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The story is told - out of WW 2 & the holocaust that took the lives of millions of people - of Solomon Rosenberg & his family. It is a true story.
Solomon Rosenberg & his wife & their 2 sons & his mother & father were arrested & placed in a Nazi concentration camp. It was a labor camp, & the rules were simple. "As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. When you become too weak to do your work, then you are exterminated."
Rosenberg watched his mother & father marched off to their deaths, & he knew that next would be his youngest son, David, because David had always been a frail child.
Every evening Rosenberg came back into the barracks after his hours of labor & searched for the faces of his family. When he found them they would huddle together, embrace one another, & thank God for another day of life.
One day Rosenberg came back & didnít see those familiar faces. He finally discovered his oldest son, Joshua, in a corner, huddled, weeping, & praying. He said, "Josh, tell me itís not true." Joshua turned & said, "It is true, poppa. Today David was not strong enough to do his work. So they came for him."
"But where is your mother?" asked Mr. Rosenberg. "Oh poppa," he said, "When they came for David, he was afraid & he cried. Momma said, `There is nothing to be afraid of, David,í & she took his hand & went with him."
A. Todd Coget
[Born to Lose, Citation: Norman Vincent Peale in Power of the Plus Factor, in Christianity Today.]
Once walking through the twisted little streets of Kowloon in Hong Kong, I came upon a tattoo studio.
In the window were displayed samples of the tattoos available.
On the chest or arms you could have tattooed an anchor or flag or mermaid or whatever.
But what struck me with force were three words that could be tattooed on one’s flesh, Born to lose.
I entered the shop in astonishment and, pointing to those words, asked the Chinese tattoo artist, "Does anyone really have that terrible phrase, Born to lose, tattooed on his body?"
He replied, "Yes, sometimes."
"But," I said, "I just can’t believe that anyone in his right mind would do that."
The Chinese man simply tapped his forehead and said in broken English, "Before tattoo on body, tattoo on mind."
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On Sept 16, 1620 2 ships set sail from Plymouth Englnad, The Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell encountered much difficulty as they began their journey springing many leaks in the ship. So when the 2 ships went to Port in Plymouth England, the Speedwell decided to go no further and 42 passengers from the Speedwell joined the 60 passengers and 30 crew members aboard the Mayflower..
Of the 102 passengers on board the Mayflower the majority were devout Christians. They were coming to America to shake lose from the bonds of the church of England so they could worship God as they believed scriptures taught.
And with great excitement and expectations that set sail for a new land... It wasnít long before the trip became difficult for several reasons, as noted by William Bradford an historian on the Mayflower, who would later became Governor of the colony for 33 years.. Many of the passengers became sea sick as huge waves would crash over the deck of the ship... The nights were cold, damp and dark... Remember there was no indoor plumbing or electricity. And to make matters worse one of the crew, a very large man would constantly curse and abuse those who were sick... saying he was going to throw them overboard and steal all of their possessions... Bradford records, "BUT IT PLEASED GOD BEFORE THEY CAME HALF SEAS OVER, TO SMITE THE YOUNG MAN WITH A GRIEVOUS DISEASE OF WHICH HE DIED IN A DESPERATE MANNER.. AND SO HE HIMSELF WAS THE FIRST THROWN OVERBOARD. THUS HIS CURSES LIGHT OWN HIS WON HEAD, AND IT WAS AN ASTONISHMENT TO ALL HIS FELLOWS FOR THEY NOTED IT TO BE THE JUST HAND OF GOD UPON HIM.."
But their problems were far from over yet, they encountered many fierce storms which shook the ship with tremendous force. So fierce that many times they could not even keep the sail out and the force of the wind -- eventually cracked and bowed the main beams when they had just went over the half way point across the Atlantic. And although the passengers and crew wanted to turn back, Christopher Jones, the ships Master, assured all the vessel was "strong and firm under water." He ordered the beam to be secured. It was hoisted into place by a great iron screw that, fortunately, the Pilgrims brought out of Holland. AND Upon raising the beam, they "committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed." These 100 people; cold, wet -- on wooden ship in the middle of the ocean -- put their hope, trust and lives into the hands of God. The battered ship finally came within sight of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620. Two had died at sea and two had given birth. The Pilgrims scanned the shoreline just to the west of them and described it as, "a goodly land wooded to the brink of the sea," William Bradford writes, "AFTER LONG BEATINGS AT SEA THEY FELL WITH THAT LAND WHICH IS CALLED CAPE COD; AND THEY WERE NOT A LITTLE JOYFUL..."
Before going ashore they decided to write a document know as the Mayflower Compact.
At the heart of the compact lay an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and the law without a moral base is really no law at all.
The day the Pilgrims signed the May Flower Compact, according to William Bradford, "they came to anchor in the Bay, which was a good harbor...and they blessed the God of Heaven, who brought them over the fast and furious ocean... and a sea of trouble. And they read the following from the Geneva Bible (the Bible the Pilgrims used) "LET THEM, THEREFORE PRAISE THE LORD, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AND HIS MERCIES ENDURE FOREVER."
This coming thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day... Many will be busy cooking turkeys, making stuffing, baking pumpkin pies.... and watching football games. And that is fun stuff -- it is important to get together with loved ones... But that is not what thanksgiving is really about -- itís not about food and fun... it is about giving thanks to the Lord God Almighty.
We usually picture the first thanksgiving in America, as the time when the Pilgrims and the Indians got together for a great feast (though I really donít know how they could of eaten pumpkin pie without cool whip). But I tend to look at that time when on the sea battered Mayflower anchored in the bay at Cape Cod, a group of weary and worn men and women were on their knees praising their God in heaven for bringing them safely through the treacherous sea to this new land, as the real first thanksgiving.
OUR COMFORT, OUR HOPE-- COMMUNION MEDITATION
Recently I came across a true story that happened during the Holocaust of the Second World War.
Solomon Rosenberg, his wife and their 2 sons were arrested, together with Rosenburg's mother and father for the crime of being Jews. They were placed in a Nazi concentration camp.
It was a labour camp, and the rules were simple.
"As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. When you become too weak to do your work, then you will be exterminated."
Rosenberg watched as his mother and father were marched off to their deaths. He knew that the next would be his youngest son, David - because David had always been a frail child.
Every evening, Rosenberg came back into the barracks after each day of hard labour and searched for the faces of his family. When he found them they would huddle together, embrace one another and thank God for another day of life.
One day Rosenberg came back and didnít see those familiar faces.
He finally discovered his oldest son, Joshua, in a corner, huddled, weeping and praying. He said, "Josh, tell me itís not true."
Joshua turned and said, "It is true, Dad. Today David was not strong enough to do his work. So they came for him."
"But where is your mother?" asked Mr. Rosenberg.
"Oh Dad," he said, "When they came for David, he was afraid and he cried. So Mum said, 'There is nothing to be afraid of, David,' and she took his hand and went with him."
That illustrates a motherís love-- a love so strong that it chooses to give up life so her child can be comforted.
This is also a picture of the sacrificial love Jes...
I like what President Jimmy Carter said in his Nobel Peace Prize Speech this past week:
The unchanging principles of life predate modern times. I worship Jesus Christ, whom we Christians consider to be the prince of peace. As a Jew, he taught us to cross religious boundaries in service and in love. He repeatedly reached out and embraced our Roman conquerors, other Gentiles and even the more-despised Samaritans.
Despite theological differences, all great religions share common commitments that define our ideal secular relationships. Iím convinced that Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and others can embrace each other in a common effort to alleviate human suffering and to espouse peace.
Carter concluded his speech with this admonition:
Ladies and gentlemen, war may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each otherís children. The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us a capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes. And we must. ĖEND OF CARTERĒS SPEECH
How do you and I begin to make these changes suggested by Carter in his speech?
Reach out to someone, look out for their interests and needs, just as Joseph did for Mary and also, as Jesus did for us.
Years ago, I heard a story about a preacher who went to a small town to preach a series of gospel sermons. His attempt was to evangelize that little town. He preached for two weeks. During the whole time, only one little girl responded to the invitation at the end of one of his sermons. She confessed Christ, was baptized, and turned out to be the only convert during the entire meeting. The preacher judged the meeting a failure, and for years, bemoaned the great effort he had made for such little result.
However, he did not have the right view of things. That little girl grew up to be a strong, faithful Christian woman. She married a Christian man, and together they produced several sons, all of whom became preachers of the gospel. Those sons converted thousands of unbelievers to Christ.
Now, what do you suppose would have happened to that little girl and her family, had that gospel preacher not faithfully proclaimed Christ? Do you really think that preacher’s effort was a failure? Sometimes, what looks like a very small, insignificant effort on our part, turns out to be far greater than we think.
EVEN IF ITíS DARK He was a strong man facing an enemy beyond his strength. He young wife had become gravely ill, then suddenly passed away, leaving the big man alone with a wide-eyed, flaxen-haired girl, not quite five years old. The service in the village chapel was simple, and heavy with grief. After the burial at the small cemetery, the manís neighbors gathered around him. "Please, bring your little girl and stay with us for several days," someone said. "You shouldnít go back home just yet." Brokenhearted though he was, the man answered, "Thank you, friends, for the kind offer, but we need to go back home--where she was. My baby and I must face this." So, they returned, the big man and his little girl, to what now seemed an empty, lifeless house. The man brought his daughterís little bed into his room so they could face the first dark night together. As the minutes slipped by that night, the young girl was having a dreadful time trying to sleep...and so was her father. What could pierce a manís heart deeper than a child sobbing for a mother who would never come back? Long into the night, the little one continued to weep. The big man reached down into her bed, and tried to comfort her as best he could. After a while, the little girl managed to stop crying--but only out of sorrow for her father. Thinking his daughter was asleep, the father looked up and said brokenly, "I trust You, Father, but...itís dark midnight" Hearing her dadís prayer, the little girl began to cry again. "I thought you were asleep, baby," he said. "Papa, I did try. I was sorry for you. I did try, but--I couldnít go to sleep. Papa, did you ever know it could be so dark? Why, Papa, I canít even see you, itís so dark." Then, through her tears, the little girl whispered, "But you love me, even if itís dark--donít you, Papa? You love me even if I donít see you, donít you, Papa?" For an answer, the big man reached across with his massive hands, lifted his little girl out of her bed, brought her over onto his chest and held her, until at last she fell asleep. When she was finally, quiet, he began to pray. He took his little daughterís cry to him, and passed it up to God. "Father, itís dark as midnight. I canít see You at all, but You love me, even when itís dark and I canít see, donít You?" From the blackest of hours, the Lord touched him with new strength, enabling him to carry on. He knew that God went on loving him, even in the dark. - Ron Mehl
A. Todd Coget
[Joy Hard Won, Citation: Joni Eareckson Tada, "Joy Hard Won," Decision (March 2000), p.12, used by permission]
In Decision, Joni Eareckson Tada writes:
Honesty is always the best policy, but especially when youíre surrounded by a crowd of women in a restroom during a break at a Christian womenís conference. One woman, putting on lipstick, said, "Oh, Joni, you always look so together, so happy in your wheelchair. I wish that I had your joy!" Several women around her nodded. "How do you do it?" she asked as she capped her lipstick.
"I donít do it," I said. "In fact, may I tell you honestly how I woke up this morning?"
"This is an average day," I breathed deeply. "After my husband, Ken, leaves for work at 6:00 A.M., Iím alone until I hear the front door open at 7:00 A.M. Thatís when a friend arrives to get me up.
"While I listen to her make coffee, I pray, íOh, Lord, my friend will soon give me a bath, get me dressed, sit me up in my chair, brush my hair and teeth, and send me out the door. I donít have the strength to face this routine one more time. I have no resources. I donít have a smile to take into the day. But you do. May I have yours? God, I need you desperately.í"
"So, what happens when your friend comes through the bedroom door?" one of them asked.
"I turn my head towa...
The great violinist, Niccolo Paganini willed his marvelous violin to city of Genoa on condition that it must never be played. The wood of such an instrument, while used and handled, wears only slightly, but set aside, it begins to decay. Paganiniís lovely violin has today become worm-eaten and useless except as a relic. A Christianís unwillingness to serve may soon destroy his capacity for usefulness. I never have really understood the idea of collecting antiques. I know that there is a lot of money in that hobby, but I never have understood why someone would by something that is a classic and never use it. People will buy cars for thousands of dollars and they will never drive them. They may have a nice collectors item that everyone can ďewwwĒ and ďahhhhĒ over, but they arenít using it. There are many people that God has given great talents and abilities and either they are using it for the glory of God, they arenít using it all, or they are using them for themselves with the wrong motives. God has given every Christian certain talents and abilities and his intent was that the church might be made stronger through everyone working together.
Two years before my father died, my parents once again opened the box containing all the love letters which they had written each other while my father was away during World War II in the Army Air Corps. They decided that each evening they would open the box and read each other a letter they had written. After the children had been raised and retirement had come, they were remembering what had brought them to this place. They started with the earliest letters and went in order through the creased pages whose ink was now fading. Night after night they reminded each other of their love by reading those wonderful words that lived like magic in their hearts, and kept their love alive during the war. While the war was raging on, and life was uncertain, they treasured each letter that arrived. Because they were temporarily separated, they read them alone ó not once, but over and over again. As they read, they could see the otherís face and hear the otherís voice through the words. Romance swelled in their hearts as they longed for each other. Those letters were among their most important possessions.
In one Book we have many love letters from God bound in one volume. As we read them, we hear his voice and imagine we see his face. Love swells in our hearts as we long for the day when we will be together in the way we have always dreamed. But for now, we are content to read the letters. Each day we bring another one out and let him read it to us, and we respond by pouring out our love for him. Only this constant reminder can keep our love strong until the struggle is over and our heavenly Lover returns.