Brand new song from Selah: The People of the Cross; and Honoring the Martyrs (part 2)

April 28, 2015

People Of The Cross

[Scroll down for new song from Selah – it’s SO good, Wow!  But the intro is inspiring, important and relevant…]

Last week I posted an entry about the Ethiopian, Kenyan and Egyptian martyrs: Lifting High the Cross: How the Martyrs Exalted Christ by Their Deaths (part 1) I have an additional entry I planned to post as a followup, but a very busy workload in recent days kept me from completing that draft.  Today I found myself with some unexpected free time between meetings and I was browsing Twitter catching up on various prayer needs and current events around the world…  Two posts on Twitter related to the martyrs killed by ISIS grabbed my attention, and I felt it very important to post them here.  So what was going to be a two-part series, will now be a three-part series.  I’ll hope to post the third entry on Thurs. or Friday.

The first tweet related to the martyrs today was posted by the famous Catholic monk and musician John Michael Talbot:

The full text of what he wrote was:

Coptic Christians in praise of Jesus in 2011 before the uprising of recent persecutions by fanatical Islam. This is the strength that gets them through the persecution today. Do we have the same?

I watched the linked video from the great Middle Eastern Christian channel SAT-7 (over 2 million views for this video!)

Here are excerpts from the lyrics in English – they utterly astound me in light of ISIS actions killing our brothers from Egypt & Ethiopia on the grounds that they were PEOPLE OF THE CROSS.  It is almost as if this song was written to prepare the church in Egypt for the time of testing to come.  INCREDIBLE.

Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Say that He has risen and death has no authority
And there is no forgiveness except through His blood
Say that He has risen and death has no authority
And there is no forgiveness except through His blood
And the light of the Gospel is increasing
[…]
Say that He has conquered darkness and its authority
He has lit up our days and given them color
And the light of day is increasing
[…]
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Say that He is He is defeating his foes
We’re winning with His testimony and blood
And our heritage is increasing
[…]
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Live the joy of heaven, joy, joy
Satan will wear the clothes of one in mourning
[…]
Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you

No sooner had I finished watching that, then I glanced back at my Twitter feed, and the VERY FIRST tweet I saw was this from We Are Worship USA:

So, I went straight to YouTube to watch this video. This song People of the Cross was just released today – it’s on iTunes and other music download sites.

So powerful.  May this be true.

We are the People of the Cross.  We choose Christ and count all else as loss.  We won’t be shaken.  Hope won’t be taken. We are the People of the Cross.

May this be a rallying cry to the Evangelical Church in the West to truly live as People of the Cross, following in the footsteps of the martyrs from Egypt, Kenya and Ethiopia who have counted the cost and shown that Christ is worth dying for.

Go buy this song and keep listening and keep praying for the church around the world that we may not shrink back in the face of suffering and persecution….


Pray for Kenya – Good Friday statement from Abp. Wabukala

April 3, 2015

Somehow the suffering of Christians in Kenya today following yesterday’s killing of 147 students by Al Shabbab terrorists, as well as the memory of the recent martyrdom of 21 Coptic Christians in Egypt brings Good Friday into focus much more sharply this year for me.  Below is the statement and the request for prayer from the Anglican Archbishop of Kenya Eliud Wabukala.  May the Lord who suffered at the hands of evil men be near to those families who have suffered at the hands of terrorists.

***

Good Friday statement from the Primate of Kenya

‘Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother’
John 19:25

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this Good Friday we gather in our churches across Kenya in the shadow of a great and terrible evil. People who deal in death have slaughtered 147 people in Garissa, most of them students, and brought wrenching anguish to their families and a deep sadness to our nation.

These young people died because they were Kenyans and they were Christians. This attack was a calculated manifestation of evil designed to destroy our nation and our faith, but on this Good Friday we are reminded that the very worst evil can do is not the last word.

Through spite and blatant miscarriage of justice, Jesus dies the agonising death of the cross, but his last words are ‘it is finished’. The cross was not a tragic accident, but the fulfilment of God’s purpose to reconcile men and women to himself through the atoning death of his Son, a reality gloriously confirmed by his resurrection from the dead.

But we must not rush on to Easter Day too quickly.  Today we stand at the cross with Mary and the other women, heartbroken by loss and suffering and despite the horror before their eyes, not running away.

Horror is fresh in our minds too and let us not run away or deny it, but stay by the cross. We stay with Jesus, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, we share in the grief of Mary and we share in the grief of those who have been so shockingly bereaved, but as Mary was to discover, we know that this is not the end of the story.

Jesus death upon the cross was not in vain. By his death, death has been destroyed. The stone rolled away and the empty tomb of Jesus assures us that death does not have the last word. As we think of those dear ones who died at Garissa because they were Christians, let us remember the promise of the Lord Jesus that nothing can separate them and us from his love.

Above all, let us resolve today that these deaths, and those of other Kenyans who have died previously at the hands of Al Shabaab, will not be in vain. We call on the government to do all in its power to protect the lives of its citizens and we call on the world community to recognise that this latest outrage is not just an attack on Kenya, but part of an assault on world peace. The time has come for the world to unite as never before in defeating this growing menace.

While governments have a vital role, even more important are the hearts and minds of ordinary people. Let us covenant together before God that we will never ever surrender our nation or our faith in Christ to those who glory in death and destruction. We will not be intimidated because we know and trust in the power of the cross, God’s power to forgive our sins, to turn death into the gate of glory and to make us his children for ever.

Amen
Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya

via the GAFCON website


Lent prayer theme: Global intercession for the persecuted, for missionaries, unreached peoples… etc.

February 20, 2015

One of the themes in material we plan to post and Tweet here during Lent will be prayer for the persecuted church, missionaries, and for unreached peoples and nations.  We will also post resources for  “spiritual warfare” – praying for God to thwart religious violence and evil.   For those of you interested in such posts, you might want to bookmark our Global Intercession category.

Here are a few of our recent entries from that category:


Bp. John Guernsey – Praying for Persecuted Christians in Lent AND Praying for the Terrorists who persecute them

February 19, 2015

Bishop John Guernsey of the ACNA Mid-Atlantic Diocese has written a Lenten letter calling for sacrificial prayer for persecuted believers around the world.  In a startling twist however, he is ALSO urging believers to pray for the terrorists who persecute them, and he has linked to a very helpful resource to help us pray, as well as providing some suggested ways of praying.

This Lenten season is a time of renewal of our spiritual disciplines of prayer, reading and studying Scripture, fasting, sacrificial giving of our money and our time for the sake of others.

Especially during this season, would you commit to making prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters a central part of your devotions? Would you pray more earnestly for their witness and for their deliverance? Would you pray for God to turn even these acts of evil for his Kingdom purposes?

And would you pray for the terrorists themselves to repent and turn to Christ? Did you know there’s even a website where you can find profiles of terrorists so you can adopt one and commit to pray for him to repent and come to Christ. It’s Adopt a Terrorist for Prayer.

The site offers insightful suggestions as to how to pray for a terrorist. I’m praying for Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, to repent and turn to Christ. So I’m using the Adopt a Terrorist for Prayer guide to intercede for him, praying…

  • for irresistible pursuit by God’s Spirit: “Holy Spirit, relentlessly pursue Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to the depths of his hideout, that he may not escape your grace.”
  • for powerful demonstrations of God’s grace: “Lord, expose Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to the precious testimony of Jesus’ followers.”
  • for vulnerability: “Dear God, strip from Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi all his defenses that he may turn to Jesus for hope and salvation.”
  • for conviction of sin and sense of shame: “Jesus, confront and overwhelm Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi with his shameful deeds and sinful nature till he becomes desperate for righteousness from you.”
  • for God’s honor: “God, may the redemption of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi clearly display your character and glory.”
  • against spiritual blindness and bondage: “Lord, release Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi from Satan’s grip and open him to sense and know your grace in Jesus.”

Our God is mighty to save. Let’s cry out to him this Lent (and beyond!) for justice for his precious children.

From here

***

Update:  Just after I posted this, I recalled that I had seen a link earlier this week to a post at Desiring God about praying for our enemies.  I went and dug it up.  It’s a very challenging article by John Piper:  Pray for those who abuse you.  It’s worth prayerful reading, and it makes a powerful double punch when combined with Bp. Guernsey’s letter.


Remembering the Martyrs of Sudan / Prayer Resources for Sudan

May 16, 2012

We are gearing up for our 10 days of prayer for unreached nations and the persecuted church in the lead up to the Global Day of Prayer. The 10 Days of prayer starts tomorrow, May 17 (Ascension Day) and continues through May 26. The Global Day of Prayer is May 27, Pentecost Sunday.

How wonderfully appropriate that today is the commemoration of the Martyrs of Sudan. Here is the collect for the day:

O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by your providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant us your grace, that as the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death, and so by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest, we too may be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Read more about the Martyrs of Sudan here.

Also a few other links of interest related to Sudan:

  • The Rev. Tim Fountain (a former Lent & Beyond contributor) is connected with development work and support for the church in Southern Sudan.  He has posted some information about how to support work in Sudan at StandFirm today.  Please go read that, pray about giving, and above all pray that this ministry would be a great blessing to many and bear much fruit for eternity.
  • A collection of prayers for Sudan written and compiled by Jill Woodliff back in 2011 at the time of the referendum on South Sudan’s independence.   Approximately 70 prayers!

%d bloggers like this: