Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

 


lunar-eclipse-2008.jpgOn December 20, 2010 there will be three converging natural events in the sky. Is this a sign? It can be…

The annual Ursid meteor shower (up to 100 per hour) which appears annually from December 17-25, will peak tonight. From our vantage point on earth the meteors fall from within the constellation Ursa Minor, also known as the “Little Dipper”.  This happens on winters solstice, the longest night of the year. And this year, these two events will be underscored and highlighted by a rare total lunar eclipse. Tonight is the first time since 1638 that a lunar eclipse will fall on winter solstice.

 


Eclipse-map.jpgChristians acknowledge that natural events are… natural. God designed the course of nature and called it all “good.” When things happen in the sky, they are part of the random cycles of an orderly universe.

On the other hand, God often uses coinciding natural events to highlight his purposes and plans. In this way God leverages natural events and makes them “signs.” This happens when God speaks ahead of time, giving them meaning and aligning them with his specific intervention inside history. The “star” or planetary alignment that appeared to guide the Magi to Jesus was at once a natural event and a supernatural sign fulfilling prophecies. God uses creation to speak and clarify his messages to us.  

On one hand tonight’s sky show is nature doing its nature thing… It’s also an opportunity for us to listen to God’s specific voice and direction. God has warned us in the Bible that as history moves toward a climax signs in the heavens will re-enforce God’s mission in history. If we look and listen and EXPECT God to speak through these sky events, we will see his hand at work.

God can and does speak in and through ordinary natural processes. And what might God say to us through this this natural convergence? Check in tonight and ask him… Watch, listen, wait, consider… And enjoy the show.

 


Korea.jpgGod has a destiny for Korea. Again today that ultimate spiritual purpose is under a test of human conflict and tension.

North Korea warned South Korea on today to stop staging artillery drills on the border island that Northern troops bombed last month. They threatened to strike back harder than the previous attack that killed four South Koreans.

South Korea is planning one-day, live-fire drills on Yeonpyeong, a tiny island just seven miles from the border and home to both fishing communities and military bases. Seoul explains that the timing of the drills will depend on weather. They have ignored the North’s threats, and say the exercises will proceed as planned.

North Korea which claims the waters off the island considers the drills an infringement of its sovereignty. They responded to similar exercises last month by firing artillery shells on Yeonpyeong, killing two marines and two construction workers.

The escalation of these tensions is the latest friction on a decades-long struggle between the communist regime of the North and the democratic-capitalist government of the South. Both governments claim legitimacy as the true expression of the Korean destiny. Korea as a whole, which has been invaded a thousand times in its long history has a strong sense of national and ethnic identity. This cultural pride is both a strength and a liability for Koreans. At its best it gives them a strong resilience and a sense of their manifest destiny as a people. At its worst it can tend toward a belief in ethnic superiority, cultural isolation, and suspicion of anything “not Korean.”  

God has a powerful purpose for Korea. In the past decades some of the largest and most influential churches in the world have grown up in Korea, and even today there are powerful Christian movements growing among Koreans both at home and those living abroad. Let’s pray that in this current conflict between Koreans – North and South – that God will meld them together by his Spirit into the people HE intends them to be.

“God, we pray today for Korea and the Korean people. Ease the tensions and threats and fears on the border between North and South. Bring supernatural peace there. Cause your covenant people in Korea to rise up and demonstrate the power of your Kingdom, the power of love and forgiveness and your reconciliation. Lead Godly Koreans to see their identity first as the family of God, and citizens of your great regime. Only secondly are they Korean, just as all of us who follow you are only secondarily a part of our own cultural traditions. God complete the revival in Korea. May it move to true national transformation, that your Kingdom would come in Korea and your will would be done there, as it now is done in Heaven. In Jesus…”

 

 

Iraq.jpg

Iraqi Christians from the south of the country are fleeing to havens in the north and those with means are leaving Iraq all together. The renewed campaign of violence against Christians is exacerbated by a growing fear that Iraqi security forces are unable – even unwilling – to protect them.

The flight including thousands of Christian residents from Baghdad and Mosul, followed an October 31st siege of a church in Baghdad that  killed 51 worshipers and 2 priests. Subsequent bombings and assassinations singling out Christians. This new exodus highlights the continuing displacement of Iraqi Christians despite improved security in the nation as a whole.

“God, we pray for the Christians in Iraq. We pray for their safety. We pray for protection. Send your angels to guard their lives and their hearts. Give them courage and hope.  God, we pray that the leaders of Iraq would have courage to resist the forces that would persecute your people. Bring a spirit of peace on this war-weary nation and her people. We pray that this season would see a new discovery of true peace, and that the Prince of Peace would reign, even there…”

“God, bless and keep safe the many millions of Americans impacted today by the winter storm roaring across portions of the country.”