Monthly Archives: April 2016

Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 16

Hi Friends:

It is good to be back to writing.

With job, business, and other writing responsibilities, it’s funny how “your first love” gets pushed “to the back.” Plus, the opportunity to travel has also figured into the time equation.

We’re back to our series, in which, yes, we are thankful for what our Heavenly future holds, but, let’s not forget all of the benefits … all of the blessings … we can enjoy right now. I note that I use the term “can enjoy” right now, and realize why: There are just so many blessings we have, in our life right now, which, often, we take for granted. And, just like Spiritual benefits and blessings, there are many that we are not taking advantage of … even though, they are “ours” to use and enjoy … freely …

There is one great advantage we have in the United States, which, sadly, is not enjoyed by many countries around the globe. A great advantage, a great privilege, a great blessing, which we, as we do with so many “privileges” we enjoy in this country, take for granted. And, since we take this privilege for granted, it often becomes “unused.” This is such a basic privilege and, yes, freedom, we enjoy here in the United States. Ready?

The freedom to travel.
Period.
The freedom and liberty to travel.
What a blessing, a great advantage, and a great privilege we enjoy here in the United States. I’m not so sure if this isn’t near the top of the list for most “under-rated” privileges and freedoms we have here. A freedom which so many, in so many countries, can’t enjoy … because they don’t have this freedom that we, sadly, take for granted.

Especially after writing the series regarding Christian persecution around the world, to begin to understand what is happening in other countries, I have really been struck by how awesome a freedom and privilege it is, to just “get in the car and go.” Just as significant to me is thinking about how many of us, here in the United States (and other places), which have this liberty and freedom, yet don’t take advantage of it.

I think of the United States, for this example, as a continent. Like, say, Africa. Or, a block of countries in the Middle East. Instead of individual, separate countries, here we have “states.” I know, we all know this. Yet, think about it: We can “move” between states, without any problem or trouble at all. No “check-points” or other heavily guarded “militia-points” to carefully get screened-with our lives depending upon it-every time we cross into a different state. Think about it: You enter into another “state,” and after an intensive search (think of the time this would take, travelers), you are informed, by military personnel, that you have to turn back … you can’t enter … based upon … well, a variety of things, like political affiliation or religious beliefs …
Can you imaging, in the middle of your vacation … having to turn around, and go back? Just because of the political party you belong to, or because of your faith?

Let’s put it this way: “?????!!!!!?????!!!!!”
Etc.

If this would happen to you, and your family, just once … think about it …

Did I mention that, often, at stations such as these … the potential to be arrested for either of these “violations” (politics or faith) could mean that, not only could you be prevented from entering the country, but … but … you could get arrested. This also means being separated from your family. Etc.

I’m sorry, but I can’t help thinking about 2 groups of people I know:
I love to hike, and, when I hike, I like to enjoy the whole experience. I’m the type that likes to stop and identity every tree. This is called “taking my time.” I have hiked with people whose goal, it seems, is to set a new land-speed record. They hike faster than I run.
The other group are those who go on “vacation,” but rush, rush, rush. I won’t mention the “always on cellphone” issue, or try to, you guessed it … set a new land-speed record for moving from place to place. Can you imagine either of these two groups traveling throughout most of the world, in these war-torn countries?

Recently, we traveled down to Connecticut, meaning going through Massachusetts, and then we spent time over in Rhode Island. It was during this trip that I began to think about how easy it is for us to go from “place to place.” No check-points. No military. Here is what strikes me now, still thinking about our nation being divided into states, and not countries. Again, please consider the context. What if Massachusetts was war-torn? Think about how that would affect our travel. Just to get to Connecticut, or Rhode Island, not wanting to take a chance on what could happen in Massachusetts, it could add days to our travel time.

We’ve spent a lot of time in Maine recently. What if Maine was war-torn? The other part of that scenario is this, and, please consider this: If our neighboring “states” were in the midst of war … how long would it be, before the war crept into our “state?’ Just think about how that would affect every area … every decision … every move … in your life.

I feel a sadness for those who are able, but don’t, travel. Our country is so beautiful. And … And … so accessible ….You can just “get in your car and go.”

Boy, do we take a lot for granted.
OK … OK … I complained about the toll in Maine … We were on 95 for maybe 50 miles, and we had to pay 3 tolls … something like 2.75 in total … Yes, I did think that, if you pay the toll … why can’t you drive as fast as you want???
I even thought about how much money …. As I do each time (I’ll admit it) I pay a toll … I thought about how much money they must make from the toll … How could we be in debt??? How could there be bad places on the road?

Sorry, but I always think the same thought, after thinking about gross mismanagement … I mean … after thinking about all the money collected … I thought about how having a lottery would provide so much money for … yes, our schools and such …. How could we be in debt???

It’s been years … and, I still haven’t figured out the New Jersey Turnpike …

Other subjects for another time, perhaps.

Anyway, what a great, beautiful country we have! And, it is there for the visiting!

I think about a speech which President John F. Kennedy made in the early ’60’s. How he promised that we would land a man on the moon before the end of the decade. But, that was only part of the goal. Not just to land a man on the moon … but, bring them back safely … I think about how, in today’s world, the way it is right now … the possibility of just traveling to another “state” and returning safely … is an impossibility …

Yes, there are costs associated with travel. But, in the context of this writing, what a privilege and blessing it is, to be allowed to freely go “anywhere we want,” without having to worry about what so much of the world has to worry about, as a part of their daily lives.

So, OK, let’s talk about “costs” associated with travel. Our freedom, as a nation, was paid for … at a dear, dear cost. Our continued freedom … the privilege and liberty to travel from state to state, continues to be paid for, by the sacrifices of our men and women actively serving around the world …Our freedom, as Christians, the liberty we have, was paid for, at the highest cost imaginable, God’s only Son. What great benefits and blessing we enjoy as we travel along life’s highway … Sadly, I think of those who don’t take advantage …

Blessings to you, and you family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Shared Email Classic: “EMAIL SURPRISE”

Prescript: I often mention how long I planned to share a thought or story, and this is a good example of one I’ve had, waiting to share, since … well, I would guess … since 2005 … that’s 11 years ago … enjoy! 

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.

Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.

The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the email.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted.
The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: October 11, 2004

I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward
to seeing you then!
Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Sure is hot down here!

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A World ‘N’ Need: It’s Us!

Here on our Blog, I don’t remember ever featuring 2 videos in a row … but, I must.

For the past few weeks, we have been writing about things “over there;” How our Christian Brothers and Sisters-“Same Family, Different Block,” have been suffering at the hands of those who oppose the Gospel of Christ … how the decision to follow Christ makes the difference between life and death …

But … what about here? In the United States? Where “religious freedom” is supposed to be one of the major reasons … if not THE major reason this country came to be in the first place?

This is a video which explains … which explains a lot … about us … as in “US.”
I thought about many titles for the intro, such as “This explains it,” or “What’s wrong?”

I realize that “Religious Freedom” means that we have the right to “not have a religion.”
I get that.

What strikes me, as I write the intro to this video, is that we’ve been writing about how “Religion” continues to shape world events.
As I thought … and thought … and thought … about this video … God revealed something astounding to me … amazing to me …

Here we are, focusing on “religion” around the world … how that “religion” is responsible for so much death and destruction, ruined lives, hopelessness … yet, in this country, it is the lack of religion in our lives … the lack of religion in our lives … which is responsible for so much death and destruction, ruined lives, hopelessness …

Think about that … and, please … think about that again.
As I thought about the situation in our country, and the situations around the world I have been writing about … the word “paradox” came to mind. Again and again.
Religion is responsible for so much despair, death, and destruction around the world.
Yet … the lack of it … is what is responsible for so much despair, death, and destruction in our own country. What a paradox!

Please keep in mind the context of this message:
There is a big difference between “religion” and a “relationship.” Through Jesus, we have a relationship. Through religion … well … we see what happens … Religion can’t save … we see that all over the world … Only Jesus can save …

I also thought about the title, “Why Democracy Works.”

Allow me to introduce Clayton Christensen.
He is a Professor.
At Harvard University.
Harvard Business School.
At Harvard.
Harvard University.

This is not a “local yokel” from down the street.
However, it is a known fact that Jesus uses “unlearned men” (from the world’s perspective) to get His message across. I think of Acts 4:13, yes: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” So, the difference is that these men were not “religious;” they had, just, “been with Jesus.”

Jesus can also use “learned” men. Agreed?

So … we introduce Clayton Christensen … I’ve got to learn more about him!!!
Something else rings clear from this message … that Jesus can “use anyone” to get His message across …

This Harvard Professor … at Harvard University … Harvard Business School … at Harvard … would learn “The reason why democracy works” from a fellow Scholar … from China …
He would learn what I, also, have learned … that “I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy” …

Here’s the video:

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Real Look at a World “N” Need: Same Family, Different Block-The Video

Whether it’s our business, our ministry, our writing, or our personal life, it is our primary desire and purpose to bless, edify, encourage, and inspire. There’s just no better way to do that, than to share stories of individuals, who, with God’s help, overcome great obstacles and difficulties, even great tragedies, to “make it out.” I try to write much about the reason we are allowed, through God’s great mercy and grace, to “make it out” … so that we, then, can “go back” and help others “out.” Paul wrote that we are delivered, that we go through trials and tribulations, in order to, yes, build our faith, but also to be in a position to best help and understand others, during their trials and tribulations.

There’s just no better way to illustrate all of this, than to share with you real stories, of real Christians, around the world, who are going through, and have gone through, things that we just can’t possibly imagine. The horror … and, the hope …

The last couple of weeks, we’ve focused on our Christian brothers and sisters, facing the most horrendous of circumstances … unimaginable to most of us … just because they profess to be followers of Christ. They, literally, make a life and death decision … when they make the decision to follow Christ …

I’d like to share with you a new video from The Voice of the Martyrs, whose work and ministry we are proud to support. This is to promote a new book, which features stories of those who made the decision to follow Christ … the same decision made by our brothers and sisters for centuries …. To follow Christ … at any cost …

Are you “N?”
Hebrews 13:3, 6.

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Real Look at a World “N” Need: Same Family, Different Block-Part Two

I have given much thought about how to present the numbers I am going to share with you, concerning how much of the world’s population is under persecution … what percentage of our earth’s population is suffering persecution, just because of their belief in Jesus …much thought … I feel there is no need to “comment” on the numbers … rather, to just let the numbers “speak” for themselves … as they have to me.

It began when I received a free prayer guide entitled “Christians Facing Islamic Extremists,” fromThe Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry we strongly support. I ordered the guide, in an effort to find out more. As I learned about each group, and the countries they were operating in, I would place my fingers on the globe, each finger “on” a specific country, where Islamic Extremists are actively, and aggressively, operating. As God led … I needed to find out more …

I didn’t know that Islamic Extremists were aggressively active in the Philippines, for example. Or, Kenya … just to name a couple of countries I learned about. As I wrote previously, this was not to “single out” a certain group, but, an effort to learn more about what is really happening “out there.” I didn’t realize there were 8 different groups involved … not just “ISIS.” 8 groups, just in this “mindset,” which were actively and aggressively targeting Christians.

It really opened my eyes. I wondered, “How many people, around the world, are affected by Islamic Extremists? I know … I know … Christians around the world are “marked” by many different groups, but for now, I only wanted to find out about those people in countries which are directly affected by the work of these 8 groups. So, I did some math … in fact, I had to borrow a “Scientific Calculator” from the Math Department, as I could not find a calculator which would go into Billions, which is 10 digits … I then had to learn how to use the calculator …

Here is a look at the numbers:
I used the “worldometers” website for the population numbers. I began this research two weeks ago; some of the numbers are from then, and some, I updated just today, Saturday, April 2, 2016.
At 2:00 PM today, the world’s population is listed at
7, 412,815,000.

Again, I only wanted to find out how much of the world’s population is affected by just the 8 different groups identified as having “Islamic Extremists” actively and aggressively operating within their borders.

Note that this list does not include China, which has a population of 1,408,334,566; India, with a population of 1,326,801,576; or North Korea, with a population of 25,281,327.

According to worldometers website, China has 18.6% of the world’s population, and India has 17.9% of the world’s population.
Just think: 36.5% of the entire earth’s population live in China and India.
The United States, with 324,118,787 population, has what seems like a “meager” (by comparison) 4.4% of the earth’s population.

Here, in alphabetical order, is a listing of the countries in which these 8 groups are actively, and aggressively operating in, and the population of each country:
Afghanistan- 26,556,000
Algeria- 40,320, 000
Cameroon- 19,406,000
Chad- 11,274,000
Egypt-90,125,000 (Most populous country in North Africa and the Middle East)
Iran- 78,226,000
Iraq- 36,000,000
Kenya- 46,050,000
Libya- 6,317,000
Mali- 16,313,000
Mauritania- 3,537,000
Morocco- 33,656,000
Niger- 17,138,000 (Country with the highest total fertility rate-Births per 1000 women)
Nigeria-183,500,000 (Most populous country in Africa)
Pakistan-188,144,000
Philippines-100,000,000
Somalia- 9,797,000
Saudi Arabia- 30,770,000
Sudan- 38,435,000
Yemen- 26,000,000

The total population of just these countries:
1,001,564,000
This is 13% of the entire world’s population.

The population of China, India, and North Korea is
2, 760,417,469.

If you add the populations of the countries listed in alphabetical order above (those with the 8 Islamic Extremists operating actively and aggressively in), to the combined population of China, India, and North Korea, you get this total percentage:
37%

Yes … that is 37% of the entire world population.

Note that this (the 37%) does not include the country of Belgium, which is listed at 11,161,887.
Nor, does it include many nations which are specifically hostile to Israel.
It also does not include the country of Cuba
(population 22.7 million), who deemed it necessary to jail certain pastors and believers prior to the recent Presidential visit to “make sure there would be no ‘distractions’ during the President’s visit.”

The numbers, and actions, speak for themselves. Here is a list of resources relative to this research:

Link to Worldometers (World Population Link)
Real Look at a World “N” Need: Same Family, Different Block-Part One
Cuban Pastor Thrown in Prison During President’s Visit
Prayer Guide from The Voice of the Martyrs

“If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
Jesus

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