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Archive for April, 2009

Here is a personal prayer request from a fellow-believer who actually lives in one of these countries, under a persecution watch (for safety – their identity and location have been withheld):

We need so much prayer. Nothing is simple anymore. Everything seems complicated. And then, there is the Word of God. Simple, uncomplicated, shining a light on our paths. Our Word is to obey. Perhaps things become complicated because men and women do not want to obey and walk out in the paths lit by the Light of Christ; and so, we grope in the dark and conflict begins. But even then, as a human being, I am forced to say that the world we live in — the country I knew — is gone for good; there are no simple clear-cut identities and spaces for us; the identification of friend and enemy has blurred. Whether or not your speech is offensive against Islam, Allah, the Prophet and the Koran, our very faith in Jesus makes us an offense, makes us a blasphemous presence to many in this land. Those who think differently, will leave. If not, they themselves will be living in gated luxury communities, or will be walking the tight rope to keep themselves un-noticed.

Who will be our friend tomorrow, who will be our enemy? Who will we cry to help if it gets to that? But, then, I guess Jesus is our best friend. Who could be a better friend than Him who lays His life down? Jesus fits the bill, and that is Who we must look to for a simplification of all the complexities that the evil one is spinning around us. We live in a potential war zone, life is not simple, the path is not always clear, the enemy is not always ugly with horns and a three pronged pitch fork, or with a beard and turban. Sometimes, the one with the beard is the angel-in-disguise, or a believer. For these days, I ask that you pray for me; the youth groups; the Churches; the mothers and fathers and their the families in our country. For parents, as they struggle with letting their children go to school or not; whether to go shopping or not; whether to use a busy route or not; whether to stay with friends if it gets too late, or tell the kids to come home. For children and young people — for wisdom, and a desire to walk in righteousness, and in the light of Christ. For each one of us — discernment, and a closer walk with Jesus in these times.

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Christians understand that Christ has called us to be His witnesses to the uttermost parts of a very dark and evil world. Each day there a many people who are sufferings severely just to survive. Some we hear about in the news. Others in their hidden captivity and sorrows, just cry out to God for His help and strength to endure their trials and abuses. Little girls as young as five-years-old are being sold to brothels in Svay Pak, Cambodia; Five hundred dead; thousands homeless after extremists attack Christians in Orissa, India; Convert to the Christian faith from Islam struggle to survive in Khartoum, Sudan.

Our Lord is shining His light using His servants through ministries such as International Justice Mission, Gospel for Asia, and Open Doors, to be His witnesses and agents of relief. Become familiar with their work, and then be in prayer for our brothers and sisters who are on the front lines of a wicked and ugly world.

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Good Friday

easter-cross

Isaiah 53

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Mark 16:6

“And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him.”

1 Corinthians 15:57

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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