July 9, 2020
One night recently, right before heading for bed, I made the mistake of reading some articles detailing how our social order is descending into chaos. Not so long after falling asleep, I woke up with tinnitus screaming in my ear and dark thoughts swirling in my head. I put up with it for awhile, thinking it would go away, but soon realized I was responsible for taking these thoughts captive to Christ.
I got up, went to the kitchen and began praising God, singing I Speak Jesus (Here be Lions) and a chorus…
“For You are my true home
Your presence where I’m found
Your bosom where I lay my head
And in Your peace, I rest.”
Suddenly the tinnitus disappeared, and the dark thoughts were replaced by overflowing thankfulness for being alive now in these times and having something significant to do. Wow – our God is always greater than!
“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength…’” (Isa 30:15). Isaiah was addressing the Israelites who were facing war with Assyria. We often quote this verse without the last phrase – “But you were unwilling…”. Instead of seeking help from the Lord, Israel looked to Egypt. God called them rebellious lying children unwilling to hear His instruction (vv 9-11). Yet, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him” (v 18). Wow – our God is always greater than!
I’m guessing my experience of victory over dark, hopeless thoughts was not just for my benefit. If you or someone you know is getting discouraged by current events, know that God has an answer: we’ll be saved when we return to Him and rest in Him; He’ll strengthen us when we wait quietly, trusting in Him. We can actively wait by taking every thought captive to Christ, seeking His thoughts instead of attending to our own or the thoughts our enemy would like us to embrace. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Ja 4:7).
You don’t have to do this alone. The God of endurance and encouragement is with you (Ro 15:5-6). And we have each other. The New Testament is full of references to encouraging one another (e.g. Ac 20:2, Ro 1:11-12, Eph 6:22, Col 4:8). More than ever before, it’s easy to gather virtually in groups of 2 or 3. In fact, every such gathering to worship Him, listen to Him and express His thoughts aloud in prayer and proclamation is an ekklesia (translated “church” in Mt 16:18, see GHPL July 1).
It is NOT insignificant to meet in small groups. The Kingdom of God is supposed to start small, like a mustard seed or a bit of leaven, and its growth is imperceptible – until (Mt 13:31-33)! To groups of 2 or 3, Jesus has promised, “There am I among [you]” (Mt 18:19-20). Futhermore, He has given us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. What we loose or bind on earth is loosed or bound in heaven (Mt 16:19, 18:18).
How does this apply to ministry in the fields of Islam? Success in Islam is based on serving God correctly, not on resting in God. It’s deceptively easy for workers among Muslims to unknowingly submit to the Islamic doctrine of trusting in one’s own power rather than resting and trusting in Jesus. Islam feeds human nature. When we follow Jesus, we must kill our “flesh”, be born again and think and act as He does about everything in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must be transformed by renewing our minds (Ro 12:2) and operate in the opposite spirit to Islam.
Let’s pray that …
- ekklesiae will multiply across the nation
- believers will encourage one another to return, rest and trust in the Lord
- we will wait on Him in worship and prayer, acting only under His direction
- He will raise an army of intercessors and ministers that Islam cannot deceive, divide, divert or destroy
- Muslims will leave their unprofitable labor in Islam and enter His rest, trusting in the blood of Jesus.