Good morning all-
Tomorrow we will celebrate Easter. For a Christian, this is the pinnacle of being a Christian. If Jesus was not an innocent man and He did not die on a cross then Christianity is for nothing. But more importantly, if Jesus never was seen after death, then we just worship a man. However, as the story goes, Jesus died as an innocent man, on a cross and rose again! We all know the story but how does that impact us today?
For months, I have been praying for Nigeria, Syria and Egypt. God called me out of sleep one night to pray for them. The women of countries I don't know. And then over the last six months as the militant islamist groups have waged war on Jews and Christians I have prayed. This morning was no different. I woke with that same kind of passion for a people group I don't even know. The Lord wants us to pray for our enemies. We are called to love them, even if we don't believe in what they are doing. You probably are saying, no way. I challenge you to remember who Paul was to the Jews. You know the story, he was their persecutor. He held the robes of those that killed many Christians and yet, God destined this horrible man to become one of the greatest teachers in the Bible. He was not worthy to speak the Lord's name and yet, he was given authority by Jesus to spread His word far and wide.
In my mind, I picture our enemies. They are in every country and every city from the US to the Red Sea. There are no boundaries and there are no walls that contain these men and women who hate what we believe in. No surprise really. Christians have been marked since Jesus' day. Why? Because the evil one wants us to believe there is no hope, no joy and no eternal life. We know different, right? Why do women and men have to be killed for their faith? I don't have any answers. I wish I did but sometimes I think it's to remind us that the enemy lurks everywhere and that Jesus, time after time tried to tell us to prepare for this day.
Now is the time that we must pray for the deceived. When men run into a University, while young people are in prayer and massacre them shouting about God, we must pray harder and more often for the evil we can not see. We must ask Jesus to come to these men in dreams and help them see His mighty power. Evil is lurking but God is ever present and there is no better time to pray then on Easter. I believe, as one body, we can pray and a course can be changed. I believe as one body, evil can be overcome and I believe as one voice, praising the name of Jesus, change can happen in the lives of men and women. We have to stand in unison tomorrow and take a moment to pray for our brothers and sisters all over the world. We must believe that Jesus died for us, loved us, rose again and in 2015, He can spread His kingdom from one end of the earth to the other. Jesus can impact a life and we have the power to pray that this will happen.
Israelites were warned about their enemies and they could not go into the promise land until they had enough faith. There fathers did not step over because they saw God's power and had no faith. God warned them that trials would come their way and so they have for centuries. Does it mean God is not real because Christians are getting slaughtered? No. It means He lives even more. If God and Satan didn't exist there would be no need for one religion to be over another or for men to hate from it. This is an evil world we live in but the grace of God is flowing.
I would challenge you tomorrow to really look at the blood that was shed on the cross and for the blood that is being shed in the Middle East. These are our brothers and sisters. We must also praise Jesus for the commitment of the young men and women that step away from fear and love Jesus anyway. More importantly, we must pray for our enemies and ask Jesus to penetrate their hearts. That's my prayer today.
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Revelation 2:10 NIV)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV)
O, Jesus, you are more mighty than ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Queda. You are more loving and caring than any person on this earth. You reveal to us in Scritpure that Your love will never fail. I believe that with all my mind. You are a God that will save the Jews and have revenge for your beloved people. We cry out in one voice today, saying,"Worthy, Worthy, is the Lamb that was slain for us." You are King of our hearts. A mighty warrior to the weak. And when we call, You hear our cries. Be with Your children in Nigeria, Israel, Syria, Egypt and all over the world. Let Your power be seen and felt in every corner of the world as we honor the day You rose again!