THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). - Rom 5:1
But none of these things move me; neither do I esteem my life dear to myself, if only I may finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have obtained from [which was entrusted to me by] the Lord Jesus, faithfully to attest to the good news (Gospel) of God's grace (His unmerited favor, spiritual blessing, and mercy). - Act 20:24
Walking down the hallway of the hospital, we could sense the heaviness of heart you often find in Ukrainian hospitals. Turning the corner we saw Pan Petro's room and upon opening the door we found a cramped room full of people each huddled around one of the 5 beds in the hospital room. Laying on one of the cot like bedswas Oksana's father, Petro; an 80 year old man that had recently received Christ as his Savior. Just days later he had a massive heart attack that he would never recover from.
The room hushed from the nervous chatter of relatives as p.Mihailyo & Ibowed our heads and prayed aloud over this dear man whose face testified of a man who had peace with God. After we prayed we had the attention of everyone in the little room and proceeded to speak to everyone of Petro's peace that he with God.
This hospital room was a room where many would come and succumb to their heart attack. It was a desperate place where little hope resided. A man next to Petro layed in his bed and listened attentively to the Gospel. His eyes were rounded with shadows of fear. He later received Christ as well as others in that roomthat day.
Pan Petro lay asleep resting like a young baby sound asleep unaware of the testimony of his peaceful countenance he had to all in the room. A few days later the Lord took him home to Himself.
As I write I am on an express train from L'viv to Kyiv where we'll meet many of our people today and have fellowship. Tomorrow I'll train to Cherkassy to do a service with our church there. The scenery outside my window is like a rapidly moving film of snowy fields and sleepy farm homes. All seems calm yet in the hearts of many Ukrainians lays apprehension and unrest. With the pervading pessimism of the looming crisis already in Ukraine, many people haveshrunk back to a protectionist way of thinking.With predictions of a 40% unemployment rate in the next 2 years, many Ukrainians today cannot withdraw their savings from their banks.
Yet many in our churches in Ukraine have not been overcome with the global trend of fear and loss of vision. Actually it's funny for them and they are able to maintain a free spirit as David had in Ps 51because of the love of God dwelling deep in their hearts and an easy yoke.
These past 3 weeks in our Bible School have been very rich in the Word and we've been feasting on Chapter 4 of the Ephesians class by Pastor Stevens. Our choice is not vanity of mind but a renewing of the spirit of our mind in the Word of God as we put on the new man moment by moment.
It's such a joy and privilege to be among these precious Ukrainians. What is precious - it is Christ Himself that walks among them, on their streets, visits their small apartments and communes with them at their tables drinking their tea and eating their Borsche soup. The Word is alive in us, and there is so much gladness of heart to be here these days. Thank you Jesus that we may walk with you here and bear forth the Words of this Life...
"God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore." - 1 Kings 4.29
What God gave to Solomon was not only understanding and wisdom but largeness of heart. This heart was characterized by breadth and depth that we see described in Isaiah 60.5 "Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and tremble with joy [at the glorious deliverance] and be enlarged; because the abundant wealth of the Sea shall be turned to you". The expansion of heart came from a revelation of the love of God shed abroad in Solomon's heart - Romans 5.5. The love of God always expands our heart so that we welcome more people into our personal sphere of fellowship - this is evangelism and inreach isn't it? Largeness of heart fears no risk taken when we love unconditionally. That way we do what we do with a whole heart; "heartily" with "singleness of heart" - Col 3.23. Otherwise it will be inevitable that we live at the tree of knowledge - good knowledge and bad information about situations or people or our ministry from the Lord. Knowledge never sets people free; good or bad knowledge, because the roots of the "tree of information" are deep in a Satanic philosophy and mindset. In largeness of heart there is a treasure house, we see this in Luke 6.45. In this treasure house in our heart there are people, places, memories, vision, plans, determinations, and Jesus Himself - Eph 3.17 that tabernacles there with us by faith.
It's been only one week here in Ukraine and the preciousness of the fellowship and the Word has been so present among us all here. Gosia joins me most likely in a couple weeks. Thank you for your prayers, please continue to hold the ropes for us.
A few upcoming events this month:
February Outreaches to Kyiv
Feb 27-March 1 - Preach & Teach Seminar - Odessa - with P. Mikhail, Kim Shibley, Cliff Olson, Micah Stambo from Romania & P. Julian Timothe and P.Mark Knowles from Moldova.
March 17-21 - EuroCon 2009
March 23-April 6 - Cyprus Mission Trip
Enjoy some of the recent photos taken from this week :