Urgent Prayer Request Wednesday August 6

iraq 5A day of prayer is to be held today, August 6, in solidarity with Iraqi Christians suffering ongoing violence at the hands of members of the Islamic State (IS).

My purpose in writing this post is to raise awareness concerning the persecution of  Christians in parts of Iraq and Syria. Iraq 6 ISIS_control_june_12

Iraq’s Christians are one of the longest continuous Christian communities in the world. Iraq’s Christian community is hardly a western innovation or a colonial relic. It dates from the 1st Century, when two of Jesus’ disciples – Thomas and Thaddeus (also known as Jude) – preached the Gospel in what was then Assyria.  There has been a Christian presence in Iraq ever since. 1a

The symbol in the picture you see above  is the Arabic “nun” symbol, or N, which stands for Nazarene and refers to Christians, this symbol ominously began appearing, stamped in red, on Christian homes in Mosul, Iraq, in early July.

By mid-July, it was accompanied by another statement, painted in black, “Property of the Islamic State.”iraq 3

Members of the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have invaded towns, including Mosul, demanding Christians either convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed.

In a statement released to BBC a spokesperson for Isis said

“We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,”. After this date [July 19], there is nothing between us and them but the sword,”  1b

It is estimated that over 150,000 Iraqi Christians have left this area, fleeing to Kurdistan and other countries their property and belongings confiscated.

There has been a wave of persecution against Iraqi Christians since 2003 and it has received little attention by either President Bush or President Obama’s administration. This is by far the worst.

I am saddened by the apathy and indifference that is being displayed  by much of the Western Church and world government  including our own here in the United States.

I personally posted four different appeals on Facebook and Twitter concerning this situation and was shocked by the lack of response. The silence was deafening….

So according to Galatians 6:2 ” Bear one anothers burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”, I am asking that before you read any further to stop and think of five people you can contact and ask them to pray for the Iraq Christians. Ask them to contact five of their friends.

Feel free to use this blog as a reference/information point, I will also list other resources at the end of this post for information.

It is important that we have the right perspective in times like these, in situations like this.

My heart breaks when I think about what our brothers and sisters are suffering. I have personally viewed photographs and have read accounts that are far to graphic to share in this venue.

But how do we process this type of horror? What is our response according to Scripture?

I do not pretend to have all or even some of the answers and I am fully aware that as I write this from my comfortable, safe home that I have little understanding what it is like to go through what they are encountering. But that aside I would like to offer these thoughts.

1. Persecution is a part of following Jesus

Jesus said

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. John 15:18-20

We must be careful when praying for deliverance from persecution so that we do not find ourselves at odds with God’s purpose.

I was explaining to a Muslim friend that as a Christian to refuse to renounce your faith and be willing to face death instead is not an option. His response? “I do not understand that. Why would you not want to fight or escape?”

That is a very good question.

I believe in some cases we do resist or take a way of escape.

When the Apostle Paul is about to face punishment he reminds his Roman captors that he is a Roman citizen. (Acts 22:23-29) In another situation Paul is lowered over city walls in a basket (Acts 9:25) to flee those trying to kill him.

But Paul also eventually died willingly for the faith at the hands of the Romans.

God does not always deliver his children from persecution but we should pray for courage and strength in these times of trouble, that their faith and trust in Him would remain strong, and if possible for deliverance of those being persecuted In Iraq .

2. Pray for our enemies

We cannot overlook the reason for this persecution. It is the spirit of antichrist, the enemies hatred of Christ and all who follow Him

In these places where persecution is most severe there is great darkness that comes in many forms. Lack of education, lack of equality, poverty,  slavery, human trafficking, denial of the most basic human rights. Hope of a better life is almost non-existent

In Isaiah 9:1-2 we read “In these places, the people who had been living in darkness
    saw a great light.
The light of life will overtake those who dwelt in the shadowy darkness of death. Jesus came that all could be redeemed, forgiven of their sins, delivered out of darkness into the kingdom of light, His kingdom. (Colossians 1:13-14)

In Matthew 4 we see this prophecy repeated. In The Message it reads “This Isaiah-prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching”. v.17

The enemy seeks to prevent the sharing and spreading of the Gospel “The Light” through persecution.

3. It is important that we discern who the real enemy is.

“We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places”.

Ephesians 6:12

Jesus instructed us to pray for our enemies. It is here that the warfare is most effective

“You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel.  Matthew 5:43-45

Jesus made this statement knowing that a man named Saul would later come on the scene and persecute His followers.

Saul who after his conversion became Paul spoke of this in Acts 26

“I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.  Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities”.

Paul is a great example of what God can do with a changed heart.

In closing what are the things we can do for our brothers and sisters in Iraq and all over the world that are facing persecution?

Pray– Pray for our brothers and sisters, pray for their enemies. Pray for physical needs food, clothing and shelter. Pray that there would be an end to the persecution, that there would be peace. Church leaders in Iraq have called for Christians around the world to commit to praying on Wednesday August 6th for an end to the spiraling crisis in Iraq and Syria, and to the violent persecution of Iraq’s ancient Christian community.

Inform- Post on Facebook, Twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/WeAreN?src=hash Instagram, any media outlet where you have a potential audience.

Contact– Emails, phone calls, using any type of media outlet available to your elected officials including the president have an effect. Especially if there are lots of them. If this has not been mentioned in your church an email or phone call to your pastor would be appropriate.

Support– There are many physical needs for those who are displaced.

http://www.iraqichristianrelief.org/

http://www.persecution.com  (Voice of the Martyrs)

http://convoyofhope.eu

A quick search will provide organizations assisting those in need.

1a The religious cleansing of Iraq’s Christians by Lela Gilbert FoxNews.com

1b www.bbc.com/…/world-middle-east-28...

British Broadcasting Corporation

Jul 18, 2014

 

 

Advertisements

About HCliffCraig.com

“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
This entry was posted in A CLICK A BLESSING TODAY, ALL GOD'S PEOPLE, Christian Life and the Word - Encouragement, CHRISTIAN MISSIONS, CHRISTIAN TAGALOG BLOGS, LAST DAYS, PRAYER REQUESTS. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Urgent Prayer Request Wednesday August 6

  1. Craig,
    Thank you for educating me on our fellow Christians. It breaks my heart to hear their struggles yet my prayers for them are strengthened by seeing their faith! What greater faith can we followers have but to be ready and willing to give our very lives before denying our relationship with Christ and adopting another god? Praise God for our brothers and sisters! May He surround them with His protection! May their faith in our LORD serve as a witness to many around them so they too may See the One Who Saves! I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen. Yes, I will share this post. Again, Craig, THANK YOU, for your MINISTRY!!!! Keep on KEEPING ON!!!!

    • Thank you for your kind words. It is the least I can do to share information provided by others. Drawing attention to the ongoing persecution of the church is one of the ways we can minister to our family of believers

  2. I am standing along side in prayer. ~

  3. Bill says:

    I pray that God will step in and open the minds of the terrorists, enable them to see this is not God’s way, it is the evil ones way. To instill in their mind the love they have lost and replaced with hatred. To enable them to see that if they truly believe that Allah is God that they find in their hearts that what God taught was love not hate. That when Cain killed Able God was not happy. So why would God be happy with all their killings. I pray for peace among men around this world.

  4. Reblogged on setyourpathsstraight just now. Amen.

  5. Reblogged this on set your paths straight and commented:
    Please read this most urgent post. I am re blogging from Christian Blessings. Take a stand…on your knees.

  6. secretangel says:

    Amen… Standing with you in prayer…

  7. ptl2010 says:

    Only the grace and mercy of the Lord shall sustain all His children under persecution. We pray His Presence will be known and experienced by each one, to succor them in the hour(s) of need.. Let His Kingdom come.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.