Image of Today
Image by Niko Manuelides
Image by Niko Manuelides
“Most recently, it was discovered that a comatose patient at a nursing facility in Phoenix, Arizona, gave birth, despite having been in a vegetative state for 14 years. The staff at the 24-hour care facility said they were unaware of her pregnancy until late December 2018, when she went into labor. She delivered a healthy boy…. After hearing about this horrific act, I felt filled with disgust and could not make sense of it. I buried myself in books by the great moral philosophers and spiritual leaders — Socrates, David Hume, C.S. Lewis, Pastor A.R. Bernard, Adam Smith and, of course, the Holy Bible — to try to understand, and hopefully make sense of, our broken moral and spiritual code. Make no mistake, “the system” is more than just flawed; it is broken on many levels. No one can deny that increasing levels of moral relativism have resulted in tragic outcomes that we never thought possible.”
– Armstrong Williams – (read article)
The above article was written by a secular man in response to a current news story. I was struck by the passion and clarity with which he wrote in calling out the depraved society in which we live; a passion that is seldom seen even within the people of God. It begs the question; why is there not a united voice from within God’s people decrying the wickedness in our land resulting in intercession unto our God? How is it that we have become so desensitized to the horror surrounding us in North America? How is it we hear little, speak little and spend little time concerning these things? It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit moving and reigning within the lives of His own where sin and disobedience is addressed…
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me…”
We, the Church as a whole, are becoming as desensitized to sin as the world in which we live. The spiritual decay is almost complete. A gospel which does not speak to sin in its own ranks will have no force or power to stem the rising tide of debauchery without.
Can we not feel the growing tide of dissipation, depravity and wantonness filling our land? Is there no comprehension of the day we are in and the implications of what our children are being subjected to every day? Can we not see the stain of the world pervading the Church of Jesus Christ? The invasion of sin robs God’s people of the fervency of heart and the fire of God.
“Because of the increase of wickedness,
the love of most will grow cold”
When pornography, divorce, strife with one another, greed and power mongering is rampant within how can the Church of Jesus Christ be a light to those without? It is a Day to “consider our ways” to repent of the flippancy of a “seeker friendly” gospel, to repent from men’s desires to build magnificent buildings and ministries, and increase their appetites for worldly wealth all the while neglecting the condition of God’s House. The day of seeking to fill the pews rather than the hearts of God’s people with Godly living is bringing the Judgment of God to our land first and foremost upon His Own Church!
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
1 Peter 4:17
“And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience,
when your obedience is fulfilled“
2 Corinthians 10:6
It is hypocrisy to speak to the sin without while we hold to the same within our own hearts. God’s answer to this dilemma is simple…
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:
be zealous therefore, and repent”
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness,
and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”
The other night while sitting before the Lord I saw and felt a wave of slumber and lethargy sweeping over the Church in our land. It was a darkness that was whispering the deadly ministration of a false sense of comfort and well-being. The subtlety was like a heavy dose of a strong narcotic inducing a stupor of terrifying proportions; a wave of deception sweeping into the very buildings where God’s people meet. It was a spiritual sedative wrapped in the guise of God’s word speaking peace and an illusion of safety. This is in the wake of a people who no longer have the “love (agape) of truth” beating within their hearts but had fallen prey to coldness of heart; satisfied with the teachings of a declared righteousness rather than heeding the call of God to true righteousness. They turned the truth of God into lasciviousness, claiming salvation irrespective of how they lived their lives.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.”
It is a Gospel which has disconnected grace from righteousness and mercy from the acknowledgement of sin and repentance. It is a Gospel that speaks of peace while men and women live in the bondage of indulgence, sensual gratification and self-seeking. It is a ministration which has “two horns like a lamb, and (yet) speaks as a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). This dragon of old, the great deceiver who deceived Eve in the garden by speaking “hath not God said”, is still speaking the LIE of twisting God’s Word to bring damnation and judgment upon all who would listen to his beguiling words. It offers peace and security in the place of repentance and speaks slumber in the time of war lulling God’s people to sleep on the eve “of the Day of the Lord”. Deceived people are unprepared people; people who say “I am rich (spiritually and materially) and have need of nothing” not knowing the true spiritual condition of being “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). THIS IS GOD’S WORD TO HIS CHURCH.
The true prophets of God feel the weight of this deception and bear upon their hearts God’s care for His Church. They can find no rest within until the “righteousness” of God goes forth from her in the brightness and glory of her God. They know of the burden to see the shining forth of God’s salvation burning as a lamp illuminating the world with the brightness of His Own Being!
God is speaking…
The storm is about to break and we stand on the brink of the greatest destruction and genocide the world has ever witnessed, slumbering, not understanding the ferocity of the tempest about to engulf our land.
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away*; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”
“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not”
* It is the unknowing, the unbelieving and the unprepared who were taken away. Noah had entered into the Ark before the storm broke. Blessed are the meek and the obedient for “they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:17) It is a day to prepare our hearts for the storm which is about to break in our land.
“How art thou fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground,
which didst weaken* the nations!”
Nations always fall from within before falling from without. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is never about politics; its message is one of righteousness, integrity, honesty and above all love. These qualities are to be the foundation of a nation and are the unshakable virtues of a strong unified country. When the Church of Jesus Christ ceases to be the light of a nation its fall is inevitable. God’s people are not called to be political and the Church is not to involve herself in the carnal warfare of worldly politics. She is to be the inspiration to lead the nations to the Light of Christ. It is in Him alone that people find saving grace and the virtues which make a nation strong and true. Righteousness cannot be legislated; that is the error of religion and politics. The only way for people to be free and live with respect and love for one another is for His law to be written on their hearts; not by a law given from without.
We are exhorted to pray for those who are governing, not to criticize or condemn. Those who are Christ’s are not of this world. Paul and the other Apostles of that day, in exhorting the people of God to pray for those in authority, was speaking of Nero the Roman Emperor. The reason we see the decline in morality and an increasing anger, hatred and vehement attitudes is because the Light of God has grown dim within the lives of His people. The same selfishness, the same carnal agendas, the same politics which are in the world are found within His Church .(**see below)
In the void created by the absence of Light God allows Satan the destroyer of nations to arise. With all the vices and malice of his own being he is allowed to infiltrate a nation bringing lawlessness and darkness in the stead of light and love. Wherever the Gospel is dimmed, darkness will rule in the hearts of the people. God never ceases to be God but He hides Himself and allows men to destroy themselves. The condemnation upon the world is not because men are evil in their natural state; it is because they choose darkness over light, they love wickedness rather than goodness. They become more evil by the choices they make. The people of God in Jesus’ Day chose Barabbas over Jesus! So it is even today.
“And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.”
The judgement of God is upon our land. It has already begun and the ramification will be one of great suffering for His people. The insidious weaving of Satan himself into the very fabric of the religious world is a precursor to the weakening and fall of a nation. His stratagem has not changed over the course of history. One simply needs to read in the Book of Romans as Paul sets forth with great clarity the process of God’s judgment; it was already at work in the Roman empire of his day and is now at work in ours (Romans 1:18 – 2:29). Read this with fresh and anointed eyes to see the parallel in our day. Paul begins by speaking of the people who willingly reject God. God in great wisdom gives them over to the inevitable growth of wickedness in their hearts culminating in sexual perversion and reprobate minds. He then turns his attention to the Church at Rome who stand in judgment of others while they themselves are guilty of the same thing .
“Then the one teaching another, do you not teach yourself?
The one preaching not to steal, do you steal?
The one saying not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery?
…For the name of God is blasphemed
among the Gentiles through you…”
Romans 2:21-22, 24
We may speak against the evil without while we ourselves are guilty of the same things within. **We need look no further than the rampant evil of pornography and the infiltration of it into the very soul of many believers. We need look no further than the horror of the political culture of the organized church which sets one church in competition with another. We need to look no further than the gossip, evil speaking and the lack of willingness to invest ourselves in the development of Christ in the lives of those around us. We need to look no further than the rampant rise in divorce and unfaithfulness within the Body of Christ to know how far we have fallen. We need look no further than the indifference within His own concerning the condition of God’s house. It is in the face of all this we hear little from His watchmen, pastors and prophets. We clearly see the condition of the backslidden lives of God’s people addressed by the prophet Isaiah in former days (there is nothing new under the sun):
“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant,
they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark;
sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough,
and they are shepherds that cannot understand:
they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.”
The shepherds in these days, to a large extent, are hired to fill the pews, to grow the “church” in numbers while neglecting the spiritual condition of the people. They who should be watchman in God’s house have become “blind”. They are as dogs who do not bark (to warn His people) at the coming judgment which is about to fall! We have become more interested in numbers rather than God’s Glory. Compromise with the world is the very darkness of the church. Words without fire and faith without works are the hallmarks of a compromised people. We cannot be of this world and be the light of God to it at the same time. It is the greatest contradiction of all.
“If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face,
and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
We hear this verse quoted much in our day with the emphasis on prayer. It is rarely mentioned in the context of seeking His face and even more rarely in “turning from our wicked ways”. It is as we seek God’s face in truth that we will see the wickedness of our own ways. Our collusion with the world, our infatuation with things other than God, our treatment of our brothers and sisters, are all part of the “wicked ways” from which we need to turn. God’s word to us is always IF. When the IF is fulfilled, God is sure to be our THEN.
First and foremost, it is HIS people who need to turn, who need to repent and who need to humble ourselves. The Light of God must, by His design, shine into the lives of His own before it will shine into the world around us.
“Ye are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.”
Discipleship is not a teaching
it is a life.
* NOTE: “weaken” Hebrew Word meaning to prostrate, by implication to overthrow, decay…
Strongs Hebrew Dictionary
“I have declared the former things from the beginning;
and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them;
I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.”
God’s Word is True. The things He has declared will come to pass. In the parable of the ten virgins the cry went forth and they all responded; some with little oil and some with much. The quantity of oil they possessed was a revelation of their knowledge of the bridegroom. The five foolish did not consider the great testing and sifting of hearts in this time. As the night wore on their lamps grew dim and they were found wanting. The declaration of “Behold the Bridegroom comes” was followed by a long night of waiting and seeming delay. Suddenly He appeared to the joy of the five wise and the sorrow of the five foolish. His Word was True but the hearts of some were not.
It is in the tarrying of His promise
that the hearts of all are tested.
The things we have heard and the Word which has gone forth will shortly come to pass. While many a lamp has grown dim with the waiting, while many have settled for the religion of the day, while many have settled for a compromised life, there are those who stand expectantly with their “lamps trimmed” and their hearts fixed on Him.
The thing He has declared will happen, it will happen suddenly and the lives of all will be exposed. It is His coming which will expose the wise and the foolish; the suddenness of it will reveal the verity of every life. It is in the flood that the foundation of every man’s house is revealed (Matthew 7:23-27).
“…the Lord, whom ye seek,
shall suddenly come to his temple”
His return is very near though the days pass and little seems to change, God is trying His own. His tarrying is the test of the steadfastness of every heart. His eyes are ever upon His own and there is no wasted time in His purposes. Walking true in the dreary hours of life is crucial to the inward work of His Spirit. It is in this time that the Book of Remembrance is written and in the chronicles of heaven each life is recorded unto the Day of Judgment.
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a Book of Remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought (esteemed) upon his name.”
What were God’s people saying in the day when God spoke of the Book of Remembrance?
“Ye have said, it is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?”
Yet in the midst of this lethargy and apostasy there were those who stood in the dark day and exhorted and encouraged one another to hold fast unto their God. They spoke often and sought out fellowship in the sheer determination to stay the course. The fires of their hearts mingled in the burning desire to stay true to Him.
Who were these who stood true? “They that feared the Lord!” God’s response to such hearts?
“And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him”
Those who live and hold the “fear of the Lord” within their hearts are passionate in their speaking one to another and they seek out the fire of fellowship with others of like burning hearts. They understand the subtlety of the hour and the deceptive nature of their own hearts. This is the hour of testing, sifting and the determination of whether a life is serving God or self.
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised); And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins…”
We live in a time when no one wants exhortation; no one wants to be provoked unto Love AND good works. It is a Day of lethargy and faithless inactivity and none lay it to heart. The Day is upon us and the fellowship and the exhortation God has called us to will not be found sitting on a pew or in some isolated group. It will not be found by those who are complacent in what they know rather than having the true fear of the Lord within their hearts.
The Storm is Coming
Even now it is ready
to Break Forth
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and HAVING DONE ALL,
Let us exhort, reprove and encourage one another in the fear of the Lord!
“Faith is God moving in us to fulfill His Word”
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith OF Jesus Christ…”
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,
but by the faith OF Jesus Christ”
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith OF the Son of God”
The Faith OF Jesus enables us to walk in the obedience OF Jesus.
“Obedience is Love in Action”
“If ye love me, keep my commandments”