Tuesday Prayer for the Family of God

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Father to the fatherless and Creator of the family, we praise You for the ways You work. Because we are Your children and You love us, You discipline us when we err and welcome us back when we turn to You in repentance. You are astonishingly patient with us and so give us an example of how we ought to be with one another.

For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
John 13:15-17

Oh how we love You and the Word of Truth! Teach our mouths and hearts to rejoice in Your Truth daily and use it to change us for Your glory. Increase in us love for You, zeal for Your Kingdom, desire for Your Word, fervency in prayer, humility to accept responsibility for our sin, and willingness to repent and cooperate with You. You are the God who sanctifies us. Let us not be at war with Your Spirit or with each other but with the evil one alone.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Ephesians 6:12-13

Today we also pray for wayward children whether they are our peers and fellow children of God or our own physical or spiritual children and grandchildren. Our hearts long to see each of these walk in a right relationship to You. Lord, please, draw the prodigals among us back to You. Only You can pierce a stony heart; pierce theirs. Your Word is clear that none can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him. Draw them, Lord. We plead with You to add their names to the Lamb’s book of life even as we joyfully anticipate the celebration of their salvation.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
James 1:14-15

Please also change us. In times when we face temptation, remind us that You always provide a way out so we have no excuse to fall but for our own evil desires. Help us to hold ourselves and one another accountable as ambassadors for Your eternal Kingdom. When one among us does succumb to temptation, guide us in how to restore such a one lovingly but without minimizing the deplorable nature of sin.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Galatians 6:1

Knowing that we are so prone to pride, we ask for You to guide us in every circumstance and give us the correct measure of grace and truth. Teach us to genuinely forgive as we have been forgiven and to stand firm on the Gospel – even in places where it seems a bizarre contrast to our world. Remind us that we serve a Kingdom which is not of this world and give us the courage to stand. It is in the mighty name of Jesus and for His glory we pray, amen.

An Appeal to my Brethren of Any Color

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
(Mat 24:10-12)

I am a white woman.

There is nothing I can do about this. I was born this way.

My sisters are white women. They did not choose their skin color, either, but were also born this way. All three of us have some things in common: our skin is  of that pinkish-tan hue that for some reason is called “white” and our hair and eyes are brown. We can make alterations with dyes, contacts, and other superficial and temporary aesthetic changes, but we can never be anything but white women.

Besides our coloring, we three share other characteristics. We all made similar mistakes before we came to know Jesus as King and Lord of our lives. Despite our love for Him, we all are imperfect and still struggle with sin. We all make mistakes, we are all learning to humble our hearts and repent when we do, and we encourage each other to this end.

Additionally, we are all married to husbands we love and have children we adore. As it happens, our husbands are also human beings, are imperfect, make mistakes, and are striving to be Godly men who love and support their families.

But there is one difference that, to us, is insignificant but to this irrational and fear-driven society in which we live, often becomes inflated beyond aesthetics: one of our husbands is black.

And to be truly honest, I don’t care.Hands004

I enjoy my brothers-in-law equally. I love the
m both the same. At times, I am even irritated by them both the same, not because of their skin color, but because of our mutual sin natures. What I mean is that sometimes my irritation may be justified while at other times it is not because I, too, struggle with sin and pride and fail to be humble. To me, my brothers are no more or less different than my two sisters. We are all in this family together, and Lord willing, we will all be together from now and forever on into eternity.

Why am I telling you all this? Frankly, this is nothing short of an outright plea to all fellow members of the human race to stop thinking in skin colors and remember who the real enemy is.

The real enemy is not marked by something as arbitrary as the amount of melanin in a person’s skin. The real enemy is not a person at all; he is a liar and the father of lies, and he has come to kill, steal and destroy. And in fact, that is just what I see him doing when the racial pot is stirred.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
(1Pe 5:8)

Please, brothers and sisters of all colors, please remember this. In God’s house, there is not black and white but we are all one in Christ, part of His body and paid for by His blood. Please do not be distracted by our enemy’s attempts to divide us up into little knots made up of labels we have imposed upon ourselves. We are not merely black and white — we are Christ’s and it is for Him that we should stand together.

I am not saying racism does not exist. It does; I have seen it too often to ignore. What I am saying, however, is that we who are one in Christ ought not let ourselves be divvied up so easily into racial categories. Instead, I propose we keep our eyes on the proverbial ball and keep in mind who our enemy really is. I propose that we remember that behind each killing lies one common factor: sin. The skin color of the murderer or the murdered does not matter in the least. Murder is murder. Sin is sin. This has not changed and will never change.

We cannot generalize. We cannot class a people’s behavior by a merely cosmetic difference.  I have friends and loved ones of many colors. Because we who are in Christ are God’s children, I even have brothers and sisters of many colors.

Imagine, for a moment, a world in which people with blue eyes were considered to be sinister in intention simply because of the stark blueness of their eyes. Ridiculous, but no less ridiculous than being divided over skin color. Please see this.

Even if you read these words and you do not know my Lord (who, by the way, was also not a white man but a Jew), I urge you to consider Him. I implore you to get to know Him through the Bible and through honest and sincere prayer that seeks to find the truth in a world teeming with lies. I encourage you to put into practice His words; such actions as loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you, dying to yourself and living for Christ, obeying God no matter the personal cost. But even if you will not listen to God, at least listen to one of His servants and my brother in Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr.:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. . .

. . . I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I implore you all –brothers, sisters, or non-relatives; black, white, brown, or whatever you may be: Do not judge anyone by the color of their skin nor by their nationality  but solely by the content of their character.

In my youth, I was once protected from a white rapist by a black man who frequently acted as a sort of big brother to me.  Indeed, this man of different skin saved my skin more than once from white guys with unsavory motives. Their skin color did not matter, but their character did. Back then, I did not understand who my enemy was, but I knew enough to realize that it wasn’t a person with a differently colored epidermis.

Today, I enjoy sitting at the table of brotherhood with fellow humans who happen to have a variety of colors of skin, eyes, and hair; who are of different heights and weights; who have different backgrounds and different family upbringings; even who attend different denominations. We do not all always agree,  but we can still love each other. We can still find what we share in Christ, and that is His undeserved forgiveness and love.

I am begging you no matter what your skin color, if you are in Christ, remember that we are one body in Him and individually members of one another. Let’s rally around the cross, not divide up over incidents sparked by sin and lawlessness. Let’s not even look too hard upon the sins of others but remember to feel shock and grief over our own sins most of all.

Most of all, let’s remember who the enemy is and resolve to stand firm against his schemes together. Your brothers with various flesh tones are not your enemy. Our enemy is the prince of this world, the one called Accuser. Do not listen to his accusations against our brethren.

Now more than ever the world needs to see Christians coming together in Christ regardless of external differences. Now more than ever, the world needs to see the love and forgiveness of God acted out and spoken out in the real, day-to-day lives of His children. Now more than ever, the world needs to see us humbly addressing our own sin with repentance instead of angrily addressing the sins of others and assigning blame. Now more than ever, the world needs to see that God is real by genuine acts of love and forgiveness, of unity in Christ and in His purpose, and by the ways God’s children refuse to be distracted from the real struggle.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
(Eph 6:11-13, NASB)

Remember, brothers and sisters, remember who the enemy is. Don’t let your love grow cold. Stand together. Resist evil. Rejoice together; grieve together. Share each others’ burdens. And always, always remember that we are to forgive as we have been forgiven and love one another.

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 

(1Jn 4:17-21)