Can you identify with my memory of a particular camping trip our church took on a holiday weekend a number of years ago? We had everything well planned. We had tents, food, camping gear, and sports equipment for everyone to enjoy. We even had a functioning outhouse. We brought chainsaws so we could cut available firewood for our campfires and of course, for the big bonfires at our gathering place. The only thing we had not planned for was incessant RAIN—rain that just would not stop, no matter how spiritual we got, or how much we prayed! As the weekend wore on, everything became soaked–I mean totally soaked! People had no dry clothes to wear, the ground around the tents turned into fields of mud, everyone was freezing and miserable. All the tents were leaking and little rivers of water were running right through them. We had horseshoe pits set up, intended for everyone to enjoy in the sunshine, that became small ponds. Our nice green volleyball field turned into a field of MUD! One at a time, families gave up, took their tents down, piled things into their vehicles and headed back—to homes with heat and dry clothes.
The news coming out of the Middle East today concerns the devastating snowstorm that has hit the region, especially in the north. The photos coming in from media show, to a limited extent, how tragic such a storm can be for people who have no place to go to escape the weather! Tents collapse again and again. Thousands of people are standing out in the snowstorm freezing! Their mattresses or blankets are soaked and likely ruined. Their clothes are soaked and freezing on their bodies! What can they do? What would you do?
The stories are unimaginable, even if you have experienced a camping trip like mine described above. Yet, it gets worse because people are actually dying of exposure. The HOB missionaries report the deaths of at least 10 women and children. And there will likely be more deaths as the weather predictions are not at all good.
What can we do? We can pray. Pray earnestly. I am sure that God will speak to some of you to share of your abundance. But I ask that we all pray. The prayer necessary is not “please help the missionaries, Lord,” without urgency or power. Instead, pray like someone’s life depends on it, because—IT DOES! In fact, many lives depend on YOUR prayers! Don’t look at it as a task, look on it as an honor and privilege to take these desperate needs to the throne of Grace, praying in faith, and offering thanksgiving for the answers that bring Glory to our Father God.
The Bible tells us that as we do unto others, it will be done unto us. The roles might be reversed someday and unknown and unnumbered brothers and sisters in Christ will be praying for us. You and I have never met them, yet, they are our brethren who serve the same Master we do. We will be spending eternity together very soon. I know that we have no way of meeting every need in this collapsing and dying world. We can only respond as God gives us the wisdom, ability, and, most importantly, instruction to do so.
I think of the story of Elijah the prophet when he was instructed to go to Zarephath and meet the destitute widow there. He had nothing to sustain himself but God told him to approach a widow who had only ONE meal left for herself and her son. The prophet was to tell her that she was to feed him FIRST? How can that be? Yet, God had something in mind that went way beyond the natural way of seeing things. The problem was…the widow had to agree to this and sign on for this course in the life of faith at a time when she and her son were prepared to die after eating their last meal. But God provided an astounding miracle of sustenance for Elijah, the widow, and her son. It seems that God asks us to step out of our comfort zone and to trust Him beyond the natural and logical way of seeing things.
As I was writing this update, I received another phone call from Syria. I spoke with Pastor R***** who filled me in on another day in the snowstorm. He said that he, as well as many others, had not slept in about three days but he was not at all tired. It seems they have been given supernatural strength to overcome what most would see as an impossible situation. He watched as hundreds of folks that had only been believers a short time, formed an army of people who worked hours on end helping everyone they could to have some type of shelter. It was a great blessing to see these folks squeeze as many people together in tent after tent so that everyone could get some “dry” time, and try to warm up a little bit. The believers shared everything, and God met needs in amazing ways. As bad as the circumstances were, no one complained! The most touching and heart-warming experience was when a very large group of people gathered to share communion, sing praises, worship Almighty God, and pray. They truly learned to put into practice the lesson that Apostle Paul spoke of in Philippians 4:11 where he said:
…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
This is the way God has shown us we are to live. There is coming a day very soon when there will be no lack, no sickness, no disease, no evil, and even death will be defeated. Hallelujah! In the meantime, we live in a fallen world that is quickly slipping into total chaos because it is choosing to ignore the Creator of all things. By choosing to sidestep the One that created us, the world is opening the door to every evil ever conjured up by the fallen one.
There is a way of living that fulfills every need. One of the volunteer missionary students approached R***** this last week and excitedly commented that he was seeing Matthew 4:23 being lived out in the refugee camp! The passage reads:
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
We serve the God that empowered the early Church who is, in fact, empowering the end-time Church. He is pouring out His Spirit on any who will allow His Lordship.
May God Abundantly Bless You All.
As a reminder, the new mailing address for House of Blessing is:
H.O.B. House of Blessing
P.O. Box 2093
Redmond, OR 97756
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