Insurrection Against God

This has been the “way” of our American evangelical family over the last seventeen months:

When the Lord visited the earth and our nation with a plague in 2020 our response was false prophecy, and then redacted false prophecy. We ran quickly to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and feasted on rumors, fear-mongering, malice, and vows of self-preservation. We did not humble ourselves. We did not cry out. We emboldened ourselves in our self-righteousness.

When racial hostility flashed (again) across our nation we did not extend justice, meekness, and empathy, we continued to self-protect and condemn, justifying our wicked history. We were not noble in compassion. We spurned every call to contrition. We even developed a theology to inoculate ourselves from having to listen to the cries of our black & native neighbors – many who are our own sisters and brothers in Christ.

When the elections did not give us the result we wanted we wrapped ourselves in a flurry of false prophecies, and we did the dance of baal before the Lord. We became unapologetic in our rebellion. Unaccountable and unrepentant, we spread rumors and scandal, we cursed and fomented counterinsurgency, and then shifted blame for the war that rages within our own hearts.

When the children of our native neighbors were unearthed, and the heinous racial sins of our nation and our family were exposed, we ignored the dead altogether… we did not weep with those who were weeping. We did not mourn with those who mourn…

Now that COVID is re-emerging we are doubling down in our resistance to His voice; we demand our liberty rather than humble our hearts. We vow to fight and protect our own selfish constitutional rights rather than extend ourselves with tenderness to our confused and fearful neighbors upon our Kingdom cross. Our faces are like flint. Our necks are stiff. Our hearts are hard. Our souls are intoxicated with rebellion – a revolt that heaven sees as insurrection against our King.

On top of all this, we divide, separate, and condemn and we ignore the testimony of God’s Word – from beginning to end. We do not know that He sees us as one body; one family; one people; one Church – us, and our fathers in this land. This is “us”. This wickedness belongs to the whole household of God in America. This is not only part of us. This is the whole of us. One people. When one part of the body has cancer, all of us are compromised. We cannot jump ourselves out of the number (Isaiah 53:12). The prophets did not. Jeremiah did not. And most importantly, Y’shua does not.

What will it require for God to purge us of our rebellion, and align our unrighteous hearts to His?

We’ve given our contentious selves to the social-media-driven opinions of men” non-stop, for 17 months. It’s time to sincerely, honestly, and thoroughly “seek His Face.”

JEREMIAH 22

1 Thus says the Lord: “Go down to the house of the (leaders of My people), and there speak this word,

2 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, (you leaders) and you people who enter these gates!

3 Thus says the Lord: “Execute judgment and righteousness and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

4 For if you indeed do this thing, then you shall enter the gates of this house.

5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the Lord, “that this house shall become a desolation.”

6 For thus says the Lord to the house of the leaders of His people: “You are a testimony to Me; yet I surely will make you a wilderness, communities which are not inhabited.

7 I will prepare destroyers against you, every one with his weapons; they shall cut (you) down…

8 And many nations will pass by; and everyone will say to his neighbor, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this people?’

9 Then they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshiped other gods and served them.’ ”

10 Weep not for the dead, nor bemoan him; weep bitterly for him who goes away, for he shall return no more…

13 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice,

14 who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house…’

15 “…Did not your fathers eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him.16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this knowing Me?” says the Lord.

17 “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence…

20 Go up and cry out, and lift up your voice…, for all your lovers are destroyed.

21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not hear.’ This has been your manner from your youth, that you did not obey My voice.

22 The wind shall eat up all your rulers, and your lovers shall go into captivity; surely then you will be ashamed and humiliated for all your wickedness.

23 …How gracious will you be when pangs come upon you, like the pain of a woman in labor?

25 …I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear…

26 So I will cast you out…

29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord!”

30 Thus says the Lord: “(These ones) shall not prosper in these days; for none shall rule anymore in the land.”

____________________
JSB • August, 2021

The Hidden Ways of Lawlessness (and why it’s so important that we let Him address it in our lives.)

PREFACE
Recently, while I was reading Matthew 7:23, “And then I will declare to the, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” the Holy Spirit put His finger on the word LAWLESSNESS and I heard Him say: “Church, stop winking at LAWLESSNESS!”

In an hour when the immoral norm in our society is declining precipitously; when many want to legalize abortion up to nine months, when same sex marriage, transgenderism and sexual abuse have become mainstream in both political parties, and when violence against authorities is being legitimized, lawlessness has become the spirit of a nation.

At the same time, when pornography is ceded as a struggle that all Christian men must endure, incessant cursing and hostility is encouraged among the people of God, pride is admired, racial antipathy is cheered, and the abdication of the Sermon on the Mount is rationalized by pastors and leaders, lawlessness is gaining a deep foothold in the body of Christ.

Both our culture, and the Christian Church are boiling in the waters of increasing lawlessness – like the proverbial frog in the kettle. For the sake of both the Church and our nation, we urgently need to bring what we think we know, seek the Lord, and plumb line ourselves to His unbending, unpartisan definition of “LAWLESSNESS”.

Here are twelve of the most important things we can learn from the New Testament about “lawlessness”:

1. “Everyone who practices sin also practices LAWLESSNESS; indeed, sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4) Straight forward. The only question to ask after this scripture is “Holy Spirit, show me where I am practicing LAWLESSNESS.”

2. LAWLESSNESS is also the willingness to live our lives devoid of the fruits of the Spirit… “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such THERE IS NO LAW.” (Galatians 5:22)

3. Jesus considers suspending the principles of the Sermon on the Mount as LAWLESSNESS. “Do not think that I came to destroy the LAW or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill the LAW. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the LAW till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these LAWS, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)

4. The ways of LAWLESSNESS are deceptive, and are not easily perceived within a LAWLESS world. The Lord is the true arbiter of “LAWLESSNESS”. We only see our own LAWLESSNESS in the light of His illumination on our hearts.
“In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and LAWLESSNESS.” (Matthew 23:28)

5. The way of LAWLESSNESS is potently present in our age.
“For the hidden power of LAWLESSNESS is already at work.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

6. We are to make no alliances with those who are filled with LAWLESSNESS and champion the way of LAWLESSNESS.
“Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and LAWLESSNESS, or what fellowship does light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

7. The Lord calls us to be vigilant; to “watch and pray” that we not be deceived, and led astray into LAWLESS thinking and living.
“Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these LAWLESS men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth.” (2 Peter 3:17)

8. If we do not arrest the creep of LAWLESSNESS in our own lives, and culture, we will live in the place of great deception, where, though we may be good active church members, our hearts are deluded by LAWLESSNESS and our intimacy with the Lord will grow cold, stale and dormant – with dire consequences.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice LAWLESSNESS!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

9. LAWLESSNESS is a power that will actually increase on the face of the earth. If we fail to guard ourselves from its increase, it will overtake our hearts and cause our hearts to grow cold to the Lord, and to others.
“Because LAWLESSNESS will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

10. This increase in LAWLESSNESS will actually lead millions to embrace the man of LAWLESSNESS. Many cultures will acclimate to an “anti-Christ” spirit, long before the anti-Christ mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2 arrives on the scene. He will lead those who find him to be a champion for the attitudes that are already reigning in their own hearts.
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

11. The LAWLESS ones will ultimately find themselves among those who rage against God’s purposes and the reign of His Son on the earth.
“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds (laws, and moral codes) in pieces and cast away Their cords (narrow-minded and repressive ways) from us.” (Psalm 2:1-3)

12. Both those who know they’re in LAWLESSNESS, AS WELL AS those who are blind to their own LAWLESSNESS will be judged, separated from the Kingdom, and cast into eternal punishment.
“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that causes sin as well as all LAWLESS ones, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth… He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:41-43)

THE WORD OF GOD ALSO OFFERS US GREAT HOPE IN OUR LAWLESSNESS:
A. The Lord has come to us Himself, our Champion of righteousness; completely fulfilling the LAW; filled with perfect zeal to destroy the power of LAWLESSNESS in our world, and our own hearts.
“You have loved righteousness and hated LAWLESSNESS. So God, your God, has anointed You over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.” (Hebrews 1:9)

B. “He gave Himself for us to set us free from every kind of LAWLESSNESS and to purify for Himself a people who are truly His, who are eager to do good.” (Titus 2:14)

C. He knows how to rescue and protect those who are zealous to live with integrity in righteousness, though they be surrounded by the deceit and power of LAWLESSNESS.
“He rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless men. For while he lived among them day after day, that righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard.”
(2 Peter 2:7, 8)

D. If we come to Him in humility and repentance, He totally forgives us of all our LAWLESS deeds, and our LAWLESS WAYS. “Then he says, ‘Their sins and their LAWLESS deeds I will remember no longer.” (Hebrews 10:17)

E. He also has the capacity to release us from helplessly living under the destructive curse of LAWLESSNESS.
“Blessed are those whose LAWLESS deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” (Romans 4:7)

F. He bids us to present ourselves to Him so He may daily give us circumspect wisdom, so we can live free, holy and uncompromised from the ravaging spirit of LAWLESSNESS in our world.
“For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and LAWLESSNESS leading to more LAWLESSNESS, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.” (Romans 6:19)

Beloved, this is a sober hour for us to open our hearts to the Lord, Beloved, this is a sober hour for us to open our hearts to the Lord, “to see if there be any wicked way in us” (Psalm 139:24) so that He may deal the death blow to our hidden ways of LAWLESSNESS in our lives.

HOW THEN DO WE DEAL WITH THE WAYS OF LAWLESSNESS?
Once we’ve decided the Lord is calling us to address the lawlessness in our fellowships, and in our own hearts, how do we proceed?

1. Turn Aside – Make a diligent and intentional, protected space to pursue the Lord and what He’s saying to you about lawlessness. Set aside focused time each day, each week, for you and others to pray, inquire and listen for the Lord’s Word re: the lawless thinking and behaviors in your life.

2. Seek His Face – Be specific. Let the Holy Spirit make the issues specific and personal. One good way to start is by taking up Matthew chapters 5, 6 & 7 (the Sermon on the Mount) and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you are transgressing the norm that Jesus sets forth in this message. His Word (every dash and punctuation mark) is the law of the Kingdom. Our cavalier, luke warm attitude toward anything that He addresses in this sermon is fertile ground for seeds of lawlessness. Where have we grown lax in pursuing the vibrant depth of these glorious qualities? Ask the Lord. Seek out His wisdom and divine insight about your own heart. (For a more complete treatment of this reality see our new book: “Seek My Face: A Guide to Praying Through the Judgments of the Lord” at AMAZON.

3. Repent – As you read, everywhere you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, begin to make an inventory of the issues. Write them down, and begin to confess them as sin, and rebellion against the good and loving ways of the King. Determine in your heart to turn yourself and your ways away from viewing these behaviors as acceptable. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you vigilant in your pursuit to rid yourself of these expressions of lawlessness.

4. Receive His Grace – Listen for the voice of the King as you express your desire to live under His righteous reign. The enemy loves to keep us in condemnation. This is not for you! If you’ve written down your sin – also write down the words of forgiveness that the Lord gives to you. This is His pardon to you for your rebellion. Realize that these words of clemency have come at the cost of His own life, and are written in His own blood! – Listen for the voice of the King as you express your desire to live under His righteous reign. The enemy loves to keep us in condemnation. This is not for you! If you’ve written down your sin – also write down the words of forgiveness that the Lord gives to you. This is His pardon to you for your rebellion. Realize that these words of clemency have come at the cost of His own life, and are written in His own blood! The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) The transference of your loyalty is that serious to Him!

5. Cultivate Intimate Dialoguing Love with the Lord – Determine how, where and at what times you will meet with the Lord to pray and read His Word, and learn to hear His voice in your life. This is not a normal “ability” for humans. It’s something that must be practiced and learned. The more you hear His voice, the more you will understand His loving heart for you, and the many specifics of your life. This is called cultivating intimacy with the Lord. The more His voice become precious to you, the more you will want to do the things that are pleasing to Him, and the more you will find yourself no longer seeking the false comforts of lawlessness.

For more information about knowing and following the Lord, and strengthening your dialogue with Him, contact us at All Nations House of Prayer Southwest: xaris4u@yahoo.com

God bless you, friend.

Jonathan Boegl

Rejoice with Trembling

(The following is an excerpt from Jon’s book, “Seek My Face: A Guide to Praying Through the Judgments of the Lord” [2021] available at AMAZON.)

Rejoice with trembling.” (Psalm 2:11)

This straightforward charge is the most indispensable of phrases in the Lord’s prescription. The Hebrew word for rejoice is GHEEL It has a 3-fold meaning: It means to REJOICE, to REPENT, and to EXALT.

GHEEL entails a command to shout for joy with trembling. Our glorious Bridegroom, Jesus, is coming! He is the perfect leader our hearts have always longed for. He is majestic in His beauty and more radiant, holy, mighty, and “other” than our senses can bear. We are filled with exhilaration at Who He is. But we, like John (Revelation 1:17), fall at His feet like dead men because of the density of His glory. If our hearts do not rejoice, they will flee from the presence of this One. 

There is an hour coming when it will be supremely wise to have cultivated joy-filled confidence in His goodness. We will have great need of this joy to carry us through the judgments that are coming. The ability to rejoice in Him will protect our hearts so that we remain faithful to Him through all the shaking and purifying fires that will come with transitioning from this age to the next.

Paul points us to the wisdom of having gheel in our spirits in 2 Timothy 4:8 Finally there is a crown of righteousness reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who love His appearing. The ability to rejoice in that Day is a muscle that each of us needs to develop today.

A rejoicing Bride, steeped in first-commandment-love, is also the great promise that the Father and the Holy Spirit have made to the Son. (Deuteronomy 20:6)

GHEEL also points us to a type of repentance borne from the revelation of the Son, Himself. As we noted earlier, the most sufficient enticement into repentance is the beauty of Jesus. Every bit of repentance empties into His increase. The longer we prayed in 2020, the clearer it became that the Lord intends to release viral repentance on the earth that flows out of a viral revelation of Jesus’ beauty.

Ultimately, this spirit of repentance brings us to our cross. The crucified life is our spiritual worship. As we relinquish ourselves to Him, we also tremble at the realization that He has done the same for us. The act of laying our lives down for Him is what this arriving King is due. It is loving Him in the same manner as He has loved us first. (1 John 4:19)

GHEEL also urges all of humanity to Be still and know that I Am God. I WILL be  EXALTED among the nations. (Psalm 46:10)

The fact of the matter is, nothing will deter the increase of the Son and His inheritance of this world. On the (Joel 3:9-14) Day of decision, the Father and all of heaven will exalt His Son. It is profoundly judicious for us to use times of shaking, like 2020, to acclimate ourselves to that reality. Our world is a part of a Divine storyline with a foreordained timetable. The age of the curse under the control of the evil one is passing away (1 John 2:17). The age of blessing under the reign of God’s Son will soon be fully here.

The Lord is fashioning a people who understand this “transfer of power”, who agree with the Father’s wise selection, and will herald the unique sufficiency of the One Who is coming to rule the nations. He is the ideal lover of every human heart. But He is also the only judge who is qualified to separate love from that which corrupts love. Exalting Him today as just and true and righteous (Revelation 16:7) is our RSVP to His inauguration over the governments of this world.

Come. Let us EXALT His Name together. (Psalm 34:3) 

Finally, we GHEEL with TREMBLING.

The word trembling evokes a profound awareness that the One Who is coming to reign is Someone Who is quite different extraordinary, unparalleled and peerless. While He is now in human form, it was His holy decision to be so. It was a decision that none of us would have made. He is very much not like us. And it is only by His patient benevolence that we come forth from this age, as John observes: like Him. (1 John 3:2)

He alone possesses a perfect heart. He alone offered a selfless sacrifice. He alone is the Man of the Father’s choosing. He alone dwells and lives and thinks in perfect righteousness. He alone possesses the capacity to have shepherded us perfectly. He alone is the exact representation of the Father on earth. He alone can take the scroll (Revelation 5:9), the title deed to the earth.

Before Him all heaven is silent. He is the incarnation of pure power, might, majesty, wisdom and holy love. He alone is our joy, and the One Whom we singularly exalt.

Although it is quite rare in our generation, it is absolutely wise to allow ourselves to be overtaken by a sanctified fear of His otherness. Indeed, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Cultivating a fear of the Lord today will stimulate a weighty joy, repentance and exaltation that will anchor our hearts through the extreme social, emotional, mental, physical and spiritual upheaval that is to come.

____________________
JSB

Revolution, Repentance and Revival

Right now, it’s a real possibility that if the redeemed reach for revival without bending in repentance our nation will erupt in revolution.

The clear-eyed options before the nation and the Church in this hour are revolution or repentance & revival. Those who refuse the way of repentance & revival will most certainly be bound up in either the hostility of anarchy, or the hostility of conservatism. Lest it not be said, neither of these hostilities will stand on the Day of the Lord.

If we don’t see the depth of the crisis before us we will most certainly NOT understand the depth of the solution God’s making available to us, nor the degree to which He wants it applied through our lives.

The only way forward for the Church (much less America) in this hour is through Luke 9:23,24 radical Christ-following; to learn the incarnational way of repentance and humility and cross-bearing… in all that we do – in our board meetings, our community service, our Sunday services, our worship teams, our small groups, our strategic planning sessions, our preaching and our posting, but mostly in our daily prayer.

A repentant, crucified church prays.The Lord is hemming His Bride into “His normal”. There is no hope for a church, nor church leadership that does not pray. If we’re not praying, we’re not repenting. If we’re not repenting, we’re not crucified. And if we’re not crucified all our international ministries, pet projects, blogs and Christian commercial labels will be the fodder of eternal regret.

Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. (1 Corinthians 3:13)

Simply put: if the Church will not learn the way of prayer, neither the nation nor the church will survive. Our God who is a Consuming Fire” (Hebrews 12:29) will guarantee it.

Church, the Lord is graciously giving us space to REPENT, SEEK HIS FACE and establish the priority of ONE THING. The time will come when, because of the deceitfulness of our unrepentant sin, we will be unable to see the wisdom or way of giving ourselves to these vital realities.

“Exhort one another daily, while it is called today lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

____________________
JSB • June, 2021

Evangelicals and Critical Race Theory

Anti-CRT arguments, like the one broadcast above by Candace Owens, are trending in evangelical circles. I believe they are also keeping us from one of the vital, honest conversations the Lord wants to have with His household about how disconnected our hearts are from His heart re: race and racial sin.

Dr. Esau Mccaulley (Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College) writes: “Instead of the conversation our nation has needed, we’ve been sidetracked into a national conversation about “CRT”; one tool of analysis (that most of us conservative believers do not use anyways) and not the thing “racism” itself.”

I lament with my esteemed brother’s cry above. When the black community (our black sisters and brothers in Christ) have been asking for us to hear their cry about racial justice (as they markedly have been for the last ten years), our next loudest response cannot be “All lives matter”, “Black Lives Matter is communist”, or “CRT is a socialist plot to bring down America”. These are the same arguments that the anti-civil-rights crowd (and far too many evangelicals) lodged against MLK in the 60’s.

Of all the memes, articles and podcasts I’ve heard sounding the alarm about CRT, I’ve not seen one that calls us to humble ourselves before God. They’re all a call to “rise up”. The rest of Owens quote above, reads: “We must rise up against every form of Critical Race Theory. It is the new Jim Crow.” Rise up against those who are attempting to steal our nation. This should trouble any believer in the King of Philippians 2. Risky thing to “rise up” when the Spirit of the Lord is calling the Church to “bow low”.

The antiCRT argument is rooted in fear – not humility, and certainly not compassion. It’s an attempt to revise history and establish a man-derived theology that saves the dignity of a noble nation filled with sinful, fallen – and in many cases – wholly anti-Christ leaders. It’s premised on a homogenized version of history. And, most tragically, it’s a siren-call to self-protection in an hour when the Spirit of the Lord is saying: “There IS no protection from the illumination of your soul. I love you too much to let you stay comfortable in sin and unrighteousness.”

Recently, a respected leader and friend wrote the following about Critical Race Theory. I find it typical of the evangelical/nationalist argument that is being championed in our family. I believe it is also poisoning our vital dialogue with others in our nation, and with the Father, Himself. This leader writes: “The Critical Race Theory was rejected by many leading thinkers when it was proposed as was its sister, the idea of SYTEMIC RACISM. The 1619 Project and ITS (FALSE) CLAIM THAT THE US WAS FOUNDED IN RACISM… was rejected by many scholars, I think most serious scholars.The people who founded colonies came for different reasons. 1607 is the first date not 1619 when the first slaves came. New England colonies were not founded at first for promoting slavery but for practicing sectarian Christianity (the Pilgrims) and Puritan Calvinism (the Puritans). Roger Williams founded Rhode Island for religious freedom and to reject religious coercion. And yes, some founded colonies to get rich and slavery soon became a part of that but… revisionist histories were rejected by historians. CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS BOGUS. The theories fit the narratives that the (“socialist”) revolutionaries desire TO FOSTER THEIR GOALS. The U.S is coming to the point where what is taught in schools will not reflect the broad consensus of historians.”

What my honorable brother conveniently fails to identify is that slavery is only one element of the racist history of this nation. (Truth-be-told, it would be terrible enough to warrant more humility and meekness than most anti-CRT apologists demonstrate.) He himself, (as are the many others who are sounding the trumpet against CRT) is redacting history to “foster his goals”.

The facts are, even the earliest Pilgrims and Puritans settled, divided, subjugated, and disenfranchised the first-born of the land. And for the next 300 years, the nation they sought to give them “religious liberties”, (a wholly self-asserting concept in itself) dealt with Native Americans with duplicity, dishonesty, inhumanely, and totally contrary to any objective measurement of Biblical godliness. To say that our nation, as wonderful as it is in many ways, is NOT founded, rooted and grounded in racial hostility is patently deceitful.

How much better that we, those of us who know of the great grace of God, own the truth, humble ourselves and live in His sure mercies afforded to us by the cross, with compassion for the rolling consequences of our social/personal/ecclesial/and national sin, rather than in the fig leaves of historical revision and self-exoneration.

If you’re tempted to ply the antiCRT rhetoric of this hour, here are several questions that we do well to address:

A. Do you believe that our nation was rooted in racial subjugation and unjustifiable dispossession?

B. Do you believe that our nation (as a nation), politically, economically, socially, and even spiritually (from our 1776 outset) codified vile racism, disenfranchisement, dehumanization and even genocide?

C. Do you believe that these policies were contrary to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ?

D. Do you believe the rolling trauma from centuries of these societal sins has left an unrighteous mark on generations of individuals and families – even to this day?

E. Do you believe that what our nation needs is an honest, humble dialogue about the roots and fruit of our nation’s racial animosity?

F. Do you believe God wants to lead, forgive, heal, redeem and unite the distinctively beautiful races in our nation under the blood-covenant leadership of His Son?

Beloved, if we’re more concerned about humanism’s attempt to redress racial animosity in our nation, than we are that we, the people of God

a.) fail to magnify the Father’s heart for the beauty of race,

b.) fail to bear the cross re our nation’s racial sins and/or

c.) fail to apply Jesus’ healing love to the rolling pain, fear and disenfranchisement of millions – for centuries… we need to have an honest, face-to-face conversation with the One Who’s coming; the One the nations are desiring.

He’s serious about our self-justification. And He’s about to up the ante. You can bet He Who holds the stars in His hand knows how to shift human circumstances in order to “foster His own goals”.

______________________
JSB • May, 2021

What’s Holding Us Strong in the Time of Trouble?

“What if Jesus is asking us to choose between following Him and our U.S. Constitution?”

A sharp, Jesus-loving, ministry friend posed this piercing question on his page yesterday. From some of the responses he got, you’d think he had questioned the divinity of Jesus…

The challenging question to those on the political left is little different: “What if Jesus is asking us to choose between following Him and forcing our own definition of social justice on our neighbors?”

I believe these questions will be all the more relevant to us Americans as we see the Day of the Lord approaching.
Another way of asking the same questions is: “What are we counting on to hold ourselves strong when our world is shaking? Rights (either conservative or liberal) promised to us by our nation, or the love and authority of our King?”

One of these is imperfect. The other is not. One may be attained by the demanding self. The other is coming, whether we’re ready or not, and can ultimately only be attained by experiences of love and faith.

It’s a mark of Jesus’ goodness that He would address us with this question today. Much like a father would tackle a son who was about to go to sea in a boat with holes in it.  

When Jesus came the first time, He challenged the besieged Jewish nation with the same question: “Choose today what you’ll put your faith in: the law, your own power to overthrow the Roman occupiers, a self-indulgent self, or… Me, and the increase in My government.” (See Isaiah 9:7)

As the day of His return draws closer, He’s confronting 7.4 billion souls with the question of “Who do you say that I Am?” 350 million of us are specifically receiving the probing, idol-dethroning question: “When all that you love is threatened, will you look to the constitution, socialism, Islam, humanism, self, guns, or ___?___ to keep you secure?”

Make no mistake. He will encounter the Church more and more pointedly with this question in the days ahead. He loves us too much to let our hearts be enmeshed to the inevitable tyranny of democracy. (See Romans 3:9-23)

Today, I don’t know of a better form of government on earth than ours. However, one day we’ll know a better one face to face. Before it fully arrives, that’s the one I want to be found abandoned to. That’s called “faith”.

From where I sit, what I read in the Word and what I hear in prayer, the enemy has just watched the Lord shut down 195 nations – over Passover – AND provided a ready-made “space” for all of humanity to respond to Him. The devil knows his time is running short (better than we do), and he’s doing everything he can to distract us from entering into that deep, self-abasing dialogue with the Lord.

Beloved, if the enemy of our souls can stir up the hostility between us, get us fearfully protesting each other for our rights, filling ourselves with offense and bitterness, when we could be humbling ourselves before God – he wins.

It’s only our Lord’s incredible patience and incomparable kindness that doesn’t allow our hostile, self-demanding protestations be our final word…

It’s an hour to seek His face my friends. There IS an hour soon coming when we will no longer want, nor be able to.

____________________
JSB • May, 2021 (Reprint from May, 2020)

Sowing to the Wind

Kathy and I are experiencing a level of spiritual warfare that is blatant and aggressive. Hostile to our rest. Mostly interrupting our dialogue with the Lord early in the morning and throughout the nights. Monday I woke up with the Holy Spirit speaking the phrase: “You have sown the wind and you will reap the whirlwind”. It was a conversation that I had to fight for… Constant interruptions. Thoughts. Distractions (at 3:00am!). Even demonic manifestation…

I knew the phrase the Lord was using was significant because in 2019, the word He gave us to proclaim was “The wind of the Lord is coming.” A wind that would shake the infrastructure of the Church and the world. I believe 2020 was the year of the beginning of that wind.

Beloved. You don’t want to sow to the wind. You want to sow to the Lord of the wind. There’s a difference. If you sow to the wind itself you let the wind take your seed, your thoughts, your focus, your energy, your hope, your passion etc. and it does what wind does in a fallen order. It scatters the seed so that it lands in unfruitful places – and your efforts come to nothing.

This morning, Bob Sorge writes: “When you devise plans independently of consulting the Lord, your plans are likely to eventually come to nothing.” Psalm 33:10

If you sow your seed (that which is most precious to you) to the Lord Himself, He will guard it, protect it, and plant it safely – but He’ll do it in His timing, and in His way. It takes great faith to entrust our seeds to the hand of the Lord – especially in an hour of intensifying wind. If He doesn’t plant, you don’t eat. Your family doesn’t eat.

This is what the Lord is saying, “Give me your seed. Trust me with your heart for the wellbeing of your nation, your church, your industry, your mission, your health etc… There’s a storm raging and you don’t have the ability to protect your seed and sow it on your own. It’s only safe with Me.”

The Lord has been evaluating (“judging” is the Biblical term) how His Church has responded to these past 12-16 months. He sees how we have made great strides to protect our own seed, and little strides to seek His face, humble ourselves before His fierce and loving reality, and entrust our seed to Him. This type of response to the increasing judgements of the Lord in our world will not keep our seed safe. It will do just the opposite. It will actually make sowing the seed futile, and us, the sowers, frustrated. And the world will look on and view our efforts as foolish and our frustrated hearts as “angry”. Sound familiar?

This isn’t the way to weather the hour of tribulation. This also isn’t a pathway to revival. (Truth-be-told, in many instances, we evangelicals have stopped worrying about sowing the seed at all, and have gone directly to “sowing wind” – which is the intended interpretation of this scripture…) Consequently. And out of great love for us, for His purposes, and for the well-being of the Kingdom seed that He’s entrusted to us, the Lord is saying: “You who have (unwisely) sown your seed to the wind – I will now send you a whirlwind. I will send you an increased storm that will cause you to reconsider your ways, and hem you in to My original invitation to hold, protect, and plant your seed Myself.”

“You who have sown your seed to the wind – I will now send you a whirlwind. I will send you and increased storm that will cause you to reconsider your ways, and hem you into my invitation to hold, protect, and plant your seed, Myself.”

Truth-be-told, this is the only way we and our seed will bear fruit in the hour that’s upon us: by coming to Him, pouring our hearts out before Him, good. bad. fearful. angry. hopeful. tearful… beholding His response to our hearts – and beholding His character to secure our hearts and trembling while rejoicing as we entrust our seeds to the Only One strong enough to keep that which is most valuable to us safe. (For us Christians that’s our love for the Lord, our tenderness toward His Word, our compassion for others, and our fruitfulness within His Kingdom.)

Beloved. A whirlwind is coming upon us. What He is urgent for us to know is that He, Himself is releasing it for our (the Church’s) own good, and with great love! If we don’t understand that this is what’s in His heart, our penchant for cursing the wind AND SOWING TO IT (condemning the socialists, the CDC, the race-baiters, the media, the democrats, the deep-state, fictitious principalities, as well as fighting battles that don’t need to be fought, denigrating others, and dividing friendships where there should be no division etc.) will only increase – and our seed will be rendered useless, and our hearts all the more embittered.

Make sense?

Monday morning, after the Lord was speaking to me in the silent darkness. No writing. No reading. Just warring for the little word I sensed He was giving – “You have sown the wind. Now you will reap the whirlwind” – I heard Him say: “Jon. Do you trust that I am speaking to you? Do you trust that this is a word I’m giving you to share?” (To be honest, I’m a little fatigued – scratch that – A LOT fatigued. I’d rather not bear more difficult words from the Lord. They’re heavy. They make prayer and relationships more complicated and painful than I’d like. Just being honest…) I could feel He was testing my truster mechanism… I also knew that if I didn’t let Him put weight on the muscle of trust, I would not grow, and I would not carry His word faithfully. (I am thankful that the Holy Spirit has faithfully made this course grievous to me.)

Later in the morning, I was still in the throes of deliberating my response to the Lord about carrying this word when I went into our Prayer Room for our morning prayer sets. (FYI: We pray from 7am to 12pm every day…) I sat down in “my spot” with my Bible next to me. I heard the Lord say, “Let’s look at Hosea.” I said, “OK. What chapter?” He said, “I want you to read chapter 8.” I said, “Great.” Eager to discover what He had for me in chapter 8 of Hosea…I’ll let you read verse 7 for yourself.

Honestly. I had no idea.

Now I do.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Thursday morning, after four nights of intense warfare, Kathy and I compared notes. Wednesday night, the Holy Spirit woke her up at exactly 11:30. She spent the next two hours looking up all the passages in the Bible with a 30th verse in the 11th chapter. To be succinct, the word the Lord was giving her was, “You need to know how to sow in this season. I’m bringing you into the land of promise and, although there is going to be much work in this new season, you’re going to need to know how to work. You’re going to need to know how to keep your eyes on Me, and not the storm around you. I want you yoked with Me, looking to Me in this season.”
One of the main passages she was led to was Matthew 11:30 – “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Beloved, we need to be yoked to Him as we sow in the season of the whirlwind.

It will be both great. And terrible.

Hosea 8
Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law.
Israel will cry to Me, ‘My God, we know You!’
Israel has rejected the good; the enemy will pursue him.
“They set up kings, but not by Me; they made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.fFrom their silver and gold they made idols for themselves, that they might be cut off.
Your calf is rejected, O Samaria! My anger is aroused against them. How long until they attain to innocence?
For from Israel is even this: A workman made it, and it is not God; but the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces.
They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; it shall never produce meal. If it should produce, aliens would swallow it up.
Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the Gentiles like a vessel in which is no pleasure.
For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Yes, though they have hired among the nations, now I will gather them; and they shall sorrow a little, because of the burden of the king of princes.
11 “Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin, they have become for him altars for sinning.
12 I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing.
13 For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins. They shall return to Egypt.
14 “For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and has built temples; Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his palaces.”