GOD OF THE UNIVERSE
I watched an outstanding video on Facebook this morning about the Universe. It displayed all the planets, stars, and solar systems and revealed the size of each. It was a great reminder of how small we are in relation to it all. I was fixated on how marvelous and magnificent God is, and how in the midst of this enormous and complex universe, His greatest treasure and His greatest desire is to have a relationship with me and with you. We are just a speck of sand in this cosmic wonder. So insignificant in light of its enormity, yet so significant to the Creator.
I then read the comments posted to the video. It’s always sobering to see that even though we are surrounded by the delicate brushstrokes of the Creators hands and we breathe the very air that the power of His words spoke in to existence, there exists a division between man and God, a deep rooted hatred towards God. So many bitter souls who deny His existence, and hate the very mention of His name. In just an unexpected moment, they can be whisked from this life to the next, never knowing the most perfect, loving, forgiving, compassionate, and caring relationship they would have ever had with our Lord, the Creator of their life.
I struggled with finding the right subject to write about for this newsletter. I always ask God to give me a message that would speak directly to you. It’s important to me to share about this mission, the children, their needs, and what you’ve helped to accomplish. But, it’s equally important to seize every opportunity to be obedient to God and send whatever words He wants you to hear. I sense a heaviness that I want to share with you. I hope it lights a fire.
I cannot even begin to put in to words the anticipation I have for 2018. I’m going in to this year with expectancy of great things ahead. I’m taking these words in to the new year with great consideration and focus: restoration, rest, renewing, and revival. The past few years have been incredibly difficult for our family. We’ve endured battles that I never would have imagined and have navigated through this battlefield with great resolve to never give up. However, spending a great deal of time on the battlefield can leave you weary and tired. For our family, and our personal lives, we are asking God to bring restoration, rest, renewal and revival. It is so easy to get so caught up in our mission and purpose in life, that it can become easy to neglect our own personal welfare. It’s one of the hardest things I struggle with. I’ve mentioned before, my husband and family tell me I’m like an ox, I just keep plowing through. But, even an ox needs to take time to drink from the well. We need to be kind to ourselves. If we neglect our own needs, we become ineffective to our families, our mission, helping others, work, our spouses, etc.
So, this is my personal focus for 2018 - the 4 R’s - restoration, rest, renewing, and revival. However, God so gently, but with great heaviness dropped one more “R” in to my spirit and put a heaviness on me to share this with you as well. Redemption.
REDEMP'TION, noun [Latin redemptio.]
1. Repurchase of captured goods or prisoners; the act of procuring the deliverance of persons or things from the possession and power of captors by the payment of an equivalent; ransom; release; as the redemption of prisoners taken in war; the redemption of a ship and cargo.
2. Deliverance from bondage, distress, or from liability to any evil or forfeiture, either by money, labor or other means.
3. In theology, the purchase of God's favor by the death and sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's violated law by the atonement of Christ.
There is not a single man that knows the day or hour of our Lord’s return. We don’t know the exact moment lives will be swept away from a natural disaster or a man made disaster. The same with, sickness, cancer, car accidents, house fire, shootings, drowning, etc. We live day by day. Each year approximately 132 million new lives enter this world and 55 million leave this world. How many of those souls were reunited with God when they left this world? This year, I saw many lives pass in to eternity. My heart ached for people I knew well, and those I didn’t. I ached for the souls that didn’t enter eternity with God. I ached for families who lost a child, a friend, a parent - but rejoiced knowing they are with the Lord. Precious lives lost in a moment, no one expected, others who had death linger at their bedside. Whether in a moment or in those passing days, lives removed from this earth and joined with eternity in heaven or hell, it’s a sobering realization of how precious life is.
Do you have family and friends that don’t have a relationship with Jesus? What about your neighbor, the people you work with, those you pass by every day? If something happened today and they lost their life, where would they spend eternity?
God wants to redeem them. Declare that this is the year of redemption for their life! Ask God to awaken a passion in you to fulfill every believers purpose, to share the redeeming power of His sacrifice with every non believer. And then, ask Him to equip you to disciple those lives you’ve led to Christ.
Many of you reading this are a parent to a small or older child. How far would you go to save your child from harm? I know I’d take a bullet for my children, I’d swim in a sea of sharks (and I hate sharks) to rescue my drowning babies, I’d do absolutely anything to rescue them. Jesus went all the way to the cross, bore every sin, and sacrificed His life, for ever single child ever born in to this earth.
Our time is short. Your spouse, child, family, friend, neighbor, co-worker …. their time may be even shorter. Pray for an increased passion for their souls. Pray and fast for their life.
I look at these children in whom God has put in to our life. If we had not been obedient and weathered every storm to “redeem” them from their situation, chances are, their lives would have been plunged in to a repetitive cycle of despair - drugs, prostitution, abuse, gangs, violence, witchcraft, and even death. We crossed over on to the enemies lines to “procure the deliverance of persons from the possession and power of captors (devil). Delivering them from bondage, distress and liability to any evil. Only Jesus can provide the ultimate redemption to save a soul, and it is because you’ve helped us to rescue their lives, that we are able to walk them to the knowledge of that soul saving redemption. We’ve literally taken children out of the hands of witchcraft, children being groomed to follow in the footsteps of their shaman and witchdoctor families. Just imagine the intensity of that kind of fight, to redeem children from those evil powers. It has been an INTENSE battle at times. But, we hold all power and authority of the Kingdom of Heaven! Jesus wins, every time.
Every life is important to God. I’m adding “REDEMPTION” to my list of focus words for 2018. I’m asking God to increase my passion for the redemption of lives, favor and open doors for influence in the lives of the unsaved, and the ability to rescue more children so that we can lead them to God’s redemption. Will you join with me? Send us the names of those you want us to pray for and we will join you in believing that this is the year of their redemption.
Marshall and I, as well as our entire team want to thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do to help us rescue lives, meet needs, lead souls to Christ, and disciple. We cannot do this without your financial support. Today is the last day to give for 2017. If you would like to make a year end tax deductible donation, please visit www.blessanorphan.com/donate today. Or call us at 877-290-2508. If you need information on bank wire transfers, please visit: https://blessanorphan.com/bank-wire-instructions/
Thank you for standing with us, praying, and encouraging us through the most difficult battles we’ve ever faced. We thank you for always standing with us to celebrate the victories and to encourage us in times we’ve felt discouraged. You have been a faithful friend. You share in every blessing of this mission, because it has been YOU that has helped us to stay in the fight for their lives. May our God of abundance, mercy, love, compassion, healing, and grace be ever so near to you in 2018. We pray this year will be a year of redemption in the lives of your family and friends. We pray that this year you will draw ever so close to a loving God who desires a relationship with you, a Father who will meet all of your needs, and a Savior who will forgive and deliver you from all your troubles. Heavenly Father, remember the sacrifices and gifts your child has poured in to this ministry, and reward them according to your Word.
Jesus is coming.
We love you. Happy New Year!
Marshall and Karissa Washburn
(If you want to be encouraged by what your giving has done in 2017, take a look below! This list doesn't even touch it all! We stand in awe of what God does through each of you. Thank you!)