O’ God Help Me, I Am So Weary
I am tired. No, it is more than that, it is a weariness that exceeds working 16 hour days; constant travel, airplanes, airports, hotels and all that goes with it; dealing with crisis and problems that arise among ministries, nationally and internationally, who seek advise and counsel from the General Chairman. I am weary, really weary in mind and body. I am sure it is not a health issue, and I enjoy my work. Deep in my spirit I know it is something more, something quite dark and foreboding.
I am weary of increasingly being on the other side of the issue, and wondering “why do I feel so out of place.” The coarseness of our culture, the dangerous turn in the national politic, the changing face of religion, the apparent collapse of our economy, are all burdensome, to say the least. For a long time, I have felt the drift away from proven values and safe boundaries; but, now it is like someone has pushed the fast forward button. Those who have been engaged in spiritual warfare for years, cannot help but feel weary from the prolonged battle, especially now as it seems all hell is breaking loose and Satan, knowing his time is short, is working every angle available to him.
How is it that a beauty pageant contestant has more moral courage than the pastor of one of America’s largest churches relative to the subject of same sex marriage?
How is it that a Christian nation with millions of professing born again believers can rush to buy a book and go to the theaters en-mass to see a movie that portrays Christ faking his death on the cross, marrying a prostitute, and their descendants living among us today?
It grates upon my spirit that almost every TV sitcom is lewd and carries an immoral story line. It vexes my soul that the commentators of our time, from comedians to political pundits, pursue the theme that fundamentalist, born-again Christians, who believe in a Creator, eternity and moral values, are “whack jobs.”
I am troubled when Pravda, the Russian newspaper, reports that the USA is spiraling into the same Marxism that Russians threw off after 70 nightmarish years, and millions of horrible deaths. Among the many points that the editorial raises, are; American’s lust for pleasure; sports, movies, TV, theme parks, it never ceases: that most American churches have become “Sunday Circuses,” meaning; old values, salvation, eternity, have been traded for what the people want to hear; riches, prosperity, and the “feel good” gospel. Biblical teaching and Christian traditions have been replaced with religious hype and entertainment, all in the name of God.
Why are so few Christians, and even many in the ministry, no longer emphasizing heaven and hell? Where are the Elijah’s? In light of fulfilled Bible prophecy, that so many wish to ignore and do not want to be reminded of, how can we not be thinking about eternity?
C.S. Lewis has said, “the early church, recorded in the book of Acts, preached the heavenly kingdom that was to come; in doing so they reached their world in one generation. By preaching eternal values they greatly impacted their world. By contrast he states, most churches today are so preoccupied with earthly success here, that they have lost their true spiritual influence in this world. Lewis concludes; “when you seek first the hereafter, you gain both worlds, blessings here, and the assurance of eternity. When you seek success first in this world, you lose both; influence and blessings here, and the assurance of salvation in the hereafter.”
I expect the world to refute these points; but, what wears on me is the growing debate among believers! They challenge and dispute sound doctrine and separation from the uncleanness of the world as being “old school, judgmental, and regressive.” To quote some, “that kind of preaching doesn’t work any longer!” When did God Change?
How can our pulpits be silent when men marry men and women marry women? When the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in our court houses any longer! Now, even late term abortion for any reason is condoned by an ever increasing number of Americans. Small churches are losing members to the mega-churches, who in turn preach a people-friendly gospel, “come as you are and leave the same way, but make sure you feel better about yourself;” and maybe, attend church once a week. Can’t anyone see the pattern here? It is called, “falling away.”
Does it bother anyone to hear Apostolic ministers discuss on TV how easy it is now to “grow” a church, because once we had it backwards; that we wrongfully insisted that people believed before they belonged, and now we should let them belong before they believe! What happened to; “these signs shall follow them that believe…he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…he that believeth not, shall be damned?” Let me make the point, “belonging before you believe,” is the philosophy that brought voodoo into the Catholic church in Haiti, Santeria into the church in Brazil, and the old Druid paganism into the Roman Church throughout Europe.
It weighs heavily upon my soul when I attend an Apostolic event and hear a want-to-be reformer, exalt his intellect at the expense of the integrity of the gospel, by stating how society has changed to the degree that we must analyze the contemporary mind-set and alter our manner of presentation accordingly in order to gain the favor of people to the extent that they will not mind how we baptize, saying; “we could baptize them in the name of ‘Shazaam’ and they would not care.” Just hearing that phrase wears on my spirit. Decades of Salvation Army bell ringers, and Good-will stores has not brought revival. Where do we get the idea that trading our Apostolic heritage for social action in this late hour will save the day? I call it deceit!
Did not Jesus warn us about the deceit of the end-time? Of course there is merit in good works, but aside from the grace of God; repentance, baptism in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost infilling, and living an overcoming life; our self- righteousness is as filthy rags before God! Jesus declared that everyone “must be born again.” Would Christ have been crucified if he had preached the social friendly gospel of today? Have some, who should know better, crossed the line, ignored the warning of Apostle Paul, and “preached another gospel, that is not the gospel?”
For certain, it is appointed to man once to die. Death is a subject to be approached with all solemnity. Hopefully, someone reached Michael Jackson in time. I am not his judge. The Bible says that by their fruit you will know them. From what I hear and see, it is doubtful that he was born again. Is anyone else appalled at the attention his death has drawn? Not since the death of President Kennedy have I seen the nation so riveted upon the passing of one person. The TV networks and cable channels have given this event wall to wall coverage. Each pundit, in their own turn, tries to outdo the one before with their obligatory praise at the passing of the “greatest entertainer of all time.” Critical issues that will affect this nation forever are slipping by unnoticed while the people blindly grieve the passing of their idol! The world has turned their eyes away from the desperate attempt of freedom lovers in Iran, who by last account, before the Michael Jackson story struck, were being shot in the street like animals.
The Geraldo Rivera’s laud Jackson’s legacy with worshipful tones. One commentator went so far as to say; “even grabbing his crotch, thrusting his pelvis and squealing, were pure genius comparable to Mozart and Beethoven.” I say, the primal beat, sensual grunts, vulgar sexual gestures, while squealing repetitious phrases is not the talent of a genius; it is more the traits of a pied piper leading the beguiled. In one dance routine Jackson assumes a demonic transformation, and it becomes a 100 million album seller. Need we more proof of the decadence of our time? I am sorry, but, he makes Elvis, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis look like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by comparison. Surely these are the times the prophets and Jesus warned would come to pass upon the Earth at the closing of this dispensation, and the start of the Great Tribulation. The scripture is fulfilled, “the blind shall lead the blind.”
It is a sad commentary on the values of this generation when someone like Michael Jackson, captivates so wide a spectrum of the culture; receiving worldwide honor, ranging from such distant poles as the Apollo Theater to the halls of the U.S. Congress. One panel discussion on CNN stated that Michael Jackson embodied the “hope for the oneness” of the whole world, stating; “He began black and became white, he was male who became feminine, he was an adult who became child-like, and his sexuality could not be narrowly defined.”
Has anyone heard one word about his spirituality?
The reality of the end-time bears heavily upon me, when I read a tribute to Michael Jackson’s life and legacy from an Apostolic minister. My spirit is grieved when I hear of young Apostolics who say they will “moon-walk” with Michael Jackson in heaven. Has anyone ever heard one spiritual thing come out of his mouth?
Is this weariness, born of intense spiritual warfare, what Daniel warned would come upon us in the last days; “…and shall wear out the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:25)? Is this why Jesus warned; “…but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22)? Is this why Jesus promised His faithful remnant in the next to final verse of the Bible, in full view of the inevitable fulfillment of prophecy; “Surely, I come quickly” (Revelation 22:20)?
Surprisingly, as I conclude this commentary, I feel re-energized. Having been challenged anew by the Michael Jackson drama, and taking time to revisit the issue of end-time battle fatigue, and analyzing its two-fold roots, a devil-deceived world and a luke-warm church-age; I feel a resurgence in my soul. I want to shout, “Not on my watch!” Surely, the Lord has a host of spiritual warriors who can discern the times, who are ready to put on the whole armor of God and fearlessly proclaim His full counsel to a world racing into eternity!
Often good and evil travel on parallel tracks. The Bible warns; “…that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first” (II Thessalonians 2:3). God promised, in the last days, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28). The same prophet Daniel who forewarned end-time weariness, also prophesied; “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel ll:32).
It is time for the Sunday Circus to cease; enough drinking the “Kool-aid” of this hell-bound culture; it is time to draw a line in the sand, and take our stand. We are ministers and witnesses of Christ’s gospel; still the greatest message the world has ever heard! There is a Creator, and His creation has fallen under the influence of an outlaw spirit, and must be born again.
Finally, aware of the late hour wherein we live, can we agree with Apostle Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16)? We do not walk in darkness, nor are we under the spell of the “King of Pop.” Our allegiance and adoration must be for the same one whom Paul faithfully served, exalted, and gave his life for, the “King of Kings,” the only Lord and Savior, our beloved Jesus Christ!
Bishop Samuel Smith is the Chairman of AWCF (Apostolic World Christian Fellowship)