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Eyes to See and Ears to Hear
December 29, 2011
Here it is Christmas day and I am reading the on line edition of the USA Today. In it I found an article written by Cathy Lynn Grossman entitled “Losing My Religion Isn’t Just a Song: It’s Life.” The article states the obvious of those who know something is very wrong. This was the similar state of things when Jesus broke into human history the first time. The Jewish population, the religious system and the Superpower were set in their ways, comfortable with things and were definitely not consulted nor asked whether it way appropriate, necessary or true that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem. So it is today. The world’s leaders, the UN and the “so what’s” will not be consulted or asked whether it is OK for Jesus to return the second time. If their neighbor becomes born again so what!
If you have not noticed by now the word “so” is used to introduce sentences and has re-emerged as a central part of our daily conversations. The word “so” is used to introduce clauses that state a result or consequence. The word strings together elements of a narrative. However, the word “so” needs connections to make sense and more explicit. Our culture that revels in sound bites, distractions of thought and piecemeal concepts fits this word “so” and you will see more of its use in 2012. I do see a theme here though: no one really is seeing the connections and the pieces coming together. We are all too busy, distracted and self absorbed in the world of me.
The American experience has been fertile for a mindset to emerge in these last days that I have coined the American Trinity: personal space, personal comfort and personal mobility. From this article I read you can add personal experience and personal authority. It seems these last two matter more these days. All truths are equally valid our culture says. However the true power in the Universe is found in those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and proclaim Him in unity. The minority in “true unity” is far superior to the many unified in holding diverse opinions, truths and confusions; that insist that man is in full authority and the center of all things valid: and deny the spiritual realms exist.
In this article by Grossman responders mention they “do not want to change others or want to debate their views”. I have news for these responders, the “so what’s” and those who really do not believe are of no consequence in the end. Secular media and those in the body of Christ state that young adults are drifting away from the church. If the rest of society in general is drifting the young people get their cues from them as well. When it is all said and done many get their cues from culture, others and peers. This is no guarantee the cues are correct or are leading them into Truth. Since Truth is really a Person only this Person can draw them into Truth and “so” it doesn’t really depend on personal experience or authority after all.
You may have noticed by now that the world we live in is broken. We broke its peace a long time ago. We sought to go our own way. The good news about this time of year is that peaceful Bethlehem ends in costly Jerusalem. Christmas causes me to rejoice with Paul in that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me,” Galatians 2:20.
You may have noticed by now that the promises of nations are fleeting. What have you done for me lately? For 2012 I urge American Christians to begin decoupling from America’s promises and vision for your life. Stop the future destruction with the short term pain of being misunderstood and ridiculed. Now is the year to begin getting your house in order, I am recommending three financial choices, get out of debt, build toward a three year savings account and transfer retirement funds to mechanisms within your own control. The year 2013 could very well be a good year for many and we could actually see a mini revival for the next period of years and then things may change dramatically. The leaders chosen by the American people in 2012 and 2016 will usher in drastic shifts in behavioral norms and priorities and implement a plumb line for Christians living in the land.
For 2012 I see three themes emerging for the body of Christ and one theme for the world at large. For the body of Christ we should see ourselves as the people of God. Not people of the world, or part of a world community or a nation per se, but God’s own special people. Bought and paid for by the blood of the Son of God. We were once not a people and are now a people. Ezekiel 37:27 says, “My tabernacle also shall be with them indeed I will be their God and they shall be My people”. We as modern day Christians join in what God began in the Jewish people. We as Gentiles are grafted in to the promises He made to them and there by participate in them too.
The second theme is for the body of Christ to fully understand what the church is. The word church means a group called out of another group. The group you were called out of is no longer your true group. You are part of a different group now. This is exclusive and not inclusive. The world knows it’s own and the language of the world is its own new age language. We are one the world some say- a global community. No, not really true according to the New Testament. The church is temporary and gathers the people of God to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus in time and space whenever and wherever gathered. It may be spontaneous or planned. No matter it always has one goal in mind; for Jesus to be lifted up and His glory known. One of the purposes of the church is found in Ephesians 3:10 “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places according to the eternal purposes which He accomplished in Christ Jesus or Lord”. This is what it means to be the church. It is not in our programs, it is not what we do for others and it is not how much we give. It is what we proclaim; the unity of our praise in the face of persecution, trials and suffering.
The third theme is for the body of Christ to see the drawing of His people unto Himself. Ezekiel 27:28 says, “The nations also will know that I the Lord sanctify Israel when My sanctuary is in their midst forever”. The sanctuary referred to here is an assembly, a congregation in a consecrated place a palace if you will. Ezekiel 27:26 says “I will set My sanctuary in their midst forever”. For the people of God we look forward to the future when we will be gathered together with God in our midst forever. This is glorious. We should be captivated by this plan. We should be consumed by the thought of His presence in our lives. We should be moved to share these things with those around us and to proclaim the possibilities of a guaranteed hope. We were created to enjoy God forever.
The theme for the world at large is a consolidating of power in Europe, Africa and Russia. As I studied Ezekiel 38 I noticed that these words written down by Ezekiel were meant for a future time. That time is soon to be now. I see that Ezekiel speaks to a spiritual entity named Gog. This being is known as a prince. In other sections of the Old Testament there is a prince of Persia, a prince of Greece and a prince of Israel, the archangel Michael. These princes hold authority over peoples known as ethnos or by birth. Gog rules over the land Magog and primarily through the peoples descended from Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Gomer and Togarmah are also mentioned later in verse 6. The nations representing Iran (Persia), Ethiopia (Cush) and Libya (Put) will collaborate against the Jewish homeland in Palestine.
I would expect that the year 2012 will reveal with more clarity the thoughts and plans of this principality Gog. Watch and see the rhetoric and movements throughout these regions as they pertain to preparations for war and occupation of systems and economic channels of delivery as well. Watch for natural disasters that set back developing nations or even settled nations in various regions of the world. When one nation is dislodged another can emerge in its influence and mobility. Remember the role of a superpower is to restrain greater evil so do not read too much into Chinese or American influence as they are doing what they are supposed to. Watch more closely lesser known nations and places to launch out from with connections on the ground such as Iran, North African countries and perhaps one of the “Stans” in southern Russia.
The events surrounding the birth of Jesus in the Gospels portray two older individuals; Simeon and Anna. Both devout, full of passion to serve and looking to what God had already promised each. They ultimately relied on God not others. For at the correct time (His time) God manifested His promises to Simeon and Anna and had they listened to the “so what’s”, the religious people or rulers of their day they would have missed the Savior. The fulfillment of a Christian depends on God and our thirst for Him, not anything else. Not Gog, nor the “so what’s” nor any created thing can separate us from the love that is found only in Christ Jesus. He is the meaning of all things. He is life of all things. In Him all things have been created that were created and in Him all things stand up right. Go forward people of God into 2012 proclaim Him church, open your mouths, be bold, be humble and be ready. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Lawrence R. Yoder, Director