The 2014 spring classes are drawing to a close and reality has set in. As the Holy Spirit would have it, each class, He has interwoven with the next.
The books the students got to study this semester include: The book of Acts, Gospel by Matthew, Isaiah, and Romans; other subjects offered are: Inductive Bible Study, Apologetics, OT Survey 1, English, and Lectures.
Yes! Quite a mouthful, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
“Holy Week” in this part of the world concluded without much incident. Depending on your perspective, that may be good, or not. Tradition plays an integral part of life in the Philippines, whether you’re from the north or the south, the status quo is something people are content in doing.
Earlier, I mentioned that reality had set in; actually, reality is already, for those who minister to the Lord through the study and teaching of His Word.
There is no doubt that God has called us to not just proclaim His good news, and now, entering the second year as “Word-smiths” in the Philippines, the truth that it is He who opens and closes doors. Like His servants of centuries past, we find ourselves in unfriendly waters, or should I say “indifferent”.
The Apostle Paul, in Acts 20, in saying his farewell to the Ephesian elders this side of life, he exhorted, encouraged, and warned them. Reminding them of the calling he received and by extension you and me, given by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout the book of Acts, we see the work of the Holy Spirit evident in His work. Paul went through seasons appointed by God, just as my wife and I are going through. In North America, Europe, parts of Asia and South America, and maybe even Australia, for the most part experience four seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter.
The Middle East, Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia, do not have those four seasons. A running comment about the weather here in the Philippines is that it has three seasons, hot, very hot, and very, very hot.
Summer is upon the Philippines. If you’re not acclimated to the weather of a different country, it could take awhile before you get adjusted to it. The sweltering heat could drain your energy, mentally, physically, and yes, if we do not depend on His river of Living Water, spiritually.
Throughout his missionary assignments, Paul faced “summer” wherever he turned. The gospel of Jesus Christ and His teachings were met in a variety of ways, unbelief, violence, and as mentioned earlier, indifference. Paul faced these things head on; he had received his commission directly from the Lord Jesus.
His life had been threatened, he was beaten and jailed. When he set foot in Athens, he witnessed idolatry at its finest; arriving in Corinth, the practice of sexual immorality. Some commentator’s say that this point while in Corinth, what he had gone through and had seen weighed heavily on his heart. He kept “pressing on” preaching and teaching.
And the Lord, who knows the heart, “… said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” Acts 18:9-10
The Lord has been gracious towards us that He has spared us the direct bodily injury the saints of old had endured for His Name sake. It is what we have heard and seen around us, with family, friends, government, the cities and towns, the culture of the flesh, these are the heavy weights pressed on our hearts.
To be witness to the indifference, the callous hearts, the truth of what the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah is evident here in Tagaytay:
And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, while their hearts are far from Me, and their fear of Me is a commandment taught by men,”29:13
As if the onslaught of what He is revealing to us about the people we are called to minister to was not enough, He strengthens our faith and dependence on Him. The tent-making, the financial source He has used this one year and a half has been diminished drastically.
Only a few in California have received and shared the vision of teaching the Word of God here in the Philippines, we continue to hope and receive support from the churches. That they may, we may, all partake and lay up treasures in heaven and be part of HIS work.
God knows every fiber of our being, as husband and wife, and individually, He is faithful to bring us back to His word, which is life. The Lord God Almighty spoke and reminds in His Word, I always need reminding:
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the One who enlisted him.” 2Timothy 2:3-4
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” 2Corinthians 4:8-10
Jesus Christ is the Hope of Glory. Despite all that we have seen and heard, the seeming indifference towards the Word of God, He promises in Isaiah 29:14 the continuation of the earlier verse:
“Therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
He will finish what He started, we get to be a part of that work.
What we get to do daily is to present ourselves to the Lord, as “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship,” to entrust the day, all 86,400 seconds…our hearts, soul and minds to Him. Not to be tossed to and fro by the stormy waves of the sea, but to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.”
More on the fortnight.