July 30, 2020 | Suni Piper, IFA Contributing Writer
As I sit with the Lord today, I am overcome by the state of our nation today. “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Psalm 36:1b, NIV). I am desperate to know how to speak love, hope, and truth to a lost and dying world. I want to see the issues as they truly are, but through the lens of HIM and not through my own lens of understanding. My own understanding is feeble at best, when compared to the all-knowing, all-powerful God.
Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong. (Proverbs 3: 5-7 TPT)
He has a way of seeing the BIG picture, not hindered by the things our human minds cannot see past – boulders of distraction set squarely in our path, tantalizing spins on truth that seem bathed in truth and light, and tension/unease/discord/confusion that must point to the error of our ways. Our lives, understandably so, are consumed in the cultural climate. Yet, I challenge you friends, to NOT be distracted by well-doing, but instead set your eyes kingdom-ward. And as you do that, then, only then, ask Him the way in which you should go.
Lay the present-day issues at His feet, seek HIS face – and from that place He will heal our land!
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”… Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men…who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2 Chronicles 2:15, 17, 21-22 NIV)
We can carry His praises anywhere! Buildings no longer define us – meeting on beaches, in parks, on Zoom, at a picnic bench with a friend, in homes…
As the California governor has once again put a “lock” on churches meeting – the people are rising up, reminding government it has no higher hold/authority on us than the King of Kings! We are called to be a people of PRAISE! And it’s from THAT high mountain that the surrounding mountains will be thrown into the sea!
People like Sean Feucht and John MacArthur are taking a stance, making public statements and drawing the line in the sand.
“Therefore, in response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction, and faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services.”
-John MacArthur, Grace to You, “Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church”, 7/24/20
“Government leaders voiced support for outdoor protests in recent months, they should not be condemning Christians seeking to gather in worship. Masks were made available, social distancing was encouraged, and the gathering was held outside as an extra precaution. The freedom to worship God is the constitutional right of every American citizen and those who exercise this right should not be unfairly targeted for criticism.“
-Sean Feucht, statement to the NorCal press, 7/22/20
This lockdown/ban presents a confusing dichotomy – as outdoor public protests are unhindered, and yet there is an indefinite ban on all in-person church services.
The Orthodox Church in California has complied with all past restrictions, but even they have reached their breaking point. San Francisco and Western America Russian Orthodox Archbishop Kyrill made a statement in an open letter to Newsom “that the state’s strictures on religious services, especially on singing, are “open discrimination,” reminiscent of the “the era of godless persecutions in the U.S.S.R.”
On Friday, a split decision by the Supreme Court rejected a request to “block the state government from enforcing a cap on attendance at religious services” in Nevada. Other businesses in the state are allowed to operate at half capacity, per fire-code, but churches are limited to 50 persons. And while the state argues that they are not discriminating against churches, but are restricting other large gatherings equally, the decision should cause us to pause.
Our religious liberties are being infringed upon for a “greater common cause” – and yet there are unequal sentiments and mandates placed across the board.
“The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in dissent. “It says nothing about the freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine, or to engage in any other game of chance. But the Governor of Nevada apparently has different priorities.”
We are living in a time where our public voices matter more than ever. According to Emily Ekins of the Cato Institute, 62% of Americans agree “the political climate these days prevents me from saying things I believe because others might find them offensive.”
What is a believer to do? How then shall we live?
But they mingled themselves with their enemies and learned to copy their works of darkness. They began to serve their gods and bow before their idols. All of this led them away from you and brought about their downfall… Many times you would have come to rescue them, but they continued in their rebellious ways, choosing to ignore your warnings. Then they sank lower and lower, destroyed by their depravity. Yet even so, you waited and waited, watching to see if they would turn and cry out to you for a father’s help.
And then, when you heard their cry, you relented and you remembered your covenant and you turned your heart toward them again, according to your abundant, overflowing, and limitless love…
Do it again, Lord! Save us, O Lord, our God! Gather us from our exile and unite us together so that we will give our great and joyous thanks to you again and bring you glory by our praises. (Psalm 106:35-36, 43-45, 47 TPT)
I love this quote from Sean Feucht: “In the face of the virus and racial unrest, God has an answer of his people moving in radical love and unity and maybe we can’t meet in buildings but we can meet on the beach. We can go to the bridge. We’re going to meet in parks. We’re not restricted to the four walls. We can still be the church even if we’re not in our buildings.”
-Sean Feucht, Fox News, “California beach revival attended by 1,000: ‘The church has left the building’”, 7/14/20
Living in this season in this country leaves us with a barrage of choices to daily muddle through. I believe some of the most important choices we are can make are to pray and to make our voices heard. PRAY for strongholds to be demolished, pray for truth to be brought out in the light, pray for supernatural wisdom and discernment for our churches and for believers in general.
And we, the Church, can carry our voices into the public arena – the voice of the silent majority cannot stay silent.
The Church is not defined by the building, it is defined by the people. Let’s lift high the praises to our King and watch the enemy’s defeat.
Lord God, we pray for a fear of God to fall upon the people. We pray that we would not be hard-hearted liked Pharaoh – that the signs of the times would stir up your people Lord to a place of surrender and submission – that we would press into that place of holiness, at the foot of Your throne. That repentance would fall HEAVY upon your Church and in that place of hunger, thirst and desperation, we would find the Holy Spirit pouring out upon us in a way never before experienced before in this nation—a supernatural, exaggerated response (hallelujah) in which the media would be unable to keep it silenced! And Father, as You draw us into those places where we see Your glory, we pray for a spirit of unity to draw us together with one loud voice – for Your praise and Your glory! Amen.
What do you think is the role of the Christian in America today?
Author Suni Piper is a prophetic intercessor who blogs at A Surrendered Life.