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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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  • Apr14Sun

    Palm Sunday - Return to Me

    April 14, 2019
    Call to Worship:  Matthew 21:9 “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven! 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Mark 11:10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
               
    Songs: Forever  - Michael W. Smith   
    Sing   - Travis Cottrell          
    Hosanna (Praise Is Rising) -  Jadon Lavik 
     
    Scripture:   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.” Psalm 30:1 “I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. 3 You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. 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. 6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” 7 LORD, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: 9 “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? 10 Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help.” 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever. , Psalm 40 “1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. 4 Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.”
     
    Song:    You Are / You Are Lord - Hillsong
     
    Sermon: “Return to Me”
     
    Closing Song:  While I'm Waiting  - Travis Greene          
     
    Benediction:  Revelation 19:5 “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” 6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!”
    --------------------------------------------------------------- 
     
    Day 40: Palm Sunday
                Our journey so far has been about returning to God’s word and following His way wholeheartedly. God said in Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” Jeremiah 29:13You 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.”” Deuteronomy gives us a summary of what has happened to the church since the time of Jesus 2000 plus years ago. Deuteronomy 4:25 “After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.” So as Daniel prayed, we too have prayed, Daniel 9:17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” We have pleaded with God to hear our cry even though we do not deserve his great mercy. Because God has been gracious to us, Nehemiah 9:31 “But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” God is true to His word as we follow him wholeheartedly.
                The good news is because we have turned from our wicked ways, we are about to cross over to the land of promise. Deuteronomy 11:31 “You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you have taken it over and are living there, 32 be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today.” Our journey to the land of promise doesn’t happen just because we like the sound of “a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven.” It does not happen because we like the idea that “God will make us more prosperous and numerous than our ancestors” or “successful in all we do.” It doesn't happen just because we like the idea of “the enemies who rise up against us will be defeated before us.” It doesn’t happen just because we like the sound of living forever; it happens if we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It happens if you “obey the Lord our God and follow his commands and decrees” and teach others to do the same. There is no such thing as following God and following gods you have not known at the same time. David said 1 Kings 2:4 “and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.” We have to watch how we live; there is no halfway. There is no such thing as a little bit committed. You are all in or all out. Revelation 3:15 “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.” In the song of Moses they were told not to forget. Deuteronomy 32:45 “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.” But they did not follow just as the church did not adhere to the word of God. We saw what happened and like Revelation 3, they were vomited from the land of promise and taken into captivity just as we have been. Leviticus 18:28 “And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.”
                We must totally commit to God and His way. We cannot go our own way and be blessed. Moses said in that song Deuteronomy 32:5 “They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. 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.” The doctrine of your church does not override the word of God by the way. As Paul said in Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Most people do not know they are following other gods / gospels and have turned away even though they go to church every Sunday.
                On this Palm Sunday we find ourselves listening to the same words Jesus spoke to the Jews. In Matthew 23 Jesus just finished rebuking the Pharisees for being hypocrites. Matthew 23:5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” He then lists off a series of woe to you hypocrites directed at them. Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Then Jesus said this, which is so similar to today. 29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started! 33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.” Oh that we would not be that generation but the generation who turned backed to God with everything we have. Just a reminder that turning back also means waiting with all your heart. David said Psalm 38:15 “Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” 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.”
                Jesus told them they would do exactly the same as their ancestors. What people say today is we would never be as stiff-necked as Israel was. We would never go our own way and follow other gods like they did. We would never kill the prophets and teachers sent to turn you from your wicked ways. We would never crucify Jesus as the did. Yet most refuse to listen to the prophets and teachers sent to them and most have turned away form His word to follow other gods. Stephen said, Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” Yet all these things are still happening today. Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 8 “Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. 9 For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” The church today just want their ears scratched. 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.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”  That time has been here for a long time.
                So here we are being asked to make the same decision Moses commanded the Israelites to make. Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Joshua at the end of his life did the same. Joshua 24:14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” The people answered “16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods!” 22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.” “Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied. 23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” 24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.” Yes those who went before us chose to go their own way and did not obey. They did follow other gods just as Israel did, bringing the anger of the Lord upon us.” Yet there is hope because we have turned. Peter preached in Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
                Not only do we have to acknowledge the woes against hypocrisy, we have to listen to these words that followed and save ourselves from this corrupt generation. Jesus said, Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” This week we have been talking about God’s love. I trust that you saw that His love just isn’t about mushy feelings but about power over our enemies, saving us from the wrath of God and offering to us eternal life and going into all the world teaching the same. Romans 5:9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
                Jesus longs to gather us under his wings but most will have nothing to do with Him. One, they think they are okay because they go to church; so did the Pharisees. They think they are okay because the follow all the rules of the church; so did the Pharisees. They think they are okay because they have kept the commands since childhood, yet they will not sell all they have and follow wholeheartedly. There will always be something between them and God that they are not willing to give up. They do not understand what loving God means nor do they understand His love for us and his requirements. They will walk away just as the wealthy man did even though Jesus loved him. There has to be a willingness to follow. We must choose to obey or disobey. We must choose life or death. We choose prosperity or destruction by obeying or disobeying. Tomorrow in the blogs I will be talking more about that choice God has given us. The problem is that many are being led astray while they attend church by people like the Pharisees. Earlier we talked about the Pharisees who “love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues.” Those people are all over the place. 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” Jude 1:12 “These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.”. 2 Peter 2:13 “They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.”  
                These false prophets and their destructive heresies are everywhere in the church. They have brought the way, the truth and the life into disrepute. They have not protected us but have handed us over to our enemies. Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Though these visions were worthless so many people have fallen for these men and women who sell their wares to whoever will listen. They do not adhere to the word of God nor do they test the spirits. Many are simply looking for a show so they can check the box. John 12:17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him.” Many were simply just looking for some sort of wonder but not a relationship that required repentance and turning from their wicked ways. John 6:60 “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Those same crowds who shouted Hosanna in the highest also began to shout crucify Him, crucify Him. Matthew 27:20 “But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
                Too many people today are part of the crowd and very few are willing to reach out and take hold of Jesus; too few are willing to go against the status quote. John 12:42 “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” Some guru makes a statement and people believe it by the millions, yet refuse to believe in the one who can give them life eternal. Today most people are more concerned about what man says than what God says. God says fear not while man says fear everything. There is always talk of the enemy infiltrating politics, businesses, countries and then striking from within. We saw more than talk with 9/11. We see continued examples of terrorism all around the world. People are now more fearful than ever because we have such instant media access to any event in the world. It doesn’t even have to be news it could be just a video that went viral. As soon as something happens we hear about it yet this infiltration has been happening in the church for 2000 years, yet no one seems the wiser although we have been warned over and over again not to be deceived. satan is smart as he gets you to believe that the deception is coming, not already hear. Meanwhile millions of Christians have been deceived while they wait for the deception to begin in the future some time. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
                Jesus said in Matthew 23:38 “Look, your house is left to you desolate.”  Daniel warned us. Daniel 9:27 “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” While many wait the desolation is already upon us. Daniel 11:31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”  Jesus said warned us in 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. 15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” In case you missed it –stand firm!
                Jesus also said in Matthew 23:39 “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The Jews have refused to say blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Now the Gentiles also refuse to say blessed is he comes in the name of the Lord. Everyone has gone their separate ways agreeing to disagree and most are not willing to walk away from the false gospels they have been deceived by. All through the ages God has raised up his servants who have been set apart to proclaim the word of the Lord. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 1 Samuel 2:35 “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always.” God promised David there would always be a remnant and will not break that promise. That promise does not mean we can live however we want. Yes God loves us but as we saw we must obey him completely or else even the remnant goes into captivity as we have seen happen to the church.
                Because God loves us there is hope, if we turn from our wicked ways. We must continue to shout Hosanna and never change. We must remain in Him and follow His way not our ways. John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
                Here is a profound statement. We were warned not to be deceived for a reason so that we would not be deceived. To prevent that deception we must remain in Him; we must follow God’s word wholeheartedly. This does not mean the parts we like or agree with or the parts our churches teach. Because of our unbelief we have been left desolate. What we have ended up with is a powerless church that by all appearances looks as if it must be doing as God commanded but upon a closer look you see it is just a form of godliness but no power. The church like Israel went their own ways and tried to do things in their own power and failed miserably. Our only hope is to wait until you Luke 24:49 “have been clothed with power from on high.” Then when we receive power Acts 1:8 “when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Hezekiah sent this letter out to all the people of the land. So I leave you with this directive. 2 Chronicles 30:6 “At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read: “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”