Grace and peace to you, family! Godâs word is so very true when it says that The Lordâs joy is our strength. As many have pointed out in the past, there is a difference between happiness and joy; joy is that which abides, and is that which we can have even in the midst of lifeâs darkest moments because we know that our Redeemer lives. We are happy and then quickly unhappy depending on what is going on around us, but joy â true and abiding joy â comes only from The Lord. And His joy is our strength. Itâs the honest people in life who admit they are weak, though many like to think they possess some sort of inner strength which cannot be shaken. But for those who look at themselves honestly, we realize that we are weak indeed; but yet, the joy of The Lord is our strength. No matter what does or doesnât happen today or in the future, i can still live with true joy within; for by Godâs faithfulness, He has promised eternal life and forgiveness of sins to all who believe in His Son. And it doesnât stop there! He also lavishes grace upon us in this life, as well as fills our hearts with peace which no one can take away. And even more, Ephesians 2:7 says that in the ages to come, God will show the surpassing riches of His grace, in kindness toward us in The Messiah Jesus. Amazing!
The English class for the Iraqi refugees is progressing well, and itâs always a fun time. The students (teenagers and adults) have real diligence to learn our language – and since there are now seven students, the class is also lively and funny with their different personalities and so forth! At the end of the class, one of the moms is continuing to help me with my Arabic pronunciation, and i bring my Arabic Bible as the text. Last week we went through John 3:16-18, and yesterday, we covered Proverbs 3:5-6. And after we went over the Scripture portion yesterday, God opened up an amazing opportunity of sharing with them! One of the other moms asked me whether Jesus had spoken of Muhammad in The Bible â many and perhaps all Muslims believe that The Counselor Jesus promised in John 14-16 was actually Muhammad. That obviously is not true, to say the least, since The Counselor is clearly The Holy Spirit. i pointed this out, noting that for example it simply couldnât be Muhammad since Jesus had said He would be in His followers (John 14:17). That opened up other questions, and to my surprise and great joy, i found them to be very curious about what The Bible teaches. (The one mom was kind of apologetic in trying to explain that they were asking because they âhad to knowâ â lol! Yes, i was able to swallow my pride and humble myself to answer questions about what The Bible teaches! *laughing*) They have a genuine interest in finding out more about The Bible, and i soon found myself explaining The Trinity since they were trying to figure out who was God – God or Jesus, and those sorts of questions. To Godâs praise, He enabled me to explain The Trinity so that i think they understoodâ¦ not that any of us can fully grasp The Triune God! They said it was quite difficult, and i agreed, saying that just as their children canât fully understand their (the parentsâ mind), neither can we fully understand His. Among other conversation, one of the refugeesâ comments was quite intriguing, something like â âMuhammad died, but Jesus didnât die â He is alive.â Now, she may be referring to the Islamic lie that Jesus was not crucified but that God had a substitute die in Jesusâ place, or she may have been referring to the fact that Jesus is indeed alive, though Muhammad is dead.
To Godâs praise, what iâm seeing is this: the home visits and English lessons are opening more opportunities to share about Jesus. Glory to our Great God! As God provides and directs, iâm hoping to step back even more from my English tutoring work, in order to start classes for the other refugee groups, and will use the same strategy â an hour of English tutoring, and then have them help me understand their language better by using Scripture in their language as the text. The first few weeks of doing so with the Iraqi refugees went well, but iâm noticing a very definite increase in interest and opportunity to share as our classes go on. And only God knows for sure, but i feel quite certain that such opportunities would open up with the Burmese and Nepali families as well if iâm able to start classes for them. May The Lord do what is good in His Eyes. But the thing iâm sensing more and more is this â foreign missions are wonderful, but ought we to neglect the refugees living in our own backyard? This is the problem with a lot of short-term foreign tripsâ¦ months and months of prep and tons of money are poured out on what will be maybe a one or two-week event. You who know me well know that iâm not against foreign missions whatsoever, and how The Lord – all to His glory and praise – enabled me to have served for some time overseas. But itâs like we now have loads of people needing Jesus right here in our own town, our own backyard, and it seems preposterous to not try and seize the opportunity for the glory and fame of our King. And the awesome thing is this â these are people whom we will continue to see and can continue building into, as opposed to just meeting them once for a few days and then again for another few days in a couple years or what-have-you. And who knows? Perhaps in a year we could see new brothers and sisters in the faith joining us as we follow The Risen Lamb. O may that be!
In other news, am still working on new music, and you can check out several tunes at truthproclamation.org If The Lord is willing, i hope to record a bunch of new songs over the next few months, and then put together a CD.
Please keep a young man in prayer, whom The Lord blessed me to speak with recently concerning his need to decide whether Jesus was a liar, lunatic, or Lord, as C.S. Lewis so brilliantly wrote about. God knows this young manâs name; please just pray that The Lord will open his eyes, and that heâll surrender his heart to Jesus. this kid has really been through a lot in his life, and really needs Jesusâ touch and healing and salvation.
Please also pray for the family now mourning the death of their young daughter in Beslan; apparently three kids came across a grenade or a mine in Beslan, and it killed the girl and hospitalized the other two (boys). Please keep these families in your prayers, and Iâll try to find out more regarding what happened.
Jesus never fails,
The joy of The Lord is your strength!