Category: Special

  “The truth, however, is that Job was suffering for others, that he was, by the grace of God, a martyr… ” “The righteous sufferers, the martyrs, what are they? Always the vanguard of humanity. Where they go and the prints of their bleeding feet are left, there is the way of improvement, of civilization, of religion. The most successful man, preacher or journalist or statesman, is popularly supposed to be leading the world in the right path. Where the crowd goes shouting after him, is that not the way of advance? Do not believe it. Look for a teacher, a journalist, a statesman who is not so successful as he might be, because he will, at all hazards, be true. The Christian world does not yet know the best in life, thought and morality for the best. He who sacrifices position and esteem to righteousness, he who will not bow down to the great idol at the sound of sack-but and psaltery, observe where that man is…

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In Flanders Fields In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. John McCrae https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/in-flanders-field/ In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem: We cherish too, the Poppy red That grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies. She then conceived of an idea…

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“When the Lord turned the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream,” is Psalm 126. Israel can return home after 70 years of living under another government, another culture; deprived of their own development as an indigenous nation. 70 years was enough to sever roots, to destroy customs, to eradicate tradition, to nullify old standards and norms, holidays and hopes. The homeland was now a story told, a remembrance, a dream. “Displaced” life was not first for Israel at Babylon; Egypt and the Wilderness were Promised Land exiles also. Later, the Absalom rebellion dislodged God’s people while still at home. Then there was the splitting of the national pie into two unequal servings — 10/2 tribes. In this time, many and varied philosophies forced their way down God’s people’s throats from Godless Judean and Samaritan kings. 70 A.D. till 1948 was last and longest for Israel. In reference…

Read More Liberty at Home with Jesus

Santa Claus is a legend born in centuries of imagination, but his origins take us back to a 4th century holy man whose fervor and generosity characterized him as a Christian zealot. Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra was born during the persecutions of Diocletian in what is currently southern Turkey. Nicholas was jailed, suffered routine beatings, but was freed under the reign of Constantine who legalized Christianity.  History tells us that he stood with others against the heresies of Arius at the Council of Nicaea, where he reputedly punched the man in the face for denying the Trinity and Deity of Christ. Born of wealthy parents, Nicholas gave gifts away anonymously. He quoted God’s Word to justify his actions. Historians tell of a time when Nicholas saved a poor family from utter disaster. A father had three daughters who were headed for a life of slavery or prostitution since they…

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What’s so funny about Mr. Bean? I don’t know, but I’m laughing –hysterically. Is it his unkempt appearance, his vivid faces, his grunt, his crazy viewpoint on things? – his speechless way? Yes, the less words the better; and this leads us to a Murphy’s law, “open mouth, enter foot.” Ecclesiastes 5:3 teaches “a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.” I want to talk about what makes us laugh, what messes up our joy, and what hinders our peace. Friends, “He that hath knowledge spares his words:” Proverb 17:27. “Let thy words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:3. “In the multitude of words there wants not sin.” Proverbs 10:19. Enough said. In Daniel, Satan wears out the saints of the Most High. How? Words, words, words; says so in the Hebrew definitions. Words start fires that burn out of control; they are extinguishing our capacity to enjoy life. Conversation after…

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Parking was easy; we had a small rental car, low curbs and no real space markers. Pay at the credit card machine, don’t push the wrong buttons; decide how much time needed and add amounts slowly. Place your ticket on the dash visibly. We bought time together. Brother to brother, we were enjoying each other’s rare company. To the used book-nook, yes the sign said “open.” Mildew hits the nostrils, faintly, then stronger; the stay would have to be shortened. What treasures would be found? — Civil war, Christianity, Sociology, Nazi Germany? Personal stories of psychological exploration, biography of a war spy, sports strategies, the brain book; mining for gold, we endured as long as possible. Throats red, we paid and left; but happy with our tiny jewels. A free day, great conversation followed us throughout, unforced but “come as it may,” we enjoyed the next thought, and the next.…

Read More Not Groundhog, but Turkey Day

That which the palmerworm hath left — hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left — hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left — hath the caterpiller eaten. Joel 1:4 “The whole face of the mountain was black with them. On they came like a living deluge. We dug trenches and kindled fires, and beat and burnt to death heaps upon heaps, but the effort was utterly useless. They rolled up the mountain-side, and poured over rocks, walls, ditches, and hedges, those behind covering up and passing over the masses already killed.” Expositor’s “After eating up the corn, they fell upon the vines, the pulse, the willows, and even the hemp, notwithstanding its great bitterness.” “The bark of figs, pomegranates, and oranges, bitter, hard, and corrosive, escaped not their voracity.” “They are particularly injurious to the palm-trees; these they strip of every leaf…

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The American Civil War tipped the scales for sad stories, many of which wrench the heart, even today. It reveals an era stacked with gloomy playing cards, cheerless scarecrows, heartsick yarns, and war-torn dilapidation. These are flora and fauna, these essentiality. The distinctive dream-escapee tasted life till it died; the bursting of bubbles, the swipe of found-less islands. Enheartenment looks not like a gratuity, windfall, or sweepstakes hit. It is not about happiness, joy, bliss or blessedness. Inflated words solicit us to their lip-service. Instead, a tidbit inspirits, a morsel of food enraptures, and a mere scent sends goose bumps up and down the neck. True love breathes not much in these parts, only in diminished silhouettes; all numbed down, reductionism dulls the culture, drives the humdrum, heats the monotonous day. War has come, Gung-ho! — but we are not ready, we have no guns; for soldiering, no skill-set. Go, the politician’s incite…

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I have often said to my wife, “I’m sorry Hon.” “Sorry for what?” she comes back. “For everything.” – meaning: I’m sorry for being alive, for being human, for doing what humans do. “Oh” Honestly, I have come a long way with my human-hood; come to grips with it. My early problems with it came as a result of a subtle philosophical mistake. I believed, and it was implied by what I could grasp as “normal,” that people are fundamentally good. That is, “normal people are good.” My problem was, I was not good all the time, but liked being bad better. I really tried hard to be good, and because of this, I was guilty a lot. I was letting my conscience be my guide as I was taught to do. This philosophy led to a very low self-approval rating. Needless to say, I had a poor self-image, also…

Read More Saved Sinners not Good Liars

[A song of ascents. By David:] “Adonai, my heart isn’t proud; I don’t set my sight too high, I don’t take part in great affairs or in wonders far beyond me. No, I keep myself calm and quiet, like a little child on its mother’s lap – I keep myself like a little child. Isra’el, put your hope in Adonai from now on and forever! “Psalm 131:1-3 CJB Karl Kapp wrote an article on “games.” He observes, “Games give you the freedom to fail, do something wrong and then start over again with minimal consequences and almost no longer-term negative implications.” Games, “…provide the freedom to explore different environments, different methods of thinking and different approaches to problem solving.” “Games are a sandbox for life.” Video games are winning the hearts of many young because the freedom experienced while playing them is hard to match. In contrast, real-life players become…

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