Prayer Targets: Sproul; Little Sisters, Roe; Life Sunday; March; ProLifeCon; Israel, Class War; Ducks
January 08, 2014
What I tell you in the darkness, that speak ye in light... fear not them which kill the body... Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny... Matthew 10:27-33
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. R.C. Sproul, Presbyterian pastor, teacher and theologian, has authored more than 70 books, including The Holiness of God, a modern classic. In 1971, leaders in his church asked Sproul to begin a study center near Pittsburgh, Pa. which led to formation of Ligonier Ministries. His daily radio program is broadcast across the U.S and in 40 nations. In his devotional article, "Jesus is Lord," Sproul writes of Polycarp's martyrdom under Rome:
At age eighty-six, Polycarp, the second-century bishop of Smyrna and disciple of the apostle John, was brought to the Roman authorities and ordered to confess that Caesar is lord. Though doing so would have saved his life, Polycarp refused and was murdered, inspiring others to remain faithful.
Considered apart from Polycarp's story, it was not unusual to refer to Caesar as kurios, the Greek term for "lord." In the original Greek, kurios can mean simply "sir" ... Or, it can refer to a master of many slaves or servants. However, neither of these meanings was in mind when Rome applied the title kurios to the emperor. Instead, kurios signified divinity when used of the Caesar. Faithful Christian that he was, Polycarp could not call Caesar lord without violating the most basic tenet of the faith (Ex. 20:3)...
Early Christians like Polycarp were martyred because they refused to confess Caesar as lord. They knew that Jesus alone is divine and would have no one usurp His status. These Christians knew the New Testament is not merely being polite when it calls Jesus "Lord"; rather, it is teaching that Jesus is God Almighty... Let us always confess that Jesus Christ alone is Lord.
Through the centuries, millions have followed Polycarp in persecution and martyrdom for refusing to deny Christ in word or deed. Tyrants have always sought to silence the Church, to prevent competition with God and gospel that denies any claim to ultimate sovereignty by human kings and governments. Today, despite safeguards built into our Constitution, some Americans are being forced to decide, at great cost to themselves, whether to obey their consciences under God, or confess Caesar as Lord. We must pray in 2014, not only for believers under oppressive regimes around the world, but for fellow Americans, who must decide between obedience to Christ and the dictates of a misguided employer, judge, or bureaucrat who has overstepped his or her authority under God, law and the Constitution. May God help each of us to walk in love, wisdom, and obedience to Christ in this New Year!
Little Sisters of the Poor -With January 1, the deadline for non-profit religious groups to begin providing their employees access to insurance covering contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary order restraining the Obama/Holder Justice Department from enforcing the HHS mandate against the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Sisters are a 175 year-old order of Catholic nuns based in Denver that cares for the elderly poor. The Justice Department acted quickly to defend the mandate saying it would not be imposed upon the Little Sisters if they would simply sign a certificate authorizing others to fulfil the mandate. But the Sisters say signing it would be giving permission for abortifacients to be distributed by someone else, also unconscionable for them. The administration's behavior is part of a pattern of unconstitutional acts against religious groups. These acts by the federal government have given boldness to others at the state and local levels to similarly disregard the constitutionally guaranteed religious liberties of their constituents. If the administration wins this case, the Little Sisters would be subject to unsustainable fines, as they will not violate their convictions, and have to close their doors. This is but one of 90 lawsuits filed against the HHS Mandate, including those by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, which are a priority for prayer this year. Secretary Holder's offer to the Sisters, "just sign the certification, and you'll have no further obligations," sounds far too much like Caesar's offer in the 2nd Century Rome: "Just confess that 'Caesar is Lord,' and you may continue to practice your religion as you please" (see Information Central, Sotomayor, Tooth and Nail, Faith Trivialized, and Permission Slip).
- May God move the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold religious liberty for all Americans and stop the Obama administration from pushing pro-abortion Obamacare down the throat of the American people! May all 91 of the organizations which have sued to stop the HHS Mandate, be rewarded with victory! (Dt 26:7; Chr 29:11; Ps 98:1; Pr 21:1; 1 Cor 15:57; Gal 5:1)
Human Life Sunday; March for Life - Wednesday, January 22nd, will be the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the outrageous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned all state laws restricting abortion. Roe legalized taking the lives of innocent unborn human persons in all 50 states. For 55 million unborn babies it was an unjust, unconstitutional death sentence, without due process of law.
Pro-lifers have not given up. Persistently crying to God for mercy and working to end abortion, pro-life groups are seeing fruit: abortions have continued to decrease and public support for abortion has continued to decline. A recent survey showed that in 2013, alone, 87 abortion clinics, 12 percent of all surgical abortion clinics in America, either closed their doors or ceased offering surgical abortions. Pro-life Americans are winning the war for life, and were it not for the Obama administration and other government entities propping up Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars, it, too, would face decline. As we continue to pray and exercise liberty to speak the truth, in love, the slim majority of Americans who now declare themselves to be prolife (including many young people), will continue to grow, and the tide will turn.
On Sunday, January 19th, pastors and churches will observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Please check with your pastor to make sure he is planning to make that Sunday's sermon about the sanctity of human LIFE! On Wednesday, January 22, the March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C. Pro-lifers from across America and many nations will come to Washington to join in the March: to mourn Roe and the shame it has brought upon America. The overarching spirit of the March is a celebration of life, and a day to recommit our lives to stay in the fight to defend theunborn and advance the pro-life agenda. On the morning of the March , FRC will air a live webcast called "ProLifeCon," which brings together leading pro-life advocates from across the country who will share strategies to help the movement make the most of the internet and modern social media to advance our pro-life cause (see Abortion Myths and Facts: New Research, FRC Abortion Resources).
- May these and pro-life, prayer events, vigils and programs across America be hugely successful and bear much fruit this year, May God hasten the overturn of Roe v. Wade (Ps 110:3; Ex 20:13; Dt 21:9; Josh 1:8; Is 10:1; Jn 10:10).
Finally, please pray over: the Obama/Kerry State Department effort to push Israel to accept untenable terms for a false peace in the region by April; Obamacare and the havoc it has brought to America; and President Obama's plan to make "income inequality" (i.e., class warfare) the centerpiece of his 2014 agenda (see this). Pray that believers targeted for punishment for speaking truth in the public square will enjoy vindication like Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson after his employer suspended him under pressure from homosexual activists (watch Tony Perkins speak about Robertson, A&E and GLADD). As always, thank you for praying!