Revelation 3:15-17 (NIV) "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm- neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."
Six months into 2020 and let's review: we've seen the Impeachment and acquittal of our current President; the death of a beloved celebrity athlete (hitting deep, the hearts of people around the world); a viral pandemic that shut down our country and is threatening to do so again, all the while pounding our economy and claiming well over 100,000 souls; we have watched cities burn, riots rage and racial inequality jump back into the spotlight; we are watching as our 'woke' culture turns itself into tattle tale central with everyone trying to catch people at their breaking point worst while filming & posting the whole thing online, sitting back and waiting to relish in the aftermath.... and it's only the beginning of JULY. That's quite a lot to pack into the first half of a year that many prophetic people have known to be as a type of dividing line. Makes many of us sit up a bit straighter and wonder, what exactly is 2020 dividing?
Matthew 25:31-33 (NIV)
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left."
Sheep and goats are very similar in many ways. Their appearance is similar, their sounds are similar and many of their mannerisms are also quite similar. There are some pretty distinct differences, however, that help us to understand what exactly Jesus is speaking about in Matthew 25 (above). The way in which they graze (or eat) is one of these differences. Sheep are consistent in their grazing. They stick close to the ground and graze on shorter plants; they graze on these slowly & purposefully. Goats on the other hand are not consistent in their grazing. They spend much of their time browsing for leaves, twigs, vines and shrubs. Through their agile moves they are also able to land on top of advantageous positions in order to get some of the higher foliage; in this pursuit, however, they can often be tricked into thinking something is better, only to be left without a meal.
There is a soon coming separation of the sheep from the goats, from the hot/cold vs.
lukewarm(s), between light and darkness, lovers of God and lovers of self, and a separation of life and death. No longer time for the blurring of lines between righteousness and unGodliness, or any kind of justification for compromise. This is a massive reset on our way of life and especially a re-centering of ourselves and our priorities toward our God given destinies and purposes. The upcoming, unique 6 months we have in front of us will be a time like never before of awakening, preparation, and application under fire as we look forward with anticipation to living out biblical fulfillments (including but not limited to the upcoming November Presidential election). Our choices we make concerning our position in God's Kingdom will mean more by the end of this year than perhaps any other time in history (ours and the world's). Since we know these things are coming and we began this year as in Isaiah 60:1-3; rather than yielding to the tendencies we may have to pull back, hunker down and weather the storm, we need to remember that not only were WE BORN FOR THIS but God is counting on His sheep to do exactly what that verse says, SHINE. No matter our flaws, insecurities, weaknesses, we SHINE. After all, we are God's counter culture.
The battle cry of this generation of Jesus followers must then be “no more tolerance of sin!” There is a movement already under foot to get back across to the right side of the divide and embrace the fear (reverence) of the Lord like the early saints had to do. This is a major separator of sheep and goats. This is not a cowering towards God as if we are scared prey, but a holy dread of displeasing or disappointing Him. As the eating habits of a goat are to swallow and try to consume anything in their path, sheep are very selective and discriminating in their consumptions. In other words, the days of just letting things slide within ourselves and those we surround ourselves with are and must be OVER. Jesus said it like this, as we paraphrase Mark 4:24 and Luke 8:18, be careful what you hear and how you hear it. What you put into it is what you are going to get out of it. The diet we have all become accustomed to, mixing anything and everything in with the goodness of God's bread of life is not going to give us the sustenance that we need in the days to come. Thus far the goats have been serving up a bad menu of corrupt ideals and lifestyles that many of us sheep have tried to injest and digest in order to be relevant, leading straight into a case of indigestion and compromised spiritual health issues. The Great Shepherd Jesus is patiently wooing us back over the fence into the pasture that He has provided for us to graze upon. Hope we're all hungry!
Fences are interesting dividers. A fence can be in many cases a mediator between those on one side and them on the other. Fences are a marker. Fences represent clarity of division, while at the same time being a part of BOTH SIDES.
If we simply look at the history books, we can see the beginnings of a faith that decided that fences were not only necessary to keep God's people group (Christians) on one side and the rest of the people (the World) on the other; but saw an advantageous moment to BECOME that fence. And so we've seen empire after empire built upon the fence with finishings that are able to change as the design templates change with the wind itself. But most importantly, we have seen these empires (denomination dominations) build themselves up with theologies that do the same. Why wouldn't they, right? Being right there in the middle of both sides, it's only a matter of time before the convenience factor (created by the popular demands of each decade) would dip into the 'sane' parts of the bible as well as dipping into the 'reasonable' parts of natural wisdom. It makes sense, of course. No one is arguing the logic; that is, except for one person.
John 2:13-16 (NIV)
"When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts He found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, "Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father's house into a market!"
Jesus didn't like mixing world standards of business with the pleasure of God’s presence, and if we haven't seen a large enough preview of this yet, this clutter standard is no longer going to be God's anointed methodology. As the old saying goes, we must become people who are no longer "on the fence" when it comes to where we stand on the issues of God. As Revelation 3 (above) clearly gives us an indication of how Jesus views indecisiveness, we can see His emphasis in getting His people onto the right side of things.
Now here we are in 2020 and Barbara Walters is nowhere in sight. Let's snap ourselves back into our current state of the world at large. As we have listed the happenings (which have all occurred in order, in every month of this year so far) we have been living a snapshot of things to come. How have we handled things thus far?
Well, no worries because we are being graded on the curve and no not that COVID19 one! What we believe we have had the opportunity to learn thus far is quite simple. God has got the market cornered on TRUTH. Everything going on in all areas, boils down to TRUTH vs Lies. Our Heavenly Father has already been where we are headed. We need to keep Him close because the way He sees things is like having hindsight towards the future. In other words, seeing things that are laid out in front of us like we’ve already been there and can see our way around anything. Look, like it or not we are being split by a divine divide happening right now as we read this, to separate His sheep from the goats. At the same time, God is gathering His sheep within the security of His fenced in pastures. A call is going out for the drifted sheep to return to their position under His covering provision.
The things which are and are yet to come have been pre-vetted by God. He sees it and if we allow Him to, He will place us all in the right position that we need to be in as He gathers the sheep and exposes the goats. NOW is the time. Choose God's side, embrace the TRUTH, see through the LIES and let us all steady our focus as we boldly and confidently embrace the future.