HEINEN HAPPENINGS – November 2021

Dear friends, how thankful we are for you. In this season of giving thanks, when we think of you, we thank God for you!

Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading in the areas of counseling, anxiety, depression, and trauma. One common factor in all of my study has been the importance of being thankful for good mental health. This certainly fits with the teaching of Scripture.

The Bible is filled with the command to give thanks to God. Here are a few examples:

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Heb. 12:28).

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Col. 3:15).

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Col. 4:2).

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done” (1 Chron. 16:8).

“When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, ‘He is good; His love endures forever’” (2 Chron. 7:3).

“In that day you will say: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted’” (Isa. 12:4).

Scripture teaches that one of the key elements in man’s rebellion against God is ingratitude. Paul wrote, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:21). Not being thankful to our God who is the source of all good and all blessing leads to rebellion against His rule and reign in our lives.

Every good and perfect gift come from Him! Every spiritual blessing is found in Christ! He deserves our gratitude and our praise. And once again, we thank Him for you!

And I am incredibly thankful for my dear wife of 35 years (on November 15th)! We had a nice time reminiscing about all God has blessed us with over the years. Leah is such a gift to me! I thank God for her and her love. I know I share the same pictures of our beginning as a couple, but I don’t have many pictures, so here they are again! Notice how beautiful my bride was then. She is even more beautiful today.

I am also thankful for the wonderful congregation of the Appleton Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Five years ago this January, I drove out to share God’s Word with a congregation I had never met. They instantly became dear friends and I have preached there ever since. Because of my health and my inability to drive, I have been limited in just how much I could serve this great group of Christ-followers. My prayer from day one has been that God would send His called one who would not just be able to preach, but who could shepherd the community as well as the congregation. God has answered that prayer by sending a wonderful local pastoral couple who have worshipped with ACPC for almost a year. They are gifted and have a deep commitment to the church family and to Appleton. They will be taking over as lead shepherds at the start of 2022. I will assist in pulpit supply a few times a month, but this dear couple will now take the reigns. I am thankful to God for them!

Here’s how you can pray for us.

  1. Several family members are sick with COVID. Please pray to our loving Great Physician on their behalf.
  2. Please pray for the transition at the church, that God would be glorified!
  3. Please pray for our family to represent Jesus well as we interact with our neighbors, especially through this holiday season. We have plans to show our neighbors we love and appreciate them. May Jesus be exalted!
  4. Please pray for our family, as we will be separated this Christmas.
  5. Please pray for God’s provision, as we will start 2022 with less income and greater expenditures. Part of this comes from my switch from Medicaid to Medicare. I also will be making less as I am preaching less. Combined with rising inflation, we need desperately need God’s intervention. Pray that we will never doubt His faithfulness.

Please pray for us. And let us know how to pray for you. We so appreciate you!

Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802 (479) 886-0765 

bheinen.com   brheinen1@gmail.com

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – October 2021

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6

Family and friends, I begin this newsletter with a passage I often quote. I do so because this is Pastor Appreciation month. I want to make public that I have great respect and admiration for the many I know who are faithful servants of Jesus Christ. You serve selflessly and courageously. I want to say “thank you” to those who represent Jesus so well by lovingly serving not only those in their local church family, but also those in their neighborhoods and communities. You are heroes! Some of you humbly serve in very public ministries in larger congregations. Some of you faithfully serve in relative anonymity in smaller settings. As Paul stated, I am so thankful for you! I pray for you with joy! I partner with you as we share the common task of making Christ known! I so love and appreciate you because of what you do in our Great Savior’s Name!

My heart also is deeply burdened for the growing number I know who have shepherds’ hearts who for various reasons are no longer in the ministry positions they once held. This month is hard for you. Many of you did not receive much appreciation as you lovingly shepherded a people who maybe didn’t even want you around. You were a threat to someone’s power, but now that you are removed, they remain in power and you stand on the sidelines. You left with a damaged heart but are more concerned for your family members who have deeper wounds than you. I am praying for you today. I love you and appreciate you and am here for you if you ever want to talk.

I praise the Lord for His faithful love to my family. My girls and their families are all doing well. Maria takes an important test this weekend that is necessary for her to begin her student teaching. She is so excited! God is good. I am so thankful for my girls and their families.

Leah continues to be a model of faithfulness as she exhibits for our family what a godly woman looks like. Her prayer life is amazing! While she often has trouble sleeping at night, she spends her restless evenings lifting you before God’s throne of grace. I am so thankful for her.

I continue to preach on Sundays to a wonderfully receptive congregation. I am excited about possible ways to reach out to my neighborhood as the holidays approach. I pray often for the needs of my friends and family. I am burdened by the trials and tribulations we see in this world, but am so thankful for our Sovereign Lord who remains in complete control. I also thank God that while my disability continues to slowly progress, the work of healing and sanctification that is taking place in my life greatly offsets any physical decline. Maria chauffeurs me to our local college and high school football games as she is able. I still love sports and have been spoiled with the success of the Bucks, Brewers, and Packers.

I close with a powerful word from the passage above: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. This is true for you. You may be active in a current ministry. You may be one who no longer carries a title. But a truth I rest upon for my family and I is also true for you. God begins the work in us. He continues that work until completion. God is still working in all of you to fulfill His plans and His purposes. For that I am thankful.

If you get a chance, send me an email letting me know you read these updates. Sometimes I wonder if I should continue to write them as I don’t know if anyone actually reads these words.

How can I pray for you today? Please let me know.

Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802 (479) 886-0765 

bheinen.com   brheinen1@gmail.com

LORD God of Salvation

O LORD, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. (Psalm 88:1 ESV)

YHWH Elohim Yeshua, thank You that You are our salvation! You see our plight and hear our cries, and You act on our behalf. You do not treat us as our sins deserve, but instead graciously offer us redemption through the finished work of the cross. Thank you for binding up the hearts of the brokenhearted.  May we run to You and trust in You for salvation today.

LORD God of Hosts

You, LORD God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah (Psalm 59:5 ESV)

YHWH Elohim Tsaba, LORD God of Hosts, thank you for being the victorious leader of the heavenly armies. You defeat all Your enemies with ease. Thank You for standing up to evil and for righting the wrongs so many experience. Thank You for defending us. May we march under Your banner. May we make sure we are on Your side, rather than demanding that You be on our side. Thank You for Your peace and power that accompany Your Presence. Thank You for being with us as we daily deal with our enemies and battles.

The LORD God of Retribution

For the Lord is going to devastate Babylon; he will silence her mighty voice. Their waves roar like a huge torrent; the tumult of their voice resounds, for a destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon. Her warriors will be captured, their bows shattered, for the Lord is a God of retribution; he will certainly repay. — Jeremiah 51:55-56 (CSB)

YHWH El Gemuwal, LORD God of Retribution, we live in a world where we are often bullied, damaged, and disrespected by others. Forgive us when we try to take our own revenge. May we instead trust that You are a holy God who will judge all evil. You are a God who sees us when we are hurt and because You love us, You will act on our behalf one day. You will repay. And Lord, we realize that we are also among those who sin against others. We deserve your punishment. Thank You that Jesus was punished in our place, and that we can be forgiven of all we have done through Him.

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – September 2021

Friends, I just have a short update for you this month. I will not give you info about our wonderful girls, other than asking you to pray for Rebekah, who works to get homeless people into housing in New Jersey. She and Tim are safe after severe weather hit their area, but she is very concerned about her clients. Please pray!

I took a good chunk of August away from social media. When I heard reports of others doing this, I was blessed to hear of the refreshment of their souls that they experienced. My time off was not like that. COVID resurgence. Haiti. Afghanistan. Ida. Fires and floods in our nation and violence and persecution around the world. These things gripped my heart and burdened my soul. It seemed as if I was entering a deep season of intense intercession and spiritual warfare. Other health and financial issues added to the weight. I focused on the holiness of God during this time, and was overwhelmed by the idea of His sovereignty. Nothing in this world overwhelms Him. I want to stay closely connected to Him through these incredibly difficult days.

Let me just leave you with a few verses I posted in recent prayer updates:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)

I trust this divine invitation will remind you of the love Jesus has for you and His desire for you to not be overwhelmed by all you face today. These words are the basis of Dane Ortlund’s masterful Gentle and Lowly, a book that we were able to get into the hands of the families of three churches in our area, due to the generosity of the publisher. I encourage you to get a copy.

Please pray for us. And let us know how to pray for you. We so appreciate you!

Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802 (479) 886-0765 

bheinen.com   brheinen1@gmail.com

LORD God of Truth

Into your hand I entrust my spirit; you have redeemed me, Lord, God of truth. — Psalms 31:5 (CSB)

YHWH El Emeth, LORD God of Truth, we live in a world where everyone does what is right in his/her own eyes, choosing their own version of “truth.” We are surrounded by confusion that breeds fear. The father of lies and his forces continue to spread deception. In this chaos, we so desperately need to submit to Your viewpoint on all that is happening. Thank You for sending the Spirit of Truth to guide us into all Truth. Thank You that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Guide us into all truth today for Your glory we pray.

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – August 2021

Friends and family,

How we appreciate you and hope you had a terrific summer! Oconto High School Class of 1981, I am so sorry I was not able to see you at our reunion. I am sure it was wonderful catching up. I hope to see you at the 50th!

We celebrated Maria’s 20th birthday on August 2nd. I don’t think she realizes what a blessing she is to Leah and myself. She is a great friend and always brings such joy to our lives. Here are a few pics I borrowed from Rebekah, one recent and one from a few years ago. Wish her a belated Happy Birthday if you get a chance.

For over four years, I have done weekly pulpit supply for the incredible congregation at the Appleton Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Other than taking a few weeks off due to COVID, I don’t think I missed more than a week or two over the years. I am taking the next three weeks off. A gifted gentleman from the church will be sharing God’s Word during this time. I am also taking some time off of social media. If I miss wishing you a “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, I apologize. I am taking some time to simply seek Jesus. I can’t wait!

It is so easy to slip into the “I must make a difference” trap. Since I was a teen, I always wanted to make a difference for Jesus. I went to Last Days Ministries because I thought they were making a difference. I then received my ministry training at college thinking I would make a difference by becoming a missionary. When Leah and couldn’t go overseas due to health reasons, I became a pastor hoping to make a difference in the lives of my church family and community. In the process, it was always easy to make “making a difference” a higher priority than loving Jesus Christ and living simply to give Him glory. There is nothing wrong with “making a difference,” as long as it remains a byproduct of our pure devotion to Jesus. It is just too easy to have the priorities get mixed up.

To be honest, looking back over the years I don’t think I really made much of a difference in our world, in my denominational family, in my communities, or even in my local churches. Now that I am homebound, I have no real opportunities to make a difference, other than preaching weekly to one wonderful but small congregation. Yet, I can still love Jesus. I can still talk to Him and listen to Him. I can still intercede about the real important matters that are near to His heart. And in the process, I can do what really matters most.

As I was praying for my high school friends, I thought of the verses I used as the basis of my graduation speech four decades ago:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12–14 ESV)

May we all press on toward that same goal together!

Please pray for us!

–Leah and I both need God’s strength for our daily lives. Please pray for Leah’s health, especially her constant stomach pain she experiences in large part to the medication she takes.

–I need to lose weight to ease the burden on my weary body. It is very difficult not being able to exercise, except while sitting in a chair. Fatigue is always a problem.

–Since we are on Medicaid, our insurance coverage seems to be constantly changing. This complicates our medical care and makes it difficult financially. I will be placed on Medicare in the next few months. Please pray for God’s provision.

–Please pray for our many friends and family who are very sick with COVID. Arkansas has been hard hit with this most recent wave. Even children are getting quite sick.

–Please pray for us as we have the privilege of praying for others. Pray we will be faithful.

How can we pray for you? Please let us know. We so appreciate you!

Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802 (479) 886-0765 

bheinen.com   brheinen1@gmail.com

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – July 2021

We hope you had a terrific Independence Day celebration surrounded by family and friends. Leah and I were so blessed to have Rebekah and Tim here from New Jersey. Victoria and Noah were able to join us, as did Maria and her college roommate. Our church hosted an ice cream social on the 3rd, and the 4th was filled with grilling and fireworks. Leah and I have not gotten out much, but did the best we could to enjoy our time with family. Both Leah and I were able to go to the local fireworks show, which is a big deal for us.

While we are thankful for the freedoms we have in our land, we are even more thankful for the freedoms we have in Jesus Christ. He has been so good to us. In recent days, we have faced some challenging physical obstacles, but He has been faithful! We are blessed to have teams of doctors who truly listen and try to work together to help us. Of course, we rejoice that all this happens under the loving care of our Sovereign Great Physician.

After a difficult season of COVID, our church participated in the Appleton Homecoming, which included softball games, live music, food, a cake walk, a parade, our Sunday morning service (where 70 people filled our tiny sanctuary), and the Appleton Revival, which took place in the newly refurbished community building. While we don’t live in Appleton, the wonderful people of this small mountain hamlet always make us feel a part. I don’t have the energy or the health to actively be a shepherd in the community, but I am thankful for all that God is doing among a special group of people. Maria graciously drives me to Appleton on Sunday mornings so I can preach.

I also was able to participate virtually in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Council. The Alliance has been my family for many years, and I rejoice in all that God is doing through this Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family. While I am no longer an active part of the Alliance, I pray continually for my brothers and sisters who are being used in such great ways for God’s glory.

There is so much that God is teaching us about Himself in this season of our lives. Above all else, He is shattering misconceptions about Himself that American Christianity has tried to get us to embrace. He is so much greater than our western version of Him portrays! The more we break free from the cultural lies that surround us, the more we see the Biblical Christ. This part of our journey has resulted in greater joy, freedom, and peace for us as we focus on Christ without distraction.

We are learning to value the things that are really important. Two small lessons illustrate this. Our hot water heater, along with our main water valve, both went out, leaving us without water for a week. We also had a hidden but major oil leak in our car that fried our alternator and a large part of our electrical system. This left us without a car for over a week. Not having these things helped us see what is really essential to our lives and helped us to pray for those around the world who don’t enjoy the many things we call necessities. It has been a joy to pray for the wounded, lost, and lonely. There is so much heartache in our world, but our God and His grace are so much greater than our pain and suffering.

How can we pray for you? Please let us know. We so appreciate you!

Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802 (479) 886-0765 

bheinen.com   brheinen1@gmail.com

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – April/May/June 2021

Friends, I must apologize for my delay in sending out an update. Fatigue and fingers that don’t want to work keep me from spending time at the computer keyboard.

Because of my delay, I am late in wishing my mother, stepmother, and the mother of my children a Happy Mother’s Day. They are all worthy of honor! Leah also had a birthday, as do my stepfather and father.

Let me just say publicly that Leah is an an incredible blessing to myself and my daughters! She is a woman of deep faith and deep love. I honor her. Please continue to pray for her health and strength. She remains faithful through it all.

We will have the family together in late June. Rebekah, and a few days later her husband, Tim, are coming to visit us in Arkansas. We can’t wait! Victoria and her husband, Noah, are celebrating their first wedding anniversary with a quick trip to Branson. Victoria is finishing up her first schoolyear. She recently did a very cute virtual play with her elementary kids. Maria is very happy that her semester is over. She is a gifted student who works very hard. This past semester is considered the most difficult of her major, and she did great, even with the added challenges of COVID.

I am struggling greatly with fatigue. I am sure some of this is related to medication, but I speculate that some of it is related to the constant stimulation of my nerves. It is getting harder to use my hands. I am increasingly avoiding social media and cable news and am spending more time meditating on God’s Word. I cannot handle the constant stimulation of negativity and division that sometimes floods my eyes and ears. I am also enjoying reading more, as my tired eyes allow. I need to give you a list of what I have been reading in a future update. Let me say, while sickness is an enemy in so many ways, our Sovereign Lord has allowed me to experience a great season of freedom and peace through His indwelling presence as a result of going through the trials I face daily. He is so good!

I am looking forward to participating in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Council as a virtual delegate. The Appleton Cumberland Presbyterian Church family, who graciously allow Maria and I to worship with them, have their annual homecoming in the next few weeks. They have a lot to celebrate, being established as a congregation in 1856. Following this will be the annual Appleton Revival. I am scheduled to preach one night of the four. Please pray for these important events, that God will be glorified and that I will have the strength to participate.

I apologize for the lack of pictures and Scripture. Here is a song to enjoy from Alliance Worship. Worship Jesus with me today!

How can we pray for you? Please contact me and let me know. We so appreciate you!

Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802 (479) 886-0765 

bheinen.com   brheinen1@gmail.com

Spirit

Isaiah 61:1-3 (ESV)

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion — to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

This beautiful passage from Isaiah describes the ministry of the Messiah, the promised King that God would send to make this sin-damaged world right again. We have seen how this King is also viewed by Isaiah as the great Servant, who would serve the broken by dying for them to redeem them. The Servant is our substitute who while innocent, took upon Himself the judgment of God for the transgressions that we committed. By taking our sin and its consequence on Himself, we can be reconciled to God, actually becoming part of His family.

This passage shows us what it looks like to be broken, but then redeemed. Our wounded hearts are mended and it is our slavery to sin that is now broken. When the Messiah comes, He will usher in a Year of Jubilee” (the year of the Lord’s favor”), which is a time for slaves to be set free, for debts to be cancelled, and for God’s people and God’s world to experience the Sabbath rest that is so desperately needed. The freedom of Jubilee results in divine comfort and gladness instead of the mourning and sadness we experience in this world.

At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus read from this prophetic passage of hope and said these words, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Friend, Jesus is the One you have been waiting for. He is the King who will set you free from your sin and invite you to be part of the royal family. He is the Servant who will bring His peace (shalom) to your heal your brokenness and who will fill your anxious life with His rest. He is the Messiah who will bless your life with comfort and gladness. He is truly worthy of your praise and worship. He is worthy of your life. Turn to Him today.

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – March 2021

Friends, as we approach Easter, may God fill your hearts with the wonder of Christ’s atoning death and victorious resurrection. May that wonder turn to a lifestyle of worship that honors God before all people.

Our family continues to be amazed at the faithful love of our Creator. Maria works hard at school and is an exceptional student at Arkansas Tech University. Victoria and her hubby, Noah, are celebrating married life together as Noah enjoys his tech job at a large Little Rock law firm and Victoria continues to try to find her footing as a first year music/choir teacher during a season of COVID. Rebekah and her husband Tim continue to impact people for Jesus in New Jersey, Tim as an addiction counselor and Rebekah as a social worker serving the homeless. Here is a picture from Rebekah’s team:

Leah and I continue to face some health challenges, but we both are so thankful for God’s sustaining grace and for the mercy He shows us, often through His people.

I admit to being encouraged greatly when I spend time with my Savior and burdened to the point of breathlessness when I view social media and television. I expect people who don’t know Christ to be confused, divided, and angry, but I am disheartened when I see the so-called Body of Christ act in even more extreme ways. When I am overwhelmed, I rant to Leah for a time and then run to God’s Word to refresh my soul.

With my human eyes, I do not see anything in western Christendom to give me hope. As I think ahead, humanly-speaking, I cannot see real solutions regarding racial division, economic disparity, the divide between men and women, and the number of young people turning from orthodoxy to a more progressive faith. I see many giving loud opinions but few able to listen to the opinions of others. I see people base their values and ideas on feelings, human traditions, cultural norms, opinion polls – everything except the authoritative Word of God. People on all sides of all the issues act like Jesus is on their side. Then I read this familiar passage:

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13–15 ESV)

I will seek not to make Jesus a member of my tribe, whatever that tribe may be. I choose to be part of Team Jesus. Let me give you a simple reminder – Jesus is NOT on your side. Are you on His?

When I remove my gaze from the problems of this world and again fix my eyes on Jesus, I fall on my face before Him in worship. I remove my shoes covered by the dust of this world because the ground where I meet Him is holy. I am filled with the wonder that even if all Christendom fails, the gates of hades will not prevail against His Church. And I praise the Sovereign One who’s plans and purposes will never be thwarted by all the craziness of this world.

–Praise God with us for His grace extended to our family. Leah and I remain COVID-free!

–The invitation to the online Christianity Explored class has not received much interest. Please pray that we will have wisdom to know if we should use this tool to introduce friends to the great news of who Jesus is, why He came, and how we can respond to Him. Email me if you have interest and would like to join us for this 7-week experience.

–With the nicer weather, I am enjoying opportunities to talk to my neighbors as I sit on my porch and pray. Please pray for opportunities to specifically pray for them, to care for them with Christ’s love in practical ways, and open doors to share the life-transforming gospel of Jesus with them.

–The online trauma healing group is also still in the waiting phase. Please pray we will have wisdom to know if this is the right time to start. Message me if you would like to participate in this group to help those wounded by trauma. Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

–I am hosting a prayer conference call Wednesday nights at 7 PM Central. If you would like to pray using Scripture as our guide, join us. We will try to be done close to 7:30. The prayer conference call will be held on Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM Central. 1) To get to the call, dial 1-717-275-8940. 2) Enter the access code when you are instructed, 7003453#. 3) Please mute yourself by pressing *6 if you want to just listen or if you have background noise from where you are calling. To unmute yourself in order to pray out loud, hit *6. When you are finished, please mute yourself once again by hitting *6. Please join us!

The Christian and Missionary Alliance shared a video I think will encourage you. Enjoy these wise words from A.W. Tozer:

How can we pray for you? Please contact me and let me know. We so appreciate you!

Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802 (479) 886-0765 

bheinen.com   brheinen1@gmail.com

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – February 2021

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin… .” (Exodus 34:6–7 ESV)

Dear friends, I thought I would start with a powerful reminder of the steadfast love God has for His people. The video highlights part of this most-often quoted passage. The question for us is, “Are you part of His covenant people experiencing His love?”

Our family has been so blessed by our Lord, often through His people.

–Leah, Maria, and I have eluded the virus. Family members who were quite sick are recovering. God loves us so!

–Our girls are all doing well, even with the unique challenges they face due to COVID. God loves us so!

–We are hanging on financially, even though we face some big obstacles as a result of not working for over a year-and-a-half. We were able to satisfy some creditors due to the unexpected generosity of God’s people. God loves us so!

–Even in the midst of a pandemic, we continue to enjoy getting to know our neighbors, welcoming new friends to the neighborhood, and enjoying deepening friendships with others. Our neighborhood Facebook page is up and running and I am blessed to pray for 83 neighboring households, five per day. God loves us so!

–An online Christianity Explored class is in the planning stages to introduce friends to the great news of who Jesus is, why He came, and how we can respond to Him. Email me if you would like to join us for this 7-week experience. God loves us so!

–An online trauma healing group is also being started. One church leader recently said that the largest mission group to reach right now is those who have suffered traumatic experiences. Message me if you would like to participate in this group to help those wounded by trauma. God loves us so!

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

–God continually reminds us that He welcomes us into His presence so we can experience His love. God loves us so!

–Maria and I enjoy fellowshipping with the wonderful people of the Appleton Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This historic church continues to minister even while the virus rages. God loves us so!

How can we pray for you? Please contact me and let me know. We so appreciate you!

Brian Heinen

802 E 23rd Street Russellville, AR 72802 (479) 886-0765 

bheinen.com   brheinen1@gmail.com

Genesis 48

Genesis 48 begins a several chapter account describing Jacob blessing his children before he dies. The idea of blessing is a complicated one. God blesses men. Oh, to think that the omnipotent, omniscient God pours out His grace upon us in this life and in the life to come. Lord, bless us today!

Sometimes men bless each other, as when the priests would echo these beautiful words: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24–26 ESV) May you be thus blessed today!

Men can bless God, acknowledging His attributes and proclaiming their thanks and praise for who He is and what He has done. He is worthy! Bless His Holy Name!

One of the most unusual uses of this word is when a man, perhaps a parent or patriarch, blesses his family under the spirit of prophecy, proclaiming the future of his descendants. That is what we see here.

In chapter 48, Joseph, actually Joseph’s sons, receive the double-portion blessing of the firstborn. While Joseph is the firstborn of Jacob’s favorite wife, Reuben is actually the firstborn son. God’s plans do not always line up with man’s traditions. Fittingly, Joseph’s second son receives the blessing of the firstborn from Jacob’s hand.

May my children be blessed by God with a special knowledge of Him, and may they rest in His love and live for His glory all the days of their lives! And may you be blessed by God today, also.

Read Genesis 48

Genesis 47

Previously we have seen a tearful reunion between Jacob and his son Joseph, whom Jacob thought was dead. Now Jacob and his large family have escaped worldwide famine by going to live with Joseph in Egypt. Egypt was a place of escape and refuge for Abraham years before, and becomes a place of escape for young Jesus and his family centuries later. Looking ahead in the story, this place of refuge becomes a place of bondage for Jacob’s family when a Pharaoh of a different dynastic family takes the throne.

The rest of the starving world came to Egypt for food and ended up selling their livestock, their lands, and ultimately themselves as debt-slaves to Pharaoh. Jacob and his family are blessed with the gain of the land of Goshen, a fertile area perfect for raising their sheep. The Egyptians are not keen on visiting their shepherd-neighbors, as they hold shepherds in lowest regard, so the people of Israel are able to remain separate from those who worship pagan gods.

Genesis 47

Genesis 46

After a tearful reunion with his brothers in Genesis 45, in chapter 46 Joseph has an even more tear-filled reunion with his father, who for decades thought his son was dead. Nearing the end of his life, Jacob has doubts about making the journey from Canaan to Egypt, but God once again appears to him in a dream reminding Jacob that He will be with him, even in Egypt.

Read Genesis 46

Genesis 45

In Genesis 45, we enter the incredible story of Jacob’s son, Joseph. God passed down His promise from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob. We now see how Jacob’s twelve sons are also part of His promise and plan.

Just as there was great competition between Isaac and Ishmael, and then Jacob and Esau, Joseph’s brothers resented him for being the favorite son of their father. They sold him into slavery in Egypt and told their father he had been killed. While Joseph experienced betrayal, imprisonment, false accusation, and being forgotten, God caused him to gain favor with the most powerful man in the world, the Pharaoh.

When a terrible famine came upon the known world, Egypt, under Joseph’s direction, became a source of help to all who were suffering. Jacob’s sons traveled to Egypt for refuge, and through elaborate circumstances came to see that the one they ran to for help was none other than the brother they sold.

In a tear-filled reunion, Joseph makes it clear that God was in control of all things and even worked through their sinful choices to provide for their blessing, provision, and protection. God worked everything together to make sure His promise and plan would be fulfilled.

When we see how God was acting in the life of Joseph, how are we encouraged to face our own suffering?

Read Genesis 45

Psalm 11

Once again, David is in trouble. He feels afraid. His first impulse is to flee to escape his problems. He feels under attack. The very things that are supposed to bring justice and righteousness are gone – what are the righteous to do when this happens?

The answer is this – remember God is still on His throne. He still rules sovereignly over all He has made. Nothing escapes His sight. He will act in true justice and righteousness.

David closes with this precious reminder and promise: “For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” May you see His face today!

Read Psalm 11

Genesis 28

In Genesis 28, God reaffirms His promise to make a nation from which the world would be blessed out of the family of Abraham. The promise, told to Abraham multiple times, was also given to Abe’s son, Isaac, and now to Isaac’s son, Jacob. Jacob meets with God in an extraordinary dream. In the dream, Jacob sees a “ladder” connecting heaven and earth. Jesus, the promised seed from Abraham’s family, in John 1 describes Himself as that ladder. Here we see God’s desire to reconnect with mankind, separated from God because of their rebellion and sin.

Jacob sets up a memorial to remember this meeting with God. Jacob calls this place Bethel, meaning “house of God,” because this was the “gate of heaven.” Later Jesus describes Himself as the gate to heaven. In fact, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Do we truly believe this?

Read Genesis 28

Genesis 27

In Genesis 25, the scheming Jacob tricked his hungry brother into selling him his birthright, which Esau was all too willing to do. In Genesis 27, the deceiver once again steals something from Esau – his firstborn blessing. (You may want to study the interesting topics of birthright and blessing in a Bible dictionary.) Jacob does so by pretending to be Esau to his blind and hungry father. While Jacob’s deceptions are morally wrong, God uses these sins of Jacob to give Jacob what was in His plan all along. More about this will be shared tomorrow.

Read Genesis 27

Genesis 26

In Genesis 26, we see Isaac experiencing similar experiences that his father, Abraham faced. He also repeats some of the same sins as his father. Isaac was met with opposition from his neighbors who felt threatened by Isaac’s riches and power that grew as God continued to bless.

Yet, the promise to Abraham was reaffirmed to Isaac with these beautiful words: “And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, ‘I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.’”

God’s word was clear. No matter how many mistakes Isaac made, God’s purpose would be fulfilled. And at the end of the chapter, even Isaac’s opponents had to admit that God was with him.

Read Genesis 26

Genesis 25

Genesis 25 shows us that God has been faithful to His promises given to Abraham. In Genesis 25, Abraham dies at 175 years of age and is buried in the only property he owned here on earth, his family tomb. The son of promise, Isaac, has been born. In fact, he is grown and married and has twin sons named Jacob and Esau. These brothers competed for everything their entire lives. I commented on Facebook about an event from Genesis 25 illustrating that reality when I wrote:

“Reading the story of Esau giving up his birthright for some stew. Asking my Heavenly Father if I ever give up my heavenly birthright for such temporary earthly pleasures.”

Abraham and his family are extremely flawed. Yet, God’s plan to work through them and bless the world will not be stopped. If God can use them, He certainly can use us.

Read Genesis 25

Genesis 18

In Genesis 18, Abraham is visited by 3 visitors. Abraham is certain that one of them is an earthly appearance of God, as is clear when Abraham addresses Him as ‘Adonay (verse 3), or Lord. This is a name for God in the Old Testament, compared to another form of the word, ‘adoni, which may be used to address a man in a respectful manner.

Abraham prepares a meal for his visitors respecting the hospitality code of his day. God encourages Abraham with the news that within a year, Abe’s aged wife will miraculously have a son as was promised multiple times years before. Sarah hears what God has promised and laughs in disbelief, as did her husband in chapter 17. No wonder they later name the boy Isaac, which means, “laughter.” She is then properly rebuked for her unbelief.

What follows next is an incredible conversation where God discloses to Abraham His plans to destroy the wicked towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham intercedes for the people, asking if God will destroy the cities if even ten righteous people can be found there. Ten cannot be found, as is seen in chapter 19, when only Lot and his two daughters are rescued. What is amazing is that Abraham had the kind of relationship with God where God wanted to share with Abraham these plans of judgment. My question is, do I have the kind of relationship with God where God feels He can share things with me?

Read Genesis 18

Genesis 17

For several decades, God has been promising Abraham that he will become a father of a great nation that will be the source of a blessing from God to the entire world. In Genesis 17, Abe is now 99 and his wife is 90, and once again God reaffirms the promise to the childless couple. Abe has heard the promise over and over, but now he laughs at the improbability that a couple in their 90’s will have a son.

God Almighty, the One who has ultimate power, explains to Abraham that He wants to have a special covenant relationship with Abraham and his descendants. The sign of this covenant is to be circumcision, which reminds Abe that the promises God is giving are not only for him, but to all who will be born to his future family.

A covenant is simply an agreement that binds two parties together and lays out what is expected of each party if they are to have a relationship.  It also describes what the relationship will look like if the parties live up to their end of the agreement, and lays out the consequences if a party does not live up to the terms of the covenant.

In Genesis 15, Abraham is told to bring various animals and cut them each in half.  He then is to divide the halves.  Many scholars believe that this “cutting of a covenant” is a picture signifying what will happen if a party to the covenant does not live up to their end of the bargain.  In other words, even God is promising that if He doesn’t fulfill His covenant responsibilities, He will become like the dead animals (see Jeremiah 34:18-19).  What a picture!

Then something incredible happens.  Normally, both parties would walk through the cut-up animals together, showing that each is committing themselves to the consequences of not fulfilling the covenantal terms.  But in Genesis 15, God makes Abraham fall into a deep sleep, where he is unable to walk through and make such promises.  God walks through alone.  Mankind has always failed to live up to his end of the deal when it came to having a relationship with a holy God.  God understands our inability to do so, so He walks through and makes the promise for both parties.  This is what Jesus did when He became a Man – He entered the world to live a perfectly righteous life (thus living up to our end of the bargain for us) and taking the punishment for not being able to live up to the covenant upon Himself (thus, being crucified in our place).  Because He did what He did for us, we are now truly able to have a covenant relationship with God!

We already have seen how Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Abe is to be the father of an entire nation of people, marked by circumcision, who will also live lives of faith and obedience to a faithful God. As spiritual descendants of Abraham with spiritually circumcised hearts, all those who have placed their faith in the promised seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ, should do no less.

Read Genesis 17

God sees and God hears

“So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.’ Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.”

I love the story of Hagar and Ishmael. The old, childless couple Abraham and his wife Sarah tried to fulfill God’s promise to have many descendants by having a child through a surrogate. They tried to use their servant, Hagar, to complete this foolish task. Understandably, this resulted in much bad blood between Sarah and Hagar. Hagar was mistreated by Sarah and fled for her safety.

While in the desert, an angel visited Hagar and told her that God was very aware of her situation. God would take care of her and her child. In the midst of her suffering, she was introduced to “El Roi,” which means that “God is one who sees.” She then named her son “Ishmael,” which means, “God hears.”

In Hebrew culture, to “see” means that you not only have light enter into the camera of your eye, but that you are aware of what you see, and you care, and you act. The same thing is true of “to hear,” which implies action based on what is heard and understood. Friend, God sees you and your situation and and hears your cries and prayers!

See how this all works together in the story of the Jews being enslaved by the Egyptians in the book of Exodus: “During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”

God sees. God hears. God remembers. God knows. And God acts.

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