Natural disasters are claiming lives in America. Economic disasters are driving poverty in America. Agronomists are predicting famine in America. Politicians and schoolchildren are being shot in America. Pastors are falling into sexual immorality in America. Violent protesters are taking to the streets in America. All the while some Americans are arming themselves for another Civil War.
There's been an increasingly rapid decline in America's morality since prayer was removed from schools in 1962. Abortion was legalized in 1973. Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004. Plenty of wickedness has taken place in between and since—and the enemy is growing bolder. God has lifted a measure of His hedge of protection around America. Christians are meeting with persecution in the marketplace, and anti-Christ agendas are working overtime to send America into a downward spiral of darkness.
"Without divine intervention, what we call America will be gone within the next couple of years. It's that critical," says evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, pastor at The River at Tampa Bay. "The handwriting is on the wall. Only God can save us now. This is not a game. If we don't see a turn in the next two or three years, America as we know it will sink into the abyss and will be gone forever."
For decades, God has sent prophetic voices from many streams, like Billy Graham, Jonathan Cahn and Howard-Browne—to warn America. Yet the spiritual state of the union has only grown worse. Our national debt continues piling up, abortions are still legal, prayerlessness abounds, a spiritual avalanche is looming over our churches even as natural threats like the Ebola virus and the Islamic State threaten to cross our borders.
No politician can fix the problems our nation is facing. We need another Great Awakening. The good news is God wants to bring another spiritual awakening to America. He's just waiting for us to get in line with His Spirit like our Founding Fathers did when they fought to establish one nation under God. Like George Washington did when he was faced with the reality of losing to the British, we need to make an appeal to heaven that will usher in the next great move of God.
Making an Appeal to Heaven
The revelation of making an appeal to heaven as it relates to taking back our nation for God unfolded to Dutch Sheets, an internationally recognized author, teacher and conference speaker, through several prophetic encounters over the course of about 12 years—and it's igniting fires of revival and awakening in the United States and beyond. Many, including myself, believe that it relates directly to a Third Great Awakening in America.
One of those prophetic encounters was a dream a young man named Thomas shared with Sheets. In the dream, Sheets was a boxer facing five giants in five rounds. One by one, he knocked out those giants with a single punch, alternating fists. One of the boxing gloves said "Everlast," which is a common brand name for boxing gloves but nevertheless prophetic. The other glove said "Evergreen." Sheets knew God was talking to him about taking out the giants in America.
"When I look at the giants in America, I get overwhelmed," Sheets says. "I have to get my focus off the giants and get my focus on the Lord. He can do this. This is not too hard for God."
The foundation of the revelation is in the Everlast and Evergreen dream—and then tied back into Scripture. As Sheets studied the life of Abraham, he was fascinated by Genesis 21:33: "Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God." This is the first time in Scripture when Jehovah is called "Everlasting God."
The Law of First Mention is a Scripture interpretation principle that states the first mention or occurrence of a name or subject matter in the Bible establishes a pattern that is unchangeable in God's mind throughout Scripture. Up until Genesis 21:33, Abraham knew Jehovah as Adonai, El Shaddai and Yahweh. After walking though 25 years of struggles and mistakes, waiting to see the promise of Isaac fulfilled, Abraham saw Jehovah as the "Everlasting God," or Olam-El, the strong eternal God who fulfills the past and precedes us into our futures. The Everlasting God is the One who stood by Abraham even when he lied about Sarah being his sister. The strong, eternal God is the one who stuck with him through the issue of Ishmael.
God Is Not Finished With America
"God is not finished with America. He's not," Sheets says. "God is not going to send awakening to America because we deserve it. He is not going to send awakening based on our merits or our goodness. I'm not asking for revival because we haven't sinned or because we're perfect. I'm asking for this based on His mercy and His faithfulness and the fact that He's bigger than our mistakes. And I'm asking based on the blood of Jesus."
That's the revelation of the "Everlast" glove in the prophetic dream. The revelation of "Evergreen" wouldn't come until six years later at a Christ for the Nations graduation when Sheets asked one of his spiritual sons, a military man, to offer the graduation message. Long story short, the soldier pulled out a flag that George Washington flew on his naval ships before the United States of America was ever birthed. It was the banner America was born under—a white banner with an evergreen tree and the words "Appeal to Heaven" written in block letters across the top. The tamarisk tree that Abraham planted in Genesis 21:33 is an evergreen tree.
Here's the bottom line as Sheets saw it: "I realized what God was saying to me is if we're going to defeat the giants, we can't be asking for God to deliver America just so we can prosper. We're going to have to tap into His eternal purpose. This is not about being the most powerful nation or the richest. This is about being that city on a hill. This is about furthering the gospel. This is about what God wants to do, not just here but all over the world. We're going to have to tap into this synergy of the ages. We are going to have to do the same thing they did. If we wear the everlasting covenant glove and wear the evergreen covenant glove and reconnect to our roots in Him, God will come through for us."
When God Poured Out His Spirit in Kentucky
There is power in making this appeal to heaven. For nearly 200 years, Clay County, Kentucky, was marked by violent family feuds, moon-shining and murder, extreme poverty, government corruption and deadly drug abuse. Clay County—and specifically the City of Manchester—made national headlines over and over again for all the wrong reasons.
In July 1989, USA Today reported that more than 40 percent of Clay County's population was growing marijuana and the Daniel Boone National Forest was effectively transformed into a pot field. By the turn of the century the area moved on to a new drug. The Lexington-Herald Ledger dubbed Manchester "The Painkiller Capital of America" in January 2003 as Oxycontin was sold on nearly every street corner. From there, "cooks" rose up to manufacture methamphetamine, a highly-addictive crystalline drug that can be snorted, smoked or injected.
Political officials and police were being paid to look the other way. The drug lords bought the elections every four years. More than 90 percent of the county's high school students were strung out on one drug or another. Overdoses became a common occurrence, with memorial crosses strewn along the city streets like a picket fence. Meanwhile, the pastors were polarized based on doctrinal differences and felt hopeless to help members whose families were drug-addicted and dying.
"Our kids started dying. Out of desperation, we started praying in the fall of 2003. We started crying out to the Lord. A Southern Baptist preacher named Ken Bolin had a dream," says Doug Abner, who was pastoring a church in Manchester at the time. "Ken wanted to have a march against drugs and corruption on May 2, 2004. We received threats on our lives, our homes and our churches, but we knew it was God."
The morning of May 2, in the pouring rain 4,000 people turned out for the march. That's especially significant considering Manchester is only home to 2,000 people. The rally ended at a park. There the pastors and church leaders repented for being more concerned about their own denominations, their own congregations, and their own programs than the lost souls in Clay County. When they asked the people to forgive them and vowed to work together, Abner says the manifest presence of the Lord fell in the park to the degree that people could hardly breathe.
"The fear of the Lord gripped the community. Drug dealers and corrupt politicians began to tell on each other," Abner says. "A few months later, the FBI came to town and started arresting people. Eventually, they arrested the mayor and the assistant police chief, the fire chief, the 911 director, several local judges and city council members, a circuit judge, school board members and the superintendent and lots of others. They arrested the drug dealers, who were selling drugs to the nation from Manchester."
Today, Manchester is known as the City of Hope. God even healed the land. For years, the water tasted foul without a water filter. But in 2008, Clay County's water won first place in Kentucky's municipal water system for its taste. Churches and local businesses banded together with the court system to develop second-chance employment programs for Clay County's population of recovering drug addicts. As the economy improved, new businesses started opening to provide those jobs.
"I asked the Lord, 'Why Manchester?' And He said, 'Because I want the world to see what can happen when people get desperate and begin to come together,'" Abner says. "As bad as the darkness was, our biggest problem was not the darkness. Our biggest problem was the lack of light—the church not being what it is supposed to be. When we came together in desperation, He healed the land. He changed the fabric of our society."
Transforming Revival Is Possible
Transformation is possible in America and indeed transforming revival has broken out in communities around the world. The Sentinel Group, a Christian research and information agency dedicated to helping the church pray knowledgeably for end-time global evangelization and enabling communities to discover the pathway to genuine revival and societal transformation, has documented transformation in about 1,000 communities worldwide.
A transformed community, as The Sentinel Group defines it, is a neighborhood, city or nation whose values and institutions have been overrun by the grace and presence of God; a place where divine fire has not merely been summoned, it has fallen; a society disrupted by supernatural power; a culture that has been impacted comprehensively and undeniably by the kingdom of God; and a location where kingdom values are celebrated publicly and passed on to future generations. Transforming revival starts with an appeal to heaven.
"They re-covenant with God. They form unity kernels and they prevail in prayer. And with clean hearts and pure hands, they ask God to rend the heavens and come down—not first and foremost to repair the community but because they cannot bear to live apart from His presence a moment longer," says George Otis Jr., founder of The Sentinel Group. "They are not summoning a handyman. They're summoning a lover. And when they do this, there is a certain moment in time where the presence of the Lord comes. God comes in response to that entreaty."
It's time to make an appeal to heaven and many are responding to the call in what some are calling the next great move of God. In my book, The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening, I was struck by how so many voices from so many camps in the body of Christ—Sheets, Billy, Greg Laurie, Reinhard Bonnke, Mike Huckabee, Kenneth Copeland, Howard-Browne, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle, David Ravenhill, James Goll, Jack Hayford, Ben Carson, David Barton, Chuck Pierce, and the list goes on and on—are essentially saying the same thing. America is a nation in crisis—and God wants to wake us up, bring us in line with His heart and heal our land.
For all the doom and gloom prophecies over America, there is yet a rising cry from respected voices from various streams of the body of Christ that sense God's heart—and God's hope—for America even in the midst of discipline. Despite the reality that a degree of judgment has come to America—and that we may continue to reap on the wicked seeds we've sown for a longer season—many agree that God is not done with America. There is hope.
"Now, many look at the state of the nation and are deeply discouraged, but I am filled with hope," says Lou Engle, co-founder of TheCall solemn assemblies that call young adults into a lifestyle of radical prayer, fasting, holiness and acts of justice. "I have read history; most great moves of God erupted in the darkest times of crisis and were preceded by years of intercession. Today, I have more expectation for the Great Awakening in America then I ever have had."
Rick Joyner, founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries, sees the enemy's plan clearly but remains hopeful for another transforming revival in America. "There are many great signs of revival and awakening in America—incredible things happening," says Joyner. "I believe we're going to see a Third Great Awakening in America within the next couple of years. It's going to be massive. It's going to transform America. It could help restore us to the foundations."
God is hearing our cries, but that doesn't mean we should stop pressing in now. In fact, I believe our level of desperation must increase before God breaks in and pours out His Spirit to bring a transforming revival. I believe we must continue making an appeal to heaven. And I believe as we do it will transform our hearts and our minds to take part in the greatest Great Awakening the world has ever seen.
"God is calling forth an army of faithful followers who will come up out of their discouragement to boldly push back the darkness," Sheets says. "Many leaders in government, health, education and ministry are having to make a decision right now—am I going to make my stand or am I going to compromise and yield to the enemy's plans? I, for one, say what America's founding fathers said upon signing the Declaration of Independence and, thereby, committing an act of treason against the crown: I pledge my life, my fortune, my sacred honor—everything to stop this insidious plan of hell. Will you join me?"
Pockets of true revival are breaking out across America. Want to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others.
Jennifer LeClaire is the news editor of Charisma. She is also director of the Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening. You can visit her website at jenniferleclaire.org.
Listen to Gov. Bobby Jindal's prayer at The Response: Louisana hosted in LSU at jindalprayer.charismamag.com.
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