“Speak Now, Or Forever Hold Your Peace!”
Have you heard these words before? Do they make you think of a wedding? I would say, “yes,” if you asked me that question, but for now, I want you to think of them in another context. What context? This one: “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:11-14 (ESV) Here is another pertinent context: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.‘But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.’” Mark 13:31-33 (ESV) Now how about this one: “For we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.” 2 Corinthians 5:7-11 (ESV)
Now, as I write this on August 5, 2020, it is early afternoon. This morning on news reports I heard about raging fires in California, raging winds on the east coast of our nation, and raging arguments in Congress about Covid 19 and new stimulus packages. Besides these reports there was more about the horrible explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed at least 100 people, wounded at least 4,000 and left multitudes homeless – plus more about increasing gun violence in Chicago, NYC and other American cities. Our country is in a mess! Our world in is turmoil! Do you suppose that Almighty God is sending us warning signals that we should heed the prophet Amos, who wrote, “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” This was a warning to backslidden ancient Israel. Could it be an alarm to backslidden spiritual Israel? To the people of God? To those of us responsible to fulfill the great commission of Jesus? “‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV). Since Jesus clearly told the 11 apostles to teach their disciples “to observe all I have commanded you,” and since Jesus had just commanded them to go, teach, baptize, doesn’t this “great commission” belong to every disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are you one of the “silent majority” of Christians? You know – one who can and will talk about almost any other subject, but remains strangely silent about the love of Christ and a personal walk with Him? Are you a disciple of our Lord Jesus? If not, what are you doing about it? If so, are you sharing your love for Jesus with others around you – or are you among the silent majority of timid believers? Are you praying about how our Lord wants you to use your unique gifts and skill set to reach out to the hurting, needy souls around you? If not, why not? When do you plan to start? “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV). If not now – when? We have no promise that we will have another tomorrow before we stand before the King of the universe. Isn’t it time to speak up? Like “speak now – or forever hold your peace!” Isn’t it time to be praying about Colossians 4:5-6? “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (NKJV).
If you are wondering about how much salt to use in your seasoning – here is a pertinent story to consider. (I also heard Chuck Swindoll tell this on his broadcast this morning.) Back in the earlier 1800’s (before our country’s so-called “Civil War”), when Andrew Jackson was President, the word got out that he wanted to hear the fiery pioneer evangelist, Peter Cartwright, and was coming to the church where Cartwright was scheduled to preach. Some of the evangelist’s friends told him that President Jackson would be present and urged him to be cautious and discreet. When Peter Cartwright stepped up to the pulpit, his gracious, but well-seasoned introduction went something like this: “I’m told that President Jackson is present here today in this audience, and I’ve been admonished to be careful. If Andrew Jackson does not repent of his sins and accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior – he is going to hell!”
There may have been a few gasps, but when President Jackson shook hands with the evangelist, he pumped his hand fervently and said, “Young man, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could conquer the world!”
Perhaps this is a good time to remind you that the revised, shortened, and updated edition of More than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes, Volume 1, is now available. I will send you a free copy on two conditions:
- That you read it
- That you share it with someone
If you decide to accept my offer, please send your full mailing address – including zip code.
Now consider this powerful and pertinent prayer: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked… But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, and from the traps of the workers of iniquity.” Psalm 141:3-5, 8-9 (NKJV)
What on Earth are You Doing for Heaven’s Sake?
During World War II, some French prisoners of war were sent to work in a bomb factory. They realized that at least some of those bombs would be used to destroy their own country and kill their country’s men, women and children.
Later, the Nazi Luftwaffe noticed that the bombs they dropped over France were not exploding – many (if not all of them) were duds! It was also discovered that inside those dud bombs was the message: “We are doing the best we can where we are to save our nation!” Are you now asking yourself the question: “What on earth am I doing for Heaven’s sake?” (I do not know who discovered the notes in the dud bombs – whether French people, Nazi soldiers, or someone else – and I do not know if the French slave workers were brutally tortured – but they did what they could!)
Focusing on My Texas Trip
Without focusing on chiggers or hot, humid Texas summer weather, I can say that my Texas trip was a wonderful experience for the following reasons:
- I enjoyed great fellowship with John & Betty Watson while helping them the first week with their remodel project on their Copperas Cove house. We also discussed and prayed about God’s leading for their nine-acre piece of property there in central Texas near Fort Hood (the biggest military base in the USA).
- John loaned me his car for my weekend trip to visit Tamara & Wade Roye on July 18, and to speak for both services of their congregation, Oak Street Church, in Graham, Texas on July 19. The first service I shared “Why I Believe in God” and the second service “Why Creation Matters.” Great fellowship! Wonderful receptivity! High response to the books and literature I offered! Very generous congregation! Praise God!
- The fossil dig trip to the Paluxy River near Glen Rose and the visit to Carl Baugh’s Creation Evidences Museum, plus the visit to ICR’s Discovery Center in Dallas was terrific! The excitement level was high – and continued to grow during the week. The cooperation together of creation scientists, creation evangelists and other interested individuals was high and motivating, and the messages that were presented were phenomenal! In fact, following Bruce Malone’s presentation on Thursday evening, Gary Parker stood up and said, “That was the best creation lecture I’ve ever heard in my life!”
I can declare without any fear of refutation that the evidence for dinosaurs and humans living simultaneously on earth is clear and valid! What does this mean? It means that the doctrine of evolutionism is kaput! Destroyed!
A Very Special Evening
Della’s birthday is July 24, which was also the last day of the fossil dig at the Paluxy River. I knew I was scheduled to be out of state for Della’s birthday, so I started calling her every day to sing, “Happy birth month to you… Happy birth week to you… Happy Birthday to you – Della Lu. I sure love you! Woo-woo-woo!”
As a grand finale for the fossil dig week, all of us participants were to gather at the beautiful outdoor theater area on Aaron Judkin’s property, where Dennis Petersen would summarize the week and exhort us to action. First, however, Rick Shuler was scheduled to sing for us. Since his voice is so similar to John Denver’s, he sang some John Denver songs, plus some of his own compositions. I asked him if he would take a request, and he agreed to sing John Denver’s tribute to his wife, and substitute Della’s name for Annie (since it was Della’s birthday). I tried to call Della so she could listen on my phone, but the line was busy – Why? Betty Watson had already called Della and was walking up closer to Rick so Della could hear better. What a beautiful song! What a special tribute! What was Della’s response? “Oh! Wow!” ?
Focusing on Our Mailbox
“The COVID-19 outbreak has presented a unique challenge to our Country, and the States have taken drastic and unprecedented steps to stop the spread of the virus. While we acknowledge that our officials may take appropriate action to protect the lives of the people, there are certain things that the government may not do, even in a time of crisis. If we allow the government to abridge constitutional rights during an emergency because of ‘necessity,’ then we set a precedent that the government no longer has to follow the Constitution when it believes that it is necessary to disregard it. This precedent is incredibly dangerous! As George Washington warned in his Farewell Address: ‘If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.’
If we as a society believe that churches can be closed because it is too dangerous to leave them open, then imagine what else the government can do to close churches based on the same logic. If the government can close churches because they are too dangerous, then why could the government not close churches because the ideas they preach are ‘too dangerous.?’ You know very well that across the Country, LGBT activists are persecuting Christians, claiming that traditional Christianity is harmful to gay and transgender people. These people would love to exploit this precedent to shut down churches permanently if they got the chance!
In most of the other cases across the country where lawyers are bringing religious liberty challenges to COVID-19 orders, the lawyers handling those cases recognize the potential for the government to abuse these powers and are trying to stop it. However, the conventional approach to fighting for religious liberty holds that the government can restrict a church’s right to meet but just has to do it on the same terms as it restricts everyone else’s right to meet.
We’re not okay with that.
Instead, we are simply arguing that the government has no authority to tell churches whether they may meet or not—period!!!
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, says, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ As the Supreme Court recognized in 1947 in the case of Everson v. Board of Education, the government may not ‘force [or] influence a person to go to or remain away from church against his will.’ Free exercise of religion means that people can choose to go to church and face whatever risks come with it!
Why We Need Churches to Open Now
As I write this, our Nation has been overwhelmed by terrible violence. Tragically, George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as he fought for his life. Our Country was rightfully outraged by his killing, but many responded with senseless acts of rioting and other forms of violence. Police officers across the Country now find themselves objects of hatred and have a very real fear for their personal safety.
Because times are so chaotic, are we sure that we want to close churches right now? If there were ever a time where the People of this Country needed to hear such commands as ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ and, the command that ties them all together, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,’ now is that time! And where can we hear such a message except in our churches?…
Sincerely, Kayla Moore, President – Foundation for Moral Law”
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“Take courage! God is on your side if you are on the side of God. When you encounter obstacles, and you will (and most likely are at the moment), be encouraged that with God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, you will prevail. Christianity has always been persecuted. Take courage, stand strong, remain faithful. God is in control. In a time when we have more questions than answers, when times are uncertain, and we’re feeling afraid, take courage! God is on His throne!
‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ – Joshua 1:9
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.’ – Acts 23:11
Thank you for praying alongside us.
Grace and Peace, Dan Starks”
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“Thank you for sending me a copy of each of your published books. I very much am thankful for your firm and winsome stand on the inerrancy of the Word of God and on the literal truth of the first eleven chapters of Genesis including the six literal twenty four hour day creation. Thank you. May my Dear Lord Jesus continue to bless you and Della as you serve Him. Thank you a lot.
Ken Morris” (Tunas Missouri Church)”
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“Thank you so much for the encouraging words and your thoughtfulness. You and Della are also in my prayers. May blessings pour down on you! It was great to see you again, to hear your word to us, and to visit.
Trudy (at Cowboy Church)”
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“I really appreciate all the information you send me. When I read the prayer list from Eagle Church, it reminded me that people everywhere are hurting – and need prayer. You mentioned the “Voice of the Martyrs” in your letter. Certainly another prayer field for us there.
Rick, you might be at a fossil dig in Texas right now. I hope everything went well, so you have the opportunity to be there. How exciting! And I know your speaking engagements will be well received.
I’m excited to hear about the possibility of your having a radio program. ‘What is a Biblical Christian Worldview’ is so needed in our country right now. With all that is going on, hopefully hearts will be open and receptive to hearing it.
It was interesting to me, to learn about John Murphy being one of the church planters, in the church that changed Zhenya’s life. I thank God for the work that Zhenya has done – and is doing. His country is so in need of his teaching. And what a great work John and his wife Iryna are doing…’’
My thoughts and prayers are with you, dear friends. Stay safe.
Love in Christ, Gwen (Eichel)”
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“Dear Rick, thank you so much for this and I’m sorry it took so long to respond. I greatly appreciate you making contact. It’s great to hear such a warm and appropriate assessment of our mutual friend Werner (Gitt).
Regards and blessings to you. Carl Wieland”
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“I’m old enough to remember what 20th century dictators did to get a tighter grip on their power. Hitler had his Hitler Youth. Stalin also had the young children in his camp… Mao Zedong outdid both, e.g. in the 60s ‘Cultural Revolution’ where youth even betrayed their parents in his cause. Evolution was embraced by these three dictators and forced upon their people, with Christianity outlawed—resulting in tens of millions of ‘non-war’ deaths. It has step by step in the West gained power over all areas of life. What next here in the US, I wonder?
Bill P. US (via Creation Magazine)”
Focusing on Powerful Quotations
“We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.” – Charles Stanley, June 2020
“May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love and joy of God’s presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love.” – Andrew Murray
“He who would not fall down ought not to walk in slippery places!” – Adrian Rogers
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
“An opinion is something you hold; a conviction is something that holds you!” – Ravi Zacharias
If you are accused of being “overly zealous,” you may want to come back to this quote: “It’s easier to cool down a hot iron than to warm up a corpse!” – Adrian Rogers
“It’s not as much a message to be told, as it is a Person to behold.” – Derek Voorhees
Focusing on Prayer Requests
- We ran into a huge dilemma in the paperwork process of helping Edward Pintya come to Ozark Christian College as a foreign student in fulfilling his heart’s-desire to become a missionary pilot. We wrote to our prayer team and consultants about his problem, and David Davolt was one of the first to respond. Here is what David wrote: “Rick, BBC has a different international student program than it did when you first started checking for Edward.” We are following David’s advice, have been in touch with Linda Cass, and she is checking on the possibilities. During my phone conversation with her, I learned that she knows and remembers our daughter, Sandy, because they were both students at BBC in the fall of 1988! ? I’ve invited both Traber & Linda to consider attending our Overseas Outreach prayer meetings. Please pray about that. They are considering it. Edward responded back with a pleasant note that he would also love to come to BBC.
- Our friend, John Bartlett, in Eugene, Oregon, was seriously injured in a bicycle/car accident. His wife, Jonnie, told me in a phone conversation that he is doing well and that it’s a miracle he has no brain damage because his head went through the windshield. He has ten broken ribs. Please pray for complete recovery.
- While I was in Texas, Della’s uncle, Del, died. (Della was named after him.) Please pray for his wife, Su, for Della, and for other family members dealing with grief.
- Please pray for wisdom for our friends, John & Betty Watson, about their nine-acre property near Copperas Cove, Texas. They are seeking God’s wisdom to know if He plans to use that property to become a youth camp, especially for training new creation evangelists. (I suggested naming it “The Bridge Over Troubled Waters Youth Camp,” and John said, “Creation Science Training” as the sub-title.)
- Is defunding police departments a great idea for promoting peace? Congressman Russ Fulcher (Idaho) has reported a 200% increase in violent crime in NYC and Chicago (cities defunding the police departments). Please pray for our police officers! For our nation to return to sanity!
- Please keep praying for the hurting souls in Ukraine.
- Please pray earnestly for revival in our churches and a massive spiritual awakening in America!
On August 2nd Rick spoke at one of our supporting churches, Christian Church of Richland, in Oregon. During the worship service, one of the ladies in the congregation (Riata Brown) led us in a new song, which greatly touched my heart. The title is “So Will I” (Bethel Music). I would like to share some excerpts of the words with you:
“I can see Your heart in everything you made
Every burning star a signal fire of grace
If creation sings your praises, so will I
If the stars were made to worship, so will I
If the mountain bows in reverence, so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness, so will I
For everything exists to lift You high, so will I
If the wind goes where You send it, so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence, so will I
If You left the grave behind You, so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender, so will I”
Added to this joyful worship, we were able to enjoy rich fellowship with the congregation and our host family, Lela Shold and her son and daughter-in-law, Steve and Millie. Thank you to all who made this time so special!
Thank you, Christian Church of Richland, for your faithful support through many years! May God pour out His richest blessings upon you!