Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The changing power of Christ

In the first chapter of Philip Yancey’s book The Jesus I Never Knew, he writes, “No one who meets Jesus ever stays the same.” Although I haven’t yet completed the book, I have found his disclaimer to be true. Christ has the power to change people’s lives and their relationships with others. Yancey’s words remind me of Pastor Wurmbrand’s stories of communists who were inexplicably transformed when they were introduced to Christ. Indeed, when someone truly allows Jesus to come into their lives, they cannot help but change.

This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. The theme this year is “Pray for the Persecutors.” Praying for people who bring so much harm to our brothers and sisters can be a difficult task, one that we can only hope to do if we ask Christ to work through us. But this Sunday, Christians across the world will pray that those who persecute will come to know Christ, just as Paul did. In 1 Timothy 1:13-16 Paul writes, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” Join us this Sunday as we pray for the persecutors, asking God to use our lives to draw them to Him.

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