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The children of a well-to-do family decided to give their father as a birthday present a book containing their family’s history. They commissioned a professional biographer to write the book, carefully cautioning him about the family’s “black sheep”—their Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder, and they felt that it would be best if the biographer left Uncle George out of the book.
“No need to do that,” said the biographer. “I can report the situation in such a way that there will be no embarrassment to your father or to you. I’ll merely write that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution. He was attached to his position by the strongest ties, and his death came as a real shock.”
In the film ‘The Buddy Holly Story’, Gary Busey starred as Buddy Holly. The year is 1956. Buddy Holly and his band ‘The Crickets’ have sold thousands of records with their first hit ‘That’ll be the day’. Somehow they manage to get themselves a live concert at a very popular venue. The crowd have heard the music on the radio and they can’t wait to see and hear this new band for the first time. The MC announces the band, the crowd goes wild; the curtain is lifted and suddenly the applause becomes silence, as the all-black audience realise that Buddy is white. (Thank God that would not happen today!) Of course, the band then play their music, they win over the crowd, and the rest is history, but that crowd were well and truly surprised by Buddy Holly and the Crickets!
God is full of surprises! He often does things which we do not expect. He will never contradict himself and he will never do anything contrary to his nature, but God is a God of surprises.
More Than Conquers!
Alexander the Great was one of the most successful military commanders in history. He subdued most of his known world but he was conquered by his own lusts; he died in a drunken stupor.
The Christian conquers his own lusts in order to subdue the world within him.
We’ve not only conquered the outside world but we have been given the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and the Name of Jesus to conquer the world inside.
That makes us more than conquers! Glory!!!
WHOSE BOY ARE YOU?
One of the great preachers of our time is Dr. Fred Craddock. Craddock tells a story about vacationing with his wife one summer in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One night they found a quiet little restaurant, where they looked forward to a private meal. While they were waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. Craddock leaned over and whispered to his wife, "I hope he doesn’t come over here." He didn’t want anyone intruding on their privacy. But sure enough, the man did come over to their table. "Where you folks from?" he asked in a friendly voice.
"Oklahoma," Craddock answered.
"Splendid state, I hear, although I’ve never been there," the stranger said. "What do you do for a living?"
"I teach homiletics at the graduate seminary of Phillips University," Craddock replied.
"Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I’ve got a story to tell you." And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with Craddock and his wife.
Dr. Craddock said he groaned inwardly and thought to himself, "Oh, no! Here comes another preacher story! It seems like everybody has at least one."
The man stuck out his hand. "I’m Ben Hooper," he said. "I was born not far from here across the mountains. My mother wasn’t married when I was born, so I had a pretty hard time. When I started to school, my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself at recess and lunch time because the things they said to me cut me so deep. What was worse was going to town on Saturday afternoons and feeling like every eye was burning a hole through me, wondering just who my father was.
"When I was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in the church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me. ‘Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’ he asked. I felt this big weight coming down on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down. But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. ‘Wait a minute!’ he said. ‘I know who you are. I see the family resemblance now...
The words in red in many Bibles are neither more nor less important than the words in black. Jesus said to the seventy: "He that heareth you heareth me" (Luke 10:16). This was his position concerning every divinely inspired writer or speaker. While millions read the Bible daily, few know why some Bible publishers print the words of Christ in red. Mr. William Emmett Shelton, author, of Mogadore, Ohio, and Mr. Laurence S. Heely, Jr., publisher of Christian Herald Magazine, say that the idea originated with Louis KIopsch, the first editor for the Christian Herald. The November 1901 issue of that monthly ran a large advertisement offering a red letter Bible to the readers.
Mr. KIopsch was born March 7, 1852, in Germany. In 1853 his mother died. The next year his father, Osmar KIopsch, M.D., brought him to the United States. Louis studied journalism at what is now Columbia University. He graduated with high honours. He rose from stock boy to editor with religious publishers, and by about 1889 he was the owner-editor of the American edition of the Christian Herald Magazine.
He and his father worshiped at Brooklyn Temple, where T. DeWitt Talmadge was the minister. June 19, 1899, Dr. KIopseh was writing an editorial for the Christian Herald when his eyes fell upon Luke 22:20 and the words:
"This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
Dr. KIopsch realized that these were the words of our Savior when he instituted the Lord’s Supper. Reasoning that all blood was red, he asked himself, Why not a red letter Bible with the red words to be those of our Lord? Dr. Talmadge, his preacher, encouraged him greatly by saying: "It could do no harm, and it most certainly could do much good."
The editor besought Bible scholars in America and Europe to submit passages they regarded as spoken by Christ while on earth. (Some publishers have since expanded this feature to include all words in red spoken by Christ.)
The first printing of a red letter Bible [Copyright 1899&1900(?) by Louis Klopsch] numbered sixty thousand copies. They were printed on presses owned by Dr. KIopsch. The edition sold quickly. Presses were run day and night to supply the demand. The King of Sweden sent a congratulatory cablegram. The telegram that thrilled publisher KIopsch the most, perhaps, was one from President Theodore Roosevelt. There followed a letter on White House stationery inviting him to dine with the chief executive. He accepted.
Dr. KIopsch died March 28, 1910, and was buried at Mont Lawn near Tonawanda, New York, where he had established an orphanage. The New York Tribune said:
"He will not be easily replaced. He lived and died by his own motto:
Do All the Good You Can for All the People You Can.
This, he truly did."
(Source: History of the Red-Letter Bible -http://www.angelfire.com/la/prophet1/redlettered.html
Daniel Payne got angry. It wasn’t 1955, but rather closer to 1835, when he was asked to get up out of his seat on the train. He was 70 years old, a distinguished bishop and professor at Gettysburg College, but he was black.
Sixty years earlier, he had been there as Absalom Jones, an ordained Methodist preacher at St. George’s in Philadelphia – also a black man – began to lead a prayer. A white deacon who saw this got angry, interrupting the prayer and telling them, “You can’t pray here! If you don’t stop, I’ll have you thrown out!” Jones protested, asking that they could finish the prayer, but the deacon kept shouting. Finally, unable to continue, Jones said, “We will finish, and then trouble you no more.” And, he was true to his word. That day, he left the Methodist church and began a new one in old blacksmith shop – now Mother Bethel Church –the first African Methodist Episcopalian Church that gave birth to all the others.
Daniel Payne reflected on that as the conductor demanded he move. He said, “You’re going to have to throw me off before I’ll dishonor men like that.” The train stopped, Payne got off, and began walking down the tracks with his bags.
At the sight of this seventy year old man struggling to move along the tracks, the conductor relented and tried to put him back on the train. But Payne refused.
120 years later, at an AME church, Rosa Parks’ same action had exposed the need for a boycott. Looking for someone to lead it, they asked a young black Baptist preacher, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the rest, as you know, is history.
So, when you get angry, do something - Sit there! Be SLOW about it, but don’t stop! Search the Scriptures and expose the injustice for what is – either an offense against you, which can be forgiven, or an offense against God that should be handed over to him.
It’s way more than angry – it’s leaving it up to one who always makes things even. By no means will he clear the guilty. Thank God for his mercy.
How many of you have heard about the book and movie called “The Secret”? 1. Here is some of the verbiage being used to advertise “The Secret”: “The Secret is released to the world This ground-breaking feature length movie presentation reveals The Great Secret of the universe. It has been passed throughout the ages, traveling through centuries...to reach you and humankind. This is The Secret to everything - the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted. In this astonishing program are ALL the resources you will ever need to understand and live The Secret. For the first time in history, the world’s leading scientists, authors, and philosophers will reveal The Secret that utterly transformed the lives of every person who ever knew it...Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Einstein. Now YOU will know The Secret. And it could change your life forever.” (Makes you want to go right out and buy a copy. Right? Wrong) 2. Here’s what Cynthia Black, President of Beyond Words Publishing says about the book: “The Secret is truly the most outstanding book to date that we have published. I am so pleased that Rhonda Byrne was able to bring together this life-changing information so masterfully. She first did it for the movie of the same name that she produced, which has been a phenomenon in its own right. She then added, in only ones month’s time, incredible additional content to the transcript of the film that brings even more clarity to the reader. This is absolutely a book that people from all walks of life can read and then "get" the concept of The Secret. It allows them to then take it and apply it to their lives. Children, teenagers and adults of all ages are reporting miraculous stories of positive changes as a result. Rhonda Byrne is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of The Secret and to making sure that now, finally, the whole world knows about The Secret. You will want to share this with your friends and family and they will be grateful for it. This book gives hope for what many have been waiting for-- a shift in the way the world thinks. Its a very exciting time that we are living in, and I as well as everyone at Beyond Words and Atria Books are grateful to be a part of it.” 3. The film has attracted considerable interest and acclaim from mega media figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Larry King. 4. Basically, the secret is the same old lie just repackaged. It is the lie that you can be your own god and control your destiny. If you can think it, then you can control it and do it.
MEMORIAL DAY, A TIME FOR HEALING
Memorial Day, perhaps more than any other holiday, was born of human necessity. Deep inside all of us lies a fundamental desire to make sense of life and our place in it and the world. What we have been given, what we will do with it and what we will pass to the next generation is all part of an unfolding history, a continuum that links one soul to another.
Abraham Lincoln pondered these thoughts in the late fall of 1863. His darkest fear was that he might well be the last president of the United States, a nation embroiled in the self-destruction of what he described as "a great civil war..testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." He began his remarks with those words as he stood on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19th of that year.
The minute’s speech that became known as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address turned into what might be called the first observance of Memorial Day. Lincoln’s purpose that day was to dedicate a portion of the battlefield as a cemetery for the thousands of men, both living and dead, who consecrated that soil in the sacrifice of battle. Said Abraham Lincoln: "That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause which they gave the last full measure of devotion...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom..."
The next year, a pleasant Sunday in October of 1864 found a teenage girl, Emma Hunter, gathering flowers in a Boalsburg, Pennsylvania cemetery to place on the grave of her father. He was a surgeon who had died in service to the Union Army in that great Civil War. Nearby, Mrs. Elizabeth Meyer was strewing flowers upon the grave of her son Amos, a private who had fallen on the last day of the battle of Gettysburg. Emma respectfully took a few of her flowers and put them on the grave of Amos. Mrs. Meyer, in turn, laid some of her freshly cut blooms on the grave of Dr. Hunter. Both women felt a lightening of their burdens by this act of honoring each other’s loss, and agreed to meet again the next year. This time they agreed they would also visit the graves of those who had no one left to honor them.
Both Emma Hunter and Elizabeth Meyer returned to the cemetery in Boalsburg on the day they had agreed, Independence Day, July 4, 1865. This time, though, they found themselves joined by nearly all the residents of the town. Dr. George Hall, a clergyman, offered a sermon, and the community joined in decorating every grave in the cemetery with flowers and flags. The custom became an annual event at Boalsburg, and it wasn’t long before neighboring communities established their own "Decoration Day" each spring.
About that same time in 1865, a druggist in Waterloo, New York, Henry C. Welles, began promoting the idea of decorating the graves of Civil War veterans. He gained the support of the Seneca County Clerk, General John B. Murray, and they formed a committee to make wreaths, crosses and bouquets for each veteran’s grave. On May 5, 1866, war veterans marching to martial music led processions to each of three cemeteries, where the graves were decorated and speeches were made by General Murray and local clergymen. The village itself was also decorated with flags at half-mast, evergreen boughs and mourning black streamers.
Also, as the Civil War was coming to a close in the spring of 1865, Women’s Auxiliaries of the North and South moved from providing relief to the families and soldiers on their own sides to joining in efforts to preserve and decorate the graves of both sides. A woman of French extraction and leader of the Virginia women’s movement, Cassandra Oliver Moncure, took responsibility of coordinating the activities of several groups into a combined ceremony on May 30. It is said that she picked that day because it corresponded to the Day of Ashes in France, a solemn day that commemorates the return of the remains of Napoleon Bon...
John McArthur-Grace to You-The Life Saving Station On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut and had only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea. With no thought for themselves, they went out every day and night, tirelessly searching for shipwreck victims. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little life-saving station, and so it became famous. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give their time, money, and effort for the support of its work. New life boats were bought and new life-saving crews were trained. The little life—saving station grew. Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt a little more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those who were saved from drowning. So they replaced the emergency cots and the emergency beds and put in better furniture. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as a sort of social club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions so they hired lifeboat crews to do the work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club met. About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin, and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was considerably messed up, so the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where the victims of the shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the life-saving activity because it was unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted on life—saving operations as the primary purpose and pointed out they were still called a life-saving station. But they were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of shipwreck victims in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast, which they did. And as the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that occurred in the old and it evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit the coast today you find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, and most of the people drown.
Her name will never be in the history books, but it is written in the Book of Life. She was never an item in the newspaper, but she was God’s reporter, telling His good news. She never had much formal education, but like her Lord she taught with authority from her own experience of God’s grace.
Her name was Eula Mai Smith, one of the finest, most lovable Christian women I ever knew. She was a black woman in my hometown, in a time when white people held all the jobs in stores. She eked out a living by doing domestic work for three families and by picking cotton in the fall.
In our house she was first a friend, then the person who did our laundry and cleaned our house. Her husband was gassed in World War I and ultimately died from complications, leaving her a widow with five small children.
She told about a day when there was no food in the house. When her little kids would ask for something to eat, she would send them out to play as a distraction. She said, “Preacho, they played so hard and got so dirty, their faces were right ashy white.” (Now you know how the other group views us!)
When they were tired from playing, she put them to bed for a nap. She said, “Preacho, I was standing there at my sink, crying and praying. I was asking God for help, when I heard old Mrs. Sanctified Williams, who lived behind me, call me to the fence. She said, ‘Eula Mai, I was cooking dinner when you came to mind. I thought you and your chill-un might could use this.’
And she had a big dishpan filled with food. I went in and fed my babies until their tummies stood out.”
And she quoted the scripture from the psalmist. “Preacho, I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Her God was able.