Category: Christian Reflections

Odessa Prayer Needs

Pray for the salvation of souls and spiritual awakening.

Pray for sound doctrine and solid resources in the churches.

Pray for a clear and true Gospel for the mystical superstitious Orthodox, the legalistic Baptists and the charismatic prosperity believers.

Pray for corrupt and godless denominations to fall.

Pray against the major abortion problem.

Pray against corruption in the businesses, police force, politics, teachers, and people.

Pray against materialism, theft, and greed.

Pray against a covetous spirit and hard hearts.

Pray for the school systems, especially higher education and that their training would be accepted abroad.

Pray for better doctors and hospitals and better pay for the good doctors.

Pray for the economy, against the shadow market and for jobs.

Pray against alcoholism and drug addiction.

Pray against low prices for alcohol and cigarettes.

Pray for the protection of the soil which is being exploited by Europe.

Pray for relations with Russia and the crazy gas prices.

Pray for the quality of the roads and the buildings always breaking. Electricity, plumbing, and internet goes out frequently.

Pray for people with HIV and AIDS as the problem is big here.

Pray about the stray dogs and cats problem.

Pray about current ramifications from the Chernobyl disaster.

Pray for the orphans and for better programs for them.

Pray for homeless kids, sometimes kidnapped or sold.

Pray for poor people.

Pray against the sex trafficking and labor trafficking market.

Pray against money scams, dating scams and hustlers.

Pray against abusive husbands.

Pray against prostitution.

Pray for clean water.  Pray for the Dnieper river and the industrial pollution.  Pray for the fish in the Black Sea.

Pray against the effect of Hollywood on people and the glorification of sin.

Pray for safer drivers.

Pray for more Church Plants and a restored godly heritage.

Pray for God to move and reform this city and this nation.

In the future I will provide more detailed information on these prayer needs. For the time being, let us pray. Thank you.

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14



A Day of Rest

As we are instructed in Scripture to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy (Ex. 20:8). We are also taught in Hebrews 4 that Jesus is our Sabbath.  Knowing that the law was fulfilled in Jesus and pointing to the coming of the Christ, we find our rest from works in Him. By faith we enter into the rest which was promised to come. So the Sabbath day, as was the law, the temple, the sacrifices, the feasts, and many things B.C. all foreshadowed the coming Messiah. Apart from Christ, we have no Sabbath!

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”  Colossians 2:16-17

Many of us know too well that adding to God’s Word is one form of legalism and would tend to shy away from anyone who demands that we are sinning on the Sabbath if we work in any way, including spitting in the ground to “make mud”.

With the busyness of life, especially in the day we live, church, friends, family, errands, work, etc, etc, all compete for our time.  It can be more stressful to rest at times, due to the guilt or preoccupation of all you have to get done, than to do something and decrease the pressure.

As someone who aspires to be a minister by vocation, and for any Christian man for that matter, I mustn’t forget to keep God first in my life, and second, my wife and family.  These must come before ministry in priority.  Of course, realistically, as for any man, the majority of his time must be spent at work, this being an act of service and worship to God and a means of loving his family in that he is providing for them.

While the Sabbath is not meant to be kept in a way as to win God’s favor or earn His love and approval, we do well to listen to Jesus words,

 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”  Mark 2:27

How so was the Sabbath made for man?  Other than pointing us to Christ, it can serve very down to earth practical benefits.  It is healthy for us body, mind, and spirit- to rest.  We believe, more so, as a family unit.  As the Puritans set aside the Lord’s day as a day of worship, so too should we.  Of course it goes without saying, everyday should be a day of worship but it is wise and edifying to set aside one particular day in the week to be focused especially so.

Back in the states I have a couple very good friends who, upon visiting them I learned, like to have one day a week where they eat nothing but beans and rice.  Many people around the world have only this to eat every day or less.  They decided it would be a good solemn reminder of how most people on earth really live.  It puts many things into rightful perspective as well.  How blessed we are in the abundance we have, it is a good way to be more frugile, it increases thankfulness to God, and it prepares people for a missionary mindset.  I heard a story of one lady who slept on the floor every night in order to prepare herself for some hardcore sacrificial missionary work.

How can we show the world that Christ is what we treasure above all things?  Even with food?  First, we must make it a reality, mean it, and do it.

My wife Lera and I decided to take all these ideas and incorporate them into our busy lives.  It wasn’t ideal to try and have a day of rest on Saturday (we wouldn’t want to be mistaken for Ellen G. White fans), because something is always happening then.  Besides, Paul said,

“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.”  Romans 14:5-6

Thank you Father for our abundance!

Sundays don’t work well either, because with church and friends, something often comes up unexpected.  Mondays are stereotypically the slowest, less eventful day of the week, and we fall into the stereotype.  Togeteher we delegated every Monday to be a day of Rest, Worship, and Family.  It is turning out great.  As well, one Monday a month will be set apart for fasting.

This Monday was our first and it was blessed!  However, when I rose I went straight to the kitchen and had completely spaced it.  Still half asleep, I threw some eggs on the fire.  Whoops!  Don’t worry, we made up for it the next morning by eating our left over porridge.

I don’t recommend a lifestyle of making up for what you missed, I usually try to ask for forgiveness sincerely, move on, and get it right the next day picking up where I left off.  However, in this case it was simple enough.  Plus, we had plenty left.

We spent the day doing devotions together, reading from our devotional couples book, and doing the family reading together from the Robert Murray McCheyne Bible Reading Plan, as is our custom.  Later we relaxed together, talked and enjoyed a movie. For lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next day we had cornmeal porridge and beans.  With a little butter and a touch of tabasco, this is quite delicious and nutricious.  Funny how one of the cheapest things you can buy is also very tasty and good for you.  Corn cereal is high in protein, vitamins, and essential amino acids.

What I thought would be a day of sacrifice, turned out to be a day I look forward to.  It is a day of meditating on God’s goodness together, eating thriftully and enjoyably, relaxation and fun with the family.  It’s also an escape from all the crazy busy demands. One has to learn the skill of resting. It just makes everyone feel a lot better about everything.

This 1.32 lb bag of corn cereal cost just 2.34 "hryvnas", or $.29. It