To the City of Lights

Eiffel tower, Paris, France.

Eiffel tower, Paris, France.

Yesterday there was an evil massacre in Paris by ISIS. Here we were busy in our afternoon, while the Parisians settled into the evening ready to begin the weekend, or so they thought. Friends catching up with one another at the café, buddies enjoying a soccer match at the stadium, France playing Germany. Fun loving music goers attended a concert that ultimately costs them their lives, like cattle sent to the slaughter, unaware of the unfathomable violence that would befall them.

ISIS is Satan on earth, living, breathing in the flesh. He and his demonic forces have taken this terrorist group for themselves and all that wickedness comes from Lucifer’s command. He hates God. He hates life. He hates those who love both and attempts to destroy not only God’s people, but also all who are created in His image. Satan loves nothing more than to annihilate, mutilate, distort, and pervert sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. This is his goal and always has been since the Garden of Eden. Satan knows he has already lost the battle, but will wreak havoc while he can.

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Last night ISIS succeeded in making the world feel an unsafe place. It never really has been safe though. We deceive ourselves into thinking an ocean and a strong military are great buffers to keep the bad guys at bay. But the only reason we are given any protection is due to the Lord’s Sovereign Hand. I am thankful for the men and women who volunteer to serve and protect us, but it isn’t what saves us, not ultimately.

My heart breaks over the injustice, the methodically planned, cold-hearted bloody acts in France. My prayer cry is for the friends and family who lost a daughter, son or brother in Paris last night. May they be comforted by the power of the Gospel, who is Christ, as they reel from what could never happen to what has happened.

My heart intercedes for the lost souls, not realizing their last night on earth would usher them into an eternity. My prayer is that some knew You, Father. Not all are lost forever. I plead with Him to not let all of this carnage be in vain. They were college students, mothers, interns, girlfriends, and businessmen.

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So what should our response and prayers look like in the aftermath? We pray that this heinous act against humanity will ultimately be a spiritual victory. Revival. Another Great Awakening. Wouldn’t that be glorious to see beauty rise from the ashes? “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NKJV). Right now we pray and grieve with Paris. If we cannot physically fight ISIS ourselves, we can spiritually. For the Christian this is a call to arms. Train yourselves in the Word, stay faithful in prayer, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). We can and should be a city of lights ourselves to the hopelessly lost and dark world.

The Church will be sifted, even more so than now. Spiritual reformation usually follows the heels of great persecution. ISIS persecutes others just for living. Specifically, they say, “American blood is best”. They hate what we stand for- freedom. Freedom to live in a democratic open society similar to France. But more than that, ISIS hates Jesus Christ. If you follow Him, they hate you too and will do everything they can to destroy your faith, your life.

In these times as our hearts mourn for Paris, may we not lose our Hope in the One who will have the final victory. It isn’t over, the bloodshed, but it does not mean ISIS has won either. Ultimately they will lose in the worst way. Jesus says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28 NIV). May God grant even ISIS repentance and thus have mercy on their souls.

Grace upon grace,

April

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