we are to see the church strengthened and the nation healed, we must
learn how to approach the throne of God in humble, reverent worship.
is in a time of crisis. During the last several decades, more and more
people have turned away from God, no longer wanting to hear what He has
to say about their lives and circumstances. The result has been a
frightening moral decline that threatens to destroy our country from the
September 11 terrorist attacks, however, many ears have begun to open
again. Fearful and uncertain about the future, many people are more
willing than ever to listen to what God, through His church, has to say
about the evil that has befallen our nation.
a profound opportunity we have to see this nation turn back to God and
to bring in a great harvest of souls! If we will cooperate with Him, God
will turn the present evil to good and use it for His glory.
key will be not how the depraved world responds to the crisis but how
the church of Jesus Christ responds. What will we do with the
opportunity God has placed before us?
SPEAKING FOR GOD
Many people today are searching for God. They want to hear the voice of
God, and they are looking to us to tell them what God is saying.
do we dare speak for the God of all creation? How do we speak for the
One who said, “Let there be…” and there was? The One whose voice is so
strong, He literally sustains this world by the power of His word?
thought of speaking for God should scare us to death—death to
ourselves, death to our own agendas, and death to our own ideas and
concepts and religion. God forbid that flesh should enter in when it’s
time to speak the words of God! Yet so often we say things without much
prayer or thought, supposedly speaking for Him.
Bible tells us, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go
near to listen, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not
know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be
hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and
you are on earth, so let your words be few.
a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when
there are many words … Therefore stand in awe of God” (Eccl. 5:1-7,
By nightfall on
September 11, religious commentators from all over the world were
already speaking for God. Some of the words that were spoken may have
been on target; others may not have been.
in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, there was a need for
Christians to provide comfort in the midst of overwhelming devastation.
But many were quick instead to utter the “opinions” of God. Was it time
to speak His words? Where was the time spent standing in awe before Him
GETTING IT RIGHT The world is listening to us right now as never before. That’s why we must be careful to watch what we say.
Job’s friends were quick to speak in his anguish; they had many noble
things to say about his situation. Yet God ended that chapter of Job’s
life by declaring that the words those friends had spoken weren’t right.
As good and religious as their speeches sounded, they weren’t the words
Can preachers and
teachers who have been right about God’s words in the past suddenly be
wrong when an urgent matter arises? I believe they can.
King David told the prophet Nathan that he wanted to build a temple for
God, Nathan thought the idea sounded good. Surely a house built in
God’s name would honor the Lord! And up to that point, Nathan had always
been right; he had always accurately spoken the oracles of God. So he
told David, “‘Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the
Lord is with you'” (2 Sam. 7:3).
night, however, God came to Nathan and told him that David was not
supposed to build the temple; David’s son, Solomon, would be the builder
in the next generation. Nathan had to go back to David and retract the
words he had spoken too quickly.
because any of us has been right in the past doesn’t mean we are right
now. Before we jump to a conclusion about what God would say in a given
situation, we must first stand in awe of Him. We must let our words be
After all, God is in
the heavens; we are here on Earth. We don’t always know or understand
how God is going to accomplish His perfect will. What makes sense and
seems right to us now may not be right at all.
Jesus was being taken away to be tried and crucified—and ultimately
raised from the dead, completing the good work that was given to Him by
the Father—Peter reacted by doing what he thought was right. In the
urgency of the moment, he drew his sword and cut off a soldier’s ear.
But Jesus rebuked him for it.
and I need to be careful not to do what Peter did. Yes, now is the time
for believers to draw their swords of the Spirit and rise to face the
challenge before us. But the question is, how will we use those swords?
we use them to cut off the ears of our hearers? Will we use them with
meanness, speaking condemnation to such a degree that those who are
dying to hear have their ears cut off instead?
avoid such a mistake, we must not draw our swords until we have first
stood in awe and listened for what it is that God wants to say in this
hour. That should be our first response in any urgent matter: to stand
in awe, be silent and listen.
A HOLY FEAR
We need to return to a holy fear of the Lord and a reverence for His
Word! Remember how the people of Israel responded when Ezra read out
loud the books of the Law? Nehemiah 8 tells us that as he opened the
Scriptures, all the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, and all the
people lifted their hands, cried “Amen!” and bowed down and worshiped.
believe God is calling His church to fall on her face before Him
again—not once, not just in this immediate crisis, but until the
kingdom comes. It’s time for us to put our faces to the ground in our
congregations, in our homes and in our prayer closets. I’m not talking
about a physical posture only; I’m talking about an attitude of the
heart that demonstrates both humility and awe.
leaders have quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14 in recent months: “‘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 will I hear from heaven and
will forgive their sin and will heal their land.'” What this Scripture
tells us is that if we experience a lack of healing in our nation, it’s
not because unredeemed people are sinning. It’s because Christians
revival can come only as we, the church, bow down before Jesus and
confess Him as Lord. We must do this long before we see Him face to
The truth is, if we
say all the right things but have the wrong heart, God will not do
battle for us. First Peter 5:5 says, “‘God opposes the proud but gives
grace to the humble.'” If we take our swords and speak the truth with
pride and arrogance, God will oppose us, and our words will have no
effect. If He sees our humility, however, He will raise up His mighty
arm on our behalf. His grace and sufficiency will be with us and with
the words we speak.
GOD ROCKED THE HOUSE
Acts 4 tells the story of Peter and John being opposed by the religious
rulers of the day strictly because they were servants of Jesus. The
rulers initially released the two apostles after warning them “not to
speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).
and John went back to the church and reported everything that the chief
priests and elders had told them. When the believers heard the news,
they did not draw their swords; instead, they raised their voices
together in powerful prayer:
Lord…You made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in
them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant,
our father David: “Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together
against the Lord and against His Anointed One.”
Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people
of Israel in this city to conspire against Your holy servant Jesus, whom
You anointed. They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand
should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your
servants to speak Your word with great boldness. Stretch out Your hand
to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of
Your holy servant Jesus'” (Acts 4:24-30).
they prayed, the Bible says, “the place where they were meeting was
shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word
of God boldly” (v. 31).
you want God to rock your house, your church, your nation, the way He
rocked that first-century meeting place? Do you want Him to fill you
with the Holy Spirit so you can speak His word with boldness? I know I
do! The key is this: Before we speak—before we draw our swords—we must
take time to stand in awe.
it’s important that we do that together. Acts 4:24 says the believers
“raised their voices together in prayer to God.” The Greek word
translated together is actually a compound word meaning “same” and
“mind” or “passion.” From the beginning the church was birthed from
among a very diverse people, and we are still diverse today.
We are never going to agree on all things. We have different gifts. But we have the same Lord.
we are willing to come together with one mind and one passion—the
passion to see God glorified and salvation multiplied—then God will
rock the house. If we come together as a church in this nation across
all denominational, ethnic and racial barriers; if we choose to humble
ourselves before God and be unified in His name; if we cry out together
with like passion; then He will be glorified, and salvation will be
multiplied. His Spirit will fill us, and each one of us will boldly
speak His word.
A GREAT OUTPOURING
Acts 2:17-18 tells us that the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit
of all time will be characterized by the bold proclamation of God’s
Word. Neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, parent to child, believers
will not hesitate to tell others about Jesus. They will live with the
Word of God fresh upon their tongues and burning in their hearts.
In that day, they will stand in awe. They will listen. They will bow down. Only then will they draw the sword.
nation is in crisis, and people are open to hearing what God has to say
to them in the midst of their confusion and fear. We need an outpouring
of the Holy Spirit so that you and I can speak the word of God to
them—the word that is right for this critical hour; the word that will
cut to their hearts, not cut off their ears.
Christians, we have a lot to say that the world needs to hear. People
need to know that God is sovereign and Jesus is Lord—now more than
But let’s determine not to speak too quickly. Before we draw the sword, let us first stand in awe.
founder of Living Proof Ministries. She has written many books and Bible studies, including So Long Insecurity and Praying God’s Word.