Does God Really Care?

I recently had a very good friend who is an avowed atheist ask me, “is there anything that would cause you to loose your faith in God?” That is a very good question. The short answer is no. I have been through many trials and tribulations in my life as many Christians have. No matter what, God is and always will be faithful. As I left our conversation I asked my friend a question that I wanted him to consider: “what do you do with the witnesses? Both today and all through history?”

I would like to share this short story with you: Excerpted from the Series “Deliver Us From Evil” With Ravi Zacharias of Ravi Zacharias Family Ministries http://www.gospelcom.net/rzim

“Can I now share with you one of the most magnificent stories I can bring to you at this time. The year was 1971 and I was still in Vietnam. I was still in my mid-twenties, an undergraduate student doing theology, ministering to the American soldiers there and the Vietnamese and so on. I was still so young and training for ministry. A friend of mine traveling with at me that time – well, he became a friend because he was my interpreter – a seventeen year old lad by the name of Hian. Hian and I became VERY close. We became almost like brothers. And I remember when I said goodbye to him in ’71, I didn’t know if I’d ever set eyes on him again. We embraced and I got onto the plane and left.

Seventeen years later, I got a telephone call from him. All he had to say on the phone was, ‘Brother Ravi’. I paused and I said, ‘Hian?’ I couldn’t believe it. It was the way he always pronounced my name with the stonal language background, and I would say, ‘that’s him’. And we talked. My eyes got moist as we relived the memories of 1971. I said, ‘Hian, what are you doing here?’ He said, ‘have you got a few minutes?’, I said, ‘yes’. He said, ‘I want to tell you my story’.

Hian said, ‘Shortly after Vietnam fell, I was taken away by the Vietcong and by the North Vietnamese and I was put in prison. They did everything in their power to knock out of me my commitment to God, my ideas of political tyranny. They worked away and worked away and worked away at me. Finally one day I thought to myself: Maybe I have been lied to. Maybe Marxism is the answer to our utopia. Maybe democracies have told us all that is wrong and ill. And maybe God really doesn’t exist and Christ doesn’t care for me, as I’m here in this prison now suffering’. And all this was going through his mind and he made this commitment, ‘tomorrow, when I wake up, for the first time in years, I’m going to block God out of my mind. No God, No prayer, No reflection on my Christian commitment’. And he said that’s what he would do.

Next day he was assigned to cleaning the latrines in the prison. He said it was a horrible chore. He said, ‘As I was cleaning these dirty parts and just walking through the floors there with all of the stench in that prison latrine, all of a sudden as I was emptying a can with used toilet paper, I thought I saw one piece of paper with some English on it. I looked around to make sure nobody was watching – I hadn’t read English now in many, many months – (I think he said about a year and a half. They’d only given him his books on Marxism in either Vietnamese or French and so on. They were trying to even knock English out of his mind to remove a world view through language). He said, ‘I saw this and I thought it was English, but I didn’t want anybody to see me, so I quickly just washed it off without even looking at it and put it in my hip pocket. That night when my roommates were sound asleep, under their mosquito net, I removed this damp piece of paper, took a flashlight, and I shone it on that piece of paper. He said, ‘Brother Ravi’, and he choked, he said, ‘this is what I saw.

On the top right hand quarter it said, Romans Chapter 8. And I began to read these words: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble, or hardship, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword? No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all Creation will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.’

Can you imagine that? As he was sitting under his mosquito net, alone, in a prison, in Vietnam? The one day that he’d said he would not think about God, not think about his commitment to Christ, and the one piece of paper he finds is Romans Chapter 8? That God has a purpose, even through the darkest moments of our lives. He said, ‘I cried. I cried like a young lad. I said, ‘God, you cared for me so much, you would not allow me to go for 24 hours without reminding me that you were right there beside me and You would carry me through’.

You know what Hian did? He went back to the commander the next day and said, ‘Do you mind if I clean the latrines again today?’ He had an idea in his mind. He was cleaning the latrines everyday. Somebody – it was one of the commanders – who had been given a bible years before, and he was tearing out pages from the bible, using it as toilet paper, because that was what he wanted to express his resistance towards and hatred towards God with. Hian would go in there, wash it, and put it in his pocket and he was collecting chapters from the book of Romans and other parts of the scriptures. God was speaking to him under his mosquito net at night.

He finally managed to get out of prison, they let him out. And then he planned an escape with about 52-53 others. Just a short while before he was to leave, four Vietcong came to him and said, ‘We hear that you’re trying to escape, is that true?’ Hian said, ‘No, that is not true’. And Hian lied. So, the men went away. Hian fell on his face and said, ‘Here I go again God, trying to run my own life, believing I can manage it the best way, when you’ve already taught me so much’. He said, ‘Forgive me’. And then he prayed a prayer he hoped God would never take him up on. He said, ‘If you send them back to me before I leave, I’ll tell them the truth’.

Hours before he was to leave the four of them came back, took him by the collar, rammed him against the wall and said, ‘Hian, we heard you are trying to escape. Is that the truth?’ Hian said, ‘Yes, with about 52 or 53 others. Are you going to put me back in prison now?’ They said, ‘No, we want to go with you’. He said, ‘Ravi, you’d never believe what happened when those four joined us. We were caught up in the high seas in a wild storm and if it weren’t for the skippering ability of those four men, we would never have made it. We would have drowned. But we made it safely to Thailand. Today, Hian is in the United States having done his degree now at Berkeley. And a very dear and a very special family friend. He looked my children into their eyes and said, ‘What I have learned over the years, is the tenderness and the presence of God, even at the darkest times of life, don’t ever lose sight of that’.

What a precious story of the word of God in all of its splendor. But its particular concern even for the individual confronted by evil. But I want to now say one thing. And if you don’t hear this you’ll miss, I think, the nerve of our answer. You see, ultimately, our problem is not moral. Our problem is spiritual. Jesus Christ did not come into this world to make bad people good. He came into this world to make dead people live; Those who are dead to God, to make them alive to God. When we pray, ‘Deliver us from evil’, let us make sure we are not praying to be delivered to good, we are actually praying to be delivered to God. We are not trying to be more moral; we can be a very moral people, and just as lost spiritually. The answer is not in badness, or goodness. The answer is in spiritual life that knows God, and from Him flows that goodness that becomes as a light shining in a very dark place. Come now, let us reason together to be delivered from evil unto God. If you don’t know him this may be the time for you to get your soul right with Him. And, if you do know Him, take that God, and that strength and that Word with you and let Him use you to do His work in the souls of those that you meet up with. May God richly bless you!

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A Memory of Vic Eliason

I never watched a Christian TV station before I trusted in Christ. (Who has time when there is so much other important stuff to watch on TV.) One day in 2003 I was at a house where they were watching WVCY-TV. The presenter was doing something I had never seen before. He was using science to show that the Bible is accurate, all the way back to Genesis. I thought “There are actually people that believe the entire Bible is LITERALLY true?!”. I had to see more of this.

By the providence of God I had recently received a Tivo, and I started recording everything on WVCY about science and evolution. It was by watching these programs that I realized the God of the Bible truly existed, He created the world, and therefore He has the right to judge the world. This caused me to realize that I had never truly understood the gospel.

While watching WVCY that year I also saw a scene I recognized from an internet video clip making fun of those crazy Christians that believed in creation. It was Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron talking about how the banana is an “atheist nightmare”. The atheists were using the clip to show how Christians were lacking of intelligence, but when you view the entire clip in context, it was actually mocking evolution by arguing like an evolutionist. Instead of having a valid argument, the evolutionists had revealed their own ignorance by cutting the clip out of context and claiming that it is what Christians believe. This brief clip was my introduction to The Way of the Master style of evangelism which is the easiest (and most biblical) way to share the gospel.

Relate to the person by starting in the natural.

Create an opportunity to swing to the spiritual.

Convict the hard hearted of their sin by using the law.

Reveal the gospel to those who are humble in heart.

WVCY-TV came on the air in 1983 thanks to the ministry of Vic Eliason. This weekend Vic was called to the Lord. I personally want to thank all those involved in the operation of the VCY network over the years. We cannot measure the impact it has had in this world, but I know for a fact that it has changed my life.

Thank you Vic, and we will see you later.

  • Randy
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UWM Audacity Outreach Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

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There certainly was a sea teeming with fish on a beautiful Son-shine filled day. The Milwaukee Seed Sowers handed out 800 of the Audacity DVD’s.

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Watch Audacity free at www.AudacityMovie.com

 

 

Sondra was busy handing out DVD’s and engaging the students in conversation. As I was handing out DVD’s and people would ask what was it about I would tell them it was about Human sexuality and most of them would remark “0h yes” very enthusiastically. Other conversations were “who do u think gets to go to heaven?” Most people reply “Good People”. Then I’d talk about the Ten Commandments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Randy wearing his 180 hat joyously handed out DVD’s. Watch 180 for free at www.180movie.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jim had a conversation with this young couple who while they believed there was a God felt they couldn’t relate to God. Jim reminded them that is why Jesus came as a man to earth so that people could relate to God in His personhood.

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Bob is handing out DVD’s to passersby. We were asked numerous times, “What’s the film about?” We gladly replied that it was a loving movie about human and homosexuality.

Generally, about half took the DVD and said thanks! Appreciatively! I talked with a man who thought gays were born that way. He came by later with his lunch in hand and heckled us each time we handed out the DVD saying, “hate video! Don’t take it.” We chatted with him and he had no answer for his intellectual stance so we prayed for the heckler.

Bob is having a conversation with two men who stopped to talk with him about the film. Generally, about half took the DVD and said thanks! Appreciatively!

 

 

 

 

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Bob met Todd who works for Intervarsity on campus and chatted for about 15 minutes. He appreciated the way we witnessed and thanked us. I also met three saints who were encouraged that we were there. We saw a Christian group that had banners explaining spiritual truths and engaging passersby in conversation.

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Sondra speaking with a group of students.

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Lakefront Fishing – Update

First divine encounter.  Two lady caregivers and a mentally disabled young man.  He was so happy to see us.  One lady very aware that there was a God, her sinful state and her need for Him but not sure of her Salvation.  The other, most (pessimistic).  Did not understand how the bible could be totally true after, as she called it, “so many different translations”.  (Editors Note: It’s true there are many translations of the Bible! Some are in English, some in German, some in Arabic, some in Chinese, etc.)

In an effort to ease her mind on that issue we reminded her that the word of God was written by men inspired by God.  Sure there were translations but the true meaning had not been lost.  Not sure whether she totally received that.  We further explained that God says in the bible that without faith it is impossible to please Him. She also sadly believed that hell was here on earth.  We shared with her some of the bibles descriptions of hell. One went away smiling and thankful as we shared the whole Gospel, filling in parts that had not been clear to her before.  The other, we’re not so sure.  We’re praying God’s hand is still in her life.

We were so blessed to come upon Amir and Danyell.  Amir was a black muslim.  Very surprised he was so receptive and wanted to hear what we had to say.  Danyell was very shy to admit her sin.   Amir owned up without a hesitation.  He to was eager to share what he knew about repentance.  He seemed to believe that repentance was all that was necessary to gain heaven.  We tried to help him to understand that putting your trust in Christ death on the cross was a necessary step also. We were able to share the entire Gospel. They both said they understood, thanked us and we said our fair wells.  Melissa was excited and confident that he (they) got it, I was not so sure.  Again, we are praying God will do a work in his (their) hearts.

Next, we came upon Darryl, Joshua and a young ladies name that escapes me.  Darryl did not know if he would go to heaven, the young lady went back and forth and Joshua just said “no, I’m not going to heaven”.  After much conversation especially with the young lady who spent much time in and around the church and was proud to share the lingo she knew, but did not really know how to be sure of her salvation but based it on asking God to forgive her over and over again…we finally shared that now while you are living you can know for sure.  Thus, we shared the Gospel.  Separation was sweet to see, especially for the young men to hear something they had not heard before and the young lady to hear that there was a way off the merry go round if she really wanted it.

We gave tracts to a group of students which included one Jehovah witness which again I was surprised she took it but I guess she just didn’t know better.  We are praying that they read, think, meditate and receive the Word!

One young couple received tracts, but the gentleman had grown up in church and was turned off by it and as he said, “everything about it”.  The young lady said that she would wait until she died to find out if she went to heaven or hell and with that I told her then it would be to late, now is the time to make that decision.  They kindly thanked us and agreed to take the tracts.  I must say, it was sad to see how turned off the young man was about religion as a whole even though we submitted we weren’t offering religion but a relationship. (Editors Note: Amen!) We speculated on what happened but he was not to eager to share.  God bless their confused souls.

Our last encounter was one for the books.  Young man and two young ladies who looked like college students out having a little picnic.  They were very receptive…little did we know that he was the spokesperson for the group.  He had very grand ideas about how everything was about love and he loved everybody and everything and everything was interconnected and heaven was here on earth.  And we truly let him talk way to long.  But after everything was said and done, he stopped challenging us, we were able to share the Gospel, and they took our tracts and thanked us.  Melissa said she believed he was a young hippie who believed in pantheism.  All and all a very full evening. Nancy and Melissa.

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Karma Proves God’s Existence

Subtitle: If religion is a crutch then karma is an excuse for the conscience

I’ve heard people refer to karma frequently as of late. The world’s definition of karma is – “action, work or deed. It also refers to the principle of causality where the intent of an individual action influences the future of that individual.”

Hmm, let’s think that through. If I commit a good act to my neighbor, Richard, what or who causes that to come back to me as goodness in any other form? If there is no God and we evolved from nothing then there’s nothing coordinating or controlling my good action to have it come back to me.

Outside of Richard simply returning the favor, how could impersonal evolution control/create/etc. anything return good to me? It can’t- by definition.

Few people fight against the idea of karma since it seems like a just concept; since they innately know the idea is good and desirable they mostly accept it.

So the world’s definition of karma is self-contradictory and nonsense (meaning it makes no sense).

Instead, let us reason together (Is 1:18) and think a little further. The idea implies and requires an intelligent, powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly judicial being (not simply a force as it has no consciousness since it has no mind) since knowledge of the original act is required, plus all-knowing to determine the best way to return the act, plus power to actually bring about the reciprocating act, and finally perfect moral character in order to return the perfect amount and effect of the reciprocating act in exact proportions.

Since evolution does not qualify let us look around the universe to see if perhaps something else does qualify…

What or who else is intelligent, powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly judicial?… Why, the Bible tells us that God is! And God’s definition of karma is, “for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” – Gal 6:7.

Everyone innately agrees with this concept because their  God-given conscience bears witness that this is true.

Therefore, the concept of “karma” proves God’s existence because your conscience bares witness of God and judges you as to whether you’re good enough to get to heaven or not (Ro 2:15).

The ultimate finality of God’s divine law of “reaping what you sow” (aka, “karma”) will be consummated at the end of the age when every knee shall bow and declare that, “Jesus is Lord” through the Great White Throne judgment (Rev 20:11-15) where God will mete out His divine judgment based on your works.

Will you bow your knee now when you have a chance to avoid the lake of fire through faith and repentance in Jesus Christ? <a href=”https://milwaukeeseedsowers.com/r-u-saved/”>Click here to find out how<a>.

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Unbiblical Messages

We all at some time have taught our children that almost everything they see in movies and on TV is fake (yes, including “reality” TV), but do we also teach them that most shows and movies have anti-biblical messages that are the hero of the plot?

The character can overcome and accomplish whatever they dream, without the reality check that we are promised trials, tribulation, and persecution.

Instead of charters striving for purity and marriage, they follow their heart and become engaged in a romantic relationship.

Without a compass that absolute morals exist, they become beloved by telling a “little lie” or stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

I believe the most detrimental of all the messages is how children are told that deep down they are good and they should have self-esteem. They are subtly led to believe that they can do good things, and that they deserve good things, because they are good. The Bible teaches that there is nothing good within us (Romans 7:18), all our good works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and what we deserve is judgment and condemnation (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Revelation 21:8).

When the Holy Spirit leads, He leads us through His Word. We should never trust our heart without first filtering it through God’s Word. Humans by nature are lovers of self (Matthew 22:39). We love to be told that we are right, and that we should “follow our heart.” But what happens when we don’t get what we want? Should we get mad at God? God forbid! God has provided for every need (and much more), yet people curse at God for not providing them with all of their wants too. People get upset that God would allow bad things to happen, because they mistakenly think that they only deserve good.

I have asked my children, “What do you deserve?” and their first answer is often, “Nothing.” But this is the wrong answer. What we all deserve is eternal conscious torment, and any day that our lives are better than that we should praise God for his mercy. Praise be evermore to God that He is not only merciful, but gracious and has provided a way for us to receive eternal life, joy and peace! He gives eternal life only to those who realize they do not deserve it, and that they cannot accomplish it by believing in themselves and following their heart. Instead they must fully trust in Christ and believe in what He has accomplished. – Randy

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Christmas: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, then the Beauty by Dave and Andrea

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Well, if you’re in or near southeast WI, our wonderland of white snow has melted and there is little sign of any coming before Dec 25th, so…it is just a dream. And with the rain and the surface ground frost gone at the time of this writing, if you have farm animals, everything is basically mud slop. But…back to Christmas.

We’re surrounded by things good and lovely: pretty trees with bright lights and decorations, colorful ornaments, beautiful candles, wreaths, snow scenes, warm fireplaces in the hearth in a family home, beautifully wrapped presents. Everything is bright and light and cheery and happy. It seems that all of that symbolism is conveyed to us most significantly in the Christmas cards that we receive, which present to us almost a world of fantasy, beauty, wonder, loveliness, with folks writing about the highlights of the past year(hardly any mention of hardships),and that is one side of Christmas.

But if we may, I’d like us to talk about the blackness of Christmas, the other side. So grab a candy cane or a Christmas cookie as you read the rest, because there will be no sugar-coating in this letter.

There is lurking behind every beautiful scene on every Christmas card, every lovely sentiment of Christmas, somewhere behind all of that is something very vile and very ugly. And I really believe that to have a proper understanding of the beauty of Christmas, you must have a proper understanding of the ugliness of Christmas.

Because of this thing, there are tears and pain and war and fighting and anxiety and discord and unrest and fear and worry and sickness and death and famine and earthquakes and pollution. All those things which mar our existence are the direct result of it. It disturbs and disrupts every human relationship, whether between man and man, man and creation, or man and God. It’s the phenomena that damns every soul to hell; it’s that blight which pervades the entire world. What is it?

In Matthew 1:21, we read these words as the Angel spoke to Joseph: “And she shall bring forth a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin.” 1 John 3:5 says, “And you know that he appeared to take away our sins;” 1 John 4:14: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

The Apostle Paul says, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,…” 1 Timothy 1:15. The dark and ugly side of Christmas is this: Sin.

The heart of Christmas is this: Christ came into the world to save sinners. “You shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sin.” And that’s the real beauty of Christmas: to understand the ugliness that it cures.

WHY am I talking about this in this Christmas letter? If there were no sin, there would need to be no Christmas. So we cannot divorce the two and we cannot hide behind the fantasy, the smokescreen of Christmas cards and all the rest. We cannot look at Christmas and celebrate its peripheral elements. Sin must come to the forefront. You see, the reason that Christ was born was to be the Savior who came to deliver men from sin.

Sin is that from which no one escapes and all who die in childbirth or from heart disease or cancer or war or murder or accidents or old age, or whatever else, all are dying and all are dying because of sin. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” Every person on the globe will die, and therefore has been affected by sin: the ugliness of Christmas, the degenerative power in the human stream that makes man susceptible to disease, disaster, illness, death, and hell.

It is the reason for Christmas. Every broken marriage & home, every shattered friendship, every argument, every disagreement, every evil thought, word & deed, can be attributed to sin. Anything that sinister, powerful, & totally debilitating for the whole human race must be dealt with if God, who is infinitely holy, is to bring man to himself. Thus Christ came into the world to deal with sin.

How many people does sin affect? The answer is in Romans 3. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. For there is none righteous, no not one.” The definition of sin is “transgression of the law.” All you have to do is, in the quietness of your own heart, look at yourself in the mirror of the 10 Commandments. Take a look at your life: your deeds, your actions, the lust, the lying, not thanking God, not praising Him for everything that he’s done for you day in, day out, living in rebellion to Him. And when you start thinking of the pile, the mountain of sin that you’ve committed against God, think about Him DYING on the cross for you anyway, to be the payment for the sins that you have committed.

What do you need to be saved from? You need to be saved from the wrath of God- He’s angry at sin. BUT- God is rich in mercy! The babe in the manger- the One God sent- His Son- He lived the perfect life to be the perfect sacrifice on the cross. The message of Christmas ultimately leads to the cross. The Cross- where the sin of man was bore. Oh, that Jesus would take the punishment we deserve-bearing God’s wrath- for us! Now the bad and the ugly have become beautiful!

So, think about your own sin and then think about His kindness, and let it break you and let it lead you to repentance.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Romans 5: 6-8: “… in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 2 Corinthians 7:10: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation,…”

Acts 17: 30-31: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” So, to receive this offer God made to you, you are called to repent, turn from sin and turn to God, trusting in Jesus alone for salvation. The Bible-God’s Word- teaches that anything added to trusting Jesus alone will not save you- it actually is an affront to God because He has already provided an all-sufficient gift of his only Perfect Guiltless Son to bear the shameful punishment & death of a criminal that sinners deserve. Then Jesus rose again, defeating death. “I Am the Way, the Truth, the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus said this in John 3:16. You must trust in Jesus alone for salvation…. the reason for Christmas!

Look, I know for some of you this is hard-reading, but it’s the truth. Please examine what I have said in the light of the Bible to make sure for yourself. I don’t know how long I have here, so I’m not wasting time or opportunities. Please consider this. There’s nothing more important than where you spend eternity, and you have read how to be saved.

The Beauty of Christmas-The Reason for Christmas- it is God’s greatest gift! With all sincerity and love.

We hope you have the most joyous of Christmases this year! We look forward to hear from you and we keep you in our prayers. Please enjoy these 4 free online movies. MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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