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A Dream Is Not Enough By John C. Maxwell

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God's View of Sickness by A.L. Gill

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Identifying Your True Enemy By Margie McDaniel

DEVOTIONAL

Today's featured devotional...
As I write you today, the United States of America stands at a pivotal place. A shift is just ahead. This nation is approaching a turning point where she will either go one way or the other, spiraling upward into light or downward into more and more darkness.

The direction she turns will be determined by prayer.

The Lord has revealed it not only to me but to countless other praying people across this country. And He's stirring our hearts with fresh fervency to meet the need of the hour. Personally, I've had an assignment to pray for America most of my Christian life; but in recent months, God has stepped it up in a big way. He's apprehended me with such a marvelous burden of prayer I can hardly pray about anything else.

He's also shown me exactly what to pray for. He's told me by the Holy Ghost that we must pray for godly leaders to be raised up. Leaders who will direct this nation toward revival and dedication to God. Leaders who will steer America away from darkness and into the light.

Samuel, an Effective Leader
The Bible reveals again and again just how much difference such leaders can make. Lately, I've been reminded of Samuel, for instance. He stepped into leadership when his country was in crisis: Israel had forsaken God and idolatry was rampant. The voice of the Lord was rarely heard because Eli, the former high priest, had desecrated the temple. The Philistines had conquered Israelite cities, overtaken their lands, and even stolen the Ark of the Covenant, stripping the nation of the manifest presence of God.

To the natural eye, the situation back then looked much more hopeless than ours does today. Yet God was able to turn it around by raising up a leader with the authority, wisdom, and anointing equal to the challenge. He was able to bring forth a man who by serving as a priest, a prophet, a judge, and a circuit preacher changed the course of history.

The Prayers of Hannah
And He was able to do it all because a little lady named Hannah had prayed for a son. Granted, she didn't really know at the time that she was praying for a nation-saver. She was just a barren woman who desperately wanted a child. Provoked by her husband's other wife, Peninnah, who had many children and mocked her rival's barren condition, Hannah had wept over her childlessness for years until, unable to bear her heartbreak any longer, she'd taken it to the temple. It was there that Hannah:

in distress of soul, praying to the Lord and weeping bitterly...vowed, saying, O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your handmaid and [earnestly] remember, and not forget Your handmaid but will give me a son, I will give him to the Lord all his life….
(1 Sam. 1:10-11 Amp)
Hannah may not have fully grasped the work of the Lord her little boy would be called to do, but God did. And He used her prayer to get that work done. He took the burden of His heart, mixed it with the burden of her heart, and produced a leader for the nation that it so desperately needed.

Because of Hannah's prayers, her little boy Samuel—whose name means "heard of God"—grew up to be a tremendous force for good. The anointing to lead his nation into revival resided within him. He understood what caused the crisis in Israel and knew how to resolve it. God told him exactly what to do to bring Israel back to a place of blessing and prosperity.

As a result, Samuel created a spiritual and temporal revolution in Israel. Under his leadership:
  • The Ark of the Covenant was restored.
  • The people put away their idols and served only the Lord.
  • They gathered together for prayer and fasting and a time of national repentance.
  • They defeated the Philistine army.
  • The Israelite cities that had been captured were reclaimed.
Those are all marvelous accomplishments, no question about it. But what thrills me most when I think about the astounding changes Samuel's leadership wrought in Israel is this: God wants to raise up some Samuels in America—right now!

Raising Up Leaders in America
He wants to call, anoint, and equip leaders to accomplish His purposes, not just in the highest offices of the land but at the state and local levels as well. He wants to position people who know His heart and have His wisdom to influence those in authority so that God's will can be done in this nation on earth as it is in heaven.

Why am I so sure of that? Because God has had His hand on America since its inception. He's the One who established this nation and moved on its founders to dedicate it to the glory of God and to the taking of the light of the Gospel to the world. That's been God's plan for this country all along, and it's come to pass, in part.

But a partial fulfillment of God's plan isn't enough. We want to fulfill all of it. We want America not just to start her race but to finish it!

Finishing is vital. Think where we'd all be today if Jesus hadn't finished the plan God had for Him. What if He'd carried out His ministry on earth by preaching and healing and working signs and wonders and then stopped without going to the cross? We'd all be lost today because our salvation depended upon Jesus finishing the work God sent Him to do.

Always, always, the glory is in the finishing. That's true for us as individuals and it's true for nations. And because the Devil knows it, he is trying to keep America from finishing. He's endeavoring to turn her from a sheep to a goat nation in the last days—to turn her against Israel (see Matt. 25:31-46), against righteousness, and against the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But the Devil won't be able to do it as long as we do our job in prayer. His wicked schemes to wreck this nation will backfire on him if we'll open the door for God to bring forth and empower leaders who are divinely equipped to do the work of the Lord in this crucial hour.

Esther Is Our Example
That's what happened in the time of Esther. God positioned her as the queen of a heathen nation at a pivotal moment in history—a moment when the Devil attempted to totally annihilate the Jews. Talk about a dark time! In Esther's day, King Ahasuerus (her husband) actually signed an edict that called for the death of every Jewish man, woman, boy, and girl.

It was a terrible thing and Esther was perfectly placed to do something about it. But if you've read the story, you know that when her cousin Mordecai asked her to go to the king and intercede for her people, she didn't want to do it. "Any person...who shall go into the inner court to the king without being called shall be put to death..." she protested. "But I have not been called to come to the king for these thirty days" (Esther 4:11, Amp.).

Mordecai's reply is one we would all do well to remember: "Do not flatter yourself that you shall escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews," he said. "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?" (verses 13-14 Amp., emphasis mine).

Those words are just as true for us as believers today as they were for Esther. If we keep silent and by failing to pray, allow this nation to spiral downward into darkness, it will directly affect us. So we'd better take our petitions to the King!

We are, after all, the ones who've been positioned to do it. Just like that little Jewish queen, we've been brought into the kingdom to pray for America at such a time as this. We aren't here by accident. According to Acts 17:26, God has put us in this place at this time for a purpose—and part of that purpose is prayer.

"But Lynne," you might say, "I don't hold a position of influence like Esther did. What I do doesn't make that much difference."

Yes, it does. Read the rest of Esther's story. You'll see she didn't turn that situation around by herself. All the Jews in the city helped her. They gathered together to pray for her for three days and their prayers supplied her with the wisdom, courage, and grace from heaven she needed to do the work God had called and positioned her to do.

Because all the people in the book of Esther did their parts and took the responsibility God had given them, that book didn't end with the extermination of the Jews. It ended with the destruction of their enemies: "And in every province and in every city...the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a holiday. And many from among the peoples of the land...became Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them" (8:17 Amp.).

We All Have a Part in America's Victorious Finish
Precious praying friend, we can lay hold of that kind of victorious finish for America! We might not be able to do it in three days like Esther and her friends did, but we can do it nonetheless. If we'll obey the mandate Jesus gave us in Luke 18 and keep on praying and refuse to turn coward, faint, lose heart, or give up; if we'll pray with consistency, persistence, and faith, we can help bring leaders on the scene who will turn this nation toward God.

I know it sounds like a big job, but we have the anointing to do it. We have an equipping that's equal to the task! We have the Word of God to build our faith. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and pray through us when we don't know what to pray as we ought. Every single one of us who's been born again and baptized in the Holy Ghost has a unique supply of resurrection power to release through prayer at this pivotal point in history.

Yes, our nation has reached a crossroads. This is a critical moment. But if we will fulfill our assignment in prayer, God will fulfill for us the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (KJV)
This is the call God has given us and by His grace we can do it—together.

Copyright © Lynne Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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