But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, – Galatians 5:22
Day 30: Peace
The tiny ship rocked back and forth, tossed across the white caps like scrap, the sailors sure it would soon be broken into match sticks. One frightened sailor crawled to the opening in the deck to call to the sleeping man below. “Save us! We will all be drowned!” The man awoke, emerging to face the raging storm that threatened the tiny boat and lives of His disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus of Nazareth stretched out his hands, and confronting the tempest with the authority of creation, the Prince of Peace commanded, “Peace! Be Still!”
The commands of the Prince of Peace are still heard today by believers choosing to listen to the voice of Jesus over voices of hatred and violence. In 2007, in a tiny strip of land known as Gaza, at the center of some of the greatest daily turmoil in the world, masked gunmen in two cars pulled up to a bookshop attended by a night guard. Forcing the guard into the car, they drove to a remote location in northern Gaza where they beat him and demanded the bookshop key. When they found the guard had no key, they left him and returned to the shop, where at 2:30 a.m. they detonated bombs.
Palestinian Bible Society executive director Labib Madanat described the attack on the Gaza Bible Bookshop as much worse than previous ones but, with renewed spirit and commitment said, “Immediately the teams began cleaning up, determined to go back as soon as possible to functioning and to minister to the people.” Madanat added, “There is so much love for the people of Gaza that it will take a huge amount of hate to quench the love the team has for them.”
As chaos and turmoil dominate the lives of Palestinians living in Gaza, Christians like the Gaza Bible bookstore staff members, openly demonstrate love – and hope for peace – for their neighbors, regardless of the circumstances.
Over the month of August, Open Doors ministry has a special mission they are encouraging all to partake in. “During the month of Ramadan, from August 1-30, 2011, Open Doors is calling on Christians in the West to pray for Christians living in Islamic dominated countries… praying specifically for God to fill and strengthen them with the ‘Fruit of the Spirit.’ This ‘fruit’ embodied in each believer; molds, shapes and transforms us – expressing the image of His Son. And through this image, shining through a believer, God draws people to salvation.”
I signed up for their daily prayer emails for this mission. Each day, they send an account of a Christian who is living in Islamic-dominated countries. I pray this will help us to remember to pray for those who are ministering to hearts in foreign countries with the gospel.
“Open Doors works in the world’s most oppressive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ’s light in these dark places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles, training Christian leaders, developing Christian communities and ensuring prayer, presence and advocacy for these suffering believers.” (www.OpenDoorsUSA.org)