Psalm 9:13 “O LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,”
[Lord, there are so many believers around the world in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, India, Nigeria and Eritrea, who are literally being pursued to the gates of death.
Recently a suicide bomber entered a church in Egypt and killed dozens of worshipers. In a second incident at another worship service, the gate keeper prevented a bomber from entering a church, saving many lives, but was himself killed by the blast.
The widow of the martyred gate keeper responded with biblical grace on national television, forgiving the man who killed her husband, astounding the Muslim news commentator listening to her interview. He was literally speechless! May this powerful testimony of Christian grace result in many coming to faith in Christ.
Praise you that you are there, strengthening them, delivering them, whether it be through the gates of splendor into eternity or out of the clutches of groups like ISIS, Al Kaida and Boko Haram. You are both faithful and merciful in the help you powerfully provide.
Be with them, Lord, embrace them, give them grace, help them to respond to persecution with your thoughts: praising for the privilege of suffering, forgiving and praying for their persecutors, blessing those who misuse them (Matt. 5:11,12,43,44). ]
Psalm 9:14 “that I may declare your praises in the gates of the Daughter of Zion and there rejoice in your salvation.”
[One major purpose of deliverance is to give you glory, Lord, to praise you for your goodness, to rejoice in you–not just to be relieved at the end of our pain and turn back to our self-centered, futile living.
Praise be to you for your power to preserve, for your strength to save, for your promise to protect, and your commitment to keep. May we live in the light of that today, passing through difficulties with the power of the Spirit, and praising you for your deliverance–past, present and future.]
In the picture below, taken in the bombed church in Egypt, a bloodied page with text from Matthew 16:24-28 includes these words: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”