Pray For God’s Enemies

The Lord Jesus Christ has a brother named James, and he wrote an inspired fact, “…whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy” (James 4:4) Jesus reminds us that we are to pray for our enemies, not against them. The reason I’m writing this is to help us pray that God will give His enemies an open heart to receive His truth and put a desire in their heart to hate sin and love Him.

A politician by the name of Marco Rubio, has made clear publicly his views against homosexuals being given marriage status by the Government and this has resulted in a gross amount of anger from the LGBT movement around our nation. Even the support of “civil unions” as an alternative to homosexual marriage, for which President Obama advocated as recently as 2012, is now unacceptable. Why? Because many people sympathetic to the LGBT movement have promoted propaganda. Propaganda is, Webster says, a “widespread dissemination or promotion of particular ideas, doctrines, practices, etc., to further one’s own cause or to damage another one.”  Mr. Rubio’s perspective is perhaps colored by the fact that he is the U.S-born son of Cuban immigrants and has a realist perspective of what happens when people are attacked for their beliefs. Under Castro, both Christians and homosexuals were dehumanized and painfully persecuted to death.

Our nation has now arrived in the public dialogue about same-sex marriage with polarized views that quickly engender violent hate speech. There is no longer room to debate how it may impact society, families, children, or the legal rights of other citizens. Religious beliefs based on Scripture – which has been held for millennia by many different religions – are swept aside.The simple truth, say the propagandists, is that anyone who articulates opposition to gay marriage is guilty of hate speech. The only remaining question is to what degree they should be censured, silenced and prosecuted. And judging by the rapidly growing hostility toward Christianity, it’s going to be harsh.

I’m not sure about how I will vote next year, personally, I think Mr. Rubio is a bit too young and our nation needs a more mature man, but however we vote, I’m convinced, we should vote prayerfully. Pray for your enemies to be defined as God’s enemies in your own heart, and that they would love the truth and hate sin, not the sinner. God loves each and every one of us, friend & foe. But we must take a stand to speak the truth in love, so if you are praying for God’s enemies, you can with confidence, vote with a clear Christian conscience. For the remaining months, make a point of memorizing Matthew 5:44, and remember that the most loving act of faith you can express towards an enemy of God is to look them in the eye and tell them the truth about how much Christ loves them. He died for the sin they are trapped in, to be released.

The Heart of Worship

Who do I really focus on when I worship? If we call our time together on Sunday a “worship service”, who are we serving with love? Isn’t love the heartbeat of worship?. If my focus is on human performance rather than on the good news of Christ, it is not worship of Christ. If anyone other than Jesus is receiving my heart’s applause, it is not God that I really worship. The Apostle Paul believed that a human heart could “see”, (Ephesians 1:18). When my heart is filled with gratitude, why can’t it applaud? Perhaps that is what is happening on the inside when we sing with grace in our heart (Colossians 3:16) while on the outside our tongues are singing out loud.

If my attention is on the good news, I’m headed the right direction, but if I end up loving the messenger instead of the author of the message, what was my attention really on? What message is the church offering the world? If a visitor is offered a call to feel good about their potential and self worth, did they hear Christ call them to carry a cross, or do we call them to have fun in His name? The living fact of the good news is this: Jesus went to the cross because of his love for our forgiveness of my so-called worldly fun. While he hung on the cross, the only entertainment was in the people who mocked him.

If the heart of worship service gives visitors the impression that we are fun-filled instead of Spirit-filled, what are we winning them over to? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world?  To holy living? To self-discipline? To love for Jesus Christ as our God or love of self-fulfillment?