At the beginning of a new year, there are predictions about what to expect, relative to the stock market, interest rates, global tensions, natural disasters, or pandemics. It tends to be predictable, often a foreshadowing of worsening conditions. There will be winners and losers, with the divisions in society becoming more pronounced. The narrative is pessimistic, reminding us that we seem incapable of finding answers to the big issues. And we know the doomsday clock is ticking.
As a person who loves God, the God of the Bible, the one, true God, I look to Him for wisdom and understanding, for a fresh perspective on what we are living, for a message of hope. Unlike the word of world leaders, business tycoons, sporting celebrities, and the rich and famous, God’s word endures, bringing life to all who receive it.
It surprises me how few people are interested in what God has to say about life. The prophet Jeremiah received a revelation that the ‘people have substituted broken cisterns for the fountain of living waters.’ The point being, a broken cistern cannot hold any water so what is the attraction? Some people will consult anyone or anything in preference to God.
God is not silent. If we want to know what He is saying, we need only one thing: curiosity. Curiosity led Moses to pause and consider the burning bush, a bush that didn’t burn up. He could have walked on, thinking to himself ‘that’s weird.’ Instead, he moved closer and discovered he was in presence of a holy God.
Curiosity reflects an openness to learn, to ask questions, to be receptive, to be surprised. Little children are curious. They are always exploring, looking, touching, tasting, asking questions, hungry to learn.
Throughout the Bible we meet people who were entrusted with a word from God, a now word for their generation. They were called prophets and had what is described as a ‘revelatory gift.’ They were responsible for making known what had been hidden. They were often people living quiet lives, people who were not looking for prominence and certainly with no expectation of delivering a message to rulers of kingdoms.
Their messages were targeted, addressing the godly and ungodly. They could be damning or conciliatory, expansive or concise. The same message could have multiple applications, maintaining its relevance throughout subsequent generations.
The prophets were unpopular. They were a problem, an irritation, a troublesome presence, as their message was often confronting. They were mocked, beaten, imprisoned, and, in some instances, killed by their hearers.
God has his messengers today, people from various backgrounds with a prophetic anointing. People who are attentive to God, people who are watchful, observant, who listen, who reflect, who endeavour to understand the revelation they have received.
The following prophecy has slowly emerged over recent weeks as I have reflected on what I have observed in nature and in the lives of people I associate with. God’s word is often embedded in our experience. If we are prepared to listen, if we are curious to know more, we will hear what God wants to say to us.
The prophecy touches on matters that we may be aware of. I sense God saying that we will see an acceleration in these things. It may be that not all the prophecy will be of interest to you, but I know that if you are expectant, God will highlight some part and make it yours. Then we are tasked with determining how we respond to the message and how it might impact our life. It is expedient not to ignore what God is saying.
A Time of Uprooting:
Over the past twelve months, Australia has been experiencing unprecedented rain. During 2022, the city of Bendigo in central Victoria (where I live) received 300 ml. of rain above the yearly average. It is even raining in the outback, in places that may not see rain for several years. Vision from space reveals the extent of the flooding.
However, when the ground is moist, large trees, age-old specimens, are at risk. Powerful gusts of wind can uproot the trees, causing them to fall helplessly where they stood. What was once majestic and mighty is now diminished, at the mercy of human activity.
The uprooting is sudden and unexpected. When the roots give way, the tree is unable to stay upright, crashing to the ground. If all the roots are ripped out of the ground, the tree will die.
Some trees, when they are flattened, still have some roots connected to the soil. The tree may survive but it has lost much of its grandeur. It will have to accept the obvious change in circumstances and modify its expectations.
The Bible says, ‘God resists the proud.’ 1 Peter 5:5
There are prominent people throughout the world, in business, politics, media, entertainment, health, sport, and religion, who see themselves as leaders, but who don’t like their authority to be questioned, who are confident in what they know, who expect people to listen, who demand respect. They see themselves as invincible, untouchable, unstoppable. They have no time for God and have rejected his counsel.
God is saying there will be a growing number of people in this cohort who will be brought down, held to account, their reputation tarnished, their influence diminished, and their credibility destroyed. It will be a toppling of the giants and their demise will be swift.
There will be others who will struggle on despite their altered circumstances but will no longer command the attention they once enjoyed. They will be a shadow of their former self, without standing in a changing world.
The Bible says, ‘God gives grace to the humble.’ 1 Peter 5:5
We all encounter factors beyond our control like a health crisis, an economic hit, redundancy, relational difficulties, a legal challenge, which have the potential to uproot us and cause irreparable damage to our lives. God invites our trust in such difficult circumstances and encourages us to accept the challenge before us with humility. It is this posture that releases his grace in abundance.
Humility is expressed in acts of love and service. It is a shift of focus, away from self-absorption to consideration of what we can do to benefit our neighbour. Humility frees us to live our lives for others.
A Time of Unmasking:
The Bible says, ‘What is hidden will be made known.’ Luke 12:2
Most people have something to hide. There are things in their life that they prefer to keep concealed, away from prying eyes. There are secrets, acts of deception or unspoken desires that have never been disclosed. There is treachery and deceit and all manner of shameful thoughts and deeds.
Across all levels of society, we will witness an unmasking, as God uncovers what has been hidden and brings it into the light. It will be a time of reckoning, of honest reflection on the litany of lies that are needed to protect self-interest, to conceal unjustifiable actions and untold truths.
We should not be surprised that lies flourish. It is impossible to contain a lie as it grows exponentially. Lie upon lie upon lie. The Bible says Satan is ‘the father of lies.’ One of Satan’s cunning tactics is to change how we think about lies by calling them ‘misspeak.’ It has a kinder tone and shifts the blame. Misspeak is often linked to misinformation so it is not our fault, or so we think.
But God knows the heart of man. We are not able to argue our innocence. We are condemned by our own words. This is sobering, as God often saves his harshest criticism for those who profess to belong to him and act otherwise. They are called ‘pretenders,’ people who give the appearance of being upright when their heart is far from God.
The Bible says, ‘The truth will set you free.’ John 8:32
Jesus said, ‘I am the truth.’ God invites us to own the truth, to speak the truth, to live the truth without fear, shame, or embarrassment. In honouring the truth, we are set free to live fully, to live with energy, vibrancy, and strength.
A Time of Unburdening:
The Bible says, ‘Come to me all you who are carrying a heavy load.’ Matthew 11:28
It is a disturbing image to see a dolphin caught in an discarded fishing net, particularly if the net has weights attached. The dolphin’s movements are restricted, reducing its agility, denying it the means to catch food. It is a desperate situation and if left unchecked will lead to its death.
People of faith are as entangled in the cares of the world as those who deny God. We are weighed down by our fears, our attachments (those things that occupy our time but offer little in return), our sorrow and regrets, our guilt and shame. There is so much in our life that holds us back from being the person God wants us to be. The tragedy is that we tolerate such things, we grow accustomed to their presence in our life, and we never think to question their right to be there.
It is time to break free, to put aside anything that would hold us back or weigh us down and hinder us finishing the race set before us. It is time to find release.
The prophet Moses said to Pharoah ‘Let my people go.’ We need to be just as forthright in addressing the powers of darkness when we pray, ‘Let my people go.’
The Bible says, ‘I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28
Has there ever been a generation more agitated, more restless, more distressed? We don’t have to live this way. God invites us to lay down our burdens, to place them at the foot of the cross of Jesus, and to experience his peace.