BT smartmail server with MS Exchange 2003

There is a load of advice out there about how to use btconnect as a mail relay or smarthost.

This is my experience. 

1. Contact BT and ask them to register your domain so you can use their smtp server as a mail relay.  The agent I spoke to completely understood what I wanted and the relay was operative in a few minutes.  Contact BT SUPPORT on 0845 600 7020 and request to have mail relay set up for you. If the domain name is registered in a different name from your BT Business account you need to send BT proof that you are entitled to use it:

  • a copy of the domain name registration certificate
  • a copy of the invoice from the domain name registrar
  • permission from the domain name owner provided on company headed pape

Our domain name and admin address matched our business name and address so I don’t need to send any proof..

2. I changed my DNS to point my existing outgoing.domainname to point to mail.btconnect.com,  But I imagine you could use mail.btconnect.com as the mail server address in Exchange server,.

3. Everyone says that you need to change the authentication in Exchange server smtp connector.  This is logical because a normal account needs this to work. BUT I found that the smtp smarthost connector DOES NOT need authentication for BT servers. USE anonymous access instead and it works perfectly.

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Off on my holidays

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. The Message Matt 11:28-30

There is good tired and there’s bad tired, good discontent and bad discontent, good depression and bad depression.

“Good tired” comes out of co-operating with the Holy Spirit in the work of God. We work with joy and then get tired. We end the day tired but deeply satisfied. I love days lived like this.

Bad tired is debilitating. It comes from seeing I have too many things to accomplish and it’s all on me to get it done. I am trying to do all this in my own energy and I’m worn out. I really must learn better how to walk daily in dependence, hands open, to the infilling of the Spirit. So it is not my work. It is participating with God in His work.

Good discontent is holy discontent born out of a desire to see God’s Kingdom come. This discontent can be carried with grace. We, in Christ, can speak truth gracefully and leave space for God to work.

Bad discontent however is the rut of always finding things not up to the artificial standards of perfection. It is always unhappy. It kills life if not nipped in the bud. Lord, save me from bad discontent.

Good depression is the deep sadness in giving up those many things which seem so precious but are not essential to God’s mission. David Fitch says:

I fear, most pastors never allow themselves to die to their ministry ego markers (whatever they might be) because this requires a good period of depression. As a result, ministries shrivel and churches die.

Bad depression is the loss of purpose in life and complete despair. It’s a time when physical, mental and spiritual renewal is needed.

So I’m off on holiday tired, discontent and even a little depressed; fortunately, I hope, for good reasons!

Men of God: As Fathers

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1 Corinthians 4:14-21

What does this passage teach us about how to be a father? What is this biblical model?

1. Affirm Your Love

Paul writes that the purpose of this passage was to admonish his readers as beloved children. Any correction or guidance that we give to our kids must be done from a position of, and rooted in, covenant love.

We must never correct out of anger or a selfish desire that our kids would act a certain way to make our lives easy. The purposes of biblical correction is not to change behaviour but to disciple our kids to become more like Jesus. A key part of this pursuit is your kids knowing that you love – not because of what they have or haven’t done, but because they are your kids.

You must be intentional and work at it to make certain that your kids know that you love them.  Tell them you love them on a daily basis. Show them how you love them through both your words and your actions. If your kids do not know and accept that you love them unconditionally, then any effort on your part to correct them will be met with suspicion and ultimately failure.

Covenant love is not based on your kids performance or abilities. Covenant love manifests itself regardless of what your kids have or have not done. Covenant love must be consistently professed and demonstrated to your kids in both good times and bad. Covenant love should exist and be demonstrated regardless of how you feel. Biblical love is not a feeling, it is a choice! Any discipline or correction that you dole out as a parent must be rooted not in your own selfish desires but in a deep rooted and covenant love for your kids.

2. Avoid Shaming Your Kids

Paul begins this passage with an explanation that his purpose was not to “write these things to make you ashamed.” Paul did not wish to shame the Corinthians, but to help them see that they were living in a way contrary to God’s will.

Likewise, shame has no place in biblical correction as a parent. Your goal as a parent when it comes to correcting your children is to lead them into a life consistent with God’s will for them. Consequences, especially consequences which flow naturally from the action in question, are effective means of accomplishing this. Shame is based in fear.

The Bible tells us that “There is no fear in love.” (1 John 4:18). Although you might see short term behavioural changes when you shame your kids, there will be no long lasting internal transformation.

3. Give Warnings

Paul indicated that he was writing to the Corinthians “to admonish” them as his beloved children. To admonish means to “reprove gently but earnestly” or “to counsel against something to be avoided” or “to remind of something forgotten or disregarded, as an obligation or a responsibility.” Paul was not writing to bring down the hammer, but to warn the Corinthians of what would happen if they continued in the current course of action.

As fathers, we must do the same thing with our kids. By warning, or admonishing, I do not mean that we should give them the classic, “If you do that again you’ll lose such and such until kingdom come.” These threats tend to be hollow and effective. Warnings serve to help steer our kids in the right direction.

4. Establish Your Authority

Paul reminded the Corinthians that “though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers” and used this to establish his authority to correct the recipients of his letter. God has given us the stewardship over, and responsibility for, his children. With that responsibility, he has given parents authority over their children (Exodus 20:12).

When we step outside the authority and will of God in parenting, we ultimately teach our kids that they should defy authority as well. We establish our authority based on the Word of God, but we must also demonstrate our adherence to God’s Word in other aspects of our life. We can’t, for example, tell our kids that they must submit to our authority because it is given by God on the one hand, and on the other hand disregard God’s authority in our own lives.

5. Press the Gospel in Deep

Paul became a father “through the gospel,” and as earthly fathers, one of principle goals in life should be to also fill the role of spiritual father in our children’s lives “through the Gospel.” In order to do this, the gospel must be the centre point in our lives and out families. We must strive to make it central in the lives of our children as well.

The gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ, and that Good News is recorded in God’s Word – the Bible. In all that we do, we must instil a biblical worldview in our kids. We must teach them, and demonstrate for them, that the Bible holds the answers and guidance for all of lives questions. We must make our choices based on the Bible and show them how to do the same.

The cross itself must be central in our lives and our families. This means far more than just wearing it around our necks or hanging it on the family room wall. We must rejoice in the cross of Christ. We must take our sin to the cross of Christ, and we must praise God for the cross. Our children must know, at their very core, that Christ died not just for all sin, but for their individual sins. They must understand that God wants to change them from the inside out by the power of the cross. They must realize that their sins are washed white as snow by Christ’s blood shed on the cross. Yes, in order to confront and correct our children, we must remind them 1) that they are forgiven by God and 2) the price that he paid to wash those sins away.

6. Urge Your Kids to Imitate You

Paul was not shy about encouraging the Corinthians to be imitators of him. Later in this same book (1 Corinthians 11:1), Paul would expand on this thought as he encouraged the Corinthians to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Paul was not exalting himself but merely stating that he purposefully led his life in such a way that others could imitate him in following Christ.

As fathers, this must be our goal as well. We must lead lives worth imitating and then encourage our kids to do just that. Kids will learn what they live. Setting an example includes two distinct aspects.

First, we must aspire to live a godly life worthy of following. We have to set the tone and example for our family. In order to do this, we must rely on the power and providence of God.

Secondly, we must accept that, this side of heaven, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes, and it is important that we be willing to admit those mistakes to our kids. We should not be under any delusion that our kids think we are perfect in the first place. After about the age of 7 or 8, that phase of life is long gone. Our kids know that we are far from perfect. We must be honest with them and talk about our mistakes. This transparency teaches them that it is OK to make mistakes. The important thing is how we handle those mistakes. We model for them honesty, transparency, and taking our sins to the cross of Christ. We also give our kids a chance to learn from our mistakes and, hopefully, to avoid them.

7. Make it a Team Effort

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.” What can this possibly mean in terms of raising kids? Paul needed help. He could not be everything the Corinthians needed, and he sent Timothy to them to reinforce what he had already taught. Likewise, as parents we should get other adults involved in the lives of our children who will reinforce what we are already teaching them.

Most parents have experienced that moment when another adult says something to their child, and the child just seem to get it. Never mind that we have been saying the same thing for years. There’s just something about hearing it from another adult that makes it understandable and more palatable to our kids.

It is important to find other adults that you trust to speak into the lives of your children. Needless to say, since our principle goal as parents is to instil a biblical worldview into our children, we must take care to find adults that will speak that same worldview to our kids.

We must find people we trust that we can surround our kids with to reinforce what we have already been teaching them. This is one of the reason that it is important to live our lives amongst a strong Christian community. Things like Bible studies and small groups are a great way to expose your kids to other adults.

8. Stay Involved

Paul writes to the Corinthians that “…I will come to you soon.” As parents, we must intentionally stay involved in the lives of our children. Some parents, especially Dads, faced with daunting to do lists, lack of understanding and an increasing sense of failure in parenting simply decide to check out of their kids’ lives. I think this is particularly true as kids grow older and move into the teen years. This is the worst thing you could possibly do both to yourself and to your kids.

We must stay involved in our kids lives. What do they like? What don’t they like? How are they doing in school? Who are their friends? What are their dreams? How is their relationship with God? These are all critical questions, and in order to stay involved, we must stay on top of these and other aspects of our kids’ lives. In order to do this, we must invest the time it takes in building relationships with our kids.

Our society has fallen victim to what I believe is a lie directly from Satan that says quality time is better than quantity time. We convince ourselves that it is not the amount of time that we spend but the quality of that time. If we turn off our blackberry for a couple of hours, we reason, that should take care of spending time with our kids at least for a week or so!

In order to know our kids, and stay involved, we must have both quality and quantity time. Indeed, if you ask kids about their regrets as they get older, few will say they wish the time they had spent with their dads had been “better” time. Thousands upon thousands, though, will tell you they wish they had spent MORE time with their Dads. If you are a father, put in the time and the effort to know your kids. If God knows every hair on your head, the least you can do is know who your kids’ friends are!

9. Give Choices

Paul asked the Corinthians, “What do you wish?” He gave them a choice. As fathers, we should do the same with our children. In small things and big things we should present our children with choices and let them decide. More importantly though, we must equip them to live with the consequences of those choices. Most parents want their kids to grow up to be leaders and not followers. Part of being a leader is the ability to make a choice and deal with the consequences thereof. If we do not allow our children to practice that skill when they are young, they will be ill equipped to handle choices as an adult.

10. Customize Your Approach

Paul said to the Corinthians, “Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?” Some who read that letter needed Paul to come with a spirit of love and likely reacted to Paul’s written correction positively in order to ensure that he would come in gentleness. Others, no doubt, needed the stern rod of Paul before they were willing to submit to his authority. In a similar way, we must tailor our approach to correction and discipleship for each of our individual children.

I tell people all of the time that one of the things that has amazed me so much as a parent is how each of my kids can be so alike in some respects that they seem like twins and so different in other respects that it seem impossible that they share the same DNA. If you’re a parent, it will not surprise you to find out that each of your kids is different. They are unique creations of God, and it is naive of us to think that correction and discipleship will look the same for each child. What may be the best approach for one child may be the worse possible choice for another.

Furthermore, children change over time as they mature and get older. We must customize our approach not only for each child but also for the same child based on their age and maturity level. In order to accomplish this, we must become a student of our kids. Watch them, talk to them, study them, and then spend some time intentionally coming up with a plan for the best approach for each child when it comes to correcting and discipleship.

Marks of a Great Church: Posers and Fakers – Get real!

marks of a great churchRevelation 3:1-6

Great Church

Love God | Love Each Other | Make Disciples

That those who have not "soiled" their clothes will walk with Jesus "dressed in white" (3:4) is significant. In the temples of Asia and elsewhere, worshipers dared not approach deities with soiled clothes- the normal apparel for approaching the gods in temples was white or linen. Jesus promises here that his followers who have not polluted themselves with their culture will participate in the new Jerusalem,- it will be a temple city, the dwelling of God (21:3, 16).

That a minority in Sardis remained unsoiled will challenge the presuppositions of some faithful Christians. Jesus does not call the righteous believers in the church of Sardis to start an alternative church elsewhere in town. There are genuine Christians in many "sleeping" (and drowsy) churches today! God calls some Christians to call their church back to faithfulness. There does come a point when a church is no longer a church (2:5) and separation may be necessary.

The promise is that overcomers in Sardis will not be blotted out "from the book of life" (3:5). Jesus will confess the faithful remnant before his Father and echoes what he told his disciples (Matt. 10:32; Luke 12:8).

Matt 10.32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

BUT!

Sardis, a "dead" church (3:1). Jesus’ word to Sardis summons a sleeping church to wake up.

Sardis was full of sophisticated paganism. That no mention of persecution against Christians is mentioned is significant; it was a tolerate place. Lacking the world’s opposition, they may have grown comfortable in their relationship with the world.

1. Posers and Fakers

a) Rely on a name

Sardian Christians are perhaps identifying with the widely known ancient tradition of their city. Sardis maintained an ancient "reputation" (lit., "name") as a great city from the time of its most famous ruler, Croesus, but at the time Revelation is written, Sardis had little more than its ancient name. Several decades before Revelation, Sardis had been devastated by an earthquake, and its architecture after the rebuilding suggests continuing fear of another one.

Jesus addresses the church and not the history of the church. Not it’s reputations! The spiritual state of the believers in this city is hindering them from appropriating Jesus’ own resurrection power!

b) Fail to keep watch
Conquerors had never overtaken Sardis by conventional war, but had twice conquered it unexpectedly because Sardians had failed to watch adequately

Jesus’ warning that he will come on them as a "thief" (3:3), presumably unexpectedly as in the night, recalls Jesus’ words about the end times (Matt 24.32-44; cf. Luke 12:39) often repeated by early Christians (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10,- Rev. 16:15).

For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 1 Thess. 5:2

We need to be ready!


2. The warning to a dead church.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer “the failure of German Christians to resist the Nazi rise to power stemmed from their lack of moral clarity"; the only people who can stand firm in such situations are those whose standard is not reason or conscience but God and his Word. Whether we are seeking to win converts or fighting for justice for the poor or unborn, it is always easy to grow weary in well-doing and follow the crowd—especially when the church around us has become part of it.

The Sardian Christians were different from the other churches we have looked at so far. Satan did not have to pressure them with persecution or temptation, their church was already dead.

They had become comfortable with the world, had no price to pay for their faith in Jesus Christ, and would therefore be taken by surprise (3:3). Such a warning should generate introspection for modern Western Christians.

As a church, the believers in Sardis undoubtedly dreamed that they were awake. Jesus may not be satisfied with the status quo in our lives or our churches. Staying awake is difficult when the world around us remains asleep (cf. 16:15).

It is too easy for us to depend on past achievements instead of looking to God’s call on us in the future (cf. Phil. 3:12-14).

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

It’s you and me and us and now!

3. About those who do not persevere

The implicit warning of 3:5 (that those who do not overcome will be blotted from the book of life) challenges some popular Christian ideas.

[Arminians] teach that apostasy can reverse the results of conversion,

[Calvinists] teach that those who fail to persevere were never converted to begin with.

They both agree on the end result! But we are wrong to assume that anyone who once professed salvation automatically gets to heaven, an idea refuted both here and regularly throughout the NT (Mark 4:16-19; John 8:30-32; 15:6, Rom 11:20-22; Gal 4.19; 5 4; 2 Peter 2:20-22, Rev. 2:26).

The promise that those who persevere will not be blotted out of the book of life is a serious warning to many nominal Christians in our culture who depend purely on a past profession of faith to ensure their salvation.

When Mickey Cohen, a famous Los Angeles gangster of the late 1940s, made a public profession of faith in Christ, his new Christian friends were delighted. But as time passed, they began to wonder why he did not leave his gangster lifestyle. When they confronted him concerning this question however, he protested,

"You never told me I had to give up my career, never told me that I had to give up my friends. There are Christian movie stars, Christian athletes, Christian businessmen. So what’s the matter ‘ being a Christian gangster? If I have to give up all that—if that’s Christianity—count me out."

Cohen gradually drifted away from Christian circles and ultimately died lonely and forgotten.

As Chuck Colson notes:

Cohen was echoing the millions of professing Christians who, though unwilling to admit it, through their very lives pose the same question. Not about being Christian gangsters, but about being Christianised versions of whatever they already are—and are determined to remain.

Marks of a Great Church Jesus: Her glorious coming King

marks of a great churchRevelation 1:9-20

Setting the Scene: The Cast

John

Some people in Asia Minor celebrated a monthly "emperor’s day" in honour of the divine emperor.  By contrast Christians, who might suffer for their refusal to worship the emperor, celebrated a different day in honour of the true and ultimate king.  It was on such a day that John had a vision

Jesus (v12-16)
The image of Jesus in this passage weaves together imagery from three sources in the book of Daniel. The first (the least important) is the angelic revelation in Daniel 10:5-6:

5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

but the two most important stem from the same passage: the reigning son of man (7:13-14)

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

and the Ancient of Days (God), before whom the son of man appears (7:9). Jesus’ face shines like the sun (1:16). Jesus’ fiery eyes, white hair, and bronze feet (1:14-15) radiates light or fire (Ezek 1-27, Dan 7:9-10). 

Jesus is "the First and the Last" (1:17). This means more than simply "firstborn from the dead" (1:5) – its sense is exactly equivalent to "the Alpha and the Omega," a title appropriate only to God (1:8, 21:6)

Angels (v20)
What are the angels of the seven churches?  Revelation, like other apocalypses, is full of angels.  The book of Daniel (Dan. 10:13, 20-21) and most of early Judaism recognised that heavenly angels guided the activities of earthly rulers.  Thus these angels most likely represent guardian angels of the congregations or the heavenly representatives of congregational leaders, again functioning like guardian angels (Matt. 18:10).

1. Revelation: A shared experience (v9)

Believers in many parts of the world as well as some ministry situations here can identify with the shame and persecution John endured for Christ. Most of us in the West, however, at the moment are tested more by materialism than by persecution, and John’s own suffering was persecution.

If John’s suffering is more serious than ours, we should reason: If God enabled John and his companions in persecution to stand, how much more should we stand firm in the face of less severe testing?

We have plenty of reminders that the world does not embrace the church as an ally (John 15:18-25). Many of us have been denied jobs or otherwise maligned on account of our obedience to Christ – some of us have even suffered "friendly fire" within the church because we sought to do God’s will.

Yet as John stood boldly as a model for believers then, he stands also as an example for us.

2. The Lord’s Day, church, and the Sabbath (v10)

The meaning of "the Lord’s Day" is important. Own traditions can lead us to read illegitimate ideas into this text. 

One area of potential misinterpretation concerning the "Lord’s Day" is that some believe that Sunday is a new Sabbath!  Within the New Testament itself there is no evidence that the Sabbath was "moved” from Saturday to Sunday. The custom of Sunday as a Christian "Sabbath" became widespread only in a later period, probably after A.D. 321.

Some Christians argue that no weekly day of rest remains necessary,- we should celebrate every day alike (Rom. 14:5-6)

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.

and enjoy Jesus’ Sabbath-rest continually (Heb. 4:9).

Others argue that because God built a day of rest into the nature of creation (Gen. 2:2-3), we will function in much better physical and emotional health if we take a day away from our work each week, though the particular day is less important. 

Those who insist on a particular day, however, cannot insist from the authority of Scripture that the day must be Sunday.  Likewise, some of those who argue that the particular day In Scripture is Saturday and was never changed insist that one should attend church on Saturday,- but Scripture does not require one to hold church on One’s day of rest.

The connections between the "Lord’s Day" and the Sabbath on the one hand and between the Sabbath and church services on the other are postbiblical, and we should be charitable for differences of practice on this point.

3. Spirit filled worship (v10)

Different churches and cultures have different understandings of what "Spirit-filled" worship is. Some preferences in worship style reflect cultural or generational differences rather than the presence or absence of the Spirit and are best tailored to those we invite to worship!

The content of the worship songs may be significant:

Do they invite us to worship our awesome God, or simply to enjoy the music (not that bad music is necessarily more conducive to good worship)?

Do they provide simply nostalgic feelings of security for traditional believers, or do they provide us the opportunity to transcend our feelings in obediently glorifying God?

In any case, we need to depend on the power of God’s Spirit to lead us deeper in our intimacy with him; we cannot achieve that by merely "fleshly" or mechanical means.

Only by depending on God’s power can we offer worship truly worthy of his honour.

Like the biblical prophets, however, John was simply spiritually prepared when Jesus came to him (Is 6.1, 5; 2 Cor. 12:2-4)

He was not trying to induce a vision.  Prophets can seek God for guidance (Dan 2.18-19), but the means is always prayer, not magical manipulation, and God can even speak to those who were not seeking a revelation (Jud 6:11-12; Acts 10:9-13).

We cannot promise how God will meet his people in worship or other experiences in the Spirit. But we can promise that when we turn our eyes to him, we will find his presence, and in his presence we will begin to learn the answers we need. The answers we need are not always the answers we want (John promises greater hardship), but they are also often better than we can guess.

4. Revelation in the context of worship (v11)

If John was worshiping "in the Spirit", the passage suggests we are likely to hear from God most clearly when it is his face and glory we are seeking. Devotion to prayer and worship often opens our hearts more fully to other aspects of the Spirit’s testimony.

Throughout Revelation we see the saints in heaven engaged in worship (4:10; 5:14;  7:11; 11:16, 19:4), while saints are being slaughtered on earth and followers of the beast worship the beast (13:4, 8, 12, 15,- 14:9-11).

The scenes of heaven are intended as scenes of worship, for heaven’s furniture is the furniture of the Old Testament temple: the ark (11:19), the tabernacle (15:5), the altars of incense and sacrifice (6:9,- 8:3-5,- 9:13), the sea (4:6,- 15:2, cf. 1 Kings 7:23-25, 39, 44)—and, of course, the lampstands (Rev. 1:12—13; 2:1, 5).

The church on earth is never closer to heaven than when we are offering God and the Lamb the glory they deserve,- it is then that we experience "in the Spirit" a foretaste of heaven (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9-10,- 2 Cor. 5:5).

The book of Revelation is a book of worship that summons us to recognise the awesome majesty of our Lord.

5. We find Jesus among the churches! (v12-20)

One of Revelation’s most important declarations is that Jesus appears among the lampstands which represent the seven churches (1:20).

We see here in Revelation, Christ’s faithfulness to the church, including the local church – great church!  

When we see the flaws in churches, our tendency is sometimes to react with disdain, but we must never give up on the spiritual life that remains in the church, for the Lord of the churches, who offered his blood to redeem them, still loves them and walks among them (1:5; 3:4).

6.  Jesus’ message to the churches (v17-18)

We must hear the promise that no matter what Christ’s church faces, the future belongs to us.

Revelation addressed churches in a much harsher situation. In the Roman empire Christians were a small and persecuted minority- no one but those who tasted Christ could have imagined that we would outlive that empire!

The future of the church is bigger than any of us singly, but the future belongs to the church and to all its members, who share its hope and destiny (21:2-7).

Like Jesus’ triumph over death (v18), the fact that Jesus holds the churches in his hands (1:20) reassures us that in the end the Lamb wins!!

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