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Oct13SunOctober 13, 2019Call to Worship:1 Chronicles 29:10 “Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”Songs: Majesty Of Heaven - Chris TomlinHe Is Exalted - Twila ParisI Will Bless the Lord -Steve GreenScripture: 1 Chronicles 16:8-36Song: Yours Is the Kingdom - HillsongSermon: The Splendor of God’s PresenceClosing Song: Majesty of the Most High Matt RedmanBenediction: 2 Chronicles 30:6 “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”-------------------------------------------------------Sermon: The Splendor of God’s PresenceThis week I was struck by the splendor of God’s presence. No it wasn’t the clear skies and the moon shining so brightly you could see at night. Having said that don’t forget Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” What struck me wasn’t a spectacular experience of but it was a verse that I read in my devotions that was spectacular. 1 Chronicles 29:25 “The Lord highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him royal splendor such as no king over Israel ever had before.” I immediately thought of the splendor of God’s presence. Just as God said to David 1 Chronicles 17:2 “ Whatever you have in mind do it, for God is with you,” God also said to Solomon 1 Kings 3:5 “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” As I read this this verse showed us what Christianity is supposed to be like. God also says to us John 14:11 “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” When God turns his face to shine on us and fills us with his presence, his splendor flows from us. Not only does his glory fill the temple as we saw in 2 Chronicles 7:3 “When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then in Acts we see the same. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” When we talk about the presence of God we see His kingdom, His Glory, His power, His Spirit, His voice, His blessing, His peace, His protection, His healing, His deliverance and His Love enduring forever. When reading about Solomon you get to see what is available to all who believe God’s word but you also see what will happen if you don’t obey as we have seen in the church down through the ages. When you read David’s words to his son, we can put ourselves in Solomon’s place. Sadly most people just read this as a story about a father and son but miss the personal meaning of our familial relationship. So when we read these verses, they also apply to us. 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’” We saw what happened to Solomon’s temples and the one rebuilt and we have seen what has happened to this temple called the church, which now lies in desolation. We have a choice to listen and obey or turn and disobey. We can choose everlasting life or eternal destruction. Moses said Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”So as I pondered the splendor of God’s presence, I know based on God’s own word that God will keep his word to David. Jeremiah 31:35 states, “This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name: 36 “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.” 37 This is what the Lord says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the Lord.” When all seemed lost, at just the right time God will step in just as he did when Jehoiada said 2 Chronicles 23:3 “The king’s son shall reign, as the Lord promised concerning the descendants of David.” Solomon said 1 Kings 8:25 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ 26 And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true. Then the New Testament starts with Matthew 1:1 “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.” And yes Jesus is King. Revelation 12:10 “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah.” Revelation 19:6 “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.” Matthew 21:9 “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” No matter the chaos that surrounds us, we have great hope for Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” We can hold on to His word because Psalm 105:8 “He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, 9 the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. 10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.” Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Ezekiel 37:24 “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.” Psalm 41:13 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen. Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 103:17 “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children 18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”The splendor of His presence changes everything but we must believe and obey. So we have this everlasting covenant and because of Jesus we are heirs to the splendor of His throne. No matter who you are, if you believe “this gospel” you will be saved. We used to sing a song called “The family of God.” But remember just because you sing a song doesn’t make it so. There is a lot more to this than being washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I'm part of the family,
the family of God. Galatians 3:26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Ephesians 3:6 “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” If you don’t know who Jesus is or if you don’t know the promise to Abraham and David, then you will miss it.Christianity is supposed to be this splendiferous (excellent, magnificent, glorious) life changing experience, which is not based on personal circumstances that are man made. It is not just about going to church. Yes some people say they have it at least that is what they have been told, but at the first opposition from the enemy they fall. If they have to persevere or are disciplined, they give up and blame God. I love watching the combines taking the crops off the land during this time of year. That is how it is supposed to be but most don’t get far enough to see the harvest. Jesus said Matthew 13:19 “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” This is the harvest that is coming!Now in todays church many people get confused thinking that mega church means mega blessed. What most people don’t know is many of these have made a deal with the devil. Let me explain. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Since most are not preaching the “this gospel;” then most are believing in vain, many have fallen for the splendor of this world and what it has to offer. We were warned this would happen as Jesus said Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Many men have fallen for this kind of worldly splendor and have deceived many because of it. When tempted many men and woman did not answer satan’s question correctly. Jesus showed us the correct response to the temptation of satan. Matthew 4:8 “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Luke 4:5 “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” Too many people in the church are only looking for worldly splendor and by changing the word of God to suit their own desires they bow to satan and teach others to do the same. Yes Solomon had this splendor God gave him but he traded it for the world and disobeyed. Solomon could have had it all and God’s presence but 1 Kings 11:4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. 9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.” God then promised Jeroboam the splendor of David’s kingdom. 1 Kings 11:38 “a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you,” but he disobeyed. If Solomon had obeyed the kingdom would have kept going.The splendor of God’s presence changes your life so whether you are rich or poor, in prison of free, God shines through you. Paul said Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” He could not live his life in his own strength. Jesus said, Matthew 6:28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” This is not something you can manufacture on your own. Yes when you look at the lives of some you would think that God was blessing them but they do not follow this gospel. David said in Psalm 49:12 “People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. 14 They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. 15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. 16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; 17 for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. 18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed— and people praise you when you prosper— 19 they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life. 20 People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.” Job 24:22 “But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain.”When God spoke to Job at the end of his trial, He said, Job 40:7 “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. 8 “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? 9 Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? 10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. 11 Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at all who are proud and bring them low, 12 look at all who are proud and humble them, crush the wicked where they stand. 13 Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. 14 Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.” Job then answered correctly Job 42:4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” When the church begins to understand, we will also despise ourselves. Isaiah 2:19 “People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. 20 In that day people will throw away to the moles and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship. 21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. 22 Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” Revelation 18:14 “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ 15 The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn 16 and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! 17 In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!” The church has followed man long enough and now lies in desolation because of it. People will see that the splendor they think they see is just a wall that has been whitewashed that is about to fall. When we realize the magnitude of what God is offering us, we will want to get rid of everything we hold as idols and follow him only.The splendor of God’s presence can only be from God himself. As we read earlier, if we repent and turn from our wicked ways God said “I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” Jesus said in John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” With that verse in mind, let me read to you Psalm 96:1 “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. 9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” This God wants to live in you so that Ephesians 2:19 “you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Is that not amazing that God wants to dwell in you with all His splendor and majesty. How sad it is that people are more interested in getting an autograph from a sports star or actor. But they can’t give you anything but the world. Jesus said Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” We read earlier and sang, “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” This God wants to dwell among us.God wants his splendor to be part of our lives just like Solomon had and just like Solomon we have a choice. We can be filled with praise as Psalm 71:8 “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” God wants to give us so much. Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” When the Jews were saved from annihilation in the book of Esther it said Esther 9:22 “as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.” We are supposed to be a people of celebration because of the splendor of God’s presence. Isaiah 62:3 “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”As we continue to wait for God’s plan to unfold, remember it will be worth the wait. David said Psalm 84:10 “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” So even if all looks lost or hopeless, know that the kings son shall reign as the Lord promised concerning the descendants of David. 2 Chronicles 20:20 “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” Psalm 29:1 “Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. 4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. 5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. 8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. 11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 71:8 “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” Psalm 90:16 “May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.”God wants to display his splendor in you. Choose this day whether you want the world’s splendor or God’s splendor. Isaiah 49:1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. 2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. 3 He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” 4 But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.” 5 And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength— 6 he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” 7 This is what the LORD says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel— to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” 8 This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, 9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!” Isaiah 60:21 “Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.” Nahum 2:2 “The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, though destroyers have laid them waste and have ruined their vines. Habakkuk 3:4 His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”So as we wait do not be deceived. Paul talked about the return of Jesus. He said, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” The rebellion has occurred already and continues to occur but we have great hope. Are you prepared for the return of Jesus. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and in the end he will be destroyed completely. It is only by the grace of God that we have survived this onslaught. Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” So stand firm and continue to pray for that God will shine His face upon us once again so that we too will have the splendor of His presence.