As I read one news article after another, I think of a great event that is soon to come. Soon, the Lord of Glory will return to this world which today is spinning out of control, and He will take full control over it once again. The Psalmist penned these words in Psalm 24:
The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” verses 1-4a
In contrast to this great Psalm of King David, we have Psalm 2:
“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” verses 1-3
This is a unique Psalm in the fact that it is a discussion between the three members of the Godhead. It is the Holy Spirit that starts this conversation, speaking through the fifth verse. It is the Father’s voice in verse 6, speaking of the Son. Verse 7 has the Son Himself speaking, and in verse 8 & 9, once again, we have the Father speaking. And then, the Holy Spirit closes the entire conversation in this Psalm with these words:
“Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way. When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” verses 10-12
We live in a most unique time. While the world is quickening its pace toward another world war, God is about to interrupt the affairs of this planet by allowing a prophesied sequence of events to commence which will prove to be the most devastating and destructive this world has ever seen–including in the cataclysmic days of Noah. At the end of this time, called the Great Tribulation in the Bible, the Messiah Himself, Jesus Christ, will return in person to take over the rulership of this planet as GOD / KING.
The advice in this inspired Psalm, which refers to the period of time of the Messiah’s rulership called the Millennium, found in verses 10-12 of Psalm 2, is not advice that most of this world’s kings, prime-ministers, or presidents are likely to follow until Jesus, Son of God, the Word spoken of in John 1:1, intervenes in this world’s affairs. The Bible tells us that if He did not, the world would be totally annihilated. That is the end result of the nation’s raging against God!
I find the last phrase of that Psalm to be something we believers can and should discipline our lives by. Once again, it says: “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”
We have just spoken of how the world is hurtling toward another global conflict. The region of the world that might just become the ignition point, is the Middle East. For several years now, as I have written these Mideast Updates, I have warned that the Mideast is on the precipice of a massive regional war. It has also been my opinion that it is quite likely to lead to another major global conflict…one like this world has never seen. It is only due to the ultimate control of God Himself and the timing of all events which only He Himself really controls, that this has not already happened. It will, however, eventually happen and that “eventually” now appears to be very near.
ISIS controlled areas
I have two reasons for going into detail of what is happening in the Middle East. One: We need to be informed about what is unfolding because Jesus instructed us to “WATCH”, for when you see “these things” (things Jesus outlined in detail in Matthew 24 and by most of the Old Testament prophets) beginning to come to pass,”LOOK UP”, for your redemption draws near. My second reason is because the House of Blessing missionaries are directly on the front lines of everything that is unfolding in the Middle East, and they need our attention, our earnest prayers, and our support.
NOTE: Photos below do not necessarily have to do directly with the storyline, but are inserted from my current world event files to help the reader visualize the true situation on the ground in the Middle East.
As I write this Update, I have several current news reports displayed on my desk. These tell the most current news coming out of both Iraq and Syria. One region not mentioned near as often lately due to the other major conflicts going on, is in the Fallujah area. Although ISIS has for the most part lost their control of the area, ISIS terrorists are still being fought and many lives are being lost. As of this last week, the news coming out of Fallujah from brother Adel is that at least 34 of the new believers were killed in the previous few days. There are still about 120 House of Blessing missionaries ministering in the area and another 150 souls were reached and gave their lives into the control of Jesus. Sister Fatima was able to serve over 600 believers with communion during this period of time. Amazing!
The news coming out of the Mosul, Iraq area is that even though ISIS is being pushed back by tens of thousands of soldiers representing several different militaries, the battle has been brutal and not as quick as had been hoped. The UN has reported that in the six week old battle, around 2,000 had been killed in fighting this last month alone. On top of this, records are showing that at least 926 civilians were killed during this time as well. This does not count the scores of wounded, either by the armed conflict or the many acts of terrorism. ISIS, or “Daesh” is using residential homes as firing positions as well as abducting and forcibly moving civilians, effectively using them as human shields.
One can read the reports coming from the field and consider them war bulletins, essentially ignoring it all as par for the situation on the ground. But, in the middle of all this misery, brutality, and killing, are the HOB missionaries who are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to tell the Good News even if to just one more person! Because of this, another 76 missionaries and newly committed Christians lost their lives in the last few days. This does not include the scores of civilians that have lost their lives.
The weather is becoming a real issue again, as it does every year. The rain, the wind, and sometimes blowing snow or sleet is knocking tents down and soaking supplies. The Christians do what they can to help the refugees get their tents back up and secured. Many however don’t have any shelter whatsoever. How do such people survive? Many don’t make it. As the reader can imagine, the needs are enormous and the UN is only meeting a small fraction of them. There are literally thousands who have absolutely no shelter at all. In the midst of all this however, there is good news. At least 300 souls were reached in this very difficult area in the last week or so!
The groups of widows that had been ISIS captives for so long have been gathered into one location and total 56 at last count. As the regular reader of this blog will already know, these women have endured unspeakable things in the last two years and will need some time to heal and be able to function normally amongst others. They are all being treated by HOB volunteers and missionaries. They receive two meals a day. They also receive professional care from some physicians as well as psychological help. This however all costs money. We do serve a big God though, and our faith is in His provision for all of these great needs. God is good!
The story of northern Syria continues to be gruesome. Although attempts are made again and again to provide paths of escape for civilians, most people have no trust in being able to get out safely. But, staying where bombs, missiles, and artillery are continuing to be fired into places where the terrorists are embedded amongst the people is likely a death warrant. Many thousands are fleeing, but many have died. Many of the dead are found on the road with their quickly stuffed suitcases lying at their sides. It is beyond horrible. Although Mufidah and her companions who are still recovering from their injuries are not able to minister as they had been, others have taken their place and many are being treated and healed. Each one of these also becomes a follower of Messiah Jesus. I was told that Mufidah and those injured with her are getting better. We thank God for this.
A number of the new believers have lost their lives in the last few days, along with at least eight more of their children. As of the last call I received from Pastor R, there were still 65 bodies needing to be buried.
Sister Hafezah was able to serve communion to at least 700 this past week. Sarah also was able to minister to 75 parents that have lost family members, including quite a number of children. God always seems to give her the right words to share and many souls are reached. God is good!!
As in northern Iraq, northern Syria is getting quite cold. Winter is coming very quickly and once again, as every year, the missionaries will be trying to get enough layers of clothing on to survive the weather. They of course also do everything they can to help the helpless. That is Christianity in action.
As I spoke with Pastor R this last time, he asked for prayer for himself as well. He still prays for hundreds of people per day. They come to his tent in long lines, many of them sick with the flu or any number of other ailments. He never turns anyone away and always lays hands on them. But, he now is battling with the flu as well. Let’s join in prayer that the Lord will put a shield over him so that he can stay healthy, no matter who he comes into contact with. Our God is able!
The turmoil in and around Damascus continues as it is in so many other regions of Syria. The Syrian government is in control of most areas, but not exclusively. Whole sections of the population get moved on occasion. Syrian state-run Ikhbariya TV, broadcasting from near Khan al-Shih a few days ago said 1,270 people will be moved to Idlib in the coming week and the remaining 3,000-4,500 people will be taken back into government-controlled areas, citing sources within the local administration. A month ago, the Syrian army and its allies cut supply lines between Khan al-Shih and the town of Zakiya to its south which is largely peaceful due to a previous deal with the government. Ikhbariya said seven other villages west of Damascus had agreed to settlement and evacuation deals in the past few days. I don’t know the exact location of Pastor R, but it is within the Damascus metropolitan area. Let’s keep his safety in our prayers.
As I close this update, I would urge us all to view the Christmas season a bit differently than we are maybe used to. Could this be the last Christmas season before the Lord calls us home? That’s very possible, which means that time is running out for those who have not made things right with the Lord. Our involvement makes a great difference. God always multiplies what is done to the honor of His Name. There isn’t a one of us that can meet the needs of the entire world, but each one of us can make a difference. Maybe we can limit the extravagance of our gifts a bit so that we can reach out to those that have absolutely nothing. God does take notice of this type of selflessness. He doesn’t miss a thing. This is the season to reflect on what God has done for us. Let’s pass it on!
I do want to add a very special thanks to those who have been so generous in the past. It is not the amount, but rather the heart behind the gift. As the evangelist Billy Graham always said, “Little is much when God is in it!”
In His Service,
House Of Blessing; 3206 SW 45th Street; Redmond, Oregon USA 97756
Note: For those that desire to help with this ministry, one convenient way is through PayPal by using my e-mail address. It is then in the hands of the HOB missionaries within 24-48 hours.