Thoughts, ramblings… whatever you would like to call them. I wasn’t really planning to post much of anything after sharing my last post, but wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts on some of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
What a strange moment in time in which we find ourselves. Just a few months ago, none of us could have imagined how much our lives were about to change.
Sudden change can be very disconcerting. Suddenly finding ourselves in the midst of the unknown can bring about fear and cause certain behavior, that would normally be suppressed, to be exposed.
Because I follow vloggers/bloggers on Chinese culture, I was alerted to the virus, early, and have had the opportunity to watch the unfolding of the handling of the virus, since January (before it was even on the West’s radar). I had considered sharing what I was seeing, at the time, but figured that I was already sharing enough doom and gloom by pointing out problems in the church. So, I didn’t say anything. I have, however, been watching the effects that it has had within different spheres. The virus has exposed a lot of weaknesses…and even deception.
Hospitals were ill-prepared and left facing a pandemic without desperately needed supplies. I hope that we, as a country, learn a valuable lesson about who we rely on when it comes to our supply chains.
US governors were suddenly faced with having to make decisions that they probably never thought they would actually have to make. While some governors have done a fine job, some are acting more like dictators or tyrants. I hope people of those states remember this moment in time the next time they head to the polls.
World organizations that we thought we could trust, have proven to be not only unreliable, but even partly responsible for the spread of a virus that could have been (at least, somewhat) contained toward the beginning of the outbreak. I hope our eyes have been opened to the corruption found within these organizations…and that we would always be willing to stand up against that corruption.
The true colors of a communist government have been revealed as we watch them do all they can to save face and control the narrative…even if that means blatantly lying every few days in order to cast blame anywhere but on themselves – where the blame truly belongs. And not only that, but they were willing to sacrifice their own people when they could have called on others to help them control the deadly outbreak at the onset. Instead, they arrested and silenced the doctors who were trying to warn the public; kicked out the foreign media who could have warned the world what was coming; and shut their borders to the organizations who could have helped save lives.
And what about the Church?
I don’t believe we will know the true impact the stay-at-home orders had on our churches until well after we begin to emerge from our homes on the Sunday mornings after those orders have been lifted. Will the Purpose Driven, seeker-friendly models that many churches have adopted be enough to draw people back in… especially now that congregants realize that they can “go to church” on their couch, in their pj’s? Will the Sunday morning “experience” be enough to draw them back in? Were the Sunday morning experiences they had prior to the virus enough to keep them engaged during this time of isolation? Will the passive attenders return once this is all over? Did people use this time to draw nearer to God? Were they taught how to do that, in the first place? Or were they trained to rely on church leadership to provide that “experience” for them?
And what about our modern-day apostles and prophets? Can we start calling some of them out, now? Have our eyes been opened, yet? Kenneth Copeland’s scary whackadoodlery has been on FULL display since all of this started (I will admit, some of the remixes have been entertaining). Can we just go ahead and call him out as the charlatan that he is… especially since non-believers are seeing his antics and chalking his actions up to “typical” Christianity?
How about taking a look back at ALL of the typical New Year’s revelations and declarations made by our modern-day prophets for the year 2020? In the midst of declaring and decreeing their usual word salads of “anointing,” “revival,” “acceleration,” “refreshing,” “stirring,” “double-portion” and “increase,” they failed to speak anything about a global pandemic. Can we please take a look at what is being spoken from these prophets – IN THE NAME OF THE LORD – and compare it to the WORD OF GOD? How do these prophets measure up to the prophets of the Bible? Samuel’s words never fell to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19). How do the prophesies, themselves, measure up to the prophesies found in the Bible? The word of the LORD spoken by the prophet Isaiah says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11NIV)
At the end of March, Dr. Michael Brown stated that “this is a great time to test contemporary prophetic words.” You can find the article, HERE. The prophesies do not seem to have aged very well. Perhaps part of one of the prophesies is vague enough to kind of make it seem accurate, but it’s also not specific enough to deem it a solid prophecy. *Side note: No one can seem to find the prophecy supposedly spoken by Chuck Pierce in September. I believe he may have said something in late January; however, as I previously stated, I knew about the virus in January (the 22nd, to be exact), so even I could have safely “prophesied” that something was going to happen, during that time frame. I even considered postponing my flight to California in early February because I was concerned about being exposed to the virus while traveling.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in prophecy. BUT! I also believe that we are to beware of false prophets and to test the spirits. Jesus, Himself, told us to beware of false prophets (Matthew 7). Yet, we seem to just take people at their word when they say, “thus saith the Lord” or “I feel like the Lord is saying” or “God told me.” Jesus said that we will recognize them by their fruit. We tend to equate false with people who can be made out as insincere… especially when they live in mansions and fly around in jets in order to avoid the demons on commercial flights. But what about the ones who seem like they truly love the Lord and do come off as being sincere. What if they prophesy a thing that does not come to pass? Are they a false prophet? Or did they just hear wrong, but they’re sincere and love the Lord, so they get a pass? What about Acts 20:17-31; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15; Galatians 1:6-10; Colossians 2:1-10; Jude? What about Deuteronomy 18:20-22:
But if any prophet dares to speak a message in My name that I have not commanded him to speak, or to speak in the name of other gods, that prophet must be put to death.” You may ask in your heart, “How can we recognize a message that the LORD has not spoken?” When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD and the message does not come to pass or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (emphasis mine)
And concerning words or dreams that DO come to pass, but leads one to follow another god:
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them, ‘you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5
(Disclaimer: I am not saying to put anyone to death. The harsh language, however, should give us a clear idea of how God feels about false prophecy and false prophets.)
How many of us have taken the time to check out the actual theology of the prophets that we are listening to? I am ashamed to admit that, for a long time, I did not dig very deep into the backgrounds of those in whom I was trusting to receive “special revelation.” I, instead, relied on experiences and feelings. I trusted their sincerity, passion and zeal… and their ability to quote Scripture (albeit out of context). As I have started doing deeper research, I have found some very prominent “prophets” and “apostles” who have some not-so biblical doctrine. For example, there are those who do not believe that Jesus was both fully man AND fully God while He was on earth. They believe He was completely emptied of His divinity and that He had to die, go to hell to pay for the sins of the world, and then be “born again.” And because He did all that He did – as a man – we can do everything He did, too! More on “little gods” theology, HERE.
We’ve had “prophets” declaring and decreeing the end of the virus, but we’re still dealing with it. If God, in His sovereignty, has allowed a pandemic to happen – instead of yelling at it and trying to rebuke it, shouldn’t we be asking God (1) to have mercy on us and (2) what He wants us to truly see in the midst of this difficult time? We even had a “prophet” go on a national news station and say that the virus would not become a pandemic; however, days later it was labeled as such. What do we do with that? What about our “healers”… the ones who refuse to create a theology that allows for sickness? What an amazing opportunity to do their most glorious work! But where are they? If a Christian dies of the coronavirus, does that mean they didn’t have enough faith, as some would claim?
I don’t claim to have all the answers. These are just some of the thoughts that I have been wrestling with – and I still have so many questions. Welcome to my brain! But in all seriousness, I do believe that as the Body of Christ, we should be asking some pretty hard questions about what we believe and in whom we are trusting… and measuring it all against the very Word of God – in context.
To me, one of the most terrifying passages in the Word of God was spoken by Jesus, Himself:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23
These people who say, “Lord, Lord,” sound genuinely surprised that they will not enter the kingdom of heaven, even though they prophesied and cast out demons and did many mighty works in the Name of the Lord. Think about that! They were doing all these things in the Name of the Lord, but it was not the will of the Father who is in heaven?! Is it, perhaps, because they failed to preach the FULL counsel of the Lord? These “many” who were, most likely, full of passion and zeal and sincerity will be rejected by the Lord and told that they were never known by Him, to depart from Him, and be referred to as workers of lawlessness.
I used to have this same passion and zeal and sincerity. But in many cases, I was also wrong in my theology. I have declared and decreed things that I did not have the authority or right to declare or decree (because I am not God). Through New Age practices (that looked “Christian”) meshed with my Christian faith, I have tried to manipulate God into bending to my will instead of fully submitting to His. How shameful. There is nothing wrong with declaring God’s promises found in His Word, but only God should be decreeing a thing – because only He can see the end from the beginning. Read more about declaring and decreeing, HERE.
There is one last thought I’d like to share to wrap this up. It’s a story that I’ve heard a few times. I don’t remember where I heard it, but it is something that always kind of lingers in my mind whenever I think about the sovereignty of God and the humility in which we should always strive to remain.
There was an evangelist flying to a very important conference where he was to preach to a massive crowd. As his plane was flying somewhere over the Midwest, a big storm hit, causing a great deal of turbulence. As the people on the plane bounced around, the mighty evangelist began to loudly rebuke the storm and command it to cease in the Name of Jesus! Surely, no storm sent by the devil to distract, or even stop, this mighty man of God from preaching should be allowed to continue.
What the evangelist on the plane didn’t know was that there was a humble farmer on the ground below, who had been desperately praying for rain to water his crops during a harsh drought. The storm that the evangelist was rebuking was the very answer to the farmer’s prayers. (To be fair, not every evangelist is “bad” and not every farmer is “good” but you get the point.)
This story is what has come to mind every time I hear someone say, with total conviction, that this virus is not the will of God. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I don’t know. But I do know that in His sovereignty, it has been allowed to happen. God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. What if He is using this moment to reveal things that need to be revealed – change things that need to be changed? Trials, tribulation, persecution and pain have a way of moving us when we would not, otherwise. It’s how the Gospel began to spread, in the first place. I think there is much to learn from this unprecedented time we are in… if we are willing.
Pray for our leaders – both worldly and spiritual. They are truly standing in the need of prayer.