The outpouring of God’s Spirit around the world today is truly amazing. I read of the mighty things happening in some of the most difficult places on earth and one can only bow the knee and thank our Father in heaven for His matchless love for mankind. In this world where chaos is becoming the order of the day, in a world where the blood-letting never stops, the Blood of Jesus continues to be the only blood that sets man free–a freedom that lasts for eternity!
As most know, the situation in the Mideast has continually worsened since the beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring” in December of 2010. The turmoil that began in Tunisia continued from nation to nation until it reached Syria sometime in March of 2011. Syria was soon embroiled in a vicious civil war which continues today. Iraq has also seen extreme violence, especially escalating after the withdrawal of the United States’ Armed Forces.
There are reportedly at least thirty jihadist groups functioning in one capacity or another in the Middle East today. Most people have heard about Hezbollah, Hamas, the Al-Nusra Front, and of course Al-Qaeda. This most brutal group of all was formed in 1999 by Abu Musab Al-Zaraqawi. After his death on June 7, 2006, he was succeeded by Abu Bakar Al-Bagdadi, who still leads at the time of this writing. This terrorist group has become what we today know as ISIS. In the Mideast it is known as “Daesh” which is a loose acronym of “al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham” (Arabic for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL). Daesh sounds like the Arabic word “Daes” (one who crushes something underfoot”) and “Dahes” (one who sows discord). As we can see, ISIS has attempted to live up to these definitions everywhere they have been.
My purpose today is not to give a history of terrorism in the Middle East, nor to bring more attention to ISIS and its infamous reputation of being the most brutal of all terrorist groups in today’s world. My intent here is to show that Satan has greatly ramped up his efforts to bring death and great destruction to this planet and one of his tools today is ISIS. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed since the beginning of the Arab Spring, a large percentage of them at the hands of ISIS’ butchers, especially in Syria and Iraq. Many millions have been displaced, most living in refugee camps all over the Middle East, and now hundreds of thousands of refugees are attempting to escape into Europe. I have read reports of as many as 800,000 being taken in by Germany, other tens of thousands landing in other nations.
In the middle of all this chaos, death, and destruction are many hundreds of faithful missionaries who have served and died as they have shared the good news of the love of Almighty God for mankind through Jesus Christ, the true Messiah. My privilege for over three years now has been to present the unfolding story of The House of Blessing. This story continues today!
I received a call from Syria, both Thursday and Friday. I have heard great excitement through phone calls on many occasions since early in 2012, but I don’t remember one that would match the joyful call I received yesterday! Here is what I am given to understand from the latest report.
Brother Omar, who ministers in Iraq, was teaching a group of people about the Blood of Jesus with material provided to HOB. A large group of men arrived at the location where the teaching was being presented and just listened. They did not introduce themselves when they arrived, but it was apparent that they were not just bystanders listening in on the teaching. As far as any of the missionaries knew, they could very well have been sent to catch Christian missionaries in the act of teaching “illegal” religious material. Many of the Christian missionaries have lost their lives in this way, including many of the House Of Blessing missionaries.
As the teaching came to a close, these men approached Omar and introduced themselves as a group of sheikhs who were planning on traveling to Saudi Arabia with their families to celebrate the “Day of Arafah”, as well as the holy days before and afterwards. The annual Muslim hajj officially starts on the 22nd of September, but hundreds of thousands have already arrived there. The day of Arafah is a celebration which occurs at the culmination of the annual Hajj. One of the traditional things done on this Muslim holy day is the sacrificing of an animal to pay for the worshipper’s sins. According to Islamic teachings, fasting on the Day of Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year. This tradition accounts for the slaughtering of about 100 million animals in the two days of this observance.
To make a long story short, these men were greatly impacted by the teaching they heard about the Blood of Jesus and wanted to know more about it. As these men were given more explanation and teaching of who Jesus is and that His Blood was the ultimate and only sacrifice worthy or necessary for the forgiveness of sins, they declared they also wanted to be covered by the Blood of Jesus. They asked to be prayed with so that they could receive forgiveness for sin, to become part of the Kingdom of God! Every single one of these men, young and old, prayed the sinner’s prayer with the HOB missionaries and asked Jesus the Messiah to become the LORD of their lives!
These men were then baptized as the Bible teaches as an outward confession of their newfound faith! Most of these men also had wives with them as well as children. These also became new believers in Messiah Jesus. All were baptized, and then the men experienced a very special foot washing ceremony, just as Jesus did with His own disciples.
The group of sheikhs have cancelled their plans to attend the Islamic holy days in Saudi Arabia! They were more than a little happy never to have to sacrifice another goat in hopes of their sins being forgiven! Now they KNOW that their sins are forgiven–not just for a year or two, but for eternity! Praise GOD! These men also took the fee that they would have paid for the pilgrimage and donated it for the purchase of more Bibles, food and supplies, and printer paper to copy the thousands of pages of teaching materials given out to the HOB missionaries for their small groups. God is so good!
As mentioned earlier, these sheikhs are of varying ages, having taught their own personal congregations, some for many decades. Many of the older men are head sheikhs and some of them have their own mosques–which they now don’t know what to do with! Their only desire now is to learn, learn, and then learn some more from the Bible. Each has a great desire to reach their own followers with this same good news of the power of Jesus’ blood. What a great miracle this is! Pastor R***** and those around him, after hearing of the great things that God has done, spent all last night rejoicing, not able to sleep! When I spoke with R***** on the phone, he could hardly say anything more than “Praise God! Praise God! Praise the Name of Jesus! There is no power greater than the power of the Blood of Jesus!”
Then he added: “The coming of Messiah Jesus really is very, very soon! Look at the great harvest of souls that is being brought in!” I completely agree! I have never felt the urgency of the hour as I do today. We are out of time. We are at the end of this age. Many in our world today think that the end of the world is coming, but this is not the case. It is however the end of the age. The end of the Age of Grace is imminent and this signals the beginning of the Great and Terrible Day of the LORD, the “Great Tribulation,” also called the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Israel).” God is not willing that any perish and His Spirit is moving mightily upon the earth today. A Scripture that speaks of this is found in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. so when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Of note, on Friday, September 10, a large construction crane fell through the roof during expansion work on the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia which has been going on for two years and was due to be completed by the official beginning of the holy days on September 22. At last count, at least 107 were killed and several hundred injured. Saudi officials have confirmed that the hajj will continue as planned, with most of the damage repaired by then. About 800,000 pilgrims had already arrived in Mecca. Several million are expected every year.
Because of the spectacular nature of this great happening with Brother Omar’s experience these last days, the work of the rest of the House of Blessing missionaries has seemed to be overshadowed. But, not so! Each of these wonderful, brave volunteer missionaries are giving their lives every single day. There is not a day that goes by that they don’t know that they may not come back to their tent for the night. Each day could be their last! Reports keep coming in of the hundreds reached in each nation where HOB is located. Reports continue from Iran, the Kurdistan area, Syria and, of course, Iraq. The harvest is abundant and signals the imminent call from the Messiah to His Bride to meet Him in the clouds! Allow me to close with one more of my many favorite passages:
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away (departure in original) comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as god in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason god will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)
What a wonderful promise! The man of sin, the antichrist, will not be able to reveal himself until the removal of the Bride of Christ! The Restrainer, the Holy Spirit working within the true Church, must be removed before evil can even complete the course that it will follow during the Great Tribulation. Be encouraged saints. Be greatly encouraged and strengthened. Many Scriptures show us that the true Church of Jesus Christ is not going to experience the wrath of God upon a wicked world. The outpouring of the Wrath of God is at the Great and Terrible Day of the LORD. The beginning of that “Day” is now imminent. Take courage; Be strong; Run the race, giving it all you have. The finish line is in sight, and we must finish well! Let’s all hear the words from our Master: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Welcome into the joy of your LORD!”
God Bless You All,
House Of Blessing; P.O. Box 2093; Redmond, OR 97756