A question that comes to mind at times, and badgers us as believers, is will God’s love for me truly endure? Will it continue even through my failings and sinful mistakes? Can my own weaknesses as a Christ-follower ever wear down His love for me?
Psalm 103:17 tells us that The love (mercy) of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children…” His love is also faithful— a love that just does not let go!
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. vs 11-14
God’s love for us is way above our own capacity to love, to have mercy, and to be faithful to one another. Because of this great love, the record of our sins has been obliterated and, according to 1 Corinthians 1:30, once we have submitted ourselves to Jesus our Savior, we are clothed with His righteousness, not our own. Does that keep us from falling into sin? Not yet! We have all fallen short more often than we’d like to admit, and sometimes experienced the consequences of our blunders. But this passage tells us that He knows our frame; that we are dust — or flesh. He knows our weaknesses and failings. But the more we mature in our walk with Christ, the more Christlike we become. And, through His Blood, He has provided us His ‘robe of righteousness’ to wear. The Father sees us with that robe, clothed in righteousness through the Blood of Jesus.
An important understanding about the phrase “everlasting to everlasting” as it is found in verse 17 of this Psalm, is that God has loved us “from everlasting.” What does that really mean? It means He not only loves us now, He has loved us from forever. He has loved those who are truly His children from before they were ever born. He knew you and He knew me from before He ever laid the foundations of the earth itself, and He will love us for the rest of eternity. You and I cannot fathom eternity, but someday we will get a hint of it! Will God’s love for His children ever give up or wear out? No. God’s love for those who have made the choice and accepted Him as their one and only Lord and Savior, spans eternity, both before we were ever born and throughout all eternity going forward!
So, how should we then live? We should cherish that most costly love of God, and live as ambassadors of the Most High God, following the lead of His Spirit until we complete our short journey on this fallen world, until He calls us Home. After all, each and every one of us was a part of His plan from the very beginning!
Now to the House of Blessing…
In a short call I received from Pastor R, he shared a bit more of the story that began with Sister Mufiedah’s kidnapping and brutal abuse by a group of militants. A few days ago, about 27 HOB missionary women went from tent to tent, all staying within eyesight of the group, when 5 men with machine guns approached them. Their intent was obvious to the women and they decided they would face them as a group. While Sarah ran to find Omar for help, some of the other women began to pray out loud in the Spirit while those closest to the men told them that they needed to repent of their evil intent. As the women prayed and stood their ground, the men shouted out, “What language are you speaking? We don’t know that language.” One of the women answered and said it was a heavenly language given them by the Holy Spirit of God. This really began to frustrate and confuse the men. One of the women then said, “We know you! You are the men who kidnapped and raped our sister Mufiedah!” They denied it at first but then one of the men admitted it. He asked how they could possibly know that. The widow that confronted the men with the information told him that the Spirit of God had told them that they were the guilty ones.
As the women were confronting the five men, Omar and Ayeat Rahmani rushed over to help. By this time, the tough facade that the attackers were putting up began to crack. The women had told them that this was their time to repent of their sins and stop living for the devil. If not, God was going to deal with them in a very harsh manner. The man who had weakened first then asked to be shown how to repent and become a follower of Jesus Christ. Omar and the brothers who came with him then began praying with the men, one at a time, until all five had accepted Jesus as their Savior!
The men still wondered if God could really forgive them for the terrible things they had done in the past years. Omar told them God will always forgive if someone is genuine in their repentance. He warned them though that they now needed to get themselves into fellowship with other believers and, secondly, never ever go back to their old way of life. Omar added that God had forgiven, but he would need to speak with Mufiedah to know if she is able to forgive also. A couple of the HOB women then went to where Mufiedah was and asked her if she was able to forgive these men. Her response was, “If they have truly repented and God has forgiven them, I cannot do any less.”
It is hard for most who have not experienced such things to understand the physical, emotional and physical trauma that Mufiedah has gone through. Some of the other HOB widows have, however, experienced the same. Sarah is one of these. It is also hard for us, particularly in Western society to comprehend living under circumstances where there really is no law being enforced. Murder, rape, torture, and things that most of us can’t even imagine are very common in the refugee camps. Over the years, many of those who had been guilty of the most despicable acts later were brought to a place of repentance and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. So, in a sense, this part of the continuing story is not too surprising. The grace our God offers is beyond our capability to comprehend. I quite often look at a photo that I have of a group of former ISIS killers being baptized in water after they had come to understand who Jesus really is and committed their lives to serving Him. Former killers and rapists — most because they had grown up being taught it was acceptable in Islam to treat infidels any way they chose — are integrated into the House of Blessing community of believers and taught the life of a Jesus follower. Amazing!
The HOB missionary teams have continued ministering to as many of the people as they have been able to. Again, approximately 2,500 family tents were visited. Each was given wheat, water, and Oregano tea mixture as they were able. They also shared the good news of the Gospel and prayed with as many as they were allowed. These people live in desperate circumstances and are more than happy to be prayed for. The Christians are primarily the ones who are helping the most and are, consequently, recognized for the love of God that flows through them. The HOB missionaries also help the people bury their dead. Many are dying, not only of viruses or bacterial diseases, but from the extreme heat. There are many ways to demonstrate the love of God, and this is one of them.
I have mentioned the teams led by Fatima and Hafezeh many times in previous updates. These teams are also continuing moving from camp to camp making a special communion service available to any of the believing community who would like to participate. The Lord continues touching the lives of the participants as they worship Him. Many are spiritually blessed, physically healed, and go back to their tents greatly encouraged and recharged spiritually.
As always, there is a great need for wheat, water, and Bibles. HOB was able to distribute 20 additional truckloads of water since the last update. Pastor R said that the extreme heat had eased up a bit, at least temporarily. That provided a bit of relief, especially for those living in tents. Pastor R is still battling a recurring fever but it has been worse. He is rejoicing in the good things that God is doing, regardless, and the Lord sustains him. Praise God!
Thank you all for your prayers and support. We serve a great God!
Forever in His Service,