Overcome

For the first time in 1600 years it is possible that there was no Christian worship in Mosul, Iraq this past Sunday.

The Christian population in Syria has plummeted from about 6% of the population to possibly less than 1,000 believers.

We must be reminded of the words of Christ:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

A Christian home “marked” in Mosul, Iraq.

Blessed are the peacemakers

We’re good at picking sides to determine who is “right” and who is “wrong.” And when it comes to the Middle East, we are REALLY good at it.

But for people, especially Christians, IN the conflict areas, there are different prayers. It is not about praying over who is “right” or “wrong.” It is learning to pray what Jesus asked all of us to pray.

The death of any human being without the Messiah is a tragedy. The death of Palestinians or Israelis or Iraqis is equally painful for every human being is a gift from God. Every Israeli, every Palestinian, and every Iraqi is a gift from the Lord. We, as followers of Jesus, want to celebrate life, not advocate death. We are not against evildoers but against evil. We fight evil with good, not guns. In the midst of these tense times, we affirm that the bloodshed of Israelis is as painful as the bloodshed of Palestinians or Iraqis.

More HERE.

We don’t always take up that “pray for your enemies” idea very often. In these times of upheaval, we need to learn these lessons from our brothers and sisters who are IN these areas.

Lord, help us to grieve over innocent lives lost, regardless of race, skin color, belief… Help us to BLESS those that curse us. We need the power of your Spirit!

 

We want to see Jesus the way WE want to see Jesus

Philip wanted to see the Father. He basically says to Jesus, “Okay, just show us the Father! That will be enough!”

Jesus basically says back, “Have you not been paying attention at all?”

We have our mindset of what it would be like for Jesus to “show up,” so when Jesus finally DOES come by and reveals himself to us, if it’s not precisely in our definition of what that looks like… we may just miss him!

Let us pay attention to how the SPIRIT wants to move among our lives today! Let our ears be open to his voice and let our expectations be minimized so we can experience the fullness of God’s Spirit moving among us. Spirit, surprise us today!

Pope Expels All Muslims from Rome

The Pope has declared that all Muslims living in Rome must:

1. Convert to Christianity
2. Remain a Muslim, but pay an extra tax to remain in their homes and go to their mosque, or
3. Be killed if they refuse to comply with the first two rules.

Think of the headline. Think of your first reaction.

Think of those who simply hate the Catholic Church because of the scandals and abuses… and how outraged they would be.

Think of what the AMERICAN GOVERNMENT would do if such an edict was made. Any government, really.

Now understand this is PRECISELY what happened in Mosul. Only it was ISIS, a group that is determined to bring back in Sharia Law and establish a new Caliphate, that was saying this to Christians. All Christians had to leave or be taxed. Then, ISIS decided they just need to leave or be killed.

The MOSQUE (not church) that was near the traditional site of the prophet Jonah’s tomb was blown up. They did not want any memory of Jonah.

Again, as I stated before, I don’t expect anything from any government in the form of outrage. I don’t expect any action.

But we need to understand what is going on to Christians in the Middle East and know that sometimes we need to be shocked into awareness.

I am not asking people to hate Muslims. And for those who are simply outraged to say, “Why don’t Muslims say anything about this?” the answer is, quite simply: THEY DO. I have great Muslim friends and leaders in the Twin Cities who are outraged. They are heartbroken. A Muslim professor in Iraq defended the Christians’ right to exist in Mosul and was assassinated by ISIS.

Know me long enough and understand I am NOT outraged against Muslims. And I will not tolerate those who make blanket statements against all Muslims.

But I do not wish to stay silent. In some way I want to raise the awareness of TRUE persecution that is happening to Christians in this world. In some way it is my desire that ALL Christians come together to pray for our brothers and sisters who are in REAL trouble in other parts of the world. We can go back to our in-fighting some other day! Let us pray this day to the Lord.

Arabic N

 

Verses that STILL aggravate me

These verses (and all cross references like them) STILL aggravate me. They irritate. Agitate. Chafe. And I can’t get around them!

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

Every once in awhile I actually try this out. I want to believe without sounding like a whacked out “name it claim it” type preacher. I want to believe without worrying, “Am I asking the right thing!” or “What if I ask and NOTHING happens?!?”

And the invitation keeps coming! He won’t stop! Everywhere I look in the gospels… there is that aggravating invitation!

ASK.

Walk in the Spirit. Love Jesus. Obey his commands. ASK!

It is the nature of the Kingdom.

And it aggravates, irritates, and keeps calling out… all the time!

 

An ancient city CLEANSED of Christians

This news is chilling.

This is the choice believers in Mosul faced:

The Iraqi city of Mosul that was quickly taken by ISIS terrorists is now free of Christians for the first time in history, after they were given a warning to either convert, pay the al-Jizya tax that non-Muslims pay to live under their rule, or “face the sword.”

The rest of the post asks the ludicrous: “Where are the responses from…” I say ludicrous because all that is at this point is rhetoric. It’s simply fueling a fire.

We know there won’t be responses. To which I simply ask, “SO WHAT?”

It is not up to any government, and certainly I’m not holding my breath for any other organization. It’s simply a fact.

If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)

This is how it is. So, we lift up our brothers and sisters in this time of crisis. We pray. We help our brothers and sisters. In Mosul. In Gaza. In Nigeria. We pray.