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May 24, 2020 10:00 am
“A stunning 43% of poll respondents said they believe the Coronavirus and resulting economic meltdown is a ‘wakeup call’ for us to turn back to faith in God.”
In the span of 40 years, COVID-19 is the sixth infectious plague unleashed on the planet.
You can freak out . . . or you can look up–in Scripture!
1. What is the rapture?
The rapture is when Christ descends from Heaven and we are caught up to meet Him.
Though the word rapture is not in the Bible, the word harpazo is; it’s used 13 times in the New Testament.
2. Why is there a rapture?
The word revelation means, “unveiling.”
It’s not God’s desire to conceal, but to reveal.
“A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.” –C. S. Lewis
3. Talking about the Lord’s return makes us want to be closer to God.
4. When will the Lord return in the rapture?
Read Matthew 24:36.
2 Thessalonians 2:7—8
1 Thessalonians 4:16—18
1 Thessalonians 4:13
1 John 3:3
Watch Pastor Greg's exclusive interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at harvest.org/live.
Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org
This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
Support the show.
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Welcome back to harvest at all. I'm Greg Laurie and I'm in this message. If you in just a moment that was not an amazing interview with the Secretary of State who is so out front about his faith in Jesus Christ and by the way, when were done with this message in our service today will play that interview I did with Sec. Pompeo in its entirety. It's around 20 minutes but when we start with a word of prayer. Father, we ask now that you would speak to the heart of every person watching this wherever they are. You know their need. You have the answer to all of our needs and we know Lord that were living in scary times, but we also know that the Bible is filled with promises that you've given in one of those promises repeated over and over again is you are coming back to this earth and we look forward to that day so speak to us from your word. We ask in Jesus name, amen. He Bible students are going to turn to a number of verses today and the first one is going to be Matthew 16 so turn there with me if you will. Matthew 16 and the title of my message is is coronavirus assigned of the N times two weeks ago I won a Harley ride with a friend. I on the coast of Southern California what is called Pacific Coast Highway.
Some of you may know about attend and it just so happens that the depot for the governor of California had close all the beaches down so we get our bikes and were cruising along in and everywhere you saw beach opening or an entrance to a beach.
There was a sign beach closed beach close by order of the governor and also there were even rangers in front of the entrances so you couldn't go in and so we went to Newport Beach so we went to Laguna Beach and then were in Dana point beach close beats closed and then I also saw a bunch of signs that said sound limits enforced out at the problem because I have very loud pipes on my Harley in a loud pipes save lives. They also irritate people so I was trying to not rub it too high and up to get their signs and warnings everywhere. And finally we get to San Clemente and for some reason they open their beaches up so work sitting there in front of a coffee shop and some guy starts talking to me and as it turns out he's a Christian and I asked him what he does for a living and he says I'm a firefighter when it turned out to be a good thing because my Harley caught on fire. Not making this up.
All of a sudden there's a fire in my engine I said there's a fire on my engine and right above the engine is eight gas tank.
Not a good thing. And then it doubled in size while it makes 0010. The firefighter spun the action ran and grabbed the fire extinguisher from the copulation sprayed everything down there. When standing there with her coffee what's happening and so we are talking about should I have this thing taken back to my house put it on some kind of a trailer. I said, I'm writing that. So I said to my friend. Just watch it. Make sure the fire doesn't start again. So were cruising along and I'm thinking about my bike my kids fire and then I saw another sign.
It said Sonny's pizza and I love Sonny's pizza and I saw people inside eating will not they were actually ordering.
So we went in and they actually let us eat and their outside patio and a takeout box and so I got on the post about this and I took a photo printed on my Instagram page.
I'm having Sonny's pizza and I also mentioned that my bike caught on fire. Meanwhile my wife is flipping through her social feeds and she sees his post.
I haven't told her any that she had told her yes the bike on a fire, but now they found a great pizza crazy but it's good to read the signs right I heard a story about some Christians who were standing by the side of a road holding up a sign was a hand lettered sign with these words, the end is near turnaround before it's too late. Some guy drove by them hit the brakes rolled down his window and he said you stupid Christians. Why don't you just leave people alone rolled up his window and gunned it, and then a couple of moments fastener was a loud splash in one of the christens turned to the other and said maybe we should just put up a sign that says bridge out instead. Yeah, you know there's a lot of signs out there a lot of warnings out there that are saying one thing and that one thing is get ready because Jesus Christ is coming back again. I mean just look at our world at this present moment, you can feel the fear in the air, the anxiety, the stress of war talking about covert, 19 a. Practically every news story and in new words have entered our vocabulary, pandemic, sheltering in place, self isolation, social distancing community spread herd immunity flatten the curve and Tiger came about was not really a part of it. Don't waste your time watching that by the way, but here's another word for hearing more often place flags when I thought that was like an ancient history like in Bible times we've all heard the story of the plagues that came upon Egypt, but no, we have plagues through out history. Of course, what the Bible tells us in the last days there would be an increase of plagues.
Here's a headline from a newspaper quote Apocalypse now. Here's how Americans think it will in in this headline from the Jerusalem" why do some Christians will leave coronavirus is an apocalyptic prophecy. Let me answer that we believe it could be an apocalyptic prophecy to use their verbiage because the Bible says we would see this sort of thing in the last days we would see an increase of wars we would see the emergence ultimately of a one world government. We would also see the increase of plagues and earthquakes is a lot of things the Bible tells us to look for.
The Bible compares the end times events to the labor pains of a woman who was ready to give birth. Now you ladies know your mom's no course that as you get closer to the date of delivery the your labor pains get closer and closer together so the Bible says effectively when you see these things not just happen to happen with more intensity and their increasing that's a sign.
The end is near.
You can almost think the main events of the end times and compare them to Domino's. Once the first domino falls all of the other dominoes will also fall in rapid accession.
So let's talk about some signs of the times.
Here's what Jesus himself said about it. I'm going to Matthew chapter 16, and Emma reverses 1 to 31 day.
The Bible says the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven and to prove his authority and he replied you know the saying red sky at night means Fairweather tomorrow red sky in the morning. Need spell weather all day. You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don't know says our Lord, how to interpret the signs of the times.
Only an evil and adulterous generation demands a miraculous sign. The only sign I will give them is out of the prophet Jonah that as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Now you don't have to be a weatherman to necessarily predict that if going to rain. If the sky is filled with dark clouds that guide developed a foolproof way to make it rain.
I've I wanted to rain. I just washed my car needs but you know sometimes I think I know as much as some of these weatherman no I just looking out the window and started figuring out what the days can look like and by the way. Bald men always known it's raining first. Sometimes am walking with my wife and I'll say it's raining Chelsea notice and that's over this and she can sense the range is so much hair I so know bald and always knowing the end it's true, but look, we can look around us and see effectively, signs of the times telling us the coming of the Lord is near. Many Americans are beginning to wonder if covert, 19, is not a sign of the end times.
A poll was recently done by the nationally recognized McLaughlin and Associates that revealed quote a stunning 43% of poll respondents said they believe the coronavirus and resulting economic meltdown is a wake-up call for us to turn back to faith in God." I got through.
I think it is a wake-up call is a been a wake-up call for you. We read a letter a little bit earlier about a couple that was living in gloom and despair. They said God used the coronavirus to wake them up spiritually another beta recommitment to the Lord, are you paying attention to this wake-up call my friend in Bible prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock wrote these words in his new book Corona crisis and I quote, I believe that the coronavirus is part of the state setting for the end times. In that sense, it's a sign that points beyond itself to future events. For example, coronavirus is revealing the interconnectedness of the modern world as well as accelerating it covert, 19 is speeding the rise of globalism" and that's very true as Bible students we know the Bible tells us there's coming a world leader on the scene is called the beast he's better known as the Antichrist shall be initially a man of peace with global solutions with economic solutions but then he will require that no one can buy or sell without the special Mark that he will give to them so is that happening before our eyes. Let me put it this way. I think we are seeing things that will ultimately lead to that moment but I don't think it's happening quite yet, but I do believe were getting close. Let's turn to another passage of Scripture together. Luke chapter 21 Luke chapter 21. I want to read verses 8 to 11 is Jesus talks about what will happen in the end times, and he mentions Antichrist in a different way. He says this is in response to the question of the disciples. What will be the signs of the end and judge.
Jesus says don't let anyone mislead you, many will come in my name, saying, I am the Messiah seen the time is come don't believe that. So, according to Christ. One of the signs of the end times is that will come a world leader in other false prophets who will say I am the Messiah. By the way, the prefix anti-doesn't just mean against it also means instead of Antichrist, the beast is an alternate version of the Messiah. He's a fake Messiah.
Many will come scene I am the Messiah, but when you see these wars and insurrections don't panic if these things must take first place first, but the end will follow immediately. Then Christ adds nation will go to war against nation kingdom against kingdom. The be great earthquakes and famines and collects in many lands and terrifying things in great miraculous signs from heaven pellet we've always had legs throughout history.
I mention the plagues that came against Egypt. When he refused to release the people of Israel. There was also the Black death in the 1300s, also known as the bubonic plague that took the lives of 200 million people. The Spanish flu in 1918, took the lives of 40 to 50 million people.
So basically the Bible says when you see these things happen with greater frequency.
You should look up in the span of 40 years: 19 is the six most infectious plague unleashed on the planet. We bed HIV-AIDS swine flu Ebola and now coronavirus one experts" the number of new infectious diseases like SARS, HIV and covert, 19 has increased by nearly fourfold in the past century. Since 1980 alone, the number of outbreaks per year is more than triple okay so these things are coming closer together with greater intensity, so you have two choices at a moment like this in human history. You can look up or you can free You can look up you can freak out Jesus speaking on how people react in the end times says this in Luke 21 people will faint from terror apprehensive of what is coming on the world is that not an accurate description of the way that many people are feeling right now they are apprehensive some Mark fainting from terror drinking parting drugging anything to distract them from the reality there facing sales of anxiety medications are way up. So you can freak out or you can look up Jesus says when you see these things begin to happen. Look up look up for your redemption is drawing near.
Now some wonder if this covert, 19 vaccination program that is coming could possibly be the mark of the beast, short answer, no, I don't think so, but it is interesting and I'll talk about that more in my message next time.
As we gathered together as a deal with Antichrist Armageddon and the second coming, but we should not be looking for Antichrist folks, we should be looking for Jesus Christ.
That's where our focus should be. Right now, so let me give to you, sort of a flyover of the end time events because I think this is where people get confused the think is this guy Antichrist. Six. This is said no again. Remember there like a stack of dominoes close together and when the first one falls, the law fall Antichrist is not here yet and we talked about the increase of plagues and in the wars and all those things those description of what is called in the Bible. The great tribulation. The last 47 years, so let me give to you would, I believe, is the accurate order of events of the end times.
Next up on the prophetic calendar is the rapture. That's where believers are caught up to meet the Lord in the air a lot more to say about that in a few moments after the rapture. Sometimes after that sometime after that. This coming world leader emerges on the scene he swab he's debonair will probably be on the cover of Time magazine in GQ at the same time think the devil wears Prada. He will behead, dressed head to toe in black. You'll be a very persuasive charismatic individual, a powerful world leader and to show this. He brings about a global peace plan that works it works for 3 1/2 years.
In fact, he even calls the Jewish people to rebuild their temple and some are so excited. They hail him as the very Messiah but at the midway point of the seven year period called the tribulation. Antichrist shows his true colors any forces people to take his mark in a series of plagues in God's judgment comes upon the world, and it builds and builds and builds until the final battles of humanity known as the battles of Armageddon and as the world is at war, the second Coming Takes Pl. in Christ returns to the earth, and he establishes his kingdom.
Following that we have what is called the millennium millennium is a word that just means a thousand. If the thousand year reign of Christ, and after that heaven and earth become one is the new Jerusalem descends as a bride adorned for her husband out of heaven to the earth, and this is a fulfillment of the statement of Jesus are really the prayer he taught us to pray when we pray our father who art in heaven how it would be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven succumbing back to Antichrist. He cannot even be revealed. He cannot even burst on the scene until true believers are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
Second Thessalonians 2 says this mystery of lawlessness is already at work.
Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then the lawless one that's Antichrist will be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming. So the constraining force in the world today is the Holy Spirit working through the church once the church is caught up to meet the Lord in heaven.
Now how can basically break loose. And then I Christ can use 60s vernacular do his thing and it's not going to be a good thing. So if we see signs that would indicate to us that Antichrist is close.
That would also be a reminder that Jesus Christ is even closer. You know, as we approach Christmas ultimately there are the reminders of Christmas is coming and you usually start seeing the decorations in the stores and the ads in the papers and all of the commercials on television. What is it August now. But seriously, it starts pretty early, so although sign think Christmas is coming on. Now you come by your tree okay you better get your presence. Christmas is coming.
But listen, we often forget about Thanksgiving and I love Thanksgiving because they haven't completely commercialized. It is a have Christmas and even Halloween, Thanksgiving is a day what we give thanks, hopefully in enjoy a wonderful meal with our family. So here's my point. If I was seeing all of those reminders out there that Christmas is coming. That means Thanksgiving is even sooner. So if I'm seeing signs out there in our world seen Antichrist is coming there really what those signs are saying is the coming of Jesus for his people.
It's even closer. I mentioned the word rapture. Some people push back the safe.
You can find the word rapture in the Bible well that the pencil translation you have. If you have a Latin translation.
I think you can do word rapture comes from the Latin root word wrap Torres that comes from the Greek word harp also. Which means to be taken away by force in the word harp also is used 13 times in the New Testament so call it the rapture call it the harp also call it the great escape. I don't really care. It's an event. The Bible speaks of multiple times so what is the rapture.
Let me define it for you.
The rapture is when Christ distance from heaven and we are caught up to meet him in the air and we receive our new resurrection bodies. That's also the moment that we will be reunited with loved ones who have died in faith who have preceded us to heaven is another passage to look at first Thessalonians 4 and we read the Lord himself will dissent from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first and we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we will ever be with the Lord.
Therefore comfort one another with these words, what happens to a Christian when they die they go immediately into the presence of God, the dead in Christ rise first, but when the rapture comes in. I can happen today. It can happen tonight. It could happen tomorrow we are reunited with our loved ones and that is when they and we all received our resurrection bodies because God is going to give us a new body.
That's a radically upgraded version of our old one so question number two.
Why is there a rapture. Why will Paul talk to these folks there who lived in Thessalonica and that they were stressed out, they were unhappy they were set because a number of their loved ones had died and they thought they would never see them again. So Paul wanted to share this great truth within. In fact he says in first Thessalonians 4 1380. We don't want you to be uninformed about those who have died so that you grieve as those who have no hope. Notice he says we don't want you to be uninformed. I bring this up because sometimes you will think no one can figure out Bible prophecy. No one understands it there so many different views. We shouldn't even talk about it all. Contrary that's French for sales with garlic know that's escargot note to the contrary, God wants us to know about the end times again. Paul says I don't want you to be uninformed. Remember in Matthew 24 Jesus said when you see the abomination of desolation. Let the reader understand and basically the Bible saying he understand what is being said. The very word revelation on that's the title of the last book of the Bible, Revelation means the unveiling.
Listen, it is not God's desire to conceal but to reveal he wants us to know these things and he doesn't give us Bible prophecy to scare us but to encourage us, especially if we put our faith in him. So here's what Paul is saying look if you lost a loved one and then going to heaven you're going to see them again. So imagine for a moment your disk going about your daily business doing whatever it is you do. And suddenly, in a moment that happened so quickly. You can even measured in time your reunited with your loved one again because the Bible says will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye them in the twinkling of an eye is something that can't even be measured. The word twinkling comes from the root word out of most regular word Adam from it. How long does it take for that they haven't probably about as long as it takes, to say the word Adam hosted rooms you're in the presence of the Lord in your with your loved ones that have gone before you is not encouraging. That's why Paul said therefore comfort one another with these words. Imagine husbands will be reunited with wives and wives of husbands, children, reunited with parents and parents with children, brothers, reunited with brothers and sisters in everyone will be brought back together again friends reunited with friends, your sorrow immediately vanishes, and it's replaced with ecstatic joy. That is why the Bible calls the rapture, the blessed hope so. When a Christian loses a loved one, we grieve, but not hopelessly, but rather hopefully we grieve. Hopefully, because we know we will see them again and that is a great encouragement good thing to think about these things. Folks, it's a good thing to just think about heaven to think about the afterlife.
CS Lewis, the great professor who taught at Oxford and wrote many significant books including the Chronicles of Narnia in mere Christianity talk a lot about heaven and he made this statement and I quote a continual looking forward to be eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but rather it's one of the things a Christian is meant to do."
Very true, it's good to think about these things. Colossians 3 says, set your mind on things above are another way the translated think Kevin is a good thing to think about heaven. Look forward to heaven. By the way we talk about things like this and makes us want to be closer to God again talking about the Lord's imminent return makes us want to be closer to God reminds us there is a God of this word can be trusted when we see Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes. No room first John three it says that he that has this hope that is the hope of the return of Christ will purify himself even as God is pure. Let me illustrate member when you're a little kid maybe got in trouble with your mom and she said okay, you're in trouble. You just wait until your father gets home and so maybe around 630. You hear the car pulling into the driveway and the approach of your father and your filled with dread because you know he's the authority figure.
There might be some discipline involved. So you're not looking forward to your father's return, but let's just say you're a good boy or a good girl and dad got home. You'd run out to greet them. So I think woman right with God. We look forward to his return.
If it keeps us on our toes spiritually. It causes us to want to live godly lives, but if you're not right with the Lord. When you hear the Christ could return at any moment will that's quite frightening really a litmus test of where you're at right now in this moment in time is if you're looking forward to the return of Jesus. That would be an indication to me that you are right with God. And if you're dreading the return of Jesus. That would be an indication to me you're not right with God, and I wanted tell you how to get right with God. In a few moments because you really going to get right for you to get left when I say get left. I mean you will not be caught up to meet the Lord in the rapture but you will be left behind.
There's another point when will the Lord return in the rapture of this one gets interesting because there's people to come along periodically that say they've cracked the code and they know when Jesus is returning. They know when he will come in the rapture when he sees it in the might surprise you. I know when the second coming. It's is that what no one knows the deal. They are understand there's a difference between the rapture and the second coming in the rapture, which could happen at any moment.
He comes for his people. In the second coming, he returns with his people. The rapture is before Antichrist and the tribulation, the second coming is at the end of the tribute relation okay so here's my point. The second coming will happen after the seven year reign of Antichrist. After the battle of Armageddon. So once that happens, you can counted down seven years now that hasn't started yet so I can't give you a deeper I know in sequence, one will happen, but the rapture that can happen at any moment Jesus is no man knows the deer the hour. If you were to go back to the original language and translate that it would translate out to no man knows the day of the hour and what it actually means is no man knows the day of the hour. Nobody so only God knows if you'll come at the right moment we could happen at any time is a boarding said but it is going to happen. You can count on it and it's going to be one of the greatest events of all human history and I want to ask you right now you can be ready for that day. Jesus said to will be in the fields. One will be taken and the other left Amana wife will be asleep in bed on one will be taken and the other left which shows it's a global event Amana wife in bed they're sleeping that's nighttime to men working in the field it's daytime happens around the world people are caught up to meet the Lord. There's an old song by Larry Norman with the lyrics Amana wife asleep in bed. She hears a noise and turns her head he's gone. I wish with all been ready in a one night Kathy and I my wife, who you already met were laying in bed it's okay were married and we are talking about how Jesus could come back and I said he could come back at any moment because he said just imagine Greg we can just be laying here in bed and all of a sudden were in heaven and being the prankster that I am, I quietly slipped out of the bed and I got down on the floor. Greg just imagine we go to heaven together. Greg Greg and she's reaching them out there and I'm down on the floor laughing. It's really bad.
Don't do that. I don't.
I'm a professional idiot. Anyway, I digress.
Okay, so it really is a real thing. I'm making a joke about that but this is no joke and I wonder if you'll be ready. I mentioned that statement of Christ. Early on, were he said a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign and no sign will be given to them except out of the prophet Jonah. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Interesting. Jesus just validated the story of Jonah.
He was a real dude with a real message that resulted in a spiritual awakening in a city known as Nineveh, but he was swallowed by a great fish. By the way, the Bible never says he was swallowed by a whale. They built was a whale. Maybe it was a fish can be literally translated sea monster that never existed until the moment it swallowed Jonah, but whatever the case if the story is not about Jonah in a whale. It's a picture of a Christ in Jesus is effectively saying you guys want a miracle right what he wanted to pull a rabbit out of a hat if you want me to do some trick that will convince you.
Here's my sign for you as Jonah was in the belly of that there's I want to go to a cross and died for the sin of the world and rise again from the dead. That's my sign. That's my miracle.
You might say will show me a miracle of all believe show me and I'll believe effectively.
God says believe and I'll show you see, God is demonstrated his love toward you got is shown how much he loves you by sending his son to die on the cross for you know the Bible says some of us might die for a righteous man but God demonstrated his love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We were breaking his commandments were falling short of the standards God showed love in a tangible way. As I've often said it wasn't kneels and held Jesus to the cross. 2000 years ago.
It was love for you. God loves you. I don't know what you been told about God. But I'm here to tell you today on the authority of Scripture that God loves you and he proved his love for you by sending Jesus to die in Your Pl., Jesus said for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have ever lasting life. Not only does God love you but he is a wonderful plan for your life. That plan starts with Kim for giving you of all of your sin and then he has a special plan for how your life will go and when that day comes, you go to meet him in heaven and the afterlife, but maybe even before you die. The rupture can happen.
It could happen in our lifetime.
It could happen today and I asked you if Christ were to come back again. Would you be ready. Don't miss this opportunity to get right with God. I mentioned a couple earlier you wrote me and said that they were living a miserable life and they recommitted their life to the Lord and they were prodigal's, maybe your prodigal. What's a prodigal someone that's been raised in the faith in this walk away from it or someone they made a profession of faith and turn their back on it, and if your prodigal son or daughter you can come back to Jesus, but there someone watching me right now, who's never asked Christ to come in your life, you've never even heard these things I'm talking about before, but you realize I need God.
I want my sin forgiven. Maybe you been trying to build a big hole in your hardwood drugs are with booze or with partying or with accomplishments and you know, the whole coven 19 thing is sort of revealed how empty all those things are because people can go out and do all the things they were doing before they can go and hang out in big parties with all of their friends and you're isolated and you're alone and you're scared but you're not alone because God is there, and Jesus says behold I stand at the door and I knock it if you cure my voice and open the door, I will come in the snow. This the same Jesus who was born in a manger in Bethlehem who died in across outside of Jerusalem. The same Jesus who will come again for his people in the rapture and will return to the earth in the second coming is alive and he standing right now at the door of your life. Same I want to come in. Would you like Jesus to come into your life would you like to be forgiven of all of your sin. Would you like to know with certainty that you will go to heaven when you die know for sure that you be ready when the Lord comes for us.
If so on and lead you in a prayer and an ask you to pray this prayer with me if you want Jesus to come in your life so dear someone who's never asked the Lord to come in your heart, or of your prodigal son or daughter, do what some 3000 people have been doing every weekend. Harvest at Home do with 50,000 people have done in the last 10 weeks or so. Pray this prayer with me and telling you in the authority of the Bible, Christ will come into your life right here right now if you want Jesus to come in your life. Pray this prayer with me. This preview search trim out loud if you like. Pray Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner but I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for me rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin. Now that I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering it in Jesus name I pray, amen