When I think about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant- the group known as ISIS/ISIL- my blood boils thinking of these cowardly men and their horrifically evil deeds. This offshoot of Al-Qaeda makes continual headlines for their abhorrent crimes against humanity. They publicize themselves in such acts as slow-cutting people’s heads off, stoning women to death and setting men on fire. They gratuitously torture and amputate people in public, enslave, rape and kill women and children, even decapitate babies. They crucify children, bury them alive, make them sex slaves and suicide bombers. The children indoctrinated as future jihadists are herded into groups, forced to watch mass executions and desensitized to unspeakable violence. The goal? To serve the Muslim “god, Allah,” follow the Qur’an which instructs torture and execution of Christians, Jews and the Muslim infidel, and to establish an authoritative Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, for starters. Further, to infiltrate, terrorize and subdue as many non-Islamic regions as possible, erect the flag of Islam in the White House, and finally to successfully claim worldwide domination. Contrary to our own President Barack Obama’s deceptively cavalier reference to ISIS as a “junior varsity” team, the Islamic State is extremely well-financed and highly organized, drawing fighters from many nations, including the United States, effectively using modern communications and media to raise funds and recruit for their malevolent global mission. They make Al-Qaeda look like a pack of misfits.
I do believe we should be doing all we can militarily as the most powerful nation on earth to stop ISIS from furthering their evil agenda. The Obama Administration is not doing nearly what it could be, sending lip service and ineffective drones without the ground troops required for defeat. Obama’s public response to ISIS’ recent taped burning alive of 26-year-old Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was to warn US- U.S. Citizens- not to “get on our high horses” and think we haven’t committed horrific crimes as well in the Name of Jesus Christ, citing The Crusades as an example. Anyone who knows U.S. history is immediately shocked by this statement, knowing how inappropriate and erroneous is such a comparison, especially in light of the horrific human atrocity that had just occurred. Our President has also made the U.S. more vulnerable by opening our borders to the terrorists, giving them footing among our people. You notice increasing numbers of mosques, Arabic businesses and Muslims populating our communities. No, not all Muslims are terrorists, but effectively all organized terrorist groups are Muslim, and ashamedly 10% of Muslims are said to SUPPORT terrorism. That seemingly small percentage equates to roughly 57 MILLION Muslims- a hearty resource pool for ISIS.
All of this said, and admittedly with anger in my heart, I ask my Lord Jesus how I should really be looking at this. Help me to see with Your eyes, Lord! What is the condition of my own heart? I know the deeds of ISIS are evil and deplorable: When I see and read what they have done, I’d honestly like the very same done to them. I’d like them annihilated! Then I realize, I would have to be perfect to execute such judgement- only God can do that, and He can use governments to do so. As for me personally, I am reminded by God that I am just as much in need of a SAVIOR as the murderous men of ISIS. Was there a glimmer of unwitting truth about the condition of the human heart in Obama’s offensive public reply? Without the Grace of Christ, my destiny is the very same as ISIS’: Eternal Hell where “their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.” [Mark 9:44] Indeed, they may set Christians on fire, but those Christians are entering the Joy-filled arms of Jesus for ETERNITY!, whereas they without Christ will enter torturous Hellfire ETERNALLY! So what do I do about this issue? Well, barring strapping on a uniform and joining the U.S. Forces, I believe I- as a Christian- am called to do what some may find unthinkable- TO PRAY FOR THE MEN OF ISIS.
Maybe some of you have already been doing this- Wow. Wonderful. Others may feel like me- resisting my Father’s tug to follow Him where I don’t feel like going. Most of us have probably had no problem praying for ISIS victims and families, for Christians in Islamic regions, and for coalition soldiers fighting this evil. But how many of us have intentionally prayed for those actively carrying out evil amongst the most innocent of lives? How many have lifted ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who now has a $10 million bounty on his head, in prayer? What might happen if we followed Jesus’ example and pled to the Father on their behalf? Have you ever prayed for a lost soul to come to know the True Jesus? Ever SEEN a lost soul come to know Him? Do you doubt that the Holy Spirit can open eyes to the true condition of their hearts and minds- to the lies of Islam? Or that some might turn from their evil ways by God’s Power and submit their lives to Christ Who makes all things new? [Rev. 21:5]. “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” [Matt 19:26] Perhaps the minds and behaviors of ISIS cannot be changed by mere men, or nations of men, or even by weapons of warfare. But there IS SOMEONE Who can change the heart where evil and madness reside [Eccl 9:3]. Are you aware that many former Muslim Christians give the same testimony: that they left Islam at the risk of their own lives when Jesus appeared to them in their dreams? And let us not forget that the apostle Paul was Saul the Pharisee who captured, tortured and killed Christians until Jesus appeared to him one day and his life was forever changed.
So, help us Lord to PRAY! Help us to remember Your Words as You gasped for Your last breaths upon the cross- “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34] And Your clear instruction to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” [Matt 5:44] Help us to remember our own spiritual state without YOU! (“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” -Isa 64:6). Help us Lord to make ISIS part of our daily supplications and a priority in our prayer circles and TO NOT NEGLECT THEM as we trust in YOU to accomplish what is not possible with men. No man has Hope without You!
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” [Matt 15:19]
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” [2 Cor 10:4]
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” [Eph 6:11-13]
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I [Paul, formerly Saul] 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. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [1 Tim 1:15-17]
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” [2 Pet 3:9]
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