On Prophetic Speaking

The one who speaks prophetically to a culture is rarely subtle, and almost never popular. Not for him the parable, whose message is aimed in (appropriately) a parabolic arc behind the audience’s defence line; there to stage a sneak attack of truth, for those with ears to hear.

No, a prophetic judgment is more akin to a straight-out, all guns blazing, attack on the main defence line. It is resisted fiercely, and often successfully. There are exceptions, but the rule is that this kind of prophetic word is rejected by the recipient/s, up to and often after its fulfillment.

So, why bother? Two reasons. Firstly, truth must be proclaimed, however unpalatable, and warning given – whether heard or not. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is the other part of this kind of prophetic word.

While the enemy is being fast engaged and the battle raging, behind comes a second team. That team is charged with planting a garden in the midst of the battle. Where it rages the strongest: a flower here, a plant there. To leave something behind in the resisters’ heart – the hope of something better. That when their plans have come to nothing, and all has fallen to ash – the memory, the hope remains – that all is not lost.

A prophet is called upon to pass the judgment of God – but that is only really the starting point. Beyond that, a prophet’s true mission, once all things have been revealed for what they really are, is to bring the message of hope. That beyond the battlegrounds and desolations of the human heart lies a garden of Hope that is tended by the Carer of our souls.

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Tolerance, Diversity and Inclusion

Every age must have its gods, and this age worships at the altar of Tolerance, Diversity and Inclusion. Seemingly benign gods, at least at first. As long as you keep your sentiments and thought process shallow enough, what’s not to like?

  • The god Tolerance – extending a benevolent gaze upon all who think correctly.
  •  The god Diversity – who will allow worship at its altar as long as you wear the uniform.
  •  The god Inclusion – who warmly welcomes those of whom the other gods approve.

Just make sure you are not beyond the pale of social acceptability, or you will discover the flip side of these wonderful, warm sentiments!

I find it remarkable that so many apparently cannot see that these gods represent the precise opposite of what is presented: the intolerance, uniformity and exclusion of a creeping totalitarianism.

These seems to be the pale, insipid caricatures of ‘gods’ for a society that has rejected its God – has rejected faith, hope and love, in favour of…what? Why do many accept such poor substitutes – like eating thin gruel when a sumptuous four course meal is laid out before you?

The true Trinity, the only God that ever matters – existing beyond eternity, wrapped in Love inexpressible – Father, Son and Holy Spirit  – still calls people, to bring them home, where there is warmth, food, fellowship, light and peace.

But no, we will not. And we know so little about the Truth, that when a man reads from the Bible on a train, people run – because they do not even recognise the words of our Father enough to be able to distinguish it from the Quran.

The fields really are white for the harvest. When you look at the ‘competition’ – well there is really none.  Just that thin gruel, with people staying at the table only because if they leave, they know they will be mocked, hated and bullied.

If Christ be for us, who can be against us?  Is this really the best the devil can do?  We have such an opportunity – to reach a starving people again with the Gospel – Good News for all of us.  That Jesus –  when we were far off, sinners and rebels, came to seek and save us, to forgive and reconcile us.  That’s a meal worth eating, and a meal worth inviting other people to share.

Blessings on your day today,

Peter

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Truth

Truth is the first casualty of war, they say, and it’s not just physical war.

Just the other day, in my country, a voice was raised up in the public space – maybe the very kind of voice I mentioned in my last post – that had the temerity to be unequivocal in speaking standard Christian moral orthodoxy in matters such as marriage and abortion.

The result was predictable – ‘archaic’, ‘utterly abhorrent’, ‘belongs in the 18th century’ were some of the tamer comments.  However, the one thing that links all the responses is that none of them stray to any discussion as to the correctness, or incorrectness, of the moral views.  It is just assumed, a priori, that the views are wrong because they are old, because they are not culturally approved, and because to give them any credence is to open oneself to bullying.

There is a reason for this – the spirit of this age does not do well on the battleground of Truth vs. Lie.  That’s God’s territory.  Any argument that strays into serious discussion of the right and wrongs of a position is dangerous territory.  Better to assume the argument, cast scorn on the one who is articulating dissident thoughts, and appeal to the ‘everybody thinks’ mentality.

And, if that’s not convincing enough, maybe we can apply a little corporate pressure:

“We have 580 companies involved with the [Australian Marriage Equality] ad campaign. If you’re unhappy with a company that’s involved with the campaign you won’t be able to bank and you won’t be able to fly anywhere.”

True quote from a CEO, though I don’t plan on linking to it.  The message is clear – if you value getting along in the world, if you aspire to leadership, maybe even if you would like to keep a job and some semblance of normal life, don’t say the wrong things.  If you have heterodox thoughts, keep them to yourself.  For now.  Later, we will be back to ensure you bend the knee by saying the right things too.

It says something to the inherent weakness of the current cultural zeitgeist, that it can only maintain its position by an increasingly intolerant clampdown on any opposition.  Eventually, like all lies, it will collapse under its the weight of its own contradictions.  Everything that can be shaken, will be.  But not until it has done immense damage to real peoples lives.

I pray for more courageous voices to be raised up – to say what currently cannot be said, to face down the bullies and the vicious intolerance of the ‘tolerant’, to raise a standard for the Lord’s armies.  Because, as I said previously, those who are with us are far, far greater than those opposed.  The mouths of the liars will eventually be silenced, and the truth – indeed the Way, the Truth and the Life – will have the victory.

 

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Those who are with us

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

“None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
2 Kings 6 v8-17

In the current cultural insanity that grips the nations of the West, I am aware that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the “rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Eph 6 v12. The forces arrayed against us are strong – governments, corporations, judiciary, social, religious and media – all pulling for a brave new world where all cultural norms of past millennia are uprooted.

But, like for Elisha, those who are with us are far, far greater than those opposed – if only we have the eyes to see. A mighty, invisible, golden army fights for the Lord! But…we need to pray. The only way this power is released is through prayer.

The impossible compliment of prayer, being co-creators in the Lord’s purposes, is available to all who are His. Do we want to see voices raised up that have the power to roll back the tide of darkness? Then…to pray is the key.  Pray like we believe, that we know, that those who are for us are far, far greater than the camp of those opposed.

.

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Hell is real

Hell is real. Sin is serious.
Our hearts are wayward and stubborn, and it is like threading a camel through the eye of a needle to do the right thing.
And most of humanity are going to go to Hell, because they refuse to come to Heaven.

These are not my thoughts, but Jesus’s. Sometimes, like today, it is good to get the wakeup call. It’s not a game, it never was, though so often we treat it like so. Come to Jesus, and then go off and do your own thing, it’s all good now. You got your sticking plaster on the owie, you’re fine now; don’t come anywhere near me with that scalpel, thank you.

Other people go to Hell, not good decent people like us, right? We’ve totally got it sorted, Jesus is my buddy. My tame God, that I can bring out from time to time as the need strikes me. I like my Grace cheap, thank you. An ounce of God with my morning coffee. The Christian-lite religion, worshiping the trinity of Me, Myself and I.

We all get to wake up one day, either in this life, or before His judgment seat. Maybe we think we’ll be the exception, the one without a wedding garment hidden in the throng, overlooked. Maybe….our God is too small. Maybe we need to realise, one day before it is too late – this day? – that the gift of Jesus’s righteousness, though free, costs us everything.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 6 v24.

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Song of the Ainur

It has sometimes been said that with the second coming of Jesus, we will be restored to what we once were, before the fall.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s possible for a people who have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to be restored to what they once were. Jesus is our archetype, and in His body He still bears the scars. I wonder whether we will be the same, the scars of what we once were to remind us and give us wisdom.

An analogy in The Silmarillion – the Song of the Ainur – speaks to me. I would say the song that we now sing isn’t the original song, but one “deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came”.

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Unequal marriage

One of the latest phrases to enter the dictionary is ‘equal marriage’.  Now, that’s an attempt to frame the question before it is even asked.  After all, who would support a marriage that is unequal?

Well, I would.

Marriage is in itself a joining of unequals – husband and wife bringing their own unique blend of strengths and weaknesses to a marriage.  How boring it would be if we WERE equal. And how deeply destructive.  As it is, I know there are certain areas in which I will excel, and other that I should step back if I know what is good for me! We are not constantly competing for ascendancy, or to borrow from Orwell, heading towards a place where “all marriages are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

‘Equal’ marriage is all really about the striving for legitimacy – a legitimacy that can only be realised by the full physical and emotional complementarity of marriage – marriage between one man and one woman.

Even human marriage is a foreshadowing of the ultimate marriage – between the Lamb and His Bride, the Church.

Let us rejoice and be happy
    and give God glory!
Give God glory, because the wedding of the Lamb has come.
    And the Lamb’s bride has made herself ready.
 Rev 19 v7

Christians who believe in ‘equal marriage’ are I think the ones who will be the most disappointed – because there will be no equality in that marriage. The Husband of the Bride, He Himself modelled inequality for us.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
Phil. 2 v5-7.

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