Today we pray for the Nation of Lithuania and Meditate on First John 4

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Today we are praying for the country of Lithuania.  Please help us  lift up this nation to the Lord today.  You can follow the two links below to learn more about the nation and its unreached people groups.  You can watch the video below to help guide you in your prayers.  

Please take time to meditate on the devotion for today as well.  

Please pray for the nation of Lithuania by joining in prayer with the video below.

Pride in the preservation of their language and traditions in the midst of repression and control by a foreign power has bound the people of Lithuania together for many years. Located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, this northern European nation was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. It was also the first republic to declare its independence from the USSR in 1990. However, The Soviet Union did not recognize this declaration until 1991. After all remaining Russian troops were removed in 1993, Lithuania began restructuring its economy in preparation to join both NATO and the European Union in 2004. A love for folk dancing, nature, national holidays, and language is what binds together the 3 million living in Lithuania. Their heart language, descriptive and abundant in nature words is one of two remaining languages in the Baltic Branch of the Indo-European languages. The economy is predominantly agricultural and consists largely of growing flax, beets, and potatoes. Only in recent years has Lithuania become more commercialized, including industries such as metal and woodworking. Substance abuse and suicide plague Lithuanian society along with the great social injustice of trafficking women for prostitution. Eighty-five percent of Lithuanians are Christian, with the majority being Roman Catholic. One of the last European nations to become Christian, Lithuanians managed to hold on to Roman Catholicism despite the Soviets banning all religious expression. Thanks be to God, Lithuanians now have the freedom to worship, and new Christian groups are emerging. However, only one-sixth of Roman Catholics attend church regularly. While freedom has brought growth in the Church, it has also allowed materialism, hedonism, and nihilism to increase, as well as opening doors to cults and theological error. Equipped Christian leaders are scarce, as many train abroad and do not return. Several Christian organizations have training centers ready for men and women to be called by God, that He may set forth Godly leaders in the nation.

Today's Devotional Thought

We have looked at how God defines love and displays love for us.  Finally, we see in verse 10 and in verse 19 that God initiates love.  He not only defines and demonstrates love.  He initiates it.  We read in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Again in verse 19 we see, “We love, because He first loved us.”  You likely remember the chorus to the hymn Oh how I love Jesus:

Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me!

We are all on the road to Damascus with Saul as enemies of Christ, until He illuminates our world with the light of His presence.  In that light we see His holiness.  In that light we see our sinfulness.  In that light we see His beauty and His love and we love Him.  

There is a story that I heard Joel Beeke share about a young African girl who was kidnapped and carried captive to America in the 18th or 19th century to be sold into slavery.  As she was placed upon the platform to be sold to the highest bidder, she caught the eye of a wealthy gentleman.  He was struck by her beauty, and the fear in her eyes, and  immediately determined to purchase her freedom.  As the men in the crowd bid on the girl the price climbed higher and higher.  The wealthy abolitionist refused to be outbid and eventually won the auction and the girl was handed over to him.  The first thing she did when she was delivered to her new “owner” was to spit in his face.  As the wealthy gentleman wiped her spit from his face, he handed her her papers that gave her her freedom.  When it was made clear to her why this gentleman had spent so much to purchase her….to set her free…she fell at his feet in tears and said, “I will serve you for the rest of my life!”  She went from spitting in her master’s face to kissing his feet!  Why?  Because she recognized his great love and the sacrifice he made to purchase her to set her free.  

This is the message of 1 John 4.  God initiates love toward us by purchasing us from slavery to sin at the cost of His only begotten Son.  We spit in His face in return…until it is made clear to us the depth and height and breadth of His love for us in Christ.  And when we see it, we go from spitting in God’s face to kissing His feet.  We will serve Him all of our days and all of eternity!  We love Him, because He first loved us.  Do you love Him?  Have you seen His great love for you?  If not, consider the love of God for you in Christ again by going to www.missionsurge.com/good-news

Next week we will finish our look at 1 John 4:7-21 and consider how we are to demonstrate love to God and to one another.  I hope you make it back!

Please pray and share!