If you're like me, you feel the torrent of negative news a bit overwhelming at times. We want to be optimists, not pessimists, but we must also be realists. It's not a pretty picture today.
Turn on the news and you'll hear about Trump's huge discord with Cruz and the GOP, battles about religious freedom and transgender bathrooms in North Carolina, and the latest wave of ISIS jihadist attacks. All these start to feel like the new normal, and it goes on and on.
To counter the avalanche of depressing news that seems almost nonstop, let's survey the scene to encourage ourselves in the Lord by highlighting some encouraging developments.
Remembering Our Calling as Faithful Messengers
In 1899 an article based on a true story of heroism, "A Message to Garcia", took the world by storm. In 15 years over 40 million copies were circulating, unprecedented for that time. The movie that was made of the story is still available today.
During the Spanish American War, President McKinley had to secure the cooperation of a General Garcia, leader of revolutionary forces in Cuba. A Lieutenant Rowan was commissioned to undertake alone and unguarded the top-secret, dangerous mission of delivering a sealed letter to Garcia.
Traversing hostile jungle territory with gunfire, poisonous snakes and man-eating crocodiles, this courageous messenger completed his task within three weeks. His bravery helped the United States win the war plus gain Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam. He was decorated for his extraordinary achievement in risking his life for his country.
In the author's tribute to this remarkable public servant he said the following: "Anything such a man asks shall be granted. He is wanted in every city, town and village – in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such: he is needed and needed badly – the man who can CARRY A MESSAGE TO GARCIA."
Amid our serious cultural decline, God is looking for dependable and dedicated messengers who will carry His truth to confused masses no matter what the cost. But we've got to stay encouraged "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).
12 Encouraging Developments
As a 40-year board member of Intercessors for America ministry, I try to remain current on prayer developments. Here are just a handful to encourage you as His messenger and holy ambassador.
1. Our monthly First Friday national prayer call brings together prayer "warriors" from throughout America for a 30 minute prayer time with a theme, prominent leader and segments of unmuted, collective, fiery intercession! Last week featured Lou Engle and 500-600 intercessors. You have to experience it to understand this crescendo of cries to heaven!
2. At a recent Roundtable summit with Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle shared about "Houses of Prayer" with ongoing prayer and worship 24/7 exploding globally. In the past decade alone, they've gone from approximately 20 to over 10,000 worldwide!
3. This May's National Day of Prayer is expected to be the largest in U.S. history with over 49,000 gatherings nationwide. John Bornschein, Vice Chairman of their Task Force, says, "Over the last five years we charted a 226 percent increase in engagement – our largest growth in 25 years!"
4. David Butts, Chairman of America's National Prayer Committee, tells us, "There are more large prayer gatherings in 2016 then I've seen in 26 years of ministry!"
5. Last generation we had more of a disunited, somewhat competitive, denominational approach to prayer. Today we fill large venues, discard denominational labels and actually sing most of the same worship songs in both large prayer events and our local churches.
6. Serving on the Executive Committee for UnitedCryDC16, we expect upwards to 30,000 leaders, intercessors and consecrated Christians this Saturday, April 9 on the Lincoln Memorial grounds for a solemn assembly. With our nation in crisis, we will gather for seven hours of repentance, exhortation, prayer for awakening, and challenge to return courageous in addressing the controversial issues of our day. We invite everyone to join in this historic experience!
This is not an outreach, worship experience, political event or one day rally, but a movement of men and women of God who take 2 Chronicles 7:14 seriously, "If My people, who are called by My name, will 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 will heal their land."
7. On the West Coast on the exact same day (totally unplanned!), "Azusa Now" takes place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Tens of thousands of young and old will gather under the leadership of my 35-year friends, Lou Engle and Mike Bickle, for over 12 hours of worship and prayer.
This culminates 10 days of fasting and prayer prior to the event. The reason? The original Azusa Street revival began with a nucleus who came to L.A. and started a 10-day fast that precipitated the greatest Holy Spirit outpouring since Pentecost. Over a century ago, pioneer William Seymour prophesied in about 100 years another greater revival would come!
Go and participate in this history-making experience!
8. A little over a year ago, the blockbuster film, God's Not Dead inspired people of faith and served notice to secularists that God is alive and well and on the move in America.
This past weekend, God's Not Dead 2 was launched to large crowds and positive reviews once again. It looks like the trajectory is upwards once again! This one brings a sober warning to people of faith and I highly recommend it for everyone concerned about religious freedom today.
9. People are hungry for God and biblical truth as evidenced by two massive gatherings in Georgia and Texas. Last week over 7,000 Christians convened in Atlanta for a fantastic "Stand Up for Their Faith" event with David Jeremiah. This followed Greg Laurie's "Harvest America" event at AT&T Stadium where over 82,000 participants were present! Over 6,000 conversions were recorded while hundreds of thousands more engaged on the Internet, TV and radio!
10. Author David Garrison declares in his book, A Wind in the House of Islam, that, "we are living in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history." The book is the result of 2 1/2 years of research and involved traveling more than 250,000 miles to conduct interviews with more than 1,000 people around the Muslim world.
"In total he found 69 movements that had started in the first 12 years of the 21st century, in comparison with virtually no voluntary movements of converts to Christianity in the first 12 centuries of Islam."
Finally, we can be greatly encouraged as we consider two additional developments today.
11. Franklin Graham continues to cross the United States in his "Decision America" tour, stopping at every state capital to fearlessly declare prophetic encouragement and sober warning to assembled crowds. He challenges believers to not only repent and pray but to engage in Christian activism to see America turn back to God.
12. The innovative 15-min/30-day Bullseye Challenge initiative has been launched across America equipping us to understand and communicate confidently a biblical worldview on 30 hot button issues today like illegal immigration, radical Islam, transgenderism, abortion, gay marriage, income inequality, climate change and cohabitation.
Endorsed by America's top senior leaders, it is a resource for pastors, parents, educators, youth leaders and patriotic citizens. Thirty immediately accessible, compelling three-minute videos accompany the easy-to-read life changing chapters.
We are all called to be faithful messengers in this challenging time of history. This weekend is my wife and my 40th wedding anniversary but considering the condition of America we will not be sunning in Bermuda but praying in D.C. for awakening in America!
Let's realize the negatives surrounding us today but remember the encouraging reports of God's supernatural activity to keep us "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Eph. 6:10).
Larry Tomczak author of 10 books, is a cultural commentator of 46 yrs, Intercessors for America board member, best-selling author and a public policy adviser with Liberty Counsel. His new, innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com). and he has a variety of resources on his website (see www.larrytomczak.com). You can also hear his weekly podcast here.
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