We had a wonderful conference, back in April. Can’t believe it’s already June!
Because we added an extra day, Thursday, there was more time for fellowship and people that came from abroad, had more time to adjust, which worked well.
We will continue to add that extra day from now on, so next year’s conference will be from May 25 till 28, starting with Ascension Day. More people are free from work then, so we expect it to be easier for people to get to the conference.
We had more kids and teenagers present and they all did very well! The Lord ministered to some young people and they are on fire for Him! We asked them what they liked the most and they said: ‘The Presence of the Lord during worship’.
So when you think about coming next year, do not hesitate to take your kids with you, they are very welcome! As I mentioned to a family with young kids this year ‘we are all family and we will all help you look after your children’. And we did and it all worked out!
The time we live in
I was reading Ephesians 5 and the verses 15-20 jumped out to me:
“ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
It is obvious that the days we live in, are evil.
I want to do some word-study, that will give great understanding of what Paul was saying to the church in Ephesus, and it is so true for us today!
To walk circumspectly (akribos) means: ‘to gain exact information with the highest level of accuracy’. So we have to hear from God how to live and what to do!
The NIV translations says it this way: ‘Be very careful then how you live…’
‘Not as fools (asophos in Greek): not wise, foolish, because rejecting Gods’ leading (His will).
This is written to Christians, not to unbelievers! It is possible for us to live like the world, going by reasoning and feelings and not led by the Spirit. We can’t do that anymore.
‘…but as wise (sophos): skilled, learned, one who in action is governed by piety and integrity, discreet’. The word ‘discreet’ is interesting, because I remember the Lord told John that we have to walk discreet (not likely to be seen or noticed by many people, be wise in what you do).
‘…redeeming the time: make a wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good.
‘…because the days are evil: full of labors, annoyances, hardships, everything that has it’s origin from the evil one, Satan.
‘Therefore (because the days are evil) do not be unwise (same word as above: asophos), but understand what the will of the Lord is. Greek for understand: suniemi, which means consider, understand, perceive, gain insight, put facts together
This same word is used by Jesus in Mark 8:17 and 21. After the miracle of feeding the multitudes, the disciples were still reasoning because they had no bread. That’s why Jesus said to them: “Do you not perceive nor understand?’ and in verse 21: “How is it that you do not understand?” Jesus expected them to consider those miracles, to gain insight and to put things together, but they did not. He is still the same, and expects us to gain insight and to put things together…to know what the will of the Lord is.
Verse 18: ‘And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation: spiritual wastefulness due to excessive behaviour and the dire consequences it brings.
When the days are evil, try not to escape the hardships by getting drunk (or anything else that is wasteful.
‘..But…be filled with the Spirit. More accurate would be: ‘Be being filled’. This is a continuous action, not just a one time experience. Why? Because the days are evil. People who get drunk, want to escape their problems. We have to be ‘drunk’ with the Spirit, because the days are evil and if we are not careful, the cares and worries of the world will have a negative effect on us. There is just one solution: Be constantly filled with the Spirit!
But how do you do that?! So glad you asked! Lol
Paul gives us the answer:
Verse 19: ‘speaking to yourselves (King James) and one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and making melody in your heart to the Lord’.
A psalm is a Scripture set to music, with instruments. A hymn is a song that gives honor, praise or thanksgiving and a spiritual song is a spontaneous melody of praise to God, from a Spirit filled heart. Those songs minister to God and exhort others.
Just start praising the Father and our Lord with words that come out of your spirit.
I remember the pastor we had in the early days of our marriage. He was always speaking in tongues, singing to the Lord in his own language or in tongues. Whenever you would meet him, he was building himself up. And we can do that too!
Actually, we HAVE to do that, to be able to be wise and to understand the will of the Lord in these evil days.
‘giving thanks always for all things to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’.
Someone once said: ‘unthankfulness leads to ungodliness’.
Maybe you think ‘how can I say thanks for all things?’ For all the things that are difficult and painful? You don’t know what I am going through…That is too hard! But the word for in Greek means ‘for the betterment of,’ ‘to extend help that reaches beyond the present situation’.
Especially when you go through a difficult time, give thanks so you will get help to go beyond your present situation. It lifts you up, you will start to magnify the Lord, make Him bigger in your eyes and the mountain will become a molehill.
Wow, that was a lot!
It is actually a survival-kit for the days we live in!
Our daughter Anneke moved a couple of weeks ago to the Hague. Her work is based there, she works for IJM (International Justice Mission). She has a very nice apartment, a perfect place provided by the Lord.
Carsten is working on his final assignment for school and hopefully he will be done end of August. Pray for him, it’s a lot of work and he needs a job when he has his diploma. Pray for Nasta too, his girlfriend. She wants to move to the Netherlands and she needs a job too.
The other kids and grandkids are doing great, looking forward to a couple of weeks off from work and school.
We will make a trip to Helsinki, first weekend of July and we are planning to join John and Barb to Lithuania and Latvia, in September.
That’s it for now,
Remember us in your giving and your prayers, we are thankful for every gift, no matter how small it might seems.
So thank you!
Wil and Ank