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January - February 2016

Lady in the Dark

After every church service, some of our people come to me with questions about God and the Bible. This is a very important time in our ministry, because people here seem to struggle to understand some of the very basic truths of the Bible. They are not lacking intelligence; most of our people have a very good education. Part of the problem is that they grew up in a godless society of Communism and Atheism in the Soviet Union. Even so, most Russians consider themselves to be “Christians”, because the state religion has historically been Russian Orthodox. We try to teach the truth of the Bible plainly and simply, but spiritual blindness and confusion seems to hinder their understanding.

Already this year I have had many conversations with people who are seeking the truth. I want to share one of them in this letter. A middle aged lady has been attending our services regularly for a few years. She attended a Pentecostal church before she came to us. She listens to the messages very intently. Sometimes, she will cry when I talk about Heaven. I found out that she lost a few children in miscarriages several years ago, and her heart is still broken about that.

After a recent sermon about Jonah, she asked me, “How can you believe those myths?” I told her that God’s word does not lie. Would she not agree that an almighty God could make a fish to swallow a man? Well, she had to agree that He could, but didn’t think that He did, because the Bible was just written by men. I told her that she only says that because she heard unbelievers say that. She calls herself a believer, so why would she take the word of an unbeliever, and talk like an unbeliever talks? As a saved person, I have no problem believing the Bible.

Then she asked, “How can I know if I am a saved person or not?” I reviewed the plan of salvation again, but she was frustrated about the purpose of good works. She is willing to admit that Jesus paid for sin on the cross, but says, “How can you say we are saved without works? Your works have to count for something.” I showed her many verses to prove that works cannot save, but they are a way to show our love and gratitude to Christ. She says that she is a believer, and that she made a profession of faith “with many tears” at the Pentecostal church, but she does not believe that any of them are saved because they continue to live in sin. I told her to focus on Jesus, not people. As long as she is trusting her works to help save her, she is not trusting Jesus to save her. We prayed together, but I am sure she still does not understand. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will shine light in her darkness and show her the way of salvation.

In the service of the King,
Don Ossewaarde