Below is a partial reprint from 2016 of
“Two Hearts Worshiping Together”
February is the month in which “love” is the theme, with primary emphasis on romantic love. There are historical reasons behind the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day, and the most basic fact is that the dedicated minister of the gospel named Valentine (later dubbed St. Valentine) was martyred on February 14, 269 A.D., for refusing to bow to the mandate of Emperor Claudius, which cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine knew and believed the Word of God, so he continued to perform wedding ceremonies for couples in love – and paid for this defiance with his life. I’m sure he knew that God’s Word teaches that forbidding to marry is a “doctrine of demons.” (See 1 Timothy 4:1-3), and that the Word of God says: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4). Does it seem to you both relevant and ironic that in Rome in 269 A.D., Valentine was persecuted for performing valid weddings (man and woman), but now in America, ministers of the gospel and county clerks are being persecuted for refusing to perform invalid counterfeit weddings of a man with a man or a woman with a woman? Homosexuality is not “just another sin”, as so many want to shrug and say – it is a perversion that God calls an abomination. I hope and pray that Christians will refuse to bend or bow to this terminology of “gay marriage” – even if we must pay for our convictions with heavy fines, jail time, or our lives. Let’s look to the courage of Valentine and remember that “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).
On December 14, 2018, Della and I celebrated our 56th wedding anniversary – and February 14 this year is our 57th Valentine’s Day since we met and became sweethearts. I chose her to be my valentine before she became my bride. Della loves to decorate – and has done a wonderful job in our home. Across the living room from our favorite chairs, she placed a picture of Jesus with tears in His eyes, with another picture next to it of His pierced hands reaching out to us.
Next I want to transition to a story Della found by a nurse with her description of true love.
“It was a busy
morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman, in his 80’s, arrived
to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he
had an appointment at 9:00 a.m. I took
his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour
before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and
decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his
wound. On examination, it was well
healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove
his sutures and redress his wound.
“While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer Disease. As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.
“I was surprised, and asked him. ‘And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?’ He smiled as he patted my hand and said, ‘She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’
“I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life…..”
“True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.”
Zhenya Molodchy referred us to a powerful video about the daily prayer vigil at the city square in Kharkiv, Ukraine. This video was made for the one year anniversary of the beginning of the war against Ukraine, but now they are coming up on the fifth anniversary. Please take a few minutes to watch this inspiring video at https://vimeo.com/119547659 and earnestly pray for peace in Ukraine – and for deep spiritual awakening for Ukraine, for Israel and for America. Note: I have attended the prayer vigil with Zhenya in Kharkiv and also a similar one in Nikolaev with Pastor Alexander Rudenko. – R.D.
Overseas Outreach is Coming of Age! We Need Your Help!
This coming summer will be 21 years since my first mission trip for our newly born mission, Overseas Outreach. In recognition and celebration of the birth of our Overseas Outreach mission 21 years ago and the coming of age in the summer of 2019, we need your help to meet the much-expanded needs of this mission. I invite you to consider these possible ways that you can help:
- If you are praying for Overseas Outreach and donating as you are able without neglecting your home church – THANK YOU! We do deeply appreciate you and thank God for you! Please just keep doing what you are doing as you are able.
- If you are not yet praying for our prayer requests, please do!
- If you are praying, but not donating, please consider sending as a one-time gift $21 as an anniversary gift. Or – if possible, consider sending $21 each month (or multiples of $21, i.e. $42, $63, $84, $105, etc.) to support the outreach of this mission. You can either send by check and U. S. mail – or by Pay Pal on our website. For your convenience, you can even set it up for your bank to send a check for you each month.
- And Better Yet….since there is a pressing need to expand our donor base to meet the very real and expanding needs, the best way you can help is to share our prayer letters and our important needs with someone you know to recruit another prayer warrior/donor for Overseas Outreach.
From Our Mailbox
“Thanks for your message. It’s been a hard beginning of the new year, but just in the end of the previous year I got baptized properly. So yeah that’s on a good note! I am happy to make this conscious decision in my life. I am glad it healed me on many delicate levels and helped me to clarify relations with my family. Now it’s quite clear who’s my Father and whom I shall pray to.
Besides I am like always going deep and deeper in search for the truth. I started in deed to read the Bible from the very beginning and it brings some light to know these stories and cultural background, but I must say it is awful in many places which actually brings me down and casts aside…..
“Thank you for sending me your Overseas Outreach reports. This issue is especially good. Thanks for laying out, in convincing terms, the grounds for challenging the validity of the Anti-Christian world view of Evolution as it is being taught in our educational institutions all over the world. Good job.
May God bless you as you prepare for your heavy teaching schedule in Ukraine. My prayers are with you. May the Lord bless and keep you, and may he continue to use you for his glory.
With appreciation and brotherly love,
Dick” (Ady), Founder of World English Institute
“I so appreciate your kind offer to donate your books to Mulberry! I definitely would use them as gifts for our supporters and incentives to give for others….
I know that all your books are wonderful and really don’t have any preference as to what titles and how many you should send. I think the recipients of those books will be blessed regardless. So, please send me whatever you’d like, we will use them all! ….
Thank you, thank you, for such an investment (of time and care and prayers!) into our ministry. God is going to move!”
Yours in Christ,
Executive Director, Mulberry International
Excerpts from Mulberry International’s 2018 Year End Report:
“Mulberry continues to be the lifeline for internally displaced and at-risk families in Mariupol, a city closest to the front line. Our volunteers provide food, medicine, clothing, and basic necessities for hundreds of families and children. They visit them in their dwellings and introduce them to Christ. Our three partnering churches in Mariupol are making a difference in their community through various outreaches and God is multiplying their efforts.
“As Ukraine entered its fifth year of war, the conditions of war-torn regions continue to deteriorate, but the world continues to be silent. The war is still claiming lives, with no end in sight. The GDP (gross domestic product) plummeted to a record low in 2015 and the economy has still not recovered, despite foreign aid and loans. People in eastern regions, close to the front line, are still surviving on a bare minimum, relying on humanitarian assistance.
Outreaches to IDP and At-Risk Families
“In 2018, our three partnering churches in Mariupol ministered to about 100 families every month. It included home visits, calls, prayers, delivering food packets, medicine, basic supplies, and getting to know them personally. Internally displaced (IDP) families have fled the conflict zone and bear the memories and trauma of war. Most of them are still squatting in below-standard housing as they try to make ends meet in a new place. Because of the spiraling economy, local at-risk families are struggling to survive on a very limited income with no assistance from the government. Due to high unemployment in the area, they have very little opportunity to make a living for themselves. Our volunteers identify such families and try to help with their urgent needs. All families are invited to attend children’s programs at church and adults are encouraged to attend Bible studies.
As a result of this outreach, in 2018, over 150 adults have been attending weekly Bible studies, 9 adults were baptized, over 50 adults asked Jesus into their hearts and started attending church for the first time, and over 80 children are attending Sunday school weekly.”
Trip to Texas
On January 20th after church, our son, Randy, dropped us off at the Boise airport to fly to Texas for a special wedding and the opportunity to re-connect with very special friends. Our friend, Betty Thomas, and her fiancé, John Watson, met us at the Killeen airport and took us to dinner. We were guests at Betty’s country home a few miles outside of Copperas Cove. On Monday, I helped John with some clean-up projects on the property, while Della started helping Betty prepare for the wedding. Della continued helping Betty and another friend, Doris, with wedding preparations, but on Tuesday, I went to Houston in a rental car to re-connect with Clint Jones and meet his wife, Debra.
Clint was a vital member of our military congregation and Christian Coffee House outreach in Heilbronn, Germany, in 1975-1976. I had not seen Clint for 42 years – but now it is a joy to see him functioning as a church planter in North Houston. The first evening in their home, he pulled from his bookshelf two small, well-worn books, which I had given him while we were in Germany. He told me that those books have had a tremendous positive impact in his life in shaping him for our Lord’s service. What were those books? “The Kneeling Christian” and “Calvary Road”. I now have 50 copies of “Calvary Road” ordered again – and you can have a free copy upon request. You will be thrilled with the results if you read and apply its powerful message!
I’ve highly recommended the book, “Fearless Love”, to Clint and left a copy of “One Body” for him because the emphasis in both correspond perfectly with his goals for the new congregation. He intends to focus on Jesus’ statement, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another…” (John 13:35)… and the directive, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). Clint mentioned to me that Sunday mornings are the most segregated times of the week, so his heart’s desire is to see God grow the new congregation as a multi-ethnic and multi-generational church, focused on loving our Lord and each other. From what I experienced in their small group on Thursday evening, where Clint invited me to teach, they have a good start already!
Betty and John’s wedding on Saturday was unique, perfect, and beautiful. Betty was a widow, John was a widower – and now they are a rejoicing couple.
James Dobson has a pertinent and potent profile of the practical purposes for God’s sacred ordinance of marriage between one man and one woman in his Family Talk letter for February. You can obtain a free copy at Dr. James Dobson’s family Talk, 877-732-6825, 540 Elkton Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80907, or <drjamesdobson.org>.
After Betty and John’s wedding on Saturday, January 26th, we drove northwest for about 4 ½ hours to spend the evening and next day with Wade and Tamara Roye. She was my primary interpreter in Nikolaev for about six years, she’s an orphan (whose tragic background reminds me of Della’s ), and she is one of our emotionally adopted daughters. Wade had met her when he made short-term mission trips to Ukraine, and he got her out of Texas after the violence in Kiev and the war with Russia began. They were married in Texas nearly five years ago. Now they have two beautiful, lively children, whom we claim as grandchildren: Eve Lillia – 3 years old and Samuel – 1 ½ years old. Praise God!
On Sunday, January 27th, we went out to breakfast with Wade, Tamara, and children, we heard a powerful message at Oak Street Church in Graham, Texas, and I also had the opportunity to share the message, “The Creator is Calling,” with a large class led by their missions pastor, Loyall Watkins. He has been to Crimea numerous times. What an attentive class with enthusiastic responses!
Fearless Love and God So Loved…
Shortly before leaving for Texas, we received a box of “Knowlesletters” and winter issues of “One Body” magazines. The January “Knowlesletter” is excellent (as usual), and “One Body”, with the theme, “God So Loved” is beyond excellent! On the trip I also read the book, “Fearless Love”, distributed by Spirit of Martyrdom. It’s amazing! Outstanding! If you would like a copy of each of these, they are free to you on two conditions: 1. That you read it. 2. That you share it.
“Don’t doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.” ~ Anonymous
“At the cross where Your love ran red and my sins washed white,
I’m in awe of you, I’m in awe of you. I owe all to you, I owe all to you.”
“He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
“We are most like beasts when we kill.
We are most like humans when we judge.
We are most like God when we forgive.” ~ Chuck Swindoll
“Never judge a philosophy by its abuses.” ~ Ravi Zacharias
May God be before you, behind you, beside you on your right and on your left,
Above you and all around you, everywhere you go today.” ~ Based on St. Patrick’s prayer
“God is dead!” ~ Nietzsche
“Nietzsche is dead!” ~ God
(Who should we believe?)
“There is a terrible lot of us who don’t think that we come from a monkey, but if there are some people who think that they do, why, it’s not our business to rob them of what little pleasure they might get out of imagining it.” ~Will Rogers. ?
“Evolution might be best understood as the pseudo-scientific justification for a life lived as if there were no accountability to God, for if we are created, then the Creator has the authority to set the rules for life, and the authority to set the penalty for breaking the rules. Evolution seems to offer hope that there is no Creator/Judge to whom we are responsible. Christians recognize Him not only as Judge, but the Redeemer who, through His own sacrifice, made substitutionary atonement for our sins.” ~ John D. Morris
“Truth demands investigation, invites criticism, and walks unafraid.” ~ by the late Jim Brown (faithful Christian evangelist and elder).
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:14-17
- Please pray for God to provide the funds for Mulberry International to care for the orphans and devastated families along the war zone of eastern Ukraine, and to make up for a $10,000 loss they have had.
- Please pray for the funds for the translation and publication of “Is the Bible Without Any Errors?” into Russian and “Ready To Give An Answer” into Arabic. Thank you so much to those who have already donated to these vital projects!
- Please pray for God’s leading in every detail of my Spring Mission Trip, starting March 28, our Lord willing.
- Please pray for a deep, vital spiritual awakening in America, in Ukraine, and in Israel.
Opportunity to Expand Our Outreach, and Help Orphans and IDP
Please prayerfully consider
helping us expand our donor base and prayer warrior team by sharing our prayer
letters and encouraging your friends to participate either by Pay Pal – or by
the old fashioned, time-tested method of sending a check in an envelope.
“The oceans are full of amazing creatures, but none are masters of disguise like the cuttlefish. This creature has been coined ‘The King of Camouflage.’ It can distort its body into 40 different body shapes mimicking everything from a starfish to a squid; change its skin texture to mimic its background like corals, kelps or rocks; display a dizzying array of motions from swaying seaweed to swimming fish; change colors across the spectrum from red to blue to yellow; and flash zebra-like patterns across its body. And all of these colors, textures, shapes, and patterns can be changed within seconds!
One scientist studying the cuttlefish was amazed as he watched each cuttlefish transform into a ‘tailor-made camouflage pattern’ for a particular microhabitat. Two identical cuttlefish settled to the ocean bottom. One instantly took on the coloration and texture of sand and disappeared into the background. The other was only ten feet away where algae covered the ocean bottom, and it took on the coloration and texture of algae. Each of these two cuttlefish ‘tailor-made’ its camouflage pattern.
How are cuttlefish able to do this when they cannot even see their skin? In fact, scientists believe cuttlefish are even colorblind, only seeing the color green! The scientist was right in calling these cuttlefish ‘tailor-made’; they were tailor-made by the great Tailor, God Himself!
The Upward Look
On my voice mail message for missed calls, the concluding thought is “Keep Looking Up!” It is also my concluding thought for this prayer letter. Why? Because I love to share this concise poem:
“Two men looked out through the bars –
One saw mud – the other saw stars!”
Obviously, the difference in what each saw depended on which way he was looking. If we constantly focus on looking down and around, we see the “mud” – and can become discouraged with the filth, the corruption and the injustice flaunted by “news” outlets. I listen to news reports for prayer requests – but I need to constantly remind myself to keep looking up for the return of our majestic King of kings and Lord of lords. Glory! Joy! Victory! “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly bodies, according to the working by which He is able, even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20-21.
Our Wishes for You….
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.
May Almighty God continue to expand your godly
influence for His glory!May
the resurrected Lord Jesus be always your joy, your hope, your comfort, your
strength and victory! May you come to
know Him deeper, love Him dearer, and follow Him nearer!