As I woke this morning, I began to praise the Lord for all that He has done. My first thoughts after that were about my new business and ministry opportunities. I'm asking Him questions like, "What are you going to do?" I know that I am starting this new business but I don't know what it means. I know that I am helping my husband with his business and so far God has truly blessed that endeavor. But all my thoughts were on the path my life is could take until I looked at my phone this morning and saw that a Catholic priest was crucified on Easter and Catholic sisters were killed in Yemen. Wow! All my thoughts were on my provision until that one moment.
Like me you are probably thanking God for what He's doing in your life. You probably are wondering your direction and purpose and your probably are just getting through today to see what tomorrow will bring but this Easter as we were gathering in churches, many for the first time in a year, a faithful servant of the Lord was being crucified and tortured. This one act was to remind all of us that God is not powerful but God is so powerful. In my readings last night, I was back in the New Testament reading about Judas and the money he gave back to the Pharisees. Before that passage though, it spoke about Pilot giving Christ and washing his hands of what the people decided to do. He could have stopped the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus could have stopped it by denying all charges and speaking. Instead He remained silent. Can you imagine His fear and trepidation knowing that He would be crucified? Can you imagine Fr. Tom's trepidation on following in His Saviors footsteps? The act of crucifixion is barbaric and if the world turns it's eyes away, as they did then, more of this will happen. We live in a modern time and yet, people are using torture tactics that go back thousand of years. We are in a religious war but no one sees the signs. It's really not about religion at all, it's about evil over good and it's about Jesus over the world.
In our every day lives it's easy to forget that people are dying for the cross. When we become Christians we're told we will bear hard times but no one really knows what that looks like. This is the third event this last week where Christians were targeted by people that hate them. It's time we opened our eyes to a war that will not be fought by bombings and troops. This war is purely spiritual and it's calling us to do something more than we can imagine, believe that Jesus will have victory just like He did so many years ago when the curtains were torn, the earth shook and the stone moved away from the tomb. This war is purely spiritual and whether we like it or not really doesn't matter. It's here and it's going to take every one of us repenting of our sins, crying out for mercy and asking the Lord of light to reveal himself to the men that have been deceived. These militants against the cross have been there since the beginning. They started in Egypt and later were the Amorites, the Philistines, the Romans, and so on through the centuries to extremists today. And yet, for thousands of years lives have been lost for the cross and Jesus has been revealed as the Savior. The God of Abraham had two sons, one that left and one that stayed, dividing the Christians from those that follow Islam. We do worship one God in the Holy Trinity but many believe we blasphemy the Lord our God because we believe in the Son.
Many throughout time have been deceived and we are being called to pray for them, ask for forgiveness on their behalf and listen to the cry of the Martyrs. They reside in Heaven with God our Father and they are crying out for redemption. In Revelations, it talks about the Martyrs and their cries. We must hear them too. I know it's easy to stay in our own world and wish these events weren't occurring but they are. Like John who saw the revelation, we must be saddened, repent and ask our Father to heal the broken, restore faith among His people and provide the Gospel to every corner of the world. We must pray for our missionaries and ask God to protect them from evil. They are the heroes because they gave their lives for their belief. May we all be brave enough to do that if asked.
Time is ticking and the enemy knows his time is close. How close no one knows but we know one thing for sure, just like in Jesus' day the veil will be torn and all will see the glory of the Lord. The enemy may look like their winning by killing men and women that believe in Jesus but one thing is sure, the truth will be revealed and one day every knee will bow.
Please pray for the men and women that are serving in other countries. Please pray for the underground churches all over the world and if you live in a country where you have religious freedom, please don't waste it. You are empowered with the ability to read your Bible, go to church, minister to others and speak the name of Jesus. You are blessed no matter your circumstances because there are people all over the world that can't even mention His name. We are blessed my sisters because we can and we should. These men who are taking lives believe that they are right. These are the same men that were born to women just like us. They don't know they are doing anything wrong. We must pray that the deception would be revealed and that they would become powerful fighters for the cross as Paul did so many years ago. Paul went from ordering torture to receiving it all in the name of Jesus.
We must be faithful, we must ask Jesus to be received in the hearts of men and women and we must pray for those that are being persecuted for their faith. We must believe that Jesus is the reason, not by simply confessing it but believing it and we must proclaim daily that we live for Him not ourselves. That's hard to do I know but I'm going to start practicing it daily. We are being called to love our brothers and sisters all over the world through prayer and petition. I can't see my friends in Russia, Germany, Peru, England, Belgium or even in the US but I see you getting on this blog and I'm praying for you. Whether you are Catholic or not does not matter, FR. Tom died for what we believe in, please pray that his death would be a blessing to all that serve our Lord and Savior.
Revelation 6:9-11 NIV
9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
1 Samuel 2:1 (NIV)
Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.
Do you delight in His deliverance? Do you believe that He is present in the fallen world? Do you seek Him for yourself and your enemies? Are you turning your head instead of lifting your horn high and saying," I rejoice in You Lord?" We all fall short, that's the truth but how I desire to be faithful, to love Jesus with all my heart and to pray for those that don't know Him. It's easy to hate. It takes perseverance, repentance and a love for the Word to love your enemy and to pray for them. Jesus knew that and was constantly reminding us how to pray. Will you pray with me today for all our brothers and sisters that have gone before us?
Lord Jesus we know You alone are in control of our circumstances. The world is being tormented by evil. Men are being deceived and are choosing to hurt those that serve You well. Lord, I come before you today asking you to protect those that are crying out to You. You are the redeemer and even though the world is chaotic, You alone stand strong. We come to You asking You to guide Your people to You through prayer, petition, the Word and repentance. We know we are in a fallen world and that we are fallen people. Lord hear our cries for those that have lost their lives for You and deliver Your people from harms way by protecting them from the evil one. We know You exist and that even when You're silent, You are making history. We call on You to deliver us, to grow our faith and to believe that we are here to serve You not ourselves. Forgive us for making our lives more important than Your call and love us through our iniquities. Just like in Your day, we struggle to remain faithful, to pray for our enemies and to love our neighbors more than ourselves. Mostly, we forget to put You first in all things, to ask for Your peace that transcends all understanding and to stand in the gap for those that know not what they do. In the end, You cried, "It is finished!" One day we will hear that cry again and know that are faith was for something so much more than we could envision it to be. We stand on that faith today and ask You to deliver Your people all over the world. In Jesus name we pray, AMEN!!!!