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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WHY JUDGMENT CONTINUES

Have you wondered why there is a prolonged outworking of judgment throughout the world today? Why is there so much untold suffering, and very little lasting peace? Whether it is natural disasters pummeling the world, or the monetary system being brought to the brink of utter ruin and collapse, there is judgment being pronounced on the earth. From major tsunamis, tornados and hurricanes, to droughts, endless wars and devastating earthquakes, the obvious conclusion is – this present world we live in is under judgment! Ultimately, we cannot help but feel and see that the collateral damage of this profound reality is untold misery on a global scale. Are there any answer to all of this?

Let us ask some further questions: What is being achieved, if anything? Is God behind this? What is it that we need to learn and understand? Until recently, all I could have done was quote some verses and give a normative explanation to all this phenomena. But God has begun to awaken within me an understanding which I did not possess in times past. Little by little a veil is being lifted and God is giving a fresh glimpse into what He wants to accomplish in the world today. I feel like a man who has been walking through a dark but furnished room, stumbling and bumping onto objects along the way. Suddenly, without any doing of my own, I have found a candle with matches. In a moment, complicated issues have become clear and light is being shed on the subject of judgment. I did not ask for this directly, it has been handed to me by the Lord, and I will begin to speak what is revealed. You may not like all that is about to be said, but I will with gentleness and as much clarity as I presently have, write what has been given to me.

It has been in relative but short retrospect while working with churches in Ukraine, that understanding in these matters has come to light. What I will say in this blog is by no means a reflection on this country. I am talking globally, and this setting in Western Ukraine is the backdrop, a minute example of a universal problem. A further disclaimer. This is not intended in any way to disregard the amazing work that is being done for Christ in many parts of the globe. It is only one small voice speaking into key issues. In these last times, it is my firm belief the church will be more triumphant, more Christ honoring and more of a force than the devil had ever bargained for.

RELIGIOUS STRONGHOLDS  
God is revealing His purposes to me through a microcosm of His outworking as I have mentioned here in Ukraine. In this far western part of the country, religious influence prospers more than in any other place. In its many forms it has become a pervasive and powerful force as exampled by the swollen springtime rivers which gush from the mountains. In the beginning I had wondered why God had led me to this city with such strongholds. Now it has become evident. I truly see and understand how God is making His point. He wants to uncover these same strongholds which in too many cases have gripped the remnant church.

Make your way up into the Carpathian Mountains, and almost every mile there are exquisite roadside shrines with religious idols. Even in the more prosperous homes there are huge shrines. On any given Sunday you find dozens of people literally walking miles to reach imitation gold domed churches as part of their religious observance. As you drive by you can hear them chanting and singing on their walk in their weekly pilgrimage. To the casual observer it has the outward appearance of true holiness and dedication until you scratch the surface of the lives of these men and women. You dig only to find, poverty, misery, and abuse. I asked a cab driver if he was a Christian; “Oh, yes, everyone here is.” Religious dogma has so infiltrated the minds of the people that they cannot see the plight of their own bondage.

NIGHT, DAY, NIGHT – JUDGMENT IS RELENTLESS
He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, the morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come (Isa 21:11, 12 KJV). The call to the watchman was how long will we have to endure such adverse difficulties? Like a sick person after a sleepless night, who longs for the break of dawn, only to find out that the day is as bad as the night, and all too soon another sleepless night is upon him. The condition of judgment is unchanging declared the watchman, who is as vigilant as a lion. He invites the enquirers to return as many times as they wish, but the answer would remain the same. Judgment is upon us!

Today, God’s judgment is felt throughout the world. Even when there seems to be a new day emerging fiscally. But it will be short lived and darkness will again return. Presently, for many casualty nations of this last economic crash, the news cannot and will not be good. Like the watchman speaking by the Holy Spirit; “Your new day will soon be swallowed up by night.”

The church is feeling the weight of judgment because there has been powerful influences of religious behavior infiltrating into mainstream Evangelicalism, Protestantism and Pentecostalism. God has allowed judgment to speak to both the world and the church. He is working something into the body of Christ, while at the same time removing subtle burdens, which have been quietly and unobtrusively slipped around the neck of His people as a yoke of bondage. The Apostle Paul, who would not hurt a bone in your body, stood with all heavens authority against such entanglement with another yoke of bondage. What is this yoke? In one simple word. Exclusivity! It is more than just doctrinal differences. It is a compelling by which church leaders seek to maintain control over congregants, and it is staggering to behold, not to say anything about it being exploitative.

Long gone is the scripture where Christ said He would build His church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Now around the world, 80 - 90% of time, money and energy, is spent inside the four walls. Reputation is at an all time premium and preaching no longer singularly is Christ exalting. Christianity for the masses has become a weekly routine of one service after another. The yoke is clearly identifiable. So if the local church is full, or semi full, and if the bills and salaries are paid, and the preaching is fiery, then it is considered a great day. And there seems to be no way out of this cyclical pattern. The body of Christ has settled in under this as the norm. Yet in record numbers pastors are leaving the ministry. Something is clearly not right and God is powerfully addressing it.

Here is the key! The present shaking is for the sake of His remnant church. This remnant, beleaguered by a gospel of prosperity preaching, have themselves succumbed to following a pattern of self-centeredness. Like the yeast of the Pharisee, it has permeated even the most influential of us all. Through judgment and suffering God is slowly achieving change from this pattern. God is placing a new cry in the heart of the pastor He is touching and from the people He is leading. It is a cry for authentic true freedom in Christ. And God has heard it. In an unprecidented moving of the Holy Spirit, witnessed by ten churches in Ivano Fronkiesk, with this number increasing monthly, who are laying down their differences for the common good of serving one another.

God is showing and demonstrating, at least in this tiny example of Western Ukraine, what He is wanting to do in a fresh and powerful way around the world. No monies are being exchanged, and no sheep are being stolen. The need for each other is being established. This working of the Holy Spirit does not impinge on their present identity or pressure to all look alike. Not at all! But out of the ashes of the incessant religious fires that have burned far too long is coming a vibrant church who believes in the sovereignty of Christ once again. Poo-hoo this as much as you want. But judgment today is breaking off the yoke of bondage along with the apendages and fetishes for the constant approval of man. Judgment is taking pastors apostolically out of the four walls which have held the people captive, and are offering their help to other unrelated churches. This is without cost and without the need of recognition. Hallelujah! Revival fires are burning again.  Listen to the word of the Lord.

Zech 6:12-13  Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. KJV
The BRANCH; Jesus, our savior whose kingdom is ever growing and expanding, He will build His temple; He alone gets the glory; and He alone governs. He alone unifies the office of king and priest alike, and only under His leadership is suffering alleviated and the religious yoke smashed and broken. In these last days you are about to see a church without walls. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They will still meet in manmade edifices, but they will fellowship with one another without fear and their mandate will be simple: To take the love of God to all mankind.


Neil's painting of the Carpathian Mountains




1 comment:

  1. Simply stated, the Righteousness of God is now being brought into crystal clear view. This is the end goal and purpose of the Gospel and the commission of the Bride. The apocalypso....Christ unvieled in His Bride. The judgements are in the earth! In all our lives as well. ALL! No partiality with The Lord. He will have a people who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Hubris and Greed and lording over the sheep will dissolve by the Spirit of burning and judgement. Love and not lust will be the defining mark of the Church of Jesus Christ.

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