‘For to the snow He says, Fall on the earth (…) so that all people may know His work’ – Job 37:6-7
This winter we have had to deal with a good amount of snow in the Netherlands, which is very unique and unusual for our country. As a result, my thoughts drifted to Job 37:6-7. The Lord lives and therefore He also speaks. According to Job 37:6 God even speaks to the snow, “fall on the earth.” We have recently seen the result of God’s speaking. Cars and trains had to stop driving, and planes had to stop flying. Newspapers were not delivered, countless claims for snow damage were submitted to insurance companies, and so on. Of course, there was also a lot of fun to be had.
The different seasons with their corresponding types of weather are in God’s hand, “You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have created summer and winter” (Psalm 74:17). The Lord speaks to humanity first and foremost through the Bible (Hebrews 1:1), but also through nature (Psalm 19:2). God’s speaking has a clear goal, “So that all people may know His work” (Job 37:7). The Creator lets Himself be known in different ways – from His works in creation, but more specifically God has made Himself known in the person and work of His Son, the Lord Jesus.
John testifies about this; “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). This is not merely a mental ‘knowing’, but above all a relational ‘knowing’. This knowledge is too wonderful for us, it is too high; we cannot comprehend it. And yet by faith we wholehearted say “Amen” to it!
Consequences of Covid-19
To date, our family has remained physically free of the corona virus, for which we are grateful. At the same time, government measures regarding the virus have major consequences for our ministry and indirectly for our income, as well. Fortunately, there are still speaking engagements, be it for small groups and/or via a live stream connection. This is a blessing. Unfortunately, quite a few speaking engagements have had to be canceled. Additionally, the fully booked group trip to Israel that was planned for the end of April had to be canceled.
Elder in the Congregation
It has now been almost a year since I was confirmed as an elder at the Christian Congregation Alblasserdam. Leading during this Covid season is formative and challenging at the same time. In addition to concerns, there are also very encouraging developments in the church. We had a beautiful baptismal service during which we heard testimonies of God’s work in people’s lives. What grace! I recently started a new sermon series – our church will be studying the 1st and 2nd letters of Peter. Pray for courage, wisdom, steadfastness and, above all, for much of Jesus’ disposition in the exercise of the eldership.
A Bible verse that has kept me occupied a lot lately is Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of Your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple.” There are rich promises associated with reading and studying the Bible. Many people nowadays engage themselves in whatever science, politics and (social) media have to say. But to what extent do we let the Word of God speak to us? His Word is alive and powerful, brings about peace, and gives perspective. Psalm 119:130 brought a new initiative to my heart, which I soon will be developing on our YouTube channel which was recently set up by a brother. At the beginning of each week I hope to post a short Bible study with the theme “Food on the Go”. It is beautiful and encouraging to see that the number of subscribers to the channel is growing slowly but surely, so that many are hearing the message of the Gospel.
Teaching at the Bible School
It is a privilege to be able to teach every year at the part-time Bible school Filadelfia, as well as at the full-time Bible school Gospel Mission, both located in the city of Amerongen. This semester I taught lessons for a week on the theme “Christ in the Tabernacle”, using a model. It is encouraging to spend time with the students and taste their hunger for the Word of God. They long to be equipped for service (Ephesians 4:12). We fondly remember a richly blessed week.
In January, an older Christian brother and I recorded a new series for television channel Family7. In 52 broadcasts, we discuss the book of Acts under the title “God’s Spirit in Action” – one episode is broadcast every Thursday evening. Just preparing for it we are already blessed. The recording days are quite intensive, but, as we work together with the camera crew, they are very constructive and relaxing days at the same time. We already have some ideas for recordings after the book of Acts is finished. We would like to take on the book of Hebrews and the management of the television channel is open to this. It’s a beautiful open door for the Gospel, for which we are very grateful to the Lord.
We’re planning, at the invitation of ‘t Vierhouterbos, a number of Bible study weekends in April and October again this year. In addition, we’re hosting a vacation Bible week in July, just like last year. ‘t Vierhouterbos is a Christian vacation and conference hotel in the middle of the Veluwe. The Veluwe is one of the most beautiful areas in the Netherlands in terms of nature. We are grateful that the weekends are already booked full. There is also a lot of interest for the summer week.
Planning New Speaking Engagements
The beginning of the year is always the period during which we receive phone calls and emails in regards to the planning of speaking engagements. I am very grateful for the many open doors we receive over and over again. Numerous speaking engagements, Bible study weekends, and conferences have been scheduled; and this is encouraging. The question that sometimes comes to mind is, “How long will this remain possible be in our so-called free society?” We do not know. We work as long as it is day. We are grateful for the health and energy we receive from God time and again to work in our church and elsewhere in the country. And at the same time, we also want to be transparent – it does not all happen by itself. There are situations and developments in our work that sometimes discourage us, and we have to go through those, too. It forms and molds us inwardly (Rom. 8:29). We are a ‘work in progress’. Yet we can testify to the truth of Isa. 40: 31a, “But those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength.”
- We can do nothing without the prayers of brothers and sisters who are standing with us. That is why we appreciate it so very much when you remember our ministry and our family in your prayers. Know that we greatly appreciate your compassion, commitment, and support.
- We live in a bizarre time. Unrest and fear fill many people’s hearts. Biblical principles are being tossed ‘down the garbage disposal’ in politics, in the church, and in the whole of society. In addition, there is much confusion and deception spiritually. It reminds me of the following Bible verses, ‘Let no one deceive you in any way. For it [the Day of Christ] will not come until the apostasy comes first’ (2 Thess. 2:3). ‘What you have, hold firmly till I come’ (Revelation 2:25).