The following report on usage of the YouVersion Bible App demonstrates how God uses catastrophes for His purposes. How important it is we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance so we are in step with His purposes in our sphere of influence.
Searches on the YouVersion Bible app increased by 80% this year, to nearly 600 million, as the pandemic created a sense of uncertainty and turmoil. The verse Isaiah 41:10, which is about God’s promise for strength and help, was the verse that was bookmarked, highlighted, and shared the most.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
With 43.6 billion Bible chapters read, 7.5 billion audio chapters played and 1.4 billion Bible Plan days completed, YouVersion says it “saw its highest levels of global Bible engagement in app history.”
“This has been a challenging year with many people facing devastating loss, loneliness, and fear,” said YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald. “While 2020 is a year so many say they’d like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God used the Bible App to help so many people who are searching for answers. Through every hardship, people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace, and hope.
The results reveal how people are seeking God as they wrestle with the difficult circumstances they’ve faced in 2020, and that’s something we can celebrate.
The following encouraging email was received from Pastor Charles Otieno following a Mission Trip to the border region of Kenya and Uganda. It is also a request for funds for two projects which I support and in the case of the Zoom Meetings project initiated. If you would like to join us in supporting the growth of the Kenya House Church Movement you can do so by clicking on the Donate button on the Home Page
For all the community of believers, and followers of Living Eternal Now, I would want to express my gratitude to brother Ron ,the founder of Living Eternal Now (LEN), for his prayers and financial help he has been sending to us (Kenya house church movement), to help support the work we are doing here in Kenya to ensure the Kenya House Church Movement is firmly established and becomes strong in Kenya in order to carry out the great commission.
Besides prayers and financial help, LEN has been a source of spiritual growth, and strength. Through the teachings posted on livingeternal.net, all our church groups believers, have grown in the knowledge and understanding of God’s word, and more so, in understanding the last day’s church, and the signs of Jesus second return to earth, to rule and reign for 1000 yrs.
We are back from our mission trip which we took to the border of Kenya and the republic of Uganda.
We had a safe travelling, and we were highly welcomed by our brothers whom we visited and our 4 days trip was very successful.
We had a positive outcome from the meeting, and we witnessed souls being transformed, and many in their life, accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. Despite the challenges, which are normal in the work of ministry, but we are very much thankful for all that God did to us and through us.
During our trip, we set aside a two-hour door to door evangelism, whereby we divided ourselves into two groups, visited those who were unable to come to the meeting venue, including the elderly and the sick. We were able to teach them, and pray with them, and we encouraged them to remain steadfast in the Lord.
Many of these people were blessed by us visiting them in their houses Their lives were touched and transformed.
In one of our door to door encounters, we happened to enter one household where we met a brother who is a robber. He had fled away from his home and family and was wanted by the police. We taught him God’s word, prayed for him, and his life was transformed (attached below is his picture).
At the end of our 4 days meeting with the people of this area, they requested us to plan again another trip sometime early next year.
Appreciation & Prayers:
We appreciate you all for your financial support you gave us to enabled us fulfil this mission trip. and it is our prayer that God may give you peace, good health and wealth, may He be able to prosper you in every area of your businesses and may He enlarge and expand your borders.
Since this was our second last meeting, planned for 2020, we still have one meeting to bring all our 2020 planned meetings to completion.
We hereby want to bring to your attention that we are going to have our last meeting (end year general annual meeting), this meeting is going to be held in Migori region on 22nd Dec-25/2020 and since it will be a big meeting which will bring all our Kenya house church groups together, we pray and request that if God grants you the gift of life, you may be able to help support our meeting, funding us with the little finances, God may be able to give you.
Uncompleted Zoom project: This is a polite reminder; you all know that the Zoom project still remains uncompleted, reason is lack of funds.
We all know that brother Ron is a pensioner, and he has limited funds to help support,and complete this project, we therefore request all the community of believers and followers of living eternal now, to help give brother Ron a financial contribution, to enable him help us complete this ptoject.
We look forward to joining other parachurch organizations and other believers in Zoom meetings.
I have attached for you several PDF of our last meeting. Meanwhile, help pray for the Kenya house church movement, as we also keep you in our prayers.
David Wood’s best friend at college was Nabeel Qureshi, a Muslim. Initially, David did not know much about the Muslim faith but over four years and considerable research into the Quran and even some Hadiths as a result of discussions with Nabeel, David become sufficiently knowledgeable that he was able to convince Nabeel that Jesus was who He said He was, the Son of God and that Jesus mission on earth was to provide atonement for mankind’s sin with His own death on The Cross. Nabeel not only became a Christian but went on to write two best selling books: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and No God but One: Allah or Jesus?
The mark of a fully-devoted disciple is a disciple who is making other disciples, a disciple who is bringing others to the faith either through personal evangelism or bringing others with them to church to introduce them to Jesus. Evangelism is the greatest form of discipleship.
If we in our churches are not creating disciples who regularly create other disciples, we are not succeeding in the Great Commission. Christ called us all to share the good news of eternal life that He made possible through His death and resurrection. If we are not making disciples then what are we doing at church, hopefully not making Couch Potato Christians who sit and soak rather than serve and send. If you want to see who the fully-devoted disciples of Jesus Christ are, don’t necessarily go to the biggest churches or find the Christians with the most seminary degrees or the ones who are the most confident (i.e. arrogant) about their doctrine. Find disciples who are making other disciples. Evangelism is the greatest form of discipleship.
The church is simply to be found faithful to the task of heralding God’s message. We are to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, which for most people, means we are to bring the gospel into our workplaces, friendships, families, and so forth. All that is required of us is to look to where God has placed us currently and simply to be found faithful to the task of proclaiming the good news to those who are dead in their sins.
It requires that we not be ashamed of the good news of the gospel, which includes not being ashamed of the bad news of God’s judgment against sin (perish in the Lake of Fire). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16). There is a second death. The Bible is explicit about it.
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur,which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:11
“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6
Whatever the result of our proclamation of the gospel may be, whether a hardening or a softening of the heart, God effectually uses our message for His purposes. We may not necessarily like the implications of God using our proclamation of judgment and salvation to effectively harden an individual’s heart. We may not believe the implications of this are even fair—but we ought to remember in the midst of everything that we don’t want fair, because our idea of what’s fair doesn’t square with God’s.
What’s fair is God condemning every man, woman, and child to an eventual second death in the Lake of Fire. What’s fair is that the only blameless One to have ever existed would not be put to the cross to pay for the sins of others. What you and I desire is mercy and grace, because mercy is not giving people what they deserve, which is condemnation, and grace is giving people what they don’t deserve, which is no condemnation. The gospel is a scandal to the world because it sees the murderer, rapist, racist, and the like, on equal footing with the sweet old lady who doesn’t confess Christ—and offers them all the same grace of God in Christ. What that very simply means is that the gospel is not barred from anyone on the basis of their own doing or choosing, but rather, on the sovereign choice of God Himself.
If those who struggle with evangelizing were to focus on the sovereignty of God in evangelism, it would free many a burdened soul up to take joy in the work that God has given them, realizing that whether the person they share the gospel with rejects or receives it, God is glorified in accomplishing His work through the preached word.
In some cases, God actually uses the proclamation of truth as a means to close one’s mind from repentance, we can guard our hearts by recognizing that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. What that means with respect to evangelism is that sometimes, the preaching of the gospel actually serves as the means through which an individual’s heart is hardened against God. In other words, not every instance of proclaiming a message of repentance is designed by God to bring the people who hear it to repentance and faith. In fact, Scripture often demonstrates the opposite is true—that the proclamation serves to condemn the recipients rather than restore. A great example of this is found in the commissioning of the prophet Isaiah:
“Go, and tell this people: keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand. Render the hearts of this people insensitive,their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” and He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate, the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump” (Isaiah 6:8-13).
Christ Himself taught in parables for the express purpose of concealing the truth of the Kingdom of God, lest those whom it was not granted to would hear and repent (Matt. 13:10-16; Mk. 4:10-12; Luk. 8:9-10). The apostle Paul even picks this idea up when he speaks of God giving mankind up to the lusts of their hearts, dishonorable passions, and a debased mind (Rom. 1:18–32). When you look through the entirety of the Old and New Testaments, what is plainly seen is that God is at work to harden the hearts of whom He desires, which is most clearly expressed in Rom. 9:6-29. In every instance where the edict is rendered a “lost-cause” against the recipients of the message, the truth of God has been made self-evident so that man is without excuse.
“”What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.“Romans 9:14-18
None of this is a matter of controversy in Scripture. Instead, election and condemnation are simply part of the cosmic reality of judgment and salvation unfolding before us as the plan of God is revealed. In the midst of this, Scripture unabashedly upholds the tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility without much qualification. The important thing to note in all of this is that it is not as if those under this severe indictment from the Lord are under it without cause. In every instance, the people have either forsaken the covenant or rejected their Creator willingly. The commission of Isaiah serves to show us this reality quite clearly, in that chapters 2-5 give clear evidence that the people plainly rejected the terms of their covenant with God, and as a result, He would send the prophet to seal their fate.
This post is based on an article by Grayson Gilbert “A Lesson from Isaiah on the Sovereignty of God” http://www.patheos ,com
A new military incursion into Libya is part of a long-awaited dream by Turkish President Erdogan to return the Ottoman Caliphate, a global Islamic rule that subjugated Jews and Christians for six centuries. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Monday that Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries have begun arriving in Libya. The SOHR reported that a commander of the Turkish-backed Syrian troops en route to Libya announced as their battle cry, “We will present our souls for the Ottoman Caliphate.”
The Ottoman Caliphate, known in the West as the Ottoman or Turkish Empire, was founded in the 13th Century and eventually controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. This control lasted for several hundred years and only truly ended after WWI when the empire was partitioned by the Allied Powers and the 101st and final Caliph, Sultan Abdulmecid II, was deposed and expelled.
At a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul last year, Erdogan called on all of the 57 Muslim member nations to join together against Israel to avenge the deaths of Palestinians killed while charging the southern border with Gaza.
Previously, in 2015, Erdogan gave a speech commemorating 562 years since the Turks captured Constantinople (now known as Istanbul) from European Christians in which he called for the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem. “Conquest is Mecca, conquest is Saladin, it’s to hoist the Islamic flag over Jerusalem again; conquest is the heritage of Mehmed II and conquest means forcing Turkey back on its feet,” Erdogan said in the speech in Istanbul.
Approximately 2,400 troops are already in Tripoli while another 1,700 are currently undergoing training in Turkey. Activists informed the SOHR that Turkey intends to send a total of 6,000 troops to Libya.
At the same time as Erdogan is aggressively moving to reestablish a Sunni Ottoman Empire (Goat of Daniel 8), Iran (Ram of Daniel 8), Shia is equally aggressively trying to establish its dominance in the Middle East pushing into Iraq and with its proxies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, the PMF (Popular Mobilisation Forces) in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen, and other small Shiite militias in Syria and other Middle Eastern Countries.
Scripture provides us with a picture of what is unfolding here: Daniel 8:4, tells us that initially the ram (Iran) will succeed in conquering east, west and north only to enrage the goat (Turkey) with its aspirations for a revived Ottoman Empire. The goat defeats/tramples the ram (Daniel 8:7). We then learn that because the revived Ottoman Empire/goat becomes too strong, it is broken up into four (EU or USA or Coalition as before?), “and out of one of them comes a little horn (Antichrist) which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land” (Daniel 8:9).
Christian should use these prophecies in evangelism. We know how “end times” event play out. There are far more prophecies about Jesus second coming than there were of His first coming. Jesus admonished the Pharisees “for not knowing the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:44. I am sure He would likewise scold church leaders today for not warning His church of apostasy and coming escalating tribulation. Already, we see much of the church compromising with the world and discarding biblical truth on sexuality and marriage. Keep your eyes on the Middle East and you will see Biblical prophecy unfold.
Here are five ways to ensure your Gospel message is understood so the enemy can’t snatch “the message of eternal life” from the minds and hearts of your hearers. This message applies equally to when you are speaking to a group or just one person.
“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.” Matthew 13:19
1. Don’t focus on what you’re teaching, focus on what they’re learning. Instead of being consumed with getting your message across, get feedback to ensure they are engaged. You’re not successful when you get through your outline, you’re successful when they understand the message, and sometimes those are two different things.
2. Don’t give the answer before they’ve asked the question. Utilise the first few minutes of your message to engage with your audience, throw out strategic questions, to get people thinking. To get them asking the right questions, only then will your answers be meaningful. The goal is to get people wanting to know the answer to the right questions.
3. Tell better stories and use testimonies. There’s a reason Jesus told so many stories. We’re wired for stories. If your message has all the facts but no compelling stories, you’re in danger of teaching for knowledge, not understanding. Stories help complex and deep truths penetrate the outer shell of our minds. Share your testimony, testimonies are powerful. It will be the linchpin of your message.
4. Create environments that foster an atmosphere for deeper learning. People need to feel welcomed, loved, accepted, comfortable in the physical environment you’re teaching in. Foster an atmosphere where people are open to deeper learning. Your reputation must be one of integrity.
5. Check the fruit. The easiest way to check whether you’re teaching for knowledge or understanding is to check the fruit. Are they following through with what you’re asking them to do? Are they living it out? If there’s no long-term fruit in your audience, you’re teaching for knowledge. Jesus himself said that when you teach for understanding, “this is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23).
In the Lord’s economy, seeking and finding one lost sheep is more important than protecting the ninety nine who are living safely in the sheepfold. Seeking one lost sheep ultimately produces more heavenly joy than protecting ninety nine sheep who are not lost. How much more should we feel the burden when we realise that not one, but billions are lost? But only a single penny out of every mission dollar is spent to reach these lost sheep and only a handful of shepherds are searching for them.
The church spends untold billions of dollars building bigger and better sheep pens for people who are bored with the Gospel. We say we want to live like Jesus and spend our money wisely. But these cold, hard statistics betray our perverted priorities. If we’re honest, we are the ones He is so lovingly chastising in Luke 15. For us to faithfully live out our mandate to make disciples of all nations, we have to actually spend our time, money, and manpower going to the places that are completely unreached but also to the lost in our own neighbourhood. We have to care and share. We have to prioritise unreached people with our intercession, time, and money.