Learning to speak words of life – Gerry and Vicky’s story

Marriage isn’t easy. But when your spouse doesn’t share your views of God, it can bring additional strife to the relationship. In the article below, Gerry and Vicki describe how God not only transformed their marriage but also turned this husband and wife into a dynamic missionary team.

I could really relate to their story as I am also married (happily, thankfully) to an unbeliever who at times pushes back but is ever so surely being drawn to God:

Learning to speak words of life–Gerry & Vicki’s Story

The Nicene Creed

Today I learned from one of my fellow pilgrims (https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/25404729/posts/998593306) that the Word of God (the Bible) has made the top 10 list of banned books in America.

This is a sad indication that we are truly in the last days.

In light of the above I revisited the core tenet of my faith (in the Word of God, and God Himself as He exists in three eternal Persons), the Nicene Creed. Here then for your edification is the text. It should be known by heart by all true Christians as it is so beautiful and comforting:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Naomi

Moses never lived, so what

The Lions Den

Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. It is no surprise at the attacks on this man of God as if he was irrelevant or non- existent.

This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. And Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses. And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver, and a cunning workman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen.

When the arch-enemy of God came along with a whisper in the garden of delight, the existence…

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What does the Bible teach about warfare?

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about warfare in general. Actually, it says quite a lot. The words “war” and “battle” are found over 350 times in the Old Testament. We find God commanding war many times. In 2 Samuel 22:35, David says the Lord taught him to fight. In Joshua 3:9-10, God commands Joshua to conquer the Canaanites. In Exodus 15:3, God is called “a warrior” after defeating the Egyptian army. In many places in Scripture, the Lord uses warfare as an instrument of judgment against sinful nations (e.g., Numbers 31:1-24).

What we learn from such passages is that war is necessary at times. When the Philistines took up arms against Israel in 1 Samuel 17:1, Israel had to either fight a necessary war or capitulate to the enemy. The same was true in 1938 when the Germans marched into Austria. While war is terrible, there is nothing inherently evil with it per se. In a fallen world, war is inevitable (Luke 21:9-10).

However, the Bible does not condone war indiscriminately. Most of the scriptures we’ve cited so far have dealt with Israel in the Old Testament. To establish Israel in the Promised Land, war was necessary. At the same time, God used Israel militarily to judge the idolatrous nations of Canaan (Deuteronomy 18:12).

We need to make a clear distinction between a holy war and a just war. A true holy war is one specifically commanded by God to Old Testament Israel. The commands to do battle in the Old Testament were for a particular group of people for a particular time, for a particular purpose. That purpose has been accomplished, and no one can claim a “holy war” today.

The Christian’s battle is spiritual (Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:4). This means, among other things, that God’s people do not use physical means to coerce people into God’s Kingdom. However, does the Christian emphasis on a spiritual war mean that physical warfare between nations is always avoidable? Do we allow aggression to go unchecked? Should we ignore hostility and injustice? No, there is a place today for a just war.

A just (or justified) war is one that is waged on behalf of justice. The goal of a just war is peace. Romans 13:1-5 gives us the God-ordained role of government in society:

1) to govern with authority from God (v1-2)
2) to praise the good in society (v4)
3) to punish the evildoer in society (v4)
4) to bear the sword and execute wrath against wrongdoers (v4)

Just like the shepherd’s job is to protect the sheep from wolves, it’s the government’s job to protect its citizens from aggression.

Again, we make no attempt to justify war in general. There is no way to mitigate the horror and tragedy that war brings. But we do recognize that, at times, war can be justified. We list the following six guidelines to bring war under the rule of justice:

1) There must be a just cause. Bringing aggression, injustice, and genocide to a stop would promote righteousness and therefore be a just cause.

2) There must be just intention. The goal is peace and safety for all involved. The desire for ideological supremacy, geographical expansion, or economic gain does not justify a war.

3) War must be the last resort after all other methods to resolve the conflict have failed.

4) There must be a formal declaration of war. This shows that it is the government taking action on behalf of its citizenry.

5) Proportionate means are used. Weaponry and use of force must be limited to what is necessary to repel the attack and prevent future aggression. Unlimited war is wrong.

6) Noncombatant immunity. Individuals not actively involved in the conflict, including POWs and casualties, should be immune from attack.

So, what about the war against the terrorists in Iraq? We believe that it is a just war insofar as the United States and its allies are protecting its citizens and following the six guidelines, above. May we be faithful to pray for our country’s leaders and for true wisdom in these dangerous times (1 Timothy 2:1-2). And may the Lord quickly fulfill His promise to bring to an end all war forever (Isaiah 2:1-4).

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/war-Iraq-just.html#ixzz3SkXbN9et

How reliable is the King James bible?

Before I continue with this article I’d like to say that I don’t believe one can only be saved through reading the King James Bible. There is enough truth found in all adult versions of the Bible I’ve read – both modern and otherwise – to save or damn people who read them with an open mind and heart. But the inescapable conclusion one comes to after doing some serious reading on the subject is that some Bible versions are more doctrinally correct than others, and are therefore less likely to encourage doubt and deception in the Lord’s sheep.

So how reliable is the King James Bible? The following has been reprinted from http://www.kjvtoday.com for your interest and edification:

What is so good about the KJV?

Abbreviations:
English Standard Version (ESV)
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
King James Version (KJV)
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
New International Version (NIV)
New King James Version (NKJV)
New Living Translation (NLT)
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Today’s New International Version (TNIV)

For nearly 400 years the King James Version remained unchallenged as the standard Protestant English Bible. Newer translations did come out from 1611 to the mid 20th century but none of those gained widespread acceptance among the English-speaking Protestant churches. Then starting in the mid 20th century new translations began to gain in popularity. The Revised Standard Version (both testaments published in 1952) was the first serious contender against the King James Version. Then in the 1960’s-1970’s came the New American Standard Bible, Living Bible, New International Version, New King James Version, and eventually scores of others. Many of those mid 20th century translations had lost their popularity by the 21st century. Some of the top contenders today by number of sales are the 2011 update to the New International Version, English Standard Version, and New Living Translation. With so many newer translations available, many Christians think of the King James Version as an irrelevant relic from a bygone era. However, in the midst of this coming and going of new translations, the King James Version has withstood the test of time and continues to have a solid reader base, and for good reasons. This page describes the superb features of the King James Version.

DOCTRINE

No Demonstrable Error

Books such as The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? by James R. White and The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism by D.A. Carson point to alleged translation and textual errors in the KJV. While the stated goal of these types of books is to refute KJV “only-ism” (the idea that Christians should use only the KJV), these authors are not neutral in terms of assessing the translation and textual choices in the KJV. James R. White was a consultant for the New American Standard Bible and D.A. Carson was a translator of the New Living Translation. Although there may be different opinions on translation or textual choices (as proposed by these authors), every reading in the KJV can be justified by reasonable alternative theories. This website refutes over 150 allegations of errors to show that the KJV is demonstrably inerrant.

Fuller, Doctrinally Superior Text

The New Testament of the KJV, as with the NKJV, is based on the Textus Receptus, a variety of the Byzantine family of New Testament manuscripts. Many popular translations (e.g. NASB, NIV, ESV, HCSB) are based on the Nestle-Aland text (i.e. NA 27, UBS 4), which is based on the Alexandrian family of manuscripts. Translations based on these Alexandrian readings omit or cast doubt on many important words and verses: e.g. The ending of Mark (Mark 16:9-20), The story of the adulteress (John 8:1-11), The conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:13), The angel at the pool (John 5:4), The confession of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:37), Matthew 12:47, Matthew 17:21, Mathew 18:11, Matthew 21:44, Matthew 23:14, Mark 7:16, Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 11:26, Mark 15:28, Luke 17:36, Luke 22:43, Luke 22:44, Luke 23:17, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:7, Acts 28:29, Romans 16:24, 1 John 5:7. It is generally accepted even by proponents of the Alexandrian texts that the Textus Receptus readings are doctrinally superior. The main page of http://www.kjvtoday.com/ has links to pages defending the Textus Receptus.

ACCURACY

Literal Translation

The KJV is an essentially literal translation. Many new translations (NIV, NLT) are based on a translation philosophy called “Dynamic Equivalence” made popular by Eugene Nida of the American Bible Society. With Dynamic Equivalence, translators act as interpreters rather than translators. Thus readers of these dynamic translations end up reading the interpretations of scholars rather than the actual biblical text. The NKJV, NASB and ESV are also essentially literal translations. For an excellent introduction on the subject, please read this [online booklet] written by Leland Ryken, a member of the ESV committee.

Person Distinction

The KJV uses “thou” and “ye” and inflected verbs to distinguish between the second person singular and the second person plural. “Thou, thee, thy” refer to one person whereas “ye, you, your” refer to more than one person. Other modern languages such as Spanish (“tú” and “vosotros”), French (“tu” and “vous”), German (“du” and “ihr”) and Chinese (“你” and “你們”) still maintain this distinction. Without this grammatical distinction, the reader cannot identify whether an individual or a group is being spoken of in passages such as Exodus 4:15, Exodus 29:42, 2 Samuel 7:23, Matthew 26:64, Luke 22:31-32, John 3:7, 1 Corinthians 8:9-12, 2 Timothy 4:22, Titus 3:15, Philemon 21-25.

Use of Italics

The KJV translators italicized words that do not appear in the original languages but were added in order to convey the meaning of the text. Most modern translations (i.e. NIV, ESV, TNIV) do not indicate added words with italics. For example, Psalm 16:2 in the KJV says, “Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee” (“extendeth” is italicized). In the latter part of this sentence the original Hebrew only has the words “my goodness,” “not” and “to thee.” The KJV translators added “extendeth” to convey the meaning of the sentence and they indicated the addition by the use of italics. The notes to the Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV say that the Hebrew is uncertain in Psalm 16:2. Thus, Bible versions do not translate this verse in the same way. However, most modern translations do not use italics to notify the reader concerning words added by the translators. The NASB and NKJV also use italics to indicate added words.

No Quotation Marks

Quotation marks (” “) identify spoken statements. The KJV does not enclose any words in quotation marks. “Why is this a good thing?” one might ask. The KJV does not use quotation marks because the original Hebrew and Greek texts do not use them. There are many passages where translators must guess as to whether a statement is spoken by the narrator or the character. Sometimes the placement of quotation marks are misleading, or at the very least rob a reader of another valid interpretation of the text. Please refer to the page linked to above for examples of passages where quotation marks can be misleading.

STYLE

Complex Compound Sentences

The KJV seldom splits complex sentences as they are found in the Greek. For example, Romans 1:1-7 and Hebrews 1:1-4 are each one sentence in the Greek and in the KJV, but even the most literal of modern translations, the NASB and the ESV, split each sentence into several sentences. Complex sentences convey relationships between ideas more effectively and keep the author’s thought process more apparent.

Hebraisms

The KJV preserves lexicographical and syntactical Hebraisms (William Rosenau, Hebraisms in the Authorized Version of the Bible). Many contemporary translations, in an attempt to make the Bible sound more familiar to readers, dilute the Hebrew feel of the Bible. Much of the peculiarity of the language of the KJV is due to its faithful mimicry of the Hebrew language. Some Hebraic expressions such as the Hebraic anticipatorial accusative (“God saw the light, that it was good” Genesis 1:4) and Hebraic double prepositions (“Abram went up out of Egypt” Genesis 13:1) are completely removed even in translations that are purported to be essentially literal, such as the NASB and the ESV. Acclaimed Greek teacher John Dobson, author of Learn New Testament Greek, 3rd ed, invites his students to pay close attention to the Hebraic influence in the Greek New Testament. Due to his apparent preference for dynamic translations, he does not seem to prefer the KJV. However, he acknowledges that the KJV “follows Hebrew style more closely than a modern translator would normally do” (305).

Conformity with Greek Structure and Style

In the New Testament, the KJV often follows the Greek word order more closely than most translations. For example, Matthew 17:19 says, “Then came the disciples to Jesus.” This syntax, which has the verb preceding the subject, may seem peculiar to contemporary English-speaking audiences; but the word order in the KJV follows the Greek word order (“τοτε προσελθοντες οι μαθηται τω ιησου”). Mimicking the exact style and structure of the Greek can sometimes preserve what is emphasized in the Greek. Another feature common in the KJV is the historical present tense. The KJV often uses the present tense to describe past action: e.g. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John” (Matthew 3:13). This is because the KJV faithfully translates the Greek which is also in the present tense. Greek writers used the historical present tense to add emphasis to important past actions. The historical present tense has the effect of making past narratives more vivid. Modern translations unfortunately tend to translate the historical present tense in the simple past tense.

Poetry

The Bible is a very poetic book. The obvious poetic books are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. But even the Old Testament prophecies and Revelation are full of poetic features such as rich imageries, parallelisms, hyperboles, and similes. The books of the Pentateuch are also ripe with poetry, according to Everett Fox, the author of The Five Books of Moses. He believes that the Pentateuch is full of “oral” poetic qualities that often go unnoticed to Western readers. In fact, Jews throughout the centuries sang the Torah using cantillation marks. In the New Testament, we find poetic features such as parables, similitudes, beatitudes, Pauline metaphors, Peter’s apocalyptic utterances, John’s juxtaposition of darkness and light, etc. A truly poetic translation such as the KJV does justice to the poetry of the Bible.

BACKGROUND

Authorized by a Bible-believing Christian King

King James who authorized the KJV was a Bible-believing Christian king who unapologetically upheld the doctrines of biblical inerrancy, infallibility and sufficiency (sola scriptura). On biblical inerrancy he said, “When ye read the Scripture, read it with a sanctified & chaste ear: admire reverently such obscure places as ye understand not, blaming only your own incapacity” (Book I:13, Basilicon Doron). On biblical infallibility he said, “The whole Scripture containeth but two things: a command, and a prohibition; to do such things, and abstain from the contrary. Obey in both;” (Book I:7, Basilicon Doron). On biblical sufficiency he said, “The Scripture is ever the best interpreter of itself. But press not curiously to seek out farther nor is contained therein; for that were misnurtured presumption, to strive to farther upon Gods secrets nor he hath will ye be: for what he thought needful for us to know, that he hath revealed there.” (Book I:13-14, Basilicon Doron). That a Christian king would cause the Bible in English to be published was William Tyndale’s final prayer as he was publicly executed in 1536 crying out, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” (David Daniell, The Bible in English: Its History and Influence. New Haven: Yale UP, 2003 at 156).

Free from Modernist Bias

The KJV was not influenced by liberal theology, evolutionism, political-correctness, and ecumenicalism. Today, niche translations are published left and right to satisfy various theological and social agendas. For example, Today’s New International Version was published to appease those who desired gender-neutrality in a Bible. The result was a translation with troubling inaccuracies: e.g. Psalm 1:3, Revelation 22:18 (Vern S. Poythress and Wayne A. Grudem, The TNIV and the Gender Neutral Controversy). Of course, the KJV translators too were men of their times, and their culture certainly was not “neutral.” However, the Christian monarchical culture of Jacobean England is certainly closer to the biblical ideal of a “nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12) than our modern godless democracies. The translators’ commitment to biblical inerrancy and biblical sufficiency in all matters of faith and practice cannot be disputed. King James himself stated “Now, the onely way to bring you to this knowldege, is diligently to read his word, & earnestly to pray for the right understanding thereof” (Book I:6, Basilicon Doron).

Laws Pertaining to Derivative Works Did Not Affect The KJV

Modern Bible publishers are required by law to make substantial changes to revisionary works (e.g. new translations) in order to claim copyrights: “To be copyrightable, a derivative work must be different enough from the original to be regarded as a “new work” or must contain a substantial amount of new material. Making minor changes or additions of little substance to a preexisting work will not qualify the work as a new version for copyright purposes” (Copyright Registration for Derivative Works (Circular 14)). The law requires that each new version be “different enough” from previous versions. Thus when a reader reads a modern translation which is bound by this law, he must second-guess whether the words he is reading are in fact the most accurate or whether they are less accurate substitutes made in order to qualify the translation as a copyrightable work. The KJV was not bound by this law. When a reader reads the KJV, he can be confident that the translators chose the words that they did because they truly believed that the words they chose were the most accurate. Fifteen rules were given for translating the KJV, and some of them explicitly allowed the translators to retain existing renderings that could not have been improved upon. Rule 1 urged the translators to follow the Bishop’s Bible with the liberty to depart from it if the original language text so allowed. Rule 14 allowed the translators to follow other good translations where they appeared to agree better with the original languages. Such an attitude of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” would be impossible today with our current laws for derivative works that require change for the sake of change.

The Translators Were Experts in Hebrew, Greek and Latin

The KJV builds on the scholarship exhibited in previous English Bibles which date back to Tyndale and Wycliffe – two godly contenders of the faith and the written Word. The 47 translators of the KJV were masters in Hebrew and/or Greek, as well as in cognate languages such as Aramaic, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, etc. (Translators Revived by Alexander McClure). Elizabethan and Jacobean scholars were trained in grammar schools in their youth – schools where the study of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and English were emphasized. Many modern scholars who are proficient in Greek are not proficient in Latin. Latin has dropped as an ecclesiastical language in Protestant schools. However, many resources that can shed light on textual and translation variants appear in Latin glosses and writings produced over a span of 1000+ years. All the KJV translators were proficient in Latin.

The Translators Were Experts in English

Many students of the Bible often forget that the knowledge of Hebrew and Greek alone does not make one an apt translator. Translation involves expertise in both the source language and the receptor language. The KJV translators seemed to have had a better grasp of English than many modern translators. Consider this candid comment by Daniel Wallace, a critic of the KJV: “it should be noted that as many faults as the KJV has, it frequently has a superior rendering of the Greek perfect over many modern translations. (Recall that the KJV was produced during the golden age of English, during Shakespeare’s era.) For example, in Eph 2:8 the KJV reads “for by grace are ye saved,” while many modern translations (e.g., RSV, NASB) have “for by grace you have been saved.” The perfect periphrastic construction is most likely intensive, however. The KJV translators, though not having nearly as good a grasp on Greek as modern translators, seem to have had a better grip on English. They apparently recognized that to translate Eph 2:8 with an English perfect would say nothing about the state resulting from the act of being saved” (Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics at 575).

LEGACY

Early Modern English

Apart from inflected verbs (which are functionally important), all words in the KJV appear in contemporary publications (Laurence M. Vance, Archaic Words and the Authorized Version). Furthermore, there are many cases where even the NIV uses harder words than the KJV. Compare the following: The NIV has “abasement” in Ezra 9:5 whereas the KJV has “heaviness.” Isaiah 24:23: “abashed” (NIV) = “confounded” (KJV). Ezekiel 40:18: “abutted” (NIV) = “over against” (KJV). 2 Chronicles 15:14: “acclamation” (NIV) = “voice” (KJV). Isaiah 13:8: “aghast” (NIV) = “amazed” (KIV). Laurence M. Vance provides 220 of these examples where the NIV uses a harder word than the KJV. A personal favourite is “squall” (NIV) instead of “storm” (KJV) in Mark 4:37. The KJV may be harder to read than the NIV for someone not used to inflected verbs, but one should thoroughly read the KJV first before making conclusions about its difficulty.

See:

Understanding the Language of the King James Version
Many people have the impression that the King James Version is just an old translation. But there is more to the language of the King James Version than its archaic elements.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Language of the King James Version
This guide will help the beginner in getting a basic grasp of the grammar and vocabulary of the King James Version.

Tried and Tested

Go to the Page: Editions of the King James Version and the Apocrypha

The King James Version has been carefully proof-read for 400 years. Today’s editions are reliable, having all printing errors corrected.

Popularity

Popularity is not a biblical yardstick for assessing the value of something. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the KJV is still one of the more popular translations. According to February 2011 CBA sales numbers, it is less popular than the highest ranking NIV but is more popular than the NKJV, ESV, NASB and NLT. Christians who use the KJV are not an outdated “minority” as some might allege. Monthly Bible sales rankings are posted here (the ranking chart changes each month).

How do I know if my ministry is fruitful?

I was thinking today that my ministry is very small, certainly in terms of conversions. I honestly don’t know of one person I’ve influenced who has gone on to follow Christ. The closest example I can think of was a lovely 19-year old girl called Eva Rose who said she was considering “following God and Jesus” because of my example of faith. At the time this was a great encouragement but since then I have had very little feedback spiritually on whether I’m bearing genuine fruit for the Lord.

So this afternoon I started searching my site in earnest, trying to see what articles have been the most popular and helpful for people, if any. I came up with a small but, I feel, encouraging list:

There were other articles that were shared as well, which was a surprise and a little bolster to my faith, but the above are the dearest to my heart so I thought I’d mention these. I wanted to address the topic of fruitfulness in ministry because I’m sure I’m not alone in having anxieties about this at times. Another helpful strategy I adopted this afternoon was to comb Christian internet forums, trying to determine what others have done to overcome doubt and discouragement. I came across several helpful posts from http://www.puritanboard.com/f117/how-do-i-know-if-my-ministry-fruitful-48027/. I hope you find these encouraging too:

Firstly, this gem of a post:
“My grandmother used to fret about fruitfulness, because in her lifetime as a believer (she became a believer when she was 40 and died in her late 80’s) she never saw a personal convert. She told me that this bothered her until she realized that God might never show her fruit. What she didn’t see was the number of lives that had been changed (and are still changing almost 15 years after her death) because of her prayers and faithfulness to God. Abraham also believed without receiving the promise (see Hebrews 11:13 and the whole chapter in fact – my notes).

I don’t see in Scripture where God calls conversions or baptisms or large numbers “fruit”. He describes the “fruit of the Spirit” much differently. When I look at a pastor, I look at his personal life and example. I also look at his faithfulness to the word of God. If the congregation is healthy spiritually, then the pastor is doing his job.

Galatians 5 contrasts the fruit of the Spirit with the works of the flesh. If “body life” reflects the fruit of the Spirit, then the pastor is being the example he should be. If the church looks more like the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5, then I believe the pastor AND the leadership should take a long hard look at themselves and ask God what is wrong.

Being around my pastor and elders has made me want to know the Lord more. I watch their example of loving Christ, loving the church, loving the lost, caring for the flock and be(ing) grounded in God’s word. They are men I want to follow, and it has produced more growth in me and in my family.”

Then this:
“God is not concerned about your success. He is concerned about your faithfulness to Him and His Word.”

So there you have it. With God, the external signs of success matter less than where our hearts are at. I hope this encourages you to keep on fighting the good fight of faith with me.

Until next time, Lord willing.