“i am n” Video Series: Part Two-Faithfulness

We continue this video series, produced by The Voice of the Martyrs from their “i am n” campaign. The second video features “faithfulness.”

“Faithfulness” is defined as “full of faith; steadfast in allegiance; loyal; firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty; keeping your promises or doing what you are supposed to do.”

Image if you lived, everyday, with the danger of losing everything you have-including your life, and the lives of your loved ones-just by making the decision to convert to Christianity … or if “word got out” that you were a follower of Jesus …

“Anyone who follows Jesus faithfully will pay a price for following Him, and holding fast to the truth of God’s Word … We need to be encouraged by the faithfulness of our Brothers and Sisters …”

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“i am n” Video Series: Part One-Courage

We begin a short video series, produced by The Voice of the Martyrs, from their “i am n” campaign. The first video features “courage.”

“Courage” is defined as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty; the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous; strength of mind to carry on in spite of danger or difficulty.”

Image if you lived, everyday, with the danger of losing everything you have-including your life, and the lives of your loved ones-just by making the decision to convert to Christianity … or if “word got out” that you were a follower of Jesus …

“I want that type of courage.”

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Guest Post and Series from Gregory Dickow Ministries

I can’t think of any better way to share the joy of new beginnings and renewal, than by sharing these free resources from Gregory Dickow Ministries.

Here’s a special Easter Message, a link to a free teaching series, and then a short video to introduce the second installment of Pastor Dickow’s “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series, which is a 40-day series, with each lesson sent to your email, daily, for 40 days.

It’s true: “Right thinking produces right living.”

Here’s the Easter Message from Pastor Dickow:

We’re celebrating the most incredible event in history: Jesus’ resurrection! This is what changed everything for you and for me, and this is the Good News that I have dedicated my life to proclaim to the world. Thank you for standing with me. Lives are being changed now and for eternity because of your prayers and support. I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you’re doing for the Gospel.

Not long ago I was in Jerusalem, and I had the opportunity to go to the Garden Tomb, the very site at which the event we’re rejoicing over this weekend took place. This empty tomb not only represents our salvation because Jesus rose from the dead, but it is a reminder of an invitation God gives us: an invitation to happiness.

You see, we live in a world of sadness, loneliness and discouragement, but when Jesus conquered sin and death He also conquered all the negative emotions that beat us down and limit us from living a life of purpose and victory. That doesn’t mean we’re never going to have troubles, but the Gospel is an invitation to happiness in an unhappy world, to joy in the midst of trials, to peace in times of fear and to a celebration of a right relationship with God.

All of our emotions come from what we believe, and if we don’t believe that God will keep His promises, or that they’ll work for others but not for us, then we feel discouraged, depressed and defeated.

But when you believe that God will keep His promises, joy and peace will be yours!

“I will watch over My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

While I was at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem I thought about Mary’s experience there. Remember the story? She was weeping because the tomb was empty and she didn’t know where Jesus was. But then He appeared to her and asked “Woman, why are you weeping?” (John 20:1-18). He asked her that because He wanted her to be happy. He wanted her to have joy, and He is asking you the same question. Why weep when you can rejoice? Why weep when you can be happy?

Jesus had said on at least five occasions that He would be killed and rise again on the third day, and Mary was weeping because she didn’t believe it would happen. But Jesus’ resurrection not only provides for our salvation but is the proof that He does what He promised He would do!

And if Jesus could keep that promise He can and will certainly keep His promises to you!

Maybe you have bills you can’t pay. God always comes through and will supply your needs. Maybe you have a body that’s sick and in pain, but God’s Word is true and it says by His stripes you can be healed. Maybe you’re going through something that you just don’t know how to overcome, but God said you’re the head not the tail, above only not beneath. And God said what He started in your life He will finish. Perhaps you’re discouraged about one of your children who has gone away from the Lord. The Bible says you and your whole household shall be saved!

Why are you weeping?

I wonder what things are making you sad today. I wonder what’s discouraging you today. Let me tell you, it’s going to end!

Believe that God will keep His promises to you!

There are three things that cause us to be unhappy. Let’s deal with them right now.

First is Bad News, which I call wrong information. You’re hurt by what people say about you. You’re impacted by what you see going on in the world. Life is uncertain and you’re worried about what the future holds.

Where we get our ‘news’ or information from is critical. We can get the news about us from others, from the enemy, or from God. The good news that God has to say to you and about you & your future will produce joy and happiness.

Get your information from God’s Word.

Number two: Bad Memories produce unhappiness, guilt and shame. We have all fallen, failed and made mistakes. But the Bible says in Hebrews 10:17 that we’re under a Covenant of Grace because God doesn’t even remember your sins and failures. Jesus came out of the tomb but your mistakes and shortcomings are still buried there and forgotten.

Your past is over. Bad memories cannot control your life anymore.

And the third thing that robs us of happiness is Bad Focus. We’re focused on what we don’t have, what we haven’t done, and what is going wrong. God wants us to focus on what He’s already done and what He’s promised He will do. That’s when your perspective will change; and peace and joy will be the result.

Focus on what God has already done for you (Psalm 103).

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Note: Just by reading Psalm 103, the entire chapter, you will be blessed, as you read about all of benefits you already have, in you possession, right now! I can also promise that, if you’ll go through the entire “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series, it will change the way you think … and, by doing so … it will change your life.

Here’s the video to introduce the new “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series:

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Remembering, Honoring, and Thinking: “The Wall” by Eve Bunting

Several years ago, this book was the “Book of the Month” that was shared with all of the students at our Elementary School. Each month, there would be a particular “character trait” focused upon, and a book was shared with the students, which featured that trait “in action.”

I’ve been wanting to share this video with you for a long time. It is a video performance/narration of the book, which was written by Eve Bunting, and illustrated by Richard Himler. Unique to this video performance was the addition of historical video footage, interspersed throughout the book, giving an overview of the War in Vietnam.

The Children’s Book “The Wall” tells of a young boy and his father, who have traveled to Washington, DC to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. They have come to find the name of the boy’s grandfather, his dad’s father. As the father and son look for the grandfather’s name, they meet others who are visiting the memorial. They see flowers, letters, flags, and personal keepsakes that have been left at the wall. Finally, they find the name they are looking for.

Eve Bunting was born December 19, 1928, in Northern Ireland. She, her husband, and children immigrated to the United States in 1958. Eve Bunting has written more than 250 books, from novels to picture books, covering a wide array of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. She has a rare gift for writing about serious, important subjects in a way that even young children can understand.

Indeed, Eve Bunting’s work has the ability to touch hearts of all ages.

I had wanted to share this, and wanted to wait, until a time came when we, as a nation, are not currently engaged in a war. I don’t know if such a time will come. I do know that there is never a day which dawns over our Free Country, in which we should not take the time to honor those who have served our nation, given their lives for our nation, and are serving this nation … right now.
Every day we should “Remember, Honor … and, Think.”

Here’s a link to a current list of all of Eve Bunting’s books, from the FantasticFiction Website:

Please enjoy the video presentation of the book “The Wall,” written by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Richard Himler:

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Notes on the Numbers: Civil War

Hi Friends:

I was doing research on another war, when I ran into the statistics for the United States Civil War, and in relation, the statistics for the Battle of Gettysburg. I’ll share these below.

This year, I have decided to study the history of one country, a different country each day, in an effort to better understand what is going on, and has been going on, throughout the world. I have concentrated my studies on countries which restrict religious freedom, and in particular, countries where religious persecution is a part of everyday life, every day, today.

On this issue of “civil war” and internal “conflicts,” it is almost impossible to find a country which hasn’t experienced involvement in war, and I’ve found, equally difficult (almost impossible), to find a country which hasn’t experienced a “civil war” at some point in their history.

We may all agree on the idea of the definition of “civil war,” as meaning “battles among fellow citizens or within a community.” I researched to see when the exact phrase “civil” first came into use. Early use typically was in reference to ancient Rome. Indeed, the Latin term “bellum civile” was first used of the Roman civil wars of the 1st century BC. The English term “civil war” was first used in 1651 to refer to the English Civil War.

I have found it very difficult to find current (2017) figures for wars and civil wars happening right now, around the globe. Most of the online information, for “total numbers” is not up-to-date, but you can get a clearer picture if you research a particular country. There are so few countries not involved, in one way or another, in a conflict, that the list of “countries not engaged in war activity” is really, really, really small. There are also so many countries with internal conflicts, civil wars, that the individual numbers are staggering.

However, there may be no greater current example of “war-torn” than what is happening in the country of Syria. Since 2011, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives in Syria. This, sadly, is just an example of what is happening in countries, “over there.” I read about Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. I see the photographs of refugee camps across the globe. And, see the children. As a teacher, in a public School, I am surrounded by so many who take for granted a free education, and the opportunities which surround them. Just going to School, having a family, being able to shop, work, and travel … just having a future that, and understand the context, is “within their control” … puts them so far ahead of so much of the population of the world. So many … I see, every day … have had no church or “religious” experience … so, the thought of the value of “religious freedom” is pretty far down the list.

Then … I think … it’s not just the kids, is it?
Is it?

That take freedom for granted. That don’t know, and, let’s face it (with sad honesty) don’t care what’s happening over there … or … really … what’s happening “over here” … I see so many, who live in this country … with all of their freedoms … yet, their lives … already … are “messed up.”
How true: No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, know Peace.

“There is nothing civil about war.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

As I survey the situation around the world … and look around … at my surroundings … Here I am, worried about a little snow in April …Man … we don’t know … we don’t understand what “messed up” is …

Even getting the actual figures for the Civil War is not that easy. Each list I’ve found, and I’ve looked at many, all seem to have different numbers. The numbers may not all match, from different accounts, but they all, regardless if they differ in number and amount, all show how devastating a Civil War can be. And, show the cost of war. As we look at the war-torn footage from around the globe, think of how we looked, “over here,” just 150 years ago.

Here’s the list from the “bookshelf blog.” Again, every list I saw, had different numbers, but I felt this was a fair representation. Keep in mind that the “American Civil War” is the second most written about subject in human history.

And, also note, that even this list was compiled in 2013, almost 4 years ago:

July 1, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, fought between July 1-3 in 1863. The battle is notable for several reasons: many historians recognize it as a turning point in the bitterly fought Civil War, it was one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War (the highest casualties sustained in a single day of any U.S. war), and the cemetery at the battle’s site, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, was immortalized by Abraham Lincoln’s brief but poetic dedication on November 19, 1863. The battle’s ferocity and short-lived intensity captured the imagination and interest of historians and war buffs for generations. Bibliographers have estimated that more than 65,000 books have been written about the Civil War — and perhaps up to 50% of those are on the Battle of Gettysburg alone. Bookshelf presents some of the notable numbers behind this legendary battle:

Number of deaths at Gettysburg: 51,112
Total number of deaths during Civil War: 620,000
Total number of casualties in Civil War: 1.5 million (620,000 killed; 476,000 wounded; 400,00 captured/missing)
Comparison to number of deaths in other U.S. wars: Revolutionary War – 16,000; WWI – 116,000; WWII – 405,000; Vietnam – 58,000 (If Civil War were fought today, there would be more than 6 million deaths
Rate of death for soldiers: 25%
Population of Gettysburg (before battle): 2,400
Population of U.S. in 1863: 33.4 million
Percentage of the loss: .15% of total U.S. population; .3% of all males
Civilians killed: 1 (Jenny Wade, a resident)
Generals killed: 9 (out of 120)
Horses killed: 3,000
Average age of soldier: 25 (age range 12-80)
Occupation of soldiers: 50% of Union soldiers and 75% of Confederates were farmers
Number of African-American soldiers: about 1,000
Range of weapons: rifles – 1,200 feet; muskets – 375 feet; cannon – 1-1.5 miles
Monthly salary: Private – $210; Colonel – $3,420; General – $5,390
Estimated wartime cost of Civil War: $2.3 billion
Comparison to cost of other U.S. wars: Revolutionary War – $100-140 million; War of 1812 – $1.5 million; WWI – 23.7 billion; WWII – 260 billion; Vietnam War – 140.6 billion
Number of Civil War soldiers buried at Gettysburg: 3,706
Number of words in Abraham Lincoln’s speech: 272
Number of words in Edward Everett’s speech: 13,607

Here’s a direct link to this list:
BOOKSHELF BLOG

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Email Classic: “Prospective Teacher”

After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said:

“Let me see if I’ve got this right.
You want me to go into that room with all those kids,
correct their disruptive behavior,
observe them for signs of abuse,
monitor their dress habits,
censor their T-shirt messages,
and instill in them a love for learning.

You want me to check their backpacks for weapons,
wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases,
and raise their sense of self-esteem and personal pride.

You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship,sportsmanship and fair play,
and how to register to vote,
balance a checkbook,
and apply for a job.

You want me to check their heads for lice,
recognize signs of antisocial behavior,
and make sure that they all pass the final exams.

You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps or race,
and communicate regularly with their parents in
English, Zulu, or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.

You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk,
a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books,
a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.

You want me to do all this, and then you tell me …
I CAN’T PRAY?

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“Thank God for the Promise of Spring”

Thank God for the Promise of Spring.

Here we are, only 5 days away, and this song, and thought, has been on my mind a lot lately.
A lot.

“Thank God for the Promise of Spring.”

Let’s see: Last night, it was 6 days away from Spring, and we were in the middle of our latest big snow storm. I was snow-blowing the driveway at 8:00 PM. I caught a break in the storm, and got rid of about a foot of snow. If I had waited, the snow would have been over the top of the snow blower. This morning, only 5 days away from Spring, at 8:00 AM, I was snow blowing the driveway.

The sun was out … not a cloud in the sky … the driveway looked beautiful … what does this mean?
At Noon, it was snowing again.

Thank God for the Promise of Spring.

This is March. In the first days of March, we have had plenty of nights below zero. And, I mean, way below zero.

Thank God for the Promise of Spring.

Last Saturday, the high temperature was 3 degrees. That was the high temperature. In the middle of the day, sun beating down, I looked at the thermometer on the deck, and, just once, I thought I saw 5 degrees. Nope … just the angle I was looking …

Carol and I traveled on Sunday … got out of town … it was all the way up to 12 degrees.Felt like wearing a tee-shirt.

I just realized that I have featured this song before.
I’m not surprised.
This idea of thanking God for the promise of Spring … comes every year.

Every year.

Thank God for the Promise of Spring … every year.

It just seems like, every year … we look forward to it more.
Don’t you?

Since I have featured this song before, I looked at what I had written previously, about Winter, about Mama’s words, and about this song.
I’ll include a couple of links to stories I’ve written before about this song.

Maybe I’m getting older, but, it seems, each year, I look more and more forward to Spring.

God’s promises are true.
Including the one about Springtime.

I’ve written much about how God used the songs of Cynthia Clawson to “pull me through.”

Here is the ink to the original “Thank God for the Promise of Spring” Post on May 18, 2016:
Thank God for the Promise of Spring

Here is the link to “It Won’t Rain Always” from January 20, 2016:
It Won’t Rain Always

This is from one of the Bill and Gloria Gaither television programs, as Cynthia Clawson, surrounded by “Homecoming” cast, sings “Thank God for the Promise of Spring.”

This is exactly what Gospel Music should do … what writing should do … what singing should do … what our online ministry strives to do … to bless, inspire, and encourage … How better to do that, in the midst of our latest snow storm … to be blessed … to be inspired … to be encouraged … by God’s promises …

Thank God for the Promise of Spring …

Click Here for Cynthia Clawson Website

 Click here for the Gaither Website

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