Throughout the world, followers of Christ recently celebrated one of the greatest moments in human history: the birth of God the Son among men. All worship and glory unto Jesus, the Light of the World and our Savior!
His First Words
As we read about the true Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke, we go on to read of Jesus’ life. Though not much is revealed about His early life, it does record Jesus’ first words. Well, not the very first words a parent might expect a young child to say; but His first words that we were given to know.
And those important words are these: “Do you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)
Jesus was a boy of twelve at the time, and leaving childhood behind. The growing focus of His life was to be fully engaged in the affairs of His Heavenly Father. In other words, to be busy with and consumed by His Father’s message; and His willing desire to obey, serve and advance His Father’s mission and Kingdom to people everywhere and for all time.
His Words to Us
It does not take a gift of discernment to say that 2020 was a tumultuous, crisis-filled and life-altering year. Many want life to “get back to normal” in 2021. But I sense there is no going back, that life (especially in western nations) has radically changed. And likely, there are more and greater changes still to come.
So in what can seem like this dark of night, a supernaturally bright star again appears through the urgency of Jesus’ first recorded words: “I must be about my Father’s mission!” The choice of the word “must” allows no ambiguity or procrastination. Just as we are to follow Christ and become more like Him, so must we pursue the Father’s purposes and sovereign will!
His Word for 2021
The Lord spoke to us that 2021 is to be a Year of Release. This may mean different things to each one of us, and applied specifically in our unique circumstances.
But Jesus also, at the beginning of His ministry, spoke about release when He quoted from a Messianic passage from Isaiah: “… to proclaim release [liberty, freedom] to the captives” (Luke 4:18, NASB).
Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by both His words and actions on earth, and in His sacrificial death on the Cross which released humanity from the captivity of sin.
His Word, Our Command!
In 2021, as spiritual darkness and persecution attempt to overtake light and freedom, NOW IS THE TIME to be bold – to raise our voices and proclaim release and freedom to those bound in sin’s captivity!
The same Spirit that anointed Jesus, the same power that released miracles, the same words and authority that brought healing, salvation and deliverance from bondage – this is the same Spirit of God that lives within every believer in Jesus Christ!
This is the year to raise our voices, our hands and our hearts freshly to God in worship and prayer! To welcome His Spirit freshly, and be emboldened to declare to the lost and broken in our crumbling cultures that there is only ONE HOPE by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
We have the answer! Things only change when hearts are changed by the power of the Living God!
What We Can Do
Here are some practical helps for us to consider this New Year:
- Make a list of people with whom you will share the Gospel this year. Pray every day for each one of them by name, asking the Lord to give you opportunities to serve them and open a way to speak with them. Remember, only Jesus has the power to save someone. Yet, He also asks us to share what He has done for us with any who will listen (1Pet 3:15).
- According to what Jesus taught, seek out those whom you can serve, especially non-Christians: widows, orphans, prisoners, the homeless, and more (Matt 25:31-46). Begin to help meet their needs, both practically and spiritually.
- Ask the Lord to open your eyes and hearts to the practical ways you can serve others around you – whether at work, at home, in your neighborhood, and beyond. A simple act of kindness can open a door to sharing the Gospel.
- Never hesitate to ask others if you can pray for them. It is rare that someone will say no to that request. So stop right then and pray for them! Listen to what the Holy Spirit will ask you to pray, since He knows their every need.
- Take time to grow in your personal relationship with Jesus. At His feet, you will receive refreshing, strength, creativity to minister to others – and His release!
- Be ready to receive. There have been many powerful words this year about what the Lord desires to do through those who will take time in His presence. He is still looking to show Himself strong through those who are loyal to Him (2Chron 16:9).
1. Violence and Terror
In Peshawar, Pakistan, a planned Christmas-Day terrorist attack on a church was stopped by authorities. Thank the Lord for His protection. But an explosion did occur on Christmas Day in Nashville, TN (USA), although the motive is still unclear.
Many more acts of terror and violence are attempted and occurring throughout the world in this time of unrest. Please continue to pray this month for the Body of Christ worldwide; specifically engage in spiritual warfare against the demonic spirits and principalities that are promoting violence and death.
2. The Persecuted Church
Though the news did not report it, at least 3,000 Christians in 2020 gave their lives because of their faith in Christ Jesus – martyred because they loved the Lord, even unto death. The worst of the death and persecution occurred in China, North Korea, Myanmar, and Muslim-dominated countries or regions.
Please lift up your brothers and sisters who today are facing horrific torture, loss of jobs and homes, imprisonment and more – just because they are Christians.
3. The Western Church
It appears that both political unrest, and the uncovering of decades-old demonic plans and strategies to destroy the USA, are causing a stirring in the western Church.
Pray that the Lord would maximize this time to awaken His Body from spiritual slumber and complacency, in order to be about the Father’s real business. Pray for repentance for the Church, for a turning away from selfish ambition, idolatry and worldly compromise; and a turning back to God’s Word and His ways. May we return to the scriptural pattern and purposes for which we have been saved and then fulfill His true calling to His people.
It appears that both politically induced unrest, and the civil unrest in the name of kidnapping etc uncovers a broad range of concerns in Nigeria. We need to pray:
- For the release of mercy on this nation
- For the church of Jesus in Nigeria to become more proactive in governance matters with keen interest in revival of the church towards evangelism and mission
- for church leaders to reach out to their followers and be more interested kingdom matter than material things
- For the deliverance of whole communities in the south east part and North east parts of this nation
LIWOM is venturing again into the hinterlands to reach out to communities in Oke-Ogun and the doors are clearly opened but many adversaries. Pray that:
- That the Lord would make all things fall in pleasant places in terms of resources for LIWOM personnel etc.
- That the Lord would empower the missionaries with wisdom, knowledge and understanding as well as localization adaption by all LIWOM personnel.
- That Needed resources (financial) be made available to LIWOM in a timely manner
- That all personnel would be persons of substance before God and men indeed
- That hindrances to entrance into whole rural communities would be removed and ease of entrance would be made open
- Provision of a mission vehicle, bike, media instruments and necessary camp materials to aid entrance into rural areas and continue there a season
b. Mission Home for Vulnerable Children
The work at these homes enters new phases daily as more children come with varied issues ranging from rape, abuse to outright family disintegration. Pray that:
- the Lord would make all things fall in pleasant places for the home and keep the children and staff safe.
- Grant salvation unto the incoming children and women
- Provide the basic and complex needs of the children in the home
- Create a sustained means of provision for the home in terms of:
- Educational Materials
- Spiritual Materials
- Psychological needs
- The Lord would make all enemies flee before LIWOM and her children
Along with the “Father’s business” of releasing the captives, we would also exhort you with these biblical words of urgency: “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white [ripe] for harvest!” (John 4:35).
May we, with zeal and resolve, bring in this great harvest of souls in 2021, to the glory of our Lord and King!