Only One, “What If?”!
Do you sometimes feel frustrated with more month than money? Or tempted to depression or despair by your hopeless health, perplexing problems and threatening times? Does Satan sometimes lure you into the maze of melancholy with a series of, “What if?” questions he plants in your muddled mentality? Take heart! Satan is a liar! He is a defeated foe! Already cast out of heaven! You have the right to tell him: “Get behind me, Satan, in the name of Jesus – Lord of Lords and King of Kings!”
Please consider memorizing and meditating on these potent passages:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’” Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV)
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:26-28 (NKJV)
The only, “What if?” question we ever need to ask is, “What if Satan wins? What if he knocks our Lord Jesus Christ off the throne of the universe?” That isn’t going to happen! Therefore: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-8
Adrian Rogers told of a man who said: “I used to subscribe to the theory of male superiority – but my wife cancelled my subscription!”
Do you have some negative subscriptions in your life that you need to cancel?
For example, do you repeat these excuses to yourself (or to others) for why you can’t share Christ with someone else? “I’m too old/I’m too young/I’m not smart enough/I don’t know all the answers/They won’t listen/They don’t care/etc.” How about asking yourself some different questions: What would have happened if the earliest Christians had let these excuses block their witness for Jesus? Where would you be if someone had not cared enough to share Jesus with you? (On the road to hell – right?) Do you care enough to overcome your fear and reach out to someone else? Do you fear rejection? Actually, all of us do! Do you suppose that is why the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy? “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,…You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 1:6-8; 2:1-3 (NKJV)
How to Conquer Your Goliath
In the USA the most formidable “Goliath” that genuine Christians now face may be the ACLU (the abbreviation for American Civil Liberties Union). Actually it is a union but it is not American, not civil, and not a promoter of liberty. Those of us who believe in Jesus and take His Word seriously are the chosen targets for the intimidating lawsuits they bring against us – often based on outright lies. The most basic of these lies is the promotion of the “wall of separation of church and state” as a violation of our constitution – thus an excuse to crush our freedom to express our Christian convictions in the public square. Why is their position a lie? Let us count the reasons:
1. The U.S. Constitution does not mention the “separation of church and state!”
2. The phrase, “wall of separation of church and state,” is actually from a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association –
and the purpose of his letter was to assure the Baptist group that the government would not squelch their religious freedom.
3. The First Amendment to the constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a
redress of grievances.” Who is restricted by this amendment? Churches? Schools? City councils who open sessions with prayer? No! Congress!
Our founding fathers were very concerned about the growth of government and government infringements on our rights!
4. Our founding fathers had no intention of separating God from government – a fact which is abundantly evident from their extensive writings. Could
this be why Marxists are intent on censoring our history and distorting the truth?
Here is an example of what I mean: “I do therefore… issue this proclamation… appointing… a day of public and solemn Thanksgiving and Prayer to Almighty God… Given under my hand…. this 11th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1779… Thomas Jefferson.”
Actually, the ACLU is a communist front organization founded in 1920 by three individuals with Roger Baldwin as their leader. It has grown to become a scowling, growling Goliath mocking the people of God – as the Philistine giant did to Israel about three thousand years ago.
A recent letter we received from Alliance Defending Freedom (one of the best Christian legal groups that takes on and wins most of their cases against the outrageous lawsuits of the ACLU) outlines for us “The ‘Triple Threat’ to YOUR freedom to live out YOUR faith”. (If you would like to have a full copy of the letter, please let us know.) Here are the three threats that they list:
Threat #1 – The ACLU is well equipped and incredibly well funded.
Threat #2 – The ACLU has systematically weakened America’s religious foundations and fostered an anti-Christian culture.
Threat #3 – The Obama Administration may officially be over, but many of its friends remain in power at many levels of government.
Please pray for God to use Alliance Defending Freedom (and other Christian legal groups like Foundation for Moral Law) to bring down the ACLU and other Marxist/atheist groups like Freedom from Religion Foundation. With God, all things are possible!
And how do we face and conquer our own personal Goliath? 1 Samuel 17, in our Old Testament Scriptures, can give us some great insights. David was still a boy about seventeen years old – not a seasoned soldier. Goliath, the Philistine champion was bigger than any football or basketball player we’ve ever seen. Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) would have looked like a punk kid next to Goliath! How did David conquer Goliath when Saul and seasoned soldiers were shivering in their sandals at the sight of him? The text gives us the tips to triumph!
I. Remember the reason you are in this fight. When David’s oldest brother, Eliab (who was one of the shivering soldiers), started scorning and mocking
David, he said, “Is there not a cause?” Shortly before that David had asked, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the
armies of the living God?” Satan was the real enemy and Goliath was his most prominent representative. The physical warfare is the shadow; the
spiritual warfare is the reality!
II. Remember your former victories by God’s power. When Saul questioned David about his competence and confidence, David replied: “‘Your servant has
killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.’ Moreover
David said, ‘The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’
And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’” 1 Samuel 7:36-37 (NKJV)
III. Remember that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 Keep your trust and confidence solidly in the love and power of
Almighty God – not in self-confidence. Before the cross, Peter was brim full of self-confidence; after the crucifixion, resurrection, and his
repentance and restoration as a disciple, Peter was infused with power from on high, and preached with confidence in the grace and forgiveness of
our Lord Jesus on Pentecost; three thousand souls came to Christ that day in faith, repentance, and baptism. (See Acts 2)
IV. Remember to keep your eyes on Jesus. (This is the focus factor.) “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let
us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto
Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the
right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in
your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:1-4 (NKJV)
What was the difference between young David and the shivering soldiers? The soldiers were looking at the giant and each was comparing himself with the huge giant. David, on the other hand, looked at Goliath and saw him as a pipsqueak (or fly speck) compared to our Almighty, Awesome God! Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, the unconquerable Conqueror of sin, death, hell – and Satan!
By the way, an astute commentator on 1 Samuel 17 took notice of the fact that David picked up five smooth stones for his sling (vs. 40). Why five? Perhaps because he heard that Goliath had four brothers! His confidence was in Almighty God!
In our own country, we are facing the Goliath of atheistic Marxism in the form of the ACLU, Freedom from Religion Foundation, college professors, and many other so-called “liberal” or “progressive” organizations pushing “political correctness”. In Ukraine, our friends and co-workers can look at the size of their country compared with gigantic Russia, and in Israel, Christian believers can look at the size of their nation compared with the huge Islamic nations around them. However, if we are wise, we will keep our eyes on our Conquering King – the Champion of this universe (Who spoke it into existence) – not on our puny problems!
During WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt popularized the phrase, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He got it partly right. The real truth is that we have nothing to fear but God Himself!
“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 8-9 (NKJV)
Notice – when Almighty God speaks, the universe stands at attention – and all of us inhabitants of the world are to do the same!
“‘Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not: Do you not fear Me?’ says the LORD. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.”
Jeremiah 5:21-22 (NKJV)
The Power of Prayer and the Power of One
Now I want to share with you an account from Glenda Buckley (whose husband, Jim, teaches at TCM’s Haus Edelweiss near Vienna). The Zhenia in her story is not our good friend and co-worker, Zhenya Molodchy, but they may know each other. Two of our close friends (co-workers) are graduates of TCM (Zhenya Molodchy and Sergei Golovin). This story will give you a very good overview of what God is doing in Ukraine and beyond. Please read this with heart, mind and soul – and pray!
“We receive a prayer channel from TCM monthly. In a recent one, Tony Twist, the president of TCM, was interviewed. In the video, he does a wonderful job of explaining where TCM came from and also where we are today. I think this video will help understand more fully the mission of TCM. I’m sending the link: https://vimeo.com/211704070 You can also sign up to receive these monthly videos for prayer. https://www.tcmi.org/prayer/
In addition, I’m going to add at the bottom of this message a copy of an article written in TCM’s Report of a graduate named Zhenia. It caught my attention. The reason is that one of the earliest trips of ours to the Haus, there was a student named Zhenia, who was a young husband and father. Jim and I sat across from him at dinner and he was sharing with us. He then looked at me and asked if I would pray for him, for his marriage, his family, studies, finances and His ministry. It’s like this article could be the answers to prayers. After investigating some more, seeing a group picture, it looked like it was the same student, now graduate, for whom I have been praying for several years. I hope you take the time to read the article – another picture of the ministry of TCM. He is one of many students/graduates, each with their own story, ministry. Most of all, please pray.
Because of Jesus!
The Power of One
Zhenia, a native of Ukraine, was sentenced to seven years of prison when he was 14 years of age. While an inmate, he was given the opportunity to view The Jesus Film. He admits that he had never heard the story of Jesus and viewing the film only offered relief from his daily routine.
His apathy changed to focus and a personal revelation when he watched the film’s depiction of the crucifixion. “Those thieves on the sides of Jesus, could have been me! And the Lord told the one that today he would be with Jesus in paradise. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior later that evening.”
Upon release from prison, this 21-year-old new Christian felt a call to ministry. He pursued and earned a bachelor’s degree in religion. With great anticipation and lofty ideals, he felt he would preach to millions. But he humbly states, “The Lord had other plans. I began to serve a church that was near death. We truly were at ground zero.”
That small troubled church was revitalized and experienced growth in many ways. Growth included new and expanded opportunities to lead. Zhenia understood he was not yet equipped to lead at the level in which he found himself. A colleague told him about TCM International Institute.
He enrolled in TCM in 2003. Each class provided another sharpened tool for his ministry toolbox. With patience, persistence, and commitment Zhenia earned his M.A. degree. Throughout his matriculation, ministry developed and his relevance in the Crimean Region of Ukraine expanded. He was the senior minister of five churches. In addition, he realized that the largest Muslim population in Ukraine was all around him.
With a heart for the lost, he yearned to share Jesus Christ with those who had not yet heard or known of His love. This passion resulted in Zhenia and his ministry team beginning to reach out to the Muslim population. The Lord opened doors. For the last several years Zhenia’s team provided Vacation Bible School to more than 3,000 Muslim youth each summer. Many of these are giving their hearts to Christ. Their parents follow!
During the summer of 2014 Russia invaded Ukraine. Much of the invasion was from the “inside” as Ukrainian rebels supported by the Russian military began a military conflict. Though it is no longer an element in the news of the day in the United States, Zhenia says, “It is a war and everyday people are fighting and everyday people are dying.”
Every day since, Zhenia and the members of the churches he leads are serving these soldiers. They provide food, housing, showers, and many other necessities of combat life. More importantly, they also draw alongside the soldiers with prayer, counseling, Bibles, worship services. They have given out thousands of Bibles and they have led hundreds to a saving knowledge of Jesus, resulting in baptisms and further Bible study. One of the converts is a Ukrainian officer with 5,000 soldiers at his command. He is openly sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with them.
Simply put, Zhenia is one. He is one of 589 graduates of TCM. These graduates are disciple makers who are leading movements of disciple makers in more than 20 countries. There are 588 other stories we could share to illustrate that TCM is equipping men and women to lead others to Jesus, and in doing so, changing their countries, cultures, and churches for Him.”
Can you Only Imagine?
Have you ever seen a “ginormous square puddle”? Or a “blueberry cheeseburger”? If not, you may not have the enormous power of imagination which God has granted Trinity Hope (our five-year-old granddaughter – almost six – her birthday is June 3)!
Can you imagine what God wants to do with you in your life if and when you are totally devoted to Him? Think about it! Pray about it!
From our Mailbox
“Dear Rick & Della,
Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….. I want to say that we do serve an Awesome God. It is so wonderful what God is doing over there in the Ukraine. He truly is changing lives over in that country and other parts of the world as well. I keep you and your Outreach Ministry in my daily prayers. God is using you real mightily, Rick. Could you please keep me in your daily prayers for my many health problems? Could you please send me some tracts and Bible readings, Rick. May God richly bless you and keep you always.
In Jesus’ name,
Rebecca Fackler “
***Do you want to write an encouraging note to Rebecca? If so, you can send it to us and we will forward it to her. Please pray for her health and for her witness in prison.
“Dear Rick and Della,
Thank you so much for your prayers! They mean a lot to us and strengthen us in our daily living.
Yan has already played in several major events in our city. Yesterday was Victory day and there was orchestra parade where Yan took part with many other orchestras. He is left to take his final test in music school on Saturday this week and play on the 1 of June at the main square in Kharkiv, Independence Square!
Thank you for praying for my mother. She is feeling much better, God led us to the right doctors and her bleeding tongue problem was treated completely. It is not cancerous and we are so much relieved. Thank you again for keeping her in your prayers…..
We pray God blesses your summer and all your activities and guides you to plan fall trip.
We pray Della’s condition is improving and God heals her.
With Love, Zhenya and family”
Praise & Prayers
1. Della’s blood pressure last evening (May 10) was 134/71 after she rode with me as passenger to the BBC conference program. Several weeks ago it was
198/99 when I took her to the emergency room (then it went up to 235/111 from “white coat syndrome!”). Thank you so much for your prayers – and
please praise God with us! Please pray that she can keep on cutting out the sugar and the some of the stress from her life.
2. Sergei Golovin did not need to have a fifth surgery – and he has a three month reprieve from doctor appointments! Praise God! And please pray for
3. Praise God for progress for Northwest Science Museum. We have been nearly plateaued for several years, but God has brought to us some new
volunteers who are making a difference. For example, on April 19, two leaders of Tamarack Grove Engineering in Boise met with us. Brian Sielaff is
the owner and David Goretoy is project manager. The significance of this meeting is that they had a huge influence in the construction of “The Ark
Encounter” for Answers in Genesis back in Kentucky. It is the largest wooden structure in the world! Now they want to help us (the Board of
Directors) to get NWSM moving forward – beyond our Vision Center (which God has already been using in significant ways).
4. Please pray for an excellent and enlightening internship for Roy and Mary Meyer at Prineville Christian Church in Prineville, Oregon, this summer.
Roy just finished his 3rd year at Boise Bible College, and he wants to become a missionary church planter. Mary, Roy’s wife since this past January
7th, is also a student at BBC and very interested in mission work. I have been helping to mentor Roy for about 3 1/2 or 4 years – and we are
praying for God’s leading for them. (We would really like to recruit them as co-workers for Overseas Outreach and Northwest Science Museum. –
Please pray with us.) About 5 years ago Roy was an atheist, but God used a Christian friend, an amazing answer to prayer, and “The Case for Christ”
to capture his attention and turn him around.