HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?

Watched the movie, Shenandoah, last night.  It is a movie made in 1965. The basic story line of the movie is as follows:   Charlie Anderson is a farmer in Shenandoah, Virginia and finds himself (and his family) in the middle of the Civil War. He decides not to get involved in the war because he believes that this is not “his” war. But he eventually has to get involved when his youngest boy is taken prisoner by the North.  I have watched it many times before.   Last night was different.  There was one scene where the one of Charles’s sons, James and his wife are left to tend the home while Charlie and the rest of the family go to rescue the youngest son.  Scavenging robbers come to the house and end up killing James and his wife.  My heart was so impacted by this scene and I couldn’t figure out why. The scene wasn’t graphic, it was short and you never really see what happens to Anne but still the scene really bothered me.  I didn’t sleep well all the night and couldn’t figure out why this old movie that I had watched many times before was impacting me so much.  The movie ends relatively well compared to today’s standards.  The youngest son is rescued by an old friend from certain death and even though he is wounded, he returns home to the joy and excitement of his dad who has pretty much given him up as dead.  I like the movie because of the family’s strength and love for each other. The main character, Charlie, is an honest hardworking farmer with 7 sons, daughter and a daughter in law who all love him respect him. The story speaks of traditional family values and how hard work is a benefit as well as a blessing.  I would highly recommend the movie to anyone.

 

Anyway, after watching the movie, I went to bed and had a dream. In the dream I am involved in distributing some books to people in this community.  At some point we run short of books so I prepare to go get more so that everyone will have the necessary materials.  I set out on this journey and in my mind it seems like I have been on the journey before, know the way and have no strong concern about making the trip.  I start out and begin to notice that the trip has constant obstacles.  At one point, I encounter a lion on the prowl.  I drop down immediately when I see if and lay low until it passes but then encounter really rough terrain, deep valleys that I must cross and mountains I must climb. I continue on, encountering one obstacle after another on my way to this place where I can get the materials to help this community.  All the time I am not afraid but just don’t remember the previous trips I’ve made to this place being this hard.  I keep feeling like the place I need to get to is “just ahead” so I continue on. The dream ends with me getting closer to the place but still not being there yet.

 

When I wake I am still pondering why I was so bothered by the scene in the movie that I had watched last night. Finally I realized that what had bothered me was the fact that I had identified with the characters in the movie and hadn’t expected them to die so suddenly. (I have seen this movie before but had totally forgotten that James and Anne get killed) The suddenness of it had really hit my heart.

 

I go to church and there is Allen Hood, one of the key leaders at the Internatonal House of Prayer, speaking on Daniel 5.  Hadn’t placed any spiritual meaning to what I had experienced at this point.  But Allen kept saying that we must get our hearts ready because “we are not prepared for what is coming”.  YES!! THAT IS IT!!! The truth of it really sobered me.  Just like I was not prepared to the sudden death of these characters in a movie, most of the church in America is totally unprepared and not at all ready for what is coming!  Allen goes on to point out that as Americans we are so accustomed to Democracy.  We have never lived under the oppression that comes with knowing  that the person leading your country has the ability to take your life at any time..Just because he/she wants to! (People in places like North Korea, Iran and India live with reality all the time)  We don’t expect that kind of treatment and everything in us will indeed rise up in protest is we see it displayed not only on American soil but anywhere else in the world.  We are totally unprepared to face a daily life where the leaders of our nation work against us and not for us.  What had happened in the movie had happened because there was a war going on and lawlessness had temporarily taken over.  Men felt free to do what they want and live out the perverseness of their hearts with few restraints. Death and destruction to others always results from this. ( We are approaching a time when true lawlessness will overtake many suddenly.  Many will be totally unprepared for what will happen and will have no understanding of what to do or how long it will last.)  There were many warnings of the destruction that was approaching but the main character of the movie refused to listen and influences his family to do the same.  There was only one son who voiced views different than his dad and he spoke them out, but his opinions and concerns went unheeded.  It is interesting that this character, the oldest son, also gets killed in the movie by a member of the confederate army who shoots him out of sheer inexperience and fear.

I realized the Lord was using this simple movie to remind me again that  there truly is something coming that none of us have experienced before.  I am not one to push a “doom and gloom” message.  I like  encouraging and edifiying, but the weight of this is becoming more and more urgent.  I have shared in previous writings how Jesus first told me “Whatever can be shaken, will be shaken”.  That was in late 1996.  The truth of what He said to me is becoming more and more real as I see the continual shaking taking place in this nation as well as everywhere else.  It is affecting every sphere.  From the economic/financial arena to politics, church ministries and as well as major corporations are all experiencing the shaking.  Truly Jesus is continually sending out the warning that destruction is coming.  During that same season of 1996-1997 He also spoke to me and said, “I will have a pure bride”.  I had never experienced His voice like that before. It was intense. Determined, terrible and loving all at the same time. The weight of his voice vibrated throughout my being..it was scary.  Since that time every time I see world events changing I think of His words, WHATEVER CAN BE SHAKEN WILL BE. Whenever I hear of church leaders being exposed in sin and having to step down in disgrace, I think of His promise to HAVE A PURE BRIDE.  As I see world leaders get bolder in their rebellion of God, the word to SHAKE everything that can be shaken comes to me again. For their rebellion has a purpose in the shaking of the church but will be brought down in the end and seen no more.

 

As I pondered all of this, I thought of a book written by Frances Schaffer, called, “How shall we then live?” The question seems to take on new urgency as we face the future.  How will we live?  Will we live in fear? Making all our decisions based on what we read in the newspapers, magazines and periodicals? Or will we choose to live for Christ, knowing that He has given us His word to live by, He has given us Himself to rest in, and He has given us His spirit to guide us.  No matter what come in the future, those that know their God will do great exploits.  They will walk in peace in any situation knowing the certain victory is sure. They can face any and all difficulty knowing Christ is there and will never leave them. 

How can we break this down practically?  Here are a few things:

  • KNOW JESUS…FOR REAL!  Know Him on a level that you would know your closest family member..Then go deeper than that!  (If you are now sure where you stand with Him, Make it a priority to find out!) Praying a prayer of salvation is fine, but make sure it is a daily reality in your life going forward.
  • GIVE YOURSELF TO PRAYER – Prayer is conversation with God.  If you don’t talk to Him, then listen to what He tells you, you have no relationship with Him.  You need to go back to the first step and get to know Jesus so you will want to talk to Him.( We want to get to know people that we love)
  • ALLOW HOLY SPIRIT TO LEAD YOU – This will truly make the difference between being able to walk in a manner worthy of Christ or being sweep away with the frenzy of world events. Knowing how to allow the Spirit of Jesus to lead you comes from spending time with Him and learning to listen to his promptings.  In some cases learning how to allow Him to lead you will mean literal life or death.
  • DO NOT ALLOW FEAR AND DISCOURAGEMENT TO RULE YOU – Following the previous steps above will help guard you from this.
  • LIVE EACH DAY IN JOY AND VICTORY – We are assured of the victory not matter if we see it happen in this life or the one to come.  Live each day in the Joy of who Jesus is in you and watch Him open doors for you.
  • TEACH OTHERS THE LESSONS YOU LEARN IN THE JOUNEY – There will be many who will not know where to turn, who will be overwhelmed with fear and looking for someone to lead them.  Be one that can help others through the calamity to come with the assurance that as they place their faith in Jesus they will see Him restore and set at right ALL THINGS.
  • LIVE EACH DAY WITH THE REALITTY THAT THERE IS NOT “SMALL THING” – Everything we do matters.  It all counts. Probably a lot more than we realize.  Live each day with this reality and be assured that Jesus takes note of EVERYTHING and repays accordingly.

MAY THE JOY OF THE LORD BE YOURS IN ABUNDANCE AS WE WALK FORTH IN THE DAYS AHEAD

 

Venetia Carpenter

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