I would like to think we, the present day Church, are the Church Triumphant as the inspiring song by Bill and Gloria Gaither states. Sadly, many within the Church are asleep, have their heads in the sands of time, or are fearful and just don’t know how to defend their faith and face the uncertain times in which we live. Is God in His sovereignty using the terrorist group ISIS and their savage attacks to awaken the lethargic, fearful, sleeping Church from our crISIS of faith? I’ve read the end of the book and I know that Jesus Christ and His bride the Church will be triumphant in the end, but many will lose their lives in the process for standing courageously as Christ’s Church.
A message was sent by ISIS this week. A message of fear and intimidation.
What will our message be in response?
The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1
Fear is a paralyzing emotion that robs us of our faith in the One who is our light, our salvation, and the strength of our lives. The Deceiver, the Accuser, the Intimidator, the Liar Satan himself knows this. And so he uses groups cloaked in hoods of darkness, wielding swords, and some carrying flames and gasoline, to immobilize and fill us with fear. Why do we give him such power over us? Christ already won the victory. We can face whatever trial comes our way with courage. Courage doesn’t come from an absence of fear, but rather an abundance of faith. From a fleshly standpoint, it’s not always easy to stand up to our fears with courage. But we can stand boldly knowing we’re found in Him. Nothing touches us without first coming through Him.
The solution to this crisis of faith is to wield our own double edged sword – the Word of God, not haphazardly hacking away at anyone who challenges us, but as a skilled warrior, for those days when we need to do hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Allow the light of His word to penetrate your very soul, become intimately acquainted with Him. Be dressed and ready to defend your faith with courage. Put on the armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-20.
The vast majority of us will never experience life threatening persecution or martyrdom. But the voices of our brothers and sisters who are facing this are calling out. They’re saying, “Pray for us!”
Intercessory prayer is our most powerful and strategic corporate weapon in spiritual warfare. Mark 9:29, Luke 22:31,32; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; Acts 3:1; Acts 4:24-35; Acts 6:4-8; Acts 8:14-16; Acts 9:40-42; and Acts 10:1-4 are just some of the places we read about the importance of intercessory prayer.
When we read Ephesians 6:18-20 we learn of the kind of prayer that brings God’s deliverance and power in the midst of spiritual attack.
- Consistent Prayer (verse 18a)
- Intense Prayer (verse 18b)
- Strategic Prayer (verses 18c-20)
I’ve created a pdf file that will help us topray for the persecuted church. Please feel free to download it and use it during your prayer time.
What is God’s response?
To His Church, His response is this:
I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do. ~ Joshua 1:9 (NET Bible)
On this journey to the finish line, be brave, be strong, be courageous. Don’t allow fear to freeze up your faith. Be the Church Triumphant, is His message to us.
And to the watching world:
He may seem silent, but one day He will respond, and these will be His words:
Almighty God, I ask that you heal our land, strengthen our leaders with Godly wisdom, give us courage and increase our faith. Be with those who are living with persecution, and comfort the families of those who have given their lives for You. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
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