Home | Blogs | dan's blog

Love to love

viber_image_2020-05-30_11-08-23Watching the functioning of people’s hearts never ceases to fascinate me.  Why do people do what they do?  What stops them from doing something else?  What tips them over the edge so that they do something they were only considering doing?  We’ve been looking at the subject of love recently as a church because of the question Jesus asked John in the last chapter of his gospel.

Perhaps you’ve noticed already… those people in our lives who have the reputation of being especially loving are the ones who sacrifice for others. 

I’ve noticed that some people are so full of themselves that loving others doesn’t come easy.  Even when they do something for another, the motivation is “what they get out of it”.  (At times, I fall into the category of being “full of myself”.)   The substance abusers who come to us struggle more than the average Joe with this sickness.  But the rest of us sure aren’t immune to it!

Recently, we read of the Christians in Ephesus who were characterized by pretty impressive credentials, but they had ceased to be characterized by the most important credential of all.  “Lord, be merciful to me and protect me from this malady!”

We’ve moved a few more guys into the third stage and they are living in Rzhyshchiv right now.  Petya, (standing), is one of those.  Two of the guys who’ve been with us for a few months left during the last two weeks.  Max was one of the two who left.  Sadly, he decided that he was disappointed in God.  (At least, that was the reason he gave for wanting to leave.)  I was sad to see Max give up.  If he is God’s child, he’ll probably be back, but I guess that’s something we will discover as time goes on.  Igor, (of one-arm fame), was really broken up about it.  I know people are wired differently, but I recognize a deeper and softer love in the man who suffers when someone leaves and goes back into the world.  I appreciate Igor.  He is giving an amazing amount of glory to God.  (Update:  Max has already called and wants to come back.  We probably won’t take him back, but may see if another centre can take him.)

Back to Igor…  something he does is reach out to the drunks in the town.  He called me a couple of weeks ago asking if it would be ok if he invited them around to his place for a meal each week.  I said that this wasn’t really a question he needed my blessing for… but he insisted that I tell him my thoughts.  I immediately thought, “His wife is going to give birth any day.”  Then: “Quarantine is still in place.”  “He and his wife, Olya, are already doing so much.  Maybe this will be too much.”  I said, “I just thought of a few reasons why this wouldn’t be a good idea right now.  But you know what…  it is often inconvenient to sacrifice for others.  Igor, God has put it on your heart to do.  GO FOR IT!  Love them!”  And this is what he and his small family are doing.  They’ve had a few nights so far when people have come by and heard teaching from God’s Word, been loved and fed.  Wonderful!

Igor and Olya are the ones who were arrested in Turkey several years ago and deported.  Igor was off his head going through withdrawal by the time they got on the plane and Olya says that it was nightmarish.  He was like a raging bull.  By the time the plane landed, everyone was sitting up the back of the plane as far away from him as they could.  He was incarcerated immediately upon landing for a few years.

Gleb came for a day!  (We’ve only had 6 guys who have stayed for a day or two over the past three years.)  Gleb knows a lot about the Bible, but his heart is bowing down before a different god… and by the second day, the siren call of that god was all he could hear.  The boys weren’t disappointed to see him go.  Bogdan said that God used Gleb in his life to disgust him with what he used to be like.  Now there’s an interesting “positive”!

We finally got one of our boys back from the TB ward.  I wrote about him recently.  He just came in today.  Also, we are trying to get “Andrei” to come to rehab.  He is a big guy who used to fight professionally.  He’s been doing drugs for four years and is “hitting bottom” – a real healthy place spiritually.  If you would pray for him, we’d appreciate it.

IMG-1319Priscilla here: It is raining beautifully!  That is so nice for all the gardens.  It reminds me of the old songs, ‘Showers of blessings’ and ‘Count your blessings’. 

Some of my blessings:

  • *quarantine—it has purified my heart regarding enjoying God even when we cannot assemble as a church family.
  • *zoom meetings--which allow us to stay in touch and still worship and pray together;
  • *Dan--who has seized spare moments to repaint and fix our bedroom (hurray!!);
  • *helping hands-- to transform our yard from a meadow to a garden;
  • *Ellie--who dug up beautiful wildflowers to brighten my heart and yard;
  • *our “Tea and Teaching” group -- which has some women eager to grow in Christ (since I am keen for that too, it is a joy to lead that group);
  • *the fact that Jesus seems even closer and more dear when the pain of my right side is relentlessly intense;
  • *God’s Word-- which whispers Truth and beauty into my soul. 

I have been reviewing Habbakuk 3:17-19 10x a day for a few days.  Here is a succinct paraphrase: ‘Though life is not perfect and even though it has deep sufferings, I will TAKE joy in God my Saviour!’ That is a deeper kind of joy!  I think of blessings as ‘sparkles of grace’ from God.  I hope you get to stop and notice the sparkles of grace in your life  Smile.

Happy Birthday, Pris!  You get more beautiful with each passing year!