Prayer Targets: A Christian Christmas; War on Christmas; Netflix; The Scouts
December 18, 2019
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men... Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division;For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. (Luke 2:14; 12:51-52)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Kenyn Cureton (bio) is FRC Vice President for Christian Resources with a mission to equip Christians to become "spiritually active, governance engaged conservatives" (i.e., SAGECONS). VP for Church Ministries for 13 years, Kenyn grew Watchmen on the Wall, FRC's nationwide church outreach, from 1,800 to over 40,000 pastors and churches. Before FRC, Kenyn was Vice President for Convention Relations for the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). New Testament scholar and pastor for 20 years, he served most recently as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tennessee. Dr. Cureton's love is the study, preaching, and teaching of American history from the perspective of God's Providence. This excerpt from his powerful 366-day devotional, Lost Episodes: Daily Inspiration from America's Amazing Story, is timely as the entire Christian world prepares for Christmas 2019:
In an address given at the Ceremony for the lighting of the national Christmas tree on December 24, 1946, President Harry S. Truman declared:
"Again, our thoughts and aspirations and the hopes of future years turn to a little town in the hills of Judea where on a winter's night two thousand years ago the prophesy of Isaiah was fulfilled. Shepherds keeping the watch by night over their flocks heard the glad tidings of great joy from the angels of the Lord singing, 'Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth, peace, good will toward men.' The message of Bethlehem best sums up our hopes tonight. If we as a nation, and the other nations of the world, will accept it, the star of faith will guide us into the place of peace as it did the shepherds on that day of Christ's birth long ago....
"He Whose birth we celebrate tonight was the world's greatest teacher. He said:
'Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.'... In this great country of ours has been demonstrated the fundamental unity of Christianity and democracy....
"Ahead of us lies the larger task of making that peace secure… May 1947 entitle us to the benediction of the Master: 'Blessed are peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God'…. I say to all of my countrymen everywhere: Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, and may God bless you all."
President Truman's Christmas wish is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6-7 and reflect on the prophecy that President Truman alluded to in his speech.
Holy Father, we thank you for that silent night, that holy night we celebrate when the virgin gave birth to the Messiah. May the Prince of Peace inspire us to be peacemakers, in His Name, Amen. (Dr. Kenyn M. Cureton, Lost Episodes: Daily Inspiration from America's Amazing Story, 2015, p. 448-449)
The angels' words were good news -- God's offer of salvation and peace to all mankind (Lk 2:8-14; Jn 3:16-17). Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, are able to experience "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1) as well as the "peace of God that passes understanding" now (Php 4:7) and will enjoy perfect peace throughout eternity (Jn 14:1-3, 27). Those who reject him not only lack peace but are compelled by their master to make war with the saints (Mt 12:30) as is happening around the world and increasingly in America. Even committed Christian families find themselves divided when family members fall captive to the world (Lk 12:51-52). Too many families, including Christian families, do not enjoy real peace even during the Christmas holidays.
Non-profit organizations, organized to eliminate expressions of Christianity celebrated in the public square, attempt to prevent our military leaders from accommodating Christian soldiers, sailors and airmen who want to celebrate Christ with their battle buddies. Legal threats are routinely waged against public schools that allow any mention of Jesus in a graduation speech, allow students to sing Christmas carols, and give book reports that mention Jesus or even God.
But it is the family, the original governmental, educational, social, economic, and religious entity ordained by God for the benefit of all mankind, that the devil wants to destroy (Gen 18:19; Eph 5:22-6:4). Pastors, churches, and Christian businesses and charities are also major targets of God's enemies. Any person or institution that holds fast to biblical truth regarding God's design for human sexuality, marriage, and family as well as the sanctity of human life will find themselves hated by many and charged with being "haters" by those who hate God's word regarding these matters.
There is no question that the enemy of our souls is attacking the family today and especially Christian families by every means. Ours is a spiritual war. We "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph 6:10-20). Like Joshua, we have been promised success and blessing, but we must obey the Lord and take the land he has set before us. Only where Christ is welcome can there be true peace.
- Lord, this Christmas, may Christians buck the secular influence that dictates the kind of celebration they enjoy and plan their celebration truly to focus on Jesus -- God the Son wrapped in human flesh -- Savior, Mighty God who lived, died, and rose again to "purchase men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." (Is 9:1-7; Lk 2:10-14; Jn 10:10-11; Rev 5:9)
- May Christian families magnify Christ, "the unspeakable gift." May the person, character and work of Christ be emphasized. May parents who have succumbed to the pattern of making Christmas a secular holiday that exalts Santa Claus, presents, and food make this the year all that changes. May families have fun by calling to mind as many of his attributes as they can, e.g., his kindness, love, holiness, strength, and power; as many of his offices as possible, e.g., Savior of the World, Prince of Peace, High Priest, Prophet, Teacher, King of Kings, Son of Man, etc; as many of his ministry activities as possible, e.g., praying, teaching, healing, casting out devils, prophesying, warning, walking on water, etc. (Dt 11:18-21; Ps 34:3; 2 Tim 2:15)
- May families take time to praise God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by singing Christmas carols, great hymns, and spiritual songs, worshiping him in spirit and truth. May this become a Christian tradition in each home. (Ps 150: all; Jn 4:23-24; Eph 5:19)
- May families consider inviting persons they know to be alone and without families or are too poor to have a grand Christmas to join them for Christmas dinner and to make sure they receive a meaningful gift. It might be a good time to show the "Jesus" film to a person who does not know Jesus. Wouldn't it be great to lead a person or persons to Christ and welcome them into the family of God this Christmas? (Dt 15:11; 2 Cor 5:15, Gal 2:10; Heb.10:24)
- Take the entire family to a nursing home and greet a few people. Ask them if you might pray for them and see what God does! Visit a widow or widower and do the same, taking them a gift that would bless them. (Mt 25:35; Acts 20:35; Rom 12:1; Jas 1:27)
- May believers take the opportunity to simply say "Merry Christmas" everywhere they go, and never "Happy Holidays." (2 Cor 2:15; Php 4:42; Tim 4:2)
- May God's people take time this Christmas to pray as a family for the needy, the downtrodden, those who've lost loved ones, those subjected to religious persecution, those otherwise oppressed by tyrannical regimes, the ill or handicapped who cannot get proper care, those who find themselves trapped in hopeless circumstances and do not know what to do, those homeless, those without food, clothing, heat, water, and other necessities of life -- especially those with children they must feed, those who are trying but have not found a job, those whose families are torn by divorce, death, alcoholism, or drug addiction. May our compassion, prayers, and generosity impact their lives this Christmas. (Is 58:10; 2 Cor 9:6-15; Eph 3:14-21)
- Take time to pray for President Trump, and if the House votes to impeach tonight, as expected, that the Senate trial will result in true righteousness and justice. May Americans heal after having been subjected to or caught up in three years of constant anger, hostility, hatred, and bitterness. May God draw America back to himself and help sinners and believers alike to repent and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ! Save and heal us, O God! (2 Chr 7:14; Pr 14:34; 1 Tim 2:1)
- Lord, as much as lies within us, may we be peacemakers this Christmas, pointing people to the Prince of Peace. May our words, our actions, and spirit be filled with grace, love, and kindness. Live through us and exude from our lives the very fragrance of Christ! (Mt 5:9; 2 Cor 2:14)
- May we who love you touch everyone we meet with your grace and peace. Use us to help them find perfect peace that can be found only in you, the Prince of Peace. If we do not go, how will they know? We are your co-laborers! (Pr 11:30; Is 52:7; Mt 9:38; Rom 10:13-15)
Finally, please add these matters to your prayer list and pray as the Lord leads: 1) Netflix is airing what it bills as a "Christmas Movie." Depicting a gay Jesus whose lover is Lucifer, those who have seen it say it is filthy and blasphemous beyond belief. Two million people have already signed a petition protesting the movie, but that will not be enough. Hallmark Television, with its highly rated Christmas movies, has caved yet again recently to the activist LGBTQ movement. This is on the heels of revelations of charitable donations by Chick-Fil-A to questionable groups. These successful businesses are all counting on Christian viewers and fast food customers not to change their viewing and eating habits. But they need to know that righteousness is more important to believers than supporting those who are promoting sinful behavior and that Christians can and do change. (See Christmas Movie, NOT!; 2nd Vote's List; Chick-Fil-A's Not So Slow Fade); 2)Liberals insist the "War on Christmas" is a myth, but every year they prove themselves wrong. When Associate Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch appeared on Fox News and said, "Merry Christmas," the liberal media, bloggers, and tweeters went wild (see Hostility; Unhinged); 3)Public schools in Los Angeles are placing Planned Parenthood centers in 50 schools. While Planned Parenthood will pay $8 million, taxpayers are on the hook for $10 million; 4) The former Boy Scouts of America, now "The Scouts," are going bankrupt because of their decisions to accommodate self-professing LGBT boys, then to install LGBT leaders, then, as a last-ditch effort to remain solvent, to admit girls into the program. Now, the Mormon Church has announced that they will pull 400,000 boys out of the Scouts along with facilities and Mormon leaders. Trail Life continues to grow as more and more boys exit the Scouts.< p>Keep an eye on Stand Courageous. There are four new men's conferences taking place early in the New Year -- one in Louisiana, one in North Carolina, and two in Florida. Check it out and tell your friends.
May you and yours have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a BLESSED NEW YEAR!
As always, THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!