Western civilisation has slowly but purposefully become a post Christian society. And, without a doubt the status quo presents the true Jesus follower with many challenging trials. It is also true that Jesus did warn us that this earth life would include much hardship. Difficult times have a way of shaping our society or culture and of course as a result, our attitudes. These distracting ingredients within our culture rub off on us in the way we think and as a result, the way we act. I believe that in the days ahead God’s people will be called upon to make a stand, just like Peter and those early apostles – “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” 
We read of God fearing believers being increasingly marginalised in the workplace because of their beliefs within our so-called tolerant society. However, let us take heart and be encouraged because God has not left us alone to our own devices. He is with us. I asked a question at the beginning of this post. Is the Word of the Lord scarce in these days in which we live? If the answer to this straightforward question is yes, then is that because God is not speaking, or is it that we, as His people are not listening to Him? Personally, I believe God is a communicator. “Recently He spoke to us directly through His Son. He holds everything together by what He says – powerful words.”  Anyone who belongs to God with an open heart gladly listens to the words of God. “For as many as are being constantly led by God’s Spirit, these are sons of God.”  We need to take much encouragement from these statements within The Book, God’s Manifesto, The Bible.
If Ever There was a Time To Act, It is now.
Have you ever had the misfortune to use a blunt saw or an unsharpened axe around the home while trying to cut through a chunk of wood or chop down a thick tree branch? You will understand the frustration; sweat and aching muscles that make this straightforward job most difficult. Likewise, if we have tried to use human reasoning and good ideas to do our best in God’s kingdom it is time to lay these down and listen to the Spirit. We can participate by embracing what The Spirit of God is doing within us. I am convinced that these hard, slavish attempts to do for God are at best a religious exercise and at worst, frustrated works. As the Scripture encourages us to “sharpen the axe”  so I believe it is time to pray. Yes, to prayerfully listen, not as a formal exercise but honestly and from the core of our being. There are no formulas here. It is all about our relationship with God. Then we need to listen. Prayer is our heart cry but listening to God is our tender response to His love. It is the place of intimacy and the Lord has shown us how to live within that place. Listen to the passion of Jesus in doing His Father’s will. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will ofHim who sent me and to finish His work.” The beauty of walking in the ways of Jesus is that, just like Him, we need to become dependent on The Father. This is the antidote to scarcity.
God’s Spirit is right alongside urging us on
If ever there was a time to be cultivating a personal, intimate and dependent awareness of the Lord with us – it is now! We must never allow the authority of institutions, the arrogance of people and religious obligation rob us of a deep and lasting fellowship with Jesus. It is not just our calling but also our need. All of this process has a very real purpose for us. Unsurprisingly, there is a storm brewing and we need to be well prepared. There are powers at work within our society. The militant secularist push to destabilise and remove any trace of Christian influence within our society must be changed. This is of course not something we achieve by human effort but by our recognition that “It is not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord.” 
God is the final Authority – Not Men and Women
In spite of the negative influences we face each day and the arrogant voice of humanity, God’s love is unchanging. His purposes are being fulfilled and Jesus is building His Church. The media wades into the proverbial waters and gives us graphic evidence of the organised church dwindling in numbers. They cite figures relating to formal church attendance within the organised churches. People are rejecting religion! Numbers are down they write with cold clarity. And yet, as believers we need to look beyond the formal institutions, the old buildings and the forms of worship. Personally, I believe that religion and life are at opposite ends of a very long table. I have been reading with interest recently of the millions of Christians in different parts of the world who have left the formal, organised denominational churches but not their faith in God. In fact this exodus from religious structure is happening everywhere around the globe because God is at work within His people. Christians are discovering the freshness of what it means to walk with Jesus day by day. And, there is more to come!
See, I am doing a New Thing! Do you not perceive it?
This hidden work of the Holy Spirit is going on without fuss and is plainly clear to those who would see with the eyes of faith in God. He is working within the hearts and lives of men and women, young and old, rich and poor across the globe. This work of grace is not dependent upon any individual or grouping. “God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!”  We must give ourselves to Him afresh – our time, our agendas, our will, our whole being. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts!”  If ever there was a time to be alert to His desires and responsive to His ‘still small voice’ – it is now! Now, now, now!
It is time to seek The Lord
It is time to put aside the distractions. It is incumbent upon us as believing believers to destroy the idols that erode faith, captivate our attention and cause us to lose our focus on Him. The call to follow Jesus can still be heard today through the noise of life. Jesus desires first place in our lives and longs for us to follow Him wholeheartedly. He yearns to cultivate friendship for the purpose of revealing His life through us in order that we might show the outsiders that The Way is a Person and not a religion. He is Life and not a dead ritual.
In spite of all that is going on within this world. Our lead is not to be taken from outsiders. His words to us bring assurance of friendship with the Living God. He is in control. “The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.”
His words speak powerfully to us in these challenging and difficult times and sound a call to devotion – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'” 
Let us give ourselves to Jesus like the boy Samuel who ministered to the Lord. His grace and power are within us to demonstrate God’s Way today. So, if you hear His voice – do not harden your hearts, rather walk in His ways!
 Acts 5:29  Hebrews 1:2  Romans 8:14 NIV  Ecclesiastes 10;10  John 4:34  Zech. 4:6  Romans 8:14 The Message  Hebrews 3:15  Ephesians 1:23 The Message  Matthew 10:37