As we conclude our C3 July theme of “Freedom,” I am reminded of the foundation of freedom that is built on the power of prayer and repentance. We are experiencing some of the most tumultuous times in US history, and there seems to be a perfect storm of a global pandemic, civil unrest, removal of religious freedoms, and the political pressures of being just months away from a critical presidential election.
We serve the God of the universe, and none of these things that give us unrest caught Him off guard or by surprise. When I thought about our blog topic, “Freedom Through Prayer and Repentance,” the Bible verse in 2 Chronicles 7:14 came to mind, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” If we further explore verse 13 we find the conditions by which God calls His people to pray, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people.” This sounds like our current conditions and should open our eyes and encourage us as His Church to seek Him through prayer and repentance.
When the realization of the impact of the pandemic started to manifest in March with various events being canceled and the world going into shutdown mode, God began to highlight the book of Haggai and the shaking that occurred in his day. The book of Haggai found in the Old Testament is only two chapters and I would encourage you to read it as we navigate through these challenging times. As I read Haggai 1:5-6 I thought about the current condition of the Church, or Christian community, “Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
I reflected on the many church buildings throughout our communities, the growth of mega churches, the multi-billion dollar industry of Christianity, the fact that most people claim Christianity as their belief, and with all of this growth and influence we see the deteriorating influence of Christian values on our culture. I do not want to sound like I am throwing rocks at the church, but I am convicted, because each of us who are disciples of Jesus are the Church, and we need to repent for allowing this to happen on our watch. We must follow the path outlined in 2 Chronicles 7:14: humility, prayer, seek Him, and repent of the wickedness that has been allowed into our culture.
Seek God Through Prayer
Just when we thought the pandemic was letting up. phase two started with the riots, looting, and craziness seemed to escalate. One morning in my quiet time, God highlighted the book of Habakkuk and, as I read through the three chapters of Habakkuk, it sounded like he was again describing our current day. God told the Prophet Habakkuk that He was going to do something amazing in his day that he would not believe, and He was raising the wicked to wreak havoc, but justice would be served. He told Habakkuk to write the revelation down and it would come to pass at the appointed time.
Although Habakkuk did not see the vision fulfilled during his day, he ends with a beautiful prayer of trust and faithfulness found in Habakkuk 3:17-19, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to tread on the heights.”
We are told how to prepare for the evil we face by putting on the full armor of God the Apostle Paul outlines in Ephesians 6:13-18, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
I encourage you to read Habakkuk and be encouraged! Although much of what he was experiencing did not make sense, and he questioned why God would allow this to happen, he was joyful, and God was his strength. We pray that you are healthy, wealthy, and wise during these challenging times. Please share our free blogs and podcast, www.ChristianBusinessValues.com with others in your circle influence to be a source of inspiration and encouragement.
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Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.