In Wrath, Remember, Mercy Triumphs…

Should we boycott products made in China because of severely persecuted Christians?

Cindy Riker wrote this article is a preview for our new issue of ConneXions Magazine, August 2015, coming out next week. Click here for free copies, or subscribe in bar at right.

worshipping GodRandy Alcorn’s book, Safely Home, opened my eyes several years ago. My heart broke for the deplorable conditions of persecuted Christians in China who are imprisoned for their faith, where they live—and die. Even in their deaths, when the persecutors no longer consider their time and sweat profitable, they harvest and sell their body parts.

I know it’s not restricted to only China, but we buy many products manufactured in facilities where these prisoners suffer. Reading this awakened my sense of appalled anger at this gruesome inhumanity. I wanted to boycott every product from China, but found limited selection of other products available. And would my boycott even help? It potentially could cause even more difficulty for the Christians.

Randy Alcorn Safely HomeCindy, in wrath remember mercy…

My sense of justice arose. How can we allow this? Surely we need to do something, to speak out to those who have authority to change things. But the giant of industry and profit limits their influence.

And so I look to God for His answers. After all, my sense of justice and compassion reflect Christ’s character. He has the perfect blending of love and mercy, wisdom and justice.

How does God stand to see the evil in the hearts that He created? As Jesus looked into the crowds, He knew what was in their hearts. He didn’t miss the confusion, hatred, jealousy, lust, murder and deceit. Jesus saw their hearts then and sees their hearts now—and my heart. Yet along with the sinfulness, God also sees our need—lost sheep needing the care of the Shepherd. But they don’t know it. Christ made the world, was in the world, yet they didn’t recognize Him.

The day of the rod of justice will come, when all wrongs will be accounted for. It’s a promise; it’s a warning. Christ is the rightful judge of the world, not me. He has the blending of grace and truth in fullest measure—and calls me to the same.

Now, when I’m aware of a product “made in China” (or any place of persecution), it provides me with an opportunity to join Christ in compassion and intercession. I pray for those persecuted, not only for relief, but for boldness and comfort, for their words and lives to leave a legacy of love and truth. I pray for the persecutors who “know not what they do,” who don’t know what judgment is coming. I pray for Saul-turned-Paul life changes, for God to open the eyes of their hearts and give them opportunities to know the Lord of compassion. I pray for their own sakes, but also so the blood of the martyrs will not be spilled in vain. And that the precious blood of the Good Shepherd will not be in vain.

        I pray for mercy to triumph. For them. For me. For all……

 Scripture References:

Psalm 72:4; Habakkuk 3:2; John 1:10-18; 5:30; Luke 23:34

 

Cindy RikerCindy Riker is a caregiver for senior
Giving Spiraladults and serves TTWM as an author,
intercessor and support in a variety of ways.
Visit her blog: http://www.cindyriker.com

Get your copy of Cindy Riker’s new book: Giving to Worship

What does it mean that “God still speaks above the mercy seat”?

Moments with the Father

Father's HandKeith Yoder writes Moments with the Father as a monthly column in ConneXions Magazine. This article is a preview of the August 2015 issue that will come out next week…

~Impressions received while listening to the Father in prayer~

I Am Alpha and Omega, and from beginning to end, My character and nature do not change. Just as I spoke to Moses from above the mercy seat, so I speak today. Even as the tabernacle with its mercy seat was a copy of the throne room of heaven, so today I govern in your hearts and speak from above this seat.

Come into My gates with thanksgiving and into My courts with praise. The Cherubim that surround the mercy seat are in the forefront of praise, continually honoring what is true and what is redemptive. All that is said from My throne of mercy is praiseworthy.

Mercy-prayerSeek for the oneness of truth and mercy as you come to Me. My throne of mercy is always in complete agreement with truth, with covenant loyalty, prophetic certainty. Mercy and truth are intimately one. In that oneness is justice, peace, and freedom.

In the midst of praise, all that I say is true, just, and compassionate. I invite you to draw near and be transformed by My voice in My presence. As you read My Word, receive it as praiseworthy, true, and compassionate. As you hear Me speak in your heart, it is the same. As you hear Me speak through others, test it to be the same.

As you speak on My behalf, submit to My Spirit for your voice to be the same.

Exodus 25:10-22; Deuteronomy 7:89; Psalm 80:1; 99:1; 100:4; Lamentations 3:22; Philippians 4:8; Hebrews 4:16; 8:1-5; Revelation 22:13

Click here to download your free copies of ConneXions Magazine!

Giving Spiral– Keith Yoder, Ed.D.
Founder of Teaching the Word Ministries

Get your copy of Keith’s new book: Giving to Worship

The Secret Heart of Healthy Leaders…

When the sun shines, it can harden clay, or soften butter.
In the same way, when God’s love and truth shine,
we can choose what kind of heart to have–
a heart of clay that hardens at God’s call,
or a heart of butter that melts at His loving word.

.
Your Word have I Hidden in My Heart

ScripPic Copyright Tammy Teague, 2013. You have permission to copy for your personal, non-commercial use.

We have everything we need for effective leadership–or do we?

Business electronicsAt the touch of a button we access whatever leadership advice we want–tips and techniques, systems, methods, seminars, consultants, on-line, off-line, virtual, real and everything in between–beneficial if applied by the right people in the right situations with the right timing and strategy.

But something is missing.

In our younger leadership years, we have goals. We have plans and dreams. We help the team maintain fresh momentum toward growth.

When we get older, though, many of us have already met our goals, enacted our plans, for better or worse–

–or we regret that we haven’t realized our dreams,

–or that we’ve botched our dreams,

–or have a different vision,

–or see all the pitfalls to our goals

–or realize our dreams weren’t what we really wanted after all–didn’t quite satisfy the longing for solid significance and security

–or lost the energy to keep pursuing what we’re not sure will work in the first place…

And we wonder, after everything is said and done, what did it profit, anyway?

I personally wouldn’t go so far as saying that all is “vanity and grasping for the wind,” as The Preacher did. But then again, I haven’t lived as long as The Preacher had when he wrote it. Maybe he learned something I haven’t yet.

What’s missing?

worship mercy seatThe real question: Do we embrace temporal things? Or the Eternal One?

Keep in mind that temporal things come from the Eternal One, and aren’t bad in themselves.

But where does effective, satisfying leadership come from?

Not from temporal things.

Do we strive to build our station or reputation… both of which will pass away?

Or do we seek to build our spirits, the spirits of others, our relationships with God and others–

–immortal realities that will last forever, one way or the other.

Christ builds eternal things in us through the process of dealing with temporal things.

But building on temporal desires is not investing in the eternal,

–and will eventually fall flat.

The only way to find worthwhile significance is to embrace the One who inhabits eternity–

–and who embedded eternity in our hearts.

“A branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine,” says the Eternal One, “and neither can you, unless you abide in me.”

The Everlasting Father goes on to say, “Ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

But there’s a condition. You get what you ask “if you abide in Me, and my words abide in you.”

As we abide in Christ–prioritize our time with Him, pour out our hearts to Him, drink His word, wait on Him, listen to His voice, His direction–we hear the beat of His heart. We ask, not our own will, but God’s will, wisdom and love. We ask as partners with Jesus in building His everlasting government.

We find satisfaction because in Him our fruit lasts forever.

The more we learn to abide in Christ, the less we crave what’s temporal, worthless, regretful, or fruitless; and the more we grow in spirit, truth, and life-giving relationships.

Effective, satisfying leadership exists in the presence of Christ.

For deeper insight into abiding in Christ, see Keith Yoder’s audio: Prayer: Rest and Request.

Ecclesiastics 3:11; 4:16; 6:9, Isaiah 9:6; 57:15; Matthew 16:26; 18:19-20; John 15:1-17

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God…
– Micah 6:8, NKJV
– Patricia Tillman

*All scripture quotations taken from NKJV.

Switching Bibles– It’s a real grieving process!

New BibleIt’s hard to give away any book that’s had an impact in my life. So when my current Bible grew tattered, and I glued the cover on one more time, I needed to switch, but I admit I grieved.

For a few years I went digital. I’ll still use my electronic Bibles for the convenience of research, but electronic isn’t the same.

Everyone has their own Bible preferences. Iv’e found I need the ability to flip through the pages to find that verse I underlined in red a decade ago on the top left corner somewhere in the Gospels. My brain’s not geared to remember specific references, but I can picture a verse that I’ve marked. Yes, we can mark electronic Bibles electronically, but we can’t flip them open to “that page.”

And so, for the second time in my life, I bought a new Bible.

My first was KJV, a gift from my parents on my twelfth birthday. I still glance through it sometimes, noting the notes I made in the margins–some principles now a part of my worldview, but delightfully new at the time.

My second was NIV, a large-print I bought sometime in my thirties. Sad to leave my KJV, but people don’t relate to old-school anymore. To ease the grief I took a few months to go through every page and transfer my notes into my NIV.

God surprised me in this simple exercise. Pacing through the entire Bible in a short period of time, I relived not only God’s purposes from creation to eternity, but the process of my spiritual growth as the Lord drew me closer to Himself.

I do find joy in studying small portions of scripture–examining the individual trees–intricacies of God’s character and ways. But this experience taught me to also enjoy the majesty of the entire forest, the whole nature of God, all parts working as one.

So last week I bought a large print NKJV, no bells or whistles, but I like that they capitalize the pronouns of God. I’m again processing through every page and transferring notes. Father God, once again, surprises me with insight, clarifying some murky places, deepening my trust in His faithfulness, persistence, unchangeableness, omniscience, wholeness…

The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever (Ps 119:160).

– Psalm 119

– Patricia Tillman