We have arrived back in Haiti safely, and we want to thank you, our many friends, who have been praying for our safe travel and arrival. CHARIS is a Holy Spirit-led, God-anointed ministry that is focused on bringing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ten million people of Haiti, many of whom are enslaved to Satan and his demonic legions via the ancient tribal religion known as vodou. You are all a part of this ministry, and God has honored all of us with the task of turning the Haitian people “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith” (Acts 26:18). So we want to start this new season in Haiti with a genuine thank you to all of you, and we humbly ask that you please continue to pray and support this ministry that is producing fruit and expanding God’s kingdom here on earth!
As stated in the November newsletter, this month’s content will focus on demonic opposition and how this is an inevitable reality in any ministry that the Holy Spirit is working through. I would like to start with a short discussion about demons, Satan, and their collaborative and collective purpose in relation to ministries and the lives of Christians in general. Satan wasn’t always Satan, but rather he was God’s most beautiful angelic creation who was then known as Lucifer which means ‘light bearer’ or ‘morning star’. Lucifer became proud and desired to ascend to a position higher then God. His heavenly rebellion gained followers (a third of the angels), and in his attempt to climb higher then God he, and all of his followers, were thrown from heaven to the earth before man was created (see Isaiah 14:12-14, and Ezekiel 28:13-17a). This expulsion from heaven and God’s presence was permanent and irreversible. God then made man in His image (Genesis 1:26), perfect and immortal, but man, like Satan, fell to pride and resultantly disobeyed God which resulted in death and sin being incorporated into man’s natural existence on earth. Thus, sin was now forever incorporated into the human fabric creating what we now refer to as our ‘fallen nature’.
CHARIS family! It has been so great being back in the States for the holidays and having the privilege and opportunity to talk with many of you, speak at your churches and small groups, and discuss the ministry with those of you who have questions. Joy and I really do wish that we could spend an afternoon with every one of you and discuss Haiti and the miraculous things that are occurring on an almost daily basis. Before we get into the crux of this newsletter I do want all of you who are reading this to know that Joy and I are accessible and would love to answer any questions or address concerns that any of you may have about the ministry of CHARIS. In case you don’t already have our contact information here are our email addresses and website. Malcolm: email@example.com, Joy: firstname.lastname@example.org, CHARIS website: www.charis4haiti.com. Please email us with any inquiries and visit the website for ministry information-- don’t be shy, we look forward to hearing from you!
“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say,’…” Genesis 3:1
These are the opening words of the conversation between Satan (the serpent), and Eve which led to the fall of man. Notice Satan’s tactic here—he asks Eve if God really said not to eat from the tree in the garden. What Satan was asking Eve to do was question God’s perfection, question God’s purpose behind His commands, and thus question God’s Sovereignty! To the contemporary reader it is easy to see the abominable nature of Satan’s strategy—how dare he deceive Eve through essentially calling God a liar Who doesn’t mean what He says. But, before we pass judgment let us concern ourselves with the plank in our own eye!
"I..pray..that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."
I recently discussed this verse with a group of Haitian pastors in an effort to reveal Biblical truth concerning ‘church pride’. In Haiti you hear a lot of, “my church is better than yours” type of talk. Sadly, when I pondered the American church, I was forced to acknowledge the exact same occurrence. It’s not so much, “my church is better than your church” in America, but rather it is an overall issue of Christian unity and our great failure to adhere to this desire of Jesus.
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers”.
1 Timothy 4:16
Endurance is a word that is inseparable from the Christian life and inherent to our new birth in Christ upon our salvation. Why are these words so frequently used in Scripture, and what are we enduring? Endure is used 94 times in the New Testament and for good reason. As missionaries, the extent to which we endure is the extent of success experienced in building God’s kingdom on this earth.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’---and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”
Do we ever stop and ask ourselves why God allowed us to be born in America? Having travelled extensively it always amazes me how unique America is when compared to other countries. For lack of a better term, America is the ‘Disneyland’ of the world. We have wealth, medical care, clean water, food, policemen, a military, televisions in every home, gaming consoles, iphones and ipads, job opportunities, and the ability to move vertically within social class systems—we have it all. But, what we consider a blessing may be exactly what is producing the greatest depth of spiritual apathy seen in recent Christian history.
“He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”
Do you love your life? When you love something deeply, everyone knows it. When people see your wife happy, provided for, healthy and in love, the love that you are providing is obvious. When people look at your life is the love that you are providing it obvious? Big homes, manicured lawns, big televisions, designer clothes, 80 hours a week at work climbing the corporate ladder, etc., all reveal a love of life due to your passion, concern, and enthusiasm for it. So what’s wrong with this, and why does Scripture say that loving life will result in losing your life? To answer this question we must ask another one—Does your life draw people to you, or does it draw people to Christ? This is the only question of relevance for Christians, and the answer, if you love your life, is obvious—your love for your life will draw people to you because “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21).
“Christ, the work He has given us to do — the evangelization of all the unevangelized. Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible, by faith in the omnipotence, fidelity, and wisdom of the Almighty Savior Who gave the command. Is there a wall in our path? By our God we will leap over it! Are there lions and scorpions in our way? We will trample them under our feet! Does a mountain bar our progress? Saying, ‘Be thou cast into the sea,’ we will march on. Soldiers of Jesus! Never surrender!”
The evangelization of the unevangelized—this phrase encompasses living obedience to Christ. What were Christ’s last, and therefore very significant, words to us before he ascended back into heaven? “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). Now that we have this command from Jesus fresh in our minds, allow me to continue with another passage of Scripture, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and don’t do the things I say.” (Luke 6:46). This question is relevant isn’t it?
“If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.”
1 Corinthians 15:19
I have read this verse many times, but recently the Holy Spirit stopped me as I read it and when I meditated on it, the truth became startling. This life that we are all living in America is created by our worldly obligations. Careers, school, shopping, eating, exercising, etc. dominate our time that is divided into segments of minutes and hours—every increment of time being scheduled and accounted for in an effort to perform optimally in a world that demands our best. With this in mind, let’s turn our attention to Paul’s words in this verse. As Christians we have put our hope in Christ. What does this mean? It means that we believe in the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. He died as He placed all of our sins upon Himself, and when He rose from the dead He defeated Satan, death, and sin. So now we know, that through belief and relationship with Jesus, our sins are forgiven and thus the deserved wrath of God is erased from our current and future reality—since the blood of Christ covers our sins.
Therefore, we know that upon our mortal death, we will be carried to heaven by angels and spend eternity in heaven with our Creator! It is this hope that Paul is referring to in this verse. This means that in this life—through all of its trials, tribulations, diseases, suffering, and pain we look towards heaven—hoping in the reality of our eternal resting place where death is swallowed up by immortality and perfection. This hope creates power within Christians, and we see this in the Bible. Paul, Peter, John and the other disciples and followers of Christ don’t concern themselves with worry over persecution and trials. In fact, as in the case of Peter and the other apostles getting flogged for spreading the gospel, they fall on their knees in absolute joy as they praise God for being, “counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). In Acts 16, we see Paul and Silas singing hymns of praise in prison as they sit shackled with fresh wounds from the beating that tore their backs open that day. How is this possible? It’s possible through hope—the hope that they placed in Christ and heaven.