Trusting in the Midst of Tragedy and Turmoil

Trusting in the Midst of Tragedy and Turmoil

Some of you may remember reports about a disaster area in 1988. One report says: “Two earthquakes hit Armenia on December 7, 1988, killing 60,000 people and destroying nearly half a million buildings.” On a recent Rejoice Radio broadcast, I heard an amazing report of a father who ran to the school where his son was enrolled, found the location of the classroom he thought his son was in, and began digging by hand through the rubble, moving stone by stone in search of his boy. For 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours he dug, to no avail. But, during the 38th hour, in the midst of fatigue and near despair, he heard a small voice: “Daddy, is that you?” It was his son’s voice, so the invigorated father kept digging and soon was rejoicing with his son alive in his arms. The boy told him, “I knew you would come, father! You promised me you would never leave me or forsake me!

In 2024, we are living in very troubled times, and sometimes the circumstances may seem overwhelming. News reports bombard us with various tragedies, tumult, earthquakes, tornadoes, wars, and rumors of wars. Can we turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and cling to His unshakeable, unbreakable promise: “I will never leave you; I will not forsake you!”?

Potent Quote

The Great Commission is not an option to be considered – it is a command to be followed!” ~ Hudson Taylor ~ We should remember the context of when Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, along with the promise that goes with it. It was in Galilee after His death, burial, and resurrection, and before His ascension. Here is Matthew’s version: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the 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)

Can Faith Move Mountains?

Some people believe that faith can move mountains. Not so! It is God who moves mountains. It is God who can move mountains, and it is faith in Him that is true and potent. Faith in faith is just positive thinking, so if you put faith in your faith, you are bound to be disappointed and disillusioned. It is the object of our faith that matters. A weak faith in our Almighty God is millions of times better than a strong faith in anyone or anything else!Let God be true, though every man a liar.” Romans 3:4. Let’s focus our faith in God, the One who can move mountains. (This paragraph is a summary of a portion of a radio message by the late Adrian Rogers.)

If Trees Could Talk

(What are Your Aspirations?)

Recently on a radio broadcast by Ken Dodge, he shared a parable about three young trees that went something like this: Three young trees growing up near each other began discussing what they hoped to become when they grew up. The first aspired to become a beautiful palace. The second aspired to become a big, beautiful ocean liner. The third aspired to become a cozy cottage for a loving family. However, when the first grew up and was harvested, it was made into a small animal shelter and a manger where the newborn Son of God was placed to sleep. The second was made into a fishing boat where the Master Teacher taught multitudes of those who “heard Him gladly” along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The third was made into an old rugged cross, where the Savior of all mankind for all who receive Him as Lord and Savior, paid the sin debt for each and every one of us!

What are your aspirations? Has it occurred to you that Almighty God may have very different (and more important) aspiration for your life? Why not turn it all over to Him? He is the One who crafted you for His purpose and gave you whatever abilities you have.

Whose Offer Makes More Sense?

Bars advertise and offer “Happy Hour.” God offers us Happy Eternity! I have seen in Germany, in Ukraine, in Estonia, and in USA drunks passed out under a bridge, in a gutter, and on a sidewalk. I have also seen former drunks and addicts transformed and joy-filled by the power of the Holy Sprit through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whose offer do you think I choose to believe? How about you?

Have You Thought of Writing your Own Statement of Faith?

Answers Magazine for January-March 2024 has an article encouraging Christians to each write a statement of faith of his or her own. I had already done that and included it as the Preface in our first published book, Ready to Give an Answer. Sergei Golovin and Victor Knowles each wrote a foreword for this book. Here is a portion of what Victor wrote: “Rick Deighton has a driving passion to share with others the clear evidences of the Christian faith. It is a powerful testimony that comes from a man who was once an atheist. His ‘15 Core Convictions’ are worth the price of the book.”

You may want to consider writing a statement of faith to clarify your own convictions and leave a legacy for your grandkids and others. Here is mine:

1.I believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He was God manifested in flesh and is the only hope of the world.

2. I believe that God has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and that in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

3. I believe that the Bible from Genesis through Revelation is the true Word of God! Its truths are worth diligently studying, accurately teaching, and doggedly defending. Doggedly defending the truth, however, does not give us license to spew venom on our opponents, for we must always “speak the truth in love.”

4. I believe that all Christians are commissioned to share the gospel and to be ready always to give an answer for the hope that is within us, and to do so with humility and godly fear (not arrogance and antagonism).

5. I believe that Christian leaders are called to equip all believers to minister in order to fulfill the great commission and the great commandment.

6. I believe that God is the perfect balance of absolute love and absolute justice; therefore, the accurate proclamation of the gospel will reveal the true nature of God.

7. I believe the proclamation of the gospel includes the death, burial, and resurrection and appearances of Jesus Christ as evidence of who He is. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. It is also necessary with proper timing to share how to respond to the gospel in faith, repentance and baptism. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth of confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38.

We are saved by grace through faith, not by our good works, for our own best works are filthy rags next to God’s righteousness. We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works (the result of our salvation). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:8-10. Genuine trust in Jesus Christ as our sacrifice payment for sin (Savior) is the essence of our salvation; the good works that flow out of this trust relationship with Jesus are the evidence of our salvation. If our trust is in anything or anyone other than Jesus Himself – it is a false, misplaced trust – there is no salvation in it!Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

8. I believe that the key to proclaiming the good news to non-Christian and post-Christian cultures is creation evangelism; i.e. we must begin with God as Almighty Creator to declare Him as Adequate Redeemer as Paul did at Mars Hill. See Acts 17 and Colossians 1:13-22.

9. I believe that we of the Restoration Movement are Christians only, but we are not the only Christians. We should not alienate other believers by acting as though we consider ourselves the only Christians.

10. I believe that every person on earth is valuable to God and is worth saving. This of necessity includes enemies of the gospel like hostile editors, evolution devotees, abortion doctors, Marxist and atheist professors, Muslim terrorists, pimps and pornographers. We are to be wise in the way we treat outsiders. We must remember that our real enemy is Satan and that the love-filled apostle Paul was the hate-filled Saul of Tarsus before his conversion. “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.” Colossians 4:5-6

11. I believe that prayer is our first and most dynamic strategy in breaking down Satan’s strongholds. Prayer is not the only thing we are called to do, but until we have prayed and waited on God for direction, we are foolish to charge ahead on our own. Prayer should always be our first resource rather than our last resort. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;” Colossians 4:2

12. I believe that after prayer, love is our most powerful weapon to melt cold hearts and open closed doors. I believe that the New Covenant pivots on two commandments—Faith, which works by love!  Galatians 5:6.

13. I believe that Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21 teaches us that unity in the Body of Christ is the most vital factor in reaching the world for Jesus. The world does not need us to teach them how to fight—that is one thing they are really good at. The world needs to look to God’s church with longing eyes and say, “Behold how they love one another.”

14. I believe that we cannot promote Christian unity by compromising God’s truth, for in the same high priestly prayer Jesus said “Sanctify them in thy truth. Thy Word is truth!” John 17:17. In our culture, the only virtue is tolerance. The ungodly wisdom of this world is pressuring us to conform and fit into its mold by tolerating the intolerable. To faithfully follow Jesus means having the backbone to oppose evil. Was Jesus always gentle and mild? Apparently the money changers in the temple, as well as the Pharisees and the chief priests didn’t think so. Jesus Himself said, “If they have hated Me, they will hate you.” We must be willing to be misunderstood, hated and slandered for Jesus’ sake. 

15. Therefore, I believe that to effectively evangelize our lost, confused, hostile world we must carefully balance and prayerfully walk the tightrope stretched between truth and unity. “Lord, fill us with Your Spirit, for we cannot accomplish this on our own.

Is Someone in Charge of the Coincidences?

Have you heard the story of the Christian farmer whose neighbor was an atheist who liked to mock faith in God? The Christian loved to testify to his neighbor about God’s wonderful answers to his prayers, and his atheist neighbor loved to scoff and say, “Those are only coincidences!” So, one day the Christian (fed up with hearing that line) said to his atheist scoffer: “Believe what you want, but I’ve noticed that when I pray, the coincidences happen, and when I don’t pray, they don’t happen!”

Precious Blood

By Vera Bajenski

(As told to Victor Knowles)

“Several years ago in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, George and Vera Bajenski’s lives were changed forever. Here is their story. February 16, 1989. A very normal Thursday morning. The phone rang at 9:14 AM. ‘There’s been an accident…’ It involved their only son, Benjamin ‘Ben’ Bajenski. As they approached the intersection of Adelaide and Simcoe Streets, near the high school, they could see the flashing lights of police cars and ambulance units. Vera noticed a photographer and followed the direction of his camera lens to the largest pool of blood she had ever seen. All she could manage to say was, ‘George, Ben went home – home to be with his heavenly Father!’ Her first reaction was to jump out of the car and somehow collect the blood and put it back into the body of her son. ‘That blood, for me, at that moment, became the most precious thing in the world because it was life. It was life-giving blood and it belonged in my son, my only son, the one I loved so much.’

The road was dirty, and the blood just didn’t belong there. George noticed that cars were driving right through the intersection – right through the blood of his son! His heart was smitten. He wanted to cover the blood with his coat and cry out, ‘You will not drive over the blood of my son!’ Then Vera understood, for the first time in her life, one of God’s greatest and most beautiful truths – why blood? Because blood was the strongest language God could have used. It was the most precious thing He could give – the highest price He could pay. “…you were redeemedWith the precious blood of Christ …” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV)

Through God’s amazing love we were redeemed with the ‘precious blood of Christ.’ May we never treat lightly nor trample underfoot the blood of God’s Only Son (Hebrews 10:20). ‘Amazing love! How can it be? That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!’ (Charles Wesley).

On July 30, 2015, at the age of 69, Vera joined her beloved son Ben and her precious Savior Jesus Christ in heaven. George is still faithfully serving Christ in Canada and Poland.” One Body, Winter 2024. Used by permission.

Now some pertinent questions to ask myself, since Jesus shed His precious blood to pay my sin penalty and redeem my soul: Have I surrendered my all to Him – ambitions? possessions? spirit, soul, and body? Do I love Him with all my heart, mind, and soul? Am I obedient to His every command as soon as I understand it? Maybe I need to keep growing in His grace and truth!

Just Wandering

“Sometimes I wonder, sometimes I wander. Sometimes I win, but just as often fail. Sometimes I just can’t figure it out at all. In our country of comforts and excesses, have the people forgotten the true source of all good things? People generally don’t seem to be as thoughtful or thankful anymore. Even more important, prayerful! Dear Lord, please; because the time of the end is rapidly approaching; use your Holy righteous ways to open more hearts, including the hearts of our loved ones. Lord, I love you and your creation, especially all the previous creatures that you so lovingly created, because I know each one was made out of your love and you care for each one. Thank you, Heavenly Father!” – David Black

Prayer Requests

  1. Please continue to pray for the safety and effective service of all our co-workers.
  2. Please pray for God’s clear guidance for Overseas Outreach mission.

A Plan of God

“Do you know and can you see,

Just how wonderful life can be,

For those who recognize the deity.

Our Lord and Savior arose from a grave;

The purpose He came: His people to save.

Because of his sacrifice, we can be brave.

How can it be that He first loved us all,

While under the crush of sin; ready to fall.

Now our sins are paid for; if on Him we call.

He is looking down now, waiting in His love,

And sends us His Spirit in a form like a dove.

His arms are extended to receive us above!”

~ David Black

“I’ve been redeemed,

By the blood of my King.

Bought back from Satan,

Oh let the news ring!

No longer a captive,

To sin and to shame.

Now Christ is my master,

And I bear his name.”

~ Shasta Hutton

                                                                     Fear Acrostic from Rick Hughes

“Failure to Trust God

Emotional reaction to stress

Arrogant rejection of God’s promises

React or Respond – it’s your choice!”

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)

The Parable of Two Selfish Sons

One was self-indulgent! The other self-righteous! Did Jesus’ parable have an effect on those who heard? This parable is usually called “The Prodigal Son.” Does His parable convict you of the sin of selfishness in any of its forms? If so, He gave us life to save you from your sin, and His arms are open to receive you, forgive you, and welcome you Home! What will you do with Jesus?

From Our Mailbox

“Rick and Della, once again I must express my apologies – I have wanted to write to you so many times over the past weeks but have been prevented from doing so – please forgive me for my delays. But please do know that – even in the absence of my being able to write, I have not ceased from – nor interrupted – my daily prayers to my Father for the two of you and for the Overseas Outreach ministry and for those in the Ukraine. Thank you so much for the monthly newsletters. And especially thank you for the recordings and additional news items that you send.

Please use the extra $ for help for those continuing to be devastated by the war in the Ukraine. I look forward to each time that I hear from you. May my Beloved Lord Jesus Christ continue to bless you and keep you as you faithfully serve Him. And I hope that your celebration of Lord Jesus’ Resurrection was most meaningful. May He be praised! Ken”

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

“Dear Rick & Della, thank you so much for faithfully supporting the persecuted church. We at SOM appreciate you and pray for you. ‘May God grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.’ Psalm 20:4

Yours in Christ, Barb and SOM Staff”  (SOM = Spirit of Martyrdom)

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

Molodchy Ministry Update, March-April 2024, Vienna, Austria

“Our dear friends, celebrating Easter this year happens to be the point in the middle of our two-month newsletter update that we do regularly. This makes us think about the Resurrection of Jesus as a center of our lives again! We want to bless you with the words – “Christ is risen!” “Christus ist auferstanden!” – in German.

Our topic for preaching fit into the Easter services very well. We had very emotional sermon called “A few insights from the Book of Psalms on Emmaus Road with Jesus.” It was very well received by the congregation. Natasha and I have a very good tandem as I speak in English, and she translates into German, and this makes the sermon delivery quite unique. Some people even heartwarmingly joke that they hear the message twice. In fact, good number of people in the church understand and speak English. You can listen to the sermon following the link here

Our very dedicated Christian faithful friend Inga was also with us for a week, and we were glad to have her visiting us from Crimea as she was also scheduled to translate for TCM (a Christian institute in Austria) this spring. Thus, she was killing two birds with one stone, serving with TCM, and fellowshipping with our family. We have not been able to see her face to face since 2017. We enjoyed sightseeing Vienna a little bit and updating on our lives since we saw each other last time in Crimea…

One day evangelism outreach at Vienna streets

Living in Vienna for almost 2 years we have learned pretty good our way around and the districts where different people live and spend their time. We join in with our good Christian brothers and sisters and evangelize for the whole day on Saturdays in MariaHilfe Street, KeplerPlatz, and ReumannPlatz. MariaHilfe Straβe is a mostly shopping and walking street where one can meet lots of foreigners and tourists. Many people stop at our stand and take literature in different languages and want to talk and pray with us.

Reumann Platz is the district where a lot of refugees from Asian countries live. For them we have literature in their own language. Recently we met a young man, Pablo, from Serbia who we became very close with and pray for God’s leading in his life. When evangelizing for the whole day on the street, you touch upon personal stories of about a couple of dozen people. They touch your heart and ignite your spirit to pray for them in Jesus’ name…

Now we would like to organize some of our prayer requests.

  • First and foremost, we would like to thank you for your prayers for Ukraine and fellow Ukrainians.

It looks like the situation is not going any better. Pray for Zhenya’s nephew Slavik as he is serving in the Army, pray for families in churches in Ukraine. We have contacts with several churches and ministries, and we help them where it is possible.

  • Pray for Lidia’s surgery to go well and for Lidia’s health and emotions at the hospital. We went to big hospital in Vienna, it is huge although convenient and everything is top notch and free for us as Ukrainian refugees now… (Lidia is Zhenya’s mother)
  • Pray for our new place to live and transition to the new location. We have a few options for our family and trust the Lord will help us with this situation.
  • Pray for guidance for us in Austrian life, God’s protection, and ministry in Church and on the streets.
  • On May 4 we plan on having and participating in Neighborhood Spring Fest. This is the time to introduce our church for people in the area.”

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

“Beloved brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all your loving concern, fraternal care, sacrificial help, and unceasing prayers! With great joy, I present to you the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics Midspring 2024 newsletter. We are so thankful for your faithful prayers! We feel their power all the time. I can not find another way to describe our life in the midst of the challenges we face but by the word GRACE! Our ministry of equipping God’s people for effective evangelism according to the 2 Timothy 2:2 model depends a lot on the vast network of volunteers and coordinators. We call it the Eurasian Apologetics Society and it is rather a movement, not organization. Regretfully many of its links, connections and practices were broken by the war escalation. Practical interaction with coworkers in other former Soviet Union Countries was reduced considerably. Most of our Ukrainian partners and teammates got scattered across Europe from the territories occupied by Russia in the East up to Scotland and Portugal in the West. Nevertheless, the outcome became as glorious as it was with the Jerusalem church in Acts. Scattering did not destroy but multiplied it! Now we have an ultimately new level of partnership network. It is much wider and much more diverse than we had before! Our volunteers and coordinators are spread among IDPs and refugees, at the foxholes and bunkers, among people who continue to dwell at the battle zones and even at the occupied territories! May the Lord be praised!

In the situation when many people do not have access to physical resources, media increases the resources impact extremely. For instance, only a couple dozen were able to attend the Science and the Bible first session of the Reliable Foundations club a few months ago. However, since then it had over 11 thousand views online. The total amount of views of our videos exceeded a million already! We continue with the main topic as well as touch upon other issues people are interested in. At the same time, the club’s actual sessions are a great opportunity to be in fellowship and discuss various issues and approaches with the movement leaders. Please continue to pray for this initiative.

On the other hand, the book ministry is on the rise as well. People approach publications in Ukrainian with excitement. At the same time, we still have a lot of books we published in Russian before the invasion, and we willingly share them with ministries impacted by the battles in eastern parts of the country where it is difficult for most people to read in Ukrainian. Another exciting news – we just got off the press a new 10,000 copies print run of the “What the Bible Is” brochure and run out of it already! Everything was pre-ordered by the ministries serving IDPs, to the fight regions dwellers and to the soldiers (as you know, there are no chaplains in the Ukrainian army yet, and the ministry is done by drafted believers and volunteers who follow the troops). This is the fourth print run in a few months, and the most exciting thing – it is completely funded from national sources! One of the volunteers’ teams started to upload our materials on flash audio players and distribute them at military hospitals and nursing homes in the war zone. May the Lord be praised!

Academic colloquiums of our Genesis Institute are restarted again as well. Exciting news – leading national neurosurgeon and medical university professor Volodymyr Redvedev joined our volunteer speakers’ team. His seminars on God’s design of the human brain are the most exciting events I have attended in several years! The video version we created is a great tool to glorify the Creator, challenge atheists and root believers in their faith. Please join our prayers for this greatly gifted man of science and man of God.

And, above all this exciting news, the real treat of the season was the visit of Georges Carillet – our faithful mentor and the ministry board chairman. Beyond his teaching the Life of Christ course at the Ukrainian Evangelical Seminary, doing the Historical Veracity of Gospels seminar at the Reliable Foundation club and preaching at the church we made an exciting trip around the country visiting teammates, partners and volunteers and even were invited to address a church at the ordination of the pastor. May the Lord be praised!

Please continue to pray for peace in Ukraine and for the safety of our fellow workers wherever they are. Please continue to pray for our teammates who defend our land. May the Lord protect them! Please pray with us for 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. Most of all, please pray for the Lord’s guidance for us in these difficult times. You all are in our prayers!  Yours by the grace of Jesus, Sergei”

A Mother’s Day Tribute to Mothers

Why Women Are So Special

“Mum and Dad were watching TV when Mum said, ‘I’m tired, and it’s getting late. I think I’ll go to bed.’

She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day’s lunches. Rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning. She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes in the washer, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button. She picked up the game pieces left on the table, put the phone back on the charger and put the telephone book into the drawer. She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry. She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the excursion and pulled a textbook out from hiding under the chair. She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick note for the grocery store. She put both near her bag. Mum then washed her face with 3-in-1 cleanser, put on her night solution and age-fighting moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and filed her nails.

Dad called out, ‘I thought you were going to bed.’  ‘I’m on my way,’ she said. She put some water into the dog’s dish and put the cat outside, then made sure the doors were locked and the patio light was off. She looked in on each of the kids and turned out their bedside lamps and radios, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks into a hamper, and had a brief conversation with the one up still doing homework.

In her own room, she set the alarm, laid out clothing for the next day, straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her six most important things to do list. She said her prayers, and visualized the accomplishment of her goals.

About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular. ‘I’m going to bed.’ And he did… without another thought.

Anything extraordinary here? Wonder why women live longer…?  ‘CAUSE THEY ARE MADE FOR THE LONG HAUL…. (and they can’t die sooner, they still have things to do)! God’s very own creation!”

~ Author unknown

Mothers – It’s your day to…..

1 comment for “Trusting in the Midst of Tragedy and Turmoil

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *