A Nation in Distress: It Is Time to Rise Up

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, - 2 Timothy 3:1-4

This election will probably go down as one of the most divisive in the history of the United States. We are more polarized than any time I can remember in my lifetime. Just two days from now is the inauguration of Donald J Trump as our 45th president. Massive protests are being planned with agitators conspiring to wreak havoc on DC during the inauguration. We’ve heard plans to release butyric acid at the Deplora-ball, shut down train stations and major roads, and even to attack Trump supporters. A “Bikers for Trump” group consisting of thousands of bikers is heading to DC to help protect the newly-elected president. 

This all comes on the heels of nationwide “protests” from groups like Black Lives Matter, many of which became violent and destructive, police shootings, and rampant name-calling toward people who don’t agree with their political or world views. I believe what we are witnessing are the fruits of a decades-long assault on Christian values in our country. Our nation was founded on Judaeo-Christian teachings, and for centuries was primarily a Judaeo-Christian nation. However, we started slowly moving away from Judaeo-Christian values and beliefs decades ago and has been accelerating each year.

We kicked God out of school on June 25, 1962 in Engel v. Vitale where the United States Supreme Court decided that a prayer approved by the New York Board of Regents for use in schools violated the First Amendment because it represented establishment of religion. 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

In the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, the killing of the most innocent in our society was legalized.

Thou shalt not kill. - Exodus 20:13

In 2003 Massachusetts became the first state to legalize homosexual marriage. In June 26, 2015, gay marriage became legal in all 50 states in the United States.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination… - Leviticus 20:13

.. and these are just a tiny fraction of examples of our nation departing from God. It is no wonder that things are progressing the way that they are. We are trying to remove God from our lives because His teachings are not politically correct. His teaching make us uncomfortable because they shine a light on our sin. It is time for this nation to turn back to God. We need to bring God back into our schools, into our government, into our lives.

Christians, it is time to pray for our nation, our friends, our families, our rulers and… our enemies.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; - Matthew 5:44

We need to turn off the tv, put down our phones and tablets, and spend time daily praying with our family. If we want to see our nation healed, then it is up to the Christians to get involved. Not in rioting, shouting, and picketing, but in prayer.

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. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Do you see that? God is not looking for the heathen, the unbelievers to do these things, but for His People which call themselves by His Name. If we claim to be Christians, and we have been baptized into His Name, the Name of Jesus Christ, then we need to humble ourselves, pray and turn from our wicked ways. The definition of baptize as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “give a name or nickname to”. The 4th commandment reads:

“ Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” – Exodus 20:7

When we get baptized into his name, we are assigned a new name, that of our Lord Jesus Christ. We take on His name, and we are supposed to deny ourselves and Live for Him. The commandment in 2 Chronicles 7:14 makes it clear that healing our land is dependent upon His people obeying Him. There is an element of faith because the fruits of our prayers are not necessarily seen by us.

When we pray for our leaders, how do we have any idea the effect we are having on them? We cannot see their hearts, so we may not necessarily see the work God is doing in them. We need to trust in the Lord to fulfill his promises. His promises are usually conditional on our obedience. If we choose to disobey, then He is under no obligation to fulfill his promises because we failed to meet the conditions of the promise. God wants us to have Faith in Him. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 reads

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Notice it says it is impossible to please God without Faith.

As Christians, many of us are failing to do our part. We need to love our enemies, and pray for them. We need to start dropping to our knees in prayer, and turning from our wickedness and sin. We need to humble ourselves, and make sure that we have not taken His name in vain. We need to get our own families in line. Peter says it like this:

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? – 1 Peter 4:17 

As you can see, judgment begins with us. We need to get our own households in order before we can work on fixing the world. We need to make sure that we and our children are living according to the Word of God and be a living example of how we ought to act. Matthew 5:14 says:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid

If we are not living as Christ, and applying His teachings to our life, then we cannot be the light of the world. This world needs the light of Christ more than ever before, and it is our duty to be that light by letting Jesus live through us. The way we live, the things we stand for and against, the way we treat both our enemies and our neighbors, they should all be a proper representation of Jesus. Included in this is taking a stand against sin and evil the right way. We are instructed by Paul in Ephesians 4:15 to speak the truth in love:

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ

We also need to have discernment. We cannot always teach only about God’s mercy and grace because some people will think that they can take advantage of God’s grace and mercy and continue in sin. Jude states:

22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. 1 Jude:22-23
Some people will be moved by compassion and grace, Some people will not respond to that, and will be saved by the fear of God. Many of our churches have stopped preaching the fear of God and focus only on His grace and mercy. Because of this, many churches are full of congregants but empty of disciples, This is a large part of why this nation is in the shape it is in. We go to church but we don't live our lives as the Bible instructs us because the pastors ignore the controversial parts and the congregants spend more time watching TV than reading their Bibles. And why wouldn't they? After all, they simply need to say yes and fill out a card and they're saved. Our churches should be the one place we should be sure to learn the unfiltered truth of God. I understand the world wants to censor and shut up God, but our pastors should be preaching us the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth. This includes God's mercy and grace, but also God's judgment and wrath.

We need to start standing against sin. When a vote comes up to endorse something God is against, we need to vote against it. We need to be pray and be prepared for persecution, because when we stand against sin and wickedness, we will be persecuted. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that if you are NOT being persecuted then you are probably not living the life God wants us to live. 2 Timothy 3:12 states: 
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Matthew 10:21-22 says:

21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

John 15:20 reads

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

The world will hate us, and we can expect that. When we stand for the things of God, we are taking a stand against the world. We cannot lose faith or get angry when we are persecuted and hated. Instead, we need to recognize that we are fighting against unseen spiritual forces.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

We should rejoice in our persecution because we are suffering for doing good and standing against the things that God despises and standing up for the things God loves. For example, when you stand against homosexuality and you are called a homophobe, or you stand against abortion and you are called a sexist, or accused of being anti-women, you are being persecuted. Matthew has this to say:

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. - Matthew 5:11

1 Peter 3:14-17 says:

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

As Christians, it is time to stand up and fight in the spirit by getting on our knees in prayer. Begin to live like Christ so the world can see Christ in you. Stand up for righteousness, and stand against sin. Preach the grace, mercy and compassion of Jesus, but also his wrath and judgement. When we are disobedient and we do not keep the commandments He has given us, the promises of grace and compassion do not apply because his promises of grace and mercy are conditional on our obedience. Lets get our homes in order and live for God and ask God to heal this Nation in distress.

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