Posts Tagged ‘president’

Is it possible that God could move more powerfully with Hillary Clinton as President?

Would God’s grace be a result of Hillary Clinton being voted in as President? Before you answer, read on.

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:32 (ESV)

YOGA-000000030In this most contentious election season, it seems that we've been strong-armed into believing we must choose one of two candidates. It’s either Donald or Hillary. Approval of one or the other is mandatory. And, yes, it’s probably true that no other person has a chance at winning. Voting for a third party is nothing more than symbolic and principle driven for those that choose to do so.

I'm extremely well versed in the reasoning behind the belief that it must be either Trump or Clinton. It’s true that we effectively have a two party system in our nation and the most basic common sense reveals that we must function within those limits. With this in mind, some say that while we are choosing the lesser of two evils, it's a necessary strategy so Hillary doesn't make it into office. Others say the upcoming picks for the Supreme Court are what really matter, and that we must choose the candidate that will give us the Justices we need.

Of course, I wholeheartedly agree that Hillary stands in opposition to much of what we as Christians so deeply value. She is pro-murder of children, just as King Herod and Pharaoh were. She is a sure danger to our nation for many reasons. So, blocking her victory should be attempted at all costs, right?

In the natural, using human logic, that argument makes a lot of sense. Again, common sense would dictate that the clear choice is Donald Trump. I understand why people can get so frustrated with me. They don't understand how I can’t see it the way they do. However, I do see it…in the natural.

In the spirit, I see things very differently.

LEAN NOT ON OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)

The instruction is to refuse human wisdom and understanding while rejecting evil. Only then will God make our paths straight.

While we see only two options, God’s options are limitless. It’s an indictment on the faith of the church; a church that tends to embrace common sense, to lean on their own understanding and that is unfamiliar with the immeasurable supernatural realities of the Kingdom. Donald and Hillary are definitely not the only two possibilities. God’s wisdom is much deeper than that.

Throughout Scripture we see God calling his people to advance with seemingly ridiculous, nonsensical methods. Supernatural people are not limited to natural analysis or human wisdom. In fact, we must actually be quick to dismiss the obvious in favor of the wisdom of God.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33 (ESV)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25 (ESV)

Since we are not limited by only two candidates, we have to expand our plan of action to include clear, biblical instructions. The Word of God is clear that we must not promote those who walk in darkness, even if our only two choices are both living that way.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:11-17 (ESV)

We must awaken as a supernatural church, refuse to promote immorality by coming along side those who take part in the unfruitful works of darkness and we must reject foolishness. We are commanded to know what the Lord’s will is.

YOGA-000000031THIS IS HOW HILLARY’S PRESIDENCEY MIGHT RESULT IN FAVOR OF GOD RESTING ON AMERICA

My belief is simple: I am not limited to the two obvious choices for President if both of those choices would require I affirm them in their immorality. If I embrace, affirm and vote for someone who embodies immorality, perversion, arrogance and pride (no matter if they are ‘in process' or not), I will reap the consequences.

More-so, our nation will reap the consequences. It's a spiritual issue. What I endorse is what will manifest. While we might gain the Supreme Court appointees we are hoping for and we could make progress on other conservative issues, the fact remains that the nation will be ripe for judgment. Ignoring unrighteousness as a ‘lesser evil' will come back to haunt us.

And the LORD said by his servants the prophets, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.” 2 Kings 21:10-15 (ESV)

Manasseh was driven by a deviant sexual appetite, human sacrifice and other detestable practices through the worship of Baal. His leadership AND the agreement of those in Judah who sinned with him resulted in judgment.

Both candidates have various character/sin issues similar to what we see in Manasseh. So, where does that leave us? A non-vote or a third party vote becomes valid. Voting for a righteous person who doesn't win will result in greater favor for our nation than voting for a lesser of two evils who does win.

I am stunned that so many Spirit-filled, faithful Christians are dismissing the behavior of Donald Trump, both eleven years ago when he made it clear he was in favor of behavior that many suggest equates to sexual assault and more recently with vile comments about women and others. Christians are actually buying into the diversion tactics that Trump’s comments were nothing more than locker room banter. I don’t know about you, but if I was in that locker room I’d walk out and be appalled at what I heard—not dismissive.

Many are quick to remind me of Donald’s profession of faith as a Christian, but it’s a profession that the public has never heard. I have yet to find one video or article that includes Donald discussing his passion for Jesus, from his own lips. If you know of one, please send it to me. I would be so happy to see it. There are third party accounts, but even those are extremely shallow. Of course, I pray Donald has fallen in love with the lover of his soul! At best he’s a baby Christian, and the fruit and character and consecration has yet to measure up. He’s in no place to be the leader of our nation. He may be forgiven. I hope he is. But while that qualifies him for heaven, it doesn’t qualify him for office.

Simply, we need someone with character that won’t invite judgment.

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2 (ESV)

YOGA-000000032RIGHTEOUSNESS—NOT A CANDIDATE—EXALTS A NATION

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (ESV)

A church that stands in and for righteousness is what will exalt our nation. We can put more hope in voting third-party and standing in righteousness as a national church than in a single, flawed candidate who affirms some of our positions through his or her policies.

If we vote for Donald Trump (or Hillary Clinton) we endorse extreme immorality and we will absolutely open the door to God’s judgment. It won’t matter what pro-Christian policies Donald advances, who he appoints to the Supreme Court or how appealing he is for national security. The church will be guilty of wrapping its arms around an idol of perversion and it will be the first to be hit with judgment.

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:17-19 (ESV)

Instead of trusting a two party system, we must do good, stand for righteousness and trust God.

If the church embraces Donald or Hillary, we will abdicate our right to govern and very possibly will invite terrible judgment. However, if the church rose up in humble solidarity and refused to endorse the radical immorality that’s represented in our two candidates, God’s favor would rest on us and the church would function in supernatural authority in this great land. It will matter little who’s in leadership as God will have liberty to bring revival and bring change not from the White House but from God’s House.

I firmly believe if the church was unified around righteousness as Christians refused to vote for Donald or Hillary AND Hillary Clinton won the election as a result, America would again function under the favor of the Lord, be authorized to lead and advance in righteousness. Again, in the natural that doesn't make sense but in the spirit, it does. If we take a stand, though Clinton may win, God's protection and favor will return to America.

WE MUST DISCREN SUPERNATURALLY

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)

We cannot default to our intellect or common sense when making decisions. God’s wisdom will seem like foolishness. It takes spiritual discernment to understand what God would have us do.

So, to clarify one more time, my opinion is that a vote for Trump in the natural might make sense, but as a Christian, and in the spirit, it can quickly lead to judgment.

If the church stood for morality and righteousness and refused to endorse anything less, Hillary Clinton might win. In the natural that may look like a massive blow, but God would have much more room to work in our nation…not because of Hillary, but because of a church that stood for holiness and refused to be strong-armed into compromise.

Only then would the church regain it's rightful place as supreme governing body in the United States of America.

If that doesn’t happen, we will be in trouble as a nation. A shaking will come. At that time, we can only pray Donald or Hillary and the people of this nation will do as Manasseh finally did after their nation was invaded by a foreign army:

The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. 2 Chronicles 33:10-13 (ESV)

Isn’t it just like our God to use the extreme force of judgment to victoriously woo a leader and a nation to him. It would be better if judgment wasn’t necessary though, wouldn’t it?

We Need a Pastor in Chief to Lead our Nation Now More Than Ever

We can’t afford someone leading our nation who does not hear God’s voice, honor his principles or love his people.

imageThough I’ve heard the statement time and again, for the life of me I cannot stop shaking my head in the midst of the confusion it creates. What statement is that?

“We don’t need a Pastor in Chief to lead our nation.”

That crazy decree seems to be the rallying cry of people who are dead set on rejecting more godly candidates in favor of one who is continually bearing extremely bad fruit.

Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.”

The celebration surrounding Donald Trump zeros in on his secular problem solving abilities and his rejection of any measure of political correctness. The problem? The situation in America requires someone who applies biblical principles, not human principles; biblical wisdom, not human wisdom.

“The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

Again, I just sit back and shake my head when Christians so eagerly support someone who has owned casinos and strip clubs and whose wife appeared nude in a magazine. Am I actually typing that? Christians are campaigning for a man who has owned casinos and strip clubs and whose wife appeared nude in a magazine. Wow. Yes. I did just type that. Twice. I’m flabbergasted.

Please, fellow Christian, explain yourself! How can you ignore that and the many other violations of decency that Donald Trump has committed—and continues to commit?

If my own son or daughter was campaigning for the office of President of the United States and was living similarly in an ungodly way, they would never receive my vote. My love, yes. My vote, not a chance. I couldn’t allow the blood of our nation to be on my hands. No amount of charisma, leadership ability or education could convince me to vote for them—unless they embraced a repentant life and developed into a mature follower of Jesus.

The reality is that we are absolutely electing someone to lead our nation who must be first and foremost a servant of God. If they don’t intimately know Jesus Christ, what god will they be receiving their inspiration from? The principalities and powers are drooling at the chance to be that god—the one who gives leadership to the President of the United States of America. If we don’t have a God fearing person in office, one who exhibits the traits of a true pastor, the alternative should terrify us.

“We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!” ~ John Adams

“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained.” ~ George Washington

PASTOR IN CHIEF

For all of those who are adamantly arguing against electing a Pastor in Chief, please let me know which of the following attributes are improper for the leader of our nation.

1 Timothy 3 1-7 reveals the qualifications of overseers of the church. I propose that these must be minimum qualifications for one who would desire to lead our nation:

  1. Above reproach—This means to be blameless. No evil should be able to be proved against any candidate of public office. This doesn’t only mean any illegal activity, it means to be free of evil, of sinful practice. How can a President lead our nation via righteous means if he isn’t living righteously his self?
  2. The husband of one wife—This mandate has become so diluted in our modern society. It’s shocking that we would hold to a position that divorced people disqualify themselves from leadership (unless the divorce is supported by Scripture).
  3. Sober-minded—Adam Clarke translates this as “having the complete government of all his passions.” This is talking about a mature person who isn’t given to anger or emotional responses to the issues of life.
  4. Self-controlled—Sometimes candidates for office are referred to as appearing Presidential. They are self-controlled, steady and not swayed by the challenges in front of them. They are confident and solid in their position.
  5. Respectable—A candidate’s reputation will precede them, and it must be squeaky clean. At the least, they must humbly admit their previous failures and be believable going forward. They must be genuine.
  6. Hospitable—Will a candidate get into the trenches with common people, serve them with passion and connect with them as a friend? It’s something very special when this happens, and I believe we should expect it. It’s a part of the office.
  7. Able to teach—It might be easy to dismiss this as pertaining specifically to pastors. I would disagree. We must have a leader who can communicate clearly, understand his subject matter and connect with the people of America so well that he gains our trust and that we are properly informed.
  8. Not a drunkard—This should go without saying. No leader, spiritual or secular, will be able to fulfill his duties if he drinks to excess.
  9. Not violent—Violence in a pastor would be truly terrible. Violence in the leader of our nation would literally put our nation at risk of nuclear war.
  10. Gentle—A non-violent leader is mandatory, but we have to expect even more. They must be gentle. Do you perceive a gentle, tender heart in your candidate?
  11. Not quarrelsome—Do they play dirty? Do they call people names, act like a bully or threaten? If so, putting them in the land’s highest position would be a cataclysmic mistake.
  12. Not a lover of money—This should be absolutely non-negotiable for any leader, much less the President of the United States. A love of money is the root of all evil, and if that attribute is in our leader our nation is put at extreme risk of being overtaken by evil.
  13. Manage his household well—Does the candidate have a reputation of being a stable family leader? Do his children respect him? Are they submissive? This is more important than we may realize.
  14. Not a recent convert—This may be the most important attribute for the leader of our nation. Having anybody other than a seasoned Christian leading our nation should be unthinkable.
  15. Be well thought of by outsiders—Is the candidate an honorable person? Do people respect their character?

The question I’m presenting is simple: why would we not demand such a code of ethics for those who are running for office? What is unreasonable about it? Why would such a list of qualifications be rejected when seeking to elect someone for the most powerful and influential position in our great (or once great) nation?

The obvious defense would be that no candidate passes the test. That’s debatable, but regardless, we must elect the person who scores the highest. We can’t throw out the standards simply because of a lack of perfection. Look for the humble person, for the mature Believer, for the one who walks in the fear of the Lord.

Donald Trump is clearly not that person. I pray someday he could be.

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Psalm 2:10-11 (ESV)

Could the God Card be the Trump Card?

Christians are playing the God card during this election season. Could it be the Trump card?

WATCH A VIDEO BY JOHN BURTON ON THIS TOPIC:

The American Christian church has ventured into dangerous ground over the last several years. This current political season is making that quite evident.

imageThe number of Christians who are using the God card to support their personal endeavors today is troubling. I’ve been in some form of Christian leadership for over 25 years, and I never stop being shocked at how casually someone can attach the name of God to their own opinions and desires.

Doing so is a serious violation. Stating that God endorses our personal desires when he in fact does not is taking his name in vain.

When immoral preachers announce that God said you’d receive a blessing if you sent them money, that’s taking the Lord’s name in vain.

When we prophesy over someone by saying, “God told me to tell you…” when you are selfishly advancing your own agenda, you are taking his name in vain.

Before you dismiss me as one who is opposed to the prophetic, I need to make it clear that I believe we need to hear God’s voice much more regularly in the church today. God absolutely is talking to us and we not only have the opportunity but the responsibility to know him intimately and receive what he is communicating to us. I am unapologetically a prophetic minister and I actually believe it’s quite impossible to follow God in fullness without being a prophetic people.

From my book Revelation Driven Prayer:

To default to human logic in neglect of the present voice of God Himself is a very average, not to say dangerous way to live.

The issue we have today is not the fact that we need people to dive deeper into a prophetic life, it’s the way so many are jumping in.

GOD SAID.

I'm hearing more and more people saying they are following the leading of the Holy Spirit, or that God said this or that…while ignoring truth that's already revealed in Scripture. It's time we stop using the God card and get back to the timeless principles in the Word of God. If Scripture doesn't support our mystical revelations, we have to throw them out.

I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve heard people attach a nearly indefensable excuse to a decision they are making: God said. That’s it. We are expected to accept their decision or behavior simply because they declare that, “God said.”

Except, so often, he did not.

I know, it’s extremely offensive to be challenged on our ability to hear God’s voice, but we have to be okay with some scrutiny for the sake of the health of the church, our nation and ourselves. We must stop stating what God is telling us to do unless we have firm biblical support to back us up.

People that use the God card to accomplish what they desire are very often the same people who barely have a prayer life, aren’t in the Word of God as they should be and who rarely hear God giving input on anything other than what personally benefits them.

God told me it’s time to leave my church without the blessing of my pastor.

God said it’s okay to leave my wife.

God said it’s okay to watch immoral movies since I’m mature enough to handle the smut.

The Holy Spirit wants more freedom in my church, and he chose me to give this information to so I can tell the pastor.

God said I don’t have to do this.

God revealed I can do that.

God said Donald Trump is his man of the hour.

If I lost you, I’m sure I have your attention again.

THE TRUMP CARD

I need to make a point extremely clear so there is no confusion whatsoever. God has not told me that Donald Trump is the one he has chosen to lead our nation. God has also not told me Donald Trump is not the one he has chosen. I think we must come back to sensibility regarding one of the most important decisions we as voting Christians will make over the next four years. We must be based on the Word of God as the plumbline, not a subjective sense that we call prophetic. Is it possible for God to speak in the moment to us personally about this issue? Of course. However, he will do so with clarity and without compromising principles in the Word.

Quit using the God card when it comes to the political future of our nation. Doing so just may be the trump card for Donald Trump’s campaign.

It’s a sad, revealing picture of today’s church when some truly amazing children of God are absolutely ignoring or dismissing clear and troubling issues just so they can promote the person they want for the office of President.

“Men acting under the belief and awe of God as their inspector and judge, to whom they consider themselves accountable for their conduct and whom they fear to offend.” Matthias Burnet, 1803 election sermon

“Nothing will so surely, so rapidly bring on the dissolution of society, and the loss of the liberties of a people, as a want of virtue and integrity in their rulers.” ~Chandler Robbins, 1791 election sermon

It's shocking how many Christians are using the excuse that we aren't electing a “Pastor in Chief”. What a strange argument! How can we be so eager to elect someone who does not know God? Would it not be preferable to have an anointed pastor running our nation? What a glorious four years that would be!

Prov 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.

We have a duty to choose godly leaders. How is it so many are using the God card by saying that we are to ignore that scripture by choosing an ungodly authority? It’s been said that Donald Trump may be the most vulgar man ever to run for President! How can anybody not see the conflict? We had two Christian men in Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to choose from, but the evangelical church has rejected true children of God for a more popular secular leader.

So many are presuming God will work through an ungodly person, a Cyrus as it has been stated, more effectively than through a godly one. That, friend, doesn't hold scriptural muster. It's nonsense.

Our Forefathers must be turning in their graves. Why would we not want a godly man or woman in the nation's highest office?

I don't believe anyone can rightly govern without a legitimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't think it's possible. Yet, it seems millions of Christian men and women of God are rejecting that reality in favor of one who has achieved success by secular, worldly means. We can't afford an ungodly person leading our nation no matter how brilliant, bold or innovative they may be.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
– George Washington

“Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.”
– John Jay, The first Supreme Court Justice

“There are a good many problems before the American people today, and before me as President, but I expect to find the solution to those problems just in the proportion that I am faithful in the study of the Word of God.”
– Woodrow Wilson, 28th President

God said to vote for Donald Trump? If he really told you that, simply back it up with Scripture.

I would agree that God may want Donald Trump in office, and that he may desire to establish him as authority over our nation, but it would most probably be as a means of judgment, not blessing.

God has done that in the past. Scripture reveals that quite clearly.

On the contrary, God may one day move powerfully on Donald Trump’s heart and we could have quite an amazing leader.

However, that has yet to happen, and voting for him in hopes that it does is irresponsible, in my opinion.

After the election is over we will all have the opportunity to serve our leader with passion. That will be an honor.

For all of those who oppose Donald Trump as President, you better be ready to become his biggest advocate and servant in intercession should he get elected. That won't be a time for arrogant pouting, but rather for undergirding and prayer. Does that mean you should vote for him? No, not if your values would be compromised. But you must love him and go to battle for him for the sake of his soul and our nation. Pray with such humility that your position of opposing him is proven to be wrong.

In closing, in the midst of this unparallelled political season, we must remain humble and full of life.

If you aren't able to honor and bless others while discussing politics, you should stop the conversation. If you lose your joy, get angry, get offended or want to divide away from another brother or sister in Christ if they disagree with you, something's not right. Keep smiling. Rejoice always. Stand for truth. Love deeply.

Three Critical Responses to Homosexual Marriage and our Current Crisis

At a time of national crisis, the church must respond in a way we haven’t in recent memory.

The current crisis of legalized homosexual marriage and the attack against Christian business owners who are standing up for their faith is resulting in a lot of uproar, strong opinions, Facebook and Twitter wars and even confusion and fear for many Christians. Ten years ago the reality of what we are facing today was unthinkable. The thought that a Christian baker would be fined $135,000 because they refused to provide a cake for a homosexual wedding would have been absolutely nonsensical and unbelievable. Yet, this is where we are today.

Dell-000050162In 2008, President Obama said, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

It’s highly doubtful our President really believed what he said in that campaign season. Just seven years later he lights up the White House in rainbow colors and declares:

This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.

In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision.

This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have so long for their basic civil rights.

This ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.

If President Obama only understood how erroneous that statement was. The result isn’t a freer America. It’s an imprisoned people who are now validated and locked into an identity that will bring devastation and spiritual death.

The Church Must Respond

All of this is taking place on the church’s watch. It’s our fault for refusing to do what’s necessary to see revival and a spiritual revolution come to America. Our reckless slumber is resulting in millions of people falling deeper into the hopelessness that sin and a Christ-less lifestyle brings.

Pastors, nobody wants to come to our churches anymore when they are devoid of passion, power, depth and a consecration worthy of the King of kings. The answer isn’t inviting friends to our church services, it’s finding those who are serious enough to contend in tears for a move of God.

We can’t be surprised that, as Pastor John Kilpatrick says, “America is now an apostate nation.” As with Israel during the time of Gideon who was given into the hand of Midian for seven years, America is experiencing the early stages of judgment—and our response must be quick and fervent.

Judges 6:1-2 (ESV) 1 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.

The enemy has escalated his attack against the church in an attempt to completely overtake this culture and to destroy our provision, overwhelm us with fear and cause us to cower as the roaring lion threatens to devour.

Judges 6:3-5 (ESV) 3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in.

While there are a diversity of reactions that are appropriate, I propose the following three to be non-negotiable:

STEP ONE: Cry out.

In a time of desperation, it’s time to cry out.

We must see churches embracing reform and becoming prayer meetings again. Solemn assemblies should start popping up in every city in our nation and every blood bought Christian should be in attendance. No longer can we offer up the “good excuses” that have crippled the church. Gather together and repent. Pray. Burn. Contend. Cry out.

Joel 2:15-17 (ESV) 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. 17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

How’s that for shutting down excuses? How often do we think it’s okay to reject the call to gather and pray because other activities seem to be more demanding? The call is to gather the congregation and the elders. Every Christian, every pastor in the city should be together. But, certainly if the solemn assembly doesn’t have child care then moms would be exempt, right? No. Obviously someone who has spent a great deal of time, energy and money preparing for their wedding day would be excused, right? It depends on what’s more pressing, I suppose. How serious are we? How desperate is the situation?

I suppose the question is, what must happen in our nation before no excuse is powerful enough to steal our attention from the call to cry out as a church.

Ask yourself an honest question: What is different in your life as a result of the onslaught of the enemy against Christianity and the church? Are you gathering together continually to contend in prayer with other remnant Christians? Are you broken and repentant? Are you waking up everyday burning hot with passion for advancing the Kingdom? Are you calling for solemn assemblies? Just what is different? Or, are you attending church services just as you always have, focusing on family life, pouring energy into entertainment and saying a nice bedtime prayer?

I want to challenge you to CRY OUT! Embrace such a radical shift in your daily life that people around you are stunned. Become a burning, shining lamp, a blazing, searing force that ignites atmospheres!

The threat of the enemy will only grow more terrifying if the church doesn’t discover its end-time purpose.

For Israel the threat was so fearsome that they retreated into hiding in caves. Will the American church wait for that to happen before we repent? Will the church of this nation have to go underground as is the case in China and other nations where Christianity is forbidden before we lay our American dreams on the altar?

Christianity is already becoming illegal. Christians in business cannot adhere to their faith anymore as they are at risk of bankruptcy inducing government fines as was the case in Oregon:

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) awarded $60,000 to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering.”

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” the final order read. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

According to the BOLI, the lesbian couple suffered great angst. One of the women “felt depressed and questioned whether there was something inherently wrong with the sexual orientation she was born with.” They said she had “difficulty controlling her emotions and cried a lot.”

Apparently if our faith results in someone having difficult controlling their emotions we are operating our business illegally.

It’s time to cry out, church.

Judges 6:6 (ESV) 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.

STEP TWO: God sends a prophet.

Too often we presume our prayer, our cry, should result in God flipping the switch from bad to good, from crisis to help. This is rarely how it works.

After we rend our hearts and cry out to God he most often sends clear instructions to us. We need to resolve the issue that resulted in the crisis, and God will grace us and empower us to do so.

Judges 6:7-8 (ESV) 7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage.

Through a prophet God encourages the Israelites by reminding him of his faithfulness and his ability to rescue and redeem. Even though they aren’t out of the crisis yet, God is so loving that his first reaction is to comfort them—even as they are still suffering and hiding in the caves.

His encouragement then continues, along with a clear indictment:

Judges 6:9-10 (ESV) 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

The reason they were cowering in caves, being plundered by their enemies and fearing annihilation was not because their enemies refused to honor God or to establish laws that are scriptural. It’s because they were disobedient. Similarly, we can’t point the finger and blame a corrupt, perverse, godless society for our troubles! The legalization of homosexual marriage is the expected outcome in our culture! Don’t be shocked. More is coming—unless the church figures things out quickly.

STEP THREE: Obey.

Now is the time to hear God’s voice and obey!

Judges 6:11-13 (ESV) 11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Gideon was complaining that things were bad, that things weren’t changing, but he didn’t realize that he was the reason! It was his fault and the fault of the Israelites that things were bad…and it was him who must turn things around.

God refused to listen to his complaints. He was done with the excuses. He called Gideon according to his true identity!

Judges 6:14 (ESV) 14 And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”

It was time for Gideon to obey.

His excuses continued, and God gave him one more striking vote of confidence:

Judges 6:15-16 (ESV) 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon proceeded to tear down his father’s altar, form a remnant army and advance against the enemy as one man!

This is your calling, friend. You are called to cry out, receive prophetic instruction and obey the command of the Lord as you route the enemy of the church and our nation as one man!

Our call to cry out will have some pretty powerful results. The cry will shift from the people of God to the enemy as they run for their lives:

Judges 7:20-21 (ESV) 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled.

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