Have you experienced turbulence in your life lately? Wars and wildfires, rates and relationships…something’s always rocking the boat, isn’t it?!

Hebrews 10:23 states “Let us hold firmly…” This powerful image resonates with anyone who’s almost dropped grandma’s crystal bell or sat in an airplane as it suddenly dropped 5,000 feet. In those panic moments, holding on requires zero planning or, frankly, much brainpower…it’s instinctive. You just grab the closest thing for stability!

But this verse is more about hanging on for an extended period of time…now that’s more entailed. “Let’s hold firmly…” in the KJV, “hold fast…” And this may be one of the best benefits of growing and maturing in our faith; it’s not only possible and encouraged in Scripture, but it’s vital to your family and church, and the Church world wide. We strengthen one another in our faith.

A firm grip that keeps on holding on can feel illusive at times and difficult to master, yet we’re urged again and again in Scripture to keep on… to hold on. “Fight the good fight…take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” I Tim. 6:12 (NIV) “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith, be courageous; be strong.” I Cor. 16:13 (NIV). “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.” I Pet. 5:8-9 (ESV)

Grace Bible College freshman in India listening to Dr. John Cook speaking in February 2023.

My favorite encouragement to “keep on” is in Colossians 2:6-7: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” To “hold fast the confession of our hope” brings to mind an image of a strong chain securing a ship on stormy seas. What’s securing the ship isn’t even seen! Deep in the waters is the immovable anchor. Christ is our unyielding anchor keeping us grounded even though the waves make us feel at Tims as though it’s too much, but we know Christ too endured the same pressures and temptations as we do, and it is in His strength we are able to stand firm in our faith.

The call to hold fast is not a sole endeavor but encompasses the entire community of believers. This is true world-wide; think of a stone thrown in a still pond as the ripples move outwards. The author of Hebrews employs the phrase “our hope” to emphasize the collective commitment we share as Christians. As we hold fast together, we create a network of support, encouragement, and accountability. In times of trial and doubt, the strength of our unified faith inspires others to persevere and remain anchored in their own journey of faith.

Christians in the U.S. are often held up as examples and role models, and while we are the same in Christ as other believers, I do believe this is an opportunity to pray for those who serve the Lord despite many challenges and pressures from other majority religions. The next generation in India and the Middle East, are asking the same question: what truth can I anchor my life into? What is legitimate? They’re scrolling on the internet day and night for acceptance, and love.

Your character, obedience and confidence in His unfailing promises impacts lives. Your prayers make a difference. This steadfastness enables us corporately to navigate life’s challenges with resilience, knowing that we are anchored to an unmovable and faithful God.

This is the confidence and rock-solid faith in God we continue to proclaim in difficult-access countries including India, Egypt and Iraq. People of all faiths and backgrounds are drawn to the faithfulness, and steadfast love of God, and the opportunity to receive complete forgiveness of sins. Hold on…my friend…May I encourage you to continue to serve Him in love to good deeds in his name?

As you’ve read about the young people in the youth meetings in Iraq, may I ask you to pray for them? Pray for our Iraqi teams, for our Egyptian, Indian and Philippine teams. Pray for our staff in the U.S.

And as you have encourage me personally these past months with your prayers, notes and emails, you’ve also enriched the Body of Christ in difficult-access regions. Thank you.

In Christ, Dee A. Cook, CEO