Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lord teach us to pray...

I’m writing to you the day after an historic election with a record turnout of voters in our national election for President. For serious disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the aftermath of the result of the election for President and for us here in Maryland where so called “same sex marriage” is now law in our state by a margin of 93,849 votes; there is profound sadness. The nation we knew and loved, a nation founded on Biblical truth, principleand fear of God does not seem to exist anymore. Maryland and Maine voters have now voted to affirm “same sex marriage”, Minnesota voters defeated a constitutional amendment effort to prevent “same sex marriage”; other states are legalizing marijuana drug use and assisted suicide. I’ve spoken with many of you today and the heartache and grief over the moral condition of our country, this land that we love is evident. This pattern of close elections and deep division in our country seemsto have reached a crescendo last night with the announcement the most liberal, pro-abortion President in American history was re-elected to a second term. What we await and worry about now is the storm surge that will be coming knowing the policies and views of our President having watched him the last four years. I’m literally sick at the thought of it!


In dealing with my own emotions on my morning walk and time in prayer with the Lord, I thought of the simple request of one of Jesus’ disciples in Luke 11:1 “Lord, teach us to pray as John also taught his disciples.” Last night while here at the church for my one hour commitment to pray as part of our church-wideElection Day prayer vigil, in our semi-darkened sanctuary, I prayed this house would become a house of prayer. I prayed for spiritual awakening and revival among our church and the churches of our land. I prayed for God to reorient our families to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I prayed that God would pour out His Spirit upon this nation and that His Word would be taught and people would fall in love with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Maybe God has in fact begun to answer my prayer as I’ve been praying through our revival prayer guide. God is in fact teaching us to pray! He’s inviting us to have a conversation with Him about our spiritual ambivalence, our personal commitments to holy living, representing Jesus faithfully as salt and light, sharing His love with a world that is desperately and hopelessly lost apart from faith in Christ. Had Mitt Romney won how committed to prayer would Christians be as a whole regarding the moral decay in our society? How urgently would we be seeking God’s face and asking Him to heal our land?


While I’m greatly disappointed with these results, I am encouraged in that God’s people here at Calvary turned out to pray during our prayer vigil. I know many prayed at home but all day during Election Day there was a steady stream of individuals and whole families who came to the church during our 15 hour prayer vigil. I know a large number of you signed up for our 22 day prayer vigil leading up to Election Day. What a blessing to see God’s house and God’s people interceding and asking God to work in our families, our church and our nation! I can assure you He is at work and He will do “great and mighty things which we don’t know” (Jer. 33:3) because we have been calling out to Him. We must continue and we cannot quit.


I’m also encouraged in that all those who are loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ first and as American citizens second should no longer live under the delusion that America is a “Christian nation”. We are not. We are a pagan nation that has no regard for God or His Word. Our American society has systematically booted God out of our government, schools, public lives and families. We have told Him “You are not welcome here. You say “Pastor Ralph, how is that encouraging?” I’m encouraged in that our mandate and mission from the Lord Jesus Christ of preaching the Gospel and making disciples of Jesus Christ has not and will not change. If anything these results should be a warning sign the Lord’s return is very soon which means there is great urgency to our task of reaching every tribe, every tongue and every nation with the Gospel.


I’m encouraged in what the Apostle Paul said to the Roman believers laboring under the brutal regimes of various “Caesar’s” in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. “Hope and Change” doesn’t come from political leaders nor does that idea originate in their political strategy rooms. True hope and change comes through faith in Jesus Christ and the transformation of lives. The Gospel message and power of God to transform lives transcends all socio-economic, race and class barriers and Jesus promised to be with us always to the end of the age!


I’m also encouraged that God’s Word teaches in several placesthat no leader takes office without God’s permission. For example, Daniel 4:17 says “…the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will and sets over it the lowest of men.” For whatever reason, even though I don’t understand it and as painful as it is for me to admit, God has placed President Obama in office for a second term. I take great comfort in the Biblical principle of Proverbs 21:1:  “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. God is able to direct our President’s heart just like He did King Cyrus of Persia to rebuild God’s temple in Jerusalem using a pagan king’s treasury to pay for the project! (Ezra 6:3-4). What if God’s people earnestly prayed for President Obama’s salvation and for him to repent and place his faith and trust in Jesus Christ?


I’m encouraged that God wants to do just that and He challenges His people to pray to that end. Paul told Timothy in his 2nd letter to the young pastor: “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2nd Tim.2:1-4). I’m encouraged that Jesus Christ died to save President Obama and all his advisors and desires for them to come to the knowledge of the truth. In the Southern Baptist Convention alone, there are an estimated 16 million members as of 2010.  We’re just one of how many Christian denominations? What if the Christians of the United States all cried out to God to save our President? Talk about “Hope and Change” that would take place in our nation with that!


Finally, I’m encouraged in that even though our efforts to defend traditional God given marriage failed in Maryland, of Maryland’s 24 counties, 18 of those 24 counties voted against Question 6 and we lost by a margin of 93,849 votes. 1 county, primarily Montgomery just north of DC made the big difference with a 119,910 vote margin in favor of Question 6. How is that encouraging? Because all told, over 1.1 million people in Maryland stood for God’s definition of marriage at the ballot box in a pagan culture; and that encourages me to recognize our primary mission field is right next door…from my little corner of the world to yours…

Pastor Ralph Green
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