As we walk into a most difficult season for the world, we walk into a season stunningly marked by God’s Glory. For those with eyes to see, life will become staggeringly bright. The world will appear dark and dangerous, as circumstances prepare us for the Season of Yeshua’s Return, but for those with eyes to see, the season will be marked by Yeshua’s incomprehensible light. We are enormously privileged to be alive in this moment. At some level, it doesn’t matter if we live until His Return, or if we are martyred, we are all called to participate in the most momentous moment in human history. A remarkable destiny has been given to us. We have arrived at the very crux of the fight for humanity’s loyalty: will we choose God, or will we choose Satan. The entire globe is being faced with that choice almost simultaneously, a crossroads that is occurring now, once in the history of mankind.
The question of how we will choose is crucial to our eternity, but also crucial to our happiness, joy, appreciation of beauty, and our ability to sustain our love and lives throughout the coming season.
The choice is God’s, because He knows our end from our beginning. The choice is ours, because we choose whom we will serve. A vertical dimension and a horizontal dimension are both required to come to the center of the cross. Likewise God’s choice and our choice are essential for our salvation and sanctification. They create a vortex where the two truths spin round each other and become one.
ISAIAH 46:9-10: “REMEMBER, THE FIRST THINGS ARE FROM FOREVER, FOR I AM GOD, AND THERE IS NO OTHER GOD, AND NONE IS LIKE ME, DECLARING THE END FROM THE BEGINNING, FROM ANCIENT TIMES WHAT HAS NOT YET HAPPENED, SAYING, “MY WISDOM WILL STAND, AND I WILL ACCOMPLISH ALL THAT I PLEASE.” (MY TRANSLATION)
JOSHUA 24:15: “IF IT IS EVIL IN YOUR EYES TO SERVE YHVH, CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE, WHETHER THE GODS YOUR FATHERS SERVED IN THE REGION BEYOND THE RIVER, OR THE GODS OF THE AMORITES IN WHOSE LAND WE DWELT. BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”
We must do our part. It will be radical. The entire world will be called to account for itself. As it does so, God will count us in the balance. There will be challenges that we cannot yet comprehend, but the LORD will give us the capacity to sustain ourselves when they occur. So, as 2021 commences, let us carefully take stock of ourselves. Where are cracks in our armor, in our shields? Where do our defenses, in the LORD, need to be shored up? Where do we want to quit and not trust Him?
Here is a big crack I have noticed in the United States:
A prosperity gospel, a gospel of God’s Goodness, based upon a human understanding of goodness, has saturated many of our souls. That perspective, which resembles positive thinking, has given much joy, inspiration and exultation in the past season, but it does not adequately explain God in God’s terms. Thus, it will not help us, anymore than it helped the inmates of the concentration camps. Because many of them believed in God’s goodness, believing also in the goodness of their neighbors, they could not imagine that either God or the German people would create something so horrible as the death camps. Thus, they did not flee when the opportunity arose. Their positive thinking, hoping against hope that God would protect them, tragically cost them their lives.
Yet hope also helped them stay alive, in the camps, and hope remains our help, but hope based upon a human understanding of God’s nature is not true hope. Instead, it is a human expectation of who God is. What helped in the concentration camps were eyes and hearts and ears of faith, the willingness to endure anything for the LORD, the willingness to love at all costs, the willingness to sacrifice one’s life for God and for others, the willingness to protect others at the expense of one’s own life, and the willingness to trust in God’s goodness, no matter what it looked like, no matter what He allowed. That gave people the ability to experience God’s love in the most hideous situation. That attitude resembles the fruit of the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit will sustain us now.
Imagine if Yeshua had said, “No good God would ever allow His Son to suffer like this,” and had therefore refused to go to the Cross, choosing a “positive” destiny instead of the ignominy of the cross. We would never have had the Resurrection. And so, may I encourage us to rethink our ideas of God’s goodness. He does not tell us to “pick up our prosperity or our happiness or our safety,” but to “pick up our cross.” When we CHOOSE what God has already chosen for us, when we align ourselves with God’s Will, we experience true “positivity,” and have true “prosperity.” Christ went to the cross for the glory set before Him, and when we take up our crosses we also experience God’s glory.
I am not wishing a martyr’s death on any of us. I am praying we will all be alive and well to welcome Yeshua when He returns. Rather, I am wishing upon all of us the willingness to serve the LIVING GOD NO MATTER WHAT HE ASKS OF US, and the willingness to remain LOYAL TO HIM IN EVEN THE MOST TRAGIC OF TIMES. Are we capable of that? It is the opposite of thinking the Gospel is for us, and our own blessing. It is for God, and His blessing. Are we willing to live like that?
What are we truly willing to give to the LORD?
REVELATION 12:11: “AND THEY OVERCAME (THE ENEMY) BY OF THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB AND BY THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY, AND THEY DID NOT LOVE THEIR LIVES WHEN FACED WITH DEATH.”
They took up their crosses and bore them. Let us bring this issue straight to Yeshua, and await His answer before we need this level of radical faith. This is true freedom, the freedom to serve the Living God, no matter what He asks.
LUKE 9:24: “ FOR WHOEVER WOULD SAVE HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT, BUT WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE WILL SAVE IT.”
LORD GOD, Help us to be the ones, like John, who are willing to go to the cross with You, who do not shy away because of fear and anxiety. Help us to stay loyal to you till the end. In Yeshua’s Name I pray. Amen and amen.