The ROCK
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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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  •             In times such as these where do we go for comfort? The answer is God but that is not where people usually start. They usually take it upon themselves unless it is just to big and then they cry out to God and then blame Him for what happened. Many people who do turn to God only fizzle out when everything turns around. But for those who are sincerely seeking, where do we draw our comfort from? The answer is supposed to be the church but as we have seen the church is void of power. I came across an article talking about the Spanish flu hitting the District Capital in 1918. The churches also closed during that time. So in essence, we really have not gone much further as there still is no power in the church. So where does our help come from? Psalm 121:1 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” So then where is the power in the church? The answer really is quite simple; there isn’t any because the church has gone their own way and is still going their own way as another epidemic hits. The answer to finding help is definitely not man.
                This man especially cannot help you yet many follow him. Last Sunday I talked about the Korean church that seemed to be at the center of spreading the coronavirus but today I can’t help think about Italy and the tragedy they are facing with this virus. I just read “Italy reported 345 new coronavirus deaths in the country over the last 24 hours taking its total death toll to 2,503 - an increase of 16 percent. The total number of cases in Italy rose to 31,506 from a previous 27,980, up 12.6 percent - the slowest rate of increase since the contagion came to light on February 21. Italy is the European country hardest hit by coronavirus.” The epicenter for the Roman Catholic Church is Rome, Italy. The Pope is believed to be in Apostolic Succession to Peter. Communion is believed to be transubstantiation, which means “the miraculous change by which according to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox dogma the Eucharistic elements at their consecration become the body and blood of Christ while keeping only the appearances of bread and wine.” One writer wrote concerning the pope, “The traditional assertion of Catholics in this matter is that each pope has the totality and supremacy of the power Christ left on earth for the building up of the kingdom of God. The pope is said to have the plenitudo potestatis, or fullness of power. His authority, direct from Christ after the manner of a vicar, extends equally directly to each man, woman and child committed to his care, namely all men.” Jesus said we could all have this power. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” So where is it? If at the epicenter of this pandemic in Italy is the power of God, where is the power? I am not trying to tear down the Catholic Church, I am just trying to show that the church all across the board have lost the power, even the ones who say they have apostolic succession. Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” So yes I saw the Pope praying for His people and calling on God to end the pandemic but where is the power?
                So if we can’t find comfort in the church because the church is closed, we go to His word and do what it says so that once again God will dwell in us and we will go to the ends of the earth in power as we were taught. When we turn from our wicked ways, God will return to us. The problem is that in most churches, people only turn within the box they created for God. It doesn’t even cross their mind that they would have to turn away from years, even centuries of false teaching. When people are directed to repent, they only repent according to what is taught them. In most cases the church has to turn from itself; the church has to turn from what their hands have created and turn back to God.
                With God, comfort can come in the face of fear as God said “Do not Fear” but most do not know where to turn. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” One of satan’s greatest tools is fear mongering. When they were about to take the promised land the explorers of that land brought back unwarranted fear. Numbers 13:32 “They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 14:1 “That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” They died in the desert because of it. Fear mongering “is the spreading of frightening and exaggerated rumors of an impending danger to purposely arouse fear in order to manipulate the public.” The media are masters at this. For example today I noticed the New York Times article that gave some very helpful yet frightening statistics. They said, “Although it’s impossible to say how many Americans will die because of the new coronavirus, under a reasonable set of assumptions the number of fatalities could be high — potentially in the hundreds of thousands or more. Deaths on that scale are not easy to grasp. To put the estimates in context, we’re comparing the possible toll with other leading causes of death in the United States in 2018, the most recent year with data available.” They then gave you a scale you could adjust yourself, which would drastically change the number to even higher but it started at 30%. Last week I gave you a stat from the 1918 influenza pandemic that affected one third of the world’s population. This is the same number even though we have in our day compared to 1918 very advanced medical knowledge and know how to respond yet they put this in every ones head and even give you the ability to make it worse say 40% (643,000). This scale then changes all the numbers. They said “Here is where coronavirus deaths would rank in the U.S., assuming an overall infection rate of 30% and fatality rate of 0.5% over the next year:(if using your phone turn horizontal to see numbers)
    How Coronavirus Deaths Could Compare With Other Major Killers

    CAUSE OF DEATH

    U.S. DEATHS

    1

    Heart disease

    655,381

    2

    Cancer

    599,274

    3

    Coronavirus (estimate)

    480,000

    4

    Alzheimer’s, dementia and brain degeneration

    267,311

    5

    Emphysema and COPD

    154,603

    6

    Stroke

    147,810

    7

    Diabetes

    84,946

    8

    Drug overdoses

    67,367

    9

    Pneumonia/flu

    59,690

    10

    Liver disease and cirrhosis

    55,918

    11

    Renal failure

    50,404

    12

    Car crashes

    42,114

    13

    Septicemia

    40,718

    14

    Guns

    39,201

    15

    Falls

    37,558

    16

    Hypertension

    35,835

    17

    Parkinson’s and other movement disorders

    35,598

    18

    Obesity and other metabolic disorders

    35,178

    19

    Digestive diseases

    31,015

    20

    Atherosclerosis and other arterial diseases

    24,808

     
     CTV news reported on March 17, 2020, “In 2003, the SARS outbreak — largely focused in Ontario, although one case was identified in Vancouver — caused 44 deaths. So far, COVID-19 has killed five people in Canada, but as cases show no sign of slowing down, the number is expected to rise. Worldwide, the difference is vast between the two viruses. COVID-19 has killed over 7,800 people, while SARS caused over 900 deaths.” Another article dated January 31, 2020 said, “The fear that pervaded the Toronto area during SARS resurfaced this week, if to a lesser extent, as the Wuhan coronavirus continued its rapid spread in China and around the world.” In 2003 “In the United States, only eight persons were laboratory-confirmed as SARS cases. There were no SARS-related deaths in the United States.” To date March 18, 2020 in the US coronavirus - 8335 cases, 135 deaths and a large number of those deaths were from one nursing home facility.
                So as you can see from Sars and this Coronavirus, people are going to die but people are dying already and not just from the virus. We should be in shock at the number of people just dying from heart issues and cancer but there hasn’t been this kind of response. The 30% number in this article is massive at 480,000 deaths. Is it possible? Yes! But as they say in the article “assuming minimal efforts to contain it.” We already know there is a huge effort to contain this. So everyone is working hard to contain it but what is the church doing, the one who has the power to defeat it. The virus is deadly but so is fear mongering knowing already that most are doing what it takes to slow it down. But since this is about defeating our enemies, take a peak at the list above that already happened in 2018 according to their numbers. Then look at this information on the number one killer in the US. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. One person dies every 37 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease costs the United States about $219 billion each year from 2014 to 2015. This includes the cost of health care services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.” All the numbers except for the coronavirus, are real; it is just an estimate. These others are already happening and continue to happen.
                So my question continues to be where is the power of the church if the church is calling itself the church. It the church was the true church; it would have power to heal. This list affects every church around but where is the power. This is why we continue to pray that God would turn His face back to us and clothe us with His power. So if the church is void of power, who do we go to for comfort? The only answer is God’s word. The church has not adhered to God’s word, turned their back to it, followed other gods / gospels so we have to go back to the beginning. The church cannot provide the sanctuary needed because there is no power to protect. It is no longer a place of refuge because it is man-made. The true church is where the word of God will dwell. Psalm 146:1 “Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, my soul. 2 I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. 5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. 6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, 8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. 10 The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.” Psalm 33:16 “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. 18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.”
                So turn back to God and open your bible and read Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 6 A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” 9 You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. 11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. 12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counselor? 14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? 15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. 16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. 17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. 18 With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? 19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. 20 A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. 24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. 25 “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. 27 Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
                Turn back to God and He will return to you. This doesn’t mean you become a Catholic or a Anglican or United or a Presbyterian or a Baptist or a Pentecostal or a Methodist or Reformed or a Brethren or an Independent and so on and so on. What it does mean is you will need to turn away from them. This means you turn to God and He will dwell in you, filling you with His Spirit and giving you His words of truth. The remnant will rise up once again. Revelation 21:3 “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.” 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?”