The ROCK
Come as You Are / Be Transformed! 

 


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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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  •    I think of Palm Sunday as a celebration to our King Jesus but every day should be a day of rejoicing because by believing in Jesus and His words, Colossians 1:21 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (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.) This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant” and as Paul said, 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” So we celebrate. John 12:13 “They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Psalm 100:1 “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 150:1 “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. 2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”

        Music has always been part of our praise but at the same time it has been very divisive and still is. Today worship / music has become the main part of a gathering and some are much better at it than others but is music really the most important part, are they really joyful songs. I love music and over the years have bought a lot of songs so now when I go for long bike rides, I have hours of music that I listen to. I can’t sing, let alone stay on key but on my bike no one can hear. I used to pick out the music for our services and that was always interesting. Music was strange to me how one song could be so biblically sound and another by the same writer not so sound. You had people putting out songs from churches that were teaching other gospels, and this was a conundrum which means “a confusing and difficult problem or question.” Take Hillsong who put out many, many songs, has fallen apart. Even now I have listened to songs that I would no longer use. Music became the focal point of worship, but music really is not the main part of a service because God looks at the heart even if you are singing with all your might. God even said Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” The church started to follow this idea of worship in the form of music whether it was a choir or team, organ or guitars. Music was used to get people in the mood, to draw near to God or to have God draw near to them. Some churches even had songs like a prelude for all the people gathering late. I always thought it was interesting how the beat of a song caused people’s hands to go up even though the words were weak. A song with powerful words, no one put their hands up because it was slow. 

        I say this about songs because when Jesus preached, this is what happened. Luke 6:17 “He went down with them and stood on a level place. (He did a sound check so that it was good and loud, gathered the minstrels and made sure the fog machine worked) A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people (many came late, with their coffees in hand waiting to be entertained) from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.” Yes, I added the italicized words. The reality is if this power is not present, then your worship is without the love and it is just the noise of a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. The love chapter in Corinthians is between two power chapters. Most music in churches is just noise because there are too many stubborn hearts, and most are not following God’s word as they should. We saw this with David when he was moving the ark of God. 1 Chronicles 13:7 “They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. 8 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets.” That must have been awesome to be part of, yet 9 When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.” That put a damper on the worship because they did it wrong. They did not follow the words of God. Acts 5:4 You have not lied just to human beings but to God. 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.” That was a New Testament event. Then David worshipped in the right way before God. 1 Chronicles 15:1 “After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. 2 Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever. 3 David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” There was even music. 16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals. 28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.” There was even dancing. 2 Samuel 6:14 “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.”

        You can think you are doing everything perfectly as you worship before God but as Paul said, it will be in vain if you do not hold firmly to the words of God. The church today has no power so therefore has let go of God’s word. Yes, worship can be powerful and even moving, speakers are very good at getting their points across and the technology is amazing, yet where is the healing and the curing of impure spirits? Music isn’t wrong but it is the heart that is broken. It is wrong when we do not hold to God’s word. Worshipping music and those who perform is wrong and so is peddling the gospel. There is a song called the “Heart of Worship.” A few of the lyrics say, “When the music fades, all is stripped away and I simply come, longing just to bring something that's of worth, that will bless your heart. I'll bring you more than a song for a song in itself is not what you have required. You search much deeper within through the way things appear. You're looking into my heart. I'm coming back to the heart of worship and it's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus. I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it, when it's all about you, It's all about you, Jesus.” So, another song is written about it being more than a song? The desire for worship continued and the church has not changed. It really isn’t all about Jesus because the church has rebelled against His words. If it was all about Jesus, then you have to ask why the church doesn’t look like Jesus?

        This week we are talking about a call to joy. The music in the church has faded even though it is often blaring loud. Worship has become merely entertainment, and many do find joy from it but this joy is not sustained. Worship was good if the worship team was on, which means the Holy Spirit was more present than if the worship was not on. That is not how it works by the way. So how can there be any joy when the church is in desolation and remains in captivity. The answer is joy comes from trusting God’s word. Jeremiah 50:33 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well. All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go. 34 Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon. 35 “A sword against the Babylonians! declares the Lord.” God has promised that there would always be a remnant of His people and He would save them. Isaiah 54:8 “In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.” Isaiah 41:14 “Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 59:20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 35:1 “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

            The joy of the Lord is our strength. As Ezra read God’s word to His people, the people heard and wept and grieved. Nehemiah 8:9 “Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.” 12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.” Our joy comes from the promises of God’s word. Isaiah 52:9 “Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.” We can rejoice in our redemption, even if it has not happened yet.

        God had warned His people over and over that they would be destroyed for not obeying His word. He told them Babylon would come against them and they did but as Jeremiah had prophesied “the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.” 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.” Babylon was then destroyed. Isaiah 48:17 “This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. 18 If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. 19 Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.” 20 Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.” 21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out. 22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” It is interesting how the Jews and Gentiles alike are waiting for a kingdom of peace when that Kingdom of peace already came. Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” The wicked do not seem to understand the peace of God that is available to all who believe just as the world does not accept the Spirit of Truth and then rejects the available power. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you,” 

        Just as Israel was redeemed from captivity, the church will also be redeemed from this abomination that causes desolation, so we have great hope and, in that promise, we have great joy. Hosea 6:3 “Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” 1 Samuel 2:1 “Then Hannah prayed and said: My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. 2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” We also pray Psalm 90:13 “Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. 16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.” Psalm 64:10 “The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!” Isaiah 25:9 “In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

         There are a couple of songs that have been forgotten that the church really should learn. No, they are not in an old hymnal but in scripture. To sing these you don’t need a worship team or a band, in fact you don’t even need anyone who can sing. You don’t even need a tune to follow. Much of the worship you see and hear in churches today is just a cover-up for the lack of power, which is a result of rebellion. People will say what a powerful service even though there was no power present. Josiah was told 2 Chronicles 34:27 “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord.” Just like David, the church is not following God’s word and cannot expect to be blessed with God’s presence and power. Instead, we have incurred His wrath. We talked the other day about being marked by the beast or marked by the Holy Spirit. (Day 38: This Means War) Rebelling against God’s word means that you received the mark of the beast. The only way to not receive that mark is to obey. Revelation 7:9 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” The church is in tribulation now and millions have not made it because they stubbornly refuse to obey God’s word and were deceived because of it. We were warned that this would happen. 

        We also see in Revelation 15:1 “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. 2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God 3 and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: I am just going to say this about this false gospel. The nonsense you have read about or watched in a movie about the rapture, tribulation and millennial kingdom is all nonsense and lies from satan. That is the Mark 13:14 “abomination that causes desolation standing where it doesn’t belong.” Jesus said watch out that you are not deceived but the church did not listen. These are called doctrines of demons. If you have fallen for this foolishness, you have already received the mark of the beast. Mark goes on to say Mark 13:13 “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.”

        Now to the songs. If the church had paid attention to this song, this rebellion would not have happened. The first one is the song of Moses found in Deuteronomy 31-32:1-44. (Read this with the church in mind - foreign gods, other gods = false / other gospels) God told Moses Deuteronomy 31:16 “You are going to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. 17 And in that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and calamities will come on them, and in that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come on us because our God is not with us?’ 18 And I will certainly hide my face in that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods. 19 “Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them. 20 When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. 21 And when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.” 22 So Moses wrote down this song that day and taught it to the Israelites. Moses said 27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! 28 Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to testify against them. 29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.” 30 And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel” Jesus said Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Paul said Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”

        This is the Song of Moses; the one Israel paid no attention to and the one the church has ignored for their own songs. The music needed to fade so that God’s word would once again be the most important part of worship. Deuteronomy 32:1 “Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. 3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! 4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. 5 They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. 6 Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you? 7 Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. 8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. 9 For the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance. 10 In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, 11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. 12 The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him. 13 He made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him with the fruit of the fields. He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag, 14 with curds and milk from herd and flock and with fattened lambs and goats, with choice rams of Bashan and the finest kernels of wheat. You drank the foaming blood of the grape. 15 Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; filled with food, they became heavy and sleek. They abandoned the God who made them and rejected the Rock their Savior. 16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. 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. 19 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. 21 They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding. 22 For a fire will be kindled by my wrath, one that burns down to the realm of the dead below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains. 23 “I will heap calamities on them and spend my arrows against them. 24 I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust. 25 In the street the sword will make them childless; in their homes terror will reign. The young men and young women will perish, the infants and those with gray hair. 26 I said I would scatter them and erase their name from human memory, 27 but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy, lest the adversary misunderstand and say, ‘Our hand has triumphed; the Lord has not done all this.’” 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! 30 How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up? 31 For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede. 32 Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters with bitterness. 33 Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras. 34 “Have I not kept this in reserve and sealed it in my vaults? 35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” 36 The Lord will vindicate his people and relent concerning his servants when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free. 37 He will say: “Now where are their gods, the rock they took refuge in, 38 the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up to help you! Let them give you shelter! 39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. 40 I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear: As surely as I live forever, 41 when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. 42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.” 43 Rejoice, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people. 44 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. 45 When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. 47 They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” 

        Sadly, the church followed in the footsteps of Israel and Judah. 2 Chronicles 36:15 “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. 20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” The same has happened to the church. Our enemies have prevailed against us as we have no power to stand against their onslaught but there is good news; the end of this abomination is coming. We lost the power due to our rebellion and satan was given power over the church but that will end. Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” The church will once again go out to the ends of the earth clothed with power from on High. We will then do as Jesus did and the church will once again look like this. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 11:5 “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Disciples will once again go out in this same power. Matthew 9:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

        For this power to return, we turn to the next song, the song of the Lamb. Revelation 15:3 “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. 4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” We must acknowledge that God is sovereign above all and we must fear Him. Revelation 19:1 “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. “Hallelujah!     For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!” One day every knee will bow but not everyone will receive eternal life. Eternal damnation should strike fear in us, but most don’t give it much thought. For those who fear God, they will receive eternal life. Even though the church is in desolation, joy will come in the morning if we submit to our King. Psalm 30:4 “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Tomorrow we will look at Esther and how God saved His people through her and how their mourning was turned to joy. Isaiah 44:21 “Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you. 22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” 23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.”

             After Jesus raised the young man from the dead the people Luke 7:16 “were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” Nothing has changed as God wants to save His people, but we must turn from our wicked ways, turn from following false teachers and prophets and the false gospels they teach. The song of Moses warned us that this would happen. The good news is if we return to God, He will return to us and save us. If we obey, we will also live long in the land He gives us. So there is cause for much joy. As Job said I know that my redeemer lives! The question is do you and do you believe Him? Psalm 32:11 “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!” Joel 2:23 “Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.” 1 Chronicles 16:31 “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

        Are the words of God idle words or are they your life? Is the joy of the Lord your strength? Will you wait for His plans to unfold? Isaiah 8:17 “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.” Jeremiah said Jeremiah 15:6 “Then your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” Ezekiel was given the word of God. Ezekiel 3:1 “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. 3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” Proverbs 24:14 “Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” So we pray Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Habakkuk 3:2 “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”