I trust and thank the good Lord for directing my sister Dorothy and me to Resplendent Light Community Church. It is a precious but active church, no sitting on hands. We are told in scripture that faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen and faith without works is dead. Well this past year, February 3, 2014 we saw our faith manifested with the completion of our first year. Resplendent Light Community Church saw many prayers answered and come to fruition. Though we are in our infant stage as a church, already we have seen and can see the hand of the Lord working in this little church, which was birthed at Pastor Cliff and Susan Asai’s home. After the first year at the Asai home we moved to Los Angeles Center Studios Downtown LA and thank the Lord for Brother Charles Koyama who made it happen. From there we moved to Santa Monica, California, our original designated city in the vision. It’s all happened rather quickly, when you consider the various obstacles we’ve had to overcome. Trying to find a place to reside as a church was no easy task, but Pastor Cliff and Susan were on top of it all the time and seeking the Lord for help and guidance all the way. In my case, I am happy and excited to say for the first time in a long time, it is evident and wonderful to report, I will no longer be leading the praise and worship alone. A few new additions have joined the praise team and an answer to prayer, including Pastor Kazuo Nakajima on Base Guitar John Whittit on percussion. I’m enthusiastic to be a part of an active church, doers of the word as opposed to merrily hearers. Everyone pitches in and helps out wherever there is a need someone answers the call. Indeed I praise God for Pastor Cliff and Sister Susan who is faithful to the calling bestowed upon them for the direction and leadership of RLCC….onward Christian soldiers and that’s from the heart.
– Eddie Hailey
By Eddie Hailey
If you have ever driven the highways and roads of the Mojave Desert it would be next to impossible to avoid seeing a Tumbleweed, a plant that grows to maturity and detaches from the root and blown away by the wind. They are very common in some of the desert towns like Barstow, Needles, Amboy, or Ludlow where the famous route 66 received its claim to fame. The Tumbleweed is a type of green plant protected by little stickers that grows from a seed, matures, dries, and breaks away from its roots. Blown and carried by the wind for years, if not disturbed before it crumbles into a thorny broken down prickly bush in its destination. It certainly wasn’t anything like the plant in the book of Jonah that was eating by a worm sent by God. Jon 4.7 Some have said this lone traveler can be as small as a football and in some cases as big as a car. Wow I had no idea. The American Western movies popularized the Tumbleweed when one could be seen blowing across the street just before or aftermath of a great gun fight. It is as much a part of the desert as the Jackrabbit or Coyote or the blinding sand storms that occasionally block out the blue skies. When you rest your eyes upon one of these Tumblers blustering across the land have you ever asked yourself, besides just being an eye sore, can they be of any good use?
In the 50’s my mother and father had ten mouths to feed, themselves and my seven brothers and sisters. Ps 127 4.5 My dad worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as one of the grounds keepers, but grounds keepers work in those days did not bring in very much money for a family of ten. My mother was a full-time house wife, with a part time job doing laundry and baby siting jobs, which helped to make ends meet and that was only some of the time at best. We were a quiet unassuming family and as children we were taught to be polite to everyone. Of course, these instructions did not come without a little re-enforcement on the part our parents. Pr. 13.24 Family time was very important to us living in the 50’s, there was divorce in those days, but not like today, there was single mothers in those days, but not like today, there were abortions in those days, but the percentage were hardly comparable the same incidents in the past. Ps. 139.13-16 Mal 2.16
The two most important holidays for our family was Thanksgiving and Christmas and Christmas was my favorite because I enjoyed our time together as a family. Is 9.6 Coming home from school to the aroma of mom’s Christmas cooking combined with the fragrance of pine coming from the tree was phenomenal. Not to mention the wonderful smell of candy cane and variety of fruit and walnuts. I enjoyed my mom’s holiday cooking except for two of her famous dishes on the menu; Mac and Cease and Chittlins as pronounced by most of the old timers in the Black community….or Chitterlings as properly pronounced, but not on my blackboard. I could not handle the smell when mom was preparing them for cooking let alone eat them, no sir. 1 Cor 10.27 Yet coming home from school during the holidays was a delight for me. We had our favorite Christmas albums to enhance the festivities of the special holiday when we listened to the superb voices of Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole to name a few. We were all anxious to have my mom’s wonderful home cooking as we made our way in great anticipation of Christmas morning. Mom’s food was nothing short of delicious, but one of my favorite Christmas family traditions I enjoyed, besides good food, was helping decorate the tree. Ps. 128.3 I was a little fella in those days so naturally the tree always appeared very tall in my eyes. So sometimes I would stand on a chair to reach the top of the tree. We dressed the pine with flashy multicolored bulbs, along with silver tinsel, Christmas lights and whatever else made the tree looked festive, why the aroma alone that filled the house was enough to put us in the spirit of Christmas. Yet for my brothers and sisters, not having a Christmas tree was simply unacceptable and we set out to make things right. We could not simply go out and buy a tree because we did not have any money to speak of either. Yet our oldest sister came up with the idea of going out to find a fresh green Tumbleweed to stand in the place of an absent Christmas tree. The rest of us thought the idea was hair brain at best, but we all agreed to go along with it. We thought if we were going to do this, we better do it quickly before mom and dad gets back, because if mom were home she would not hear of it or allow it to happen. A Tumbleweed for a Christmas tree never! Even so, my brother James and I quickly set out to find a couple of fat green Tumbleweed bushes. We brought a knife along with us to cut them fresh from the root. We brought them home and assisted our sister Virginia in doing what appeared to be the impossible, transforming two old desert Tumbleweed bushes into a festive Christmas tree. We began by stacking the two on top of one another, followed by retrieving mom’s Christmas Bulbs, tinsel, and Christmas lights. By this time the other brothers and sisters began to pitch in and because of the little prickly thorns we would hear a yelp or ouch or two while reaching deeper into the bush to adorn the make-believe tree. We did not want mom to be down in the dumps for not having a tree for Christmas. There we were, all of kids hastily decorating the two Tumbleweeds before mom and dad returned home from shopping. If mom and dad had any ideas of quietly sneaking back to the farm, the dirt roads gave them away. We could easily see the dust from the car nearly two miles away from the desert dust trail stirred up from the car. “Quickly they’re coming”, someone said. Hastily we put the final touches on the two large bushes and just in time too as we heard the family car, a 56 Ford station wagon, pull into the driveway. There in the living room all of us stood in anticipation to see them come through the kitchen door and indeed they did. Mom looked tired and worn as dad walked in behind her. Mom and dad gave us a look of puzzlement as we stood staring at them. “What’s wrong with yaw?” “We have a Christmas tree momma”, Virginia quietly said. “We don’t have money for a tree, I already told yaw that.” “Look”, Alice said, as all of us kids stepped aside to reveal the make-believe tree. Mom and dad stood not knowing what to make or think of the tree. Dad seemed to be impressed while mom had not made up her mind yet. She walked over to the tree and gave it a scrutinizing look over and began to appreciate the work and thought that went into keeping our family tradition of having a tree for Christmas on behalf of all her children. Mom gave a warm look of approval to all of us and realizing that it wasn’t so much the Tumbleweed bushes that helped remind us of the Christmas spirit, but the thought and not just a thought but the thoughts of her children kept the tradition of having a Christmas tree. So, if you find yourself traveling through the Mojave Deseret and you see a big Tumbleweed being blown across the highway more than likely it is not a future Christmas tree, but it’s the thought that counts. Rm 8.28
In conclusion, it must be said; the legend of the Christmas tree is not without controversy, its origin started long before arriving in the United States in the 1800s. Some do not hold to the idea of having a Christmas tree in their homes or churches, as it is thought of as paganism. Yet there are some who use the tree to remind them of the birth of Christ with the shape of the tree being symbolic of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy ghost, for we worship not the tree, but our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and whatever we do must be done in faith. For all we do, using a Christmas to celebrate the birth of the Lord or declining to have a tree in the house must be done in faith, because all that we do apart from faith is sin and without faith it is impossible to please God. Ec 12.13 And that my brothers and sisters is from the heart.
“Let It Loose”
By Eddie Hailey
I knew right from wrong at an early age because of the upbringing bestowed upon me by my parents. Yet the concept of truth and the profundity of its meaning was not a part of my comprehension or understanding. Oh but little did I know, it would one day affect my belief system and my way of living for the rest of my life. I tried to follow my mother and father’s governance regarding do’s and don’ts in life, but I did not have a real hold on truth. Scripture was and is so appropriate for those times and even now and that goes without saying because Jesus said; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” St. Peter went on to tell us; The Lord left an example for us to follow in His footsteps. Now there should at least be an attempt to immolate His example as often as the opportunity comes before us. 1Pe.2.21 The Apostle Paul gives us an illustration of how we should evolve as a Christians through biblical teaching; “When I was a child, I spoke like a child I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1Cor.13.11 On Some occasions we might need a good friend or family member to simply say to us, when we’re out of line, “Stop it and grow up already.” Sometimes that’s all it takes, a firm word or two said in love in order to put a friend or brother back on track.
I was fascinated and even intrigued with the old Science Fiction movies and even a wee bit frightened because I didn’t know if the characters depicted in the films were tangible. 2Tim.1.7 We lived out in the middle of nowhere in the Mojave Desert when I was growing up and the closest thing we had to street lights out on the farm were the stars in that vast open black sky. Ps.19.1 There were nights when I would go outside alone on a cold night and gaze up into the heavens and ponder the thought of UFO existence when I’d see a falling star shoot across the dark star sprinkled firmament. Even more was my fascination with horror movies, Frankenstein, Werewolves and Vampires and the like, as a kid I wondered if they really did exist. I didn’t know, but I liked the rush of fear that came over me when watching the movies about these daunting characters. Again the questions arose in my juvenile mind, were they more than just made up stories, were they real? 2Tm.2.16 Why even Bela Lugosi, the actor who played Dracula in the horror films requested that he be buried in his Dracula costume when he died. It’s been said that myths and fables come from some form of truth. Today we would call that folklore or legend or even a half truth or a little white lie, but one must take care because fables, myths and little white lies are laced with poisonous deception. The kind of deception that comes from no one other than the devil himself, the father of lies, he is the one who comes to kill, steal and destroy all that God has done, doing and will do in our lives. Jn.10.10 The devil is a liar, thief and murderer and he walks about like a roaring Lion seeking someone to devour. Jn. 8.44 10.10 Be on the alert is what the bible tells us and don’t give the mischievous spirit an opportunity to wreak havoc in your lives. Eph.4.27-29
In a court of law we seek after the truth to determine a person’s guilt or innocence, but we don’t always find what we are seeking, partly because man is fallible and not always trusting in the Lord. Officers of the court or the law have sometimes become so obsessed with winning their court case; voracity or greed has blinded their original quest for justice. Guidance from their greed and deception has destroyed the lives of too many innocent people. Phi.4.6 And sadly; so many have been wrongfully accused and charged with crimes they did not commit. Officers of the law and the courts, including some judges with ulterior motives, were dead set on winning their case with little concern of possibly hurting the faultless. Ex.20.16 Clandestine motives usually conclude with far too many innocent people serving time for something they did not do. Some criminal cases have been rectified with the exoneration of the wrongfully imprisoned, allowing the innocent to taste the sweetness of liberty once again. Unfortunately not everyone caught in this kind of dilemma have been so prosperous and were unlawfully executed.
“The Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organization that is committed to exonerating wrongly convicted people through the use of DNA testing and re-combing through the evidence with scrutiny and new technology in search of the truth. Reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future inequality is very much needed. The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld. To date, the work of the Innocence Project has led to the freeing of many wrongfully convicted people, including too many who spent time on death row.” (Wikipedia) However, some Innocence programs, and there are others around the country, have been flawed and contaminated by the very fraudulent activity bestowed upon the innocent who are falsely accused to begin with. If done straightforwardly, what a wonderful project, where truth sets the captives free and indeed the Lord Jesus is the way and truth and the life and it is He who came to set the captives free. Now all involved are left with confusion instead of the truth and we know who the author of confusion is…the devil himself. Why the Lord Jesus was wrongfully accused and convicted based on lies from the accuser. Yet the father of lies still lost the battle and has and will lose the war. The Lord Jesus who was and is and is to come is victorious and indeed laid down His life for the sins of the world. And He died that man might be reconciled back to the God and His truth is marching on. Contrary to popular beliefs, no one gets away with lawless activity without being noticed and judged accordingly, for the bible tells us; “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 1Cor.5.10 That includes the living and the dead, everyone will stand before God in the day of Judgment and all will be without excuse. Rm.1.20 Coventry Patmore once wrote, “Great is the truth and it shall prevail.” The poem is likened to the words of St. Augustine, “The truth is like a Lion, you don’t have to defend it. Let it Loose, it will defend itself.” It is better to die for standing up for our faith, integrity and truth rather than live as cowardly liars who care nothing about faith, integrity or truth. They care only for their trinity of the flesh, “Me, myself and I”.
We have rights, but it behooves us to exercise those rights wisely. For example; I have a right to hang out with whomever I so choose, yet scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, “bad company corrupts good morals” and “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” So it would befit me to exercise good judgment and wisdom when choosing who I associate with for fun or who I might marry for that matter. I spend time with Christian brothers and sisters for good fellowship and fun, “Iron sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another”, but I need to use good common sense should I choose to mix with non-Christians for fun or business. Please remember; I did not say do not spend time or socialize with non-Christians, after all Christ spent time with sinners. Scripture does not tell us to avoid the unbeliever. No, I’m simply saying adhere to scripture in this regard. Does the word not tell us; “Be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove”? I cannot think of anyone who would want to be wrongfully accused or imprisoned for something they did not do. Well scripture gives us a heads up warning how to avoid the predicaments of bad company. Yes we have rights, but we should use our rights wisely and know the truth about whom we are considering hanging out with and be set free from a potentially debauched situation. Pray for them and love them in the Lord, but don’t ignore warning signs given to you by the Holy Spirit. Is.30.21
I’ve been intrigued by the TV documentary program called “Forensic Files.” It never seems to fail when the Police interview a suspect multiple times, but at different times and the defendants have a hard time keeping their story straight, it’s because they’ve peppered it with lies. They come up with fresh untruths to cover the lies from the first interview and more fabrications on the third interview to cover or explain the dishonesties from the second interview. As a child my parents told me to always tell the truth, because you can remember the truth, but you will have difficulty trying to remember a lie. So the suspects interviewed by Law Enforcement who stumble over their statements when interviewed a second or third time will have difficulty remembering a false testimony. Standing by the truth is like buckling your seatbelt before driving your vehicle, with that seatbelt you stand a better chance in a traffic accident and with the truth you stand a better chance in a court of law.
Pontius Pilate questioned the Lord Jesus and asked Him, “What is truth?” The Lord really answered the question before Pilot asked, note what Jesus said in the book of John; “I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Jn. 18.37 Jesus answered the question but it went over Pilot’s head. Essentially He said those who listen to me live according to the truth and therefore are on the side of truth. He was born to testify that His word is true and real and is and has been the truth from the beginning of time. It was the Lord who also said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn.14.6 As a heathen I use to hear; all religions lead to heaven and Jesus was a good prophet, but not the Son of God or God the Son. Well I hate to disappoint those who believe that lie, because Jesus clearly said, no one comes to the Father except through Him. And if He was simply a good prophet or good man, know that a good prophet or good man would not profess, claim or proclaim to be God in the flesh. Either He was who He said He was or He was a mad man or lunatic and a liar. No good prophet or good man claims to be God, only God makes that claim. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life and no one will get to heaven except through Him. Therefore all religions do not lead to heaven and that’s the truth.
Again I think it bears repeating, remember the words of St. Augustine; “The TRUTH is like a LION, you don’t have to defend it. Let it LOOSE, It will defend itself.” And that, brothers and sisters, is from the heart.
“My Goodness He’s real”
By Eddie Hailey
It was a summer day one Sunday morning when I was 10 years of age in church with my mom. The Pastor was coming to the end of the service when he extended an invitation to become a member of the church, that’s the way I remembered the alter calls. It was an invitation to those who wanted to come forward to join the congregation and become a member of Union Missionary Baptist Church, I don’t remember the invitation to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, only an summons to join the church. Well at 10 years old I had about as much interest in joining the church as I did jumping into a lake of cold water on a cold day in December in the state of Alaska….absolutely not. Yet little did I know, my mother was strongly in favor of me joining the church that day and she leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “you are old enough now, so you go on up there and tell the pastor you want to join the church.” I countered with, “but I don’t want to join the church momma.” And mom came back with, “boy you want yo butt whipped?” “No mam” I said and with that I walked to the front of the church while accompanied by sounds of praise the Lord, halleluiahs and thank you Jesus as I approached the pastor. “Praise God” he said, as he grabbed and swallowed my little hands with his baseball mitts, simultaneously shaking my hand and arms with his big hands. “Bless yo heart young man, bless yo heart, ain’t this something? Can I get an amen church?” And amen was the church’s come back to the pastor’s appeal. Weeks later I was compelled by my mother and father to get baptized, something I did not want to do, fear fell over me like dust from a Mojave sand storm. Pr. 22.6
I was born male, I was born Black, I was born with the sir name Hailey and I was born an American, but contrary to the belief of some, I was not born a Christian just because my mother and father believed in God. Jn. 3.3 One thing I did learn years ago, God does not have any grandchildren, only children who are born again. Mtt. 12.46-50 The roots of my parent’s Christian walk, when I was coming up as a child, was not deep, in fact not very deep at all. Their faith was mingled with falsehood and fables, astrology and the like. Ti. 1.14 Why my father once associated himself with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, not knowing they were not a part of Christianity, because of their doctrinal beliefs was incongruent to the faith of Believers…Christians. Re. 22.19 So as a young boy and later young man, my thought on being a Christian was simple, if my family was Christian, that made me a Christian by birth, like inhaling oxygen, inhale and there you are….a Christian, that simple. And whenever asked about what I believed, I would say whatever came to mind, because I thought I was a Christian because I went to church. Even though I went to church because I was compelled to do so by my parents, because I thought my opinions and comments carried weight because I went to church and I was baptized. 2 Tm. 2.15 My baptism was quite an experience, to say the least and frightening too and according to my brothers and sisters, my mom and dad were embarrassed and not pleased with my lack of composure on the day of my baptism. Ac. 2.38 There was an indoor pool just behind and below the pulpit but just in front and below the choir seating. On that fateful day I was put into a white pullover outfit somewhat like a gown, with just my underwear underneath. The pastor asked me a few questions regarding my decision to join the church and get baptized and carefully I calculated my words to imply that it was all because of my conviction from God, while the truth was my fear of getting a whipping from my mom if I didn’t go through with it. When the pastor completed his questions and verbal guidance, he looked at me and said, “I now baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Jn. 3.13 His big hand coming at my face looked like a baseball mitt and seem to cover every part of my face, they were so huge they blocked out the sunlight. The water was already cold and felt even colder when he took me under. All of a sudden I became frightened that I would not be able to hold my breath long enough and the fear of drowning suddenly came over me. I started fighting to resurface, but the Pastor was holding me down and the situation became more intense at which point I started kicking and struggling to come up. To top it off, I could hear nothing but the sound of the water and had no idea of how things were up top with the choir and the congregation, but I soon found out. When I came to the surface, the pastor’s face was splashed with water, glasses knocked sideways and the choir and congregation were all having a good laugh. I looked over at my mom and she was none too happy or amused. As the pastor lifted me out of the baptismal pool, he said, “praise God, somebody take this child.” On the way home mom read me the riot act, I really got an ear full and there was no mercy from my brothers and sisters. They enjoyed the unintentional entertainment at my expense and poking fun at my unfortunate ordeal.
After completing high school, I went to the local community college in my little home town Barstow and subsequently graduating from there I was offered a music scholarship at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. I was involved in the Music Department and the Drama Department too and it was there at UNLV that I was cast in the musical Godspell. I auditioned and received the title role. Imagine that, and how shocking it must have been, in a predominately White Mormon territory, a young Black man with a big afro, on stage and daring to portray the role of Jesus. Now the Director was known for going against the grain and often strayed from the conventional way of casting. Of course most of the audience was White Anglo Saxon and probably expected to see someone who looked more like them portraying the role of Christ. While never considering the fact that Jesus was Hebrew an Israelite from the tribe of David, a Jew, not White. Mtt. 1.1 Let’s be clear and let me note for the record, I am by no means implying that I am an Israelite, Hebrew or Jew, other than being adopted and grafted into the family of God. Rm. 11.17,18 Yet again back to my short Christian roots, in the process of rehearsing and putting the show together different questions ascended and were brought to the forefront by some of the cast members regarding certain things that might come off as offensive in the show. However; the director was not going to recast some of the cast members, namely me, because of the possibility of some of the white audience taking offence to a Black man playing the role of Jesus in the Production. Besides, if the truth be told, it’s true, Jesus was not Black, but he was not White Anglo Saxon either, so those in the audience who took offence with that part of the casting were simply going to have to build a bridge and get over it. We wanted to make sure that in no way were we irreverent or disrespectful and we did that. During the discussions, a few questions came my way because some in the cast knew and heard that my father was a minister. Therefore that made me some kind of an authority on the subject of Christianity, but really, I pretty much knew nothing of what I dared to talk about. I was simply speaking from pride, arrogance and ignorance and inwardly I knew very little of what I was attempting to talk about and that was pretty much the case for the entire cast. 1Tm. 3.6 We were all heathens and too prideful or embarrassed to speak up and proclaim what we alleged to have believed or knew about God, because we knew very little if anything at all. We were all very young in our late teens and early twenties speaking out of ignorance, because all we really had to go on was our feelings and emotions.
Some four years later down the road I moved from the deserts of Las Vegas, laced with Jackrabbits and Coyotes and moved closer to the Pacific Ocean some 300 miles away to the city of Los Angeles where Surfers cavort about blindly among the sharks. It was my attempt to further my career as a young actor while my girlfriend went north to dance in the hotel casinos in beautiful Lake Tahoe and around the world to South Africa. Our relationship seemed to run out of fuel at this point and time in our young lives and I was distraught and naïve, but from that point on, my life would never be the same even though I eventually learned the breakup was for the best. In my first year in Los Angeles of 1977, things began to move pretty quickly for me and I was very excited to say the least. I was cast in a very successful play in the city of San Francisco down on Fisherman’s Warf, which obligated me to relocate north to the Bay Area for the summer run of the show, “Streamers” by David Rabe. At this point, things began to happen with my career, meeting people who could influence or give direction to my livelihood was lifting my worldly hopes and dreams. One of the actors I befriended in San Francisco put me in contact with his agency, one of the major agencies in the business at the time and they signed me to a year contract. From there; everything happened so fast and so quickly, I was out on auditions almost daily and getting cast in some of the popular TV shows. Yet before I had time to catch my breath, as fast and quickly as it all began, it all stopped and the auditions dried up and before I knew it things started to quickly descend. If I didn’t know any better, I would say it was like someone was marching around the walls of my newly born career and the walls came tumbling down like the Jericho walls. Joshua 6.4 My career walls came falling down on a warm afternoon in the Livingroom of my little North Hollywood apartment. I was at home anticipating a call from my agent regarding the outcome of a very important audition I gave to play the role of Alex Haley, in the miniseries “Roots II”.
Let me take a sidebar and walk you back a few days, prior to the audition, I prayed. I thought I was a Christian because I went to church, even though I hadn’t been to church in years, other than to sing a solo upon receiving an invitation to share in song, but other than that, I would say a verse before a meal and that was about the extent of my Christianity. Yet again; prior to the audition I prayed to God for the first time in years and in the best way I knew how and I asked. “God if you will allow me to do well in this audition, I will start going to church again, and you don’t even have to give me the part.” My thinking was; if God allowed me to perform well on the audition, I would take it from there and put the seal on the deal with my agent, because of my ability and talent.
Now back to the phone call. The long anticipated wait was becoming too difficult for me to bear, none the less I waited patiently until the loud chilling ring of the phone filled my little living room with uncertainty. I stared at the phone, with a pregnant pause for a second or two more, giving it another chance to ring, a feeble attempt to boost my confidence in the moment of it all, as if that would have any ramifications on the outcome of the call. I picked up the Receiver on the
third ring and said, “Hello” and there was an uncomfortable hiatus followed by the voice of my agent, who simply said, “I’m sorry Eddie, it’s not going to work out this time.” And with that I slowly returned the telephone receiver back to its cradle and inexplicably began to weep with anger and frustration with the word “why” running around in my head. One thing to note; I’ve never heard an audible voice from God before, yet in His own way, however it pleases Him, He is able to communicate with us one on one and directly without any other soul tuning in or hearing what is being said and it’s not audible nor thought but God can and will speak to you when He so chooses and on that day He spoke to me. De 13.1-3 For the first time in my life, there in my little North Hollywood Apartment, I met the Lord when He spoke to my spirit and said, “I kept my end of the bargain, what about you?” And there was nothing more. A fear augmented in my being like I’d never felt or experienced before in my life and the soberness of it all quickly dried away the tears and I knew I was not alone. I sat quietly and said to myself, in awe, “My goodness He’s real.” Without a doubt, I knew that my life would never be the same from that moment on.
Later that week I was taking guitar lessons at one of the local music stores in North Hollywood one afternoon and I felt impressed to ask the owner of the store if he knew of any Christian churches in the area. I remembered my part of the bargain was that I would start going to church again if God allowed me to do well on the audition and well is what I did and I thought it would be best to keep my end of the bargain too and I was not going to play with what was going on in my life. When I asked the owner of the store if he knew of any Christian churches in the area, to my utter surprise and amazement he replied, “Why yes I do.” With that resounding affirmation he proceeded to pull from behind the counter of where he was standing, a list of Christian churches in the area with phone numbers to boot. I had no choice and no excuse to avoid going to church any longer and later that week I found a church called the Vineyard located in Encino, in the San Fernando Valley. And in October of 1978 I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and it was at that time I realized I was wrong when I thought was a Christian just because I went to church. I had to invite the Lord into my life and repent from my sins and be baptized by my choice and not because my parents ordered me to do so. Someone coined the phrase, “BORN ONCE, DIE TWICE, BORN TWICE, DIE ONCE”, well I am thankful that I can say I’ve been born twice, once at birth and born again into Gods family and kingdom as a Christian and now truly a child of God. A pastor once said, and I’ll never forget it, “God has no grandchildren.” According to the bible, God’s holy word tells us, no one will be with excuse. Rm. 1.20 And that, my brothers and sisters, is from the heart.
“Thank The Sweet Lord”
By Eddie Hailey
In a land where the summers are unforgiving and the winters are equally so, my brothers and sister and I were kept under the watchful eye of our mom and dad, while living on a small farm in the Mojave Desert. Our parents came from humble beginnings, my father’s education got him as far as the 6th grade whereas my mother managed to make it to the 3rd grade. Mom was pulled from school by her stepmother when she was a young girl for reason unknown. Her relationship with her stepmother was volatile at best. She may not have received a diploma for educational achievements, but she was able to leave a memorable legacy to her children about the importance of doing the right thing and staying out of trouble and clinging to the straight and narrow way of the Lord. Pr. 22.6 Though we did not have much in the way of material wealth, mom was always very thankful. On countless occasions I recall hearing my mother say, “Thank the sweet Lord.” She would thank Him for everything, for food, clothing, a roof over our heads and for the health and safety of our family. Ph. 4.19 Yes I would hear her say, “Thank the sweet Lord.” To this day, since I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I find myself even saying, thank you Lord, not for any specific reason, but just thanking Him because I know He’s there and He provides and cares for me. 1Ths. 5.18 Our mother passed away on November 30, 1969, the month of Thanksgiving and it was at that time our dad stepped up to the helm of his spirituality and drew closer to God. He remarried and became a pastor and godly role model for the children of his first and second family and he and his second wife became a great team for Jesus. Ro. 15. 5-6 Dad and our Stepmother had five more children and ministered in the high desert of Southern California until dad was stricken with Alzheimer’s. He later died in the arms of his Confidant and Soulmate in June of 2002 and indeed she was faithful to her wedding vows, until they were separated by death. Ge. 2.24 We the children, of dad’s first family, are so grateful to our Stepmother’s unparalleled devotion to or father, through the good, bad and tough times, she was always there for him. Pr. 3.3
In the summer of 1977 I was on a PSA flight on my way back to Los Angeles after spending a brief time with my girlfriend, who unbeknown to me, was about to become my former girlfriend at the time. I took a flight up to Lake Tahoe, Nevada to see her, only to hear that she wanted to call it quits. She said she wanted to move on with her life and I took that to mean the relationship was no longer challenging. On that day the bond between us ruined that special place in my heart for her and I immediately jumped on a plane and headed back to Los Angeles. I was still living as a heathen at that time and when I boarded the aircraft to go home, as far as I was concerned I couldn’t leave Lake Tahoe soon enough. Though the beautiful skies and mountains and scenery overall proclaimed a perfectly fine-looking day, it was a very troublesome day for me. To say my countenance was low would be an understatement, it was dragging below sea level to put it bluntly. The flight was short, about an hour twenty minutes or so and I believe the aircraft was a DC – 8, one of those propeller planes? We were flying at an altitude about 8 thousand feet and I sat gazing out my window at the city of Lake Tahoe as it slowly faded away and all I could think about was her. My two older brothers who use to work on airplanes once told me, if you have no real reason to leave your seat other than to go to the restroom, it would be ill-advised to walk around the plane being a social bug. They would always say, stay in your seat and keep your seatbelt fastened at all times. Wow did that advice ever come in handy and right on time, when without warning the plane just simply dropped out of the sky. The Flight Attendant, who was serving refreshments at the time, was slammed to the ceiling of the aircraft and food trays and other loose items were violently thrown about the cabin and there was some screaming, but not like a scene out of a movie, it was more reserved. My life, as they say, flashed in front of me and I was expecting to die. He. 9.27 I did not know Christ at the time of this unforgettable experience and I didn’t know what to say except no, no, no this can’t be happening. I should have been thinking about other things like the end of my life was before me, but I was angry. Angry because I remembered that I had everything in my Will in my girlfriend’s name and our relationship had just been expunged, leaving her with everything I had. Which wasn’t very much at all. I simply didn’t like the thought of everything going to her and my family not knowing we had broken up before I boarded the Flight back to LA. They would have been comforting her and feeling bad for her, not knowing we were no longer an item or couple. I was a messed up individual when all of a sudden everyone on the plane got another chance at life, as the old DC – 8 leveled off while passengers, still shaken and frightened by the terrifying inexplicable ordeal, began to slowly recover. One of the Flight Attendants was injured pretty badly and there were a few others with minor injuries. The episode was reported in the LA Times on the following day, explaining how the pilot had to take evasive actions and quickly dive to avoid a small private plane directly in our path and heading right at us. To this day I am thankful and grateful to God for saving everyone on that plane and sparing us from anything greater than what we had just experienced. I deserved death, but God showed me mercy and by His grace I was saved with much to be beholden to the Lord God. The following year I came to Christ and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and put my dark past behind me. Ro. 8.28 Yet the devil is not always convinced and will tempt you as he has done to me over the years since the day I turned my life over to Jesus. 1Pe. 5.8 Yet the good news is; should you stumble, confess it to the Lord, repent from it and avoid giving the devil opportunities that might cause you to fall. Give thanks to the Lord for not leaving you or forsaking you if you should stagger and sway in your walk. After all, He is a loving and forgiving God and His mercy endures forever. Remember, the bible tells us to do the following; Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Thess 5.18
Food was not always plentiful when I was growing up as a child, but mom was always able to come up with a winner for breakfast or dinner while lunch was rare. Biscuits and Gravy was a common staple during hard times, a God given ability she had…always able to come up with tasty makings to feed and satisfy eight hungry children. 1Ti. 5.8 After feeding dad and all of us kids she would often sit at the table, sometimes by herself, and I would hear her say to herself just before taking her first bite of supper, “Thank the sweet Lord.” She was not a religious person, but always grateful though having little and consistently thankful to God for seeing her family through the good and bad times. When we moved from Texas to California back in the 50’s, dad made the decision to move our family to the Mojave Desert out in the middle of nowhere. He shunned the idea of moving to the Inland Empire area or Los Angeles where he and mom would have to compete with the inevitable peer pressure that would be bestowed upon their children, something we would have had to undertake and endure on a daily basis. In later years my brother Henry and I once called it “good horse sense” on the part of our parents by moving us to a little farm in the High Desert. This move assured them of having our undivided attention, for the most part, while growing up against the dares along the way. If I never learned anything else from my mother and father, for sure I learned to always be grateful and appreciative for all that I had or was given and to know ultimately it all came from God yesterday, today and even will tomorrow. I am grateful for the good and bad experiences in my life, because God causes all things to work together for the good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, that we might be conformed more to the image of Christ Jesus. I may stumble and I may fall, but the important thing is getting up because He will never forsake me or leave me and I am glad that I am engraved in the palm of His hand and I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. As my mom use to say, “Thank the Sweet Lord”, and that, my brothers and sisters, is from the heart. Ro. 8.39
“Only a fool say’s there is no God”
By Eddie Hailey
I recently read an article regarding celebrities who do not believe in God, I believe 47 was the number holding to this ill-fated position. I’m sure there were more, but certainly not less than the reported sum total. How pathetically sad and unfortunate, that a revelation of this sort is bestowed upon our society today, a country once believed to be a Christian nation. Interestingly enough, all of the stars or Hollywoodites are financially well off too, at least above middle class status. Pretty much anything they want or desire, they have the financial means to acquire. Money can buy a lot of things but it can’t buy true love or immortality that can only come from God, who the fools do not believe, exist. They may not believe, but one thing is for certain, death will come and the only one who can offer true love and immortality and salvation is the Lord Jesus Himself and it cannot be bought, because it’s already been paid for in full on the cross. It was paid for in blood, blood of the Lamb. The bible tells us that only a fool says in his heart, “There is no god.” Ps 14.1 Saying there is no god is like saying there is no inventor, why the Automobile, the Train, Airplane, Boat and countless other machinery and equipment have come about in the past 150 years and not by way of any big bang or boom. The only bang having anything to do with the inventions mentioned above are the tools used to make them, manipulated and maneuvered by the Inventor and Builder. The bible tells us; “For the director of music. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Ps 19.1 For those who do not believe there is a God responsible for creating the universe and every living organism in it, including mankind; Abraham Lincoln said it best, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
Some years ago I traveled to Italy to visit a very dear friend of mine and on one beautiful day we were on a train bound for Venice when without warning my friend inquired about my faith. “So why do you believe in God”, she asked. I was aware that she did not believe in God from our past conversations years ago in college. According to my friend intelligent and scientific people had no need to believe in such fables, the kind of things for the simple minded people. Well I’ve always said, Christianity is simple, but it isn’t easy in that anyone can humbly repent of their sins and accept Christ as their Lord and Savior and receive salvation. Yet pride and arrogance often stands in the way and rather than simply ask God for forgiveness, man will often hold onto his or her pride. 1 Tm 6.17 The bible tells us that pride goes before the destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Pr 16.18 I answered my friends question by sharing my testimony and when I concluded she
replied by saying, “I don’t buy it.” I responded by saying, “it’s not for sale, it’s already been paid for when Christ laid down his life and died on the cross for the sins of the world.” Jn 3.16 / 15.13 / 10.11 I returned a question to her, “ If you do not believe in God or believe there is a God, why be good, why help your fellow man, why not let our fellow man help themselves? She replied, because that’s what descent people do, help their fellow man. Taking your position, I replied, I would be wise to take all I can when I have the chance and from whomever when the opportunity arises, because if there is no God, no resurrection, no hope of heaven, only the certainty of death and dying into oblivion, I should take all I can if I’m only going to be here today and gone tomorrow without hope. However; I am descent and do help my fellow man because the good Lord has put it into my heart man to know right from wrong and to do what’s right and furthermore, He created mankind in His image and we should not forget His image is immortal. There is no excuse for not knowing or believing in God. Ro 1.20 Ge 1.26 God put it in our hearts to know right from wrong, what we might call our conscience. Ro 1.20
I believe man fears dying because God has put eternity in his heart and it is only natural to have a fear of death, because passing away was not originally a part of our makeup. 2 Tim 1.7 According to the bible we were created in the image of God and we need to be clear, part of that image is immortality and though we may die, all who are dead or die before the return of Christ will be resurrected and stand before God’s judgment and live with Him for all eternity or live apart from Him for all eternity in darkness depending on the judgment God bestows upon them. Why the good Lord is not a partial God and He even hates partiality and favoritism, because He is a righteous God and He gives everyone an opportunity to come to Him and get to know Him and He will create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Ro 2.11 For scripture tells us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. Ec 3.11 We see His mighty hand at work every day in the rivers and streams, lakes and seas and colossal oceans. His hand is there when we see the gigantic mountains capped with snow and beautiful valleys assorted with a pleasing décor of flowers and wild life roaming freely for all to see. Yes how can one look upon the stars and moon at night and believe or say, there is no God? Why only a fool my friend, only a fool. And that, my brothers and sisters, is from the heart.
By Eddie Hailey
David Hannum most likely coined the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute” and not P.T. Barnum, though the phrase was credited to him. He was an American showman of the mid-1800s, who would refer to his customers that way. Why the bible even tells us, “My people perish for lack of knowledge (Ho 4.6); furthermore we are exhorted to know the truth because the truth will set us free. (Jn 8.32) If there were no gullible people in the world there would be no work for the charlatans or shysters, but unfortunately that’s not true. God warns us in His word, “The devil prowls around like a roaring Lion seeking someone to devour.”(1 Pe 5.8) According to the bible, the devil is the craftiest creature created; apparently the best liar there ever was or will be. (Ge 3.1) That means he can lie in such a way that would deceive the brightest human minds ever to walk the earth and by the looks of things many are being deceived by him daily and even now as he roams to and fro on the earth, (Job 1.7) because apart from God it is impossible to avoid being cuckolded. (Jn 15.5) There are some very intelligent people who have gone astray, thinking they were too intelligent to be duped. Yet pride goes before the fall (Pr 16.18 ) and having a moral compass has nothing to do with being intelligent, it’s knowing right from wrong and doing what is right over what is wrong. After all, intelligent people have committed murder and even genocide at alarming atrocious levels, with their intelligence doing little to compel them to do the right thing, even though God put in their heart to know right from wrong. (Ro 1.19, 20)
The following story is about a former Russian KGB man and a prime example of the devil’s craftiness; The night was cold and the thick black clouds enhanced the darkness that lay over the land. The sound of despair rang loudly in the howling wind of Siberia. Sergei, a strong young man in the Lord was sent to prison for preaching the Gospel. He was severely punished for refusing to refrain from telling others about his Christian faith. The persecution he suffered was becoming unbearable; he beseeched the Lord for mercy. One night he was startled when an unusual light entered his prison cell, the light was beautiful. Sergei was puzzled when he suddenly heard a voice from the light. The voice said, “I have heard your prayers, now bow and worship me.” Believing his prayers had been answered, Sergei started to bow when the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guarded his heart and mind. And he remembered; “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirit to see if they be from God.”(1 Jn 4.1) Sergei, obedient to the word, rose and faced the light and said, “If you be the Christ, I bow to worship you. If you are not He, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command you to leave this room now!” Once again Sergei’s prison cell was dark, the light was gone. And it’s no wonder; even the devil disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Cor 11.14)
The biggest trick the devil has ever played on the world is convincing the people that he does not exist, not real, just a figment of the imagination. According to the New York Times, “two thirds of Americans do not believe in the devil as a living entity.” Furthermore he convinces people to believe; if cultic activity does not work it is false, useless and harmless. Activities such as Halloween, Astrology, and the Weegie Board, to name a few, are practices perceived as harmless, but the bible tells us not to give the devil an opportunity, (Eph 4.27) They are spiritual gateways to spiritual darkness and can put its victims in spiritual bondage. The devil persuades many people; if cultic or Occultism works it is okay because it works, it is real, not false or something made-up implies that it is harmless. Yet the bible tells us in the book of 1 Samuel that King Saul once consulted a Medium and asked her to bring up the spirit of the prophet Samuel from the dead and the Medium was in fact able to bring up the spirit of Samuel…it worked and it works. (1Sam 28. 3-25) However, scripture tells us; obedience is better than sacrifice and consulting a Medium is in direct disobedience to God’s commandment which forbids us to participate in such malevolent activity. And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? (Is 8.19) As Christians, we’re not ignorant of the devil’s schemes and we are further instructed not to give the devil an opportunity. If you give the devil an inch he will take a mile of your life and more. There is an abundance of diverse religions in the world today, but how do we know the truth from the counterfeit? Remember the passage mentioned earlier, “Know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” That is freedom from what and whom? First of all who is the Truth? Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me.” (Jn 14.6) That’s why we pray in Jesus name, because we have to go through Him in His name, in order to get to God the Father and when we ask for anything, we are to ask in Jesus name. (Jn 14.13,14) Many years ago, during my BC days, I worked as a Blackjack Dealer in Las Vegas and from time to time there were some customers who would try to use counterfeit money. One day I asked my Pit Boss, one who watches over the dealers in the Pit, how to tell the difference between real money and counterfeit money and my Pit Boss gave me very simple instructions. He said, “Get to know the real money and the counterfeit money will stick out like a sore thumb. Praise be to God! I never forgot those guidelines and they were even applicable in the spiritual realm of my life today. Get to know Jesus, know His holy word and the devil’s counterfeit religions will stick out like a sore Thumb. Remember the acronym KISS, keep it simple saints. We who are Christian do not have to study other religions in order to know they are not in accord with the teachings of the bible, the holy word of God. Know the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Truth will set you free from any counterfeit teaching. Remember, the devil is a thief (Jn 10.10) and he is not above taking from the Christian bible to circulate it with his counterfeit religions to enhance his deed of confusion in order to steer people away from Jesus. When other religions speak of a Jesus, the devil would have you believe they are speaking of the same Jesus we know in the bible, but don’t be hoodwinked, bamboozled or sucker punched by this crafty deceiver. If the Jesus they speak of does not say “You must repent of your sins and be born again, (Jn 3.7) that Jesus is not the Jesus we have come to know as Lord and Savior who teaches us through the following books of His holy word; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and the New Testament including Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Revelation and that my brothers and sisters, is from the heart.
By Eddie Hailey
In a time when the world has been plagued with false teachers and imposters, it behooves every man and woman to know the truth about what they profess to believe and why. Jos 24.15 The bible says, even the devil disguises himself as an angel of light and it’s no wonder that the demons will disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. 2 Cor 11.14 This is not an attempt to bring focus or glory to angels, because the bible forbids any such movement. It is simply to make us aware that we are not alone during those difficult dangerous times in our lives when it may appear that we are unaided. He 13.5 Remember the word of God reads; if God be for us, who can be against us and He will encamp His angels around those who walk upright. Ro 8.31 Ps 34.7 Furthermore, two thirds of the angels who fought with Michael the Archangel would not receive praise or worship from mankind, because praying to dead saints or angels is also forbidden. The Lord God is a jealous God and would not and will not share His glory or praise and worship with any idle or anything living or created. Ex 20.1-4
In the natural realm seeing is believing yet in the spiritual realm, to those who are in Christ, believing is seeing. So far most of us have never seen an angel before; we generally write them off as myths or fairy tales. Yet according to the bible, angels are not some mythological character we read or hear about in plays, poetry or song, they are real. They are created beings used by God in the world affairs of today, just as they were used in biblical times and all of history itself. They are spirits, mighty and powerful, sent to minister to those who shall be heirs to salvation. Col 1.16 They do not appear in physical bodies, although they may take on physical bodies when God appoints them to special task that may necessitate being seen. They do not become real or fictional as our finite beliefs or unbelief’s would have them be. They exist and are as real as you and I and to deny their existence borders on the denial of God.
The following story is true and involves the personal testimony of two Christian girls in their late teens, rescued by God from a dangerous situation in their life, aided by these mighty beings called angels. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.
It was a warm night in Los Angeles, the Santa Ana winds now but a breeze blew gently in the late hour. The crickets were singing while the smell of Jasmine perfumed the hours of darkness and complementing the season of spring. Two college girls, Sherry and Dorothy, left their weekly bible study and started walking to their car to go home. When they got into the car, Dorothy put the key into the ignition to start the engine, but got no response. Thinking nothing of it at the time, she tried again, still not a sound.
Before the two girls had time to ponder, sudden terror was upon them. Two average looking men attacked from both sides of the vehicle, attempting to gain access. Out of habit, Sherry had locked her door, for a moment Dorothy struggled with one of the attackers. The nature of the two assailants’ behavior revealed that it was not the first time they lunched such an assault on innocent people. Some how Dorothy was able to push her attacker away and quickly lock her door, as Sherry was loudly calling on the Lord in prayer. While the two men were continuing their efforts to get one of the doors open, Dorothy joined her sister and pleaded with the Lord for help, as her efforts to try to start the car seemed hopeless. Yet suddenly the engine began to roar and the attackers appeared to be shocked, confused and stunned when the two girls quickly drove away into the night.
The next morning they told their father about the horrifying experience they had. After hearing their story, their dad went to the garage to have a look at the car the night before. He looked under the hood and noticed the battery was missing. He went back inside to tell the girls, thinking maybe they new something about the missing battery. Sherry and Dorothy knew nothing about the missing battery, but when they were told it was gone, a profound and referent fear fell over them. They were now fully aware; the Lord indeed heard their prayer that night and sent an angel to deliver them from their attackers, the two men who took the battery.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Ps 34.17 After all, doesn’t the bible say; “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? “He 1.14 And that, my brothers and sisters, is from the heart.
“God’s Saving Grace”
The winters in the Mojave Desert could get pretty cold some times, but incomparable to the winters of Colorado. Yet by the same token, the summer heat of Colorado could not compare to the hot summers of the Mojave, where triple digit temperatures are as common as the desert Creosote bush. The year was 1959 and Alaska was admitted as the 49th state in the union. My family lived on a modest 300 acre farm smack dab in the middle of the desert and I was all of 9 years old. On one wintery morning the ground was covered with frost on a clear day, with a temperature of 7 degrees…cold. We had no indoor heating in those days; we chopped wood to feed an old black Stove we used for warming the house and sometimes for cooking. On that frigid morning my father and brother’s Henry and James and I reluctantly piled into the family’s “56 Ford station wagon” and headed for a timbered area near the little town of Daggett in search of firewood. By the grace of God we were always able to find the amount of kindling we needed for the old black Stove.
My dad was a humble man and we were a God fearing family who went to church, but lacking when it came to having a personal relationship with Jesus, we were not born again. Attending church for some Black people living in the fifties, was more of a social outlet rather than a place of divine refuge or spiritual growth. The church was one place where Black people felt socially accepted in society. However; when many of the talented singers in the church began to receive acceptance in the general populous for their talented abilities, they began to leave the church. Our father was a proud man, as many were in those days; after all it was considered a good and positive thing to have pride and dignity and to be proud of ones accomplishments in those days and even as we are today. The bible tells us, the devil is the father of lies and it’s no wonder how he has bamboozled the world into using altered meanings of words unsupported by the scriptures. Jn 8.44 For instance; the proud and prideful are not spoken of in high regard in the bible. As the scripture reads, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Ja 4.6 When Jesus was baptized the Father did not say, He was proud of His beloved son, but “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” Mt 3.17 It is not too uncommon that words take on new meanings after generations and time, and those words with new evolved meaning, were eventually embraced by society. I’m happy to say that our dad did not remain a proud man, but eventually a spirit filled God fearing man some years later in his life.
That morning we came into the little town of Daggett, frequented so many times on route 66 highway and turned right onto Daggett-Yermo road and dad approached the railroad crossing about 75 yards in front of us. The crossing signal was on and the red lights were flashing. In hindsight, dad probably should have held his position at the crossing. He cautiously looked left and right before proceeding across the tracks. My brother Henry was sitting in the front passenger seat, while my brother James and I were in the back seat. My father has come to this particular railroad crossing on countless occasions and knew it like the back of his hand. To the left was a long row of parked boxcars and to the right was an old Santa Fe Freight Train patiently waiting according to protocol, for another train anticipated coming from the west. The wait could be pretty lengthy at times and dad would usually wait if he was unsure of the situation. On other occasions he would cautiously look left then right and slowly cross the tracks. Today was one of those drawn-out times, waiting for the crossing to clear. However; for some inexplicable reason dad appeared to be rushed and exasperated on that cold Saturday morning and felt the need to hurry and get across the tracks. Again he looked left at the long row of boxcars and then to the right at the slow moving Santa Fe Freight Train. He quickly made his calculation of the situation before him and began to cross the tracks when my brother Henry suddenly saw in his peripheral vision to his left, a black stack of smoke billowing over the tops of the parked boxcars and moving at a very rapid speed coming from the west. Henry had only time to yell one word, “TRAIN”, he shouted! With only a split second, dad quickly hammered down on the brakes of the car and no sooner than he did, the 100 ton towering Train, in a blur, was already crossing before our eyes at 70 mph, so close the car was vibrating from the power and speed of the big Santa Fe. The deafening whistle blew loudly on the big red nosed Train bound for Albuquerque, New Mexico. Until that day I had never seen fear in my father’s eyes, but on
that day, fear is what I saw. Why the thought of possibly losing three of his sons in an instance was enough to put terror in the eyes of any man. After the train quickly went by and faded into a distant mirage, dad slowly crossed the tracks and had to pull to the side of the road to gather his thoughts and calm down from the overwhelming incident. My brothers and I were frightfully startled to the point of terror from the ordeal as well. It was by God’s grace and mercy that my brother Henry saw the rising smoke coming over the tops of the parked boxcars and causing him to react quickly in the nick of time.
That cold frosty day is one I’ll never forget. Years later my brothers Henry, James and our father and I were saved by God’s grace, in fact, even our entire family gave their lives to Christ at different times down the road. Jn3.16 Of course our conversions came at different dates and times over the years. Some of my family members are now with the Lord, including my father and mother, two brothers and a sister who were not included in the story. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Rm 8.28 And indeed God’s saving grace protected us from a horrifying tragedy that could have happened and by His grace we were saved from our sins and called according to His purpose, and that my friends, is from the heart.
On a cold January night in Southern California not far from the city of Palos Verdes, Isabel was a pretty young mother expecting her second child. She was about four months along when her doctors gave her some unwelcoming news about her prenatal condition. After running more medical test on her, the doctors discovered some results that gave reason for pause. She previously had received other test and exams pertaining to the pregnancy, in addition to her personal medical issues she was currently wrestling with including diabetes. Isabel was told that her baby would have some birth defects and severe trials, and to say she was upset about the latest information she received would be an understatement. “So what does this mean” Isabel nervously inquired, “what’s wrong with my baby?” “Our test show the fetus is not developing normally and would most likely face medical challenges,” the doctor declared. The physicians gazed at Isabel with eyes of gloom and Isabel picked up on their expressions and didn’t know if she should be sad, angry or worried or hang on to all three emotions, “You’re looking at me like there is more to tell…is there more?” “I’m afraid so”, Doctor Grassland said, “a portion of the baby’s Brain is developing on the outside of the skull, a condition called Encephalocele, which could drastically hinder the child’s ability to see, talk or hear and the aptitude to walk would also be highly doubtful”, the doctor proclaimed. Isabel was in shock and disarray and very jumbled with her thoughts. “There is still time”, the doctor said in a clinical tone. “Still time for what”, Isabel asked with unwavering eyes locked onto the doctor. “There is still time to terminate”, the doctor said. “I can’t do that”, she countered. “To carry the pregnancy to term could put your own health at risk”, the doctor warned. “I can’t kill my baby, Jesus would not like that”, Isabel affirmed. Ex 20.13 Ps127.3
The bible tells us to; “walk by faith and not by sight” so Isabel leaned on what she knew best, she called her mother and remembered the word of God which reminded her that “faith without works is dead”, so she asked her mom – Maria – to alert the members of the bible study group to pray for her baby. 2Cor 5.7 The members of the bible study who met at Maria’s house were notified about the doctors findings and the recommendation to terminate the pregnancy and with that they went into prayer, remembering the word of God which reads; “The fervent prayer of the righteous accomplishes much” and to “pray without ceasing” Ja 5.16 1Th 5.17 Her doctors were professionals and their medical instruments were pretty accurate and gave the medical personnel the findings regarding Isabel’s unborn baby and their discoveries have been accurate in previous cases before. Yet Isabel refused to adhere to the doctor’s recommendation to abort, but resting on the word of God which reads; “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”, furthermore, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Mt 19.26 Rm 8.31 So Isabel chose to lean on God and not on her own understanding or the doctors’ knowledge, when she rejected the very idea of terminating her baby. She believed nothing was too difficult for God, so as best she could, she trusted in God with all her heart and leaned not on her own understanding and five months later on June 22, 2012 a beautiful baby boy was born to Isabel and her husband Armando and they gave him the name Noah, which means in Hebrew; Comfort; long-lived; repose. There were some surgeries for little Noah, but Isabel’s faith in God was followed by good news.
Little Noah can walk and talk and see and hear contrary to the pre-birth predictions pronounced on him during the pregnancy and he simply epitomizes the word precious and to know this miracle baby is to be blessed by God and may this story of little Noah increase your faith in God. And that my brothers and sisters is from the heart.
by Eddie Hailey
To celebrate their three year wedding anniversary, Rebecca and Turner went to visit some friends in Montana and while there, they thought it would be nice to embark upon one of their favorite hobbies, hiking. So one early morning they decided to go for a trek in the mountains near by an area where some of the college students have engaged in cliff jumping. They were walking at a pretty hurried pace when just around the corner of this protruding massive rock, they sauntered upon two Black Bear cubs cavorting about in the tall grass. Turner was fascinated by the two little cubs, but Rebecca quietly said, “Let’s keep moving, before the mother shows up.” Turner took an ill-advised approach to get closer to the bears cubs, but they quickly ran away and headed straight for the morning fog now rolling in from the east. Rebecca and Turner hadn’t noticed the mother, veiled by the fog. As the two cubs cuddled to the back of her as she rose from behind a small Nanking Cherry bush and stood over the top peering at the young couple. Without warning the bear suddenly charged and Rebecca and Turner were frozen with fear.
According to the dictionary fear is, being afraid of someone or something. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The fear of a mother bear possibly attacking to protect her cubs is a respectful and justifiable fear because of the possible consequences, which could have been harmful or even fatal. Fear can be justifiable or unjustifiable.
On the other hand, if I fear asking my boss for a pay raise, after receiving an excellent performance evaluation, that’s an unjustifiable fear. What’s the worst that could happen? The boss could say no, but should the fear of your boss possibly denying you a pay raise stop you from asking? No. The Lord God wants us to “be bold and be strong and know that He is with you” Jos1.9 and would also remind us that “we have not because we ask not.” Ja 4.2 The bible further tells us, “in fear there is torment” 1Jn 4.18 Therefore it is safe to say, it was not the Lords intention to torment Turner and Rebecca with fear nor His children in general. Yet scripture does tell us that God put His fear on us to keep us from sinning against Him. Ex 20.20 This is a justifiable fear, a deep respect and holy reverence for God so that we may know right from wrong and be in His will in our thoughts, in our walk and our talk. We cannot treat our heavenly Father like our earthly father, nor should we treat or fear our earthly father the way we would fear our heavenly Father.
When the bear put a mock charge on Turner and Rebecca, Rebecca instructed Turner to back away slowly when the bear charged again and this time she had no intentions of stopping. Rebecca was accustomed to the outdoors and various kinds of wildlife and Black bear, like any wild animal, can be unpredictable. When the bear charged she yelled, “Run to the cliff and jump to the lake and without hesitation Turner did just that with Rebecca right on his heels as they both jumped twenty feet to the lake below. The bear looked down upon young couple now swimming to safety and quickly turned and hurried back to look after her cubs as the fog began to clear.
In conclusion; there are different levels of fear, some justifiable and unjustifiable and we do not have to respect the unjustifiable fears and we certainly do not and should not fear what man will do against us because of our faith in God. Finally scripture tells us the following; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phili 4.18 Fear not what we need not fear and respect with reverence the one we need to fear. Finally as scripture reads; “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecc12.13 And that brothers and sisters, is from the heart.