The Greatest Gift is Love…

I LOVE YOU!
I LOVE YOU!

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.1Cor13:1

Last night I met a noisy gong, clanging cymbal, and screechy chalkboard wrapped in one man on Twitter.

We were doing our monthly prayer hour for depressed and potentially suicidal folks to lift their spirits and love them into the Lords loving presence. A man came into the chat who was a very learned and accomplished Christian. He knew scripture very well. How does that happen and leave a person still at zero for Emotional IQ? Im going to ask the Lord about this someday!

The man warned me not to flatter people too much and proceeded to tell a depressed woman to read his blog, because she needed to learn to be more disciplined and self- judgmental. Are you kidding me???

The one thing depressed people do not need is to be more self-judgemental. That’s what depresses most! …Too much self-criticism! They need to learn that God Loves them just as they are and still has a great vision and plan for their lives.

They need to learn that the is not a problem they have to solve on their own by toughing it out. If that were true, we would not have needed Jesus to redeem us on the cross. We could have just made ourselves better…Ya good luck with that!

The legalistic among us want to tell everyone what to do. They need to become just a little self critical and sink into the Holy Spirit for a while, until His amazing love overcomes and becomes them. Because as 1Cor 13 continues, it doesn’t matter how much you know on any topic. It is NOTHING without LOVE.

Our world is not suffering from a lack of information. You can have the answer to any question you can imagine in 30 seconds flat online. What the world needs is to feel the transforming love of the Holy Spirit, which is given to all who ask, not for ourselves alone, but to share with the love hungry among us.

1Cor13 – The Love Chapter
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
HUGS!

When You Boast…Boast in HIM!

Endemic Missionary to Nigeria, Revd Peter Abdul-Razaq Olayinka -Guest Blogger
Endemic Missionary to Nigeria, Revd Peter Abdul-Razaq Olayinka -Guest Blogger

This dear friend and I have ministered together on Twitter for several years. His spiritual depth and writing always grabs my heart. So when I read this story today, I asked to share it here. It is a story  that reinforces the  kind of amazing faith that keeps him inspiring folks for the Lord everyday.

Raising the young to love and honor Jesus!
Raising the young to love and honor Jesus!

When You Boast…

One day a local evangelist bragged during a crusade that his God was more able than all the other gods in the town and the powers of the universe that the villagers worshiped put together. Just then, rainstorm sounds started sounding overhead, threatening the progress of the crusade. The evangelist lifted up his voice and declared with confidence that if the rains fell, then he wasn’t a man of God; he would stop preaching!

Before he could finish his bluff, the rains began to hit the crusade grounds so vehemently, apparently in disregard to his declarations. The whole town left the crusade grounds to their houses, shaking their heads in disappointment and dismay.

The evangelist, so distraught and angry, packed his belongings and left the town the next day. On his way through the next town, he checked into a local drinking spot and drank himself to stupor. As he laid on the ground cursing God, an old seedy looking man tapped him gently on the shoulder.

“Man of God”, the old man began.

But the evangelist quickly cut in, “Don’t mention the name of God to me. He is fake. He is unreliable. I am no longer a believer in this God. A God who chooses to disgrace his servants. Leave me alone!”

But the old man would not let him be. He continued,”I am the fetish priest in the village you just preached at. During your one week stay in that village, you destroyed all the charms i had made on the people for 45 years. Your prayers and your words always came with some fearful fire and power. I tried so many times to eliminate you but i couldn’t.

My last chance came yesterday. I had loaded my gun with gun powder,and was lying in wait on the mountaintop where i had a very clear view of you. My plan was to shoot you from a distance since i couldn’t get close enough to you due to the fire around you. But just when i lifted the gun, the rains came from nowhere, wetting my gunpowder and covering you in a cloud so that i couldn’t even see you. All i saw was a bright man holding a sword in front of you. I was so terrified. I concluded that your God was indeed all powerful and Almighty. That is why i’ve been looking for you since then. I want to follow this your God!”

The ex-evangelist bowed his head in shame!

Dear friends, sometimes, it is just wise for us to believe that our Father knows the way He is taking us. We should just trust His leading. Let our boast be in the Lord, not in ourselves. If we decree a thing and it doesn’t happen, let us not see it as disappointment or dishonor from the Father. Let us just believe that the Father wants his perfect will to be done in all things.

Be inspired.

Grouprev.com/RevOnTheStreets

#RevOnTheStreets Pastor Rick Cole goes homeless to raise awareness, understanding and funds to bring the homeless into warmth this winter.
#RevOnTheStreets Pastor Rick Cole goes homeless to raise awareness, understanding and funds to bring the homeless into warmth this winter.

I’m so proud of my Pastor Rick Cole. He is a great leader for compassion in Sacramento. This week he has gone to live on the streets with the homeless to get to understand their needs better and to raise funds for transporting them to churches for warmth and fellowship on cold winter nights. He is raising awareness for the SacramentoWinterSanctuary.org  when local churches will host the homeless as our guests.

So I was delighted to go down to interview  Pastor Rick on the streets today. As you can see in the picture , a few more folks had the same idea.

He also was visited by Pastor Ray Johnston @RayJohnston of Bayside Church in Granite Bay. Pastor Johnston said he came because “Pastor Rick called him out yesterday. And he continued,”Pastor Rick, his father, and Capital Christian Church have always led the unleashing of compassion in Sacramento”,and he needed to support him.

Then Pastor Johnston presented Pastor Rick with a check for $13,000 for the SacramentoWinterSanctuary.org THEN….He challenged pastors across this region to take the ICE BUCKET challenge, or give $1-$5 per church congregation member to the cause ‪#‎RevOnTheStreets‬.

Pastor Rick’s last 7 days and 6 nights on the streets among the Sacramento homeless have brought in donations of over $80,000 for bringing people in out of the cold this winter.

It is important to note that the funds are for transportation and security. The participating churches for SacramentoWinterSanctuary.org all donate sleeping space, dinners, breakfasts, snacks, and great fellowship to these guests at no charge.

God bless Pastor Rick for putting himself in this position to become more sensitive to the needs of the people he described as, “precious people who are in a tough spot”. He is also raising the nations awareness of this problem by making such a powerful stand for compassion toward the homeless!

Pastor Rick says he is thinking about staying on the streets for the full 2 weeks, even if he reaches the fundraising goals. He wants to learn of the pain and circumstances first hand, by living among it

. Please keep him in prayer!!

Overcomers

I just saw this in my private messages on Facebook and decided we should all see it. Written originally by Jab Gibson and shared today on Facebook by Rev. Peter Olayinka
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To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3:21

Christians in areas of persecution have used many
metaphors and similes to describe the victory of following
Jesus and becoming an overcomer as He was. Here are
some examples:

In the former Soviet Union, believers said:
√ Overcomers are like nails. The harder you hit them, the deeper they go!

In China believers said:
√ Overcomers are like bamboo. The more you cut them down, the faster and stronger they grow back.

In Iran believers said:
√ Overcomers are like rubber balls. The harder you throw them down on the floor, the higher they rebound!
√ Overcomers are like flowers. The more you crush them, the stronger and sweeter the fragrance.

In the Philippines believers said:
√ Overcomers are like stained-glass cathedral windows at
night. Their true beauty is revealed only when there is light
from within.

In India believers said:
√ Overcomers are like tea bags. You have to put them in hot water to know how strong they are!

You can be an overcomer! And you can stand strong through the storm!

RESPONSE: Today I will be an overcomer standing strong
through the storm.

PRAYER: Pray that all Christians living under severe
persecution will be encouraged and understand what it
means to be an overcomer…as well as anticipate the many
rewards Jesus promises to overcomers.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
Posted by: Jab Gibson on STANDING MY WATCH DEVOTIONAL(Facebook)

Hand Me Another Thread! …By Cheri Douglas

 

Our tapestries appear as chaos from the back.
Our tapestries appear as chaos from the back.

It was one of our routine twitter chats when God seemed to flood my soul with a metaphor I have thought of before. But this time the flood of thoughts came roaring into my mind in fine details. It spoke to so much of my life and the lives of those to whom I have ministered lately, that I had to write it down

Joseph of Nigeria, @Josebeth07, was the chat leader, not to be confused with the Joseph of Egypt that he was teaching about. We looked at the scripture about when Joseph was imprisoned unjustly and the baker was supposed to put in a good word to get him released. The baker didn’t bother, after Joseph had given him the wisdom that helped him get out of prison. Scripture reports, “He had to stay in prison for 2 more years”. Chat leader, Joseph pointed out that we should notice the timeframe.

I began to wonder what he saw in that timeframe, I had never wondered about before. Suddenly I noticed how precise it was, as though it were a requirement spelled out in some grand plan. It didn’t say, “longer” or “for a while” or “a bit longer”. It was a measurable 2 years. And that is exactly what it took.

Suddenly dozens of critical points in my life flashed before me and I could see how precise chaos looks in retrospect, when you can see the unique connections. One event puts you exactly where you need to be, at the time you need to be there to connect with someone or something pivotal that God has placed, through circumstances at exactly the same time. So life becomes a series of coincidences, or as I prefer to think about it, divine appointments.

I began to wonder how these things weave together to make a life and I saw the vision of a huge weaving loom. We gather our thread and come to the loom, only to find that our Father God is there beside us to help weave our tapestry into a life. We begin handing Him the threads we have gathered and the tapestry begins to take shape as we, like little kids, try our best to do it ourselves. Our Father allows us to do our thing and it goes pretty well for a while, with the abilities& talents He has given us.

But one horrible day we see we are out of thread, or a knot pops up and the thread breaks. The pattern begins to change and there are days when we feel thread bare and our box is empty. We have nothing left to give the master weaver to keep the picture going. Others can give us thread from their box, but it doesn’t quite fit in our color scheme, because each tapestry is unique. It is at this time our Father brings out his sparkling box. As he opens it and glowing light fills the darkness as He pulls out his threads of pure gold, silver, and diamond dust. He goes to work weave among the dark and dull colors we’ve added lately. Suddenly we are energized and begin to want to help with His plan. The tapestry begins to be a delightful hobby as our Father brings a song into our hearts and beautiful light into our tapestry.

Even though we love what we are doing weaving our lives with our Master weaver, Up close,it still looks like a lot of chaos more than a work of art. We can see only a mass of hanging strings and knots from our vantage point. Suddenly,  one day, the Master weaver says,”Watch this! Your life has become a reflection of Me and the plan I have had for you. We have made something beautiful together.” He steps in front of the tapestry and for the first time, like a mirror, He reflects the front side of the tapestry back. I saw in my own amazement, it had become a beautiful artistic reflection of Him in me. For the first time I really knew I had purpose and my tapestry showed it, all within the reflections of His love….such awesome Love.

I see the darkest places and remember that’s when I felt He had left me, as I had tried disparately to do the tapestry alone. Oh yes and I remembered another place of darkness when I had been treated unfairly, and was sure the Master was no where to be found. Not quite so dark were the places I wove when life seemed a meaningless mass of threads that I kept pulling out of my box to use aimlessly.

Suddenly I saw it! I saw the beauty of the pure gold threads my Father & master weaver had added. When I was the lowest, had nothing to offer, and was sure he was gone, he took over with his golden threads. Against the dark and dull threads I had woven, his beautiful threads popped in dramatic contrast. The effect of the contrast was to truly bring the tapestry to life…my life. Regardless of what I had had to work with and how I had seemed to mess up sections, God had used everything as backdrop and depth for the beauty he filled in.

Now I see the beautiful picture forming and I see just where God is leading me in this amazing tapestry of my life. I have been given so much talent and instructions to accomplish His plan for my life. But I will never achieve it alone, because for the greatest beauty of all He will be there to fill in for me. He completes all my gaps.

Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope and beauty that is in you. 1Peter3:15

DON’T LOOK BACK: Tips for Depression

Reach a bright horizon by keeping your eye on it.
Reach a bright horizon by keeping your eye on it.

…by Cheri Douglas

Our “Don’t Look Back” study on Twitter seems to have had a big impact on a lot of people. We have been studying brokenness and how God makes beauty from brokenness, if we hand the pieces over in prayer, devotions, and submission.

Think of some examples. Beautiful stained glass windows come from broken pieces. Our lives can shine again if we follow God’s lead in putting the pieces together again. Another beautiful example is Lifetime Quilts made with patches from significant fabrics that mark the times in our lives. The lowlights and the highlights of life come together in beauty with God’s artistic inspirations.

But many times we get distracted and God can’t get through to us. When God can’t get through to our spirits, depression sets in and can get out of control. . Sometimes the distractions may be the here and now circumstances we can’t see our way through, so we become obsessed with distractions. Sometimes the distractions are our fears about the future and we become frozen in the present. But even more often people get distracted by things they continually look back at and then can’t move forward. They get stuck.

God tells us so many times in so many ways,”Don’t look back”. The concept is clear in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The most powerful image in the OT was Lot’s Wife.( Gen 19:26) The carnal and immoral cities of Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed. Lot and his wife were being saved as a way of God honoring Abraham. All they had to do was follow the angel of God’s directions,”Leave and do not look back”. Lot’s wife couldn’t simply obey. She looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Yes she was stuck, never again to move or look forward. Maybe he should have given her more details. I could have been her. I am so curious! I have had to learn to let go and stop overanalyzing what happened!

Working on this theory, I remembered a verse from the New Testament when Jesus said,”“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke9:62)He also reminds us to, “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32)That’s because we get stuck too. We can’t function in the present or have enthusiasm for the future when we are compelled to keep looking back and lamenting the past.

When you really stop to think about it, the big picture reason Jesus came to suffer and redeem us was to get us out of the past and save us for a victorious future. The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” The old is gone!! There is nothing there.(2Cor5:17)

At the empty tomb Mary Magdelene was asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? (Luke24:5) He was gone!! That would be a good thought to remember when we get stuck in the past. Jesus isn’t there! He can’t help us if we stay there.

The more you think of this theme, the more you see it is the whole broad theme of the Bible, the story of life! We must move forward. During our last monthly prayer hour for depression victims and people with suicidal temptations, I was asked for a list of practical suggestions that have helped me to not look back. So I will list them here.

Before I give you my spiritual list, let me also suggest you make sure you are seeing a doctor if you are plagued with depression. I have had a lot of physical illness that has triggered depression. So I know that is a big problem with chronic illness. Many prescription drugs also have side effects of depression. You need a doctor who will take overall interest in your health whenever you suffer from depression. Some medications can quickly distort how reality looks by causing imbalances in your brain. Those are things you need to know.

The monster is never really as big as he seems!
The monster is never really as big as he seems!

On a spiritual plain…

  1. Ask the Lord daily to lift the dark cloud from your spirit and lead you to see the things that bring energy and enthusiasm today. Take time to rest in Him during this prayer and listen for wisdom to come or pressure to lift. Give thanks for your healing steps.
  2. Memorize …
    1. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
    2. 2Cor 5:17 if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” The old is gone!!
    3. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
    4. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  3. Repeat these verses when you feel low. Place them as notes around your house and in your car and office.
  4. Listen to uplifting gospel music to fill your thoughts.
  5. Spend time with uplifting people who will also pray for you.
  6. Disconnect from people who drag you down emotionally or are a bad influence on what you are trying to improve upon in your own life.
  7. Find someone who has overcome depression and will mentor you when you need it.
  8. Keep this phone number incase you get into a crisis and don’t have anyone to talk to – 1800 273 TALK – suicide talk line from National Suicide Prevetion
  9. Create a vision statement for your future and celebrate each small step or accomplishment in that direction.
  10. Find activities you enjoy to become involved with other people on a regular basis. Consider tweeting with our twitter family on the hashtag #GodsLoveChats!
  11. Stay away from depressing movies or books. Watch and read uplifting feel good materials.
  12. Eat well balanced fresh foods regularly.
  13. Find someone to bless each day.
  14. Do some volunteer work to serve someone in need.
  15. HUG someone everyday!

 

End Times Bible Prophecies & Today’s World : #2

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Boundaries of Bible Promise Land compared to today’s tiny Israel

Gods Relationship With Israel

To see why Israel, a tiny nation no bigger than the state of New Jersey, one 19th the size of California, is always on the front page of the news and central to #EndTimes prophecy, we must look at God’s relationship with Israel. If we just look at the proportion of the book of Genesis devoted to this relationship, we can see it is of utmost importance to God. Only two chapters of that book are devoted to the whole creation of the world. One chapter covers the fall of man. Eight chapters cover thousands of years from creation to the time of Abraham. Thirty-eight chapters deal with God’s relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the progenitors of the Jewish nation. God doesn’t waste any words in the Bible. He emphasizes what is important to Him.

Clearly Abraham had a beautiful love relationship with God, and trusted Him totally. God found Abraham utterly obedient and faithful. For this reason He made an amazing promise to him. Genesis 15-17 documents God’s covenant which changed his name from Abram to Abraham, meaning the father of many nations. God promised Abraham the possession of the land he was on and much more. He also promised the continuation of his covenant to Abrahams descendants and their descendants, and that they would be His children into eternity.

After that covenant, the Children of Israel (COI) had times of devotion alternating with great times of rebellion against God. Through the prophet Ezekiel (37) God told the Jewish nation they would be disciplined for 430 years. They were to be scattered and suffer at the hands of others throughout the world. Soon they were conquered by the Babylon (which is Baghdad today) and taken as servants. For 70 years they were held . When they were released, many wanted to stay.

The continued rebellion against God caused the exile to be multiplied by 7. Bible scholars have done the math for centuries and come up with the year 1948. On May 14, 1948 the UN dissolved the British hold over the land that is Israel, the United States recognized Israel as a sovereign state, and on May 15, 1948 Israel declared independence. With this restoration of the Jewish state, many prophecies were fulfilled in a 24 hour timeframe, which scripture said would be done in 1 day.

Studying prophecy is amazing when you realize thousands, if not millions, of people cooperate to make it happen, most who have never read the Bible. God gave us free will to either choose or reject him, because He wants a real love relationship with His children. He is patient, wanting all to be saved. But regardless of what we do, God will bring His prophecies into being, as they foretell of His ultimate victory over evil and his eternal love for His children.

The redemptive sacrifice of Christ on the cross, grafted all believers into the same family of God. This is why Christians who know this will always support their brothers and sisters in Israel. Paul tells us in Romans 15:27 “For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.” As far back as Genesis 12:3, God says, “I will bless them that bless you (the Jews) and curse him that curse you; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed.”

Tomorrow we will look at a BIG picture prophecy from Daniel that is also an amazing view of the accuracy of #EndTimes prophecies. God bless!! HUGS!

Please continuing praying for this series. Many people would like to distract me!!

End Times Bible Prophecies & Today’s World: #1

 

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Hearing of the massacre of Christians in Iraq, I had to go to google and look. I don’t dare post the atrocities I saw, the worst of which was a distraught father holding his headless daughter, still in her little flowered puff sleeve dress. There are not words bad enough to describe our reactions and feelings about such evil. How can any human being commit such horror against another innocent human being?

The truth is, we are seeing the revving up of the evil God’s Word tells us about that will happen in Satans last ditch effort to rule the world forever. There has been a spiritual war waging around us in this world since Satan declared war on God. As we see the spread of all types of unspeakable sin and evil in the world, nothing can come close to what ISIS is doing in Syria and IRAQ. ISIS has surpasses the brutality of Hitler and stepped up evil in a game changing way!

It is time for us all to dig into scripture. End times prophecy is the only HOPE for mankind when we see these evil signs. We study these prophecies to be well informed and standing watch, to teach our loved ones, and to have hope in our own hearts for the future. We still fight evil where we see it, but we know its days are numbered.

This is not an easy topic to discuss because it is fraught with controversy. Even Christian Scholars disagree on what is meant by certain scriptures. However there is plenty known and clear to bring great comfort at times like this. I will not be engaging in argument here, just putting out the facts that are clear and explaining as much as possible, the areas that are controversial.

The fact is, God purposely made these scriptures obscure. Everyone tries upsidedown and backwards to calculate scriptural time indicators for Jesus’ return. But Jesus, himself , told us,  “About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”(Matthew 24:36)Bible scholars who have gotten carried away with their own brilliance and spiritual superiority have occasionally publicized a date for the End. Well we are all still here and they have discredited themselves by ignoring clear scripture.

I have always avoided this subject to avoid the controversy. But this week I thought of Queen Esther. She was reluctant to go to King Xerses when her cousin Mordecai told her that the king’s best friend Haman was evil and was plotting to annihilate the the entire Jewish population. It could mean Esther’s life to speak to her King without being invited, and she would have to divulge her hidden Jewish heritage.

As she hesitated, Mordecai said these most power words, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther4:13) The result was that through prayer, fasting, and courage, Esther saved the Jewish nation and is still celebrated for it today.

As we sit warm and comfortable in our safe homes, the words of Mordecai ring true to me today. God has placed us in a position to make the truth be known as we see these signs, even if there is a risk in our PC world for telling God’s truths.

So, like Queen Esther, I asked my friends to fast and pray for three days before I began to dig into Bible Prophecy for my morning devotions on Twitter. I will put daily thoughts from those devotions here on TweetingGodsLove.com too. Feel free to send me comments or questions here or on my facebook page. Please register on this blog, so I can email you for clarification when needed. I use those comments to help me research and plan.

For today I will just define End Times as the time God says he will end evil on Earth once and for all. It is not the end of the world , as Hollywood likes to portray it. It the end of evil, which will bring an end to the world as we know it because it will end the spiritual battle. God will usher in a new word that is defined by His precepts, goodness and love.

The End of evil will be marked powerfully by the return of Jesus. Interesting to note is that the Bible has three times more prophecies about the second coming of Christ than it had about His first arrival in Bethlehem. A large part of the Bible is written prophecy. Many times people read it as though it were history, but it was written hundreds and thousands of years before the event actually happened. Next Christmas when you hear the story of the Christ child from Isaiah, remember he wrote it hundreds of years before the event.

The more you really study prophecy, the more you become convinced of the precision of the Bible. God wanted us to see the accuracy of things only He could bring about. That’s why He created a network of prophecies that describe the entire history of God’s relationship to man from the beginning of time through eternity. Today we find ourselves way down God’s historical timeline. 90%+ of Gods prophecies have come to pass just as written. These devotions will give us a chance to take a look at the #EndTimes prophecies so we can look up in expectation of our savior’s return to end the growing evil we see spreading across our world. Our faith will be strengthened! HALLELUJAH!