Category Archives: HEROES OF THE FAITH

Just that: Heroes of the faith. Includes biographies, videos, etc.

Breaking News/Breaking Heart: July 14, 2017: “Daddy’s Gone”

Hi Friends:

It is with great sadness that I convey the news that our beloved Father went to be with Jesus, yesterday, Friday, July 14, 2017.

Daddy had just turned 93 years old on June 29.

After an extended illness, Daddy passed on, very peacefully, at 11:30 yesterday.
Shortly after 3:30, yesterday, I held the pen as God gave me the words to “Daddy’s Gone.”

Today, I write to all of our friends, everywhere, who have experienced this same grief and sorrow … I can, now, truthfully say, I know exactly the pain and anguish you are going through. As I read the words from the first sentence, above … it begins to “hit me.”

I have written much, and often, about our beloved Mother, who passed away on Valentine’s Day, in 2013. Like so many of you, “writing” about Mama is easy … Writing about Daddy … well … it just isn’t. I think of all the songs about “Mama,” and the few songs written about “Daddy.”

I went to the pages of “Modern Day Psalms,” remembering that I had written about Daddy in those pages. First, I remembered something I wrote about Mama, and I can now say the exact same thing about Daddy:

“Please allow me to comfort and encourage you with these words:
As a parent, when it comes to your children, there are three things you most worry about when they are away from the house, gone with friends, etc. These would be:
1. Where they are.
2. Who they are with.
3. When will you see them again?

Now, as a loving son … when Daddy left us … so much of the pain and agony was taken away, because:
1. I knew where he was.
2. I knew who he was with.
3. I knew that I would see him again.”

I found the introduction to “The Bottomless Sea,” a poem I wrote from the passenger side of my father’s truck, during a trip from Georgia to Arkansas.

Please allow me to share this, from the Introduction:

“As he drove, 45 miles an hour the whole way, we hardly talked. Daddy didn’t talk much as a rule, so I just concentrated on the scenery, the continual stream of cars passing us, all the while hoping he would pick up enough speed to change into fourth gear. I remember thinking that at least we wouldn’t have to slow down if we had to take an exit off of the interstate.

It had been years since I had spent this much time with Daddy, and I will always remember this time of being together. Of thinking what a wonderful man he was, and among many other qualities, he was the most honest man I have ever known. He is the only person I have ever seen who, when finding money (that wasn’t his) in the change slot of a vending machine, puts the money back into the machine. Because of the way Daddy was, when I read the story of how Abraham Lincoln walked several miles to return a borrowed book, I never doubted the story.

How often we forget how blessed we are, just to have parents like I’ve had. To be raised in church, to have had a Godly upbringing, and then when I went off into deep water, God rescuing me, bringing me up out of the bottomless sea.

There is one thing, also, I’d like to mention about my father. It was advice he gave me, during the darkest point in my life. Daddy wasn’t the type of father that you could just “talk to” about problems. Frankly, I was afraid to talk to him for most of my pre-adult life. However, as I look back, at the time I needed it most, he gave me a sentence … one sentence of advice and wisdom … wisdom that I have shared often, in the pages of this volume.

Without going into too much detail, it was a Sunday, immediately after suffering the “Betrayal” of which such works as “It Took a Judas” was based upon.
Here’s what I wrote:

“I drove the 100 miles or so to my Mom and Dad’s house. There was never a time in my life when I needed to see my parents more.

I explained to my Mom … and then … the hard part. The hardest part, ever, was explaining anything to Daddy. I don’t mean that as negative as it may seem. It was just so hard to talk to Daddy, especially when it was an emotionally-charged issue. I knew I had to tell him, somehow. He left the house to go out back to take care of the animals. I joined him, and as we walked across the yard, I feebly attempted to explain to Daddy what was going on …  

He looked at me, and then, stopped. It seemed the world stopped, as well. The look he gave me was one I’ll never forget. It was a look of understanding and compassion. From Daddy! A man of so few words, he then spoke the words that will echo across the generations:

“Well, these things have a way of working out for the better.”

When I was at the very bottom, both my father and Jesus were there for me.”

God gave me the words to “Don’t Weep for Me” on the day my Father-in-Law (the “Vincent” in R.V.R.) was called Home. Now, just hours after Daddy (the “Richard” in R.V.R.) was taken to be with Jesus, I hold the pen as these words, and my tears, flow onto the pages:

Daddy’s Gone

He was the most honest man I ever knew
If you’d known him, you’d thought that, too

He’s always say, “I don’t know”
But you knew that he did
He was Charles Atlas, Jack Lalanne, and Superman
To a whole houseful of kids

Six kids he raised
With the sweat from his brow
You should see how those kids turned out
And where they are now

He didn’t say much, that’s for sure
But, the words he spoke, they will endure

He lived a long life, you see
You’ll never know what his life meant to me

He didn’t talk much
Especially to me
But, when he did
I carry that, as a special memory

The world he left; he didn’t mind
Life’s pain and suffering, he left behind
He’s now with Mama, and dear Sister Sue
And now, he’s waiting, to talk with you

He was rugged, and tough,
And he knew what it meant
When you said, “Life is rough”

He had a soft, tender side
Which only my sisters saw
My wife, Carol, saw that same side
He reminded her of her Grampa

No greater man there ever was
I wish I had told him … just because
Just because … we all need to hear
We all need to hear
That someone … somewhere …
Holds us dear

I was afraid of him
I really was
Like standing next to greatness
I really was

Now, he’s gone
And, now, I see
How great he really was
How great he was, to me

My eyes shed a tear
Because greatness stood so near
I wish that I had known him more
I wish that I had written this before

Daddy’s gone
But, not for long
I’ll see him yet again

Finally, he’s alive and well
He now has crossed that Golden Veil
We’ll talk and talk, and talk some more
As we stroll, with Mama, and Susan, on Heaven’s Golden Shore

Richard. Vincent. Rose.
Written the afternoon of July 14, 2017

“i am n” Video Series: Part Four – Joy

“I have found truly jubilant Christians only in the Bible, in the Underground Church and in prison.”
Richard Wurmbrand, Founder, Voice of the Martyrs

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

“Joy” is defined as “a feeling of great happiness; a source or cause of great happiness; something or someone that gives joy to someone; the emotion evoked by by the prospect of possessing what one desires; a state of happiness; a source or cause of delight.”

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 …
“Is it possible to find Christians with joy in the midst of these types of trials? …
The words of God, the words of Jesus, are different from the words of people … All of this is nothing compared to the reward that you will be receiving in Heaven with Him.”

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“i am n” Video Series: Part Three- Forgiveness

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

“Forgiveness” is defined as “the act of forgiving someone or something; the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people … to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong); to stop blaming (someone); to stop feeling anger about (something).”

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 …

Oh … as you’ll see in this video … you are given 3 distinct choices:
1. Change your religion/Denounce Christ/Convert to Islam
2. Pay a steep tax.
3. Be killed.

“Even more compelling than stories of their perseverance under persecution is they way they are able to extend forgiveness to those who persecute them … Without Christ, forgiveness is a foreign concept … “

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“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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The Power of “Posts:” Part Five

Hi Friends:

Yes, I didn’t plan this to be a series; I only wanted to share with you what I had discovered on the back of a calendar, and, initially, planned that one “post” for the end of the year.

While I was researching for what became a short series, I ran into this quote, which I share with you today, during a morning Bible study. Once again, I just can’t over-emphasize the importance of beginning your day with prayer, and Bible study. First thing. Every day. If you’ll do this, faithfully, I promise you’ll “run into” all kinds of things, which just happen to fit into the “that’s just what I needed” category. See, God knows what you need. If you’ll spend time with Him … you will, then, give Him the time to show you … “just what you need.”

I was in the beginning of this series, when I discovered this quote from, and, yes, I will proudly say it … one of my heroes … It’s ok to have heroes, you know … people, from the past, and present, who inspire you … God will always put people in front of you, to inspire you. Jesus is my hero. Period. Period. I want to be like Him, I want to think like Him, I want to speak like Him, I want to “do” like Him. Period.

Jesus also places people around us, circumstances around us, which will help us fulfill that goal. He also allows us to read and learn about people, from history, who had that same goal. People we can, yes I’ll say it, people we can “look up to,” people who inspire us. How about Paul? Peter? John? Etc. Well, Jesus is still alive, His influence is still alive, and there are many “modern-day” people who can, through their example of following Christ, inspire us today.

One of these heroes, to me, is Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. And, his wife Sabrina. I notice that, today, according to my “Google Doodle,” is “International Women’s Day.” Well … to women around the globe … to men around the globe … I urge you to learn about Richard and Sabrina Wurmbrand. If you want to learn about 2 heroes …

While I was doing the research for this series, I ran into a quote from Richard Wurmbrand. Mr. Wurmbrand was a Pastor in Romania. What he endured as a prisoner, inside a Communist prison, for 14 years, is incomprehensible. He was, eventually, released, and went on to found “The Voice of the Martyrs.”

I am now going to write this: When I was growing up in Georgia, the movie “Walking Tall” was released; a true story about Sheriff Buford Pusser, a former professional wrestler. A man I remember seeing. A man who suffered tremendous injury at the hands of criminals, whom he would spend the rest of his life fighting. Again … please allow me to use this as an example, in context. In the movie, Buford (played by Joe Don Baker) was on trial … in one of the most memorable scenes from his movie, and his life … from the witness stand … he ripped open his shirt … allowing the, perhaps, at first, unbelieving jury to see the wounds his enemies had inflicted him with … again, please remember the context … making a statement, to the now-horrified, stunned jury, that, if they allowed this to happen to him … “they” would allow the same thing to happen to “each of you”

Pastor Wurmbrand began his ministry of being a voice for persecuted Christians in England with Rev. Stuart Harris. Later, Richard moved on to the United States. It was the year 1966 … Years after his release from a Communist prison … Richard Wurmbrand would stand in front of perhaps, at first, unbelieving members of the United States Congress … he appeared before a U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, where he stripped to the waist and revealed 18 deep torture wounds on his body to perhaps, at first, an unbelieving group of U.S. Congressmen, to see the wounds his enemies had inflicted him with …

Yeah … I have heroes … Not many, but these are two …

Pastor Wurmbrand would write the classic “Tortured for Christ,” and “In God’s Underground.” It is a quote from the latter that I discovered as I was in the midst of this series. The day was February 29th, 1948, and Pastor Wurmbrand, in Romania, was walking to church. He was forced into a van, and taken prisoner. How scared would you be?

In his book “In God’s Underground,” here’s what Pastor Wurmbrand wrote about that day, the last day of February, 1948:
“I knew that I faced questioning, ill-treatment, possibly years of imprisonment and death, and I wondered if my faith was strong enough. I remembered then that in the Bible it is written 366 times-once for every day of the year-‘Don’t be afraid.’ 366 times, not merely 365, to account for leap year. And this was February 29-a coincidence that told me I need not fear!”

Yeah … I have heroes …

I was going to sub-title this last installment of the series, “What’s on your wall?” as I share with you a deeply personal photo, which I have, here on the wall, in our office. It is right next to a framed portrait of Abraham Lincoln.

Again, I encourage you to “post” sayings, verses of Scriptures, pictures, photos, etc., around your home, to encourage you … and … those who may just happen to visit. In my case, every time I enter the office, or as I leave the office and turn around to look, this is the photo I see … there on the wall … to encourage me, and “all those who enter.” This, by the way, and this is really personal, is the exact photo I have on the wall … I took it down, and scanned it … so this is the photo I see, both when I enter, and leave, the office.

The question is:
What’s on your wall?

I am also going to share a link to a story we did on Richard and Sabrina Wurmbrand, over on our blog, which includes a video …
Featuring actual recordings of Pastor Wurmbrand, and the story of Richard and Sabrina … the only change I may make, as I really think about their story … is that I think I should put a photo of both Mr. and Mrs. Wurmbrand on the wall …

Here’s the actual photo from my office wall:

Here’s the link to the story and video:

Richard and Sabrina Wurmbrand Post

Blessings to you, and your family,
Today. And, every day.
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Good News from Sudan: VOM Staff Member Released from Sudanese Prison

Under the heading of “SET FREE,” I received this email from The Voice of the Martyrs, this past Monday, February 27. This is a story we have been keeping up with, and read the announcement with great joy:
“Czech national and long-time VOM staff member Petr Jasek has been released from prison in Sudan, following a pardon issued by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.” 
Here is a recap of the story, from 2 emails we received:

HE’S FINALLY HOME

HE’S FINALLY HOME!

“After 445 days in prison in Sudan, Czech national Petr Jasek has been set free. He flew out of Sudan Sunday afternoon along with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek. Jasek, arrested in December 2015, had served as VOM’s Africa Regional Director. He was reunited with his wife and two grown children last night in Prague.
We are so thankful for all those who prayed for Petr and his family. Many also wrote letters to the Sudanese government on behalf of Petr and two Sudanese men sentenced with him. THANK YOU!
From the earliest days of his imprisonment, Petr said many times, “God holds the key to my cell.” We are thankful that God used that key to open the door, and we pray that He will also open the cell doors to allow the two Sudanese men, one of whom is a pastor, also to go free.
Petr was arrested in December 2015, after visiting Sudanese Christians and helping one of them with a small gift to cover medical expenses. Last month a Sudanese court found him guilty of “waging war against the state,” “violating restrictions in military areas,” “spreading rumors to defame the state,” “espionage” and “inciting strife between communities.” He was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Since that sentence was announced, negotiations have been ongoing between the Czech government and the government of Sudan.

Please continue to pray for Rev. Hassan Abduraheem (second from left above) and Abdulmonem Abdumawla (far right above), who can be seen with Petr in the photo above, and were sentenced to 12 years in prison for allegedly aiding Petr’s espionage activities. Pray that they will be released soon, and pray for their families.

Please continue to pray for Rev. Hassan Abduraheem (second from left above) and Abdulmonem Abdumawla (far right above), who can be seen with Petr in the photo above, and were sentenced to 12 years in prison for allegedly aiding Petr’s espionage activities. Pray that they will be released soon, and pray for their families.

Also: Pray also for Petr Jasek and his family as they reunite and as Petr begins to recover from the physical toll that 14 months in prison has wrought.

“I was in five different prisons, each worse than the last,” Petr said. “I was placed in group cells with drug traffickers, violent criminals and radical Muslims – including ISIS members. I was deprived of sleep for days in a cell with no running water, where mice ran over my body every time I lay down.”

As a career field leader with VOM, Petr has devoted his life to serving our persecuted Christian family. For more than 15 years, he has traveled continually and served in the toughest mission fields in the world.
Inspired by years of serving Christians imprisoned for their faith, he felt honored to be able to serve God while himself the prisoner of a brutal Islamic regime. He embraced his imprisonment as an opportunity to share the gospel with Sudanese, Eritreans and radical Muslims who are normally inaccessible to missionaries.

“I found that I was peaceful and joyful in prison, and that is a miracle that only God can do,” Petr said. “I can say that I was experiencing an amazing time with the Lord. My prayer was that I wanted to have the right words to speak at any time so that everything I said would be for the glory of God and touching the hearts of the other prisoners.” During his almost 15 months in prison, Petr shared the gospel with many and saw several come to saving faith in Christ.

Each of us should be inspired by Petr’s example. We should seek to boldly witness for Christ wherever we are.

Each of us should be inspired by Petr’s example. We should seek to boldly witness for Christ wherever we are.

Pray also for all of our Christian brothers and sisters in Sudan. They have become bolder – not more cautious – in their witness for Christ since Petr and the others were imprisoned, even singing hymns outside the courthouse during our brothers’ trial.

Here is a direct link to The Voice of the Martyrs website, which will include information on how you can help those persecuted for their faith, and how you can help their families:

The Voice of the Martyrs

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; [and] them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”
Hebrews 13:3

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Ivan Koloff: From Wrestler to Witness-From Title to Testimony

Hi Friends:

Today, I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ivan Koloff.

Yet, there is an unexplainable joy I am feeling as I write this. A joy which comes from knowing about his life after wrestling, and the impact his testimony has made on me, and so many others. After growing up watching “The Russian Bear,” and then hearing, seeing, the sincerity of his testimony … I was so proud of him … Hearing his real voice, in his humble manner, talking about Jesus, and how Jesus changed his life … it’s just something I’ll never forget.

I was alerted to his passing by a friend, responding to a video of Ivan Koloff, which we featured quite a long time ago. The video is still one of my favorites, and among those I have been the most excited to share.

It was in July of 2013 that I first featured
“Special Video Testimony: Ivan Koloff.”

This will be the first time, ever, that I have repeated a video here. I just watched it again.
Here is part of what I wrote, as an introduction:

“Ivan Koloff, who accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord of his life in 1995, is now an ordained minister, and active in the ministry, traveling to share his testimony across the United States … how wonderful Jesus is, to take “bad guys”-like us, love them, save them, and deliver them. After all, we were all “bad guys” at one time. Funny how we forget that, sometimes … 
I just finished a story about someone at the end of their rope-and hope, calling out to Jesus, who answered their call, saved them … delivered them … and then, they answered His call …When I wrote the story, I thought about Ivan Koloff. How just listening to him, looking at him speak of Jesus, blessed me, and encouraged me so much.

I must be honest: I still sneak a peek at the old Wrestling Videos on YouTube … late one night, there was a video interview of Ivan Koloff, and It wasn’t the interview that grabbed my attention … it was the T-Shirt he was wearing. It said, “I Love Jesus.” WOW!

I checked it out, and, I am so proud of Ivan Koloff!
Here is Ivan Koloff’s personal testimony. I’ve seen it many times, and it still blesses me, still encourages me. He is able to reach many people that others can’t, and I hope this touches … blesses … encourages … and reaches you:”

That’s exactly the way I wrote it. I never had the privilege to meet Ivan Koloff … but, I will … one day. I can’t wait to hug him!
To look into those eyes. To hear his “real” voice.

For fans, I’m sure you’ve already gone to the news reports, detailing his real name, and his biography, including his battle with liver cancer. That’s why I didn’t include that here. I just wanted to share, again, what he would want you to remember

Here’s the link to the original post, which includes another video, and a link to the “Ivan Koloff” website, taking you directly to “My Testimony.”

“Special Video Testimony: Ivan Koloff”

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