One Minute to Twelve
Dear Fellow-Ministers and Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ and to the True Church,
Many of us are witnessing in our spirits that the time of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is very imminent. I am sure like me you are being challenged by the events around the world. The tsunami in Indonesia and it seems every day there is a new disaster around the corner. John the Baptist came with only one message and it was a message of repentance. I do not see much of this going on in our churches around the world today. I see as in the time of Amos:
The Prophet Amos – עָמוֹס- lived in the Eighth Century BC and was a common herdsman and keeper of sycamore fig trees (7:14) before he was called by God. He moved from Tekoa in Judah to the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II and prophesied the destruction of the Northern Kingdom. He is the first Prophet to have a Book of the Bible named after him. His book should be first if the listing was chronological, as he lived just prior to Hosea.
While Israel was prosperous at the time, it was also a time marked by social injustice – a time similar to our own! Amos castigated the extravagance of the Northern Kingdom, who “trampled the head of the poor into the dust of the earth” (2:7). Amos in 5:24 called for justice – מִשְׁפָּ֑ט – mishpat, and righteousness – צְדָקָה – tsedaqah, in one sentence. We live in a time of corporate greed and domination, a time of social inequality when 20% of the world consumes 80% of the world’s goods. The Book of Amos is relevant to this day!
So like me I would hope you would agree with the statement above. There are many in the kingdom of God who are living off the fat of the land as Amos warned the Northern Kingdom. I would say this is a parallel with the western church today. As many of you know, I have travelled to many countries and I have seen many injustices. I see pastors running around in the latest Mercedes and there are members of their congregations who cannot afford shoes. I see pastors and leaders living in mansions while their congregations are living on foodbanks. This cannot be right. I see people in the body of Christ giving to receive. Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we as ministers are guilty of this, as we have allowed the world to enter into the church. It is time for the church of Jesus Christ, I believe, to come to repentance. We are crying out for revival and a change in our nations. But I believe, as the word of God says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
I have just recently seen a YouTube clip of the late Billy Graham calling the nation of America to repentance in the 1970s. Many of you will not remember when the Shah of Iran was their leader and Iran was relatively free and had the freedom of religion. It was a different time. Now his son Franklin Graham is carrying on the message. Just recently, Franklin Graham was in Lancashire and many souls came to Christ. But I pray that the leaders of the major denominations will put away their petty differences and I for one pray will call the nations to prayer. I believe like many around the world that the Holy Spirit is calling the church to repentance. We are at one minute to twelve, and as it tells us in Matthew 24 we should be watching and praying as we do not know the time of our Lord’s return. It is time now, church, that we put aside our denominations, our affiliations, and came back to the word of God and interceded for our nations. This is not an opportunity for another worship service or people to puff themselves up or even sadly some ministers to make some extra money. This is a sincere cry from my heart for prayer. We in the west seem always to turn these into Christian concerts. This is not what the Lord is looking for.
Many of us remember the March for Jesus, which I believe was a move of God, and other events down through the years by people like Bob Dunnett and great prayer initiatives. But where has all this stuff gone? What a signal would be sent to the world if all the true believers around the world came together and prayed. This is not an opportunity for radio stations, TV stations or leaders in the body of Christ to make a few bob or even take up an offering, but to do as they say, seek God and pray. What a time this would be: no celebrities, no superstar Christians, but a true move of God. Who knows what God would do?
Rev Ross Rennie