Category Archives: HEROES OF THE FAITH

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

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”

 

Prayer Returns to Public Schools

Hi Friends:

This is another one of those times when I ask you to place the title in context.

There is a thought which says that prayer isn’t allowed in Public Schools.
There is also a thought which says that God isn’t allowed in Public Schools.
Both are just not true. Why?

I go to School every day.
I pray in School every day.
I bring God with me to School every day.
I am reminded of a story told by Evangelist R.W. Schambach:
A man enters a church, sits down, and remarks to the lady sitting next to him, “God is in this place.”
The lady turns to the man, and in a voice which only Rev. Schambach could replicate, says, “How do you know that?”
The man answers, “Because I brought Him with me.”

Yes, there are two distinct problems surrounding this “prayer in Public School” issue.
My Pastor once said that he sent his kids to School to learn about Science, Math, English, etc. Not to learn about God. Again, think of the context. They were supposed to learn about God at home. From Godly parents. I think you can see the problem there.
Then, let’s go back to this “I bring Him with me” issue. The ones who have learned about God, even know God … don’t act like it, once that bell rings. Again, this won’t fit everyone, but please understand the context here.

So, here it is, today. January 20, 2017. Inauguration Day here in the United States. What I wish is that everyone in the United States would learn about how governments are in other countries around the globe. That every American citizen would learn about what is happening “everywhere else.” Again, context. How so many nations are in political turmoil. How Christians are being killed, just because it was “found out” that they were Christians. How, in so many countries, it is illegal to convert to Christianity … how much suffering is going on … and, hopefully, everyone would realize how “good we’ve got it” over here. How many countries have their media “state-run.” Etc.

What I am getting at, is how blessed we are, to have a day like today. Something we’ve heard so many times, but take for granted: “The peaceful transition of power.” The peaceful transition of power.

I am hopeful that many Schools … I would think that all Schools … carried the Inauguration today. I’m not speaking about the Inaugural Address here. I’m writing about the ceremony. Boy … governments love ceremony … Anyway, I would hope, because of the great opportunity to see history, right in front of our eyes … that many Schools carried the Inauguration ceremony today.

Let me get this one out of the way right now: I’m not speaking as a Republican, or a Democratic. I am speaking as an American. An American citizen.

Here goes: I remember, back during the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, as the President was being prepped for surgery, President Reagan looked up at the doctor, which was getting ready to operate. President Reagan said, “I hope you’re Republican.” The doctor answered, “Today, Mr. President, we are all Republican.” I heard this from President Reagan himself.

That’s what I mean. Today, we are all Americans. A remarkable thing has happened. And … it happened right in front of our eyes.

Back to the School … I’ve written how, in our Library, we have a large-screen television, which I use, sound muted and CC on, to carry news, weather, slide shows, and, especially, important news coverage of events happening “right now.” Certainly, an historic event like the Presidential Inauguration, qualifies for “live, streaming” coverage … with sound …

So, that’s what we did today. First thing this morning, I tuned the television to continuous, live coverage of the events, with sound … I must admit, I learned a lot, and was captivated by the historical tidbits the news anchors shared … I learned a lot …

If what I saw, and heard, happened in every Presidential Inauguration, then I may be saying too much about something that happens every Inauguration. But, for some reason, this one seemed different. The amount of prayers. The mention of God. And, especially, the mention of “the name of Jesus.” I mean … I heard Jesus mentioned a lot. Even “the powerful name of Jesus.” Somehow, it seemed like God was mentioned more this time … there were more prayers … the name of Jesus … more than any Inauguration I can remember.

So … innocently … and, I do mean innocently … there I was, with the television on, loud enough to be heard throughout the Library … and, as the ceremony got underway … time, and again … I heard a prayer … I heard Scripture being read … live on television, beaming out to the world … including Schools … prayers … Scripture being quoted … God being mentioned … a lot … Jesus being mentioned … a lot … the name of Jesus … being called on … in front of me … in front of the School … in front of audiences all around the globe … the name of Jesus … “in the name of Jesus” being said on many occasions … right in front of me … on television … in public … at a government ceremony … right in front of me … on television … in Public School … my School … it seems like there were three separate prayers before the Inaugural Address, and three prayers after the Address …

I heard “America the Beautiful.” I heard prayers. I heard Scripture being read. I heard our National Anthem. Ok, I’ll say it … when was the last time you heard these two songs during the same program? Yes … I heard our National Anthem many times last weekend … Football, remember?
I heard … yes, I heard and saw … the Mormon Tabernacle Choir … When was the last time, on National Television, you heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

Quickly, allow me to mention this: One of my teacher colleagues, who is not a Donald Trump fan … I heard him proclaim, after the Republican Convention, “If he gets elected, I’m moving to Canada” … this same teacher, as an American citizen, could not believe that there were government officials who were not going to the Inauguration … this same teacher, who understands the importance of this “peaceful transition of power,” regardless of political beliefs … joined me, in the Library, during the Inauguration Ceremony … when the announcement was made to “please stand and honor our country during the singing of our National Anthem” … this same teacher, stood with me, side-by-side, during the singing of the National Anthem … I’ll never forget it … I also have made the decision, during televised sporting events, regardless of how comfortable I am, to stand during the Anthem … and, Monday, I plan to just walk up to him … and shake his hand … because he “gets it;” it’s not about “me,” but about “us,” as in United States …

So, today, there is a School-wide event, so I leave the television on in the Library, lock up, and head to the gym … When I left the Library, the Inaugural Address and benedictions had ended, the former President and First Lady had left the ceremony, and the Parade would follow … I lock up, again, leaving the television on, and enjoy the School event in the gym … When I return to the Library, as I enter, I can hear the television … but … it’s not coverage of the Parade being covered … it’s rioting, taking place, just a couple of blocks from the White House … rocks are being thrown at police … businesses have been damaged … a riot is taking place …

I don’t know what to say, or think … this is the United States, this is Inauguration Day, and this is less than 2 blocks from the White House … I hear, and see, reports about rocks being thrown at police … rocks being thrown at police …

Boy, does our country need prayer. Need to hear the Scripture. Need Godly examples. As I write this, I don’t know how all this turned out. I do know this: Many people can’t handle freedom. Even “the peaceful transition of power.” There are people who don’t have “peace within;” didn’t have it then, don’t have it now … won’t have it later, until they know this “Prince of Peace,” this “Jesus;” the One of whom so many heard the name of today … in the Library … in Public Schools … all across the globe …

Here goes: The Inauguration happened in Washington, D.C. If it had been held in any other city, yes, any other city, there would have been people to “show up” there as well … there will always be “those people” who can’t wait to throw rocks at police, or throw a brick through a business window … they’ll even travel for the opportunity … if this is a “demonstration,” it certainly is … let’s say that again … if “making your point” involves the destruction of property, or throwing projectiles at police … it certainly does “demonstrate” something …

Just 4 days ago, we celebrated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral; begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it … Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness … War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”

God, help us. As I heard in the Inaugural Address, as all the world heard … as Schools all over America heard, from our President, the most important “help” we can get … is from God …

Blessings to you, and your family.
And, God, please, bless America

Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

Olympian Eric Liddell Carries the Torch: For Christ

Eric Liddell.
Hero.
A real hero.

Known as “The Flying Scotsman” (after the record-breaking locomotive), Eric Liddell was born in China, the son of Missionaries, on January 16, 1902. He was the son of Rev and Mrs. James Dunlop Liddell, who were Scottish missionaries with the London Missionary Society. He would die, in China, serving as a Missionary Teacher, on February 21, 1945.

His story, and his strong religious convictions, were the subject of the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, in which he is portrayed by fellow Scotsman Ian Charleson.

The year is 1924.
The Summer Olympics are being held in Paris, France. Eric Liddell is a favorite to win Gold. His best event, his specialty, the one which he was clearly the favorite to win, was the 100 Meter Race. It was the running of this race, his best event, which Eric refused to compete in … because the race was to be held on Sunday. The race would be won by Harold Abrahams, from Britain, in a time of 10.6 seconds, beating all the American favorites. Harold Abrahams’s father, Isaac, was a Jewish immigrant from Poland, and had settled in Bedford, with his Welsh Jewish wife, Esther Isaacs.

In the 1924 Paris Olympics, Eric would compete in the 400 Meter Race … which he won.

As he stepped to the line to compete in the 400 … an event which the Americans were favored to win … an American slipped Eric a piece of paper … On the paper was written a quote from 1 Samuel 2:30: “For them that honor me I will honor.”

I find this a fascinating piece of history, which I did not know, until I did the research for this writing. This quote from 1 Samuel was one of my Mom’s favorite verses, and one which I heard my Mom quote so many times, often over the telephone, that “God honors those who honor Him;” that, “I will honor those who honor Me.” Her repeated quote of this Scripture prompted us to use the quote from the verse as our business motto: “To Honor Those Who Honor Him.”

How did Eric Liddell do, as he raced around the Olympic track, carrying this quote from Scripture: He broke the Olympic and world records with a time of 47.6 seconds.

Again, this was 1924. The next year, 1925, Eric returned to China to serve as a missionary teacher. Aside from two furloughs in Scotland, he remained in China until his death, in a Japanese civilian internment camp, in 1945.

Eric Liddell died on February 21, 1945, five months before liberation. Langdon Gilkey, American theologian, would write, “The entire camp, especially its youth, was stunned for days, so great was the vacuum that Eric’s death had left.”
According to a fellow missionary, Liddell’s last words were, “It’s complete surrender,” in reference to how he had given his life to God.

Remember, in those 1924 Olympics in Paris, Eric Liddell had refused to compete in his best event, the 100 Meters, due to his strong beliefs and convictions. We go now, 56 years after the 1924 Paris Olympics, as fellow Scotsman Allan Wells won the 100 Meter Sprint at the 1980 Olympics, held in Moscow. When Allan Wells was asked, after his Moscow Olympic victory, if he had run the race in honor of Harold Abrahams, who was the last 100 Meter Olympic winner from Britain (in those Paris Olympics in 1924), who had died two years previously, Wells replied:
“No, I would prefer to dedicate this to Eric Liddell.”

I can’t think of a better representative of the Scripture of “Giving all to, and for, Christ.”

Eric Liddell.
Hero.
A real hero.

A special thanks to the Lights4God blog … for bringing this great story back to my memory. Here’s a direct link to the post which brought this back:
https://lights4god.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/eric-liddell-2/

Now, here’s a short biographical video which tells the story of Eric’s life, which features some great historical photographs, and quotes from Eric Liddell:

 

Meeting Timothy: Michael English: I Bowed on My Knees (And Cried, “Holy”)

Recently, I finished a study of the books of 1 and 2 Timothy.
Both were letters (Epistles), written by the Apostle Paul, and addressed to the beloved young Pastor at Ephesus, whom Paul called “my own son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2) and “my dearly beloved son.” (2 Timothy 1:2).

While meditating on the study, this song kept coming to mind. It’s the only song I can think of which specifically mentions Timothy. What a great song this is.

This is also one of the great songs to be blessed to be able to hear in a live performance. Words can’t state how strongly the anointing is on these words, as the author tells of his visit to Heaven, meeting many of the Saints … and, then, he meets Timothy …
The author has only one request: What would you ask, the one request you would make, if you found yourself walking around Heaven, escorted by angels … able to speak with so many …
One request … that’s it … What would it be?

If you know the song, you know the request.
I tried to find the best version of this song for you, and, especially, a version which highlighted the meeting of Timothy, in Heaven. This is it!

The vocalist is Michael English, and the song is from his time with the Gaither Vocal Band. I honestly tried very diligently to find out the author, and both Michael English and Nettie Dudley Washington are credited, though one of the credits may be for the arrangement.

This is being shared from the You Tube site, “palmsdr.” Bear with the audio: It’s worth it!
Here’s the link to their channel:
Palmsdr

Here are the words:

Michael English Lyrics
“I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy”

I dreamed of a city called Glory,
So bright and so fair.
When I entered the gates I cried, “Holy”
The angels all met me there:
They carried me from mansion to mansion,
And oh the sights I saw,
But I said, “I want to see Jesus,
The One who died for all.”

Chorus
Then I bowed on my knees and cried,
“Holy, Holy, Holy.”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory,
Glory to the Son of God.”
I bowed on my knees and cried,
“Holy, Holy, Holy.”
Then I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory,
Glory to the Son of God.”

As I entered the gates of that city,
My loved ones all knew me well.
They took me down the streets of Heaven;
Such scenes were too many to tell;
I saw Abraham, Jacob and Isaac
Talked with Mark, and Timothy
But I said, “I want to see Jesus,
‘Cause He’s the One who died for me.”

Chorus
Then I bowed on my knees and cried,
“Holy, Holy, Holy.”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory,
Glory, Glory.”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory”
“Glory to the Son of God”
I sang, “Glory to the Son of God.”

 

Mother’s Day/Every Day Classic: “Ears”

Hi Friends:

Well … I had … sort of … promised … to post a work honoring “Mothers” from our book … which, by the way, I had, sort of, promised while I was in the middle of writing my next post, which, ironically, involved the television series, “All in the Family.”

Then … I felt led to share with you a story which I’ve had “on file” for several years … so long, in fact, that it isn’t even included in my “Shared Email” collection. This is a story which I had been sent, by email, way before I began the online ministry. I’ve had it stored “in the files” for years, and, honestly, before today, haven’t even thought about it for a long time. But, I am thinking about it now. Thinking about the love and sacrifice it represents. When I think of Jesus, I think about “love and sacrifice.”

When I think about Mama … which I do so often … I think about love and sacrifice.

I am thinking that, right now, instead of being obedient to my own will, my own plans … even in the writing of the next post … I am being obedient to the Spirit’s will, not mine … I am thinking … yes, I am … I am thinking that I wished I had been more obedient to Mama … had recognized all of the sacrifices she made …

Please allow me to include this from the book:
“The first gift, and the best gift that God gives a child is a loving, Godly mother. The first view of Jesus that a child receives is through her loving care.”

 It was such a thrill for me to learn that Mama had shared this story with her Sunday School Class. It meant that much to her. How precious does that make this story now! It is a story of love … family love … sacrifice … family sacrifice … I have always called this story “Ears,” and that is the name which Mama called it.

Ears

“Can I see my baby?” the happy new mother asked.

When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The doctor turned quickly and looked out the tall hospital window. The baby had been born without ears.

Time proved that the baby’s hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred.

When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother’s arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks.

He blurted out the tragedy: “A boy, a big boy… called me a freak.”

He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. A favorite with his fellow students, he might have been class president, but for that. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. “But you might mingle with other young people,” his mother reproved him, but felt a kindness in her heart.

The boy’s father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done? “I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured,” the doctor decided.

Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man. Two years went by.

Then, “You are going to the hospital, Son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it’s a secret,” said the father.

The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs. Later he married and entered the diplomatic service.

“But I must know!” He urged his father, “Who gave so much for me? I could never do enough for him.”

“I do not believe you could,” said the father, “but the agreement was that you are not to know … not yet.”

The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come … one of the darkest days that a son must endure. He stood with his father over his mother’s casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal that the mother — had no outer ears.

“Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut,” he whispered gently, “and nobody ever thought Mother less beautiful, did they?”

Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance, but in the heart. Real treasure lies not in what that can be seen, but what that cannot be seen. Real love lies not in what is done and known, but in what that is done but not known.

 

From Modern-Day Psalms for Valentine’s Day: “Don’t Weep for Me: Mama Version”

Don’t Weep For Me (Mama Version)
Introduction

When I read “Don’t Weep for Me” at a memorial service, I always change the paragraph about military service, to fit the life of the one to whom the service is being given for, always leaving the “bosom of Abraham” reference to close that personalized paragraph.

When my beloved Mother went to be with Jesus, it was early on Valentine’s Day … February 14, 2013. During the period of mourning that followed, I wanted to re-write “Don’t Weep for Me” in honor of Mama.

I went in and added words that detailed what she most loved in her life: Jesus, and her family.
Mama loved the Psalms; it was her favorite book. I also could not leave out the fact that, when Jesus came and got her, it was Valentine’s Day.

Something else about Valentine’s Day: February 14th is also my mother-in-law’s birthday, who passed away on Good Friday, in 2003. Let’s just say that neither of those days will ever be the same again.

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 Mama left us … so much of the pain and agony was taken away, because:
1. I knew where she was.
2. I knew who she was with.
3. I knew that I would see her again.

Don’t Weep For Me
Mama Version

Don’t weep for me
If you could see
What I now see
You would not weep … you would shout “Victory!”

I know that only sadness now you feel
But, you need to know that Heaven is real
If you could only see the streets of gold, the pearly gate
You would not cry, you might even envy my fate

The skies are always sunny, bathed in God’s own light
There is no more rain, no clouds, and no more night
I’ve left behind sickness, heartache, and pain
No more tears, broken dreams; for now, all is gain

For, here, there is no more sorrow, poverty, or lack
I can tell you now-I don’t ever want to go back
Back to the earth, and the trials every day …
No, I’ll take Jesus, and peace … right here I will stay

Don’t weep for me now
You don’t know what you do!
Don’t wish I was there
For if you only knew!

On Thursday, February 14th, at 2:45
It was not that I died, I became alive
I have no more sickness, no more pain
There will be no more clouds, no thunder, no rain

It was no coincidence
That it was Valentine’s Day
When the One I most loved took me away
Waiting for you
Here I will stay
The Lord is my Shepherd-Trust Him today
I fought the good fight
The good race I ran
And now I’ve landed safely
In the bosom of Abraham

For, here in eternity I will forever rest
And walk down these streets with the one called “Blessed”
For I have reached my eternal reward
With the chorus of saints I join in one accord

I don’t have time now to shed just one tear
I can only hope that one day, you too, will be here
My body I’ve left, but why should you grieve?
I’ve traded it all for this new body I’ve received

I’m singing right now, and laughing out loud
If you could see me right now, I know you’d be proud
I trusted in Jesus, and Jesus alone
I traded my hospital bed to sit on God’s throne

There should be only one reason for you all to cry
And that is to not know where you’ll go when you die
For one day you’ll die and you’ll be right here
But, if you’ve trusted in Jesus, you’ll have nothing to fear

I’ll wait, and I’ll wait for you to decide
If you don’t trust Jesus, then I’ll be the one who cried

So, don’t weep for me
You know the gospel is true
Follow its course
Lest, from above, I weep for you

So, just remember, if you start to cry
Instead, just look up at that big, blue sky
I’m looking down to tell you again, just like days gone by,
That “God loves you … and … so do I …”

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

Modern Day Psalms: Available at all online book retailers!

Modern Day Psalms:
Available at all online
book retailers!

Video: Cynthia Clawson: “It Won’t Rain Always”

Hi Friends:

How often have all of us, when going through our toughest struggles and battles, clung onto a particular Scripture, or Scriptures … that we just held onto … clung to … believed … repeated over and over again … helping us make it to the other side … to the victory which the Scripture promised …

Often, a song would be right there with it … to encourage us that “the hurt can’t hurt forever, and the tears are sure to dry.” In the midst of great agony and heartbreak, in the darkest of days, in the middle of life’s greatest storms, God can lead us to a song which will remind us that “it won’t rain always … God’s promises are true …”

For me, it was an entire group of songs, in my case, a single cassette, by Cynthia Clawson, entitled “River of Memories.” I am so pleased that this recording, originally released in 1994, is still available on CD. I’ve narrowed the choices to share with you to three recordings, which I will share, over time.

First, yes it was prayer and Bible study … days, even weeks of solid fasting, prayer, and Scripture reading … through it all, as I performed my job duties from my company truck, driving mile after mile, song after song would comfort me, helping me through, day after day … I still have that original cassette, though the cassette case wore out long ago … it was these songs, day after day, mile after mile, in and out of the truck, which confirmed my prayers and the Scriptures … all three worked together to “get me through” to the point where I made the startling discovery that, what I thought was the worst thing that had ever happened to me … turned out to be the best thing which had ever happened to me. It took a lot of prayer, a lot of Scripture, and a lot of these songs, one after the other, which would “see me through …”

I first discovered Cynthia Clawson while watching one of the Bill and Gloria Gaither programs, where she was a featured member of the cast. I honestly can’t remember whether I received the cassette as a gift, or I had gotten through the local Christian Book Store. What I do know is this:

I had no way of knowing that God would use this cassette, received in a time of great joy, to be one of His instruments to help me get through the toughest, darkest, and loneliest periods of my life. But, He knew.

Recorded as part of one of the Bill and Gloria Gaither television programs, introduced here by my old friend Ralph Emery, is Cynthia Clawson, surrounded by the “Homecoming” cast, is “It Won’t Rain Always.”

I believe that, “if it blesses me, it will bless someone else.” As I look at the faces as the cameras pan, I realize that this is true, and that “trouble troubles us all” …
I’ve included the words, and out of respect, a couple of links:


It Won’t Rain Always
Bill & Gloria Gaither

Someone said that in each life some rain is bound to fall
And each one sheds his share of tears,
And trouble troubles us all
But the hurt can’t hurt forever
And the tears are sure to dry

And it won’t rain always
The clouds will soon be gone
The sun that they’ve been hiding has been there all along

And it won’t rain always
God’s promises are true
The sun’s gonna shine in His own good time
And He will see you through

Click Here for Cynthia Clawson Website
Click here for the Gaither Website

 

New Year-New Resolve: Part Two/Our Part

Hi Friends:

In what has now become “Part One” of “New Year-New Resolve-Part One” there was one item which I didn’t add, because I felt it was so important that I wanted to devote an entire writing to it:

To pray for our persecuted Brothers and Sisters around the world. I want to make sure that I pray, every day, for these men, women-and children-who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ Jesus. I want to encourage … but a much stronger word must be used … I want to urge you, to admonish you, to pray for these men, women, children … these families … who are, simply and only, persecuted, put in jail, and killed … only because they “are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:16).

If you look at the definition of the word “admonish,” yes, it means “to tell or urge (someone) to do something.” But, if you look at the meaning of the word as used as a transitive verb (thank you Merriam-Webster!), it means “to indicate duties or obligations to.” And, that is exactly what, as fellow Christians, we are to do: “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).

The numbers of Christians, around the world, who are persecuted is, simply, staggering. Here in the United States, we are so blessed … yet, because of the freedom(s) we enjoy, it is so difficult to realize how things are “everywhere else.” I know … I know … we have griped and complained about the price of gas we pay over here … I don’t mean to sound callous, but my response to these complaints is to remind those complaining how people in other countries have been paying 5.00 for a gallon of gas for years … I think the same mind-set can set in, when we think about persecution in “those other places.” Jesus was right (I just love to write that!) when He said/predicted that things won’t change … they hated Him … they will hate you: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). Jesus said this many times.

In the great chapter of Hebrews 11, we see, from today’s perspective, that things haven’t changed: “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment” (Hebrews 11:36).

I must say that there are many great organizations which both carry the Gospel to far-reaching places and peoples around the world, and that minister to families and groups which are suffering for their faith. We are proud to support one such ministry, the work of “The Voice of the Martyrs.” Through their emails and printed materials, this is one way we can “keep in touch” with what is really going on around the world, in regard to persecution.

In December, here is part of a story about an outreach program which “The Voice of the Martyrs” was involved in:
“… more than 3,000 children in northern Nigeria received VOM Christmas Care Packs this year. Her pack included school supplies, a T-shirt, soap, pencils, a toothbrush, noodles, milk and an animated story book about Jesus. Christmas Care Packs were the perfect gift for these children, many of whom have experienced the horrors of Boko Haram attacks. The gifts showed Abua and the other children that they are loved. Children from many nations, including children of Iraqi families that have been exiled at the hands of ISIS, will receive Christmas Care Packs in this year’s distribution … in many of the more than 60 countries where we work. A VOM worker from Pakistan says the Bibles included in the packs often become the family’s favorite Bible since many parents cannot read.”

Here’s another small glimpse of how it really is “in other places” around the world:
“In Iraq, ISIS threatened to kill Abu’s family if they didn’t convert to Islam, but he still trusted God. In Nigeria, Boko Haram killed Micah’s wife and demanded that he renounce Christ, but he stood firm in his faith. Christians worldwide remain committed to Jesus despite the threat of imprisonment, torture and even death. In northern Iraq, ISIS spray-painted the Arabic letter ن, or “N,” on the homes of Christians. The property owners were publicly identified as Christ followers and given a choice to convert to Islam, pay a high tax, leave the country or die. Many courageous believers refused to deny their faith.”

I am reminded of the words Walter Cronkite would use as he completed his newscast: “And that’s the way it is …” Well, in a lot of the world today, this is “the way it is”:
“Iraqi and Syrian Christians stand strong in the face of ISIS. They have lost their worldly possessions, but they have joy in their eternal hope in Christ. Nigerian Christians love and forgive in the name of Jesus while Boko Haram terrorists kidnap and kill Christians, burning churches and homes in their ongoing rampage across northern Nigeria. Pastors in China remain faithful despite being imprisoned for years because of their faith. VOM is supporting believers like these throughout the 68 countries where we work … As persecution has continued to increase around the globe this year … we have distributed thousands of Bibles and other Christian materials in areas hostile to Christianity. In addition, VOM is supporting more than 40,000 front-line workers as they carry Jesus’ name into the world’s most difficult missions frontiers. We are grateful for all those who have remembered their persecuted family in prayer.”

Don’t worry: The crime of “Bible Smuggling” is still alive and well:
“We are blessed to serve alongside a network of more than 40,000 Front-Line workers that serve as today’s “Bible Smugglers.” Many risk their lives delivering the Bibles. Others journey for days to reach remote areas. All of them covet our prayers … in 2015, VOM delivered over 1.2 million Bibles … Front-Line workers are evangelizing, planting churches, and distributing Bibles on the world’s most difficult missions frontiers.”

Again, there are many worthy organizations which are doing this work around the world. “The Voice of the Martyrs” is just one of the organizations which we support. We have shared other ministries with you, but for this writing, we are using their (VOM) information exclusively.

We’ll close with this story from Columbia. Not too long ago, Carol and I were in South America, and we witnessed first-hand the difference between “here and there.” Working with children, and especially while I was working with young children (K-2), I’ll be honest … every time I read a story of violence toward children, I put “my kids” face in the story. I’m sure you know what I mean. Here’s “the way it is” for many children around the world:
Here’s the story of “Flor,” which also carried a picture of her … you’re right … Think of your children, our children, my children, and, after you get off your knees thanking God for the blessings of your children being raised in this country … think about this story, which was titled, “Her Father’s Killer Is Looking for Her:”

“Flor” still misses her father every day.
Her father, a pastor, was killed when she was just a preschooler, but his death left a huge hole in her world. Then the news came that his killer had been released from prison and was now hunting her family. Flor’s father pastored in a rural area of Colombia. When his killers delivered his body to the door of their home, VOM immediately helped Flor and her mom relocate to a safe house. VOM supported them as Flor and her mom restarted their lives, helping them begin an agricultural business. Eight years later, her father’s killer was released from prison. Neighbors warned the family that he was asking about them. Again, VOM immediately relocated the family to a safe place. Just last week, Flor called her VOM contact and asked to be picked up from school. She was struggling with grief and fear and needed some encouragement … the Families of Martyrs Fund supports believers like Flor and her family. This fund allows VOM to quickly relocate a family when there is immediate danger, and it also helps provide for them in the long-term with jobs, housing and education for children.”

Every day, let’s pray for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, around the world, who are suffering persecution. That God will give them safety and protection.
Pray for those “in bonds,” those in prison/jail because of their faith. I pray two things, every day: For God to send an angel to them to minister to them … to strengthen them (just like in the Garden). That Jesus will personally visit them …
God can do anything. There is nothing too hard for Him.
Pray that God will make a way for them to be released. Because, God can make a way where there is no way. He can open doors which no man can shut. And, He can close doors which no man can open.
Pray for the families, churches, and organizations which are praying for their release.
Here is the picture I get every morning: Moses, standing above the Red Sea, staff outstretched … that these families … will “stand back and see the deliverance (salvation) of the Lord …”

Every person whom I have ever known … ever … who has been persecuted, has the exact, same request: To pray for those who are persecuting them.
I admonish you to pray for the “captors.” For those individuals, or groups, or factions, who are doing the persecution. Here is what I pray: For them to realize that the Messiah has already come … His name is Jesus … and He’s alive forevermore …

That’s it!
Back to Hebrews to encourage us more:
“For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Hebrews 10:34).

Blessings to you, and your family.
Now.
And, always.

Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Here’s a direct link of Voice of the Martyrs
Voice of the Martyrs

 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HELPS TO FOUND FIRST HOSPITAL

“We need to look back to our past … before we look ahead to our future.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Here is a great story I’ve been saving for some time now, and wish to share now. We can learn so much from our Founding Fathers, and should take every opportunity to learn about, and from, them.
Here’s one you may not know about Benjamin Franklin. In reading through this story, I found it so amazing, in light of our present times, that I had to research further.

I’m sorry, but I must be honest:
I, myself, fall victim to looking at the world around us now … and, then, when I read about what our country stood for-and against-in years past … well, I forget where prayer was so readily allowed … where the mention of God was so welcomed … Anyway … I write about success, and how often do we write that if we want to be successful, we look at what other successful people did, and just “do what they did.” I know that works individually … but, doesn’t that also work nationally? I mean … if we put God first … wouldn’t that put us first? If we put God last … or, maybe just don’t mention Him at all … Sorry, I can’t write the rest … All I need to do is just pick up the newspaper, and that tells me where our priorities are … or maybe, the proper explanation would be, “where we have gone.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to hear more about “what they did” than about “what I would do”
Ben Franklin Plaque
Yes, I’ve read a lot about Ben Franklin. And, about our Founding Fathers. How they lived. How they believed. Haven’t you? Remember, the worse we can make them look … the better we can look … the more we can justify our actions …

Anyway, I am researching Ben Franklin and his involvement with this Hospital: He said what? He did what? He wrote what? They used an example from what? This is still standing in the United States today? We can still read this? This is in public? Maybe “they” just don’t know about this, right?

So, I went to the website of the Pennsylvania Hospital, and checked other sources … I’m sorry, but I had to … I mean, I am seeing Scripture examples being used as a mission statement for a public entity … I read the cornerstone, and it mentions Christ and it asks for God’s blessing … I mean, these are still on public display today … I’m sorry, but I had to check this story out, I had to make sure this is “really real,” that in a vision statement of an institution in which its very existence is to heal, they are asking for God’s favor … I had to make sure that this is real, that this is true … and, that this is being allowed in this country ….
My research proves that this story is, indeed, correct. True. A fact.
Historical Marker
Faithful origins found in our nation’s first hospital

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was responsible for many innovative and clever developments that improved the quality of life in early America. Among them was the founding of the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia on May 11, 1751. Working with his close friend, Dr. Richard Bond, Franklin lent his support to the effort, thereby creating enough momentum for the idea of a hospital to be accepted by the skeptical public. The goal was to provide a place that would care for the sick, poor and insane who wandered the streets of Philadelphia.

Writing about the founding of the hospital, Ben Franklin recognized the manner in which God raised up physicians who were called to the task of medical care in this hospital and acknowledged their reliance on God’s help to bless the mission of the hospital:

“It would be a neglect of that justice which is due to the physicians and surgeons of this hospital, not to acknowledge that their care and skill, and their punctual and regular attendance, under the Divine Blessing, has been a principal means of advancing this charity to the flourishing state in which we have now the pleasure to view it. Relying on the continuance of the Favour of Heaven, upon the future endeavors of all who may be concerned in the management of the institution, for its further advancement, we close this account with the abstract of a sermon, preached before the Governors…”

A further reliance on God and His Word was evidenced in Franklin and Bond’s choice to model their mission after the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10. They placed these words from the Scriptures on the official seal of the hospital, “Take Care of Him and I Will Repay Thee.” The development of the hospital brought about a new attitude of Christian compassion and social responsibility to colonial life.
Hospital Seal
From “The History of Pennsylvania Hospital” website, including the first part of their Timeline:

The hospital has over 29,000 inpatient admissions and 115,000 outpatient visits each year, including over 5,200 births.
Pennsylvania Hospital is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and is located at 8th and Spruce Streets in the historic Society Hill district of Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania Hospital
Since its founding in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, Pennsylvania Hospital has been an innovator in patient care, treatment techniques and medical research. In the years since its founding, Pennsylvania Hospital has provided the setting for many “firsts” of our nation, as well as many other noteworthy medical, historical and cultural milestones.
1751
On May 11, 1751, a charter is granted by the Pennsylvania legislature to establish a hospital to care for the sick-poor and insane who wander the streets of Philadelphia. The story of the Good Samaritan is chosen by Franklin and Bond as the official seal, and “Take Care of Him and I will repay Thee” ushers in a new attitude of social responsibility.

The original cornerstone, with its text drafted by Benjamin Franklin, can still be viewed. It is located at the southeast corner of the East wing of the Pine Building under a Plexiglas cover. The text reads:

In the year of Christ
MDCCLV.
George the second happily reigning
(for he sought the happiness of his people)
Philadelphia flourishing
(for its inhabitants were publick spirited)
this building
by the bounty of the government,
and of many private persons,
was piously founded
for the relief of the sick and miserable;
may the God of mercies
bless this undertaking.
cornerstone

 

Marlana Vanhoose: Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone

Has it been that long since “The Greatest Performance of the NBA Finals?” Since we featured the incredible … so inspirational … so powerful … Marlana Vanhoose?

One of our favorite opportunities we’ve ever had to share, was our feature on Marlana Vanhoose, who was featured singing our National Anthem before Game Six in Cleveland. We had the opportunity to learn about her … her life … and her beliefs.
Here’s a direct link to that feature, on our blog, from July:

Greatest Performance of This Year’s NBA Finals: Marlana Vanhoose

I have been waiting, way too long, to share this performance with you. When I saw her, back in Cleveland to sing our National Anthem before a recent Monday Night Game, I couldn’t wait any longer.

This is Marlana Vanhoose singing the combination song “Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone.”
Watching her at the piano, the emotion in her voice, the words she sings … I can still feel it.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to share the “My Chains are Gone” lyrics with you:

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior
Has ransomed me
And like a flood
His mercy reigns
Unending love
Amazing grace

Be blessed … comforted … and inspired:
Marlana Vanhoose: