Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Most Kind and Merciful God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you that we are favored among all creation to receive so many blessings and responsibilities. When we feel desperate and helpless, grant us wisdom so that we will rely upon our great I Am who came to this earth as our humble Servant and exalted King of kings. In Jesus name, Amen.
Photo: Christians in Magadan, Russia worshipping in song.
Monday, March 30, 2009
On our last mission trip to Ukraine this past October, we had a joyful visit with the staff at East European Missions in Donetsk. We had an exciting experience as the director of this office helped us with Russian language Bibles and religious literature for Magadan. It is very difficult to obtain Bibles in Magadan due to the remoteness of the city. It is not accessible by (Photo: Magadan, Russia Regional Government Building)
In the past I have written about how difficult it is for foreign religious workers to reside long term in Russia. Nowadays, we are able to obtain a visa for staying in Russia for three months. The two cities we need to visit in Russia are thousands of miles apart. Magadan is in the northern Far East, and Inta is located in the Komi Republic up on the west side of the Ural Mountains and near the Arctic Circle. Galina and I are richly blessed that the Dalraida Church of Christ is the sponsoring church for our mission work. This makes it possible for us to be gone for long periods. When I was the local preacher in Cedar Key, Florida we would take mission trips lasting 2 – 3 weeks. Due to the great amount of time eaten up with travel, we lost much valuable time with the churches in Russia and Ukraine. The brethren at Cedar Key were kind to allow us to be gone, and sometimes a few of the men would look after part of my duties. However, we did not feel good about this and that is why we left them so they could have a preacher that would give them the full-time that I had given them for over six years.
One nearly hair-pulling portion of the travel preparation process involves gathering all the necessary documents that are required before leaving our country, and before entering another country. Entry and Exit documents are very important, and if our travel documents are not all in order, we could be turned around - even though we have already paid dearly for the airline and train tickets.
Before going abroad, it is usually necessary to have a Passport that identifies you as a citizen of the United States. It has always been a source of amazement whenever I hear of many Americans who have lived almost their entire lives without even thinking about a passport. Apparently, many people in this country do not have any desire to leave its borders. Far off places like Japan, Mongolia, Chile, Zimbabwe, Mumbai, Timbuktu, or Siberia remain a fuzzy part of what they have learned in literature or watched in a video or movie. Without much doubt, perhaps one major benefit of going abroad is the homecoming. You see it written all over the faces of people as they quickly exit the plane and stand on home territory with a sense of joyful relief.
A little friendly word of advice, get a Passport. You never know when you will be invited to accompany a missionary on a trip. Without this, many countries will not allow you across their border. In addition, many countries also require that U.S. citizens have a visa issued by the host country. The visa, when approved by the Consular Affairs office of the country you want to visit, is affixed onto one of the blank pages of your Passport. The airlines and airport security police will want you to prove that you have proper travel documents before boarding the aircraft.
Presently, our dear brothers and sisters in Magadan are working with the local police of that city to issue us an invitation to visit Russia as religious workers. We have been coming to Russia this way for several years. The process requires much attention to detail since immigration authorities in all countries regularly reject an application due to the slightest mistake on the paperwork. This is especially true when it involves missionaries from foreign countries. We are pleased that we are apparently on good grounds with those authorities in Magadan. Olga has already made a couple of visits to that office. Ivan and Vasily are working on the required annual registration of the church. All this must be in order before we can receive this invitation. When we receive this letter from Magadan, we can then apply for our visas at the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC.
Slavic people from countries like Russia and Ukraine for example, have a habit of sitting down on their travel bags before leaving the house or hotel room. This pause is an almost untimely interruption in the rush to arrive at the airport on time. The taxi driver, family or friends are waiting to carry your luggage to the car or bus. This old tradition may be steeped in some ancient superstition, nevertheless it is a convenient time to stop and make certain that you have your Tickets, Passport, Driver License, travel itinerary, money, credit cards, prescription medicines, along with every document, bag, purse or briefcase you intended to have with you when you arrive at your destination several thousand miles away. Just to make certain that we are not being superstitious; we have gotten into the habit of using this brief time before departure to say our prayers.
Soon, perhaps very soon, whether we have made any preparations or not, we must all take a journey across a wide ocean from which there is no possibility to return. When I say “we”, this is a reference to our souls that all come from God, the wise and beneficent Father in Heaven. In the first chapters of the first book of the Bible, we learn from this God-given book that our human ancestors did not appear upon the earth by accident. Like everything else that exists, the great and invisible God created the first human beings. God gave our first parents a living soul. This soul is destined to live for all eternity. The earth and everything consisting of the various created elements is atrophying at an alarming rate. Only God the Father knows the exact moment in the future when created life and all matter will cease to exist.
God looks down upon humanity with powerful compassion. Before Creation, by His love God devised a plan that makes it possible for sinful man to cross over that great divide and enter into the blissful paradise. Before entering into that eternal home, we must be prepared to prove that we are worthy of eternal life. In spite of all the laughable stories of the proverbial St. Peter standing at the “pearly gates,” I am not aware of such a doctrine anywhere in the scriptures. There is only One who can open that door or keep it closed. The Son of God came to bring Gods’ dazzling light of truth to this dark world. Jesus said: “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.” (John 12:47-48 NIV)
The fate of our eternal soul lies within our own free will to follow Jesus Christ as Lord of Heaven and Earth. He will lead us safely Home into a place from which we will never desire to leave. We will be home at last!
David Binkley, Sr., evangelist
RUSSIAN UKRAINE GOSPEL MISSION
8116 Ansley Trace
Montgomery, AL 36117
DALRAIDA CHURCH OF CHRIST
3740 Atlanta Highway
Montgomery, AL 36109
Almighty God, our Most Holy, and Glorious Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the awesome display of evidences of your eternal power on this new day. Help us to overcome our doubts and fully believe in the greatness and reality of the unseen world, the place where we have hope for eternal happiness. Give us strong faith as we learn more about Jesus from studying and obeying the truth from your word. In Jesus name, Amen.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Most Holy and Awesome God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the gift of life on this new Lord’s Day. Help Christians in every corner of the earth to love one another as we assemble to honor our dear Savior. Give us wisdom to encourage one another in our thoughts, deeds, and words. In Jesus name, Amen.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Dear God, our Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the splendor and grandeur of all your creation. Even as magnificent as everything we now see is, we long to see the eternal home being prepared for the faithful. Help those who are leaders of churches, families, organizations, and nations to humble themselves and become wise by applying the eternal principles found in the Bible to their lives. In Jesus name, Amen.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20:29)
Almighty God, our Kind, and Beneficent Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this magnificent creation that comes from your most high genius. As we study and meditate upon your inspired Word, help us to have stronger faith so that we will not waiver and doubt. Strengthen those who doubt and help them to return to the fold. In Jesus name, Amen.
Photo: In the presence of the congregation, Vladimir S. makes the "good confession" that he believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. He was baptized into Christ and His church that same day. Magadan, Russia - 2008
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the precious gift of life on this new day that dawns with more blessings from your kindness. Help us to develop the habit of thinking and doing good in all situations. In Jesus name, Amen.
Photo: March 2008. An individual Bible lesson with Vladimir, a new convert in Magadan.
Now, he is helping teach young people and helps lead worship services. He works in the construction industry.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Almighty God, our Kind and Holy Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the exhilarating joy and hope we experience as we consider the greatness of our Savior and Lord on this new day. Give us wisdom and fearless hearts as we exalt and bring praise to Christ through our daily lives on this earth. Help us not to lose sight of the great reward that is waiting the redeemed. In Jesus name, Amen.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Most Holy and Merciful God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the sun that shines on this new day, and the awareness of the precious gift of life that exists in our bodies. Give us courage to answer the calling and leading of our Lord as we consider the great harvest field of this world. Bless those workers who are pulling nets in dangerous places. Give them patience and wisdom to overcome evil. In Jesus name, Amen.
Monday, March 23, 2009
God of our Fathers, our Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for life along with abundant unexpected blessings on this new day. As Jacob received forgiveness from Esau, teach us to be kind and forgiving as we follow the good example of Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Most Holy and Merciful God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this glorious new Lord’s Day and the costly salvation that is free to all who will receive Jesus as Lord and obey His commands. Bless believers around the world as we assemble in sweet communion in memory of our dear Savior. As you comforted Israel long ago, help the Church in this time of attack from cynical people who sneer at our faith. In Jesus name, Amen.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Almighty God, Everlasting, our Holy Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day and the privilege to approach you in prayer. Help us to have faith like Abraham as we follow Christ and His perfect example. Give us courage and wisdom as we participate in helping spread the borders of your Kingdom to all people on the earth. In Jesus name, Amen.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Our Father in Heaven above ~ Thank you for this new day and the tremendous blessings that constantly falls down upon us for our good. Help us to concentrate upon things that are beneficial for ourselves and other people. Give us wisdom to see good in other people – even those we consider our enemies. In Jesus name, Amen.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Most Kind and Faithful God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day and the blessing of life that kindles the flame of joy that we experience as we live faithfully to Jesus our Lord. Help us to recall daily how terrible a sin it is to be disloyal to our King of Kings. Give believers moral courage and strength as we face a world that is rapidly turning toward even more darkness. In Jesus name, Amen.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Most Holy and Eternal God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the gift of life on this new day that makes us cognizant of your power and loving care. Help us to live under the guidance of your Spirit as we learn and obey Christ as Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
Photo: Svyatogorsk, Ukraine meeting place of the church of Christ. The fruit from these grape vines is used to make juice for the Lord's Supper. Ilya and Nazar (their grandfather Sasha in background) trying to convince DB about something important.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Most Holy and Perfect God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the spectacular gift of life on this new day that explodes with countless signs of your unfailing love. It is difficult for us to comprehend all the good things that you prepared for us even before the creation of this world. Help us to love others with some degree that you love us. In Jesus name, Amen.
Photo: Misha, caught pretending to be the preacher - Magadan, Russia 2009. He is "growing up in the church". His mother Vera was converted to Jesus Christ during our first evangelistic campaign in 1994. His grandfather Ivan serves the church as its Gospel Preacher.
"So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
(1 Kings 3:9 NIV)
Almighty God, Everlasting Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the magnificent gift of life on this new day in which we may work and rest under your careful providential care. Help President Obama and all world leaders to have this prayer of Solomon on their hearts. Give us wisdom as we learn more about Christ our true King. In Jesus name, Amen.
Photo: Svyatogorsk, Ukraine 2008. Viktor the preacher, Galina, Lyubov in whose apartment the church began to meet. (Viktor's wife Oxana in the background)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Most Holy and Perfect God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new Lord's Day and the opportunity for believers to assemble in public worship. Help those who gather in large and impressive buildings not to forget our beloved saints who meet secretly in huts, houses, apartment buildings or outside.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Our Only One, True and Living God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day that dawns with the sunshine of your presence that lights up this entire created world. Help us to have stronger faith in the One and Only Son whom you sent to save our sinful souls. Give us courage and wisdom as we work to persuade all humanity that we can't have you without having Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.
Most Holy and Righteous Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the joy we experience as we consider your numerous blessings on this new day. Help us to always be familiar with all your laws about sin so that we will understand what is detestable in your sight. In Jesus name, Amen.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Most Holy and Merciful God, our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the exhilarating gift of life on this new day. Awaken within believers around the world a burning desire to be in constant communion with you through our blessed Mediator. Help us to reach world leaders with your perfect word and give them wisdom to govern with justice. In Jesus name, Amen.
David Binkley, Sr., evangelist