In chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, Jesus speaks of a church that has died. This beloved church once was vibrant with life, enjoying a good reputation, but now all that was gone. I have seen such “lampstand churches” in my travels around the world: congregations from Europe to South America to New York City, once full of the Holy Spirit, thriving and winning many souls, but now having no life at all.
Exodus 33 presents a paradox. Verse 11 tells us, “The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” Then, just a few verses later, we read, “(God) said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (33:20). This means, literally, “My face shall not be seen.”
What are we to make of this? One verse tells us Moses saw the Lord’s face. But another states clearly that nobody can see God’s face and survive.
In Revelation 8, we read of seven angels sounding off trumpets. These mighty horn-blasts warn all of humankind about awesome calamities coming upon the earth.
The first four blasts warn of incredible pollution that poisons the trees, grass, rivers and seas, as well as the air. Waters become bitter, and skies darken over one-third of the earth.
Then, in chapter 9, a fifth warning comes. It describes a worldwide invasion of locusts:
You probably remember the story from Genesis in which God appeared to Abraham. The patriarch was sitting at the door of his tent during the heat of the day, when suddenly three men appeared before him, standing under a tree. Abraham went out to meet the men, prepared a meal for them and visited with them.
During their conversation, the Lord asked Abraham where his wife, Sarah, was. Then God said something incredible: "...lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son" (Genesis 18:10).
Multitudes of Christians get up each morning only to face indescribable problems - physical pain, emotional suffering, financial struggles. Many are so barraged by trouble after trouble, they worry, "This is all too much for me to handle. My problems are about to defeat me! I don't have the strength to fight these things anymore. How will I ever make it?"
Our ministry has received many letters from saints who endure extremely difficult circumstances daily. Recently, my wife and I spent a day reading through some of these letters:
"But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
"Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:35-37).
There are two kinds of churches in the world today. First, there is the dead, formal church, which has a form of godliness but no power. Its ministers are hirelings, most of whom are unconverted. God calls such shepherds "...twice dead..." (Jude 12). And He promises to pluck up such churches by the roots and burn them!
There is something very powerful and awesome going on in the world today! God is at work doing something hidden and quiet — and it is so supernatural, it's beyond human comprehension. Yet what He is doing right now is going to affect the whole world in these last days.
God is preparing a small but powerful army of Christians! This army is going to be the most dedicated on the face of the earth. And the Lord will come forth to command them to do exploits and shake hell. He is going to close out the ages with a pure, devoted, fearless remnant!
"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have not understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee" (Psalm 32:8-9).
In these two brief verses God gives us one of the greatest lessons concerning guidance in all of Scripture. Verse 8 is a precious promise to us, a foundation upon which we can build a great faith. This foundation is His willingness to lead and guide us in everything!
"And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord...and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God" (2 Kings 19:14-16, KJV).