Volume 20 Issue 12

 

Back some time ago, somewhere in North Carolina, I was walking America’s longest hiking trail: the famous and beautiful Wilderness Trail. I had been on a high ridge for quite a while. The day was cloudy but bright, with the slight dampness of the morning providing a moist engulfing glow that I remember to this day. I was suspended in a paradise of sweet smells, light, and the gentle popping sounds of the wood. Intoxicating. I found an overlook and extracted from my backpack the chosen read for the day. I adjusted my body against a rock and… there I was, a “happy camper.”

Two hours passed, I suppose, and I been noticing for a while a brooding in the clouds, and a change in the light’s hue; but I gave it little thought. Suddenly darkness fell on the mountain as if by a flip of a switch. Dark and ominous clouds were fast descending on the mountain. Without warning, a crashing flash of lighting just off my right shoulder pierced the ridge. The simultaneous clap of thunder was deafening. I knew I needed to find shelter; this was not my first mountain storm, and I grasped the danger.

At once came rain, wind and, worst of all, hot bolts of lightning. It was target practice with lightning bolts, and I was the target. Several bolts were so close that my body went numb, and a hundred feet or so away a huge tree was split by lighting and crashed to the ground. I was scared. I had one thought: seek shelter. Any utopian feelings I might have had earlier were gone. The storm was raging.

I was lucky. A few feet from where I was sitting a rocky overhang I had not noticed before became visible to me. I scrambled into it already wet from the blowing torrid rain. Thankfully it offered a wonderful little spot back under the ledge. It was dry and positioned so that the wind and the storm above me blew over me. Now, looking out the opening, I watched the flashing, pounding storm from my new mountain condo. Life felt good again. There is nothing like a rocky shelter in a storm.

In a storm one does not continue to sit in the line of fire. Only a completely foolish person would fail to protect himself from deadly lightning bolts in violent weather. Such conditions call for a change in attitude. Yet there are some in this outrageous moment in history sitting nonchalantly under the clouds with little inclination to “save themselves from this untoward generation.”

But saving you, in the Christian context or the born again context, is not fleeing in fear but living in faith. God’s word is true, the Apostle’s Doctrine is final, and the Revelation of the mighty God in Christ is not of man. It did not come forth from man but is spoken into the human spirit by miraculous revelation. As such, it does not need to be submitted to man’s wisdom, progressive theology, or the world’s opinion. And walking in that light, living in faith, “abiding in Christ,” and walking with Him whether in storms, or in life, or in death, in hunger, or in uncharted waters: is our shelter. Where Christ is, anywhere his will is unfolding: that is the cleft in the rock. It does not confine you to a hole in the ground, or living in a mental state of retreat or cowardly apology.

One may foolishly pretend that these are not perilous times. But they should be warned: the denial of raging waves does not save the ship. And, discussing present dangers is not living in negativity. It is not negative to warn each other of false prophets and lying preachers who, possessed with crafty spirits, lie in wait to steal, to rob the flocks, uproot foundations, take for themselves what they did not build to consume on their own lust. (Jude 1:3-4)

We are not children (Eph. 4:14) to merely be tossed to and fro, used, abused, manipulated and drawn away from the Apostles’ Doctrine by cunning words and pseudo-learning. Take a fearless stand; we should not be playing church, commercializing, jockeying for personal agendas or worldly status. The sea rages, the winds blow and anyone or anyone’s children may be swept into the churning waters of the times. Is this really the time to decide to disparage those who sound a righteous alarm? I contend not. This is not the time to seek another Gospel, another Jesus, another spirit, which does not exist, (2 Cor. 11:4) but to assure our hearts. “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him” (1 John 3:19).

There is a prophetic word and calling for this age. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith, without wavering” (Heb. 10:23). Look about you. The Lord has provided a shelter. His word is a lamp, a rock, a hiding place. Abide in the faith, love the truth, hold fast, believe not every spirit. My words here are not to suggest a a bunker, hold-the-fort mentality but rather an understanding that we are secure in Christ. That we “have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Safe, sealed, kept, in any storm, any attack, any situation, any upheaval. The weight of his Glory is upon us; to give, go, and survive, not through fear but by faith. Filter everything through Acts 2:38. Never permit yourself to be led from an absolute commitment to the Apostles’ Doctrine and the message of holiness, or the life of the Spirit. Run to the truth, and run from the preacher or false prophet or family member who would cause you to depart from the faith and seek doctrines of devils (1 Tim. 4:1 & Dt. 13:1-14).

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