Posts Tagged ‘solemn assembly’

Sickening arrogance of the New York Daily News | “God isn’t fixing this” is their response to shootings

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“God isn’t fixing this” is the insolent decree by the New York Daily News.

Somebody needs to proactively put the godless voices of the New York Daily News in their place—and that somebody just may be God himself. Rich Schapiro, as the writer of the article, I’m especially talking to you.

The response of many after the recent terroristic, murderous rampage in San Bernardino, California was to pray and to call the nation to prayer. Whether the prayer was done in a righteous, fervent and effective manner or not is open for discussion (James 5:16), which I’ll address below, but to assault compassionate people for praying—and to unabashedly insult God in the process—is repugnant.

The premise of the article is that we should be doing something instead of praying, such as controlling guns. The arrogant position they are assuming is that God is unnecessary and that we have the ability to bring resolution to an evil world in our own human power(or, more accurately, the power of the Democrats).

The headline of the New York Daily News on December 3, 2015 includes:

As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.

Meaningless Platitudes?

Those last two words are in fact quite interesting, and possibly accurate.

platitude noun
a flat, dull, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh or profound

If the accusation is that remarks that include mention of prayer are trite or casually uttered, there may be some truth to that.

Is it possible God could use the New York Daily News to call our nation to a culture of fervent, genuine intercession? Is it possible that their disgust with the religious right’s sometimes disingenuous rhetoric regarding prayer has merit, and that those who are spiritual should first hit our knees in deep repentance? Honestly, how many prayer movements are there right now that are continually interceding, night and day, for our nation? How many pastors are on their knees hours a day? What churches have been marked as furnaces of intercession?

17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? …” Mark 11:17 (ESV)

17 pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)

God isn’t fixing this?

Mr. Schapiro, I’ll tell you why God isn’t fixing this. It’s quite simple.

At every turn in recent years America has intentionally, strategically and aggressively disinvited God from our nation. His expulsion by those who are threatened by righteousness, morality and standards that used to define our country has had severe consequences.

You simply have to be kidding me if you think God is expected to respond after such national haughtiness and hatred of his standards has overtaken our culture. The cry has been God bless America, but only on our terms.

If we want God to fix this, it could happen almost overnight—if only the people of our nation, which includes you Mr. Schapiro, respond rightly to God—a God who yearns for you and us.

The quick, simple yet humbling and costly prescription for a God-sized fix is this:

13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (ESV)

Read it again. Slowly.

God will shut up the heavens, allow the devourer to invade our land and send pestilence in order to shake us to our knees.

The Lord God, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, is literally the only answer to the rampage of violence in our land.

  1. Humble ourselves—we have to admit that without Jesus we are dark, evil, proud, rebellious and self-important. There must be a cry in our heart of deep apology to God for our rejection of him and his standards.
  2. Pray and seek God’s face—the call is not to say a prayer or to affirm prayer. It is to pray on fire, with passion, in unrelenting fashion. How many are truly on their knees as a lifestyle, calling out to God, adoring him, enjoying him, trembling in his presence? It’s an indictment on our nation that we can have church services that are devoid of a spirit of prayer, that we can have pastors who rarely pray and that we can have blood-bought Christians who don’t even know the one they follow. Prayer in schools had to be outlawed to eradicate it. Prayer in churches dissipated without legislation.
  3. Turn from our wicked ways—how in the world can we presume God would be at the ready if we are filling our minds and spirits with filth in media? How can we allow ourselves to be entertained by things such as foul language, violence, nudity and other grievous sins that required the slaughter and murder of God? How can we embrace lust, greed, unforgiveness, pride and every other sin and think that a simple prayer would bring protection? There is a sickness in the land, and those of us in the church must look inward first. The church is to be the resolution in our nation, but it will not be an entertained church—it will be a repentant, praying one.
  4. Then our sin will be forgiven and our land healed—our sin weakened nation is nearing collapse. It’s possible to see a world without America as a part of it. It’s laughable to think that gun control is the answer we are looking for. The answer is to admit our vile, nauseating sin, apologize to God and turn from that way of life forever as we discover a love of God we never knew could possibly exist.

God’s mighty works

Many mighty works have been done by God over the years in America. The great Azusa Street Revival changed the course of history as the Spirit of God invaded the world. Great healing revivals and movements launched from this land. Much more has been recorded and even more unrecorded on the amazing things God himself has done in this nation. Unfortunately that sets America up for destruction. This passage is terrifying:

20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” Matthew 11:20-24 (ESV)

Because God proved himself and worked wonders in the land they were held to a higher accountability. Eternity in Hell is the future for a people who do not repent. America, God is talking to us. He’s shaking us.

We need Jesus. Rich Shapiro needs Jesus. Humility, prayer and repentance are our only hope.

If we do this right we will begin to hear the tears behind the calls to pray when trouble comes. We will see the movie theaters close and the churches fill up with humble, surrendered people who want to do little more than pray. Trite calls to prayer will be replaced by emboldened leaders trumpeting the mandate to hit our knees. Solemn assemblies will replace political debates. Revival will come, protection will be had and our enemies will be disempowered.

I’d say that would make a nuclear level prayer movement in our nation well worth it.

Where is your God?

The New York Daily News is boldly shouting, “Where is your God?”

This shouldn’t surprise us. This is where we are. This is what we read about in Joel chapter two:

12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. 14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? 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?’” Joel 2:12-17 (ESV)

God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. But only he knows how long his judgment will be held at bay.

Our time is here to return to the Lord with all of our heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning. It’s time for a solemn assembly. No excuses. We all must show up and pray.

America, it’s time to rend our hearts and let this great nation see just where our God is.

He’s endeavoring to move in power among his people, and he’s ready to rescue this great land.

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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