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IS GOD TRYING TO TALK TO SOMEBODY IN AMERICA?
By Thomas Horn
Amos 9:6b: "He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the land. The Lord is his name."
Psalm 104:3≠4: "He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, and flames of fire his servants."
Nearly 4000 years ago, the Hebrew God gave Egypt's king opportunity to do the right thing by letting His people go. The Almighty used words of admonition, nothing more, through Aaron and Moses. Yet when Pharaoh's heart was hardened, God's rod became his lectern, and weather, among other things, helped bring Yahweh's significant point across.
Last week, my friend Jerry Robinson editorialized that God should not be blamed for recent weather anomalies. Others disagreed. Salon magazine took particular pleasure in pointing out that President Bush himself used the pulpit at the National Prayer Service to shed personal responsibility for New Orleans by pointing his finger at God.
Bush may have been right. Dozens of scriptures from both Old and New Testament books confirm that God often uses weather to get peoples attention. So if God is speaking, and this isn't simply a freak storm season, who is He talking too and what is He is saying
* Some believe his message is about Divine retribution; against gays, abortionists, and the New Orleans party life. * Others say Bush's push for the Gaza Disengagement plan angered the Lord. * Others agree, but say the neocons at the White House are the real problem. Their unjust war in Iraq angered God and this is why the storms of the century are not aimed at Iraq and Iran, but against the United States. * Others sharpen the pointer: God is mad at the Church for supporting this administration and its wink at corruption. False witness has been born, the Lord's name taken in vain, the Commandments broken, all to acquire the wealth of oil! You'll note, they say, how the Almighty is wrecking America's largest seaports, savaging its oil infrastructure, stopping the flow of its oil--the lifeblood of its mighty war machine--and now aiming at the President's home state refineries!
This latter idea, that God may be speaking to His Church, gets my attention. I dare anybody to read the Book of Revelation--from chapter seven through chapter eighteen--and fail to recognize how the sea and storms upon it are used as heavenly loudspeakers during the last days. From the moment John sees the four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of heaven, it becomes clear that peculiar weather patterns will play a significant roll in last-days communication from God to man.
Yet the message of the last Book of the Bible was for the Church in particular. It was "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants" (Rev 1:1).
So whether Katrina, Rita, and hurricanes that follow are "sent" or simply "allowed" by God is for somebody else to decide. My hope is that out of it, a wakeup call from the eye of the storm will come to true believers.
After thirty years of pastoring and thousands of hours of volunteer labor, I feel I've earned the right to say it: something dreadful has happened to the organized church. It has lost its way, its authority, and in my humble opinion, if God IS speaking to the American church, He is saying something similar to what he said to the seven churches throughout Asia: I have somewhat against thee.
From the "Authority Lost & Found" Department
In Luke 11:20 Jesus said, "If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." Jesus combined personal authority with the heavenly kind--showing that one cannot be had without the other--yet illustrated that whereas kingdom power can be manifest on earth, it is not of earth; it comes down from above.
Do believers today (i.e. church attenders, those who claim the name of Christ) inherently possess this kind of kingdom authority? Regardless of what you may have heard at your local church, no, but it's available. God reveals the criterion necessary for Christians to experience real kingdom authority... and it may surprise the dominionist out of some of you. Frankly, I hope it does, for the secret is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
The use of the word "if" in 2 Chronicles, chapter 7, suggests that the necessary action on the part of believers is not assumed. At the same time, the word "if" qualifies God's response based on our actions. If we will humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from wickedness (this is not the world turning from wickedness, He's talking to His people), God will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our cities. We stand in sufficient authority for whatever might be needed at any given moment if we are people of humility, prayer, and uprightness. The New Testament weapons of warfare listed in Ephesians 6:14-17, are the end result of these attitudinal dispositions. My friend Pat Robertson, who once claimed to have turned back a hurricane by "taking authority over it" (and who only seems to create storms these days when he opens his mouth) missed the point like so many other believers who think they can "take authority" over storms or other issues. Authority isn't "taken", it is given, and to those whom the Lord qualifies according to his own rules.
God's little word "if" is an important word. We do not stand with kingdom authority because we attend the local mega church, sing in the choir, teach a Sunday school class, belong to a Christian coalition or a political action group, voted for George Bush, or even participate in a prayer meeting where loud, teeth-gritting, mad commands are shouted at Satan. True spiritual authority is given by God to whom He qualifies. His criteria are clear. It is the humble, not the Sunday-morning-the-pastor-is-watching-me humble, but truly Christ-like, self-sacrificing, cares-about-others-more-than-self humble, that God anoints with power and authority.
All Christians have the resident power of Christ within them, but not every Christian has the authority to use it. As a train locomotive has great physical power but no inherent authority, and must first come under the guidance of a higher intelligence in order to operate using that power, modern believers, if they are to be effective, must align themselves with God's standards of humility and be guided by His spiritual wisdom and insight.
This is not to suggest political disengagement for the church, but true spiritual relationship with the Father, such as He seeks, isn't acquired with politics. Study the life of Christ and see the extent to which he involved Himself or His disciples in the politics of His day. Mankind's need cannot be attained through legislation or political influence primarily. All of the political action in the world can not cleanse one stain of sin from our beleaguered nation. This is where the church is missing the point today. Though politically enthused, they often fail to recognize that the first step in confronting spiritual strongholds is to deal with Satan's corresponding inroads within the church itself.
Only as we, through true repentance, first pull down Satan's strongholds within our own lives are we prepared to confront him on a territorial level. Jesus provided the example in that He was more concerned with establishing His presence among the disciples than He was with confronting Satan. When His lordship is established among us, it is the nature and authority of Christ--kingdom authority--speaking through us that penetrates the kosmos and turns back Satan's power.
This could be what God is trying to get through to the Church today: churchgoers want to hear about how much power they have, not about their need for discipline or repentance, and thus many are dead. Without real repentance among God's people, there is no life, no authority.
A recent poll indicates this is where the organized church is in big trouble today--the message of repentance is a flat subject among churchgoers. People want to pull a voting lever, offer vocal support for whatever politician pays lip service to a few hot-button social issues, and shout hallelujah as they drive off in their Lincoln.
Satan smiles and waves as they go by.
What's worse, many pastors avoid talking to their congregations about repentance and self sacrifice for fear of losing their attendance and support. So, like the vampire Lasat, they drain them of true spiritual life, while seducing them with voter-pamphlet sermons and feel-good theology.
In 1 Timothy 4:1 we read of these, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." Later, in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Paul wrote of them, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
For a different kind of example, we read in Isaiah, "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord" (Isa. 6:1). Upon seeing the Lord, Isaiah discovered that he was unclean, and that he dwelt with unclean people. He repented and called upon Israel to do the same. Yet in 1 Kings, chapter 22, Israel would not listen to the prophets who preached repentance, but preferred the easy messages of the false teachers. Judgment came upon them.
In one month we have had two of the largest hurricanes in history. Others seem to be forming as I write. God, who "calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the land" is talking, but is the Church listening? What America needs is a repentant, spiritual church, not the political arm of a dominionist cult. Want to argue that point? Do it with the God who says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
© 2005 - Thomas Horn - All Rights Reserved
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Thomas is a nationally recognized lecturer, author, and businessman who has served 25 years in Christian ministry. A veteran speaker, researcher, and freelance writer, Tom has appeared on numerous radio and television programs worldwide, including Art Bell's "Coast to Coast" and Pat Robertsonís "The 700 Club." Tomís new book ≠ THE ARHIMAN GATE - fictionalizes ĎBig Brotherísí role in the End Times. It is scheduled for release in the fall of 2005.
worse, many pastors avoid talking to their congregations about repentance
and self sacrifice for fear of losing their attendance and support.