We should never faint in the difficult time of trials and suffering because we should know that God is at work in the world. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
It is very hard to remember that God has a perfect plan in such times. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29).
God has two purposes in His plan — His glory and our good. The day is coming when He will make us like Him. Unlike promises in this world, God is faithful to not only make the plan but His plan will succeed! It started in eternity past when He chose us in Christ. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1:4-5).
While He predetermined that one day we would be like His Son, predestination applies only to saved people. Nowhere are we taught God predestines people to eternal damnation. If they are condemned, it is because of their refusal to trust Christ. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:18-21). Those whom He chose, He called. “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thess. 2:13-14).
When they responded to His call, He justified and glorified them. This means the believer has already been glorified in Christ. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 12:22).
The revelation of this glory awaits the coming of the Lord. “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God, for we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:21-23).
Like I heard a man say — “All of this and Heaven, too!”
From Our Missionaries
Misión Creciendo en Cristo (Growing in Christ), North Little Rock: Juan Carlos Posadas writes, “On Saturday we had a talk about baptism and four people attended. There are more people in the congregation who have not yet understood that they must take this step of obedience. I will be visiting each one this week to speak with them personally on the subject. I would appreciate your prayers. We are planning to have the baptisms on May 28 at the Buffalo River.
“That same Saturday, the ladies of the church will finish their study on Hagar and they are very excited! The next woman from the Bible to study is Abigail.
“Fernanda has already finished her junior year at college with great success. She got an A in each of her classes. We are very grateful to God for helping her get those grades, working and studying. Thank you for your prayers for our daughter.
“I ask for your prayers for our church families as the enemy is attacking them strongly.”
Ebenezer, West Little Rock: Ruben Isturiz writes, “We had a good time at our Celebration Service. The Alcazar family went to the temple in Chenal for the first time. We then had a fellowship together with the American church. It was a beautiful picture to see two congregations, two languages, two kinds of food, sharing together — only unity in Christ can do that.
“After 16 weeks, I finished the new novo.org training. I met online with five other leaders every Wednesday. Discover and Activate (AD) is focused on discovering the identity in Christ, the unique calling God has placed in us and then activating and implementing it. Now it is my turn to do the revision of that material into Spanish. Pray for wisdom.
“Another training I am taking from Novo is The Path of Movement. This training is every other week on Tuesdays, but I will tell you about that another time.
“The Berean Groups (home groups) are becoming active. We are only missing the group in Bryant. Pray for God to remove all stumbling blocks. On many occasions, some members of the Berean Groups have difficulty meeting, either because of work or sickness. Here are some beautiful words from Veronica that she put in our WhatsApp group, ‘I really enjoyed the time we shared last night! It made me very happy! I already missed those moments with you guys! I love you.’ Only God can give life to each group with true friendships that share and are edified in the Word of God. To God be the glory!”
Faith Chapel, Flippin: Johnny Shew writes, “This Sunday was a little disappointing for us. On Friday, Entergy put out the word that Flippin would be under a city-wide power outage to repair damage from an auto accident that happened Thursday. They chose 7 a.m. Sunday morning to do it and said it would be a minimum of five hours to do the work. On Saturday, it was
reinforced by the City of Flippin, so all the churches in Flippin canceled their morning services. As a pastor, you hate to do that, but sometimes you must trust the Lord to take care of all of those things you know you won’t be able to say and do and all of those folks that you won’t be able to see.
“So Karen and I went to our mother church Sunday morning (The Bridge Church in Mountain Home) to worship with them. It was wonderful seeing everyone and fellowshipping with them.
“We had a good number Sunday night. Our new members were there, engaged in our study, and we made plans to baptize them in the White River next Sunday after our morning service. I love seeing new Christians excited about starting their new life in Christ. It invigorates and energizes the rest of us, and keeps us engaged in our mission, the Great Commission, to be witnesses unto Him, to go, preach and teach.
“We thank you for your prayers. Please continue praying for us, Faith Chapel, Flippin and especially for our new converts and those we are trying to reach. We know God hears them and is answering them.”
The Table, Springdale: Clinton Morris writes, “We had 33 people at our house for our Open Community Event. There are so many first-time guests showing up. It was such an amazing opportunity to have conversations with so many different people and begin building those first steps toward friendship and further conversation.
“We have been helping our neighbors who are moving away. They were so nice to have as neighbors and will be missed. A family of seven is coming to replace them. Please pray we will get opportunities to have conversations with this new family.
“We had a park picnic with Gio and his family. (Gio has been coming to the Monday game event and slowly that has made its way into more opportunities for both conversation and relationship.) He and his family also made it to church on Sunday. We are so excited to see some of the fruit from our labors.
“Several of our other folks have also been inviting people, and we had a second couple visit this last Sunday. It is exciting to see how God is working in our community.”
Faith Journey, Benton: Bryan Clay writes, “Our sermon this week was from the book of Joshua. Scripture is telling us to use the Bible as instruction and always have it in our mouths. We are to recite it day and night so we may carefully observe everything written in it. This week we will strive to follow that in our daily walk and serve others with the Word and in deed.
“We have been enjoying our weekly services and seeing the people God is placing in our lives who have been faithfully coming every week. We know God will use them in growing this mission and in sharing the gospel of Christ. We are beginning to develop friendships and share in each other’s lives with every meeting.
“This week I was able to go to the Benton Chamber of Commerce and speak to them about ways Faith Journey could be of help in the community. There are some events coming up that our mission may be involved with so I will post updates as soon as I get more specific details.
“Joshua 1:8-9 says ‘For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ Join us in praying for strong and courageous hearts this week!”