December 31, 2023 News Update
In our human reckoning another year has come to a close. A year of tumult. War in every camp; death on every doorstep, sick institutions coughing up their tainted spittle. Not a pretty picture, but a realistic portrayal of evil, cosmic evil, the certain outcome of human viewpoint rejecting the only truth that can solve man’s problems.
Ah! Do not despair. The Sovereign Lord has a plan that is relentlessly moving to His ultimate conclusion. What a marvelous time to be alive. To think that God has put us where we are, at this very time, to accomplish His purposes through us. We have the privilege of representing the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of Satan-inspired chaos. Our God has entrusted us with the high honor of being ambassadors for Christ. My God shall supply all your needs through His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. What have I to fear, what have I to dread, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, `Destroy!'
The coming year may well prove to be one of sorrow, horrors, and suffering. We can’t change the world, we can’t control circumstances, but we can, through reliance on God and His Word, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, bring glory to the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. May we remember why we are here.
God has not called us to comfort and ease. He has not called us to success and prosperity. He has called us to faithfulness. So as the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians:
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
I give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has called us into ministry. We give thanks to the Father for His mercies which are new every morning. We give thanks to the Father for each of you for standing with us so generously and faithfully this past year.
Ukraine is not much in the news of late, and yet, hundreds are dying every day. The death toll is staggering, the suffering of millions is immeasurable. Please do not stop praying for peace in that land. Below is a letter from a young man who was trained in our ministry. He is not Ukrainian but was living there when the war started. He has been faithfully serving the Lord with his family, ministering to refugees, launching an online ministry to give out the gospel of grace, and teaching in several churches. He has written such a poignant letter that I wanted to share it with you. I have withheld his name because authorities in his home country are looking for him to conscript him into the armed force to fight against Ukraine.
I never thought that the events described in history books would occur in my life. But this year has changed everything. A bloody, cruel, ruthless year revealing the whole essence of human cruelty and sin. Russia has become a clear demonstration of what is happening to humanity when it rejects God's rules of morality and humanity. Killings, robbery, violence and other horrible acts have become common for the Russian soldier and for those Russian citizens who support the army destroying the sovereign state. The death of children, the suffering of people, the destruction of the lives of millions ceased to be considered something unusual and horrible. What is more terrifying than this is the excuse of this horror by people who, so called Christians, are supposed to condemn rather than approve of it, trying to cover it up with scripture. A bloody year saturated with suffering!
But in the midst of all this horror and suffering, there is a light that shines brightly in this world. For millions of people, it has become clear that confronting evil is real. That the evil that many people in the world can meet resistance. From the example of Ukraine, the world saw that freedom, peace, love and independence can be defended. The world is watching the Ukrainian people, who stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of their independence, in defense of their children, wives, parents. To defend one’s land. We see hundreds of thousands of people willing to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. And we see thousands of true Christians stating their convictions loudly and in these trying times show that the Scripture with its highest moral principles is reality to them and not an empty tradition.
This year has shown me the faithfulness of God in whom I believe. I have seen His hand in my life under the sounds of Russian missile explosions, I squeezed my wife's hand and, hugging my son, prayed to God for protection and help. And He, my loving Father, has shown His faithfulness. We belong to Him. We live for him. And no matter where we are, we will carry His principles, His love, His compassion and grace.
Evil will be defeated, truth will prevail. Sooner or later, everyone who sows destruction, violence and pain will be held responsible for their every action, for He is just and faithful.
We want the coming year to be a year of freedom for the Ukrainian people, so that they get what they are fighting so bravely for.
We pray and believe for Ukraine. Our heart stayed there!
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Rev 2:10).
All by grace,