Prayer Targets: Judgment or Mercy; Stand for Marriage Sunday
April 16, 2015
And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Joel 2:11
The prophetic Scripture in Joel is used in a popular Christian song as if talking about the Church marching forward in victory. But it is actually speaking of God’s judgments and the thoroughness with which they will be measured out. The picture is of darkness and gloom.
But in the midst of it all, the prophet cries:
The day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen. (Joel 2:10-19).
When God sends judgment to a land, His people are not exempted. They, too, are disciplined by those judgments. Yet God always calls them back via the promises in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Joel conveys a bright hope to those who respond in repentance:
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you… And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed… And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions… And whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (Joel 2:25-32)
America is in the midst of judgment even now, and the church is enduring discipline. It could grow much worse. Yet if we truly, seriously embrace God’s call to consecration, outlined in 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Joel 2, God may be pleased to display His glory in the Church and in our nation again.
Right now the focus of prayer must be the U.S. Supreme Court, the oral argument on April 28th, their deliberations thereafter, and their ruling, probably to be delivered in late June, possibly after Call2Fall. I pray that your church is signed up to participate, and if not, that you will urge your pastors to consider doing so. If not, your prayer group or family can participate.
Urgent Stand for Marriage - On April 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for and against redefining marriage in America. Though marriage between a man and a woman has existed since the beginning and is the cornerstone of ordered society, the time-honored institution is in serious trouble. Before federal judges began to overturn marriage laws, 30 states had protected natural marriage in their Constitutions. Now the High Court is poised to decide for us all. Urge your pastor to join us in standing for marriage by leading your Church to take five simple Action Steps during the days leading up to April 28.
If there was ever a time for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ to pray fervently and speak up boldly for marriage, family and freedom, it is now. What can we do? Click here for a "Stand for Marriage" game plan with five simple action steps that you and your church can do to make a difference.
- Action Step 1: Fast and Pray for the Court and our Country, April 7-28.
- Action Step 2: Speak Out through Social Media and your local Newspaper.
- Action Step 3: Join the March for Marriage in DC on Saturday, April 25.
- Action Step 4: Host a Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Freedom at Risk, April 26 and show the video.
- Action Step 5: Host a #FreetoBelieve Gathering, featuring One Generation Away, between now and the end of June.
For Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Freedom at Risk on April 26, we have prepared a Church Bulletin Insert on marriage to distribute as well as a video we encourage you to show your church before having a time of prayer for the courts and our country. Click here to visit the resource page, which will also feature FREE Marriage Sermon Starters.
Click here for more details. It is time for our voices to be heard in the Courts of Heaven and the Courts of Public Opinion! We have put together these resources so that your church can join in. If you are a pastor, please hear this urgent cry and lead your church to join us. If you are a layperson, talk to your pastor and any other pastors whom you know and with whom you have a good relationship. If your church does not participate you can use these resources for your prayer group, small group or family. I cannot express adequately how important it is for us to cry out to God during these 13 days left, and for the period after the oral arguments, during which the Justices will be deliberating.
I know a constitutional lawyer who felt assured that the Court planned to rule in his favor, but somewhere along the way they changed their minds. It was a terrible shock when their ruling was announced. So we cannot presume that their minds are made up, as most suppose they are, nor that God cannot change their hearts. The polls show that a strong majority of Americans believe that the states should not have same-sex “marriage” imposed upon them by the Supreme Court (read the Poll and its results HERE). May God grant us grace and mercy!