The shout of the Hebrews, encouraged by Nehemiah, rang out over the rubble, the ruins of the former walls of Jerusalem. They were joining in a great task for which they did not have the funds, the experience or the strength. But they did have faith in the holy, omnipotent God and His faithful guidance, protection and aid. Obstacles, enemies and their own weakness were not to be feared, nor even considered.
This is the theme of the 2-day retreat planned by our church for June 1 and 2, in a farm house near Rome. This is the launch of a project that you will be following with us for time to come. We are convinced that our “little” church (51 members) must begin praying, planning and organizing to see one or more new churches established in the great, pagan city of Rome. Of course, it is immensely beyond our resources or abilities. They may begin as “home churches” or God may give us the funds now in the bank accounts of His children to build on the beautiful land the city has given us to use free of charge for 99 years. I read of a pastor who told his people, “We are going to build a new church and the Lord has already provided the money! Of course, it is still in your bank accounts.”
“Arise and build”, help us exercise our faith by exercising yours in prayer for and with us. Here are Nehemiah’s encouraging words: “And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, «Let us rise up and build.» Then I replied to them, «The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we His servants will arise and build»” Neh 2:18,20.
I was thrilled to preach again this month in the huge centuries-old castle on the tip of a mountain near Rome, where a young Italian couple is working and struggling sacrificially to launch a church. I spoke on the fulfilled promises of God in giving us a Savior who was raised from the dead as a proof of the divine power that God is using in our lives, “the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” Eph 1:19,20.
Praise God. He gave my son David and a former leader in our church the privilege of helping five servants of God, separated by misunderstanding and conflict, and a church split, be reconciled, confessing their errors, as I and others, who were deeply distressed, prayed. There are still many things to be mended and they need more prayer. Nevertheless, it was and is a great miracle.
Dear friends, you are so precious to me as you pray faithfully for me even though you may not realize my great need at that very moment, and as you and others provide for my material needs. God has united our hearts through His Holy Spirit, who is leading both you and me to do His will.
In Christ the Lord’s service,
William (Bill) Standridge
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