“so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes…” Eph 4:14
The Acts 17:11 Bereans Bible study made it to Ephesians 4:17 last week. We covered a lot. Someone briefly mentioned that it might benefit us as believers to remain ignorant of evil and its ways, otherwise known as human cunning, craftiness, and deceitful schemes...” After all, Smith Wigglesworth was so single-minded that he wouldn’t even allow a newspaper to enter his home. It makes sense within the proper context. That context is underpinned by fearlessness.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Cor 16:13
The strength of which Paul speaks is characterized by complete surrender to God’s will in our circumstances regardless of how those circumstances appear to us.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:12-13
We are not to be ignorant of satan’s devices lest he should take advantage of us. 2 Cor 2:11 Jesus commanded that His disciples be wise as serpents and gentle as doves as they went out among wolves. Mat 10:16
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet 5:8
Sober is nḗphō calm and collected in spirit, temperate, dispassionate, and circumspect. Circumspect means being careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences
Circumspect is the Watchman on the wall.
Still, Churches like ours tend to focus on what God, not the devil is doing. Again, that’s a good and correct thing for most people provided they have also done all, to stand…Eph 6:13-14 and aren’t hiding from hard things because they idolize comfort and are terrified of losing it.
I felt a gnawing conviction after our study.
I have always been a watchman. Ironically it’s a calling I fully embraced until I moved to Tennessee. If I’m honest it’s the fear of man that zips my lips. I don’t want to offend the culture and people I love, and who thrive on joy.
Joy in the third world where we spent the better part of the last decade, is rooted in Col 3:1-3. I perceive that many American believers unconsciously correlate joy with their present health, wealth, and prosperity.
This is known as “Favor”
Facing the possibility of enduring suffering like so many believers around the globe already do is usually not a popular topic of discussion among contemporary lovers of His presence. Hence our stream’s foundational principles of “honoring first”, going “Low and Slow” and the oh-so-slippery slope of always “speaking things in love” can just as easily become justifications for me to bury my head in the sand.
Watchmen are often confused with prophets because they sometimes project future outcomes based on a current trajectory. But watchmen are not prophets. For example, David Wilkerson was a watchman who repeatedly corrected those who called him a prophet. He viewed the world through the lens of scripture. He could see where we were headed and called Americans to repentance. Jeremiah on the other hand, was a prophet to whom the Lord spoke directly about Israel’s future. For 40 years he called the nation of Israel to repentance.
Israel didn’t and neither have we.
I used to write blog posts from a watchman’s perspective. Posts like Truth or Trump and Better than Ninevah remain published. Others related to situations like COVID were removed because well… “what’s done is done”. More recent posts were never published because I got cold feet. It’s much easier and palatable to proclaim God’s goodness while ignoring His severity. Rom 11:22 This was the problem in ancient Israel, a nation whose moral decline so closely mirrors that of the USA today. Jer 14:13-22, Jer 23, Jer 28
A few days ago, the Lord led me to Ezekiel 33. It was as if I were reading it for the first time. Immediately I felt His rod of correction.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’ Eze 33:6
I confess that I’ve put my head in the sand. Not to hide from seeing and hearing. I put it there to silence myself for fear of offending those whose souls might be required at any moment. Luke 12:15-31
Forgive me, Lord! I repent!
I’m not being a “Debbie Downer” or a “Prophet of Doom” as some are sure to say. The fruit of the spirit including the genuine joy of the Lord does not change if I face plenty, hunger, abundance, or need. Granted, my mood might change if I get a million-dollar check in the mail versus a nuclear bomb in Nashville. But the genuine joy of the Lord is not determined by worldly circumstances. James 1:2 commands us to count it all joy when facing trials that test our faith… To count is hēgéomai and means to take authority.
Count it all joy is an offensive, rather than a defensive action.
In January 2020 I taught a “biblicized” version of The Fourth Turning to a group of young missionaries in Guatemala. In a nutshell, the authors, Straus and Howe framed history as a recurring cycle of approximately 80-100 years comprised of four “Turns” (think seasons) of 20-25 years. They are 1.”The High”, 2.”The Awakening”, 3. The Unraveling and 4. The Crisis. You can buy the book on Amazon or read my synopsis here.
Most of these 18-21-year-old “gap year” missionaries just rolled their eyes as I challenged their worldview. Others were angry because I’d called their previously prophesized dreams and plans upon which their joy was predicated into question. Less than two months later the entire world went into lockdown as COVID hit. Their dreams were squashed as they and 400 of their peers from around the globe were emergency evacuated back to the USA. Some barely got out before the borders closed. Suffice it to say that we are in a Fourth Turn now. Here are a few timely conclusions from the book.
“Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II…” “…The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule…” “…Through much of the Third Turning, we have managed to postpone the reckoning. But history warns that we can’t defer it beyond the next bend in time…”
Not since WWII, have we been at such risk for an economic collapse, unmitigated global crisis, and military conflict. Not since the Civil War have we been so divided as a nation. In the words of the World Economic Forum at Davos this year, “The collective vocabularies stored in the world’s great dictionaries didn’t appear to hold a single word, to sum up, all this strife. So here’s a new one:“
“The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023 uses the term, to explain how “present and future risks can also interact with each other to form a ‘poly-crisis’ – a cluster of related global risks with compounding effects, such that the overall impact exceeds the sum of each part”.
Nothing is new under the sun. Ecc 1:9 And there is a time and a season for everything. Ecc 3:1-8 Crises or Fourth Turns have come and gone and come again throughout history. More often than not they arrive just as people assume peace and security. 1 Thess 5:3 Others clearly hear the trumpet but refuse to heed the warning. Eze 33:4
Normalcy Bias is a snare in a Fourth Turning.
In any case, history teaches us that the primary determining factor in the outcome of any crisis is the individual and collective character of those upon whom the crisis falls. Sometimes God uses a crisis to produce character. Rom 5:3 In the end, Fourth Turnings, in particular, produce one of two outcomes. Either there is a return to traditional values, religious revival, prosperity, and freedom. Or people descend into darkness, moral depravity, persecution, and bondage. That said, it is within the context of bondage that God’s promise and warning in the oft-misquoted Jer 29 applies. Hence,
Fourth Turns (crises) are not a call to build bunkers or hoard ammunition, and gold, but rather a call to repentance, fearlessness, and faith amid turmoil.
It may be worthy of note that the word “Crisis” is derived from the Greek word Krisis which means “God’s judgment.” The purpose of God’s judgment, not to be confused with His wrath, is to discipline the rebellious and bring us to repentance.
Perhps one of the hardest things for believers to accept since the fall of man is that throughout human history “Adversity makes men. Prosperity makes monsters”. -Victor Hugo- 1 Tim 6:10
We were isolated in the mountains of Honduras after COVID hit and were amazed at the number of people back in the USA who contacted us with the question, “Is this the end of days?” Suddenly everyone was curious about God and His word. What a blessing it was to have an audience comprised of previously deaf ears. Alas, COVID passed, normalcy came back into view and people lost interest in the Bible. It seems they only cared about God when faced with the prospect of their imminent demise.
Sociological data only confirms this.
According to the American Worldview Inventory 2023 “The first national study of Americans’ worldview since the COVID-19 lockdowns show that the incidence of biblical worldview has fallen to a mere 4%—a drop of one-third from the 6% recorded just three years earlier.“ Dr. Tracy F. Munsil | February 28, 2023, | CRC |
What determines a biblical worldview? you ask. Very basic tenants of the faith. Click both hyperlinks for details.
“But that’s not me. I have a biblical worldview,” you say. And maybe you do. The question is; how could so many professing Christians be so devoid of truth? John 17:17 It would seem that what many are calling revival is more in line with a great falling away. 2 Thess 2:3
I could be wrong.
Don’t freak out. Search it out Acts 17:11
The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself. -Augustine of Hippo –
Look maybe this Watchman stuff isn’t your cup of tea. Maybe you are already one who praises the Lord whether life gives you a proverbial massage or a kick in the butt. “It’ll all pan out.” I get it. But if you value seeing and discerning the time Mat 16:1-4, then join the discussion by subscribing by email in the sidebar as I may not link every post to social media. Hardly any of our readers link to us via social media anyway. I’ll categorize future Watchman posts under Red Pill Diaries.
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Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Mat 7:24-27