"Why I'm so Filled with HOPE - After the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump!"
It's hard to communicate to you how HOPE-FILLED I am for this nation and for the Church at large, having gone to the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump, but I'll see what I can do.
Now, first before I go any further, let me clarify that Donald Trump is just a man, so he cannot and will not be the salvation of our nation. Only Jesus Christ is in the "Salvation by Grace through faith business".
But from the perspective of human beings who rule on the earth, and understanding that God raises up (or tears down) kings and all rulers in the nation, I feel more excited about who "God has chosen" in this election more than any time in my life. (Pictured: Steve and Derene Shultz and the Christian Inaugural Gala)
Coming Out of a Dark Period
We came through a difficult period of entering into wars starting in the year 2001 with the tragedy of the downing of the Twin Towers on 9/11. During those years, it was hard to see so many dying and so little progress. When the next administration took office in 2009, the hard times seemed to continue but even worse, and the moral and economic decline was clear to anyone who was paying attention.
Christians over the last decade had become increasingly fearful of speaking out in public for fear of being branded a racist, or sexist, a homophobe or a bigot or xenophobe. Colleges created safe spaces for students to hold liberal views who were fearful of being confronted with so much as a conservative idea.
Bakers were put out of business because they would not bake a cake for a gay wedding. Pastors decided not to mention anything political from the pulpit for fear of losing their tax-exempt statuses, CEO's were fired for donations to conservative causes. Gay marriage was not only made acceptable but now officially sanctioned by the United States Government. Our country was overrun with millions of undocumented (illegal) immigrants, our national debt skyrocketed to 20 TRILLION dollars, and Terrorism within our own borders succeeded with multiple attacks with mass casualties. It's been a long, pretty dark period in this nation.
Yes, Jesus remained on the Throne during this whole time...NOTHING taking HIM by surprise. Nothing.
But it's been hard...UP UNTIL NOW.
Now...It's Getting Brighter
Now it won't get suddenly bright but it's getting brighter more quickly than we could have imagined.
Derene (my wife) and I rolled into Washington DC on the 18th of January, prepared to celebrate the Inauguration. IMMEDIATELY the difference in the atmosphere was evident. You could feel it! And it was amazing. (Pictured: Derene Shultz at the Christian Inaugural Gala)
A Christian cabdriver offered his services and we snatched them up, calling him each time we needed a ride to somewhere. As we drove through the city to our hotel, people wearing red hats that said, "Make America Great Again" were in elevators, hotels and on the street.
Suddenly we didn't have to keep our mouths shut. We could say, "Go Trump," or "God bless you," and it was fine to do so. (Pictured: Police on the streets Inauguration Day waiting for parade)
God loves FREEDOM. He came to give us freedom and it's FREEDOM that America was founded upon. Yet much of that had been taken away from us and then suddenly...IT'S BACK.
We all felt it. God was in this! God was in this election and Christians can once again talk openly about God, and it felt so FREEING to do so. Are you feeling the hope yet?
The Celebrations Begin
Derene and I walked probably close to 8 miles in a day and a half there in DC, because one had to walk everywhere as most of the streets were closed off for security. As we did, we could talk to anyone on the street knowing they were friends...or at least likely so!
We just made it in time to watch Mr. Trump's motorcade rush up and into secure areas at the Trump Hotel the day before the Inauguration. Pictured here, I am visiting with one of Donald Trump's communications persons (you'll recognize her from FoxNews), Katrina Pierson.
Just after President-Elect Donald Trump arrived at the Trump Hotel, I was able to shake hands with Katrina and thanked her for the good work she's doing. Here's is a quote about her: "Katrina Pierson may literally be the face of the Donald Trump campaign—mostly because if Trump himself can't make an appearance on cable news, Americans see her face talking on the screen instead." (I first saw her on Celebrity Apprentice years ago.)
Later that night, we dined with more than 1,000 Christian Leaders at the Christian Inaugural Gala! (Pictured here is a photo of the gorgeous Washington Hilton, and feast your eyes on the number of Christian Leaders in town to celebrate this election.)
On Inauguration morning, the 20th, we walked down (again all dressed up) for the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast where again, more than 1,000 Believers were gathered to eat together, worship and celebrate this event. We were led in prayer by people such as Kat Kerr, David Herzog and led in worship by Kimberly Rivera. What an amazing feeling. The mood, even at this very early-in-the-morning breakfast, was so filled with worship to God and celebration of His goodness. (Pictured below: Steve and Derene Shultz with Sharon Billins at the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast)
Then following the breakfast, Derene and I went next door to the Ronald Regan Building and celebrated even more with Christian leaders who had gathered together to celebrate and to watch the Inauguration happening only a few blocks away—but we watched it on large flat-screen TV's in different parts of the room. The atmosphere was electric and often this indoor crowd would erupt into thunderous applause as Donald Trump was sworn in as our 45th President.
Hope for the Church and the USA
As for myself, I was surprised as tears rolled down my cheeks as Mr. Trump became President Trump. It's as if the Hopes and Fears for this last, very long season, were suddenly culminating as a direct result of unified prayers from the Saints of God.
My hope is off the charts. Again, my main hope is in the LORD and our trust is in HIM and not in a man, but God is using Donald Trump to answer many Believers prayers for years and years and years to come.
I truly believe that the Church and the USA have entered into a time of great HOPE. Yes, there will be trials and probably some tragedies in years to come, but more and more of God's peace is coming for a great season of Harvest that is planned. I do not subscribe to, as some do, the philosophy that says, "We need persecution to drive people into the Church." That belief makes God seem weak, as if He can't reach sinners by His Spirit unless He gives them persecution. That would be a picture of an inept God. Instead, God is going to use a season of relative peace to introduce the earth to the greatest Renaissance and Awakening in Christ that the world has ever seen!