A VISION - HARVEST or CIVIL WAR? -by Robert Holmes. To fight or not to fight, that is the question. Or rather, to fight this enemy or that. There is a battle Christians all need to wage against the enemy of our souls, the enemy of the church - Satan. But there are many other skirmishes and insidious battles being fought by the brethren. These are the skirmishes of church warfare. There are lines drawn between this movement and that, between this crowd and that, battles being fought to divide the church... But the Bible teaches us that we should not skirmish and rail against flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers of the air, who influence and affect our brethren (Eph 6:12). We are to take up the shield of faith with the sword of the spirit and join God's warriors fighting a common enemy (Eph 6:16-17). I have asked myself why we are led to divide the church, why we go into battle when we should be building the kingdom... A PICTURE of WAR I had an open vision in early September 1997 that showed me a startling reality of what is happening right now in the church. A cinema style video opened up before me as I was praying one evening. I saw a black and white film, which looked like it was made in the 1940's. It began on a farm. Dozens of men were working in the fields, preparing instruments for the harvest. Then suddenly, they began to leave the fields and walk toward a railway line. Trains pulled up with streams, banners and a band playing. Many of the men climbed aboard to go off to war. The scene panned back to the field where many shovels, spades, forks, scythes and machinery had been left idle on the ground. Before me was a vast harvest of wheat, with scarcely no one left to work the fields! The scene changed and I saw women and children learning in various schools and colleges. There were women learning trades and how to operate machinery, children at lathes learning woodwork and smaller children learning at school. So many women and children had been left behind as their men went off to war. They had to learn how to survive and remain productive without them. The vision closed with a picture of a lone man standing in the field. Behind him lay all the discarded tools of the harvest, before him was a huge field of wheat. He did not look perplexed or dismayed - he simply prayed God's blessing and began to work. The HARVEST I ask you, is God's agenda for us to lay down our tools of harvest and run off to war? I know for sure a battle is raging, there is no doubt of that! Indeed the enemy comes to devour our harvest, he comes like a plague of locusts to eat the crops and steal the seed before it can germinate. It is true we must fight, and fight hard against the devil today, but let me ask you - what war are you running off to fight? Where is our focus? "Do you not say, 'Four months more, then comes the harvest'? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together." (John 4:34-36). WHERE is OUR FOCUS? The rumble of an exciting opportunity to go off to war resounds across the land. These days we run, leaving the weak and the young behind to do the productive work. We want to glory in the temporal, while Christ is working the eternal. We are putting down our tools, and taking up guns and weapons.... And there is Christ, standing alone in the fields crying, "These fields are ripe unto the harvest, pray for labourers". Where are you going Christian? What is consuming your energy right now?... Are you one to run off and join the train, the band, the noise, the army gathering or will you stay and fight for the harvest? Will you join those who devour the land before them or strike at the plans of Satan to destroy the church? God is preparing a harvest, lift up your eyes and see the work it ready to be done! Behold the fields are ripe unto the harvest and the reaper is already collecting his wages. -Extracts from 'Harvest or Civil War?' copyright (c) Robert Holmes, 1997.