Before we get too far along in digesting what happened in Charleston, SC last night I want to take the time to remind my fellow Christians, and the rest of the world of a few things. We are reminded in 2 Chronicles 7:14,
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
This message was delivered to King Solomon of ancient Israel at the dedication of the first temple in Jerusalem. The scenario presented to Solomon in this verse occurred over and over again in the history of ancient Israel. The people drifted away from God, they had to seek him out again, and forgave them time and time again. It occurs over and over again in the lives of modern Christians. Brothers and sisters we need to pray. Why? Oh for lots of reasons. Here are just a few that came to mind as I read about the shooting in Charleston, SC.
Ephesians 6: 10-12
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Brothers and sisters we are at war and the battles we fight will not be won with bombs or sophisticated arguments. The battles we fight will be won when we fall on our faces before God and cry out for forgiveness.
Ephesians 6: 13-18
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
Brothers and sisters we are in the midst of war. Is your battle armor ready? Are you wearing it? This morning I can’t help but think of the exiles returning from Babylon to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple. They were ready to fight. They worked with the tools of their trade in one hand and their weapons in the other. Are you ready to fight? The enemy doesn’t care if you are ready are not. They are here and they are fighting hard. They fight with the desperation of the defeated. Are you going to fight like the victory has already been promised to you? Because it has.
“No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”
Brothers and sisters pray. Don’t succumb to the temptation to respond to this the way the rest of the world would. Choose God’s way.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
The rest of the world, you us watch and remember these words,
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Brothers and sisters you remember these words too as you pray.