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The Lord’s Mercy… North Korea

…just a little longer… but only a little longer!

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God is still keeping North Korea on my heart and mind…  I’ve been praying through several things, but particularly that the Lord would give a dream to Kim Jong-Un that would challenge him and open his eyes to the wrong he is doing as a leader of his nation – that he would actually see the suffering of the people.  I’ve been praying that he would have this dream every night until he does something about it!

Every time I think about the people of North Korea, I have such an urgency in my heart to see an end to this regime. I’m crying out for rescue for my brothers and sisters from oppression. I want it to end now! As I prayed the other day, though, I felt God say he was just giving Kim Jong-Un a little longer to turn to him. He is a merciful God, who desires that none should perish – not even a dictator.  We think in terms of physical perishing, but God sees the eternal. So, just a little longer… but only a little longer!

The other day as I prayed, I had a picture in my mind of two great bowls full of a glowing oil like substance.  Both bowls were brimming to overflowing.  Slowly the two bowls tipped and the liquid poured out over North Korea, mixing together as it flowed down.  I felt God say that these bowls contained judgement and mercy that was ready to be poured out on North Korea.  As I began to pray through the picture, I felt a further clarification that the bowls are an expression of justice and grace, filled in response to the prayers of His people all over the world.  The two outpourings are intermingled for the transformation of the nation and for His glory!

Lord, let your Justice be known in North Korea, bringing an end to evil, and may your Grace flow freely in that land, healing all wounds.

Time to Pray… North Korea

We thank you and all supporters in Christ who encourage and support our believers. Your prayer and support help our believers to be ready for the battle at the frontier.” an excerpt from the Open Doors Website

North Korea has been in the headlines frequently in the last months and I believe this isn’t just the media’s obsession with President Trump and the nuclear crisis.  I believe that the Lord is stirring something in His church with regards to North Korea and using the news to keep this small nation in our minds, lest we forget them.

That’s not a condemnation. It’s a recognition of reality. If you’re anything like me it’s easy to ignore anything that is out of your immediate world.  We are limited in our ability to care for those who are beyond our daily spheres.  Can you imagine how much prayer has gone up since Kim Jong-Un started his public missile tests and started threatening the world…

But we don’t really want to be praying in panic and fear every time someone reminds us of a potential global crisis.  We want to be praying consistently and effectively for our Lord’s glorious will to be done and His magnificent kingdom to come.  So, how can we pray effectively for North Korea in these days?

Well, let’s remember first and foremost that there are God’s people living in that dark land.  There is a faithful community of persecuted Christians crying out to God to rescue them.  The first thing we can do is stand and agree with them before the throne of God for His rescuing power to be manifest.  If you want some insight in their situation to help you pray with them, check out Open Doors resources on https://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/countries/north-korea/

Your prayers and support make a real difference to believers in North Korea. One shared with us: “Whenever we faced difficult situations you supported our North Korean underground believers so that we could break through all difficulties with courage and spiritual power in Christ. We thank you and all supporters in Christ who encourage and support our believers. Your prayer and support help our believers to be ready for the battle at the frontier.” an excerpt from the Open Doors Website

Let’s not just pray for our brothers and sisters in North Korea but with them as well!

Look Up!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I live with the knowledge that my Jesus has conquered death, conquered sin, conquered fear.  My God is compassionate and gracious – and so far greater than any political, religious or spiritual power that the Bible tells us He laughs at those who set themselves up against Him.  And the best news is He is not simply my God, created in my image according to my understanding and expectations – no!  He created me in His image, He has made me His child.  Every battle I think I face is His battle.  Everything belongs to Him.  He chooses to reveal His thoughts and plans and His very nature to us.

What an amazing God we serve.  I will fix my eyes on Him and keep praying.

Your Kingdom come, Lord and Your Will be done!  Lord, we need some Heaven here on earth!

That was the end of my last post in July 2017.  Reading it again as I metaphorically take up my pen in this new year, I was struck again by the hope that we have as Christians.  How amazing it is that in the face of a world seemingly gone mad – that has always been mad – we know that the Lord knows everything that is happening… and He has a plan!

In the book of Jeremiah there is a promise.  In the midst of war and disaster that could not be turned aside, this is that glorious promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 29v11-14 NLT)

This promise was given to those who were in exile.  It was not a promise for their immediate rescue – the judgement on the nation still had to run its course.  The people had not turned back to God as they faced the destruction of their land.  There had been many false prophets telling them that there would be peace, that God would rescue them from their enemies, but their lies ignored the need for repentance and so they blocked God’s mercy.  And yet, even as the Lord pronounced His judgement through Jeremiah, He declares His desire to bless, His plans for good.

Throughout His judgement He was looking for His people to turn back to Him, to seek Him, to change their ways – He was looking for the opportunity to show mercy.  When I see the obvious evil all around locally, nationally and globally through individuals and institutions – I feel a cry rise up for justice!  As I look at the world, at the political strife, the natural (or unnatural!) disasters, the pain, the suffering of so many – I feel a cry rise up for mercy!

How wonderful to know that we have a just God.

How amazing to know that we have a merciful God.

How incredible that through faith in Jesus we can be rescued from judgement, reconciled with our Creator, restored to our inheritance.

As we pray for this world, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus.  Look up at Him as He sits on the throne of grace, the Lion of Judah, who looks like a lamb that was slain.

Breaking

We can look on the world around us and see such darkness that we just don’t know what to feel or how to respond.

My heart is breaking.  It’s such a cliché but some how true.  Although, gripped may be more accurate.  We can look on the world around us and see such darkness that we just don’t know what to feel or how to respond.

How do we react to political posturing among our leaders? How do we respond to the tragedies that are daily in our news feed? What should we do about the continuous moral decline, this emotionally bankrupt generation and the compromising of our faith?  At the moment I feel manipulated by the media and their choice of stories and yet I’m hungering to know what is happening – and part of me is waiting for the next big crisis to be displayed in all its horror.  My heart is gripped in anticipation – daring the world to get worse.

And yet… and yet, in my mind’s eye I see wonder – in my spirit I live in hope.  I live with the knowledge that my Jesus has conquered death, conquered sin, conquered fear.  My God is compassionate and gracious – and so far greater than any political, religious or spiritual power that the Bible tells us He laughs at those who set themselves up against Him.  And the best news is He is not simply my God, created in my image according to my understanding and expectations – no!  He created me in His image, He has made me His child.  Every battle I think I face is His battle.  Everything belongs to Him.  He chooses to reveal His thoughts and plans and His very nature to us.

What an amazing God we serve.  I will fix my eyes on Him and keep praying.

Your Kingdom come, Lord and Your Will be done!  Lord, we need some Heaven here on earth!

Prayfully Seeking Wolves

In our global society it seems fairly clear that there is an imbalance…

Recently I came across the story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park .  Simply put there was a problem with elk over grazing so, as part of the solution, wolves were reintroduced to address the imbalance that had grown in their 70 years absence.  What captured my attention were the unexpected effects of this decision which appear to have been considerable.

With the elk overgrazing halted, willow saplings were able to grow and this enabled the return of beavers.  It is the beavers – in their natural harvesting of willow, building of dams and creation of marshland –  who have themselves altered and restored the landscape.  It’s a cascade effect which has been debated for many years, among environmentalists and ecologists, some agreeing that it is apex predators who have made the difference to an eco-system while others look for broader activity.

It got me thinking, though.  In our global society it seems fairly clear that there is an imbalance.  Food is thrown away in unbelievable quantities while people, just a few hours travel away, starve.  The wealthiest parts of a population can’t spend their money fast enough to put a dent in their fortunes, while those at the other end of the scale have nothing – literally nothing left.  The shouted opinions of uninformed celebrities hold sway while the reasonable murmurings of the wise are scorned.  And that’s only scratching the surface of inequality, injustice and destruction.

I feel society’s been waiting a long time for some kind of change.  Perhaps it’s time to prayerfully seek some wolves.  Or perhaps what we really need are beavers…

Seeking Dissatifaction

This is my challenge to myself: It’s time to stop being satisfied with mediocre.

I’ve been wrestling the last few weeks with a desire for more of God.  That may sound like a strange thing to wrestle with – surely it’s good to desire Him?  What I’m really wrestling with is the question: am I seeking His Face or His Arm?  (I spend far too much time questioning my motives.)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to know Him more because of how wonderful I already know Him to be.  And knowing what I know of Him I am not content with just what I’ve seen and heard of the work of His mighty arm.  I am seeking His Face and His Arm – to be honest I’m not sure there’s a difference.

So far I’ve only glimpsed a tiny fraction of who He really is and I’ve only seen a tiny fraction of His power at work in this world.  I am not satisfied.  I am not content.  I will not settle for less – I want more.  I want to know Him more and I want to see His power unleashed to change the world.  It’s only my Lord and Father who can save those wallowing in darkness.  And to Him the greatest global crisis of this age is not perplexing in the least.  Because He IS I will seek His face and because of this broken world I will seek His mighty arm.

This God we’re talking about is the Creator of the Universe….

Pause and calmly think of that (as it says in the Psalms)

This is my challenge to myself: It’s time to stop being satisfied with mediocre.

 

Don’t turn your face away…

…the God in whom I trust is the creator of the universe, the defender of the weak and the lifter of my head. It is He who stirs my heart to pray and care for people I have never met.

Yesterday as I was praying for East Africa – still praying for rain – I found myself thinking something along the lines of:  ‘This is too hard… it’s the rainy season now and if there is no rain in the next weeks, I suppose I’ll just give up.’

It breaks my heart to write those words, because how easy it is for me in my relatively comfortable life to think I can give up on praying for people on another continent who have a different culture and different life experience to me.

But I can’t turn my face away.  And I know my Father in Heaven is not turning His face away.  Sitting here writing this I feel so helpless to do anything, and yet the God in whom I trust is the creator of the universe, the defender of the weak and the lifter of my head.  It is He who stirs my heart to pray and care for people I have never met.  I know that He loves them and so I will pray: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done in East Africa.”

My brothers and sisters are among those suffering through conflict and drought and starvation and I can’t turn my back on them.  I was reading recently about the work of Open Doors with the Christian community in Nigeria who are frequently being denied aid because of their faith.  It is encouraging to read about what is being done to help them and we need to continue to stand with them because the crisis is ongoing.  And not just those persecuted, but all Christians who live in the region.

Even as I pray for provision for God’s people I am reminded that God sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous – and that rain will be a blessing to all people in sub-Saharan Africa.  And I am blessed by the knowledge that many Christians are working with aid agencies (both Christian and secular) in this region without partiality, bringing help to all regardless of race or religion.  What a gracious and compassionate God we have!

And yesterday, as I rejected the thought of laying down this burden of prayer I felt God meet me in my prayers, filling me with faith and expectancy.  For those who have felt that kind of connection, you will understand the joy that gives life to prayers that had grown cold.  I’m afraid I can’t describe or explain it any better than that – partly because I’m not a poet and partly because no one can or should explain something so personal.

The other day God showed me the following verses in Psalm 65:

“You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
    the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.”

Psalm 65v9-13 NIV

That’s my prayer for East Africa – Lord, So be it in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia & Kenya. Amen!