Letter 9: To the Samurai’s (From Brian and Jenny)

Dear brother and sister,

We can often feel your joy from afar.  The news of Gospel advancement is transformative in the lives of people that are thousands of miles away, not the least in our own lives.  We entreat you to continue in all boldness, wisdom, and most of all, dependence upon God.  Set yourselves to seeking His glory, and do not tire in this, for this glory is the very thing that He dleights to seek for Himself, and thus, He must agree with your endeavors in order to uphold His self-value that He so prizes – for, indeed, they are His endeavors and His ultimate end.  For this reason, we would set before you such words of love as patience, endurance, steadfastness, faithfulness, even stubbornness; and phrases like, run the race in order to win the prize, “consider Jesus”, and bear your own cross.  Or to set the theme more dogmatically, “endure in humble obedience to the Lordship of God in Christ evidenced in self-sacrificial love in light of the everlasting reward of unceasing joy in His unfathomable presence,” a loving task that will cost you your life (my synopsis of Luke 14:25-33, particularly v. 27, cf. Phil 2:5-11, etc. And Psalm 35:11-16 as illustrative of the general principle that men will meet love with violence lest they be stricken by God’s grace).

We are cut to the heart upon hearing the news of your grandmother, dear sister.  We do rejoice in this, however, that death, which intends not only to kill us but to keep us, cannot and will not keep her because our Lord has defeated this enemy such that He is the reigning Lord of life and death.  It was amazing for me to consider John 11 upon the death of my grandfather this past April 20.  The words of our Lord do still resound with me and we hope they do with you also:  “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (11:25-26).  Did you read that last bit carefully?  Your grandmother is not dead!  She lives, even as we are sure that our Lord lives!  Nevertheless, we do wish to mourn with you, and long for your joy in Christ to be far surpassing the difficulties of life no doubt arranged by God to move us to greater enjoyment of Him and less satisfaction in the inconsequential things of this life – indeed, such things He uses to wean us from this world and make us wholly devoted to Himself.

To these ends: endurance in love and unfading joy we do commend to you with our unbreakable love for you both.

Brian and Jenny

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