Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Praying for the Nations

Why the Secular World Has No Answer For ISIS

I recently watched a video on the Islamic State or better known as ISIS.  The video was not produced by Christians so the video simply wanted to tell the story of ISIS and why they do what they do and what is their goal.  The reality was that ISIS members were not murderers bent on simply killing infidels in the name of Islam but they are simple, normal Muslims who truly love Islam and are seeking to follow the ways of their Prophet.  These Muslims fill their day with learning from the Quran, with prayer, and with seeking to imitate the life of Mohammad in every way possible including jihad.  Their passion is simple: they want to do the will of their god as it gave it to their prophet.

The secular world simply cannot fathom this devotion.  They look at ISIS and see a people who must be mad at the West for something.  Perhaps its our morals (and that is part of it) or our freedom (they see it as bondage because the will of their god is not being followed).  The secular world thinks it’s about land or oil or money or even sex.  The reality is that the members of ISIS and especially the leadership are well-educated Muslims who are bent on being true to the Quran and to their prophet.  This is not about a fight for land.  This is not a fight over the US involvement with Iraq or Afghanistan per se (though ISIS hates the Americans for being in Muslim lands).  This is not about Jews or Christians (though they despise them both for their “false worship”).  This is about their god.  And the secular world has no answer.

The reason is simple why the secular worldview has no answer: they have no god.  The “god” of the secular is themselves (Romans 1:22-23).  The false god of Islam is not much different other than that the Muslim believes in a god outside of themselves.  Their god is still a false god.  Either way, the secularist has no answer for Islam.

The Christian reply is that the Muslims are worshiping a false god.  A comparison of the God of the Bible with the god of the Quran shows a god who is much different in Islam.  Even a comparison of the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ with Mohammad shows worlds difference between the two.  The Lord Jesus was perfect, sinless and He never struck down those who attacked Him (1 Peter 2:21-24).  Jesus even prayed for those who were killing Him (Luke 23:34).  The Bible even says that we are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and Paul the Apostle advocated the same (Romans 12:12-21).  Jesus did teach His disciples to advance His kingdom (Acts 1:8) because of His authority (Matthew 28:18-20) but this advancement is not with weapons of warfare (2 Corinthians 10:3-4) but with the gospel.  The gospel will conquer the nations (Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13-14; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26) and the Lord will redeem sinners from every nation (Revelation 5:9-10).  Yet Jesus, unlike Mohammad, never called His followers to advance His kingdom by force or power.  The gospel alone can transform a person and this comes from above (John 3:3; cf. Luke 17:20-21).

ISIS is not following Jesus.  In fact, ISIS hates Jesus and the true and living God of the Bible as all sinners do (Romans 1:18-19).  ISIS, like other forms of Islam, cannot convert one person because they have no gospel, no power.  Islam offers no forgiveness of sins because they reject sin.  Islam offers no assurance of salvation but to martyrs.  Islam offers no hope that their god loves them but only that it is merciful.  Islam has no concept of individual salvation but with only submission to their god.  The very name “Muslim” means “one who submits.”  Yet ISIS views all forms of Islam false who also do not follow sharia law (or the laws put forth by various Muslim clerics about how to follow the Quran and the life of Mohammad).  If a nation or person does not follow sharia law as set forth by ISIS, they are deemed infidels and must repent and come back to the true religion.  This is not a religion of peace but one of submission.

ISIS’s goal is clear: to raise the black flag of ISIS over every nation.  In the video I watched, ISIS promised to raise the flag over Turkey (if they did not open a dam to allow water into Syria) and over all the Middle East (including Iran and Israel whom they both hate).  ISIS even promised to raise the flag of Islam over the White House in the United States.  This is not a religion of peace but as the name states – of submission.  Sharia law is to be the law of the land wherever ISIS comes.

What can the secularist say to this?  They have no solution.  No answers.  The President of the United States will not even see that they are true Muslims but he views them as false Muslims.  Any simple reading of the Quran and the Hadith would show otherwise.  Some secular religious scholar is giving the President of the United States bad advice.  I agree that warfare is not the total answer.  ISIS wants war.  ISIS would love to face the United States to the battlefield (though they would probably lose in my estimation).  ISIS believes that their holy war is from their god.  The US military would just view it as another war with terrorists.  While the US could defeat ISIS in battles, the hearts for the people living in Muslim lands must be won with the gospel.  And the US (and other nations) would not get that part.  Until they do, they would have to continue to fight Islamic fighters for years to come.

The answer for combatting ISIS is this: send missionaries.  You could (and I think should) fight ISIS on the battlefield for they continue to kill people who are simply in their way.  ISIS must be stopped and stopped by a strong military force (just as the European nations sent the Crusaders in the middle ages not to take over the Middle East but to combat the spread of Islam into European nations).  After stopping ISIS on the battlefield, we must turn the work over to the gospel.  Muslims need to freely hear the gospel.  One ISIS soldier even said that he hated seeing the Americans in Iraq because they would build Christian churches.  This is what we must do.  We must send forth the gospel.

The gospel can transform the Middle East.  It did in the first 600 years after the resurrection of Christ until the false prophet Mohammad sought to build a cult off the teachings of Judaism and Christianity.  Since then, the gospel has struggled against the false teachings of Islam.  Islam is not merely another religion from Christianity but it is the antithesis of Christianity.  Islam doesn’t merely teach against Jesus but another Jesus altogether to pervert the true Jesus of the Bible.

Thank God for the reports of Muslims hearing the gospel through the Internet and through radio.  ISIS will kill whoever converts to Christianity and ISIS will kill whoever is found with a Bible or listening to Christian programs.  This is not about peace but submission.  Yahweh is sending forth His truth against the false teachings of Islam.  Yahweh will be glorified through His Son in all nations and the promise is that all nations will bow to His dominion (Psalm 72:8-9).

I pray that ISIS will repent.  God saved a Jew bent on killing disciples of Christ in Acts 9 and He can do the same with members of ISIS.  I pray that nations will see the threat of ISIS and see that the answer is not found in secularism.  It is not found in money or sex.  The answer for ISIS is the gospel of the Jesus Christ.  I pray that members of ISIS will turn from their sins and the Spirit of God would bring deep conviction upon them (John 16:8-11).  Jesus is able to save even the worse of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).  May we intercede for this (1 Timothy 2:1-7).

Intercession for ISIS

ISIS is a wicked group of men who are committed to the false teachings of Islam and the false prophet Mohammad.  ISIS are committed to following the example of their Prophet and they want to imitate him in every way.  These are not “sub-Muslims” but I would argue that they are true Muslims, truly committed to following Islam and living for the glory of their false Prophet.

That said, the disciple of Jesus has a powerful tool to use to combat the lies of ISIS and that is prayer.  The Muslim prays to the false god Allah but it does not hear for Allah is not a true god.  The members of ISIS pray to a false god and worship a false god.  This is not true for true disciples of Jesus Christ.  We have the one and only true and living God.  There are no other gods (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:8; 45:5; 46:9; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Ephesians 4:6).  Jesus is the divine Son of God, the second person of the holy Trinity (John 1:18; 3:16) and He alone is our sole mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  We must come to the Father in the name of Jesus for Him to hear our prayers (John 14:13-14).  Jesus warned about those who would try to come to God through other ways or means.  He called them “thief and a robber” (John 10:1).  Jesus alone is the true shepherd for us (John 10:11) and He said that He was the door for the sheep (John 10:7).  Jesus said further that He was the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6).

Therefore, the disciple of Christ can come into the holy presence of God whereas the members of ISIS cannot.  The members of ISIS continue to sacrifice their lives and their time to false gods and even demons (1 Corinthians 10:20, 21).  ISIS members are slaves to their sin and to their father, Satan (John 8:44).  It is clear that they are far from God by their actions (1 John 3:15).

With the knowledge then that we can pray and God hears our cries (Psalm 65:2) because of Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16), let us pray!  Let us pray for the members of ISIS to be saved.  Perhaps some of them fit Romans 10:1 but I suspect most are simply lustful men who desire to kill and to destroy like their father, Satan, and their Prophet.  Again, they pray and worship false gods but we worship the only true and living God and He hears the prayer of the saints (Revelation 5:8).  We should pray that God would open their blind eyes to know the truth of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).  We should pray for the Holy Spirit to bring deep conviction on the members of ISIS (John 16:8-11).  We should pray for the Lord to bring justice for their killings (Romans 2:8-9).  We should pray 2 Peter 3:9 toward ISIS and ask God to open their eyes to see their sins and to see their good works (and very evil works) do not save but only condemn them (Isaiah 64:6).  We should pray for disciples who are suffering under ISIS to demonstrate Christ (Luke 23:34) and for the Lord to be glorified even in their suffering (1 Peter 4:12-19).

ISIS can be destroyed but God is able to save these wicked sinners.  The Lord struck down Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-4).  Saul was a wicked man who was bent on destroying the church of Christ (Acts 8:1-3; Galatians 1:13).  Saul was doing all this in the name of Yahweh whom he thought he was serving (Galatians 1:14) yet he did not know God in truth (Galatians 1:15) but when the Lord saved him, Saul became a testimony of grace for all to see (Galatians 1:16, 24).  Who would think that God could take the murdering Saul and turn him into Paul the Apostle?  Yet God did (1 Corinthians 15:10)!

We should pray that the Father would do the same to members of ISIS.  God is more than able!  He has proved His power to save throughout time.  May the Lord be glorified in saving souls among ISIS.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/19/2015 at 12:46 PM

The Ideological Struggle with Islam

What President Obama and the media in the West does not understand that is that battle with Islam is not over human rights.  It is not over land for peace.  It is not over the desire to live in peace and under a republic.  The struggle of Islam is that the fundamental desire is to control the world by force.  This is both taught in the Quran as well in the Hadith.  The Muslim prophet Mohammad set this example by his own life.

For the Christian, we know that the struggle over Islam is a spiritual battle.  In reality, the hope for the Middle East does not depend on the United States, the United Nations, or Israel.  The hope for the Middle East is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel is the only true solution to the war with Islam.  Nations will try to fight the Muslims with weapons of warfare but in reality, the heart of the Muslim must be turned away from their false worship to the true and living God.

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us how to fight this war:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

This battle with Islam will be fought and won when the Church preaches the gospel to the lost Muslims.  I praise God that He is indeed saving Muslims all across the 10/40 window.  Yet this should be the Church’s call to prayer, to call out to God for Him to save Muslims and this alone will bring true peace to our wicked world.  I call to Christians to pray for ISIS to repent before the Lord Jesus (1 Timothy 2:1-6).  Despite what we might think of the lost Muslims who are committing wicked deeds in the name of their god, we should remember Ezekiel 18:32.  We should remember 2 Peter 3:9.  We should remember that Jesus shed His blood on the cross not just for us but also for the lost Muslims (Revelation 5:9-10).

I urge you to pray Psalm 110:1 and Matthew 6:10 over the 10/40 window.  Pray for the Lord to pour out His Spirit and bring salvation to the nations.  1 Corinthians 15:25 promises us that all His enemies will be placed under His feet at the end.  I pray that the Lord’s enemies will repent and turn to Him in true faith.  So many Muslims want to practice their religion in peace but dear friends, they still are lost and on their way to hell.  They still need to know the truth of salvation (Romans 10:14-17).  Let us pray that their eyes will be open to the grace of God that brings salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Let us pray that the God of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) will reconcile lost Muslims unto Himself.

Friends, the hope for the Middle East is not found in war.  It is found in the gospel of Christ being preached.  This alone will turn the Middle East away from their false religion toward the truth of God.  This gospel will end the violence, will end the corruption, will end the torture, and will end the backwards thinking of so many in the Middle East.  This gospel will bring true peace (Ephesians 2:15).

Operation World: A Great Prayer Resource

Sadly, far too many of us spend our time praying only for ourselves.  We fail to have the heart of God in prayer which is for the world to come and worship Him and adore Him.  In Isaiah 45:22 God says to the nations for them to turn to Him and be saved because He alone is God.  There is no other salvation.

With this in mind, we should be praying for God’s salvation through Jesus Christ to go to the ends of the earth just as He commanded (Mark 16:15-16).  Jesus promised His disciples the power of the Holy Spirit to evangelize the nations (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8) and He still is filling His children with His Spirit for that purpose (Acts 2:1-4, 38-39): that the nations may repent (Acts 17:30-31).  Our prayers should be for the glory of God revealed in Jesus (John 14:12-14).  Our prayers should focus on the exaltation of our God (Matthew 6:9).  Our prayers should be for His gospel to go forth into all nations.

Operation World is one of the best tools for praying for the nations.  I will admit that it is very easy to get caught up reading all the statistics about the various nations from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.  The statistics report how many missionaries are in the nation and how many are from that nation to other nations, how large various denominations are, the percentage of religions in the nation, and it focuses on prayer issues such as war, poverty, cults, religions, etc.  Today, March 7, the prayer focus is Belgium.  The statistics tell us that Belgium is 62% Christian in religion but 32% claim atheism or agnosticism.  Belgium needs the gospel.  It once was a strong missionary nation.  Today it reflects the post-Christian culture that is Europe full of sin and unbelief.  Public faith has been, for the most part, banished from public view.  The government is completely secular with no affirmation in religion and even antagonism toward religious faiths.  We can praise God that He is moving among the young people with house churches and a strong prayer movement that is bringing together young people to pray.  Many young people are seeing the barrenness of riches and atheism.  They are longing for a touch from God.  Sadly, orthodox disciples only amount to just over 1% of the religious population out of 10.7 million people.  There are no known missionaries from Belgium.

The value of this book is that it not only gives you a wealth of information about the nation but it allows you to pray with a focus.  Rather than just praying, “Oh God pour out Your Spirit on Belgium,” it allows you to pray specifically for the nation with statistics coming from missionary agencies here in the United States.  We can rejoice that God is moving all over the world in missions.  The USA continues to send out the most missionaries with just under 100,000 people now serving in the world in missions.  God is moving in many other nations as well such as Korea and in Great Britain.  The Lord is moving in places such as Mexico to send Spanish-speaking missionaries into Central and South America with the gospel.  The Lord is moving in Africa as African disciples are moving across the great continent with the gospel of Jesus Christ even as the Ethiopian eunuch did in Acts 8:39 after being baptized into Christ.

Prayer should not be focused just on our needs and our desires.  How often do we pray for the nations?  How often do you hear things on the news and begin to seek God about those needs?  Do you pray for our leaders such as President Obama to not only lead through the wisdom of God but that he would be saved by grace?  Do you pray for the world problems in the Middle East and in Europe?  Do you pray that the Lord would use the financial crisis in Greece and Italy to draw souls away from the gods of this world and unto Himself?  We should pray as world Christians!  This would be the heart of God as we see in Matthew 9:37-38; Romans 10:1; or 1 Timothy 2:1-7.

Our prayers rise before the throne of Almighty God like sweet-smelling incense (Revelation 5:8).  How sweet are your prayers?  How often do you remember to pray for the nations?  Psalm 126:5-6 says,

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

I pray that God will give you a burden to pray for the lost.  Our world needs the gospel.

How Should We Pray For China

We are told that there are millions of disciples in China today through underground house churches.  I recently heard a brother share how he had visited China.  He took with him five Bibles.  The Chinese official told him that the must return with five Bibles or he would be held at customs.  When this brother got into China, he met many disciples and the one plea they had was for more Bibles.  This brother knew the Chinese would check to make sure he had five Bibles so what he did was he sat down and took books from each of the five Bibles to form one Bible and yet still allow him to return to the United States with five Bibles.  He was able to give a house church one Bible which they would then take and copy by hand the entire Bible in order to continue to send forth the Word of God.

What a story!  Yet how convicting.  Here in the United States I own perhaps as many as 50 Bibles and various translations.  I can jump in my car and purchase a Bible at Wal-Mart or the local bookstore.  We have Bibles on CD, Bibles in MP3 format.  We have Bible apps for your Ipod.  So many Bibles yet such a famine at truly hearing God in His Word (Amos 8:11).  So many Bibles yet so few disciples it seems (John 8:31-32; James 2:14-26).

How should we then pray for China and the powerful house churches there?  I remember as a boy growing up my father would often pray for the people in the USSR to repent.  He would pray for the end of communism.  When the walls of communism fell in 1991 in the Soviet Union, the Church rallied to send missionaries and Bibles into the former USSR.  One brother told how he gave a Bible to his taxi driver in St. Petersburg and the man begin to weep as he held the Bible to his heart.  He told the brother, “This is the greatest gift I have ever received.”  Yet with the fall of communism came the rise of not just the Church of Jesus Christ but also the cults.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses begin to pour into Russia so fast that the Russian government begin to crack down on religion as they had done under the communist regime.  The JW’s filled Russia with their literature and false teachings.  They weren’t the only cult to come.  The people in the former USSR were hungry for spiritual things and it seemed anything would fill that void.  The Church has survived well in Russia but the cults continue to pour into the nation.

So on one hand you want to pray for the walls of communism to fall in China.  Obviously the Chinese know that the communism of 1949 will not work today and so they are an odd form of communism and capitalism.  They still control their people as communists do with prisons, death, no religion, and heavy indoctrination but they are allowing more and more capitialism into the nation to produce money.  China is the last bastion of communism on the earth (Cuba and North Korea not counting) and the Chinese know this.

But when it comes to the Church, the Chinese communists are hard.  They persecute the underground church.  They even kill leaders of the Church.  This is all in vain.  As the book of Acts shows, when Satan begins to persecute the Church, the Church begins to grow even more.  In Acts 8:1 we read how a great persecution led by Saul of Tarsus begin to break out.  If the Scriptures had stopped at Acts 8:1, we would not be here.  But we read in Acts 8:4 that “those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”  This persecution of Acts 8:1 led to Acts 8:4.  The same is true in China.  The reason that there are millions of disciples in China is because the Church thrives under persecution.

How do we then pray?  I believe we can pray for the Chinese government to be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-7).  The communists need Jesus as well.  We should intercede for their salvation.

Secondly, we should pray for the Church to continue to grow.  Rejoice that God is saving millions of Chinese!

Thirdly, we should pray for Bibles to continue to pour into China.  Brother Andrew and his ministry are continuing to send Bibles underground into China.  There is a great need for Bibles in China and praise God that God’s people in the West are hearing that cry and sending Bibles.

Fourth, pray for the elders of the Church in China to teach sound doctrine.  Theological training is illegal in China so the Bible teachers in China must be self-taught.  Pray for God to protect the Church from false doctrines.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would help the Chinese Bible teachers to teach truth (Titus 2:1) but also comparing Scripture with Scripture.

Lastly, should we pray for the walls of communism to fall?  I believe we should.  God is able.  He tore down the walls of Nazism in Germany.  He tore down the walls of communism in Russia and in the Eastern European nations.  I pray that He will do the same in China, Cuba, and North Korea.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/23/2011 at 2:00 PM

%d bloggers like this: