RHM July 2015 Newsletter
if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13–14 WEB)
July Newsletter - 2015
Thank you for reading our devotional and being a part of Refreshing Hope Ministries. This is our monthly update on what has been happening here during the last month and I hope that you will take the time to read it.
After recent events, I have been spending time in prayer, worship and reflection on where we are in time, what are we doing, why, and what now. Basically asking God what should we be our focus right now. We are working hard for Him, but I feel the world around us growing darker. People are filling with darkness and hate is growing. Churches are burning, pastors are being shot, and new laws go against Christian values. It is a disturbing trend and it is clear that America is no longer a Christian nation. We are moving towards people that teach the Bible being labeled as hate mongers. I am a preacher of hope, but I can see the writing on the wall. After seeking God for a while, I feel that He showed me some things that I want to share with you and I am still seeking and learning every day, so what I understand may change.
First, every time I pray about it I hear this verse: if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13–14). There is hope, and those of us called by His name still have a job to do here, but we cannot be asleep at the wheel. We are to:
1) Humble ourselves, the opposite of pride and in the Bible, this usually involves fasting.
2) Pray and seek God’s face, instead of His hand.
3) Turn from our own wicked ways, repent, and not be so concerned about our neighbor’s wicked ways. Change starts at home and we should live the life we talk about.
When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight (Isa. 59:19). Who will this be? God works through His people. Get ready church, you are about to be called into action. Our commission has not changed. There will soon be no neutral ground, so choose today whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). If you are not doing the will of God then by default, you are advancing the kingdom of darkness. This world will continue to depart from God’s word until the return of Jesus.
Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35). We must remember to separate sin from the person doing it. God hates sin, but He loves the sinner and wants to save them. We are the light of the world and we are here to show the world the love of God, and when we do so, they will know that we are His disciples. There is never an excuse for a Christian to be mean-spirited.
No violence, no anger, no lashing out, no mumbling and complaining and yes, if obeying the law of the land becomes a direct conflict with the word of God, then like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we should live ready to die rather than compromise our faith. But remember that when Jesus and His disciples were rejected, James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven but Jesus said, “You don’t know of what kind of spirit you are, for the Son of Man didn’t come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55). The day will come when God will draw the line, but right now He wants to save all that He can, and we have to focus on helping Him do that with a positive attitude. His people will be a light shining in the darkness.
We are not the first to serve in a pagan nation and many parts of the world still live under religious persecution. Oddly enough, places like China, where Christianity is illegal, are on fire for the Lord and it is thriving there. Daniel and his friends were carried away as captives and served Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Their answer was not violence, but serving at the highest standard possible. They shone above everyone around them and God blessed them with positions of influence. Jesus said that as the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man (Matt. 24:27). It was a very dark time to be alive and every inclination of man was evil (Gen. 6:5). We are not yet at the end, but it may be that you can see it from here. Before the end comes, it will grow much darker than it is, until people begin to faint from terror (Luke 21:26). Even so, come Lord Jesus. To sum it up, it is going exactly by the Book.
The good news is that God is still in control and the supreme court is not the Supreme Ruler of the universe, but merely a small group of people, on a small continent, on a small rock called Earth, that itself is a speck of dust in the universe that God created. So keep things in perspective. Our Father is smarter than all. He sets up kings, and He takes them down (Dan. 2:21). He also created the stars (Gen. 1:16). Now is a time to press in, to evaluate your priorities, to make sure that God Almighty is a part of your life. It is not a time to walk alone. We are almost there, now let’s make our life count. Let us be the light that is shining into the darkness.
Online Church News: We now have 1,812 members at refreshinghope.org and have had visitors from 128 countries and 274,889 visits during the month of June. The prayer network has prayed for 141 prayer requests and given 652 replies to them. Our weekly Bible study is now in its twelfth week as we progress through the book of Luke together. Refreshing Hope has some members that are isolated, blind, some are deaf, and some are disabled, some are in the military. There are people from all walks of life in nations around the world participating, making friends and learning about Jesus. It is a good work for the latter days. People are online and we are providing a place of hope for them to come.
Server Migration: This month we plan to migrate the website over to a stronger server, and that will then allow us to use the old one as a development sandbox. With this in place, we can work on adding new features to the online church like a testimony area and many other feature requests, without breaking the live website that is serving 10,000 visitors a day.
New teaching on Fasting: We have had many questions about fasting, so I wrote a guide based on my personal experiences and what I have learned from the Bible. Visit www.refreshinghope.org and click “Teachings” and then “Fasting: A Lost Art” to read it.
Thank you so much for sticking with us, and for all who have supported us throughout the month with prayer, encouragement and financial resources. We could not do it without you. We are learning as we go and mistakes happen. When we fall, we just try and get back up and do it better next time. I pray that the Lord richly blesses you and that you are covered with His presence as you read these words, in the name of Jesus. May He guide your every step and fan the flames within you. May the Lord lead us all into everything that He has for us as we follow Him, one step at a time.
Pastor DionRead more at: www.refreshinghope.org