As we journey through this Lenten season (for a unique perspective on Lent check out this video), please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being beaten, imprisoned, and martyred for their faith. The following map provides you with the top 50 nations where persecution is taking place. You can go to the GAFCON website here, which features a daily devotional to help you know how to pray for persecuted Christians.
Thankfully, American Christians have experienced little persecution compared to believers in other parts of the world. Yet, many throughout our nation take God's blessings for granted and openly mock the teachings of God's Word by practicing sin, which will reap destruction in their lives. There is a great need in this hour for the Church to teach and preach about the fear of the Lord; that "God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life" (Galatians 6:7-8).
Martin Luther taught about two kinds of fear. The first is Servile fear, which refers to the dreadful anxiety that a prisoner feels when a Magistrate is duty-bound to carry out his sentence. Here there can be no expectation of mercy, no hope of pardon. The second is Filial fear, which refers to the respectful fear a child has for a parent. Though a child may be anxious about discipline from a parent, he or she can know that the training will end and that love still remains. It's a holy fear driven by a deep respect and love.
This Sunday, we will explore how the fear of the Lord (not to mention the sovereignty of God) gives us peace amid falling stock markets, new strains of viruses that threaten our health, and other life challenges. We'll also consider how the fear of the Lord can help our family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers face the future. Finally, we'll look at how our ministry here in NOVA can impact those nations where our brothers and sisters in Christ are being persecuted.
Come ready to worship and be equipped for the work of the ministry!
Your servant in Christ, The Rev. Dean F. Schultz - Christ the Redeemer Church in Springfield, VA