While getting a few thoughts together for today’s update, I was reading in the book of Hebrews. The chapter begins with these words:
Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up, and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us. (verses 1-2)
Often we read through these verses without really thinking of what is being said in that first phrase; “a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands…” Since I believe that the Bible is meant to be accepted for what it says, I think the Scriptures are telling us that the Redeemed who have passed on have at least some awareness of what is transpiring here on Planet Earth. Are we being watched by those who have gone on to be with the Lord? Interesting thought.
I do believe that we will find that our lives have much more significance than we think they do. They, in fact, have eternal significance. That should give us great incentive to follow through on the rest of what those two verses instruct us to do. “Strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back…” Why? Because there is nothing in this temporal life that has any value in comparison to what is promised ahead in eternity for those who are true Jesus-followers!
A little farther down in the chapter we find these verses:
So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on our shaky legs, and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet so that those who follow you, though weak and lame, will not fall and hurt themselves, but become strong. (verses 12-14)
Many believers today have become fatigued at repeatedly hearing that we are at the end of the age and that the return of the Messiah is imminent. There are also others who have become scoffers, saying, “Where is this ‘Return’ you have been talking about??”
The Return of Jesus Christ truly is at the door. Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged, despondent because He has not returned yet. The Apostle Peter wrote that God is not willing that any perish! He will see to it that the last one who is going to be saved, is in the ark. The date of the last day of this age and the exact number of those that will be reached is a number that only God knows, but the speed at which Bible prophecy is being fulfilled tells us that we’re now at the door!
The last two verses of the chapter summarize our walk with God well:
Since we have a kingdom nothing can destroy, let us please God by serving him with thankful hearts, and with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire. (verses 28-29)
Is it worth it? Absolutely! None of us can even imagine the things God has planned for those who love Him. It will be an eternity of wonder, surprise, and glory beyond comprehension. We were made for so much more than what we experience in this life in a fallen world. Some wonder if we won’t get bored after a million years in heaven. We won’t, nor could we, because the One who created us is infinite and our eternal experience with reflect that!
When I think of the middle two verses above, I think of missionaries like those faithfully going about the work of the ministry day after day after day. The circumstances are very tough and human strength is not enough. Doing volunteer charity work is one thing but doing this while dealing with the souls of multitudes of lost men, women, and children is another. How often do they pray the same words before falling asleep at night as you and I do, “Even so come, Lord Jesus!”
As the days, weeks, and months pass, the work continues. Souls, so many lost souls! But,once again, the reports have come in of many hundreds who have come to know Jesus Christ as the true Messiah and prayed the sinner’s prayer. Of these, there were also hundreds who were infected with the Covid-19 and are being prayed for and treated. Some don’t survive and of course need to be buried quickly–especially in the extreme heat of summers in the Mideast. The rest however integrate into the House of Blessing community of believers.
I was told by Pastor R that he met with 120 of the top leaders this past week and after prayer decided to run the School of Ministry for all the new students, every other day for a while instead of the normal schedule. This was done to help lessen the immediate cost involved.Aalthough it was less than $3 per person, per day, the daily cost was still $600 . But, we serve a big God who is able to multiply the resources.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated, and those who help support the House of Blessing are also a great blessing. Whether it is Sami, Omar, or Mussa, all depend on the prayers of the brethren all around the world. It is the same with Mufiedah, Fadwa, and Sarah. We also have Adel and Abed, Sahbander, and Mortadah. Then there is Pastor R and Pastor Farid and his entire family of seven grown children who pray for people by the hundreds. There are those like Hafezeh, Ferial, Fatima, and Mariam, among many others who serve communion to hundreds every week. These are only the names of a very small number of the House of Blessing missionaries—mainly the ones I have the privilege of writing about in each update. There are well over 2,000 additional HOB missionaries scattered all over the Mideast, besides innumerable volunteers. This number includes a large number of Muslim sheikhs who have been reached with the Gospel in the past eight years—many of them mentoring and teaching others on a daily basis.
In closing, I pray that you all have an awareness of how very near we are to the return of our KING. Although millions are being reached with the Good News of the Gospel, our world is hurtling toward the chaotic times of what the prophet Joel called, “The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.” The convergence of prophetic events today are way beyond what most are recognizing. It would shock many people if they knew how much of what is considered conspiratorial, actually has a certain amount of truth to it. Today however, much that was hidden from view, is brazenly on display…because, it is TIME. The devil knows his time is very short, and he intends to cause as much carnage and destruction as he can. He intends to disrupt God’s eternal plan, but he cannot. His time is limited. Praise God!
Again, I ask for your prayers on behalf of the House of Blessing. The Middle East has been on the brink of war for a long time but the region today truly is on fire. War is now at the door. Israel knows this, and, it seems they are well prepared for it. While Israel has the backing of the United States (as long as Donald Trump is president), they will likely preempt the enemies who they know would like to annihilate them. God will not allow Israel to be destroyed but tough times are ahead. No matter how it all unfolds, Christian communities of believers scattered all over the Mideast will be in extreme danger. They, like we, hang onto the promises of Psalm 91.
Even so come, Lord Jesus!
Forever in His Service,