Good evening, friends! I cannot stop thinking about my brothers and sisters around the globe that are risking their lives for God's glory. I really feel convicted to pray more for the church. In Matthew 9, when Jesus is with His disciples, he sees the crowds and has compassion on them. But instead of saying 'Peter do this, Simon go there, Andrew bring me this person,' He tells them to pray that laborers would go, because the field is ripe for harvest. And that is what we have today--brothers and sisters going and risking their lives, and people coming to know Christ at rapid rates, yet in so many countries, persecution persists and members of His body, the church, are being killed.
Do you pray for them? Do you lift them up in prayer and ask God for their safety, for a place for them to worship together without fear of losing their families, for them not to lose their lives, for their captors to see Christ in them and be captivated...wanting what they have?
I am convinced that we, the church, do not lift each other up enough. And before we go and 'do' anything, we must pray.
When I was deciding on a song for this evening, this one popped off the pages. How mighty our God is! I want my Father to increase my faith to proclaim Him as my refuge, as my strength, as my present help in trouble.
We think of Martin Luther as a reformer, Bible translator, political leader, fiery preacher, and theologian. But he was a hymn writer as well, and one of his songs has become one of the most well-known hymns in the world! He understood music the way I do...as a gift, a treasure, one that can cause any emotion, stir any tear, and a blessing that must be given back to God by being lifted up as praise to our God while dropping us to our knees in worship. In the forward of a book, Luther once wrote:
"Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in theOur brothers and sisters in persecuted countries understand that the greatest treasure in this world is the salvation given to us through Jesus Christ. That, dear friends, should and will cause any range of emotion, stir multiple tears, and drops us to our knees, leaving us weak enough to lift praise to God. Our God is a mighty fortress. He takes care of the hungry, the broken, the persecuted--His beloved.
world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits...a person
who...does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God...does not deserve to
be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying
of asses and the grunting of hogs."
A mighty fortress is our God. A bulwark never failing.
Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe--His craft and power are great;
And armed with cruel hate; on earth is not His equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.
Were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He-Lord Sabaoth His name
From age to age the same! And He must win the battle.
And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us.
We will not fear, for God hath willed, His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him-his rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure! One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also-the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still! His Kingdom is forever!
Please, let me say that again. Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill. God's truth abideth still. His Kingdom is forever! O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?! (1 Cor. 15:55)