Scheming All Day Long

5 All day long they twist my words;
    all their schemes are for my ruin.
6 They conspire, they lurk,
    they watch my steps,
    hoping to take my life.
7 Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;
    in your anger, God, bring the nations down. Psalm 56:5-7

Every day I hear stories of intense persecution somewhere in the world. Two things to note about that.

First, because we live in a very informed media world, we are getting information from sources that were not available even a few years ago.

Secondly, with this new information we have a bigger responsibility to pray for our Brothers and Sisters abroad. We have the country names, sometimes even the groups responsible for persecuting, but we lack names of people undergoing persecution.

Occasionally, someone’s name will appear in the news, but for every person’s name in the news, there are hundreds if not thousands of others who will never make the news. So when you pray, pray for those you hear in the news as representative of those NOT in the news. They could be evangelists, pastors, pastor’s wives, entire churches, and even children. In fact, they are just like you and me, except they do not enjoy freedom like we do.

How to pray for the Persecuted Church? Barnabus Aid gives us a little instruction on this.

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Mere Mortals

4     In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:4

King David realized that putting him to death is the absolute worst his enemies could do to him. When your trust is in the Creator God, then your life (and death) is in His hands. When you eliminate the worst thing someone can do to you, everything else is fairly easy.

this week we’re praying for the Persecuted Church. While what I talked about in the above paragraph is “theory” to us who have untold liberties, our Brothers and Sisters abroad face life and death situations regularly.

Would you pray for boldness in the face of persecution, and a realization that their lives are indeed in God’s hands.

Pray also for those persecuting them, that God will open their eyes and reveal their true heart.

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When I Am Afraid…

3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Here is King David acknowledging a weakness few of us like to admit. We like to feel strong and in control.

  • It’s okay to admit you don’t know what the future holds for your family
  • It’s okay to admit you’re afraid of what’s happening in the world with wars and diseases and “rumors of wars”
  • It’s okay to admit fear of the unknown in your life.
  • Our brothers and sisters who are being abused and persecuted know that it’s okay to be afraid

Running to Him because you’re afraid or lonely or discouraged or out of control is always the right action.

Always.

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All Day Long

1 Be merciful to me, my God,
    for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
    all day long they press their attack.
2 My adversaries pursue me all day long;
    in their pride many are attacking me. Psalm 56:1-2

By now many reading this know that I spend a fair amount of time talking about the Persecuted Church. In the West we don’t quite understand why there is even a persecuted church. Because we’ve lived in freedom for so long we don’t get how others could not live in such freedom. But, sadly, dozens of countries continue persecute Christian believers.

This is not 1970 where the Soviet Bloc nations regularly persecuted Christians. This is 2014 where churches are burned down, pastors are imprisoned, villages are plundered, women are taken as sex slaves or worse, and men are outright murdered. It’s not something we care to think about often but we need to. Why? Because it could happen to us if political forces take a few steps in that direction. Don’t think it can’t happen in the West.

Here’s another way to look at this: do you think Satan cares about geographical boundaries? Of course he doesn’t. Then believe me when I say he is doing his utmost to take away your freedoms. I don’t write that to alarm you but to point to the reality of the spiritual warfare we are in.

We should, as Elisha did for his servant, pray:

“Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17

The battle was being waged all around the servant much like the battle is around us. And like David states about his enemies in this verse, “they’re pursuing me all day long.”

Ask the Lord to give us eyes to see a glimpse of these battles.

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But As For Me

23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
    into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
    will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you. Psalm 55:23

More than a few dozen times I’ve heard the phrase “God doesn’t have grandchildren.” It means that each of us must trust in Christ. In other words, we don’t become Christians through our relatives or lineage. It’s a wise statement.

Throughout this Psalm, we’ve seen King David’s highs and lows. “Destroy my enemies” in one verse; “you’re the absolute best, God” in the very next. We scratch our heads at the changes he’s had.

It all boils down to the last line in the verse: “But as for me, I trust in you.”

  • The world could come crumbling down around us
  • We could have Job-like friends and family members
  • Or as Psalm 46:2-3 says, “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

It doesn’t matter one bit. We certainly can’t get to Heaven on our parents’ or our friends’ salvation. They may show us the way but we still must do the trusting.

As a declaration of my faith today, “but as for me, I trust in you.”

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