October 29, 2020
I often go for a walk Wednesday mornings to worship and pray in the Spirit while listening to God for a topic for the GHPL. Stepping outdoors today, I was hyper-aware that the world is in a dark place. Anxiety has ramped up over preliminary evidence that COVID immunity is short-lived. Canadians are soaking in some of the disruption Americans are experiencing over their presidential election; many are listening to conspiracy theories, both plausible and wacky. Meanwhile, Turkey and France are standing off against one another because of events most North Americans might not have even noticed because of our fascination with our closest neighbors to the south.
On October 16, a Chechen Muslim teenager beheaded a French middle school history teacher who displayed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Muhammad in a lesson on free speech. The murder was preceded by a social media campaign to stir up the spirit of offense. It was followed by outrage in France at yet another attack on their beloved value of free expression and by outrage in the Muslim world – fueled to a large extent by Turkish President Erdogan – at President Macron’s strong rebuke of Islamic terrorism and his actions to close specific mosques, silence radical imams and deport known Islamists from France. (France and Turkey were already threatening each other over competing interests in the Mediterranean.)
The effect of multitudes of angry pronouncements and word curses is to create a spiritual “swirl” that robs people of peace and clarity of thought and replaces them with confusion and anxiety. We are all impacted by this development in the spiritual atmosphere, Muslims and MBBs who are young in the Lord even more so.
This awareness was the context of my thoughts during my walk when the Lord “spoke” to me – not in words but in impressions and by reminding me of a worship song I’ve mentioned before in the GHPL. I Speak Jesus (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9n0xFzz1ak) is about speaking aloud the name (i.e. the nature, power and life) of Jesus into every situation. I began praying for two Muslim friends and realized I needed to speak Jesus’ name aloud over them – and did so. Within minutes, I got a text from one of them containing evidence that God had touched her. And I knew what I was to write about.
When I got home, I resumed my daily Bible reading at Isaiah 8 and read the following, spoken to the people of Judah but applying also to us (vs 11-14): “This is what the Lord says to me with His strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: ‘Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread. He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah He will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem He will be a trap and a snare.’” Let’s listen up and make Him our holy place so that we don’t stumble and fall!
This passage is followed by Isaiah 9 announcing both a birth and a coronation: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned….For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders” (vv 2, 6). Let’s reveal to others by our personal peace that Jesus is Prince of Peace!
2020 is the worst of times AND the best. Now we implement what we’ve been practicing in easier times. God has been preparing us for this by teaching us to…
- study and know the scriptures,
- make Jesus Lord AND King over our lives,
- listen to and obey the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and
- speak life over each situation where death is at work.
Let’s lay down the standard of the world and bear His standard as we pray for and reach out to our families and neighbors – including Muslim neighbors. Let’s bring light and life by speaking Jesus into our world!