I once had the privilege of ministering in a conference alongside David Wilkerson. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis I revisited a prophetic warning he gave in 1986.
"I see a plague coming on the world, and the bars, churches and government will shut down," he said. "The plague will hit New York City and shake it like it has never been shaken. The plague is going to force prayer-less believers into radical prayer and into their Bibles, and repentance will be the cry from the man of God in the pulpit. And out of it will come a third Great Awakening that will sweep America and the world."
I personally believe that God has allowed this virulent virus into over 150 nations of the world to humble us and bring us to repentance. I believe it is a "dress rehearsal" calling us to reset/turn back to Him or else we will have to go through it again.
Scripture makes it clear that God not only ordains blessings, but also redemptive judgments. The book of Revelation shows us that viruses and plagues are a natural part of a sin-affected world and at times used by God as a wakeup call to get us back on track.
"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God, and if it begins first with us, what shall the end be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17).
Was it providential that the weekly "White House Bible Study Group" with 10 of the President's Cabinet has been studying how crises often represent God's corrective judgment? Former NBA player Ralph Drollinger, author of Is God Judging America Today? leads the study.
We had been experiencing the greatest economic boom in our nation's history and then came the boom of the coronavirus hit! I believe God wants us to intercede for our president (who called for a national day of prayer) and influence all we can to stand by him and reconsider supporting him if they formally resisted. This is critical for the future of our nation as the alternative is a politician and platform pushing abortion, LGBTQ initiatives, socialism, open borders, Planned Parenthood, sanctuary cities and beyond.
2020 Election: 200 Days Away
As I do my daily walk I maintain social distance but engage with people in building relational bridges. Recently I stopped to chat for 20 minutes with a store manager who told me the owner is a Christian who "can't stand Trump." Listening respectfully to what she shared I then offered some thoughts, which provoked her thinking and had her nodding supportively before I left.
As we interact with people we have an opportunity to influence someone to take another look at our president. As I engage with people by asking how they're doing I find great openings to mention our president's hard work and cite how he was the first world leader to close flights from China.
While walking a Christian couple asked me what I thought of Trump. She had misgivings but when I shared how the president honors the sanctity of life versus the aborting of innocent babies, both ended up nodding positively in agreement.
Change Is a Process
In the business world, marketing consultants talk about "early adopters" versus "eventual adopters" in trying new products. What's important is patiently educating, not pressuring or manipulating. "... pleasant speech increases persuasiveness" (Prov. 16:21b, RSV).
Years ago I prodded my wife to try texting. She repeatedly said, "I don't do texting!" I periodically mentioned the benefits and eventually it became an integral part of her life.
I've taught on lifestyle evangelism for decades ("Loving Lifestyle Evangelism"). Our core principle: "Conversion is a process" as the average person has approximately seven encounters with the gospel before a genuine response! Jesus told us about the "sower and seed planting" regarding the gospel and the principle applies as we try to influence folks to reconsider our president.
3 Practical Principles
1. Connect with people intentionally and listen considerately. We are divided often because we are disconnected. Will we invest relationally and listen attentively to influence people for righteousness? Remember, "A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart" (Prov. 18:2).
When we establish relationships, genuinely listen and look for ways to serve others, people like us and will enjoy conversing with us.
Before the crises, Doris and I were a part of a roundtable leader's gathering with a relational focus. A blooper on my part made me glad of our relational emphasis.
One of our participants is 4-star General Jerry Boykin, a distinguished military veteran. Introducing him for a video commentary I mistakenly called him "General Jerry Curry"! There was no offense but rather we froze, broke down in laughter and hugged each other secure in friendship.
My wife and I cultivate friendship with neighbors sharing meals at our homes. We discuss different perspectives on issues and enjoy robust dialogue because of friendship.
2. Consider the importance of caution in judging. I like to ask people if they've ever felt the "sting" of being wrongly judged. I then refer to the warning of Jesus on not judging by appearances (John 7:24) and that we'll be judged the same way we judge others (Matt. 7:1-2).
Be humble here and share some personal examples from your life. How about me weeks ago visiting someone in a lower income neighborhood where two boys were playing video games in the living room with five bottles of "whiskey" on the table and no adult present. When the adult returned home I delicately pointed out the danger when she chuckled, explaining it was tea stored in the bottles! Oops.
When people start pointing out our president's flaws and past sins, I agree he has rough edges and has sinned like we all have, but say, "Shouldn't we be merciful and pray for growth like we desire for ourselves?"
I'll point out that he is not a typical politician, but rather a brusque, New York businessman who aggressively gets things done and is not reluctant to deal decisively with wrongdoers and wrongdoing.
I'll say that in studying the Bible I've discovered everyone but Jesus had their flaws and failures. It's the same thing with former presidents, many who got a pass from the media!
3. Call attention to his accomplishments. In attempting to influence people to reconsider President Trump I smile and ask, would they at least be willing to consider the hard work he's done (going on four to five hours of sleep plus giving his salary to help others); how much he's accomplished for all of us (amidst incredible opposition); how the corrupt news media admits, "We don't give him credit for the good he does"; and how, in a short time, if he's not reelected, almost all the accomplishments can be reversed?
In spite of the unprecedented and unexpected pandemic, we have an important window of opportunity in this upcoming election to rebuild together and regain the progress we've made in the past three years if we repent before God, and pledge to honor Him, His Word and our biblical based heritage.
No other president in U.S. history has experienced the level of hostility like Donald Trump with the exception of Lincoln. He famously said, "Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it."
I ask you to take some time to review the attached document on "The Trump Administration Accomplishments on Life, Family and Religious Freedom" prepared by the Family Research Council. Give thanks to God for how He intervened in our nation and gives us the chance to influence others to reconsider standing with our president in this critical time.
Here's the deal: God calls us to be "salt" in society. "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, wisely using the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone" (Col. 4:5-6). Get engaged as an informed influencer making a difference for our families, our future and the glory of God!
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