“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.’ So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” (Neh 2:18)

Looking back at the hand of God in the past year, we have much reason to joyfully rise up and continue to build and work for the kingdom of grace here on Earth. One of the greatest privileges in the work of the Lord is to preach of the great King of the kingdom.

In the series through John I enjoyed comparing the high priest Caiaphas in John 11 with Jesus the Priest and King. The former is a selfish leader, who is willing to murder another for his own comfort and position, but finally looses all. The latter is a self-sacrificing Savior, who offers his life as a substitution for the sins of the many and does succeed in eternity. Two families visited the church that day. Their home church went down a very liberal path and they were grateful for spiritual encouragement and the lifting of their hearts by the biblical witness of the love of Christ.

The anointing of Jesus in Bethany (John 12) was reason for me to preach on loving service for the glory of Christ and warn against pseudo-spiritual hindrances to serve Jesus full-heartedly. By the grace of God we do see a lot of zeal in many young members of the church and a desire to serve the congregation in different areas. With the group of young men I am training them in spiritual discipline, which has been an encouragement to stir up one another to love and good works.

While entering Jerusalem, the people joyfully shout to Jesus: “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes” (John 12). Asking, “who is he, who comes in the name of the Lord?” I exposed, that Jesus is a victorious Savior and a righteous King. He came to die, he is raising up his kingdom of grace, and he will come to consummate his kingdom of glory. We are glad to see that there are two recent converts who give testimony that Jesus came into their life as Savior and King. Together with two sisters who come from other churches they are participating in the church membership lessons, where we have talk about the kingdom of God and what needs to happen in order to enter in. Further lessons will follow, until we can hopefully baptize the converts in May. Hosanna, blessed is he who comes.

In the evening services I’ve been preaching on 1 Samuel 7, and how God’s order of dealing with us differs so much from ours. These weeks many in and outside the church have faced temptation and difficulties. While much wisdom is needed for counsel and help, Gods ways of dealing with His people have given me much comfort. God often fights inner enemies before the outward, he gives us first knowledge of our weaknesses before we experience his strength, and we need to remind ourselves often about God’s ways of growing us, because we are very forgetful.

In 1 Samuel 8, the wicked desire of the Israelites to want a king, just like the heathens, gave me the opportunity to preach on the evil heart of men and about God who is ruler of all. A woman was visiting the service that day. Her life is completely messed up, but she nevertheless has a lot of expectations and claims, of how God and Christians have to help her. She sometimes calles me, asking for prayer and now and then visits the services of the church. May God give her true knowledge of her evil heart and clear sight of the glory and grace of Jesus Christ, king forever.