Prayer Targets: Repentance; Women's History Month; True Women Heroes of Today
March 11, 2020
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mt 4:17)
Dear Praying Friends,
Richard Owen Roberts (bio) studied at Gordon, Whitworth, and Fuller Seminary. He pastored in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and California before founding International Awakening Ministries. His 9,000-book collection on historic revivals and awakenings is the heart of the Billy Graham Library at Wheaton College. Here are excerpts from Roberts' Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel:
REPENTANCE IS REQUIRED OF ENTIRE NATIONS - Just as the corporate sin of every entity [church. family, government, etc.] demands corporate repentance, so national sin demands national repentance. National sins are the gross sins that defile the whole land, making the nation guilty before God. They are the sins that result in the loss of at least some of God's sovereign mercies and in the display of at least some of His righteous judgments.
Several things must be said concerning these sins.
First, they are national sins--the general population is corrupted by them. This was true in Sodom, where God could not find even ten righteous people. Isaiah, speaking of Israel, described a period time saying, "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head there is nothing sound in it, only bruises, welts, and raw wounds, not pressed out or bandaged, nor softened with oil. Your land is desolate, your cities are burned with fire, your fields-- strangers are devouring them in your presence; it is desolation, as overthrown by strangers. Unless the LORD of hosts had left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, we would be like Gomorrah" (Is 1:5-7, 9).
Second, they are by their very nature sins that, if left in place, are not only grossly evil but also corrupting. They contaminate everything around them. Jesus warned against the leaven of the Pharisees. Any sin, left in place, will corrupt things around it.
Third, the leaders of the people are themselves so contaminated by sin that they make no serious effort to suppress it. Indeed, at a time when national repentance is urgently needed, it is not uncommon for leaders to alter long-standing laws to accommodate gross iniquities, rather than to repent and to call others to do the same. We have seen this happen in recent years when politicians have changed longstanding laws affecting abortion, usury, homosexuality, fornication, and adultery. At such a time, it is also common for leaders to grow lax in enforcing the laws that already exist, sometimes because they themselves are guilty of gross violations.
Fourth, the nature of the sins themselves, and the degree to which they are happily entertained by both leaders and the masses of the people, may profoundly affect the churches. Rather than the churches altering the world for good, the world will alter the church for evil. The nominally religious are readily drawn into the web of iniquity, and eventually it is only with considerable difficulty that the church can be distinguished from the world.
Fifth, the prevalence of sin is so great that some of the remnant of faithful believers who remain are gripped by a spirit of pessimism and do little more than sit quietly by, hoping for an end-time deliverance.
Sixth, sin so profoundly impacts the nation that the few servants of God who speak out against it seem to have the ear of but a handful. They are generally treated, even by religious people, as foolish and unprofessional extremists.
Seventh, man's extremity is still God's opportunity. At the very moment when sin appears to have fully triumphed, the Lord may gift the nation with repentance and faith.
It is wise and necessary to observe that nations are rarely ever destroyed before they have first been clearly warned of their sins and of the pending judgment of God, and second, have rebelliously refused to repent.
As dark as the present hour appears, it is refreshing and encouraging to realize that the voices of the true prophets of the living God have not yet been raised to such a level that the nations have heard the word of the Lord and have deliberately refused to repent. Thus far, most of the voices that have been heard have sounded a very uncertain note. No wonder national repentance has not occurred. The English-speaking world desperately needs to hear the clarion call to national repentance. Until it does, there is hope even for the Western world. Oh, that God Himself would raise up a mighty army of faithful men to call all the nations of earth to repentance...
National evil demands national repentance. Are you doing all you can to call your nation to repentance? National repentance must start somewhere. Why shouldn't it start with you? If your repentance is in place, ask God to give you a voice that others will hear. As a little leaven can corrupt the whole lump, so a determined person who walks in the spirit of repentance can impact an entire nation. That individual may be blessed to see a mighty outpouring of divine mercy upon his or her entire land. (R.O. Roberts, Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel, edited for length)
- Lord, America has many problems in the sphere of government, politics, and public policy, as well as the other spheres of cultural power and influence: the "seven mountains" (religion, family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment, and business). Yet, Lord, we know that problems are not primarily political, but spiritual. Our root problem is sin, and estrangement from you, God our Maker, Savior Judge, Lawmaker, King, our all an all. Thank you for showing us through Jesus your readiness and desire to forgive our sins. Please grant us repentance and draw us back to yourself. In Jesus' name, amen. (Lev 26: all; Dt 7:9; 28: all; Is 33:20-24; Mk 8:38; Lk 3:3; 5:32; 11:4; 13:1-8; Jn 5:14; 8:11; 8:24; Rev 2:5;16; 21-22; 3:3;19)
Women's History Month -- There was a time in American history when great women were honored for their godly character and God-honoring contributions to society. But especially since the feminist movement of the 60's and 70's, many of the women highlighted in the popular media have been liberal activists whose contributions have been destructive to American society. Many were cultural revolutionaries who brought damaging ideas and practices to America, ideas defiant toward God, destructive to our nation's biblical foundations, and harmful to the American family and family values. I think of Margaret Sanger, whose legacy is Planned Parenthood, which is the largest name in America's abortion industry. Planned Parenthood has found its way into the hearts of too many American women and into the halls of state and federal government. The abortion industry's propaganda has persuaded young women in America and around the world that abortion is not only permissible but even necessary, something to be promoted and fought for. Too many of our elected and appointed officials have fallen for it. As a result, the very soil of our nation is stained by the shed innocent blood of over 60 million unborn and born babies, under the guise of "legality," their blood like Abel's crying out to the Lord (Gen 4:10-12).
Sanger's influence, as well as that of her followers, has systematically led to the abortion of millions of children who would otherwise be living and contributing members of American society, as well as millions more around the world through Planned Parenthood's international arm. Using aggressive business practices, lobbying, and intrigue over the years, they have duped Americans and federal and state governments into dishing out millions and millions of taxpayer dollars each year in subsidies to fund their nefarious activities, making every American taxpayer complicit in their activities (Pr 24:11-12). Planned Parenthood now advocates and aids minors in practicing unlimited immoral sexual expression, using the public schools to promote their materials to introduce sexual depravity to the children of unsuspecting parents, then helps minor children to obtain abortions after they have put the organization's philosophy into practice.
Many prominent women since the 60's have been strong advocates of abortion, and there have been many others who have been prominent advocates of some other strain of liberal thought who have made a dent in American culture. Among those that Time magazine has put forth as the Women of the Year over the last hundred years are: Margaret Sanger, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, "Jane Roe," Madonna, Jocelyn Elders, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ellen DeGeneres, and 17-year-old Greta Thunberg (who is also a nominee for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for her wildly excessive fear of climate change).
In contrast to those who have sadly embraced the pro-abortion mantra, I want to honor and pray this month for the Christian women, too many to mention, who have prayed and labored for righteousness, with life and an end to abortion on the top of their list next to the salvation of souls. I won't try to begin listing them because their number is too vast. And perhaps the greatest heroes have been the women who have been unknown except in their churches, among their colleagues, as volunteers at a local pregnancy resource center, and those women who have chosen life, or the fathers and families of the children whose lives they've helped save. (See Patrina Mosley's blog on Women's History Month)
- Father, when we get to heaven, we will discover heroes in your kingdom whose names we have never heard -- champions for souls and for the unborn, many of whom we will also meet. Father, millions will be unknown to anyone except you, godly women who have spent hours on their knees crying out to you for an end to abortion. Lord, even as we now contend for the lives of born-alive babies, we thank you for the women across America who are the heroes of our day, those who are seeking your face with all of their hearts for an end to abortion. Please, Lord, forgive us of this terrible national sin, grant us repentance, and cause us, once again, to be advocates for the right to life, with no reservations, so that you can bless us again as you have for so many years. Forgive us, oh God, and help us to quickly turn back to you. Let this be the year of repentance! (Dt 19:10; 21:1-9; 2 Kings 24:4; Pr 1:10-19; 24:11-12)