"Much of the church has acted, and still acts, as though it has been grafted into a Christmas Tree – flashing its attractive lights and decorations, but unconcerned about its loss of roots and wondering why it is spiritually drying up and dying." Those challenging words came from Chuck Colson, in his book "Roots of our Faith."
Roots are vital to our faith. Roots hold us safe and secure and dig deep into our foundations and protect us from the mudslides of life. They draw sustenance for us. Through their vital action our faith grows.
A few thousand years ago, God spoke to Noah and told him a massive flood was on the way. He told Noah to warn the people and to prepare an ark for their safety and survival. But the warning was ignored. As a result when the flood arrived only Noah and his family were rescued along with an Ark load of animals.
Noah must have felt severely pressured by the disinterest and stubborn ignorance of the people.
Despite the lack of support He put the rejection from the people behind him and chose to trust the Lord.
Jesus whose Hebrew name was Yeshua summed it up. "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on account of Me." (Matthew chapter 5, verses 10, 11).
In the Middle East today there is a very obvious flood. It has already arrived and hundreds of thousands of Christians are being murdered, abused and painfully treated. This is what observant believers would see as a sign of the times.
Among the flood of refugees spreading throughout Europe and elsewhere, Christians are seeking a safe place. Strong's Concordance says that persecution means 'to pursue, follow after, or press toward.' Vine's Expository Dictionary says it is 'to put to flight or drive away.'
Yeshua specifically indicated that times to come, would be like The Days of Noah! "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be." Matthew chapter 24, verses 37b to 39.
Noah knew a storm was coming. Amazing to learn, at this point in history there had never been rain. Noah could only imagine what was this thing called rain would be. Nevertheless he was certain he had heard from God, and he went about building the ark despite the negativity and derision he received.
Jesus declared: "For the a coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah." (Matthew chapter 24, verse 37) He may have simply said, "Don't miss the boat!"
We should all be living with a sense of expectancy for His return. We have never experienced such a tumultuous event before but if He said it, we can believe it.
Just like Noah wondering about the rain, when it arrived he understood why the Lord told him to build an ark.
This story comes from the Journal of Royal Institute of British Architects It's called:
The Hopeless Story Of Noah
"And the Lord said unto Noah: "Where is the ark which I have commanded thee to build?"
And Noah said unto the Lord: "Verily, I have had three carpenters off ill. The gopher-wood supplier hath let me down—yea, even though the gopher wood hath been on order for high upon 12 months. What can I do, O Lord?"
And God said unto Noah: "I want that ark finished even after seven days and seven nights."
And Noah said: "It will be so."
And it was not so. And the Lord said unto Noah: "What seemeth to be the trouble this time?"
And Noah said unto the Lord: "Mine subcontractor hath gone bankrupt. The pitch which Thou commandest me to put on the outside and on the inside of the ark hath not arrived. The plumber hath gone on strike. Shem, my son who helpeth me on the ark side of the business, hath formed a pop group with his brothers Ham and Japheth. Lord, I am undone."
And the Lord grew angry and said: "And what about the animals, the male and the female of every sort that I ordered to come unto thee to keep their seed alive upon the face of the earth?"
And Noah said: "They have been delivered unto the wrong address but should arrive on Friday."
And the Lord said: "How about the unicorns, and the fowls of the air by sevens?"
And Noah wrung his hands and wept, saying: "Lord, unicorns are a discontinued line; thou canst not get them for love nor money. And fowls of the air are sold only in half-dozens, Lord. Lord, Thou knowest how it is."
And the Lord in His wisdom said: "Noah, my son, I knowest. Why else dost thou think I have caused a flood to descend upon the earth?"
God has spoken. He has warned us, and He tells us to obey His wisdom.Are we living in the Days of Noah or the Days of Elijah?
I have no problem with joy-filled, Spirit inspired praise and worship but if we are the family of God, I believe the Lord requires that we have heartfelt concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Previously I wrote about 'the Saturday people and Sunday people.' In the second part of this series, I will attempt to reveal the evidence has become a present day reality and wise believers will not ignore the signs.
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html