It Ain’t Pretty

The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror. Psalm 10:16-18

I have often wondered what it would be like without the presence and restraining hand of God in the world. What happens in the world now seems chaotic and disjointed but I know it would be far worse without the sustaining hand of the Lord. The world would be significantly worse and more evil (if that were possible) without the deeds and prayers of God-fearing saints, and the intervention of God in the affairs of men.

The question ultimately is, what is total darkness like? Right now it can be argued that Believing Christians are slowly penetrating that darkness but what happens when the light is no more?

It’s a sobering set of questions because we see the evil that prevails now and wonder how it could get worse.

If you’ve ever been in a setting that is 100% completely dark, you know what living without the Light of the Gospel looks like. And it’s not something we care to experience 24/7/365.

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Break the Arm of the Wicked

His mouth is full of lies and threats;
    trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
    from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
    he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
His victims are crushed, they collapse;
    they fall under his strength.
He says to himself, “God will never notice;
    he covers his face and never sees.”

Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
    Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
    Why does he say to himself,
    “He won’t call me to account”?
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked man;
    call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
    that would not otherwise be found out. Psalm 10:7-15

Reading the first part of this passage, it could have easily have been torn out of the international newspapers. More and more Christians are being slaughtered at the hands of extremist Muslims. They’re a fairly easy target as stories of their slaughter tend to be intentionally ignored by the press around the world. Still, a few news outlets report the truth and it isn’t pretty.

Like David, we want to cry out to God for Him to end this needless slaughter, to “break the arm of the wicked man.” Our cry to Him does not fall on deaf ears though it certainly does seem that way. We want it to stop now because the need is now. It’s not “in the sweet bye and bye” but now!

Join with me as I pray for what is happening with Christian Believers in Syria.

Lord God, Sovereign God of all creation, you know we really want you to “break the arms” of those in Syria who are mistreating and slaughtering your children. In fact, if we were honest, we want worse things to happen to them. Stop this slaughter, God. Stop the pain and misery that Syrian believers have had to endure at the hands of truly wicked men. Bring these men to justice switfly.

There are other nations like this around the world, nations that we never hear about. We know your church outside of the West is a persecuted and hurting Body. We pray that you will thwart the devices of evil men, and that you will “break the arms” of those who are harming your children. While it’s nice to want it to happen “in your time” and in your own way, our selfishness wants to see the violence ending today. As you’ve done throughout history, confuse the minds of those making plans to annihilate Christians and Jews. Protect your children from further harm.

In Jesus’ name.

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Our Syrian Brothers and Sisters

In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
    who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
    he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
    your laws are rejected by him;
    he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
    He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” Psalm 10:2-6

“Survival of the fittest” is the wicked man’s theme. In his world, there is no room for the weak. To be fair, not all unbelievers are “wicked” in the traditional sense of the word. Sinful, yes, but certainly not wicked. However, there is a level of sinful behavior that exceeds normal. These are some of the wicked “character traits”: power-hungry, abusive, oppressive, taking advantage of the weak, arrogant, invincible in his own mind.

There is a report today that many Syrian Christians have fallen into the hands of people just like what is described above. Would you pray for Christians in Syria today. They are ignore by the media, but we must not forget them. . Pray that God will meet them in their time of need. Pray that God will confuse the minds of Islamic terrorists as they seek to destroy the Church.

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Why Does He Stand Far Off

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1

In the previous Psalm, David was rejoicing over the fact that God was always around. Now, though, he questions that. Or does he?

It’s standard human emotion, to rejoice one minute and to become very pessimistic the next. It can not be all joy, and it cannot be all gloom and despair. Unfortunately when we’re in the down state, it seems like it will last forever because time goes so slow and we hear nothing from Heaven.

It is precisely these times where we must – not should – turn to Christ. Waiting until we turn a corner is not a good idea. Letting the Lord help us turn that corner is always the best solution for it is in those depths we discover the greatness of God. We, like David, can question the silence too, but our experience has shown us that there is comfort and peace even in the silence.

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Invincible and Unstoppable

The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
    their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
    the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
    all the nations that forget God.
But God will never forget the needy;
    the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
    let the nations be judged in your presence.
Strike them with terror, Lord;
    let the nations know they are only mortal. Psalm 9:15-20

The imagery displayed in these verses is vivid. On one hand many nations – meaning the rulers and their governments – believe they are invincible and unstoppable. They rise to power and fortune on the hard labors of the poor, and then pretend they champion the cause of the poor. They certainly don’t understand justice for if they did, there would be far less corruption, graft, and deceit. We echo David: let the nations know they are only mortal.

Pray for your government today. No matter where you live, there is bound to be corruption and greed throughout administrations. At best there is a thirst for power that generally goes unsatisfied.

Pray that your government will realize their mortality, especially in regards to the poor. The less they humanize their programs, the more corrupt the programs tend to be. Corruption, kickbacks, and graft will destroy a nation just it destroyed much of Detroit.

Pray also that media will do what they’ve said their mission has always been: to speak truth to power, to ask the tough questions, and to report all the facts.

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