The Sanctity of Marriage and Life
Dear Friends & Prayer Partners,
The sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life are intricately interwoven and founded in Scripture all the way back to Genesis, the Book of Beginnings. It was God Himself who said: “‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Genesis 1:26-28 (NKJV).
Note that God Himself created them male and female. He is the Originator of marriage, and He told them to reproduce (sanctity of marriage and family). Hebrews 13:4 reads, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (ESV).
By inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostle Paul labeled “forbidding to marry” as a doctrine of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1-3). Why? Because demons know that forced celibacy backfires into misuse and perversions of sexual desire. (It is now costing the Roman Catholic Church not only much shame and scoffing, but also millions of dollars). Demons promote perversions, inflame passions and invite promiscuity, whereas God promotes the commitment of one man and one woman to each other for life in monogamous marriage. The children born into such a loving committed union are far more likely to grow up to be happy, healthy, helpful and holy than those from broken homes. Joe Garman, founder of American Rehabilitation Ministries, told me that prisoners send out millions of Mother’s Day cards, but rarely request Father’s Day cards. You don’t suppose that the absence of a loving father’s guidance contributed to their criminal activity, do you? What a shocking thought for those with a “politically correct” mindset. Our government not only undermines marriage with its welfare rules, but our courts have even sanctioned the production of pornography and sadistically violent video games as “freedom of speech” under our Constitution. Our founding fathers would be horrified at such perversions – but demons rejoice. By the way, you don’t suppose that the “doctrine of demons” has any influence in Hollywood, do you?
This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, which can also be easily distorted and perverted, but let’s truly celebrate the joy and wonder of romantic love in committed marriages. Valentine was a courageous pastor and Christian leader in the third century, who honored the sanctity of matrimony as God’s institution by continuing to perform wedding ceremonies for young couples even after Caesar’s decree “forbidding to marry” was announced. Caesar wanted more men to enlist in his military and feared that marriage would be a deterrent to his conquests. Valentine paid for his commitment to marriage with his life and is honored as a Christian martyr. Are you committed to truth and courageous enough to speak up for Biblical marriage in a world gone mad?
To honor the sanctity of marriage I want to share with you copies of the letters Della and I wrote to each other and displayed at our 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration. We hope and pray that many of you also grow in your love and commitment to your spouse through the years and that your relationship with God grows “sweeter as the years go by”.
I love the fact that you are sold out – heart and soul – to God.
I love your diligence and love for the study of God’s Word. Your Bible knowledge amazes and inspires me.
I love your tenderness with me when I’m hurting or not feeling well.
I love your sense of humor.
I appreciate your love for our children and grandchildren.
I love to see your eyes light up and your big smile when Trinity does something cute.
I love to see you dance around the house when music fills the air.
I love you for being quick to forgive me when I’ve been irritable and “hard to live with”.
I love you because I know I can trust you to be faithful to me – even when you are far away in Ukraine or somewhere else.
I love you for being persistent in business, even when there is one frustrating thing after another to deal with.
I love you for your honesty and integrity in business, in ministry, in personal relationships.
When you’ve been misunderstood and your ministry has been undermined, you have simply committed it to God and continued to serve Him. I love you for that humble spirit, Rick.
Some of our friends will also remember the song “Peggy Sue” that was popular when we were teenagers, but may never have thought of the fact that the name Della Lu fits just as well in the poetic rhythm of the song. Here is my altered version of a few words from the song:
I love you, Della Lu, with a love so rare and true – Oh Della – Oh Della Lu (ooo – ooo – ooo – ooo)!
Why do I love you, Della Lu? Here are seven reasons – isn’t seven the perfect number?
1. I love you because your beautiful smile (which says, “I love you”) lights up my life like a glorious sun break on a winter day in western Oregon – and it sets my heart to fluttering all over again.
2. I love you because your integrity is deep and strong (as when you quit a very good paying job rather than to buckle under the pressure to lie for the company).
3. I love you for your deep loyalty to your commitments, your friends, and to me.
4. I love you for your devotion to Christ, to His church, to His mission, and to your family.
5. I love you for being a frugal, diligent, hard-working, productive wife – as described in Proverbs 31.
6. I love you for your careful attention to details – which makes you a superb bookkeeper and treasurer for our business, our mission, and our personal finances.
7. I love you for your service as my volunteer secretary who turns my hand-written scribbles into legible letters, emails, articles, reports, booklets and books. Back in our Bible College days at BBC, Kenny Beckman once wrote on my report: “A – thanks to a devoted wife”. Some glorious Day I may hear from our Lord, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant – thanks to a devoted wife!”
I also want to share a portion of a new book I’m working on entitled, “More Than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes”.
Distorted Diversity Produces Profane Perversity
Has it ever occurred to you how much our corrupt culture has distorted diversity because of the convoluted concepts of “political correctness”? Almighty God created true diversity when He Himself created human beings male and female and He Himself ordained the marriage of one man to one woman. Why?
1. It takes the unique characteristics of both male and female to reflect the image of God! Consider the record: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 (NKJV). Notice that God by His very nature is unity in diversity! He said, “Let Us make man in Our image”! The concept of one God existing as unity in plurality from the very beginning is expressed here in the first chapter of Genesis. Colossians chapter one tells us that Jesus created all things, and Colossians 2:9 tells us, “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:2 says “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” The concept of one Almighty God with the plurality of his nature is to be reflected in man (human beings) existing as male and female. Although God is always referred to in Scripture as He, some of His characteristics are best reflected by the female side of humanity. For example, God’s love is portrayed as even greater than that of a nursing mother for her own child. Therefore God chose to create humans as male and female to reflect His image.
2. He ordained marriage and told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. It was God Himself who created humans as sexual beings able to reproduce children. God ordained marriage both for companionship and for the union of a man with his wife to produce godly offspring! God inspired Malachi to expose the treachery of profaning the marriage covenant. “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers? … Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.” Malachi 2:10,14-15 (NKJV).
The so-called “marriage” of a man with a man or a woman with a woman is perversity – not diversity. It distorts the purposes of marriage and profanes “the Lord’s holy institution which He loves” (Malachi 2:11). Basic Biblical theology and basic human anatomy expose the basic human depravity of those distorting diversity by promoting “same sex marriage”. Homosexuality is still called an abomination in God’s Holy Word. (See Leviticus 18:22 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.) Politically correct concepts convolute and corrupt God’s holy institution of marriage and every other subject they touch. Remember, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” Colossians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
Yours & His,
Very Encouraging News from Sergei Golovin’s January Letter
…..”Praised be the Lord – we are getting more and more church leaders in our hometown and surrounding not just wondering what a strange things we are doing, but interested in effective evangelism in general and in creation evangelism particularly. Training course “Apologetics and Evangelism” for pastors of Crimean churches became very good project to start the year with. Please pray for the ministry development in our hometown!
The pastors not just enjoyed the course, it gave them some relieve also about what we are doing. They were glad to get sure we teach a solid doctrine as well as provide practically useful training on evangelism in modern world. The follow-up teaching of their churches leaders at the end of the month was a great blessing as a result (see the pictures attached). Additionally to the seminars we offer usually on effective evangelism, the Bible veracity and creation science, the audience was very interested in the issue of informal logical errors in discussions with unbelievers, and we covered it as well on their request. Please pray for these workers at God’s field – may the Lord provide them strength, faithfulness and fruitfulness in spreading the Kingdom!
We always are looking for any opportunity to increase the ministry impact. Some of our Eurasian Apologetics Society volunteers work with prisoners, and search for any window of opportunity to spread the Gospel in jails. Christmas season (again, it is first two weeks of January in our part of the world) was especially fruitful for such an opportunities – we were able to send three library sets to jails around the country. At the city of Kharkiv our coordinator Zhenya has developed the ministry so successfully; it was even mentioned at governmental site of the regional jails department (see http://www.kvs.gov.ua/peniten/control/kha/uk/publish/article/82909). That is not a small window, but a wide open door already! May the Lord bless and expand his ministry abundantly! May His name be praised!
Another good news of the year beginning is the FD-222 training course first run ending. Ten of fourteen students completed all assignments and got certificates. Four more asked for a month delay – busy schedule of the ministries they started and/or got involved with did not allowed then to write a report on their final projects in time. May the Lord be praised through the work of His young gifted passionate servants!
Some of FD-222 students as well as our Eurasian Apologetics Society regional coordinators found out that the interest for the issues of dinosaurs is rising over again in our part of the world. Some of them even develop lessons and seminars about the reptiles, delivering the message of biblical truth through it. We decided to make video versions for several of them, planning to encourage children to make copies and share the disks with their peers. Hard to imagine easier and more effective distribution way I believe 🙂 We started with shooting the seminars developed by Stas, EAS coordinator in Kiev. And since we have arranged his coming with all his arsenal of images, toys, models, replicas, etc. any way, we did not content ourselves with the studio work only, but also arranged a presentation at the school for children with special needs. Both children and their teachers were extremely excited about it! Everyone got a gift at the end – “What Happened to Dinosaurs” evangelism booklets to share the message with siblings, parents and friends more effectively (these are the same booklets we were giving out in Kharkov a couple years ago when giant monsters models shared the central square of the megapolis with the monument of Lenin). Please join our prayers for the seeds planted.
The ripple effect keeps going in many ways! A host of a talk-show called “Smart-show” at a national TV channel found out about our movement as about some guys who deny Darwinism. He contacted Stas and offer to debate with a ‘heavy artillery’ they launched – a strongly atheistic zoology professor from a National University. Stas made all the arrangements perfectly – he has invited two top-level scientists of Eurasian Apologetics Society as well as brought our books and textbooks to the studio. It sounds like the professor did not know much about problems with the Evolution theory; neither had he a chance to hear about creation science before. His expectations on easy triumph over “the church guys” were vain – Christians led through all the show. At the end they gave the professor some resources to read, and he seemed very pleased. The show is going to be broadcasted at the end of February. The greatest issue now is whether the editor will leave the part of the show with our textbooks or cut it off? Any way, please pray for the audience who will watch the show, for the TV team who already got the message as well as for the professor – may the Lord turn him from an adversary into companion-in-arms through the message and the books he got!
Please keep praying for the future Training Center. We would like to start actual construction late March, when it is warm and dry enough for making a good foundation. So far we are doing all required paperwork (bureaucracy is amazing in former Soviet Union) as well ordering an official architect project to be done according to our drawings (only architect project made by a licensed expert can be approved for construction). The most optimistic scenario is to have the building ready for use by the summer 2014. May the Lord help us!
Please keep praying for our ministry, for all our projects, for our team, for our families, for God’s guidance in everything we do. You are in our prayers as well.
Yours by the love and grace of Christ Jesus
From Our Mailbox
“We have read your Overseas Outreach Prayer Letter with delight! Thank you for sending it and for putting the needs of Georges and Sergey. Our breath is taken away with the challenge they have. Praise God! He is good and all things are possible with Him. We will pray also for the NWSM.
We also have many great joys of the kingdom growth here in Kharkiv area. God is transforming us and through us to reach His great purpose in Christ! Amen! We are happy to be walking with the King of Kings and get more encouraged when our faith is real and not religious. Real faith truly transforms people lives. We are encouraged by the reality of Christ in your life as well. Let the Lord support you and Della and your family every day. I know that He does! Is it not exciting to learn more and more about Christ and grow in Him to the full measure! Is it not exciting to share Christ with people in need with wisdom, understanding and hope? Amen! Let the Lord be with us as we do that. And yes, we need prayers also. Thank you for praying!
Yesterday we had a great day! 30 people (youth, adults and kids) from CLC went with us to Mospanovo. We had an awesome time at local school. It is a first time after so many attempts to come and do a Christmas program at school. This time the doors were opened and the heart of the principle of the school was opened to let us do the Christmas program. We had about 100 people, teachers, kids, and parents.
There were preaching, singing and drama. The time was so productive. We gave away 100 presents-boxes made by members of CLC and put together by our children. We pray for more opportunities with teachers and possibilities to teach them from the Word of God. We also pray for the growth of the planted seeds in their souls.
Briefly I have some more exciting opportunities to serve Youth of CLC, Sunday School teachers and more study at TCM. This time on-line. I will study Greek starting Jan.14. A lot of work in police departments and prisons.
We appreciate you care, partnership and support and … our brotherhood in Christ,
In Jesus, Zhenya & Natasha”
“We want to thank you for your friendship and care that supports our ministry here.
We are thankful for donations from your ministry fund. We appreciate it very much.
Also we want to share a little on how your donations helped us to buy a car for the ministry. It was in 2006, by the way. The car is of 1999. Upon prayers God led us to buy Renault Kangoo minivan. And we are glad this little ‘donkey’ has been serving in a unique way. By this car we travel to outreach projects, to faraway Mospanovo village, Zhenya makes his trips to prisons, militia offices, transporting useful literature many other things, visiting babushkas who are unable to walk. Recently pastor Alexandr who leads Messianic congregation broke his hip and asked Zhenya to bring him home after the hospital, as his the only car where he can put his leg and crutches.
So you made a great investment and only in heaven we will know more that was done by this mean.
We are praying to God to have enough money to fix it and renovate the seats inside, they are so worn out. The kids are trying to save some money to give it to his papa for the car, but it never works. Please pray with us to renovate the car or upgrade it some.
Also please pray for Zhenya as he is preparing to teach Principles of Christian teaching. He was invited to teach for a conference in March. Please pray for his good performance. Also please pray for our kids to be diligent in learning foreign languages-English, German.
Love and blessings, Natasha and we all”
Prayer Requests & Praises
1. Please pray for Belva Swanson, a close personal friend of ours, for God’s healing touch. She has internal bleeding and heart problems.
2. On February 6th we received this message from Sergei Golovin: “Please support my prayers for my wife Olga. She has a fever for ten days. Antibiotics and ant-virus medication did not help so far. Doctors can not make a diagnosis. If she will not become better by the end of the week, I am going to cancel a big trip to the Eastern Ukraine that includes the ‘Red belt’ part we never were at before.” On February 7th came his following praise message:
“Thank you so much for supporting us in prayers, for all your words of care, comfort and encouragement in the Lord!
Here is just one letter we received among others says:
‘Dear Sergei, While we were praying in our home group last night one of our members had the picture of Peter’s mother-in-law being sick and Jesus coming to her. Immediately she recovered and was able to get up and serve them. We trust that the power of Jesus is just as strong today to come to Olga and give her strength.’
Guess what Olga is doing now? She is cooking goulash at the kitchen! She not just feels well – the blood test she passed in the morning is perfect, though previous one was awfully bad and indicated serious inflammation and virus infection!
The doctors perplexedly say previous tests were probably wrong, but how about the fever she had and does not have now? They have to admit: we have actual documents – the blood test before the night of prayer and right after it. Praised be the Lord Who answers prayers of His children!
We love you all and highly appreciate the honor and privilege to be co-laborers with you at the field of our Lord Jesus! May He bless all of you abundantly!”
3. Lifeline Pregnancy Care Center in Nampa: Pray for effective fund raising at their annual event at Nampa Civic Center the evening of March 14th. Dan Buck invited me to speak, so pray for God’s anointing for me and those who share testimonies.
4. MissionTrip: Please pray for God to guide and empower me for every contact and speaking appointment, as well as safety in travel. This will be longer than most trips. I’m scheduled to leave early on March 15th and return late on May 6th. These past two years I’ve only made one trip per year instead of two, so I hope to have as much teaching and outreach as possible this trip.
5. Norm Fox, Christian leader at Garden Way Church in Eugene, Oregon, brilliant journalist, founder and editor of The Times and the Scriptures, and long-time friend has suffered a debilitating stroke. Please pray for God to restore him for more years of productive, godly service.
6. Please pray for quick and complete recovery for another friend, Delbert Pratt, who had surgery on February 7th for a cancerous mass under his arm.
Quote to Ponder
In July of 1947, U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall opened a session of the 80th Congress with the prayer: “God of our Fathers, whose Almighty hand hath made and preserved our Nation… May it be ever understood that our Liberty is under God and…to the extent that America honors Thee, wilt Thou bless America.”