The Keys to the Kingdom

The Keys to the Kingdom

The keys to the kingdom are the truths of the gospel, and by His Holy Spirit, Jesus ordained for Peter to be the chief speaker proclaiming the gospel on the Day of Pentecost just 50 days after Passover when Jesus was crucified – then raised from the dead three days later. Here is the record: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.’ Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’” Acts 2:21-29 (ESV) (Did you notice the apostle Peter preached both the sovereign will of God and the free will of man in this passage – and didn’t try to explain it? God used it to bring 3000 to Christ!)

Have you put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as the solid foundation for your life? Have you deeply, genuinely repented? Have you been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? He paid the gruesome penalty for you on the cross – are you going to submit to Him as Lord of your life – or spurn Him? Are you repeatedly asking Him: “Lord, what would you have me do?” Therein is freedom! Joy! Peace! Power to live life on purpose to His glory! “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32 (ESV)

Also, do you realize that when you submit to His authority by allowing yourself to be baptized into Christ that you are actually proclaiming the gospel visually? “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:3-11 (ESV)

Run Away from your Problems?

Do you know why it is impossible to run away from your problems? Because – wherever you are – there you are! Doesn’t this uncomfortable fact actually expose that at the root of most of our problems is the root sin of pride and selfishness? What is God’s solution? “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:5-11; “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

Master of the Wind

Words and music by Joel Hemphill

My boat of life sails on a troubled sea

Whenever there’s a wind in my sail.

But I have a friend who watches over me

When the breeze turns into a gale.

I know the Master of the wind.

I know the Maker of the rain.

He can calm a storm, make the sun shine again.

I know the Master of the wind.

Sometimes I soar like an eagle through the sky

Above the peaks my soul can be found.

An unexpected storm may drive me from the heights

It may bring me low, but never brings me down.

I know the Master of the wind.

I know the Maker of the rain.

He can calm a storm, make the sun shine again.

I know the Master of the wind.

Tag: Let Jesus calm your storm, make the sun shine again

He is the Master of the wind.

I know the Master of the wind.

I know the maker of the rain.

He can calm a storm, make the sun shine again.

I know the Master of the wind.

Time to Get Ready!

Twas the night before Jesus came, and all through the house,

Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.

The Bibles were laid on a shelf without care,

As if they thought Jesus would never come here.

The children were dressing to crawl in their beds,

Not once ever kneeling, or bowing their heads.

And Mom in her rocker, with baby in her lap,

Was watching the late show, while I took a nap.

When out of the east, there arose such a clatter—

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash—

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But an angel proclaiming that Jesus was here!

With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,

And I knew in a moment that this was the day.

The light of His face made me cover my head;

It was Jesus returning, just like He had said!

And although I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,

I cried when I saw Him, in spite of myself.

In the big Book of Life that He held in His hand,

Was written the name of every saved man.

He spoke not a word as He searched for my name,

When He said “It’s not here.” My head bowed in shame.

The people whose names He had written with love

He now gathered together for His Father above;

With those who were ready, He rose without sound,

While all of the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late!!!

I had waited too long, and thus sealed my fate.

I stood and I cried, as they rose out of sight—

Oh, if only I had been ready tonight!

In the words of this poem, the meaning is clear:

The coming of Jesus is fast drawing near.

There’s only one life, and when comes that last call,

We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!!!

From Our Mailbox

“Dear Rick and Della, thank you so much that you remember us and try to help… We are fine, there are rocket strikes in the city from time to time, but God protects us. We continue distributing the humanitarian aid among needy people in Kharkiv and in the villages of Kharkiv region. Also, we are getting ready a facility to continue the rehabilitation ministry for addicts. Unfortunately, it’s a huge problem now.

 May God bless you richly! Mariana and Volodia”

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“So much in the news and it seems all bad. We may not see the good in it until we hear of the souls that are being saved. Tragedies may turn a hard heart to a believing heart. We know the end, but it is the time in between that troubles us. We need to let our troubles build our Faith. ~ Larry Whittington”

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“Rick, thank you for your encouragement! I’ve mailed our year-end letters earlier this week sharing the current needs and overall situation in Ukraine. I pray the Lord will provide for the needs of the Ukrainians we serve. Thank you for your support and friendship! Blessings, Natasha Reimer (for Mulberry International)

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Love, Joy, Peace, Hope

By Shasta Hutton

He didn’t take away our pain,

Or bring us peace on earth.

To fix all of our ills was not,

The purpose of His birth.

But peace was brought within our lives—

Peace with the Lord on high,

And hope came to our hopelessness,

For heaven now was nigh.

And joy was brought despite the pain;

This world’s not all there is.

And love was shown in sacrifice,

And marks all who are His.

Yes, love and joy and peace and hope,

Did come to earth that day,

For the baby in the manger,

Had opened up the Way.

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“Rick, I greet you and Della in the Blessed Name that is above every name – the Name of Jesus – may He continue to bless you both greatly. I so look forward to your newsletters each month and always appreciate your thoughts and your unwavering stand on the Word of my Lord. And thank you also for periodically including the updates from Sergei Golovin in Ukraine. Once again – thank you ever so much for the sermon recordings and the Issues in Education recordings – they are most helpful and a blessing. Please use the extra donation to Overseas Outreach to help with Ukraine – needs – whatever. Thank you. I continue to pray for you and Della as well as those in Ukraine. May Jesus bless you and be glorified. Ken (Morris)”

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“Beloved brothers and sisters, we highly appreciate your prayers – we feel their power all the time! Thank you so much for all your fraternal care, sacrificial help, and unceasing prayers! With great joy, I present to you the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics’ first Winter 2023/24 newsletter.

Hard to believe that the madness of this uncaused war goes on in XXI century Europe for so many months taking hundreds of thousands of lives and leaving millions without homes! At the same time, it is amazing how big is people’s hunger for the word of God in the midst of these troubles! We feel it a lot through the demands of our resources that equip the army of Jesus for expanding the Kingdom – both online and in hard copies! We can see it, for instance, through requests for our ‘What the Bible Is?’ booklet used both by believers in the army for face-to-face evangelism at foxholes and by the churches in their humanitarian work at the war zone, flooding areas, among the IDPs and refugees. The first print run of 1000 copies went in a month. It took us another month for the second print run of 4000 copies to run out. The third print was delayed because of the printing factory damage after a missile strike. But when we finally got it, it took two days only to run out of 4000 copies! And we still have requests for more. So, we are going to do another print run by Christmas. God uses even the worst situations for His glory. May His name be praised!

At the same time, we do not forget about our main focus on the 2 Timothy 2:2 approach: to teach faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. On the one hand, we continue the online Bible study for pastors from the mainland of the country, from the occupied territories and even from the frontline, exploring together the book of Acts as a guidebook for the church, its nature, its life, and its ministry. On the other hand, seminaries and churches in the relatively safe regions of the country got more or less adjusted to the realities of regular air raid alerts and requested more in-class trainings. And, you know, the most requested courses are Cross-cultural Evangelism and Biblical Politology (divine principles for building a just society). Even experiencing the troubles of the war and expecting at any moment to receive a summons to be drafted into the army, these men learn and discuss how to properly impact the future of their country and of the Kingdom. May the Lord be praised!

One of the most touching moments we get traveling across the country is to see children, who substitute their fathers in various aspects of church life. I never could imagine that someday, listening to ‘Bring him home’ (my favorite piece from Les Misérables), I’ll be listing specific names in my head. May the Lord protect all His men who went to defend their homes! May their children see them again! Family is the institution most impacted by the war. A lot of fathers went to fight. Hundreds of thousands of them are wounded or even killed. Many wives escaped with children overseas apart from their husbands since men under the age of sixty were not allowed to leave the country. Biblical guidance for marriage is as important now as never before. That is why we made the Theology of Marriage the topic of the season at the Reliable Foundations online apologetics club. Please pray with us for the Christian families of Ukraine to be the testimony of God’s lordship.

The advantage my age however gives me is the freedom to leave the country in time of war. There are no flights to/from Ukraine. But we are able to travel to Europe by car. That allowed us to make a trip for several valuable visits with board members, teammates and partners scattered from England to Poland, as well as to provide some trainings for Russian-speaking refugees. All meetings were an extremely useful and joyful experience! We got requests to do a follow-up training and think about going to Europe again in May for that. Please pray with us for the upcoming plans. Above all, however, we pray for a divine intervention to stop the madness of the war.

So far we plan to spend the winter at Kyiv. Russian attacks on the infrastructure are expected to be even worse this year than they were the previous winter. By the Lord’s grace, the facilities we have outside of the city are pretty autonomous. We have our own water well, LPG power generator, and some firewood for the fireplace. So, again we will be able to serve as a base and shelter for ministers and missionaries who may happen to be without electricity and heating like it was a year ago. Praise be to God for keeping us safe and our facilities undamaged through the months of war! Please join our prayers for his protection.

Please continue to pray for peace in Ukraine, for the safety of our fellow workers wherever they are, and for the Lord’s guidance to us in this time of uncertainty. Please continue to pray for our teammates who defend our land. May the Lord protect them! Please pray for Ukraine, the Lord’s intervention in the midst of troubles, and for many people in other countries who care and help. Please pray for the lives of soldiers and civilians and the peace in our country! Most of all, please pray for the Lord’s guidance for us in these difficult times. Yours by the grace of Jesus, Sergei (Golovin)”

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“Good evening, Rick and Della. We need much wisdom as to what to do with the Evidence Revealed Ministry. We are working on digitizing the library. We need prayer to finish that work. We have 28 subjects done and 24 more to finish. Then we have to get all the old books in order and filed. We need to know what displays to sell and which to keep. We need some buyers for both the office space and the house. We made an offer on a nice place in Glen Rose that we think will fit our needs and it is only 4 minutes from CEM (Creation Evidence Museum). The offer is contingent on us selling both our house and the office space. We have till January 31st to sell these places. Thanks for your prayer support and just being there. Stan and Bonnie Lutz”

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“Hey Rick! We did receive the box you sent! We thanked Stephanie for sending it too. Thank you for sending the materials!  I know of some individuals that would be highly interested in learning more about how to defend their faith. How are you doing? What is new in your life and ministry? Your words are a blessing and mean so much to me. I am thankful for your friendship and mentoring. Serving Him and you, Roy Meyer”

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“Dear Rick and Della. Anya, a student from Ukraine, recently completed a class at Haus Edelweiss. Her husband was with her auditing the class. The students in the class were invited by their professor to share their prayer concerns. Prayers of thanks, adoration, supplication, confession, etc. were all welcomed. Anya shared that shortly after she and Ury were married, not quite four years ago, they were walking home one day and came upon three ‘street children.’ The children appeared to be malnourished, tired, and cold and obviously needed help.

Anya asked, ‘Where are your parents?’ The oldest child answered, ‘They are dead.’ Without hesitation, this young couple replied, ‘Tonight you will stay with us.’ During the next several months, Anya and Ury legally adopted those three children. While attending the class at Haus Edelweiss, Anya and Ury were missing their kids, now aged 11, 7, and 4 years old, as this was the first time they had been separated. And Ury and Anya could not wait to get back home to them. This story brings me to the top of our gratitude list – a loving God who sent His Son to seek and save the lost. He rescued us from a cold and unloving world and adopted us as His children. He continues to call us as His children to serve Him and to share the Good News of Jesus… Gratefully, David Wright, Vice President of Ministry Services (TCMI)”

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“Dear Rick, wow! I cannot overbeat the Holy Spirit, who must have written this message through me. I don’t remember ever writing anything so poetic, so beautiful and so true! Thank you for sharing it with me. The bread that the Lord once sent in your direction is now coming back to me multiplied! Yes, I will send this greeting to the Shalbetsky family and yes, please feel free to use it wherever and whenever you want…

And I also want to wish you and Della and your big family Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! May the Lord bless you all with joy, peace, wisdom, strong faith and health, lead you with His loving hand and help you grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, His love, grace and provisions! I also want to thank you and Della for the gift of friendship and discipleship and for ‘adopting’ me. 😊 With the time I see more and more the blessings, which I believe are the answer to your prayers. So thankful to share the joy of Christ’s birth with you! Merry Christmas! Inga”

Now here is the message from Inga four years ago that I wrote to her about: “On this day when you and your loved ones gather together to praise God for the gift of His Son Jesus, may you find the Presence of Him, who gives sight to the blind, hope to the depressed, faith to the weak, knowledge to the simple, peace to the disturbed, life to the dying – Him, who is love, light, and life, who left heaven for heaven to receive us, clothed Himself in the temporal so that we could be clothed in the imperishable, became defenseless to defend us! May your hearts be filled with peace, joy, hope, and praise! May you have a Blessed Christmas!”

“…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

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“Dear Rick: Thank you for your December newsletter. It was good to hear from you once more.

Your perspective about America being at war is an apt one. Even though there is no formal declaration we appear to be ‘under siege’ in the ways that you mentioned, and it seems so many people are unaware of it. Our primary consolation is that God is sovereign, He does as He wills, and He is in the process of bringing about His purposes in and for this world He has created. We stand with you in praying for our country. On a national level, may there be more God-honoring days ahead!

Again, thanks for keeping in touch. If we ever can assist you in any way, please feel free to let us know. In the meantime, may our gracious God abundantly bless you, Della, and the rest of your family, and may your upcoming celebration of our Savior’s birth be especially sweet for you all. Sincerely, David Harleyson (James Dobson Family Institute)”

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“Our dear friends and prayer partners,

Greetings from Vienna Austria in these last days of the passing year! Time goes by really fast, and this is our second New Year here in Austria. As we think about the future and the sermon which we are planning to preach on the 7th of January we pray and ask God for guidance for the new ’episode’ in our life. We think it is very important when we pray about the future to think about the past, to think how God led us until this time, glorify Him and look into our own hearts. Thus, we thank God for you as we meditate on the following portion of Scripture: ‘Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.’ Deut. 8:2 Although the text speaks about Israelites in the wilderness, still it is quite applicable to our life to meditate on the events of our past and recognize how God led us, as church, as family and as a person before starting to move anew, into the year of 2024. There are so many things in our life as a family for 20+ years where God had led us and showed His hand in ministry and life that we cannot express in this letter, but we talked about it with our family, kids, and parents. Now we can just thank you for being part of our life and we hope to see you some day in person again! These two months were busy with serving in church, meetings during the week, German courses, Parent’s visits for intravenous infusions, schools for all our children and Natasha’s attending seminars for teachers organized by European Centre for Freedom and Independence. Molodchiy Family from Vienna (Zhenya, Natasha, Mary, Yan and Jacob plus our parents, Lidia and Boris)”


The Old Rugged Face

Precious Lord, Take My Hand and Help Me Up

It is Well with My Soul, But my Knees Hurt

Nobody Knows the Trouble I Have Seeing

Amazing Grace, Considering my Age

Just a Slower Walk with Thee

Count your Many Birthdays, Name them One by One

Go Tell it on the Mountain, But Speak Up

Blessed Insurance

Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, I’ve Forgotten Where I Parked

Thank you so much for your prayers and support for Overseas Outreach Mission.

We appreciate you!

Rick & Della

Reflections for the New Year

Time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years.  It seems just yesterday that I was a young girl, then later married and embarking on my new life with my husband.  And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went.  I know that I lived them all.  And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams…But, here it is…the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise. How did I get here so fast?  Where did the years go, and where did my babies go?  And where did my youth go?

I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.  But here it is…husband is often tired, and he’s really getting gray.  He moves slower and I see an older man now.  He is in much better shape than me, but I see great change.  Not the one I married who was dark and young and strong.  But, like me, his age is beginning to show, and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be.                                               

Taking a nap is not a treat anymore…it’s mandatory!  Cause if I don’t on my own free will, I just fall asleep where I sit.

And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things.  But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last… This I know, that when it’s over, I will enjoy the Spring in the arms of my loving Father…and wait for my loved ones to come when their winter is over too. 

So, if you are not in your winter yet…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think.  So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly!  For remember that scripture? ”Our life is but a vapor, it vanishes away”.  So, do what you can today because you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!  You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life, so live for God today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember!

Life is God’s gift to us.  The way we live our lives is our gift to God.  Let’s make it a fantastic one!  Live it well!

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  – Mark 8:36-37 (NKJV)

– Adapted from the writing of an unknown author.

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