Reflecting on 2016 | shofar christian church
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Reflecting on 2016

Reflecting on 2016

December 13, 2016
By Fred May
Dear friend,
We look back on a year in which we’ve seen history being made in a truly remarkable yet unexpected way. The elections in America reminded us once again how the world has, in a very real sense, become a village. I watched children’s birthday parties – even here in South Africa – be disrupted as opposing political views took their toll on long standing friendships among sword-crossing moms. And we watched precious family ties get savaged, and in some cases even severed, especially in the aftermath of the election campaign. The same was true for the Brexit backwash in the UK. But, as history would have it, both these events are about to be utterly dwarfed in both magnitude and significance by what has already begun to transpire all across Western and Eastern Europe. God has chosen this particular chapter to reopen ancient wells of salvation, which were mostly considered extinct, until now. Nonetheless, it was interesting and also somewhat disquieting to witness the conflicting views and interpretations of current events erupt into open conflict and hostility, even among professing Christians.
In my opening address at our annual conference I reflected on the unhappy reality of Christ’s accurate prediction of this disruptive pattern of convergence for these times. As He gathers, He brings inevitable separation at the same time. The fact is, we’re now living through truly significant and defining moments of history. It has been clear to me for some time that God has chosen to afford His Church on earth one last window of opportunity to fulfill her predestined purpose before the curtain on earth’s history is drawn. Currently we’re migrating into the vindication phase of what I like to refer to as ‘the Joseph narrative’. It’s a season demanding diligent stewardship on our part of God’s eternal provision for a starving and dying world. It’s a pending period of unprecedented spiritual harvest. For all those with eyes to see, God has opened a redemptive chapter of sovereign intervention in the affairs of men. Before these two startling events – which shook the entire world – transpired, we were teetering precariously on the brink of both a Third World War and the simultaneous launch of a global Islamic Jihad. The ensuing chaos was designed to set the stage for the dramatic save-the-day inauguration and intervention by the so-called ‘man-of-peace’, the Antichrist. The steady global slide into post-democratic totalitarianism, orchestrated from both New York and Brussels, has been temporarily suspended, with democracy given another desperate lease of life.
Thankfully, however, that historical dial is now being set back by at least a decade of merciful reprieve. Also, the full-blown persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ globally has been delayed for a season. And instead of the reign of darkness, the most dramatic shift in the global socio-political power matrix is being witnessed. I have never, in my wildest imaginings, expected to see the day that God would intervene to sovereignly expose the vilest darkness, the most grotesque of sins, all of which have served as the debauched glue driving the convergence of the kingdoms of darkness. This is classic pre-emptive judgment being played out in the Biblical sense. All across the Western world, snugly ensconced, prominent perpetrators of violence and ritual abuse against the innocent – the children – are quietly being brought to book. I never thought that I’d see the day that the long-established, yet ferociously shielded and protected, link between satanic worship and those heinous crimes would become common knowledge, as it is now rapidly beginning to do (see here and here)*. The same applies to the other false-flag/propaganda strategies, meant to serve as a pretext for the almost-imminent establishment of the New World Order. I never thought that I would witness the beginning of the end of the seemingly unassailable hegemony of the Western mainstream media in modern times. They’re being exposed as liars and frauds, and worst still, they’re being exposed for the delusional and deceived minions that they in reality are. Their so-called ‘echo-chamber’ fabrication/fake-news propagation is being shown up for its patent putrefaction. And to my mind, Hillary Clinton’s passing reference to voters, and especially those opposing her, as a ‘basket of deplorables’, may go down as the “Marié Antoinette” meme of the current season. And this is but the beginning.
That social media and the dogged persistence of the likes of Julian Assange, aided by patriotic security establishment agents in America, and other freedom-loving hackers and bloggers, could win such a decisive round in this battle for truth over the smugly arrogant propaganda juggernaut, is simply staggering. In the year running up to the American elections I felt strongly led to pray for the success of internet hackers in exposing unrighteousness, since I sensed them to be part of God’s hidden hand. But without a doubt we’re witnessing the beginnings of Christ’s promise to shepherd the unsuspecting, hapless multitudes into the proverbial ‘valley of decision’ – the eschatological equivalent of our Promised Land. This then means that all those who would be open to have themselves disabused of deception and delusion would be afforded an opportunity to reconsider Christ and His claims from a less toxic perspective. However, now more than ever, our most important challenge as Christians is to assume the humble, servant-like posture of our Master, firmly resisting the temptation to imitate the pompous arrogance of our still-reeling-in-denial liberal contemporaries. We must trust God to immerse our hearts in an awakening of redeemed brokenness that finds expression in compassion-driven commitment to fervent prayer and intercession, dialogue and sincere social engagement.
The reason much prayer is called for at this time is owed to the fact that a pitched battle for the life span of this redemptive window, this open door in the heavenlies, is about to rage furiously. I believe that Satan is not about to abandon his proven, age-old strategy for usurping power and control. And the main focus of his attacks has always been the strategic key to Biblical unity I so often speak of lately. The psalmist says that the unity on which God commands His blessing is the one that flows like oil from the head and beard of Aaron, not that of Moses [see Psalm 133, Exodus 17:10-12 & 32:15-35, Numbers 12:1-15, Leviticus 8:29-31]. In other words, the relationship with, and attitude of, second-tier leadership is his specific target. He succeeded with this ploy from the start when he preyed on Eve, in her occupation of this leadership position in the Garden of Eden. Her sin, the first one, was not that of disobedience. The first human transgression was the sin of disloyalty. She was tempted to entertain disloyalty in her heart toward Adam, the one to whom God communicated His moral instructions, before her creation.
The same diabolical assignment was successful with the likes of Aaron and Miriam against Moses, or Absolom against his father David. Later Queen Jezebel feigned a caring commitment to her man-child husband Ahab, driven by her obsession for political power. It does seem to remind one of the Clintons somewhat. The good news nevertheless is that there is a discernible power shift against this assignment. However, evidence of its prevalence and its real-and-present danger are seen in the lawlessness manifesting on campuses globally, or on the streets of post-election America, or in the vulgar scenes of wildly celebrating refugees at the sight of the slaughter of innocent nationals. All these incidents share the same characteristics, namely, the marked absence of loyalty toward academic institutions and patriotism toward countries that provide education and shelter. The leaders of tomorrow (i.e. ‘Aaron’s beard’) are seen to be swallowed up by waves of inspiration that are as powerful only as they are patently evil. They are truly and passionately, but unfortunately, pure evil. These movements all bear the undeniable fingerprint of the Lawless One.
As we now come to where we can take a break from a fading year which has brought as much challenge as it did delight and joy, we look forward to one where we can continue the conversation on pursuing the image of Christ by seeking to emulate His mind, His hands, His feet and His heart. A heart from which unstinting loyalty towards us, His followers, flows. 
loyalty’s duality
Loyalty determines our attitudes and behavior in all of our relationships, be they personal, or institutional. One can, for instance, be loyal to one’s spouse, but disloyal to the institution of marriage at the same time – as many people are in fact experiencing currently, being pressured to accept a whole new range of redefinitions of marriage that are all unnatural. And as many conflicted refugees and asylum seekers throughout the world are finding lately, it’s also possible to be attracted to the benefits of a country without feeling convicted to be patriotic to it. By the same token, there are many similarly conflicted Christian ‘refugees‘ within Christ’s Kingdom at any given time. Loyalty therefore is a divisive virtue. It separates virtuous hearts from abusive ones.
Christ, therefore, was deliberately concise in His definition of loyalty. When engaging the disciples on the subject he did the following: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13 KJV, emphasis mine) He was intentional with the question in that He asked them for an opinion, not on His divinity, but rather on His human identity. He could have asked them what they thought of Him as the Son of God, for instance. Earlier on we saw Him demanding loyalty of His disciples on two separate levels: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38 NASB, emphasis mine) He drove the distinction between His person, “Me“, that is His humanity, and also His divinity as expressed in “My words“, home emphatically. He wanted to make sure that His followers understood the demands of Christlike loyalty unambiguously.
Loyalty by Christ’s definition, therefore, is equally valid on two levels, namely, toward a person and, at the same time, toward his office. Christ in His loyalty is as equally committed to the ‘who’ of my identity as to the ‘what,’ in other words. He also made it clear that the more a culture or society became ‘sinful and adulterous’, or shame-based in other words, the more lawless it was likely to become. In that condition people would manifest an ever-decreasing emotional-spiritual capacity to fully comprehend and exhibit authentic loyalty. And that’s the reason why that Holy Spirit-inspired moment, when, for an instant, Peter could see beyond the veils or the perceptions of cultural shame, delighted Christ so: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16 KJV, emphasis mine) Peter was given the power to see Christ in His eternal office. And that vision of Christ’s true status is what negated all the other shame-based definitions of the ‘adoptive son of the carpenter’ and all the negative images of Him possibly still lingering in his heart and mind. Peter no longer appraised Christ from the perspective of cultural familiarity. He had migrated closer to apostolic space where, according to the apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit helps us to discern others from an eternal perspective, thus making loyalty authentic: “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NLT) True, Biblical loyalty is possible only where we’re able to view others within Christ’s Body in their preordained, divinely assigned ‘in-Christ’ identity and destiny. From that perspective we’re able to affirm loyalty to both the temporal and the eternal dimensions of their personhood. And when it comes to unbelievers, we respect and dignify them for both their personal and their vocational or relational identities. At this time of rest I would encourage us all to look to the Holy Spirit to guide our reflection on our distinctive calling to loyalty as we follow some and as we lead others.
May God bless you as you unwind with loved ones and friends at this time. And may it also bring you the blessing of new, renewed and deeper relationships. May we all find ourselves experiencing a keener sense of appreciation for the people He has placed around us and may we, even at this time of rest, find the grace to evaluate others graciously and respectfully – from Christ’s eternal perspective.
I especially wish to speak a word of blessing to those who may be mourning the loss of loved ones at this time; or those mourning the loss of good health or material or emotional security even. May this season prove to be one in which you experience the nearness of Christ in a way you’ve not considered at all possible before. May you receive answers to prayers that your heart has not even contemplated, or even dared, to articulate. May you enjoy the comfort of the Father’s smile on all that you are and all that you set your hand to. And may you enter the new year with your heart singing along with an ever-increasing throng of grateful saints everywhere that ours is a truly ‘good good Father’.
Love and peace to you and yours,
Fred
* Be advised, the video links may contain content that is not suitable for sensitive viewers.
 

 

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