One of our church members said that a co-worker shared with him how this “quarantine” is making us all like dogs. We roam the house all day looking for food! When we get too close to someone we’re ordered to “Stop”! And we get really excited when we get to go out for a car ride!

That may be truer than we’d like to think. Most, if not all of us, do have more “free” time on our hands. What are we doing with it? Many are spending time doing odd jobs around the house, taking care of the “honey-do list”, cleaning, painting, fixing. Others are getting “crafty”, finding ways to channel energy into arty type projects. Some are reading (online or “real” books); others are finding time to study topics and subjects they’ve had an interest in but no time for.

Some are helping take care of others, neighbors, relatives, the elderly, the sick and shut-in. They’re visiting, calling, sending notes and cards, showing love and concern.

There are many good ways to use our time, much better than texting, Facebook, YouTube, videogames, and television (yes, even better than the Hallmark channel).

But what if God’s people began to use more of that time in Bible study and in prayer? What might be accomplished in the spiritual realm for ourselves, our families, our churches, our neighborhoods, our country?

Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. A California pastor I respect very much, Dr. David Jeremiah, offered this prayer for America:

“In all history, there was been only one nation like America, founded by pilgrims seeking freedom to worship, dedicated to the proposition that we are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.

“You have delivered us in war, prospered us in peace, and raised up generations willing to offer the last full measure of their devotion for the preservation of liberty at home and abroad. We have been a light for the world.

“But now, America has fallen into darkness, disobedience and indifference. We have sinned, and we, Your people, Lord, humble ourselves, and pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways. Please forgive our sin and heal our land.

“May the torch of liberty continue to burn brightly, inflamed by the goodness of Your people. Amen and Amen!”

On that day last week, I sent this to many in our church and on my email list and asked that we pray a similar prayer for America, not only on the National Day of Prayer, but every day.

We learn from the Old Testament prophets that intercessory prayer and confession of sin can be used to turn a nation from evil and back to God. And America needs this more than ever before.

While revisionist history and secular culture would try to downplay the role of faith in the formation and development of America, the truth is that our nation was founded as “one nation under God”. Indeed, no true democracy has ever lasted when morality and the personal involvement and responsibility of the citizenry have diminished. (de Tocqueville said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”)

Today’s America would be completely foreign to our founders and is even so different than it was when I was growing up in the latter 20th century…and not different in a good way.

Politics has become a “bad word” and it shouldn’t be. Politicians have given up being statesmen for power and money. There was a natural “difference” of opinion between political parties in the past, but today it has evolved into hatred and vitriol, to the detriment of the nation.

Money has become our god. Almost everything that happens is based on profit and/or loss. Materialism has surpassed all other attributes in the hearts of too many Americans. And greed is seen to be a “good thing”, not something to be despised.

We are divided by color, culture, political party, regionalism, speech and/or accent, the name over the church door, religion and other things that are natural, but should not be caustically divisive.

Our churches that used to speak the entire truth of God’s Word, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, completely and without apology, now are watering down or denying the truth of the Word. We preach false doctrine and heresy and people in the pews are so ignorant of the Bible they don’t know the difference.

We change sin to “lifestyle” and culture. We reduce crime to normalcy. We kill our unborn children by the thousands without thought. And those who have the power to change those things let them go…again because of their love of power, prestige and money.

The saddest part is that we all know the difference between right and wrong. We simply ignore what we know.

As a classic country music fan, I remember an old song by Bobby Bare that said, “God bless America again”! That should be the prayer of every American. But before that can happen, America must become blessable again, and that starts at the door of the church and in the hearts of God’s people. Is it possible? I really don’t know and I confess I’m a bit skeptical and pessimistic. But I’m willing to be proven wrong.

So while this global pandemic keeps us “sequestered” for at least a little while longer, let’s begin a process that will continue when our nation returns to social normalcy. Let’s become a nation of Christian prayer warriors.

We cannot depend on politicians or pastors. The hope of America is not in the city council, the President or the pope. It is in the prayer posture of God’s people. The Apostle Paul “hit the nail on the head” when he reminded us that this battle we face today is not a battle of people against people. It is a battle in the spiritual realm, a battle of good versus evil, a battle of God versus Satan that started in eternity past.

People are simply the pawns that Satan is using to foment his evil plans, the hatred of anything moral, good, spiritual. But in Ephesians 6, we’re given the spiritual armor that we must use as God uses us as His “Christian soldiers”, not to fight each other, but to fight the devil and his minions. And we put that armor on each day with prayer!

And let us all remember, as we spend our days in amplified and fervent confession of sin (personal and national) and intercession, Christ has won the battle. When Christ died and rose again, Satan realized that he was doomed to one day spend eternity in a “bottomless pit”. But until the day comes when God puts him there forever, he is a wounded and dangerous enemy, determined to destroy everything good that God ever created, as he did in Eden and as he’s doing in America.

As Sabine Baring-Gould penned over 100 years ago: “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see His banners go!”

Cancellations, Postponements and Reopening

As South Carolina and especially Horry County begin to “reopen”, we will see churches and organizations trying to get back to some degree of normalcy in services and ministries. As your church or house of worship -- faith-based organization etc. -- starts to function “person-to-person” again, let Church Talk know and we’ll share that with the community.

But let’s continue to monitor cancellations and postponements so we’ll all be “on the same page” and “in the right place at the right time”!

Special Prayer and Thanksgiving

Let us continue to be in daily and constant prayer to the only One who can end this time of panic and Who is still on the Throne. Pray to God for healing for those afflicted by the COVID-19 virus; pray for protection for those as yet unaffected; and pray for peace and comfort for families who have lost loved one.

Let us continue to pray for wisdom and rational thought for our political leaders at all levels: national, state and local.

And let’s continue to offer thanks and pray for guidance and protection for all our health-care workers, our first responders (paramedics, fire men/women, police officers).

Remember, God hears and answers prayers!

Helping the Helpers

As we continue through this worldwide “emergency”, needs seem to be multiplying. There are many economic problems from those out of work; there are medical needs for the ones coming down with COVID, plus the other “normal” diseases and physical problems; there are emotional needs of loneliness and depression; and there are nutrition needs as many in our area (and around the world) are hungry.

I was always taught, growing up, that all God ever promised His children was “enough”, and if we have more than enough, it’s probably so we can help others. It’s time for all of us to assess our “enough” and to open our pantries, checkbooks and our hearts to help meet the needs of others.

There are a lot of groups that are trying to do that: the Salvation Army, Help4Kids, the Red Cross, many local churches and so on. The Waccamaw Community Foundation collects “gifts” and distributes them to a number of charities. And we need to remember groups like Coastline Women’s Center and Bethesda Home for Single Mothers who go beyond the physical to assist the spiritual and others needs of our people. If you look, you can find someone to help. Let’s all open our eyes and hearts to friends, neighbors and strangers and be the hand and feet of God to the needy.

Trip of A Lifetime

Wayne and Joy Brown are taking the “trip of a lifetime” and are inviting you to accompany them. This trip to the Holy Land and Germany, will include the magnificent and world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play (put on every ten years since the early 1600s). The trip will start July 23 and conclude Aug. 3.

This trip is all inclusive: air transportation from JFK (New York), breakfast and dinner daily, first class hotels, ground transportation, all entrance fees, taxes, tips and gratuities. It is truly going to be a “trip of a lifetime”.

To receive a descriptive brochure with complete itinerary and additional information, call or text the Browns at (843) 796-0397; you may email to Wayne@WayneandJoyBrown.com. Or request in writing at: Wayne and Joy Brown, P.O. Box 70777, Myrtle Beach SC 29572.

Upcoming Events

■ Springtime Jubilee, the old-time Gospel Conference for “mature and senior” adults held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, has been postponed until Aug. 17-19!

Musicians include Ricky Skaggs, the Booth Brothers, Karen Peck & New River, the New Speer Family and Gold City. Speakers include Johnny Hunt and Dr. Robert Jeffress. Go to jubileeconferences.com or phone 1-800-616-8863.

n Rise Up! The Women of Joy 2020 Tour. Myrtle Beach Convention Center is also postponed and rescheduled for May 29-31. Enjoy Sheila Walsh, Mark Lowry, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Lisa Bevere, Michael W. Smith, Lysa Terkeurst and Charles Billingsley.

Register at the website: womenofjoy.org. (Note: this event is no longer on the website and may have been canceled)

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ Mark on your calendars: in the will of the Lord, the annual Coastal Evangelism Conference will be held at Langston Baptist Church Aug. 5-7. More information as it becomes available.

■ Tilly Swamp Survivors of Suicide, a new faith-based support group for those having lost someone to suicide, meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the church: 4619 S.C. 90. Phone (803) 566-0702.

■ Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 504 Church St., and Stepnfaith Ministries will present Music Extravaganza 2020 in May and also the Battle of the Voices, a competition for soloists and choirs. Auditions and rehearsals are going on now. These will be led by Minister of Music Kenzie Carey and you will want to participate. Winners will receive monetary prizes. Phone (843) 248-4900.

■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will distribute food on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.

■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a Blessing Box in the church and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its Food Bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ The New Beginnings drive-thru food distribution will be held on Saturday and June 20 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 16 Bypass in Surfside Beach. Phone (843) 215-4500.

■ Knitting Hearts Ministry will have a Prayer and Healing Conference Saturday, hosted by Ignite Church, 4808 North Kinds Highway. The speaker will be Marsha Murphy and the event will begin with coffee and fellowship at 9:30 a.m. followed by worship and teaching. Knitting Hearts Ministry does not charge for its events, but will accept a love offering.

■ A television documentary, Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries will be shown on SC ETV Sunday at 6 p.m. Filmmaker Janet Gardner leads the viewer through the origins of Quakerism in England, and up to the faith and practice of Friends in the world today.

Horry Friends Monthly Meetings, formerly known at Five Rivers Friends, has offered unprogrammed, silent Quaker worship in our area for more than three decades. Now meeting virtually, Horry Friends welcome new attenders and visiting Friends. Contact clerk Grace Gifford at (843) 365-6654.

■ St. Philip Lutheran Preschool is currently registering students for the 2020-21 school year for the 2, 3 and 4-year-old classes. Come join the fun! Contact the director, Jenn Loeswick, at stphilipppreschoolmb@gmail.com or look us up on Facebook: St. Philip Preschool-Myrtle Beach. The preschool is located at 6200 N. Kings Highway. Call (843) 449-4322 and we’ll get back to you.

■ Low Country Food Bank and Faith Outreach Ministries plan to sponsor Drive-Thru Food Distributions at the Myrtle Beach Bowl, 101 Philip Gray Drive. Future dates include July 10, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4.

■ Mt. Olive Church, 1108 Carver St., invites you to a 14-week Strengthening Families Program, each Tuesday through June 9 at 6 p.m. Phone (803) 791-5513 or e-mail thodge@growinghomesse.com.

■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave. in Murrells Inlet, has a Life Chain every first Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 17 Business, near the church driveway. You are invited to participate in this event. (Bring a chair if not able to stand for the hour.) Contact Joanne Bennett at (614) 313-8425 or e-mail Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.

■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea, 65th Ave. North and N. Kings Highway, invites you to Friday night service at 7:30 p.m. (Kosher Oneg), Shabbat Service at 10 a.m. (Kosher Kiddush).

Sunday School, 9:30 a.m.-noon,

On Wednesdays: Advanced Hebrew 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m., Adult Education, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.; Conversion, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.; Hebrew School, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Current Second Nature Project: we are collecting items for New Directions of Horry County that provides shelter and meals for those in need. Please bring paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, diapers), bath towels, laundry soap, toothpaste and brushes and cleaning supplies. We are continuing to collect new packages of children’s underwear and socks. Bring your donations to the Rosen Center and place in the basket provided by the front door. All Mitzvoth greatly appreciated! Questions? Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.

Steffi Nathan Scholarship Fund for Jewish Students (awarded each semester): applications in Temple Office.

Youth 12-16, the Jewish Historical Society of SC has a contest just for you: create an essay or media piece on the topic: My South Carolina Jewish History. Phone (843) 953-4930 or go to the website jhssc.org/contest.

■ Don’t miss the 12th Annual Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival that has been rescheduled for Sept. 19. Sign up your team today.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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