Patrick – Pure, Powerful, Prayerful Passion!

Patrick – Pure, Powerful, Prayerful Passion!

March 17 is labeled Saint Patrick’s Day on our calendars.  That’s great!  Let’s brush aside the frivolous myths about snakes and shamrocks, and avoid the degenerated drinking festivals.  Let’s actually celebrate the truth of the historical person known as Patrick.  He was an Englishman, who when a 16-year-old teen, was taken captive to Ireland as a slave.  During his captivity and lonely service as a herdsman on Irish hills, he pondered the powerful passages of Scripture he heard as a child, and he turned heart and soul to trust in Jesus Christ as Lord.  After several years, he escaped, returned to England, allowed the Holy Spirit to transform his hatred to love for his pagan captors, and returned to Ireland as an evangelist, passionate promoter of the love of Christ, church planter and trainer of church planters. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D.  I’ve read that Patrick and his followers planted over 200 churches, reached thousands of pagan Druids for Christ, and totally transformed the culture of Ireland for centuries.  That’s the power of one devoted disciple!  So, if you are a frustrated, furtive believer wringing your hands and thinking, “What can I do?  I’m only one person?” – look up to Jesus.  Ask Him, “What would You have me to do?”  So open up your heart and let the SON shine in!

I’ve read that one time when Patrick was baptizing a man in the sea, he had a Christian flag on a spear, and jammed it into the sand on the sea floor.  However, when he dipped the man under water, he noticed that the flag also dipped down, and when he brought the man up out of the water, he noticed some red floating to the top.  Shocked at the sight, he realized he had jammed the spear through the man’s foot, so he asked, “Why didn’t you cry out?”  The convert responded, “I thought it was part of the ceremony!”  Obviously, this convert understood the seriousness of his commitment to the Lordship of Christ.  He was coming to Jesus in the water of the sea, but ready to seal his testimony for Jesus in the blood of sacrifice.  Perhaps he had even heard Patrick preach from this portion of 1 John: “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” 1 John 5:6-8 (NKJV)

When Patrick was asked what it was that made him so successful in his mission, he replied: “Christ above me!  Christ beneath me!  Christ on my right!  Christ on my left!  Christ before me!  Christ behind me!  Christ all around me!”  What a powerful perspective for persistent prayer and progress!

Emphasizing God’s Emphasis on Love – True Love

If you read our February letter, you probably couldn’t miss the emphasis on God’s emphasis on love and marriage – true love.  You read about our 56th wedding anniversary on December 14, Valentine’s martyrdom for defying the emperor’s decree by conducting wedding ceremonies (martyred February 14, 269 A.D.), my recommendation of the book, Fearless Love, plus Jesus’ own command for us to “love one another.”  Now I intend to build on that theme again by sharing an insightful but humorous event from my past.  (Note:  It wasn’t humorous at the time!)

Our Wonderful Counselor’s Way of Wounding Warped Worldviews

When I was a freshman at Boise Bible College and still floating along with some frivolous and fanciful ideas infused with infatuation and fueled by folly from music and movies more than from the infallible insights from the Wonderful Word, I experienced a never-forgotten break-through to reality by the Spirit through His Word and my roommate.

Della and I had been spending much time together for a few weeks with no one interfering (even though we had no commitment about “going steady”), and then…, and then… along came Sam.  Sam was a former boyfriend from out of state who had come back to Boise for a visit.  Some of the guys at the dorm told me that Sam had left the dorm and was on his way to Della’s house.  I planned my strategy carefully and thought it was watertight, so with an overconfident stride and a clear conviction of victory, I grabbed the only phone in the boys’ dorm and took it into my room (it had a long cord,) and stretched out on my bunk for a nice long talk with “my” Della.  I timed the call for a few minutes after Sam arrived and planned to talk with Della continually until Sam gave up and left.  My watertight strategy blew up in my face (and left me red-faced and frustrated)!  Why?  Because my “love” was not love – it was infatuation – mostly with me more than with Della.  My strategy was selfish (self-centered).  Della talked with me briefly, then politely excused herself because she “had company.”  (As if I didn’t know that!)  I don’t remember if I quietly put the phone back on the receiver, or if I slammed it down.  What I do remember is the anger that boiled up inside me, which must have turned me into a “red neck” with a flushed face.  And I remember slugging the wall with my fist, which was pretty stupid since it was a wooden wall!  (Note:  Infatuation, self-interest, and stupidity go together!)

Dave Perry, my roommate, had quietly observed my demonstration of frustration, and continued to wait quietly for a few moments while I was laying on my bunk fuming.  Then he just happened to open his Bible and began reading clearly and calmly:  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails….” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NKJV)

I’m thankful that I had no broken knuckles – and for some reason I’ve never forgotten that passage of Scripture!  (Can you picture my guardian angel smiling as Dave was reading and I was listening?)

Now I want to cap off this embarrassing story by repeating a portion of Scripture we shared last month, but this time with parts of it emphasized in bold print: “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 thankfulLet 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 LordAnd 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

God Kind of Love

Recently on one of my favorite radio programs I heard the account of an event in the 1800’s when atheist/socialist speaker, Robert Ingersoll, was touring our nation promoting his agenda.  The report was that he came out with a string of blasphemous accusations against Almighty God, then announced that he was challenging God (if He’s there) to strike him dead for the things he had said.  So he looked at his watch and declared that he’s giving God exactly five minutes to meet the challenge!  (Who’s in charge here, anyway?)  The account says that one Christian leader merely smiled at Ingersoll’s foolish declaration and said, “So, he thinks he can exhaust the patience of the Eternal God in five minutes!” 😊

This is so pertinent for us to remember because we now have a rash of brash, brazen “new atheists” challenging God in private and public venues and in every form of social media.  Should we be wringing our hands and sweating in fear and exasperation?  No way!  The Lion of the tribe of Judah is not fearful and fretting!  And His Spirit inspired Paul to write 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.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NKJV).  He also inspired John to write: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment.” 1 John 4:18 (NKJV).  God is raising up a whole new army of bold new witnesses for Jesus worldwide – and here locally it is Mike Riddle’s goal to make the Boise area the primary training ground for younger creation evangelists.  (Mike’s ministry, Creation Training Initiative, is a partner ministry with our Northwest Science Museum and Foundations in Genesis, Idaho.)  Praise God!  Keep praying!  Let’s get busy witnessing for Jesus and getting “ready to give an answer!”  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)

The Joy and Triumphant Power of Love

Tamara (Chernova) Roye is an orphan from Crimea with a tragic story in her background, and she is also one of our emotionally adopted daughters.  When I met her, she was already living with her grandparents in Nikolaev while studying for her degree in linguistics at Black Sea University and serving with the youth at Christian Church of Reconciliation. She became my primary interpreter for about six years whenever I came to Nikolaev, so I learned about her heartbreaking history.  When she was in her teens, she lost her mother in a car crash, and less than a year later her father committed suicide.  In her own grief and desperation, she considered suicide herself, but got a grip on her emotions by realizing, “I can’t do that!  My life is not my own – I’ve been bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus!”  Tamara followed the example of her older brothers in following Jesus as deeply committed Christians.  One of them, Alexi, is a bi-vocational church planter and the other, Nikolai, is a worship leader and lover of children (he and his wife, Natasha, have adopted three more boys besides their own biological boys).

Wade Roye was a young man from Texas who came on mission trips to Ukraine, and he met Tamara because she served as interpreter for his team.  Because I was her emotionally adopted father, she sought my council when Wade expressed his desire to marry her.  Then five years ago, after Russia started the war with Ukraine, Wade sent her the funds to get out of Ukraine and they were married in Texas on March 30, 2014.  When we visited them in Texas in January, Tamara told us: “These have been the best five years of my life!”  Wow!  That’s great!  In spite of the tragic loss of both of her parents, in spite of leaving behind remaining family and friends in Ukraine, in spite of the pain of childbirth twice, and in spite of the time pressure of dealing with two small children (three years and one and a half years), and serving part-time with Pioneer Bible Translators, she has joy, real joy, wonderful joy!  Isn’t that wonderful for an orphan girl who lost both her mother and her father in the same year, and whose country is still at war?  This is the bliss of wedded love and family according to God’s sacred ordinance of marriage.  Wade is a loving husband and father as well as a conscientious Christian and hard-working provider for his family.  We praise God for both Tamara and Wade – as well as for two more beautiful, lively “adopted” grandchildren!  (You can send “Happy Anniversary” cards to us if you wish, and we can forward them to Wade and Tamara.)

It is a joy to share such good news from one of our emotionally adopted daughters who has come from such tragic heartache.  However, I recognize that there are also multitudes of lonely lives, suffering souls, and hurting hearts whose longings and prayers are not yet answered “yes.”  (God sometimes answers “yes,” sometimes “no” – and very often “wait.”)  Why?  Because He is a wise Father – and He sees all and knows all.

Hope It Helps for Hurting Hearts

Now I want to share with you a few paragraphs from a letter I wrote to someone with a hurting heart – a committed Christian struggling with unanswered questions.  Sometimes our only answer is found in Deuteronomy 29:29 (NKJV).  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

“So I don’t know the answer, but what I do know is that our awesome God is your Father, and He loves you beyond what we can think or even imagine, that we see only very partially, but He sees all, and knows all, and that He does not function on our human timetable!

I heard a story on the radio that went something like this: A believer was frustrated with God and confused because what he observed looked like God was being unjust and unfair.  Why?  Because an earthquake had knocked down some protective walls around personal properties.  God sent His prophet to help a rich man rebuild his wall, but he did not send His prophet to help a poor man rebuild his wall.  Why?  Isn’t God playing favorites with the rich man?  God isn’t supposed to play favorites – especially for a rich man, right?  So, God sent His clarification.  He did not send His prophet to help the poor man rebuild his wall because some wicked individuals were planning to attack the poor man, and his means of escape would have to be through his broken wall.  On the other hand, there was a stash of gold just outside the rich man’s broken wall, and if the rich man had repaired his own wall, he would have found the gold, and he didn’t need it.

Quite an insightful story!  God sees what we cannot see, and He knows what He is doing!  We can trust Him!  So, if you happen to be frustrated and confused, just remember that God is your loving Father – and God is not the author of confusion!

Living on a Cursed Earth

For most of the past year my favorite message to share, both in USA and Ukraine, is “The Creator is Calling,” and the introduction to this message is a six-minute video entitled, “Creation Calls.”  The video shows many beautiful scenes of God’s amazing handiwork, but I remind people that this is evidence that God gives beauty for ashes.  Why?  Because this is not the original paradise that God created!  We live on a cursed earth, and the curse came because of the fact that our original parents rebelled against Almighty God and brought the curse of sickness, suffering, shame and death because of sin.  Then about 1600 years later the sinful, violent rebellion brought the curse of the Flood on the earth – which totally changed the topography of planet earth and left billions of bones and fossils in the water-laid rock strata of our world.  However, in spite of the curse of sin, our loving Father has brought forth the fantastic beauty of verdant valleys, beach retreats, waterfalls, and snow-capped mountain peaks.  This illustrates to us His desire and ability to give us beauty from tragedy.

Thought to Ponder:

“Every disappointment is an appointment with God!”

Della’s Testimony

Over the past few years I have perhaps shared Della’s testimony more often than my own.  Why?  Because in Ukraine both TB and alcoholism are huge problems, which the kids in classrooms and the adults can relate to (both of Della’s parents had TB, and her father had become an alcoholic).  When I share Della’s story, I tell about her singing in the TB hospital, “My Faith Looks Up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” but in her own written testimony she shares about another song that so deeply touched her heart.  I think it will touch yours too, because our world has so many broken hearts, broken lives and lonely souls.  Della is hesitant about putting her testimony in our prayer letter, but I think it would be an inspiration for you.  What do you think?  Please let us hear from you, and maybe you will read Della’s story next month.

DVD and Book Offer

You are welcome to the following DVDs and books free of charge on two conditions: 1. That you watch it/or read it.  2. That you share it.  I consider this “arming the troops”.

DVDs

Armies or Nurseries? – Mike Riddle

The Atheist Delusion – Ray Comfort

Evolution vs. God – Ray Comfort

When Ordinary People Stand in the Gap– Bryan Fischer

A Question of Origins

God of Wonders

Books

The Kneeling Christian by an Unknown Author

Fearless Love  by David Witt & Mujahid El Masih

The Calvary Road by Roy Hession

Have you Considered the Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt? – Bruce Malone and Julie VonVett

A Closer Look at the Evidence – Richard and Tina Kleiss

What Was the Star of Bethlehem? By Werner Gitt

Ready to Give an Answer – Rick Deighton

More than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes – Rick Deighton

Millions of Miracles: The Evolutionist’s Dilemma – Rick Deighton

Is the Bible without Any Errors? – Rick Deighton

Of course, if our Lord moves your heart to want to donate an offering for Overseas Outreach, we will be most grateful.  This enables us to equip more troops in the Lord’s Army.

From Our Mailbox

“Thanks for sending the books, Is the Bible without Any Errors? and A Closer Look, for the other informational pages, Christmas card and “wishes” list.  I appreciate them all and you all, as well.  I am reading and re-reading as I can – have started, Have you Considered, again.  I think I told you that I ordered several copies and gave them to grandchildren – have not heard much response yet.  More than Conquerors… is another book you sent in 2017 I believe.  That is good, also.

Della, you are in my prayers along with the ministry – do hope you are better.  May God bless you.

Love, in Him

Eileen Smith”

The Attitude of Gratitude

I have before me a page from Ozark Christian College magazine, Ambassador, with an article by Matt Proctor entitled, “OCC Receives Million Dollar Gift.”  I mention this, not to draw a parallel to say that Overseas Outreach or Northwest Science Museum has received a “million-dollar gift” (although we are certainly not opposed to the idea! 😊).  However, I do want to draw a parallel with Matt’s attitude of gratitude.  At the bottom of the page is the picture of three men laughing – Matt with Rick and Chad Bronson.  Under the picture are these words: “Thanks a million,” joked President Proctor after receiving a $1 million check from the Bronson family.  The Bronson’s gift is OCC’s single largest donation from living contributors.”

Matt threw in some appropriate humor, yet also from his heart shared his attitude of gratitude.  We have never received a million-dollar gift – but we sometimes feel almost overwhelmed with an attitude of gratitude for all of you who pray for us and our requests, you who share financially your gifts both large and small, and those of you who share words of encouragement with us verbally and in writing, and those of you who share our prayer letters and books with others.  To you we say – Thanks a million!

Now we also want to share a portion of the sidebar with Matt Proctor’s article:

“For want of a nail, a shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe, a horse was lost.

For want of a horse, a rider was lost.

For want of a rider, a message was lost.

For want of a message, a battle was lost.

For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost,

And all for the want of a nail.

Small things can have great significance.  In Scripture, God grows large trees from small mustard seeds, feeds multitudes from sack lunches, builds a global church from a group of twelve, and starts a cosmic kingdom from a baby in a manger.  Zechariah 4:10 reminds us, ‘Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.’

We are grateful for large gifts, but perhaps you wonder: does my modest check matter?  Do small gifts make any real difference?

The answer is yes!  Last year alone, people dropping spare change in the Ronald McDonald House Donation Boxes in McDonalds’s restaurants raised $54 million.  Nickels and dimes make dollars, and together those dollars helped sick kids worldwide.

At OCC, your gifts of $10 and $100 and $1,000 add up, allowing us to equip hundreds of students to teach thousands of believers to reach millions of people.  Your support – whatever the amount – can help change the world.”

What is true for OCC is also true for us, for BBC, and for every other ministry we know about!  Thank you!

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).

Prayer Requests

We are sharing the same prayer requests we shared in February, because they are all still pertinent.  We have simply changed the order a bit and added more information.

  1. Please pray for God’s leading in every detail of my Spring Mission Trip to Ukraine, starting March 28, and returning on April 29, our Lord willing.  If you want to know where I plan to work each week, please contact Della or Sandy at overseasoutreach1998@gmail.com.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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!
  4. Please pray for a deep, vital spiritual awakening in America, in Ukraine, and in Israel.

“Our God is large – and He is in charge!”

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