Friends,
When people speak about signs that we are in “the last days” or are nearing the end of the age, we often hear them speak about the increase of natural disasters, alignments in the heavens, and the deceptions of false teachers. But what about the warnings from Scripture about the dissipation of love?

Jesus warns, “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.” (Mt. 24:10) Some of us have observed Christ-followers who have gotten lax or preoccupied with the world and turned back from following Jesus. But what about those who go further –hating those whom they once loved and even betraying them? Isn’t this increasing?

I used to think that in Mt. 24:12 when Jesus says, “…the love of most will grow cold” He meant that the love many had for Him would grow cold. However, if we look at the context and the verse above (v. 10), the cooling love seems to be directed toward other human beings. The verses imply that those who were once loved, namely family members and close friends, would be those who would become hated and betrayed by those whose love had grown cold. More than this, Jesus seems to be revealing that love itself within many people would wane –that they would cease to be loving, compassionate, thoughtful, warm-hearted, caring, merciful people, and that by doing this, they would be turning from Him (who is Love), even if they weren’t aware of it.

What causes this love growing cold in so many? Jesus tells us. He says in verse 12 that it is due to the increase of lawlessness. I’m sure most of us would agree that we hear from the news that this is happening throughout the world, and we likely notice it ourselves in our own experiences. Wickedness is rampant, evil is spreading, and disrespect and disregard for laws –both moral and civil laws– has been intensifying for years. And because of this, the love of most is growing cold –so cold that it has flipped into hatred as well as betrayal against those who were once cherished and protected.

2 Timothy 3:1 warns us, “There will be terrible times in the last days.” The following verses state that people will love themselves, money, and pleasure, but at the same time be without love toward other people, or toward God, goodness, or the Truth. (v. 3,4,8) They will have a form of godliness, but yet deny its power (v. 5), and they will be controlling and deceptive. (v. 6,13) Slanderous, treacherous, proud, unforgiving, abusive –these being just some of their other characteristics (v. 2-4)– are how they persecute their parents and those who are living godly lives. (v. 2,12) We are commanded to stay away from such people. (v. 5) –Not so that we behave unloving toward them, but so that, as 1 Cor. 15:33 warns, we do not learn their ways and also become corrupt.

1 John 4:12 tells us that “if we love each other, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” Is God’s love being made complete in us? Or have we stagnated it and let it cool? “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (v. 8 ) Indeed, when people behave cooly toward others, they reveal their lack of intimacy with God. They reveal their rejection of the Faith (Mt. 24:10-13), they reveal their opposition to the Truth (2 Tim. 3:8), and they reveal their denial of the power of Christ in their lives. (v. 5) Such people face rejection by God (v. 8 ) if they do not repent and walk in love, for as Jesus warns, “those who stand firm to the end will be saved.” (Mt. 24:13) Stand firm in what? The Faith. (v. 10) But what does the True Faith consist of? Doesn’t it appear that Jesus is stating in verses 10-13 that it consists of Truth, righteousness, and warm-hearted (fervent, tender) love? In fact, it looks like Jesus is revealing that these three concepts are synonymous.

The increase of lawlessness is threatening the existence of love in the world, of love amongst believers, of love in our hearts. But we can resolve to resist those icy winds, so that by the power of Christ, we will be found standing firm to the very end.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
On Wednesday, while evangelizing at the bus and train stops downtown, I was surprised by one of my prayer partners who met me there to pass out some of her tracts beside me for almost an hour. She had gotten off work early and her evangelism efforts, even in her shy way, as well as her faithful prayers, blesses me so much!!!

I was also blessed by a man –a white guy who said he is 64 years old– who told me that he just started following the Lord two months ago when he got out of prison after a 30 year term. He had a big Bible in his backpack he showed me and he was so excited to talk to me about Jesus and His Word and he told me about some situations where he too had witnessed to people recently. He also told me about ways the Lord was providing for him miraculously. He also said he had gotten a place to stay in a ghetto area, but clearly, he was thankful and hopeful and trusting in the Lord. He said he doesn’t have any friends yet, but he said he is ministering to others as best he can. Readers, please pray that this man goes on being thankful to the Lord, trusting in Him, and grows to be a mighty servant of God.

A little black woman, who I’ve talked to before, came up and hugged me. She had a boot on her one foot and when I asked about it, she said she’d gotten hit by a car. She gave me four quarters and when I said I don’t take money, she insisted, so I gave it to the guy who’d been in prison 30 years who I was still talking with. He was so thankful for it and hugged the little woman who was also clearly joyful about giving a blessing.

I talked with many others –one guy who complained that since there are so many different beliefs, how is one to know which is the Truth. He listened well as I spoke with him about it and he said he would take my suggestion to ask the Creator to reveal Truth to him and he also said he would read God’s Word.

Before that I spoke with a young atheist/evolutionist and when I reminded him that all that is built –like DNA, a skyscraper, a computer, and a cell phone– has to have intelligence putting it together to make it function, he did seem to waver, saying that maybe there is a Creator-God. I encouraged him to seek Him and he said he would.

A young man approached me at a different bus stop and said he was excited to see me evangelizing and said that he and his church group do the same –even with signs. He was definitely a blessing to talk with.

From there, on my way back to the train area, a well-dressed black woman seated on a bench, asked as I walked by, “What propels you to do this?” I stopped and said, “Well, the love of Christ.” She and I had a wonderful conversation about the Lord and right before her bus came she asked me to be praying for her about persecution she has been receiving. I said I would.

Later, when I was headed back to my car, a guy with an African accent took my tract and then tried to give me money. I said I don’t take money, but he then asked me to look up a verse, which I did, and he stuck a dollar between the pages and closed my Bible. I laughed and said thank you and went on my way. Seeing that my meter still had 25 more minutes on it, I headed for a busy traffic corner near there (the corner where I had witnessed for quite a while to the topless-bar dancer I wrote about before). An old white woman I’ve seen before greeted me and said she was headed for work (at a deli). She took my tract and asked me to be praying for her. I said I would and then gave her the dollar that that last guy had just given me. She was SO grateful. (Even a dollar is a lot for those in poverty.)

This morning I received a text from someone who works at the country nursing home where I still sometimes visit. She is so poor and needs some help. She has told me before that she is trying to follow the Lord and she has sometimes texted me for prayer, giving no specifics.

There are so many needs. May we all do our part… do what we can… to help a hurting world by giving them Jesus –His Word, His message of hope and freedom and salvation, and His love and compassion and care.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Love: It Loves & Warns

February 15, 2018

Friends,
I was so grateful to the Lord that it was a pretty day here yesterday and that my mom and I were both able to go witnessing downtown at the bus and train stops with our homemade Valentine treat bags. We took the foldable cart my husband bought us last Fall for this purpose, along with some Bibles to give out if anyone would want one. We did give one Bible out to a young woman who was very grateful for it. May the Lord grow her in the Truth through His Word.

It was, as always, a huge blessing to watch my mom give out the treat bags and see frowning people light up when she started talking with them. One young man, wearing a gold-colored, cup-shaped hat, was one my mom spoke with for almost 15 minutes. She told me later that he was very polite and thoughtful and had said he was from Istanbul. One woman we both talked with was visibly blessed to hear that the Holy Spirit, as we read the Word which is our necessary spiritual food, will give us joy and comfort and strength and wisdom and peace in the midst of our troubles. “Yes, peace,” she said at least twice. “I do need peace. And I believe what you are saying, so I will read God’s Word!” She was smiling as she listened and she kept thanking us, and I hugged her when we parted.

There were many wonderful encounters my mom and I had yesterday and I thank the Lord that my mom is able to still sometimes join me downtown even though she is 83 years old! We thank Him that we were able yesterday to share God’s love, message, and concern with people, most who are going through some kind of deep pain, and to remind them that following the Lord’s words and leading makes all the difference.

True, we live in a world full of evil, even as we were reminded again yesterday through the tragedies revealed on the news, but this is why we must not waste any time. We must go forth in doing whatever the Lord has told each one of us to do, in the manner He instructs, and use all available time to be studying and applying “so that we may be a workman approved by God, one who correctly handles the Word of Truth.” (See 2 Tim. 2:15) And this should be “our prayer: that our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the Day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes though Jesus Christ –to the glory and praise of God.” (See Phil. 1:10,11) Yes, filled with the fruit of righteousness, not just the claim. For as Jesus has warned, “But the one who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand… [and in the storm] it fell with a great crash.” (Mt. 7:26,27)

“Be very careful, then, how you live –not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Eph. 5:15-17) Truly, no one who does what is shameful or deceitful will enter Life (Rev. 21:27), but only those who do God’s will (Mt. 7:21) and follow the voice of Jesus. (John 10:27,28)

Let us heed God’s Word, and Jesus’ warning to “Fear God who… has the authority to throw you into Hell.” (Luke 12:5) Yes, all of us will give an account of our every moment before the God who has seen everything. (Rom. 14:12 // 2 Cor. 5:10 // Heb. 4:13 // Rev. 20:13 // See also Mt. 12:36,37 and Rom. 2:5-11 and 1 Cor. 4:5) Therefore, besides God’s message of love, forgiveness, and power, our message, given in Spirit-filled love, must also be one of warning.

May we obey.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Two months from now my brother is going to visit the Agta people who we grew up with in the Philippines (my parents having translated the New Testament into that language). He will be bringing aid to the Agta and checking on the school he helped organize there. He will also be arranging for a doctor to remove the growth from between the eyes of the little Agta girl whose picture, taken four years ago, is here. Her name is Princess Diane.

Our family is all pitching in to help pay for the operation, and if anyone else would be led to help, that would be wonderful. People can help by donating, or by letting the need be known at their Facebook page.

Checks can be made to:

Steve Headland
PO Box 662
Lillian, Texas, 76061

Besides Steve’s intense involvement with the Agta and making trips back there every other year to assess their needs and bring aid, my brother is also the college/international pastor at Grace Community Church in Arlington, Texas, working primarily in this from his ministry at UTA called The Cornerstone.

If anyone would like to receive a tax deduction, the gift needs to go through this:

http://partnersacrosscultures.com/donate And the word Agta needs to be put in the memo spot.

Thank you for donating and/or telling others of the need. Thank you too for praying that my brother will find the right doctor there in the Philippines, that the operation on Princess Diane’s face will be completely successful, and that the Lord will favor this little girl all her life so that she is a joy-filled, healthy, blessed Jesus-follower.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,

This little girl is half Agta and lives in a village next to the village I and my siblings grew up in. Her mom is an Agta woman and her dad is the Filipino pastor of their village. She needs help. Her dad has taken her to a city, a day’s bus drive away (each way), to have medicine put in her eye, and they need money to be able to do this on a regular basis. The family is very, very poor. Please consider giving to this girl and please tell others who also may be able to help.

Here is the link where a person can donate to help in this cause: http://partnersacrosscultures.org/donate In the box that says, “Person or trip for funds to go to” a person must type in “Agta” and then contact me at my comment page (which I will not publish) to let me know the amount given for this little daughter of the pastor. If someone would prefer to give to her through Paypal, just reach me through my comment page and I will send you my brother’s Paypal information.

For the Agta, even a fews dollars goes a long way. Thank you so much for contributing.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
My sister’s daughter, Violet, was on Japan’s national news today. She and some others volunteered to help with the clean-up necessary due to the terrible flood damage that happened in Hita, Oita, Japan the first week of this month.

The reason she is there is because she joined the group (for the first time) that my brother organizes every year to go to Hita to help him and his family share Christ and God’s Message with the Japanese. Each young person stays in a Japanese home and commits to serving their host family, while also helping with the evangelism activities my brother administrates.

I hope people are praying for those affected by the flood. There is much ruin and some family’s homes were washed away completely. May God comfort the people of Hita and may they see their need for The One who is All-powerful and is able to heal and help and save.

Violet can be seen working in several of the clips, and they also recorded a few statements from her. Watching her reminded me again of what a tender heart she has for others, and how she gives of her life whenever and wherever she can. (She is the one who raised over 22K through bake sales, etc. to purchase a well for the Hadza in Tanzania, Africa, which I posted about last year on 7/26/16.)

Here is the link to the Japanese newscast today:

 

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
My brother (Steve), his oldest son (Kael), another teenage boy, and two young men (not the same two who went in 2015) took a trip to the Philippines last month to visit the Agta –the people with whom I and my siblings grew up and for whom my parents translated the New Testament.

It appears that the Agta are doing much better than they were several years ago. There is a thriving church there and most of the Agta throughout the penisula seem to love Jesus. The children are eager to go to school and to learn and the adults want this for them –very different than when we lived there, for it was so hard to get anyone interested in learning to read then. However, there is a need for a school to be built in another Agta village so that those children don’t have to board away from home. There is a need for funds for this project, as Steve is trying to arrange plans for the building. Here is something I posted after their trip in 2015 and it includes the information on how to donate:

“New houses, a church, and a school have been made in one Agta village from money being donated from various people wanting to help the Agta. The Agtas’ needs have received more attention since APECO’s efforts to take their land have become known internationally. (The Rom. 8:28 promise at work, I’d say.) May the Lord bless all who are helping them! If you would like to be one of those helpers, there is an opportunity to become a sponsor for the many six-graders wanting to go on to high school (there is no middle school), which costs, including room and board, approximately $340 a year. Here is the link you can click on to donate and receive a tax deduction:http://partnersacrosscultures.org/donate Please specify that you are donating to “the Casiguran Agta” in the blank space that says, “Person or trip”. If you are wanting to sponsor a student, their names will be available after you fill out the application. Thank you so much for prayerfully considering this.”

Please also support the Agta through prayer. Pray for their health, for their provision regarding food, medicine, surgeries, and education, for them to grow in spiritual knowledge, maturity, and holiness, for them and their land to be safe from land-grabbers, for their safety from disease and accidents and hurricanes, and for their total well-being.

I thank the Lord for all He has so wonderfully done for the Agta since my parents went there to live out their lives with them two years before I was born. God loves the Agta so very much. He cares for them and wants to use others to extend His care and love through. Thank you for your consideration, dear Reader, in helping.

Below are some photos, with captions underneath each, of this year’s trip.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

My brother with “uncle” Saysay (pronounced Sysy) who, as a child, became blind from having measles.

My brother and a Filipino man who is a pastor in the area.

Kael and the other teenage boy enjoying one of the peninsula’s exquisite beaches.

This man’s life was saved by my mom about 25 years ago when he was dying. My mom hiked to his home one night to pray over him and he miraculously recovered by the next morning. This is his wife and kids this year.

This photo is of two of our elderly “aunties” trying out the reading glasses my parents sent.

Two of our friends have this small ferry business because the river, near its mouth, rises at high tide.

Two children amazed at a young hornbill bird.

Agta grandma ready to play ball too!

American group involving themselves in village life.

Kael with new friends.