As intercessors who pray, we have got to get a grip on the reality of who God is and in His plan… the completion of the Great Commission. For many of us in the West, prayer could go to another whole level, if we could catch the vision God is trying to share in the plight of the persecuted.
“Those who have grown comfortable with the teachings of Christ have allowed His teachings to lose their edge.” – Nik Ripken
“When God becomes present active tense, not only is God out of the box, but there is NO BOX, it is burnt, it is ashes.” – Nik Ripken
“Those in persecution share that the way to know which side of evil or God you are on, is ‘Whether or not you shared Jesus with someone today.'” – Nik Ripken
Are we on God’s side?
Working my way thru his book, The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken / February 18th, 2014
Will you follow Jesus anywhere He leads? Are you tough enough to follow Him, especially in the hard places? Is it possible that we have chosen the peace and security of a new life in Christ while doing all we can to flee from being associated with His suffering?
Nik and Ruth Ripken have walked with followers of Christ from the hills of Kentucky to war-torn Somalia. Faced with the death of their teenage son while they tried to serve the Somalis, the realities of war all around them, and the systemic destruction of the work they felt called to do, the evil was at times overwhelming. How could God be good, when life was so dark? How could Christ reign victorious on a day when the number of martyrs included some of Nik’s best friends; and you could count on one hand the number of believers then left in all of Somalia? Is there really power in Christ no matter the circumstance?
Next up on my reading list…
The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken / February 18th, 2014
Wise Sheep Among the Wolves
All Christian disciples have one thing in common: as they carry the gospel across the ocean and across the street, persecution will become the norm for those who choose to follow Jesus. How believers respond in the face of persecution reveals everything about their level of faith and obedience.
The Insanity of Obedience is a bold challenge to global discipleship. Nik Ripken exposes the danger of safe Christianity and calls readers to something greater. The Insanity of Obedience challenges Christians in the same, provocative way that Jesus did. This book dares you—and prepares you—to cross the street and the oceans with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Keeping in mind… as we pray…
“Believers in persecution remind us that persecution in the Bible is normal. Suffering for Jesus is as common as the “sun coming up in the east”
Mature believers often say something like, “Don’t pray for our persecution to end. Please pray that we will be obedient through our suffering.”
That is a very different kind of prayer. It is challenging to understand the number one cause of persecution globally is when people accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Therefore, persecution is often a direct by-product of faith.
Let’s think out loud for just a moment. If believers in the West and their churches simply pray to God for persecution to end, the only way for God to answer that type of prayer is to stop people from following Jesus! The Bible commands us to pray for believers in persecution. It does so without giving us names or places to pray for and about.
A biblical and a globally astute prayer for believers in persecution would ask that Jesus would be made known, that believers would remain obedient through their suffering, and that we identify with believers in persecution by sharing our faith in whatever environment we find ourselves.
Believers in persecution could avoid their suffering if they would only leave Jesus alone and leave witness alone. Let’s be clear; the suffering of which we speak is completely avoidable. All one has to do to avoid such persecution is to leave Jesus alone and refuse to witness. This is quite different than always praying prayers of rescue and extraction. Such praying for believers in persecution seek to join them, identifying with their suffering as we also believe in Jesus and refuse to keep His grace to ourselves.
We identify with believers in persecution when we refuse to be silenced! Most organizations that report on believers in persecution are more concerned with rescuing than they are with obedience that is part of paying a huge price for daring to witness and plant new churches in their homes.
As you pray for believers in persecution seek to be part of the body of Christ and support those organizations that have a heart for witness and house church planting more than a practice of rescuing believers in persecution and extracting them to western or Christian countries.” -Nik Ripken
For more quotes: http://www.goodness.com/author/quotes/6195119.Nik_Ripken
Nik & Ruth Ripken have interviewed approximately 600 believers who live in environments of persecution, totaling 72 countries to date. These believers have courageously shared with the Ripkens how to thrive in persecution, more than just survive. They represent what victorious living in Christ entails, echoing the biblical account itself.
International Orality Network
– Influencing the body of Christ to make disciples of all oral learners – 70% of the world (5.7 billion) are oral learners and of that group 1/2 are children!
Isaiah 42:16 “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”