UP IN ARMS!

calvary rd 11

Why does God want us to pray?

If God is all powerful, can do anything, then why does he want us to pray?

Is there any point to praying? That’s a thought I’ve been struggling with recently when I’ve been praying for justice for Masih das and Sarita locked away in an Indian prison on trumped up charges by anti Christian factions to try and end the gospel ministry going out from Bethany House following that awful surprise attack in June

The incident that happened to the two million Israelite’s out in the desert just after escaping from Egypt after 400 years of slavery, is the one that gives me a more positive perspective to ‘keep on keeping on praying’.

In Exodus 17 we read of what God showed them as they were suddenly hit by an unprovoked surprise attack by the Amalekites. aaron-and-hur-300x246Although Joshua led the Israelite army into battle, the spotlight of the story shines on Moses at the top of the hill showing us that when ever Moses held up his hands in prayer, Joshua was able to prevail, but whenever he lowered his arms the Amalekites came back. What God wants to show us in no unmistakable terms is that what mattered was not the strength of Israel’s army, but the strength of Israel’s God as Moses laid hold of his throne in prayer.

When his arms grew tired and he lowered them to change position or give them a rest, you could see something happen immediately down in the battle ground – the enemy would be able to regroup and come back on the offensive, so two of Moses friends , Aaron and Hur lifted his arms back up again, and straight away the effect was seen down in the valley, with Joshua coming back strongly. The battle ebbed and flowed according to where Moses arms were, according to the flow of prayer going on up there on the mountain. Eventually the battle was won, the Amalekites totally defeated, and to mark this remarkable ‘prayer won’ victory Moses built an altar and called it ‘The Lord is my banner’, where he said ‘A hand was laid on the Lord’s Throne’. 

God could not have made it clearer. He wants His people to pray so He can show himself to the whole community and surrounding watchers that HE IS REAL. moses-and-aaron

Prayer is difficult, really difficult. We grow tired, and just like Moses we need to have others with us in the prayer room to lift our spirits when they flag. Laying a hand on God’s throne requires determination and persistence and focus. It’s difficult, really difficult, requiring spiritual energy and reliance on the Holy Spirit. That’s why many find it easier to do the Joshua type work, down in the valley. But both are needed for Gospel advance – people in the prayer room and people out on the streets.

Many of the churches I know are sadly declining or plateauing. The battle is not going well down in the valley for most churches because there are very few up there on the hill doing Moses work – there’s no prayer strategy, no calls for husbands and wives to pray together, no prayer breakfasts, no prayer nights, no half nights of prayer, no prayer mornings (plenty of coffee mornings!), no gathering the whole church to lay hold of God’s throne regarding a breakout of healing and victory in evangelism. We open meetings in prayer, we close meetings in prayer, but we never lay a hand on God’s throne in prayer.

Lets invest our energies in the God who answers prayer, like Moses did, and see him answer in ways that  make him unmistakably visible not just to our church but to the whole surrounding community. That’s what I’m praying will happen when God wins that battle going on in India and we have the joy of marking it with some memorial to the Living God, who made Himself visible through answering His people’s prayers

prayer-the-secret-weapon

 

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It must be this week, next week will be too late …

The battle belongs to the Lord

Providing he holds his nerve and doesn’t let fear engulf him, David can’t miss! Goliath’s size will be his downfall. Just aim in the right direction and its likely to be a bulls eye! The Indian giant of injustice and corruption we are facing can’t avoid being hit by our prayers.

The Hindu festival season is starting – bad news.  On October 7th the courts close down till November for the celebrations in honour of many of their ‘gods’. If Masih das and Sarita’s bail application isn’t heard this week then its another 3 weeks behind bars for them with Continue reading

When the King stirs himself

Image result for wimpThe Christian life is not for wimps; I expect you found that out a long time ago. We follow someone who was mocked, laughed at, misunderstood by his own family, criticised, run out of town, abused, rejected, betrayed, and then executed by the religious establishment for not being religious enough.  Why then do we Christians seem surprised when letting people know we are following this Jesus that we get the mickey taken out of us, are criticised, misunderstood, and isolated and kept at arm’s length by people who think of us as ‘religious’.

Following Jesus means that sometimes we’ll be hurt. Continue reading

Join the 20.15 Club

The Battle is not yours, but GodsThank you for standing with us in prayer in this struggle for justice for missionaries Masih das and Sarita facing trumped up charges in India to close down their church planting work amongst the Santhali tribal people.

Monday 5th September is Masih das’ birthday; its also the date of another possible court appearance to apply for bail. I say possible because promised dates have come and gone because either the police have failed to turrn up, or else they haven’t had their papers properly prepared, anything to extend the time Masih das and Sarita are kept in custody. We understand this is a common tactic that could go on for three months.

We have tried everything we can to get them released and have become very disheartened and discouraged at the Continue reading

The Battle belongs to the Lord

the Lord willfight for you

 

The longed for and prayed for bail hearing for missionaries Masih das and Sarita in India on Monday did not take place. Everyone turned up in court with high expectations, except the police, who hadn’t got their act together and didn’t have their files on the case ready – after six weeks! The judge reprimanded them, but it was like water off a ducks back. Those behind the scenes who pull the strings want to delay this hearing for as long as possible; they really do want to see an end to Christian work amongst the Santhali tribe. And it’s made me so angry; what’s happening is so wrong, and it seems as if we are helpless to do anything about it.

And all of the time two of the finest Christians I have ever known have had their lives put on hold in two horrible prison cells.

A great promise from God to speak out when feeling totally overwhelmed and inadequate when facing a gigantic challenge is found in 2 Chronicles 20v15 and 1 Samuel 17v47

The battle belongs to the LordThis is a promise I’ve known and that has been important to me over the years when facing different challenging situations. Several good friends have pointed me back to it again, so I’ve been trying to revisit it and apply it to this situation from a distance of several thousands miles.

Having woken early on Monday morning to get news from the bail hearing in India and expecting to hear of a great break-through and triumph from our victorious God, my heart was crushed. I heard nothing, absolutely nothing. Nothing had happened; family members had travelled for 5 hours to be in the court and nothing happened. Nothing. The police didn’t care; no one seemed to care.

‘Lord this is Your battle, is it too hard for you?’

Then came that small quiet voice. ‘yes it is my battle, not yours. Please leave it to me. Make yourself still and watch. I’ve set the ambushes. I can use confusion. Watch the confusion result in the enemy attacking himself’.

the Lord willfight for youIt’s hard to make myself still. I used to like loud praying, walking about and declaring the victory of King Jesus the Tomb Buster, praying in tongues, praying the Lord’s Prayer, binding and loosing, praying with an open Bible, praying with others, praying over the phone … but something is changing in me.

‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s…. you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you’. (2 Chronicles. 20:15-17) .

How to make myself be still? That’s my challenge.

If you’ve learnt how to do this please post some tips below.

I’ve added a link to an old familiar song that has been rising up in my spirit to strengthen my heart to be still during this battle. Listen to it and let praise rise up in your heart in whatever circumstances you find yourself in today, knowing the battle is not yours, but belongs to the Lord.  Its incredible how in being still you can hear the battle march!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His love endures forever! 

The Struggle goes on

Struggles and storms

Pioneer church planters Masih das and Sarita are still being held in prison where they’ve been since 22nd July because a 10 year old child in their hostel was brutally murdered.

They have been working in quite a remote part of India’s Hindu heartland amongst the Santhali tribe for 15 years. All their good work for the Kingdom of God has come screeching to a halt. They have been beaten and tortured along with some of the children. News has been very hard to get. Their son Aman has only been allowed to visit each of them in the men’s prison and women’s prison twice, for just five minutes each time. Through those visits we have Continue reading

No Borders

(FILES)US Border Patrol agents Colleen Agle and Richard Funke (L) patrol the border between Arizona and Mexico at the town of Nogales in this July 28, 2010 file photo. Twenty thousand new border patrol agents, hundreds of miles of fencing, billions of dollars in drones, radar and sensors: US lawmakers are proposing a militaristic remedy to staunch illegal immigrant flow from Mexico. The Senate is expected June 24, 2013 to green-light the most important amendment yet to the landmark immigration bill, but the measure -- designed to placate Republican concerns about security -- would ensure that the border region is one of the most highly policed zones in the Western Hemisphere. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON

In the Kingdom of God there are no borders, just one world wide, passport free, fellowship zone – a bit like the euro-zone but worldwide and where everyone is related to each other, off springs of the same Father (but different mothers!). Life in this invisible Kingdom is glorious, so different to life in an earthly nation with borders and passport controls and visas and refugee camps and prejudice and isolation and loneliness.

When one of our brothers or sisters in this borderless Kingdom suffers then we all feel it, even if they are on the other side of the world. When Masih das and Sarita had their whole life turned upside down by one act of wickedness, a world wide wave of care, concern, love and prayer flowed into northern India. Two months earlier another Christian church planter like Masih das was on his way to a village a few miles from Ghatsila to preach the gospel when he was also attacked by Hindu extremists. Deepak was stripped, beaten for Continue reading