The ROCK
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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Nov22Sun

    Sermon: All Things Good?

    November 22, 2020
                You will often hear this verse from those who call themselves Christians. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” It really does sound quite amazing as everyone wants to have everything work out fir the good in their lives. Some even taken it a step further and tell you, you can have good and be prosperous. These would be the proponents of the prosperity gospel of which these teachers are making their millions off of those seeking a better life. They come seeking the truth but end up deceived. The gospel they are selling will never bring you good or prosperity. There is a misconception that going to a church will suddenly change everything in your life. They want you to know that no matter how bad your life is, coming to their church will change your life and yes there will be stories of lives changed. They promise that everything will be better. It’s like a country song played backwards. I didn’t realize this but Rascal Flats actually has a song called “ Backwards.” You basically get everything you have lost back like your hair, dog, truck, wife, farm, TV, mind, pride and they talked about how it would be if they could turn it all around. Now I know as you read this you may be wondering where did all that kingdom of God, healing and casting out demons talk go. What about revival and the power of God to change everything? Isn’t the church supposed to be a place of life altering change?
                Let me explain. I do believe that the true church of Jesus Christ, the one He started, the one where He empowered His disciples to continue His work under His authority and power will change your life in ways you cannot imagine. The church where Jesus said John 14:2 “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.” You should be looking for this church with everything you have. The true church is the one Jesus described when he replied to the disciples sent by John. Luke 7:20 “When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” 21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: 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. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Most who call themselves the church have no idea what this power is nor do they know it is actually available to all who believe. Most have bought into the lie that the church we see is all there is, so they falsely think they have to find the one best suited to your needs but end up missing the truth.         
                So how can we believe this power is available if we have not seen it? The answer is to believe what you read in the bible without modification. The deception is to deny God’s word because you have not seen it or it does not line up with what you have been taught in church. You do not modify the word of God so that you can feel better about your own beliefs. Ponder that for a moment if you will! Instead the church should be pleading with God to turn His face back to us and not settle for a manmade and powerless organization. We should spend ourselves seeking truth. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” The answer to this is to return to believing. There is power because the bible tells us it is available to all who believe and nowhere does the bible tell us this power from High is no longer available. Nowhere does the bible tell you that the twelve and a few others were the only ones who would have the power of the Holy Spirit flow through them. Nowhere does the bible say all the gifts are not available to those who believe. The answer is not to distort and delete scripture but to seek and find. Remember that many deny scripture because it doesn’t quite work with their own believe systems, so instead of repenting they continue to rebel against God. This is what is available to those who believe as Peter said in Acts 2:8 “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.”
                This is the available power given to the church to go to the ends of the earth. 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.” Matthew 10:7 “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus did cast out demons, so the kingdom was here. We are not waiting for Jesus to return and set up His kingdom for a thousand years somewhere in the future. The bible does not say this available power was supposed to stop. The only ones who say that are men who spew doctrines of demons. satan knows what happens when the church has the power from on High. Revelation 12:11 “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!” 12 But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”  1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
                Where the bible does talk about power ceasing is when we turn from God. This power to defeat satan only stops when we disobey. What is described in scripture is the lose of power and our defeat by our enemies due to our disobedience. Almost immediately the church started to go their own way. Isaiah describes this when he said Isaiah 64:7 “No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.” Are you striving to lay hold of the kingdom? Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” When God turns His face back to shining on us, we will see things we have never seen. When the power from on High flows among His disciples just as it did in the early church, the power of Pentecost will again be the norm as the disciples of Jesus Christ go to the ends of the earth clothed with power. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Exodus 35:10 “Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
                We were told that God is a Jealous God yet the church continued to follow their own ways and have lost the available power. Instead of turning around, the church kept charging in the wrong direction, all the while refusing to repent and turn around. 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.’ 27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” One person during the US election said they were surprised at the appetite of the American people for lies. If you have been following along, conspiracy theories, lies, delusions, disinformation, misrepresentation of facts are front and center and millions are buying into these lies. They believe with all their hearts but due to a lack of evidence they look like fools. This week 5 lawyers ranted about their conspiracy theories. One of those, Jenna Ellis is supposed to be a christian. She quotes scripture regularly and conspiracy theories just as often while acting as if she is a truth seeker. She also has represented John MacArthur and Grace Community Church, who have also bought into the conspiracy theories about the pandemic, even going as far as saying there is no pandemic and continually downplaying it’s severity. There is no discernment here. The problem here is that churches like this have followed other gospels and have led people astray which resulted with the likes of people like President Trump who call themselves christians but have no idea what it really means. 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. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord.” People today have no idea who God is and what He expects from us. Isaiah gives us a picture of what is happening. The people leading those astray, Isaiah 56:11 “they are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.” Look how easily the masses can be lead astray and the church is included in the deception. Isaiah 56:10 “Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.” Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” You may think they will get away with it but Isaiah 44:24 “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers.” This is why it is so important to know the true church.
                So how is it that we have people with absolutely no discernment while spewing lies and calling themselves Christians? How is that people who go to church in this state of desolation and captivity, who don’t even know they have been deceived, say God is blessing them with good. The answer is because the church has gone backwards for 2000 years and refuses to repent, we have ended up with a man-made product made from our own hands. That is no surprise as the human race can do amazing things just as we saw with the launch of Space X to the International Space Station. Yes man can do amazing things but still limited to the laws of this universe of which God Himself has established. In the beginning God spoke and created everything. From that time on man has been using what God has given them. They have created nothing though man often considers himself to be god. The difference between God’s power and man’s power is that the power of God operates outside the laws man is contained by. For example when you place wood in a fire, it burns. God on the other hand does things like this. Daniel 3:19 “Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods. 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here! So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” Sadly the church has become content with worshipping what their hands have made. Yes some people will change but you can see that throughout the secular world. People are healed; people loose weight and people’s lives can be changed outside of the church. Statistically the church and the world look very similar. That is not how it is supposed to be. In the church because this power is not seen, this power that is available is considered strange, so much so that most will not seek God’s power. That means they will not repent because they think church is the way it is supposed to be and they will remain deceived. Before the pandemic people gathered week after week and the masses sang and listened to the person at the front and then did it all over again week after week but there is no power to change, to heal and to cast out demons. Sadly the church has been content with that.
                So lets go back to getting everything back and yes by the way I do believe in the healing power of God to restore our lives. Jeremiah 30:3 “The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the Lord.” The first step is to acknowledge our captivity and desolation and confess our sins. Daniel 9:4 “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.” Just as God’s people were freed, God will restore His church also. God said in Joel 2:25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you.” So it is possible to have your life totally changed beyond what you can imagine.
                Now you may think I am giving you mixed messages. You may be asking, am I going to get things back or not? Does God work out all things for good? The answer is that all depends who and what you are seeking. Because the church has done everything in their own strength and as Paul described have deserted the truth by following other gospels; there can be no change. Ask yourself what have you been saved into. Paul said, 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 is happening everywhere. Acts 20:30 “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Daniel 11:30 “Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.” Many have fallen for the temptation for power given by satan who shows them his favor. satan even tried to tempt Jesus with it. Luke 4:5 “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” Many churches and their leaders have fallen for this temptation.
                What is going on in the church today is not good and there is only a remnant left. Millions have died without acknowledging Jesus as Lord of their life. They have died deceived, thinking they were safe and secure only to find out too late that Jesus does not know them. Matthew 25:11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Most of those who call themselves the church have been deceived into thinking all is good and life is the way it is supposed to be. Jesus warned us so strongly not to be led astray. He even told us most would not make it, yet most don’t seem too concerned. 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.” Too many are drawn to the wide gates and many have not survived nor will they survive. Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
                But there is hope. 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.” Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” The point is you cannot quote verses of blessing in your disobedience. John 5:39 “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”  John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
                We have been warned over and over again but the church keeps going backwards and still expects God’s blessing on their lives. This is far more serious than loosing your dog and your truck and wanting them back, this is about loosing your soul of which you can’t get that back once you die. Matthew 13:40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Every Sunday millions go to church (mostly online now) thinking they are safe and secure. They say I followed the requirements of the particular distinctive of belief that I attend and I’m good to go or so they think and have been told. Isaiah 1:2 “Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” 4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. 5 Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. 6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness— only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.5 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!” Nehemiah was told, Nehemiah 1:3 “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” You always must test the spirits and find out what exactly have you been saved into? Isaiah 64:7 “No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.” Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Man-made security is useless. Jeremiah was told by God to bury a belt. Jeremiah 13:6 “Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” 7 So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless. 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.’
                Today’s church is like this belt; completely useless and no the church at this point of desolation is not essential as the church has nothing to offer in its condition. Many people question why is it so hard to follow, to read and to pray. They ask where is the good? Where is God in the midst of this crisis? Why is my life such a struggle? Why can’t I stop sinning? Many have even described falsely Paul’s confession as normal Christianity. Romans 7:15 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 24 “What a wretched man I am!” This describes most Christians today as God has turned His face from shining on us. Paul does not stop there as many do. Paul goes on to say, “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Here is the key statement - 25 “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” This is the part that is missing in the church today. You cannot be delivered on your own. You cannot defeat satan on your own. This is why many in the church will say you cannot stop sinning. John 5:14 “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.” 1 John 2:1 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” 1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” It does not mean that Paul continually sinned. You may not want to listen to those who tell you, you are saved but still a sinner and wretched. 2 Peter 2:14 “With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!” The reason why is they have no idea what a truly delivered life looks like. Paul then goes on to describe the change. Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 3 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 7 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” True change makes you an heir to the promises of God. Galatians 3:29 “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Ephesians 3:6 “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” 1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Everyone has sinned but that is supposed to change when covered by the blood of Jesus. 8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”
                At the beginning of this sermon I shared the verse from Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” If we are going to say and believe God works for the good, then we must love Him and obey His word. Jesus said, 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. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” You may be able to fool those you worship with but God knows your heart. There is teaching that says because you prayed a little prayer you are suddenly untouchable even by God. You are signed, sealed and delivered no matter what you do. There are some that go as far as saying you don’t have a choice at all. So it really doesn’t matter how you live and if you really think about it, you really don’t need Jesus nor do you really have to follow His words. This is why so many are deceived. Somewhere along the way someone showed them a new way but didn’t tell them it was a different way that leads to death. In most cases the person showing the way do not know they have been deceived and so on and so on it goes. Here is a warning that tells you what is at the end that path. Proverbs 2:16 “Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18 Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. 20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.” There is only one way just as Jesus told us. John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
                Today the church has ignored the new covenant of Jesus Christ and has made their own covenant. Hybrid christianity is not truth, as you cannot mix the world and the Word of God together. Just like the Jews rejected Jesus, the church has rejected his words by adding to and subtracting from them. Yes everyone talks about Jesus but because the church has rejected His words, there is no power. 2 Timothy 3:1 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” The church decided to build on sand instead of building on the rock. Then they decided to cover what their hands have made with whitewash. It really is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do! Ezekiel 13:1 “The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken? 8 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. 10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?” 13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord. 15 So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Jesus also described the Pharisees this way. Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
                So yes I do believe God works out everything for good according to His purposes but we must understand what happens when we disobey and follow those false teachers described above. We must understand that following other gospels is the same as following other gods with same results. The opposite of Romans 8:28 comes from our disobedience. This is what happens when we disobey. The people asked Jeremiah what they were supposed to do. He told them do not go to Egypt but they refused to listen. Hear was the answer. Jeremiah 44:25 “Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows! 26 But hear the word of the Lord, all you Jews living in Egypt: ‘I swear by my great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” 27 For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. 28 Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand—mine or theirs. 29 “‘This will be the sign to you that I will punish you in this place,’ declares the Lord, ‘so that you will know that my threats of harm against you will surely stand” In the end there will be only one word that will stand. Jeremiah also said Jeremiah 18:11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’” Jeremiah 19:3 “Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.” Not only are there tingling ears, there are itching ears. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” That time is already here.
                Even though God knows the plans He has for us, if we disobey we end up desolate even if preachers and teachers tell you all is well. Jeremiah 14:13 “But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” Jeremiah 23:16 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord . 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ 18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? 19 See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. 20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”
                So even though God has brought harm on us, there is still hope for good but we must turn from our wicked ways and repent. 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.” Isaiah 10:12 “When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. 25 Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction.” Jeremiah 32:37 “I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”
                Read Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. 4 Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, 5 everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.” 6 A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev: Through a land of hardship and distress, of lions and lionesses, of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation, 7 to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing. 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. 14 It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.” 15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” 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! 19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 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. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” 23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted. 27 See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire. 28 His breath is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; he places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray. 29 And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people playing pipes go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 30 The Lord will cause people to hear his majestic voice and will make them see his arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail. 31 The voice of the Lord will shatter Assyria; with his rod he will strike them down. 32 Every stroke the Lord lays on them with his punishing club will be to the music of timbrels and harps, as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm. 33 Topheth has long been prepared; it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of burning sulfur, sets it ablaze.
                The church has worked out their own salvation to no avail. If the church would stop for a moment and reflect on their own lives, they would see how immense the devastation is because we lack the good from God due to our disobedience. Instead of returning, the church justifies their pathetic efforts. Hosea 9:7 “The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac. 8 The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God. 9 They have sunk deep into corruption, as in the days of Gibeah. God will remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” Jeremiah 11:10 “They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.” Jeremiah 7:1 “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message: “‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. 9 “‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.” While most do not believe they are burning incense to other gods and sacrificing their children to them, they are by following other gospels. Most will not admit to you the church they attend is teaching other gospels, as most do not know. This is why most have died without ever knowing the truth. They have been taught God is love and because He is love, He would never send someone to hell. Once again Ezekiel tell pleads with us Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
                We read in Isaiah “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!” God wants to shower us with blessings and that is how it is supposed to be, no question but to teach that you are blessed in your disobedience is false teaching. We read about blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26. Take the time to read these again. Leviticus gives us hope in the midst of this chaos. Leviticus 26:40 “But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. 44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.’” We are also told what happens if we refuse to repent. Leviticus 26:23 “‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, 24 I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over. 25 And I will bring the sword on you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.” Chronicles tells us to turn from our wicked ways 2 Chronicles 7:19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”
                As we have talked about a lot, just look up and see God’s promise to David. The universe is doing exactly as it was created to do so that means God’s promise is still in effect. Jeremiah 33:9 “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 25 This is what the Lord says: ‘If I have not made my covenant with day and night and established the laws of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.’” Therefore we have great hope that God will restore His church and rebuild David’ fallen tent. At this point eternal life is on the line, not your worldly possessions. Our focus should be on spending eternity with God not on this temporary life. Even so God wants to bless us if we would just follow His word wholeheartedly. Mark 10:28 “Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 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.” Deuteronomy 11:8 “Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9 and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. 13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.”
                Today the Promised Land is the whole world. Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” John 12:31 “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” The only way we can take it back from the prince of this world is to be clothed with power from on High. Deuteronomy 11:31 “You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you have taken it over and are living there, 32 be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today.” 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. 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.”
                If we obey and do as we are told, nothing can stand against and the church will once again go to the ends of the earth. Our time on this earth is almost over and as you know days are going by like weeks and months like years. You and I draw each breath at the mercy of God. You do not know when your last breath will be, so make sure you have committed to the truth of God’s word and have not been seduced by the deceptions of satan. Make sure you have turned away from wickedness. Last week I talked about fleeing Babylon. If you are questioning whether the gospel you have been led to believe is false, turn and run towards the truth. You do not want to be part of that as your eternity depends on it.
                Does God want to work for good? The answer is yes but we must love Him and not words about Him from men and woman who teach false gospels. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” We have all been called to be like Jesus. We are all called to serve our King. Are you listening to the call? 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.”
                Before Romans 28, Paul talks about living by the Spirit. Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. “ We must follow His word wholeheartedly. It is then that we can say Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If you are standing firm on a false gospel, and have not conformed to the image of His Son and are an imitator of the true Christ, this verse does not apply and the enemy will prevail against you. But if we turn from your wicked ways, God will dwell among us just as He planned to do. 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.” Isaiah 7:7 “In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. 8 They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made.” Exodus 14:13 “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.”