Make Like A Tree??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No. 24

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.24 Make Like A Tree???

 

Do you remember those days of childhood and silly ‘knock-knock’ jokes, and riddles and tacky puns that only children think are funny? One of those “funnies” came to my mind this morning as I was reading Genesis, and remembered the childish phrase, “Make like a tree and ‘leave’!” Well, this morning as I thought of God’s first family, Adam and Eve: those two who were created in perfection; who were given a perfectly prim and pristine environment to live in; who had an intimate relationship with God their creator; who were given productive work to do in tending to God’s perfect Garden of Eden, with only one proviso—don’t eat of the ‘Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’! Only one rule—they were given moral responsibility in that one restriction, and Satan came and convinced them to doubt their God and friend, and to do that which God had forbidden.

And God said,

Let us make man in our image,

after our likeness:

and let them have dominion

over the fish of the sea,

and over the fowl of the air,

and over the cattle,

and over all the earth,

and over every creeping thing

that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God created he him;

male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them,

and God said unto them,

Be fruitful, and multiply,

and replenish the earth,

and subdue it:

and have dominion over

the fish of the sea,

and over

the fowl of the air,

and over

every living thing

that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said,

Behold,

I have given you every herb

bearing seed,

which is upon the face of all the earth,

and every tree,

in the which is the fruit

of a tree yielding seed;

to you it shall be for meat.”    Genesis 1:26-29

I love the creation account; it is so amazing to me, to see that Almighty God, who knew what we would do, created us in HIS image anyway! He knew we would sin against HIS commands, and created us anyway! He knew that we would fail HIM and walk away from HIM and HIS Word, but HE created us anyway! That is more patience, compassion and unconditional love than I can comprehend—yet God had and still has that kind of love for His master creation—mankind! He loves you and me so much, and Jesus loves us so much that He came and lived a perfect, sinless life so that He could die a perfectly sinless, substitutionary, atoning, sacrificial death for all who will come to Him in repentance and faith. That is such “Amazing Grace” that words cant’ express it, nor the mind of mankind comprehend it! He has done, is doing and ever will reveal His wondrous grace to those who will come to HIM.

But we speak the wisdom of God

in a mystery,

even the hidden wisdom,

which God ordained before the world

unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes

of this world knew:

for had they known it,

they would not have crucified

the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written,

Eye hath not seen,

nor ear heard,

neither have entered into the heart of man,

the things which God hath prepared

for them that love him.

10 But God hath revealed them

unto us

by his Spirit:

for the Spirit searcheth

all things,

yea, the deep things

of God.”     1 Corinthians 2:7-10

All I can say is Amen and Amen—God has revealed Himself and His glory to us in Jesus. Because Jesus redeemed what Adam and Eve lost to Satan in the garden!!! And God knew it all beforehand.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who hath blessed us

with all spiritual blessings

in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us

in him

before the foundation of the world,

that we should be holy

and without blame

before him

       in love:” Ephesians 1:3-4

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed

with corruptible things,

as silver and gold,

from your vain conversation

received by tradition

from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ,

as of a lamb without blemish

and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained

before the foundation of the world,

but was manifest

in these last times

for you,” 1 Peter 1:18-20

What an awesome God we serve!! But back to Adam and Eve, they were given perfection and the ultimate, intimate relationship with God, but they failed—why? A lie is why!

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying,

Of every tree of the garden

thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree

of the knowledge of good and evil,

thou shalt not eat of it:

for in the day that thou eatest thereof

thou shalt surely die…….

22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man,

made he a woman,

and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said,

This is now bone of my bones,

and flesh of my flesh:

she shall be called Woman,

because she was taken

out of Man.”    Portions of Genesis 2:16-23

This was the ‘real’ perfect woman, brought to the ‘real’ perfect man, by the perfect, holy God who created them and established marriage—what a wonderful gift! But our focus isn’t the marriage, but the mess-up that came afterward! God provided for this precious couple by giving them productive work, a beautiful environment, and an intimate and rewarding relationship with Himself—but they fell for a lie! Yet even the privilege to choose was a gift from God– God who didn’t create us as ‘puppets’, but as free, moral agents to whom HE gave the privilege of choice/will. He wanted mankind to love and serve Him because they wanted to, not because they had to. And like I have often said, you are free to choose to reject God, go your own way, and sin all you want, but the choices you are free to make don’t grant you the freedom to choose your consequences! And just like God told us through the Apostle Paul:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”   Galatians 6:7

Adam and Eve chose to believe the “Father of lies” rather than their faithful, true and loving Creator God!!!

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman,

Yea, hath God said,

Ye shall not eat of every tree

of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent,

We may eat of the fruit of the trees

of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree

which is in the midst of the garden,

God hath said,

Ye shall not eat of it,

neither shall ye touch it,

lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman,

Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know

that in the day ye eat thereof,

then your eyes shall be opened,

and ye shall be as gods,

knowing good and evil.

6 And when the woman saw

that the tree was good for food,

and that it was pleasant to the eyes,

and a tree to be desired to make one wise,

she took of the fruit thereof,

and did eat,

and gave also unto her husband

with her;

and he did eat.” Genesis 3:1-6

Adam and Eve fell for the lies of the devil, as he bombarded Eve with subtle lies and stirred up doubts about God’s love and faithfulness to them. He is still working the same way today—he causes people to doubt that what God says is true. He tries to convince people today that God is less than honorable toward us—and that, my friends, is still a big, fat lie!!! But on the man-ward side of this equation, Eve didn’t handle what God had said with integrity—she kind of stretched what God had said: while God had told them “thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”, Eve told the serpent that they weren’t to touch it or they might die! It is absolutely imperative that we know The Word of God, and know it for what it is—God’s Word! We must study it, and learn to understand that God means what He says, and says what He means! And while this first couple didn’t die physically immediately—they did die spiritually immediately—and eventually they died physically; and that death was passed on to all men, until Jesus came to pay for sin, and overcome sin, death and hell! Amen!

But what does all this have to do with “Make Like A Tree”? A lot, but to see that we’ll need to dig a little deeper:

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? ……… 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.Portions of Genesis 3:7-15

These two ancestors of all mankind, brought sin, death and hell into the lives of all who would come from them, yet God had a plan for our redemption—the One who would come and bruise (defeat totally) the head of the serpent, by His own bruising (on the cross). But in the mean time, Adam and Eve tried to cover their own sin, with their own devices; they sewed “fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”! And the ‘buck got passed along’! Now let me put a little ‘southern’ perspective on this picture.

I am from the Deep South, and there are a lot of fig trees in the south, and they do have “LARGE” leaves, so a few would cover a lot of ‘skin’! But fig leaves are scratchy—real scratchy!!! Not something you’d have expected them to miss–“knowing” about the ‘itch’! After all, Satan had promised them that they would be as smart as God! NOT!! Not then, not now, nor anytime in between. Man caused a problem that only God could resolve—and the resolution would cost Him His Son. Yet the man and his wife tried to hide from The God who sees and knows all; they tried to cover their nakedness with their own wisdom, just as we talked about in 1 Corinthians 2—the wisdom of man isn’t sufficient to save anyone! Only Jesus can save. And not only did they try to solve a sin problem with a wardrobe solution, they tried to “Make like a tree, and leave” God! No one can hide from the God who holds it all together, the God who had already made provision for our redemption–for them and for us—through The Redeemer who would come and pay for man’s sin and give ‘eternal life’ to all who would come to Him in repentance and faith!

For God so loved the world,

that he gave

his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world

to condemn the world;

but that the world

through him

might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him

is not condemned:

but he that believeth not

is condemned already,

because he hath not believed

in the name

of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation,

that light is come into the world,

and men loved darkness

rather than light,

because their deeds were evil.”    John 3:16-19

So will you “make like a tree” and “leave” God, and His salvation, or will you draw near to Him and receive the saving grace that Jesus Christ provides at Calvary? I pray that you will choose wisely—there is a test at the end!

Come unto me,

all ye that labour

and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you,

and learn of me;

for I am meek

and lowly in heart:

and ye shall find rest

unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy,

and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus will take your burdens and give you “life” not “lies”, as the enemy of your soul will do. You can become a son of God or remain a child of the devil. Not easy to say, but it’s the simple truth. Who will you believe and trust?

Why do ye not understand my speech?

even because ye cannot hear my word.

44 Ye are of your father the devil,

and the lusts of your father ye will do.

He was a murderer from the beginning,

and abode not in the truth,

because there is no truth in him.

When he speaketh a lie,

he speaketh of his own:

for he is a liar,

and the father of it.

45 And because I tell you the truth,

ye believe me not.” John 8:43-45

Believe the One who died for YOU! Don’t “leave”!!!

Submit yourselves therefore to God.

Resist the devil,

and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God,

and he will draw nigh to you.

Cleanse your hands, ye sinners;

and purify your hearts,

ye double minded.” James 4:7-8

Come to HIM or leave? Truth or lies? The choice is yours. I’m praying that we will all recognize the truth in Jesus! And you can belong to HIM!!! No leaving!

My sheep hear my voice,

and I know them,

and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life;

and they shall never perish,

neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me,

is greater than all;

and no man is able to pluck them

out of my Father’s hand.

30 I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30

His Blessings Abound??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #425

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #425 His Blessings Abound???

 

I would like to share a favorite passage of mine with you this morning. As we’re still in the “New Year” mode, it seems to be a good time to rehearse the goodness of God, and set our hearts and minds on pleasing Him in all our ways.

Sometimes the enemy deceives us into believing that we can just ‘go with the flow’ and live a life that is pleasing to God, but I think we must determine to be focused on God, His Son Jesus, and His Word, as we yield to and listen to the indwelling Holy Spirit in all our ways. The choice is ours, but the consequences will follow the bent of our choices. Even as Paul told the Galatians:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”   Galatians 6:7 (Choices have consequences!)

And as we strive to sow to “The Spirit” and not ‘the flesh’, the Psalmist paints a most vivid picture of the difference between the options of our walk. I pray that this will be an encouragement to you today, as you wind up your week. May we each use our time wisely as we strive to know and experience God’s blessings in all our ways!

Blessed is the man

that walketh not in the counsel

of the ungodly,

nor standeth in the way

of sinners,

nor sitteth in the seat

of the scornful.

2 But his delight is

in the law of the LORD;

and in his law doth he meditate

day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree

planted by the rivers of water,

that bringeth forth his fruit

in his season;

his leaf also shall not wither;

and whatsoever he doeth

shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so:

but are like the chaff which the wind

driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly

shall not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation

of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knoweth

the way of the righteous:

but the way of the ungodly

shall perish.” Psalm 1:1-6

My prayer for you today is taken from Paul’s prayer for the Colossian Christians; I pray this for myself as well as each of you—May we ever grow in the “knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”! Amen and Amen!

For this cause we also,

since the day we heard it,

do not cease to pray for you,

and to desire that ye might be filled

with the knowledge of his will

in all wisdom

and spiritual understanding;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord

unto all pleasing,

being fruitful in every good work,

and increasing

in the knowledge of God;”    Colossians 1:9-10

Pressing On God’s Way??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #424

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #424 Pressing On God’s Way???

 

I have been mostly ‘off’ of Facebook for a while, except for posting my Bible Ballistics Blog, yet I have noticed a lot of posts advising people to “detox” in the New Year—get rid of people who are ‘negative’, lie, cheat, etc.! As I noticed these ideas, I couldn’t help but think, “I’m so glad that God doesn’t “detox” Himself of us when we mess up.”

Now I don’t believe we are to allow people to corrupt our hearts and minds with bad behaviors, but I do think we need to get back to thinking biblically and behaving towards others remembering that God has extended grace, mercy and forgiveness to us. I seriously think we need to stop being ‘taught’ and ‘trained’ in our faith, and behavior by the national media, social media, television and the movies. We need to do that which pleases God NOT man. While we are called to be aware of those around us, and to call them to a higher plain, we are to do it with truth and grace.

That we henceforth be no more children,

tossed to and fro,

and carried about with every wind

of doctrine,

by the sleight of men,

and cunning craftiness,

whereby they lie in wait

to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love,

may grow up into him

in all things,

which is the head,

even Christ:” Ephesians 4:14-15

We are called to speak the truth in love—never discarding people because we don’t like their behavior; but by our life, love and example calling them to a higher plane that only Jesus lift us to! And when we hold ourselves to that ‘higher’ call, others will often do one of two things; they will desire to know the One whom we follow, or they will hate what we say and walk away in disgust. But we are to maintain our integrity, even as Job declared his confidence in God before his friends who were ready and willing to condemn him unjustly. We march to a different drummer!

Though he slay me,

yet will I trust in him:

but I will maintain mine own ways

before him.” Job 13:15

Job understood that it is God who set the standard; it is God who will judge what we do with it; and Job was committed to live a life of integrity before God, regardless of what others thought of him. We who claim to follow Jesus can do no less! Yet we are to be cautious of our intimate companions—for they can affect our heart and our mind.

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

And another passage from Paul reminds us that we are to press on in The Spirit not the flesh—and believe me (as you’ve seen for yourself), social media is inundated with the flesh!!!

Be not deceived;

God is not mocked:

for whatsoever a man soweth,

that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh

shall of the flesh

reap corruption;

but he that soweth to the Spirit

shall of the Spirit

reap life everlasting.

9 And let us not be weary in well doing:

for in due season we shall reap,

if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity,

let us do good unto all men,

especially unto them

who are of the household of faith.”   Galatians 6:7-10

While we are called to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (See Matt. 10:16), it is to be from a heart filled with the “love of God” which has been “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” and that ought never to be diluted with the hatred of the world! (See Ro. 5:1-10)

So I challenge each of us today, to determine in our hearts and minds to be a true reflection of Jesus to the dark and wicked world around us—uncorrupted by the “wiles of the devil”! We can choose to be “bitter” in the flesh, or we can choose to be “better” by the power of God’s Spirit and His Word working within us and manifested before others!

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking,

be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another,

tenderhearted,

forgiving one another,

even as God

for Christ’s sake

hath forgiven you.”    Ephesians 4:31-32

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Press on dear ones—Press on for Jesus!!! Amen and Amen!

Be Ye Holy, But How??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No. 23

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.23 Be Ye Holy, But How???

 

As we think about this New Year’s Eve and going into 2018, I just want to share a brief word with you today, that I hope will challenge us all to approach this time of new beginnings with a hope and a goal for pleasing God. May that my friends, be our hearts desire for each day—today and into each tomorrow!

And he said unto them,

It is not for you to know the times

or the seasons,

which the Father

hath put in his own power.

8 But ye shall receive power,

after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:

and ye shall be witnesses

unto me

both in Jerusalem,

and in all Judaea,

and in Samaria,

and unto the uttermost part

of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8

Jesus reminded his disciples that they were to wait before they went out—wait for the promised indwelling Holy Spirit! They were to wait and not go in their own power, but to go after they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and then go forth beingwitnesses unto me”! And to be His witnesses, we must walk in the power of HIS Spirit, not our own flesh. That is what enables us to “be” Holy as God calls us to be.

Then Peter said unto them,

Repent,

and be baptized every one of you

in the name of Jesus Christ

for the remission of sins,

and ye shall receive

the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you,

and to your children,

and to all that are afar off,

even as many

as the Lord our God shall call.”    Acts 2:38-39

We can only do God’s work God’s way—by the power of His Holy Spirit. It’s one of the reasons that Paul calls us to “walk in the Spirit” not the flesh, to allow the holiness of God working within us to be seen by the world.

This I say then,

Walk in the Spirit,

and ye shall not fulfil the lust

of the flesh……….

25 If we live in the Spirit,

let us also walk in the Spirit.”    Galatians 5:16 & 25

When we walk in Jesus’ Holy Spirit, we are enabled to be a reflection of God’s holiness and glory before a world of darkness and corruption. It won’t be very popular, but it will be noticed—and it will make a difference, whether we ‘see’ that difference or not! We are to do God’s work as we go from day to day, everywhere we go, in all we do—we are to “be” holy!

Wherefore, my beloved,

as ye have always obeyed,

not as in my presence only,

but now much more in my absence,

work out your own salvation

with fear

and trembling.

13 For it is God which worketh in you

both to will

and to do

of his good pleasure.”    Philippians 2:12-13

Paul isn’t calling us to work “for” our salvation, but to “work out” what God has put within us—His Spirit! Just as he told the Galatians, when we will “Walk in the Spirit” and “live in the Spirit” we will be living in God’s power and not our own, and we can join Paul in declaring one of my favorite principles of living out a ‘holy’ life before those around us.

I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live

in the flesh

I live

by the faith of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself for me.”   Galatians 2:20

And when we come to live the crucified life, we will find that we are walking and living a life that is pleasing to our God!

But as he which hath called you

is holy,

so be ye

holy

in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written,

Be ye holy;

for I am holy.”   1 Peter 1:15-16

Amen and Amen. And in closing I’d like to share some thoughts that I wrote down earlier this year, and they seem to be an appropriate way to bring this year to a close and go forward in hope, confidence and the power of our God, living lives that will make a difference in HIS Kingdom.

       Real “Holiness”

              isn’t a denomination– 

              or even a church—

              but it is the expression, the manifestation—

                      of a mind set on Jesus–

                      of a heart yielded to God—

                      of a life lived in pursuit of

                             the pleasure and

                             the approval of God!

It is a life lived in humble obedience to The One who holds our affection, devotion and gratitude— 

Not because we have to — 

              but because we love God—

                     and we love making HIM smile!     Blanche Brittain 2017

May you have a blessed and Holy New Year pursuing God?

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

Jeremiah Wasn’t A Bullfrog!!! Bible Ballistics: BBs #423

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #423  Jeremiah Wasn’t A Bullfrog!!!

 

I know my schedule has been off lately, but with technical issues and personal issues, it’s been a bit of a challenge to stay on track recently; but hopefully, we have all the techno things taken care of, and the other issues are getting better. So I just wanted to share a thought with you this morning, and while it may seem a little strange, it really reflects how I am feeling going into the New Year.\

While Jeremiah wasn’t a ‘bullfrog’, he was a great, faithful prophet of God—in fact he is called the weeping prophet because he ministered to the people of Judah for some forty years, with little visible response, because the people of his day thought that they were all “OK”! And I believe that is where we here in the U.S. are, in that same place; and I often relate to Jeremiah and his broken heart for the people that he ministered to. May I ever be as faithful to my calling as Jeremiah was to his, and the passage that I would like to share with you today epitomizes that sense of grief and sorrow that he felt (and I do also) over those around us!

The harvest is past,

the summer is ended,

and we are not saved.

21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people

am I hurt;

I am black;

astonishment hath taken hold on me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead;

is there no physician there?

why then is not the health

of the daughter of my people

recovered?”   Jeremiah 8:20-22

Jeremiah asked the rhetorical question that many who follow Jesus are asking today, including me, “why then is not …. my people recovered”? Why isn’t America saved? Why isn’t the world saved? Why is there a “cure” for sin, but most refuse to acknowledge the ‘cure’? Because most are denying the diagnosis—SIN!

And if there is no sin, then there is no need for a redeemer. Jesus Himself, told us that He wouldn’t be popular, and most would reject Him! Even those around Him couldn’t see who He was, because of SIN!

Enter ye in at the strait gate:

for wide is the gate,

and broad is the way,

that leadeth to destruction,

and many there be

which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate,

and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life,

and few there be that find it.”     Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus told us that the “many” would take the popular “broad” way, and only a “few” would take His narrow way—the way of the cross. Why? Jesus gave Nicodemus the answer to that question:

He that believeth on him

is not condemned:

but he that believeth not

is condemned already,

because he hath not believed

in the name of the only begotten

Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation,

that light is come into the world,

and men loved darkness

rather than light,

because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil

hateth the light,

neither cometh to the light,

lest his deeds should be reproved.”     John 3:18-20

We can choose to trust in Jesus and His substitutionary, atoning, sacrifice for our sin, or we can cling to our sin and take the “broad” way to destruction. You can choose to run with the “bullfrog” named Jeremiah, or you can come to Jesus and receive a “Jeremiah” heart that God can use to reach others. And remember that many whom God calls, He sends out to meet the world with tears of genuine compassion and love. But remember, God’s ways aren’t our ways. Which road will you choose? Who will you follow? May we ever join the Psalmist in understanding that the harvest is worth the planting? Or as I’ve been known to say, ‘The blooms are worth the wait!”

The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. 4 Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.

5 They that sow in tears

shall reap in joy.

6 He that goeth forth and weepeth,

bearing precious seed,

shall doubtless come again

with rejoicing,

bringing his sheaves with him.”    Psalm 126:3-6

Amen and Amen!!!