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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Dec16Sun

    Are You Willing to Crawl?

    December 16, 2018
     
    Advent Message:     Today is the third day of Advent. Next Sunday we are going to         combine our Advent service with a Christmas Eve service at the same time next Sunday. It is so important to grasp this first Advent of Jesus Christ. He came to same save, even us Gentiles. Sadly Christmas has become so commercial, even in the church. I think the Canadian Tire flyer this week some it up with its caption Merry Madness. Christmas is about salvation and being saved from our enemies. This was part of God’s promise to David. 2 Samuel 7:8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.” Revelation 21:1 “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
    5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
                There is so much more to this gospel than what we see in the church. Paul said 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” Isaiah 42:5 “This is what God the LORD says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Luke 2:28 “Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”  When speaking about Paul  Acts 9:13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 26:17 “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. 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.”
                So picture with me this great salvation, greater than being freed from Egypt has also been given to us Gentiles. Before Stephen was stoned to death with the approval of Paul he preached the story of freedom in Acts 7. He concludes by saying Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” Yet now the Gentiles have done the same and continue to reject the Holy Spirit and we are paying the price. We have rejected the power of the Holy Spirit and now live in desolation because of it. Yet we celebrate this merry madness. Stephen was a waiter of tables. Acts 6:3 “choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” They began to argue against Stephen. Acts 6:10 “But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.” 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”
                Yes most do not believe this same power is available to us. They say only for the Apostles and most do not believe this same power was not meant to cease. Did it cease? The answer is yes but not for the reasons satan has given man. It has ceased because we too have rejected the Messiah. By not adhering to His words we have turned away to follow other gospels / gods. What has ceased is salvation and being freed from our enemies. The remnant will once again rise up and continue the battle Jesus started us on. His authority and power will flow once again and free us from our captivity. Exodus 34:8 “Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.” 10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
                The God we serve is still a jealous God and we are called to do the same. We must turn from our wicked ways, and wait expectantly for his power to return. Yes the end is coming. Malachi 4:5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” Joel said Joel 2:31 “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved;” Jesus said Matthew 11:13 “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Peter then says Acts 2:15 “These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:” The response to the word of God should be the same today but it is not. There is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord and a refusal to repent. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” Our response should be 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Hebrews 10:29 “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? As Stephen Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” Isaiah 63:10 “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.” So we live in a day where God has turned from us. We lie desolate and powerless yet hopeful because we have turned from our wicked ways and the empty ways of those who have gone before us. Jesus said wait and be clothed with power so we wait. Later I will be talking about waiting when it is tough. We have talked about standing for Jesus but as we saw with Job he stood though he was crushed. He said I know my redeemer lives. Even though he lost his children his possessions his respect, he remained faithful to God and did not turn from Him.
                So in this advent season know that God hears your cries and his plan will unfold as you wait. So even though life is heard you have heard the truth and you persevere. Salvation will come. One day you will say with Job, Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” We serve a merciful and gracious God. He is faithful to His word. He said wait and be clothed with power, you will be clothed with power. He gave you a promise; every promise will be fulfilled. Trust and serve Him no matter what. Acts 1:11 “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” So not only do we wait expectantly for him to return and take us home, we wait for God to shine His face upon us a and fill us with His Spirit and power to go to the end s of the earth to preach this gospel and no other. Acts 26:18 “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.” Christ will return to the church.
     
    Song: Somewhere in Your Silent Night  - Casting Crowns
     
    Scripture:       Isaiah 9:1 “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 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.”
     
    Song:  Your Name (Christmas Version) -   Paul Baloche
     Joy To The World (Unspeakable Joy) - Chris Tomlin                   
    All Things Possible  -  Mark Schultz    
                   
    Scripture:       Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 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. 8 “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” 10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
    Luke 4:16 “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
     
    Songs: Hungry (Falling On My Knees) - Kathryn Scott

    Sermons:       Are You Willing to Crawl?

    Closing Song: Jesus -  Umobile Worship

    Benediction:  Luke 2:8 “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

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    Sermon: “Will You Crawl For Him”
                The picture we have of Christmas has been distorted greatly. You think about how after Jesus was born they tried to kill him. Think about after Jesus started his ministry they tried to kill him. Christmas is about a message that satan does not want you to hear. You see this gospel causes turmoil. You will either reject vehemently or you will accept with everything you have, there is no middle ground. This image of Christmas at this point should be an image of war. I picture the battle fields where they crawled through barbed wire and mud, with shells exploding all around them but the difference is you know you will make it and not by chance. The difference is you will keep crawling until you reach your destination. Why because my redeemer lives. Yes the battle rages and not only is the enemy trying to kill you, you also have not so friendly fire coming at you. That can come in the form of Job’s friends or an all out assault on your character but no matter what, you keep crawling until the day you stand, and you will stand. Job said Job 23:8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” We talked about Job crawling, his flesh destroyed yet he said Job 19:26 “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
                Many will give in to the attacks and not stand firm. That is satan’s task to get you to turn away from God. Right off the bat Job’s wife said to him after he lost everything 9 “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Remember God is sovereign and he is charge. If he allows satan to do this to you, he will see you though. Job 1:12 “The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger. Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” In the end God blessed him. Job 42:10 “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. 16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years.
                Most Christians think the war was won and they don’t have to do battle and are shocked dismayed and confused when they do. Meanwhile the battle rages, taking life after life because of a lack of knowledge my people parish. Sunday after Sunday men, woman and children are being taken captive. Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Week after week, month after month, the church continues to be deceived because most are too comfortable in their comfy pews. They refuse to get into the trenches; they refuse to crawl though the wire and mud. Like I talked about last week with our popular singer. It is safer to deny the word of God and plead ignorant than it is to say what the bible sates very clearly. Jesus said everyone would hate us for a reason. Most people do not word to hear and are offended by God’s word. They would rather just play church and stand on reason, tradition and experience instead of standing on the word of God which would make them crawl. Colossians 2:20 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” People love to go to comfortable churches where 2 Peter 2:19 “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.”
                Many who face persecution, trials, testings, discipline, give up and turn from God. Instead of persevering, they blame God and look for something easier. This is why so many churches have deleted repentance and redacted the bible for an easier life. There are many who will tell them what they want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” That time is here. We were told this time would happen and there would be a great falling away. Matthew 24:15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.”
                When you look at what we call the church today we see chaos. False gospels have risen up and it appears they speak truth. The truth is foreign tot he church and no one fears God. When you listen to someone like John MacArthur just to name one, you see this clearly and many are following. 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, proclaiming himself to be God.” You will hear the bible means this but doesn’t mean that. You will hear the bible degraded as if it was written by men. You heard last week the ones views that Moses and Paul were wrong. WOW! I read recently one person said we have better scholarship now and the bible doesn’t mean what it says. They don’t know as much as we know now. REALLY? Revelation 13:5 “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear. 10 “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.”
                We have been raised in chaos with everyone going their own way and still calling it the way to God even though the bible has been added to and subtracted from. King Hezekiah said 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. 7 They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” Daniel said Daniel 9:7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.”
                This chaos has to stop and the church turn back to God but this involves great discernment and faith to persevere even if you have to crawl to get there. As you persevere you must always keep the word of the Lord before you or else you will be lost. If you look at your circumstances and say God doesn’t love me because I am crawling through the mud and barbwire, with the enemy lobbing bombs and you give up, you will not see God’s plan unfold. Yes Jobs friends will seek you out also but you must be faithful. We read last week Job 19 you will loose your friends and family and they will think your are nuts because the truth seems like foolishness to them. You will have events in your life that will drop you to your knees but think about this. If you persevere you will see the glory of God poured out on you. If you don’t, you will hear I don’t know you. If you persevere God’s plan will unfold in your life and you will see what Joshua saw. Joshua 21:43 “So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” Why because he said so. Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
                Saul turned away just before Samuel showed up. He refuse to wait for God’s plan to unfold. The situation was dire and the enemy was upon them. 1 Samuel 13:6 “When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.”
                Yes your situation may be critical and you are crawling with your last ounce of strength but don’t give up because God knows exactly where you are and in the course of time you will stop crawling and you will stand and God’s plan will unfold in your life. By the way his plan is much bigger than your life. It is not about us but Him. Samuel said to Saul. 1 Samuel 13:13 “You have done a foolish thing,” “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” Stand in the face of adversity knowing that God knows the plans he has for you. Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
                Job stood firm and we saw what God finally brought about. Abraham stood strong and he was called God’s friend. David stood strong and in the course of time became King and given a promise that would last for all time. Jesus stood strong and sits at the right hand of the father. Acts 2:32 “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” Will you wait? Are you willing to crawl for Him. Do you believe your redeemer lives? Do you believe Jesus came to set you free not for you to live in captivity. The difference is Paul served God. God said  Acts 9:16 “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” But Paul knew his task and he had the joy of the Lord even though in captivity. The difference is our captivity is because we have turned away from God and His word. When that day comes and we stand, you may be in prison you may die you may go to the ends of the earth but you will not fail to preach this gospel. Paul said 1 Corinthians 2:1 “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” In our day both power and the message of truth are missing. During this Advent season, have hope as you wait for God to turn his face to shine on you once again.