Monthly Archives: September 2014

Learning How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 11)

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Friday, I prayed for the nation of Somalia. I had never studied or heard much about the nation before that day, except for reading a little bit about the Somalia pirates. So, even though I wrote a general prayer for Somalia in my article, this was not really how I prayed for the nation.

What I actually did was bow my knees on the floor and prayed: “Lord, give us Somalia.”

Then, a tremendous sorrow fell upon me. I wept, travailed, groaned, and grunted before the Lord for Somalia. It resonated all through me how much the Lord loved the nation and its people. I was overwhelmed by His desire to turn the nation from the power of Satan to Him and His ways. My heart was broken for Somalia.

To be honest, I have not had that type of passion in my prayers for years and years. In fact, it had been gone so long, I wondered if I would ever have it again. The reasons for losing my passion?  I am sure it revolved around apathy and compromise on my part.

But I am determined not to lose my passion again and now pray the following prayer for myself and others:

Lord, help me to never be slothful in zeal, to be always red-hot and fervent in spirit, so I can serve You Lord without apathy and compromise. (Based on Romans 12:11)

Prayers without fervent passion hinder the effectiveness of our prayers.

What are other hindrances?

(Continued in Part 12…earlier parts can be read by clicking here or above on the header.)

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Inside Israel

Two cats 29

 

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Greetings DEAR sisters and brothers, in The Name of Yeshua who was faithful, is faithful and will be faithful to glorify His Name and to bring His perfect purposes to pass.  Halleluiah!  May you be blessed and may He be blessed and glorified

With emotions still bruised, I am clueless, but I pray that He will bring to remembrance the observations that seem to have been quickened to me this week.  I have received wonderful emails from some of you that have not yet been answered, and I’m sorry.  I have been in somewhat of a quiet space.  I know that some of you reading this lived amidst the bombings of WW2, or have experienced other awful wars on your own soil.

And I know that others fought in wars on foreign soil. So you know the pressures of wars far bigger then this 50-day war.  I feel somewhat embarrassed to emerge at this end speaking about our stress, which also was not much when compared to what our brothers and sisters experienced in the south on the Gaza border. Then there are those who were on the receiving end of our defense as well.  All of these suffered far more then I did, but I am not equipped to speak of their experiences, only to share with you my own, and so I will.

On the day that the fighting stopped, there was so much confusion. Some of that has been sorted out as I took a step back and we had opportunity to listen to one another.  I am now convinced that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the generals in charge of decision-making did an extraordinary job with the options that they were faced with.  Much of the warfare itself took place in booby-trapped houses. It seems to me that the leadership also had to walk through a booby-trapped maze.  Although Hamas came out rejoicing and loudly proclaiming, “victory,” it has become more and more evident that it certainly wasn’t a victory for them.

You might recall the prayer that I was praying toward the end: “Do not let the rebellious exalt themselves.” (Psalm 66:7)  It is interesting that Psalm 68:6 says “…but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”  (again, Alla is the god of deserts and of dry places.)  It took me a while to see that they had NOT achieved a victory in spite of the Hamas rallies. During which, by the way, two Gaza participants were killed by celebratory gunfire.

Nonetheless, being Israelis we are now involved in much self criticism as well as the reality of paying the huge bill for the war.  Neither a raise in taxes nor cuts to the budgets of the public ministries are being well received.  But these are just the facts of life.

Last night was the first night that I slept all the way through without hearing phantom air-raid sirens in my head.  It felt good.  The trains and buses are full of weary soldiers returning home for a break and others returning to their bases after a break, looking clean and neat again.  One of our patients, Yehuda, came by and I asked him how he was doing.  He looked at me and said, “Okay, I guess,” and crossed his eyes and stuck his tongue out.

I laughed and said, “Brrrrrargh! Me too!”

Immediately the picture came to mind that some of you from America might remember of the comic character Peanuts.  In it, there was a little bird that would often get the brunt of stress and his little feathers would be all ruffled and his tongue hanging out.  PERFECT!  It is sort of how most of us are feeling after these 50 days as we emerge and we are very unsure just WHAT we are emerging to.

How I praise The Lord for His great faithfulness.  This war has stirred a hunger in many people.  Perhaps you recall my prayer request for Rachel who visited my apartment several weeks ago and wanted to know about The Lord and how He set me free from depression and brought me victory in weight loss.  She called me and said, “Guess what I found in the scriptures?  I have to come over and show you.  It is about the war!  The answer is here!”

We plan for her to come by this week or next.  Last night a at our fellowship meeting a dear sister told me that she was deeply burdened for the people of the South while she was riding to work on the bus.  She had her Bible in her lap and was silently praying when suddenly the woman in front of her jumped and turned around and stared at her.  “Are you PRAYING?” she asked.

“Yes, yes, I was,” she answered. “How did you know?”

The woman smiled and said, “The Holy Spirit just began pouring all over me from behind me. I knew you had to be praying!”

It turned out that the woman was a believer who had come from Russia.  What an encouragement to the TWO of them and to me.  So often we can’t SAY anything.  If we DO share, it is as if we are sharing strange tales.  But He tells us to, “Be Light and salt in the midst” and “to let HIS Light shine among men.” And what an encouragement to see that He, in His great faithfulness, is indeed walking in the midst.  He WILL make His Presence AND His Name known to all.

The first day of the cease fire, as I said, there was much confusion; Did we stop too soon?  Did they win or loose?  Will there be quiet in the south?  Did we reward terrorism?  Are we better off then we were 51 days ago?  But by day two, more flags were out again and people were standing a bit straighter.

On the day of the cease fire, the Syrian war spilled over into our North.  Al qaeda groups fighting with the rebels took over the Christian village of Quneitra with the strategic Quneitra crossing between Syria and Israel.  During the fighting, several missiles were shot into Israel damaging cars while a stray bullet injured an Israeli officer.  Poor war torn Syria … so much fighting…so much grief.  Barbarism – beheading and torture running rampant – Islam slays the infidels and the earth reels with blood.

God is in the midst and we are certainly learning to FIX our eyes on The Lord. Look away unto Yeshua – Jesus – behold Him as Stephen did.  And so I ask Him for “…patience and longsuffering with joy…” for who knows how long it will be until we too are called upon to stand?  Slowly, I’m learning the reality that it is ONLY in looking away unto Him that I will be able to stand in the face of such things.  Oh, intellectually I say, “Of course I will”…but the closer I live to these actual events, the more I see my own natural inability to stand.

God bless and keep you.  May we be given His discernment, be filled with His Holy Spirit and the Love of Yeshua which passes knowledge…and may we choose His way, ALWAYS, no matter what the cost.  All glory to Him Who paid such a price. He must consider us very precious to have taken us each all the way to the cross.  May we treat one another the same way – as precious.

Lovingly,

your sis in Jerusalem J

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If We’re All Created in God’s Image, Why Must Gays Change? (Conclusion)

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So, I repeat: was John Paulk correct when he said, “We [gays] are not broken, damaged, inferior or throwaways. We are created in the image of God—just like everyone else?”

First, are gays created in the image of God, just like everyone else?

Before our salvations, gays and straights alike are created in the image of God in that we can think, make decisions, have emotions, can love and interact with others, have creative ideas, can even create life through procreation, and are eternal beings.

But because of Adam’s fall, unredeemed humans can not readily converse with God or walk with Him, like Adam did in the Garden of Eden. We are separated from the life of God and will remain that way unless we are redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

At salvation, gays and straights alike are redeemed and then can enjoy the life of God living in and through them.

Are all gays broken, damaged, inferior or throwaways?

Yes, they are, but so are straights. We all have to be changed into the image of Christ after our salvations. We all have to put off our old selves, have our minds renewed, and put on our new selves, created in the likeness of God.

Plus, we all, with the help of the Holy Spirit, have to put to death our sins and desires of the flesh, which are hostile and not pleasing to God. The sins of the flesh include sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, and so forth.

What if a gay gives his life to Christ, but stays in his gay lifestyle?

I believe his salvation is eternally secure through grace, but there are at least two scriptures which will haunt him at the Judgment Seat of Christ:

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)

So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:19)

Thus, why must gays change after accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior?

So, they don’t feel the shame of Christ when they meet Him in His glory and are not considered the least throughout eternity.

We straights have to change, too.

Thus, let’s all repent and change today.

(Conclusion)

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (9/12/2014)

Each Friday I am praying and fasting for the nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world, as of 2014. This week I pray and fast for:

Somalia. 10.3 million with a few hundred Christians in the whole nation.

Pressure is increasing on the tiny Christian community in this Muslim-majority country. Islamic leaders and government officials publicly reinforce that there is no room for Christians, and there is a strong drive to purge Christianity from Somalia. The militant Islamist group, al-Shabaab, targets Christians and local communities. Ten believers are reported to have been killed by members of al-Shabaab in 2013. There is a high level of fear and mistrust among believers, who have to hide their faith for fear of betrayal. (Open Doors, World Watch List)

Today I prayed:

Lord, I remember the few hundred Christians in Somalia as though suffering with them and although some will suffer tribulation and testing, I pray that all are faithful until death that they may receive the crown of life. (Based on Hebrews 13:3 and Revelation 2:10)

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

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A Simple Prayer For The Road Less Traveled

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It’s easy for the tides of life to erode our spiritual foundations. The attrition happens ever so slowly, just a few grains of sand at a time. We don’t even notice the damage until a tsunami of circumstances smashes against us. We then end up floating along with the rest of humanity, wondering what happened to us.

This is a simple prayer I pray on  a daily basis:

Lord, I pray Your Holy Spirit will search my heart and see if I have any sin or attitudes that would disqualify me from fulfilling Your divine plans and redemptive purposes for my life. Then, Lord, lead me in the way everlasting. (Based on Psalm 139:23-24 and 1 Corinthians 4:4)

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (9/9/2014)

Untergang der Titanic ("Sinking of the Titanic") by Willy Stöwer, 1912

Untergang der Titanic (“Sinking of the Titanic”) by Willy Stöwer, 1912

 

If today’s Christians had manned the lifeboats at the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, they would have joined hands in a prayer meeting and prayed 2 Chronicles 7:14, hoping the ship would rise from the depths of the sea. So, they could return to the comforts and good times aboard the luxurious ship.

But the Titanic’s pride in its size and supposed unsinkability,  its bad leadership, and poor planning sent the ship to its doom in the North Atlantic waters in less than three hours. Two thirds of the ship’s passengers and crew perished on that night.

Hello! Wake up! Yahoo! We have the same problems in America today.

And I am not talking about our government’s leaders in Washington, D. C. or at the state and local levels. I am referring to our supposed spiritual leaders and to ourselves. We are looking in our rearview mirrors and not seeing what’s heading toward us.

We need to drop everything and seek the Lord.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that we Americans who are members of the Laodicean church will open our ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to our churches. (Based on Revelation 3:22)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for America.

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Learning How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 10)

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Two men stood in the Temple praying.

The one had a wide metal box looped around his arm with a leather strap and also had extra long fringes on the edge of his cloak. He was fasted up, tithed up, prayed up, studied up, dressed up, and belonged to the religious party, which many recognized as the “Hope of Israel.” He was a Pharisee.

The other man was considered the scum of Israel and a turncoat who had committed treason by conniving with Rome to rip off God’s people: the Jews. He was a tax collector.

It would have been only natural for the Pharisee to look around and notice the tax collector. He opened his mouth and prayed:

“I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! (Luke 18:11 NLT)

At the same time, it would have been perfectly normal for the tax collector to notice the Pharisee. He knew the Pharisees followed the Law and the Tradition of the Elders to the nth degree, and also knew what everyone said about tax collectors. So, he prayed with his head bowed down and beat his chest with sorrow:

‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ (Luke 23:13 NLT)

Jesus taught this happening as a parable and said:

I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 23:14 NLT)

Okay, okay, I’m guilty.

I can’t say that I have ever compared myself to tax collectors, but I sure have compared myself to Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Messianic believers, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and everyone who doesn’t agree with me on all of my personal doctrines.

Do you know what sin I have committed when I compare myself to others? Pride.

Pride leads to disgrace… (Proverbs 11:2 NLT)

I often ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart for pride. It doesn’t take much for it to sneak into my life and ruin my prayers…maybe yours, too.

What are other hindrances?

(Continued in Part 11…earlier parts can be read by clicking here or above on the header.)

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Inside Israel

Two cats 29

 

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings from Jerusalem.  Blessing and honor and glory to The Lord God Almighty!  And may you, His body, be blessed and edified.

I am still trying to gain my balance following the war and what do you know, but before I can breath in and out, there they are again: The shofarim are sounding every morning.

Yep, it happened suddenly − it is that time.

Most of you remember, that the shofar is the ram’s horn (translated as trumpet in the English scriptures).  How I love the powerful, plaintive sound that unfolds with its call.  My skin tingles, my heart quickens, and my spirit rises when I hear it.  And there it was, for the first time this year, sounding as I was on the way to work, early morning Monday.

Rosh h’shana already? How did THAT sneak up on us so suddenly? I thought.

Yesterday was summer-vacation-war and today the hagim (high holidays – the fall feasts of Rosh h’shana – feast of trumpets – Yom kippur – atonement – and Sukkot – feast of tabernacles) are all running toward us. Yikes! Forget about catching my breath! What in the world will we do?  LOTS of preparation.

My boss walked in to the office with his shofar.  He goes to morning prayers every morning at the synagogue, and every morning following the reading and prayers, there is the blowing of the shofar throughout the month.

It is a call to prayer, to repentance, to search your heart. It is the call to the Mountain of God and for the people hear it.

At the bus stop I see: “Prepare yourself for slichot (forgiveness) prayers” on one sign.  Another announces: “There IS GPS to the Kingdom of Heaven,” referring to the Torah, or Bible as being similar to the popular navigational device.

On the train and bus there is much seriousness in the faces of the people as they read Psalms or the Tenach. Many are young wearing IDF uniforms and others are old. All are deep in contemplation of the Word and wrestling privately in their hearts.  God is surely GOOD to Israel. He calls her constantly to Himself.

As I was riding the bus and train this past week, I made some notes while I listened to the very beautiful, plaintive music calling the nation to Him.  Both morning and night people gather in the synagogues, pray and stand before God, asking Him to reveal their sins and His mercy to them.  They actively seek repentance, and because of the war, they are taking it very seriously.

After the morning prayers, which most are sung, the shofar is blown.  You might remember that the shofar is blown for several reasons: for the calling together of the country in a time of danger or to war, in gathering the people to God, in celebration of something that God has done, and at rosh h’shana − the feast of the blowing of the trumpets (Num 29, Levit 23;23, Deut 16, Levit 16 for some references). These are also the “Days of Awe”. Traditionally, the books in heaven are open between rosh h’shana and Yom kippur (the day of deep repentance with full fasting) when the books are again sealed for the year.

The greeting during this time is: “May your name be sealed in the book of life.”  But I am getting ahead of myself.

We are still in the soul searching time leading up to the days of awe, but the fruits of repentance are already seen, sadly, in some cases, temporarily. And if we are honest, isn’t it that way with some of us as well? But the battle is The Lord’s and we do not battle alone, but with His Holy Spirit.

What I get to see on the bus, the train and at work is the sweet fruit of kindness.  There is unusual thoughtfulness all around.  It is so sweet.

The traditional foods of the holiday: apples and honey, fresh dates and almonds appear at the shuk just as the kindness appears in the people.  Fish heads are discussed as they are a traditional food at rosh h’shana (from the scripture − “may you be the head and not the tail”), but many are not sure how to serve it.

Here is where my experience kicks in and I am able to come to the rescue with my Alaskan fish head soup recipe. Women gather around me at the shuk, asking details of my recipe and writing notes.

And speaking of the shuk, I have a prayer request concerning yet another lady from the shuk, much like the story of Legion. I have watched this woman for nearly 20 years and for most of that time, at a distance.  She is younger then me by about 10 years, a mess, smells bad, and covered with sores.  She would often ride the bus with a broom and get off at the shuk and sweep the garbage areas and collect garbage.  While doing this, she would curse and scream and yell.  People would laugh, or pull away, afraid of this poor woman tormented by demons.  Over the years I prayed, but never thought I would become this involved.

This is what happened. One morning I saw her talking to some ‘shuk men’ (the people who run their stalls and sell their wares). They gave her a cup of coffee and some money. One young man said to her, “We love you Dalia.”

She answered tearfully, “I know that you do and that is what I can’t understand. Why would you care about me?  I’m crazy, I’m a mess and I’m not nice.”

He then reached over and planted a kiss on her forehead and said, “We just do.  We love you.”

There I stood and learned her name was Dalia. I couldn’t get her out of my mind.  So I prayed and I asked The Lord what He wanted me to do for her.  The next time I saw her, before I could think twice I walked up to her and pressed some money into her hand and said, “Hi Dalia.  How are you doing?”

She looked at me. “Do you know me?  How do you know me?”

“Oh I have been around for years.  You just never noticed me,” I said.

“Huh,” she said, “thank you.  I’m not doing too well.  I have trouble where I live.”

And so it started.  Little by little she’d look for me.  If I had some time, I would sit with her a bit.  Her stomach worries her.  She is lonely.  She’s sad.  She is intelligent, but tormented.  I got to tell her, “I was that way too a long time ago… and someday I will tell you about it.” 

She looks deeply at me and I can see her still wondering: “Where do I know this crazy lady from?”

I need God’s timing and God’s door to open so I can tell her about Yeshua.  I need my Hebrew to be flowing and understandable.  I need to know when He is PRESENT TO DELIVER.  It would make my flesh feel very righteous just to tell her, but this woman needs HIM, not my just my witness and there IS a difference.  The difference is to be walking in His Spirit and to know that He is there to speak, to touch, to deliver.  Will you pray with me for her?  Will you pray that I have the boldness to speak His Words when He says, Now?”

Immediately following the end of the war in the south, the school year began on the 1st of September.  Again, no time to breathe in between. There was emotional debate as many in the south initially refused to send their children, still shaken by events that no one was convinced were over.

The reality of the fact that the kidnapping of our 3 teens sparked the discovery of the plotted invasion and massacre scheduled by Hamas in Gaza to take place on Rosh h’shana just really began to sink in.  I still step back a bit when I think of what lengths the country was willing to go to in order to find the 3 teens.  One thing is clear: Israel loves her children. They said that they would not leave one rock unturned and they meant it.

It has just recently been revealed that one of the Hamas prisoners released in the controversial Gilad Shalit deal plotted the whole event. He had received money from the Palestinian government, which was given to each released prisoner as they are considered heroes. His family members in Hevron purchased 2 vehicles, one to burn after the kidnapping and one to escape in, as well as the plot of land to bury them in.

During our house-to-house searches, rockets began to rain on our south more heavily then usual and finally, after finding the bodies, we went to stop the rocket fire.  WHAT WE DID NOT EXPECT AT THE TIME WAS THAT THE UNDERGROUND SATANIC NETWORK OF TUNNELS WAS NOW READY FOR A SCHEDULED HAMAS INVASION OF ISRAEL TO TAKE PLACE ON ROSH H’SHANA!

Plans were found with all of the details: Hamas terrorists popping up into Israel, killing and kidnapping all along the south.  It is a nightmare scenario that The Lord of Hosts, Adonoi Tva’ot, revealed in His great mercy.  It was a miracle.

People were still recovering from the trauma of this as school began, but the educators had not been lax during the previous 50 days, and experience is a hard but good teacher.  They had been preparing new curriculum to deal with trauma on all age levels as well as loss in families and communities.  The first week of learning was centered around this topic.

I wept when I heard that.  Slowly, the families have been returning to their homes and returning their children to schools as the quiet in the south has held.  There remain many badly damaged homes to deal with and much else, too.

But it hit me afresh, that as we sit around the rosh h’shana tables this year, we will have a new miracle to be thankful for …or… perhaps an on-going one as it is just another expression of His longsuffering mercy to his people since the days of Abraham.

And speaking of ongoing and longsuffering, our people continue to seek for that repentance that has been granted already, that sacrifice for sin which was rejected once.  The fact that the merciful Hand of The Lord to our people remains pierced with the nails that we hammered, only serves as more reason for me to fall on my face and worship Him.

And isn’t that another example of how one shocking thing − the kidnapping murders − opened into a broader deliverance just like our initial rejection of our Savior became salvation to the rest of the world?  Oh I am so glad that His ways and thoughts are so far above mine.

May you and I be filled with His humility and granted the gift of discernment for these days…baring His fruit for a starving, dark world…ALL for HIS glory!

I send you so much love,

Your sis J

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If We’re All Created in God’s Image, Why Must Gays Change? (Part 6)

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What must gays, like John Paulk, do to be saved?

Actually, they have to do the same thing everyone else has to do.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

As many have said over the years: “Grace plus faith plus nothing equals salvation.  Period.

The Lord has no special scriptural requirements about changing our life styles, confessing our sins, cleaning ourselves up, studying scripture, or anything so that we are readied to be saved. We just come as we are to Him. It’s His free gift, which is offered to all of mankind.

Okay! Okay! There’s a little more, but even that is done by Him.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)

Think of this: the Father draws us by His Spirit to His Son for eternal salvation. By His omniscience, the Father saw us on our worst days committing our worst sins, and yet He wanted us to be His children.

Thus, this means the Father saw gays giving their lives to the Lord and then some of them still continuing in their gay lifestyles. Yet, the Father still chose to draw them to His Son for eternal salvation.

Grace is mind-blowing stuff, right? And thank God for that!

So, I repeat: was John Paulk correct when he said, “We [gays] are not broken, damaged, inferior or throwaways. We are created in the image of God—just like everyone else?”

(Continued in Part 7…this series began here on June 21, 2014.)

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (9/5/20014)

 

Each Friday I am praying and fasting for the nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world, as of 2014. This week I pray and fast for:

North Korea. 24.5 million people with only 300,000 Christians in the whole nation.

For the 12th consecutive year, North Korea is the place where Christian persecution is most extreme. The God-like worship of the leader, Kim Jong-Un, and his predecessors leaves no room for any other religion, and Christians face unimaginable pressure in every sphere of life. Forced to meet only in secret, they dare not share their faith even with their families, for fear of imprisonment in a labor camp. Anyone discovered engaging in secret religious activity may be subject to arrest, disappearance, torture, even public execution. (Open Doors, World Watch List)

Today I prayed:

Lord, I remember the 50,000 – 70,000 Christian prisoners in North Korea as though in prison with them and those who are mistreated in North Korea as if I were suffering with them. Break my heart Lord for the people of North Korea in the same way that Your heart is broken for them. (Based on Hebrews 13:3)

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

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