PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH
Over 200 million Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith in Jesus. As a part of our annual focus each November on the Persecuted Church, International Missions invites you to pray for the top 50 nations where persecution of Christians exists. November 3, 2019 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Please take some time in your services to acknowledge and pray for our brothers and sisters who suffer and are persecuted every day. Visit http://forthesilenced.paoc.org for more information, and we’d like to invite you to watch and share this video with your congregations.
I will give of myself even though it costs me something.
As we walk with Christ, studying and obeying His Word and remaining sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, our understanding is deepened over time of how much it cost Jesus to reconcile us to His Father. Having laid our old lives down and seeking to live new lives for Him, the Holy Spirit also motivates us to share more of ourselves for the sake of the kingdom, so that others may also be strengthened in their faith or welcomed into His family for the first time.
Sharing, volunteering, and making small sacrifices for others are generally seen as honourable in our society, but Christ-followers are called to a more radical level of obedience for the sake of those who are still living without light and truth. God has prepared good works in advance for each of us to do (Ephesians 2:10), and He introduces tailor-made opportunities for each of us to serve as we walk with Him. Sometimes those works come naturally and are easy for us to fulfil, and at other times, they require a new level of faith, self-denial and encouragement by the Spirit for us to proceed. Sometimes the sacrifice or course of action we feel led to take may even seem foolish, reckless or irresponsible by everyday, earthly norms—not easily understood by those who are not generally pursuing passionate kingdom purpose. But if we’re not careful, we can miss tremendous opportunities for witness and impact if we hesitate at the cost or risk associated with the occasions for serving that God presents.
As beneficiaries of Christ’s sacrifice, our gratitude and love for Him should spark a desire to respond no matter what it costs us to follow His direction. As we grow in confidence in our relationship with God, we can be sure of His leading into special opportunities to love and serve others, in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are promised that as we refresh others, we will also be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25), and that as we invest in the kingdom, we will receive much more in return (John 4:35-36).
Ask and it will be granted…
- That we will become more sensitive to the ways God is asking us to reach those around us with the gospel.
- That we will be willing to follow the Holy Spirit into whatever opportunities for service He presents.
- That we will be strengthened and encouraged to do God’s will each day.
- That we will not grow weary in well-doing.
- Do you feel that your daily, weekly or monthly schedule is a reflection of God’s desire for the use of your time in kingdom service? Why or why not?
- Do you have a desire to serve others in a way that may seem strange or unconventional? Ask God to show you if that desire originates with Him or with you.
- Do you feel that you spend enough time in prayer or in the Word to discern what your next steps should be?
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NLT)
“Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
“When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”
Matthew 16:24 (NLT)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.’”
Romans 12:1 (NLT)
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”
John 4:35-36 (NLT)
“You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!”
Next month’s “I Will” statement: “I will watch and be ready for Jesus’ return.”
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