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National Repentance

by Anton Bosch


It has become customary to speak of prayers of “national repentance”.


On May Day, this year – 2010, a large number of people met at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC to pray various prayers of repentance “on behalf of the American people”. I remember a number of times, when growing up in South Africa, that the Government called national days of prayer and repentance in the hope that God would send rain at times of drought. Shortly after the fall of Apartheid many churches, groups and individuals prayed prayers of repentance on behalf of the nation for the sins of the past. Many have prayed prayers of repentance because of the holocaust under Hitler. And the list goes on.


But is this a Biblical idea?


The short answer is no – there are a bunch of problems with this notion. The first is that repentance is something that needs to be done, rather than prayed. Every day millions of prayers ascend to God in which people pray prayers of repentance. The vast majority of these are a waste of time since the prayer has no intention of changing their actions, lifestyles or habits. Repentance is about doing not talking. The word itself means a change of mind and of direction. You can be heading down the road and say a million times that you are going in the wrong direction, but until you actually make that U-turn and stop going in the wrong direction and start going in the right direction, nothing will happen. It’s as simple as that.

John the Baptist said that the Pharisees who had come to see him baptize must: “Bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Paul, speaking of the mission to the Gentiles said: “That they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20). Isaiah said: “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). So, no prayer of repentance is worth anything unless it is accompanied by actions. In spite of the many prayers of repentance prayed on behalf of the nations, all nations are becoming more sinful and thus those prayers clearly do not work.

Secondly, there is no such thing as repentance “by proxy”. This means you cannot repent on behalf of other people, whether living or dead. No-one except Hitler himself can repent of the things he did – and he cannot because he is dead and it is too late for him. You can repent on behalf of your family as much as you like, but until they individually and personally repent, nothing is going to happen. We cannot repent on behalf of our family, a church, and least of all, a nation.


Sin is personal. When we sin, each who has sinned is guilty of that sin and each one has to personally repent. One could argue that Israel sinned as a nation when they refused to cross the Jordan (Numbers 14), yet the two individuals that did not agree with the majority were saved and entered the Land. So, was God dealing with them as a nation or individually? Clearly individually; since Joshua and Caleb would have had to perish with the rest of the nation if God was dealing with them as a group. When God destroyed the world in the Flood, righteous Noah and his family is saved. The same happened in Sodom. Thus, even in the Old Testament, God’s dealings are on an individual basis.


Thirdly, God does not deal with nations, He only deals with individuals. Jesus did not die for America or England – He died for each of us personally. The only nation God ever had a relationship with as a nation was Israel (See the first article in this series). Yet, Jesus did not even die for Israel. All the verses that are quoted as examples of God’s promises or dealings with a nation are directed at Israel and they cannot be claimed for any other country. When Israel eventually returns to God (Romans 11:26), each individual Jew will still have to make a personal decision. Israel will not be saved because of a decision of the government, but because of the cumulative effect of each Jew coming to personal repentance. We need to be clear the Jews in the end are saved, not because they are Jews, but because each of them has personally believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.


One of the favorite verses used by those who promote the idea of National Repentance is 2Chronicles 7:14: “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 heal their land”. This promise is very specific – it is to “my people who are called by my name”. Is South Africa, or Germany, or America, God’s people? Obviously not. Which country is called by God’s name? None – except Israel. So this verse has nothing to do with any nation other than Israel. The only people who can claim both those conditions are Christians. They are the people of God (Romans 9:25, 1John 3:1-3, 1Peter 2:10). And they are called by His name (Acts 11:26, 1Corinthians 12:12).


But then you cannot apply this verse to Christians since their Land does not need to be healed. The Christian’s land is the New Jerusalem and that is perfect. Here we are but strangers and pilgrims. (Hebrews 11:13, 16). The often-recited verse in 2Chronicles 7:14 only applies to one nation, and that is to Israel, and even then the promise has expired since Israel rejected the offer one time too many.


Should we not pray for nations? Yes, we can pray but there is only one valid prayer and that is that people, individually, will come to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and repent. Because we are often too lazy to name individuals before the Throne of Grace, we resort to those catch-all phrases: “Lord save the Chinese”, “Lord help the poor”, or “Lord be with those in prison”. What does that mean? I don’t want to be insensitive, but it means absolutely nothing.


As Christians we can make a difference, but it begins where you are. Pray for each of your unsaved family members; pray for others you know by name – your colleagues, neighbors and others you have dealings with. First pray that the Lord will help you to show them what it means to be a real Christian. Next pray that the Lord will soften their hearts to the Gospel and bring them to repentance. Finally pray that the Lord will open an opportunity for you to share your Hope with them and that He will give you the courage and wisdom to do it right. Do this until Jesus comes. Yes, that is a lot harder than “Lord save the lost”, but that is our duty; everything else is a copout.





Beth Cavete

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.  Gal. 1:8-9

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at the International House of Prayer,

How I have seen you moved.  I have sat in your midst, not for a weekend or for a conference, but for years.  I have seen you weep, I have seen you laugh, I have seen you anguish, fast, sing and dance…  You have been up in arms.  Not once, not twice–but consistently.  The most prominent among you are the tensest, the saddest, the most anguished, the thinnest…the longing-est.

Oh, I have heard your preachers rock and shout and wail and cry out…

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I have gotten to know so many of you well, because we have shared the same experiences together. We have struggled with the same deceptions or have helped each other as we grow and use our spiritual gifts to edify one another. One thing is clear. We know what strengthens us and helps us grow.

It is staying in the Word of God. His Written Word. The Bible. There are some helps along the way. A devotion can be encouraging. Commentary can help us unpack a passage from someone who the Lord has gifted with spiritual insights. But those who I have grown with the most, are those who scripture is shared with on almost a daily basis.

It is the staying in the Word, in the morning, during the day, and at evening that infiltrates the very soul with the Words of the Lord. It is easy for me because I write curriculum for my Sunday School class and the Lord has blessed me with a deep love for scripture, to be able to immerse myself into it and pull out applications and lessons for the children. Homiletic training didn’t hurt either.

I came across this Ephesians commentary from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones when studying Genesis.

“The greatest benefactors that this world has ever known, the men who have brought the greatest good to this world has ever known, have been men who have emphasized most of all the importance of ‘seeing the unseen.’ One has but to read the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews to find proof of this. There we have a list, or a gallery as it were, of the greatest benefactors this world has ever known; that is why they stand out in history. And they are all people , we are told, who fixed their eyes not so much on this world as on the next….The ‘heroes of the faith’ of Hebrews, chapter 11, started with the unseen world, and then in the light of that, they applied themselves to the present world.” *

The church has become very involved with itself and its health, wealth, agendas, programs, conferences, publications, books, committees and men making names for themselves. As I think of the men and woman in Hebrews 11, a picture forms of those who really made a difference. Abraham never got to see the land filled with his descendents. Moses never got to cross into the physical Promised land, but they always walked in faith which carried the most importance of all. They had a correct perspective that changed the world. They were far from perfect but they are held up as men of faith.  They cared about eternal matters instead of worldly matters.

Contrast walking in faith with worldly philosophy.

“What lies behind us and what lies in front of us pales in comparison of what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quotes like this make me cling to 2 Timothy 3:16-17  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

I listen to those teachers who stay within scripture and use scripture to interpret scripture, because it is all the man of God needs.

* God’s Ultimate Purpose: An Exposition of Ephesians 1:1 to 23. pp. 381-382

We too need to walk in faith, and obey what Jesus said in John 14 three times. If we love Him we will obey Him and keep His commandments.

This is an excellent article. There is a flood of  “Christian” books that in truth lead people away from The Bible and instead lead them into a ditch.

‘Let them alone, they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.  Matthew 15:14

Please take the time to carefully read this information. Maybe print it out and get a cup of coffee. Pray.


Is Deception Calling? A review of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Source HERE 

Steak and a Bible

Just the other day I posted that Christians should be wary of God “experiences.” Although there are many prominent promoters of practices that claim to be ways to hear directly from God (other than by reading the Bible), it is my fear that these are really paths toward self-deception or worse.

As a follow up I’d like to share my thoughts about a book whose author purports to have received messages from God (which she turned into a bestselling book).

A couple months ago I was given a devotional book called Jesus Calling, and although I never read devotionals I began to examine the book. What I found shocked me. The author, Sarah Young, claims to have received revelations from Jesus through dialogue journaling (something she learned from two “listeners” who wrote another book called God Calling. I’ll get to that in a minute). Her book is even written as if Jesus is speaking those messages directly to the reader, which I personally think borders (or crosses into) blasphemy.

Alarm bells began to clang in my head.


Rooftops & Rafters

Here in the Uk in the last 4-5 years, the influence of Bethel Church Redding has steadily impacted the charismatic church .   My personal story is that  it was the leadership  who got very “enamoured” with all that was going on, starting just after the bubble of the Lakeland Outpouring burst..  People from my neck of the woods had been to Lakeland, & watched a lot  of it on TV.   They got “Hungry”  for what they felt God was doing…

Slowly through their persistent hype for Spiritual experiences  or what they would term “encounters” they introduced everything to the church that they could. Straight from Bethel…  we had dvd teaching by  Danny Silk on the culture of honour. Impartation & soaking sessions, spiritual drunkenness – wild manifestations of the spirit – reports of Glory clouds & Gold dust & Angelic visitations.  The introduction of healing rooms, exclusively sang…

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Joe Quatrone, Jr.

journey2He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

Do you sometimes feel as though you are not making any progress in your spiritual life?  The life of a Christian is a journey.  We have a supernatural, proficient guide and map in the Spirit-inspired Scriptures, but we face distinct temptations and trials.  We know we have been saved by faith in Christ and have heaven as our sure destination, but the intervening pilgrimage is unique.  We need God’s help.

I do not know where you are on your personal journey.  Perhaps you are exhausted and spent.  Maybe you have recently experienced significant growth, or you may have settled on a comfortable plateau because of an uncertain future.  But I do know this: God wants you to enjoy and complete the journey.  He has pledged Himself to finish…

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For the Love of His Truth


Smith Wigglesworth – The Facts

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Can you imagine never being “anxious about anything?” It seems like an impossibility – we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school. There are many times when the pressures and needs of life feel overwhelming and make it almost impossible to be happy. But Paul did not tell his readers to be happy. He encouraged them to “pray.” Surely there are many circumstances in which Christians cannot be happy, but we can always pray and rejoice in the Lord.

The busier we are, the easier it is to worry. If we want to worry less, we need to pray more. Prayer results in an indescribable and immediate sense of peace. Christ’s peace allows us to continue with what we need to do, in the confidence and assurance that God will work everything out.

Unlike worldly peace, the peace of God “transcends all understanding.” It is beyond man’s ability to comprehend. Like soldiers assigned to watch over a certain area, God’s peace “guards the hearts and minds,” that is, the emotions and thoughts, of His children. This peace is confident assurance in any circumstance (John 14:27).

True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. It comes from knowing that God is in control. Our citizenship in Christ’s kingdom is sure, our destiny is set, and we can have victory over sin. With God’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future.

The most effective way any believer can prepare for the stress of the day is to begin with God. Spend time alone with Him and make your requests known to Him. Tell God the issues and concerns weighing you down. Anticipate the stressors in your schedule and ask God to give you peace in the midst of them. When stress comes, and it will, claim His promises.

Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain these hostile forces and offers comfort in place of worry. The end result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is deep and lasting peace. Jesus says He will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from Him. If your life is full of stress, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with Christ’s peace.

To break the habit of worry, Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers. It is there that we gain the perspective and peace we need to handle the stress of life without sacrificing our relationships and health along the way. The heavier the burdens, the longer it may take, but when we give our worries to God, we will feel relieved and at peace.


January 2013



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