As many of you have heard, this week twenty-one Egyptian Christians were beheaded by ISIS. They were brutally murdered for claiming the name of Jesus Christ.
The persecution of believers all over the world is at an all-time high. Some days, watching videos or reading stories of Christians in peril seems too overwhelming to comprehend.
It makes me want to run and hide.
It makes me want to gather my family and friends and go live in a bunker until the danger has passed; and in many ways hiding is easy to do here in America. We have a religious freedom many in this world will never know. It allows us to bury our heads in the sand, and not even look at the danger Christians in other parts of the world are facing.
But when I look at the life of Jesus, I do not see someone who craved a safe and danger-free life. I see a Man with an all-out passion to love lost souls and bring them into right relationship with God, despite the persecution and judgment that He faced. Jesus gave His very life for that purpose. And He called His disciples to do what He modeled – fish for the lives of men and women that they would come to know God and be made right with Him-- even when it may not have been safe to do so.
In the face of the current, violent realities happening in our world, the prayer Pastor Marty encouraged us to pray on Sunday can feel daunting:
“Sovereign God, make me bold.”
Like the disciples and the people in the early church, Pastor Marty asked us to consider something more important than praying for our own safety.
Maybe we should pray differently. Instead of asking God to take our enemies away from us or hide us from danger, we should ask God to make us bold to proclaim His love and life in the face of opposition.
That can seem like a frightening prayer.
In the story Pastor Marty shared from Acts 4, there is something very important that we must not miss. After the disciples prayed for boldness, the Holy Spirit fell on them in a powerful way. They were empowered by the Spirit of God to go and fish for men, no matter what they would face.
That same Holy Spirit wants to fall on us, too. He wants to fill us with power and strength to trust God, to be bold in the face of fearful circumstances, and to proclaim His love and truth to a dying and broken world.
The key to boldness lies in receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. And all we have to do is ask Him to come, to fill us with His presence and to help us do what He’s called us to – become fishers of men. The Holy Spirit will enable us to do what we cannot do on our own.
This week, I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will fill each of us with boldness to share His love with others. Since He has called us to fish for men, He will help us to do it!
- Pastor Jen Lord