I had sat my dad, mom, and sister down during my first year of Bible College and tried to show them the error of the false doctrine our family had long been in (A form of “British Israelism”: the belief that the white race was the 10 lost tribes of Israel and thus God’s chosen people, guaranteed salvation according to Romans 11:26). My attempts to prove them wrong was a disaster, with me left in tears and left unimpressed and unmoved. But It was that very summer following that I first realized the power of intercessory prayer. Each day, when I got home from work, I would kneel at my bed and pray over a list of unsaved or backslidden relatives I had written on an envelope. That same summer my mom, my sister and, if I recall right, 4-6 other relatives saw the light and got right with God! About 8 years later, my dad came back to the Lord and ended up pastoring for 15 years! And, after praying for nearly 40 years, my “black sheep of the family” brother finally accepted the Lord and was baptized in water!
Did you know that there is actually a “Covenant of Salvation” revealed throughout the Scriptures that is applicable especially for families? Let’s look at a few of them.
God’s covenant with Noah: “I shall establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark-you, your sons, your wife, and your son’s wives with you.” (Gen. 6:18) “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.” (Gen. 7:1). Are you righteous through the blood? Yes! And the Bible says “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”-6:8. God gave grace to Noah and that grace extended to his whole family. The word doesn’t mention the righteousness of one of his family members, not one! But, Noah’s righteousness and God’s grace because of his righteousness was enough in God’s eyes that salvation from the flood was extended to his whole family! What a glorious truth! Add as many family members as you can believe for your “Ark of safety” passenger manifest today!
God’s covenant with Lot: “Have you (Lot) anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city-take them out of this place.”(Gen. 19:12). God was getting ready to destroy Sodom, but He invited righteous Lot to safely leave the city. Notice he even invited in-laws and “whomever you have” to take “out of this place.” Hallelujah! What in-laws, cousins, 2nd cousins, grandchildren, etc. can you include by faith in your prayer list of those you believe to take “out of this place” with you to heaven? Make your list long!) “” And while he (Lot) lingered, the (angels) took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.” (Gen. 19:16). Pray for God’s hand of protection and salvation to rest on each member of your family, believing that God will take them by the hand and they will at least safely arrive in heaven before the final judgment in the land!)
God’s covenant with Israel: “Every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household . . . . when I see the blood, I will pass over you . . . the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.” (Exodus 1:3, 13, 23). Plead the blood over each member of your family. The destroyer is soon to invade America. Believe in your family’s protection and salvation!
God’s covenant with a prostitute: “Give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death . . . bind this line of scarlet cord in the window.” What a beautiful metaphor. An unrighteous prostitute-who eventually even became a part of the bloodline of Jesus-by hanging a “scarlet cord”-a type of blood of the Lamb-could help her whole family be saved. Again, believe for the blood of Christ’s sacrifice to cover the unrighteousness of all whom you have faith to be included in your household of salvation!)
God’s covenant with Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:15). Let that be your confession: my backslidden kids and grandkids WILL “serve the Lord”- even if it is but for a few hours before the end!
God’s covenant with Job: “So it was when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.” (Job 1:5). Think about it! Job had faith that even if his children had “cursed God in their hearts” that God will respect his intercessory prayers and save them! But, notice that Job would “rise early in the morning” and he did it “regularly”. Intercession for our families is hard but important work! On an envelope (or an iPhone) make your list of extended family members that you are committed to, like Job above, “early” and “regularly” bringing them before the Lord in prayer. Believe that even if they have “cursed God in their hearts” that your prayer and the grace of God will melt that stony heart and prepare them to get right with God in these last days!
Jeremiah 31:15-16 today:
15″Thus says the Lord:
“A voice was heard in Ramah”
(Ramah was a city in the Bethlehem area),
Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel
(Rachel had been buried in that vicinity)
weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”
Jeremiah’s above prophecy was first and directly fulfilled in Matt. 2:16-18:
16 “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
17 “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”
The mention of “Rachel” here is metaphorical. As the mother of Benjamin who produced one of the tribes of Israel, and having been buried in the Bethlehem area, she is mentioned as “weeping for her children” because of the great loss of Israeli babies by Herod’s treachery.
Rachel also can surely symbolize the mothers throughout history who have suffered the loss of children through Satan’s treachery. What possible consolation could be given to any loving mother bereaved of her children? Jeremiah 31:16 give us that consolation:
“Thus says the Lord: “Refrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, “
(Is this not speaking of the work of righteousness, the work of standing on His precious promises, the work of spreading the gospel and the work of intercessory prayer?)
“And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.”
Babies who die go to heaven “back from the land (here on planet earth) of the enemy” (Our enemy Satan is “the god of this world”).
Mother’s will see their aborted, stillborn, or tragically killed children again in heaven! Hallelujah! Let’s take a needed break from sobering realities:
There is broader application of today’s truth. Our devotional verse in Jer. 31:17 promises,
“There is hope in your future, says the Lord, That your children shall come back to their own border.”
The children of Israel are surely included in the above promise. Though spread throughout the Gentile nations because of their sin (killed, persecuted and taken captive), nevertheless the day would come when Israel would, at last, be returned to the Holy Land and in the last days of time it’s even promised,
“All Israel shall be saved.” (Romans 11:26).
In the end, God will save virtually an entire nation of backslidden Israelite “children” spread throughout “the land of the enemy” (Surrounded by Muslim nations). God intends to supernaturally protect and save a nation of people before He returns to earth to set up His kingdom (Though all nations will be gathered together against Israel!).
And, if you can receive it, this also shows the heart of God toward your backslidden children and extended family members too.
“There is hope in your future, says the Lord, That your children (kinfolks too) shall come back to their own border.”
In the closing period of earthly history, God is going to turn to the unsaved children of Israel and save them! And, God is going to turn to your unsaved children and save them also!
That is why, in my opinion, the idea of being raptured unexpectedly and suddenly out of this world before the final harvest, saving our necks but only to leave all our unsaved relatives behind, should not bring us comfort, at least not if our intercessions and heart are in the right place!
Our hope should be to see our prayers and God’s grace putting as many as possible on the ark of safety with us, so that like Noah, our families and friends can ride out the final storms of life (Daniel’s “Time of Trouble”) until, thank God, they are at last “raptured” with us to heaven. Trouble leading to Revival and final Restoration and then Rapture: that is the divine order!
We weep over those who have died and we are unsure of their salvation. Jeremiah says “there is hope”. Believe our God of love and goodness did everything possible that grace and your prayers made possible.
And many of you are weeping over family members who aren’t ready to meet the Lord. There is hope that they will return to their family’s “own border” which includes mansions in heaven.
Thank God for the covenant of salvation for families throughout the Word. None shine brighter in today’s darkness or give more hope than Jeremiah 31. Claim it promises in prayer today.
Tomorrow I show how to pray in faith using a number of wonderful promises of deliverance and salvation for our households. Meanwhile, remember Jeremiah’s promise that concerning your family members. . .
“There is hope in your future.”
As we “fight the fight” of faith for our family’s salvation, we need to understand the vital part that the “free will of man” plays, lest we simply and glibly pray a quick prayer and claim “Lord you said my household will be saved” and yawn ourselves to sleep. There are sons and daughters of pastors, evangelists, and godly believers who will one day be screaming in hell, just as there are sons of the Father in heaven (like Lucifer and 1/3 of the heavenly angels) who will one day be screaming in hell. It won’t be for God’s lack of power or grace or even our lack of prayer or faith; it will be because of stubborn free-wills. And this will be in spite of all God’s loving dealings with them! That doesn’t mean it’s but a “roll of the dice” for our family’s salvation, but it does mean that we cannot take anybody’s salvation for granted (even ours!!!) and must be diligent to serve, obey and intercede until the end! And the more we pray, the more we believe, the more we fast, the more we witness to them; the more pressure the Lord will be able to apply toward turning them from the path of destruction to the narrow way of life. That “pressure” can even include a personal visitation of the Lord Jesus Christ! Paul was a willful murderer, deceived and stubborn, but when the Lord appeared to him, he immediately surrendered to Him saying, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Paul then obeyed the Lord for the rest of his life.
“Seeing” Jesus isn’t enough to guarantee a right heart. Satan lived in the very presence of Jesus but still chose a very different path. Abraham told the rich man, “If they don’t believe the prophets, neither will they believe though one rise from the dead.” So, even an appearance of Christ, a person returning from the dead or an angelic visitation doesn’t automatically guarantee the breaking of a stubborn will. The supernatural intervention of heaven is of course a sinner’s best chance to repent. Jesus said even Sodom and Gomorrah would have repented if they had seen His miracles. The supernatural manifestation of the last days will not result in every sinner and backslider being saved, but it will certainly give them a powerful incentive for conviction and heart-change. One of the best examples of how intercessory prayer resulted in a miracle that influenced a person’s decision for Christ is taken from the testimony of Christian author, Joy Dawson.
Joy tells about a woman whose son had been living as a homosexual. As a result, he was dying of aids. When his mother or others tried to get him to repent of his sinful lifestyle and get right with God so he would be ready for eternity, he rejected their attempts, explaining: “This is who I am. I cannot deny who I am.” But Joy helped the woman learn to pray for her son, agreeing with her that the Lord would reveal to him the error of his ways. God answered their prayers in a beautiful way. Jesus appeared to the man in a dream and explained to him that he was wrong about the homosexual lifestyle. When he woke up, he repented of his sin and got right with God. Some will get saved by just seeing a miracle. This past Sunday in San Jose, after hearing many testimonies of a healing touch from prayers of faith in a service, there were maybe 8 people moved enough to raise their hand to indicate their repentant heart.
Some are just deceived or rebellious enough to need a little bit of personal trouble to relent and finally get right with God. Others will need the terrifying events of the last days. And the hardest cases may, like Paul the Apostle or the above gay man, need a personal visitation from the Lord Himself. Be full of confidence that the Lord knows just exactly what each of your unsaved relatives needs to witness to convince them of their spiritual bankruptcy.
So, these Bible truths must be clear to our redeemed minds: 1) the free-will of man; 2) the love and commitment of Christ to save our families, and; 3) the necessity of faithful, diligent believing prayer for the unsaved up until the end. The Lord loves us so much. He knows how important our families are to us. He wants our happiness and fulfillment. And, he knows that being eternally separated from loved ones would be life’s greatest tragedy. So, He established a “Covenant of Salvation” for the households of believers. And, as we have seen over the last 4 days, there are many examples in Scripture of how this covenant brings results.
It is a great fight of faith to see God’s promises fulfilled in our life. But, His promises are our greatest resource of faith. So, to help you “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12) for your family’s salvation, today we list some of the best verses in the Word to help you. Study them carefully today and then: Wave them boldly in the face of the devil; Let them quicken faith to your doubtful, fearful heart; And remind your “Faithful Creator” of His promises often!
Here are the promises I recommend you use.
Acts 16:31:“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, you and your household.”
How many “your household” includes is dependent on your faith, your love, and your unselfishness in investing time in prayerfully seeking to determine that as many people as can be saved will be saved. Make a list today, if you don’t have one already, of all those you sense the Lord is giving you an assignment to pray for.
Deuteronomy 7:9: “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
God’s covenant of salvation, His faithfulness and His mercy towards our family members extends even to a thousand generations? Now, THAT is a covenant you can count on! Start with the 1 to 4 generations you are a part of now, and if the Lord tarries, you “works will follow you.” History proves this! Jonathan Edwards was a revivalist preacher and instrumental in the 1st Great Awakening. His descendants number around 1,300 people. Among them are: 1 President of the U.S., 2 Vice Presidents of the U.S., 6 US Senators, 12 US Congressmen, Presidents of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and other colleges and universities. Governors of various states, State representatives and state senators, mayors and city councilmen of various cities and counties, Preachers and business owners. Your righteousness and intercessory prayers count for generations to come!
Proverbs 11:21: “The descendants of the righteous will be delivered.”
(NASB). Memorize that verse today if you haven’t already! I have shared it with many through the years who came to me burdened about their unsaved children or grandcyyhildren. It says the truth we sharing in this study more succinctly, yet more profoundly than any other verse!
Psalm 103:17, 18: “But the mercy (or lovingkindness) of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.”
God’s mercy and lovingkindness is extended beyond just you and your faithfulness to serve Him. It reaches even to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.” Dr. Dobsen tells the story of how his grandfather would pray each day at noon for the salvation of his family. He did this faithfully for 30 years. And Dr. Dobsen joyfully reported that every member of the extended family was saved! When you pray is not as important as THAT you pray, but David said, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray.” (Ps. 55:17). Daniel “knelt down on his knees 3 times that day, and prayed . . . as was his custom since early days.” (Dan. 6:10). Praying for loved ones every day for 30 years is nearly 11,000 times! And praying 3 times a day for 30 years would be over 32,000 times! Even short prayers for loved ones count and add up over the years!
Isaiah 44:3: “I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.”
Oh, how many times I have claimed this promise over my children, and now my grandson! Isn’t it glorious! If you don’t have it memorized and it’s not yet an important part of your intercessory prayer, do so now!
1 Cor. 7:13, 14: “And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.”
A godly father influences his children greatly, but now we see that the same is true of a godly mother, even if the father is an unbeliever! Notice it says that children “would be unclean” if they have only an unbelieving parent to influence their life. But, even with the presence of an unsaved mate, the influence and prayers of the believing mate makes the children “holy”. This doesn’t mean that the children are “automatically saved, no matter what”. But, it does mean that they are “holy” or “set apart” for the loving work of mercy and grace in their lives, ever pressuring them to get right with and serve God. It’s His commitment to you and His “Covenant of Salvation” with you. So, with these 7 powerful promises, start today confessing and pray over your unsaved family members.
God’s Last Day’s Dealings with the unsaved: “With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness.”
Grace has been extended to Americans for many years, yet Isaiah said the wicked “will not learn righteousness”. But he says, “when Your judgments are in the earth , The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” The good news is: your intercessory prayers for family members are going to be answered at last! The bad news is: It is going to take Daniel’s Time of Trouble, which will dramatically affect everybody’s life, to bring them to that place of repentance. So, keep praying for them all, but understand that the same prayers that are hastening the return of Christ are hastening judgment to this planet! I am convinced that soon coming famines, pestilences, weather disasters and wars will get the attention at last of the many you have been praying for.
Jesus said in Matt. 13:39: “The harvest is the end of the world.” And a harvest always involves a cutting off at the root! This is partly what John meant in Matt. 3:10-12: And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
There has always been a God-ordained process of cutting off the flesh (of which circumcision is a type). The flesh of America stinks to heaven and needs to be “cut off”. It’s what the book of Revelation 18:4, 5 speaks of: “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven.” The stench of the odor of sin from earth has “reached to heaven”. Thus a “baptism of fire” coming to this planet. The Lord is going to “thoroughly clean out His threshing floor” before he proceeds to finally “burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Your wayward, sinful children will be drawn by your prayers, by the grace of God, and by horrific circumstances to at last “come out” of the sins of this age. Fire is coming on your family! But it will help them escape the fire of hell! John wrote above in v. 10, “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
The fire of war is one sure fire God will use to baptize America.
One of my uncles, Clarence Williams, and his family were stationed in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked Dec. 7, 1941. That attack resulted in 2,402 deaths, 1,282 wounded, 12 Naval vessels sank and 188 U.S. aircraft destroyed. It was an apparent great victory for the Japanese. As news of the attack reached the American mainland, Uncle Clarence’s 8 siblings and parents were very worried. Imagine their relief when they received a telegram saying just two words: “All safe!” Are there any words in the English vocabulary that would bring more comfort to families during times of war? Satan is about to unleash an all out attack and war on this earth. It is a war that begins in heaven and then is moved down to earth (See Rev. 12:7-12). “War broke out in heaven . . . and the Satan . . . was cast to the earth . . . Woe to he inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
During a very “short time”, Satan will wrap up his destructive work on earth. But, the Lord will use all this for His purposes. And part of that purpose is to quickly reap the final harvest of souls. (Be sure that your long-term intercession is one of the tools He’ll use to do this!). It will be a quick harvest (maybe but months or a few short years at the most). Satan knows that he only has a short time because that is all the Lord is going to allow him.
But, the Lord also plans His own incredible work during the “short” time left. “For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.” (Romans 9:28). We will be amazed at how quickly all our long-term prayers are suddenly being answered and all the promises we have been standing on for so long are quickly being fulfilled before our very eyes. But first, War is coming! Daniel’s “Time of Trouble” is coming! But, fear not! God will use these things to shake some sense into our unsaved and backslidden loved ones. Surely their salvation is infinitely more important to you than your personal security and happiness, isn’t it? Let this be our 24/7 aim: that we, our “children” and our extended families are going to arrive safely on the border of heaven! A great shaking is coming to our planet. But, in spite of the shaking of everything that can be shaken, when the Pearl Harbor like bombardments from hell are at last over and the smoke finally clears, the church will have but one report: “All safe!”