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Friday, September 30, 2011

Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani's life hangs in the balance today. He is slated to be hanged because he became a Christian after being a Muslim. You can read the whole story here: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2011/09/islam-age-iran-court-muslim.

The judge gave him an opportunity to save his life by denying that Jesus is God. He did not. Just as Jesus on Good Friday knew that Pilate's power came from the True God, so on this Friday, Pastor Nadarkhani confesses that the power of life and death are not ultimately any Muslim judge's, but Jesus' own power.

That is why Jesus says, "Whoever saves his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25)

  • Pray for Pastor Nadarkhani's wife and children that they will be cared for.
  • Pray for the Iranian people that they will be freed from the bonds of Islam.
  • Pray for the judge and prosecutors that God would use Pastor Nadarkhani's words to rescue them from their bondage.
  • Pray for Pastor Nadarkhani that Jesus would keep him steadfast in his confession to eternal life.
  • Pray for yourselves and for your children, that you might believe as Pastor Nadarkhani does.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

40 Days for Life (Sept. 28 - Nov. 6, 2011)

"There are many hindrances to establishing a prolife emphasis in the church. One is the deeply held conviction of some members that prolife work distracts us from the main thing. To those who say the job of the church is evangelism, I would point out that prolife activities open great doors for evangelism. Students who make a speech on abortion have follow-up conversations that can lead to sharing the gospel. Those who work at Pregnancy Resource Centers have regular built-in opportunities they would otherwise not have to share Christ. Those who pass out literature at abortion clinics regularly share the love of Christ. People who open their homes to pregnant women can demonstrate a love that is more than words, then follow with the words of the gospel. My own family had the joy of seeing a pregnant young woman come to the Lord while living with us.


"Many, both church leaders and members, still insist it isn’t the job of the church to get involved in prolife activities. But what is the job of the church? I appeal to you to come to grips with the fact that loving God cannot be separated from loving our neighbor (Matthew 22:34-40). To a man who wished to define “neighbor” in a way that excluded certain groups of needy people, Christ presented the Good Samaritan as a model for our behavior (Luke 10:25-37). He went out of his way to help the man lying in the ditch. In contrast, the religious hypocrites looked the other way because they had more “spiritual” things to do.

"In Matthew 25:31-46 Christ makes a distinction of eternal significance based not merely on what people believe and preach, but on what they have done for the weak and needy. Can anyone read this passage and still believe that intervening for the needy is some peripheral issue that distracts the church from its main business? On the contrary; it is part and parcel of what the church is to be and do. It is at the heart of our main business.

"In His Great Commission, Jesus didn’t tell us only to evangelize. He told us to be “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus commanded us to be compassionate and to take sacrificial action for the weak and needy. If we fail to do this—and if we fail by our word and example to teach others to do this—then we fail to fulfill the Great Commission. We show the world and the church that our words about the gospel are only that—words."

by Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200, www.epm.org, www.randyalcorn.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/randyalcorn, www.twitter.com/randyalcorn

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Identifying the Source

There are few catastrophes so indelibly connected to a single day as 9-11. Most are years in the making and so gradual that they go unnoticed.


Had God caused the Twin Towers to crumble gradually, over the course of time... Had He caused the 3000 people in it to grow weak and die by the ravages of age and disease... This day would not impact us so much as it does.

But the sheer suddenness of it, the cataract of steel and concrete, the great and growing cloud of dust, still reach out to envelope us and cover us with the patina of death.

Shocked into a zombie-like state, we too wander the streets seeking escape from the horror of what we've seen... but in vain.

As the towers folded in upon themselves, so were time and space themselves compressed. And when, what normally happens over decades is compressed into moments, the truth becomes undeniable.

No longer is it possible to deny the source of death and decay. And that "source" is not Al Qaida. It is, rather, Satan Himself. This is no benign and impersonal agency like time. Now we see it for what it is--an intrusion, an alien and unwelcome invasion.

In like manner, Jesus' miracles are the compressing of space and time. They are more than "wonderments" Rather, what God does normally and imperceptibly every day is sped up in time so that you can more easily trace its source. Now, with crystal clarity, you can see that the Man, Jesus, is Himself the source, the Creator of all life, the up-builder of all. And hearing this blaringly obvious truth, how can you help but speak of it?

Confession of Christ is not something you calmly decide to do or not to do. It is the natural and spontaneous result of the hearing of faith. When people across this land saw the events of ten years ago, they didn't timidly ask permission to broach the subject. But they broke out in conversations everywhere declaring the obvious! Suddenly all of life was interpreted through that cloud of dust. Our world changed.

Why don't we do that about Jesus? He is more obviously our source of life and order than Al-Qaida is our source of death and chaos. So why are we so reluctant to talk of Him, to stand up for Him, to organize our lives around Him?

Since 9-11 we have come to take it for granted that everything we do must be ordered according to the new realities of our world. We gladly surrender our personal freedoms in a trade for security of our flesh. An extra hour at the airport? Monitor my cell phone and my emails? X-ray my luggage? Take naked pictures of me at the security line?... OK, no problem.

But when Jesus calls us to an extra hour of worship; or to monitor your computer and cell phone usage... When Jesus has something to say about how you spend your money; or with His surgical Word penetrates your heart, do you rejoice at the spiritual security He gives you? Or resent His intrusions?

All people ought to be convicted by these thoughts. But Christians will respond differently than others.

The world will take this criticism as an opportunity to make personal resolutions - I will start thinking differently. I will take Jesus more seriously. I will more willingly listen to Him... But Christians know that "I" is the problem. The deeper is not that I don't respond enough--it's that I can't hear; I can't perceive.

The problem is not that I am UNwilling. The problem is that I WILL the wrong things. I don't speak, because I can't hear. And so the Christian response is not a resolution to remember. It is a prayer to BE REMEMBERED!

Salvation from the dust of death begins with the recognition that I am hopelessly covered in--and surrounded by--the dust of death. I am inextricably stuck in--and buried under--the rubble of the world. Recognizing this, the only cry is "HELP!" Lord, have mercy! Save me! Heal me!

Give me ears to hear that I might speak. Touch Me with Your Body and Blood and remember Me.

And into this world of dust and death comes Jesus. He, and He alone is clean. He is in the rubble and outside of the rubble at the same time. He is the source (Al Qaida) of life in this world of death. He alone knows the pervasiveness of the problem. So, He alone groans from the depths of His soul.

And He comes today, as the first and only responder, to rescue you. To lift you out of death and into Life Himself. He restores your hearing - your very ability to receive the WORD. And in restoring this, He gives you life. Speech naturally follows.

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! Make haste to help me, O Lord! AMEN.