Pastor Update 3/23/2020

My Precious Grace Family,

            These are challenging times; nevertheless, we have the best news:  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Glory!

            Ken Southard received and passed along a powerful message from missionaries George and Kathy Cail. Let me share it with you:  

All around us in the world today, circumstances swirl beyond our control which the enemy wants to use to cause God’s people to fear.

* Ken Elliott and Jeff Woodke are still being held by terrorists after four plus years, along with a number of local believers. Their loved ones wait and grieve and pray. . . . Hope grows dim.

            YET there are indications that rather than succumbing to fear or hatred, Ken has been able to use his medical skills to care for others and preserve life.

* The families of Bab and Omar, the two men killed by extremists in the town we lived and worked in for so many years, have fled the north, grieving their deep losses and wondering what the future holds for them. . . . Hearts are broken and faith falters.

            YET God has given special comfort to one grieving daughter through a dream in which her father, dressed in white, is joyful in the presence of Jesus.


* Another recent attack in that same town took the lives of ten policemen. As a result, the town has emptied, all government services (including schools) closed, civil servants gone, pastors have left and churches closed. Many who had to flee in haste have lost belongings, fields, and herds. . . . Fear is heightened, anger surges.

            YET God seems to be using the fear and anger to help people see the emptiness of the terrorists’ religion. We read and hear of many, in countries around the globe, being drawn to Christ. Pray for His provision for the needs of displaced people.

* For our team members in our country of service, February was a month of unrelenting crisis — two medical evacuations for serious health problems (both patients now recovering, thankfully); ongoing violence and insecurity in the country, including the attacks mentioned above; stress, anxiety, and the grief of too many goodbyes as friends and colleagues leave. Two families, representing 15 people between them, have left this week to go on home assignment. Those still in the country are looking at increasingly complicated travel arrangements if they were planning to leave for security reasons by September. COVID-19 restrictions are impacting travel to and from a number of places around the world, and the situation is continually evolving. . . . Questions abound, and none seem to have answers.

            YET in this global crisis, many are being forced to slow down and spend time with loved ones as travel bans go into place, workplaces shut down, and schools are closed for a period. May God use it to draw people closer to Him and closer to one another.


* Our grandson Samuel is scheduled for a major MRI tomorrow (Monday, 16 March) and the resumption of his oral chemo after a quiet, almost “normal” month of respite from the medical processes that tend to overwhelm the family of a cancer patient. . . . Anxious thoughts crowd the mind and heart.

            YET we were with Samuel’s family today and enjoyed precious time worshiping together (via our church’s live-streamed service), eating lunch, and playing games. There was love and laughter and the unshakable truth that our God is in control.

* George’s brother Hal began a new cancer treatment of immunotherapy this past week. It’s been a long, hard road for him and his family. . . . One grows weary of the fight.

            YET God enables Hal and Martha to soldier on day after day, He has sustained life when it seemed impossible, and we are all reminded that each of our lives is in the hands of our Maker.

Will you join us in prayer as we bring our world and personal situations to the One who says:

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might He increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who WAIT for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.  (Isa. 30:27-31)


Hoping in HIM, our true Refuge,

George & Kathy

            Yes, as George and Kathy said, let us pray that many will be drawn closer to our El Shaddai,  God our true Protector. And let us pray that for many this will be a time of re-evaluation of the culture’s worldview, some underlying beliefs and attitudes such as:      

  • How unprepared, and consequently, panicked people are for any disruption in their lives.
  • How people expect the government to provide and care for their every need.
  • How uncomfortable and dissatisfied families are to stay at home alone with each other; specifically, how parents don’t know how to “be” with their children 24/7.
  • How few families have saved money in an “Emergency Fund” that could cover their expenses for 3-6 months—instead of spending it on pleasures and must-haves each month.
  • How short the supply chain is in the USA. Abundance is actually a mirage.
  • How interconnected the world is; how dependent we are on China, all in the name of cheap labor.
  • How fragile life is.

            What we have lost is appreciation of how patient God is. As in the days of Noah, evil abounds, pleasure is an addiction akin to a civil right, and consumerism/materialism is the air in our lungs. God told the world through preacher Noah that judgment was coming, and then He waited 120 years to bring it while Noah built the ark. His deliverance was through one door on that ark, symbolizing salvation is only through one Door, our Lord Jesus Christ.

            “My peace I give you; not as the world gives,” our Shepherd and Shield assures us. May we, as God’s people, be examples to the unsaved world around us of that very peace. May the security we have in Jesus and His promises calm our own fears and comfort others.

            Let’s also share practical information of a helpful nature with the Family. One such piece of info I received I pass on to you. If and when you may need transportation or someone to pick up items for you (medicine, groceries), here is a community resource:

 

            Thank you, Pastor Mark, for your challenging Sunday message. We all appreciate the hours you and Brittany spent, many of them very frustrating, getting technology up so our Grace Family can communicate with one another.

            Think Biblically; act accordingly!

            Pastor John

PS:  “It’s really important that we all do our part to protect our elderly population.”

 

https://www.greensboro.com/rockingham_now/news/we-re-in-for-one-heck-of-a-ride-and/article_2f6f3b81-d5db-5847-ab60-03b5f0fe1a51.html



Pastor Update 3/23/2020

My Precious Grace Family,

            These are challenging times; nevertheless, we have the best news:  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Glory!

            Ken Southard received and passed along a powerful message from missionaries George and Kathy Cail. Let me share it with you:  

All around us in the world today, circumstances swirl beyond our control which the enemy wants to use to cause God’s people to fear.

Ken Elliott and Jeff Woodke are still being held by terrorists after four plus years, along with a number of local believers. Their loved ones wait and grieve and pray. . . . Hope grows dim.

            YET there are indications that rather than succumbing to fear or hatred, Ken has been able to use his medical skills to care for others and preserve life.

* The families of Bab and Omar, the two men killed by extremists in the town we lived and worked in for so many years, have fled the north, grieving their deep losses and wondering what the future holds for them. . . . Hearts are broken and faith falters.

 

            YET God has given special comfort to one grieving daughter through a dream in which her father, dressed in white, is joyful in the presence of Jesus.

Another recent attack in that same town took the lives of ten policemen. As a result, the town has emptied, all government services (including schools) closed, civil servants gone, pastors have left and churches closed. Many who had to flee in haste have lost belongings, fields, and herds. . . . Fear is heightened, anger surges.

 

            YET God seems to be using the fear and anger to help people see the emptiness of the terrorists’ religion. We read and hear of many, in countries around the globe, being drawn to Christ. Pray for His provision for the needs of displaced people.

For our team members in our country of service, February was a month of unrelenting crisis — two medical evacuations for serious health problems (both patients now recovering, thankfully); ongoing violence and insecurity in the country, including the attacks mentioned above; stress, anxiety, and the grief of too many goodbyes as friends and colleagues leave. Two families, representing 15 people between them, have left this week to go on home assignment. Those still in the country are looking at increasingly complicated travel arrangements if they were planning to leave for security reasons by September. COVID-19 restrictions are impacting travel to and from a number of places around the world, and the situation is continually evolving. . . . Questions abound, and none seem to have answers.

 

            YET in this global crisis, many are being forced to slow down and spend time with loved ones as travel bans go into place, workplaces shut down, and schools are closed for a period. May God use it to draw people closer to Him and closer to one another.

Our grandson Samuel is scheduled for a major MRI tomorrow (Monday, 16 March) and the resumption of his oral chemo after a quiet, almost “normal” month of respite from the medical processes that tend to overwhelm the family of a cancer patient. . . . Anxious thoughts crowd the mind and heart.

 

            YET we were with Samuel’s family today and enjoyed precious time worshiping together (via our church’s live-streamed service), eating lunch, and playing games. There was love and laughter and the unshakable truth that our God is in control.

George’s brother Hal began a new cancer treatment of immunotherapy this past week. It’s been a long, hard road for him and his family. . . . One grows weary of the fight.

 

            YET God enables Hal and Martha to soldier on day after day, He has sustained life when it seemed impossible, and we are all reminded that each of our lives is in the hands of our Maker.

Will you join us in prayer as we bring our world and personal situations to the One who says:

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

 

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might He increases strength
.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who WAIT for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.  
(Isa. 30:27-31)

 

Hoping in HIM, our true Refuge,
George & Kathy

            Yes, as George and Kathy said, let us pray that many will be drawn closer to our El Shaddai,  God our true Protector. And let us pray that for many this will be a time of re-evaluation of the culture’s worldview, some underlying beliefs and attitudes such as:      

  • How unprepared, and consequently, panicked people are for any disruption in their lives.
  • How people expect the government to provide and care for their every need.
  • How uncomfortable and dissatisfied families are to stay at home alone with each other; specifically, how parents don’t know how to “be” with their children 24/7.
  • How few families have saved money in an “Emergency Fund” that could cover their expenses for 3-6 months—instead of spending it on pleasures and must-haves each month.
  • How short the supply chain is in the USA. Abundance is actually a mirage.
  • How interconnected the world is; how dependent we are on China, all in the name of cheap labor.
  • How fragile life is.

            What we have lost is appreciation of how patient God is. As in the days of Noah, evil abounds, pleasure is an addiction akin to a civil right, and consumerism/materialism is the air in our lungs. God told the world through preacher Noah that judgment was coming, and then He waited 120 years to bring it while Noah built the ark. His deliverance was through one door on that ark, symbolizing salvation is only through one Door, our Lord Jesus Christ.

            “My peace I give you; not as the world gives,” our Shepherd and Shield assures us. May we, as God’s people, be examples to the unsaved world around us of that very peace. May the security we have in Jesus and His promises calm our own fears and comfort others.

            Let’s also share practical information of a helpful nature with the Family. One such piece of info I received I pass on to you. If and when you may need transportation or someone to pick up items for you (medicine, groceries), here is a community resource:

            Thank you, Pastor Mark, for your challenging Sunday message. We all appreciate the hours you and Brittany spent, many of them very frustrating, getting technology up so our Grace Family can communicate with one another.

            Think Biblically; act accordingly!

            Pastor John

PS:  “It’s really important that we all do our part to protect our elderly population.”

 

https://www.greensboro.com/rockingham_now/news/we-re-in-for-one-heck-of-a-ride-and/article_2f6f3b81-d5db-5847-ab60-03b5f0fe1a51.html



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