true worI am sorry that weeks sometimes pass before I am able to sit down in the Presence of Holy Spirit and write a blog. One of my dearest friends just underwent serious open heart surgery and I have tried to be present to help her through her days of recovery and also present to my husband, who needs increasing help. It was a bit of juggling, but God orchestrated it and I managed, with His help, to be where I needed to be.
During those weeks I stayed "camped out" in 2nd Chronicles 30. Since it speaks of Hezekiah in the time of the Passover, I'm not sure why the LORD has had me in this chapter so long, but I can tell you that He reveals His true heart so powerfully and tenderly in this chapter, that I weep every time I read it! Let me begin in verse 6, where King Hezekiah sends his couriers throughout Israel with a letter that says:
"People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
He will not turn His face from you if you return to Him. It's almost as if I could hear the Voice of God pleading, lovingly reaching out to His people through this king, who so desired to return the people of Judah and Israel back to their God. "It's so simple," the king seems to say. "Just return to your God! Just come! Submit! When you do this, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will lovingly receive you back and the angels will applaud! RETURN."
The people begin to respond to this call to return to their God and to His appointed feast days. Though some rebelled (as some always do), a very large crowd assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. They slaughtered the Passover Lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. (This is allowed by the Torah if someone misses the opportunity to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the first month, as is commanded in Leviticus 23:5). So, in a way, we see this merciful God who knew they had not kept it on the appointed day, but who reached out His Hand and gave them a second chance to meet with Him in the Passover! And verse 17 speaks more about God's mercy and grace: "Since many in the crowd had not consecrated themselves, the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all those were not ceremonially clean and could not consecrate their lambs to the LORD. "We know that the Levites are the priests - so this spoke powerfully to me about Yeshua, our High Priest, who BECAME the Passover lamb for us, even for those who are in sin, so that they could RETURN to Him, be cleansed in HIS blood, and come into His Kingdom! Then the text goes on, and gets even more grace-filled and beautiful:
18 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
Now we see the gracious heart of the LORD at an ever deeper level. Those who were not clean according to the "rules of the sanctuary" (which probably meant uncircumcised), were still allowed to eat the Passover. Why? Because Hezekiah intercedes for them, asking God to pardon "everyone who sets their heart on seeking the Lord, the God of their ancestors - even if they are not clean!" Hezekiah most certainly is a type of Yeshua here also, as he intercedes for EVERYONE WHO SETS THEIR HEART ON SEEKING GOD. Doesn't this touch YOUR heart as it did mine? This is what God is looking for! For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2nd Chronicles 16:9) Once he sees someone who has set his heart upon seeking Him or returning to Him, He reaches through time and space and pardons that person and throws His arms around him as the father did to his prodigal son!
The chapter goes on to relate the unbridled joy that broke out in this assembly of true worshipers. They were, no doubt, a people overflowing with gratitude that they were pardoned, accepted and so loved by the King of the Universe! The chapter continues with this powerful picture:
21 The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great rejoicing, while the Levites and priests praised the Lord every day with resounding instruments dedicated to the Lord. 25 The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites and all who had assembled from Israel, including the foreigners who had come from Israel and also those who resided in Judah. 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.
Good morning, dear friends in Messiah. This is "Part 2" of my story from my time at the Global Missions Conference in North Carolina. I must begin with a Scripture:
Exodus 5:7-18 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”
10 Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”
15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”
17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”
I can imagine how strange this must sound to you as the Scripture for my blog. What could this possibly have to do with anything happening TODAY? Well, my whole world and my very soul was rocked when I listened to the testimony of a young Pakistani man who is ministering life to about 56,000 believers in Messiah Yeshua/Jesus in the brick factories of Pakistan. What happened to the children of Israel in ancient times (in the book of Exodus) is happening RIGHT NOW to believers in Pakistan. I will not disclose the young man's name for his own safety, but I am longing to share with you his very real story of his work among these enslaved, persecuted people, and ask you to commit them to daily prayer. I will call him "Solomon" for the sake of telling his story.
The extremely strict Islamic government of Pakistan has relegated any Christian believers they find to work in the various Brick Kiln factories. Fathers, mothers and their children are working day and night to produce the required QUOTA of bricks for each day. If they fall short of their quota, that number of bricks is added to the next day...and if they fail to meet THAT quota the next day, the number they were short is added to the next day, in an unending cycle of indentured servitude.
When Solomon discovered their plight, he found that they were not being given any clean drinking water or adequate food, so many of them were succumbing to disease. When they began missing their quotas regularly, their fingers were amputated. When they got too sick to work, they were thrown into the fire of the brick kiln, where they died a horrific death. Outrage over the plight of these hopeless, persecuted Christians began to grow and by the grace of God and the Power of His Holy Spirit, Solomon and his team were granted permission to bring in clean water and food for these people, as well as spending time with them once a week in prayer and encouragement. I could literally HEAR his tears as he related his experiences with the people who have come to be known as "Brick Kiln Christians." Most of the world is unaware of their suffering and their unending servitude. I stayed to talk with Solomon after his time of speaking, and gave him the largest donation I could give. I plan to continue supporting his work, but I also know that the united prayers of all of us can work MIRACLES for them! Please pray that God will have mercy on these courageous people who have not abandoned their faith in Jesus, and like the ancient story of Exodus, He will deliver them out of this bondage and set them free! And if you are moved to help me support this work that so few even know about, please send your donation to:
PO Box 233
Eaton, CO 80615
Mark it for "Brick Kiln." Or you can click on this link and donate over our website. I will be faithful to see that Solomon gets it. https://www.doorkeeperministries.com/donate.html
Our little ministry is being given more and more opportunities to sow seeds that will advance the Kingdom of God and spread the Love of Yeshua. We are also partnering with the amazing FAI (Frontier Alliance International) teams in Iraq and Iran, where they are encouraging, blessing and teaching the pastors of the fastest growing churches in the world! If you've not had a chance to see their incredible film, "Sheep Among Wolves," I will paste a link here:
God is on the move, brothers and sisters, in ways greater than we can imagine! And after experiencing this conference, I believe what He has asked me to do is to send out a small Prayer Request Letter each week, for those who want to commit to prayer for the Persecuted Church and the missionaries who are risking their lives. If you want to sign up to receive this, please e-mail me back and just say SUBSCRIBE TO PRAYER LETTER. The exponential power of our united prayers truly will make a big difference and we will send up praises as we watch and see what the Holy One of Israel will do in the earth!
One missionary who spoke to us delivered this powerful challenge: ARE YOU SETTLING FOR SLOGANS AND BUMPER STICKERS WHEN GOD CALLS YOU TO SCARS? As I said, my soul and spirit was rocked by the passion of these people. We can't all GO and bear the scars and risk of imprisonment and death to encourage, feed and minister to the Brick Kiln Christians (and many others like them around the world) but we can all PRAY!
Kelly Ferrari Mills