3 - World leaders invoke spiritual themes
The United Nations convened another General Assembly last week in New York City, and host of world leaders paraded to the stage to address issues of importance to their various nations.
I thought there was a significant religious component to the speeches that were given, including the end-times scenario presented by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Here is the commentary from Joel Rosenberg's Flash Traffic Blog:
Ahmadinejad told the leaders of the world gathered in Manhattan that he had come this time “to voice the divine and humanitarian message…to you and to the whole world.”According to Rosenberg,
“God Almighty has promised us a man of kindness, a man who loves people and loves absolute justice, a man who is a perfect human being and is named Imam Al-Mahdi, a man who will come in the company of Jesus Christ, peace be upon Him, and the righteous,” he said. Calling the Mahdi “the Ultimate Savior,” Ahmadinejad said his arrival on earth “will mark a new beginning, a rebirth and a resurrection. It will be the beginning of peace, lasting security and genuine life.”
Islamic theologians say Muslim political leaders today are supposed to set into motion the annihilation of Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it and create the conditions of chaos and carnage to hasten the arrival of the Twelfth Imam. Then the Mahdi is supposed to turn all these wars and killings to his advantage and establish justice and peace.In response to the Iranian President's speech and the threat of Iran's nuclear weapons program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recognized it:
“Iran’s apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating Holy War, thereby ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth. That’s not just what they believe. That’s what is actually guiding their policies and their actions.”And, Mohamed Morsi, the new President of Egypt, member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports a worldwide caliphate and dominance by Islam said, according to the Christian Post:
Morsi, who repeatedly referred to himself as the "first, democratically elected, civilian president of Egypt," said his country respects freedom of expression, but "one that is not used to incite hatred against anyone, one that is not directed toward one specific religion or cult."
Yemen President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, seconded Morsi. "There should be limits for the freedom of expression, especially if such freedom blasphemes the beliefs of nations and defames their figures," he said.There is a move for so-called blasphemy laws to be implemented by the United Nations - but, of course, you have to be concerned with who will determine what is or isn't considered blasphemy.
U.S. President Barack Obama also weighed in on matters of religious freedom, saying, according to a report in Christian Today:
Obama, and other administration officials, have continued to blame the recent uprisings on an anti-Islam video produced in the United States. Others disagree. Obama repeated the assertion in his U.N. speech.Critics were concerned that the President has taken a such a hard line against the poor-quality, relatively obscure video that is alleged to denigrate Muslims, especially in light of the inexcusable violence which rose up in over 20 nations in the Middle East around the anniversary of 9-11 and was responsible for the loss of life of American officials in Libya. Obama also reiterated the discredited theory that the video was responsible for the violence, rather than well-organized terrorists.
"I know there are some who ask why we don't just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech," Obama explained. "Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as president of our country, and commander-in-chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views -- even views that we disagree with."
It is quite revealing that world leaders enunciated the importance of religion in world politics. Hopefully, American officials will recognize the spiritual component in so much of the world's unrest and develop an understanding and a strategy to deal with the rising tide of extremism.
2 - Thousands of young people participate in "See You at the Pole"
The annual event known as "See You at the Pole", attracting primarily junior high and high school students to school flagpoles at the start of the school day, took place this past Wednesday, September 26th. Since the event is observed in some 20 countries, it is difficult to estimate the numbers, and reports range from 1 million to as high as 3 million students.
See You at the Pole started in 1990 when a small group of teenagers gathered in Burleson, Texas, and is described on its website as "simply a prayer rally where students meet at the school flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school and nation to God." SYATP is student-initiated, student-organized and student-led, although you will find that youth ministers will encourage their students to participate, and even help to facilitate their involvement.
According to a piece in Baptist Press,
"SYATP helps launch teenagers and college students -- in unity -- to minister to their peers," said Daryl Nuss, executive director of the National Network of Youth Ministries, which coordinates promotion of the event.The theme for his year's See You at the Pole gatherings was "Awaken", based on Ephesians 3:14-21, where the apostle Paul encourages the church at Ephesus to pray for a greater awareness of God's love.
"See You at the Pole empowers students in prayer at the beginning of the school year to take leadership at their schools. What better way is there to begin a semester than to pray for their friends, community and nation?" Nuss added.
1 - Christians prepare for election with 40 days of prayer, America for Jesus draws thousands to Philadelphia
This past week marked 40 days until Election Day, on November 6th. I would encourage you to register to vote for this important opportunity to make your voice heard. One website that has been set up to help you register is www.commit2vote2012.com.
One of the most, if not the most, important factors leading up to Election Day is prayer. This past weekend, on historic Independence Mall in Philadelphia, perhaps as many as 10,000 people or more took part in America for Jesus, which blended a number of high-profile Christian leaders who joined together with those who gathered at this historic site to intercede for our nation. Here is a link to some coverage of the event by The Christian Post.
The event was being billed as a prayer event, not a political or partisan event. John Blanchard, the executive pastor of Rock Church International in Virginia and national coordinator for the event, was quoted by The Christian Post as saying, "We are praying that God would touch America. We're not Democrats and Republicans. We're Christians."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins urged the crowd to also pray for President Barack Obama. FRC is one of the partners in the nationwide "Your Money, Your Values, Your Vote" bus tour, which stopped in Philadelphia for the rally.
There are other national efforts of prayer and fasting for 40 days leading up to the election:
- Eric Metaxas, author and the speaker on Breakpoint, is calling on people to join him in a time of prayer and fasting. Find out more at www.ericmetaxas.com.
- Max Lucado, author and the speaker on Upwords, has organized "40 Days of Prayer for the USA", and the website is election.maxlucado.com.
- America's National Prayer Committee has also launched a 40-day prayer effort; go to www.40daysofprayer.net to learn more.
- And, a number of high-profile Christian leaders are featured on www.ifmypeople2012.com, with Stephen Arterburn, Henry Blackaby, Vonette Bright, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Anne Graham Lotz, Mike Huckabee, Harry Jackson, and many more participating.
These numerous prayer efforts should challenge us as devoted Christian believers concerned about the future of our nation and desiring God to pour out His Spirit on our land to be on our knees in diligent intercessory prayer.