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Trees

Sunrise

     Sometimes we canít see the forest for the trees.

 

     The brutality of Hitlerís Third Reich was difficult to grasp because it was so massive. When people heard the reports, they could not take it in. So to bring the point home, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials displayed the dried up head of an executed prisoner to the courtroom. That by itself was brutal enough, but then he explained that it was used for a paper weight on the desk of a commandant of a concentration camp.

 Do you realize that there are people living today that witnessed two world wars!       

     Do you realize that for the last 50 years mankind has had the capability to wipe out civilization as we know it through nuclear weapons?

     Do you realize that for the last 40 years over one billion babies have been destroyed worldwide by abortionóand it continues!

     We donít understand the magnitude of the time we live in. We canít see the forest for the trees.

 

     He made the point. The people in the courtroom “saw” the brutality.

 They could see the forest behind the trees.

     The church as we know it Todayóitís days are numbered. Weíre sinking. We must adapt. We must learn to jump into the spiritual life boats God has supplied to survive whatís coming.

     It does not take a spiritually astute person or a Bible scholar to see the writing on the wall. The magnitude of the forces building up around us is vast, is unprecedented, is Biblical in its proportions. The proliferation of nuclear weapons, the morality freefall, the widespread use of abortion and the reestablishment of the nation of Israel are all screaming at us: Fasten your spiritual seat belts, something big is about to happen.

      We have lived with these realities so long we have become numb. We have lost sight of what is right in front of our eyes. We canít see.

     But there is Someone Who can. There is Someone Who does. There is Jesus. The Bible says Jesus counts the sparrows that fall. He numbers every hair on your head. He leads trillions of trillions of stars out at their appointed times and seasons. He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His power and the greatness of His might not one is missing.

     Imagine what Jesus thinks about all that is going on in His world right now.

     Many are beginning to realize 9/11 and the war on terror is heralding the start of a third world war. But most of us are sleep walking. Weíre living in a dream world. We donít want to face reality. Itís naÔve to think that this war is going to magically disappear and we will receive some kind of an exemption.

     The whole history of mankind is one of warfare, and we have certainly laid the

foundation for immense warfare breaking out.

     During the two world wars military technology advanced during the wars and weaponry was used at ever increasing levels. We can expect the worldwide nuclear arsenal, building up since the last world war, to be used in the next world war.

     History declares it to be so.

     What is the old saying? “If we donít learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.” The one sure thing we learn from history is that we donít learn from history. We will go to war.

     Warfare in the natural realm is preceded by warfare in the spiritual realm. Todayís church is not prepared to take on the increased scale of spiritual warfare waiting for us right around the corner. If the church does not adapt, it will sink. Only a very watchful, prayerful church will be able to ride out the storm ahead.

     There are many voices in the church telling us not to worry, that everythingís going to be alright.

     What should we do? To whom should we listen?  

     What about Jesus? Why not listen to Him?

     Jesus said over and over again, “Watch and pray, watch and pray.” He warned, “Many false christs and false prophets are coming. There will be wars and rumors of wars. Nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Behold, I have told you in advance. Watch and pray” (taken from Matthew chapters 24 and 25).

 

     óJesus warned, Itís going to get bad. Itís going to get real bad. Itís going to get so bad, “Itís going to be like the days of Noah” (Luke 17:26, 27).

     How bad was it in the days of Noah?

     The wickedness of men was so great that the intent of their hearts was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).

 

     óJesus warned, “itís going to be like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah”

(Luke 17:28-32).

     How bad was it during the days of Sodom and Gomorrah?

     God said, “The wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah has become so great it has come up to my ears in heaven” (Genesis 18:20, 21).

     When the two angels came to visit Lot in Sodom, All the men of the village from the oldest to the youngest came out to Lotís house and said, “Bring those men out to us so we can rape them” (My paraphrase of Genesis 19:4, 5).

 

     óJesus warned, Itís going to be so bad that if He hadnít “shortened those days, no life would have been saved” (Mark 13:20).

 

     óJesus warned, the deception is going to be so bad, it will “lead astray, if possible, the elect” (Mark 13:22).

 

     óJesus warned itís going to be worse than any time in history. That includes the time of Sodom and Gomorrah and the time of Noah and the flood.

 

     Itís going to get bad!

     These are Jesus words. These are His warnings for us, today.

     If we step back we can see what Jesus was warning us about. We can see the larger picture. We can see the forest. We can see whatís coming.

     So what do we do?

     We watch and pray.

     Some Jews living in Germany during the rise of Adolph Hitler could read the writing on the wall. They were watching and they left. They left before it was too late. One was Albert Einstein. However, millions stayed, and millions perished.

     But thereís another reason why itís so important to prepare for whatís coming   

óthereís something else going on. Something even bigger.

     All of this. All of this. The immorality plague, the abortion nightmareóeven the coming nuclear waródo not begin to compare to what is really taking place behind the scenes. As foreboding and horrible as these things are, they will be dwarfed by what is rising up behind the forest.

     Jesus is coming!

     He is coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

     Just like we are not ready for the coming storm, we are not ready for this.

     The last book in the Bible is called the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This title states we have not yet seen Who Jesus really is. He has not fully revealed Himself. He has not come for us. We have not met our Bridegroom face to face.

     All the great things Jesus accomplished when He was hereóthe miracles, the healings, the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension, and the pouring out of His Spiritóare not the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is still to come. Jesusí first coming has merely laid the foundation for His full revelation. Get ready! The King is coming!

     Remember when Jesus and His disciples were on the boat in the Sea of Galilee and the storm blew up and the disciples started to panic? This is an accurate picture of the church today. Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat. The disciples woke Him up, angry that He didnít care they were all about to drown. And                                        

we know what happened. After rebuking them Jesus spoke to the storm and there was a great calm.

     We are face to face with the beginning of the storm of the ages. Our boat is beginning to fill with water. Some of us who have gotten a glimpse of the forest behind the trees are beginning to panic.

     Whereís Jesus? Jesus, why are You sleeping? Donít You see weíre about to go down? Wake up! Do something!

     Jesus is going to wake up. He is going to do something. He is going to still the storm. But are we ready for this? Who can endure the day of His coming? (Malachi 3:2).

     After Jesus stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee the disciples looked at each other and said “Who is this guy? What manner of man is He that even the wind and the waves obey Him?” (paraphrase of Mark 5:8).

     Itís like they were really saying, “Give us back the storm, we can handle thatóbut this Man? Weíve never met anyone like Him before.”

     Are we ready? Are we ready for whatís behind the storm, for whatís behind the forest? Once Jesus does appear many of us will react like the disciples. We will start looking at each other and say, “Whoa. I had no idea! Iím not too sure about this. I can handle this storm of tribulation. I understand that, but this Man, this God-Man, I donít know if I can handle Him.”

 

     When God came to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai, He wanted to make them into a kingdom of priests. In response they made a golden calf. They bowed down to worship it. They died in the wilderness.

     They werenít ready.

 

     When Jesus came to present Himself to His people as their King, He came humble and riding on a donkey. They did not recognize Him. They crucified Him. In return God rejected His people and scattered them to the four corners of the earth.

     They werenít ready.

 

     Are we ready?

 

     Are we watching and praying? Do we know whatís coming? Do we realize Who weíre dealing with?

     Jesus is a two-edged sword.

     Jesus comes to us with forgiveness, salvation, and healing. He comes to us with

reward and blessing.

     ButóJesus also comes to us with burning and refining. He baptizes with the

Holy Spirit and fire. He is a refining fire.

     When Jesus comes, the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire (I Corinthians 3:12-15).

     The church will be saved through fire. We will be refined through fire. We will be made ready for our coming Bridegroom through refining fire. His holiness burns away all in us that is not like Him. We come out of His fire like refined gold. We come out of His fire like Him.

     In the parable of the ten bridesmaids waiting for the Bridegroom, all ten fell asleep and all their lamps went outóincluding the five that were wise.

     We have no clue as to whatís around the corner, racing at us like a steam

locomotive. Weíre all asleep. All our lamps have gone out. We donít see the storm brewing around us. We canít see the forest for the trees, let alone our Bridegroom rising up behind the trees. We must wake up!

     “Watch therefore. For you do not know when the master of the house will return. Lest coming suddenly he finds you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all, watch and pray!” (Jesus, Mark 13:35-37).

     God will provide a way of protection and escape from what is comingóand He will prepare us for His coming. But itís going to take a church that is experienced in spiritual warfare to survive. An unprepared church is a sinking ship. Should we be concentrating on polishing the brass railings right now? Or should we be concentrating on watching and praying in obedience to the Lord, to be a church that is ready for whatís behind the trees?

     Those who have as their greatest concern, eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building, marrying, and giving in marriage are not seeing the bigger picture. They canít see the forest for the trees.

     We must wake up! We must watch and pray! We must be ready for the coming storm. We must be ready for our coming King.

 

     But at midnight (the darkest time of the night, the darkest time of the storm) there was a shout, “Behold the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”

 (Matthew 25:6).

  ©copyright 2007 Michael J. Silberg 

 

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This web site was last updated on 01/18/2010

copyright Michael J. Silberg 2007