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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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  • Feb10Sun

    As It Was In The Days of Noah

    February 10, 2019
    Call to Worship:       Psalm 18:46 “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.”
     
    Songs:  Love the Lord - Lincoln Brewster     
    Soul On Fire  - Third Day      
    By Faith - Keith & Kristyn Getty          
     
    Scripture:    Deuteronomy 6
     
    Song:   Rediscover You -Starfield        
     
    Sermon:    “As It Was In The Days of Noah”
     
    Closing Song:   Restore Us  - JR Taylor & Jerry Wise       
     
    Benediction:   Lamentations 5:15 “Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning. 16 The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned! 17 Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim 18 for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it. 19 You, LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. 20 Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? 21 Restore us to yourself, LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old 22 unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.”
     
    Communion:     1 Corinthians 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
     
    We prayer that the Glory of the Lord would fill us His temple once again.  1 Kings 8:25 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ 26 And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.”
     
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    Sermon:       “As It Was In The Days of Noah”
                Yesterday I went to the grocery store to grab a few things even though I usually don't like to go on Saturdays but the fridge beckoned. While shopping it seemed like there was a lot of hustle and bustle. After I checked out I was thinking to my self, how many of these people will actually see eternal life with God. Now picture this same scenario across the country, around the world. After pondering this a little more I wondered how many go to church and think they will spend eternity with Jesus, but because of their deception, will only hear away from me. As I was walking out of the store these words came to mind, as it was in the days of Noah. We have been talking about the end times and discerning between the truth and the deception that is everywhere in the church. As I had been preparing for this Sunday I was focusing this week on the apathy or pathetic condition of the church. Yes we have rampant false teaching in the church but along with that we have apathy towards the word of God.
                Apathy also means indifference, which is “the trait of lacking enthusiasm for or interest in things generally.” The term pathetic means deserving or inciting pity. Yes the church has become indifferent to the word of God and in the midst of this world we live in, it looks pretty pathetic compared to the church Jesus intended us to be. No fault of Jesus or the power of his word by the way. When you look at the church today you see the same as what was happening in Noah’s day. I know the big boat might have been a clue but they kept on living as they had always lived with no concern for the future. Matthew 24:38 “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.” Luke 17:26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.” I could not help see this same picture in our society and the church with each person going their own way thinking all is well, completely indifferent to what happens in the end. Those in church singing it is well with my soul is really a pathetic picture of the church when all is not well. Someone really needs to ask them, is it well.
                Before I go on let me just do some house cleaning. Remember when Matthew 21:12 “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.” John 2:4 “In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Today we need to have this same zeal to rid the house of these deceivers who are selling their wares. I am sure by now you have heard of being “left behind”. You know the pilots of planes disappearing and the chaos that followed. I am sure you are aware of it being calling dispensationalism and I am sure you are aware by now that these are doctrines of demons, a cancer that has spread throughout the church. Before I go on I realize that that the verse in this passage (Matthew 24 and Luke 17) sounds like people will be left behind but if you look closely, it is just saying how fast it will happen. Paul gives us a glimpse at the speed. He said 1 Corinthians 15:52 “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” In this passage with Noah and the flood you also have Luke 17:28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” Matthew 24:41 “That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” I grew up wondering about this and worrying about the rapture but look carefully at what the verses are saying. With Noah everyone not on the boat died. 1 Peter 3:20 “In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.” With Lot, Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed, Lots wife died also. Those who are left behind at the last trumpet are dead. It is over. You are not left trying to figure out how to survive the flood or the fire from heaven, it is too late. There is no second chance. 2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” It was a description as to the speed in which it will happen. These charlatans have made a killing selling the wrong kind of fear. They are also sending millions to their demise. Yes we were forewarned but is anyone listening.
                The problem is as I said at the beginning, the church is in a pathetic state and filled with apathy, which can also be defined as “the trait of lacking enthusiasm for or interest in things generally.” Yes there a few who are zealous for the word of God but sadly many who appear zealous are only zealous for their beliefs but not zealous for the word of God. Nobody is too worried about the true return of Jesus. Now the people selling the rapture think it is going to happen at any moment but it never will but they continue to lead people away from the truth and people by the millions are falling from their secure positions. They should be zealous to return to the word of God, not zealous for making the word of God say what they want. This apathy, both those who refuse to listen to the truth and those who don’t even car enough to listen but just go to church to check the box, have left the church in desolation and disrepair. Not only do we have the cancer of dispensationlism and the likes of other doctrines of demons and there are many, we have churches full of people who just don’t know enough to care how dire their position actually is. There is no fear of God. When the people asked for a king Samuel said 1 Samuel 12:24 “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” And we know that happened. We are told in Deuteronomy 28:45 “All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. 46 They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, 48 therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.” People just don’t see the amount of destruction an poverty that has taking place due to all the rebellion through false gospels and apathy.
                Unfortunately a lack of knowledge and apathy has made the church a prime target for deception. Matthew 24:4 “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
                So as we talked about last week, we have had this great rebellion and falling away. Church has become this pathetic institution with no power, just a form of godliness. Deuteronomy 29:22 “Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it. 23 The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger. 24 All the nations will ask: “Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?” 25 And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26 They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. 27 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book. 28 In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.” You see just because someone tells you that you will not face God’s wrath doesn’t mean it is true. Why? The bible tells you the truth. Deuteronomy 32:17 They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God—gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear. 18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. 28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!” So this is what happened in the rebellion and why this is so serious.
                The verse we read in Matthew 24 shows the dire poverty the church is in due to its coldness. We have this great deception where many have been deceived by false prophets and they don’t even know it. Not only have they been deceived they are cold. Many just don’t care enough to seek or hear the truth now that thy have been deceived. They have lost their true love like the Ephesian church. Truthfully most don’t even know what true love is. Revelation 2:4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” The problem of the deception is no one is considering the height of which they have fallen. Those who have gone before us have not adhered to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Here is why this apathy is so serious. Instead of continuing on and doing what we were commanded to do and keeping the new covenant that Jesus gave us, we turned away and went our own way. Here is an example of continuing on. Revelation 3:7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” This is what is to continue yet most have fallen away and have gone the way of Laodicea.
                Paul said in Colossians 2:1 “I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.” Colossians 4:16 “After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.” Well someone did not pay attention because in Revelation 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Again is anyone listening?
                So now we go even a step further from being cold to lukewarm. We often think lukewarm is in the middle of hot and cold but in this case Jesus said, “I wish you were either one or the other!” He then says “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” There is only one temperature for a Christian and that is hot but for the most part the church is lukewarm which is worse than being cold as per Jesus description. Yes these people thought they had it all together but if they do not repent they will be spewed out of His mouth. So instead of having a powerful church you end up with “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” People have become so comfortable in their lukewarmness they think they are hot for God because they have nothing to compare it too. I say nothing because the word of God has been set aside for reason, tradition and experience. Even though the bible cancels out all three of these, so many have nullified the word of God. Mark 7:6 “He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” Remember what Paul also said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” It better be “this gospel.”
                So because so many have let go of the commands of God, they continue to be deceived. Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Today we are having communion because we were told not to forget. Yes people have communion every Sunday but really have no idea what the true gospel or why they celebrate. 1 Corinthians 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  As we have talked about we can do this anytime but a great reminder is every time we eat, we can remember what Jesus has done for us. Why must we remember? Paul goes on to describe how serious this is. Celebrating communion just to celebrate can have damaging affects on you.“27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.” Yes most do not like discipline. Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” But if you reject it, we face God’s wrath. Hebrews 9:26 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 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? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
                Many times the people were told not to forget. Deuteronomy 8:1 “Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors.10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. 19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.”
                The problem is that the church keeps trying to build itself and sustain itself. Too much emphasis has been placed in the wrong area. Instead of seeking the Lord, the church sought how to be bigger. Haggai 1:2 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” 3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” So here we are in a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. People have no problem hearing other words just not the word of the Lord.
                Here is what it looks like 2 Kings 17:34 “To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 35 When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. 36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. 37 You must always be careful to keep the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” 40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.” That is the church of today. But as God said Hebrews 3:15 “As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
                So as we prepare to take back the land in the power of the Holy Spirit and authority in the name of Jesus; know that we must keep his commands. If we keep his commands that means we love him. (John 14:15) It also means we will not grow cold or even think about being lukewarm. Just a side note; busyness at church doesn’t mean you are following wholeheartedly. Follow wholeheartedly means you obey His commands. If you obey then you also fear God and have discernment and will turn away from anything false. Proverbs 3:1 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26 for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.”
                Our life if about following God’s word. We have been raised in an environment where everyone goes their own way and everyone established their own truth but that is not how it is supposed to work. David describes following God’s word even when promises have not yet been fulfilled and enemy rages against you. Psalm 119:80 “May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame. 81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. 82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?” 83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. 84 How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? 85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law. 86 All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause. 87 They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. 88 In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth. 89 Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. 91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. 92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. 94 Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. 95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.” 137 You are righteous, LORD, and your laws are right. 138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy. 139 My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words. 140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them. 141 Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. 143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight. 144 Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live.”
                We don’t have to carry on the empty ways of those who went before us. We can turn around and seek him with everything we have. As we have communion think of the two disciples walking in the wrong direction but Jesus came to them their eyes were open and they ran back to tell the others. Luke 24:33 “There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.” What would Jesus say to you and I right now? Will he say as he said to the disciples in Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” Or will he say Matthew 25:21 “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
                As we prepare for our season of lent, trust that God will defeat our enemies and His church will rise once again. No longer accept the pathetic state the church is in. Nehemiah 1:3 “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” As we celebrate communion together think of this prayer from Nehemiah. 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Nehemiah 2:7 “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”
                God gave Jacob promise and that promise applies to us also. Genesis 28:12 “He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” And then Solomon was told 1 Kings 6:11 “The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” 20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.’
                The promises of God to our ancestors apply to us. The God we serve is the same God they served. If we seek Him we will find him and he will turn his face to shine on us once again and make strait our paths but we must follow his word. Psalm 80:19 “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”