Church, It’s Time to Intercede (Part 1): When Hope Meets Compassion

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“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” –Paul, 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Today, the Lord really put it on my heart that, more than ever, people of Christ, now is a time to intercede.

In light of recent decrees and happenings in the States, we really need to cry out to God, the Righteous Judge, for His mercy, asking Him to forgive us of our sin and heal our land. Indeed, our generation bears witness along with those who have gone before that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s ways and glory (Romans 3:21-26; 1 John 1:5-2:6).

And yet, Church, let us not forget: Jesus Christ is still the Hope and Savior of the world.

OUR HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in the hope of the glory of God.” –Paul, Romans 5:1-2 (emphasis mine)

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Paul, Romans 15:13 (emphasis mine)

God is still the same, faithful God Who wishes that no one should perish but that ALL should come to repentance (John 3:16-21), precisely the reason the Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus, to save all humankind from our sins (1 John 4:9-14; Romans 8:1-8). While the opportunity remains, let us open our eyes and perceive, hear the “alarm” sounding around us, stop, fall on our faces before our most Holy God, and repent of our hardened, faithless hearts (Zephaniah 2:2-3)! Let us take up our role as members of the Body of Christ and obey Him, pursuing intimacy with Jesus, walking by His Holy Spirit, and declaring His goodness and mighty works!

And may we not hesitate to throw ourselves on the mercy of the highest court, the Lord’s Divine Court, on behalf of our nation and pray that He changes us so we’ll abandon our ways for His own!

Just like Moses cried out on behalf of wayward Israel, we too must assume our posts. This is not a time to rejoice in the “pending destruction” of the wicked, but like the prophets of ancient Israel’s day, now is the time to mourn and show God’s true love by speaking out so that the lost come home to the Father (Proverbs 24:17-18; James 4:6-10; 2 Chronicles 7:12-16). This is not the time to abdicate our role as the Church by failing to engage reality or by throwing in the proverbial towel; now’s the time to declare Jesus and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, empowered by the Spirit in the holy love, wisdom, and the unfailing Truth of the Father.

And this is certainly not a time to make prideful comparisons and think, “Thank God I wouldn’t do that, so I won’t be receiving His wrath” (Um, is there ever a time for that? =| ). Instead, Bride of Christ, let us monitor what is bubbling up in our hearts in response to the events and circumstances of our day, laying aside every weight and sin that so easily entangles us too (Hebrews 12:1-3). Let us take care to first deal with the beam in our eye, while not neglecting the Spirit-directed work that follows of extracting the speck from our friend’s eye (Matthew 7:1-5). And let us remain humble before our righteous King, remembering that we will all give an account of ourselves before God, the One Who alone is Judge (Romans 14:10-12).

A COMPASSION THAT REMEMBERS

“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”Isaiah 53:6

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world…among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God…” –Paul, Ephesians 2:1-4 (emphasis mine)

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently…” –Paul, Titus 3:5

Seeing the people, He [Jesus] felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”Matthew 9:36 (emphasis mine)

Church, take care to remember who we once were without Christ.

Not very long ago, we too were trapped in the power of sin, pursuing our own way instead of God’s. Were it not for what Christ has done in drawing us, wooing us to Himself, bestowing His precious grace… Were it not for the blood of His cross and resurrection by the Holy Spirit…. Were it not for His accomplishing what we could never do as we were dead in our sins without a clue that we even needed Him…. Oh we too would still be ensnared, blinded, deceived, and lost in sin instead of redeemed by Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:11; Romans 5:6-11).

As the treasured hymn by Robert Robinson declares, “Oh to grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be”! May we remain ever aware and ever vigilant of our own human tendency to go our own way, get caught in the mire of deception, and do what is right in our own eyes without any reference to the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-8; Romans 7:18-8:4).

And as those rescued by Christ, God desires that our hearts well up with the compassion of Jesus as we see the many who have also been so ensnared, so blinded, so deceived by the wicked one. Let’s remember that our wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of wickedness (Ephesians 6:10-12)! Oh God— Please open our eyes and break our hearts for those who are perishing without You!

May God speak to our hearts even now.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series.

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