After my phone call this week from Syria, I have made several attempts to write an update that truly reflects the nature of what is happening in the lives of House of Blessing’s missionaries and the thousands of refugees that they are ministering to. As I receive each update, I am reminded again and again of the unique time in history in which we live. With each update, we receive news of missionaries working to meet the needs of so many people who are either starving or freezing to death–or both. There are reports of missionaries taking courageous stands in the face of potentially being shot, stoned, beaten, beheaded, burned, crucified, or buried alive. The accounts are much more than how many people make a decision to make Jesus the Messiah their Lord and Master. All of these are examples of the fulfillment of Biblical promises telling of the great and mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God at the End of the Age, literally the latter rain spoken of by the prophet Joel and quoted by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:17-21:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (NKJV)
As HOB missionaries are striving to meet the needs of people whom the UN has been unable to reach, these people are experiencing the true love of God being shared through them. As these folks become recipients of God’s love in tangible ways, they begin to accept the love of God in a spiritual way. This is what differentiates this mission work from so many other refugee aid projects. People find the God behind the love that is shared. There are organizations and projects that do wonderful work among the destitute, though without sharing Jesus Christ with them. If the end goal is not to bring an eternal change of spiritual direction, it only has value in this life.
For those that have watched the news, you know that the Middle East has been hit with one devastating winter storm after another. Storms are hard enough to deal with when shelter is available, but when there is no shelter, people die of exposure to the elements. Thousands of refugees died last year in Syria due to the harsh winter storms and lack of sufficient food and shelter.
I received additional news from Jerusalem today, giving thanks to the Lord of Heaven for miracle finances coming in that helped provide more winter clothing, mattresses, blankets, grain, and other supplies to help more of these people through the winter. The United Nations and other organizations find it much too dangerous and so the refugees are left on their own. There are however members of the family of God who have listened to God’s call and provided more help and thousands have been helped by HOB missionaries, many of them then also finding Jesus as their Messiah.
I would like to share two of the scriptures that were included in the email update I received. The first is found in Matthew 15:32, and the second in Matthew 25:31-46.
Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat and I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. The the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
The first Scripture of course was where Jesus had taught the massive crowd of people for three days. The people were so impacted by the truth Jesus was teaching them, as well as the many miracles that were performed, they did not want to go home. After three days, Jesus did not want to send them on their way without feeding them so that they would have the strength to get themselves home.
This is a passage that shows the love God has for His prized creation, as well as understanding of the fact that we are flesh, and are vulnerable to weakness if we don’t eat. Jesus reminded us in another passage that God knows full well that we have need of food and clothing. We can trust Him with those needs, so we can we trust Him to help us meet those needs for others.
The second passage contains a strong message that many don’t pay enough attention to. God not only promises to meet our personal needs, but He also calls us to use our faith to help those in greater need. This second Scripture goes on to tell the other side of the story which is God’s judgment of those who neglect reaching out to those in need, because they in effect are rejecting the Master Himself. That’s not a comfortable lesson for many of us but Jesus taught that we are to love others as much as we love ourselves, even when we don’t know them personally.
As we hear of the miracles on the mission field which are pointing to the fact that we are at the end of the age, we are also reminded that many other prophecies spoken by Joel are beginning to unfold before our eyes. It has traditionally been believed by many that much of this passage will not happen until the Apocalypse–in particular the Wonders in the Heavens; Blood, Fire, and Vapor of Smoke, the sun turned to darkness and the moon to blood (Joel 2:30-31). It should be noted that it says these things will happen before the Day of the Lord! I should add here that Malachi the prophet also tells us that the prophet Elijah will also show up on earth before the great and dreadful Day of the LORD. (Malachi 4:5)
In the next months, we are going to see a whirlwind of events unfolding, events that will leave the world stunned and forced to pause long enough to question what it is that is really happening on this chaotic earth. Jehovah God is going to shake anything and everything that can be shaken so that man will take a second look at the condition of his heart. Those that surrender to the tugging of the Holy Spirit of God on their hearts and accept the free gift of salvation and forgiveness will enjoy the inheritance of the true saints of God; those that do not will spend eternity separated from the presence of God, a place of no hope and no release…ever!
This is why we must make the most of the time we have left folks. We are sprinting toward the finish line. Let’s finish the race well so we can hear those words, “well done good and faithful servant, welcome into the joy of your Lord!” (Matthew 25:21)
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