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February Prayer Campaign - Pray for the church in the AP
We are continuing to pray for the forming of indigenous churches in the Arabian Peninsula as a PTAP community in February.
Suffering is normal in our fallen world, and for Believers from a Muslim Background, (MBBs), much of the suffering they experience will be directly related to following Christ.
Matthew 10:36 is often a MBBs reality: “A person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” For many MBBs in the Arabian Peninsula, this is a daily occurrence; their family may beat them, lock them out, disown them or even kill them for following Christ. As the Body of Christ, let us shore up our MBB brothers and sisters in the Arabian Peninsula by praying for them to be well prepared for persecution when it arises.
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Tim 2:12
“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:20
Pray for MBBs of the AP to understand that persecution is a normal part of following Christ and not a punishment for their sins or wrong choices.
Pray for MBBs to develop a clear understanding of their new identity in Christ. Walking closely with the Lord and having an awareness of living in His presence will carry them through the difficult times of persecution.
Pray for MBBs to know, understand and memorize God’s word. Often during persecution, a believer will not have access to the written word. Pray for MBBs to hide God’s word in their hearts so they can cling to truth during persecution.
Pray for MBBs to have a deep understanding of prayer. Pray for them to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” Eph. 6:18. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach them various types of prayers: listening, crying out, lamenting, praising, petitioning, and praying God’s word.
Pray for MBBs to be able to discern when to stay in situations of persecution and when to flee. (Mat. 10:23). Pray against any condemnation from themselves or others over their decisions.
Pray for MBBs to have wisdom and discernment in choosing their words and actions. Unwise words and actions can lead to unnecessary persecution, and an aptly spoken word can turn away the wrath of persecutors.
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I was talking with some friends today about medical issues. I told them I had heard people say they didn't want any extreme measures if they were critically ill. But I said, “I want extreme measures.” Life is precious. And it is good even if I am in pain or debilitated.

Immediately one of them gave the common answer that I was reacting against in the first place.

“Well,” he said, “you don't want to live if you don't have quality of life.”

I did not answer him, but I have been thinking about what gives quality of life. I don't believe it is comfort or freedom from pain.

I believe quality of life has to be related to purpose. As writers you know something about purpose. But in fact, any believer in Jesus Christ should be aware of divine purpose. If you are still alive God has a purpose for you on this Earth. God has a purpose for you even beyond this life. And knowing hope beyond this life ought to make us want to fulfill every purpose God has for us until we step into eternity.

If you do not know God's purpose for your life, you need to seek earnestly to learn what He is doing around you. Even if you don't know all that God wants to do through you, you can begin by obeying Him in small things that you know to do.

Among other things, this will shape your prayer life. I have frustrated some loved ones by telling them, “Every time I have prayed for God to heal me, I have sensed Him reminding me that it is appointed unto man once to die. In fact, I have seen a kind of healing. I am still alive years longer than my doctors thought I would be. But I still have cancer.

Earlier one of the friends I was talking to said, possibly in jest, that he wouldn't want to live if he couldn't play golf. Particularly as a writer I know I can still enjoy things I can no longer participate in. This really relates to being an intellectual. I don't think being an intellectual necessarily means you are smart. I have explained it like this for years. I would rather hear or tell a story about a boy hitting a homerun than to hit a homer myself. I have enjoyed fly fishing for a long time. I am afraid I can longer negotiate the rough stream banks. But I can still enjoy fishing in my memories and imagination.

So how do I pray for my cancer, and my life for that matter? I pray what David prayed in Psalm 138. “Lord, fulfill your purpose for me.” If God allows me to live when I can no longer write, then I hope I can still pray for people around me. And I pray that He will be glorified in me however He brings that about.



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From time to time I have enjoyed rereading some of my favorite books. There are several books that I revisit every few years. I recently took up The Robe that I hadn't read for about 25 years. I was amazed by how much of it I did not remember. I do not mean I did not remember certain parts until I had reread them. Most of it struck me like a book I had never read. This is a fairly new and embarrassing experience for me. This past weekend we went on a short trip with my daughter's family. I was shuffling through books my granddaughter had brought to read and discovered, Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life. I begin to read and laugh out loud with delight. I told my granddaughter I needed to borrow the book from her. I was quickly informed that it was my book. Sure enough I turned back to the flyleaf and discovered that the book was given me with a marvelous dedication from a friend who happens to be a really good writer.

I have recently had several far more embarrassing incidents of memory loss. This is not my worst handicap. And I have had to ask myself if they will hinder my ability to write. The answer that came to me immediately was, 'They won't, if I do not let them.” Most of us who know God wants us to write have to work through numerous handicaps.

My favorite fiction writer is Bodie Thoene. She and her husband Brock research their their historical novels together. They have over 35 million books in print in more than 35 languages. I once heard them interviewed at the end of one of their audio books. I was amazed to learn that Bodie is dyslexic and has found it too painful to reread her own books. This is something like Beethoven writing the 9th Symphony and other marvelous works after he was completely deaf.

What are your weaknesses? All of us have them. But if you will not let them they probably will not keep you from putting words up on the computer screen and publishing them to bless lives.

Now, I fear I have been a little too simplistic. Handicaps can be terribly difficult to work through. And despite the two examples I gave, some of them are absolutely impossible to overcome as a writer. However, I do believe there are three obedient actional attitudes to apply to your weaknesses.

One of them is conviction. Do you sense a compulsion, possibly even a calling from God? Do not give up because what you face is difficult.

Another is endurance. Stay at it, work at it. Think continually about ways to cope with it or get around it. When I brought up some evidences of my memory loss to my 10 year old granddaughter she immediately begin to tell me about a study done with nuns who remained sharp because they continued to be mentally active. And it was discovered by postmortem pathologies of their brains that they actually had full-blown Alzheimer's. They had staved off the effects by keeping mentally and physically active. You can look this study up it's easy to find on Google. Whatever your handicap, don't give up on it.

Finally, and most important, pray about it. Of course God may take away your thorn In the flesh. But in many cases God will glorify Himself by turning your weakness into strength as you obey Him.


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It is tempting to write my blog this week and next on Christmas. I thrill with all the truth brought to us at Christmas. But I have been writing the past few weeks about facing spiritual attack that comes when we try to increase our prayer life. And along with loneliness and depression this time of year, most of us face spiritual attack.

After the glorious experience of Jesus’ baptism He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting 40 days He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” Again the enemy took Him to a high mountain and in an instant showed Him all the kingdoms of the world with all their splendor. “All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Finally he too Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple. “Throw yourself down, if you are the Son of God. For it is written that he will command his angels to lift you up lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Do you see the pattern? Each time Jesus was tempted He quoted scripture. David wrote, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against Thee.” I have often heard that hiding His word in our hearts is more than simply memorizing scripture. That is true, but memorizing is a great beginning. As we commit scripture to memory we allow the Holy Spirit to transform all of our thinking, praying and living.

Put on the armor of God’s word in your life.

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