The Ministry Minute: When there’s Only a Minute for Ministry
SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 Dr. ROSS L. RIGGS
THREAT to AMERICA:
ISLAMIC STATE (IS – ISIS/ISIL) OUTSIDE the LEVANT (al SHAM)
Most counter-terrorism experts would agree that the threats or danger the nation faces when it stands against terrorism are to be expected and it is a calculated risk which is necessary to take. The risk is imposed by returning disenchanted citizens who favor jihad over the ballot box. It must be made clear that they are not welcome here and that Americans will do whatever it takes to meet the challenge.
“For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.”
New King James Version (NKJV)
A Hymn of Faith
17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Don’t you wish you had Habakkuk’s faith? He is so sure of himself. He is so confident. Well, maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t. So often we look at “heroes of the faith” and we picture them with halos over their heads, going about in white robes, hands neatly folded, going around blessing people like a Franciscan Friar. The truth be told these were men who struggled with worry and doubt. They had friends turn on them; political trouble, headaches and stomach aches, sore feet and knees and sometimes they were just down-right crabby.
In this particular Bible story, actually in this particular account, when the doors first open and we meet Habakkuk in his prayer time, he is surveying the political and military mess that Israel is in. Habakkuk was making sure God understood the plight of Israel. They were completely surrounded with what seemed like every enemy Israel had and they were coming to annihilate them. It was not a good position to be in and Habakkuk was not entirely sure that God truly appreciated their predicament.
God had one a wonderful reply to Habakkuk, much similar to when He asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”[ii]God told Habakkuk, “For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.”[iii] And with that reply, Habakkuk declares that he will remind himself and others that God is on His throne and that he would watch and see what God would do.
Eventually, and I say eventually because it was not until Habakkuk had the opportunity that God gave him time to consider what God had said.
It is possible for us to need a little time to consider what He has said.
The title of the article says ‘for good reason’ because Habakkuk chapter 1 is Habakkuk explaining or more likely complaining to God that:
O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgmet proceeds.[iv]
That may describe well the circumstances you find yourself in today. It seems like no matter what you do there is someone close-by that is there to tear you down, make your success seem like a failure, to make us feel like all our trying is for nothing. Allow me to ask you, the reader, a question. When was the last time you went out of your way to encourage a fellow believer along his or her journey? (That means not just conveniently mention it when it is ‘greet your neighbor’ time on Sunday Morning!) One of the toughest things that can happen to a believer is to face struggles that during his time passing through them he never hears from those he was closest, at least when you are up to your nostrils in deep water, if they won’t throw you a life-preserver; it would at least be nice to get a snorkel!
Recently, I had the opportunity to relate to someone an event that happened to some of us who were ministering in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Traveling one wintry night up the mountain that makes up Tuzla’s main residential area, we were in a van that was not designed for the winding, steep roads. We had finished or visit at the top but our van, unfortunately was facing the wrong direction and the chances of getting it turned around to come down the way we came up was nearly impossible. We opted to continue down the mountain by going ‘forward’ along the road in uncharted territory. When we came to an area that was quite steep and it was impossible to see on ahead, one of our party felt an uncanny sense of alarm, and asked he driver to stop immediately that they would walk out on foot to see what was ahead of our headlight beams, because, of course it being Bosnia, a fog had settled in!
After walking only twenty-five yards ahead, this one turned and came back to share that within 30 yards was a steep embankment where the road had stopped. May cultures would use the term: “cliff.” As we tried to ‘back-up’ and go back, up the hill the van just spun its tires on the icy roads and at one point nearly struck one of the group as the van suddenly caught dry pavement and lurched to the side. He jumped out of the way into a ditch. That having happened I said a quick prayer under my breath, “Lord, we need help and we need help now!” There was scattered on the mountainside about four houses, al dark and quiet being late into the winter night. Suddenly, (and I mean suddenly) about six young men were there, (supposedly from the houses), and the pushed us up to an area where the van was able to turn and go the safe way up and then down the mountainside. Now, this next part is true and because the Bible says that we are not to swear upon stars etc., for vows; I promise you readers, it is true! I turned to thank the young men; they were gone, nowhere to be seen!
Why share that story here? Well, as I mentioned, I just had a chance to share that event with a brother who was feeling very blue and without hope and the lesson we gleaned from it was that God is paying attention to our needs. He does hear our prayers and He responds to the cries of His children!
The author of Hebrews writes: “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”[v]
Isaiah wrote: “Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”[vi]
Note: All Scripture references NKJV
Rev. Ross L. Riggs, D. Min. www.docriggs.com
Maintain the peace, settle disputes between nations in a ‘civilized way’ and prevent war from ever happening again, on such broad a scale and so horrifically – these were clear cut directives for an organization that was to have broad sweeping powers to make it happen. There was only one small problem – they had a little tribunal and no one came. Just like the old adage, ‘locks are only good for keeping out honest people’; the same was true for stopping war… the only ones that want to play by the rules were going to play by the rules even without this new organization. Those who were not so inclined to play by the rest of the world’s standards didn’t.
This new instrument of peace could call offending nations into their headquarters and tell them to make nice. If that did not work, there could be economic sanctions, which would require the member nations to agree to not send money, food, etc. to pressure the citizens to oust their unrepentant leaders. Failing that, military force could be used, except there was no military. The two nations that might be able to send military to police the sanctions had neither the money nor the manpower to do it.
Perhaps the saddest of all was the founder and president of this new body designed to respectfully work out the problems of the world lead the only major country in the world that refused to join. I refer, of course, to the League of Nations founded by none other than American President Woodrow Wilson who held a little conference and his own countrymen said, “No.” Western Europe and the Communist regimes that came to power in the first decades of the 20th century on the tails of violent and bloody WWI and revolutions were to grow stronger and more ruthless as time went on and America became more an isolationist. America’s farm boys had come home and that is where their families wanted them to stay. They were hoping to leave the rest of the world, (at least that on the far side of the globe), to their own machinations.
With such a shabby foundation from which to grow, it is no wonder that today’s United Nations is anything other than what is. Now we have sanctions against human atrocities handed out by a Human Rights Commission headed by the worst offenders, most demonically influenced in the world. They continually seek the sanctioning, isolation and the eventual destruction of Israel and Jerusalem. At a time when the world needs leadership that knows what is right, adheres to the prescripts of fundamental Christian theology, utilizes the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice; instead, America has perhaps the single worst president in two full centuries not excepting Woodrow Wilson.
It is no longer an issue of Democrat versus Republican philosophies. It has become Marxist Socialism versus the entire American way of life. Failure to stop the current path America is on with this next election is certainly to draw the U.S. to the precipice of the Fall of the American Empire. What it took patriotic Americans over two hundred years to build by the grace of God and with His blessing; this atheistic socialism is at the heart of a movement that is lead by a calculating group of people who could dismantle America in less than a quarter century, turning her back on God.
The League of Nations was an experiment in finding ways for civilized society to discuss their issues without resorting to full scale war. That particular experiment failed, though many who guided its institution were eager to do good for humanity. The U.N. on the other hand, however, has always been a tool of the power hungry to grab more power, to eliminate any who stand in their way and under the guise of food to the poor and policing the world’s war zones, has turned to feeding the armies of their oppressive regimes and attempting the wholesale obliteration of groups of people who stand in their way. (Bosnia Herzegovina mid-1990’s)
If America and the world ever needed godly men to step into positions of leadership it is now. If America ever needed to be humble before the God of creation, it is now. If individual families ever needed God-fearing fathers and mothers, it is now. If America ever needed to stand with Israel, it is now.
Just these last two weeks have seen movement by the newly, ‘re-elected’ (probably Czar for Life), Vladimir Putin begin to put additional pressure on the nation of Israel and show Russia’s support for Iran and its involvement in Syria. Putin will be traveling to Tel Aviv to most likely send a message of, ‘don’t you dare strike Iran’ while at the same time telling Syria to get its house in order. Already he has hosted Ahmadinejad in Moscow. He is up to something sinister and as the enemies of Israel begin to circle like vultures, just as in the days of Habakkuk, Christians can rest assured that God is on His throne and He will do something in our day that we would not believe it, even if it were told to us!
We must be aware of all that is going on around us.
As Americans we should consider what good would become of us removing a seat of Satan from our land as it even now, I believe, sits in Manhattan. I believe that God would honor us evicting the U.N. from our shores.
We must resist the dealings of our current Secretary of State to seek the disarming of U.S. citizens of even basic firearms as assured us in our Constitution by her use of U.N. legislation to outlaw and supersede our own Bill of Rights.
We must be wary of case law in places like Michigan federal courts that are allowing Sharia law to be considered in the adjudication of cases, subverting our own Constitution’s ban on other sources of law being utilized against American citizens.
We must be alert to legislation as recently considered in Indiana that would allow a homeowner to shoot a police officer the homeowner ‘believes’ is breaking the law by entering his home. Current law already provides remedies for the unauthorized use of search and seizure authority. A false scare about ‘rogue cops’ is a false front used to cover another agenda behind this legislation.
We, as Americans, must stand with Israel.
We must stand in support of our military and not permit un-American agendas and unwise decisions to pull our troops out of current military actions because it is politically expedient; knowing it could cause both future casualties to increase and cause those who have fallen to have fallen in vain.
As Christians and Americans, we must call our families back to the altar of worship of the One True God.
Fathers, as Christians and Americans, we must lead our families as Christ would have us do.
Mothers, as Christians and Americans, we must teach our children what it means to be both.
Students, as Christians and Americans, we must seek to be the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world to bring our economy back to where it can be, for today and tomorrow.
As churches, we must follow biblical principles to care for the true widows and orphans; to seek to employ men and women of the household of faith; to care for one another, giving preference to one another, for this is of God and in so doing we can end the welfare state in the United States.
As Christians and Americans, we must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. We must stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. We must put an end to abortion and begin to call on all Americans to honor God by caring for His children from conception to old age.
There rages around us a battle for the soul of America. As Christians and Americans we must exercise our vote.
There rages around us a battle for the souls of our families, we must put on the full armor of God and be prepared for spiritual warfare.
Americans who are Christians and Christians who happen to be Americans, the time for sleep and slumber is over, it is time to rise up and be heard, be counted. Now and forever may His Name be always on our lips in prayer and in praise.
Rev. Ross L. Riggs
In 2003 an entire set of coincidences (those are miracles in which God chooses to remain anonymous), I found myself for the first time in Sarajevo Bosnia. I fell in love with the ministry there, with our M on the field and the boys with whom he works. God has at a minimum tripled the number of individuals (now including females) with whom our ministry team (that is Brad and his dog Bela for now) are serving.
I have continued to return regularly, now fulfilling a role with ABWE as the ‘team leader’ of team Bosnia which also includes the New Hope Baptist Church in Tuzla that is in part supported by some folks through ABWE and through other sources as well; and now with the church in Zenica, pastored by a Brazilian ‘M’ with TEAM International. In both Zenica and Tuzla there are orphanages with which the ministries are doing outreach.
We have a family on pre-field trying to raise support to go to Bosnia. They are the Wilson’s, Rob, Sally and Brent. Also, visiting Bosnia for the first time this January was Bethny Kent of Omaha Nebraska.
You may have heard recently of the record snow fall in Bosnia and across the Balkans. I am providing a link here to Brad’s January/February Prayer Letter. In it are several photos, notice the one of Brad shoveling snow. See the tire behind him? There is a full size van (orange) attached to that tire. Can you find the van?
Please pray for Brad and the work there. Pray fr Pastors Zeljko to God will direct his every path; for Pastor Walter that God will protect him from the evil one. Pray, too, for the Wilson’s to receive the help and direction they need; for Bethany as she contemplates coming to Bosnia to join the team there. PLEASE pray for all the boys, those mentioned expressly and for those whose names were not mentioned, there are over 150 of them. Now, too, pray specifically for the girls being touched by the outreach and for women all across Bosnia to hear and respond to the gospel.
To reach Brad’s prayer letter and see the amazing pictures, go to: www.riggs.abwe.org/Bosnia