At the September 2019 conference, the Holy Spirit emphasised two themes:
1) 2 Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind”.
Isaiah 43: 18-19 was read at the close of the conference. “Do not remember the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold. I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth, shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Since then the world has been shaken and the people of God stirred in their spirits regarding the future. Currently, there are so many theories and conspiracies being aired, but what is the truth?
We hear the words of people so often repeating, “When we come through this crisis…”, or “When we get back to normality etc….”, but what is God saying? The world, in general, is not interested in, nor considers Him, because they do not know Him.
The Isaiah scripture quoted above instructs us to neither remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. As Believers, why would we want things to return to normality? What was normality? In the world, nobody wanted God or saw their need of Jesus. A true description of the past “normal” is found in 2 Timothy 3:1-7:
“This also know, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, lacking self restraint, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning , and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Why would God allow this to continue? GOD WANTS TO BE WANTED! The world does not want Him. The above quote, verse 4, describes the present normality very clearly: Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Verse 5 describes the present condition of much of the Church: Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, from such turn away. Verse 7: Ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.
LOVERS OF PLEASURE MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD.
The world has sought their pleasure in the sports stadiums, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, pubs and clubs. Is there anything wrong with these pleasure places? Not necessarily so, but, very wrongly, they have become idols. Psalm 16:4 declares “Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god”. Verse 11 is our true guide: “Thou wilt show me the path of life, in Thy presence is fullness of joy. AT THY RIGHT HAND THERE ARE PLEASURES FOR EVERMORE”.
Let us reiterate, there is nothing wrong with many of the pleasure places, what is wrong is when they are given first place in my life and thus, become idols. Whatever is number one in my life is my place of worship. I repeat, God wants to be wanted! He seeks a people to worship Him in spirit and truth, (John 4:23).
Let us consider the Body of Christ, the Church…..you and me. Am I yearning to return to what was considered normality? Does the scripture in Timothy describe me: “Ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth”? The “fruit” in my life will speak more than the words in my mouth.
Do we want to see the Church, in general, return to what was considered normal? Were the mega churches and ministries ever God’s original purpose and plan?…..the obscene amounts of finance generated to fund the magnificent sanctuaries and buildings, celebrity preachers with jet planes and expensive vehicles? Yes, God has blessed all this and used it all, but God meets us all where we are. It is His nature to bless. Remember, it was never God’s original plan for Israel to be ruled by a king. He wanted to be their king. The people stubbornly sought to have a king rule over them, despite God’s warnings, so He gave them what they insisted on…..second best! God blessed them in spite of their choice, but they suffered the consequences of that choice many times with ungodly kings as well as the godly ones. The example proves that what God blesses in His nature, He does not necessarily sanction. When we point to God’s blessing on our lives to justify where we are at, we are in a dangerous place!! God requires CHANGE! How different society would be if the Body of Christ was fulfilling the perfect will of God. Am I in permission or purpose? ………Selah.
In the United Kingdom we have just celebrated the 75th anniversary of V.E. day, (Victory in Europe marking end of World War 2). Under the leadership of Winston Churchill and King George Vl, God enabled us, with the help of our allied nations, to defeat the evil dictatorship of the invading Nazi regime under Adolf Hitler. The old film footage of the celebrations across cities and towns has been shown many times on our televisions, but sadly, God was rarely mentioned. God had delivered us, but, as usual, He was soon forgotten.
Just as today, with the pandemic of Corona Virus, the nation is desperate to resist change. The end of World War 2 marked the beginning of the decline of the great British Empire. Britain had been blessed of God. Our heritage and civilised laws had been founded on Biblical and Judaic principles……but many in the nation had forgotten God and boasted that Brittania ruled the waves and the sun never sets on the great British Empire. Britain did not glorify God for the blessings He had given. We, as a nation, boasted in ourselves and turned our back on the Lord. Hence, change was coming.
The war effort had drained our economy. Poverty was rife. A new social government was elected. Just as one godless regime was ending, another was birthed in the European Union. This was the next power to ignore the Creator. This is beginning to crumble, but everyone still resists change and desires normality.
Before the National Health Service was birthed in Britain, sickness and disease was rife among the poor and working class. God blessed the nation through men who were used in the gift of healing through men like Smith Wigglesworth, Stephen and George Jeffreys and many others. God blessed and healed countless people across the nation. Oh how divine healing was needed and God blessed and increased His Church.
After the second World War, the National Health Service was established in Britain. It was a great vision of the then Labour government. God blessed the vision. With so little finance in the economy, many of the working class could ill afford medical assistance. The NHS has been of tremendous blessing to millions since it’s establishment and advancement in medical and surgical knowledge.
But where is the Church now? There seems to be little difference between the Church and the world. The normality we so desire to return to, is that most of God’s people still fill the doctors’ surgeries and NHS beds in the hospitals. There is very little difference between the Church and the world. Has the NHS become our latest idol? Do we consult medical knowledge and science before we consult God?
If I do not first consult God, I insult Him!
Please do not misunderstand. I am not belittling the wonderful work of the NHS, compiled of remarkable, gifted, dedicated people, many of whom, at this time of crisis, put their own lives at risk of attending the sick. Indeed, some have even sacrificed their own lives and we feel great compassion for the loss to their families, their colleagues and the profession.
However, should the Church be looking for change? Most of us have benefited in some way or other from the NHS. Praise God for that….thank You Lord! But do we run to the doctor before first consulting God. He has Consulting Rooms too!…..and you do not have to wait days or hours for an appointment! His ear is inclined to our prayer. God hears! If God directs us to go through the medical profession, Amen! God has met us where we are in His grace and mercy. But is where we ARE, where He wants us to STAY? I prayerfully request that God will have mercy on us all and encourage us “not to remember the former things, nor the things of old, but that He is about to do a NEW THING, and now it shall spring forth.
We pray God’s continual blessing and grace on all in these challenging times.
Man has had his day and God has sat in the heavens and winked at the ignorance of men. Acts 17: 30-31 “The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. Because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He has ordained, whereof He has given assurance to all men that He has raised Him from the dead”. (Jesus)
1 Peter 4:17 “For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God, and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that do not obey the gospel of God?”
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.