C & S are in East Asia in huge city. They are not far from the recent disaster. And the crisis is greatly affecting their students and teachers. Over the course of the past few weeks, they have seen God transform a number of students’ hearts. In addition, several of S’s friends have indicated desires to learn more about God and one said that she thinks that she may want to believe. C has gotten to know a student who already believes and is interested in studying further and growing in knowledge and fellowship. And one of the guys who has helped their team in thousands of ways has expressed interest in possibly believing.
About their city, they write, "Our city has a history of deeply rooted spiritual darkness. We see this everyday in our students’ resistance to the Gospel and the walls that are put up to try to prevent ministry from taking place. About a year ago, a Brother did some research on our city and discovered several ancient gates surrounding our city that were devoted to welcoming the gods and spirits into our city. Another gate has been the sight of several major battles in our city--many lives have been sacrificed at this spot. Another is the site of the sale of drugs and traditional medicine. Each of these gates to the city welcomed in something that goes directly against the Lord. As a city, we took time a few weeks ago to visit each of these gates and spend time praying over them. It was a powerful opportunity to learn the history of our city as well as cry out for God’s grace and mercy to our city. Our God is far more powerful than any forces of evil in our city. Please continue to pray for revival in our city--that all strongholds of evil would be demolished."
Maybe lately it has seemed like the world is gone awry. Wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, famines and earthquakes in various places. On a personal side, yesterday, a friend close to my heart who had been battling cancer on and off for over six years, went home to be with Jesus. One of my eloquent co-workers said this about Paul's passing, "Death is the last great insult as we were never created to die yet I find this juxtaposed against a strange envy for Paul."
In the Kingdom of God, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. In the Kingdom of God weapons of warfare are refashioned into weapons of food production. In God's Kingdom, the hungry will be fed, the lame will walk and the blind will see. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or a man who does not live out his years. Things will be the way God intended it to be.
Death is the last great insult. I saw a riveting scene on TV where a woman whose loved ones were trapped in a building after the earthquake. They first interview her and she has great confidence in her governments ability to rescue this loved one from death. But then when they tell her that the rescue was called off because of unsafe conditions, she loses it. Death is like this. It brings pain and sorrow. Death separates loved ones. Death causes grief. Death is the last great insult as we were not created to die.
Jesus, however, came to give us life.. real life. Yes, we will most certainly, and most fully experience this life after life here on earth but He also came to give us a life - a God life - now. Here's just a few gems from John's gospel...
~ In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
~ Everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
~ Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.
~ Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
~ For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.
~ I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
~ For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
~ For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
~ I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
~ For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
~ I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
~ I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
~ I am the way and the truth and the life.
~ For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
~ Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
This is what we are to experience. That is what we are lead others to. This is the hope we bring to the world. May today we experience the life He came to give. Today may we help people cross from death to life.