I would say that almost everyone who calls themselves a Christian and even those who do not have heard 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.” They have also probably heard John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Now just because you have heard of these verses, does not mean you actually believe what Jesus tells us. In the gospel of John in the NIV version, the word believe and its various forms appears 84 times and in the book of Acts 64 times and overall 263 times in the New Testament. If you call yourself a Christian then that means you are a believer therefore you must believe God’s word. John goes on to say John 3:17 “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.”
                Belief has always been an issue that separates the faithful from the rebellious. Numbers 14:11 “The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?” Psalm 78:22 “for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.” Psalm 78:32 “In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.” Psalm 106:19 “At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. 20 They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass. 21 They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, 22 miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.  Then in the New Testament we still see unbelief. When Zechariah was told the good news he did not believe. Luke 1:20 “And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” When the disciples were told about Jesus rising from the dead, they did not believe. Mark 16:11 “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.” Mark 16:13 “These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.” There were those even when Jesus stood in front of them that still doubted. Matthew 28:16 “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.” John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.  63 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.”
                To be a true Christian, you must believe God’s word. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 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.” Many people read their bibles day after day yet still do not believe what they read. Many have exchanged the glory of God for something man has made. Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” This passage is not just talking about homosexuality and idolatry. The church has done this by following after other gospels, which is the same as following other gods. They have followed after the teaching of men and woman to their own demise. Most Christians believe in a form of godliness but deny truth. 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 8 these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. 2 Peter 2:18 “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.”
                The church has adapted to these other gospels while still believing they are following the truth. Every Sunday around the world people listen to men and women preach and teach while worshipping in vain because they have not sought the truth. 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. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” This has been happening since the time Paul said this to the Galatians. This means that most are not actually following the truth they think they are following but a distorted version of it. Many due to their unbelief are under delusion brought on by God. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 “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. Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” If you are not following the true gospel then you worship in vain. Over time other gospels have saturated the church. People who think they are saved have been deceived by these teachings and then generation after generation the church gets further from the truth. Doctrines of demons are everywhere. 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.” Millions have been deceived and will not see eternal life. Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
                While there are many who have been blatantly deceived and under great delusion because of their unbelief, there are many who have not continued to follow wholeheartedly because life has not gone as they see fit. They are very committed to God’s word but deep inside there is doubt. This happens because somewhere along the way they gave up on God’s promises because they had not seen them yet. They may have prayed for someone and nothing happened or someone was not healed and died or their life circumstances have not changed. satan then comes along and gets you to question the integrity and validity of God’s promises to those who follow wholeheartedly. He says did God really say that. satan wants you to take the easy path to death so that you will join him in hell that God has prepared for him. Matthew 25:41 “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.” Many will give up on God’s word and stop believing in His promises yet still go through the motions by acting as if they believe. They quit persevering because they think they know better than God yet God says Hebrews 12:4 “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Hebrews 6:35 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Many who find themselves in a position of doubt due to their circumstances are not aware that the church is in captivity and that they must persevere and stand firm through this time of desolation. Because the church is in desolation, the power we see in the New Testament is not flowing among us but God is still gracious to His remnant even while in captivity just as we saw in Esther and Daniel. If you have been praying, don’t give up because God will keep His promise to the faithful. Even though we are in captivity, we still have to be faithful until the time of our release and God has promised that day is coming. Yes truth has been thrown down and is nowhere to be found but that will change in God’s perfect timing.
                It is important to understand that there is nothing false about God’s word but we must be aware that due to our disobedience the church is being punished just as Israel and Judah were punished for their disobedience. In the end even the remnant went into captivity. The good news is that God kept His promise and the remnant was freed. We need to understand that due to our disobedience we must turn from our wicked ways by repenting so that the Kingdom of God will come near once again. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” God’s word is truth. Moses said Deuteronomy 32:47 “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.” Because they did not follow those words, they were vomited out of the land just as they were told they would be. All the words of God are truth but you will notice that Jesus would often say, “truly I tell you.” It is not that the other words were false; it was used to emphasize a point. An example is a verse we have talked about a lot. John also includes the word very. 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.” Matthew 17:20 “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” As you are aware many Christians believe in a powerless version of this verse or don’t even believe them to be possible, as their doctrines and theology do not allow for the power of God to work among them nor do they believe He will. Jesus said very truly which means pay very close attention to what I am saying and believe.  
                When we understand that the church is under the power of satan (the abomination that causes desolation) at this time, our focus should be on praying for our release from captivity. So while we are not seeing the power that is available to all who believe, God is still gracious to us and gives us the opportunity to return to Him. 2 Chronicles 30:6 “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.” When we return to God, He returns to us. That means as Jeremiah tells us Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”
                We then will see the power of God at work in the church. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” 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.” 1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
                As we wait we are hopeful. Isaiah 30:18 “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.” Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” 2 Kings 19:31 “For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Jeremiah 23:3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.”
                God is looking for those who will follow His words wholeheartedly. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” The church down through the years has painted a picture that following Jesus doesn’t cost anything as long as you go to church. The truth is while grace is free; following Jesus will cost you your life. The church is now filled with the lukewarm and the partially committed but hat is not what Jesus told us. 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.” We then have this promise. 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.” Many in the church have lived their lives without following wholeheartedly thinking they were secure but all the while they have been deceived and worship in vain. In this desolation most of the church has just accepted this powerless and empty way as how the church is supposed to be without ever thinking that it is not to be this way. The church is only this way because of our sin of neglecting God’s words and following our own.
                As you wait I want to give you hope that even though it appears God is not at work, He is. God took care of His remnant while they were in captivity. You saw that in Daniel and Esther. When Daniel’s life was in danger God revealed the king’s dream. Daniel 2:19 “During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.” Esther 9:1 “On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.” God does take care of those in captivity.
                If you have been praying and God does not seem to be answering, keep praying. If you are following wholeheartedly, God will keep His promise to you. A few weeks ago I shared about my journey in the blog “What’s Your Story.” I talked a little about my journey with obesity, actually I am morbidly obese. We have a little pillow that says “Through thick and thin” and unfortunately it has been mostly thick. The harder I tried the more I gained. When I did loose weight, I gained it back and then some. It was very frustrating to be so diligent in my devotional life yet so powerless to defeat this enemy. If you are looking for a how to weight loss plan this is not what you will see on an infomercial. What I want you to take away from this is to wait and God and trust in His promises. I have prayed and prayed about this for years and have not had victory. While my body adapted to the weight gain, God was very gracious to me that I did not develop diabetes or heart issues. I would work out, loose some weight, and then get stuck and then go back up. That was very frustrating. I would say muscle weighs more than fat but the problem was I was just eating too much and I weighed what I ate. One time long ago a trainer told me 80% eating right and 10% working out and 10% body type. Whether that is exactly accurate I think it is pretty close. Most want to sell you a program based on the 10% and then tell you to follow their meal plan. It is about what you eat but what if you can’t control what you eat. Yes you tell yourself and others will tell you to just eat less but that doesn’t always work. If it were that easy we wouldn’t have this obesity crisis. There will always be those who have the will power to change but most don’t, which is why obesity is such a problem. Obesity Canada states that, “Based on existing population surveillance studies, the prevalence of obesity in Canada has increased significantly over the past three decades. According to the 2014 Canadian Community Health Survey, over 5 million adults have obesity and according to the 2015 Canadian Health Measures Survey, 30% or more than one in three adults in Canada has obesity and may require medical support to manage their disease. Many organizations including the Obesity Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization now consider obesity to be a chronic disease. As a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer and other important health problems, obesity can have serious impacts on those who live with it. It is estimated that one in 10 premature deaths among Canadian adults age 20 to 64 is directly attributable to obesity.” In the United States, CDC tells us “the prevalence of obesity was 42.4% in 2017~2018. [Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief] From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.” If it was that easy to change, these numbers would not be increasing.
                What you won’t hear in most diet plans is to trust God. You might hear pray like it all depends on God and work like it depends on you. That is garbage. Pray because it all does depend on God and be grateful to Him when He answers your prayer. My weight was on the way back up. Over the years I watched my weight climb. The most I have weighed was almost 350 lbs. I brought it down but for years I have been over 300 with a dip down to 270 because I starved myself but then promptly went back up. As of February 9, 2021 I weighed in at 319.4 and I was running out of clothes again. I know that date because everything changed for me from that point on. God had given me a promise that I would set aside my prison clothes and that is what happened. I waited a long time for that promise to take place in my life. I know things are different because my eating is totally under control and no longer controls me. Something in my head switched. I am exercising and the weight is coming off. Today I am 1 lb. away from losing 50 lbs. since February 9, 2021. My next goal is to be under 250, which is the weight I went over after seminary in 1995. Turns out it does matter how much food you eat and being big boned is not really a good excuse. It really is hard to imagine carrying five 10lb. bags of potatoes around in everything you do. What is really hard is the ten bags I have been carrying around for a  long time. My last goal will to be somewhere around 205. I have a subdued celebration because I am still morbidly obese. I have been diligent in my exercise. I work out every other day, missing only one day due to a dizzy spell. I ride my bike and walk the dog with my wife. You may think lots of people have done this and that is true, but for the most part people who struggle continue to struggle. Don’t even think this about willpower and finally figuring out the formula for weight loss. This is not about digging deep or believing the power is within you or vision casting. This is not about what my hands have made but God’s power within me to defeat this enemy.
                Your first step is to get right with God. If you have submitted to Him, then keep trusting Him for His promises. Your prison clothes may not be weight. Like I did with my weigh many have adapted to their prison clothes. It might be a sickness or medication for that sickness. It might be mental health; it may be your finances. You may be in perfect health and everything going perfectly yet you are not serving God wholeheartedly. Start with your relationship with God. Test the spirits and make sure you are not adhering to a false gospel. Turn back to God and trust His words. You will know when God heals you.
                When God speaks truth to you, you can trust His words. Psalm 119:160 “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” Paul tell us 1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” Jesus said John 6:47 “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.”
               If eating right is 80% to a healthy body then if you focus on eating the bread of life with everything you have 100%, then life will completely change. I am a strong willed person and I am totally sold out to God’s word but when it came my weight I was being defeated but God gave me victory. David said 2 Samuel 22:14 “The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. 15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 16 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of breath from his nostrils. 17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. 20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Our enemies are too strong for us and we need God to fight our battles. Sickness can be defeated by the power of God. Luke 13:10 “On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Today many in the church are still indignant at the thought of the healing power of God and refuse to believe.
                Yes we are still in captivity but our freedom is coming and the church will once again do as Jesus did. Even though Daniel saw the abomination that caused desolation, he also saw that it would be defeated. Daniel 8:23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” The church is in desolation because of a stubborn refusal to believe what God’s word actually says but those days of captivity are coming to an end. Isaiah 14:3 “On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!”
                At this point your main task is to return to God’s word. Don’t be deceived by the church you attend. There is no such thing as a Baptist Christian or a Catholic or Pentecostal Christian or whatever other distinctive you follow. There is only one way! Don’t be afraid to turn away and seek God because He says Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Yes every church will tell you they are the way, truth and the life but only Jesus can say that. If you are following the ways of man you cannot say you follow Jesus and you have been deceived. If you are waiting on God, don’t give up; continue to wait. I waited a long time for God to heal me of my obesity and yes I do believe God can heal overnight just as He raised the dead and healed the lame. That time is coming and once again the church will say Matthew 11:5 “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” 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.” We saw during our Lenten Journey all the miracles Jesus performed. We then saw what the disciples did in the power of the Holy Spirit and that power was to continue.
                You will have great hope if you return to God’s word and turn from your wickedness. Keep praying and don’t give up while making sure you are truly following the true gospel of Jesus Christ and not worshipping in vain. Waiting on God is never futile. It may seem like God is not answering but He will. When Job was faithful in the midst of his suffering he said Job 23:8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” Job also said Job 19:25 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Then God blessed Job. Job 42:12 “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.” James 5:10 “As an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 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.” David said Psalm 27:13 “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
                God has given me promises that I have not seen fulfilled yet but I know God is faithful, which is why I persevere. I have seen His goodness even in captivity. I know I will see His promises in the land of the living. Holding onto God’s word is the only way you can make it through this chaotic world we live. Many who call themselves Christians have a false sense of security as they worship in vain and will hear from Jesus depart from me I don’t know you. You need to make sure you are actually following God’s plan and not man’s plan. As we have talked about many times, the church today looks nothing like the gospel. The good news is that we have great hope that the available power to the church will return and we will go to the ends of the earth once again. If you are waiting there is hope. Mark 9:1 “And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” They then saw that power come. Acts 1:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” We need that same power to fall on us once again just as the power fell over and over again in the early church.
                As you wait submit yourself to God. Habakkuk was told Habakkuk 2:3 “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” God told Habakkuk Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people.” The false teachers, prophets, evangelists, apostles and preachers will not get away with their reckless lies. Jeremiah 23:32 “Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least, declares the Lord.” They will feel the wrath of God and truth will once again prevail. Once again Hades will not overcome as Jesus said to Peter. Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
                Sadly the church has forgotten all that Jesus did and all that is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Actually to say forget isn’t quite right as we have everything written down before us in God’s word. We should be reading and asking where are all the wonders and ask why doesn’t the church look like the church Jesus is the head of? Since everything is right there before us in the bible it may be more accurate to say rejected instead of forgot. John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” If you have not rejected the words of Jesus, then remember as we have been called to do in communion. You can have communion every time you eat, so when you eat remember all that Jesus did for us and remember His promises. 1 Corinthians 11:3 “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.”
                So while we wait, call out to God for mercy and for His great compassion to come upon us. Psalm 77:1 “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. 3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. 4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. 5 I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; 6 I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: 7 “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” 13 Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. 15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. 16 The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. 17 The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. 18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. 19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”