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Prophecy Today Q&A: "Like A Thief" -Jack Kelley


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 Prophecy Today  Q & A

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Jack Kelley

Like A Thief

Q. My question is when the verse says “But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief …”, does it mean if they do wake up they will know the time?

 

A. I think you’re referring to Rev. 3:3

Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

It’s a warning to the Church in Sardis to remember the sound doctrine they were first taught and obey it. I think this letter was written metaphorically to the main line church of today which has abandoned its Biblical roots, and therefore has no idea that the Lord is about to return, or what’s required of them to be ready.

Paul wrote that as believers we shouldn’t be taken by surprise when End Times events begin to take place, but should know that they are announcing the Lord’s impending return. It’s the people in darkness who will be surprised, and just when they think peace has come, destruction will come upon them suddenly and they won’t escape. (1 Thes. 5:3-4)

In Rev 3:4 the Lord said that there a few in these churches who have remained true to the gospel and they will walk with Him. I think He was saying that when the Rapture comes, some will be taken from the liberal denominations, indicating that there are some born again believers there.

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Prophecy Article Today: "PROMISES FROM OUR GOD IN TRIALS" - Rapture Ready

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PROMISES FROM OUR GOD IN TRIALS

By Mike Taylor


We live in a world that gives humans plenty of anxiety and worry about our future, our kids or grandkids futures. What will become of the life we have grown up with? Is it all fading away? Personal liberties, the rule of law, God and country all seems like yesterday’s values and people are afraid. When I ponder the mess this world is in, I get emails from all over the world of people in distress, people with their marriages falling apart, spousal abuse, and every evil that is common to man sent to my inbox. What can a population do when there is so many evils abounding and growing exponentially from what I remember growing up in the America of my youth?

Nothing is truer than our need or our reliance on One source of strength, no matter what time of history that any of us live in, and that is found in your Bible. I remember growing up as a boy in Midwest America and danger was apparent at no other time than in a Midwestern storm and tornado warnings. Even today, we see the destructive nature of violent weather played on our TV screens and in newspapers. It’s all over the internet when a F1-4 or greater tornado destroys people lives and property. What can we do, but take precautions and turn to the Creator of these natural forces and ask for His protection.  During these experiences of violent storms, my mother always had a ritual, a habit of laying claim to the promises that are spelled out in our Bible. One such promise was the 91st Psalm. If you have read very many of my sermons, you have noticed a reference repeatedly to this beautiful Psalm. As the days grow darker and more foreboding in economic, religious, and emotional distress, how will each of us cope with a never ending barrage of fear producing events that are flying fast and furious in our direction?

Let’s take a closer look at the promises that are spelled out in this Psalm and seek solace in the God of the Universe that is able to take you through the time of troubles that are coming upon this earth, in every phase of human life and experience. If you are in the depths of trouble in your life, I submit to you this Psalm.  In time of distress, call upon the Lord for His protection and His comfort.

First, let us look at the historical facts of this most beloved passage. Some attribute this Psalm to Moses, as he is credited with the Psalm before this 91st chapter and the 8 chapters after it, but that is probably not true, but was penned by David as a broad protection for believers in the True God of Creation. David was not referring to protection from his kingship and authority on earth, but to the King of Kings, as he names himself as needing this protection. Some have suggested that this was during the time of the pestilence that ravaged Israel because of David numbering the people in a misguided census that God rebuked the nation over. But since it is not clearly shown to us what were the reasons for the writing of the passage, it can be used for us today and surely should, as a promise from Almighty God.  

Take your Bible and let’s get started by reading the first verse of Psalm 91. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This is the root to the rest of the chapter. The following verses are branches and the coming promises at the end are the flowering rose. This is a great truth that is laid down first that all those who live a life of communion with God are constantly safe under His protection, and may therefore preserve our serenity and security of mind at all times. Also, he that by faith chooses God for his guardian shall find all that in Him that he needs or can desire and want!

So let me ask you a question that I will be coming back to several times in this sermon. How do you cope or not cope when trouble enters your life? The next question we could ask ourselves in this world of pain and suffering, is there a way of surviving here in our time, our world? Our world is full of threats at every area of this life such as marital trouble, disobedient children, and families falling apart.  What about natural diseases such as Swine Flu, heart disease, cancer, or new viruses and diseases long thought eradicated that are making a startling comeback in modern times? What about terrorism and the possibility of the next 9/11, or the threat of wars and rumors of wars breaking out in various areas of our planet that may soon come to visit us on the shores of the USA? Naturally, every one fears the unexpected and the fear of an untimely death, or dying by accident from untold natural disasters. Look at what Japan has experienced. How do they cope? Do they cope? What would you do if the same scenario was played out in California, or the Midwest? Could you survive without a scratch?

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, this lesson concerning the promises of Psalm 91 is not a recipe to escape all of life’s trials and troubles. They are strength to cope and understand that there is a power greater than what is happening around you.

 

It is written in Job chapter 5 :

v.6  Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground

v. 7 Yet man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward:

In this life we will all face trials and troubles, we cannot escape it, but we can face anything if we have confidence that God is right beside us, leading us. So how do we cope or not cope? Do we cave in to the situation in helpless submission, or do we run to God our Father? And when we respond to these trials, how do others view us in response of being only human? We must understand one thing that is promised of God in this chapter, if we abide in God, under His shadow, trouble is not for our evil, but to our good in the end! Did you get that? Our trials and personal troubles of this life, if we are right under the shadow of His presence, we have nothing to fear, as the trial will be to our benefit in the end, and a source of good for each of us.

The Psalmist encourages each reader that God will protect us from Satan’s evil. But how is God’s protection received and how? There are several things that we must understand to receive God’s protection upon our lives. There are things we must do to “qualify” for God’s favor and His protection. Let’s start with the first.

First, we must strive to take on the example shown by the only begotten Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was and is the mirror image of God the Father and we must abide in Him, under His shadow, and dwelling in Him. We are called to be separate from the works and sins of this world.

II Corinthians 6:17-18, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the  unclean thing and I will receive you.

v. 18, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

 

You have to dwell in God’s character and take on His ways. You have to  understand what God’s character is. Who is our God, the only God (and His name is not Allah) and what are some of the names that describe His power, His personality, His majesty and His grace? You must understand Him by the names the Bible uses to describe Him. Are they “Sacred Names” as a movement tries to make them? No, but they are very good description of His character and His personality. What names are used?

A. They are compounds of the word “EL”.

-Elohim: plural of the Word EL, meaning more than One God, but as we know, still one in 3 forms of manifestation. Wikipedia gives it meaning as he [single] God"). "El" (the basis for the extended root ΚΎlh) is usually derived from a root meaning "to be strong" and/or "to be in front".

-El Shaddai: “God Almighty”. God is great in grace. He is all bountiful in the supply of our needs and desires. It is translated by some to mean “breast” that gives God’s people all their sustenance. The derivative is uncertain, but it stresses God’s loving supply and comfort. Others interpret it as God’s power as the Mighty One standing on a mountain Who corrects and chastens.

-El Eyon: “the Most High God.” This name stresses God’s strength, sovereignty, and supremacy.

-El Olam: “The Everlasting God.” This title emphasizes God never changing and is connected to Him being inexhaustible.

B. Yahweh (YHWH): The Great I am…in English translation, Jehovah, the covenant God, unchanging, immutable, the everlasting Father. This title comes from a verb which means “to exist, or be.” This plus its usage, shows this name stresses God as the independent and self existent God of Revelation and redemption.

C. Adonai: Like Elohim, this too is a plural of majesty. The singular also means “master, owner.” It stresses man’s relationship to God as our master, authority, and provider.

D. Father: A distinctive New Testament revelation by Jesus Christ, that through faith in Jesus Christ, God becomes our personal Father. It is my preferred title to give to my Father, your Father, if you be found in Jesus Christ. Father is used of God in the Old Testament only 15 times, while it is used of God 245 times in the New Testament. As a name of God, it stresses God’s loving care, provision, discipline, and the way we are to address God in prayer.

Secondly, while seeking the character by living our lives to the example shown by His Son, Jesus Christ, we seek His refuge, as a mighty fortress:

Psalm 91:v2, I will say of the Lord“He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him I will trust.”

 

I found a quote, but the author is unknown to me, which summarizes why we run to God:

“If Jehovah be our God, our refuge, and our fortress, what can we desire which we may not be sure to find in Him? He is neither fickle, nor false, neither weak, nor mortal. He is God and not man, so therefore there is no danger of being disappointed in Him. We know whom we have trusted.” Amen, and AMEN!

PROTECTION WHEN BEING FOUND IN GOD

Turn now to Numbers chapter 35 where it gives an analogy of God as our Refuge.

An Analogy of the manslayer flees to the city of refuge. “Speak to the children ofIsrael, and say to them, when you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there. They shall be cities of refuge for you from the avenger that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment.”

So as it was in ancient Israel, God gave us this example to explain that if we abide in God’s protection by understanding His character and abiding or dwelling with Him, we are safe from evil. But if we come out of the city and leave God’s protection by following after the world and its sinful ways and not following His ways, then we have vulnerability to the evils of this world. I didn’t say trouble, or perceived trouble, but evil to your physical and spiritual self. Is there really evil or just the absence of God? When God is absent from your life, then evil has a place to do you harm. As this Psalm progresses, it shows that a committed, steadfast Christian walk is the man who returns to God, who rests in God, who worships within the veil, and who loves to be alone with God and nothing, nothing comes between that man and God that God will not come between that man and harm!! As a follower of Jesus Christ, we seek the fullness of God.

 

Paul wrote in Hebrews 6:17  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

6:18  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

6:19  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

The imagery suggested in v. 18 by the words, “fled to take hold” of hope was that of a fortified refuge. By a swift change in his figure, the writer then suggested the thought of a harbor where the soul may securely drop anchor. That anchor has been carried to the safest point of all, the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, by our Lord Jesus, who went there before us.

OUR GOD IS OUR DELIVERANCE!

Moving on down in Psalm 91:3:

91:3  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

91:4  He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

What is the promise here? The promise is that the believer shall be kept from those misfortunes which they are in imminent danger of, and which would be fatal to their life. Also, from the snare of the fowler which is laid unseen and catches the unwary prey suddenly and from a noisesome pestilence which seizes men unawares and there in no guard on their own.

This promise speaks of protection in this natural life from infectious diseases and from the wicked and the unreasonable. A Christian’s spiritual life is one which is protected by divine grace from the temptation of Satan, which are as the snares of the fowler, and from the contagion of sin, which is the noisome pestilence. Psalm 31:20 tells us:

“He shall cover thee and keep thee secret.” If you’re covered and hid in secret, then neither one can find you.

 

The Third thing you must know is that God wishes to draw us tenderly and mercifully under His wings. It literally means to hide, to run beneath, and to make your refuge in!! Wings and feathers though spread with great tenderness are yet weak and easily broken through, as His mercy is for everyone. But notice the second part of verse 4, His truth, (HIS WORD) shall be thy shield and buckler, meaning He surrounds you with a strong impregnable shield. You are totally surrounded with a strong defense. God is willing to guard His people as the hen is to guard her chicks, but also to defend them as a MAN OF WAR in heavy armor. What God is saying here, is that anyone seeking His mercy may penetrate His tenderness, but the wicked will never get to you through God’s Almighty strength.

Psalm 91:5-8,

91:5  Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

91:6  Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

What is the terror by night? Such things like cancer, diseases, stroke, heart attack, and the things that come out of nowhere. Pestilence such as Swine flu, AIDS, SARS, or any other old diseases are coming back after years of being supposedly eradicated, (tuberculosis). What about wars and rumors of wars? Things like Muslim terrorism, or the coming tribulation?

91:7  A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

91:8  Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

In ancient times a thousand, ten thousand was metaphor for infinity, a huge number, both physically and spiritually speaking. The wicked think they will not be seen, they do evil and they seem to get away with it. Not with God. A day of reckoning is coming, and it will be severe in these final days of human existence.

Let’s go to Isaiah to see what Isaiah says about this part of the sermon. Chapter 47:

47:10  For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

47:11  Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.

But what of the righteous? What will they receive as they bear the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ on their lives?

Psalm 91:9-13:

91:9  Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

91:10  There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

91:11  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

91:12  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

91:13  Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Note that verses 11 and 12 were what was used by Satan to tempt our Lord in the wilderness, but he left out one key portion of the verse. What was that key? He left out the second part of the verse, which says “in all thy ways.” Understand one thing, my reader, if you leave His ways and you do your own thing, you are vulnerable to evil and may lose God’s protection. Note also, that Satan is compared to a roaring lion and a dragon. We shall trample him under our feet through the power of the Holy Spirit and being up close and personal to God’s Holy Throne and Altar.  God explains that no evil will befall those who have made the LORD their refuge because He has commissioned His angels to care for them. Angels protect us from physical harm and give believers strength to overcome difficulties by faith. Some get caught up in the awe of angels, as some in this sinful world have the habit of doing. Angels are but messengers, which is the interpretation of the word angel, but the point of the passage is PROTECTION.

HOW DO YOU COPE OR NOT COPE?

Again, I ask you. How do we live our lives and cope from day to day? We have the power to escape evil by the blood of Jesus Christ, but do we have the right to “escape problems.”?  Do we depend on our local TV evangelist who promises health and wealth if we just send him our money? Do we lament that we are not spiritual if we don’t throw seed money to this purveyor of miracles and divination? Is that even right? Should God lift us out of our problems and insulate us from all unpleasantness, so that we are never perplexed, and never suffer anything? Sometimes He does, and He most certainly can. But what if in His will, He doesn’t? Do we get depressed and wonder if this walk we’re on is a joke? Is it a bad dream, or a farce? I tell you, NO, we must not. God delivers us through the problems, not out of them.

Remember Daniel and the lion’s den? God could have zapped those lions, but He delivered Daniel through the ordeal. God delivered Daniel from their bite, as their mouths were shut by God. But he was still cast into the den.

What about the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo? They were allowed to go into the fiery furnace. They were not delivered from the fire, but from BEING BURNED! As Paul said in Roman chapter 8:

8:31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Isaiah also agreed:

54:17  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Doesn’t say there won’t be a weapon used, just says it won’t prosper. The enemy will sling many fiery darts at us, but they will fall harmless upon the shield of God, IF we stay within the veil of God and His refuge.

Let’s read Isaiah chapter 43:2,

43:2  When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Isaiah said we will go through, not lifted out of those troubles. When you are feeling drowned in their midst, God is your lifeguard, spiritually speaking and He will save you, even in the midst of the trial. Remember what the nation of Israel endured when they walked through the Red Sea and crossed over to the other side on dry ground? They went right through the problem of the Egyptian army with pharoah hot on their trail, which is a metaphor for sin, as Egypt is a type of sin. But Almighty God reached down and closed the sea and drowned them all, and Israel was left standing on the other side, high and lifted up.

You may ask, “how do I get this type of Godly protection?” Read verse 1 if this chapter again. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

HOW DO YOU COPE OR NOT COPE WITHIN THIS LIFE?

If we be in God then nothing, and I mean nothing comes against God’s children that are saved by Grace, water, and Blood, except God allows it and uses it for our own sanctification. And if it comes from God for our good, then what have we to fear?

Psalm 91:14-16,

91:14  Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. Do you know His name…of course you do.

91:15  He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

91:16  With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

GOD OF HIS WORD…HE CANNOT LIE.

These last three verses deal with six promises that are made to those who do what the rest of this chapter speaks of. What are those six promises in these three verses?

1.      “I WILL DELIVER HIM.” Why? Because he has set his love upon Me. This is God speaking, not the Psalmist.

Romans 8:28,

8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

This is an all consuming love for God, both in mind, body, soul and spirit. We love Jehovah, our Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, who are One. The apostle John wrote the words of Jesus in chapter 14 of the Gospel of John, “

14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

14:24  “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”

Simply put, we will someday live with Him for eternity. If you love Him, do as He commands out of love and obedience. Today, if we live for God and in God, within the veil, how can evil hurt you? It can’t if you follow closely beside Him.

James 1:12,

1:12  Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. And again in verse 5 of chapter two,

2:5  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

2.      Second promise, “I will set him on high”. Why? Because he hath known my name. We know God’s name as discussed earlier, but the best that I like, is the personal name of “Father.” How intimate is that? Truly!

He will lift us on high, where He is and no one can touch you with evil. Upon the rocks above the waves is where He will set you. We will look down at this world in righteous indifference, because we are looking for the world to come. This world is NOT our home, we being but pilgrims. But there is a catch per se. Please reread verse one of the chapter again…I cannot over emphasize the root to this flower of God’s promises.

3.      Third promise, “I will answer him,” Why? Because he calls on My Name. It may not be the answer you were looking for, but God knows the end from the beginning, and rest assured, in the long run, it’s the best for each of us in the plan of God.

Psalm 18:3,

18:3  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

18:4  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

Our God is every vigilant and answers your prayers, according to His will. His will is for the best for each of us.

Isaiah 65:24,

65:24  And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Call upon the name of the Lord. Cry out and He will hear. Trust Him, and He will provide. Be faithful and He will honor your petitions.

4.      Fourth promise: “I will be with him in time of trouble”. Psalm  23:4  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Isaiah 41:10,

 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Cast your worries upon the Lord and He will help you. So how do you cope or not cope? Isaiah gave us a further reason to be able to trust in the Lord and cope with trials around you.

Isaiah 40:31.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

He restores us. He gives us strength when we feel we have none. He provides energy restoring rest obtained from a peaceful mind free from worry. He provides hope filled lives devoid of the need for worry, IF we trust Him. Do you trust Him? Do you know Him?

5.      Fifth promise: “I will deliver him, and honor him.” That is vindication from trusting in the source of your strength, the power of our great God, the Almighty. Samuel 2:20, “For them that honor me, I will honor them.” If you are doing the will of God, following in the footsteps of Jesus, trying to emulate His life, what have we to fear?

John 12: 26, “The lord Jesus Said, “if any man serve me, let him follow me, and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”

We all know that Jesus did not promise an easy time, a bed of roses for any of His followers, but He did promise that He would be with us all the way through anything He uses to sanctify us. He promised a safe arrival into His kingdom. The goal is to be there, in His presence, in His kingdom, and to see His face. When we are there, we will be like Him, heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. The work that He has begun in us, He will finish to completion, IF we be faithful and believe His promises. If we believe, what have we to fear? Nothing!

6.      Sixth Promise, “I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” This my friend, is personal fulfillment and satisfaction. He will show you the enjoyment of being found in Christ Jesus, to the glory of the Father, who are One. He will show you His salvation. If you lean on Him, stay close to Him, as noted in verse one of this Psalm, if you:

-obey His commandments and do what is spoken of in this Psalm

-if you walk and live in God, you can be sure that no matter what you go through, God will go through it with you.

-you will be invincible in God, and nothing will touch you unless God permits it.

-When you are in the midst of trouble, you will always have the knowledge that you can rest and shelter in God, even in the midst of the trial.

-You will know that he will protect you from all things natural and supernatural, IF you shelter in His character, in His tenderness, in His Strength, and believe His pledge to you.

What a glorious blessing it will be to us all. I hope to hear the Lord speak to me the similar words Boaz spoke to Ruth when I stand before Him:

Ruth 2:11, “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust”. It should be a desire for all who call Jesus Christ, LORD!!

HOW DO YOU COPE OR NOT COPE, BECAUSE IN THE END, HE IS THE ONLY SAFE PLACE!! IF HE BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? AGAIN I HAVE SAY REPEATEDLY, WHAT DO WE HAVE TO FEAR? AGAIN, NOTHING!!

Finally, my reader, last question, “Do you know the Lord I describe?” Do you fear? If you fear and don’t know my Savior, then is it not time for you to listen to His call? If you will, let me introduce Him to you. All you have to do is drop me a line atrealteam1999@sbcglobal.net, or visit me online at my website at www.churchofgod-usa.org. This is Pastor Mike Taylor wishing you well, until we meet at Jesus feet.

 

 

 

 

 Yes! Jesus is Coming!


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