Monday, August 18, 2008

From one of my heroes:
Today I'm requesting prayer for the couple pictured below.
This past week they were arrested and put into prison for being followers of Jesus. This was the same couple whose 8-year old daughter was brutally murdered several years ago because she came from a family that loves Jesus. (Her headless body was discovered in a well.)
Acts 4:1 says, "While they were speaking to the people...." That's all the apostles had to do to get into trouble. That's all they had to do to get arrested and imprisoned by the civil authorities. Just share the love of Jesus with others. But God sent an angel and released them! And why did God do this? So that they could go back again and "tell the people the message of the new life" (Acts 5:20)!
Here's what I'm saying, friends. Please listen carefully. God is looking for disciples who will live for Him sacrificially. People who love their enemies. People who do good to those who persecute them. People who love those who hate them. And here's the most amazing thing about it all: As much as God loves this wonderful couple, He loves their persecutors -- He loves their daughter's murderer! -- to the very same degree. I'll put it plainly: If you do not love the enemies of Christianity, you are not my brother. That's because you are not a Jesus-follower. If you are not willing to be martyred to share Jesus' love with the persecutors of Jesus, you are not a Christian. Don't tell me about your church membership. Don't tell me about your tithing. Don't tell me about your perfect Sunday School attendance. Do you love Muslims? (This is not a rhetorical question. Please answer yes or no.) Do you love Iraqis? Do you love Iranians? Do you love Hispanics? Do you show it? Do you prove it by your deeds? I write in my forthcoming book The Downward Path of Jesus:
Radical disciples of Jesus embrace those on the other side of the dividing walls of hostility in our world, even including our "enemies." Christianity transcends all boundaries – cultural, racial, political, geographical, natural, even national.
Do you really believe that? If so, while you are praying for this precious couple in Jesus as well as for their persecutors, it might also be a good time for you to remove those idolatrous American flags from your sanctuaries and get real about the Body of Christ. Friends, Jesus is not an American. He's not a Democrat or a Republican. He's a foot washer. Are you? Am I?

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