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Check out the final lesson from this year's FOUNDATION STUDY, on the book of Acts:
Church Under Construction
Lesson 13 - Organized Acts
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The news interrupted my plan for this week’s blog.
You’ve heard this before: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.” Here’s my variation on the theme:
I disapprove of what you say, and I will defend my right to pray for your soul.
You see it all, God. Angry words hurled at angry words, judgment piled on judgment, violence facing violence — take away those hearts of stone, Lord. Replace them with hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Prince of Peace, fill us all. Restore our souls.
I posted a year ago on the four faces of prayer. Which face are you?
The man face has a heart of compassion: Lord, be a safe fortress for your persecuted children. The lion’s protective eye is on the horizon: Rally the free world to speak on behalf of these suffering people. The ox does daily duty: Give them what they need today. The eagle soars, looking to the future: Lord, grow your army of believers in North Korea into a glorious force for good.
God’s put a phrase on my heart: Safe Shelter. It’s a prayer assignment. A changing prayer assignment that I’ll share with you. Every week, I’ll post a prayer for safe shelter–for different people, suffering different circumstances, needing our prayers.
Let’s start with a place that’s at the top of the news this week: North Korea. Read this from Open Doors, an organization serving persecuted Christians:
“Once again, North Korea is ranked as the most oppressive place in the world for Christians, #1 on the World Watch List. In this totalitarian communist state, Christians are forced to hide their faith completely from government authorities, neighbors and often, even their own spouses and children. Due to ever-present surveillance, many pray with eyes open, and gathering for praise or fellowship is practically impossible. Worship of the ruling Kim family is mandated for all citizens, and those who don’t comply (including Christians) are arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed.”
Check the Open Doors website for more information.
Lord, grant our Christian brothers and sisters in North Korea safe shelter–Deliver them from their enemies, O God; be their fortress against those who are attacking them (Psalm 59:1). Amen.
Ephesians 5:2 (ESV)
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
God smells our thoughts and deeds.
This week, think how you smell to God. Are you kind like cookies baking, or rude like skunk spray? Humble like sweet alyssum, or arrogant like roofing tar? Hard-working like steak on the grill, or lazy like old garbage? Prayerful like incense, or critical like burned toast?
The Bible tells us which gods not to serve:
. . . gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
Those worthless gods have no sense of smell. Almighty God has an almighty sense of smell.
Most of us care how we look. We try to look our best.
Some of us care how we look to God. We know that he sees beyond our outward appearance. God looks at our hearts. We hope he approves of our thoughts and actions.
Have you ever thought about how you smell to God?
- I want to smell clean, like soap
- God smells? Who knew?
- Don’t suppose a spritz of perfume would help
2 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
For we are the aroma of Christ to God.
“The aroma of Christ.” Me? You?