Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Night with Friends: Radical Obedience and Radical UnrelentingPrayer

I received a text from a friend this afternoon, calling for prayer for believers in Iraq, under attack from ISIS. The text indicated that the attack was happening  now.  She was forwarding a text she had received. When I checked Google to confirm it's veracity, I found that the story of ISIS capturing Quaraquosh, the largest Christian town in Iraq, was reported by Daily Mail on August 7, 2014.  I hate to admit this, but I really wanted to believe that the text was a well-meaning over-dramatization of events. I've done some serious Googling hoping to disprove the text you will read later in this post. 

It was true. Unfortunately, it was all true. The text that is being forwarded was sent originally from Sean Malone, Crisis Relief International (CRI) founder and director. At the time of the text, ISIS troops really were ten minutes from their facility. That text made its way around the world, and people prayed.  Miraculously, the CRI team remained in place and are still ministering to the persecuted church in Iraq. (www.criout.com) God does hear our prayers. He does answer them. He does, if we pray.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16 KJV)

I really like the way the Measage paraphrases this verse. 

...The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. (James 5:16 MSG)

1.6 million believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ, have been displaced by this dreadful genocide being carried out by ISIS. That means that 1.6 million of our family members have been driven from their homes, leaving all their possessions behind, leaving their jobs, livestock, and livelihood behind in order to save the lives of their family members. Why is this happening? Because they are disciples of Christ. 

I hate to be the one to say this, but it must be said. These are not people who spend sixty minutes in a worship service checking their watches to see how long until they can go to Sunday lunch. They do not just drop in to church on Easter and Christmas. These people have faced death for Jesus and held firm. They might be called fanatics by some, but what they are is true Christians. 

If ISIS has their way, they will come to this country and give us an opportunity to flee for our faith or die for our faith. Or recant. We would all do well to pause right now and evaluate the validity of our faith. We would do well to make a rock solid decision to live or die by the faith we claim. The time to decide is NOT when a gun is pointed at your head or a sword is swinging toward your neck. The time to decide how you will respond is now. 

Selah. Pause and consider. 

I am reproducing the text I received here in its entirety. I don't have permission, but since it's been forwarded so many times already, I don't think that's a problem. (A link will be sent to CRI to let them know I've used it)
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"This was just sent to me by the Women's Council at Christ The Redeemer; it was sent to them by Father John Pitzer who just received this cry for help from an actual missionary on the ground in Iraq : 
"Dear Friends, 
Just a few minutes ago I received the following text message on my phone from Sean Malone who leads Crisis Relief International (CRI).  We then spoke briefly on the phone and I assured him that we would share this urgent prayer need with all of our contacts. He said:
"We lost the city of Queragosh. It fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically at this moment!  This is the city we have been smuggling food to.  ISIS has pushed back Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) and is within 10 minutes of where our CRI team is working. The UN evacuated it's staff in Erbil.  Our team is unmoved and will stay.  Prayer cover needed!" 
"Please pray sincerely for the deliverance of the people of Northern Iraq from the terrible advancement of ISIS and its extreme Islamic goals for mass conversion or death for Christians across this region."

They are pleading for prayer... Please take a minute to say a prayer for them & please pass this on to your Prayer Warriors.
God Bless..."
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God will move if we pray. He will. It's not a hope. It's a fact. There is nothing we are doing on this Friday evening that is more important than those dear believers who are in harm's way. ISIS will gladly behead their children. Do not fail to pray for these believers. I beg you to pray. We do not need a quick, "Help them, Lord," we need a concert of prayer that starts now and does not stop until this genocide is done and they are safe. Look at your children, your grandchildren and consider what is happening to believers around the world. Consider what is happening to their children. 

Pray, dear ones. Pray.