The Loves of My Life

The Loves of My Life

  1. I love my Lord Jesus Christ, Who used my dad’s terrible accident to get my attention and to demonstrate to me that He is real by answering my first earnest, true prayer, “Yes!”
  2. I love my wife, Della Lu! Truly a gift from God!
  3. I love the Word of God! It is truly “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”!
  4. I love sharing the Good News of Christ with other sojourners on this path of life.
  5. I love good books that broaden my perspectives.
  6. I love the amazing family that our Lord has graciously given us – including many emotionally adopted daughters and sons.
  7. I love the special friends with gracious qualities who encourage us along our path in both sunshine and shadows.

When the Deceiver seeks to discourage me by turning my focus to the evil perpetrators causing suffering, undermining, and chaos of this world, that is when I most need to turn my eyes upon Jesus – look full in His wonderful face! He will return as the conquering King of kings – Lord of lords! Our Blessed Hope!

Last month I started our prayer letter with the background information about Valentine’s Day – including the heroic martyrdom of a believer, Valentine, who chose to obey God rather than man – even when that man was a cruel, blood-thirsty Caesar!

In our own time, we are certainly seeing satanic attacks against God’s creation of male and female, marriage and family. It is high time for each of us who love our Lord Jesus to boldly stand and speak up for His truth – against the satanic lies of our corrupted culture. Do you agree? What are you doing about it?

Is This a Biblical Definition of Faith?

Recently on a radio broadcast, I heard a story about two nuns who worked in a medical clinic. They were running late and were rushing to get to work on time, but to their frustration, their car ran out of gas on the way. They had passed a gas station just before the car quit, so they looked in the trunk for a gas can. However, the only object in their trunk that would hold liquid was a bed pan. In desperation, they took it back with them to the gas station and bought as much gas as it would hold. A few minutes later a bystander noticed them using a makeshift funnel to pour their gas into the empty tank. He smiled and said: “Now that is what I call faith!”

Really? If the bystander had actually seen what he thought he saw – would that actually be faith – or fantasy? Sadly, many people confuse faith with fantasy. What is Biblical faith? “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17; “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” 1 Thessalonian 2:13 (ESV)

Whenever you find a promise (or warning) in the Word of God that is directed to all believers, and you are a believer seeking to do the will of God, you can trust Him to mean what He says to you! “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:13-15 (ESV) Amazing! Powerful! Pertinent! You can trust Him, but do not overlook the if phrase! Are we asking for God’s will, or my will? Consider what the Holy Spirit inspired James to write: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3 (NKJV)

When you are facing a difficult situation, are you more prone to worry than to pray? The Word of God says: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV) Greg Laurie’s good advice is: “When your knees are shaking – kneel on them!” Also, remember that the Word of God says: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 (NKJV) Are we fervently praying Kingdom prayers?

Does God Care?

Since God cares enough to create us with all of our unique traits, talents, and personalities, wouldn’t it logically follow that He cares enough to communicate with us? He even created us with the ability to communicate! The Bible is God’s amazing communication with His human creation!

Does the Word of God Contradict Itself?

Have you ever thought about the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired John to write: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV), yet later inspired him to write: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV) Is this a contradiction? Absolutely not! Why not? John 3:16 is about the people of the world. 1 John 2:15 is about the philosophy of the world!

Another supposed contradiction in the Word of God is concerning what it says about the matter of salvation by grace through faith vs. salvation by works. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Romans 3:27-28 “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’ Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,” Romans 4:2-5 (ESV) However, James, the Lord’s brother, wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” James 2:20-24 (ESV)

Does this look to you like a contradiction? If so, look again – more closely – and pay attention to the context! Paul was writing about the essence of salvation; James was writing about the evidence of salvation. Paul was writing about what God sees; James was writing about what we see. God sees the essence of true faith in a human heart before he demonstrates it by his actions; human beings see the evidence of genuine faith by what he does. True faith moves at God’s command – and we human beings see the demonstration of that faith by his actions. The Apostle John wrote: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36 (ESV) (from the same context as John 3:16!)

America the Beautiful

Potent Excerpts from America the Beautiful by Ben Carson, M.D (with Candy Carson as co-author). The subtitle is Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, and it became a #1 New York Times bestseller.

“A famous Indian warrior who was in that battle said, ‘Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle, and after all could not bring him to the ground!’*…

Why was this history removed from school textbooks, which had included it up until 1934? As incredible a story as it may seem, it demonstrates the effect of having faith in God—for a person or even for a country. As George Washington himself said, ‘It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.’**…

In fact, when Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville arrived in America in 1831 to decipher the secrets of our enormous economic success, he was so taken with our school system that he wrote extensively about what he saw as a unique and powerful tool to fuel a productive new nation. Unlike schools in Europe, American schools taught the children values, he noticed, and there was extensive use of the holy Bible in public schools. He wrote in Democracy in America:

   ‘Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.’***

He was particularly impressed by the fact that anyone finishing the second grade could read and write quite well. Even when he explored the frontiers, he was astonished to find common men engaging in intelligent conversation, reading the newspaper, and understanding the various branches of government. He also reflected:

   ‘I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests, in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.’****…

The renowned Noah Webster said, ‘Society requires that the education of youth should be watched with the most scrupulous attention. Education, in a great measure, forms the moral characters of men, and morals are the basis of government.’*****”

Quotes by Alexis de Tocqueville:

   – “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

   – “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

   – “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”

   – “Life is to be entered upon with courage.”

   – “When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.”

   – “The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.”

Other Pertinent Quotes

“Anger is a substance that does more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than the object on which it is poured!” ~ Mark Twain ~ This keen observation needs to be clarified with the distinction between godly anger and ungodly anger. Jesus at times felt and expressed anger. His was godly anger against evil. The Word of God says: “Be angry , and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

Potent Quotes by Tony VanManen: “Christian character is not about being right positionally. It’s about doing right practically.” “The believer who does not regularly crucify the flesh will waste his life on things of no consequence. But those who walk in the Spirit will be yielded to God’s eternal purposes and rewards.” “The Faith Challenge: If you want in on your best life now and forever, walk in the Spirit.”

“As Christians, we tend to Major on the Minors, and minor on the majors. For me, if you believe the following four basics we can discuss/talk about anything else as fellow Christians: #1. God made it. #2. We broke it. #3. Jesus fixed it. #4. The church shares it.” ~ Scott Nickell

“God is active in the dark! God is present in the darkness (Genesis 1:2; Exodus 20:21; 1 Kings 8:12; Psalm 23:4; 97:2; 139:11-12). There are treasures to be found even in darkness (Isaiah 45:3: Psalm 63:6-8; Mark 9:7). God changes things in the darkness (Exodus 14:19-22; Luke 2:1-20). If God entered time and space as a baby at night, why do you think He can’t enter into your darkness, bringing peace and joy? (Daniel 6:16-22; Acts 12:5-11; 16:22-34). God speaks in the darkness (Genesis 28:10-22; 1 Samuel 3:1-21; John 3:1-8). Is it possible that you would discover more of your life’s purpose if you spent time reading your Bible, listening for the voice of God to speak to you through it?” Adapted from Decision, October 2021, by Victor Knowles.

“I would not believe in a Bible if it would not be worth it to smuggle it in everywhere even at the greatest risk and if it would not be worth it to sit 10 days and nights alone in the cold in order to be able to read its wonderful pages.” ~ Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs

Focus on giants – you stumble! Focus on God – giants tumble!” ~ Max Lucado

From Our Mailbox

Before we share other messages we have received, we are first sharing with you portions from two of our ministry partners – Odessa Mission and Mulberry International (from Natasha Reimer’s 2023 Ministry Report).

~ From John Murphy – Odessa Mission:

A Prayer Request for my Health

   Some of you may recall my having a heart attack in Odessa five years ago. So, once we were state side we were determined to probe a bit deeper and thankfully we did. Evidently, I will need coronary bypass surgery and that’s been scheduled for February 28th in Richmond, VA. I’m thankful that we found out when we did and I hope to give you some encouraging health updates in the near future.

Update on the Molodchy Family

   Shortly after the war began in 2022 our mission helped a preacher’s family escape from Kharkiv and temporarily settle in a peaceful area located in the Carpathian Mountains of western Ukraine. While there God gave them the chance to minister to a small country church until they were able to gain asylum in Austria. Today, Evgeniy preaches at a Mennonite church in Vienna once a month, leads a mid-week Bible study, and does street evangelism in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods. Thanks to you their family is safe now and they’re continuing to impact the world with the love of Jesus. (Evgeniy is his legal name, Zhenya is his nickname.)

House of Prayer Church (Kosiv, Ukraine)

   Before Evgeniy’s family left the Carpathians for Austria they absolutely fell in love with the small country church they’d been serving and they specifically requested that we help them if we could. Staying warm in their church building was becoming an unsustainable goal with their heating system that ran on natural gas, which has skyrocketed in price due to the ongoing conflict. So, we donated $2,000 to help them replace it with a wood-burning system and they’re absolutely over the moon. The minister, Vitalii, recently told me that this is the first time he’s ever had heat in his office so he’s a happy camper…”

~ From Natasha Reimer – Mulberry International:

Through another partnership, Mulberry provided life-saving aid to destroyed and devastated villages in Donetsk region. Only elderly, sick and impoverished people are left there, living in inhuman conditions, in destroyed and desolate area, forsaken by everyone. Our volunteers delivered close to 100,000 tons of water, over 10,000 loaves of bread, fuel and firewood, clothing, shoes, home wares and tools. The biggest help for these people is not only aid, but the fact that someone cares and loves them enough to cross thousand miles into a dangerous territory to show God’s love through action.

The biggest IDP outreach is organized and conducted by our national director Volodymyr. In addition to two vans, we bought his team a semi-truck to deliver humanitarian aid to another severely devasted region of Ukraine: Kherson. It was shelled mercilessly and many towns were wiped out. In the summer of 2023, the Kakhovka dam was bombed and flooded the area, destroying entire villages, hundreds of houses, fertile grounds, fresh water sources, and livestock. Our team took trips to the Kherson region twice a month, filling these vehicles to the brim with humanitarian aid. We delivered about 400,000 lbs of food, close to 10,000 liters of drinking water, and about 600,000 lbs of firewood! All of that has been distributed to about 3,000 people through local churches! Our teams of volunteers restored and rebuilt 13 houses for the people who lost their homes to shelling or flood. The testimony of God’s love and provision didn’t return void and the people we’ve helped started coming to church. Praise the Lord!…

If you want to contact one (or both) of these ministry partners for more complete information, here is the contact information for them:

Odessa Mission, Steven Dunham, 338 N Snead St, Ashland, VA 23005

Mulberry International Resources, P.O. Box 43623, Louisville, KY 40253

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Dear Della, thank you for your quick reply about the funds and also your portion of support! We trust God, thankful to you and pray for you to be able not to be too stressed with things to do. With age comes wisdom and we pray God will bless you with peace in your heart and enough health to manage your daily life and even more. We pray you will be able to walk with Rick along the Creek as the spring comes close.

We love you so much, and thank God for such a close bond for so many years. Our only wish is to see you both some day. For now we need to take care a lot about our aging parents and it is almost impossible to leave them even for a day or two. In May we are invited to the Big Evangelical conference in Germany for the weekend and we pray for the possibility to go. It will be very important for our ministry here. We also pray for the possibility to set up our mission here by the end of 2025 if this is God’s plan for us to continue in Austria. We are encouraged to learn the language first and this is what God tells us to do first. We are sure he will lead further in a proper time.

I will close for now with spiritually hugging you both in prayer, Zhenya”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Dear Dick (Rick), I commend you for your faithful defense of biblical truth and righteousness in the face of worldly opposition. Your newsletter is full of profound truth. May God continue to bless you with boldness as you proclaim truth to wolves among prospective sheep.

Your brother and friend, Dick Ady (founder of World English Institute)”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Dear Rick and Della, thank you so much for your gift! (Note: Natasha’s ‘Thank you” really belongs to all of you who pray and donate to Overseas Outreach.) The beginning of 2024 was marked by intensified Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian cities and towns. In just five days, Russia has fired more than 500 missiles and drones at Ukraine, mostly in largest cities on residential houses, hospitals and hotels. Ukrainian officials say dozens of civilians have died in those attacks.

As destruction mounts, our workers grow even more determined to restore and rebuild residential housing to minimize the suffering of people freezing in the single digits winter weather. Our teams of volunteers have been removing debris and fixing windows in shelled apartments in Kyiv, to allow the residents to continue to stay there. Our teams rotate driving to locations that had been severely damaged by shelling (like the Kherson area), where no intact houses remain. They take a full week of hard work to restore and renovate one house at a time. People are shown a real love of God in action, when someone is helping them knowing that there is no way they can repay for the good done for them. When people realize what God has done for them, their hearts change.

We continue to purchase and deliver firewood for people who lost power and have to live in buildings damaged by shelling. Over 700,000 lbs of firewood have been provided for hundreds of people in need across the south and south-western parts of Ukraine just in the last 6 months! All of this would not have been possible without YOU. Your partnership, support and prayers are vital to what Mulberry is doing in Ukraine. We witness God’s goodness by being Jesus’ hands and feet to those who lost all hope. It is dark and cold in Ukraine. Let us shine His light into the hearts of Ukrainians together! ‘For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 4:6) Natasha Reimer, Executive Director, P.S. Wow! The Lord continues to bless our ministry through you! Thank you for being His vessel to many hurting Ukrainians!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here is a message I sent to Bruce Malone in February: Good afternoon, Bruce. I’ve had my copy of Brilliant for years but had only scanned some of it. Yesterday I finished re-reading it carefully and prayerfully. Thank you for all the careful research to produce such a powerful work! 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! “Now may the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 Respectfully yours & His, Rick

Here is the reply from Bruce: “Thank you, that means a lot. You have always been such an encourager to our ministry. Thank you so much for all you have done for Ukraine and elsewhere over the years. We each have a part in bringing the truth to a blinded world. None more important than the other. Bruce.”

Observations by Scott Lively

“… American Jews have been rudely awakened by the global Hamas uprising to the Anti-Semitic Frankenstein they created for themselves among America’s hard left and youth and are now steering politically rightward in shocked survival-mode. Thanks to the brilliant tactic of Florida and Texas shipping illegals to the deep blue ‘sanctuary cities.’ American Blacks are rising up as an unexpected but powerful voice against ‘open borders’ – heavily to the benefit of President Trump whose name is virtually synonymous with ‘border security.’

Even among the Democrats, there is a growing wariness of the social cost of hard left policies and weariness in fighting for a regime whose ‘woke’ definition of ‘Our Democracy’ looks nothing like what prior generations of Americans fought and died to preserve. Sure, there is a large core of hard-core Marxists among the Ds who also hold most of the leadership posts – but much of the rank and file is less committed to that agenda and several of its constituent parts are increasingly susceptible to poaching by the GOP. The two factions who will remain most loyal are the abortion-obsessed feminists and the LGBT supremacists – whose agenda is unchangeably anchored to the perpetuation and progression of ‘sexual anarchy.’” ~ Scott Lively ~ Please pray for genuine spiritual awakening! ~ R.D.

Our Unique God

  • “God has never lost anything. He has never worried about anything.”
  • “God knows every detail in the future as if it had already happened. Amazing!”
  • “He has never run out of ideas or resources and never will.”
  • “He’s a God of incredible creativity, of infinite energy and endless power.”
  • “He knows everything and always has. He has never made a mistake or been surprised.”
  • “God tells us to live with faith in His power and ability not by the things that are seen.”

“God is a God of inexhaustible imagination. He’s a God of incredible creativity and infinite resources. You can trust your life to Him!

Assignment: Love your enemies. Try loving your enemies (and praying for them) – it’ll drive ‘em crazy. Show God’s agape love to others, even people you don’t know. Each day try to make at least 3 people smile. Think the best of everyone. Don’t miss an opportunity to hug someone. Be less angry and more loving toward everyone, including yourself.

In Christ’s Love, Bob & Geri Boyd, Hosts/producers Issues in Education, President NACE,

Prayer Requests

1. Please pray for the end of war in Ukraine, in Israel & Gaza, in America. Fentanyl has become one of the most dangerous and deadly tools of the enemy in destroying lives and killing thousands of Americans.

2. Please pray for continued protection for all of our ministry partners.

3. Della is our bookkeeper for both our personal finances and our mission funds. (She is the one God has gifted with a mind and calling for details.) However, she is feeling the strain of trying to keep up with being bookkeeper, housewife, grandmother, and co-author of our prayer letters while experiencing the slowing down of mind and body in the aging process. Sometimes she feels overwhelmed. Sandy is willing to help relieve some of the load (she is also gifted with a detailed mindset), but Della doesn’t yet know what to delegate to her. Please pray for clarity for Della – and for rest. Sandy is also very busy as housewife, mom, and business owner for her secretarial/bookkeeping service, Proverbs 10:9 Services, LLC. Please also pray for strength, wisdom, and clarity for Sandy. Thank you.

4. Praise to God for all of you ministry partners who pray for Overseas Outreach and donate for outreach and humanitarian aid to destitute people in Ukraine and beyond. You are touching thousands of lives through your prayers and donations. May Almighty God lavish His riches in glory on your lives!

Is God Using Habakkuk to Speak to Christians in America?

Habakkuk was distressed with his backslidden nation (Judah) and wrote: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! ‘Violence is everywhere!’ I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.” Habakkuk 1:2-4 (NLT) I can understand how Habakkuk was feeling – can you? Well, hold on, God isn’t finished yet! Let’s notice Habakkuk’s final words at the end of his brief book of prophecy: “I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us. Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” Habakkuk 3:16-19 (NLT)

I feel so sad when I think of the way our beloved America has been changed in recent years.  I wonder how God feels after He has blessed our nation in numerous ways to see how it is now being torn apart by those who want to live in rebellion to all God stands for and want to force us all in that direction as well.  Many years ago, we heard a song written by Gary S. Paxton entitled “I Wonder if God Cries”.  As you read the words of this song, I pray that it will touch your hearts as it has touched ours.  May it stir all of us to stand strong for all God’s principles, renew our courage to live in ways that will comfort our Father’s heart, and turn the tide of this special country to His original plan for us.

I Wonder if God Cries

By Gary S. Paxton

“I wonder if God cries

When we do the things we do

Do love drops fill His eyes

Cuz He loves us oh so true

Sometimes I feel such hurt

When I try to realize

That even though He’s God

I wonder if God cries

I wonder if God cries

Is His heart filled with pain

Does He bow and weep

When we damn his holy name

I wish I could see Him

For the world, apologize

When we stumble so

I wonder if God cries

Maybe time will tell

When we reach that distant shore

With all his children home

Maybe God will cry no more

Even though He’s God

I wonder if God cries”

From the album, “Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible,

Unbelievable, Different World of Gary S. Paxton, 1976”

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