I had a fascinating lunch meeting yesterday. A man flew from New York City to Atlanta to have lunch with me and my dad. He leads a Christian ministry to the United Nations and wanted to make us aware of an important upcoming event. On January 9, 2011 Southern Sudan will vote in a referendum on whether to leave Northern Sudan and form its own nation. You may be like me and know little about Sudan. I hope that will change.

Northern Sudan is dominated by Muslims of Arab descent. Southern Sudan is populated with native Africans many of whom are Christian. For years the North dominated the South. Then oil was found in the South. China built oil refineries in the north by the Red Sea and began buying up all the oil it could. The North, led by its cruel president launched attacks on people in the South to ensure their total control of the oil assets. These resulted in the deaths of two million people. A truce was finally signed which established a border between north and south and called for the sharing of power in the government. It also allowed for a referendum to be held on January 9, 2011 for the South to vote for its destiny.

You may have heard of the massacres in Darfur in western Sudan. Arab Sudanese Muslims slaughtered black Sudanese Muslims by the tens of thousands. Some believe this was done as a diversion so the world would not focus on the fact that the North kept encroaching farther and farther into Southern territory.

In our meeting yesterday, we were told that a call has gone out for Southern Sudanese to pray for 40 days leading up to the referendum. I think it behooves every Christian to join their Christian brothers and sisters in prayer for the January 9th vote. If the Southern Sudanese vote to secede, they will be the largest land-locked nation in the world. They will desperately need help to build infrastructure. They will need to develop their agriculture and economy. They’ll need railroads and communication systems. Their military will need help to properly defend the new nation from aggressors. The north will be Muslim. The South will be predominantly Christian. What a wonderful opportunity for Christians around the world to demonstrate how Christians behave and help others around the world. Be praying for January 9 and seek to stay informed of what is happening to believers around the world.

I was also very encouraged by our second revised, Spiritual Leadership Conference held recently in Columbia, SC. Many people told us the event was life-changing. It is sobering how easily and quickly Christian leaders can become sidetracked from God’s agenda and instead become consumed with their own goals and plans. It was encouraging to see the altar filled with people surrendering their lives to God and His will for them and those they lead. Please pray for us as we continue to take this new conference to cities across America.

I was also encouraged by Romans 13:1. “. . . for there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” At times it is good to ask, “Why did God allow this government leader into office?” Was it because God wanted to use him to accomplish His purposes? Did God want to provide a wake up call? Did God intend it as judgment on His people for their sin? One thing is certain, people only assume office at God’s good pleasure. If you are concerned about particular government leaders, be sure you are spending your time praying and not worrying. God’s people spend far too much time wringing their hands, worrying and speculating. None of this changes anything. It only wastes our precious time. When we get in tune with God and His heart and will, we are then in a position to make a difference in our land. I pray that in these critical days you are asking God how He intends for your life to make a positive difference in your land and around the world.

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