Joseph Herrin (09-27-2010)
Recently while conversing with brother Peter Boag from Christchurch, New Zealand, I asked him how things were coming along there following the devastating earthquake that occurred recently. Brother Peter shared with me the following:
Things are well with us ourselves thank you, in Christchurch, but I can't say that for many people who have lost homes. There are at least 2300 condemned at the moment with far more than that damaged and waiting assessment. Even in a more 'Western' society such as ours, compared to Haiti, the ramifications after the event are mind boggling. It is not simply a matter of rebuilding again, but proper assessment has to be made and all future considerations have to be considered. In the meantime, people can't live in their homes, and their future is on hold and uncertain. Temporary homes are very difficult to find, if not impossible. Many people are still without services while still in their homes. And up to tonight, we are supposed to have had over a thousand aftershocks. Many of these, you do not feel of course, but there are plenty to keep us on our toes! The damage to infrastructure is immense.
It has come out since my last letter to you about the quake, that the two cathedrals WERE damaged inside. The Roman one will be closed for at least a year. The Anglican has now reopened. In fact there is a service for the annual blessing of pet animals scheduled!!! Many of the other older church buildings around Canterbury have also been very badly damaged. What their future is I do not know. Much more could be said about the quake and its aftermath, but my greatest 'take' on this long anticipated event, as one living here, is the Sovereignty of our Father. He spared the city from what could have been a very injurious event. And sad to say, the local paper yesterday published many, many letters from nonbelievers belittling the idea of God being in any way involved with the safety of the citizens of Christchurch. Shame!...
Further to the quake - If one were to view the city from the air, you would not see the devastation that you see in pictures such as you do in hurricane or tornado footage from overseas. Apart from the damaged older buildings that have collapsed in the city, most of the damage is in the homes that still are upright, but torn apart, and the infrastructure that is below ground. The liquefaction effect, that I learned about in school over 60 years ago, has rearranged the levels of the sewer lines around the city, pushing up manhole junctions in many places. This has effected the gravitational aspect of the flow, and also caused the roadway which generally straddles the sewer lines, to be very uneven and dangerous. Much of the sewage system will have to be redone, and this before the roads can be tackled. Pipes have broken too, and filled with the sand from the liquefaction pressure.
I wrote back to Peter and shared the following with him.
The details you continue to share regarding the Christchurch earthquake are immensely insightful. You spoke of 2300 homes being condemned. Being condemned is an act of judgment. In this case, it is the rendering of a judgment based upon a home's unsoundness. I am certain this speaks not only of many individual lives in the church of Christ, but many corporate bodies as well.
I believe it is symbolic that many of those whose homes have been condemned are finding temporary housing unavailable. This speaks of those individuals and churches that have been condemned not being able to simply move to a new location and continue life as usual. There must be a complete rebuilding from the ground up.
The update on the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches also has much symbolism. The Anglican service to bless people's animals is a testimony of an embracing and blessing of the beast nature. The discovery of "internal" damage in the Catholic Cathedral speaks of a further revealing of hidden things inside the church that present a danger to those who enter her doors.
In recent posts I have shared about the recent days leading up to Yom Kippur as being a time of self-examination and repentance. If we will judge ourselves, then Yahweh will not need to judge us.
Just a short time after Yom Kippur another major Christian scandal erupted upon the national scene, and it originated here in my home state of Georgia. Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is accused by four young men of having coerced them into having sexual relations with him.
Bishop Long was also subject to scrutiny recently as one of the Grassly Six, a number of wealthy Christian ministers whose lavish lifestyles were investigated by members of Congress. There is a though provoking article on Eddie Long from the Atlanta Journal Constitution found at the following link:
Rather than feeling any sense of righteous indignation regarding these reports on Bishop Long, I have been led to walk more in the fear of God. Those who teach will be held to a stricter judgment (James 3:1). I am aware of the sin which dwells in my flesh. Even King David, a man after God’s heart, was capable of the most grievous transgressions. My flesh has not been reformed one iota since I came to Christ. To this day I can declare, “In my flesh dwells no good thing. Sin dwells in my flesh.”
The flesh must constantly be ruled over. Apart from the restraint of the Spirit of Christ I would long ago have made a shipwreck of my own life. If Christ had granted Satan permission to sift me as wheat, I would have shown all the world what depths of sin I am capable of. When I hear of some failure of another human being, whether it be a Christian minister, or some secular person of renown (Lindsay Lohan, Katy Perry, for example), I know that if the Father had left me to myself, and I had been given the wealth and freedom they have to pursue anything the soul desires, that I would easily have done far worse.
People of God, I do not write these things to excuse unrighteous behavior, nor would I lower the standard of righteousness one centimeter. We are called to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Rather, I write these things to declare that those who have not yet attained to this perfection (myself included) should tremble when they hear of the fall of another. It could be you or I, but for the grace of God. So let us avail ourselves of the moment of grace we have received. Humble ourselves before the Father. Ask Him to not give us over to the sin and depravity that resides within, but to establish us in righteousness and truth.
Our hearts should grieve over the fall of those men and women we read about. The human condition is one of sin and death. Left to ourselves we would all surely perish and end our lives in disgrace, shame and dissipated living.
It was for this reason that Christ came. He came to set men and women free from the bondage of sin. If we do not look at our new life in Christ as a complete deliverance from death into life, if we do not exchange our selfish and self-indulgent carnal lives for a selfless devotion to Christ and obedience to the Father, we will surely be snared.
Christ is permitting hidden faults to be revealed in the church. He wants to reveal whose house will stand and whose will not. It is not too late to tear everything back down to the foundation and build again with gold, silver and precious stones. If we have built with wood, hay and stubble, it is a merciful act for the Father to reveal the deficiencies, to bring us to repentance now while there is still time to seek a remedy.
I Corinthians 3:10-15
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Yahshua Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but his soul shall be saved, yet so as through fire.
People of God, we are still in that season when Yahweh would have us to examine our lives. Will our house stand in the day of judgment? Have we judged ourselves rightly? Are we doers of the word, or hearers only, deceiving ourselves? These are questions I continue to ask myself. I am aware of the need of further progress that I might attain to the fulness of the stature that belongs to Christ.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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