Note From Daniel Norris: My friends, I can't help but feel heavy at this moment—perhaps you feel the same. The news that has broken over the past few days, not weeks, shows how quickly our world is spiraling into chaos. Things are no longer as they once were.
I wept as I heard the stories of the atrocities taking place in Mosul. A Christian community has been removed, children are being beheaded, homes of Christians are marked, believers forced to convert or face the sword. These are stories, the likes of which, we haven't read about since the 1940s.
My prayers are with our brothers and sisters who truly understand what Paul meant when he wrote, "all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). I imagine their perspective about what it means to be a Christian is very different from our own. What a shame. We all have the same Christ, the same Gospel, but we yet we live very different lives.
I wonder how a message of prosperity works with a congregation that suffers this kind of persecution. How does a series on becoming a better you connect to a man who was just beaten? Perhaps they have something to teach us about the blessing of true Kingdom prosperity that comes from persecution or how suffering brings about our perfection (Matt. 5:10, 1 Peter 5:10).
Our world has changed. The days of building bigger buildings is over, it's time to build bolder believers. As the last seconds upon the clock begin to tick away, our churches do not need to be called to slumber but to action. Now is not the time for silence in the sanctuary. This kingdom is quickly fading away, the wise already have their eyes on the next.
I am reminded of a word the late Steve Hill spoke during the Brownsville Revival. The text is truly relevant for the hour we now live. As I read it this morning, I received a much needed rebuke to set my eyes upon eternity and live today as if it is all I have. I offer the text to you as well:
The more I read the Word, the more I am convinced that the preaching of John the Baptist, Paul, Peter and Jesus Christ contained truths that modern-day preachers seek to avoid. It makes me think, "Dear God, we've only given half the message!"
The other half is something that is about to happen. I'm afraid that isn't going to be as sweet as the first half. America knows I'm right, because most know in their gut that they are racing toward judgment.
The Lord recently woke me up from a sound sleep and I felt an urgency emanating from the voice of Jesus, a warning that time itself was no longer on our side. The grains of sand, my friend, are at the base of the funnel in the eternal hourglass. Only a few moments remain. The hands on the clock are moving toward midnight. The curtains of this major production we call life are about to close upon the last scene. There will be no encore. There will be no second opportunity. The play will soon be over. Only moments remain for many of us to write the very last act in our lives.
It is time to pay close attention to the voice of God. Too many of us have squandered most of our days in the past year in selfish pleasure and pursuits. Nothing was done to advance toward Christ, so precious souls continue to deteriorate in sin rather than exert domination over sin.
Ask yourself, "Did I seize every opportunity to go after God, or did I laze away the days drifting aimlessly and hopelessly away from Heaven's peaceful harbor?" Whatever you do, don't tell yourself, "Well, this doesn't apply to me." This word isn't just for one or two; it's for you!
Yes, judgment is coming, but judgment always knocks first at the house of God!
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Pet. 4:17-18)
This is a clarion call. You will be summoned and held accountable for your choices. This is an arrangement in which you answer to the Judge concerning the charges leveled against you. It is a "pop quiz" of the most dreaded kind. It is like the brushing up to the edge of hell, peering in, feeling the fervent heat of the flames, but not yet falling in headlong. It's like standing in the holding cell knowing that in a few minutes, you will face the right arm of the law in a life-or-death decision of guilt or innocence. It is time to think about your destiny. Are you ready to give all to the Lord?
Times of judgment are times of godly fear, self examination, and serious contemplation. The good news is that when you are found guilty (and you will be), there is hope. Only one advocate is qualified to take your place before the Father because He alone was willing to pay the price to set you free. You had better let Jesus stand in for you before the Judge.
The Lord has been extremely patient toward you and many others up to this point, but even His patience will wear thin. He has cared for you. Now is the time for you to care for Him. He gave up all of Heaven and made His way to the world for you. It's time for you to give up all the world and make your way toward Heaven for Him. He has called unto you. Now is the time for you to call unto Him. Time is running out! Just as the sun rises to bring us a new day, don't forget friend, it also sets ushering in a cloak of darkness. Just as there has been a dispensation of grace and mercy, there is coming a time, a season of Judgment and wrath.
"I have blessed you," saith the Lord. "Now it is time for you to bless Me. I have given you My life. Now it is time for you to give me yours. I have fulfilled my part. Now is the time for you to fulfill yours. I walked on the Earth for you. Now is the time for you to walk on the Earth for me. I have called to you. Now is time for you to call unto me.
Evangelist Steve Hill, who passed away earlier this year, preached at the Brownsville Revival for five years, was pastor emeritus of Heartland World Ministries Church and authored 13 books, including Spiritual Avalanche.