17 June, 2016

Spiritual warfare

This week we received an email from our mission's Japan leaders calling us to prayer. It's not that we aren't praying, but they are urging an extra special time of prayer. They pointed out a bunch of stuff that's hindering the mission's work at present:
  • personnel issues: 
    • ill health (cancer especially)
    • finance (candidates unable to come because they don't have the financial support despite doing deputation for a long time)
    • leadership and support staff (ill health, lack of appropriate support staff etc.)
  • property issues: churches unable to get buildings/land for their congregations
  • partnership issues: churches unable to find pastors to hand take over from the missionaries
And of course the ongoing, always present issue of a lack of response to the gospel in Japan.

These things discourage us. Some of these things hinder us in the work too. There is a sense that there is a fierce spiritual battle going on.

I've often felt that with the magazine too. We have a great team now, but we're still battling to get it out on time. We battle miscommunication and discouragement. Sometimes it doesn't seem to matter what we do or improve, we still find challenges at every hand.

There are, of course, many things to be thankful and to praise God for, but I think we also need to take care that we don't disregard that we're in a spiritual battle here.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" Ephesians 6:12 (NIV).
In 1 Peter 5:8 we're warned to "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (NIV).

This is, of course, why our mission requires us to not just have financial support, but prayer support too. Why we're required to send our prayer letters often. Why it is ill-advised for people to join us on the field very quickly, without taking the time to build a team who will faithfully support them in the good and the bad.

Please pray for us as a field (we have over 120 missionaries in Japan). The problems can seem unsurmountable at times and discouragement is often close at hand.

No comments: