Ruth 2:16 So she gleaned in the field…
The lack of food or jobs has spurred vigorous activity in the past, and in the present, on the part of individuals to depart from their homeland. There are many ways to perish, but dying because of a food shortage definitely is not an enjoyable one. That sort of crisis has led to many new beginnings. Take, for instance, the story of Ruth. It is a narrative that one must read in order to understand King David’s origins. Elimelech, Naomi and their sons had become expatriates in the foreign land of Moab. Elimelech made an earnest attempt to secure each of their futures. And although other destinations were more suitable, and Moab often is not favorably noticed in scripture, the family sought to leave behind Bethlehem’s severe deprivations. Yet death’s shadow did cast itself upon them on foreign soil: without warning, the men in the family died. The women were left to carry on. And carry on they did. Naomi and Ruth survived their grief and made it home to Bethlehem in time to enjoy the harvest God had granted.
But the journey home was fraught with memorable pains that later were pushed aside by an exceeding joy. In time, Ruth landed a job working in Naomi’s kinsman’s field. A good man, Boaz showed Ruth much grace. A marriage resulted, conception came, and the lineage of David was further established. Whatever David might have thought of his heritage we can only rejoice that Ruth chose to conform her life to the holy precepts of Israel’s God. The beautiful redeeming qualities of that account really foreshadowed the dazzling picture of redemption that later would be revealed in the advent of Jesus into this world to rescue his own brethren (and gentiles) from the harsh conditions of sin. Christ made room for us in his field of grace and blessings. So Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection continues to be told daily.
The message is the same, but the proclaimers of it and its hearers are different now. The Gospel trails millions of persons as they traverse the earth seeking safe havens, albeit Christ is mankind’s only secure refuge. Masses of people round the world live as expatriates in foreign lands, working there and sending money back home. Like Ruth, one should be industrious. God has little use for languid folk. I think of the numerous Pakistanis, Philippinos and Bangaladeshis, and others, that I once knew in Saudi Arabia who labored under all kinds of duress just to make a living. Weekly, they endured their crosses, while despising the shame of it all, knowing that happy days were ahead. And when Friday arrived, they boldly expressed their joy to God with dancing in all the house churches of Jeddah and Riyadh.
Those cottage meetings formed the nucleus of relations among their new Christian kin. Some of the abused workers never made it home for funerals of their blood-kin. A few of them buried their loved ones in a Muslim land with no chance of a Christian burial. The one thing, however, that I realized was that the whole labor-force population was a “Missions Field” that needed to be harvested. There were many lost ones among them. WMF lift your eyes, the fields remain ready to be reaped. We face a similar predicament today. Nationalities by the score are submerged in the USA’s melting pot. Each one needs to be evangelized, here, there, and beyond in other locales. Presently, there are thousands of Koreans in Kazakhstan, one by one surrendering their lives to the Lord; millions of Chinese are in Malaysia waiting to hear the Gospel.
A friend of mine, who is preaching in the Far East, recently told me in an email of a poor Christian man who was invited to come and work in tin mining in Penang. He was such a good laborer the Malaysian authorities asked him to go home and bring back more persons like him. He gathered as many Christians as he could. In time, they sent for and brought their wives and children there. Now the third generation of many of their descendants occupies top positions there in law, medicine and government.
If you work alongside or within an immigrant community, there is a lesson to learn here. God follows definite principles: ‘those who honor me will I honor’ (I Sam. 2:30), regardless of their ethnicity.
II Thess. 3:1: Finally brethren, pray for us that the Word of the Lord may have free course.
The Apostle Paul’s labors advanced the kingdom of God around the world. The hand of the Lord was upon him as he preached, and this evidence is noticeable in each chapter of the book of Acts wherever his name is mentioned. The same Holy Spirit that filled him fills all those who too have been baptized with the Holy Ghost by God. Several members of WMF are traveling presently or will be traveling abroad in the coming days. So please pray for their safety.
Remember Joe and Carolyn Beasley as they fulfill their mission of feeding hungry children and of raising up ministers of the Gospel in the Far East.
Terri Clark returns to East Africa and Jim McCool will return to North Africa. Both of them will encourage ministers, travel to various districts and will teach in local churches.
Brad Spurlock will hold multiple miracle crusades in foreign countries.
Pray for Christians in Indonesia where persecution of them continues. Recently a prominent Pentecostal pastor of a church with several thousand attendees renounced his faith in Christ and converted to Islam.
Do not forget our fellow saints who are incarcerated in Chinese prisons. Currently the government wants to restrict the use of the internet for Christian activity. And soon it may be illegal to use one’s home to meet for bible study with friends.
Vietnamese Christians in certain locations are experiencing revival; but God is pouring out his Spirit powerfully among the Burmese.
The door of evangelism remains open in Central Asia. Opportunities abound. Let us believe God that some WMF members will feel the burden to go there and spy out the lands. Moreover, let us not forget the many who serve full time in evangelistic service and/or on the mission field.
‘For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles’, Mal. 1:11
Malachi’s burden was a result of the word of the Lord that burned in his heart. His prophecies concern the respect and honor that Israelites failed to give to God. So blinded by their current desires they were oblivious to the manner in which they mistreated his name. They even dared to ask ‘Wherein have we despised thy name?’ Thankfully God informed them, as he usually does when his covenant-people step out of bounds. The Lord desires that his name be preeminent and prominent in all the earth. Patriarchs, priests, and prophets were responsible to keep the faith. On most occasions they did; but often they did not. Men, women and children learned of God’s precepts as individuals submitted to his will and proclaimed his majesty. From generation to generation they heard that ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…’, so says Ps. 24:1. It is a truth that inhabitants of the earth tend to forget. Some of them have not come to know it yet.
The account of redemption must be told. At the center of the Gospel report is Jesus Christ. When it is announced, powerful things happen. Stories of the miraculous excite one and all. Love for God and the unredeemed is the main reason that I enjoy speaking with God-appointed, missionary-minded persons. The sacrifices made by them to obey the Lord are great and numerous. The January meeting of the Missions’ Board in Dallas proved to be fruitful. Discussions on several topics were had. A number of trips abroad are scheduled for the year by various board members.
During last year’s Convocation a Mission’s panel issued global reports on what God was doing in the spheres in which some WMF members do labor. A similar session will be held during Convocation 2019. Like me, others apparently enjoy hearing all the testimonies. The supernatural activities of the Lord have not waned in these last days. They have increased, and our great God is doing wonderful deeds in the earth.
One proposal that was iterated suggested we attempt to get the youth of WMF churches involved with WMF missions. This action could be achieved by Pastors who encourage their youth to strive to raise funds annually for WMF missions, maybe through a variety of projects. The youth (or representative) then could bring the offerings to Convocation and be recognized on Mission’s night. Moreover, we would like to remind each fellowship to remember WMF missions when each 5th Sunday approaches. Let us make 2019 a year of fasting and of prayer. Good things are happening. We are pleased with all the reports we receive monthly. Be encouraged: pull hard, the end is almost in sight. Jesus is soon to come. So we must work while the work can be done.
Until the Whole World Knows His Name,
DREAMS OF A NEW BEGINNING
Mat. 1: 20-24
Ministers do not get to do things over very often. As a rule they must live with decisions they make, whether they are good or bad ones. There are exceptions, however. And that is what the passage above covers. Sometimes men of God can be stubborn. In those times, occasionally, the Lord commences to set us on an altogether different course. It is one of the great mercies of God that he does so. Joseph had heard from Mary what, seemingly, was the most unrealistic story he had heard in his lifetime: ‘she was pregnant and God was the Father of the child’. Joseph was not biblically uninformed; he was of King David’s lineage.
Joseph knew about God’s power to help barren women in the Old Testament accounts, but he was unaware of God ever aiding someone in this manner; and he certainly did not think that God would intervene so personally in his own life. Still, he was DETERMINED to cut ties with Mary. He gave a lot of thought to how to end the relationship. And this parting was to be accomplished without bringing shame to her (1:19). He was a good man, so says the Bible.
There is no doubt he was disappointed, hurt, angry etc. How would you have reacted to the “good” news? Here then we have an important teaching-point to mull over, one illustrating that even our best conceived plans may be out of the divine order that God wants for us’. Joseph thought of this issue by day and by night. One night, though, heaven sent an angel to inform him that God indeed was the primary actor in this scenario and that he, Joseph, must repent of his ways and change course now. Further instruction was given to him in the dream, to which he complied when he arose (1:24). There is no indication how long the dream lasted. Yet one dream changed him, and altered how he viewed God, his redemptive plan and his divine actions in his life.
There are times when ministers are headstrong too. In those cases, what we need is a visitation from God to change our ways. Change is not always a bad thing. To give an example, we often do not listen to our spouses, taking them and their concerns for granted or even wholly disbelieving what they say. Divine intervention is required to prevent us from permanently removing ourselves from some very significant plans that God may have for us. After all, God-possessed wives are smart. Instead of dreaming of how to get out of a situation, maybe we should begin to dream about how to make the dream a reality with the Lord’s help. Maybe then our ministries will attain [miraculous] spiritual births, and there will be greater manifestations of Christ’s glory in our ministry.
The kind of leadership that God needs could do with humble men and women who not inflexible in their viewpoints, but willing to go on with God and accomplish his mission in the earth, which is ‘to see Jesus save people from their sins’. That italicized sentence is the cusp and core of WMF missions.
May the King of Kings bless all our WMF ministers as each of them pursues their dreams of a new beginning with God in 2019!