Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Rayola Kelley

September 11, 2001 forever changed the scene of America. It not only changed the face of New York City but the way we as a nation conduct business. The sorrow, loses and despair will not quickly subside as past tragedies but it will loom before us. And our thoughts and prayers especially go out to those who lost family and friends in this senseless tragedy.

One of the goals of Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to train people to “stand” in times of tragedy. Whether people stand in the incredible storms of life will depend on the foundation they are established upon, the cornerstone (representing their form of truth) they line up to and the type of structure (or quality of life) that has been erected.

This was especially brought to the forefront of my mind by the images that were continually unfolded in front of us on TV. Buildings that were built to stand either came down or were crippled due to the act of terrorism.

The buildings affected represented the economic and military strength of this nation. It was hard to watch as these buildings that represented America’s strength were reduced to a tomb. Whether we wanted to or not on September 11, America had to face its own mortality.

One contrast that came to mind was Babylon. This great city came down within an hour according to prophecy and history. As I watched these towers that represented America’s economic strength, I realized that after the first tower came down the second one followed suit forty-five minutes later. Within one hour these two great icons had come down. Should Babylon’s example and our present similarity to it as a nation cause Christians to take heed?

In spite of the warnings, the reaction of the American people was that of utter disbelief and shock. How could this happen to America? We are a nation that can’t be “touched” like the rest of the world. We stand elite, untouchable and immovable; therefore, no one would dare touch us in spite of all of the past warnings that this nation was a target of terrorists. In fact, according to a CNN report America was warned about this scenario six years ago by the Filipino authorities.

It is obvious that the American people did not believe the many warnings that this country is vulnerable. In fact, America has some very powerful enemies that are capable of bringing this nation down to the status of a third world country or at least maim us beyond recognition in a matter of seconds.

But is this the type of reality America wants to be bothered with? Of course not. We Americans just want to be allowed to pursue the American dream without any hindrances. Therefore, the prevailing attitude is just keep the money, jobs and entertainment flowing and all is well with the world.

Obviously, most Americans have been lulled into a fantasy that is setting them up for destruction rather than preparing them to face harsh realities and to stand and make tough decisions. In fact, this tragedy has awakened a sleeping giant that has somewhat become gluttonous and slothful due to its many overindulgences.

Don’t get me wrong. I love America, but I am realistic about the spiritual environment of this nation. America is an unprotected nation because of its blatant sins of idolatry, pride, fornication, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, selfishness and divorces. This nation mocks truth, has thrown God out of schools while embracing the lie of evolution. His Ten Commandments have been stripped from our courthouses. It is a nation that seeks pleasure over God, perverted rights over uprightness and is now persecuting and advocating laws to silent the voice of Christians from presenting the one true God and His provision of salvation to a world that is bent on going to hell. God will not nor is He blessing this nation. America is not only unprotected but it is ripe for judgment!

God has shown America mercy on behalf of His people. He has given this nation many freedoms but instead of doing right, these have been abused in the name of immoral practices and beliefs.

The real problem does not rest with the unbelievers of America but with the church in America. The church has become so worldly that those practice much of the sins that plague America within the church. Many Christians, especially, our young people, do not know how to separate the holy from the unholy. They have subjected themselves to various forms and practices of paganism and New Age philosophy in the church. Today it is hard to distinguish the church from the world.

The question is how do we as a body of believers in America respond to this incident? First of all, we need to realize this terrorist attack is primarily a wake-up call to God’s people, not this nation. God in His long-suffering is trying to wake up His church to its spiritual condition. You can actually see He is trying to bring down the god of pleasure and bring some sobriety to a pleasure seeking nation and a flippant materialistic church.

It is important for the church to realize that the success of this wake-up call does not rest with how this nation responds politically or militarily but how the church responds spiritually. Let me state, all judgment begins in the house of God; therefore, impending judgment cannot be put off by political maneuvers. Humbled hearts, bended knees and mourning over sin can only thwart this type of judgment. It will not be accomplished in the halls of Congress but in the prayer closets of every blood-bought saint.

God’s people must get His attention and appeal to His mercy. How do we get God’s attention? Hebrews 13:16 tells us the prayers of the righteous are effective. Ezekiel 22:20 states that God is looking for one righteous man to stand in the gap. This means that we must examine ourselves and make sure there is no sin in our life that would hinder us from standing in the gap. Keep in mind, only the righteous can stand before God.

The next step is we must confess the sins of the church and this nation in order to appeal to God’s mercy. Like Daniel in Daniel 9, we must become personally identified with these sins so we can properly intercede. By recognizing and facing the sins of both the church and the nation, hopefully it will cause us to mourn over the spiritual deviance that reigns freely within both entities. Mourning can produce brokenness, which God cannot resist according to Psalm 34:18 and 51:17.

After confession we must appeal to the character of God. God will never stay judgment for the sake of wickedness, evil or even the innocent. He can only put off judgment for the benefit of His character, promises, the righteous and the unfinished work of the harvest field.

This summarizes the challenge set before the church. In fact, I will be sharing the information on intercession for the nation and church that I shared with those in our discipleship and fellowship groups in this newsletter. I encourage you to prayerfully study it. I feel it is vital that the church takes it rightful place and effectively stands in the gap for America.

This whole incident has renewed both my vision and urgency to prepare to stand and teach others to do so in these end days. I realized that after September 11, 2001, the real challenge was not getting back to business as usual but making sure I was being about my Father’s business.

We want to thank you for your ongoing support and friendship. It is priceless and we want to encourage you at this time to prepare yourself to stand in the gap, not only in prayer but in the midst of overwhelming challenges. We trust God will bless you as you seek to know Him in greater ways.