Archive for June, 2022

Snapping Turtle

The pole didn’t move much at all before the line tightened to the point for me to set the hook. Immediately I recognized something very different about this fish. I was fishing for Catfish and Carp, and I knew this battle was not familiar as the how those two species fight. My very next thought was…turtle!

I was correct as the Snapping Turtle came to the surface the first time. I hung on for this turtle was not appreciative as to me catching it. The pole was deeply bent with the tugs and weight.

Once I brought the turtle to the shoreline, I had few options. I would not be unhooking this feller by hand. Snappers can bite hard and lock their jaws. Naaa… I think I will cut the line.

I did catch some catfish and was enjoying the morning when I felt the very similar battle as with the first Snapping Turtle. Could have I caught another Snapper?

Again, I had hooked a second Snapping Turtle and I, once again, cut the line to reserve my fingers for other things. Both turtle shells were between twelve and fourteen inches in length.

So, I caught two Snapping Turtles within an hour. I, also, watched a doe during her potty time and would see a gobbler as I walked out of the area. It was a good and interesting morning.

The lonely pole.

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Larry A. Smail

What is this Gospel of Grace anyway? Well, I can tell you what it is not. The Gospel of Grace is NOT the gospel of the kingdom! Oh my, that statement may “ruffle some feathers.”  These two gospels of the New Testament are NOT the same. These two gospels are NOT supposed to be the same. These two gospels, however, are to be studied and understood through rightfully dividing scripture. The kingdom gospel was the gospel for Israel to fulfill God’s covenant promises to Abraham. Rightfully dividing scripture will do away with the discrepancies and confusion. However, one will need to do so with an open mind, potentially, throwing aside years of denominational thoughts through study accomplished by rightfully dividing scripture. This is very important, yet this may be the hard part! I started this journey many years ago and thankful I did.

So, let us go back to exactly what GRACE is. Webster’s Dictionary describes grace as: a beauty of form in the way one moves; a pleasing quality or manner; a sense of what is right or wrong; an extra period of time allowed to do something …and the love and favor that God shows towards man. Even Mr. Webster got it!

For our study, we are concerned of GRACE from a Biblical standpoint. GRACE may best be described as an “UNMERITED FAVOR” or as the Apostle Paul wrote, a “FREE GIFT OF GOD.” (Romans 6: 23. For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of GOD is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.) With these descriptions in mind, GRACE is an undeserved gift from God to all sinners. However, individuals are required to believe the GOSPEL of GRACE with complete faith. Remember you don’t pay for a free gift, and more importantly, and from scripture, the GIFT of GRACE can’t be received through any works of the flesh. Ephesians 1: 5-8 is clear, “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his GLORIOUS GRACE which he FREELY bestowed on us in the beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of trespasses, according to the riches of his GRACE which he lavishes upon us.” Paul always writes to believers.

This gift of GRACE is not only a New Testament gift. God granted GRACE with various individuals and people within the pages of the Old Testament. However, this study is most concerned of GRACE from the time after Christ’s death on the cross, resurrection, and especially through the Apostle Paul’s writings of our current time of dispensation. We must remember this dispensation began after


Israel’s failure to believe Jesus was their Promised One or Messiah. Israel was in a state of implosion with internal decay and a defeat as a nation after the Jewish, believer, Stephen’s murder. Stephen was a man filled with GRACE and power. (See Acts 7- 8.) This constant stage of unbelief had the Lord by-passing his Exodus 19: 5-6 covenant promise with Israel and pulling Paul away from his zealous life of Jewry. (See Acts 9.) The covenant is a promise and will come again to fruition at events during Christ’s Second Advent.

NOTE: The Exodus 19: 5-6 covenant was to make the nation of Israel a holy kingdom of priests to take the word to the Gentiles. However, the nation was required to obey the Lord’s ordinances, statutes, and commandments.


Before this study proceeds the reader must realize exactly what is the GOSPEL OF GRACE that Paul preached. This gospel is detailed in a couple places in scripture. The gospel, however, is often alluded to elsewhere in his writings. We have all heard these gospel verses before in our studies…and often.

1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 states the following: Now I remind you brethren, in what terms I preached to you the GOSPEL, which you received, in which you stand, by which YOU ARE SAVED, if you hold it fast- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures…”

Romans 10: 8-10 states the following: The word is near to you, on your lips and in your heart (that is the word of faith we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED.

Be advised, this gospel as preached by Paul is required for forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation! This GOSPEL is a Faith through Believing Only, NO WORKS! Or Faith Plus Nothing!

Ephesians 2: 4-9 says it bluntly, The words from Ephesians add an important truth to the GRACE GOSPEL. Ephesians 2: 4-9: “ But God who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses (sins) made us alive together with Christ (By GRACE you have been


SAVED), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places of Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his GRACE in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by GRACE, you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own doing, it is the GIFT of GOD– not because of works lest any man should boast.”  Works are not required for salvation. Works often pushed, as requirement, for salvation include water baptism, belonging to any one denomination, tithing ten percent, walking the aisle to an altar, reporting to daily church services, listening to gospel music, following any legalistic beliefs forced upon one, what sabbath day to observe, and eating and drinking certain foods… The list of legalisms can become extensively long.

Romans 11: 5-6 states, “So, too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by GRACE. But if it is by GRACE, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise, GRACE WOULD NO LONGER BE GRACE.”

NOTE: If you wish to tithe ten or even fifty percent or be baptized in water… you may do so, but DO NOT DO SUCH ACTS THINKING SUCH WORKS WILL GRANT YOU SALVATION.

NOTE: The Book of Hebrews was written to Jesus- believing Jews as an encouragement for them to take the next step of faith only. For this reason, I believe Paul wrote Hebrews. Peter gives this credence as well with his words in 2 Peter 3: 15-16 where Peter wrote of Paul writing to believing Jews. Hebrews 11: 1 and 6 talks boldly of faith where the writer states: “Faith is the assurance of  things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Verse six: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Faith is of the utmost importance to receive GRACE.

Notice the words from Acts 20: 24 where Luke wrote of Paul. “But I (Paul) do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry  which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the GOSPEL of GRACE of GOD.” This gospel’s importance cannot be made much plainer to understand. Paul received his message via the RISEN CHRIST!

Paul wrote in Romans 1: 4-5, and speaking of Christ, the following: “…the GOSPEL concerning his Son and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received GRACE…”                             



Study Romans 3: 22-24, where Paul wrote: “…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe… For ALL HAVE SINNED and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his GRACE AS A GIFT, through redemption which is in Christ Jesus…” Everybody is a sinner through the eyes of the Lord, however if we believe and trust the GOSPEL OF GRACE with faith, we are considered righteous. That sure is a good deal!

Paul would receive many mysteries or things kept secret by the mind of God.  If  Israel would have believed they would have had these mysteries revealed to them. Paul was commissioned to preach this new mystery or dispensation from the RISEN CHRIST. Included within this new direction the mystery was revealed and that mystery was the GOSPEL OF GRACE. Paul’s commission was to go the Gentiles, and any Jew who would listen, and preach this gospel. Their task was to listen and believe with complete faith his gospel message. The apostles were preaching the gospel of the kingdom to Jews only, after all the kingdom covenant promise was for the Jew. They were preaching exactly what they were supposed to preach. Their message under the kingdom gospel was for the Jews to believe who Jesus was, repent of their unbelief and be baptized, or cleansed, as per Jewish law.

Galatians 1: 11-12: “For I (Paul) would have you know, brethren, that the GOSPEL which was preached by me is NOT man’s gospel. For I did NOT receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through revelation of Jesus Christ.” In other words, he received this GOSPEL from the RISEN CHRIST! Verse fifteen tells us Paul was set apart and he was called to preach this GOSPEL through his GRACE.

The twelve, the elders of the Jerusalem church of Jewish believers, yet law-keepers, and believing Pharisees, were hearing of Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles and sent Barnabas and others to investigate at Antioch (See Acts 11:19- 24.)  Once in Antioch, Barnabas witnessed the Gentiles with the GRACE OF GOD. (ACTS 11: 23) These believers from Paul’s GRACE message were called CHRISTIANS. (See Acts 11: 26.)

NOTE: VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND is the fact the twelve, the elders of Jerusalem’s believing assembly, and the believing Pharisees, did not associate with Gentiles. So, hearing reports of Gentiles being preached to had caused much


Concern and interest. One example of the believing Jew’s mindset is found in Acts 10, where Peter had seen an image of unclean food three times and was told to rise up and eat. Peter’s response was NO for he was a law-keeping Jew never breaking the law and eating foods deemed unclean. However, after the third time he went to a Gentile group. Peter actually states in Acts 10: 28, it is unlawful that he, a Jew, to   associate or visit a house of a Gentile.  This seems out of context with the kingdom message until we realize the Lord had urged Peter to go Gentiles for a futuristic reason. Peter would stand up and speak of this event thus turning the tide in a favorable manner towards Paul and his GOSPEL of GRACE. The event was the Jerusalem Council meeting between Paul and the disciples and Jewish believers some twenty years after the cross. (See Acts 15 and Galatians 2 for some details of this conference.) More later.


Some of the brief information above was setting the stage of this man named Paul and his GOSPEL of GRACE message. Paul begins in Romans 1:1 saying that he was, also, an apostle, SET APART FOR THE GOSPEL OF GOD. Did you see it? Paul was set apart from the twelve disciples and their kingdom gospel message.

NOTE: The GOSPEL OF GRACE is referred to with other words in Paul’s writings. He refers to it as his gospel, the gospel, also, as the gospel of God, the gospel of Christ and the truth. These terms all are the one and same, the GOSPEL OF GRACE. Watch for these key words referring to the gospel Paul preached.

The Apostle Paul wrote of this important GOSPEL of GRACE in his words of Ephesians 3: 2-3. “If you have heard of the dispensation (Stewardship in some translations.) of the GRACE of GOD, which is given to me to you, that is, that God by revelation has shown this mystery unto me… “

The Lord chose Paul because he had the qualities to go headfirst to insist of only GRACE and stand up to the disciples. He was that kind of a man as a zealous Jew, and he would be that kind of man to preach the GOSPEL of GRACE.

Paul is excited with his position and obtaining this gospel from the RISEN CHRIST. Romans 1: 16-17 shows how the man feels about being saved through this gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL; it is the power of God for SALVATION to everyone who has faith…For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, he who through faith is righteous


shall live.”


Paul had preached to the people of Galatia and became very frustrated once he heard of many of them departing from the GOSPEL he had preached. Others had followed his preaching with another gospel. These people were most likely believing Jews who were demanding these Gentiles obey Mosaic Law to be saved. The people were disheartened and confused with all these words.

Paul wrote to them in Galatians 1: 6-9 said, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the GRACE of CHRIST and turning to a different gospel-not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the GOSPEL of CHRIST. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let them be accursed. If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received let him be accursed. So, this gospel is a serious issue and believing what is required is paramount for salvation.

As stated above, Paul adds very important words beginning with verse eleven. He wrote, “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it. But it came through revelation of Jesus Christ.” Paul adds more information in Galatians 1: 15- 17. He states, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and called me through his GRACE, was pleased to REVEAL his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went to Arabia, and again returned to Damascus.”

We find that Paul wrote of his gospel in Romans 2: 16. He wrote “… on that day when according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” So, the importance to place 100% faith in this GOSPEL of GRACE is crucial for salvation.

Paul further adding power to faith wrote in Romans 3: 21- 24 where he stated: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his GRACE as a gift,


through redemption which is in Jesus Christ…” later in verses 27, Paul wrote: “…On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith.” Faith in this gospel is a must!

Look again at his words in Romans 5: 1-2. Paul wrote: “Therefore we are justified (Believers in the GOSPEL of GRACE.) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained success to his GRACE in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” Remember, most of the believing Jews, at this time, were still law keepers.

In Galatians 2, Paul wrote very important words at the Jerusalem Council. The disciples, elders of the Jerusalem Jewish assembly and believing Pharisees were present. Paul wrote beginning in verse 2 the following: “I went up by revelation; and I laid before them (but privately before those of repute) the GOSPEL which I preached before the Gentiles.”  It is obvious here that Paul preached something different than the twelve. He preached the GOSPEL of GRACE! False brethren had slipped into his congregations to spy out the freedoms of GRACE through Jesus Christ hoping to bring these people into the bondage or Mosaic Law. In verse five Paul wrote that he, “did not yield submission even for a moment, that the TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL might be preserved for you.”

This chapter 2 in Galatians goes on stating of two gospels again; Verse seven and eight “…when they saw (Those listed above) that I (Paul)  had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised (Gentiles),  just as they had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (Jews) who had worked through Peter…” Two different gospels! The kingdom gospel and the GRACE gospel!

Paul continues on in verses twenty and twenty-one stating, “ I (Paul) have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; (A reference to the indwelt Holy Spirit.) and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the GRACE of GOD; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Paul says without the faith Christ died in vain. WOW!

Let us take that previous paragraph another step forward to further clarify. Ephesians 1: 12-14 states one of my favorite scripture truths. “…we who have hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, have heard the word of TRUTH, the GOSPEL of your


 SALVATION, and have BELIEVED in him, were SEALED WITH THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT, in which is the GUARANTEE of OUR INHERITANCE until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Do not these words give you hope?


Within the writings of Paul are many references to GRACE. I am selecting various verses to aid in our studies of GRACE and the GOSPEL of GRACE. Be blessed!

1 Thessalonians has powerful words from a prophetic manner, but Paul doesn’t hesitate to talk of the gospel he preaches.  Notice verses four and five where Paul wrote the following. “For we know, brethren beloved  by God, that he has chosen you; for OUR GOSPEL came to you not only in word, but also in power and the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” Paul is referring to the indwelt Holy Spirit power received once we fully understand and believe the GOSPEL of GRACE!

Paul writing to the believers adds 1 Thessalonians 2: 2-4, “…as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the GOSPEL of GOD in the face of great opposition… we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the GOSPEL.” Believers were often immediately hit with persecution in the day of Paul’s messages. Believers in anything pertaining of Christ are not favored in many places of the world and increasingly in America. Verse eight and nine continued “…we (Paul and his disciples) were ready to share with you not only the GOSPEL of GOD… we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you, while we preached to you the GOSPEL of GOD.  Paul seems to be unable to talk of anything else through his excitement in the gospel.

In verse 2 of Chapter 3, Paul wrote of sending Timothy to the people of Thessalonica;“…we sent Timothy. Our beloved brother and God‘s servant in the GOSPEL of CHRIST, to establish you in your faith, and to exhort you…”

Moving to 2 Thessalonians 1: 8-10. Paul wrote to those believers concerning when Christ returns, “inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the GOSPEL of OUR LORD JESUS. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have BELIEVED, because our testimony to you


was BELIEVED.” Do you remember from page two of what Paul’s gospel message was? The man was referring to those who reject that gospel in his words shown above. Verse twelve mentions GRACE again.

Paul writing in prophetic words concerning the Day of the Lord and the coming lawless one said: “… and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they REFUSED TO LOVE THE TRUTH and so be SAVED, Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not BELIEVE THE TRUTH but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Unrighteousness in scripture is rejection of what the Lord said.

Paul, again, wrote of the people being SAVED, through sanctification by the Spirit and BELIEF IN THE TRUTH in verse thirteen. That truth is the GOSPEL of GRACE.  Paul concludes in 2 Thessalonians sixteen and seventeen these words of comfort. “Now may the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through GRACE, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”


The people of Corinth were a tough bunch. They had issues. Paul wrote two letters in the Bible addressing some of their issues. One problem with them was concerning a man named Apollos. Paul clarified he and Apollos were co-workers for the word. In verse ten of 1 Corinthians 3, Paul stated, “According to the GRACE of GOD given to me… I laid the foundation, and another man is building upon it.”

To add to this statement, Paul in Romans 16: 25, speaking of the mystery kept secret  for long ages, said, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you, according to MY GOSPEL and the preaching of Jesus Christ…”

1 Corinthians 15 is known as the Resurrection Chapter and for many great revelations. Remember  the GOSPEL of GRACE is found in verse one through four but read Paul’s words from verse ten and eleven. Paul was describing his past with  persecution of the assembly of Jesus believing Jews when he added, “But by the GRACE of GOD I am what I am, and his GRACE toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them (Disciples) though it was not I, but GRACE of GOD which is with me.”


The following verse concerns those who reject this gospel.  2 Corinthians 4: 2-4 state: “We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of TRUTH we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even though OUR GOSPEL is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the LIGHT of the GOSPEL of the glory of Christ…”  We are seeing so much blindness in the world and America today. They are under a veil!

In 2 Corinthians 6: 1 Paul wrote of entreating the Corinthian believers to NOT accept the GRACE of GOD in vain.  He, also, added of helping them on the day of salvation or the day they heard and believed the GOSPEL. One seldom hears much from the pulpit on Paul’s prison letters. Look what Paul wrote to the people of Philippi. Paul was thankful for these believers. He considered them partners in the GOSPEL. He added, “….because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of GRACE, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation  of the GOSPEL.(See Philippians 1: 1-7.) Paul reminded them he was in prison for the defense of the GOSPEL. And remember that gospel is the believe in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Paul encourages Timothy in staying firm in the GOSPEL at several places in this book.

Colossians 1: 3-6: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the WORD of the TRUTH, the GOSPEL…from the day you heard and understood the GRACE of GOD in TRUTH. Notice how Paul considers the gospel he preaches as TRUTH!

Compare the above message with 2 Timothy 2: 15  where Paul tells Timothy, “…to present yourself to God  as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, righty handling (or dividing) the WORD of TRUTH.” In verse 18, we see some had swerved from the TRUTH stating the resurrection had already happened upsetting the faith of others. They feared they missed it.

I need to write much from 2 Timothy 1: 8-14 for Paul’s words say it all. “Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share the


suffering for the GOSPEL in the power of God, who SAVED us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the GRACE which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light the GOSPEL. (Paul is referring the GOSPEL of GRACE of 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 and Romans 10: 8-10.)  Note the words above where Paul mentions, “called us with a holy calling.” Paul is referring to the indwelt Holy Spirit we receive at the time of believing the GOSPEL WITH FAITH ONLY. The man continued stating he was appointed  for this GOSPEL. Verses 11-14 are as follows: For this GOSPEL I was appointed a preacher, apostle, and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of sound words which you heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the TRUTH that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.”  Remember in Romans 1: 1-2, Paul wrote he was called  and set apart for the GOSPEL of GOD.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1: 17 that, “Christ did not send me to baptize (A work.) but to preach the GOSPEL…”


Paul wrote some words in Galatians 5 of interest. Verse 2-7 state the importance of faith only. Paul wrote, “ Now I, Paul, say to you that is you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.” The word circumcision as used here refers to works of the Law, namely Mosaic Law. He adds, “I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law.” James wrote similar words to the believing, yet law-keeping, Jews. (See James 2: 10.) Paul continues to the people of Galatia, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from GRACE. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision  is of any avail, but faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from OBEYING the TRUTH? These people of Galatia, most likely, had Judaizes following Paul and demanding Mosaic Law to be saved. This was a problem facing Paul’s Gentile believers.



It is my hope, after following along with this study, we all understand the GOSPEL of GRACE. More importantly, my hope for all of us, is one hundred percent faith through our believing of these vital words for salvation.  Believing Christ died, was buried and after three days and nights followed by his glorious resurrection from the dead is a promise allowing for all of us who believe to be SAVED!

The last verse in Revelation 22 simply states, “The GRACE of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

NOTE: This study has proven to be a rather long study and I apologize for the time needed to review these words, however, this truth is vitally important to study and understand. Your salvation is dependent on your faith and belief in this,


As stated early in this writing one may need to throw aside denominational teachings in order to rightfully divide scripture and place where the words should be, and, also, what is NOT in the Bible, or as I like to remind in the proper dispensation as Paul wrote. The study above may be a lot to absorb in this brief study setting, so I urge you all to take this study and look up the verses included and study the verses before and after to get the context of the events. Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


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Beautiful Fog

Very early in my hike the fog was obvious. The thickest fog was east of my position in the direction of the Allegheny River. I began this trek following an old gas well road within the confines of a state game lands. I did not travel very fall when the road was very obscure and covered with chest high grasses and timothy plants. I went about a hundred yards and decided to reverse course and hike another area. The heavy dew on this vegetation felt like a cold glass of water being thrown upon my legs with each step…uncomfortable feeling at best. I found some turkey feathers while walking out and wondered what may have occurred at the site.

Turkey feathers

The change in a more north-easterly direction eventually placed me along the ridgeline of a very steep “river hill”. The thick fog was being permeated with the morning sunlight. My positioning was perfect, so beautiful was this site, I sat down to enjoy the view. I took a number of photographs from this ridge. This was one of those, “I hope this never ends” moments.

The time in position allowed for a “spiritual session.” My emotions were that intense and I was sure thankful to be a witness. Ther are many times in today’s world when such feelings are needed.

However, the fog began to dissipate, and I, reluctantly, elected to move on. I hiked around the area until the heat began to be felt. Along with the heat the insect life increased.

Throughout the morning I would see around eight deer and many squirrels.

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Another Cool Morning

One fall-like morning was June 18, so I made the best of the situation. The area I went to walk around soon became discouraging due to the ATV and dirt bike damage. I continued walking seeing a couple of deer and a raccoon. I spotted the critter moving away from me as I made a semi-circle throughout the woodlands. Surprisingly, my unplanned movement allowed this ‘coon and myself to stop and eyeball each other for a second or two. managed one shot.

However, before the ‘coon encounter I spotted two Turkey Vultures atop of utility poles on a right-of-way. They were holding their wings out to allow any moisture or dew to dry before beginning a day in the wind drifts.

Turkey Vulture drying the wings.

I could see a red-orange color through the underbrush and new immediately I was seeing a deer in its summer coat. The stalk began. The deer, a small buck, was feeding. I managed several pics before the buck nerves changed his feelings about my presence.

Eventually I came upon a township road and moved towards the parked Jeep. I was going to go along Cowanshannock Creek to see what mischief I could find.

I was surprised to not see any cars parked being it was a Saturday. I walked mostly along this creek past the locally famous Buttermilk Falls and continued. I was frustrated to see the garbage and massive erosion issues from the same ATV and dirt bike users from up and over the hills. the trails are everywhere!

I saw and, later heard, a Great Blue Heron.

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Land Stage of the Red-Spotted Newt.

For a handful of days my allergy issues have greatly subsided. I am hopeful that this annual problem may be moving on allowing for some peace. We will see!

Of course, with that issue lessening I hit the early morning for a walk, you know in the cool of the morn. I like to get out early for sometimes some fog allows for dramatic phots, plus the annoying insect life may be decreased for a time.

The enjoyable walk gave me opportunities to see some wildlife, as well. I saw some deer, a hen turkey, and rabbits. I heard gobbling on the top of the ridge and worked my way up. Here I would watch four gobblers and a doe together. Unfortunately, the birds never offered a good photo due to terrain, but what the heck… I was seeing gobblers.

Of course, I enjoy looking at the various vegetation as well as wildlife. Also, I look for photo opportunities of interest.

I liked the contrast of these spruce cones against the deepened colors of the background.

Mountain Laurel…Pennsylvania’s state flower.
Squirrel of some kind.

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A Study of the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is ten-page study.

Larry A. Smail

A most important aspect with studying and understanding the Bible concerns much about the kingdom. The origins of the kingdom travels very far into the past of Israel’s history. The, pre-Hebrew, history of the kingdom is found with the Abrahamic Covenant between the Lord and the man, Abram. (Abram would be later called Abraham.)

In Genesis 12: 2-3 this covenant’s details are found. A covenant is a promise from God. The Lord said to Abraham, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt will be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him who curseth thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

Let us break the covenant’s words down for this study. Through Abraham’s descendants, a great nation would be formed. This great nation would become the nation of Israel. A nation, in Biblical terms, would be a kingdom. A most important, and usually overlooked truth is in the last line of the covenant. Through Abraham’s descendants all nations of the earth shall be blessed. This prophetic blessing would become the option to believe in Christ for salvation. Christ would come through the nation of Israel and be that blessing upon mankind.

In Genesis 15: 18-20, the Lord told Abraham of the kingdom’s land area. This is referred to as the Promised Land for Israel and the area for Israel’s future kingdom.

Abraham’s son, and grandson, were given the same covenant. These men were Isaac and Jacob. The latter’s name would be changed to Israel. (Genesis 32: 28.) Israel (Jacob) would have twelve sons and through a series of events would migrate and settle into the land of Egypt. The twelve tribes over the many years would become a great number of people. (See Genesis 37- 50 for story.)

Years later, the children of Israel would exit Egypt and in a very short time were offered another promise from the Lord. Exodus 19: 5-6 is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT OFFER OF A KINGDOM. The offer, “…if you obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, ye shall be a peculiar treasure above all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a KINGDOM of priests and a holy nation.”  


NOTE: In Isaiah 49:6, “…I (God) will also give thee (Israel) as a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” These scriptural words forIsrael’s purpose is why Christ told the disciples in Matthew 28:19…”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  The apostles were to work towards having Israel believe and accept Christ as their Promised One before Israel as priests would go to all nations as this light.

Let us break these covenants down, too. The Hebrew people were given an offer to become that great nation first heard about with Abraham. They would become God’s Chosen People and a nation, or kingdom of priests, to go before all Gentile nations. However, the Hebrew people were to listen and obey. In Exodus 19: 8, the people responded, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” The nation of Israel was born. Exodus 20 begins with the laws from the Lord for the newly formed nation of the Chosen People, the Hebrews. However, in a very short time the people forgot their part of the promise with terrible behavior and the worshipping of the golden calf. (Exodus 32)

At Kadesh-barnea the Hebrew people would reject, through their unbelief, God’s words to enter into the Promised Land leading to a forty year time in the wilderness in total. No kingdom yet! (See Numbers 13-14 about this event’s details.)

Under Joshua, the Hebrew people would begin to enter into the Promised Land and expel the heathen, pagan Gentile nations. (Joshua 3) After Joshua’s passing the time of Judges would occur. The judges were actually  the various people of leadership to deliver the Israelite people back into God’s promise.

The prophet Samuel was such a man. Under his time of leadership, the Hebrew people, unfortunately, began demanding to have a king like the Gentile nations. The prophet tried to dismiss their demand but eventually the Lord  agreed to give them a king. The people were told of what would happen with a king. A man named Saul was chosen to became king over Israel. (1 Samuel 8, 9, 10.)

Saul began his reign humble enough but during a needed burnt offering event the king became impatient while waiting for Samuel’s arrival for the burnt offering. (1 Samuel 13: 8-14) The king acting in an unlawful manner conducted the offering against the conditions stated in the law of Moses. (Leviticus 1: 11-17) Samuel was


extremely upset as was the Lord. Saul was told his house, or lineage, would not continue and David  would become the king over Israel.  The kingdom was lost to Saul  and would be set up for David in the near future. (See 1 Samuel 13: 13-14 and 2 Samuel 3:10.)

Why is David’s kingship important to us today? In 2 Samuel 7: 12-13, scripture states the following speaking of David. “When thy days be fulfilled and thou shalt sleep with your fathers,(Die) I will set up thy seed after thee, who shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his KINGDOM. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his KINGDOM FOREVER.” This is a prophetic reference pertaining of Christ’s coming from David’s lineage and establishing a kingdom lasting forever. In 2 Samuel 7: 16, the Lord continued by repeating this important promise, “And your house (David’s lineage) and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

Prior to his death, David decided for his son, Solomon to reign upon his passing. (1 Kings 1: 28-30)

King Solomon began his years of kingship favorably, even requested wisdom from the Lord over all things. In 1 Kings 2: 26, scriptures states the kingdom was established to Solomon. However, his reign would begin to corrupt. He used forced labor and raised taxes very high becoming a form of bondage to the Jews. Solomon would, also, have many, many wives from pagan countries. The king was reminded of the result if Israel, and he, turned aside from the Lord. (See 1 Kings 9: 4-9 for details.) Their influence would lead to him becoming involved in pagan worship. (See 1 Kings 11: 9-13.) He would lose favor with the Lord in many ways especially for turning away from the Lord to worship pagan gods. The king had one notable accomplishment being the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. (See 1 Kings 5-8.) The temple was dedicated around 1004 B.C. ( See 1 Kings 8.)  The Jews in future years would yearn for the Israel’s glory days under King Solomon while under various Gentile oppressions.

Solomon, as well as Saul and David never reached the kingdom land size as promised by the Lord to Abraham. There was much turmoil and disobedience within the nation to complete the goal. However, Israel had their kings and a kingdom but without the complete promise being fulfilled. Israel was in decline already and getting worse very soon.


The Divided Kingdom

King Solomon would die leaving the kingship to a son named Rehoboam. The nation of Israel became so divided with this new king for he would not lessen the burdens of his father upon the Jews. (See 1 Kings 12 for details.) Turmoil was the result allowing for Jeroboam to become king of the ten northern tribes. Jeroboam was a son of Solomon, but from a different mother. This land area continued to be known as Israel. The two southern tribes, under Rehoboam, retained the southern land area and became known as Judah or later Judea. Both kings came to power around 975 B.C. and civil war increased between the twelve tribes. Constant failings with the various kings of Israel and Judah continued for years. There were a few God-fearing kings, but not enough to lead and keep the people in a righteous way of life. Jeroboam reinstituted calf worship. (1 Kings 12: 25-33)

Major changes would be coming to the nations of Israel and Judah. In 721 B.C. the ten northern tribes succumbed to the Assyrian military. (2 Kings 17 ) Judah would fall to the Babylonian Empire by 586 B.C. Jerusalem would be razed and the temple destroyed. (2 Kings 24-25.) In both defeats the people were either killed or carried off into captivity. Forget about the forever kingdom anytime soon! Many years into the future the gospel of the kingdom will, once again, be heard in Israel.

The Times of the Prophets

In the years prior to the defeat of all the Jews and into their years of captivity, a number of prophets emerged to tell Israel’s future. Some of the best known prophets of Israel are: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

Isaiah wrote prophecy of a coming Messiah King. His words are often read during the Christmas season, but the words werewritten to Israel.

Isaiah 9: 6-7 states: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom… to establish it with judgement from henceforth even for ever…”

The important prophecy to understand with Isaiah’s words are they were addressed to Israel. (The “us” here is Israel. Remember the man was a prophet of Israel


 writing about Israel.) This kingdom from David’s lineage will be a perfect government of peace and this kingdom will be forever under the kingship reign of Christ.

Kingdom Words From the Prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel wrote much on this futuristic kingdom. These prophecies occurred while Daniel was in captivity after the 586 B.C. defeat of Judea. For instance, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a great image with different metals representing Gentile nations over Israel. The metals were gold to iron and mirey clay. In this dream, a stone not cut out by man struck the image at the feet pulverizing it into dust. The king was troubled, and Daniel told him what his dream meant. The details of this event can be viewed in Daniel 2: 31-44.

So, for our study purposes, Daniel in verse forty-four states in the days of these Gentile kings the God of heaven will set up a KINGDOM WHICH SHALL NEVER BE DESTROYED, NOR SHALL ITS SOVEREIGNTY BE LEFT TO ANOTHER PEOPLE.  IT SHALL BREAK INTO PIECES ALL THESE KINGDOMS AND BRING THEM TO AN END, AND IT SHALL STAND FOREVER. (Compare with Isaiah 9:6-7.)  This time begins at Christ’s second coming. The Stone represents Christ removing the evil kingdoms.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s words say much. In Daniel 4: 3 the king spoke of the Lord. “How great are his signs, how mighty are his wonders! HIS KINGDOM IS AN EVERLASTING KINGDOM, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” The king repeats these words in part in Chapter 4: 34.

The Coming of John the Baptist

Many, many years had passed. The nation of Israel had not been a sovereign nation for generations. They were under the thumb of Rome at the time of John the Baptist. Israel had not been a sovereign nation since the nation became divided immediately after the death of King Solomon.  The Jewish people are still anticipating  their kingdom glory days as were told by the prophets those many years ago. They were an oppressed people.

A man known as John the Baptist arrived on the scene preaching the kingdom was at hand.  This was an important event. The Jews were excited to hear and gathered around John to listen. John’s message was to repent of their sins and be baptized,


purified, or cleansed according to Mosaic Law in preparation of the kingdom. Of course, the Jews realized to have their kingdom reinstalled a king would be needed, and the Romans would be required to exit Israel. They had hope! Jesus was to be the King of this kingdom if the Jews could believe in him.

Christ came to John and was baptized as per Jewish law. Jesus needed to be baptized although he himself had no sin. This requirement was due to the need to be cleansed or purified to be a priest. He had reached the thirty year of age, too, another requirement of the Jews for priesthood.

The Gospel Of the Kingdom

Read Jesus’ words in the first four books of the New Testament. He talks much of the kingdom and the need for the nation of Israel to believe. I have stated in the past where readers of the Bible may wish to underline every place the words of a kingdom are in print. You will be amazed of the importance of this kingdom to Christ and the Jews. This message of Christ was the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM or the GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM.

The Bible states in Matthew 4: 17 of Jesus preaching the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Also, in Matthew 4:23, scripture states Jesus preached in the synagogues of the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. This message began immediately at the start of his ministry.

The Bible records again of Jesus preaching the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM  in Matthew 9:35. These verses shown here, during Christ’s ministry, are the first to state the actual words; GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM.

To tie all this in and the Old Testament words of the kingdom we mustremember Paul’s words to the Gentiles describing Jesus as a minister to the Jews to fulfill the promises to the patriarchs. (See Romans 15: 8 for complete wording.)

However, the Jews rejected Jesus’ kingdom message. He would be crucified and become the sacrificial Lamb. More importantly Christ would be raised after three days and three nights. Believing on these two facts today grant forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation through faith because of believing. The kingdom could have been reality if the Jews would have believed.


The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus, in Matthew 5: 1, was talking to the apostles. The apostles asked Christ how they should pray. Jesus’ words here are heard everywhere at church services today. (See Matthew 6: 9-10.) He gave them much direction during this time alone with them as recorded in Matthew five, six and seven.

“Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be they name. Thy KINDOM come, and thy will be done even in earth as it is in heaven…and thine is the KINGDOM and the glory FOREVER.” I imagine the vast majority have never read or prayed these words with a proper mindset. Jesus’ prayer was responding to the apostles in regard to the prophesized earthly kingdom and the kingdom that will last forever. Israel could have had this kingdom in place if they would not have rejected Christ during his ministry on earth or after the resurrection. Then they would become the LIGHT of Isaiah 49: 6!

Israel’s Final Chance to Believe (For now)

Prior to Christ’s ascension to glory he spent forty days on earth preaching the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. (See Acts 1: 3.) The believers had come together, and Jesus was asked , “Lord, will you at this time restore the KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?”   This, of course, is still referring to the earthly kingdom. Jesus told them it was not for them to know the timing. He ascended to glory!

The task for the disciples, after the ascension, was to preach the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM to THE JEWS. Peter said to those Jews, of the requirements beginning at his sermon at Pentecost. He said in Acts 2: 38, “Repent, and be baptized EVERYONE of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” Peter was addressing these words to the Jews! Following Peter’s words would have opened the doors to this forever kingdom; however, Israel would continue to reject the message as a nation and after Stephen’s murder the country began into decline. Any chance for the kingdom to occur at this time was about zero. The Lord would be getting his word to the Gentiles via another route without Israel. BUT… the kingdom promise is still in place and Israel will be involved again at the time of the tribulation. As Christ spoke; the kingdom will be preached throughout the nations and then the end of the age will come.

Some Words From Paul and the Heavenly Kingdom


Stephen’s murder was a turning point, and the Lord would be using Paul to take the word to the Gentiles in place of Israel and that holy nation potential. Paul spoke of the kingdom, but obviously more on the spiritual heavenly kingdom.

Some examples of his words are: Colossians 1: 12-14 where Paul writes to his Gentile believers. He wrote, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, that is, the forgiveness of sins.”

Romans 14: 17: “For the kingdom of God, is not meat or drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Compare with Colossians 2:16-17.)

The apostle of the Gentiles wrote in 1 Corinthians 15: 24 concerning the assurance of resurrection the following: “And then comes the end, when he (Christ) have delivered up the kingdom of God even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule and every authority and power.”

In the prophetic book of 1 Thessalonians 2:12, Paul reminded the Gentiles believers of the gospel of Grace (Verse nine) of being called into his own kingdom and glory. Also, in 2 Thessalonians 1:5, Paul recorded, “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgement of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God…”  How is righteousness attained from scripture? Faith and belief in the cross and resurrection during this time and present dispensation.

Paul, in 2 Timothy 4: 1, wrote of the Lord Jesus Christ judging at his appearing, and in his kingdom. Also, in verse eighteen, Paul wrote, “…the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom…”

I believe, Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews to believing Jews regarding their need of faith only. This belief stems from Peter’s words in 2 Peter 3: 15 where the disciple wrote of the wisdom of our believed brother Paul and the epistles written to the believing Jews.

Hebrews 1: 8: “But unto the Son he saith, O God, thy throne is FOREVER and Ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a scepter of righteousness.” Jacob (Israel) said to Judah that the scepter shall not part from Judah… Christ came from the


tribe of Judah. King’s had scepters so, at the handing out of blessings, we see in clear prophetic words of a forever kingdom. (Genesis 49: 10) In chapter 12 verse twenty-eight, Paul wrote, “Wherefore seeing we receive a kingdom, which cannot be shaken (Forever) let us have grace whereby we may serve God…”

NOTE: In Acts 20:24, Paul wrote of receiving his ministry form the Lord Jesus to testify solemnly of the GOSPEL of the GRACE OF GOD. (Not kingdom gospel)

Apostles’ Kingdom Talk Towards Believing Jews

Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1: 11  the following: “…an entering shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His words were to the believing Jews who had been dispersed. (See 1 Peter 1: 1, 2 Peter 3: 1.)

Thy Kingdom Come, But When?

So, when will the forever and everlasting kingdom promised those many, many years ago to Abraham finally happen? The answer is: during Christ’s second advent. Daniel’s seventieth week of the 490 year prophecy. There is to be sealed for protection 144,000 Jews, twelve-thousand from each tribe.  (Revelation 7 and 14) This time is often referred to as the tribulation period and consists of seven years. These protected Jews will go about telling any who care to listen that the kingdom is at hand. This is, once again, the GOSPEL or GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM! This is the very same message that John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles preached about those many years ago.

At the conclusion of those terrible years Christ the Promised One, or the Stone of Daniel 2, will return in glory to stop mankind’s evil upon the earth and usher in the thousand-year millennial kingdom reign on earth setting on the throne in Jerusalem. (Revelation 20, 21) The twelve apostles are to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel when Christ’s kingdom is ushered into place. (Matthew 19: 27)

Zechariah tells the story of the surviving Jews of that time. He wrote, of Christ, as a prophet of Israel, in Zechariah 12: 10: “I (God) will pour upon the house of David (Israel)…the Spirit of grace and compassion, and they (Jews) shall look upon me (Christ) whom they have pierced, and they shall lament for him, as one mourneth for his only son…” Also see Chapter 13: 6. The prophet wrote: “And one shall say to him,(Christ) What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall


answer, Thus was I wounded in the house of my friends.(Israel) The Jews of that time will have their eyes opened, their spiritual blindness removed and finally believe!

By comparing the Old Testament words to Revelation, the reader can see similar words being expressed. Revelation 1: 7 states, “… every eye shall see him; yea, even they which pierced him through…” At the end of the age of the Gentiles, the remnant of Israel will see the kingdom promises from old put into reality. Christ will be on the throne and be the King.

A Couple Additional Observations!

Interestingly, the Roman soldiers mocked Christ prior to the cross when they placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head.  The soldiers exclaimed “Hail, the King of the Jews!” If they only had realized what they were saying was true.

The Roman man over Judea,  Pontius Pilate had it all correct when he ordered a placard or sign placed over Christ’s head during the crucifixion. In Luke 19: 38 scripture records the following: Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It had written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  The Jewish religious leaders complained over Pilate’s act to no avail. Pilate, no doubt, ordered this sign placed to agitate the Jews.

Perhaps Revelation 19: 6 says it best for Christ will be called, at that time,


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Morning Fishing

Smallmouth Bass

The Allegheny River looked good. My second cast resulted in a fish of size and power. The fight didn’t last long for my string was either broken or cut by sharp teeth.

Shortly after this failing, I had another good fight on my rod. I was going to be more careful, but I felt a stoppage of reeling. I was snagged among a treetop, I guess. I gave the line some slack hoping the fish might find a way out where I could land it. Nothing doing! I ended up having my line break again, but by me.

Things changed for the better for my next casts produced Smallmouth Bass and Catfish…all good fighters.

I quit around ten for the sneezes were coming on strong and it is not fun doing anything under those conditions.

My largest bass was about fifteen inches, and the catfish was about twenty inches.

Friendly Grackle

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Cool, Foggy Walk

Scarlet Tanager

Why do I have to suffer with allergies every year? Maybe to appreciate the good times without symptoms. A few mornings ago, I was up and feeling fairly good. My eyes were tolerable, and the sneezing failed to occur. The outside morning temperatures were in the forty-degree range. I am going for a walk!

I started the walk feeling good. the cool morning air felt good with each breath.

I was interested in what wildlife I may see this fine day. I saw a couple of deer; one had a fawn with it nursing. I saw some spring-time birds seldom viewed. The Scarlet Tanager is a favorite for the color red is vivid contrasting the black wings and tail. I managed to get a few pics of this beauty.

Another bird seldom viewed close enough to identify is the Kentucky warbler. Warblers are difficult to photograph for they dart quickly from limb to limb.

I was lucky with a shot of a Turkey Vulture, too.

Kentucky Warbler

Good days for me seldom last long for as the day warmed up so did the symptoms. I was miserable by the time I returned home. Oh well it was good while it lasted.

Turkey Vulture

Dew on the Sensitive Fern.

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