You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:2-3
Dear Children of God,
I pray this letter finds you encouraged. I am writing this unusual newsletter to give hope and reassurance to those of you who are afraid, confused, or depressed. Please reread the verses above. What do you observe about God and about man? First, the Jews were told to remember because they forgot what God had done. Forgetting is a faith-wrecker. On the other hand, remembering His goodness, faithfulness, and power was essential for the Jews. Remembering is essential for us as well to be able to move on with fresh faith for the current challenges.
How did God work in their hearts? He humbled them (tested them) by letting them go hungry. Was He mad at them? No! He provided for their need by feeding all of them with an unknown source – manna. He wanted the Jews to look to Him to provide for their sustenance. He wanted them to be convinced that they could depend on Him and His word - His promise! The Word of God!
I believe God is testing us today in the same way He did His people in the wilderness on the way to the promised land. God did not cause the COVID-19 disease, but He is using it. He has allowed us to live without our jobs, school, sports, entertainment, social contact, normal routines, and mobility. Our wrestling with this reveals how much we depended on these other things to bring us life. I must admit, not having March basketball, spring college football, and my normal social interaction, has been challenging and has caused me to evaluate my relationship with Christ. It has been refining and healthy. How are you doing? May God give you the grace to humble yourself and evaluate your relationship with Him, your love for His Word, and your love for others. Here are a few good promises to cling to:
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 NASB
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So that we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV
My son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines…He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:5-5,10-11
International Students Rich & Mary Katherine Suplita are using Zoom to disciple Chinese students each Saturday. We have been invited to join them. After a short teaching, we breakout into small discussion groups. This is an excellent opportunity to share the gospel, and to train those who know the Lord.
Mentoring House Churches We continue to communicate with leaders in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia and learn how to be the church in these difficult times of loneliness and isolation. Phone calls, e-mail, and face time are more important than ever as we “pursue the things with cause for peace and the building up of one another.” Romans 14:19
Prayer & Praise
1. UGA International Bible Study. Pray for us as we work alongside of Rich & Mary Suplita in their ministry to Chinese students in America and China. Pray for ones to come to know Jesus and for the believers to grow in grace and a desire to bring others to the Savior! We need God’s grace & wisdom.
2. House Church Mentoring Pray for us to encourage and give hope to house church leaders.
3. Granddaughter Wilhelmina has completed her 8th chemo treatment. Pray for her wounds to heal, for her to be more active, and most of all, to place her faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior & Lord. Pray for strength & peace for Matt & Amanda.
Thank you so much for praying!
With you during the testing,
Steve & Danelle
A Little Timely Humor: I noticed that the buttons on my pants are practicing social distancing!