Monthly Archives: January 2015
Almighty God, we come before You as we wrestle with our feelings about the release of the latest video from ISIS. Our faith says that no one regardless of their sin is without the hope of salvation. Even the vilest offender can be forgiven. Lord, forgive us if we are having trouble accepting that truth. In our humanity we would want for these cowards who were hoods of black, who keep their identity secret lest they be discovered, meted out a torturous death far worse than they mete out to innocent people.
Help us to remember that all that is dark and depraved in this world would want us to have vengeance burn within us, a seething anger that keeps growing, raging like the poisonous cancer that it is. Send a message to all the members of ISIS, to all terrorists who play on our fears, who are murderers of the innocents, that they will face a living hell in this life and in the next. There will be no place they can hide that they will not be found. You will fall into the hands of a God of wrath unless you turn from your wicked ways.
Lord, there will be many who will use these latest acts of barbarism and cruelty so awful we have to turn our eyes away because it sickens us inside, to say that a loving God would not allow people to suffer. The faction of the God is dead movement will use this horrifying act so despicable it leaves us speechless, to say that the only power on this earth is that which lies within us. Help us to remember that we are all given the free will to make the choices we do. We are all given the free will to hurt others in thought, word and deed. We are all given the free will to say things that are hurtful and cruel. We are all given the choice to choose the path that leads to Heaven or the one that leads to Hell.
In our postmodernist society many hate hearing about Hell. Yet, if we fail to mention it we are not using the whole counsel of Scripture. Yes, there is a God of love but there is also a God of justice, who is trying to shout out so loud to us, as He called to my heart out of my Sunday rest to give you a message not to be consumed by hate. This is where the terrorists want you. Put the members of ISIS into God’s hands, who will guide the soldiers as they seek them out. Let us instead pray for our soldiers as they with courage and an unswerving commitment go after the members of ISIS.
Lord, this prayer asking that You protect us from hate festering like the parasite of love that it is, seems so little for me to offer. Perhaps, it will reach a soldier needing to hear that we have the greatest respect and honour for your courage under fire not just from bullets and bombs, but moreover an inner bravery that is an inspiration to all of us. In these horrible and horrifying days your resolve not to allow your hearts to be hardened by hate will be tested. In those trying times remember your family, friends and those you know who are praying for your protection and that you would come home safely into their arms.
Put the members of ISIS into the hands of an angry God. He will deliver a punishment deserving of their crimes. Be assured He will give them no peace or rest. Consider that in every breath they breathe while awake and sleeping is filled with its own consuming terror. They are already in jail, a prison that offers no escape.They can hide in the most obscure place. They can evade capture for months, perhaps even years, but know this. There is no place we can hide that God does not know where we are. God sees all. God knows all. He knows our strengths. He knows our weaknesses. He knows what we think before we speak. Be assured that He also knows all the members of ISIS. He wants all who speak the language of intolerance, injustice and inequality to be made ineffective, so that their children will have time to see that love is more powerful than hate. Love will win out over hate as long as we keep close to God’s heart loving others as He has called us to..
Father, I put all the soldiers and politicians in this war on terrorism into Your hands. Guide them. Watch over them and their families. Guide the leaders of world governments and the United Nations as they make decisions in the daily battle they are fighting against terrorism.
Loving and merciful heavenly Father, be with us as we live each day for You. Let us not be consumed by the corrosive power of hate of friend or foe. In our thoughts, words and actions help us to be people filled with love. Love has already won the victory over evil on the cruel cross at Calvary. Thank you for being willing to give the precious life of Your one and only Son that none of us would be condemned to live in hate. The darkness cannot win against such tremendous love flowing from Your heart to ours. In Your Son’s supreme act of love dying for the darkness in us let us all remember how much we are loved, valued and accepted.
Is God calling You to serve as a servant of His love? Do you feel your heart beating faster as He speaks to your heart about where He wants you to go, what He wants you to do? Have you been fighting the Lord’s call upon your life? Surrender to His will. Let peace and an abounding joy flood your soul knowing you are obeying God’s will to serve as you wage your own war on terrorism as messengers of our Father’s love for all.
Is there someone you have not forgiven? Forgive. Do not allow the venomous cancer of hate to strangle your love as I did in not making the journey forgiving my schizophrenic father for over 40 years for abusing my mother, two sisters, brother and me emotionally and physically, for telling me I am lazy, stupid, weak and will always be a failure. Hate will kill you inside, gnaw away at you, have you seek to justify why you have a right not to forgive.
At age 11 I made a vow that I would find a way to murder my father. I thank You that You did not allow me the opportunity to kill my father. I would lay awake at night thinking of how I would get my father so furious at me he would try to attack me. I would plunge a knife into his chest giving it a quick upper thrust and twisting it inside him like I had seen in a movie on T.V.
Father, You answer the prayer at age 5 I make under the willow tree by our home as I feel Your comforting love cascade over me. Your cool and refreshing breeze caresses my wounded spirit. I hear a voice call to my heart that I will be rescued from my daily torture. Six years later You create the opportunity for my escape along with my mother and brother. My two sisters are already married, living away from the perpetual hell we are in. I thank You that love won and hate lost. I renounce the promise I make that I will devise a plan to murder my father and make it look like self defense.
In the final hours of my father’s life You call me to hold his hand and pray for him. He fights for each breath. His legs shake. He goes into a fetal position to ease his terror of impending death from pneumonia. You feel every one of his tears. You speak to my heart to pray for him and sing sweet songs to him about a God who loves him and is taking him home soon to Heaven where he does not have schizophrenia, where there is no more pain, no more sorrow, where joy is his forever song of praise.
You speak to my wounded heart to remember that time when my father carries me piggy back on his shoulders with ice-cream from my ice-cream cone dripping on to his shirt. He tells everyone he meets how much he loves me.
I remember the time my father shows everyone he possibly can the article Searching for God in a Megabyte, which was published in The War Cry, a magazine of The Salvation Army. He writes to me saying how proud he is of me. He gets the article published in the Canadian Mental Health Association magazine. Father, thank you for these healing memories I have of my father.
You may be saying, “I have a right to hate because the harm done to me is so great it cannot be forgiven.” I hear you. I really do. But I ask you this. Where has your hate got you? Tell me one positive thing it has done for you. Terrorists are filled with hate. Where has it got them? They live looking behind them for that soldier who is out to capture them. Hate is eating away at their souls and hardening their hearts. It will only lead to their destruction and an eternity in a fiery hell here and after they die condemned to eternity in Hell.
I urge you to let go of any hate that is in you. It is an anchor that you must cast off to be released from your inner torment. Don’t carry this weight any longer. Let healing tears come as you give all your anger over to God. Give yourself permission to have a life filled with peace, love and joy as you let love in and let all hate in you go.
Remember that most of us are not called to preach to millions or be missionaries overseas. What we are all called to do is be faithful to God’s call whatever it is. We are all in this fight for a world where there is more love than hate.We defeat terror by loving the weak and the strong, rich and the poor, addict and abused, prostitute and the homeless person, disabled and able-bodied, friends, family, colleagues, ministers and members of our church. The Lord calls us to also love the outsider He brings into our life to be welcomed into our community and church.
Let us all choose the path of love so hate would forever lose.
Kevin Osborne, B.Th. with honours, D.D., D. Sc., Diplomate in Creative Ministry, is training to be a Christian psychotherapist through St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. He will be a Master of Divinity student at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. He will soon be opening a Christian counselling practice called You Can Hope Again with his wife, Karen, who is an M. Div. student at Trinity College. He is a member of The Word Guild, a Christian writer’s group in Canada. We are available to go where God sends us to do His will preaching, teaching, singing, giving marriage enrichment seminars or however needed. You can reach me at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org
May the Lord pour His richest blessings into every area of your life!