Missions Monday ~ 5-25-15

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Missions Monday is designed to expose you to some awesome missions and evangelism stories, resources, and information in the shameless hope that you will be moved to get more involved in supporting and participating in missions and develop a greater burden for sharing the gospel with those around you.

 

Myanmar_packing_hope_351_263_90Gospel Growth in North Myanmar– Theologically hungry pastors in Myanmar recently had their souls fed with a large assortment of solid books donated by The Gospel Coalition-International Outreach (TGC-IO). What a pleasure to see the glow of appreciation on their faces!

 

20150205li-0230__large169Southern Baptists Mentor Chinese Believers to Persevere in Global Ministry– Chinese believers are the next missions sending force, following the Western and Korean Christians who’ve gone before them. They pray, give and go, sacrificing everything to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the nations.

 

holy_trinity_symbol-276132420_std-e1428525968507How the Trinity Should Shape Evangelism– What if we were thinking evangelism, praying for people, and pursuing a life of faithful evangelism with some of the following biblical truths and prayers on our minds?

 

 

Lecrae- Beautiful Feet

 

tg-vol-1Gospel for Asia’s “Team GFA”– GFA volunteers have a passion to see the lives of unreached people transformed by the Gospel. They are highly motivated, responsible people who share an urgency with the Psalmist who wrote, “That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” —Psalm 67:2

 

11377322_10152782585426302_2887656850024901377_nBibles for Babwisi– He said, “It is a surprise to me to hear someone reading the Word of God in Lubwisi. This was impossible for us to have the Word of God written in Lubwisi because, in terms of finance, we are not qualified because we are poor. But God, in His riches, has provided it to us without even considering our number.

 

MarineCarpenterBabyLandonFacebook-e1321384847581A Photo that Includes a Gideon Serivce Testament Touches Tens of Thousands– A photo featuring a 12-day old infant along with a photo of his father and his father’s Gideon Service Testament has generated an enormous amount of online sentiment. The infant in the photo is Landon Carpenter. His father, Andy, shown in the framed photo next to him, made the ultimate sacrifice in March while serving in the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.

 

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Pop Theology ~ Twisted Scripture

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Dear Pop-

I saw this meme that I thought was a Bible verse. It had a nice thought and a Scripture reference after it, but when I turned there in my Bible, the nice thought didn’t say anything close to what the verse actually said. It turns out that someone wrote what the verse meant to her and then put the Scripture reference after it. And there’s a whole Pinterest board dedicated to memes like this! Is it OK to handle God’s word like that? I’ve also included some other memes I found that sound fishy to me. Your thoughts?

Penny Pinterest

 

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Dear Penny,

Jon Acuff’s a fun dude, but this is dissin’ God’s word. Ain’t nobody – NO-O-O-O-O-BODY got the props to bling up the Bible. No addin’ to it. No subtractin’ from it. Bad things’ll go down, ya dig?  Jots? Tittles? Keep your mitts off, and swing that sword right. And what up with all this “Inspirational Version”? God’s word is da bomb diggity all by its onliness, got me?

 

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Heck to the no. Check it.

 

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Fo’ relz? Where’s that in the Big Book? Lemme let you in on a little inside info: nowheresville. Jesus said as long as we’re hangin’ on the big blue, there’s gonna be trouble. Lots of it. But check it out- who cares? We don’t throw down our faith on havin’ a good day. We throw down our faith on Jesus, even when it’s a bad scene.

 

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Yeah? Tell that to Jesus. His haters had front row seats to torture Him and watch Him die. Or the eleven out of Jesus’ twelve closest homeboys who were executed by their haters. Put your peeps on a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and quit littering up social media with this mess. Kick that prosperity gospel junk to the curb.

 

Well, Penny. I’ve laid down the gospel 411 for ya. Keep your specs on Jesus and keep the faith.

For the Homies,
Pop

 

Throwback Thursday ~ Cancer: A Love Story

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Originally published April 7, 2013cancer love story

Cancer.

The dreadfulness of the word hung heavy in the air between Jana and her friend Denise.

“The doctor says it’s terminal,” Denise choked, “I’m so confused. I don’t know what to do.”

Jana’s heart broke as she envisioned the difficult emotional road ahead for Denise and watched the tears streaming down her face.

“I’d do anything to take that pain away,” thought Jana. “Anything.

For days after they parted, Jana’s thoughts were consumed with how she could help Denise accept and feel better about her condition. By the weekend, when they met for coffee, Jana was ready.

“Denise,” she began, “I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and I think I know why you’re so uncomfortable with having cancer.”

“Oh? Why?” asked Denise.

“Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be fighting against the idea of having cancer. It’s a completely natural biological event. In fact, you were probably born genetically predisposed to cancer. It’s part of who you are. Accept it and embrace it as something that makes you unique and wonderful!”

Denise seemed skeptical, but Jana plunged ahead.Girlfriends Enjoy A Conversation

“You’re also worried about what other people will think of you. Maybe they’ll think you’re weak and try to help you with things that you’d rather do for yourself.”

“But maybe I’ll need some help,” Denise suggested quietly.

“Nonsense!” Jana retorted, “Having cancer doesn’t make you different from anybody else. It’s exactly the same as not having cancer. What we need to do is show that to the world. Maybe we should have a rally for cancer equality!”

“Jana, that’s great and all,” Denise whispered somberly, “but I’m going to die. That makes all the stuff you’re talking about seem a lot less important.”

Jana seems like a very loving and kind person, but does the “help” she was offering Denise seem…well…helpful?

What if I told you that during this entire scenario, Jana personally knew a doctor who had a proven cure for Denise’s type of cancer, and was giving it away, yet Jana never told Denise? How loving and kind does Jana seem now?

Now read back through this story and substitute “homosexuality” for “cancer”.

We live in a culture that tells Christians that we are to “love” our homosexual friends and loved ones by embracing homosexuality as good and natural. We even hear people who claim to be Christians saying this. But is this how the Bible defines love? Is this how Jesus loved people?

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:10-11

Think back over the encounters Jesus had with people, from the woman at the well, to Zaccheus, to Nicodemus, to the woman caught in adultery, to the rich young ruler, to anybody else Jesus ever interacted with.

Did Jesus ever “love” someone by telling him it was OK to stay in his sin?

No, He didn’t.

Jesus loved sinners by calling them to repentance, forgiveness, and a new life in Christ.

Why? Because it isn’t love to help the slave to embrace his chains. It’s love to set him free.

Christ loved us by going to the cross and becoming the propitiation –satisfying God’s wrath—for our sins. He laid down His life for our freedom.

And, Christian, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. We must lay down our opinions, our politics, our ideas of what we’d like the Bible to say, maybe even our actual lives, in order to help people know freedom in Christ. We have the cure for their spiritual cancer—the gospel—and it is not “love” to knowingly misdiagnose them or keep that cure from them.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

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But as important as it is to rescue the perishing, there’s an even greater issue at stake here for those of us who claim the name of Christ.

For our sin, our Savior endured wrongful conviction, ridicule, mockery, and bullying.

For our sin, our Savior was slapped, punched, spit on, had His beard yanked out, and thorns and brambles mashed into His skull.

For our sin, our Savior had the skin flayed off His back, buttocks, and legs, whipped nearly to death until He was a bloody mess.

For our sin, our Savior, beaten, bloody, and broken of body, hoisted a heavy, splintery cross onto His shoulders and carried it through town and up the hill to His execution.

One nail.

Two nails.

Three nails.

For your sin. For my sin. For our neighbors’ sin.

How dare you, or I, or anyone spit in the face of our bleeding, dying Savior by saying that the sin that put Him on the cross is OK?

How dare we?

How can any of us claim to love Christ while celebrating the nails, the spear, the crown of thorns?

By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 2:5b-6

Jesus walked the way of leading people to repentance from sin and to the beauty, the freedom of a glorious new life through faith in Himself. Will we, who say we abide in Him, love Jesus and our homosexual neighbor enough to walk in the same way in which He walked?

Mostloving

Wednesday’s Word ~ Galatians 1

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Galatians 1

Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you,before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


 

Questions to Consider:

1. Who called Paul to be an apostle, and by whose authority does he address the churches at Galatia? (1-3)

2. The Galatian churches (6-9) were being drawn away from the gospel by the Judaizers, who insisted that the new Gentile Christians could not be saved unless they were also circumcised, observed Jewish law, feasts, festivals, etc. Why did Paul call the Judaizers’ ideas “another gospel”? What did Paul indicate would be the Judaizers’ fate? (8,9) Why would God be so harsh with these false teachers?

3. What are some ways false teachers today try to add requirements to the gospel (repent of your sin and place your faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as payment for your sin, and you will be saved)? Does God take false teaching as seriously today as He did in Paul’s time?

4. In verse 10, whose approval is Paul seeking by saying the things he said in verses 1-9? Why does he say he wouldn’t be serving Christ if he were trying to please men?

5. How did Paul learn the gospel? (12) What was the purpose of his three years in Arabia and Damascus (17)? What point is Paul trying to make to the Galatians by telling them the things in verses 11-24? (Hint- Read through Galatians 2:2)

Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 5-19-15

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medium_697720915612 Reasons Churches Don’t Practice Church Discipline– I’ve conducted an ongoing informal survey to see why churches don’t do discipline. Here are the primary findings, in no particular order.

 

cropped-apostasis-lexicon-banner31Apostasis Lexicon– “Jezebull – the false teachings of a feminutzi that aggressively promote women to step up to the pastoral plate.” And lots of other terms you might find amusing and useful.

 

mensa-5Illustrations Finished with Well-Placed Food Items– Whether it’s rigatoni as a ship’s smokestack or spaghetti as guitar strings, Mensa’s illustrations are a great way to combine ink and edibles

 

 

Hillsong: The Multi-Million Dollar Crazy Cult– Hillsong for decades [has] proven again and again to be a word of faith and prosperity cult. When will Christianity finally say enough is enough?

 

suzanne22 Graduation Cakes that Have Failed in the Most Hilarious Ways Possible– Graduation is a time to celebrate the academic achievements of students who have spent years studying…What better way to commemorate this crowning achievement than with a cake created in their honor? Well, at least that was the plan.

 

Brave_(Nichole_Nordeman_album)Sex Appeal and Female Christian Artists– I’m not trying to say that every female album cover is designed with sex appeal in mind…But far too many seem to be selling the woman rather than her music. You don’t see this with male artists, their music seems to be enough. This bothers me. Am I alone in this?

 

joshua-feuersteinChristian, Stop Sharing Joshua Feuerstein Videos– Joshua Feuerstein is a heretic, he is a liar, and an antichrist. The brand of “Jesus” Feuerstein presents is a false one. When he prays for his viewers and says things like, “In the power of the name of Jesus,” if you know something about his doctrine, you know he doesn’t actually believe in the power of God. He believes in his own power to call down the name of Jesus, channeling God to do his bidding, so to speak. That’s what a Oneness Pentecostal believes.

 

Missions Monday ~ 5-18~15

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 Missions Monday is designed to expose you to some awesome missions and evangelism stories, resources, and information in the shameless hope that you will be moved to get more involved in supporting and participating in missions and develop a greater burden for sharing the gospel with those around you.

shutterstock_160438778-2-e1429626388662Tips for Evangelistic Intentionality– Let me encourage you to grapple with the great commission, grab some friends to join you, and then get to work in the privilege of giving away the gospel.

20120301js-1496__fullSyrian Refugees to Hit 4 Million; Baptists Continue Serving– Deeply suffering from the staggering effects of the ongoing Syrian war, many Syrian refugees, the majority of whom are Muslim, welcome the helping hand of many of the Christians they encounter and are open to the gospel message.

giving-the-gospel-to-your-childrenGiving the Gospel to Your Children– One could accurately say, then, that parents who want to be thorough in evangelizing their children need to teach them the whole counsel of God, taking care to show the gospel ramifications in all that truth.

Trish’s Testimony– Check out the testimony of evangelism dynamo, Trisha Ramos, and see more great stuff from Falisified Ministries here.

holding-hands-752878_64010 Things You Should Know About Evangelism– There are so many ways to go wrong in evangelism—impulses of fear on the one side, vain ambition on the other—that if we do not nail down a truly biblical understanding, we will quickly veer off course.

hero_3GideonCards– It’s graduation and wedding gift time. Why not honor your favorite graduate or that special couple by donating Bibles in their names?

nepalflag-2__large169Nepal Earthquake Prayer Guide– As Nepal tries to find its way through the devastation from the recent earthquake, join us in praying for the people. We have compiled prayer requests into a PDF you can download and reproduce for use in your churches, homes and ministries, or share via social media.

Photo courtesy of IMB Women

Photo courtesy of IMB Women

Avoiding the Creepers: Six Ways to Raise a Biblically Strong Woman

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If someone were to ask you, “What kind of person do you want to raise your daughter to be?” how would you answer? Caring? Independent? Loyal? Kind?

I’m betting none of us would answer “weak,” “burdened with sins,” “easily led astray by her passions,” or “unable to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” Yet in these last days in which we find ourselves, that’s exactly what many good-hearted Christian mothers with nothing but the best of intentions are raising their daughters to be. It’s not that they want their daughters to grow up to be spiritually weak or led astray by sin or unbiblical teaching, it’s just that they lack the skills and tools necessary for properly training their daughers in the Scriptures and godliness.

Maybe you’re one of those moms…

Need a little encouragement in the mom department? Maybe a helping hand? For the month of May, Kaylene Yoder (who’s contributed some great articles for Blog Swaps here at my blog) is running a series of articles for moms of girls called 30 Days of Love from a Mother’s Heart. Head on over and check out my article, “Avoiding the Creepers: Six Ways to Raise a Biblically Strong Woman,” and while you’re there, stick around and check out some other great articles by lots of different writers.

(As always, be sure everything you read and believe – including my stuff – matches up with Scripture, in context.)

What advice would you offer moms who want to raise
biblically strong women?

Throwback Thursday ~ From Here to Eternity

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Originally published March 20, 2014here to eternityFred_Phelps_10-29-2002

Fred Phelps died last night. And I’m glad.

I’m glad there’s one less person on earth publicly sullying the name of Christ and dragging His holy Word through the mud.

What I’m not glad about is that, as far as we know, yesterday was the first day of his eternity in Hell.

Hell? But he claimed to be a Christian.

Fred Phelps and his kindred are a perfect example of the fact that you can claim whatever you want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.


“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Matthew 7:21-23


And that’s not just the case for people like Fred Phelps whose lives seem to define the word “vile.” It’s also true for “nice” people. People you’d never put in the same category as Fred Phelps. People who volunteer at hospitals and run marathons to raise money for cancer research. Moms who’d do anything for their children. Men who are faithful to their wives. Your next door neighbor. Your brother. Your coworker.

Vile people don’t go to Heaven.

Nice people don’t go to Heaven.

Saved people go to Heaven.

The bad news is that you could never do enough good things to earn your way into Heaven. And, the good news is that you could never do enough bad things to forfeit Heaven.

Because being reconciled to God is not about what you do. It’s about what Christ has done.

We’re not always good. He was. We’re not always pleasing to God. He was. We don’t always do the right thing. He did. He lived the perfectly good, right, and pleasing-to-God life that we’d never be able to live. And then came the cross.

Some people refer to what happened at the cross as “the great exchange,” and, indeed it was the greatest exchange ever. At the cross, Christ suffered the execution that we deserve as the punishment for our crimes against God, and in exchange, we can have the perfect life He lived. His rap sheet for ours. Our guilty verdict for His innocent verdict. His death penalty for our exoneration. And it’s all ours if we’ll let go of the sin we cling to and throw ourselves on the mercy of the Judge.

Could someone as evil as Fred Phelps do that? Yes, and I hope he did before he died. Because no one who repents and trusts in Christ is beyond the reach of His saving grace. Not even a nice person like you.

Wednesday’s Word ~ Judges 10

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Judges 10

After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried at Shamir.

After him arose Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty-two years. And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the Lord and did not serve him. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites, and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. And the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah and against Benjamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.

10 And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” 11 And the Lord said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines?12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 15 And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.

17 Then the Ammonites were called to arms, and they encamped in Gilead. And the people of Israel came together, and they encamped at Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said one to another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


 

Questions to Consider:

1. Why did God place judges in authority over Israel?

2. Why was God angry with Israel? (v. 6-7) Which Commandment was Israel guilty of violating? How does Judges 10:7 illustrate that God is a jealous God?

3. Why is it so important to God that his people worship Him alone? What can we as Christians learn from God’s anger towards Israel in this chapter? How does this passage relate to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18?

4. In verse 10 and verse 15, Israel cries out to the Lord, confessing, “We have sinned.” Is there a difference between the two confessions? Were these confessions genuine sorrow over sin? How can you tell? What action on Israel’s part follows the second confession? (v. 16)

5. What does the word “impatient” mean in verse 16? Examine this verse in the HCSB, NASB, NIV, and KJV translations. How can cross checking other reliable translations aid in your study of God’s word?

Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 5-12-15

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lagniappe

2015-03-03-sleep-in1Why Don’t You Ever Go to Church?– You call yourself a Christian, right? Then why don’t you ever go to church? Why deprive yourself of this beautiful, joy-producing, essential piece of the Christian walk?

 

HappyThumbsUpWant Some False Doctrine in Your Life? Try These Handy Tips!– Don’t be shy about it-admit it: false doctrine is fun and, well, it just feels good. Here are some handy tips to keep you fully deceived and incapable of discernment.

 

28-700x457Quiz: Contemporary Worship Song or Love Song?– Yes, yes, the Bible describes the relationship between Christ and the Church as a bridegroom and bride, and the Song of Songs is pretty explicit…but still – anyone else feel a bit awkward by this phenomenon? Take the quiz and see if you can tell the difference between a CCM worship song and a secular love song.

 

This Teacup Poodle Rides Elevators to Visit Friends

 

033015_fetusAmazing Ultrasound Video Captures Unborn Baby Clapping– “The experience is one I’ll never forget, the baby clapped three times, then the doctor rewound and scrubbed it while we sang. No mystery. It was amazing.”

 

p1020571-300x225Thoughts on Note-Taking During Sermons– “I have often discouraged the taking of notes while I am preaching. . . .While you are writing your notes, you may be missing something of the impact of the Spirit.”

 

WomenLocalChurch-HDoes Gender Distinction Really Matter?– God created womanhood with a specific purpose, and it is beautiful a purpose. Finding joy in living out your unique calling as a woman will shine a blazing example to the watching world the glory of Christ and the beauty of the gospel.

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