Americans Are “In Trouble” With God
A Word From Henry Blackaby
Blackaby warns that Americans are “in trouble” with God. The United States is in danger of God’s judgment, but Christians don’t really believe it, Henry Blackaby says. “Everyone focuses on 2 Chronicles 7:14,” Blackaby, the Southern Baptist speaker and author, said. The verse says that if God’s people humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, God will forgive their sins and heal their land. But subsequent verses add, in essence, that “If you abandon Him, He will abandon you,” the author of the popular Bible study, Experiencing God (Broadman & Holman), told Religion Today. “We don’t believe that any more. We don’t believe anything can or will go wrong.” “There is a line that, when crossed, …there is no return.”
“In chapter7 of the Book of Jeremiah, God tells Jeremiah not to pray for the people of Israel. There were godly people present, but the nation had passed the point of God’sblessing. We need to be on our knees today. If you put this country up against Scripture, we are in trouble. Either the United States turns to God in repentance and revival, or there is going to be judgment,” he said.
Blackaby said he is not so much concerned about the way secular society is living, but about how the church is doing. He cited a survey by George Barna indicating that in each of 150 lifestyle areas, including divorce and abortion, “the church is no different than the society around them. All through Scripture the Bible indicates that if the people of God lose their saltiness, there will be nothing else to save the nation. There is a movement of God in some churches, but overall it seems to be small. Of the many claims of revival there doesn’t seem to be much result.”
In addition to writing books, Blackaby speaks at numerous churches and conferences. “The prosperity-preaching in churches today is astounding,” Blackaby said. “I just read a book from a very prominent Christian leader who said we should focus on hope and not preach anything negative. Jeremiah 23 speaks of prophets who preach of ease, when sinfulness and godlessness are all around. This is like it is today. Where are the preachers today leading the people to repentance? When God’s people don’t realize how far they have gone from Him and they don’t turn in humbleness and repentance, they are at risk.”
“In Jesus’ day, people were feeling good and praising their blessings, but He was weeping. How can we not know His heart? We miss it, because we want to feel good. That is our goal and focus.” Blackaby criticized a pragmatism that downplays preaching. “Many are doing surveys to find out what people want in their church experience. We don’t need to do that. In the evangelical community, there is a pragmatism that says that the Word of God is not enough to attract people. There is almost a disdain of Biblical preaching being irrelevant. God will grow the church from His word. God always deals with leaders. The tragedy is so few have earned the right to be heard. So few have an authentic platform. We need strong prayer. We need a spiritual anointing and ordained proclamations. Non-anointed words will fall useless to the ground. Proclaimers must live lives of holiness and humility. It is life and death when they speak. The three things the church needs are “prayer, Holy Spirit anointing, and men living out holy lives. God will draw people to hear them. They must proclaim God’s standard. They need an authentic relationship with Christ. Pastors don’t have a sense of the urgency of our times.”
The outspoken Blackaby says he receives his “share of backlash” from Christian leaders who tell him that he “shouldn’t be putting people down” and that he should give people hope. “I believe hope comes out of repentance,” he said. “At a major evangelistic meeting recently attended by many evangelical leaders, the focus was on reaching non-Christians. To my great surprise there wasn’t a mention about sin and the need for repentance. Hope in Jesus was the focus. When it was my time to speak, I talked about our sin and the need for repentance. Later, many of those there came up to me and said that they sincerely appreciated and needed my comments. We are at a time of God’s judgment and Christian leaders are not bringing the message of the Lord. There is hope. I see a younger generation turning. They feel the older generation has betrayed them, and they want authentic relationship. They sense the urgency.”
This was a RELIGION TODAY feature story (originally sent out by Religion Today on Aug. 6, 1999) by the Editors at ReligionToday.com
What Is Prophecy?
As some may not be familiar with prophecy in the church, we want to share this short explanation of Biblical prophecy before we share an actual prophecy from God.
First, what is godly prophecy? It can be summed up as words that are spoken on behalf of God. A prophet or prophetess is one who is a spokesman for God. It is a divine utterance that comes from the Holy Spirit. (Note: Just as there are prophetic words from God, there are also false prophecies that the Lord warned us about in the Bible. In Matthew 7:15-16 Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep//’//s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits–.” We must prove the source of prophecy before accepting it as coming from the Lord). God is raising up many prophetic voices in the earth today. His gifts of prophecy are basically of two types. One is the “simple gift of prophecy” which every believer can express under the unction or direction of the Holy Spirit after they have been filled with the Holy Ghost.
The other is the “office gift” of the spirit which is given to a prophet or prophetess who is called to the “five-fold” ministry office as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:28 which says “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” Also Ephesians 4:11-12 which says” And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
The basic difference between these two types is, the simple gift of prophecy is given to all spirit filled believers as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:31, “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.” It is for the purpose of edification, exhortation and comfort as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
The “office gift” of a prophet or prophetess is given to speak to the body of Christ at large. The ministers who are called to the office of a prophet or prophetess will deliver messages also which include edification, exhortation and comfort but their messages can also be directive in nature and futuristic in content as well (Ephesians 4:11-15).
Presently God is leading His people with prophetic preaching and teaching. A prophetic movement is taking place in the world. –Betty MIller
If this message has been a blesssing to you and you would like to see more like them posted on this site, you can help make this possible by your gifts to Bible.com Ministries. Click here to donate