Call to Worship:        Judges 5:3 “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will praise the Lord, the God of Israel, in song. 31 “So may all your enemies perish, Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.” Psalm 30:4 “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.” Psalm 68:4 “Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—His name is the Lord.” Psalm 100:5 “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Luke 24:5 “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again. 8 Then they remembered his words.”
    Songs:  Emmanuel - The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir                                
    Alive Forever, Amen - Passionate Praise 2                                                   
    Shout Unto God - Michael W. Smith       
    King of Glory   -   Passion & Kristian Stanfill      
     Awake My Soul-  Hillsong Worship
    Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-11
    Songs:   Build Your Kingdom Here - Rend Collective
    Yours Is the Kingdom  -  Hillsong
    Sermon:  “What God Finally Brought About!”
    Closing Song:  We Turn Our Eyes - Travis Cottrell / Lily Cottrell
    Benediction:  Isaiah 56:1 “This is what the Lord says: Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. 2 Blessed is the one who does this— the person who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps their hands from doing any evil.”

     Sermon: What God Finally Brought About
                For the last 46 days we have been on a Lenten journey taking us to the redemption of joy. Along the way we had a global pandemic begin, which in turn shut the world down. Everything that was held in high regard, no longer could meet together. Sports, entertainment, travel, and non-essential businesses came to a stop. This virus ravaged the land and continues to do so but not by itself, as we still have cancer, heart attacks, strokes, respiratory infections, HIV, natural disasters, accidents and hundreds of other sicknesses just to name a few. If you look at the statistics, death has been ravaging the world. The World Health Organization reported in 2016, “Of the 56.9 million deaths worldwide, more than half (54%) were due to the top 10 causes. Heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers, accounting for a combined 15.2 million deaths.” Add to those numbers the coronavirus, which is still wreaking havoc daily on the world and the numbers continue to increase. New York Times reported, “For the first time, the government has declared all 50 states a major disaster for the same event. The United States on Saturday surpassed Italy in the total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, reaching its deadliest day on Friday with 2,057 deaths.” The numbers of those tested so far when I looked are 1,727,602 cases and 105,728 deaths. In Canada, 22,559 cases and 569 deaths. In the US, 506,008 cases and 19,666 deaths. In the US during 2017, 1,246,565 people died with heart issues and cancer alone. Which doesn’t include the other top eight diseases nor all the rest of the sickness out there. In Canada during the year 2017, there were 276,689 deaths plus there were a few provinces with no report that would make that number higher; cancer and heart diseases remained the two leading causes of death.”
                So on top of all the deaths and sickness that are already happening, of which you are not really hearing about right now, we have deaths from this virus added to them and no one really knows for sure where this will go. There is a lot of fear happening but could it be that there is something else going on here. Some are saying it's a conspiracy but that falls short quick enough as conspiracy theories always do. Everyone is looking for someone to blame, some explanation and asking how did this happen? When will it end? They are also looking for ways to stop it. Some ask why weren’t we prepared? Some are just oblivious to what is happening. On the church side of things I also hear conspiracy, government, satan, antichrists. One even went so far as to say getting the vaccination leads the way for the antichrist. Not true by the way. Another said, “satan and a virus will not stop us,” and they made their fight against the tyranny of the government. The government just said don’t meet in groups; go ahead and do it online. Tyranny would be shutting down the voice completely. But remember 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” They are already here and we are already seeing the effects.
                We have people who think they are speaking for God as I showed you with Kenneth Copeland who shouted and blew at the virus to no avail. He said it was over twice but it kept getting worse. I saw an article dated February 28, 2020, where a false prophet named Shawn Boltz shared his prophetic word. He said, “The Lord showed me the end of the coronavirus. The tide is turning now! He is answering the prayers and cries of the nations and is putting an end in sight. The exaggerated fear-based tactics of the enemy and several media outlets for political reasons are coming to an end. The enemy has been trying to distract and steal from several equally important purposes and issues by dominating airwaves with conspiracy and fear. Even now, several vaccines are coming out, as well as a natural dying out of the virus itself. The Lord is saying, "I am removing the threat of this." Within a short amount of time, the extreme threat will feel as though it is in the distant past.” I thought the publisher’s note was interesting. “Note: As of this publication, the coronavirus has reportedly infected over 82,000 (yesterday - 1,727,602) people around the world and caused more than 2,800 deaths. (yesterday - 105,728 ) As you can see from the numbers above his prophecy was wrong and didn’t happen and yes he is still talking but it got worse just as when Copeland shouted and blew at the virus; nothing happened but got worse. Please understand that these men say the Spirit of God is upon them but it is not God.
                The astonishing part of this is that the church around the world has been exposed for a lack of power just as these false prophets have been exposed. By the way you should be asking yourself why are there so many false prophets and teachers in the church saying the Lord told me? Scripture tells us why as Jesus said, Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” The church has become like all the other religions who have shut their doors and have gone inside and online. While most in the church have turned to the Internet; they continue to go their own ways with a form of godliness yet continue to deny his power. Isaiah 5:13 “Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding.” We have already. I believe that God with this virus has shown the world the powerless church with one worldwide, all-encompassing action. Across the world, nations have become of one mind, at least in their effort to contain the virus in their countries, meanwhile the church continues to go their own way and continue to go on as if nothing has happened. They continue to go in as many different directions as they see fit. The only ones who don’t seem to see the weakness, is the church itself. This pandemic has revealed that the church has not followed God’s way and has paid a huge prize for it. What we see today is not the church. This apathy and disobedience in the church has been going on for generations. So far the church has not listened to God’s warnings, just as Israel did not listen because they were stiff-necked and stubborn. Most people have no idea what God could unleash on us but His power is clearly described in the bible. The world can barely handle this one. I trust by now you realize the church does not have the power to defeat their enemies. In one motion, God has shown the world that the church is no different than everyone else. He has shown the world the church is not what it is supposed to be. He has also shown the world that the church cannot stand up to their enemies and if you are listening you will see it too. Leviticus 26:37 “They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword, even though no one is pursuing them. So you will not be able to stand before your enemies.” When Achan sinned, God said, Joshua 7:11 “Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” The church must remove their sin. This has been going on for generations yet the church refuses to change their ways, splitting and going in every new direction and coming up with every new teaching under the sun but never turning back to Jesus, the way the truth and the life. They just get further and further away. They are 2 Timothy 3:7 “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Isaiah 59:15 “Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.” Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.”
                So today on the calendar is the day chosen to celebrate Easter. “Easter falls on the first Sunday after the Full Moon date, based on mathematical calculations, that falls on or after March 21. If the Full Moon is on a Sunday, Easter is celebrated on the following Sunday.” At least that is how someone described it. The reality is that the church should be an Christmas, Easter and Pentecost church every day of the year and clothed in power but we are not. We have turned Christmas and Easter into a pageant and ignore Pentecost because most don’t know what to do with it nor do they understand the Holy Spirit plus Pentecost is harder to commercialize. I like what one person said, “Pentecost is in trouble—not because of some outsider trying to make a buck, but because of church leaders who have adopted the same entrepreneurial tactics. And the more we try to put the Spirit to work for us, the further we get from Pentecost truth.” God has already warned us about doing this. Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 1:10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!” After Jeremiah had buried his belt as told to do by God and it became useless as a belt, he told the people Jeremiah 13:8 “Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless! 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.”
                During our Lenten Journey I have shared that the church is not what it is supposed to be. Jesus did not die on the cross and rise from the dead so that we would remain in captivity. All that we read in our scripture reading from Isaiah 61 was supposed to continue to happen. Pentecost was so supposed to be an every day event. So what happened? Everything happened just as God said it would but people rejected His son. Even still, the gospel went out but men and women have followed other gospels to their demise. Did Jesus fail at the cross? Was the cross all for nothing? Is God not actually strong enough to defeat our enemies? We know that’s just senseless talk as Job said in Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Paul said Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.” We were given the same power that raised Jesus from the dead so it is not God who has the problem. We are all accountable before God and have no excuse.
                The answer for this desolation we find ourselves in rests solely on ourselves. The death of Jesus has made everyone now accountable to him. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” If we want to have this free gift of eternal life we must obey His words found in the bible. When we reject or change His words, we reject Jesus. John 14:15 “If you love me keep my commandments.” Instead the church has gone backwards not forwards. Jeremiah 7:24 “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’” We were supposed to continue to go into the world with power and if we had stayed true to the gospel, the gospel would have spread around the world very quickly. 2 Peter 3:11 “You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” Instead of living holy and godly lives, the church continues to shout crucify Him, crucify Him and is still trampling the Son of God underfoot by pursuing our own course. Because of this there is only one option for the church and that is to repent and turn from our wicked ways so that the kingdom of God will come near once again.
                Jesus makes it very clear why the kingdom is no longer coming near. First he said do not be deceived. Jesus said in Matthew 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 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,” yet we did not listen. Secondly he even told us to make sure we follow His words wholeheartedly. 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.” Being spit out of Jesus mouth is like when Israel was vomited out of the Promised Land. Don’t think for a moment you can live your life how you want and then expect God to bless you. Luke 13:22 “Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.”
                I believe it is important to hear this example of what some are teaching about salvation. This should help you understand fuller the magnitude of the desolation of the church. This was a conversation between two very prominent men in the church who have now both died. This is taken from a conversation on How to Get to Heaven, between Billy Graham and Robert Schuller (former Crystal Cathedral). This was on video but thankfully someone had the transcript. Schuller: Tell me. What do you think is the future of Christianity? Graham: Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know I think there is the body of Christ, which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups, I think everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ whether they are conscious of it or not they are members of the body of Christ. And I don´t think that we are going to see a great sweeping revival that is going to turn the world to Christ at anytime. I think the apostle James answered that in the first council of Jerusalem when he said that God´s purpose of this age is to call out a people for His name. And that´s what God is doing today; He´s calling the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they have been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their heart that they need something that they don´t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I believe that they are saved, and that they are going to be with us in Heaven. Schuller: What I hear you saying is that it´s possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart and soul and life, even if they´ve been born in darkness and have never had an exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what your saying? Graham: Yes it is. Because I believe that. I´ve met people in various parts of the world, in Tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible, or never heard a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they believed in their heart that there was a God and they tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived"¦ Schuller: (interrupting) Fantastic! I´m so glad to hear you say that. There is a wideness in God´s mercy. Graham: There is. There definitely is.” The answer Schuller should have said was this is utter nonsense and unbiblical. It goes against the verse I just gave you from Luke. Jesus said the way is narrow and few will make it and Romans tells us everyone is without excuse. This is where ones doctrines and theology are leading people astray.
                Jesus didn’t die on the cross and rise from the dead so we could go into all the world and lead people astray and make them worse off than they were before. 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.” Yes even Billy Graham taught other gospels. The problem in his case was everyone loved him. You have to ask why? He had the world as his stage but failed to preach the true gospel of Jesus who himself said Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” We were supposed to go into all the world clothed with power. In order for that to happen, truth must lead the way. Malachi 2:5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble,” We were supposed to go out in power. Mark 16:19 “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” That is what a disciple was supposed to do.
                This is what we the church were called to do. 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.” For this to happen we must stand firm on the word of the Lord. John 15:4 “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.” If we are to be Jesus disciples then the church will look like Jesus. Matthew 10:24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters.”
                Jesus did not rise from the dead so that we could be human and do what humans do. Jesus rose so that God would dwell in us in power. Yes man can do amazing things yet the easiest thing they could do is to turn from their own ways yet they refuse. Most do not want to carry the cross even though Jesus told us to. Most are not even being told they have to. Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” The church is always looking at the cross but are not willing to lay their lives down to carry the cross. For most the cost is too much and they turn away. For other they are carrying the traditions of the church they have submitted to but refuse to lay their lives down as a living sacrifice. Mark 7:6 “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.”
                Many people followed Jesus until His teaching seemed to hard for them and they turned away. John 6:60 “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Acts 2:4 “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” John 1:41 “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). Are you looking for the Messiah? God said if you seek me you will find me but we must look with everything we have and believe. After Jesus has risen Matthew 28:5 “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” I love that Jesus presented himself to the woman first, the one who at the time had no voice. The two disciples who had turned away because they did not believe said Luke 24:21 “but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Once their eyes were opened, 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. 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.” Speaking of bread, don’t forget to remember what Jesus did for us as you eat your meals. As you eat thank God for what Jesus did for you. Paul directed us 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. 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.”
                The problem we have today is the church has watered down what little gospel there is left. No one wants to offend anyone or else they might leave. Church growth is simply about who puts on the best show especially now that everything is online. One article said, “This past weekend, Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen Ministries reached “close to” 4.63 million people online, according to the group’s in-house digital manager. The March 14/15 service shattered the church’s previous record of 4.17 million viewers, which came in November 2019 when Kanye West’s traveling Sunday service visited Osteen’s house of worship. Setting Kanye and the coronavirus aside, online viewing for Osteen’s church had been around 2 million people.” I trust you continue to see the desolation of the church. Think about this as 4.63 million people tune in to hear a false teacher teach. There really is no cost today to follow Jesus. If you like it you go, if you don’t you go somewhere else. Especially in these times people can watch or listen to whoever will make them feel the best about themselves. The cost charged by the church has been greatly cheapened.
                When Jesus said in Luke about putting Him before family and your own life so much so that you hate them. This means that there is nothing or no one before you and God. Many could not handle that teaching and still can’t. God said he would bless us if we did. Mark 10:29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Matthew gives us a description of what can happen when you put Jesus over everyone else and everything. Most are not willing to do this. Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Even Jeremiah talks about this. Jeremiah 12:6 “Your relatives, members of your own family— even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you. Do not trust them, though they speak well of you.”
                Jesus died for you and I. But the good news is He also rose for you and I and empowers us to do as He did. How are you repaying Him? Have you given your life back to Him? Do you live wholeheartedly for him or for yourself? He made it possible for you to live forever and all you had to do was give him your life on this earth. Everyone is going to live forever; it just depends where you have decided to spend your eternity. God said if we would live for Him, He would bless us by opening the floodgates of heaven on this earth and eternally. Read about obedience on the blessing side of Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26. The church has decided they know better yet they do not even know the enemy has infiltrated the church and have no power to do anything about it. We read Isaiah 61 earlier but the church is content to continue in our disobedience and to sit in a dimly lit prison cell, happy to remain as captives and never to be free; they would prefer to mourn and be in despair. They don’t want to restore ruins but live amongst them. They want to continue in their shame and disgrace and never have everlasting joy. They are content to be powerless. They prefer to continue in their shameful nakedness, wretched, pitiful, poor and blind. They also, like the Jews no longer consider themselves worthy of eternal life.
                Jesus did not suffer and die and rise from the dead so that all those could happen. Our hopelessness came to an end. When there was no one else, God sent His Son. Revelation 5:1 “Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. 9 You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” 1 Chronicles 29:11 “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” Isaiah 59:16 “He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. 17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. 18 According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. 19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along. 20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord. 21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.” Peter then said Acts 1:38 “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.”
                This corrupt generation is a church who thought they knew better and went against God’s word by adding to and subtracting from His words. Men and woman in their flesh tell you what the words written by the Spirit means, yet most are without knowledge because they have followed other gospels and do not have the Spirit of God. They simply want to make the bible say what they believe. Jude 1:19 “These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The church said, sure we can go our own way. What is the worst that could happen? My theology and my doctrines tell me I am safe and secure from all alarm but there is only one who can save you. Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” God then sent His son. He was crucified and rose from the dead. He promised us the Holy Spirit so what happened to the power of the Holy Spirit? As you look at scripture from beginning to end, we are told to obey and when we don’t, the promises of God change. He doesn’t change but our disobedience causes us to be cast from His presence and taken captive by our enemies. Everything changes when we disobey. They disobeyed in the garden and they disobeyed in the Promised Land that God gave them for all time, yet God had to remove His people. Even though they were saved from Egypt, which foreshadowed salvation when Jesus came, they rejected him. After being freed from Egypt, they died in the desert. Because they did not believe that God would give them the land God said, Numbers 14:29 “In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.” The Jews still don’t believe today yet every Passover they give praise to God for saving them from Egypt yet many will die in the desert just like their ancestors did. Israel disobeyed again and again so God used Babylon to destroy them and then saved them from Babylon. Just as Jesus came for us, he will destroy the work of satan and the remnant will rise up once again. Salvation is available for all mankind if they would listen and repent. Yes the bible does say every knee will bow but you do not want to find out when it is too late that Jesus is Lord. The rich man Lazarus was in hell and pleaded 27 “I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Yes even after Jesus rose from the dead people refused to repent. Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. 24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength. All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.” Matthew 25:25 “But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.” Paul said, Romans 14:11 “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Jesus said 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” You don’t want to admit Jesus was Lord from Hades.
                As you picture Jesus on the cross bearing your sin so that by believing in Him the wrath of God will be removed from you, Joshua 24:15 “choose 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.” Then picture the empty tomb and ask yourself are you living in the power that raised Jesus from the dead. Remember that power is described all through the bible and the church looks nothing like it. Yes there are powerful people but not clothed with power. The choices today, is to return to the word of God or don’t; there is no middle ground. You either follow wholeheartedly or you don’t. If you keep following other gospels, you will worship in vain. Yes I know every denomination or group that has gathered believe they have the way but that is not possible. Jesus didn’t die and rise so that there could be many ways. He was the only one who died for us, so there is only one way. His words are the words, so there is only one way. Just as the Spirit of God wrote the bible, Jesus is the word of life; the Spirit of God interprets the bible. Without the Spirit you interpret wrong. Trust me when I say it is not the Spirit of God who is confused. The church today seems to only want to hear what satisfies their own taste buds. Isaiah 30:8 “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!” 12 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, 13 this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.” The bible is an everlasting witness so we must pay attention
                This is what has happened to the church. Most want pleasant things to hear. Most people who go to church and many who don’t, know this should be part of their life but at the same time the word of God bores them and most have no idea what it means to be a Christian even though they attend week after week. Because most do not know God’s word and those in charge are deceiving them with their own words, satan has deceived the church and most are non-the wiser. The book of Isaiah is this amazing book that prophecies about our Saviour Jesus and then talk about destruction at the same time. There is this blessing and curse theme all the way through. Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Then in the next paragraph they are warned about Assyria coming and then there would be darkness and then after that Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” The good news for us is that God will keep his promise to David and Jesus continues to reign as King and His kingdom is still available to all who would believe and turn from their own ways.
                The tomb is empty. He has risen and has left us the Holy Spirit to empower us. 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. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Romans 8:34 “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Paul asked and answered Romans 7:24 “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 8:5 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
                But the church has disobeyed and that power was removed and our enemies prevailed against us, and 2 Chronicles 15:3 “for a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.” For many they stopped looking because of the silence and the lack of miracles, signs and wonders. They stopped seeking and then church became about what man could do not what God could do and lived according to the flesh. The church then became so dependent on themselves and did not even know they had been deceived so that only a remnant of God’s faithful remains. Isaiah 57:11 “Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me, and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me? Matthew 24:48 “45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.”
                Yes Easter is here but it has been here for over 2000 years. What isn’t here is the power of the Holy Spirit and the church doing what Jesus did but there is good news as God is faithful to His words and promises. Yet there is good news. Isaiah 30:20 “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” Isaiah 42:14 “For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. 16 I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. So even though as Isaiah describes Isaiah 6:11 “the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,” and 13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught, there is still hope for us. Psalm 22:24 “For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 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.” Psalm 12:5 ““Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” 6 And the words of the Lord are flawless.”
                 What we were called to do at the beginning, we will do again. We were called to be a kingdom of priests. Exodus 19:5 “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” We saw what that kingdom looked like and the power that goes with it when Jesus walked the earth and we saw it also when Jesus walked the earth after his death. Revelation 1:5 “from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Jesus said if we waited to be clothed with power he would send us to the ends of the earth to make his name known. Jesus not only sent His Spirit to be with us, He is interceding for us before God. The church has been called to go to the ends of the earth in power. Isaiah 42:5 “This is what God the Lord says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 8 “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Joshua was told Joshua 1:2 “Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. Now the world) 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Our enemies will be put to shame. Isaiah 41:11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. 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.” Jesus changes everything, the old is gone the new has come. If we turn back, we will never be the same again but we must stay true to God’s word. Isaiah 65:17 “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.” 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.” 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
               Easter gives us a better life than in the Garden of Eden, better than the Promised Land. Easter gives us undeserved redemption, eternal freedom, and joy everlasting. As Peter said after Pentecost took place, Acts 2:15 “These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” This prophecy was already fulfilled and we will be filled once again. Jeremiah 31:13 Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Isaiah 61:3 “To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” The remnant will rise up Isaiah 35:10 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.” Isaiah 43:5 “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 61:7 “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 15 “Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. 16 You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. 21 Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. 22 The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.” God wants to take us into the land of milk and honey just as he promised.
                So we call out to God and we seek Him and we never stop trusting the Him. We never give up. Isaiah 62:6 “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” From the beginning of time God has asked us to trust Him and obey his word. If we obeyed, he would pour out blessing on us and if we disobeyed our enemies would prevail. So as Hezekiah said 1 Chronicles 30:8 “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.” God is angry with what the church has become but there is hope because the remnant will rise up again. Malachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.” Psalm 135:13 “Your name, Lord, endures forever, your renown, Lord, through all generations. 14 For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.” 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.”
                Job persevered even though he knew he had not sinned before God but at the end of his journey he admitted that he didn’t know God as well as he thought he did. Job 42:1 “Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.” Do you despise yourself enough to repent? Are you willing to repent before God and confess your sins before Him? 1 Kings 8:46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace”.
                The church unlike Job has sinned before God and have caused many to turn away without even knowing it. For those who are thinking about repenting, some may think that their sins are too much for God but God sent His son and on that cross are your sins, so no they are not too much for God. God said, Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Are you willing to live for Him wholeheartedly. If the answer is yes there is good news. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”   
                God is a gracious God and we do not deserve His love but His love endures forever. Nehemiah 9:17 “But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” People do not get away with their sin. They think God doesn’t see but God see everything. You cannot hide from God. Jeremiah 23:24 “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.” Numbers 32:23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Our sins before God make us His enemy Nahum 1:2 “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies. 3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.” We do not want God angry with us, just our enemies so we must repent. Joel 2:13 “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
                Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords and is worthy of our praise. He has risen indeed. Psalm 145:1 “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. 4 One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. 5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 6 They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds. 7 They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. 8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10 All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. 11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. 14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.”
                If you are watching the news, all seems hopeless. Our only hope is in Jesus Christ. On the Easter Sunday know that God is God and He is faithful to His word and to those who follow faithfully. Jesus told his disciples that he would be killed but would rise on the third day. They did not understand and they doubted Him. True to His word He did rise and appeared among them. He then told them Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
               So be strong and courageous. Psalm 18:6 “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! 47 He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, 48 who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. 49 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. 50 He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever. “James 5:11 “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” God will bring about His promises to us, just stand firm on His word.