This is the time of the year when many Christian leaders make statements about what God is going to do in the next 12 months. I too have a declaration. Yesterday I went for a brief walk in the Perth CBD to seek the mind of the Lord before attending a regular prayer meeting. What I then heard reminded me once again of some core truths which must be on God’s heart for 2012.
A brother from Egypt was sharing about the current situation there since the Arab Spring. In the midst of speaking about large numbers of Muslims coming to Christ, he spoke freely about the threats and bombing incidents to which the Church in the Middle East is regularly exposed. He and another Coptic brother earnestly appealed for all our prayers for the persecuted Church across the world (involving approximately 600 million believers).
A spirit of soberness immediately came upon the assembled congregation, and the prayers that flowed in the small groups definitely manifested characteristics which are indispensable for a mature Body. Foremost among these was a desire that God sovereignly protect his people, that the Lord be glorified, and that the kingdom of God come with power. As we prayed I sensed something from the Spirit.
The Hidden Kingdom
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and hid in twenty litres of flour, until it worked all through the dough.” (Matt 13:33). Like yeast penetrating a large volume of flour, the kingdom of God invades this world in a secret way. This has a precise contemporary application.
God has brought to Australia believers from many lands who know the trials and glories of suffering for Jesus. They are small in number, but are hidden amongst us by the Lord for the a great divine purpose. We need to turn away from our secular and religious entertainments and listen carefully to the testimonies of these scarred men and women. Their witness can arouse the larger body of Christ to the real clash of kingdoms that is happening across our world. They bring with them many gifts, not the least an authentic sense that Jesus is coming back soon. I believe they are a strategic key to the revival and transformation of Australia.
Sensing the Suffering of Jesus
As Saul was on the road to Damascus to slaughter believers he heard the voice of Jesus, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) When Christians suffer through persecution Jesus himself cries out in pain! If we love Jesus we cannot remain in our state of spiritual slumber (Eph 5:14), but must ask the Lord of the harvest to sovereignly release his kingdom strategy in our midst through and to those who suffer for his kingdom. I am sure that in the mind of Christ 2012 is “The year of the Persecuted Church”. If we share Jesus’ mind we can receive this year a healthy spiritual shaking that will not disappoint us.
For those who desire to receive regular info about the needs of the persecuted Church I recommend subscribing to www.worldevangelicalalliance.com/commissions/rlc .