BECOMING A PATRIOT SERIES
DISRUPTION TO THE FAMILY OF GOD
Historically, every generation encounters periods of identity crisis that foster disruptions and each responds uniquely to it. Through such times, God's people can lose their sense of self as a people of God. Israel's history demonstrates this clearly. So our concerns for our day are not unwarranted. Yet our response—our spirit integrated defenses, should we become impotent against its influences, is the danger. At l costs, we must draw ourselves up and over and above the things of this world and not descend into it as we witness in so many today.
Ever since Satan fell, our adversary has taken actions to break down the people of God. He knows, weakening the people of God weakens the House of God, and families follow along in a downward spiral . But even in the context of our nation today, she is sick with every vile thing that can be thought up in the mind of evil men. Although America is a free country, she is run by men and women who pervert the Gospel and say good is evil, and evil is good. Watching in this recent election prompted me to reflect upon this country's founding principles, the time when America operated upon the beliefs in "The One True God." They significantly influenced our founding fathers. They trusted God implicitly to lead them into the future of America.
America is acutely withdrawn from any semblance of our founding fathers and their forbearing principles. Although there will be seasons of mercy, revival, and greater glory yet to come before our Lord's return, God is purifying and refining the Bride in this season. The wicked are increasing in wickedness, also, as both realities are part of God's plan. We remember that for as long as the Lord should tarry, revivals have sprung forth under such times of prevailing wickedness, trial, and tribulations. Nehemiah and Ezra rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem under this inspiration with national desperation behind them. When the Law was found and re-read, a flame was reignited in God's people, and a resurgence of Faith followed!
Living as a patriot for the kingdom of God in our times grows more challenging as we come closer to the return of the Lord. The body is changing. The extraordinary change of demeanor and character across the family of God was precisely Paul's concern!
A few years ago, I experienced these changes spoken by Paul, and I recall my profound reaction. "Lord, what is going on?" Shockingly, I realized that 2nd Timothy 3 had arrived. His words revealed that significant deviations from kingdom life would occur in our day. Shortly after, I took this burgeoning trouble in my spirit to Asia to see if the waves of this end-time storm were crashing on the church's shores there. As I had the opportunity to speak with leaders in Asia, the same troubles were occurring. Note, Paul's words do not distinguish lay people from leaders, and they apply broadly. He points to systemic and endemic shifts that will affect everyone at some level. Some will be the recipients of it, others will fall prey to it, and others must negotiate the work of God in the midst of it. I realized ministry life would now require an artful straddle between the work of God and the sheer condition of our times.
What Paul describes is a significant disruption to the family of God. He reveals what I term a "Prominent Horn of Power" that will bring great distress to the community of Faith. It refers not to the anti-Christ, but the spirit of the anti-Christ, or an anti-Messiah character that will prompt people to submit to no spiritual headship—they will follow their inclinations and be a horn of power unto themselves. Of course, this stems from a spirit of lawlessness, which directs people to shake off rules and authorities.
To make matters worse, spiritual leaders are increasingly falling into the pitfalls of pornography, mismanagement of money, and moral failure. The divorce rate among pastors is higher than ever. An estimated 1,500 pastors leave the ministry per month, a statistic is given a little less than a decade ago, and all are well-documented. On the other hand, this silent storm brewing in the church is hard to quantify, but the increasing number of disenfranchised people is identifiable. More today are departing from the faith than ever before. Paul forewarned us of this though, and also from his words in 1st Timothy 4:1, "Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars, whose consciences are seared with a hot iron." A sobering fact is revealed. A danger lurks amongst us, and it is not found outside the family of God, but within.
ONE DISTINCTION BETWEEN OUR DAY AND PAUL'S DAY:
PROBLEMS WERE MORE CONFINED AND EASIER TO CONTAIN. A plethora of places, churches, and ministries for people to run to didn't exist. Accountability was, therefore, quicker and more direct. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) are prime examples of this. Also, Paul, who was a spiritual father, had real authority and influence.
Another influence is our modern construct of ministry, which focuses on building up churches and organizations rather than people. It is something that western culture is known for (performance, busyness, and empire building over kingdom and relationship building.) If the tribulations that have beset us in the world and America is not enough, the fact that large numbers of God's people have an inadequate reality of the Father's Love. It is a topic that unsettles us and is perhaps the smoking gun that can mitigate many of the House's problems that our Father built.
How can this be?
You might ask because the most excellent and most love-filled place should be our Fathers House. Its builder who came, our Lord, was the embodiment of the Father and His Love. He transformed us into Love slaves (children of God working for the Master's use, being His loving hands extended to one another.) Yet, many of God's people acknowledge feeling unloved, lonely, fearful of the future, and disconnected from relationships in the family of God. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak in a Christian school recently where I posed the question, "How many are worried and fearful of the future?" More than half raised their hands, and I am speaking of Christians. There is no doubt a spiritual attack against our identity as the people of God.
The Great Resurgence
To drill down further into this subject of an "identity crisis," when weak Faith abounds, a spiritual regression occurs. It can occur when God's people have their lives mingled with carnal thinking, and life's decisions are increasingly being made by logic and intellect. The fact is beloved, "logic" and intellect" are the enemies of our Faith! It has always been tricky not to allow ourselves to be influenced by the natural mind. People of Faith, though, resist this. So let's consider the vital workings of Faith and its glorious process in our lives.
When we become a child of God, our identity begins to formulate. Faith brings back the function of our soul as God designed, and life begins to align with Heaven's way of living. Essentially, our soul finally comes into the substance of our being. But something more and vital takes place. The heart of our life and purpose comes into being. From that point forth, everything we do and say begins to be formed by Faith.
Let's be straightforward. We need the courage to choose that which is right in the sight of God. Strong Faith is required to remove the high places. We need to call things by their proper name in a world that states, "What is right are wrong, and what is wrong is right; that black is white and white is black; bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter" (Isaiah 5:20, TLB.) And if this is a year to put things in their right place as I believe it is, it will take courage to reset the boundary stones of the Kingdom in our lives. Notably, Faith is that simple but profound trust in God through His Son Yeshua, Jesus. It occurs when His accompanying truth enters our life, and then Faith arises to cut through the false-truths of society and its array of allusions and delusions.
Motion to Mature.
FAITH becomes incrementally larger to our willingness to exercise it. In the end, Faith acmes to the challenge of cultivating a higher view of the world and our life. If we stop growing in Faith, our world gets smaller; you'll find yourself more in the world's values, and worry and fear will increase. We begin to dangerously hang onto a shallow understanding of our life and the world around us—We beloved become temporally minded through all that we engage! Ask yourself, when was the last time you exercised your Faith or turned on the light of the Kingdom if you will? When was the last time "substantive calling" captured your heart, something that you needed to release Faith for? The substance of Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the substance of the things hoped for, the evidence of the things unseen. "I also call this the "substantive matter of life."
Therefore, divine intersections come to us in life where we are always presented with two choices—cross over by Faith, or remain on the other side! Faith can also be illustrated this way. As we place a tent peg into our hands before driving it into the ground, there is no way to know whether it can be relied upon. Only after the storm has passed do you learn if this peg will hold. The same can be said for the first time we exercise our Faith!
The Hebrew term for Faith, Emunah, has much more to say on this, and not surprisingly, its earliest connection is with Abraham. If you recall, after obeying God's command to leave his family and home, by Faith, Abraham is led to the land that God promises to give to his descendants. With famine in the Promised Land, Abraham sojourns to Egypt.
However, the vision of a city whose foundation and architect is God never drops from his heart and mind (Hebrews 11:10.) Yet, due to his wife Sarah's beauty, he precipitates a tragedy. Back in the Promised Land, Abraham and his nephew Lot are at odds, and each goes his way. Lot is captured by enemies and then freed by Abraham. Throughout these difficult seasons, Abraham continued to demonstrate acts of righteousness and his trust in God. Emunah was the essential and binding connection between Abraham and God and kept him steadfast in his resolve.
Take, for example, Israel's history, wrought with seasons of hardship, often caused by spiritual decline and forgetfulness. But then came the season of desperation. What followed was a realization that God's people had lost their way. One of the most desperate times for Israel was when half the nation lost their native language. One might think that she could sink no lower, but sadly lower, she sank in times throughout her history: "In those days, I also saw that the Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them was able to speak the language of Judah, but the language of his own. So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or yourselves."
This brings us to what the family of God should know well. The Hebrew word for Faith (Emunah.) Its connection to the character is vital. 2nd Peter I states that as many lose power and decline in Faith, many will no longer prosper in their knowledge of Yeshua, and as a result, slowly deteriorate in character.
We speak much about a man's character because Scripture has much to say about it. Although Yeshua said that our power shows up in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), a weak character tends to show up in difficult times; this appears not to be a respecter of person's either. Twice Abraham claimed that his wife was his sister. Aaron fabricated a golden calf, and David committed both adultery and murder. Then we have modern Christian history filled with servants of God, where weak character destroyed ministries and their lives imploded.
The fact is, if many in the community of faith decline in character, thereby losing power, fewer and fewer will seek Faith's guidance, and the natural minds and all of its affections will direct many in the household of Faith." For this reason, we must return to Abba's principles again before times intensify!
 Isaiah 14:12