To my treasured Strong Disciple friends and wonderful supporters.
Today, I share a very personal message, in the hopes that it will inspire your own divine perspectives as you look at your life. But also because each of you are a vital, integral, sustaining part of this miracle, brought about by God himself.
This is a very personal letter I wrote to my family on Christmas day of 2021. I believe it will be a blessing to you as well.
I also believe it will help you fathers see some of the ways I always try to point my children to Christ and demonstrate the reality of true faith in God.
With much gratitude to God and to all of you,
With great humility,
Pastor Mark @Strong Disciple
Father Strong – Love Strong – Be The Man God Wants You To Be
Good morning Family,
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL.
This morning, I thought I would share a few divine revelations the Lord has ministered to me through, in a very personal way. I felt they may be a great blessing to you also, as they offer some profound, divine perspective.
For almost 32 years, we enjoyed what few others ever get to experience. All together, serving as a family in the same church, following our Savior Jesus Christ whom we all love. God did amazing things. It seemed a bit of heaven on earth. Then something shocking happened. Indeed it was horrible, catastrophic, and simply unthinkable. Our world was destroyed. As you can imagine, I have spent countless hours praying over all that occurred and God has met me in some very powerful and special ways. He reminded me of this: The early Christians in Jerusalem had just begun to enjoy sweet fellowship in their newfound Christian faith. The apostles were all together along with all the believers. They all met daily in homes for meals together, with great gladness, and joy. They shared communion, prayed together, and heard great teaching both in the temple courts and from house to house. Great things were happening. Who in their right mind would ever want this to end? But God in His infinite wisdom had a grander plan. He allowed terrible persecution to break out against the church, much like it broke out against me, and us as a family. It was horrible persecution, so bad, that the entire church, thousands of people, except for all the apostles, fled from Jerusalem. I am certain it felt to them that their world was destroyed.
I mean, they scattered in the dead of night! Families fleeing for their lives, taking with them only what they could carry. There were no other established churches to go to in other cities. There were only gentile sinners and a few synagogues. Yet God in his great wisdom allowed the scattering of these living seeds to bring the gospel and the knowledge of Jesus to other places. Though they lost what was precious and special to them back in Jerusalem, now each family was used by God in unique ways that we seldom even know about or read of today.
God scattered us. I see the hand of God in all of this now. I see God working through each of us in unique ways. I could write much of it here today, but I won’t for now. I know these stories because I personally keep in touch with each of you kids and know firsthand the many special ways God is using each of you, and some of the amazing things God is doing through you. I sincerely rejoice. It is profound and a direct answer to some of my many prayers on your behalf.
Related to me personally, I also share a profound Christmas insight. God brought Jesus into the world through Mary. Shortly after his birth, a wicked government official, much like the ones we have today, ordered that all the little boy babies of Bethlehem, a city of about 300, be slaughtered and killed in the hopes that he could kill the Messiah, Jesus Christ. AHH, but no one can thwart God’s plan. God warned Joseph in a dream, to leave this city and go to Nazareth of Galilee. Escape, they did, and Jesus lived the next 33 years until another group of religious and political leaders plotted and schemed, took him in hand, and this time, God let them have their way with Jesus! Once again, God’s plan was not thwarted, but fulfilled by Jesus, allowing some of the same corrupt govt. officials to succeed in their wicked plans. Jesus died a savage death! Only to conquer all things, by rising from the dead! He still lives today!
God revealed to me, personally, “Mark, you know how people tried to destroy you in 1977, 1996, 2001, and again in 2009/10. But I did not let you fall into their hands. I allowed your church ministry work to continue for decades. Then in 2018, I allowed you to fall into the hands of very wicked, corrupt people, and corrupted leaders. You were treacherously betrayed, unjustly sentenced, and wrongly condemned. I did not stop the knife of Abraham upon your spiritual work.” But then: Just as God promised me in Romans 4:17, “This happened because he believed in the God that brings the dead back to life and brings into existence what didn’t exist before.” Against all odds, when it seemed there was no future, no hope for me, God raised me from the ministry dead. God brought into existence this new non-profit ministry, Strong Disciple, in supernatural, and amazing ways. For 42 months now God has come through in simply astounding ways, that are ALL GOD’S DOING, not mine. Prayer after prayer has been answered, and I can tell you this today.
I thank God for my life as it is now. I have embraced my exile. I have embraced my “Patmos.” I love what God has called me to and is allowing me to do in these desperate, wicked days we live in. I love writing these articles week after week, passing on the wisdom and insights God has given to me. I love my small, quiet, windowless office, and my garage sanctuary of prayer. I love mentoring and pastoring men and praying with them. I love emailing Christians, counseling them, and keeping in touch to encourage and build them up. I love meeting men for coffee to minister to them. I love building men up in their faith, marriages, and their fathering. I love the ministry of prayer God has called me to on behalf of others. I love being able to touch Christians all over the country and in other countries all over the world.
Does life still have trials? Of course! Is everything perfect? No. But I have learned more and more to wait on God. To cry out to him with fervent confidence. To realize there are some things – ONLY GOD CAN FIX!
I am incredibly blessed and extremely grateful as I come to the 4 year anniversary of this crushing ordeal’s beginning. I can say today, “Thank you, Lord, for you have done great things for me, and for us.”
Merry Christmas family.
Much love, Dad
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling