Prophetic Insights

Planting Seed

19 July 2013

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." (Mt 13.31-32)


I believe that there is a key to the Church becoming a "house of prayer for all peoples" (Mt 21.13), for The End. It is "the creation of cell-like, little 'monasteries', burning with peaceful ferocity in the heart of every local church". (Read "Which Elijah?")


In Spain, during the 16th C's creative maelstrom of the Reformation, a most remarkable woman set about her life's work, at the age of 47. For the next 20 years, Teresa Sanchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (as thoroughgoing a contemplative as any) travelled the rough roads (tracks?) of her country. During those years she planted 17 houses of prayer; her contribution to the reformation of the Church at that time.


In her autobiography (1), Teresa recounts events which surrounded the establishment of her first reformed prayer house in her home town of Avila. It is a brilliant and illuminating testimony of one indomitable female up against a society and a Church, in which women were expected to be seen (occasionally) but never heard. Her account contains "imperishable" seed (1 Pe 1.23), which I believe, if planted thoughtfully in the 21st C, will grow up and become a multitude of variegated little "monasteries". These will act as triggers and catalysts for the metamorphosis of today's Church into a "house of prayer for all peoples"...where "the birds of the air come and perch"!


(1) "I tried to think what I could do for God, and decided that the first thing was to follow the call...that the Lord had given me."


Too many Christians end up sitting around on their "blessed assurances", waiting for something dramatic, "supernatural" or exceptional to happen, to convince them that God is wanting them to serve Him. "Yeah right!"


Teresa's sense of being called to "live to pray" had been almost life-long; it ignited at a time which the world would consider "late"? In the natural world, some of the most precious things take the longest amount of time to gestate, to mature and come to fruition. How much more is this the case in the realm of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God. The authentic contemplative-prophet will always, to a greater or lesser extent, come to identify with Jeremiah's call,


"Before you were born I set you apart." (1.5)


This vocation will seem to have always been a part of who you are and thus will not need to be inaugurated with trumpets and drums. It will begin almost un-noticed, perhaps in a quiet child, who loves nature and solitude. It will eventually issue into knees on a floor, and a tentative, breath of a prayer,


"Lord, teach us to pray." (Lk 11.1)


(2) "I was very happy...where I was...Nevertheless we agreed to commend the matter most fervently to God."


The gap between fantasy and a plan is infinite, but effortlessly bridged by the simplest prayer,


"Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." (Ps 37.5)


I think that today, so much of what masquerades as prophetic is in fact a soulish search for security. The quest to "hear" God is not actually rooted in love for His voice or His intentions, or a burning determination to be obedient. It is rather an attempt to validate selfish ambition and obtain "written" guarantees of success...and the noxious twins, fame and fortune!


Faith is "blind". (2 Co 5.7) It has no "plan B", no options! It demands that we lay every dream, hope and plan in the dust, underneath His nail-pierced feet...most especially anything that has to do with the contemplative-prophetic. In fact, the only security, the only guarantee available to Teresa of Avila's "children", is a mouthful of the same dust in which our blueprints and aspirations lie buried. You and I will just have to go on lying in the dirt with them...until He either raises them up or not.


The Western Church is littered and disfigured by the decaying remains of half-baked, religious fantasies and "white elephants". They are a blot on the Kingdom's landscape, a bad testimony, and bring dishonour upon the Lord Himself. It is infinitely preferable to die in a ditch waiting for God, than to go off "half-cocked" and leave behind a trail of broken promises, shattered dreams and disillusionment.


But when we surrender unto the Lord what is most precious and important, it is an act of faith which honours Him, and which He will always honour. If anything is going to happen, let it truly be Christ alone who brings "it to pass".


(3) "The Lord earnestly commanded me to pursue this aim (of planting a reformed prayer house) with all my strength...He said also that although (others) were mitigated (lacking their original purity of purpose and zeal), I must not think that He was poorly served by them."


If God really is calling upon you to plant (like seed) a house of prayer for Him, your work of reformation and renewal can never generate pride in your heart. It cannot and must not ever be a reason for superiority, or an excuse to look "down your nose" at others. By all means see yourself being out there on the "cutting edge" of God's purposes for your generation. But always remember, being on the edge also means that you are that much closer to toppling over into the abyss of hubris and arrogance.


It is quite true that the best of God's People can lose their spiritual bearings and vigour. But that does not mean He has abandoned them; nor are they incapable of rendering Him valuable service and bearing fruit. We are called to employ our energy by getting on with our particular job, not judging the quality or quantity of another's,


"Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." (Ro 14.4)


(4) "Humanly speaking, there was no way of carrying (the project) out...(our resources were) very small...almost none...O Lord, why did you command me to do things that seem impossible?"


This step in the journey has to be the most glorious and blessed. What more painful and yet marvellous grace can there be to come crashing into heads and hearts than this,


"I just can't do this. It just can't be done."


The 19th C missionary-apostle to China, James Hudson Taylor, said of his endeavours, "There are three stages in the work of God - impossible, difficult, done!"


There is a danger that we flippantly run into the promise of Matthew 17.20 that "nothing will be impossible for you", before first tasting the humbling (bitter?) truth that God has chosen "the weak...lowly...despised...the things that are that no one may boast before him." (1 Co 1.27-31)


Confronting the impossibility of achieving our heart's desire and life's work is the blow-torch and blast-furnace of God. All of our noblest aspirations melt like wax under the fierce "heat" of the practical knowledge that unless the Lord Himself intervenes, sustains and completes, we are just dead in the water...headlines without a story. The beauty of this divine dynamic is that the stripping back, radical pruning, and even obliteration of every device, trick and facade reveal two glories,


(A) The naked glory of a native poverty of spirit; the infinite neediness of who we really are in and of ourselves. And that's in truth the only point at which God will permit us to touch Him and His infinite grace and power. Thus the Lord Jesus promises,


"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 5.3)


(B) The almost unfathomable (to man's soulish, vain intelligence) and beautiful simplicity of God's way of doing things.


"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa 55.9)


"But I fear, lest by any means...your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Co 11.3)


(5) "They laughed at us, and they declared that the idea (of planting a reformed prayer house) was absurd...there was hardly anyone among the prayerful, or indeed in the whole place, who was not against us, and did not consider our project absolutely absurd."


There is a lot of pious mumbo-jumbo talked about being "apostolic", "pioneering", "cutting edge" these days. It is curious how usually such dramatic adjectives are claimed and placarded by "establishment" churches and ministries. But the truth is that the call to "pioneer" is usually uttered because something isn't being done, and needs to be. All of a sudden the "in crowd" turns sniffy and snotty, because you're doing something they're not. And guess who's far as they are concerned? We need not concern ourselves overly with the in's and out's of this unpleasant and awkward scenario. Suffice it to say, the bona fide contemplative-prophet is not usually to be found out at the front of the parade with the brass band and marching girls. Neither is he or she off in a corner throwing a wobbly, sulking and nursing an humungous persecution complex.


The point is to just get over it and get on with it. Take a cement pill and harden up. Build a bridge and get over it. Perhaps even consider becoming like Jesus,


"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Mt 5.11-12)


(6) "The abandonment of the project seemed to me impossible, I merely believed the revelation to be true."


Now of course, under certain circumstances this kind of talk might reflect an unstable mind; a disordered and disconnected life. However, in Teresa's case, this statement of faith is the product of order and stability. She has now been in the Lord's "school" since she was 21, and the older she became the most diligently and hungrily she sought the instruction, discipline and counsel of the most learned and the most profoundly spiritual leaders of the Church in her own country. Her "noviciate" spanned 26 years of prolonged, determined submission to "what is written in the Holy Scriptures" and "the laws of the Church".


Teresa reached that point in her pilgrimage where she just had to jump in - sink or swim, do or die. Sooner or later every Christian leader has to take this plunge. God help us if we've avoided or abbreviated our apprenticeship for ambition or reputation's sake. We will be exposed. You may count on that. But let us hope and pray that others do not have to "drown" along with us. Tragically in the past, many have gone down with the "ship" of ill-formed or illegitimate Christian leadership.


If you do have a plan which you believe had its genesis in Heaven, then test it to the uttermost. Submit it thoroughly, wisely, practically. Even consider submitting yourself to one who in the normal course of events might disdain or oppose you. There's very little to fear. "Gold, silver and costly stones" (1 Co 3.12) will not dissolve under the fiercest criticism or rejection. And your project will be so much better off without the "wood, hay and straw".


(7) "For five or six months I kept quiet, making no move towards (the project) and not even speaking about it...(I) was unable to rid myself of the belief that the foundation would eventually take place."


There are some things which just take time. (E.g. The making of a fine, red wine!) You cannot and dare not try to speed things up, look for short-cuts, or cut short processes. If you do so, you will very likely injure or harm God's ways and People. But even more important than processes and programmes, is your own preparedness and maturity to begin your life's work. Usually "the call of God" itself "comes to maturity along with the one who must carry it out". (2)


(8) "I went on, without a farthing, and the Lord did provide (money) in ways that astonished us...I thought the house (we purchased) very small...(I) arranged to have the little house equipped so that we could live in it. It was very rough and ready, and no more was done than was necessary to make it healthy to live in. This is always the proper way of doing things...(The Lord) assured me that anyone who served Him would not go short of the necessities of life."


Teresa's great faith, warm humanity and intense realism shine through here. She really and truly believed and lived by the Word of God.


"God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Co 9.8)


"(He) who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power." (Eph 3.20)


"My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Php 4.19)


Any Christian who wants to "live to pray" and needs to plant a prayer house to accomplish this, must not in any way, shape or form become indebted or beholden to man! In the very best sense of the word, you must be "independent", "detached" and "unconstrained" by the flesh and the world. Then you can truly be dependent upon, attached to and constrained by God alone. You must have almost absolute freedom to live and pray as you are led and moved by the Spirit of "grace and supplication". Various powers (both human and supernatural) will repeatedly attempt to sway you their way. But you have not been called to become a clone or a franchisee, but the image and similitude of the invisible God. And He will express this as much through your lifestyle, your habitation, your standard of by your doctrine and your method or style of praying.


After Teresa had established this first house in Avila, she penned a series of essays of advice to those living in that prayer community. Together they were called "The Way of Perfection". These messages contained detailed and profound teaching about prayer. But what is particularly interesting is that she first of all addressed very practical matters concerning their daily way of life.


"Keep your eyes fixed upon your Spouse: it is for Him to sustain you; and, if He is pleased with you, even those who like you least will give you food, if unwillingly...Leave these anxieties to Him who can move everyone, Who is the Lord of all money and of all who possess money."


"Have a care to this, for the love of God...If I may say what my conscience bids me, I should wish when you build (sumptuous) edifices, they may fall down and kill you all...Always remember that these things will all fall down on the Day of Judgement, and who knows how soon that will be?"


(9) "I have always known that (the planting of the prayer house) was done by the Lord. My share in the business was so full of imperfections...But it was a great joy to me to see how the Lord had made me...His instrument in this grand design. I was so happy, therefore, that I was quite carried away with the strength of my prayer."


If you are keen to have a condensed and abbreviated ministry career, and wind up buried without trace in the deep sands of Church History, then feel quite free to be a glory hog! Or you might choose to be like Teresa of Avila, luminous and influential more than 400 years after her death. She, like the Apostle Paul, knew how utterly imperative it is to sing unto the Lord,


"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Ro 11.35-36)


(10) "Lord, this house (of prayer) is not mine; it was made for You. Now there is no one to manage its business, so Your Majesty must do it."


There are some events in life where the end is actually the beginning. Planting a house of prayer is one of them. The house in Avila's existence was seriously contested after its foundation. And Teresa continued to plant communities right up into "the last months of her life...The difficulties that she met were even greater than those of her first foundation; her strength in combating them even more flint-like." (3)


In a very real sense Christians can never relax, as the world might understand "chilling" or "mellowing out". There is a "rest for the people of God". (Heb 4.9) But it is more like unto coolness under fire...steadfastness in the heat of battle.


Dear friend, if you aim to put your hand to this particular prayer-plough, then plan too, to fight to plant, fight to grow, fight to harvest. And do not forget Teresa, christened by her "enemies" as that "restless gad-about...femina inquieta". Even as she lay dying, she busily exclaimed, "Oh God help me, my daughters, how tired I feel. It is more than twenty years since I went to bed so early." (4)




(1) "The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself" (Penguin Books, England 1957)

(2) Noel Mathieu, poet, 1916-84, France.

(3) JM Cohen, 1903-89, Penguin Books Editor.

(4) "The Eagle and The Dove" by V Sackville-West (Sphere Books, England 1988)

Which Elijah?

1 July 2013

"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes." (Mal 4.5)


"And he (John the Baptist) will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah." (Lk 1.17)


"And if you are willing to accept it, he (John the Baptist) is the Elijah who was to come." (Mt 11.14)


"But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognise him, but have done to him everything they wished." (Mt 17.12)


"Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly." (Jas 5.17)


Far from being disrespectful, the title of this essay ("Which Elijah?") is in fact a plea for respect for that which is Biblical, valid and authentic. Christianity today has a very strong vein running through it, of rampant, unacknowledged idolatry. Texts are taken widely and wildly out of context as the "devout" fashion theological and spiritual opinions to their own tastes, rather than God's.


Apart from the Lord Himself, Elijah is that person who has suffered at the hands of such self-centred and superficial behaviour the most...and we (God's own People) are significantly and dangerously the poorer for that.


In the normal course of events, mention of the Prophet Elijah elicits from most saints a tableau featuring our man hosting a one-day, national revival, which incorporates calling down fire from Heaven, and then hacking a crowd of 450 false prophets of Baal to death. While all of this is the truth, it is an enormous and unhelpful caricature. Not only is this picture (recounted from the Scriptures though it be) hopelessly less than the sum of the prophet, it completely misses his foundations and core.


This convenient and lazy editing and abbreviation of the life of Elijah is responsible for two disasters,


(1) The destructive weirdos who pop-up with depressing regularity claiming to be Elijah.


(2) The "termite-ing" of the Church's foundations through the ongoing diminution and suppression of God's contemplative "stream".


So, will the real Elijah please stand up?...before the Church collapses under the sheer weight and shock of the divine and the diabolical upheavals of these Last Days. Because, before the "great and dreadful day" of Jesus' 2nd Advent, God is going to send us Elijah the prophet, and will we together be able to recognise, receive and become "him"?


"Now Elijah." (1 Ki 17.1)


"As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand." (1 Ki 17.1)


The world would say that Elijah just sprang "out of nowhere"! But with the eyes of faith, we "see" that the prophet came into King Ahab's court from a very particular place...standing still and standing fast before the Lord. Every act of Elijah's was the consequence of his being, which was "to pray with prayer". (Jas 5.17) In other words, he lived to pray. Prayer was his pre-eminent reason for living, and his prophetic words and deeds were consequential...they flowed out of and were empowered by that reservoir. Which is to say that Elijah was a contemplative, who lived in and served God out of that unique "stream" of Holy Spirit unction and power.


The German, Jewish scholar and martyr, Edith Stein (1891-1942), writing about Elijah as a "father" of Christian contemplatives says, "He stood before God's face because this was the eternal treasure for whose sake he gave up all earthly goods (Mt 13.44)...Elijah stands before God's face because all of his love belongs to the the angels before the eternal throne, awaiting his sign, always ready to serve. He has no other will than the will of his Lord." (1)


To more fully and accurately comprehend Elijah (a contemplative who expressed his faith prophetically) we need also to understand his context...his prophetic world. I think that we glimpse this as he prepares to go to Heaven by farewelling his "scene" and milieu.


"The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha." (2 Ki 2.3)


"The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha." (2 Ki 2.5)


"Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan." (2 Ki 2.7)


I believe that it is completely within the bounds of probability that these "sons of the prophets" (KJV) were in fact communities or extended families (which included spouses and children - 2 Ki 4.1, 4.38, 6.1, 9.1) devoted to a life of prayer and consequent prophetic responsibility. Their genesis is shrouded in mystery,


"The Lord God came down in a cloud...and took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and gave it unto the seventy elders...when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease." (Nu 11.25)


"And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying ('to cause to bubble up') and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied." (1 Sa 19.20-24)


(The common, modern-day idea that a "school of the prophets" can be convened for a weekend, and the fee-paying guests trained to prophesy, is not Biblical. It is an "uncovered" spiritual activity, and could lead to encounters with deceiving spirits!)


To my mind these "companies" or "schools" were undoubtedly the spiritual ancestors of the Jewish "Essene" (2) ("holy"..."reticent") communities. They dotted the "fringes" of Israel for about 200 years around the beginning of the First Millennium. Their history is shrouded in "inconclusive controversy", but most who have an interest agree that the Essene lifestyle quite closely resembled that of later Christian contemplative communities...a commitment to night-and-day prayer, manual labour, solitude and love of neighbour.


Might not one of these communities have been "home" to John the Baptist (God's Elijah for that Day of the Saviour's First Advent), who as a "child...lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel"? (Lk 1.80) Practically speaking, how did a little boy survive the earliest of maybe 20 years living out the back of nowhere? And spiritually, such an association would have been totally consistent with following in the footsteps of his "father" Elijah.


This usually "invisible track" of the Holy Spirit is what I call the contemplative continuum...God's "Third Stream". Through all ages it has been flowing; sometimes hidden from view; now and again (usually at a time of crisis for humanity) bursting out on to the surface of history. It has bequeathed us numerous, luminous marker-posts...the Desert Mothers and Fathers, Benedict of Nursia, Bernard of Clairvaux, Bruno of Cologne, Romuald of Ravenna, Clare of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Therese of Lisieux, Charles de Foucauld, Roger of Taize.


Today in a village in France, every summer thousands of (mainly) young people build a tent city in the fields which surround a house of prayer...Taize. It's founder, Brother Roger, began to "build" this prayer house...this contemplative community...this company of the prophets...when at the age of sixteen he simply thought that a "few...responding in all lucidity to a call to community life and giving their life for Christ" could have an "impact on those around them".


Beyond any shadow of a doubt, I know that God has always put men and women on the earth whose lives are to be poured out praying and living in community. That is to be your work, your vocation, your calling, your ministry. You may be looking and looking, and trying so very hard and yet in vain to find that locus, habitat, "nest", place where you can do this. Do not ever give up!


Because there is now given by Heaven a double portion, a double grace for such a "project". There's an anointing for you to fulfill your own personal destiny to live to pray in a "family" of, married couples, families with children. And there's also an additional unction, enabling and empowering to accomplish God's call for His Church to become an authentic "house of prayer for all peoples" (Isa 56.7, Mt 21.13) for the Last Hour of this Age.


I believe that the key to this taking place is the creation of cell-like, little "monasteries" burning with peaceful ferocity in the heart (if possible) of every local church. The heat and light generated by these night-and-day, contemplative communards will incrementally revolutionise the Church; institution and organisation tenderly metamorphosing into the very Body of Christ...a corporate High Priest here on the earth "always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them...who come to God" through Jesus Christ. (Heb 7.25 Amp)


In the days of the antichrist Hitler, the Spirit of Christ moved in purifying opposition by re-calling the Church to the normalcy of "a well ordered and well regulated life (in community), hinging and pivot-ing upon prayer". That's the blueprint and the model for our days, the Last Days. (See &


The devil, flesh and world hate God's contemplative "steam"; it's the only "glue" which binds together the Church's local church and missions "currents", so liable to spring apart because of their very similarity. These enemies will come out in near ultimate fury against this imperative reformation of the Church into "a house of prayer", because this reconstitution of God's People both signals and practically spells their final and complete demise.


So, you will have to fight, and fight hard to build what you so clearly "see" with the eyes of faith. Throughout history, authentic reformers of the Church have learnt the hard way what "violence" will come their way when God's own beloved People discover "how drastic a change of life they themselves (are) expected to contribute to the process". (3)


Therefore, to strengthen your heart, be assured of this,


(1) A life of prayer is a valid occupation in the sight of the Lord. All such are Elijah and John the Baptist's "children", called to pray "with prayer" live to pray, and pray to live.


(2) The call to live in 24/7 community is likewise a legitimate response to the Gospel, especially for the contemplative-prophet. It is apostolic...a continuum which stretches back to Samuel and Elijah, through the days of the Church's infancy.


Of course every Christian has a calling to pray, and there have been wondrously prevailing pray-ers in every part of His Body throughout history. Likewise, we are all called to love the local church, and be ready at all times to be thrust out into the ever-white harvest fields. It is generally accepted too, that there are in our midst those who are especially appointed to be occupied and "employed" full-time as apostolic leaders, pastors, teachers and evangelists.


But now, at this crucial hour, will we be willing to also acknowledge, accept, receive and support these others...probably the least likely and impressive? Their "trade" is to learn with Mary that "only one thing is necessary...the good part, which shall not be taken away"; to be "seated at the Lord's feet listening to His word". (Lk 10.38-42)


Martha's sister Mary is seen by many as a "mother" of and to contemplatives. Sadly over the centuries her existence and witness has been drowned out and negated in Protestantism's pragmatic "kitchen", by Martha's distracted clattering of her pots and pans. Her complaint that "my sister has left me to do the work by myself" is sad, and fell on deaf ears too! She is unable (unwilling?) to see and accept that Mary is in fact "at work"; she is busy about her "Father's business". (Lk 2.49)


"Now the body is not made up of one part but of many...God has arranged the parts of the body; every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body...Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable." (1 Co 12.14-26)


Beloved, this really is the Last Hour! And the Church is going to melt and dissolve in the unbelievable and unbearable heat of the Great Tribulation's fires...unless we "own" and embrace one another. We will all fall over and be blown away like so much chaff, unless all, from the most barn-storming apostle to the most reticent hermit, can call out to each other from their own particular "spheres of influence": "I see you...I believe in you...I need you!"


During the great 16th C Protestant Reformation in Europe, the reformer Martin Luther, and the contemplative Teresa of Avila, almost certainly viewed each other as being on opposing sides of that necessary revolution. But I am unwilling to accept this version of history as being final. I am positive that they have already met in Heaven, and I suspect that their being introduced by their mutual Lord and Saviour might have gone something like this,


"Teresa...I want you to meet the man who helped me reform My Church. And Martin, I want you to meet your sister. Her prayers sustained you in our great work. In the world's eyes she appears feeble and insignificant. But to Me, she and her 'children', are indispensable, essential, vital."


"But only one thing is necessary; and Mary has chosen for herself the best part of all, and she is not to be dragged away from it." (Lk 10.42)



(1) "On the History and Spirit of Carmel",

(2) The sources for historical information concerning the Essenes are usually deemed "scanty, coloured and unreliable". Nevertheless, in their day, they were one of the three active and dominant "streams" within Judaism...alongside the Sadducees and Pharisees.

(3) "The Waters of Siloe", Thomas Merton, London 1950.

Ultimate Foundations

15 May 2013

"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do." (Ps 11.3)
"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundations on the rock." (Mt 7.25)
"God's household, built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." (Eph 2.19-20)
In the Great Tribulation, on the eve of the Day, God is going to have an Ultimate Church in action upon the earth.  But it will not be "ultimate" because of anything we might be in and of ourselves.  The Last Church will be superlative and to the utmost, because it has been raised up on the paramount foundations "of the apostles and prophets"...both ancient and modern.  (That is to say, the Church's original foundations of our "fathers" the Prophets of Israel, and the 1st generation of New Covenant Jewish well as the final generation of Jewish and Gentile apostles and prophets.  This "last" will validate itself through its keen and vibrant sense of connected-ness to the entire and unbroken apostolic-prophetic continuum...stretching all the way back to the Patriarchs.)
In general terms I have been expounding and pressing hard for this for some years.  Back in 2002 I wrote in "The Jerusalem Revival" essays, "The local churches and movements which are really going to survive and thrive through these Last Days of glory and fury will be those built on and growing out of...Ongoing, personal relationship with Holy Spirit ordained and yoked apostles and prophets, gifted to the Body of Christ directly by the Lord Jesus Himself...The stronger the foundations, the greater the House.  The greater the House , the more immense the Glory.  The more immense the Glory, the more profound the shaking of nations.  And the more profound the shaking, the more colossal the Awakening." ("The True Foundations" pages 7-11)
But for these ultimate foundations to be authentic, their apostolic and prophetic elements have to be true, bona fide, opposed to synthetic or pseudo.
(At the moment, it is quite easy for just about anybody at all to claim whatever ministry title or ecclesiastical "crown" they may choose.  But as the pressures of the Last Days mount and increase, their true constitution, composition and worth will be revealed as some very publicly crumble into rubble beneath the weight of the responsibilities and duties they have presumptuously and falsely assumed for themselves.
"In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury.  I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundations will be laid bare.  When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord." Eze 13.13-14)
In the first instance, the "real" (as opposed to the "imaginary") apostles and prophets will be pre-eminently defined, installed, and vindicated by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as "the chief cornerstone"...because "in him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord". (Eph 2.21)  Thus, with Him, they will prove, in the long-run, to be foundational to the life of His whole Body in a particular nation or nations.
In addition, practically speaking, 2 Corinthians 12.12 and Jeremiah 28.9 draw sharp and accurate lines in the sand so far as apostolic and prophetic validity are concerned.
"The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles."
"When the word of a prophet comes to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent."
Nevertheless, my concern and object in this essay is to expound in as much detail as possible the current restoration of the contemplative ingredient back into the prophetic component of the true Church's true foundations.  Without this, the whole prophetic phenomenon and "engine" is actually unable to function to a fraction of its God-ordained and given capacity.  This is why at present in the Western Church prophetic ministry has been generally reduced to a cartoon or caricature...a mere sideshow of sensual saints, panting after another "personal word" to provide them with a shot in the arm to last until the next "prophetic" troupe comes to town.
This has happened because too many contemporary "prophets" want to deliver messages, and avoid at all costs the "bloody and sweaty" cost of becoming and being the message.  Much of today's celebrated and feted Christianity is anti-incarnational, sanitized and compartmentalized.  The "star" jets in for "show-time", scoops up the "love offering", and flies out...leaving what?
Where is that "embedded", "organic" prophet who is able to cry out as and with Jeremiah,
"My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble.  I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the Lord and his holy words." (23.9)
"When your words came, I ate them; they were a joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty." (15.16)
Where is Elijah who brings down the proud and sinful nation into the dust before the very face of Jehovah?  Is he in the conference VIP lounge?  Is he sitting up in Business Class?  Is he watching a computer signing the next bulk mail-out of his glossy, fundraising brochure?
Elijah was rarely in the spotlight.  Only ever fleetingly in Ahab's throne room.  His stunningly effective and very public time atop Carmel was momentary.  The prophet who had lived a life upon his face before God, was he who alone could cause all Israel in one day to crash face-first into the dirt, crying loudly, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord he is God." (1 Ki 18.39)  In God, it is absolutely impossible to lead others into places where we have not ourselves first gone!
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows." (Gal 6.7)
"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." (Ps 126.5-6)
Elijah became a great reaper, because he was a prolific weeper.  He became a false prophet slayer, because he was a Holy Ghost pray-er!  "Standing before the people he pleaded for God" with mighty power and authority, because he had already given away his whole life "standing before God (where) he pleaded for his people." (1)
Elijah was a contemplative by nature and supernature; temperament and calling.  Because of this, and his faithfulness to his own being and his "condition", he functioned effectively and efficiently in the role of the prophet.  This office and ministry is being vitiated and diminished today, because of "short-cutters" who want to just function as prophetic people.  So far as God is concerned this is just not possible.  It is unworkable because He has ordered that the one who operates and "works" as a prophet, must "live" out of an interior life which is whose work is to prayer and whose prayer is their work.  Their active, visible life is the spill-over and direct result of whatever they draw up out of the deep wells of their hidden life in, with and for Jesus.  They just have to live this life come what may.  Being seen and heard is of secondary importance to their vocation.
"We love the holy desert where separate strangers, hid in their disguises, have come to meet, by night, the quiet Christ." (Thomas Merton)
Such was Elijah, who is the archetype of the Tribulation-House of Prayer Church. (Mal 4.5)
"Elijah...prayed earnestly." (Jas 5.17)
Now what can it mean that Elijah prayed literally "with prayer"?  Well, it means that he lived to pray, and he prayed to live; that he had (in the Biblical tradition) become prayer.
"But I prayer." (Ps 109.4 KJV)
"But I am prayer." (NASB)
(Note that in both of these verses, the italics "give myself unto" and "in" are additions on the part of the translators!)
In the same contemplative-prophetic tradition lived the Middle Eastern Desert Fathers and Mothers of the 4th and 5th C's.  They were led to flee "civilisation" upon the crowning of the Roman Emperor Constantine.  They believed that his "legitimizing" of Christianity and the consequent "marriage" of the state and local church powers, would be a threat to God's contemplative "stream", and so they sought to preserve, maintain and develop it in its traditional habitat...the wilderness.
"And the child (John the Baptist) grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel." (Lk 1.80)
They knew what it meant and how to live to pray, and pray to live.  One such, Joseph, was once being quizzed about the practical details of a life of prayer.  In the middle of this dialogue he "stood up and spread out his hands to heaven, and his fingers shone like ten flames of fire, and he said, 'If you will, you can become all flame.' " (2)
When the angel of the Lord (whose name was "wonderful" and "beyond understanding") had finished visiting Samson's parents-to-be, he "ascended in the flame of the altar...when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar". (Jdg 13.20)
"For the Lord your God is a consuming fire." (Dt 4.24)
"Love...burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame." (SS 8.6)
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled." (Lk 12.49)
"I will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Mt 3.11)
When, in the 14th C, Catherine of Siena (mystic, theologian and social activist) wrote, "It is enough to be on fire in order to cause other fires"...she was talking about the contemplative-prophetic continuum.  She knew first-hand what it meant for prayer and the pray-er to be fused; when the flame and the lamp become indistinguishable.
Such a one might speak from time-to-time...but out of the overwhelming effulgence of God.  Their identity does not lie in a title or a ministry.  It is "hidden" in God Himself.  That person's mind "entirely penetrated by the light of the raised above the judgements and opinions of the world, and in the light in which God has established (him), the foolishness of these things appears to it with a clearness which allows of no hesitation."
He "possesses God (&) in Him everything - the archangels, the grains of dust, the centuries past and to come...Thus transformed, the soul dominates the fluctuations of selfishness and interested complacences (self satisfaction)...His only aim and desire now is the greater glory of God, and it seeks with all its strength to serve Him". (3)
"Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan (secret counsel) to his servants the prophets.  The lion has roared - who will not fear?  The Sovereign Lord has spoken - who can but prophesy?" (Am 3.7-8)
"His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot." (Jer 20.9)
One of the three critically integral portions of the Ultimate Church's ultimate foundations, is the prophetic component.  But the vital footing or base of that imperative foundation is the contemplative "stream" and life.  That is why is has been marginalized throughout the centuries, and is generally scorned today as being "fringe" and unproductive.
If this utterly essential ingredient is absent (by neglect or design) then that particular foundation "stone" itself will be weak (at best) and fake (at worst).  And this "hole" in the foundations will have a disastrous ripple-on effect through the whole of "God's household"...the Lord's "holy temple". (Eph 2.19-22)  It is one reason why so many local churches are weak today and do not grow.  But most critically of all, it is the cause of so much reproach falling upon God's holy prophetic unction, gift and Office.  Any expression of the prophetic which is not solidly set upon a life of prayer is doomed at some time to crash into triviality, error, and even madness.  "Prophets" (so called) ought not to be queuing up and vying for the microphone or a place on the podium or the "circuit".  The true, authentic, bona fide will be somewhat reserved and restrained.  They will have to be sought, discovered, winkled out.
"But when you pray go into your (secret) room, close (lock) the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen (in the secret place).  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (openly)." (Mt 6.6)
"I will give you...riches stored in secret places." (Isa 45.3)
"I will weep in secret." (Jer 13.17)
Prayer is not something Christians do dutifully and out of mere necessity before getting on with the "important" business.  Because it is utterly foundational to Christian existence, it is totally foundational to the Church's foundations.  This, to such an extent, that our foundational prophets will be those who discover sooner or later, that prayer is their life's blood and breath.  If they will not learn to live to pray, then they will "die" or even die, because they have actually been called and ordained to pray to live.
Thus, the 20th C's greatest contemplative-prophet, Thomas Merton, could write, "God calls human persons to union with Himself and with one another in Christ, in the Church which is His mystical Body.  There is and must be, in the Church, a contemplative life which has no other function than to realize these mysterious things, and return to God all the thanks and praise that human hearts can give Him."
(1)   "The Prophets" by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusetts 2010.
(2)   "The Desert Fathers" by Benedicta Ward. Penguin Books, London 2003.
(3)   "The Blessed Trinity and the Supernatural Life" by Dom Jean-Baptiste Porion.

Meaningful Suffering

8 May 2013

"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church." (Col 1.24 KJV)
"It is my happiness to suffer for you.  This is my way of helping to complete, in my poor human flesh, the full tale of Christ's afflictions still to be endured, for the sake of his body which is the church." (NEB)
"I am glad, because it gives me a chance to complete in my own sufferings something of the untold pains which Christ suffers on behalf of his body, the Church." (Phillips NT)
Historical Protestantism is generally known for its collective silence so far as this text is concerned.  Often the best that can be mustered is an embarrassed cough, a convenient leap from verse 23 straight to 25, and a mumbled denunciation of "Roman Catholic false doctrine".
But this traditional muteness is an abyss into which far too many suffering saints either fall or are cast by those churches that categorise or stereotype all misfortune and illness (of body, soul or spirit) as either,
1)   The consequence of personal sin.
2)   An insufficiency or failure of faith.
Or both together!
Now, all of our actions in this world and life - including our sins of commission and omission - have consequences.  And none but the fantasist or unstable could possibly claim "full" faith in God or in the totality of His Word.  So yes, the intelligent and diligent pastor will always want to explore these possibilities prayerfully and discretely when succouring a distressed member of the Flock.  But to automatically and conveniently "pigeon-hole" a suffering saint according to points 1 and 2 is actually loading a kind of cruel form of punishment on top of the original affliction.
We ought to steadfastly affirm and testify that,
A)   "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away...Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity...and you forgave the guilt of my sin." (Ps 32.3-5)
B)   "Praise the Lord, O my soul...who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." (Ps 103.2-3)
But if we abandon this matter there, we do dishonour God, and do a grave disservice to our troubled brothers and sisters.  Rather than consigning them to a lifestyle of perpetual self-condemnation and meaninglessness, I believe our text does attach creative meaning and purpose to the sufferings of the members of Christ's Body.
One of New Zealand's greatest 20th C poets and playwrights, James K Baxter, converted to Christianity during the 1960s, and devoted his later years to following (literally) in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi.  In a series of essays ("Thoughts About The Holy Spirit", Wellington, 1973) he reflected upon our text as "a mystery that involves all Christians".
"If the Holy Spirit is present in our souls, then a cancer or a nervous breakdown will take on a different meaning...without (the Lord Jesus) our suffering would be spiritually valueless.  But our union with him transforms the meaning of our sufferings.
"The suffering of the Christian is part of Calvary."
In Europe between WW1 and WW2, another conversion to Christianity of a brilliant young Jewish philosopher, went (typically!) un-noticed in the corridors of power.  Edith Stein later immersed and immolated herself in the contemplative life in Carmelite communities in Germany and Holland.  She died as a martyr in the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz.  Edith considered the problem of human suffering with the cool detachment of a philosopher, and the melting heart of the lover of God who lived in the shadow of the Holocaust.  In 1934 she wrote an essay "Love of the Cross".  (
Surveying "the sight of the world in which we live, the need and misery, and an abyss of human malice", she observed that this "again and again dampens jubilation over the victory of light".
"The world is still deluged by mire...The battle between Christ and Antichrist is not yet over.  The followers of Christ have their place in this battle, and their chief weapon is the Cross."
In the face of escalating human suffering, Edith asserts the Gospel, and that "because being one with Christ is our sanctity, and progressively becoming one with Him our happiness on earth, the love of the Cross in no way contradicts being a joyful child of God.  Helping Christ carry His Cross fills one with a strong and pure joy, and those who may and can do so, the builders of God's Kingdom, are the most authentic children of God.
"And those who have a predilection for the way of the Cross by no means deny that Good Friday is past and that the work of salvation has been accomplished.  Only those who are saved, only children of grace, can in fact be bearers of Christ's Cross.
"Only in union with the Divine Head does human suffering take on expiatory power."
Traditional Protestant silence over Colossians 1.24 is not unreasonable...but it is reactionary.  It is over and against the Medieval religious culture whereby ascetics caused themselves pain and suffering in the mistaken belief that they could build up a "treasury of merits" to call on at some later time for their (or others') salvation.
Sadly, as has happened too many times throughout Church history, the Reformers' over-reaction led to the baby being thrown out with the bath water.  The present-day upshot is that we generally avoid the unrelieved sufferings of saints, or blame the afflicted.  If they do not "receive" their healing in the "appropriate" manner or time-frame, they are reproached, marginalised, or as in some extreme cases, literally shown to the door of their church.
(In the 1970s I met and got to know a quite remarkable woman who suffered with Cerebral Palsy.  She possessed a faith in Jesus Christ of fiercely heroic proportions.  Nevertheless, she once endured the humiliation of being publicly harangued by a local church pastor for being a "disgrace to the Gospel" for not having been cured through prayer!)
Our text (Colossians 1.24) does contain an authentic Christian mystery; (i.e. truth which cannot be fathom-ed or embraced with our purely human faculties and resources alone).  And it is this: that there are occasions and situations where a saint's suffering is literally an extension and continuation of Jesus Christ's "stripes"! (1 Pe 2.24)  Even as the Lamb of God began to shed his precious Blood for our salvation in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Calvary, so today He continues to "bleed" for His Church, through His Church...through those unbidden and undeserved wounds borne by His little brothers and sisters.
Such trials are to esteemed and appreciated, rather than denied or dismissed.
"We considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isa 53.5)
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Php 3.10-11)
"For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort." (2 Co 1.6) practical and mundane terms, what meaneth this?
At the very least, the unrelieved sufferings of the saints are not to be treated as an embarrassment, ignored or avoided at all costs.  If there is even only a very slim and remote chance that they may have meaning and value so far as God's plan of salvation is concerned, then they are to be treated with respect...rather than a barrage of deliverance prayers, religious cliches, reproachful silence.
On the other hand, if it is true that our Lord and Saviour really does continue to "bleed" for His Church, through His Church, then the unrelieved, undeserved and unbidden sufferings of Christians are hallowed, and valuable beyond all estimation.
"It was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed...but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." (1 Pe 1.18-19)
I do believe that it is Scriptural for a suffering saint to make unto our Redeemer an offering of their afflictions, perchance He may take something out of them (great or small it matters little) which He can add to His own "finished work", and thus,
"Make up the full sum of all that Christ has to suffer...on behalf of the church, his Body." (Moffatt)
"Helping to complete what still remains of Christ's sufferings on behalf of his body, the church." (TEV)
"Fulfil the uncompleted sufferings which the work of Christ still entails...for the sake of his body which is the Church." (Barclay's NT)

Be Not Naive

22 March 2013

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as wise and shrewd as snakes and as harmless and innocent as doves." (Mt 10.16)


"A prudent man sees danger coming and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." (Pr 22.3)


There is a perfectly legitimate excitement attached to God's present-day and End Times' call for the Church to become a House of Prayer, through Christianity's contemplative "stream" recovering its honour and influence.


But this call also involves inescapable elements of brutal realism and grim consequence.


The key to the appearance in History of the Tribulation-House of Prayer Church is the fusion of the contemplative, local church and missions "streams". And the key to that imperative melding and union (as opposed to some provisional, ad hoc alliance or coalition!) is the contemplative ingredient.


I have already written elsewhere that it is "the only 'glue' which can bind and bond the other two parties...which ordinarily are sprung apart by their very similarity, and sadly also by the baleful influences of selfish ambition, competition and rivalry." (1)


For that reason we should anticipate that the devil, flesh and world will storm out onto the battlefield of the Last Days to seek to do all that is in their vile power to oppose the imperative and non-negotiable fusion, by trying to annihilate the contemplative tradition and movement.


And if you perhaps think that a little far-fetched, then allow History (rather than me) to educate and persuade you.


(1) The general slaughter of the prophets.


"So will come upon you all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar." (Mt 23.35)


"(By faith)...They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated...They wandered in deserts, and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground." (Heb 11.37-38)


The prophetic and contemplative traditions and movements are one and the far as God is concerned. And they were and are slain as much for who they are and what they for their oracles and utterances. And so, the Bible's "final" word on Elijah is (not so much his verbal challenge to Ahab, but):


"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly (with prayer)." (Jas 5.17)


What does it mean that Elijah prayed his prayers ("that it would not rain") with prayer? What can it mean but that he had (as David) become prayer, and so incarnated Psalm 109, "They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without cause...but I prayer." (vs 3-4)


As others elsewhere have already said, "You may say a prayer or pray a prayer. You can pray. But you also might, if you choose, become prayer."


(In the massive prayer revival in Egypt during the 4 and 5th C's, the Desert Father Joseph was being interrogated about the contemplative life, when he suddenly stood up and stretched himself out towards Heaven. His fingers appeared to sprout tongues of fire and he said, "If you will, you can become all flame." (2) )


I want to contend and assert that one of the layers of revelation contained in Psalm 109, is the hatred which the devil, the flesh and the world bear towards the prophetic-contemplative tradition...and their brazen prepared-ness to go to war and kill it.


Prophets in all and every Age have been attacked and slaughtered, but more for who they are (prayer), than what they do and say (prophetic utterances and deeds)!


Most of us can understand when it comes to people getting offended and upset and angry over what prophets may say. But why the lying tongues, the words of hatred, the accusations, the attacks upon those called (not just to pray but) to become prayer..."all flame"?


It is absolutely blindingly obvious that the local church and missions "streams" effectiveness and fruitfulness will be directly and proportionally related to our common prayerfulness. However, that prayerfulness rests upon the foundation of prayer which is the contemplative-prophetic "stream" itself. Of course the devil, flesh and world attack local churches and missions movements. But these enemies reserve their ultimate depravity and viciousness to loose against this foundation, knowing better than anyone:


"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Ps 11.3)


It is my personal and slowly matured conviction that someone claiming the Office of prophet will regard the contemplative life as completely normal, and they will also profoundly and perpetually long for it. That is not to say that every bona fide prophet must live a life wholly devoted to prayer. But I certainly am saying that every authentic seer's heart will be completely and utterly orientated by and to the Holy Spirit of prayer...and to such an extent that they know because they know that it is the great Christian task and vocation, which fuels and propels all others.


To a very great extent the prophetic vocation has been dishonoured, downgraded and diluted because of the historical suppression by Protestantism of the contemplative "stream". This in turn has opened the door to an unhealthily cramped and limited view of prophecy. It is all too often defined by Christian leaders with a strongly developed and accurately employed unction or gift to prophesy...which tends however to produce more information than naked flame.


As the Apostle and Evangelist champion above all things the missions "stream", so the Pastor and the Teacher espouse the local church. The Prophet is the evoker, the catalyst and guardian of the contemplative continuum. Kill him, and you wound (even unto "death") that which is absolutely imperative to the foundations of the Body of Christ, the Church on Earth...prayer born out of prayer, poured forth from those who live to pray.


(2) The particular slaughter of contemplatives.


In the midst of the 16th C Reformation of Christ's Church, a particularly gruesome example of our theme occurred, which in the normal course of events is masked or glossed over by the tribalism of the Catholic-Protestant divide.


As a young man. Henry VIII of England was a devout Roman Catholic, railing in print against the German "heretic" Martin Luther. (The king's boyhood tutor, Thomas More, had once called Luther, "Truly the shitpool of all shit!") Nevertheless, with changing times and "tides", Henry did become conscientiously involved in reform...especially later on when it facilitated obtaining his independence from the bishop of Rome (the pope), whose views on divorce and remarriage he did not find convenient.


By this time Henry's kingdom was awash with venality and sanctity on the part of all the parties involved in the monumental debate and conflict. In this fiery furnace and cess-pool the king wreaked havoc upon the prayer houses of England...ostensibly because of their "corruption" and refusal to acknowledge him as the Head of the Church of England.


But that group (the Carthusians hermits) which became the special focus of the royal rampage were in fact generally and justly renowned for being prayerful, holy and scholarly. King Henry's antichrist-like lust for absolute control of the nation's throne and altar, became the opportunity for that particular demon itself to strike at the true Church's true foundations by vanquishing (but not abolishing) the contemplative "stream".


Three Carthusian leaders were initially publicly executed. John Houghton, Augustine Webster, and Robert Lawrence were each in turn hanged by the neck until semi-conscious. They were then cut down to have their innards hacked out and thrown onto a fire. Finally, while still partly conscious, their hearts were torn out by the executioner and rubbed upon their faces.


As the executioner reached for John Houghton's heart, the martyr was heard by some in the crowd to pray:


"Good Jesu! what will ye do with my heart?"


Five weeks later, the hermits Humphrey Middlemore, William Exmew, and Sebastian Newdigate were similarly martyred. A contemporary observed that these victims of judicial murder went to their deaths "as cheerfully as bridegrooms to a marriage".


This may have had something to do with the visitation of the Holy Spirit to the Carthusian prayer house in London, immediately before the arrests and killings began. During the Community's celebration of the Eucharist (Lord's supper) "a soft whisper of air and sweet influence" was felt by all. They were overwhelmed and "ravished with a marvellous heavenly joy" that caused many to shed tears of happiness.


The blatant and unabashed destruction of such holiness shocked the crowds of the city and began to turn public opinion against the king and his sect. But the evil spirit was not to be so lightly fobbed off. The slaughter went on in secret, and over a period of months other holy hermits were locked in putrid dungeons and left standing in chains to starve to death.


Such was the fate of those "of singular integrity and spiritual and contemplative...that they might seem rather angels appearing in men's bodies".


Because of all of this history, both ancient and "modern", I have to say to you at this time of revolutionary fervour, excitement and optimism:


"Be not naive!" (3)


We are being called to rise up and reform the Last Church by honouring unto fusion of Christianity's three "streams"...and most especially the one catalyst which has ever been most dishonoured and most savagely attacked with a view to its annihilation.


Get ready! Get ready! Get ready for the devil antichrist (and his agents the flesh and the world) to ride out and engage you with full force. The fusion of the contemplative, local church, and missions "streams" represents ultimate threat to the serpent and will do him great harm.


Those who go out to meet these enemies upon their knees, are assured of victory!



(1) "The Tribulation Church", Peter Robertson, 2012, New Zealand.

(2) "The Desert Fathers", Benedicta Ward, 2003, England.

(3) The serpent and his allies are especially infuriated by the contemplative's poverty of spirit, and his unimpressive and "unproductive" passion to act "solely in God and with and for Him". ("The Blessed Trinity and the Supernatural Life", J-B Porion, France) And further, the serpent fears the "subversive" scope and power of the contemplative. As the Carmelite martyr, Edith Stein (1891-1942, Germany) has written: "Make your hearts free...then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth."

Picking Up Speed

21 January 2013

"His chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form, and dark is His path on the wings of the storm." (Hymn 9, PCNZ)


"Look eagerly for the coming of the day of God and work to hasten it on." (2 Pe 3.12 NEB)


During this year of 2013 I expect to see:


(1) A dramatic and alarming acceleration of the decay, decline and disintegration of the nations. This is going to take place because and as, increasingly,


"The kings of the earth take their stand...against the Lord and against His Anointed", whom the Lord has already "installed (as) My King upon Zion, My holy mountain"! (Ps 2.2&6)


For just as surely as the Lamb of God "was slain from the creation of the world" (Rev 13.8), so The King is already "set" upon His Throne on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel! And therefore, just as surely, those kings and nations who "set themselves" against Him must experience the fulfillment of the prophecy of "The Stone which the builders rejected",


"He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." (Mt 21.44)


This hastening of events is also in itself the beginning of the fulfillment of another of the Saviour's End Time' prophecies,


"Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short." (Mt 24.22)


Once again, this truth brings us into collision with contemporary (Western) Christian arrogance and naivety, which expects (demands?) to pass through history's ultimate crisis with heads resting dreamily upon the pillow of the religious and ecclesiastical status quo. (Doing the same thing over and over again, whilst expecting a different result or consequence every time, is surely one definition of madness and futility?)


The enthronement of The King of Heaven and earth in Jerusalem will be a complete over-turning of the whole natural, social and political order. It is not going to be a bit of a repair or patch-up job, but absolute revolution...the utter overthrow and destruction of all that has ever gone wrong with this world since the Fall, and the total restoration of God, His Word, works and ways.


"And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and his name the only one." (Zec 14.9, 2 Pe 3.10-11)


Do not at this time be Born-again and yet unwise, trying to spin a cocoon of denial and phony optimism. Rather, let us see in the storms and earthquakes (both natural and supernatural) which must precede the return of The King, strong evidence that our greatest hope is on the very eve of its fulfillment.


"There will fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Lk 21.25-28)


But this "speeding up" of history will by no means be restricted to the negative and destructive. God's outworking of His grand End Times' plan is also going to dramatically accelerate. This time next year, many Believers will report with joy, "It's astounding how much has happened and how much has changed in such a short space of time!"


"The days are coming...when the reaper will be overtaken by the ploughman (ploughman shall tread on the heels of reaper) and the planter by the one treading grapes." (Am 9.13)


This hastening of events is foreseen by the prophet Amos, occurring during Messianic times...i.e. the restoration and occupation of David's throne (v11).


Likewise The King Himself warns that at such moments in history we should never complacently or smugly announce, "Four months more and then the harvest"! In the dramatic count-down to The King's return and enthronement, God's "clock" will tick more rapidly then man's timepieces. (Mt 24.22)


There will be fewer days, but no fewer eschatological events. By cutting time short, He is by no means truncating His predestined, 11th hour deeds of mercy and justice. Being caught-up and swept along in such a quickening tide of salvation-judgement history, ought not to strike Believers as being strange or foreign. Of all the world's peoples, we are those called by God to,


"Live in constant expectation of the coming of the day of God, everything possible to hasten (lit. 'speed up') its coming." (2 Pe 3.12)


(2) An intensification of the chastenings of God upon His beloved Israel.


The necessary restoration of the Jewish State to The Land in 1948 has become for many a "false" end in itself...rather than the vital stepping-stone. Even many sincere, Christian Zionists are blind to God's ultimate goal for His beloved Jewish People...their "marriage" to Messiah, who is our Saviour and Redeemer.


It must never be forgotten (for the sake of theological sanity) that "without repentance, faith in Christ, and holiness of heart, no individual Jew or Gentile shall ever be saved". ("Israel's Present & Future" by David Baron, 1890) (1)


Prior to the Holocaust and the creation of the present-day State of Israel, this Messianic father taught that Jeremiah 30.4-7 and Ezekiel 22.17-22 forecast "a yet future baptism of fire" which succeeds their "gathering into the midst of Jerusalem".


"The ordeal announced here," David Baron predicted, "through which Israel is to pass is terribly sharp, but brief in its duration...and it ends in their salvation.


"It is clear that there is a time of purging by fiery judgement awaiting Israel after their return to their land, which will immediately precede their national conversion and the revelation to them of their Messiah, whom, as a nation, they have so long rejected."


"In that day (a time of trouble for Jacob)...I will tear off their bonds...they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them." (Jer 30.8-9)


As with the increasing upheaval (and overthrow) of the nations, so the intensification of Israel's trials and tribulations. Neither is evidence of a plan going awry or off course. Rather both are serious and accurate indicators that The King is "right at the door". (Mt 24.33)


They both ought also to act as fierce goads which sting the Church into renewed alertness and action concerning our absolutely unique be "a holy and royal priesthood"! (1 Pe 2.5&9)


This does not mean that Christians are of themselves "royal" (although you could be forgiven for thinking that, the way some prance and strut about God's meeting houses!) We are "a royal priesthood" insofar as we devoutly and authentically serve The King...especially immediately prior to His return and enthronement.


Our most significant responsibilities are to:


(a) Not panic.


"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful (fiery) trial you are suffering, as though something strange (foreign) were happening to you." (1 Pe 4.12)


"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves and punishes (chastens) everyone he accepts as a son." (Heb 12.5-6)


The whole point of prophecy is to help us prepare today, for what God is going to do tomorrow. As beloved Israel appears more and more to be getting the rough-end of world events and opinion, it will be of paramount importance that the Church neither panic (fearing our enemy is getting the upper-hand), nor fall-in with the increasingly vociferous and vicious anti-Semitic assaults from "all the nations of the earth"! (Zec 12.3)


(b) Pray "always" and "without ceasing". (Eph 6.18, 1 Th 5.17)


It is the Church, and the Church alone, who are called to be a corporate priest for God unto Israel, and for Israel before God. If not us, then who will go up,


"To the breaks in the wall to repair it for the house of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord."


"And stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so that I would not have to destroy it." (Eze 13.5, 22.30)


Israel's existence and The King's return are contiguous. Most importantly, His return is contingent upon Israel still being in existence (in spite of satan's last ditch, maniac determination to annihilate them!) in Jerusalem, from whence they utter the decisive cry for Him to come back. (Mt 23.39)


It is impossible to find the words to describe the absolute cruciality, utter viciousness and ultimate grace of this final great conflict between Israel and the serpent. (Ge 3.15) Thus it is beyond stretching to attempt to describe in adequate and practical terms, the Last Church's spiritual, intellectual and physical design and dimensions. I believe that God Himself best portrays them when He says,


"My house of prayer." (Isa 56.7)


"My house shall be called the house of prayer." (Mt 21.13)


"My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer." (Lk 19.46)


The serpent will not merely wage his war of absolute attrition against the Lord's Anointed, on Sundays. He will fight against The King returning to the holy hill of Zion, "tooth and nail" every second of every day and every night between today and The Day. Therefore, even the most casual or careless observer of today's Church must view with increasing alarm Western Christianity's relentless trend into a culture of "event", "performance" and "excitement"?


In blunt and holy contradiction of this, God is calling us into the divine (Heaven's) culture of organic, 24/7 fellowship, framed and clothed by prayer...and night-and-day prayer formed by the Holy spirit's unction and His "real life" community.


"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the followship (community), to the breaking of bread and to prayer...Every day they continued to meet together." (Ac 2.42-47)


"May...the fellowship (community) of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (2 Co 13.14)


During the Hitler Years, many Christians in Germany just went on worshipping in their church meetings and services as had ever been their custom. While they did so, trains loaded with God's beloved Israel rattled by outside on their evil ways to antichrist's death camps. It is a most terrible lie to say that "good" Germans did this because they did not know what was going on right under their noses. They did know...but were (in a sense) forced to look the other way, because they were not equipped to either see clearly enough through the serpent's deception or rise up together and oppose this tyranny of wickedness. In a word, they were an institution, an organisations, a club. They could not "resist the devil" (Jas 4.7) because they were not who they were called to be...God's house "called of all nations the house of prayer"!(2)


Tragically, in the 11th hour of these Last Days, there will be Believers still gathering for their mega-Sunday events...glamorous worship leaders all a-glitter, congregants panting and salivating for a "word" and a "touch" from the latest, greatest person of "faith and power"! Desperately ill-equipped for their destiny, they too will look away (seduced and subverted), as antichrist at The End attempts havoc against everything and everyone significant and vital to The King's return.


The bona fide, authentic, faithful "Tribulation Church" will prove to be like unto that agent of the Holy Spirit's resistance to the antichrist Hitler...Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Finkenwalde Community. Hidden, insignificant and provisional though it was, nevertheless it "appeared" an almost perfect reflection of our Older Brother and Redeemer,


"This servant of His (will) appear among us, unregarded brushwood stateliness, no majesty, no beauty to win our hearts...Yet this is He that will purify a multitude of nations; kings shall stand dumb in His presence." (Isa 53.1-2, 52.15 Knox)


(3) Germany will increasingly become the strongest nation in Europe. This is no mere geo-political observation or event, but the fulfillment of a key eschatological waymark, "painted" vividly in The Revelation,


"One of the heads of the (sea = of the nations) beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshippped the beast..." (13.3-4)


It is difficult for many today to grasp how "miraculous" has been the re-unification of West and East Germany and its resurgence. At the end of WW2, Germany, "the centre of the old (European) power structure, had effectively ceased to exist...partitioned into zones occupied by the Russians, Americans, British and French"!(3)


Likewise, it is equally difficult for many today (for whom yesterday is ancient history, according to "f-book"?) to really appreciate the prophetic significance of British war-time PM Winston Churchill's contention that Hitler's success would mean "the whole world...including all that we have known and cared for will sink into the abyss of a new dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science."


Indeed, modern, militant Islam is the current, direst threat to the existence of the present State of Israel. However, Hitler's Empire incarnated a desire and a plan for the extermination of that whole People...brought into existence by and for and beloved of God.(4) At The End, that same demon power (which fuelled and fired Nazi anti-Semitism) will rise up again as if from the dead in and through an "empire" led by Germany. Its goal will be to complete what it began in Europe in the early 1930s. The means may differ; the goal is the same. God has appointed the Tribulation-Prayer House Church to fight these demonic fires, which will finally and forever be extinguished...but by The King Himself, as He returns,


"The lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming." (2 Th 2.8-9)


This prediction concerning Germany's pivotal role in leading Europe and "all the nations of the earth" against Israel at The End, is not merely a prophetic important as that in fact is. It is also yet another divine incitement to immediately and wholeheartedly engage the 11th hour, revolutionary fusion of the Last Church's contemplative, missions and local church "streams"! (Read more of "Three Become One" in Prophetic Insights at Also the book at


As I have already said elsewhere and earlier, the Tribulation-House of Prayer Church is going to be brought into existence for the End Times. And is going to be established and built up on either our pre-determined good intentions, or out of the ashes of the redundant that we clung to for too long, in our Western complacency, indifference, pride and narcissism!


POSTSCRIPT: The purpose of this essay is neither to "dump on" nor "demonise" a particular nation or people. It is an attempt to shine some more prophetic light on a very difficult subject at a very dangerous time. Germany's (unfinished?) dealings with the spirit of antichrist must serve as a terrible and chilling warning to all nations and peoples. "That Germany (the embodiment of many of the most central features of civilization) should fall prey to (the) collective derangement (of Nazism) suggested that something had been wrong at the root of that civilization itself"? That is really a great question which the West and the Western Church ought to be examining today! (3)



(1) David Baron (1855-1928) was a religious Jew of Russian descent, who co-founded the "Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel" in England.

(2) The noted German author, Jenny Erpenbeck, recently observed in an interview (with the "NZ Listener"), "The Jews are gone (from Germany), the prejudice (against them) stays"!

(3) The Pelican History of the World, JM Roberts, 1980.

(4) Hitler said, "The annihilation of the Jews will be my first and foremost task." Current Islamic anti-Semitism is the "random" rage and violence of a pogrom. Hitler's was "the cool, systematic, legal and regulated violence of the state expressed through law and police power". (A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1987)

Three Becoming One

12 October 2012

"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the most holy place of the tabernacles of the most high." (Ps 46.4)


The Tribulation Church ( is being brought into existence by God now, through a process of fusion...not organisation. The Kingdom of God's three great "streams" (contemplative, missions, and local church) are being dissolved and blended into the one great "river" of God.


"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." (Rev 22.1, Eze 47.1-10, Zec 14.8-9)


The River of God is the historical Presence of the Lord and all of those who have ever been, are, or will be engrossed in and carried forward by His Will. It flows out from Him, catches us up, and returns to Him with us. (Php 1.6) There can be, of course, only one River...but it does comprise three streams. Tragically, usually these strands have been jarred and wedged apart and separated by the devil, the flesh, and the world. In the economy of God they are ordained to be "one"..."plaited" together, like unto "a threefold cord (which) is not quickly broken". (Ecc 4.12)


But generally, I would have to say that this "divorce" is sustained by the willful ignorance and/or pride of men. To be sure "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal", but oh, how we long and love to exalt ourselves (and our "party") over our Blood-brothers and sisters..."I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas"! (1 Co 1.12) By such carnal chunterings, we do render "Christ divided", and fatally condemn ourselves to be warped, weird, and weak.


The fire and heat of these Last Days is going to melt us all. Some are going to dissolve into nothingness, while fervently clinging to their traditions and their spiritual identities, status, and possessions. But for others, this ultimate eschatological and restorative event, is going to be exceedingly costly and yet the greatest supernatural and Kingdom adventure of all!


"He that loses his life for My sake shall find it." (Mt 10.39, Php 3.10-11)


In the natural world, fusion creates something entirely new and different through the melting and "disappearance" of the individual "ingredients", under intense heat. The Last Church is going to appear and be radically different from all that has ever been before. (And we can choose to do this either by anticipating and embracing change, or by playing "catch-up" for years to come?)


And yet, most mysteriously, the "new" will "speak" to our hearts, declaring that this is who and what we have ever been made for and meant to be.


"The heaven must receive (Jesus Christ) until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Ac 3.21)


For centuries fragments and splinters of Christ's Body have sought (in their own understanding and strength) to form alliances with each other...but always along administrative, organisational lines. Trumpet-ed "successes" in fact have been little more than a larger portion swallowing up the smaller...ecclesiastical, corporate raiders strutting their stuff, ever on the hunt for bigger, better, brighter!


But what is upon us and required of us now, is of an entirely different order. It is not merely a bit of a repair job. It is the total reconstitution of God's House according to all of the Architect's divine specifications...most especially the seamless blending of His contemplative, missions, and local church callings and traditions. Each one is absolutely and equally essential. However, that which has been most marginalised - and at times in history suppressed at the point of a sword (1) - will prove to be the key and the catalyst for their fusion.


The missions and local church "personality" is usually of necessity "activist"! This is as it should be. These trail-blazing, barn-raising characters are neither wired for nor disposed to extended seasons of adoration and reflection. They are intent upon conquering and colonising "higher ground", with all of their guns blazing. For them the contemplative is (at best) an unproductive dreamer, or (at worst) a malingering time- and space-waster!


But the contemplative, while being many things, is pre-eminently the guardian of that which is not merely common, but completely and utterly and absolutely foundational to all of the "streams"...namely the prophetic fire of prayer for prayer's sake.


Speaking out of the catastrophic furnace of WW1 concerning our (the Church's) failure, the Scottish prophet and scholar, Peter T. Forsyth said that "prayer is often represented as the great means of the Christian life. But it is no mere means, it is the great end of that Life...we pray because we were made for prayer, and God draws us out by breathing Himself in"! (2)


"The Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered...according to the will of God." (Ro 8.26-27, Heb 7.25)


In spite of their often eccentric spirituality, and unimpressive "un-productiveness", the contemplatives' different-ness is the only "glue" which can bind and bond the other two parties (ingredients), which ordinarily are sprung apart by their very similarity...and sadly, also by the baleful influences of selfish ambition, competition, and rivalry.


From time-to-time, the Lord sends someone our way who actually incarnates harmoniously all three "streams", so that we may see in that one, ourselves as we are called to be together. Ironically, history usually remembers them, not in their glorious full-orbed-ness, but according to that part and aspect of their being and ministry which we find most agreeable, useful, or fashionable.


An outstanding and glaring example of this is Francis Bernadone (of Assisi), 1181-1226. He is usually best remembered and admired for his barefoot, missionary fervour...skipping over geographical and religious boundaries as if they hardly existed, and asserting along the way, "Preach the Gospel every day. If necessary use words...It is not use walking anywhere to preach, unless we preach as we walk."


But any history makes of Francis a caricature if it fails to represent him as an equally fervent contemplative and lover of the local church. Immediately after his dramatic conversion to Jesus, Francis set to work to repair a derelict chapel on the edge of his town, thus taking literally His Saviour's command to "build My Church"!


What is generally less well-known, is that his incredibly active and fruitful life was founded upon and in prayer, which was under-pinned by prolonged periods of time spent "buried" in a cave, living as a hermit. His inner-circle knew better than to interrupt Francis' contemplative existence, which for him was a matter of "life and death"! He left a "Rule" (guidebook) for contemplative Christians which is still in use today. (3)


Today's 11th hour fusion of the Last Church's contemplative, missions, and local church "streams" requires an authentic revolution. Many things that have been long considered as cast in iron will be over-turned...e.g. membership and leadership. What exactly will "belonging" look like, as we begin to respond in ways more and more radical and daring to His call to "life together" which is anchored and propelled by daily, ordered, corporate prayer (and the Eucharist)? And how exactly will Jesus express His Lordship and Headship in our midst as we stretch out towards an End Times' lifestyle which is less and less institutional, and more and more organic, daily, communal?


We could choose to view this necessary upheaval as a massive threat which needs to be controlled or even suppressed by an irritated, angry conservatism. Or we might have the intestinal fortitude to acknowledge that our recent history has been spectacularly average; that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by striving for God's best...especially at this Age's end.


"The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels...Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." (Mt 13.39&43, 1 Pe 4.7-8)


I think it highly likely that the heat and turbulence of these Last Days is going to produce not only the House of Prayer-Tribulation Church, but also authentic Ascension Gift leadership. (Eph 4.8-13) For too long the philosophy or theology of Christian leadership has been cobbled together by cliques of "leaders". Their frame-of-reference is often their own personal profile or preference, standing and status, prestige and power. It ought to be "the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection". (Eph 4.13 Amplified Bible)


"Whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." (Mt 20.27, 1 Pe 5.3)


Jesus is the perfect and complete Incarnation of the leadership of God, and He harmoniously expressed the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching vocations. There is no power struggle going on within Him; no diminution or exaltation of one role or gifting over another. Before His Return we must expect and earnestly look for this kind of collegiality and deference amongst His Body's leaders who, publicly and privately, ought to be "in honour preferring one another". (Ro 12.10)


The House of Prayer-Tribulation Church will be "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Eph 6.10) through the fusion of its contemplative, missions, and local church "streams". Its completely new breed of leaders will be similarly established and fortified by co-operating rather than competing; deferring rather than hierarch-ing; blending rather than monopolising!


For some, these Last Days will prove to be an era of heat with very little illumination, alteration or fruitfulness. But for those who are prepared to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Co 5.7), it is going to be an unprecedented season of the profoundest and most radical recovery and reconstitution. In the end it must and will eclipse even the great 16th C Protestant Reformation and the 20th C Second Vatican Council.


In Noah's time, the great Flood and the Ark were unparalleled. Likewise, history on earth immediately before King Jesus' Return, and His Last Church, will both be unprecedented, unrivalled, exceptional. How awesomely naive to ever believe it can possibly be "business as usual"!


"And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." (Lk 17.26)


"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house." (Heb 11.7)



(1) E.g. During the English Reformation in the 16th C.

(2) 'The Soul of Prayer', New Creation Publications, South Australia 1999.

(3) "Rule for Hermitages".

See also and

The Righteous Judge

24 August 2012

"The rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He." (Dt 32.4)


From time-to-time, I encounter Christians who believe and feel (usually deeply!) that they have been treated unjustly by and in the Church. Such experiences are usually distressing, because of the pain such people are in...and also because, often any kind of remedy seems distant, if not impossible.


Added to these already considerable difficulties, is the fact that my own personal conviction (and thus counsel!) in such cases, is that Believers who seek justice from men, will obtain man's justice. Whereas, those who ask God for a verdict and redress, will receive a remedy which is both holy and divine. may take seemingly "forever" to obtain! That's the high-hurdle for many people.


Justice is usually slow concerning matters outside the Church, because up until the Last Day, God is permitting "both (tares and wheat) to grow together until the harvest...(at) the end of the age." (Mt 13.24-30, 36-43) That is when the two are finally "separated", which is the root meaning of "judgement" in the Bible.


Inside the Church, justice is also often ponderous because we are told to "not go on passing judgement before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts". (1 Co 4.5)


It is both reasonable and fair to say therefore, that justice is often hard to come by (both inside and outside the Church) at the present time because of the mercy of God. And that He restrains His judgement (withholding both punishment and reward) in favour of unrelentingly offering mercy and the possibility of (last-minute?) redemption.


(NB "Mercy" is not being kind or giving someone "a break"! It is the conscious reduction or lessening of the legitimate and fitting punishment for sin or a crime!)


"Mercy triumphs over judgement." (Jas 2.13)


So, are we naive to cry out to God for justice, and then wait for His reply? Not in the least...for such faith honours God, and He always honours such faith, which is clearly spelt out in both Scripture and Creed:


"And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead." (Ac 10.42)


"Jesus Christ, who is to judge the living and the dead." (2 Ti 4.1)


"They will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." (1 Pe 4.5)


"I believe...He shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead." (The Nicene Creed, 325)


The Early Church accepted and consciously lived in this light:


"Do not complain (groan, grumble) brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door." (Jas 5.9)


But has this sense of the nearness of the Judge and His justice faded in our "modern" days, and if so, why? I believe that it has, mainly because of the phony notion that Christians pass through the judgement of God when they repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. Indeed, a passable Biblical argument can be made for this view, but it is thoroughly shipwrecked upon the very word of God itself:


"But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again; why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God...So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God." (Ro 14.10-12)


"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Co 5.10)


By seeking an imagined short-cut into the Kingdom of God which deletes all reference to our having to render a final account to the King (face-to-face), we actually deprive ourselves of the prospect of justice and reward.


In some instances, justice can be swift...but in most, seemingly "plodding"?


"The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgement; for others, their sins follow after (following the offender to the bar of judgement and coming into view there)." (1 Ti 5.24)


But of its eventual arrival we may be as confident as we are of the Righteous Judge's Return:


"Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly." (Lk 18.6-8)


"The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation (trial), and to keep the unrighteous (unjust) under punishment for the day of judgement." (2 Pe 2.9)


So, what may be said and anticipated of that Day, described by the Prophet Malachi, as "great and terrible" (4.5)?


(i) Our Judge is just. By this we mean and believe that His every decision will be and be seen to be perfect...everything wrong will be put absolutely right! But not only is Jesus "a God without injustice", He is also our Him judgement is perfected and made complete and whole by mercy! But this mercy is not the result of some subjective emotion. It was wrought and won for us through the awful sufferings of His finished work upon The Cross.


"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Co 5.21)


As the Reformed scholar-prophet, Karl Barth (1886-1968) of Switzerland, has so succinctly set forth: "The Judge who puts some on the left and others on the right, is in fact He who has yielded Himself to the judgement of God for me and has taken away all malediction from me...There is a decision and a division, but by Him who has interceded for us."


Finally, in our Lord Jesus Christ are harmonized justice and mercy; miraculously both the unjust and their "victims" obtain complete satisfaction from The One who alone is "Holy, Holy, Holy."! (Rev 4.8)


(ii) There is a clear "downside" to this Day of Judgement. It is not only the time for separating the quick ("born again") and those dead ("in trespasses and sins"). It is that time when "the wheat and chaff" which together compose our own individual lives...are suddenly, publicly and irrevocably disentangled and divorced!


"Now if any man builds on the foundation (which is Jesus Christ) with...wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire...if any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." (1 Co 3.12-13 & 15)


"The Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple...He is like a refiner's fire...He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness." (Mal 3.1-3)


(iii) But there is also an obvious "upside" to The Day, which tragically is usually obscured by our collective eagerness to fashion for ourselves a consequence-less Christianity. For some Believers the result of judgement is "loss"...while for others:


"If any man's work which he has built on it (the foundation of Jesus Christ) remains, he will receive a reward (payment for his labour)." (1 Co 3.14)


The great Paul was in no doubt that his walk of faith and life of obedience would one day be honoured and compensated:


"(When) the Lord comes (He) will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise (applause) will come to him from God." (1 Co 4.5)


"In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Ti 4.8)


A profound appreciate of "eternal judgement" should be built four-square into our foundations. (Heb 6.2) Then, whatever superstructure we choose to build, should be formed along the following lines:


a) To act justly in all of our dealings with others. And when we fail, to be diligent to rectify our errors. Injustice does not simply expire with the passing of time; it cannot be erased with a slap on the back and a glib, "Build a bridge and get over"!


"The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground." (Ge 4.10)


"Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house...Surely the stone will cry out from the wall, and the rafter will answer it from the framework. Woe to him who...founds a town with violence (injustice)." (Hab 2.9-12)


b) To live accountably and thus carefully. Saying nothing, or "Whoops...that's regrettable", is not authentic repentance. Such always contains lasting penitence, meaningful reparation and all the parties. Our salvation was not effected by God letting "bygones be bygones" with the passing of time:


"Now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace." (Eph 2.13-14)


"Bear fruits in keeping with repentance." (Lk 3.8)


We have a choice; to burn the rubbish in our lives ourselves today! Or wait until The Day, for a very public and humiliating incineration!


"But if a man's (life's) work be destroyed under the test, he loses it all. He personally will be safe, though rather like a man rescued from a fire." (1 Co 3.15)


c) To work hard to earn a reward. Modern Christianity often seems to exists suspended between the two poles of drifting listlessly along with "majority", or a madcap, selfishly ambitious drive to be "up front" and/or "on top"! Neither leads to the "reward" (payment for labour) of "the crown of righteousness". This is not a kingly crown, but the wreath (woven of leaves and flowers) awarded to winning athletes. And I personally hold the belief that every Christian who completes the "race" of faith mapped out for them by Jesus, "wins" the race and receives a "crown", which is their reward.


"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith." (Heb 12.1-2)


"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize (victor's garland). Run in such a way that you may win." (1 Co 9.24)


Now, either this verse is phenomenally cruel...or it means that every Believer who runs and completes his race will win his reward.


Hence the Lord Jesus will have cause at the end of this Age to make it abundantly clear to some of His servants that "the race is not to the swift" (the flashy, "successful", popular), but the obedient! (Ecc 9.11)


"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (iniquity, wrongdoing).' " (Mt 7.22-23)


Tragically, I do believe that some of those "ministries" which have been feted and flocked to in our own time will "burn" at The End. And others which have struggled and apparently "failed" in ecclesiastical obscurity and abnegation, are going to be lauded and rewarded by Heaven and in Eternity. Nevertheless, there is still time. Our eternal destiny does not become irrevocable until The Day,


"I strain to reach the end of the race, and receive the prize for which God through Jesus Christ calls us upward." (Php 3.14)


"But many who are first will be last; and the last, first." (Mt 19.30)

Midwife Generation

25 June 2012

"But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live...So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them." (Ex 1.15-22)


I have in recent weeks prophesied over two young women (one in Wellington, NZ...and the other in Sydney, Australia). Both, it transpired, are in their 20s and are midwives. I attach the greatest prophetic significance to these characteristics, and therefore "see":


(1) The Church's current rising generation has been marked out by God for a particular and special task and responsibility when they "come of age" in a few years time. It is my personal and firmly-held view that at any given time, three generations are present for the Lord in His Church:


(a) 0-30 years, who are the "apprentice" generation;

(b) 30-60 years, who are the "leadership" generation;

(c) 60-? years, who are the "parent" (fathers and mothers) generation.


"I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." (1 Jn 2.13-15)


It is very important to never ever straitjacket any Christian generation with jargon, cliche or caricatures. Nevertheless, generations will display certain qualities and characteristics which correspond to their particular and peculiar destiny; those gifts and callings of God which "marry" a generation to their unique time and responsibility.


(2) The generation which is even now on the cusp of transitioning from "apprenticeship" to "leadership" is going to be as a midwife to the Church for God. A midwife is literally "one who is with the mother"...there for her especially! Therefore I anticipate men and women whose principle thought and concern will be for the growth and welfare of the Body of Christ...rather than for themselves and their own religious and material advantage and aggrandisement.


Hence, they will be enabled by the Cross and a well-cultivated and well-developed selflessness, to defeat the desires and designs of the "king of Egypt", who ever seeks the destruction of the Lord's salvation-purposes...most especially in the days of their vulnerable "infancy".


"And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour the child." (Rev 12.4)


"Take the Child and His mother and flee...for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." (Mt 2.13)


(3) It is my profoundest desire and greatest expectation that this rising generation will (by the power of the Holy Spirit of grace and supplications - Zechariah 12.10) attend to, support and facilitate the birth of the Tribulation Church(1) (that "well ordered and well regulated common life, hinging and pivoting upon prayer"), and thus of the Messianic Age(2)!


Undoubtedly at birth the Tribulation Church (House of Prayer) appears unimpressive and feeble...a mewling, colicky disappointment. And yet through such the Lord is pleased to reveal Himself gloriously, rescue His House from crooks and swindlers, save all Israel, and call The Son from Heaven to His Throne on Mount Zion.


" 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Co 12.9)


"My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you have made it a robbers' den." (Mt 21.13)


"So all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, 'The Deliverer will come from Zion, and He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.' " (Ro 11.26)


"For the Lord has chosen Zion...This is My resting place forever." (Ps 132.13-14)


(4) "And last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also." (1 Co 15.8)


A quick flick through the world of Bible commentaries, quite rapidly reveals that understanding of this text is mired in contradiction and controversy. So, let me have-at-you (for the sake of that generation now waxing) out of left-field. I believe that the great Apostle Paul (agent of half of all NT Scripture) is describing his "condition"...of being completely out-of-step with his own generation, and yet absolutely vital and indispensable to it and to those yet to appear (especially the Last)!


History shall record that the "midwife" generation was likewise as "one untimely born"! Completely out-of-step with their religious contemporaries, and yet vital to both God and man. They must simply cling to the promises of Exodus 1, that as they continue in the fear and reverence of the Lord, He will be good to them, and the people (Church and Israel) will multiply and become very mighty. (vs 17-20)


Accusations of being anti-church and/or attempting to drag God's People back into ecclesiastical-liturgical bondages, will whistle and hiss about the "midwives' " ears, like so many bullets. But they will just have to fearlessly and stubbornly set their course and tramp it according to the "vision" and the 'blueprint".


For this reason many will discover themselves led by Jesus out into the "wilderness". Sometimes this will mean literal urban or rural deserts; at others the figurative-spiritual wastelands of incomprehension, rejection and even persecution.


That has ever and entirely been the history of the Church's prophetic-contemplative movement...from Elijah by "the brook Cherith", to John the Baptist a " the deserts until the day of his public appearance", to the 4th C Desert Fathers and Mothers in Syrian and Egyptian wilds, to (in our own "day") Charles de Foucauld gunned down in the Sahara by those whose conversion he sought through intercession.


(In 1156, a Carthusian hermit wrote from the high mountains of SE France, "We unworthy and poor men of Christ who dwell in the deserts of Chartreuse for the love of the name of Jesus.")


Such planned or imposed hidden-ness or obscurity is in fact the Lord's secret weapon...for two reasons most graphically illustrated by Elijah the Tishbite:


"Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of Jordan." (1 Ki 17.3)


(i) Having announced (and in some respects triggered) a national crisis for Israel, the prophet is tucked away pray.


"Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain." (Jas 5.17)


Prayer is not a spectator-sport or an attention-obtaining device! (Even though some pray at length in public as if it is?)


"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret (concealed and hidden) and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." (Mt 6.6)


In the Lord's vocabulary, the words "prayer" and "obscurity" are synonyms. But sadly for too many Protestant flockers, they are antonyms. This is a crucially important part of our Biblical inheritance which we have to reclaim swiftly. "The secret place of the most High" (Ps 91.1) not only guarantees the security of the pray-er and the prayer house, it is also the environment and atmosphere for sustained and "effectual fervent" worship and intercession...corporate and personal. (Jas 5.16)


(ii) "Cherith" means "trench". It's really just a hole in the ground, and that's not only an ideal bolt-hole, but also the perfect place for the "death and resurrection" process which is the indispensable ingredient of all prophetic-contemplative journeys, events and processes.


"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (Jn 12.24 & Mt 13.31-32)


"When (Abraham) was but one I called him, then I blessed him and multiplied him." (Is 51.2)


The prophet precipitated a veritable explosion of resurrection-revival power and life atop Mount Carmel, only after he has "died" and "germinated" (seed-like) into prayer-incarnate in his "grave" out on the fringes of the Wilderness.


"That I may know Him (Christ)...being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Php 3.10-11)


Or as the Jewish contemplative-martyr, Edith Stein (1891-1942, Germany) so eloquently prophesied, "The more perfect (our) active and passive crucifixion may be, the more intimate will be the union with the Crucified and therefore the richer the participation in the Divine Life."


There are no short-cuts from prophesying in Ahab's palace to sparking national revival on Mount Carmel!


"What is buried in the earth, like a seed, in decay is raised power." (1 Co 15.42-44)


"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way.' " (Jn 14.6)



1) See


2) "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him." (Mt 25.31-32)


"In the regeneration ('re-genesis') when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Mt 19.28)

A Terrible Warning

30 March 2012

"Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a robbers' den." (Mk 11.17)


The Lord Jesus' "cleansing the Temple" (Mt 21.12-13, Lk 19.45-46, Jn 2.16) was the fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy (uttered at least 400 years earlier).-


"The Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple...the messenger of the covenant...He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver." (3.1-4)


At first glance, it is "those who were buying and selling in the temple" who seem to cop it. But the real target of the Lord's prophetic "rampage" is the priesthood...and most especially the high priestly family and their coterie of religious power-brokers. Thus.-


"The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him." (Mk 11.18)


The "little guy" wheelers and dealers may well have been back running their enterprises the very next day? After all, observant Jews still needed to buy kosher animals for their offerings, and "purchase" official half-shekels to pay their Temple tax. (Ex 30.11-16) It was really the "big boys" who were in the Lord's "sights"! The market stalls which were the focus of Jesus' "attack" were called the "Bazaars of Annas", and were "the private property of the family of the (then) High Priest of that name"!


But even this particular piece of religious real estate, was yet only symptomatic of the underlying and core issue which the Messiah was gunning for...i.e. religious and spiritual proprietorship! This phenomenon, by which some believe they can actually "own" the Church, was identified by the Lord as being "antichrist" in the Matthew 21.33-41 "Parable of the Landowner".


In this parable, the "landowner who planted a vineyard...sent to the vine-growers to receive his produce" to no avail! After many failed attempts "he sent his son to them", but "they took him out of the vineyard and killed him". Now note, the rationale of the vine-growers.-


"This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance."


And once again, no one was left in any doubt about this parable's intended audience.-


"When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them"! (v45)


I say that this is the demon antichrist, for its mission is not only to oppose Jesus' government of beloved Israel and his Church, but also, if possible, to usurp and replace Him as our Head. This parable's vine-growers seriously (insanely?) believed that by killing the owner's heir, they could claim ownership and thereby take control of the vineyard and all of its revenues.


Do not for one minute think that this evil spirit's work has yet been stopped. Over the past 40 years, I have either been employed by or ministered in almost every part of God's (Western) vineyard, the parts which cannot/will not recognise each other. Upon reflection, I would have to say that 99 percent of all the most heartbreakingly tragic and destructive events I have witnessed have been caused by Christians who believe that in some way, shape or form they "own" a local church, a movement, or even a denomination! It is also worth observing that these "owners" are not necessarily the visible leaders. Such can and do lurk, "hidden" within the Body, not unlike a spiritual "mafia"!


They too are the (unwitting?) victims of antichrist, but must bear responsibility and are culpable for their actions.


Now, here's the point! When our Lord went on the offensive against antichrist and religious proprietorship in Israel, He quoted two prophets...Isaiah and Jeremiah.-


"For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples." (Is 56.7)


"Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, declares the Lord." (Jer 7.11)


And it was His employment of Jeremiah's words which should have sent immense shock waves and a dense chill into the hearers' hearts. For with his very next breath, the great "prophet of wrath" continued with the terrible warning.-


"But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel." (7.12)


Jeremiah's "audience" could be in no doubt what he was warning by mentioning the fate of Shiloh, where God had once dwelt amongst His Israel. On a later occasion (26.7-9), the prophet again warned that the Temple would become "like Shiloh". The implications were crystal clear.-


"The priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, 'You must die! Why have you prophesied...This house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate, without inhabitant?' "


In the midst of the God-fuelled riot in the "Bazaars of Annas", Jeremiah's fearsome warning re-echoed off the great House's majestic pillars.-


"Get down off your thrones! Relinquish all and every claim you have ever made over God's House and People...or like Shiloh, you will quite simply and starkly stand to lose everything!"


As a nation, Israel did not heed the warning. In fact, they finally took the Son and "threw him out of the vineyard and killed him"...and themselves were brought "to a wretched end"!


At the time of His first Visitation, Israel's Messiah and the world's Redeemer looked for His People to be "a house of prayer for all nations". He knew very well that if they were so, they would be healthy. But He discovered them mortally ill. That is why, in this hour of preparation for His second (and final) Visitation, the prophets are crying out for a reformation of the Church which eclipses all previous renewals. We have to cease being an organisation for meetings, and become an organism of prayer; not a corporation, but a company of pilgrims; not a business, but a Body which exists to worship and adore; beseech and intercede.


When we come out of our board meetings with yet more "vision" statements and strategies, we are sick. When we get up off our knees drained of all the adoration and thanks we have to offer the Holy One, we are healthy. When we lick our lips seeking the sugary taste of the "success" of bigger meetings, larger offerings and "fame", we are diseased. When we hourly savour the sweetness of the dust beneath His feet, then we are well.


"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him...Let him put his mouth in the dust, perhaps there is hope." (La 3.25&29)


"My souls cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Your word." (Ps 119.25)


It is all very well quoting "cleansing the Temple" texts admiringly...the Lord dealing to the naughty Jewish shopkeepers, and a cutsy-pie exhortation to pray a bit more thrown in? I don't think so!


It was a prophetic event of ultimate import, accompanied by a terrifying warning which was ignored and then fulfilled some 37 years later, when the brutal battalions of Rome massed about Zion's ramparts to "unleash hell"...their speciality! And it is still today a terrifying and ongoing warning. Any sense at all that God is now calling the whole Church to become "a house of prayer for all nations" must be unequivocally yoked to the implicit, fiery "threat"!


It is not merely a case of the Church becoming more prayerful for the Last Days. It is about God's People so re-constituting themselves according to His Will, that they are not sick, but healthy; not vitiated, but robust; not spiritual bureaucrats or religious professionals, but Believers at full-stretch and mature stature (Eph 4.13) when upon their faces, "night-and-day", within the Holy Place!


That is why I say (over-heatedly?...over-excitedly?) it's time to "Pray together or perish!" (Read There is going to be nothing moderate or even-tempered about antichrist's final, desperate and nihilistic lunge for all of this world's "thrones" (both sacred and secular) simultaneously. This is satan's last chance...and he knows its.-


"Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time." (Rev 12.12)


So, why is it that so much contemporary Christianity has in the main made such a virtue of "balance", temperance, sedateness. We admire Francis of Assisi from a safe distance as he shakes 12th C Europe with the Gospel. But what would really become of a young person today, if during an "altar call" they got naked as well as saved? (I can hear the deacons' knees knocking already!) Francis' impact was was his passion for Christ, for prayer, and for unconditional obedience.


Bernard of Clairvaux (11th C) was 24 years-of-age when he founded and led a prayer house in France. During his life-time (directly or indirectly) he "planted" a further 170. To our "cool", modern ears his language can sound almost hysterical.-


"Prostrate, see Thy cross I grasp/ and Thy pierced feet I clasp/ Gracious Jesus, spurn me not"


Bernard wrote a 4-volume commentary on the Song of Songs, recruited followers from the hangman, and reminded snobbish, upper-crust church-goers (in a sermon) that they too had been "born amidst faeces and urine"!


Perhaps today the Cross is more of a doctrine to which we assent...rather than an event we embrace and live. And thus we dare not risk losing everything, because we have yet to actually lay down our lives in its shadow? We do not know how to live, because we do not know how to die in Christ! Under the threat of antichrist in Germany in the 1930s, the martyr, Edith Stein prophesied.-


"More than ever the Cross is a sign of contradiction. The followers of the antichrist desecrate the images of the Cross and they make every effort to tear the Cross out of the heart of Christians. All too often they have succeeded even with those who once vowed to bear Christ's Cross after Him."


In order for the Last Church to become what we are not yet ("a house of prayer for all nation") we will have to die to all that we have ever been...and still cling to so fondly and desperately. But we are going to perish in the faecal-storm of the final tribulation unless we can discover our pathway into " 'a well ordered and well regulated common life' hinging and pivoting upon prayer."


Sometimes this will inevitably involve blind-faith, "unwise" risk-taking, humiliating failures! But then the King and Head of the Church did not in fact guarantee success, fame, happiness, prosperity...a Cross-denying culture vast numbers of Western Christians currently worship. But He did promise us.-


"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me...whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Mt 16.24-27)


The authentic Christian life is "life from the dead" (Ro 11.15), according to "the power of an indestructible, endless life". (Heb 7.16)


The "house of prayer for all nations" Church is going to appear for The End, arising out of the redundant and the expired which we have voluntarily demolished...or it will come up through the ashes of that which is destroyed, around our deaf ears.


As frightening as this responsibility may seem, we still do have the choice.


"I am disturbed with an uneasy sense that we sophisticated, modern folk, with out pitiful timidity and our persistent self-seeking are living in darkness and misery when we might follow the supreme Sufferer through suffering into light and joy." (1)



(1) "Theism & the Modern Mood", W.M. Horton (SCM Press, NYC)

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