I have been updating the ministry work of the “House Of Blessing” (H.O.B.) now for about 16 months.  I don’t think I have ever felt more of an urgency to be a support, both with financial help and prayer, than today.  I have received three phone calls directly out of Syria since the last update was uploaded—two of them nearly back to back.

The updates I receive give accounts of events that bring great joy, but then often great sadness and grief.  It was just recently that R* was describing to me the great joy of the people when the last batch of 1,000 Bibles were made available.  As R* described the scene, it was like people at a wedding celebration (weddings in Mideast are quite demonstrative with lots of celebration, etc), with people expressing their great joy with dancing, singing, and with an awe of what they had received.  Then, the call I received Friday morning, August the 16th, provided details of a major tragedy having occurred.

As readers might remember from past Jerusalem updates, R*, our pastor friend has been training volunteer missionaries on a continual basis, especially since the latest project was taken on by H.O.B., Jerusalem.  I don’t know if there is even any way of knowing how many of these leaders have been raised up, but it is a considerable number.  Many have been raised up in northern Jordan, then a home church was established over the border in Iraq—which now has hundreds of believers involved, and then as of the last few months, in Syria.  Many hundreds are now telling the story of the love and forgiveness of God through Jesus of Nazareth because of their own experience of having been forgiven.  As a result, tens of thousands have found the love of God to be real and have been forgiven and set on a pathway to spending eternity with the Lord God.  By all indications, the number of those that have bowed their knees to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob instead of Allah, through the ministry of this humble man over the past 16 months, number well over 100,000 as much as about four months ago already.  The only reason a number is even mentioned is so that we might be aware of the great things God is doing in these last moments of time before Jesus calls His own out of this dying world and into His presence.

This has turned into a formidable army of believers that are willing to die if necessary while telling the greatest story ever told to a people who have never experienced anything other than hatred and bloodshed coming from the demonic god Allah and required of his subjects.  No place on earth shows the true colors of Allah and the teaching of the Koran than today in Syria.  The followers of Allah are following the instructions of the Koran which require Muslims to kill infidels.  If Muslims are not killing infidels, then they are killing other Muslims who might happen to belong to a different brand of Islamic belief.

This last week a meeting had been planned where 15 of the better trained volunteer missionaries were meeting with an unknown number of new believers in order to teach and train them for the work of the ministry.  It appears that they were set up and exposed as Christians to Hezbollah fighters, who then butchered 12 of the teachers.  Three managed to escape with most of the students, and so were mostly untouched.

When R* called me to give me the update, there was a great sadness and grief in his voice.  I asked him how he was handling it and he said that he has seen so much of it now that it seems his reservoir of tears has run out.  He said that they were of course in a much better place now, but it was a tragedy none the less, and brought great sadness.  All he asked me for was prayer, and the prayers of as many people as would do so because they had been hit very hard.

A day or two later I got another call.  It has been a rare occasion when I received more than one call a week, but this was one of those times.  R* said that he was making this call because I had asked him to let me know of both good and bad events when they happen so that I can get the word out for people to pray.  R* told me that seven of the volunteers had been out doing nothing but distributing food to as many of the refugees as they could and for this action were shot to death by a band of Hezbollah fighters.  The whole scene was witnessed by other believers that were close to the event to see everything that transpired.

Because of the sharp uptick in slaughters of Christians, many have decided to slip completely out of sight and not take the chance of running into those who have developed such a blood lust.  R* said that no one of those that God has given him has ever been coaxed into putting their lives in danger and so when people have decided to back off, they are never condemned nor have any been made to feel guilty for hiding.  Who can blame them?  The ministry there is done in the most extremely violent circumstances and God is the One that is able to give the courage and strength to face this type of enemy, not anyone else.

At the end of his call, R* only asked for prayer that the LORD would encourage him and those God has given him to continue sharing the Word of God with those God has surrounded them with.

I have done a lot of thinking about R* and the work of House Of Blessing, especially now.  To be honest, I wish I had a way I could do more for him.  I live a life where I do not fear being murdered because I am sharing the story of Jesus the coming Messiah—at least not yet.  Most of us can go about our business doing pretty much anything we please.  For the most part, those of us in the free world are taking our freedom for granted and don’t even realize it.  What can we do for someone like R*, or the ministry that God has given him?  What would God expect out of us?  Obviously we can’t go and become part of the volunteer missionary force.  As Americans, especially if we have white skin, we would become an immediate target; worse yet, we would endanger those around us even more than they already are.  So what can we do?

Hebrews 13:3 gives us one example.  It reads like this:  “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

It is very easy to say that we’ll pray for someone and yet not have any earnestness in our prayers.  Worse yet, most of us don’t feel much need to pray for those who are persecuted or losing their lives for the gospel because what is happening to them has no connection with us.  It is easy to say the right words; in fact even sound spiritual, yet not follow through with our actions what we are saying with our mouths.  Our reason for praying for someone is to get answers to our prayers, not just to go through the motions.  In James 5: 16b it reads:  “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (NIV).  In the King James Bible it reads: “the earnest effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. In other words, we need to pray like we really want an answer!  In order to pray like this and get results, we need to be spiritually “engaged”, or connected.

It is also easy to pray the words, “Please Lord God, provide the finances necessary to buy more Bibles for these people being ministered to.”  This is a good prayer, but more often than not, God will speak to us as individuals and ask us to contribute.  God doesn’t ask everyone to contribute to every need that comes up.  This is impossible.  But, knowing the time we are in, there is no greater investment that can be made than into the souls of people.  As I’ve mentioned often, God made a very specific promise right at the outset of our relationship with H.O.B.  God said that every single Bible would bear fruit; in fact, it would bear much fruit!  For 16 months now, we have watched Him do just exactly that!  The money that has been sent to purchase Bibles printed into Arabic has netted an enormous harvest, and this harvest is multiplying faster each and every day.  We don’t dare quit now.

Most people know that we are living in troublesome times, or at least they should be.  Times today are very uncertain, and due to what is right over the threshold, many are living in great fear.  Many have decided it’s time to be prepared for doom’s day.  Some have gone to great lengths to try and prepare for every conceivable catastrophe, including underground bunkers, etc.  I am not one to criticize anyone for being prepared for troublesome times, especially times of disaster, but I do however believe that there is no way on earth to prepare for much of what is coming upon the earth.  There is only one sure preparation that will meet all of the possible scenarios just ahead, and that is to have a close relationship with God, and that must be through the Messiah Jesus.  There is no other way.  Having food, water, and other supplies for a 6 month period of time is not wrong, nor is it unspiritual; it is in fact wise if a person is able to.   However, it is not possible to provide for everything that will be unleashed in judgment on a fallen world.  The only answer to this is not to be one of the fallen ourselves.  That takes us being willing to humble ourselves and bend our knee before our Creator and ask His forgiveness and miraculous healing of the rift between us, His creation, to Him, our Creator, and Savior.  It also takes making the decision to ask Him to be the LORD of our lives, no matter what is ahead.

I happen to be a firm believer in the Rapture of the followers of Christ being snatched before the Great Tribulation comes upon the earth.  I have studied this extensively and find it taught throughout both the Old and New Testaments.  Yet, this does not mean that we won’t possibly go through hard times first.  Most of the world is going through great tribulations and enormous upheavals already.  In fact, somewhere around 200,000 Christians are martyred each and every year around the globe today.  We in America have no guarantee that it won’t happen here as well.  True Christianity is becoming more and more unpopular each and every day that goes by.

The reason I mention all this is because it has caused many people to back off from supporting good Christian ministries.  Our focus has turned inward due to threats on the horizon.  Yet, the Bible tells us that we serve a God who really is Almighty.  He really does take care of His own.  We as the people of God can’t afford to become self-centered now.  If anything, we should maybe act a little “nuts”!  This is because God says He loves a cheerful giver.  The word for cheerful is actually a “hilarious” giver.  Are you a hilarious giver??  This may be a good time to try it and let God show Who He really is!

Our actions in these last moments of time before Jesus returns will have an eternal impact on a great many people—as well as having an impact on our own eternity.  The Bible tells us not to worry about the future.  Prepare in a responsible way, but don’t worry!  The Bible gives us so many examples of God’s miraculous intervention for His own.  Think of how God fed the millions of Hebrews in the desert!  Then there was the need for an enormous amount of water—where there was none!  God not only satisfied the needs of the Israelites, but also their millions of animals.  Think of the logistics!  He miraculously fed them, watered them, kept them warm, kept them cool, kept their shoes from wearing out, and all this while marching for 40 years around a brutal desert!  How did God do this?  I don’t know!  But, doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever?  God is still in the miracle working business today.  Let’s trust Him to fulfill His Word in our own everyday lives.  Do you really think that your life is of no significance?  Wrong!  Not in the sight of our LORD!  Do any of you think it was an accident that you happen to be alive on this earth today?  Hardly!  God does everything strategically.  Always has!  Now back to H.O.B…

I was told by R* that the Muslim Ramadan was a very good time for reaching the Muslim people.  Because of the fact that they were already fasting and praying, many were prepped for receiving an answer.  Although they hoped to hear from Allah, Jesus Christ interrupted their prayers and has been making Himself known to a great number!  H.O.B. is now also seeing many Muslim sheiks come to a saving knowledge of Christ as well!  Amazing!!  It is no different than what we are told in the Book of Acts where it says that many of the Jewish priesthood came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ the Messiah.

For me, I have a great burden to find a way to provide as many Arabic Bibles as possible.  It is not because it has anything to do with the House Of Blessing, or even our friend R*.  It is because of the sovereign work that God is doing through them.  R* and those God has given him have proven with the sacrifice of many of their own lives that they are following the path laid out by their Redeemer.  They are walking in obedience to the only One that has control of human history.  This is the same obedience my wife and I are walking out in our own lives.  I hope and pray that many readers will also feel this burden, beyond the those who have already become part of this project.  Time has literally run out.  A massive Mideast war is about to erupt.  What we intend to do in the Lord’s Name must be done now.  God always honors His Word and will not fail to bless those that help make it possible to provide God’s Word to these people who need and want it so badly.   This is the most desperate time for the people of Syria in likely all of history.  They have no hope except for the hope given them by God Himself.

In closing this update, I want to make it clear that my efforts to help H.O.B. are only due to what God has put on my heart at this time.  I don’t believe in tantalizing folks with promises of great wealth for obeying God.  Whatever God does in each giver’s life is His business, yet He does promise His blessings—and they can come in numerous ways.  I will just share a couple scriptures in closing.  What you or I do financially has to be from the throne of God, not from anything said on this blog.  God is sovereign and He will speak to people as He chooses.  So, I just encourage each person to listen carefully to the Spirit of God—not to me, or anyone else for that matter.  The need is now enormous, but so are the results.  I have found that H.O.B. does not spend anything on overhead; they have none!  No one has their salary paid through their tax-deductible donations, nor is any office staff paid.  Everything is voluntary.  Every donation is quickly put into a State-side account that is a U.S. recognized legal 501-3c charitable organization.  Tax receipts are sent out at the end of the tax year.

Please allow me to share an important scripture that speaks to our giving; especially the motive behind our giving.  It is found in 2 Corinthians and reads like this:

“Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  As it is written: ‘He has scattered abroad His gifts to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’  Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.  Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else…”  (2 Corinthians 9:6-13 NIV)

Please note that no one should give out of compulsion from any human being.  That means me, or anything said via this blog.  It has to be GOD, and none other.  I do have another verse of Scripture to share which I happened to run across this morning in the book of James, and I share it with trepidation as I am afraid someone will take my motive out of context.  Please don’t.  It is obviously speaking to wealthy people whose agenda is not directed by God, but also appears to point out a careful balance God’s people need to have in these troublesome times.  While it is wise to prepare ourselves for the future and God directs us to, there is also a balance to this.  There is no sin in having some precious metals stored away for evil days ahead, but God still needs to have His sovereignty within these preparations by His own people.  If God does not have control of our preparations, it will all be in vain.  The eternity of many people are at stake, and we are at the end of the age.  The Great Tribulation is just around the corner now.  Many people have gone to extreme lengths to try and prepare for things that none of us have any control over.  Somewhere in our preparations, there needs to be a spiritually healthy balance —realizing that God is still on the throne and will take care of His own.  When we forget that, we fall into the category James is referring to—and it specifically addresses us in our day.  It reads like this:

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.  Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.  Your gold and silver are corroded.  Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.  You have hoarded wealth in the last days…”

Thanks so much for reading.  PLEASE pray earnestly for R*, House Of Blessing, and all those God has given to R* and H.O.B.  God Bless You All.

For tax deductible donations, please send to:  H.O.B. CITY OF JESUS MINISTRY; 3206 SW 45th St.; Redmond, OR 97756.

KEEP LOOKING UP!

Jake

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