Ann Arbor, Michigan
" See that you do not refuse to hear Him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject Him who warns from Heaven. His voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, ’Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’ This phrase, ‘ Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:25-29.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Ralph has asked me to share with you what I believe I am hearing from the Lord in recent days. To be quite honest, it is a growing fire within my heart which intensifies painfully whether I speak or keep silent.
A little history: On a cold, wet December Friday evening in 1994, I simply wanted to go home from work, pray a bit and then curl up with a good book by a fire. (Sounds good doesn’t it?) As I prepared to do just that, a "little voice reminded me of an evening prayer meeting in Peter Herbeck’s family basement to which I had been invited. Somehow I felt I should go… but just for a little while I assured myself. When I arrived worship had already begun. Halfheartedly participating for a while and becoming more tired by the minute I was about ready to leave when I sensed this thought inside me: "Tell them I am coming!" "What could that mean," I thought. "Must be some leftover thought from the Advent liturgy." But it persisted until it seemed, as with Jeremiah, that it was like a fire within – a fire I could not contain. So I spoke out just that, "I am coming." Everyone waited for more. Me, too, but nothing came. I said it again, "I am coming" – and left it at that, I thought. But since then, over almost four years, in a variety of gatherings, God’s Holy Spirit has prompted me to say it again and again. Most of the time it is just that simple sentence. Sometimes it sounds like a trumpet. (Like when, God urged me to stand on a chair in a large gathering and declare it.) More often, it’s just a simple declaration.
What does it mean? Let me say first, I HAVE NO SENSE THAT THIS WORD REFERS TO THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. It is true we do not know the day or the hour. It is true that Christ could return at any time. So, it is possible that Christ is coming very soon. But my sense is that this coming has something to do with Pope John Paul’s call to prepare for the great Jubilee (2,000). The Holy Father tells us with what I sense is a prophetic spirit that there will be a revelation of the Son of Man in our time. That somehow, through God’s grace, the world will see the Lord, the Messiah and King; there will be a deeper revelation in our understanding of who Jesus really is. Remember His question to Peter? Who do men say that the Son of Man is? And they said, ‘ Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah and others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them: ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ (Mt. 16:13-16). Somehow by a tremendous grace that God chooses to release in the time of the Great Jubilee, we will experience some sovereign action of God that will cause us to recognize Him, to "see" Him, for millions to bow down and acknowledge His divinity, His lordship.
At least that is as much as I could fathom until the other day… During a staff meeting where we had Mass and a time of intercession following it, the Lord began to say more. "Thus says the Lord God, Behold I come. I come in Judgement; I come with justice in my hands. I come for those who have spurned my word and scorned My law; I come to speak to those who have rejected by own Beloved Son. The times will be difficult. The earth will be shaken. In that day, I want you to be ready to point the way to me. I do not want you to doubt my presence or my care. I act to cause many to return to me. You learn now only to rely on me. Depend not on the things of this world for much will be swept away in that time. Depend on me. Depend only on me. For I wish to use you to bring many back to me. Many will cry out for help, for answers in that time. Bring them to me. You must be firm and confident and sure in me, in my love, in my mercy. I will not fail you. But depend on nothing but me. The time is now almost now at hand. Be ready. Sink your roots deep in me that in the day of trial you will stand firm and give me glory for I will reveal myself and every knee will bow."
The Holy Father speaks of a new springtime for Christianity, a harvest of souls that will be revealed by the Great Jubilee. I believe that but I believe that it will happen through great trial. This is not some kind of "millennium fever. " In a way it is just common sense. For years we have walked in a river of grace. In His great mercy God has called and wooed and won us through the life and action and power of His Holy Spirit. But many, many have not followed and, in fact, as we well know many have rejected and mocked and chosen to walk their own way even when the penalty of that sin has been evident in their bodies and in those of their children. Not only that, but they have chosen to lead many others astray. Whether it be the political, judicial, educational, economic or medical arenas, God’s law is no longer the foundation and with increasing frequency not even a guiding principle. As a nation, as a people we are committing suicide, choosing to go our own sinful, stubborn, shortsighted way to eternal damnation.
In HIS MERCY, God, as Father, cannot refrain from dealing with those who reject the life He offers and five them on more chance from His heart – even though that chance will involve suffering and pain. I believe He will come now to speak not in the language of gentleness and tenderness, but in a language of chastisement. Some will only let go of sin and the ways of the world when they are removed from them through hardship and difficulty.
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by Him. For the Lord disciplines him whom He loves and chastises every son whom He receives. ’It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but He disciplines for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:5-11)
Don’t speculate on what those trials or forms of suffering will be. Don’t waste time on that. We will know soon enough. Let us spend the time sinking our roots more deeply in His merciful heart, in His will, in His ways. Let us repent of our sin, return to the Lord and wait upon His word. For in that day of trial, it will be, in great part, our love, our mercy, our peace and patience, rooted and founded in Him, that will win many to Jesus Christ.
May Jesus, the only Beloved Son of the Father, be revealed in that day of severe mercy and may countless men and women be converted to Him and know true Life. Come, Lord Jesus!!!
Sincerely in His Name,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
After I received this prophetic word, I asked the Lord for some confirmation and was given this passage from Jeremiah 30:1-17. "The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel. Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring back to the land which I gave to their fathers and they shall take possession of it."
These are the words which the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic, of terror and no peace. Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then, do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.
And it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord of Hosts, that I will break the yoke from off their neck, and I will burst their bonds, and strangers shall no more make servants of them. But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, says the Lord, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for lo, I will save You from afar, and your offspring from the land of captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease.
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