Sunday, April 25, 2010

BREAKING THROUGH


A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing



“Get up, go away!
For this is not your resting place,
Because it is defiled,
it is ruined, beyond all remedy.
If a liar and deceiver comes and says,
‘I will prophesy for you plenty of
wine and beer,’
he would be just the prophet for
this people!”
--Micah 2:10,11

“I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob;
I will surely bring together the
remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep
in a pen,
like a flock in its pasture;
the place will throng with people.
One who breaks open the Way will go
up before them;
they will break through the gate
and go out.
Their king will pass through before
them,
the Lord at their head.”
--Micah 2:12,13

            The Lord’s Word to us is as clear and strong as the day He spoke it through Micah the prophet.
            God’s people are penned in by false religion.  Their resting place is ruined, because they have sought the wrong kind of rest.  They have defiled their own beds of ease and comfort, seeking rest in this world, and staining themselves with their own filthy works that fall far short of God’s expectations.
            Liars and deceivers are among us, accepted and exalted.  These men and women proclaim constantly the favor of God.  They encourage us to party hearty, and to live wonderful, self-fulfilled lives now.  They advocate for the rich and the powerful and the successful.  They give their blessing to those who have money, and fame.  They ignore the poor, the outcast, the lame, the remnant that God loves.  They broadcast their visions of plenty, and blessing, and prosperity, while raking in the profits from their own words.  They don’t speak for God.
            Micah speaks for God.
            God speaks thundering words of sorrow for these false prophets, and for the people that follow them.  He speaks clearly and concisely so that even a young child could understand.
            In this world of rich religion and prophets selling the “wine and beer” party philosophy of modern affluent “churchianity”, God calls us away.
            God says, “Get up, go away!” 
            He explains that this is not our resting place, this easy religion of self-fulfillment and self-congratulatory worship of the work of our own hands.  This entire approach to Christ is not His Work.  It is defiled and ruined. 
            The modern, affluent churches have left the true gospel, and are penning in the flock with lies and deceptions that are keeping the sheep from knowing Jesus and the Father.  They have built up walls that seem impossible to scale.  Walls created by generations of men and women who ignored the simple commands of Scripture to cast blocks of disobedience, which were then built up block by block into taller and taller fences of deception, into a massive wall of man-made tradition that defies Scripture and stands on its own without the power of God to hold it up.
            But God has acted.
            He has sent His Son, the King, the Head of His One Flock, and He will break through this wall into His light.  Those who know His voice will follow Him through the narrow gate and go out. 
            Jesus Christ is the One who breaks open the Way and who goes up before us.
He has pioneered the Way of the Cross.  He has opened the narrow gate to the narrow road, which is the only Way we can follow Him.
            Those who want plenty, and comfort, and party-animal “beer and wine” churchianity will never follow Him.  They will stay in their man-made enclosure, seeking more good feelings and words of false cheer.  The false prophets will continue to preach peace and prosperity.  The defiled and ruined place will thrive
in the world’s eyes, feasting and boasting in the achievements of this religious life.
            And Jesus will lead His remnant, His castoffs, His odd-shaped and irregular sheep who don’t fit into the party church, on the terrifying, difficult, yet incredibly rewarding and exhilarating climb through the mountain passes of faith and love. 
            Jesus loves this remnant of the Redeemed and makes His home with them.
            He will be their guard front and rear.  He will feed them manna in the deserts, and lead them with the cloud by day and the fire by night.  He will walk them through the rivers and the floods, and not let them be drowned.  He will be their shield in battle, their banner of love over their simple meals, their comfort in lonely nights of grief.  His grace will be sufficient in their weakness.  His mercies will rise new over them with the sun every morning.  And when the sun is obscured by clouds, wind and rain, He will be their shelter, their strong tower in which they will rest.           
            Jesus, the Shepherd, will fight off the lions and wolves that seek to devour His true, small remnant--who live and walk by faith and not by sight--those who resist the siren call to return to the easy life of soft, feel-good religion.  The small, true remnant that sticks with Him up Golgotha, and dies with Him daily to their own self-fulfillment in favor of living for their Father, and for their brothers and sisters.  The remnant of whom the world is not worthy.  The few who would rather suffer with Christ then party with the world.  Those who seek the Kingdom of God first, who refuse to leave their First Love, and who regard being a doorman in the House of God superior in every way to enjoying the pleasures of sin for even one season.
            To the remnant of the Redeemed, refugees from the world of self-satisfied, self-seeking religion, Christ is all, and their lives are hidden with Him.  The world may not see their fruit as worthy, but their Lord and Shepherd sees every small token of their love for Him.  He strengthens and encourages them daily, and empowers them to love and strengthen and encourage their brethren on the narrow road.
            This is the heritage of the true servants of Christ.
            Not easy, comfortable, wealthy, affluent, individualistic, self-focused, ruined and defiled religious nonsense that will disappear under the intense persecution to come. 
            But the beautiful, exalted, difficult life of complete surrender and obedience to the One Shepherd, who loves us with a love beyond comprehension, and who will discipline those whom He loves, so that they will share His glory with Him and not be lost.

“But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the Lord,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression,
to Israel his sin.”
--Micah 3:8

            The true leaders of the remnant will call people with the voice of their Shepherd, with power and justice and strength, and with authority.  This authority comes from the knowledge that the Word of God never changes, and cannot be controlled and manipulated by the hand of unscrupulous or misguided men.
            Return to the Lord today, and gather together with this remnant called by Christ out of worthless and deceptive religion.  He will bring us together to live true and worthy lives as brothers.  The places we choose to gather will “throng with people”, and we will experience the same power and obedience to Jesus recorded in the Book of Acts and the other New Testament letters to the ekklesia of God.
            If you long to leave the lukewarm, then “Get up, go away!” and gather with the few, the humble, the remnant who truly follow Jesus on the narrow road!

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