For today’s Mideast Update, I start with a passage of Scripture found in the short book of Jude, and I would like to offer for your reading in the Amplified version today:
“But you, beloved, build yourselves up (founded) on your most holy faith–make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher–praying in the Holy Spirit; Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, (which will bring you) unto life eternal. And refute so as to convict some who dispute with you, and on some have mercy who waver and doubt. Strive to save others, snatching them out of the fire; on others take pity but with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality. Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling, or slipping, or failing and to present you unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory–with unspeakable, ecstatic delight–in triumphant joy and exultation, To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever–unto all the ages of eternity, Amen–so be it.”
Many people don’t understand what makes a man or woman a missionary. These verses give us a pretty good glimpse into their heart. Once we realize that everyone around us is heading toward eternity, and for most, an unsure eternity, it gives a different motive for living. House Of Blessing missionaries are around death constantly and have one thing on their mind–reaching others with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ before they’re gone. It was a gift from God for us to be given an opportunity to link arms with them and do what we can do to help in their task. Since a sovereign appointment arranged by God in late March 2012, there have been hundreds of thousands of folks that have been reached and the number is now growing exponentially. Only God can do such a thing! These folks are literally being rescued from the flames, just as described in this passage in Jude.
Over the past 26 months that I have been involved with House Of Blessing, Jerusalem, I have received a phone call from somewhere in the Middle East nearly every week with an update of the latest events–sometimes more than once a week when there were greater challenges to report. These calls have come from Jerusalem, Jordan, or Syria.
The last two calls let me know once again of the continuing miracles that God is providing in order for the good news of the gospel of Christ to continue being spread in one of the most difficult areas of the world. In the latest push, I believe there have been somewhere around 180 newly trained volunteer missionaries sent into Iraq from the training area in Syria, to help Brother Omar with the work. This work has spread into Basra and Baghdad, and many other locations across the nation of Iraq. Twelve of the latest missionaries intend to go into Iran because they are able to speak Farsi. These folks all need our prayers.
Like I’ve heard so very many times now, more of these folks have paid the ultimate price for their faith in Jesus Christ. Nine lost their lives for their faith in Syria and seventeen more in Iraq this past week. For those of us in the West, it is very difficult to imagine the conditions these brave people share their faith in. They depend on us to keep them in earnest prayer as we give thanks for the freedom that we still have, even as those freedoms are gradually being stripped away.
A few nights ago I had had quite an experience that I didn’t really understand until I received a call from Pastor R**** from the hospital in Damascus. I didn’t feel free to share this story until he had been released from the hospital, but now that he has, I share it here:
During my sleep I found myself in the most intense spiritual battle I have ever been in. Over my years of ministry I can tell of some pretty graphic events, but there was never one as intense as this one. I am not sure if I was actually asleep or not, but the way I remember it, I was asleep. The battle was not quick, nor was it easy. At times, it genuinely felt like I was going to lose, as I was surrounded by volatile evil entities. What I was fighting in the spirit was something I was not able to see, but it was just out of the reach of my fingertips.
I did a lot of wondering about the experience but, like I said, didn’t really get a clue as to its meaning until Pastor R**** made his weekly call to me, still from the hospital in Damascus where he was recuperating from skull surgery. Toward the end of our conversation, I asked him if anything extraordinary had happened with him recently. He said that he had not wanted to trouble me with his recent experience because he so often has bad news to share with me. He told me that a man had managed to get into the hospital, disguised as a doctor, and came into his room in order to “give him medicine.” When this “doctor” came in, R**** soon realized what was happening and he tried to cry out but could only manage a whisper. Some of the brothers had insisted on never leaving R**** alone and so stayed in his hospital room, but they were asleep. Undoubtedly at the Lord’s urging, those men suddenly woke up and managed to grab the man just before he managed to murder R****. The hospital staff then came and removed the man from the room.
God obviously knew what was coming, and for reasons that are beyond me, brought the spiritual battle into my own bedroom because of my closeness in spirit to R****. As the battle was won, the enemy lost, the men in the room were wakened just in time to grab the assassin, and R****’s life was spared once again! God still has great things for him to accomplish before it’s his time to go home. Praise God!
I tell you this story to show how crucial our place in God’s Kingdom really is. Many of us think that we have nothing to offer. I have known that feeling. But, God sees things much differently. It is by God’s sovereignty that each and every one of us are alive today. We were put on this earth; in fact, strategically put right where we are, by the sovereign design of God. Let’s make the most of it while there is still time.
In the past two years, the month of Ramadan has turned out to be a month of great harvest. Because of the fact that Muslims fast and pray for the duration of this month, God has made it a point to answer multitudes of them. They of course are worshipping and praying to Allah, but God, as the One and only true God, has been interrupting their prayers to Allah, and answering them Himself, often with them having Jesus appear to them! What a shock this must be since Islam does not recognize Jesus as the Messiah!
The month of Ramadan starts on June 27th this year. House Of Blessing is greatly in need of Bibles to give out to new believers. Please pray with us for this great need to be met–and in time. If the Lord speaks to you to help, there is a Stateside address below where donations can be sent. They are always deposited within two to three days of receipt. Thank You and God Bless!
House Of Blessing, City of Jesus Ministry
3206 SW 45th Street
Redmond, OR. 97756