As we are currently bombarded on the news and in the press with a rapidly increasing number of unbelievable disasters, and an increase in the numbers of major ‘man-made’ horrors – wars, Islamic extremism, government corruption spawning violence, and the increasing threat from the former USSR, it can very easily make us ‘sink’ into depression, the feeling of utter uselessness, and the desperation for the return of Jesus. Jesus said this, in Mark 13:
1As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
5Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
9“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
OR – it can, whilst praying for and doing what we can for, the places afflicted by natural or man-made calamity – cause excitement to rise in us. Why? Because of what the Apostle Paul said. Romans 5:20 – ‘Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more’. In the Message, it’s like this:
- All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.
The world clearly is getting a more destroyed place. On our doorsteps is the threat of evil, and trouble. In our nation, in Europe, in the western world in general, it seems that darkness is covering the land. Wow!!! That means we’re being repositioned for an outpouring of grace the like of which has never been known before! And it means that, for those of us who want to be part of the Great Commission of Jesus – it is an ACTIVE choice we have to make, it’s not just going to be given to us – we are going to SEE GOD’S KINGDOM COME AND GOD’S WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN! Many, many years ago, if I remember well, the lovely David Pawson said that he believes he’s going to see the return of Jesus in his lifetime. He’s a man who is perhaps one of Christendom’s greatest Bible teachers, a man whose knowledge of Biblical prophecy is amazing, it might be worth noting that David is 85 years old….
I’ve just read the blog of my great friend, Simon Guillebaud, who, with his wife, Lizzie, and his family of 3 (all very young), has been a missionary in Burundi for 16 years. God intervened 10 days ago meaning that Lizzie and the kids had to return to England for a medical reason. Simon is still there, but Burundi is a place of daily, rising violence. (If you want to read Simon’s current blog, it’s here: http://www.simonguillebaud.com/blog). Please pray for Simon, as he won’t leave the people he loves (he’s a Burundian national now) as the mass exodus of the nation – white and black – increases. For most of us, the war in Burundi (1993-2005) and the abominable ethnic cleansing – estimated 300,000 dead – is something we looked on from afar, horrified. Simon is THERE, and will stay…
Another friend, Canon Andrew White, as probably most of you know, is the Vicar of St George’s Church, Baghdad. What is currently happening in Iraq is beyond belief. Biblical historic places are being destroyed – see Mark 13:2 – as IS want to eradicate Christians from the face of the earth.
You might wonder why I’m writing all this!! There’s a reason. GRACE WINS, HANDS DOWN. It’s not a question, it’s a statement of truth. The Heavens are opening. Places previously known as ‘dark’ spiritually are beginning to see the glory of God demonstrated.
I’m now back from a wonderful week in France. A glorious part of the world, the west coast region of the Vendee. Previously, spiritually dark, riddled with religious division, unbelief, churches hostile to each other. And last weekend, Heaven invaded earth…. Christians of many different persuasions – not just evangelicals with ‘religious’ differences (I was going to say theological differences, but to be honest, it’s one religious (little) empire remaining isolated from another). The Catholic community, the Beatitudes, has the most wonderful people, including a man I’ve come to love dearly, Frere Jean-Marie Delacroix. Jean-Marie has a ministry akin to prayer walking, except it isn’t walking! He goes in a boat up and down the Vendee coast, pray/sailing at the nation, from the sea. It’s called ‘Mere et Priere’ – which works wonderfully in French, but ‘Sea and Prayer’ in English doesn’t have the same ring! Jean-Marie has a wicked sense of humour!! Frere Timothy is another beautiful man of God…. I’d love to bring Jean-Marie to the UK, disguised in normal clothes as opposed to his habit, and get him to preach in some churches. You’d believe he is as charismatic and evangellymould as you are…. God is BRINGING THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO USHER IN THE KINGDOM, TOGETHER….. Just in case you can’t tell, Jean-Marie is second from the left in the ‘cover’ picture!!!
In 1984, I was a student at Roffey Place Christian Training Centre, in West Sussex. For a period of 6 weeks during my sojourn there, a minister came to stay for a six week sabbatical, in the room next door. I’d have to be honest and say I wondered what it’d be like having him there, as he was a Catholic monk. As a born and bred evangelical, I’d have most certainly had my differences, even as someone who’d never in a million years be called a ‘theologian’!!
His name was Father Ian Petit. A Benedictine Monk. It was like having Jesus next door for 6 weeks. Such a wonderful, charismatic, ‘evangelical’ Catholic. Ian turned my ‘religious spirit’ upside down. We spent a lot of time together, and a number of times, after I’d moved on from Roffey, he came to stay in my home. He’s now well and truly in glory with Jesus, of that I have absolutely NO DOUBT.
On the Vendee, in a staunch Catholic / ‘religious’ evangelical area of France (but more Catholic than evangelical!), Heaven touched earth. Charismatic Catholics and charismatic Christians sharing the glory of God, touching lives of others, and hugging, worshipping the same God, the same Jesus, and dancing together. Healings, deliverance, salvation: GRACE outpoured in the gathering together of people from such diverse human and spiritual backgrounds. With a common goal: to see God’s Kingdom come in a glorious part of God’s world on the west coast coast of France.
When I spoke there first time, in 2013, I was translated by an incredible guy, Jean Philippe Roullier: perhaps – with my mates Marius in Romania, and Fernando in Colombia – the best translator I’ve ever had. Jean Philippe is brilliant: in 2013, he translated so fast, as I spoke faster and faster, we had an absolute blast, and God turned up. He couldn’t be there last year, but WANTED to be at the conference last weekend to translate me again… it’s so easy to speak with him translating. He cancelled something else to be there. Why do I mention him so much? He’s one of the top Catholic translators in France, in demand in other countries, too, to translate and PREACH at huge conferences, and he’s such a great friend and brother to me… I’m hoping he’ll go to Colombia with me in the very near future. He wants to….
Dear Colin and Sue Enticknap, friends of over 30 years, missionaries there for 10 years, massively misunderstood by many (Mark 13: 9-13), cut adrift by many in England, but who have stood firm, determined to bring saints (as opposed to religious evangelicals) together, seeing, in their 8th ‘Louange Côte Ouest’ (West Coast Praise), heaven touch earth, and the heavens open. Thy have lived, battled, been misunderstood, alienated by some, in order to see heaven open. Like Simon Guillebaud in Burundi, Andrew White in Iraq….
For me, it’s been part of my dream for 36 years, to see heaven touch earth, to be part – a very, very small part – of seeing the heavens open over places I go to. If you read here frequently, you’ll know I talk of Cali, Colombia, as a city under an open heaven. Friends, it’s going to get worse in the world, darker and darker: and it’s going to get more and more exciting as we see GRACE WIN HANDS DOWN!!