Learning the Hard Way

I have a friend who was among the first outside believers to be granted entrance into China when the bamboo curtain creased open in the early 70’s. John wanted more than anything to find how the Church in China fared after long decades of oppression and silence. To his great relief, he found a thriving, throbbing community of faithful devotees to their Lord. During that expedition and subsequent trips, he learned much from the scarred saints in China but the way they saw their persecution has been a lesson that has stayed with him.

He was told when hardship first came against the people of God there, they immediately cried “persecution!”for that is indeed what it looked like. It wasn’t until later, when the fiery trials persisted, many learned the truth: what first came to the Church was not persecution, but judgment. Their ordeal certainly seemed satanic in origin, but that would come later.

By the Spirit, those who had ears to hear, understood the times they were in and discerned the work of God among them, learned what we will likely have to learn ourselves here in the West: it is judgment that must come first. Everything that looks like Adam and earthly and unholy in the Church must be crushed; once the rebellion has been dealt with and the dust settles, what comes after will be persecution. Then the wrath of the enemy will be ripened and set itself to wipe out anything that looks like Christ, the last Adam.

Six of the Seven Churches of Revelation were given the opportunity to repent, else judgment would come from the Hand of the Christ who walked among the candlesticks. This is our time. Yes there are false prophets that go about sullying the name of Christ and His Church, predicting dates and times for judgment, but we can never let their vain rantings obscure the Truth that there is a Day we must all be ready to face. If given a choice, I’d take persecution over judgment. I think you know what I mean…

Lord, finish Your work in me. By Your grace I do not fear condemnation and eternal wrath, but I know there is still the spectre of old Adam—who is dead—still visible and this must be dealt with. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who shows me where he still lurks and how You relentlessly move in me to reckon him dead and part ways. I love your discipline and chastening that comes from Loving Hands. I accept it as loving and for my good, and that it is the necessary process by which You will be fully formed in me. Have Your way, Lord, from now through eternity. And thank you, Lord, for my disability. You are wise and wonderful indeed! I love you…I choose You…

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