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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
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    Fri, Dec 26th - 10:01AM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    " And He spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all of the trees; When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now close at hand.  So also, when you see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is close at hand.  Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass away, until all be fulfilled.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (21:29-33)."

       Christ's return and the signs of His return are covered in verses 5-28.  The day and hour of His return are only known by God the Father, believers are to be ready.  Jesus plainly states that the signs of His return will be as visible as the greening of trees and shrubs in the springtime.  He used the fig tree as an example since it was a common tree to the Jewish people.  He also included all trees in this parable.  No one has any excuse for not knowing when the end-times are upon us all.  If a person is not looking and thinking about this fact, they will miss the truth.  Believers are to be looking, observing, studying, and thinking about the signs of Christ's return in order that they will be prepared for the event.  When I see buds breaking dormancy each year I know that the growing season is very close at hand.  There are many visible signs that I can read in order to know that spring is upon the horizon.  I am not caught off-guard. 

       With knowing what the signs are for the end-times a person will know when the kingdom of God is at hand, that Jesus Christ will be returning very, very, soon.  Jesus said that a person will know that the end is at hand when the signs are seen happening.  Here are just a few signs:

                                         ***   When believers see false messiahs and prophets arise, they can know that a large number of the lost and carnal will be tragically deceived.

                                         ***   When believers see conflict of nations, they can know terrible times lie ahead.

                                         ***   When believers see natural disasters, they can know that the worst periods of human suffering ever experienced are about to occur.

                                         ***   When believers see intesified persecutions, they can know God is about to straighten out the injustices and crimes of men.

                                         ***   When believers see armies amassing against Jerusalem, they can know the time of the Gentiles is about to end and Israel restored once-for-all.

                                         ***   When believers see astronomical happenings, they can know the Lord's return is at hand.

       Signs point toward an object, helping us to see the object and to anticipate knowing the object.  They focus our attention upon an object.  They keep our thoughts upon Christ and His glorious return.  They give direction, keeping us on the right track, helping to guard and protect us from going astray.  Signs give assurance and confidence, assurance that we will not be caught off guard and taken by surprise. 

       Another important point to not overlook is that once these signs begin to be seen, the generation of people who witness them will not all die before Christ's return.  Once these signs begin they will follow one another rather rapidly. The disciples asked Christ two questions and Jesus did not make a definite dividing line between the two when He answered them.  We must also remember that these signs are eternally set.  They are sure and irreversible, nothing that we can imagine to do will prevent them nor make them unnecessary.  In this passage Jesus said to us that one day heaven and earth will "pass away."  In other places in the NT we can read about when the heavens and the earth will be replaced with new ones, ones not tainted by sin.  But this does not happen until the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven and provides a place for the redeemed believers to exist during the process. 

       Because so much time has passed since Jesus spoke about these things people openly question the whole idea of the second coming (advent), thinking that it is merely another fable, a figment of hopeful imagination.  Christ foresaw that this situation would arise (II Peter 3:3-4, 8-13).  There are, therefore, three things which are certain to happen:  1) the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:8), 2) the great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world (Matthew 24:21), and 3) the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory (Luke 21:27).  We must not begin thinking that the words of Jesus will pass away into the annals of history and never be heard from again.  Heaven and earth shall pass away but not the words that Jesus spoke, not what He said must happen.  Here are some of the verses that tell us about what "must" happen:

    "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are in it shall be burned up (II Peter 3:10)."  "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away (Revelation 21:1)."  "And the world passed away, and the lust of it: but he that does the will of God abides for ever (I John 2:17)."  "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell in it shall die in like manner: but My salvation shall be for ever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished (Isaiah 51:6)." 

    People need to remain aware of the fact that all of the "stuff" that they purchase and hold onto will not go with them when they die.  It will remain behind and others will divide it up amongst themselves.  Our righteous deeds of helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves, those will remain forever with us for they become a part of who we are.  Love, compassion, hope, hospitality, long suffering, humility, meekness: all of these traits mold us into who we are and who we will become for all of eternity.  Next time I will look at Jesus' warning about indulging ourselves and becoming entangled in the cares of this present world.  Until then, grace and peace be yours on this day after Christmas!

    ~Eric 



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    Tue, Dec 23rd - 10:54AM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Peoples' hearts failing them for the fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  And when these things begin to happen, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near(21:24-28)."

       Here we are, approaching Christmas Day.  A day on which believers in Christ Jesus have chosen to celebrate His birth into this world.  A day when each person has the opportunity to thank God for choosing to leave heaven and become manifest in human flesh for thirty-three and half years, living a perfect life, teaching people about who God is and what God wants from people.  God demonstrated for us what a holy life looks like, sounds like, acts like.  He showed us that we must love Him with all of our being, making Him the center of our lives.  We must love others as we love ourselves, because God loved us first, before we were even lovable.  We are to demonstrate unconditional love towards everyone.  But, this love does not accept sin.  It works towards the regeneration of the person, becoming redeemed through the shed blood of Christ Jesus.  And so today we continue walking the path that Jesus took so long ago, walking knowingly into a trap that will be sprung by the Sanhedrin but will be converted by God into the single most defining moment in all of human history.

       Jesus continues in this passage to delineate what the signs of the end times will be.  There will be great astronomical signs in the skies, both during the day and the night.  Both Matthew and Mark describe in their gospel accounts more of what these signs will look like.  All of these astronomical happenings occur now, just not to the extent that they will happen during the end times.  "Falling stars"  today are meterorites but in the end times perhaps entire stars will be falling across the sky as all of creation becomes involved in Great Tribulation that will inevitably lead to the creation of the new earth and new heavens.  The powers of heaven being shaken could mean heavenly bodies being moved out of their orbits and established placement. 

       Then we must keep in mind the power of the atom.  The atom exploded here on earth is powerful enough to darken the sun and moon from our view here on earth.  But the stom as it is known today can't affect the axis or rotation of the sun, moon, and stars.  Is atomic warfare what will cause the destruction of earth in the end times?  Personally, I just can't see that God will rely upon human efforts tobring about the end of history.  God is fully able to dissolve all of creation and begin anew, if He so chooses.  All that we know is that there will be wars and rumors of wars for as long as this earth exists.  God will end all things, not man.  When this world ends it will be by God's own will and act.

       There is continually a battle between a literal and metaphorical interpretation of any and all end-time prophecy found in the Bible.  I will say this: avoid any extreme literalism or metaphoricalism.  But do interpret prophecy literally.  The sun will be darkened, the moon will not be seen, stars will fall.  Something quite large will collide with this planet and poison the fresh water supplies globally.  All of the things spoken of in the Book of Revelation will literally happen.  It is the only way to keep the entire Bible in agreement with itself.  Satan has not yet been chained up in the pit for a thousand years, if so, how could he possibly be prowling the earth like a lion?  We have not yet experienced the new earth and new heavens.

       What this passage of scripture seems to mean is that the entire universe is going to be affected by Christ Jesus' second coming to earth.  The heavenly bodies will apparantly serve notice to humanity that He is the Creator, the Son of Man, God's very own Son who is now coming to earth in great power and glory.  Every person shall see Him when He returns, there will be no sneaking back in the rear door unannounced.  The astronomical bodies are affected because of the evil of humanity and the resultant wrath of God.  Falling stars will not be for mankind's visual enjoyment, they will be an announcement of the coming judgment of God upon mankind. 

       There will be great astronomical happenings.  So will there be great negative results here on earth?  Well, Luke informs us that Jesus said that there will be distress and perplexity across the nations of the world.  Governments and leaders will hold summits and conference calls in attempts to  figure out what exactly is going on.  They will attempt to keep the masses from falling victim to hysteria and rioting.  However, the leaders will sense the coming doom of the universe.  The seas will themselves be distressed and filled with great waves and roaring.  Changes in magnetic forces affect our oceans greatly as do cosmic objects that impact our planet.  The dispersal of kinetic energy will cause catastrophic tidal waves and a cacaphony of sound beyond anything that anyone alive today has ever heard.  It will terrify billions of people.  Peoples' hearts will be filled with wild fear, anxiety, and hysteria; hearts will literally fail, stop.  People will be scared to death, literally.  Please read these references: Mark 13:24-25; Luke 17:29-30; Acts 2:19-20; Revelation 6:12-17; Isaiah 13:10-13; Isaiah 24;17-22; Joel 2:30-31; Joel 3:15-16. 

       After all of these signs happen then everyone shall witness Christ returning in power and glory.  When Jesus left earth it was as the Lamb of God.  At His return He will come as the Son of Man, God's Son incarnate.  On that day there will be no doubt as to who He is.  Today He is only recognized by believers, but upon His return to earth all people will recognize Him as being God.  Every eye shall see Him arrive.  Matthew says all of the tribes of earth shall mourn at seeing the Son of Man coming.  All people will know who is coming even if they still refuse to accept Him as their Savior.  Christ's return is similar to His ascension into heaven previously: on or in clouds.  The backdrop is a heavenly sky completely absent of any light with Christ then coming towards earth in a cloud with great power and glory.  The Shekinah glory of God will shine in the person of Jesus Christ having been absent from earth since back in Old Testament times.  The Book of Revelation informs us in verse seven that even those who pierced Him shall see His return.  That tells me that upon death there is no annihilation, there is no obliteration of who I am.  My soul continues to exist and be aware of what is going on. 

       Of course, Christ's return is a source of great encouragement to believers in Him.  What a glorious hope the believer in Christ has!  Those who do not believe in Christ will be seeking to hide and try to avoid judgment from falling upon them.  But believers are told to look up, to lift their heads, for their redemption is moving closer to them.  As all of these terrible events begin to take place all around the believer he/she is not to be distressed and perplexed, not to fear and have a failing heart, not to seek to hide from God, but to remember clearly that God promised to never leave nor to forsake those whom He loves.  Will the locusts from the abyss be terrifying?  Yes, but they do not torment believers in Christ, only those who reject Christ.  Believers are to not be discouraged nor afraid.  The consummation of the believer's  salvation and hope is soon to take place, we are to remain confident and filled with thanksgiving for the wisdom and love of God towards us.  "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:13-14)."  "And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15)."  "I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth(Psalm 121:1-2)."

    That is all for today, beloved.  Next time I will write about the parable of the fig tree and how it releates to the signs of the end-time and the return of Christ.  If I do not manage to post again before Christmas, I wish you all a very merry Christmas Day!  I ask my God to richly bless you and your loved ones, to pour out His blessings from heaven's treasure troves upon you.  Remember why we have chosen this time of year to celebrate our Lord and Savior's birth.  Remember that we are attached to the One True Vine (Christ) just as the branches on a living evergreen tree are.  Our nourishment comes to us through our connection to Jesus, who has been engrafted into us.  If we are cut off from Christ, we too wither and die just like pruned branches from the tree die.  The shining star at the top of the tree represents Christ's light shining into this world dominated by spiritual darkness.  Each light upon the branches represents the light that believers shine out into the world, allowing Christ's light to shine through us.  Lights only shine when connected to the power supply and thus it is with believers.  We only shine in this world when we remain connected to the power of God through Jesus Christ.  Living trees must have strong roots in order to survive and to withstand strong winds and not blow over.  We too must be well rooted in order to withstand the storms that enter our lives periodically.  Our roots are not in the ground, they are in God's Word.  They must extend deep into the Bible so that we come to intimately know God's message meant for each of us.  Faith comes by hearing, hearing comes from the Word of God.  God bless you all for your patience with this blog and may it be used by God to touch your heart.  All honor, praise, power, and glory is due God!  Hallelujah!

    ~Eric



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    Wed, Dec 3rd - 9:14PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "And when you shall see Jerusalem surrounded with armies, then know that the desolation of it is close.  Then let them which are Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and do not let them that are in the countryside enter into the city.  For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.  But woe to them that are pregnant, and to them that breastfeed, in those days!  for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (21:20-24)."  

       This passage deals with the Jewish nation throughout history as well as specifically with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  Verse 24 spells out the perspective that Jesus was speaking with.  Jerusalem would be broken down by the Gentiles and not returned to its former glory until the times of the Gentiles was completed.  We live today in the times of the Gentiles.  Jerusalem remains a divided city with no unification under Judaism.  Mosques dot the scenery and the Temple remains destroyed.  

       Yet the points of this passage of Scripture can also be applied to the "end times" as well.  Matthew and Mark definitely give a double meaning to the words  of Jesus.  The disciples had thought that Jerusalem would only be destroyed during the end times.  they did not understand that the destruction of Jerusalem was God's judgment upon its sin.  The fall of the world will be due to God's judgment upon its sin.  Christ answered more than just their simple, direct, questions.  The disciples had requested what signs would alert them to the arrival of the end times and the destruction of the Temple.  The sign would be Jerusalem surrounded by armies.  Not an army, but many armies.  In 70 AD the city was surrounded by the Roman army, singular.  

       Jesus told the disciples that some of them would see and be witnesses of the sign.  They would witness God's judgment fall upon their beloved city.  All disciples were to be prepared at all times for the coming judgment so as not to be taken by surprise.  Some of us will be the actual witnesses of the sign of the coming end of history and the completion of the times of the Gentiles.  Obviously, when the residents of Jerusalem see armies approaching their city from every direction it will be a sign that they ought to leave the city as fast as humanly possible.  Those who find themselves outside of the city are not to try to enter into the city.  People are warned to flee to the mountains for protection and to avoid death.  But in 66AD, after the rebellion was responded to by the Roman authorities, more than a million people fled into Jerusalem behind its protective walls believing that they would be safe.  But the ensuing siege forced food shortages and starvation of hundreds of thousands of people.  The believers in Christ did flee before the siege became sealed around the city.  This exodus took place around AD 66 and they ended up in the small town of Pella in the Decapolis district.  They did not waste valuable time trying to take possessions with them.  Too many people today are centered upon comfort and possessions, the world and money.  We all ought to be consumed by thoughts of the coming judgment.  We will need to flee to Christ for safety when the signs are clearly seen.  

       God has been very patient and long-suffering with Israel for generations.  But Israel has always chosen to repeatedly reject God's pleadings.  The world has repeatedly rejected God's pleadings over many, many generations.  For rejecting God's very own Son Jerusalem was completely destroyed, as was the Temple.  The clear warning to all believers in Christ is that sin results in judgment and judgment in desolation.  God claims vengeance for Himself because He executes perfect justice, retribution, satisfaction.  His perfect judgment flows out of righteousness and justice.  It is not retaliation like what we humans commit in anger and hurt feelings.  No self-gratification or selfish reaction is involved in God's actions.  God's judgment makes things right, exactly as they should be.  

       Four pictures are painted for us about the end time judgment that is coming.  Women who are pregnant and carrying infants will find it extremely difficult to flee.  They will not desire to leave their child behind and thus will be slowed down.  There will be great distress across the land.  There will not only be physical conflict, there will be the resultant famine, pestilence, and chaos.  The wrath of unbelieving man and of God will fall upon God's people and upon Jerusalem.  The orderliness of society, the rules and laws of conduct, will all disappear.  Why is this?  It is because in the end time the world will experience unparalleled tribulations, destruction, and death.  A quick look at the Book of Revelation reveals the following:

     1.  Thundering, lightnings, and great earthquakes.
     2.  Demonic-like locusts and plagues.
     3.  Demonic-like army.
     4.  Angry nations destroying the earth.
     5.  An evil political ruler over the entire earth.
     6.  A false religious ruler over the entire earth.
     7.  Terrible global destruction and suffering.
     8.  An evil, deceptive world power.
     9.  Over one third of world's population perishes.

    The Jewish nation was scattered over the world when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.  They have slowly returned to Israel ever since the 1940's.  The Gentile times have yet to be fulfilled.  The word "fulfilled" (plerothosin) means that God is in control of the times.  There is a purpose to the times of the Gentiles and to what has happened and is yet to happen to Israel.  God has said that there will be an end to the Jew's captivity and to Jerusalem being "trodden down."  God says that the nation will be restored to its land.  When?  Today?  No, when the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.  Of course, God told us in His Word that no one knows the day or time when He shall return and the times of the Gentiles shall be completed.  

    Are you able to follow the train of thought of Christ?  He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem.  He also predicted the destruction of much of our world at the end of this age.  Jerusalem was destroyed, so I must weigh heavily in favor of believing that Christ's other predictions shall also come to happen.  Next time I will cover Jesus' response to what signs will signal His return to earth from heaven.  Grace and peace be yours!

    ~Eric


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    Tue, Dec 2nd - 8:33PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.  And it shall become for you a testimony.  Therefore, settle it in your hearts, not to meditate before you shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all of your adversaries shall not be able to argue against nor resist.  And you shall be betrayed by both parents, and brothren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you they shall cause to be put to death.  And you shall be hated of by all people for My name's sake.  But there shall not a hair of your head be destroyed.  In your patience you possess your souls  (21:12-19)."   

       Be assured, all disciples of Christ Jesus shall be persecuted.  It is not an if but a when.  Jesus uses the mandatory "shall" in His pronouncement to all believers.  As history trundles ever closer to the End Times persecution will only become intensified and more frequent.  Thus it behooves every believer around the globe to become prepared for what must come to pass.  It becomes so very important for each generation of believers to teach preparedness to the younger generation that follows them.  The reality is that not only the courts of law will turn completely against believers in Christ Jesus, even church councils will do so.  

       What will be the reasons and/or results of this worldwide persecution?  It will be carried out by both civil and religious authorities.  Both government and organized religion will persecute true believers when the Great Tribulation period arrives.  Jesus made a very clear distinction between church age persecution and that during the end times.  Why will genuine believers in Christ be persecuted?  Christ clearly, and concretely, stated it:  "For My name's sake."  Those who adamantly refuse to recant their belief in Christ, who staunchly stand up and proclaim the Gospel of Christ, and who ask God to forgive those who persecute them,  it will be these individuals who will be marked out and persecuted terribly by the remainder of the world.  Why such hatred for those who diligently pursue the Way of Jesus the Christ?   It will be due to three things:   1.  The true believer sets before the world a different standard, a standard of true godliness.  The world is not godly nor is its standards godly.  Thus by his/her very nature, the person who lives for the world and does not wish to repent opposes godliness. "Do not love the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any person loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (I John 2:15-16)."  2.  The genuine believer lives a life of purity, clean and just.  True morality and godliness controls the mind, dresses modestly, converses respectfully, and behaves justly.  The worldly live to to fulfill the lust of their flesh in its many forms and to have possessions that they do not need.  They do not like feeling like they are being compared to those who live a life of purity.  "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and things like these; of which I told you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.   And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:19-24)."    3.  The genuine believer presents a message of repentance and self-denial.  Very few people are willing to change(repent) to the degree that self is totally denied in order to meet the needs of a desperate world.  Most people therefore, even the religious, oppose the idea that people are to live sacrificially in order to save a starving and dying world.  This is both a physical and spiritual starvation that is ongoing day after day.  

       So, those are the reasons why there will be ever increasing persecution of the genuine believers of Christ Jesus.  What are the results?  The result will be a glorious witness for the Lord.  Persecution always seeks to silence the voice of those being persecuted so that they do not have to listen to that voice.  Yet that very persecution turns into a glorious witness for God for the believer standing there suffering will show such loyalty and supernatural strength that some people will be convinced of God's Truth.  The suffering believer will show that Christ and eternity are real, and he/she will be a testimony as they receive the persecution.  As Christ teaches here, a defense need not be prepared ahead of time.  God will provide the words that the believer is to respond with.  Such wisdom will spill from the believer's mouth that the persecutors will not be able to resist their defense.  This in no wise implies freedom will be secured or even offered.  This will be a time when many believers will be going home to be with God.  

       The betrayal that many believers will suffer through will be heartrending.  They will be betrayed by their own families, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  Why will such betrayal take place?  It will be done because of the desperate need to save their own lives, to secure some form of favor, to escape embarrassment, to secure revenge, to escape persecution themselves, to gain favor from the authorities, to escape fear, and to preserve selfish honor, status, or position.  Christ says that all shall hate the believer.  This has attitude has always been present down through the centuries since Christ's ascension back to heaven, but in the end times it will become released to run rampant.  

       As horrendous and dismal the end times appear to us, Christ provides us with a glorious promise that is assuring.  First, His promise is that God is in control of the believer's life, total control.  Jesus offers us spiritual security.  While we are being persecuted Christ has us under His control and if killed, we are under Christ's care.  Second, Christ speaks of the eternal security of the believer's soul.  The body will die, perish.  But the soul will be possessed eternally.  Endurance to the very end of one's life is required, there can be no "retirement."  The believer must stand fast in their faith.  Simply put, persecution is not to be feared but to be looked forward to.  Persecution will inevitably come upon each believer.  We are not to fear physical death of our bodies but yearn for our eternal souls to be with Christ.  We are to repeat the words that Christ uttered from the cross:  "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

    That is all for today, beloved!  May the comfort and assurance of Christ's presence envelop you this day and every day.  Grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric


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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. We hav... more

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