Small but Significant

Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. (2 Corinthians 1:10-11) 
The day started out like any other, but it ended as a nightmare. Esther (not her real name) and several hundred women were kidnapped from their boarding school by a religious militant group. A month later all were released—except for Esther who refused to deny Christ. As my friend and I read about her and others who are being persecuted for their faith, our hearts were moved. We wanted to do something. But what? 
When writing to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul shared about the trouble he experienced in the province of Asia. The persecution was so severe that he and his companions “despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). However, Paul was helped by the prayers of believers (v. 11). Though the Corinthian church was many miles away from the apostle, their prayers mattered and God heard them. Herein lies an amazing mystery: the sovereign One has chosen to use our prayers to accomplish His purpose. What a privilege! 
Today we can continue to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith. There’s something we can do. We can pray for those who are marginalized, oppressed, beaten, tortured, and sometimes even killed for their belief in Christ. Let’s pray for them to experience God’s comfort and encouragement and to be strengthened with hope as they stand firmly with Jesus. 
Who can you commit to praying for by name this week? When have you experienced God’s faithfulness during a time of persecution? 
When I read this devotion I felt it needed to be shared. I pray you are encouraged to pray for someone in need today. In prayer, we cast ourselves at the feet of divine power. 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Romans 1:20

Our God is a Warrior

The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13)

When you see pictures of Jesus, do they often depict Him as a warrior? Do they ever show Him defeating his enemies? Probably not. Generally, he is longingly gazing heavenward, holding a child or a lamb. Isaiah, however, is very clear about our God: He is a warrior. In fact, Revelation 19:12-16 reveals what He will look like when He “shall prevail against his enemies”:

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God . . . And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.”

This may appear to contradict what we are called to do as Christians. For example, Jesus instructed, we are to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41), give up our coat (Matthew 5:42), love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and show mercy (Matthew 5:7). How can we do this when our God is called “a man of war” whose robe is dipped in blood? We are freed to do this as Christians because it isn’t our job to judge God’s enemies or make them pay the wages of their sin! We are to love them so that they may come to worship this warrior God.

While our God is holy and just, He is also merciful. Merciful, even to the point of sacrificing His only Son that we, His enemies, may be made into friends. We can weather hardships, trials, and injustice done to us because we know that our God is coming back to “judge the quick and the dead” (2 Timothy 4:1), and He will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Do you try to judge others instead of loving them and letting God be their judge?

I am so grateful I read this. What truth and power. I want nothing more than to lead others to worship this warrior God!! Let me not judge but love. What a mighty God we serve.

Have a wonderful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is Isaiah 42:24, Revelation 19:12-16