Thursday, December 31, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - 31 December 2009

Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with anxiety. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened ox served with hatred. (Proverbs 15:16-17)

Лучше немногое при страхе Господнем, нежели большое сокровище, и при нем тревога. Лучше блюдо зелени, и при нем любовь, нежели откормленный бык, и при нем ненависть. (Притчи 15:16-17 Russian)

Dear God, our Heavenly Father, we reverence everything we know about you and approach you in awe and wonder ~ Thank you for all physical and spiritual blessings that we enjoy because of your constant love and providential care. Help us to live with a sense of peace and contentment without agonizing over wealth that sprouted wings or idolizing the lifestyles of the rich. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 30 December 2009

You search the scriptures, because you think that you have eternal life in them; even they testify about me. But you will not come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)

Исследуйте Писания, ибо вы думаете чрез них иметь жизнь вечную; а они свидетельствуют о Мне. Но вы не хотите придти ко Мне, чтобы иметь жизнь. (От Иоанна 5:39-40 Russian)

Mighty God, our Holy Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the wonderful gift of life on this new day along with blessings beyond our comprehension as we walk in the light of your perfect word. Give us wisdom as we study your word so that we will not fail to see your plan for man’s redemption that was foretold long ago through ancient prophecies. As we trust and obey Christ for salvation, give us boldness to share the Good News with other people. We ask for special blessings today for parents whose children have recently died. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Monday, December 28, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 28 December 2009

Finally brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so even more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

За сим, братия, просим и умоляем вас Христом Иисусом, чтобы вы, приняв от нас, как должно вам поступать и угождать Богу, более в том преуспевали. (1-е Фессалоникийцам 4:1 Russian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for this new day that arrives with opportunities to demonstrate our faith by our deeds. Give us wisdom as we learn more about our perfect Savior so that we will know how we should consistently live the abundant life in a pleasing and worthy manner. In the name of our Lord Jesus we pray, Amen.

Yesterday was a very blessed Lord's Day that included a variety of activities that gave us much encouragement about this work for our Lord here in Nikolaev, Ukraine. Our new brother Stepan was the first one to arrive after we put the sign out front. Normally, he comes with his friend and neighbor Luda. He leaves his house early and stops by her apartment and they walk a good distance to the bus stop, then after that they catch a streetcar that drops them off several blocks from where we meet. It never matters what kind of weather we have, they will make an effort to be at the meetings of the church. Of course, I've told before that our maritime students walk all that distance in order not to waste money on public transportation. They also come rain, snow or sunshine. It was very encouraging to learn that Stepan has his own determination to be with the church whenever we meet. Luda brought him in the first place, and we wondered if he would come without her. Now we know that he has his own strong convictions. Our brothers Afolabi and Akinrinde led the church in songs and the Lord's Supper. I asked our new brother Nikolai to lead the church in prayer and before he began his prayer, he made some comments about his previous life in the Godless Communist dominated Soviet Union as a young Pioneer, Komsomolsk member and member of the Communist Party. It was very moving to hear him tell of his personal joy at discovering Jesus Christ and this local church. After worship and a time of visitation, our afternoon appointment with our student Sergey showed up with all his homework completed. We had a wonderful time together with him for a little over an hour as we studied lesson number one of the World English Institute course. He is already an advanced student and has so much potential. We had a good discussion about God and His word. Since he has many years experience working with shipping goods in and out of the country, he will speak to some officials and learn exactly what we must do in order to receive material that John Kachelman has offered to get shipped here to the regional Children's hospital that we visited in May and again in August when we helped them with a TV for the young orphan children who must stay there for longer times. After he left with an appointment for today, our new sister Zhenya showed up to spend time with us since she could not come to the worship service. We had a good discussion with her, and as she normally does, she walked us most of the way home in the dark. We often pray that a few more workers will leave some worries behind and come share the joy of 'bringing in the sheaves' here in Nikolaev. Please join us in prayer for teachers and preachers to help get this young church grounded in the faith and for more souls to obey Jesus Christ for salvation.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 27 December 2009

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up. (Daniel 3:17-18)

Бог наш, Которому мы служим, силен спасти нас от печи, раскаленной огнем, и от руки твоей, царь, избавит. Если же и не будет того, то да будет известно тебе, царь, что мы богам твоим служить не будем и золотому истукану, которого ты поставил, не поклонимся. (Даниил 3:17-18 Russian)

Dear God, our Holy and Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new Lord’s Day that heralds even more opportunities for Christians to assemble in worship. Bless our dear brothers and sisters around the world who must defy their rulers in order to assemble in worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Strengthen our faith so that all true believers will stand firm for Christ even if the entire world turns against us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 26 December 2009

Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him (John), “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said unto them, “Do not collect more than that which is authorized.” (Luke 3:12-13)

Сборщики податей тоже приходили принять крещение.- Учитель, - спрашивали они, - что нам делать? - Не требуйте с людей больше, чем положено, - говорил он им. (От Луки 3:12-13 Russian SZ)

LORD our Righteousness, our dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for permitting us to observe the wonders of your creation and the constancy of your love for all created life. Give us wisdom as we grow in knowledge of the truth so that we will understand that sincere and repentant hearts have always been the primary characteristic of your teaching about what it means to surrender our lives to you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Thursday 24 December 2009

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel replied to her and said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore also the Holy One who will be born to you will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:34-35)

Мария же сказала Ангелу: как будет это, когда Я мужа не знаю? Ангел сказал Ей в ответ: Дух Святый найдет на Тебя, и сила Всевышнего осенит Тебя; посему и рождаемое Святое наречется Сыном Божиим. (От Луки 1:34-35 Russian)

LORD God, our Most Holy and Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for giving us more reasons to rejoice on this new day. Fill our hearts with joy as we consider that night long ago when your unfathomable mission of mercy began in a small and not so prominent town in our Middle East. Help us to have strong faith like Mary in the manner that we accept your word as irrevocable. Give us wisdom as we share the joy of salvation with those who are discouraged by the sway of sin. Through Christ we pray, Amen.

Yesterday we managed to slip and slide on ice and wade in melting snow to get inside the Palace of Culture where the church meets. We had an appointment with our newest student Sergey. We had a most pleasant experience getting acquainted with this man that we already feel like we have known for many years. He told us how his grandfather was taken to America in 1945 and lived there until 1960 when he went back to the USSR to be with his family. He had been taken captive by German forces, and at the end of WW 2, he was in the American zone of occupied Germany and apparently given the option of going to the USA along with some others. The Soviet Union viewed those who had been captured by the Germans as traitors if they were still living. We went over the introductory lesson of the WEI course with Sergey, and he read the story of the prodigal son in English with good comprehension. He studied English about 30 years ago at a local public school where students could study English each year if they chose. We presented him a Bible and some other material that he took home. He and his wife are in the process of beginning a tourist business focusing on helping people visit interesting historical and the natural beauty sites in Crimea. We made an appointment to meet with him again this afternoon. We canceled our Wednesday night meeting since our elderly people who will always make an effort to come to the meetings would be at risk sliding on the ice in the dark. We hope to have our meeting today at 2.00 since the temperature is a few degrees above freezing and all that snow is rapidly melting. Even though we are never surprised as though we didn't expect it, we are always in awe and full of joy at the way God answers our prayer for one more person to teach about Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 23 December 2009

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)

но когда пришло назначенное время, то Бог послал своего Сына, который родился от женщины, родился под властью закона, чтобы искупить находящихся под законом, чтобы мы стали полноправными сыновьями. (К Галатам 4:4-5 Russian SZ)

Lord God, our Shepherd - Dear Father in Heaven, we revere Your Name ~ Thank you for this new day that is dazzling with mounting evidence of the manner and consistency of your loving care for all creation. Give us an even greater sense of wonder as we consider how much you love all humanity by sending your Son to pay the ransom price to free us from our enslavement to sin. We are truly amazed at how valuable we are since we are made your children because of our obedient faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. Give us wisdom, love and patience so that we will be able to communicate the message of your grace to those who continue to refuse your offer of salvation. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Over a month ago, when we made a visit to a local orphanage to take some baby diapers and some other things, we put some of our advertisements for English lessons using the Bible at bus stops that we passed along the way. We are amazed that these still have drawing power. Yesterday we got another phone call from Sergei who is interested in our lessons. We have an appointment with him this afternoon at 2.00. Because of the short winter days, we moved our time to 5.00 for our Wednesday night meeting. On Thursday, we will have our meeting at 2.00 in the afternoon to accommodate those like our new brother Nikolai who cannot see well enough to venture out in the dark. Thank you for remembering this harvest field in your prayers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Tuesday 22 December 2009

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the Only Son, who is at the Father's side, has made him known. (John 1:17-18)

ибо закон дан чрез Моисея; благодать же и истина произошли чрез Иисуса Христа. Бога не видел никто никогда; Единородный Сын, сущий в недре Отчем, Он явил. (От Иоанна 1:17-18 Russian)

Закон бо через Мойсея був даний, а благодать та правда з'явилися через Ісуса Христа. Ніхто Бога ніколи не бачив, Однороджений Син, що в лоні Отця, Той Сам виявив був. (Йоан 1:17-18 Ukrainian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Heavenly Father ~ We enter your majestic presence on this new day with praise and adoration for our Lord Jesus Christ who came to this earth where we live so that we might know you as no one, not even an expert in the great law of Moses. We are humbly thankful and amazed that we are blessed with such close familiarity we enjoy as Christians. Give us wisdom to know the essence of our Savior even better as we study and obey the Holy Spirit inspired New Covenant. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Sunday after everyone else left, we had an individual Bible study with our brother Nikolai Gagarkin. When his is in town, he always has many questions from the Bible that have been building up in his mind while he is away with his work in the Ukraine penal system. Yesterday he and some associates from the office where the church used to meet, collected some items to donate to the Children's Hospital. The director agreed for us to contact him in regards to conducting some Bible story sessions for the orphan children who are at the regional children's hospital. We hope this new door of opportunity will remain open. We were not able to go since I have a little fever and should not be near the little kids who are already being treated for a variety of illnesses. Thank you for your fervent prayers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - 21 December 2009

Let us not become tired of doing good, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Делая добро, да не унываем, ибо в свое время пожнем, если не ослабеем. (К Галатам 6:9 Russian)

LORD God, Creator of all life and everything that is visible and things invisible, including things we do not know to look for ~ Give us wisdom to recognize what is truly a good thing to do, along with strength, courage, humility and perseverance to take action that will bring honor to Christ our Lord. Help us not to lose our vision of our superior purpose. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday was another blessed occasion to worship God in spirit and truth and to welcome our newest brothers into God's family here in Nikolaev. We presented a Russian language gift Bible to Stepan and Nikolaev. Our brother Nikolai Ivanovich Gagarkin was with us yesterday and he was able to greet our new brother Nikolai Ivanovich Tkhor. We decided to refer to them by their last names since they both have the same first name and middle name. They were both born here in Nikolaev and both had fathers named Ivan. Galina and I smiled big later in the day that in this new church planting, we are attracting more men, which is the opposite of most plantings that most of us have experienced where it seems that all we have in the beginning is women. I always recall the accounts in the New Testament of the influential women who helped launch some of the congregations back in the First Century. For a long time in Magadan, we prayed for some men who would come and help Ivan and Nadya, Olga, Galina, Nellie, Valentina, et al. Then, God blessed us with several good men there who teach, preach, lead singing and do many things for the church. We are blessed here in the beginning at Nikolaev with these willing men, now we pray for some women to keep them focused on the straight and narrow road. After our worship we had a little celebration to honor our new Christians. Since it was such a very cold day and everyone had such a difficult time getting to our meeting place with all the snow piled on the streets and sidewalks, we stayed and talked for about two hours. Then, strangely the temperature warmed up and the snow began to partially thaw creating that not so friendly condition of “black ice” on the sidewalks and streets. We could barely keep from falling down and we were very relieved to hear after we got home that our folks had made it safely to their homes. Late yesterday the temperature had risen to +3 C / 37.4 F. This morning it is -13 C / 8.6 F. All over the world, God is reminding us that His providential care of creation remains in force and man must continue to perform our responsibility of populating the earth with humans who will wisely subdue and rule over the earth. We continue to teach these new Christians about our precious faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 20 December 2009

And the angel said to them, “Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For today in the city of David, a Savior is born to you, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

И сказал им Ангел: не бойтесь; я возвещаю вам великую радость, которая будет всем людям: ибо ныне родился вам в городе Давидовом Спаситель, Который есть Христос Господь. (От Луки 2:10-11 Russian)

Dear LORD, our Holy, Righteous and Gracious Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new Lord’s Day that dawns with more opportunities for Christians around the world to celebrate our faith in sweet communion. Give us wisdom as we ponder the spectacular events that surrounded the first coming of Jesus Christ into this world dominated by evil thoughts and deeds. Help us to focus our efforts in toward educating more of the earth’s population about the supreme love, joy and hope that is for all people who will obey Christ as Master. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

I almost announced the end of our snowfall, but then the sky looks formidable again this morning as if we may have some more from God's storehouse of snow. Yesterday, we had to venture out to the big Metro store and do some much needed shopping. As we crossed the Bug (pronounced Boog) River, we noticed that ice covers most of the river. When we finished shopping, our habit is to order a taxi to take us home since we have these large bags. The nice young man who took us home almost didn't make it due to the heavy accumulation of white stuff and he almost didn't get out of the courtyard area where we live. He said that he heard that some people who live in the nearby city of Kherson had died in their cars when they were stranded overnight out on the highway between the two cities. We hear in the news of similar events in America as a great storm covers the East with snow. We hope that our folks will be able to make it to our worship today here in Nikolaev. Some have wondered who is taking all those pictures. Yesterday, I wrested the camera away from the photographer and snapped Galina's picture as she was watching our taxi try to leave our area. She is also our translator/interpreter for many projects that we are involved with here in this great country of Ukraine. Thank you for the prayers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 19 December 2009

“Not everyone that says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Не всякий, говорящий Мне: 'Господи! Господи!', войдет в Царство Небесное, но исполняющий волю Отца Моего Небесного. (От Матфея 7:21 Russian)

Most Exalted God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for reminding us of your superior genius in creating our world with precise climatic seasons that change and make it possible for us to live in accordance with your purpose and provision. Give us wisdom to live as obedient children to the vastly superior teachings and examples of Christ and not rely upon our own knowledge and desire. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Snow all over the world! Two of these photos are taken in the large median that is normally a sidewalk/park in the center of Lenin Street here in Nikolaev. This was at 4.00 yesterday afternoon when we were returning home from hunting bread and milk - same as in America. We noticed a little boy having fun being pulled on a sled close, to the entrance to our apartment. Our appointment with our English student will not happen due to the big snow. We have Vlad rescheduled for Monday afternoon. We hope and pray that all this will lighten up in time for people to get to our worship services tomorrow. Everything associated with our weather comes from God, so we must adapt to our circumstances and use the wisdom of God to plant and harvest at the time God has appointed. Thank you for your fervent prayers!

Friday, December 18, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 18 December 2009

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. (Acts 13:1)

В Антиохии, в тамошней церкви были некоторые пророки и учители: Варнава, и Симеон, называемый Нигер, и Луций Киринеянин, и Манаил, совоспитанник Ирода четвертовластника, и Савл. (Деяния 13:1 Russian)

Lord God Almighty, our Holy Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the mysterious and enlivening gift of life that enthuses our mortal bodies for greater service on this new day. Give the leaders of all churches who have many people with teaching talents in their congregations, the wisdom and courage to send out preachers and teachers into all the populated areas of this world while we still have time to warn lost souls about the danger of not believing in Christ when He comes again. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

It is Friday here in southern Ukraine, and the sky still looks like it could snow again. We were unable to conduct our Thursday night Bible study yesterday evening due to the large drifts of snow that have accumulated all over this region of Ukraine that is not accustomed to such large snowfalls. Many people were stranded on the highway between Nikolaev and Odessa and Nikolaev and Kherson. It was very bad for many people on buses that could not move as they had to sit for long hours without water or restrooms. Galina and I pretended we were in Magadan and began to trudge out in the deep snow and began to fall from trying to high step our way through it. After we managed to go about four blocks, we called our members to see how they were doing, and they were not venturing out because public transportation was at a standstill. We cancelled the meeting last night and returned to our apartment and suggested some scriptures for our group to study at home. This morning however, as the view from our apartment reveals, I see encouraging signs of traffic moving and it appears that the roads were plowed overnight. Maybe the reason they didn’t plow more yesterday and the day before is because it was constantly snowing with strong winds. The main factor is that this area does not have all the heavy equipment like in the northern areas of Ukraine where such snowfalls are commonplace. One funny mistake we made was to send our boots and some heavy winter clothes ahead to Magadan when we left Montgomery in July. We will likely go shopping today for some boots and warm socks and we can have it here in Nikolaev in case there is another such snow storm in the future. We simply have been spoiled here with such fantastic weather up until last Sunday when it suddenly turned cold. It is that time of year, so we will just adjust to this and we don’t expect it to slow down our activities. Today, we hope to make contact with the Director of one orphan home that we have helped in the past. We met one young boy on the streets yesterday evening and he was hungry. We know Sergey from precious encounters. He is a little too old to live in the orphan’s home. We helped him with some food and we hope that he will sometimes come to our meetings and learn more about Christ. He and others in his predicament often sleep inside any entryway to an apartment building. We know this from much experience with such young people and older people in Magadan. Thank you for the many prayers and encouragement.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - 17 December 2009

And those that know your name will put their trust in you, for you, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)

и будут уповать на Тебя знающие имя Твое, потому что Ты не оставляешь ищущих Тебя, Господи. (Псалтирь 9:11Russian)

Eternal and Mighty God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the sparkling gift of life on this new day that arrives with exciting possibilities for all people who are putting their hopes in Christ our Lord. Give us wisdom and strength as we study your word and courage to live according to the Way of Truth. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 16 December 2009

Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)

Неужели не знаете, что все мы, крестившиеся во Христа Иисуса, в смерть Его крестились? (К Римлянам 6:3 Russian)

Most Wise and Holy God, our Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the rich blessings that we experience on this new day. We are especially thankful for the power that is contained in the gospel message. We are amazed and humbled that we are permitted to carry this message around the world in our fragile and breakable bodies of clay. Bless all Christians around the world who are preparing themselves to obey Christ faith, repentance and baptism. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday evening we had our usual group of 6 to study the scriptures together. At the conclusion of the service, Stepan wanted to make a public confession of his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. We informed him and Luda about the arrangements Nikolai had already made at the swimming pool. This morning we all met at the public pool where Nikolai had appointed at 10.15. He had already taken care of arrangements with the director and the bookkeeper so that when we arrived they already had a receipt prepared for us for the 30 minute rental of the large pool. Everyone there treated us with such hospitalities like we very seldom receive at a public facility. That good treatment is generally the case everywhere we go here in Nikolaev. The Lord is definitely going ahead of us and making the path clear for the gospel message. Nikolai is such a warm and friendly person and he is not the least shy about talking to these people about his conversion to Jesus Christ. He called early this morning to ask me for some suggestions on what scripture he should read before the baptism. Both men wanted to me swim a lap with them in celebration of this blessed day. After our little swim, we sang O Happy Day! (In Russian of course) Since the pool facility is near the section of town where he lives, he led us all rejoicing down the sidewalk in the snow storm to our bus stop. If we didn't accomplish anything else today, it would be one of the happiest days of our lives because of the sincerity of these two new brothers in Christ. Galina called it a senior citizens baptism service. As usual she was well prepared with extra towels for everyone and other things we might and did need. We truly expect Nikolai to be able to help lead the church during our absences and in the future. When we first began to study the Word with Nikolai, he told how he had been to a seminar in Feodosia with some friends in Donetsk that he had met on vacation. They are the ones who invited him to go to worship with him in Kiev. It is so commendable that they didn't take a vacation from God, but chose to serve God by inviting their new friend to worship with them. He was impressed with the sermon that he heard at the Obolon Church of Christ. He even told me details about what he heard. The seminar he attended was put on by the Church of Christ in Donetsk that sponsors the nationwide TV program featuring Alexander Prokopchuk as the speaker. Nikolai had the opportunity to meet Alexander and was impressed with what he heard there. It made a big impression on him that there was such a spirit of brotherly love. He said several people made the decision to accept Christ in faith, repentance and baptism. He said some people encouraged him to be baptized at that time, but he explained that he just didn't think he knew enough to become a true follower of Christ. After we began our studies together, he would say things like, "I think I will be baptized at Feodosia next summer when they have the seminar." Then after we would read some conversion accounts in the book of Acts, he would say, "The Lord could come before then and I would not be prepared." My role as a teacher with this good man is simply to point him to the appropriate scripture and he has great faith in God's infallible word. Thank you for your fervent prayers and words of encouragement.

Monday, December 14, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 14 December 2009

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NIV)

Я есмь пастырь добрый: пастырь добрый полагает жизнь свою за овец. (От Иоанна 10:11 Russian)

Almighty God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for life along with the awareness that you are the source of all that is good in this world. We are humbled when we consider the great love that our Good Shepherd has for his flock – the Church. Give us stronger faith and wisdom as we attempt to follow the many examples of our Lord in what we say and do. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday was another wonderful worship experience as we participated together in praising our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Brother Akinrinde led us in singing. We had ten people present for worship and that gave us much encouragement considering what a cold windy day it was. It is actually colder today, but it is more bearable because we don't have the strong winds like on Sunday. Our newest visitor Nikolai was there with his usual cheerful attitude. He adds so much to our meetings with his positive attitude and friendly disposition with a kind heart toward others. At noon today we meet with him to answer his "ten questions" as he stated. He has already located a place and investigated how much it will cost to rent a swimming pool for his baptism into Christ. God continues to bless His work here in Nikolaev, and for that we are most thankful to have a small part in this harvest. Thank you for your fervent prayers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 13 December 2009

All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. (Psalm 86:9-10 NIV)

Все народы, Тобою сотворенные, приидут и поклонятся пред Тобою, Господи, и прославят имя Твое, ибо Ты велик и творишь чудеса, --Ты, Боже, един Ты. (Псалтирь 85:9-10 Russian)

Most Holy Creator and Sovereign God, our Patient and Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for permitting us to experience another precious Lord’s Day when we may gather with other believers to praise and honor Christ Jesus who has been appointed as our majestic and wise Monarch. Give us courage and wisdom so that we will always work tirelessly to expand the borders of your blessed kingdom to include all people in the world. Open their hearts to understand the advantage of living a life of love instead of covetousness, resentment and malice. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Yesterday while we were at the palace of culture where the church meets, we just noticed how beautiful the hallway is now that they gave it a new paint job. The large open staircase shows how high the ceilings are in the building that was built during the grandeur (at any price) of the Stalinist era. We are so thankful to have such a beautiful and affordable place for the church to conduct worship services today and hold Bible classes every day without any interference or negative comments about our work for Jesus Christ. Thank you for remembering us in your prayers.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - 12 December 2009

My little children, these things I write to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

Дети мои, я пишу вам, чтобы вы не согрешали. Но если кто из вас и согрешит, то помните, что у нас есть Праведник Иисус Христос, который выступает перед Отцом в нашу защиту. Он - искупительная жертва за наши грехи, и не только за наши, но и за грехи всего мира. (1-e Иоанна 2:1-2 Russian SZ)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the remarkable gift of life on this new day. Help us to be able to put up a strong defense when we are tempted to sin so that we will consistently bring honor to our Savior. Lead us to people who do not know that everyone in the world, even those drowning in the sorrow and guilt of many sins, have the possibility of a brand new beginning as one of your forgiven children if they believe and obey Jesus Christ as Lord. Forgive us of our sins as we rely upon the sacrifice that Christ made and forgive others who have offended us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

This is a view of Lenin Street from our 4th floor apartment yesterday morning. Our first snow of the season here in Nikolaev turned out to be a light dusting of mostly wet snow. Our lone English student - Vlad had to go out of town on a business trip so he canceled his appointment with us yesterday. However, we expect him to keep up with his work since he shows so much enthusiasm for the lessons. Today we hope to have our second individual Bible study with Nikolai. Thank you for the many prayers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - 10 December 2009

Or do you despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance and patience not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4)

Или пренебрегаешь богатство благости, кротости и долготерпения Божия, не разумея, что благость Божия ведет тебя к покаянию? (К Римлянам 2:4 Russian)

Almighty God, our Kind and Patient Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for blessing us with the breath of life on this new day that arrives with fresh challenges, roadblocks and opportunities for us to rely upon the vast riches of your grace and love. Give us wisdom as we attempt to communicate the story of love to those who repeatedly refuse to turn away from sin and to your tender mercies. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday we had to make an unexpected trip to Odessa. We caught the early morning minibus that gets you to the center of the city from Nikolaev in about 2 hours depending on traffic. We were able to accomplish our mission and return by 10.00 last night. Today we look forward to another day of sharing God's message of salvation with those who are seeking the Way home. Thank you for the prayers and words of encouragement.