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I want you to be happy. I know I cannot ask you a more useful question than this:

Do you pray?

~J. C. Ryle

When we pray for the lost, does it really do anything? (by Mark Altrogge)

Isn’t God going to save whoever he’s planned to save anyway?  Jesus tells us that God is waiting for us to pray in order for him to act:

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38)

What an incredible passage.  First we see the heart of Jesus for the lost – when he sees the crowds he has compassion on them because of the misery of their lives without a good Shepherd.  He doesn’t say, “Look at all those vile sinners.  Good – they’re getting what they deserve.”  He has compassion on them.  He pities them because they’re harassed and helpless with no one to guide them or care for them or protect them.  I want that kind of compassion for the lost.

Next Jesus tells his disciples to pray earnestly for laborers for the harvest.  Why doesn’t he just raise up laborers himself? Because he wants to involve us.  He wants us to have his heart of compassion for the lost.  He wants us to pity people in their lost and helpless condition.  And he gives us the privilege of participating in his mission to rescue them.

So he tells us to pray earnestly for God to send out laborers.

For the rest of the post…

Youcef Nadarkhani sentenced to death in Iran

Saturday, 25 February 2012 13:20

A Christian pastor who was arrested in 2009 for renouncing the Islam faith can now be executed at any time without warning, according to an Iranian court.

Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, was found guilty of apostasy by an Iranian lower court two years ago and now has been sentenced to death by hanging.

Fears have been expressed that the execution would be in retaliation to international pressure being put on Iran for its nuclear agenda. Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice, called the sentence “defiance” by Iran. Sekulow said to Fox News, “The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith.”

International legal director of the American Center for Law and Justice Tiffany Barrans told The Daily Caller, “The Iranian Supreme Court upheld that the proper sentence for an apostate that refuses to recant is death.” Nadarkhani has been in jail for 863 days…

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“As is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.” 

~Martin Luther

“Prayer is the acid test of devotion.”  

~Samuel Chadwick

by Kathleen Nielson

Never Retreat!

Looking through a musty box of family memorabilia, I recently came upon a brittle, browned letter dated September 24, 1918, sent to his parents by my grandfather, James Oliver Buswell Jr. Grandpa B’s years as president of Wheaton College and later as professor of theology at Covenant College and Seminary were well known to me, but I hadn’t heard a lot about his experience in World War I. Serving in France as chaplain of the 140thInfantry for the American Expeditionary Forces, he took part in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the war’s largest western front offensive against the German army. That offensive began on September 26, 1918.

I discovered from his journals that Grandpa B wrote this letter somewhere near Verdun, France, at the close of a “cold, foggy day” during which he had baptized more than 100 men, in a pre-battle “revival” among those in his regiment. Those were the first baptisms young preacher Buswell (then 23) had ever performed. Musing in his journal about this overwhelming response to the gospel, he wrote: “The military situation, of course, has something to do with it, but they all seem very sincere about it. When the men respond the way they have lately it makes any possible effort on my part seem cheap in proportion to the reward.” For the new converts they built a little dam in a nearby stream, to make a pool where the men could be either immersed or sprinkled, according to their wishes. “I’m afraid it will be rather muddy,” Grandpa wrote, “but it’s the best we can do.”

The brief letter home is all about the coming military offensive, which turned out to be a great Allied success but in which thousands of their troops were killed. Grandpa B’s regiment, as he later wrote, was “all shot to pieces.” He was wounded in the leg by a fragment of high explosive shell.

For the rest of this wonderful article…

“Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!

(Psalm 27:14, ESV)

Prayer can lighten crosses for us, however heavy.

It can bring down to our side One who will help us to bear them!

~J. C. Ryle

He prayeth well, who loveth well!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

February 2012