Devotional for Day 14 – 19 August 2013
Intention: God calls people to himself out of a fallen world. For he has a plan for each person’s life and is committed to see it come to pass. He never gives up on a person and neither should we.
Scripture: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified (Rom 8:28-30, NIV).
Reflection: God has been in the business of searching for people since the time Adam and Eve were hiding from him in the Garden of Eden. Today he continues his search for all people. Often he does that through us because he wants to straighten out the lives of those who have gone astray and are hiding from him. He does not want anyone to perish.
He alone is the source of life and he wants to lead us into a bright and beautiful future. God as the Creator, know the hurts that we have and all the experiences, good and bad, that we have encountered in life. God is never finished with us. He is always there to mold and shape us so that we can conform more and more to the likeness of his Son Jesus.
Here in Papua New Guinea lives are lost in tribal clashes due to such things as land disputes. There are payback killings over rape and much more. Many crimes are committed because of high unemployment and jails are overflowing. There are social injustices due to corruption in the government. As a result of living in a fallen world, many people are being hurt day by day. The Gospel has been preached throughout the islands and mountains but still many people choose to go their own way. There are many ‘skin’ only Christians. So there is widespread need for repentance and reconciliation so that this nation can become the paradise that God intended.
Prayer: God Our Creator, thank you that you created us for yourself and that you love each and every person. Thank you that you did not wipe mankind from the face of the earth when sin entered the human race. Instead you worked out a rescue plan and in the fullness of time you sent your Son Jesus to live among us so that we can be reconciled to you. Now that Jesus is seated at your right hand, help us to continue the ministry of reconciliation that he began in the power of your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for our reluctance to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world today. Change us to be like Jesus so we can minister his love to others. Amen.
[Blogger’s comment: This devotion today is very close to our hearts as we served as missionaries for 25 years in that beautiful and fascinating land of Papua New Guinea. When my Canadian husband was told he was going to PNG as a volunteer, he didn’t even know where it was! I’m so glad he went as that’s where we met, married and had our three beautiful daughters. That’s where God gave us a passion for prayer, revival and missions. Now we are working out that passion as ‘missionaries‘ to Australia through this Billion Souls Revival Prayer Call initiated by the Australian National Day of Prayer and Fasting. What a joy it is to serve God in this way!
The islands of Melanesia in the South Pacific might look like a beautiful paradise but they are a ‘paradise lost’ as Timothy mentions. The peoples of the South Pacific were evangelized over a 200-year period and figures show that the number claiming to be Christian are as very high (95.8% of the population in PNG). There are few unreached people groups remaining. But social problems abound. Only yesterday a visiting friend from the Solomon Islands shared with deep emotion how he has seen the paradise that his country once was lost in the past 15 years resulting in many social problems. Why? I believe it relates to the issue of nominalism, that is, being Christian in name but not lifestyle. Discipleship is the urgent need in all churches today. Only true disciples who allow Christ to reign in their lives as Lord of all, will bring transformation to the culture at its roots.
This same issue of nominalism faces many countries which were Christianized in the past 200 years in the modern missions movement. Think of the Caribbean, Central America, South America and some countries in Africa. Why is AIDS such a problem in Christian nations in Africa; lawlessness in South America; drug addiction in the Carribean; tribalism in Melanesia? The Gospel was readily accepted by those following animism – the worship of spirit beings – in their search for the ‘good life’. Old religious practices gave way to new Christian ceremonies. But if there was not a deep heart change at the core worldview level, old thinking remained and now finds expression in these modern social evils today. Strong words came through the prophets to God’s people, Israel, who were living by rules not relationship, ‘I despise your religious feasts…even though you bring offerings I will not accept them…away with your noisy songs…instead let justice and righteousness flow‘ (Amos 5:21-24). If all those who call themselves Christian were renewed and revived by the power of the Spirit and began to obey Christ as Lord, we would see revival and the Church would indeed turn the world upside down! Let’s pray that right now.
Dear Lord, we confess to you our lukewarmness and ask you to ignite us to pray with passion for those who are Christian in name only. We pray for revival and transformation deep in their hearts so that they will follow you as Lord and Saviour. We pray that through them social change (especially in morality) will come in their lives and in their families, friends, communities, cultures and nations. And in turn the lost will be saved – at least a billion! Then prayer, praise and worship will fill all the earth giving great glory to you! Let it be! Amen.
I suggest that you choose one Christianized country and start praying this for them. Maybe you would even like to choose Papua New Guinea. You can get information online to help you pray with understanding. I will do this for PNG and give you the links but you can use these websites to find information for any country.
- Operation World http://www.operationworld.org/country/papu/owtext.html
- PrayerCast http://www.prayercast.com/papua-new-guinea.html
- Joshua Project http://joshuaproject.net/countries.php?rog3=PP
- World Prayer Map http://www.worldprayermap.co.uk/oceania/papuanewguinea.html
Tell us who you are praying for or leave your comments on nominalism or this devotion here. MR]