It seems that every year goes by faster than the last and Christmas is once again fast approaching. In our household, we have lights up year-round in our bay windows, but we add lights along the garage outside. We then haul all our Christmas décor out of storage and then the house is decorated, and the tree goes up. The house, thanks to my wife, always looks beautiful and this year decorating is finished before December. This year the gifts have been bought, stockings filled by the fire, except we don’t have a fireplace and we always put them out Christmas Eve, but the goods have been prepared for the filling.

         Christmas is a time of considerable beauty. The lights are on, the snow has been falling (at least here) and it is hard not to appreciate the beauty but at the same time Christmas is a reminder of all the sin that is not beautiful, of which cannot be covered by snow or lights or even gifts. The true meaning of Christmas is about how Jesus came to save us, otherwise we had no hope. During this season we should be desperate for God to move among us once again. Christmas not only gives us hope but shows us how much we need hope. It is important to notice that these next two passages were in the midst of the Lord’s anger. Isaiah 7:14 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Because of God’s great compassion we could be saved. Matthew 1:20 “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Luke 1:26 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” John said Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” John 3:31 “The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Even though snow can cover the ground, it cannot cover sin, but snow can be a reminder to us what Jesus can do for us. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Take the time to read Psalm 51. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Make sure you believe in the true Jesus not the one of the false gospels that make up the church today.

        This time before Christmas is a time of preparation and anticipation, a season that the church calls Advent. Today is the first of four Sundays. While these are just dates on a calendar, Advent is a time of profound truth as laid out in scripture. The meaning of Advent is simple. Advent is a time to remember or to find out anew the first coming of Jesus and all Jesus has done when He came to save us, and the power given to all who would believe. Advent also refers to the return of Jesus at the second coming to take us home for eternity. Peter tells us 2 Peter 3:14 “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” During this season we ponder what Jesus has actually done for us. We ponder this gift of eternal life He has offered us but we must also ponder what happens if we do not accept His words of life. We ponder all that He showed us and anticipate all that is to come both here on earth and on that final day where eternity will begin. We must also ponder why the church looks nothing like the Messiah we celebrate at Christmas. This is a time where we come face to face with the truth of God’s words when we spend time reflecting, introspecting, and anticipating but this can only be done when we look to the word of God. It is important to understand that just because people call their gathering a church, doesn’t actually mean that it is. This is a good time to take this verse to heart. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” If we do not, we end up with a manmade hope that does not lead to eternal life but eternal damnation. Many spend their time looking in the mirror and trying to be self-aware, while pondering what comes next yet they do not start this journey with scripture and for many this journey takes place without scripture. It is obvious that most do not actually believe the bible is God’s own words, thus they do not look. They think that by denying or ignoring Jesus that His words will not apply to them. You also have others who say they believe Jesus yet do not obey His words, words that bring eternal life. At this point you might as well not believe. Many think that if they ignore these words of life, they will not be accountable to them personally or if they modify them a little by adding to them or subtracting from them, they will still be okay. I read a recent article that talked about Jesus not talking about heaven or hell, yet the article did not use scripture. Therefore, all you had was just a man, a professor of religious studies by the way, showing the world how ignorant /foolish he actually was. He was basically shouting that he did not believe the bible was the word of God. Many will follow those words of ignorance and be led astray and that would be foolish. Proverbs 15:14 “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.” Proverbs 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

        You may have seen this slogan, "Definition of Stupid: Knowing the truth, seeing the truth, but still believing the lies." You may have also seen lots of people wearing this t-shirt - “I’m with stupid!” Instead of stupid, you could insert the word fool. Today there are many shouting I am a fool and many who are saying I am with them. Proverbs 18:2 “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” It seems that there has been an explosion of people sharing their own opinions and those following those shared opinions from this covid pandemic to politics, to religion. You name it and someone has an opinion on it. It doesn’t even have to be true. Isaiah describes much of the world and especially the church today when he said, Isaiah 59:12 “Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. 15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.” It would do us well to acknowledge this also. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.”

        Today the world and the church have a serious truth problem. The world is full of lies as is the church. If the church would deal with their own issues, this dark world would see the light. John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The church was supposed to be bearers of this truth. Remember that you cannot say you follow Jesus but not believe in His words. Many in the church do not understand that they have been led astray by false gospels so what they believe is actually not truth. Amos 2:4 “Because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed, 5 I will send fire on Judah that will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem.” This desolation has already happened to the church due to our rebellion against God’s word. That is not how it was supposed to be. Instead, we were to be witnesses of that light. Acts 13:47 “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” But the church has acted like the Jews. John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God,” and like the Jews refuse to live by truth. No wonder the world wants nothing to do with the church.

        When Jesus spoke, He spoke truth. John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus prayed John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Many times, Jesus said Truly I tell you or I tell you the truth. For example, Jesus said Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Do you believe this? Matthew 18:18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Do you believe this? John 14:12 “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.” Do you believe this? Most in the church do not actually believe these verses. Even though Jesus said truly I tell you, the whole bible is truth, not just the parts we think to be true or the parts that line up with our particular views. Moses said Deuteronomy 32:47 “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” When we reject the words of Jesus through our unbelief, we reject Jesus himself and we will not live long in the land. As Jesus said if you hold to my teachings, you really are my disciples. Since the church has rejected the words of life, the church like Israel has been vomited from the land.

         Jesus also said John 3:3 “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Jesus also said Mark 9:1 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Because we are not seeing the power available to all who believe, we then must ponder what it is we have actually been taught to believe and then return to the truth so that the Kingdom of God comes near. This is what testing the spirits does for us but most in the church have no idea there are other spirits at work among them. The spirit they think they have is a deception and delusion. Power shows us the presence of the true gospel. While many are waiting for heaven, they miss the available power of the kingdom of God here on earth before the end of earth takes place. Because of their lack of understanding of the kingdom of God, they will never see the heaven they are waiting for because they have followed false gospels. Most in the church have been deceived by these false gospels. They have committed their lives to the empty and powerless words of men and women. They have been satisfied with talk as they sit comfortably in buildings that have nothing to do with church other than keeping the weather out. They keep the weather out but let satan in. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “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 (not the building but people), proclaiming himself to be God.” Don’t be deceived by the buildings or programs. This opposition by satan has already happened. We know this by looking to God’s word. Paul already told us Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” This has been happening ever since and there are many who have been cursed because they do not correctly handle God’s word. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” You then have congregations full of people who have no idea what scripture actually says. Hebrews 5:12 “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” Mark 7:6 “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Paul made it clear when he said 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.” Today most are worshipping in vain!    When God sent Elijah to the widow in Zarephath, he miraculously provided food for her and her family. 1 Kings 17:14 “For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land. 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” But then her son became sick and stopped breathing. 18 “She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” 19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”    We saw Elijah do many amazing things because the power of God was with Him. James 5:17 “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” When Jesus came, He raised the dead and healed the sick and fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes. Matthew 11:4 “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” He sent His disciples out to do the same. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick As I said earlier most in the church do not believe this same power is available to all who believe. This power is the power of God. We see it in the Old and the New Testament but where we are not seeing it is in the church.

         During this Advent season ponder why the truth is missing from the church. The churches solution to this lack of power has been to build with their own hands and come up with doctrines and theology to explain away this lack of power. The answer is simple; the church has rebelled against God’s word and God has turned His face from us just like we saw in the Old Testament. This lack of power means what we have come to know as the church is not the church of Jesus Christ. Just because a church calls themselves a church of Jesus Christ does not mean they are. For example, the Mormons are a cult yet they call themselves the church of Jesus Christ. Pentecostals talk of signs and wonders, but they do not look like Jesus. Many Baptists say the power has ceased with the Apostles, but scripture does not say that. The list of churches that do not look like Jesus is extensive. Take the time to look in the mirror and ask yourself if your life looks anything like Jesus. Then spend some time in introspection. This means “the examination or observation of one's own mental and emotional processes.” When doing this stay away from mindfulness as that should really be called mindlessness. We use scripture to fill our minds. If we empty our minds through mindfulness, we end up with satan filling our minds. Therefore, mindfulness is not of God but satan. As we reflect and examine, we also anticipate all that Jesus has done and said would be possible. Over the next three weeks we will be talking about our reflection, our introspection, and our anticipation.

         All of these are based on the truth of God’s word. Without truth this will be a complete waste of time. As it is many are already going to hear Luke 13:27 “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” Many have spent their lives searching for what is right in from of them; they have just been looking in the wrong place. Sadly, many have found what they thought to be truth but will find out when it is too late that they were deceived. 2 Peter 2:17 “These people (false teachers and prophets) are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” Jesus said Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” The word of God is right before us but it has been distorted by these false teachers but that doesn’t mean you are not accountable to the truth. Not only do we have the word of God we have His creation. No matter where you are you can look up and see God. For example look at the sun, the stars and the moon and by doing so you are accountable before God. 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.” This does not mean that we worship the sun and moon as so many have done but we look to the sky to see the promises of God. God promised David there would always be a remnant of His people. Today the church is desolate and in captivity; we all are but there is hope because Jeremiah 33:17 “For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18 nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’” 19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’”

       Today there is only a remnant left as the church has fallen from its secure position because of rebellion. 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” The church did not heed the warnings and now there is only a remnant left because as Jeremiah said, Jeremiah 7:28 “This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” The church has been led astray but there is hope. James 5:19 “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” Just as we saw in the Old Testament, the remnant will be saved. Today the remnant will also be saved and rise up to go to the ends of the earth and do what we supposed to do in the first place so we continue to pray Lamentations 5:21 “Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old.” Psalm 85:4 “Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.” Psalm 80:9 “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”

        We must have the faith of the centurion that God will do as He said He would do. Matthew 8:5 “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.” Jesus came to set us free and to give us the same power and authority to set others free. Acts 8:6 “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.”

        But because of great rebellion, the church remains captive and powerless to be light in darkness. This has happened to the church but remember Ephesians 6:12 “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ezekiel 15:8 “I will make the land desolate because they have been unfaithful, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 14:21 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals! 22 Yet there will be some survivors—sons and daughters who will be brought out of it. They will come to you, and when you see their conduct and their actions, you will be consoled regarding the disaster I have brought on Jerusalem—every disaster I have brought on it. 23 You will be consoled when you see their conduct and their actions, for you will know that I have done nothing in it without cause, declares the Sovereign Lord.” People always get mad at God but He is righteous in all He does. Nehemiah 9:33 “In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly.” We bring it on ourselves because of our disobedience. Jeremiah 32:20 “You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them.”

         Because the church has followed other gospels / gods, our walls have collapsed, and our defenses are gone. This also describes the church. Ezekiel 13:2 “Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken?” Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” 2 Thessalonians 2:5 “Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 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. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

        Instead of our walls crumbling in disrepair, the walls will stand strong once again if we stop going our own way. Isaiah talks about the church doing as they please. Isaiah 58:1 “Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. 2 For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.” If we return to God’s word and obey, Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 61:4 “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities. Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” Amos 9:11 “In that day “I will restore David’s fallen shelter— I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be.”

        For truth to reign once again, the church must return to God’s word and turn away from the words of man and the doctrines of demons. Jesus said John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” He also said John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is interesting that the church accepts this verse, but a few verses later decides that Jesus was not the way, truth and life by going their own way and rejecting His words about doing as He did. (John 14:12) 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” We were supposed to continue in that work, and we were supposed to be sent as Paul was sent. Acts 26:17 “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

        When we do turn away from our wickedness, we will then carry on the work of Jesus because God will be with 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.” God told Jeremiah, Jeremiah 36:2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.” The people refused to listen and disaster continued to fall on them. The same has happened with the church. Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. 4 I thought, “These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God. 5 So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God.” But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds.” The church basically looks the same as the world. They say they believe Jesus heals our infirmities, but there is little if any healing. The church says satan was defeated but the work of satan is everywhere in the church. The church like the world is sick and dying, heavily medicated, filled with sexual sins, broken families, leaders abusing power, people abusing each other, divorce, gossip, narcissistic, materialistic and on and on the list goes. This pandemic is not going away and seems to be getting worse. Many in the church seemed to have lost their minds and have caused great damage. They say they speak truth but stand in their pulpits and lie to the people not just about the severity of the pandemic but have distorted scripture. Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?”

        Our only hope for truth is to repent. Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, (church, your name) I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Our only hope to defeat satan and not go where he will be going (Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.) is to repent and turn from our wickedness. We must turn from our own ways and return to the only Way, Truth and Life. Mark 1:14 “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus is the only way truth and life. When we seek truth, we will find truth and when we find truth, the Kingdom of God will come near once again. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Deuteronomy 4:25 “After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.Psalm 27:8 “My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”