I don't want to. This is a hard word, and I prefer light, and joy, and hope.
Today, though, is a day for truth.
We, as the body of Christ in this country, deserve judgment. I am weeping as I write this, but I know it's true. I haven't been as faithful as I could have been. I haven't loved the Lord with every fiber of my being as I should. I haven't loved my neighbor as myself. If we are honest, neither have most of us who call ourselves the body of Christ.
I know this because I have spent the last fifteen weeks in the book of Hosea and it is obvious that we, as the church, are no better than Israel was at the time of their judgment. I have been overwhelmed with conviction, and still am. I'm also filled with a sense of foreboding. We could very well see the judgment we deserve today.
I do not believe our great risk comes from those who live in our town. I spent 24 hours at the prayer vigil at Temple of Compassion. Not one person there wanted another Ferguson. The only agenda was peace.
Outsiders have come into our community and they want to stir up trouble. Those outsiders have the potential to do irreparable harm.
Only God can save us.
This is a desperate day, and we must respond with the desperation of the prophets of old, who got on their knees, faces to the ground, in the position of desperate prayer. They fasted and prayed until God moved. This is a time for us to assume that same position of humility, to fast as they fasted, and begin our intercession for this community with true, deep repentance.
Children of God, we can do the work that must be done. This is a day for humility and turning from our sin. Even the sin we enjoy. We need to be on our knees with gut-wrenching repentance. This is a day for us to beg God for forgiveness and healing.
We will not have another day to turn this situation around. Now is literally the last moment.
We, the people of God, stand at a precipice. Now is the time to choose life. Now is the time to choose repentance. Now is the time to choose radical, long-lasting change.
it's frightening to think about what God will do with true repentance. We'll have to spend less on ourselves and more on our neighbor. Our lifestyles will likely have to include people who are different from us. We will have to love in ways we never imagined. Give more than we thought we'd want to give.
What we don't yet understand is that, in falling to our knees in real repentance, we might not just make a difference for our town today. We might find a wave of revival sweep through our state and our nation.
That's how it works. Revival only comes after the work of repentance is done. Healing our land only comes after humility and desperate repentance.
It's worth it.
God has promised to heal our land, fill our hearts with hope and joy and love and peace. IF we will do what must be done. Pray. Humble ourselves. Repent.
Today, let's join our hearts together as we fall on our knees and pray. If you haven't seen the prayer guide for Tupelo, I'm including it below.
This is not a day for finger-pointing. This is not a day for sham repentance. Those days are long gone. This is a day for true humility and repentance.
Scripture is full of the stories of men and women who did exactly what we will do today. Esther. Hezekiah. Jehosophat. God spared them. Every time. If we do what must be done, we, too, will love God's response. It will be worth the changes we make, so let's do it.
We won't be the ones who save our town, but our repentance is a critical part of what He does. It will be God alone who saves us. When God moves, if God moves, on our behalf, we must be sure to give Him all the credit. All the glory. All the honor.
Are you ready to help God save a town? He waits for our response, my brothers and sisters. Let's step up and do the hard work. Today, a nation looks to us to lead the way.
"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." 2 Chronicles 7:14 esv
Here's the full text of the prayer guide posted last night (7/29/16):
Our bill of rights guarantees us the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly. I celebrate those rights, and have sworn to uphold them. More than once. There is no doubt that both groups who have permits to hold demonstrations have the right to do so.
I do not have a quarrel with the planned demonstrations, and thank God that they (and I) have those rights. I might want to hold a demonstration of my own one day, and I cherish the right to do so.
With that said, it is easy for emotions to become inflamed, and for opposing views to collide. When that happens, it is entirely possible for violence to erupt.
I have prayed until I'm out of words about the situation in Tupelo and the potential for catastrophe during tomorrow's protests. The presence of KKK brochures in Tupelo has chilled me to the bone.
In anticipation of the very real possibility of true evil stirring the action, I beg you to participate in a virtual prayer walk of the two areas.
Evil is here and has the potential to take the day.
This must not be allowed to happen.
As children of God, we can access the power of the One who spoke the earth into being, spoke life into the dead man Lazarus, sustains and maintains the stars in the sky, and holds the earth in place. Our heavenly Father listens when we cry out to Him, and He is more than able to handle the events of tomorrow.
If we believe what we say we do, we must not sit idly by and do nothing. We can do the most powerful thing of all, and if we do not, it is a travesty. Our Abba Father can help us if we will only cry out. So join with me as we approach His throne.
Before we begin, let's review the primer on Spiritual Warfare found in Ephesians 6:10-20.
Let's begin by confessing our own sin and trying to clear our hearts of anything that might impair our prayers...
The first protest planned for tomorrow is at 10:30am and lasts until no later than 12:30pm. According to wtva.com, "the route ... will begin on Franklin Street near the BancorpSouth Arena, then down Green Street and finally down Main Street toward Fairpark." There will be a rally there after the march.
This link will take you to a Google map of the area to help you visualize the route. (opens in a new tab)
There are at least a dozen businesses along the route. Here's a link to a list of downtown businesses.
1) That the march will proceed in an orderly fashion.
2) That peace will cover downtown Tupelo like a blanket (My friend, David Davis, suggested this, and he's right.)
3) That not one word that might incite violence would be spoken.
4) For the protection of all protestors and all law enforcement officers.
5) That agitators from outside our town who want to cause trouble will not even be able to enter our city, whether from car trouble or other divine hinderances.
6) That none of the businesses along the route would be damaged in any way.
7) That the loss of revenue during the time of the protest will not prove to be catastrophic for them, as many of the businesses are owned by entrepreneurs who are likely counting on no-sales-tax-weekend revenue.
8) That the perfect love of Jesus will be demonstrated by all believers (regardless of the amount of melanin in their skin) and that it will cast out fear.
9) That no outside influence would profit from the demonstration.
10) That the Shumpert family would be surrounded by the love of God and find the perfect peace that passes all understanding, regardless of how the investigation proceeds.
11) That there will be not even one incident of violence or destruction of any kind.
12) That God might send a cooling rain that would keep tempers down and cool any hot heads. (If that rain makes violence less likely, all the better. I'm happy with torrents of rain, as well.)
Finally, pray that no sign of the KKK will be present during this protest to inflame emotions or cause worsened fear.
The second protest is scheduled for Ballard Park and will run from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. It's sponsored by the Confederate United Patriots Society. Here's a link to their: CUPS Facebook Page
1) That these protestors will not collide with the Our Lives Matter protesters in any way.
2) That no families will bring children to the park to play and get caught unawares in the demonstration.
3) That the state flag will not be allowed to inflame passions any further.
4) That the KKK will not be allowed on the grounds of the park by divine intervention. (As they, too, have the right to assembly and I'm not sure they can be refused access to the park.)
5) That none of the park equipment and none of the park's facilities will be damaged in any way.
6) That the protest will proceed peacefully, that cool heads will prevail, and that nothing will be allowed to inflame passions or incite violence.
7) That peace will cover the park like a blanket.
8) That the perfect love of Jesus will cast out any fear.
9) That no alcohol that might blunt judgment will be involved.
10) For the protection of all protestors and all law enforcement officers.
11) That agitators from outside our town who want to cause trouble will not even be able to enter our city, whether from car trouble or other divine hinderances.
12) That there will be not even one incident of violence or destruction of any kind.
13) That God might send a cooling rain that would keep tempers down and cool any hot heads. (If that rain makes violence less likely, all the better. I'm happy with torrents of rain, as well.)
14) That this demonstration will not cause further injury to the fragile peace of our area.
15) That no sign of the KKK will be present during this protest to inflame emotions or cause worsened fear.
16) That those with firearms will leave them in their vehicles, including those with concealed carry permits. (this subject has been mentioned on their FB page, but I did not see a decision from their leadership.)
Most of all, pray that God would be glorified by what HE does and will get all the credit.
We would do well to fast until tomorrow evening, when the protests are over, but we must not stop praying. The enemy of our souls must not be allowed free reign in our town. In the name of Jesus, pray as if the very existence of our town and the peace of our region depends upon it, for they very well may.
Pray, and, like Elijah, keep praying until the cloud comes and God moves.
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man ACCOMPLISHES MUCH.
James 5:16 KJV
but only if the righteous actually pray...
(here's a link to last night's prayer guide if you want to share it: Urgent Prayers For Peace in Tupelo)_
#prayforTupelo #tupelo #prayforpeace #tupelojuly30