(please be sure to read all the way to the end. The story at the end, which by the way really happened less than 48 hrs. ago, is almost unbelievable.)
Since having spent a few days in Jerusalem and because of this trip being the vehicle God used to put Anne and I in contact with our new pastor/missionary friend based in Jerusalem, we have been quite involved in this man’s ministry. For details on how we met and other pertinent details, please refer to earlier posts. If you have further questions about all this, please feel free to e-mail me and I’ll gladly answer anything possible—short of putting this man and his volunteers in danger. I have to be very careful not to put these folks’ security in danger with careless information.
My last post was based on the first bit of information that came from there after the trip they had planned and I described earlier. The first information coming from the field said that four men had been killed while trying to get nearly 2,000 Arabic Bibles distributed into varied locations in Jordan. At that time, I did not know if the four killed were part of the volunteer crew or of the brand new Christians “birthed” as a result of these same Bibles being delivered. Since then I found that all four were of the volunteer staff. Unhappily I also found that it was not four, but eight men that had been shot. One managed to escape with unknown injuries, but the other seven died where they were shot. They were apparently killed by Iranian soldiers with sub-machine guns near the border of Jordan and Syria. I thought it was rather telling that Iranian soldiers were located in this area as heavily armed as these men were.
I still do not have all the details, but I ask that anyone having any concern at all for these folks, please PRAY. Although these folks fully expect this kind of thing, it is still a huge blow to get the information that your husband or father, brother or friend was one of these lost. The one thing that brings great comfort is the fact that there is no doubt where these people are. They are now in the Presence of the One that gave His life for them. Our pastor friend just got back to Jerusalem, but feels he will need to spend extensive time there to help these folks get on their feet, spiritually. Teaching some of the basic fundamentals of the faith will go a long ways in helping them to pass along the great gift of life they have received.
There were quite a number of people that bowed before the One that died on the cross for them nearly 2,000 years ago, and this will only multiply—like it always has. They do however live in a place where there is a great deal of fear. They have never experienced any kind of love—especially from someone claiming Divinity. Jesus of course created everything there is (John ch. 1), and then stepped into the sandals of a man in order to give His life for anyone that would accept His free gift of forgiveness.
In our affluent society, at least here in America and most of Europe, the majority thumb their noses at “this religious garbage”, as many professors so aptly describe their disdain. Yet, in most of the nations of the world, people have never experienced love like this. It has such an impact on them that they’re more than willing to sacrifice their own lives, just to get in on God’s generous offer. I can’t help but wonder what it will take for those of us who live such comfortable lives, at least in comparison to most of the people of the world, to get a glimpse of reality. This may be offensive to some, but how often do we take God’s love and insult Him by throwing it back into His face because we treat it as something of little value in comparison with what we actually fill our lives with? He loves SO MUCH!! What is the matter with us? I really don’t intend to be rude, but time is too short for me to mince with words anymore. Many of the very things that were of great offense to God in the Bible, are things that we get great laughs out of today. Is it possible that we allow the fallen one’s “fruit” to poison us today just as it did in Adam and Eve’s day? Do we allow ourselves to be entertained by things produced by Hollywood today that does great damage to our walk with God? Could it be that some of these things that we allow ourselves to “feed” on are the very things that keep us from the close walk with God we claim we want? Do we decide how to use our time by what entertains us the most? I really could go on and on.
The things mentioned above are not intended to try and sell us on the virtues of a legalistic, ritualistic, religious lifestyle. Absolutely NOT! We are however guilty of avoiding legalism to the point that we celebrate our freedom to do anything and everything we want—without a concern about what it is doing to our walk with God. Many of us, if not most, do not have much of an intimate walk with God. Now getting back to where this article started…
Here in the land of the free and brave (I think), when was the last time you were persecuted for your beliefs? I’m not talking about someone making fun of you because you don’t tell dirty jokes or that you go to church. When was the last time you feared it would cost you your life if you did not deny the LORD you serve? Or like in the real happening above, when was the last time a group of soldiers opened up on you with a machine gun? Yet, this is the reality in much of the world.
Because of the report I got about the Christian volunteers being martyred for their faith in Jesus this week in Jordan, I have found myself examining and re-examining my own self, and my relationship with my God–who I boldly claim as absolute #1 in my life. I had to ask myself, “Is He really??? Is my relationship really what I claim it is? Do I love Him as much as I say I do?
Where is the real line in the sand as to how much I would be willing to pay in my commitment to the LORD? Hmmm……Is my job too important to sacrifice if necessary? Do I value my family relationship more than I do mine with Him?? How about my bank account? Can God ask me for ANY amount—even though I claim it as MINE? For many people, this is a real challenge. How about all the “toys” that I buy for my entertainment? How about my vehicles? Is the house on the hill in the “don’t touch that” file? Would you allow God to totally rearrange your life; so much so that nothing resembles what you thought it would be like? Is God really sovereign in all categories of your life??? This is pretty heavy and should not be answered without some honest soul-searching!
The right answer of course, is yes. But, would we make that decision out of obligation, rather than out of love for Him? Here is something that we don’t often think about. God sovereignly put us into the generation we live in. Not agreeing with His choice for our time on this earth won’t change the facts. So accept it, and adjust! Adjust what, you say? How about priorities, motives, agendas and goals, attitudes, and how you see you fulfilling your life dreams. Who really rules? We like to say it is God, but in all honestly—does He really?
Most of us know that we live in an age that pushes all the envelopes. Our society honors debauchery. We practically live in a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. As Christians we find ourselves even having to choose what TV shows are worth watching. Do we choose well? How many shows would embarrass us if Jesus happened to walk in for a visit? That’s one that most of us might have some trouble with. There isn’t a lot on TV anymore that isn’t laced with unbridled sex between multiples of people—and it has become normal, or accepted comedy. Homosexuality has been gaining inroads for some time as well. Does it matter to us when we watch something that is an insult to God? Our true heart condition is what is at stake. Where is our heart with God? Is it important? I hope so because time is now very, very short.
This has been a bit of a long article, but I would like to ask you for just five more minutes. I have a true event to tell you about that just happened a couple days ago, May 8, 2012, would be my guess. When I was talking with R_____ by cell phone today, he shared a story with me that I must share with you. The events of the last few days are hardly bearable, and there are many more stories still coming. These stories come from the Bibles that were bought and paid for by all of us that God asked to contribute.
Our missionary friend was in Jordan, and while in town, I sat down at a little table with an Arab man. As it turns out, he was a Muslim Mullah who had responsibility over his own mosque with about 300 people attending. As R_____ was drinking tea with this man they began sharing religious thoughts. It soon became evident that their beliefs were quite opposite—in fact quite dangerous for our missionary friend in light of the fact that he was a believer in Jesus the Messiah, and the fact that he was in Jordan distributing about 1800 Bibles or so. This is not tolerated and has a death penalty if one gets caught—as we already know from the events of a couple days earlier. The more they talked, the more our great God opened the door, as well as the eyes of a man that was completely blind, spiritually.
In order to make a detailed story short, let me just say that the conversation led to this well known Mullah telling our missionary friend that he wanted to get to know this God that was obviously much different than the god that he had taught about most of his life. So, right there somewhere, this high-powered Mullah got down on his knees and earnestly prayed the sinner’s prayer. Now, one might think that is was something that he faked in order to bring this missionary in and carry out the death sentence he would have coming, but that is not what happened. One of this Mullah’s own sons witnessed what happened the next day. He got up in front of all 300 or so of the people who came for prayers at the mosque and gave his testimony of meeting the true Messiah and experiencing total forgiveness because of the love of Almighty God. He then asked all 300 to forgive him for having taught them such a grievous lie for the last 40 years.
This Mullah’s son got some photographs of what happened next. There was such an explosion of hatred for this 70 year old man that they ended up beating him to death, right there in the mosque! R_____ said he was going to do his best to smuggle at least one photo or more if possible, to me here in the States—but not by e-mail due to the security issues.
Here is what hit me folks. This man only got to experience the Christian life for one day! Yet, it meant so very much to him that he was already willing to die for this new-found faith that gave him peace in his heart he had never, ever felt before. He was also totally forgiven, and even though he had spent his life worshiping Allah, he now was worshiping the real God, not one of the counterfeits. His experience reminded me of the men that came to work for a farmer; some starting in the early morning, others at noon, and some even at the last hour. Yet, they all got the same pay!! They all got the same inheritance!!!
So…the million dollar question: How much are you committed to the One that gave His all for you? I have to ask myself the same question. And, as much as I hate to ask people to donate to a cause that I am representing, here I am asking you to honestly humble yourself before this same God that saved this Mullah in Jordan. If God does not ask you to contribute to this ministry, then you’re off the hook! But, if God asks you to get involved, it would be a grave mistake not to do so. Jerusalem is the “navel” of the earth. Joel Rosenberg has described it as the epicenter for many years now. God promises great blessings to those that have a heart for Israel, the Jewish people, and especially for those that are reaching out, putting their very lives on the line in the name of Christ. There is no greater cause. My wife and I are also involved in helping multiple ministries, but I have never been impacted quite like I have with this one.
Please pray for these people who are committed to the death! Please help them purchase more Bibles to go into many more areas. God will honor those that do. The plans are to get Bibles which are translated into Arabic into more locations in Jordan, into Iraq, into Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt—as God gives the workers, the strength, and of course the resources. Thank you all for reading and your continued prayer.
Keep Looking Up,
P.S. As mentioned, this ministry is based out of Jerusalem. It does not have a web site due to the extreme dangers coming with the site. Security is a huge issue. The ministry name is called H.O.B. CITY OF JESUS MINISTRIES. The ministry does have a State-side bank account for donation use. R_____ has asked me to handle any moneys coming in as it is much easier and quicker to deposit here than it is there. The ministry is set up for tax write-off purposes. I will be happy to send my address to anyone requesting it by e-mail. E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Receipts will be made available every month, starting at end of May, 2012. I do want to mention that overhead is extremely minimal. This is not the case with all ministries. R_____ lives to share Jesus in whatever way the Lord opens a door. Getting Bibles into neighboring nations is something that is rarely done due to the extreme danger. Thank You and God Bless You.