the transgressions of naughty grandchildren and all the while doling out candy into their dirty hands. Great portions of The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ almost read like a horror story; and indeed, if a person – whether a believer or not – can read this book without his heart starting to race and pound with the fear and horror of its contents, his heart is truly seared.

The Book of Revelation is, appropriately, the last book in the Bible. It is the final word regarding the outcome of mankind and of the cosmos on which mankind lives. Not to state the obvious, but the Bible begins with the beginning, and ends with the end. And there is a lot in between. The “in between” is about one thing: God’s Glory seen in the eternal redemption of His people and in His warnings of eternal destruction to those who refuse to bow the knee. Since I have used the word “eternal” (eternal redemption, eternal destruction), you, my astute readers, may want to raise a question when I state that the last book of the Bible is describing “the end.” If the Bible speaks of eternal redemption and eternal destruction, why, then, do we speak of “the end”?

This is an important question. All of us, physically, have an end. How many billions of people have seen their physical end since the beginning of time? How many people are experiencing their physical end as you read this? And how many are rapidly approaching their physical end? When is your physical end; when is mine? Yes, there will be a physical end of you and of me. The physical world – cosmos in Greek – will also come to an end. An untold number of people will have experienced their physical end before the cosmos does. However, according to the Scriptures, the world will still be inhabited by mankind at the hour of its total destruction. Here is the end of which I am speaking, the end which affects every single one of us (whether our bodies have already journeyed to the grave, or whether our hearts are still faithfully pumping away in those very last days), because eternity will not be fully realized until this end comes.

A careful and (recommended) repeated reading of The Book of Revelation will reveal that the earth’s timeline, from its beginning to its end, is presented over and over, with each successive description manifesting an exponential increase in wickedness and a corresponding exponential increase of the manifestation of God’s wrath. Chapters 17, 18, 19 and 20 express the climax of God’s unmitigated wrath (this is grandfatherly?) on Satan and his ungodly human host, all culminating in these horrific words: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone….and shall be tormented day and night” (Rev 20:10), and “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:15). The words of holy horror found in these chapters are almost too much to bear, and it is a great relief to the heart (of the believer) to be bathed in the words of light and life found in the Chapter 21,

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

The collective breath we had been holding, as our minds took in the graphic descriptions of the utter destruction of the utterly wicked, is blessedly released.

Here is the end. And yet…here is the beginning, an eternal beginning. How many times in The Book of Revelation does God encourage His children to be patient, because at the end, there will be an eternal beginning? An eternal beginning not only for His children, but also for their persecutors:

“If any man worship the beast…the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev 14:9-12)

“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” (Rev 7:13-15)

Dear Reader, in a few weeks, we will know who, in God’s Providence, will be our next president. An honest assessment of the state of our country and of the world will reveal that the last bastion of Christianity appears about to crumble. And the very timely question, “Will the next administration push toward the total destruction of Christian freedom?” is on many hearts. A young man, with whom I was having an interesting fb discussion regarding current presidential politics, accused me of wanting to see Armageddon come, seemingly to insinuate that I would relish the day of this great battle for my own sake and pleasure. We never discussed what he actually meant by Armageddon, and I do not know if he even has views regarding the last things. He is an aetheist or at least an agnostic with minimal Biblical teaching in his background. Nevertheless, it was interesting that he would have some idea of what a Christian may be thinking regarding what is happening in America right now. Furthermore, in the past several months, I have had many discussions with faithful believers – all of whom attend different denominations – and these Christians, indeed, are viewing the developing events of today as a precursor to the end. I tend to agree, but not in the rejoicing way that my fb friend would like to believe of me. However, I am seriously viewing today’s world in light of the vision given to John in The Book of Revelation. And though my heart often wants to lean heavy on the side of fear, I remember the promise of God that the end is the beginning of forever, and then my heart says,

“Come Lord Jesus, quickly come.”clouds-in-blue-sky

(Photo credits: Rachel Blake)

The Forever Day and Night

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In the World But Not of the World

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. Yes, I totally agree with that. But does Hillary Clinton? Do the representatives of the African American community agree as well? Do the adherents to the BLM movement agree? Or is it just a catchy slogan to gain political traction and attention?

WHICH black lives matter? I say, they ALL do. Do you think Hillary or the above mentioned groups agree with that?

“Black lives matter” is a very dramatic statement and was constructed to immediately evoke emotion and agreement. But it was also designed to challenge. He who dares to disagree with this pithy, righteous statement has got to be prejudiced to the very core. And this cannot be tolerated.

(Toleration. Here is an interesting word. It evokes the idea of a sustained lack of active disagreement to a distasteful (to us) idea or a person or a situation. Well, here’s the thing. The BLM supporters do not tolerate those who disagree with them, but we are supposed to tolerate rioting, etc.).

Many BLMers actively carry a grudge (designed for them) and a virtual banner that shouts of the unfair treatment of blacks by law enforcement. Some of them riot, block major highways and kill police officers. They get involved in these activities all in the name of black lives matter. I have often wondered how many black lives they are negatively affecting when they riot, destroy stores, block major highways and kill police officers. I have some questions for the BLMers:

  1. Do you really know the facts regarding Hillary Clinton and her views on blacks?  If she really believes that black lives matter, why does she support the abortion of little black babies who could have grown up to be black citizens?
  2. Do you really know the facts regarding those (community organizers, representatives, etc.) who urge and promote discontent and violence in the black community?
  3. Do you know who Margaret Sanger was and what her philosophy toward blacks and any other “undesirables” was?
  4. Are you aware of Hillary Clinton’s admiration for Margaret Sanger?

If you happen to know any BLMers, give them the following facts :
– Margaret Sanger hated blacks and thought they were a lesser race. Margaret Sanger was a racist. To her, black lives did not matter.
– Margaret Sanger strongly advocated for the aborting of black babies so that this “inferior race” would be diminished. To her, black lives did not matter
– Margaret Sanger started an abortion “service” to rid the world of these “undesirables” which was eventually called Planned Parenthood
– In 2012, blacks made up 12% of the nation’s population, and 40% of all abortions performed in the United States were performed on black babies. As of 2016, 1452 black babies lose their lives every day in America via abortion. (huffingtonpost.com) Though Margaret Sanger is dead, her desired reality lives on. To Planned Parenthood and to others who perform abortions on black babies, black lives do not matter.
– Hillary Clinton was nominated for and received the Planned Parenthood Federation Margaret Sanger Award in 2009. Here is an announcement regarding this award: “Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) will present its highest honor, the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award, to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the PPFA awards gala in Houston, Texas on Friday, March 27. Secretary Clinton will receive this award for her unwavering support of women’s health and rights throughout her public service career. Actor America Ferrera will co-host the event with PPFA President Cecile Richards. The awards gala will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center on 1001 Avenida de las Americas in Houston.” (saynsumthn.wordpress.com) Hillary Clinton openly admires Margaret Sanger for her philosophy and efforts: “I admire enormously her courage, tenacity, her vision…” To Hillary Clinton, black lives do not matter.

Instead of pointing out the real victims of racist abuse (those little black babies in the womb), politicians create a false group of victims. One of the easiest things to do is make someone feel sorry for themselves and then to make them believe that no one but you has their best interest in mind. It is commonly known that a favorite counseling technique in the world of psychology is to have the client cast about in his mind for someone on which to blame his problems. Once that person is identified, the ultimate end result is that the client never takes responsibility for his own actions or reactions. No problems are solved and bitterness for being a victim just festers and grows, and often the psychiatrist (whether they mean to or not) has a client for life.

Politicians will use that same ruse, tapping into the part of our human nature that wants to feel sorry for ourselves and blame our problems on someone else. Politicians will treat their black constituents in this manner, so that their emotional appeal will have the two desired result: continued reliance on their (unfulfilled) promises to better the lives of their black constituents (a lifer); and their reelection. Politicians will openly lie and mislead their constituents. For instance, in regards to the BLM mantra, they will not reveal that 93% of blacks killed in America are killed by other blacks (of course, this does not take into account the number of blacks killed by black abortionists). To these politicians, black lives do not matter. But a good slogan does.

Black lives matter. I totally agree. Do you? Please check out the facts and graciously seek to inform others.

Black Lives Matter

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In the World But Not of the World

A Movie Review on “Zootopia” (The Promoting of  Man’s Idea of Perfection Packaged in Cuteness)

The Movie’s Basic Theme: You can be what you want to be no matter your biological make-up.

When one watches Zootopia, one first has to ask oneself: Was this movie written for animals to watch? This will be one of the most important questions to keep in mind as one views this film. The answer to the above question is obviously “no”. Here are a few reasons behind this answer: 1) animals cannot understand movies, 2) animals do not have a desire to be other than what they are, and 3) because animals do not have a desire to be what they are not, animals do not set out to be something they are not.

The next question that needs to be asked then is: To whom is the movie, Zootopia, directed? We would have to say this movie is directed toward humans. That is the obvious answer. But then we have to recognize that there are all kinds of humans. There are the young, and the middle aged and the old. There are men and women and boys and girls. There are those who hold to standards of others (whether of their religion, their family, and/or their peers) and those who hold to standards determined of themselves. Now when we ask to whom is this movie directed, it gets a bit tricky to answer. But, keep in mind, that although ALL the characters in the movie are animals, the movie IS directed toward humans.

One clue as to which segment of the human race this movie is directed can be found in the first scene. There is a play being put on by young animal children in which the “old way” of predator vs. prey is denounced as evil, old-fashioned, and unenlightened. One has to ask oneself, if this play is not directed towards animals, as we have determined in our first paragraph, then to whom is this predator vs. prey message directed? Well, we can say at this point, the targeted human segment is children. Writers understand the power of children teaching children. But, because there is at least one set of animal parents in the audience who is often shown reacting to the play, we can say that this movie is also being directed to the older generation. This statement plays out as the movie unfolds, and we discover that these parents are portrayed as being stuck in old ways of thinking but are willing to change.

The next clue regarding to whom this movie is directed is revealed, again in the first scene, through a young animal character coming on stage with a rainbow on its head. This animal makes a speech regarding how it has changed and has seen the light in terms of how it was wrong in the past in terms of its view of others. Why a rainbow on this animal’s head? To whom is this rainbow motif directed? Again, animals don’t recognize what a rainbow is, but humans do. What message does the movie writer want to give to the humans watching their film? The rainbow motif has been garnered by the homosexual movement to mean that all people (really meaning all people like themselves) should be accepted. The scene is relatively brief, but pointed.

We can now further answer the question: To whom this movie is directed? This movie is directed toward those whom the homosexual community and its supporters believe need to be taught this lesson: that being what you want to be, even though you are not born that way, is possible and good. The teaching in this Homosexuality 101 movie is for children and anyone else who needs to be enlightened.

The rest of the movie brings forth this lesson through various scenes and conversations. For example, there is a scene meant to be heart-wrenching as we witness the treatment of a predator who works at the front lobby desk of the police department.  He  is now considered evil (And we should note that his character is a male tiger who seems to have a mixture of feminine and male characteristics in its behavior.) and is therefore removed from its job at the front information desk because it would look bad to have him be the “first thing people (animals) see” when they walk in.

An interesting fact about this movie is that in its promotion of homosexuality, there is no “de-moting” of marriage between heterosexuals. There is a prominent scene in the movie where a girl animal marries a boy animal. Should we breathe a sigh of relief and applaud this movie now because they have not made negative references toward heterosexual unions? Be careful here. The supposed message of the homosexual movement is that everyone should be accepted, no matter their “choices” in partners. This Homosexuality 101 movie is very thorough in covering its subject.

Though the promoting of the acceptance of the sin of homosexuality is obvious in the movie, there is a deeper message being flaunted: all moral mores must be challenged and embraced. In other words, “Try Anything” as the title of the main song of the movie states.

This message is taught in the animal “nudist” colony scene. In this scene, the main character – a female rabbit who has always dreamed of being a police officer – walks through an “animal nudist” colony in order to find a witness. Again, we need to remember the question: To whom is this movie directed? To animals? No, to humans. That being the case, then I will leave you to answer why the story writers have the witness – a female elephant in the “nudist” colony who is doing yoga – spread her legs in full view of the other characters (and the humans watching this film), and also bends over in front of the main characters, showing her hinder parts, and furthermore, twist herself into various positions where her “private parts” would be on display. Cute, right? She is just an animal. But, what is the picture that this “nude” female elephant is painting? Definitely, if animals cared about such displays, this picture of “nudity” would be meant for the arousal or at least the embarrassment of the observing animals. But again, we have to keep in mind that animals do not watch movies nor care to, and that this movie is directed toward humans. What pictures do these “nude” female elephant moves bring to the mind of humans? What is the message of this scene toward humans? I won’t answer the first question, but I will answer the second. Actually, the main characters of the movie, give us the answer. Though the rabbit is embarrassed at first to head into this “nudist” animal colony, the other main character, a male fox, challenges her on her reaction. The rabbit, answering to the call of duty and being challenged in her own belief that anybody can be who they want, drops her inhibitions and her own lingering prejudices and willingly subjects herself to viewing this “naked” limber elephant.

There is one main problem with this movie – this problem being the norm for humans in the history of this world – but looming larger and larger in 2016. It is the tearing down of what is Holy and Good as determined by God in His Word, the Bible. It is calling evil good. This movie is a candy-colored reflection of the many evils being called good as taught and pushed in schools, corporations, churches, and by our own government.

Here is God’s message, as found in His Word, to all people. Sin reaps real consequences. We can be deceived in ourselves regarding God’s view of sin. We can be forgiven for our sins and washed from them, and sanctified (grow in our obedience to God).

Since our first rebellion against God in the garden (See the book of Genesis.), we have sought to go our own way – the way of utopia. That way always ends in misery and eternal destruction. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. Go to Jesus and His Word to see what true freedom is – freedom from the bondage, guilt and eternal consequences of sin.

1 Corin. 6:9-11 – Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Movie Review on Zootopia

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In the World But Not of the World

roses on windowsill 2The Camel’s Nose in the Modesty Tent

Ah, summertime. That great season of the year when the Lord gives us more daylight hours; and when we go on vacation, plant gardens, enjoy warmer days, shed the winter coat, wear lighter clothing, wear less clothing, show more skin, wear really short shorts, wear really short skirts, show some cleavage, show some more cleavage, wear bathing suits that look like underwear – wait a minute, back up. Do I really want to mention some of these things? Especially in an article that might be (hopefully) read by believers? Actually, no, I would rather not mention the latter part of the above list and especially not to believers. But, frankly, they need mentioning. And they need mentioning to believers. Ok, so if you are still reading this article, first of all, my point in writing it is not to slam anybody for their choice in clothing. My purpose for this article is to hopefully open up the eyes of young ladies, young men, mothers, fathers, wives and husbands to the camel that has made its way into the modesty tent and that has wrecked havoc. And then, having had our eyes opened, encourage reform where it is needed.

Actually, let’s not blame the camel. There is another animal, whom we all know, who should be mentioned in relation to lack of modesty (and all other rebellions against a just and merciful God) in the world and in the Christian church. Satan embodied this animal and through him spoke the biggest lie of all time. Here it is: If we would follow Satan’s direction instead of obeying God’s clear commands, we would become like God Almighty. And becoming like God Almighty would mean that we would know what was good and what was evil – just like God does. This, in turn, would mean that we would not need to listen to, obey, or follow God anymore, but rather we could live autonomously, listening to and acting upon our OWN wisdom. And, furthermore, if we were just like God, our OWN wisdom regarding situations would equal HIS in terms of how we respond to them. So, who needs God anymore after that? Not us. To take it further down the path of logic, if we, in our god-wisdom, thought it was best (because, remember, we are as wise as God now), we could listen to and act on the wisdom of OTHERS, if we thought that was the wisest thing to do. Boy, we would really have it made in the shade on a hot summer day.

Well, the lie was believed, and if the above description of the fall of man makes you shudder, as it does me, let me remind you of our gracious Heavenly Father who loved Adam and Eve (and us) when they (and we) were yet sinners.

Our gracious God will not have His glory shared, even by those first humans He created and on whom He bestowed His love. When Adam and Eve behaved like sheep, and went their own way, creating a path to the hell that they now deserved, the just and righteously offended God lovingly turned His unmitigated wrath away from them and aimed it fully and without repentance toward His Beloved Son. His Beloved Son then bore this wrath in the place of God’s children, freeing Adam and Eve (and us) from eternal punishment and separation from God. His Son’s ordained work for His people also brought us back into intimate fellowship with His Father, making Him, once more, our Father as well. The fount of blessings that this restored relationship gives us truly is manifold. God’s Holy Spirit comes to live in us – He who causes us to understand and follow God’s Word, gives us peace in our hearts and a confidence in the reality of a heavenly home waiting for us, and gives us joy in the Lord and in all His ways. God, graciously and over time, works in our hearts so that He and His ways become our one desire. It is a hearkening back to the relationship Adam and Eve had with God in the garden before the fall. But with an added layer of a new kind of love – redeeming Love, unconditional Love.

But back to the issue of modesty or lack of it. As you may have already surmised, I am purporting that the camel’s nose regarding lack of modesty started to come into the tent when Adam and Eve fell. This might seem strange to some as, really, mankind started covering their bodies after they fell. Before the fall, they were naked and not ashamed. Adam and Eve, in response to their recognizing their new sinful nature, covered their bodies with fig leaves in hopes of hiding their now sinful nature from God. They thought they could take care of their sin against God their own way, by hiding. God, with loving persistence, revealed the layers of sin that accumulated in the short time after their disobedience and then graciously re-clothes Adam and Eve with the clothes that would be heavenly appropriate to their sinful condition – clothes made from the skin of an animal who had been slain by God just for that purpose. You can clearly see the holy picture of Christ’s death on the cross in order to clothe His children in His righteousness in this genesis act of God. There is also a very interesting fact regarding clothing and its purpose seen in this picture of redemption. God, in His wisdom, covers our bodies. After the fall, a body uncovered was not pleasing in God’s sight – because it represented sin – so He covered it. The theological discussion regarding the difference in motivation behind Adam and Eve clothing themselves and God clothing them is important. Adam and Eve were seeking to hide their sin from God, and God was graciously bestowing His forgiveness upon them for the sin they were trying to hide.

The question we need to ask now is – why do we want to uncover? Adam and Eve wanted to cover their bodies as a means of hiding from God. When we uncover, does that mean that we are no longer seeking to hide from God? I would say that the answer to that is a definite “yes”. The Bible speaks of mankind becoming more and more blatant in manifesting its rebellion against God. Does it also mean that, by nature, we still believe the lie of Satan? I would again answer in the affirmative. By nature, we believe that we are like God – knowing good from evil. By nature, we believe that it is good to uncover. By nature, we believe that God is silly for wanting us to cover ourselves as He did in the garden. What is wrong with showing more and more of our bodies to each other and to the world? Nothing, we say. Furthermore, in our god-wisdom, we think that the wisdom of the world has something to offer to us in regards to clothing. If the world’s style is to show more skin, then we, in our god-wisdom that we acquired in the process of believing the devil, show more skin. If the world’s style is to show some cleavage, then we in our god-wisdom, show cleavage, even in advertisements for Christian colleges. If the world’s style is to wear skin-tight tops and pants, then we in our god-wisdom wear skin-tight tops and pants. If the world’s style says to wear bathing suits that we wouldn’t be caught dead in at church, but would wear at the pool either around our church family or around other folks, then we in our god-wisdom wear these kinds of bathing suits. These are hard-hitting statements. But they address the old nature that rises up against us, even while we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. And thankfully, we ARE the temple of the Holy Spirit because as such, we can confidently look to Him and to the Scriptures for guidance regarding these issues – 1 Timothy 2:9; Exodus 20:14; Mathew 5:27ff; Matthew 19:18; Romans 13:19 – to name just a few. Do these passages tell us specifically what to wear? No – but the import of the verses are clear. Be modest and do not be a part of why your brother falls into sexual sin.

I have had conversations with young girls who do not understand the temptations for young boys and men they encourage by the way they dress. I have tried to explain to them that a man is prone to thoughts that are best not fed by what they see, hear, read, listen to, and I have thought that explaining this reality would help young girls to make wise choices regarding clothing. But why have these types of conversations become necessary? And why do young girls and even older women seem to have seared views regarding what modesty is and why modesty is absolutely necessary in the Christian life?

I was born in the 60’s. It was the age of questioning authority which led to, among many other things, clothing that was rebellious in obvious ways – skin-tight body shirts, shirts that were designed so that a girl MIGHT look pregnant even if she wasn’t, (and therefore would give the impression that the girl MIGHT be sexually active), tight hip-hugger jeans, and certain articles of female underclothing being omitted. Later on, halter tops, mini-skirts and other types of immodest clothing became the accepted and desired styles. Though I wasn’t a Christian until I was in my senior year in high school, I was raised in a fairly conservative family. However, the world’s styles readily found a place in my wardrobe because…well, because everyone else was wearing these styles. Even after my conversion, I continued to embrace some of the world’s styles, even wearing them to church and Bible studies. As I left the teenage years behind and joined the work force, my choice of clothing was still not always appropriate. It was several years after I became a Christian that I realized that my choice of clothing needed to honor God and show a love for my neighbor. So, do I blame the rebellious 60’s for my ungodly dressing habits? In a sense, I do -just like we can point the finger at Satan in the garden for his part in our fall. But I wonder if it isn’t more than that. How is it that the world, then and more so now, is able to garner a grand hold on the church and Christians in terms of lack of modesty? Why do conversations with ladies, young and even some older, regarding modesty seem to fall on deaf ears? Why is it necessary to explain to women what their immodest dressing does to men? Why does Satan and the world have such a stronghold today on the women of the church regarding modesty? Strongholds do not develop overnight. It takes a while to build strongholds. Strongholds become strongholds through the absence of resistance.

Have we not resisted? Historically, I believe we can see that the church had her days of resistance. But does the obviously growing disregard for modesty in the church mean that we have stopped resisting? And have we stopped resisting because in our god-wisdom, we feel confident that we can tell good from evil? It is my hope that this article will raise awareness in the church of God for the need to begin to resist this evil called good that we have almost fully embraced over the past few decades. We need to hear loving instruction and rebuke from the pulpit regarding this runaway sin problem. We need to frankly talk about this issue in our families and in our fellowship. We need to be very careful when we choose clothing for ourselves and for our girls. The camel IS in the tent. Satan DOES have a stronghold in the churches today in this issue of lack of modesty among our sisters. Pray for God’s wisdom and discernment as we seek to be in the world, but not of it. 1 Peter 1:4

The Camel’s Nose in the Modesty Tent

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