The dyed scroll

On the morning of 7th January 2021, as I woke a condensed image flashed through my mind.  I saw a long and narrow vista opened up in front of me like an opened scroll, that was intensely detailed, full of people, places and events.  The startling thing was that it was all dyed blood red.

I have pondered it since.  One interpretation that came to my mind, was that it spoke of conflict and/or war.  A brother I shared this with thought it could also speak of redemption. Perhaps various layers of inference could be drawn.

Since then, I’ve not done anything with it because the application was uncertain. When would such a word bring value? There is foretelling involved in prophecy but its heart is forthtelling.

With current events though it seems apropos. There are perhaps two things to gather from this.

Firstly, nothing happens without Gods full foreknowledge. That isn’t to say what will happen is going to be good. A cursory reading of the Bible prophets can assure us of that. However, it does tell us He is in complete sovereign control. We do not live in a random cruel world where things happen by chance and there is no meaning. We live in a world that is in active rebellion against its maker, the results of which we see every day. And we live in a world amidst principalities and powers that have been defeated by the blood of the Lamb.

Which leads to the second point. On praying about the scroll vision, I received the well known passage:

Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Messiah,” and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth-pains.

Matthew 24 v4-8

The emphasis in my spirit was – do not be alarmed! These things will come, and much trouble and suffering in its wake – but do not be alarmed! Rather, recognise the sovereignty of God and trust in Him regardless of your situation. There is nothing happening that He has not foreknown and if you will trust in Him, little faith though you may have, He will bear you through the storms and the shakings. He was, is and ever will be, unshakeable. In His mercy, love and grace, you can find refuge for your soul.

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The line on the horizon

I stood upon a cliff and gazed out across the wide expanse of the sea. Grey was the water, and grey the clouds. All was flat, calm. On the horizon was a line, a little wave, a gentle swell. My Father had me attend to that line. To and fro go the people in the city, addressing this and that. The line moves closer, and as it does it begins building, swelling, and accelerating. Too late does it dawn upon the residents of the city, the reality of what is coming.

The structures, the houses, that people have built will be tested. They often look quite similar. But some have foundations, roots and strength. And others, they have no foundations at all. When the waves crash in, those with no root will lift, will smash against each other, will topple and break up.

It seems this is nothing new. The warning is now three times in three decades.

P.S. I should note this word does not speak to immediate events. But rather part of the shakings I’ve written about many times here. I may write further on current matters soon.

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The pandemic of fear

I recently read an article about the Sage sub-committee that was tasked with altering our behaviour at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Turns out that they were alarmingly successful in inducing fear – the results being way beyond what they had hoped for.

Some of the members of that committee retrospectively expressed concern about the manipulation in which they engaged, likening it to a form of totalitarian behaviour. While it is faintly hopeful that there was belated expression of remorse, there are plenty of people in leadership positions who will show no such qualms and in fact will quite happily use the same tactic again. The Bible talks about such as these:

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1 Timothy 4 v1-2

How unhinged many people were, and often still are, should really come as no surprise. As I mentioned in a recent post, we live in a pagan society surrounded by the rubble of our judeo-christian heritage.

Many people in our society have no underpinning, have no faith or hope beyond the here and the now. It’s hardly unexpected that such a society responded this way – and will do so again when the next shaking comes. And come it will.

Fear is an extremely powerful motivator and the only real antidote for such fear is faith. This is why I have said and continue to say that we need our lives to be rooted strongly and deeply on Jesus Christ. Nobody else will do, nothing else is ever going to work, no programme, no organisation, no government will provide us the underpinning, foundation and stability that comes through trust in the Rock of Ages.

In these times the only sane people in the sea of panic will be those rooted on this Rock. Those panicking people, organisations, societies and governments will do terrible things in the name of their fear, justifying it later to themselves in any way they can.

We have to be salt, we have to be light, we have to be the hope that is in the world. If we’re not that then we’re nothing of value – just more lost souls adrift in the crashing seas, submerged by wave after wave, panicking and grasping for anything offering hope.

The clarion call again of this time is to be ready. We have to know who and whose we are in order that we might help save some of those shipwrecked by the waves. If we’re not ready, we’ll find ourselves in in the same tempestuous and raging sea.

This isn’t a word for tomorrow or sometime in the future, this is a word for here and now. This is the world in which we live, as all that has seemed sturdy will prove illusory. The world where our creature comforts are going to be taken away from us. A world where we must be radically different.

We can only shine as lights if we are a different lumen factor than the world around us. Of course, we can do none of this in our own strength. But Jesus Christ is a strong tower, our fortress. He cannot be shaken and he can do what none of us can. We must be found in him. There is no other place.

As a side note – I’m currently slowly working forming something that might be a word for 2022. The things that are unseen are real, whilst so much of what is seen is illusory…

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The hope of the world

Today is the day when it all began turning around. When out of a miasma of hopelessness, hope was born.

Sometimes, maybe like me, you look at the world with a mixture of anxiety, frustration, incredulity and a nascent sense of despair at our unerring ability to mess things up! Blind sheep led by blind guides, all eager to find the nearest pit to fall into.

But then, something new comes. Something outside of us – as it ever had to be. Hope dawning, in the midst of hopelessness. Grace, kindness and mercy, unexpected and undeserved.

Hope – not in the form of a conquering army, not a new philosophy, not a society reformed with new and fairer rules. Hope – in the form of a baby. Let’s face it, only God could come up with that type of hope! A baby, another mouth to feed, how does that help a thing? Fortunately the foolishness of God is a cut above the wisdom of man. This baby holds the promise of redemption.

The truth is we are all broken people. Sometimes the cracks in the jars of our lives are more visible, sometimes less so. But they are there, and we all leak. We get hurt and damaged, and we hurt and damage in our turn. Often we don’t want to, we desire the good, but somehow our very best intentions turn sour, wrecked on the rocks of our own inadequacy and darkness.

We are all people who have eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Popular mythology aside, that fruit is not an apple. The key is in to know. In the biblical sense, to be intimate with. We know the difference between good and evil because we have all tasted the fruit of that particular tree. And the very act of eating from that tree cuts us off from the fruit of the tree of life.

And this is where the baby comes in. This baby is not meek and mild. This one holds in His hands the power to subvert all order, and through His own assumption of humanity, holds the ability to reconnect us to the tree we lost so very long ago, the tree of life. This baby is both lost humanity and the very essence of the that tree, reconnecting and making a way, when there was no way.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3 v 16

Now that – that is real hope. A hope worth surrendering your whole life to attain. And some do, whilst many do not. There is still a choice – as it was in the beginning, so it is now.

Here is the rest of that verse:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

John 3 v 17-21

Choose wisely. This baby is your best, last and only hope.

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The pagan society

For any useful prognosis, it’s important to get the initial diagnosis right. With that in mind, in what kind of society do we dwell? The current consensus appears to be that this is a secular society, providing an ostensibly neutral ground for various beliefs to coexist. Useful, perhaps even noble in its way?

Only, I don’t think that’s the truth. When our society abandoned its Christian roots, it didn’t become somehow more enlightened, more noble, more evenhanded. Rather, it became pagan. We didn’t stop worshipping, we just transferred onto new objects. Fervent devotion to political parties, to science, to sport, to work, to money …. you name it. And when these gods do not satisfy, pseudospiritual mashups of our own making.

The only reason we haven’t seen at a societal level the full range of darkness is that it takes time to regress. Desire conceives sin, which when full blown leads to death. It’s not an overnight thing. Trappings remain that create illusions of stability. But they can’t and don’t last. Perhaps some of the insanity in recent years shows the fruit of the tree we have chosen to tend. Do we really think this will end well?

This then comes back to the Church. What are we to be? Well, we’ve already been told – to be salt and light. Not candifloss and popcorn. To preserve, flavour and bring illumination into a great gloom. Not to sit on the sidelines engrossed in our own programmes.

If a pagan society doesn’t hate the Church in its midst, the problem is with us. Are we distinct, different, or did we take on the miasma of the world around us? Did we lose our saltiness? The times to come will show the truth of this, with the wordly church, the dark lighthouse, being separated from the Church of God. We’ll all be faced with the questions – Who are you, Whose are you and What are you willing to pay to follow Christ?

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Back soon…

….when I’ve fully kicked this Covid thing….

Natural immunity might be the best, but it’s not the most pleasant to acquire. However hopefully it’ll stand me in a bit better stead than the vaccinations did. 😉

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Wake up!

What if I told you that in a part of Australia, it has been made illegal to pray in a particular way? I’m not kidding. Maybe you would hope that within the response to that linked article that there would be some concern that this was possibly an overreach? Read the comments on that article, and all there is is approval of the law and hatred of the church. Now, I do not mistake internet comments for the real world, but the almost completely one sided nature is perhaps something of a bellwether.

In my country things trend the same way. In October the Ozanne Foundation released the Cooper Report. In it, they call for the criminalisation of conversion therapy. Now I could talk about how the whole conversation therapy thing is a shell game – evoking imagery of extreme practices in order to ban simple prayer and any dissent from secular orthodoxy. Or maybe I could talk about the strangeness of attempting to ban consent to prayer in an age where consent itself is idolised? But appeal to reason really doesn’t matter, because there is no reasoning with this particular beast.

But surely this is extreme, banning prayer wouldn’t actually happen here? Maybe. Perhaps in the same way it didn’t happen in Australia? It’s extreme, right until the day it isn’t, right until the day when it becomes self-evident to most people, and to think otherwise makes you a bigot.

Look, it is here, it is right at the door. If not now, then imminently. Maybe you can dodge for a while longer. But we are at the point when we will have to, like Peter, say “we must obey God rather than men” and in so doing make a conscious choice to disobey antichristian laws because we obey higher laws.

Now, this is quite a high bar. Obeying the laws that governments enact is a Christian ethic – see Romans 13 v1-7. Maybe we disagree with the governments response on Covid, or how tax money is spent, or any number of public policy choices. But those kind of matters are within the competency of a secular authority to determine. But matters such as determining who can pray, and for what, is not. So we must start to ask ourselves, how should we respond in such a time as this? Richard Wurmbrand had some thought for that in Preparing for Underground Church. We need to steel ourselves to disobey antichristian laws when they arise, and face the consequences of doing so.

And do not imagine that wider society will save you from the excesses. I’ll tell you exactly how it will go down. There will be a minority who will actively drive the persecution, they will often be in the place of power. The majority will just do what they have to get along, and will avert their eyes. The media will do their part, suppressing any reporting and demonising the church.

Jesus didn’t say the world will love you, or will rescue you, or be kind to you. He did say, however, that He has overcome the world. So whatever they can throw at you, rejoice, for they threw it at Him too. And He overcame, and He calls us to the same – to be overcomers. In Him, we can become more than conquerors, and as light in the darkness we will have the opportunity to minister to the despised, the rejected, the unimportant, the powerless, the ones for whom Jesus died and longs to gather in to His barn. We will have that opportunity because we will be one of them.

There is nothing new here really in what I’m saying – but I call to warn of the coming storm while I am able, for any that will listen.

In my minds eye, I see myself at a church gathering on a beach. There is worship, there is food, there is activity, there is rest – a social hub. And we are still wearing summer clothes, basking in the fading gleams of the sunlight that remains. There are those of us on the edge of the gathering that see the storm clouds gathering high, the wind gusting, and we look at what’s coming and the seeming blindness of those on the beach – and we say please, please, please prepare! Prepare your people for what is right at the doorstep. Break out the sou’westers, batten down the hatches! Put away the party gear and gird yourself. Do not flee, but be prepared! In the times to come the aroma of Christ will repel some and attract other simply by its contrast. In the times to come, we will be paid in a new coin – the one side of which is inscribed Persecution, the other side Revival. It’s time to seriously consider, and count the cost of following Christ, before it becomes time to pay that cost in full.

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Which spirit?

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1 v7

We live in a culture that has turned its back on Christ and reembraced paganism. Our new gods, such as tolerance, diversity and inclusion, as much as they are worshipped are yet pasty thin and provide no substance.

When the spectre of fear comes calling they offer nothing.

And you can see it, watching people overreact to the latest crisis, whether that’s stripping the shelves bare of toilet paper in 2020, or running the pumps dry in 2021.

Can you imagine what would happen if a crisis hit us that was a little higher on the existential scale? The kind of threat that has plagued societies in the past, and in many places that are closer to the earth, still do.

If this life is all you have you’ll do anything to protect it. Anything at all.

I don’t say this to breed fear in turn. But so we would WAKE UP and see where we are. Where society turns and our place in it. In the times to come, we will be either one of the faceless masses

… tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 

Ephesians 4 v14

Or…

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Ephesians 4 v15

However, there is one fear that is the first step on the path of life – the fear of the Lord. The first step in orienting yourself the right way up and finding the one Place – the Rock, the Cornerstone who will be the fortress of your life. A Place that can never be overcome, because He has already overcome all.

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
    the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Isaiah 33 v5-6
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The Anglican realignment continues

This will not be any news to those who know me from the past, but for those new here I am, for my sins, a part of the Church known more widely as the Anglican Communion. Much like in other parts of the Church in the West, it continues to undergo a form of convulsion, warring internally.

In 2003, God directed us to leave our homeland and emigrate to Canada. We lived there 12 years, before being brought back home. Part of the reason for us being there was to live through and to chronicle the choice of the North American Anglican church, in particular the Anglican Church in Canada. In doing so, we got a close up view of the forces that were battling over the soul of the Church.

At the beginning of our sojourn there, I received a vision – Ichabod – that helped me to understand what was going on, and to direct our steps in the subsequent years. You may consider the vision provocative, but it was borne out, and continues to be so. Anglicans are typically very invested in structures, and so what was happening then and is happening now, was very difficult to navigate. To understand that we were beyond saving things ‘as they were’ and there was something new being born that would take all our effort and focus was very important to establish.

And so it proved, events came to a head and all had to make a decision as to what they would do. ANiC was formed, now a part of ACNA.

So much is made of the value of unity, Bible verses such as Ephesians 4:1-3 often being brought forward. And indeed, unity is as it should be, and divisions are a sign that all is far from well. However, we are also warned in 2 Corinthians 6:14 not to be yoked together unequally. And what is more unequal that when one wishes to serve the spirit of the age, and the other the Spirit of God? In such a situation, division is as inevitable as it is necessary.

And interestingly, this particular division was not so much a separation, but a rejoining. By that time, the the Anglican Churches in the Global South had largely broken communion with the Anglican Church of Canada. The realignment in Canada made possible a reestablishing of communion with the majority of faithful Anglicans.

Why the history lesson? Because the same forces and the same pressures are coming to a head in the nexus, the Church of England. This month, the Church in Wales bowed the knee to the spirit of the age, riven by the same apostasy. Perhaps worse, in that no faithful Bishops could be found in that church. Make no mistake, at some level they knew what they were doing, seeking to defend themselves from accusations that they did “sell-out to the secular spirit of the age”.

To be clear, this is not about same sex blessing, or same sex marriage. Those are merely the tip of the iceberg. It would be that, or it would be something else. Rather it is a matter simply of apostasy, of a turning away and following whatever the spirit of the age dictates. To bow the knee keeps you safe in the world as it turns to a darker course, and allows you to comfortably slide into irrelevancy. No persecution here thank you, rather the establishment of virtue signaling to take the place of genuine virtue. For these leaders, they would most likely prefer to skirt around John 15:18-25 and imagine themselves prophetic and courageous.

I am making no judgment here about individuals within the church, my judgment is about where the institution sits with principalities and powers. Such an institution, Ichabod, a branch cut off from the vine, becomes a rotting corpse rather than the body of Christ – and is no fit place for a Christian to be.

There is one more thing to say here, based on my experience in Canada. There are typically two responses from those who are the orthodox minority in such churches – the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’ strategy. To advocate for change from within, or to make a decision to separate. I have met many from both camps. This is what the experience of time has shown me. Those advocating for an inside strategy are often kind, thoughtful, persuasive … and ultimately wrong.

And this wrongness isn’t a small matter. For those advocating such a decision have often left congregations in the rotting corpse that they should have left for their own spiritual survival. There is always a time of decision – a Kairos moment – and once it is past very few will change the course they have set. There are so many ‘Federation’ churches in Canada, have they flourished in an organisation that bends the knee to and serves Baal? Internal resistance soon becomes internal acquiescence, orthodox priests move on, replaced with slightly less orthodox folk…and so it goes. These things matter – they are spiritual life and death!

So back to the Church of England. For those who say the same thing will not come to a head here, I respectfully disagree. It is as inevitable and necessary here as it was elsewhere. To quote Yeats:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

Despite the very best efforts of those who wish to hold the institution together, the centre cannot hold when there are two gods being served. The division must happen, it is an inevitability, and it is a mercy.

When it will happen, I cannot tell you. What precisely it will look like, I cannot tell you either. And who will get the keys for the buildings and the nameplates is completely irrelevant. Though I wouldn’t be surprised that, as in Canada, a church of the world will get the worldly things to worship. All I can tell you is it will happen, and most likely soon.

Ichabod is still the cry, and for us to focus on the things being born, not what will decay and founder. There are much bigger things going on, of which Anglican matters are a very small part. God is raising a Church that will be ready for the times to come. This Church will not look like or operate in the same way. It will not have worldly prestige or power, and will be despised and hated – full of the marginalised and rejected. This Church will be ready for the two sides of the same coin – Persecution and Revival. This Church will be ready to walk the Golgotha Road. What is happening now is Gods mercy – so concentrate not on the birth pains, but in what is being born!

In the darkness, the Light still shines. And all the brighter by the contrast.

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The gates of hell will NOT prevail

Sometimes you look at the Church, riven, stained, spiritually poor and destitute, and think – She is doomed to founder!

But no…

the Lord has said – the gates of hell will NOT prevail.

In this battle, this long defeat, there may be seasons where it looks like all is lost.

Many will be tempted to despair.

But those who hold firm to the end – once they have done everything – to just stand regardless of the raging of the princes of this world – will then come to see the Church, rather than being defeated, showing Her true raiment. Coming into the power and authority long subsumed, and entering into victory even in the midst of worldly defeat.

Because the gates of Hell will never,

ever,

prevail.


The victory is already won.

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