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Christian Genocide in Iraq

200,000 Assyrians Have Fled the Nineveh Plain in the Last 24 Hours - Assyrian International News Agency

Isis persecution of Iraqi Christians has become genocide, says religious leaders – The Guardian

ISIS overtakes Iraq’s largest Christian city – CNN

Pray

For the persecuted

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4: 8-11

And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. Acts 4:29-30

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2

 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

For ISIS

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:14

But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. Luke 23:34

Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:60

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, … Ephesians 1:18

Donate

Iraqi Christian Relief Council

Voice of the Martyrs Action Pack
Voice of the Martyrs distributes “Action Packs” when the Church faces a humanitarian crisis. They’re large plastic bags filled with basic necessities – clothes, blankets, soap, etc. – and a gospel storybook. You can request an empty one to pack yourself, but given the rapid displacement, we can probably forgo the warm fuzzy feeling of doing it ourselves to send an already-assembled pack as quickly as possible.

International Rescue Committee
A secular organization aiding refugees, that already works in Iraq. If you’re a disciple, I obviously recommend giving to an organization like Voice of the Martyrs that is going to help people practically and spread the gospel. But if you’re not a Christian, and you aren’t comfortable giving money to a Christian organization, give to the IRC.

How to fulfill the law of Christ

Every Church conference for a year should be on these two verses:

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (6:2-3)

It’s interesting that at the close of a letter that has been all about the Law vs. the grace of gospel of Christ, Paul would give instruction using the phase, “the law of Christ.” In contrasting the two, he almost seems to say, “You want a law to follow? Follow the law of Christ.”

Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was to love God completely, and love others like we love ourselves. Our society thinks of “love” as a warm, fuzzy feeling, but love is a choice and love is an action. Here, Paul puts action to “love.”

Love is coming alongside a fellow Christian and helping him/her – even or especially when he messes up. It should be the unique mark of the Christian community that we go low, in gentleness, to lift each other up when we fall – not distance ourselves to save face.

And even as Paul gives this instruction, he knows it’s going to rub an awkward place. Because we like the big picture idea, but when it comes close to home – when someone really messes up and we really are embarrassed and the world starts to point and laugh – it’s hard to ignore the ridicule and bend down to help that person up. As soon as you do, the rocks start to hit you too. You’re an “enabler.” You’re “condoning sin.” Christians are all the same. They don’t practice what they preach.

Paul speaks to that awkward place.

if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

If we’re not willing to bear each other’s burdens, we’re just lying to ourselves about how good we are. I am never too “good” to get into the muck and mire of a brother’s trespass, to help him back on his feet. I am never too holy, my theology is never so good, my congregation is never that big …

Can you image? The world would continue to mock our fallen, but they wouldn’t be able to ignore our restoration and love. And people want that kind of love.

Lust: You’re doing it wrong

Here’s a quick bite.

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (5:17)

Who ever lusts against something? You don’t hear anyone use the word like that. We lust for things, but who ever talks about lusting against something.

Webster defines lust as:

  • a strong feeling of sexual desire
  • a strong desire for something

(Emphasis not mine)

Even Strong’s concordance defines the Greek word here (epithumeó) as:

  • I long for
  • covet
  • lust after
  • set the heart upon

To lust against something is an odd use of the term.

Paul goes on to outline specific “lusts of the flesh,” and they’re things we lust for. But at the beginning of this part of the conversation he’s speaking in broad terms about the Spirit vs. the flesh, and it’s interesting the way he phrases this.

It would seem to say that in individual temptation and sin we lust for things, of course, but in general, the flesh simply lusts against the Spirit. Period. It is always opposed, always contrary. The desire and passion isn’t for one thing in particular, which is probably why sin and compromise are never as fulfilling as they promise to be. Do it once, and we want more; buy one, and we need something else; etc.

The flesh passionately desires to be against the Spirit, to rebel. It’s not about specific temptations that each of us battles, as though if those things weren’t there – or if we could just master obedience in this one area – we wouldn’t be tempted, the lust would go away. Not so. With the same passion that we yearn for momentary pleasures, our flesh constantly yearns to push against the Spirit of God within us.

It’s not the lusting for anything that’s at the heart of our trials and temptations, but the general lusting against the Spirit of God that is the root of our daily battle.

But before that becomes an overwhelming discouragement, read on: The Spirit lusts against the flesh. And God is stronger. Our hope is always and forever in Him and His strength.

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