Prayer before Bedfordshire

When it comes to time for a person to go to Bedforsdhire, and time to sign off for the evening, my mind hearkens back to a curiosity of the 1990’s which has stood the test of time when it comes to cheese, but also longevity in terms of being memorable: MC Hammer’s song (but does a rap performance count as a song?) “We need to pray”.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1ikaMK_De8

 

More appropriately – and more Biblically – Paul urges Believers to pray instead of being anxious:

 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

 

What follows is a prayer concerning my anxious thoughts:

 

Heavenly Father

 

I come to you in Jesus’ Name

 

Please undertake for those who are oppressed and your children all over the world who face persecution for your name, in Syria and wherever Islam opposes you, in the West wherever ministers of State oppose your rule;

 

Please bless my loved ones and guide their lives, keep them safe from harm and heal their diseases and bless them with long life;

 

Please save those who don’t know you: those living in sin, or ignorance; those who follow false ideas and comforting lies, those who don’t want to give up pleasure to walk the narrow path;

 

Please comfort those who face all kinds of loss, and those who mourn and those who know that the years have flown by and seem to be wasted and they cannot go back in time and fix a mistake or a regret;

 

Strengthen those who are weak and don’t know how they stumble from morning till evening and make it through a day;

 

Help us Christians to be in unity, to demonstrate to the world that Yours is the way to follow; help us to stand for truth and to tell the truth in love, and to never stop telling your truth even though we see the angry teeth of those who hate you;

 

Plead the case of those who have been falsely or maliciously accused and face imprisonment or harassment by agents of law abusing their authority (I think particularly of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and Donald Trump);

 

Please help us Believers to seek you at all times and to draw closer to you in the good times and the bad;

 

Please strengthen the marriages of those I know and love, and keep them safe in this wicked world;

 

Amen

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

There is a Muslimah that I encounter on a regular basis who typifies precisely the gulf in thinking between the typical Muslim and the typical Christian.

 

I have an unfashionable affinity for Israel and Jerusalem. Unfashionable, because most of the mainstream media and opinion leaders in the Twitterverse back the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. As does pretty much the entire Muslim world.

 

The narrative is as follows: The Israelis stole Palestinian land and the Palestinians are firmly under their boot, so the caring thing to do is embrace the cause of the oppressed and oppose Israel. As with all of human history of course, no conflict is as simple as that.

 

If you point out the statistical abundance of Palestinian terrorism, why the narrative has an answer for that too: they have no other way to fight back, you see. Those mean Israelis have all the military hardware to oppress them indefinitely.

 

This Muslimah that I know is perhaps not entirely representative of Muslim thinking in general however in my exposure to the marketplace of ideas it cannot be emphasised too much that the adherents of Islam cannot generally tolerate Jews. At least not where they are in an increasing minority in Western countries, or in outright Muslim countries.

 

Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president, was assassinated in 1981 for daring to makes move of peace with Israel. Yasser Arafat – were he so inclined – would never have dared make peace with Israel for the same reason. The violence of course is not only on one side. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an ultra-nationalist Jew for contemplating the Oslo accords, ceding Jewish land to a Palestinian state.

 

The Middle East conflict can be seen in terms of a geo-political conflict where enemies must be eliminated. Paul reminds the Ephesians that the battle for the Christian is not against flesh and blood.

 

People are not enemies, but ideas are, especially sinful ideas.

 

People are either living according to the flesh or living according to the Spirit. In the Christian context, there are only two types of people:

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A5+-+9&version=NIV

 

If my thinking is governed by the Spirit and not by the flesh, I see my Jewish brothers as needing to come to Christ, and the following verses suggesting a large scale awakening somewhere in the end times that moves me:

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Zechariah+12%3A8+-+10&version=NIV

 

God has plans for people and his ultimate will is that as many as possible come to knowledge of the truth. Muslims have a need for Christ, much more so than they could ever realise. And I pray for this Muslimah and others that she would know the truth, because behind the zeal for Muslim things, I see a soul who wants to know God, but the only way she knows is through Mohammed.

 

There’s plenty that I don’t know, but one thing I do is that Mohammed didn’t have the answer and didn’t know the way. He took as good a guess as perhaps he could. I look at Muslims and see desperate human beings walking in the flesh who need God.

 

https://www.challies.com/articles/how-to-pray-for-unbelievers/

 

Scripture urges us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). Tomorrow, 14 May 2018 will be 70 years since the establishment of the modern State of Israel. President Trump has directed that the U.S. embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to the eternal capital of Israel, Jerusalem.

There’s something interesting about the timing of this move, and of the respect that Trump gives to Jerusalem. He’s perhaps not quite in line with living a moral life, at least in the past or recent past, however Jerusalem is a city that God is concerned about and notices.

 

It’s where Christ died, and it’s the city to which He will return. And therefore

 

“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.    (Psalm 122:7 – 9) NIV

Ancient and Modern

I confess that I have not watched the wildly successful Avengers: Infinity War from Marvel. As of 3 May 2018, the cumulative worldwide gross stands at R905 million. Although I imagine I will see the movie at some time or another, merely considering the popularity of the movie and public reaction to it is instructive.

 

The salient point from the movie is that there is a galactic madman whom the Avengers have to band together to defeat, and his agenda is killing roughly half of the beings that populate the universe. It’s a type of judgement, although capricious and random, and carried out by some weird looking guy with purple skin.

 

I tend to look at a modern movie like this and view it through a prism that looks backwards to antiquity. If we assume that the events that are chronicled in Scripture are true – such as a global flood and a city being pummelled with artillery that consisted of fire and brimstone – then we may understand that even modern humans have a collective sense that perhaps judgement is past as well as pending.

 

It seems that we prefer a comic book version of judgement filled with fantasy and heroes and avoid consideration of what happened in the past.

 

What if the deluge and the events as chronicled in Genesis are not as far removed in the past as we think? What if the accounts are true? For me, ancient judgements are very relevant to today. I would argue even more relevant than 4 phases of around 20 movies based on comic books (as fun as that is to watch).

 

https://answersingenesis.org/the-flood/flood-legends/flood-legends/

 

Creation science is very intriguing and not something that is broadly discussed unless you are a Discovery channel aficionado.   However it’s interesting to me that we generally do not take past judgement seriously, considering the evidence for it, whether a serious study of a site in Turkey near the Iran border believed to contain the remains of Noah’s vessel, or oddities near the Dead Sea in Israel that are chemically consistent with brimstone (sulphur):

Screenshot from Google Maps

 

 

 

Screenshot from Google (Noah’s ark site from shallow angle)

 

Screenshot from Google (Geological oddity named for Lot’s wife)

As modern people, it has occurred to me that we are remarkably incurious about where we came from or where we’re going, and simply live in the moment. Somewhere down the line of ancestry, separated by only a few thousand years, people lived and died, some of whom were subject to God’s judgement. And some who escaped it. Therein is a good lesson.

 

For the Christian, there is no condemnation:

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A1&version=NIV

 

For the Christian, God’s wrath is satisfied and we stand in grace. And it’s a rich history that we can point back to of people who listened to God, whether Noah or Moses or David. An examination of the past helps me to live in the here-and-now. It’s easy to get distracted by temporal issues and popular memes in 2018.

 

It’s better to consider the past and learn the lessons from it, trust the future to Him who is faithful, and live for Him in the present:

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A+38+-+39&version=NIV