Hashkama #63 – Issues of Life and Death
On a return trip from Tenerife at the end of a family holiday, as the plane landed and was speeding down the runway at Gatwick, our grandson, who was two-years-old at the time, suddenly stood up in the seat in front of me, turned round and raised both arms in the air exclaiming, “We did it granddad! We did it!” much to the amusement of all those sitting around us.
Steve and Monica Maltz, along with their talented team members, also ‘did it again.’ The Foundations 5 conference, at the beginning of June was mixed with blessings and challenges; and even the challenges turned into blessings as the week went on. The hard work and dedication of the team never wavers, even under pressure.
Conferences are full of unseen and unobserved moments. There is the preparation before the conference. There is the allocation of rooms and consideration of various needs the delegates might have; the setting up of equipment – actually getting it to the site and then unloading it all, and putting it into place. There are meals and drinks breaks, all the practical side of conference life that we take for granted, but that someone, out of their love for God, has to attend to. We applaud and give thanks for all that goes on in the ‘invisible’.
The first and major shock-wave was when Steve was informed that one of the main speakers was unable to attend the conference. His wife had been taken ill and was undergoing medical tests. There was no time to re-arrange, but rearranging occurred and David Andrew (Sword Magazine) stepped in, not only ministering in his own teaching slots, but covering the huge gap that had been opened. A better man would not have been found in these isles. You could sense the royal blood searing through his veins. I don’t mean the blue blood of human royals, but the love-red blood of the King of Heaven. This man, ministering in the Spirit, with grace and dignity brought tears to my eyes, tears of joy; and even now as I write and recall that moment my eyes are filling up. Such preachers are sadly rare, and I felt so blessed to be in the presence of this man of God.
We have serious choices to make in our nation; we Christians I mean. I was meant to bring out a word study on the Church for Hashkama #63. The article was almost completed when I lost the whole document, irretrievably. It is gone, and I was devastated having put so much work into it. Anyone interested can do a study on the word ‘Church’ themselves. You will not find the word, either in the Hebrew Scriptures or the Christian Scriptures, not in the original language, nor in a correct translation from either the Hebrew or the Greek.
Because William Tyndale translated the word ekklesia as congregation, his Bibles were burnt and, more to the point, so was he. Tyndale’s Martyrdom was not just down to him having translated the Bible into English. His cardinal sin was that he didn’t use the terminology of the established State Religion. His use of the word Congregation instead of the Ecclesiastical word Church was particularly offensive. We are not going into that now, but the word ‘Church’ instead of the correct translation has been the cause of three major problems in the Body of Christ over the centuries.
I digressed there, I am still grieving for my lost work, forgive me!
We Christians have a choice that God is putting before us today. We have looked at this verse in previous articles, and we must consider it again now (see Hashkama #19).
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). These words were spoken to Israel. I am not taking what is rightfully theirs and making it belong to what we call the Church, but they are, I believe, words that God is echoing to believers today, particularly in the nations of the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. We are both in a rocking boat. Mainly by choice we have left the Ark of God, substituting that for man-made chipboard vessels that will fall apart around us.
A couple of days before the conference a report came out that the midwives could now perform abortions. This is in the UK. Where have we heard this kind of thing before? Egypt, Pharaoh. Those that have been trained and commissioned to bring new life into the world, now have permission to terminate life at the point of birth. This is an appalling, hellish development, and we accept it quietly, sheepishly, uncaring. Life can be snuffed out, with guidelines of course. The Nazis had their guidelines too. As Christians, are we appalled? Before we answer that, let us examine ourselves. Let us briefly examine the Church as it is under our watch.
We will examine one aspect because it affects the whole. The reason my eyes filled with tears of joy at the preaching of David Andrew was because that had been in my heart all week as I wrote on what I called “A Question of Church”. We have not only allowed ungodly men into our churches, but we have invited ungodly individuals to fill positions of leadership – men in particular, that do not have faith in God as well as those who start well but finish badly, to use the terminology of Steve Maltz’s latest book. Deception is rife in the Church, with crowds flocking to false teachers. There are leaders that are in sexual relationships with other men. One incident of this was reported on in The Church Times: “A chaplain in Lincolnshire has become the first priest in the Church of England to be married to a same-sex partner, in defiance of House of Bishops' guidance.” This was in defiance against God. Men in sexual relationships with women they are not married to. Men that do not believe the Bible is the Word of God. The list goes on. What are we seeing here? We are seeing that those who are in positions to bring forth life are in fact producing death. The midwives have official blessing to kill. We are giving such church leaders permission to kill. Instead of the words leaving their lips producing life in the hearers, death is the end result.
The Lord was able to breathe life into the words spoken by David Andrew. His words were infused with Spirit and Life – I am using David as an example of the kind of leaders we ought to have in the Church. There was life-giving power in his words. They didn’t heal broken bones, but they penetrated bone and marrow producing life in the blood that flowed and affected the heart first, then the whole body (Hebrews 4:12), even judging our thoughts and attitudes.
Our choice, the one set before us today, is to choose life. If we continue to choose death, this nation is sunk, and so is the church. God’s way is the only way. There is a dearth of true, Holy Spirit preaching, teaching and living. I believe this is what the Lord was showing us through the circumstances of the minister that could not attend the conference. Not that God caused his wife to be ill, but that He used that situation to speak to us, that God’s Word is absent from the Church.
Choosing our leaders must be done in the Holy Spirit. We must clean up our act, and we must act and behave according to the Will and Word of God. (1 Samuel 15:22).
The Church has failed to represent Jesus’ authority because the Church is not living under His authority. Anything that is not under His Headship is not a Church. I wonder how many churches in the UK are not churches at all…
We are responsible to administer Christ’s government on earth. Therefore He holds us accountable for how we do it. Christ has made the laws, and while we can’t change them, we can make decrees. We cannot transgress the laws but we can impose the law by the decrees that we make. “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.” (Job 22:28).
It is through the Church that God reaches the nation. God also judges a church partly because of the nation for which He holds the church accountable. The Church and the Body are two descriptions of Christ’s people. The Church is the Body of Christ – Christ is the Head. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
If we want to see a change in the nation, the Church must go through a transformation from its present position of darkness to one of the light of the world. That is what we are called to be. We must first of all change the Church; and it is a transformation each one of us must be willing to undergo.
“Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late – and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.” – A.W. Tozer
Because the Church is in a state of impotence, there are some Christians that want to go back to how things used to be. Their pining for days gone by is almost tangible. The great faith chapter of Hebrews Ch.11 is to encourage us to go forward in faith. Those great saints mentioned in that passage of Scripture are not there for us to desire to go back to those days. The message of Hebrews 1—10 is, “Don’t go back”. And the message of Hebrews 11 – 13 is, “Do go on”.
The Christian life can be likened to motorway driving. You can drive in one direction only, and that is forward. You are looking in the direction you are going, while at the same time, you must keep an eye on what is behind you. Being aware of what is behind, though that is important, where we are, and where we are heading must have our full concentration and purpose. If we think that the driving conditions a few miles behind us were much better, we would cause havoc if we were to go into reverse gear and try to get back there. “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13b). We are where we are because it is where God wants us to be; and we trust God to get us to the destination He has for each one of us; and that is not buried in the past, but alive to Him here and now. We can’t go back. Israel hankered after Egypt when they were walking the desert and heading (on the long way round, agreed) for the land promised to them by God. But they wanted to go back to what they considered to be the good things of Egypt. Moses could not go back to how it was in Abraham’s time. Likewise, Joshua could not go back to the time of Moses. God’s movement is forward, and we have to go with Him, not with our memories of how things were. It is actually against God’s will for us to hanker after how things were in the past. He is not only the God of the past, but He is God of the present and God of the future too.
The only return the Church needs to do is to return to the Lord.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and He relents from sending calamity.” (Joel 2:12-13)
On the morning of the last day of Foundations 5, Steve tore up his prepared script and just spoke off-the-cuff about the ministry and work of Foundations, Saltshakers and Saffron Planet. It was a light hearted and fun time. God took over creating a most wonderful moment as we broke bread. It was as if a canopy of love and reconciliation hovered over us. The God of reconciliation was at work. The fellowship at these conferences is special and uplifting. It was wonderful to see people that had attended the earlier conferences return again, and to see new faces too. For me, the fellowship is one of the main attractions.
Supporting the work
For those that have read “Walking with the Lord” #9, you will have noticed my comments concerning a developing situation in Germany called “The House of One”.
The House of One is to be a church, synagogue and mosque. Involved are a protestant Pastor, a Jewish rabbi, and a Muslim iman. The building is being paid for out of donations.
If people can donate their wealth to such a monstrosity, why can’t we Christian’s get behind and support the work of Foundations and Saltshakers? Let us put our silver and gold into building something for eternity. You can find out more by contacting Steve by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 020 8551 1719. This work needs the support of the Body to get where God wants it to be. Let’s get involved and do what has to be done in the name of the Lord. We have the House of One—a place of death; let us contribute to bringing life and hope to God’s people, and to the people of our various nations. We can do that by supporting ministries that are under God’s authority.
Blessings and shalom,