Monday, April 10, 2023

Silent Saturday is Not Silent Today

Easter is my favorite Holiday. Christmas is right up there with it but Easter just invokes such feelings of hope and renewal for me. Christmas gives us the birth of our Savior; Easter brings our salvation. Without Christ dying on the cross and rising again three days later, all of our hope would be lost. We would be slaves to our sins forever. But Christ’s sacrifice freed us from our bondage. All we have to do is put our faith in Him.

Lately, I have been feeling and seeing God moving in the world and in my life more than before. I’m not sure if God is moving more or if I am just more aware of God and His presence in my day-to-day life. But I do know that with each passing day we are getting closer to His return. We do not know the exact hour or day or month or year He will return but we are told to be ready for that day and not let His return catch us off guard. While we await His return one of the things we are instructed to do is to, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15) And that leads me to the story I want to share with you today, about a man, my Father, doing just that.

My Dad has been in Florida on vacation. He texts me little updates about his trip, sends photos of the many Alligators and creatures he has seen, and tells me about his runs, etc. but his most recent text on Silent Saturday moved my spirit and I wanted to share that with you all.

This is the text I received from my Dad (emphasis mine):

Today my father would have been 102 years old if he were still alive. Every morning Lisa and I get up at 6:00 am and go running. She runs slower and farther, and I run a mile as fast as I can. I haven’t run in a year so this is how I’m breaking back into it. I honored my father this morning by running a mile in 7:15 (my Dad is going to be 64 this year). It was hard because I ran 7:11 yesterday. This goes against all common-sense training philosophy, but I did it anyway for my Dad.

After we run, we meet out on the end of the pier to watch the sun rise. It’s the same pier I used to swim a mile to every morning when I lived a mile away on the beach (as a teenager my Dad ran away to Florida. He had a troubled childhood). I saw a big crowd of people gathered on the beach. They were all black. I could see people were getting baptized. When Lisa came, I asked her if she’d go down there where the people were being baptized with me and we went. A lady named Dawn came up to us and asked us if we wanted to be baptized. We told her we had already been baptized and were already believers in the Lord. I told her a little about my past and how I ran away to this place (from Massachusetts) and I pointed down the shore and told her I lived on this beach a mile away from here when I was just 16 years old. She took me by the arm and led me to the Minister.

People were singing and clapping hands and praising the Lord. She told the minister this man has a testimony to share. The minister nodded. I faced all the people. I told them that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. I pointed down to the spot on the beach I used to live on and I told them how I lived there. I told them I was bound by drugs and alcohol. I told them I tried everything to break the chains of the bondage I was in but nothing could deliver me out of my addictions. I told them I even joined the Marine Corps as a means to try to heal myself. Then I shared the scripture verse saying Jesus said come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light and you shall find rest for your souls.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." -Matthew 11:28-30

By now some people were crying, others were shouting praises to our Lord, I went on to explain that I eventually, 5 years later, moved out to Montana and there I gave my heart to the Lord. I told them Jesus broke my chains and shackles and I arose a new creation and from that day since I have never touched another drug or any alcohol. I told them I used to believe nothing good could ever come from my life and how God blessed me with four beautiful children!

Then I said brothers and sisters, we are living in the last days, to which there were shouts of praise. I shared how Jesus told us in order to be His disciple we must deny ourselves take up our cross and follow Him. I told them following Jesus will cost you everything but nothing, no earthly riches, can compare and that it is worth it. People were crying and shouting praises to God. I told them to give their lives fully to Jesus.

God told me to go down there. I honored my earthly father by running a mile as fast as could this morning and honoring and remembering him on his birthday. I honored my Heavenly Father by first hearing His voice and then by answering His call. It was an amazing time. We stayed and sang songs with them in praise to the Lord. Thanks be to God. Amen.”


When I talked to my Dad about his experience he told me he was in the 48th hour of fasting. He said, “It never fails how God brings opportunities to witness during the times of fasting and prayer.”

As believers, we are called to be ready to witness and share the Gospel at all times. We are called to be bold and step out in faith to proclaim the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection and how that truth has changed and saved us.

This past January my Dad did a mountain lion hunt in Nevada. He told his guide Monty, “Yes I am here to hunt a mountain lion but first and foremost I am here as a witness to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yes, I am on what we call a vacation but we are never on vacation from doing God’s Will. We must decrease and He must increase. We are His witnesses and He told us He would pour out His spirit in the last days and we would perform miracles and great works. We are His witnesses and He commanded us to go forth into all the nations and preach the gospel. I am like the one leper who was healed by Jesus and came back worshiping and praising the Lord and witnessing what the Lord had done for him.”

On the way to Jerusalem He was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And He said to Him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.'" 

Are you living a life like the nine or the one? Do you see all the good that God has done and continues to do in your life? Will you be like the Samaritan and worship God, praising Him for all He has done? Or after receiving a blessing, do you simply go back to your everyday life and not worship the One who gave you everything?

Are you actively sharing your testimony? We are called to do just that. We are called to share the Gospel and its truth. We are called to be bold in Christ. When you hear the Holy Spirit’s call to your heart, you are to do more than just listen. You are to answer the call and witness, to go where He leads and keep faith.

Faith is a journey. That’s why it’s described as a walk with God. It’s not a stand where you say you believe and that’s it, there is no outward change. It’s also not a short sprint, where you do some work for a brief time, then sit on the bench until the game is over, telling yourself you put in your time, now it’s someone else’s turn. It’s a continuous journey that is not complete until you are with Christ in heaven. So, continue on! If you have accepted Christ as your Savior His Spirit dwells in you! You have nothing to fear in this life. Keep persevering until the day you hear your Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:3)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

My Dad, Nick Ricardi, a changed man after surrendering his life to Christ years before in this photo. He never dreamed any good would come of his life, yet God had other plans for him. My dad is an exceptional Father and I couldn't have a better example of an earthly Father living out his life in full submission of our heavenly Father.




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