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Nov 28 2018

Seeking higher ground

God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived! Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s

Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
Seeking higher ground

James declares, “The prayer of a RIGHTEOUS person is powerful and effective” (Ja 5:16). A principle of spiritual warfare is that hypocrisy compromises us. Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case. James also advises, “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will exalt you (Ja 4:10). The Lord is committed to humbling those who exalt themselves (Lu 18:9-14) – and that is not a desirable experience in the midst of battle! The higher ground of righteousness (achieved by humbling oneself) is the desirable position.

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder” (Lu 11:21-22).

Islam calls itself a house. The House of Islam (Dar ul-Islam) comprises all who submit to Allah by following Mohammad’s example. In The Political Spirit, Faisal Malick proposes that the House of Islam is governed by a strong man called the “political spirit,” which achieves power by combining the religious spirit inherited from Ishmael’s slavery of doing works to win favour with God (Gal 4:21-24) with a spirit of murderous violence inherited from Esau (Ge 27:41-42), who married into Ishmael’s line (Ge 28:8-9).

Jesus warns His disciples, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod” (Mk 8:15). The “yeast of the Pharisees” represents the religious spirit and “that of Herod” the political spirit. This warning applies to us today. The political spirit relentlessly tries to infiltrate the church, and when we surrender to it in any way, we are ineffective in our prayers concerning Islam.

Who is the “someone stronger” who takes away the strong man’s armor? I believe it is the one new man of Ephesians 2:11-22 and Romans 11:11-36 – believing Gentiles grafted into the olive tree of believing Jews, the commonwealth of Israel. It is the answer to Jesus’ John 17:20-23 prayer that “[we] may all be one.” The Bride of Christ is bigger and stronger than any strong man.

Let’s seek the higher ground of oneness in Christ*:

  • Lord, build up a remnant (see Ge 45:7, Ro 11:4) who are loyal to King Jesus alone, who love one another as You loved us, and who are committed to the salvation of humankind.
  • Lord, help us discern and avoid political alliances that will disable our ability to discern Your will.
  • Lord, may we not compromise the Gospel to be politically correct.
  • Lord, may we submit to, pray for, and bless those You put in authority over us without judging orenvying them.
  • Lord, we submit to Your rule in Your Kingdom. We will get our counsel from Your Spirit – not from human opinions or media or our traditions. We will wait for Your timing and obey You.
  • Lord, we “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles [and] run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on [You], the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Heb 12:1-2).
  • Lord, we worship You (Rev 19:7, Heb 12:28-29)!

* Prayers adapted from The Political Spirit by Faisal Malick (Destiny Image Publishers, 2008)

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About Leslie
Leslie knows by faith and experience that our heavenly Father puts His prayers in our hearts and then listens to our hearts’ cry as we pray them back to Him. We hear God, and God hears us.
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