Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Praying for Colombia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 25 (Day 116)

"Charley, however, did not die when he was gunned down in Bogota, Colombia, but years ago when he died to self and committed his life to follow Christ." 
- Dr. Jerry Rankin, International Mission Board

I told you yesterday of the missionary killed in Colombia. The quote above was part of the comments made by his sending agency upon his death. Think about those words for a minute. Our death comes when we die to self and live for Christ. This is what Paul meant when he wrote: 

"I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life I live I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Paul's words to Corinth serve as a corrective against our tendency to think that dying to self and being crucified with Christ is a simple checkbox on a "list of things Christians should do": "I die daily..." (1 Corinthians 15:31)

Death to self isn't limited to missionaries. But one immeasurable benefit of moving intentionally in the direction of God's kingdom work - of seeing missionaries in action, of reading their newsletters and visiting missions websites, of praying for missionaries and supporting them financially and hosting them in our homes and churches, of all the things we do when God awakens missions vision in those of us who aren't called to directly "go" - one immeasurable benefit is that God brings across our path basic spiritual lessons that stand out dramatically against the backdrop of an environment that screams for a completely natural, understandable reaction. No one would have blamed Charley Hood for moving to a different community. He had a family - he had every reason to play it safe. Yet he chose "the road less traveled", the Calvary road of being crucified to his flesh. He died to self and lived to Christ.

I don't have to fear being gunned down when I go to the bank. I don't even really have to fear blatant persecution for my faith. At most, I might be seen as weird or a fanatic - and even then, I have a great church community and faith-filled friends who would come alongside and encourage me.

But I do have to die to self. I have to give up "my" goals and ambitions, "my" schedule, "my" preferences, "my" ways of doing things, "my" plans - for His. Every day, in my marriage and on my job and with my family and friends and even writing this blog, I have to choose the die to self and live for Him, by Him, in Him, through Him. And so do you.

As we pray today for Colombia, and move throughout the rest of this year in prayer for other corners of the world, let's always seek to learn the lessons God wants to teach us for today.

Please review pages 262-266, focusing on #6-10.

My prayer for today: Oh Lord, the missionaries in Colombia are special targets of the enemy. He has marked them out because they are part of pushing back the darkness and taking back his territory. Lord, we know they are safe in Your hands, that the worse-case scenario would have them resting safely in Your arms. Yet Father, we lift them up and ask You to give them life and protection for the sake of ministry. We pray that their ministry would not be hampered, that they would have open doors and boldness to walk through them. We pray for the patience, humility, and grace that is needed for unity, for the unity that is needed to get the task done. Lord, there are so many unreached peoples and indigenous groups; we pray for Your work among them. We pray for You to use every creative tool possible to get the Gospel throughout Colombia. Finish what you've started there. The darkness is not dark to You; night is as bright as day because YOU ARE LIGHT. Shine Your light in Colombia today. In Jesus' name, amen.

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