Most of us who have been living a preparedness lifestyle are inundated with information and ideas about the how-to’s of preparing. I’ve personally amassed hundreds of helpful articles and videos on every subject imaginable. I’m thankful for the wealth of wisdom, information and training available today.
As a Christian, however, there’s one subject that gets very little focus – spiritual preparedness. When I study the forecasts and indicators of the coming crisis in America, I realize that I’m going to need a lot more than skill sets, resources, and a network of like-minded people to get the next several years. I need a deeper walk with the Lord.
I’m reminded of the parable Jesus told to the crowd in answer to someone’s concern about splitting an inheritance (more stuff). Jesus warned,
“Take care, and be on guard against covetousness, for a one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Then He launches into this story about a man who decided to build bigger barns to store his bumper crop that year. Jesus says the guy’s attitude was; “Now I’ll sit back because I have enough stored away for years to come. Now (I’ll) take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” (Come to think of it, I’ve heard this attitude verbalized among several preppers.)
But what the guy didn’t know was that God was watching the attitude of his heart and that his life would end that night. Jesus said the man was a fool. Why?
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God” (Luke 12:21 NLT).
Sure there is wisdom in preparedness. But, it’s foolish to neglect our relationship with God while making our preparations to care for our families, neighbors and others in crisis. So how do we keep that balance? How do we keep the main thing - the main thing?
What are some practical spiritual preparedness steps we can take? Here are a few I’m focusing on. You may want to join me in the pursuit.
I plan to unpack these five suggestions in more detail over the next several postings. Meanwhile, set aside some time to think through this list and tailor it to fit your own life and belief system. Let’s build a deep stockpile of spiritual preparedness.
The New Testament clearly provides for prophetic messengers to function in the church (Eph 4:11). There are one hundred and eighty-seven references to prophets or prophecy in the New Testament; at least thirty of these refer to prophets or prophecy within the church. The rest refer to Old Testament prophets.
Biblical prophets had a profound insight into the nature of God and human circumstance. Early prophets were called “seers.” Above all, the prophet was a man with insight into the nature and character of God. The psalmist records this about Moses: “He [God] made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel” (Ps 103:7). Moses, as a result of his intimate prayer life at the tent of meeting, came to know the “ways” of God, while the sons of Israel, who didn't seek the Lord, only saw the “acts" of God.
The prophet’s mind was struck with wonder, his emotions were filled with passion as he struggled to comprehend the depths of the revelation of God revealed to him. With keen spiritual insight the prophet saw into the hearts of God’s people overcome by the trappings of their worldly culture. These insights often filled the messenger with anguish, as he realized that God’s people did not understand the gravity of their situation, and were not prepared to obediently respond to God’s word. The pressure of this situation would cause the prophecy to burn deep within them, like fire in their bones, until burst forth from them in a fiery blaze of searing words.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” 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. (Jeremiah 20:9)
The lion has roared, who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken, who cannot prophesy? (Amos 3:8).
The false prophets, in contrast, did not carry an understanding of God’s character so they compromised the message and soothed the people with flattering words and visions and revelations from their own vain imaginations.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false
hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:16)
Now, if the church were a ship, the prophet would be the navigator. He would know the destination of the ship, the proper course of the ship, the present position, and he could read the stars. Without the prophet, the church drifts off course and is not aware it has drifted.
When there is no one aboard who can read the stars, the church cannot know where it is in relation to its destiny and calling. The church that neglects the office of the prophet is a church that has probably allowed itself to be guided by the norms of contemporary culture rather than by the purposes of God.
The danger to the church is not overt rebellion, but unconscious drifting. As the writer of Hebrews exhorts us:
“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” (Heb 2:1).
God sends prophetic messengers to awaken His people from their slumber and draw them back on course. The prophetic messenger plays an indispensible role in keeping God’s people aware of His purpose in calling them to be His people. The message of the prophetic messenger is not some new biblical revelation, but the old revelation renewed. He calls the people of God to return to the ancient paths (Jeremiah 6:16).
When the church drifts into the currents of the world, it measures itself as the world measures itself – by size, wealth, power, and the success of programs. But when the church is called back to its purpose, it sees itself in terms of Christlike character that flows from a deep relationship with the Lord – the only means by which God can be glorified in His people. God send prophetic messengers to call people back to this high calling.
Responsible to God and Man
Who can carry such a responsibility? Certainly not one who needs to be popular. If a person needs the approval of those to whom he ministers, for his own self-worth, he cannot be a messenger. Like a doctor, he cannot always give the patient good news. Like a carpenter, the prophetic messenger must hold the plumb line of God's Word against the structure of the church to see if the walls are plumb. Unparalleled lines will eventually intersect. If God’s people are not in line with God’s purpose and plan, the correction is inevitable. Peter said, “Judgment… begins with the household of God” (I Peter 4:17)
The prophetic messenger must be able to withstand the stress of misunderstanding. For at times his message will imply that what are labeled "successes" in the eyes of men are but superficial at best in the eyes of God. This may awaken resistance in people and may alienate him from church leadership. The messenger must be willing to obey the Lord no matter the rejection or the glory. He must learn to deal swiftly with attitudes of superiority and anger. He must embrace humility, meekness, and compassion as part of his calling.
The prophet messenger must have the foresight to see the big picture. He must be willing to plant seeds which he will never see germinate, but will one day spring forth unto a harvest of righteousness. He must be willing to forego the desire for quick results and look to the Lord alone for the results and rewards. With eternal perspective, he understands that he himself will one day give account for the message delivered. The Lord's messengers should be marked by the Spirit of the fear of the Lord.
Prophetic messengers are needed in the church today as God brings down the whitewashed walls of false doctrine and rebuilds the structure of His house. May the Lord send His forth His prophetic messengers with a now word of the Lord.
Posted by Chuck Reber