By Lois J. Stucky
Daily conditions around the world convince us beyond doubt that not only is man without God unable to control the flames, but that the fires are burning more savagely today than ever before. Oh, how desperately the world needs God’s intervention! Only when God takes full control will righteousness and peace reign. No one has the final answers but God.
"O Lord God of our fathers, art not Thou God in heaven? And rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand Thee?" (2 Chr. 20:6). "The Lord is King for ever and ever…" (Psa. 10:16). "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen" (1 Tim. 1:17).
The Christian does not despair, though sin and iniquity abound. God has not left the world to chaos. He has a master plan toward which He is working, for this age and the age to come. Nations rise and fall, but God remains! His ultimate triumph is sure. We Christians see ourselves as His servants, seeking to live "righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar [special] people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:12).
"Zealous of good works." Every Christian is called to good works. And is not prayer a good work? Friends, prayer is the good work we would urge you to today. Though we do not fully understand why, God has ordained prayer as the way of getting His will accomplished and His work done on earth. His many promises invite us and urge us to pray, to ask, to seek, to knock. Who knows what eternal good God will yet do in this flaming world, if we pray in faith to Him?
Pray that God will counter the diabolical fires blazing today in the world, with the pure flames of the enlightening, invigorating, life-giving Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven in great outpourings from Heaven! And on our part, let us as Christians "stir up the Gift of God" within us as Havner exhorts.
In this issue of Herald of His Coming we are giving special attention to leaders, spiritual leaders in particular. Honored indeed are those whom God calls to be spiritual leaders. What responsibilities fall to them as under-shepherds of the great and good Shepherd whose flock they lead – the flock whom He redeemed with His own life blood, the flock which He cherishes as His beloved Bride. The eternal destiny of souls is greatly influenced by the integrity and faithfulness and spiritual power of the leaders. Whole churches may rise or fall, depending on the caliber of their spiritual leaders. What solemn accountability spiritual leaders have! How much they need our prayers!
And likewise, leaders of nations have great accountability, for rulers are ordained of God. He tells us in His Word: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God…Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good…he is a minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" (Rom. 13:1).
Praying Through The
Political And Spiritual Leaders
We are hopeful that many Herald readers have preserved the September Herald of His Coming paper containing the calendar for "Praying Through The Window 7" during the month of October. You may send to Herald of His Coming for a copy of the September Herald or Click Here to print the prayer calendar if you do not have it. The emphasis this year is praying for spiritual and political leaders of the 10/40 Window. Every nation of the world is having some measure of trouble. Leaders need prayer! Please take note of the item, Ways to Pray For People Of Influence on page 7, to broaden your praying.
30-Day Muslim Prayer Focus
The first item in News And Prayer Briefs on page 11 tells of the annual 30-day Muslim Prayer Focus, running from October 26 through November 24 this year. You will learn there about the availability of a booklet that may be purchased to guide you in praying for specific groups of Muslims, with prayer points for each group. Please contact the address given for the booklet and not Herald of His Coming, as we do not have these booklets on hand.
Prayer For The
November 9, 2003
Another call for prayer in our flaming world is for persecuted Christians. That which they face is so different than the life most of us know that it takes effort to think upon them until our hearts are moved to effective prayer on their behalf. Our Lord sees them as a beloved part of His Body. Can we "let brotherly love continue," remembering "them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity"? (Heb. 13:1,2). The following items, mostly from Compass Direct, provide a starting place in praying for persecuted Christians.
North Korean Repression
North Korean Christians may be imprisoned, tortured and even martyred if caught with a Bible or if they refuse to deny Christ. Several hundred died for Christ’s sake in 2002. Up to 300,000 North Korean defectors are believed to live clandestinely in China. South Korean, Japanese and Chinese Christians risk their own freedom to provide the refugees with humanitarian aid and teach them about the Christian faith. Two South Korean preachers and two South Korean lay people are currently imprisoned and awaiting sentencing for aiding refugees. Ask God to make the curtain around North Korea fall as the Iron Curtain fell.
Arrests Continue In China
On July 13, police raided a house church in China, at 4 a.m. while Christians were meeting for Sunday prayer and worship. At least three church leaders were arrested. A week earlier, some 300 Public Security Bureau officers raided an affiliated congregation in a village during a Sunday service and demolished the church building. The congregations belong to the "Little Flock" church network, best known for its founder, Watchman Nee, who died in a labor camp in 1973. Pray the prisoners be strong and be released quickly, and that the government lighten up in their repression of Christians.
Hindu Militants Attack Bible School
On July 31, a group of about 250 Hindus attacked a church and Bible School in Haryana state in India. Students at the school (including five girls) sustained injuries. The group of militant Hindus shouted anti-Christian slogans and accused them of converting people in the area. They also expressed objections to the screening of a film depicting the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Local police failed to protect the Christians from attack and even arrested six Bible school students, who were later released. Pray the students will not be deterred from serving Christ because of their sufferings for Christ.
Terrorism In Indonesia
The Island of Sulawesi continues to suffer from attacks on Christians, which has recently resulted in several more being injured severely and one killed. The Christian community of Jakarta, the capital city, continues to be targeted. A key leader of a terrorist group has declared that their goal is to make Indonesia an Islamic state. Pray that freedom will not be taken from the Christians in Indonesia.
Escalating Persecution In Vietnam
A pastor in Vietnam went in good faith, after a supposed compromise, to register the church they wish to construct in Ho Chi Minh City, which is under control of Communists. However, instead of permission being granted, a large fine is being demanded. In a rural tribal province, over 400 churches were disbanded last year. More than 200 tribal Christians remain imprisoned there. In some villages, Christians are not allowed to use the village well nor to attend Christian gatherings. Praise God that the Church in Vietnam continues to grow. Pray for more leaders to ground new converts in the Word of God, in which they will find strength to endure.
Buddhist Opposition In Sri Lanka
Mobs attacked five churches in southern Sri Lanka on August 2. Another church was stoned, pews and benches destroyed, and two church workers beaten so badly that they required hospital treatment. Other churches have been attacked. The Christians anticipate anti-conversion laws. Pray, pray for continued liberty to propagate the Gospel in Sri Lanka.
Christians Attacked In Nepal
Christians in a small but growing house church in northern Nepal were attacked by Buddhist and Hindu villagers on July 26. When Christians refused to give up their faith, the Buddhist and Hindu villagers destroyed homes and cornfields belonging to Christians. In another incident, a church and its furnishing were destroyed. Extremist Hindus declare they will shed blood to protect Hinduism. Ask God to preserve the liberty which Nepal now has, and that God will continue the great increase of His Church in Nepal.
The Body of Christ in many other places suffers as well – in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Chiapas state of Mexico, Colombia, Pakistan, Central Asia, etc. The anti-Christ spirit is ferociously at work. "World Aflame!" Might our "sympathizing tears" fall and our heartfelt prayers ascend, not forgetting the persecuted as we bask in the blessed liberty we enjoy as Christians. Let us remember to pray also for the widows and the fatherless who struggle because the father, a spiritual leader, has been a special target. Kill the leader and scatter the flock, is the intent. Might it only result in the spreading of the Gospel.
Give praise to Almighty God who wipes away the tears of the noble and stalwart ones who endure to the end and lay down their lives for love of Him. Theirs is a shout of triumph: "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb…Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen!" (Rev. 7:10-12).