Saturday, February 13, 2016

7,000 Reserved

"I say then, Hath God cast away His people? 
God forbid. 
For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. 
Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; 
and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
But what saith the answer of God unto him? 
I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, 
who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Romans 11:1-5
(KJV)

I don't know about you, but when I read this passage of Scripture, I find it hard to keep from breaking out into a little BIG shout of praise to God.
Because, I can so relate to Elijah and how he was feeling when he prayed that prayer.
Can't you?

In this evil age of time, when there is no distinction in people's minds between what is holy and what is profane, (Ezekiel 22:26),
 one who is standing firmly in defense of God's Word,
and who is trying their utmost to live a holy life,
can begin to feel like they are the only one left who is wholeheartedly doing what is Biblically correct.
It gets to be downright discouraging.

The liberal-driven media would have us all believe that we are grossly outnumbered,
that the whole rest of the world is following after evil,
that things are just too far gone in the wrong direction,
that we are the last Christian soldier standing,
and that there is no chance of redemption, so we may as well just stop hoping, trying, 
and even praying for it.

Tuesday, those lies were exposed.
Tuesday, God's people showed up.
Tuesday, we saw, with our very own eyes, that "even so at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Tuesday, my little family and I attended the Franklin Graham Decision America 2016 Tour,
and I was blessed indeed to be a part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association volunteer team.

And, I saw the proof.
A remnant indeed!
I stood in the crowd, surrounded by those of like mind and heart,
whose heads were bowed, whose eyes were closed,
and whose voices were raised in a unified prayer to God for forgiveness...
for the sins of our nation,
for our own sins,
and for the sins of our fathers.
Just like Nehemiah prayed.

Nehemiah 1:1-7 was the text used in Franklin Graham's sermon on the steps in front of our state's capitol.
I listened, with other volunteers, from the left of the stage,
as he poured out the burden God has placed upon his heart,
and he delivered the sobering news that if we do not repent and turn our hearts back to God 
and get out and vote Christian values (as closely as we can) in this next election,
we stand in peril of completely losing this great country called America.
We all knew he was exactly right.

As he preached, I could actually feel the sense of anguish that is in his heart.

Hearty "amens" were heard all through the crowd...like rustling whispers carried on the blustery, 
cold wind that whipped around us, but could not silence our voices or convince us to stay home.

I'll admit we were tempted.
None of the three of us physically felt like going that day.
It was a long drive.
My dear husband worked all night long the night before and didn't get so much as a wink of sleep before we left early that morning.
Neither Zach nor I had slept at all well, either.
The weather was extremely cold, and the wind chill factor made it feel even colder.
It took everything we could muster to keep our word and show up there Tuesday.

I am eternally thankful we pushed against the temptation to stay home.
I would not have wanted to miss this.


Can you see Zach and Kevin inside the red circle?

When we got there, I wasn't sure what would be expected of me
or what my actual volunteer duties would be.
It didn't matter.
I was willing to do anything I could...just to be a part of this history-in-the-making.

It ended up that I, along with other volunteers, was assigned to a post on the northwest side
of the capitol building, and as God's will would have it,
ours were the first faces the travelers who were dropped off by incoming buses got to see.

Tears filled my eyes, as I watched bus after bus after bus pull up near the curb
and people with eager, hope-filled faces continually pour out of them.

I cried because it touched me to the core that the interest level was so overwhelming.
I cried because, for that one hour of time, we were all coming together, with one heart and one mind.
I cried for sheer joy that, at least for one hour, the denominational walls crumbled to the ground,
and it didn't matter what names were painted on the outside of the buses,
because for one hour every one of our eyes were upon Jesus, and Jesus alone.

Somewhat off the subject,
it hit me, as I was standing there, smiling from ear-to-ear, saying "Welcome",
patting arms, whispering "God bless you", and pointing them to where they needed to go, that, as volunteers, we were also ambassadors.
Wearing our little "Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Volunteer" lanyards
automatically associated us with the great preacher himself.
What we did, how we acted, and the way we presented ourselves,
was a direct reflection upon the 97 year old minister who is now unable to travel and fight on the front lines, but who was at home in North Carolina praying for his son who would soon step behind a microphone and deliver God's Word to this hungry-for-hope-and-truth crowd.

With that thought in mind, I did my utmost to put forth my best effort,
regardless how frigid the weather was or how severely the wind felt like it was whipping right through my thickly-insulated, warm coat.
There was a reputation to maintain, and I was bound and determined to do it...and do it right.

As much as I would never in a million years want to cast a negative shadow upon Billy or Franklin Graham, it hit me with such force that there is One far greater than either of these mortal men,
and I wear His "badge" every day of my life.
How am I representing Him?
When I call myself a Christian, do I act like Christ?
Do I make Jesus look bad by professing to be a follower of His and not doing the things He would do or doing things He would not do?
Am I the type of ambassador that He deserves?
Do I diligently and consistently live up to HIS standard?
How am I presenting Him to the world around me?

Standing there made me think about so many things.


After we got home, and God began to deal with me about sharing some of those thoughts with you here, the Scripture passage He kept bringing to my mind is the one at the beginning of this post.
I kept thinking about the "7,000 Reserved" who are standing firm for what is holy,
who are steadily and determinedly refusing to bow their knee to any other God except THE God of Heaven, and who would rather lay down their lives than to deny our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As I thought about those "7,000",
I recalled all of those faces...out there Tuesday,
braving the elements,
giving their full attention,
bowing their heads in Godly sorrow and repenting for their own and America's sins,
old, young, black, white,
all hearts united,
all eyes fixed upon the only One Who can truly turn this country around.

Later, I mentioned to Zach that I would love to know how many people showed up Tuesday.
I have been reading of the numbers of people that have been turning out at the first four stops on this tour...
numbers like more than 2,500 in Iowa,
an estimated 3,500 in Tallahassee, Florida,
more than 4,200 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
and about 1,500 in Concord, New Hampshire.

I wanted to know how our state measured up to the others, number-wise,
because it sure looked like a lot of people to me.

Zach went online to investigate, without knowing anything about the thoughts God was placing upon my heart.
When he told me the number of people who were there,
my mouth literally dropped open.

Are you ready for this?

Approximately SEVEN THOUSAND!
That's right...7,000!!
(Read article here.)

The significance of that number was not lost to me.
And, my heart felt encouraged.
Just like Elijah, when God told him he had reserved 7,000 to Himself.

We are not alone, my friend.
Regardless how much evil rages around us,
God still has a remnant...
who will not bow to political correctness,
who will not succumb to the pressures of secularism,
and who are continuing to relentlessly fight against the evil tide.
Praise His name!

Will you join me in praying for Franklin Graham and his team,
as they continue to press forward and visit every one of the 50 states this year?
To find out when he and the Decision America 2016 Tour will be visiting your state, click here.

"And let us not be weary in well doing: 
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9

40 comments:

  1. Whoa! That is awesome! I'm impressed, but also encouraged by your words and actions. Many people talk the talk, but few of us walk it. Glad you are, sister. This is God's nation. It was founded by His miraculous hand and the fact that it's here can't be explained away by any other means.

    I've been a part of Billy Graham's ministry since the early eighties, even when I had slid all the way to the back. Humble people show the true love of our Father, but also His mighty power and sovereignty over His creation.

    7,000. Pretty amazing... No coincidences. Our Father is moving again.

    Praying for not only that ministry, but yours too.

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    1. I was pretty excited when I saw that number...one estimate was more like 7,100!! I am just so blessed to know that God still has a remnant, and so thankful to be a part of it, in these last days. :) Thank you SO much for your encouragement and support, brother. You are such a blessing on this blogging Christian journey. May God bless you and your family abundantly! And I can never thank you enough for praying for us...I tell you, you just don't know what that means.

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  2. Cheryl, God bless you for this blog! What a tremendous encouragement to the faithful! This sinful world often gets discouraging, but your message today blessed my heart tremendously! In addition to praying for our country, we pray for Franklin Graham and his family. For his continued health and the Lord's protection. Thank you for the sacrifice you and your family made to attend Decision America, and thank you for describing it for us. With your beautiful writing, I almost felt as if I had been there, too! May I ask you for a prayer request? We live in the remote mountains of NC where there aren't many Dr.'s. We have to drive 1 hour to the nearest city where there is a Cardiologist. The specialists they have are so over booked with patients coming in from remote areas. I'm having heart palpations, irregular heart beats, & the Emergency Room Dr. said it wasn't urgent, but that I do need to see a Cardiologist. The soonest appointment is one month away! My husband & I retired to these mountains from another state, & it's scary to have such limited medical care. We can afford to pay for medical care, but it's so limited! A little bit about my background: I taught for 20 years at a Christian School and also did workshops at home school curriculum fairs all over the South East, to encourage the wonderful home schooling moms. I made audio tapes and wrote teaching manuals for them on tips for teaching every subject. Then, for 10 years, I invited home school families to come to our home and I tested children who were struggling with various subjects. The tests showed the children's academic strengths and weaknesses, how they learned best, their individual learning styles, etc. I wrote up teaching plans for how the Mom's could help their children learn, & which home school curriculums would work best for each subject. It was always a joy to be with home school families! Please pray that the Lord would heal my heart and we will hear His guidance clearly about whether or not we should move to a larger city. The Lord has been putting on our hearts thoughts of working with home school families again. Thank you, Cheryl, and thank you for speaking God's Word to us as you do. Bev

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    1. Thank you ever so much, Bev. Your kind words were just such a dear encouragement to me tonight! I will surely be praying for you that God will heal you and enable you to get back into the work that you found so fulfilling. God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or even think! It is He Who put the desire in your heart to help others, and He will make a way for you to do that. I know He will also grant you the wisdom to know whether you should move or stay where you are. He knows where you can be most effectively used by Him. I trust your heart palpitations will cease...oh, my, I have had those many times, and it is so unpleasant. The NC mountains are so beautiful...I am sure it would be hard to think of leaving there. May God bless you, Bev, and give you the direction and healing you need. Keep in touch and let me know how you are doing, as I will be praying for you.

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  3. There is no doubt that Christianity is attacked and under threat throughout the world. But we should be of good cheer, because God has conquered the world and is still in control.

    People like you, spreading His Word, are a good example of this.

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you for your kind visit and words of encouragement, Victor. You are right, Jesus told us that in this world we would have tribulation, but to be of good cheer, because He had overcome the world. Thank you for reminding me that God has conquered and is still in control. I so appreciate your kind words, and trust God will abundantly bless you and your family!

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  4. Hi Cheryl! What a marvelous experience! I love that, because we all need spiritual boosts. Isn't it wonderful that we all live in a community? And God knows we need each other, to serve and lift up. I know you were so helpful and inspirational as you helped the pilgrims get used to the space.
    I do see two heads there in the red circle! How fun that you have a photo like that. You'll remember that day for a long, long time. Thank you for sharing it with all of us, because now you can inspire us too :)
    Valentine's Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you so much, Ceil! Oh, it was a truly wonderful experience, and I just can't thank God enough for allowing us to experience all of that. I really NEEDED it...it is just so wonderful to know that yes, we all do live in community, and we are not the only ones who sense the needs of this generation and time. God bless you with a wonderful Valentine's Day, too! I am so grateful for your visit and encouragement and support! :)

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  5. Yes Cheryl, I can relate to Elijah's statement. Sometimes it seems there are so few of us who are truly committed to Jesus Christ.
    Oh Cheryl, that must have been incredible to be surrounded by that many believers, and Jesus in the midst of it all! UNITED we will make our stand against the evil.
    You are so right. We are ambassadors. We must keep that in mind.
    7,000! I have chills!
    God is so so good to us.

    Thanks so much for telling us about your experience and what God's been talking to you about.
    Be blessed dear friend!

    Laura

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    1. Oh, Laura! It WAS truly incredible. I felt so much fervency in the crowd and a real sense of urgency to repent and do our utmost to plead with God to turn the tide. And, YES, Jesus was definitely there in our midst. It is wonderful that it only takes 2 or 3 gathered together in His name in order for Him to be there, and then to multiply that by thousands!!!! Thank you ever so much for your sweet visit and kind words. God bless you abundantly, dear friend. :)

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  6. Wow! Truly amazing. The scripture you ended with is PERFECT!

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    1. It was truly amazing, Caroline! Such a dear blessing to us all. I LOVE that verse, too...so many times God brings it to me when I am tempted to stop trying so hard. We have to keep fighting the good fight of faith. He never said it would be easy, right? Thank you so much for your sweet visit and kind words. God bless you, my friend!

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  7. I am overjoyed, Cheryl. I applaud your efforts and your families' as well. I can imagine that long drive, the sacrifice, little sleep and being tired. But then to see what God did in such a large number. I am so humbled by this post. I rejoice with you. Oh, how I love America and want to see it return to Godly values again. Thank you for all the encouragement you give me!!!!

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    1. Yes, dear Mary, praise GOD for the wonderful blessings we enjoyed that day! My family and I will never forget it, that's for sure. Oh, I do love this great country, also, and I often weep as Zach and I work through his homeschool American history, and we read about how things were when this great country was founded. If only we would turn our hearts back to God again! He is our only hope! Keep encouraged, and keep fighting the good fight of faith, my friend! Heaven will surely be worth it all. I so appreciate your encouragement and support here.

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  8. such an amazing experience. happy valentine's day, love you

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    1. It was truly amazing, Denise! Thank you so much for your sweet words. A belated Happy Valentine's Day to you, too! Love you, and I'm praying for you, dear friend. :)

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  9. I never cease to be amazed at how the Lord works like this in our hearts! The number 7000 was not an abstract number but a shout out to the world that there is a remnant of people who love Jesus and who are willing to brave the cold windy weather to take a stand for the Lord and for the values this country was built on! It was a tremendous sacrifice for your family to be there, especially with your husband not feeling well, and having to work all night and then drive, but what a blessing to join with like minded hearts in UNITY for the cause of Christ! I clicked on your link to see when he is coming to Idaho, but it looks like they have not set a date yet for our state. Thank you for sharing this wonderful praise report, and may the Lord continue to touch, bless and encourage all you do for His kingdom dear Cheryl!!!!

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    1. YES, amen, and amen, sweet sister!! I hope you can go and support their effort when they come to Idaho. :) Thank you so much for your kind comments and support. Sending you much love across the many miles.

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  10. Cheryl, I literally smiled through this entire post! First of all, I was so very happy that you and your sweet family were able to participate in such a monumental event as dear servants of the Lord. Second, your focus on the remnant touched me as I always find myself praying that God will protect His remnant in these evil times. And finally, I love how the Lord used the Scripture verse about the 7000 in such a profound way through the number who had attended the Billy Graham crusade that your son had shared, as a beautiful reminder and encouragement that He is always on the throne and always in control, no matter how evil times may seem. Our God is greater and He will preserve His remnant.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and for encouraging us to pray and not lose heart, there are kindred believers everywhere who are united in the cause of Christ.

    Blessings to you sweet friend.

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Karen! Your words and encouragement are such a blessing!! God bless you abundantly. :)

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  11. This was a blessing to read. I was part of the counseling staff one year Bill Graham came to Louisville, it was overwhelming to see all those people come from all over the stadium...most powerful thing I have ever witness.

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    1. Oh, wow, Betty! That sounds amazing! So thankful you got to experience that. God bless you!

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  12. I remember when Billy Graham came to England many years ago, and the blessings that were showered down. What a wonderful occasion.

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    1. What wonderful memories you have, Elizabeth! Thank you ever so much for stopping by and leaving encouragement here. :)

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  13. That is so awesome Cheryl! What an honor and blessing that you got to go! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. And thank you ever so much for stopping by, reading, and commenting! God bless you abundantly!

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  14. How fortunate and blessed you were to be able to minister in amongst this crowd. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Diana

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    1. Oh, it surely was a dear blessing, Diana. :) Thank you for your comment and support. God bless you!!

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  15. What a blessing to be able to attend and participate! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes, indeed it was, Debbie! So thankful for your visit and comments today! God bless you!!

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  16. Wow that's amazing Cheryl that the number was 7,000. That's just like God! Keep being a soldier for Christ. Your dedication and words are always an encouragement.

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    1. It was truly amazing, Wanda! You could have knocked me over with a feather when Zach read that to me!!!! Thank you ever so much for your kind words and support, dear friend. God bless you!!

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  17. Wow! What a moving experience for you and your family! When I read that the number for your state was 7,000, tears came to my eyes! I know that was no coincidence! That was a word and a number for you, and all of us. God is showing us that we are still out there, and we can make a difference. This topic has been on my heart here lately. My latest two posts, Judge All Things and The Walking Dead, Please Don't Watch, contain many of my thoughts about God's people standing up against the evil in this world. A verse that has been like fire shut up in my bones is Ps. 94:16 “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?”!!!! I would like to stand in a crowd as you did with like minded people! I am eager rise up and proclaim truths for God. We need a movement of Holy Ghost Fire within the body of Christ. Thanks for inspiring me with your post today! I love you! Tell your family hello for me. God bless.

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    1. I know it was no coincidence either, Chris. I was amazed! I love the verse God gave you in Psalms! I agree that we surely need the precious Holy Spirit in these awful, evil times. I am believing God to send us revival and a reformation. He is able, and it only takes one spark to light the fires of His holiness. Let it begin in us, sweet friend! Thank you for your burden and passion for the truth, and may God ever keep you strong in Him. Love you, Chris!

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  18. I am so happy you were able to participate as a volunteer in this tremendous Decision America Tour with Franklin Graham. What a blessing you were to those who exited the busses, and joined with the many others to be challenged. Zach and Kevin had a good place to listen and view the proceedings. It is so true that when we think we are the only one fighting for right - - that there are at least 7000 others who are out there too. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a True Story.

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    1. Yes, praise God, for all He did for us that day! They did have a very good place to listen...we were all so blessed! Thank you for being one of those who are standing for the right, dear Hazel. May God bless you abundantly!

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  19. Dearest Cheryl, what an incredible experience and I am so glad you got to be there! Someone commented that many of us can talk the talk, but a lot of us don't walk it. Unfortunately that is quite often sadly true.

    This was such an encouraging post and we are indeed Ambassadors for Christ! What a reminder to walk fully in the light of our Lord. Thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Love and hugs!

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    1. I am so glad we got to be there, too, sweet Stephanie! You are right, there is more to living for our dear Lord than talking the talk. God help us to BE who we claim to be. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such encouragement here. God bless you, my friend!

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  20. This was a wonderful post, Cheryl! So very encouraging. Our pastor has been doing a series on Elijah. And a couple of Sundays ago he pointed out how Elijah plummeted to the depths of despair right after his amazing victory against the prophets of Baal. So, what did he do? He ran for his very life. Found a tree to lie down under. And proceeded to give up. I can relate to him. For I also feel moments of great discouragement when it is tempting to give up, as I feel so alone. God revealed to Elijah that he was indeed not alone!!

    I also remember his successor, Elisha, who found himself surrounded by the army of the enemy, who were determined to kill him. His servant was frightened and overwhelmed. Elisha prayed for the servant's eyes to be opened to spiritual reality. The prayer was answered and "he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire."

    Yes, we are never alone. We have the LORD of Heaven's Armies on our side, we are accompanied on our journey by a multitude of fellow believers, and there is a reality beyond our earthly eyesight, a heavenly host that also battles with us against the evil in this world.

    THAT is most encouraging!!

    What a joy to be part of that momentous event!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. You're right, Sharon. I think of that, too, how Elijah fell into such despair right on the heels of such a major victory. I can relate to him, too...oh, my sometimes, we can feel so alone in our fight against the enemy. But, Jesus promised to never leave us alone, and we know that He is true to His Word! I love that story where Elisha asked God to open his servant's eyes...thank you for reminding me of that. God bless you for stopping by...I am always encouraged by your comments!

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