Dear Friends in Christ,
“Whoever loses his life for Me and for the Gospel will save it.”
Day after day the news continues to reveal the incredible evil of the Islamic State of Syria (ISIS). Carefully crafted videos showing the torture and execution of Christians and other non-Muslims have been bombarding the news. Recently it was the 21 Egyptian Christians that were beheaded. Over last weekend it was the threat of terrorist activity at the Mall of America. This week it is 220 or more Christians taken from their villages in northern Syria. Their current status is unknown as I write. We must pray that these brothers and sisters in Christ are rescued and released. If not, they too may become part of the host of believers throughout history who have given their lives because they have refused to renounce Jesus as Lord. We talk about the Christian Church being built on the blood of the martyrs. We are once again living in a day where this is literally happening, not just as a historical footnote or a nice metaphor. More and more the daily newspaper reads like the Bible and the teachings of Jesus regarding the signs of the end times (see Matthew 24).
In these days of great darkness we are called to fear not, and continue to look to Jesus our light and salvation. Evil, fear, stress, anxiety and hopelessness can rob believers of their love and trust for the Lord. Scripture warns us that, “Because of the increase of wickedness” our agape-love can grow cold. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that when these things are happening we must be like the wise virgins who have plenty of oil in their lamps and extra oil at all times. Here He is referring to being filled and over-flowing with the Holy Spirit. He goes on to tell us that in these times we must not bury our talents, but wisely use and invest them. This is the Master’s call for us to be busy about the work of the Kingdom. We cannot just hole-up and try to weather the storm. We must be diligent for the sake of the Gospel while there is still opportunity.
Finally, the Lord tells us that there definitely is a day coming when all this will end and we will all come before the Lord of Lord who sits upon the throne. There it will be made known if we have been the hands and feet of Jesus to those in deepest need. Will we be found to be sheep or will we be goats? These are great and glorious days in the Kingdom of our God. We are the ones He has ordained to be a part of His Church here on earth in this hour. Empowered and emboldened by the Holy Spirit may we be continually filled with the love of Jesus and do all that we can for His glory, honor, and praise. Beloved of the Lord Jesus, do not fear and do not despair, but with your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, run hard the race that is set before us. Pray for the Body of Christ world-wide. Pray that while there is still time that many who are currently persecuting the Church will be overwhelmed by the love of Christ through the testimony of those who die with the name of Jesus on their lips, and surrender to His saving grace. Amen. Maranatha Lord Jesus!
Grace to you and peace,
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