Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Wild and Free Pigs of the Okefenokee Swamp

The following parable has been shared many times by email and on sites on the Internet, and for good reason.  It tells of the relation between freedom and independence.  The details of its origin are not clear, but it was told by George Gordon, and this transcript is credited to Steve Washam. 

The Wild and Free Pigs of the Okefenokee Swamp

Some years ago, about 1900, an old trapper from North Dakota hitched up some horses to his Studebaker wagon, packed a few possessions--especially his traps--and drove south. Several weeks later he stopped in a small town just north of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. It was a Saturday morning--a lazy day--when he walked into the general store. Sitting around the pot-bellied stove were seven or eight of the town's local citizens. The traveler spoke, "Gentlemen, could you direct me to the Okefenokee Swamp?" Some of the oldtimers looked at him like he was crazy.

"You must be a stranger in these parts," they said.

"I am. I'm from North Dakota," said the stranger.

"In the Okefenokee Swamp are thousands of wild hogs," one old man explained, "A man who goes into the swamp by himself asks to die!"

He lifted up his leg. "I lost half my leg here, to the pigs of the swamp."

Another old fellow said, "Look at the cuts on me; look at my arm bit off!" "Those pigs have been free since the Revolution, eating snakes and rooting out roots and fending for themselves for over a hundred years. They're wild and they're dangerous. You can't trap them. No man dare go into the swamp by himself."

Every man nodded his head in agreement.

The old trapper said, "Thank you so much for the warning. Now could you direct me to the swamp?"

They said, "Well, yeah, it's due south--straight down the road." But they begged the stranger not to go, because they knew he'd meet a terrible fate.

He said, "Sell me ten sacks of corn, and help me load them into the wagon."

And they did.

Then the old trapper bid them farewell and drove on down the road. The townsfolk thought they'd never see him again.

Two weeks later the man came back. He pulled up to the general store, got down off the wagon, walked in and bought ten more sacks of corn. After loading it up he went back down the road toward the swamp.

Two weeks later he returned and, again, bought ten sacks of corn.

This went on for a month; Then two months, and then three. Every week or two the old trapper would come into town on a Saturday morning, load up ten sacks of corn and drive off south into the swamp. The stranger soon became a legend in the little village and the subject of much speculation. People wondered what kind of devil had possessed this man, that he could go into the Okefenokee by himself and not be consumed by the wild and free hogs.

One morning the man came into town as usual. Everyone thought he wanted more corn.

He got off the wagon and went into the store where the usual group of men were gathered around the stove. He took off his gloves. "Gentlemen," he said, "I need to hire about ten or fifteen wagons. I need twenty or thirty men. I have six thousand hogs out in the swamp, penned up, and they're all hungry. I've got to get them to market right away." "You've WHAT in the swamp?" asked the storekeeper, incredulously. "I have six thousand hogs penned up. They haven't eaten for two or three days, and they'll starve if I don't get back there to feed and take care of them."

One of the old timers said, "You mean you've captured the wild hogs of the Okefenokee?"

"That's right."

"How did you do that? What did you do?" the men urged, breathlessly. One of them exclaimed, "But I lost my arm!"

"I lost my brother!" cried another.

"I lost my leg to those wild boars!" chimed a third. The trapper said, "Well, the first week I went in there they were wild all right. They hid in the undergrowth and wouldn't come out. I dared not get off the wagon. So I spread corn along behind the wagon. Every day I'd spread a sack of corn.

"The old pigs would have nothing to do with it. But the younger pigs decided that it was easier to eat free corn than it was to root out roots and catch snakes. So the very young began to eat the corn first. "I did this every day. Pretty soon, even the old pigs decided that it was easier to eat free corn, after all, they were all free; they were not penned up. They could run off in any direction they wanted at any time. "The next thing was to get them used to eating in the same place all the time. So, I selected a clearing, and I started putting the corn in the clearing.

"At first they wouldn't come to the clearing. It was too far. It was too open. It was a nuisance to them.

"But the very young decided that it was easier to take the corn in the clearing than it was to root out roots and catch their own snakes. And not long thereafter, the older pigs also decided that it was easier to come to the clearing every day.

"And so the pigs learned to come to the clearing every day to get their free corn. They could still subsidize their diet with roots and snakes and whatever else they wanted. After all, they were all free. They could run in any direction at any time. There were no bounds upon them. "The next step was to get them used to fence posts. So I put fence posts all the way around the clearing. I put them in the underbrush so that they wouldn't get suspicious or upset, after all, they were just sticks sticking up out of the ground, like the trees and the brush. The corn was there every day. It was easy to walk in between the posts, get the corn, and walk back out.

"This went on for a week or two. Shortly they became very used to walking into the clearing, getting the free corn, and walking back out through the fence posts.

"The next step was to put one rail down at the bottom. I also left a few openings, so that the older, fatter pigs could walk through the openings and the younger pigs could easily jump over just one rail, after all, it was no real threat to their freedom or independence--they could always jump over the rail and flee in any direction at any time.

"Now I decided that I wouldn't feed them every day. I began to feed them every other day. On the days I didn't feed them, the pigs still gathered in the clearing. They squealed, and they grunted, and they begged and pleaded with me to feed them-- but I only fed them every other day. Then I put a second rail around the posts.

"Now the pigs became more and more desperate for food. Because now they were no longer used to going out and digging their own roots and finding their own food, they now needed me. They needed my corn every other day." "So I trained them that I would feed them every day if they came in through a gate and I put up a third rail around the fence.

"But it was still no great threat to their freedom, because there were several gates and they could run in and out at will. "Finally I put up the fourth rail. Then I closed all the gates but one, and I fed them very, very well."

"Yesterday I closed the last gate and today I need you to help me take these pigs to market."


     The lesson in this parable is that the "free" tax money is a bait that leads to a trap with an intention to enslave those that were independent.  Men that were independent become used to having "benefits" that come from subsidies like vouchers for private schools, welfare, farm programs, Medicaid and Medicare. In the recording, (see below) Gordon says that Social Security is part of this trap. 

     Below you can hear this tale as George Gordon re-told it.  Recorded in 1986 at a barn-full of farmers gathering in Kearney, Nebraska.

Sources with commentary:


Audio Source:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Free Man that Works From Home

My sister, Hannah, took this picture of me inspecting a bee
hive in a sunflower field this summer.
    It's been a little over one year since I left the only factory job I've worked and became a "free man" (I'll explain more about this term later).  Since I was a teenager my family had drilled it into me that you want to work from home.  My dad would express his desire to do this and passed that desire to me.  After more than five years of working in a factory I knew without a doubt that the dreams my family had for me were my dreams also.  I recognised the limit of time in the day and by coming home I could pursue my dreams with less fetters.
     I was talking with another beekeeper recently and he told me some interesting things about our factory culture.  He reassured me that the factory mindset in the people all around us is not a mistake or just something that happened out of convenience, but was planned.  I knew about some of these things because as a teenager I had helped put together information for people in our local school district about Outcome Based Education (OBE).  I helped a group of concerned parents to alert the community about how their children would be trained to the specifications of big companies. Instead of teaching children basic skills so they could pursue their own dreams they were to be trained according to what large companies wanted them to learn in a cookie-cutter fashion. My beekeeper acquaintance told me how factories are purposely built without windows so people don't think about the outside world. This also stops the employees from thinking as much about time. He said that these things started with Henry Ford's company. Schools have been working at this for a long time. They would start the day with a bell.  (Oh yes, I remember in parochial school the old bell that went off to start the day.)  After a few years the young people would graduate (where did they come up with that term?) and go to work for Mr. Ford. In the factory the day started off with a bell. Indeed, they were being programmed. You see, the factories had tried to hire the old farmers, but it didn't work. The old farmers would not be forced to stand in one spot all day doing the same mindless thing in the sunless buildings. No, man was not created to behave like this. They would have to be trained.

     He then went on to tell me how he had hired young people to do work out in a vineyard.  He said he watched them literally melt.  They didn't know what to do without their music.   They couldn't face themselves.   Most factories have music because of their unnatural environment.  It's another way to get people's minds off from time, and even facing themselves.   He reminded me that there is something very special about just going to a bee yard and only hearing the buzzing of bees and having your own thoughts. 

Here I am promoting my small business (Standing Stone
Honey) at a local farmers market.  It has been a good
learning experience.
      One exciting thing about working for yourself is that you can have the freedom to make things and do things in better ways. This can happen in a factory, but I remember how this freedom was squashed at times, and things proceeded inefficiently. Helpful information might be shared, but someone else would seek to take the credit. Many times I wanted to learn something new, but was not permitted to. In a home business you are not as limited in these things, but the risks that come along with with responsibility are all on you. In a factory setting it is not uncommon that a person finds himself surrounded by people that want to advance themselves and are happy to crush others to make themselves look better in the process. There was a report that was in the news a while back that was based on a college study that told how gruff, unthoughtful people are more likely to find job advancements over friendly, agreeable people. This is probably true to some degree and the problem gets worst as people with more power seemingly have the ability show their bad side with impunity. There could be a debate about whether power corrupts or if power reveals. Another piece to that puzzle is that corrupt people are most powerfully attracted to power.
       Getting back to the term "free man." In the Bible it is used to refer to a man that is not a slave.  There are parallels with slavery and being an employee.  The wage hours do not belong to the employee.  He has sold himself during those hours.  I still remember a doctor that worked for a clinic.  He and my Dad talked about the desire to work for themselves.  The doctor recognized the benefits he would have if he owned his own office.  It helped me to see the position many doctors find themselves in and why people often end up being just numbers when they come to a big hospital.  The wage earning doctor has to make a quota like a factory man, and the people coming to him end up being a number to fill that quota.

    I mentioned before that in a factory setting credits often go to the wrong places.  Such is life.  My Dad told me again and again growing up that "life is not fair."  As a believer in Christ I want Christ to get the credit for the right things I do.  This credit needs to go to Christ whether at a factory job or a home business.  In fact, the Bible says that the man that is "free" is "Christ's servant."  If you're working at home the opportunities to glorify Christ could be greater.  If you have greater freedom, it is that much more opportunity to use that freedom to serve Christ.  This is why Scripture says, "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." Now we can serve Christ with less freedom, but if you can be free be free like Saint Paul said,  "Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.  I understand that these passages are to be understood in the context of slavery and freedom, but I believe we can apply them to our lives in the same way as the New Testament believers by recognizing that God wants us more free to serve Him.  I believe the parallels between the free man and the entrepreneur are striking.  The decision to run a home business needs to be done with prayer and understanding as it is likely that rash decisions in starting a business could lead to greater bondage rather than freedom and would bring a quick realization of the saying, "better the devil you know."  Be it known that taking some risks is a part of living in a free society.

     For fathers I recommend that you instill it into your children that "if thou mayest be made free, use it rather."  Help them to be able to think for themselves by giving them responsibilities over certain areas.  In whatever lot of life we are in we can live free.  We could be in prison, and yet in our heart be more free than a king in his palace.   I think this is why Paul says, "he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman."  Those that belong to Christ are His servants whether they control their own hours or not because He bought them.  It needs to be our goal to seek to make our lives more free to serve Him.  When we are doing our jobs, building a business or punching in the time clock it is important to not lose sight of why we do it.  Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."  For the believer in Christ this works out in building God's kingdom; that is the end purpose of our occupation.  May God grant us the wisdom to fulfill our purpose.

    The writer of the following poem is unknown, but I believe it fits well with what has been said.

Measure thy life by loss instead of gain,
Not by the wine drunk, but the wine poured forth;
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice,
And whoso suffers most hath most to give.
For labor, the common lot of man,
Is part of the kind Creator's plan;
And he is a king whose brow is wet
With the pearl-gemmed crown of honest sweat.
Some glorious day, this understood,
All toilers will be a brotherhood,
With brain or hand the purpose is one,
And the Master-workman, God's only Son.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Great Fire In London

The following story of the Great Fire of London is reprinted from an old Children's Magazine I have that was printed in 1885.  A lesson learned by the main character is the uncertain nature of riches.   
In this sketch, from the 1885 Children's Magazine,
people are seen throwing their possesions out the
windows of the buildings.
     Nearly two hundred years ago, Little Amy Seymour and her brother Herbert had come up from the country with their mother, to pass a few weeks in London. They were spending the day with their aunt, Mrs. Marsden, who lived in the suburbs of the city, about a mile from London Bridge. It was the 2nd of September, 1666, and the children were delighted, as children usually are, with the novelty of a visit to the city. Their aunt was very kind to them, and they enjoyed themselves very much. In the evening, she was telling them of the dreadful plague which had visited the city the year before, when 130,000 people died of it in London alone.
It was getting late, quite time for the children to go to bed, when Mrs. Marsden's servant, Rachel, came in, looking very much frightened.
"What is the matter?" said Mrs. Marsden, anxiously.
"Oh dear! ma'am," said Rachel, "I have just heard there is such a fire in London! it has burnt down a baker's shop near the bridge, and the engine they used for bringing up the water out of the Thames is burnt too! and they are afraid it will reach the wooden storehouses."
"Oh! I hope it is not so bad as you make out, Rachel," said Mrs. Marsden, in a cheerful voice, for she saw that Amy looked frightened; "there have been fires in London before today; at all events, we are far enough from the danger; so go to bed, my dear children, and I hope you will enjoy comfortable and refreshing sleep."
"I do not think I shall sleep much, Herbert," whispered Amy as they left the room; "that dreadful account of the plague, and now this terrible fire, will be in my thoughts all night."
     "Oh! dear Amy, don't be frightened," replied Herbert, in a soothing tone. "The plague was last year, you know, so that is over; and as to the fire, very likely it has baked some of the bakers loaves for him, and is put out by this time. Poor Rachel is a poor timid creature, and, I suppose, has made the most of the story. Good night, dear sister, and pleasant dreams to you."
      Though Herbert spoke so lightly of the fire to reassure Amy, yet he did not think lightly of it. He knew that most of the houses being built of wood, there was much danger of the flames spreading. On reaching his bedroom, he opened his window and looked out. He distinctly saw the fire, which appeared a large one, and cast a red glare on all around it. There was a strong gale of wind blowing at the time, which every now and then dispersed the thick clouds of smoke, and increased the violence of the flames. The shouts and yells of the mob, the church bells ringing an alarm, the people hurrying along to see the fire, the cry from some one, "That all Fishstreet was in a blaze, and the pipes from the New River were found to be dry," proved altogether so exciting to Herbert, that it was hours before he could close his eyes in sleep; and even when he did, he was constantly startled by the loud and awful cry of "Fire, fire."
      At an early hour the next morning, all in Mrs. Marsden's house were stirring. Early as it was, people were seen hurrying from the city, some with such small articles of furniture as they had been able to save, others, who, in that fearful night, with children or aged parents, had lost their all. From these poor wanderers they learned that the fire was raging with increased fury; that all attempts to stop its progress were vain, and that the people were nearly out of their senses with terror. The weather for some time previously had been very dry, and this, added to the wind, the want of water, and the rapidity with which the wooden storehouses ignited, seemed to render all efforts fruitless.
"My mother must be alarmed," said Herbert; "she has no one with her; she will be thinking of us I must go to her."
     "Impossible, my dear boy said his aunt; "your mother is at the West-end, far away from the fire. It would be exceedingly dangerous for you to attempt such a thing."
    "But suppose she should be terribly frightened, and should come to seek us? Oh! aunt, pray let me go to my dear mother, I will take care of myself! Goodbye; farewell, dearest Amy;" an without another word the boy rushed from the house.
     Old London Bridge was very different from the present one. Crowded with ill-built houses, it was in a blaze when Herbert arrived there. The scene was truly lamentable. Mothers screaming for their missing children, old people imploring help, goods tossed about in all directions, and no one seeming to know what to do in terrific confusion. The atmosphere was of a fiery darkness, and the thick smoke hid the sky from view. The river was crowded with every description of barges, boats, rafts, timber, furniture, bedding; the heat was intense, and altogether, the horrors of the scene made poor Herbert so sick and giddy, he was glad to sit down on a stone to recover himself. Finding it impossible to continue his perilous walk, he slowly retraced his steps to Mrs. Marsden's.
     Thames-street was now a heap of red-hot ruins, Grace-church-street was all in a blaze, and Lombard and Fen-church streets were on fire. The churches, towering above all, were blazing to their very summits.

     O the horrors of that day! The bewildered and terrified people gazed at the burning mass of houses with a kin of stupefied awe; the streets were choked up with furniture; and the hours rolled on amidst shrieks, lamentations, and the noise of falling buildings.

     And all that day, and all the following night, the dreadful devastation continued. Cheapside, Bucklersbury, Walbrook, Threadneedle-street, the Royal Exchange, were all a mass of smoking ruins.

     The next morning, the multitude gazed with awe on the sublime sight of the magnificent St. Paul's on fire. The wild roar of the flames as they shot upwards, the lead melting on the roof and running down in streams, the deafening uproar of the falling masses of stone, the feeling of utter uselessness of all efforts to save the stupendous structure, the horror-stricken, silent multitude, as the bright-red volleys of flame leaped higher and higher, formed a grand and striking spectacle.
     The fire at this time could be seen at forty miles' distance from London, and the thick, black clouds of smoke spread around for fifty miles.
     The sky above was like a vault of red-hot brass; the air was stifling with the oppressive heat; the pavement of the streets glowed so intensely, that it was painful for man or horse to stand upon it. The people, who appeared stunned with the greatness of the calamity, were recalled to recollection by the spirited and noble conduct of King Charles and his brother, the Duke of York. Going on horseback down to the burning mass, they gave orders that whole rows of houses be pulled down. By thus cutting off communication between the fire and its aliment, it was at length stayed. Charles showed great presence of mind and activity in the measures he took to save his capital from total destruction; and by his presence, early and late, encouraged the workmen to persevere.
      Thus, after raging for three days and three nights, this great fire was subdued; terrible as it was while it lasted, nothing could surpass the dreadful magnificence of the sight! Thirteen thousand two hundred houses, with eighty-nine churches were reduced to ashes in that fearful conflagration!
      The flames commencing at London Bridge, burnt every thing westward as far as Temple-bar, and extended northward to Smithfield and Holborn.
     On the 8th of September, Herbert again attempted to join his mother. Crossing the river in a boat, he proceeded onwards, though with great difficulty; the scene of desolation was most melancholy! The falling ruins, the dust and heaps of rubbish, rendered the road at times impassable, and so altered was the aspect of the city, that frequently the boy knew not where he was. The ground was so hot that the soles of his shoes were burnt; and the smell of consumed and consuming substances was almost unbearable. But the love for his mother impelled Herbert forward. As he walked, he thought of the mercy of God, which spared him, and of the uncertain nature of worldly riches. Many, who three days before had been worth thousands, were now beggars!
     Over calcined stones, amidst blackened and falling timbers, and through sad groups of desolation and misery, Herbert at length arrived at his mother's lodgings. Her heart had been overwhelmed with anxiety for her children; and she clasped her boy in her arms with heartfelt gratitude.
     In a few days Amy joined them, and the following week they were all glad to return to their peaceful home in the country. Amy never forgot the description she had heard of the plague, nor what she had witnessed of The Great Fire.
     Fortunately, few lives were lost; but the distress of so many people, thus driven into the streets, most of them with the loss of all their property, is past description.
     The monument, now standing in London, was built by Sir Christopher Wren, (the great architect who rebuilt St. Paul's Cathedral.) It was placed on the very spot where the fire commenced. May God in His mercy spare the city another such calamity!
      "Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to-marrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
                                                        St. James, iv. 13-15.

Source: The Children's Magazine Volume XXVII .....For 1885 Edited by  J. A. Spencer, D.D.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Children Taken From Caring Parents At Gunpoint

Homeschooling Home Raided in Germany 
The two older Wunderlich children stand outside the government school they
are forced to attend
     In August of 2013 a judge ordered the removal of four children (ages 7-14) from their parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich because they homeschool in Germany which is against current laws in Germany.  A SWAT-style raid was made of their home and the children were removed at gunpoint.  They had just started their homeschool day when they heard the doorbell ring.  Dirk went to see a large group of people with guns approaching the house.  This is his description as related to Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA):
“I looked through a window and saw many people, police, and special agents, all armed. They told me they wanted to come in to speak with me. I tried to ask questions, but within seconds, three police officers brought a battering ram and were about to break the door in, so I opened it."

“The police shoved me into a chair and wouldn’t let me even make a phone call at first.” ... “It was chaotic as they told me they had an order to take the children. At my slightest movement the agents would grab me, as if I were a terrorist. You would never expect anything like this to happen in our calm, peaceful village. It was like a scene out of a science fiction movie. Our neighbors and children have been traumatized by this invasion.”

 Dirk said that his 14-year-old daughter Machsejah had to be forcibly taken out of the home.  He said,

“When I went outside, our neighbor was crying as she watched. I turned around to see my daughter being escorted as if she were a criminal by two big policemen. They weren’t being nice at all. When my wife tried to give my daughter a kiss and a hug goodbye, one of the special agents roughly elbowed her out of the way and said—‘It’s too late for that.’ What kind of government acts like this?”

     The parents were threatened by the police that they would not see their children "anytime soon."  The children were forcefully taken from the sanctuary of their home to places undisclosed to their parents.  The children were taken to a group home and forced to be tested (for which the family was later given a bill for nearly $20,000).  They were found to be doing well both socially and academically.  After 21 days of captivity and an international outcry they were returned to their parents, but only after forcing the parents to agree to send the children to the government school.  The parents agreed to send their children to the school for the time being.  This is how Dirk described it:

The younger children entering the
school on their first day in the system
“What other choice did we have?” .... “They had our children. We feel ravaged by the government. We don’t want our children in school but we have no choice—we can’t leave and if we don’t comply they will take our children away. We will make the best of it because we know if we tried to leave, the authorities would separate us and we might never see our children again or for a very long time.”

     The situation has disrupted their close-knit family life, but the children are adapting to their environment quite well considering the situation they find themselves in.  Dirk describes what the children are now experiencing:

“Now the little ones go to school from 8–12:30 and the elder until 1:00. We are home together for lunch. Then they have homework to do,” he said. “The children find it strange and have commented on how confusing the school environment is. They tell me ‘Papa, the teacher takes a lot of time explaining what we must do and telling the other children to be quiet. We don’t get to actually do most work until we get home.’ My youngest son says he misses working on his projects.”

“I think homeschooling is much more effective because you can actually do the work and don’t have to lose time on all the other things that go into school.” ... “We hope with all our heart to get back to homeschooling somehow.”

      The family has desired to emigrate to a neighboring country where homeschooling is legal, but the judge has made it clear that if they go anywhere before a December hearing they will face criminal sanctions.  The judge vowed to hunt them down if they were to get over the border.  Hundreds of homeschool families have fled the country including the high profile Romeike family.

     Of all rights that a person might have in a country I believe that the ability of a parent to raise and train his own children is among the top. It is among those things that are called unalienable rights because God gave children to parents and not the state. The most fundamental rights are being challenged today. Though our culture has a tendency of looking at children simply as a product of biology that we choose to have or not to have, it does not change the fact that they are eternal souls given to parents by the everlasting Creator on loan. We learn from the teachings of Jesus Christ that those that harm children are under a curse. It is a fearful thing to think of the consequences that will be faced by those that would seek to remove them from their rightful guardians.  The Wunderlich family recognise the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ and live their lives and follow their conscience guided by their deep abiding faith in God.

     There are barriers in Germany that prevent freedom of education because the country has been seeped in cultural and educational conformity for many years.  The recognition of unalienable rights is not understood by many, and some people have even seen this persecuted family as criminals.  This family is only practicing what millions of families in the United States do every day.  People of faith.... Pray.  Lovers of freedom.... speak out for those that are oppressed. It is my prayer that by sharing this story that more people will find the idea of viewing parents simply as incubators of statist property to be repulsive and that actions will taken to ensure that educational freedom prevails throughout the United States, Germany and other countries.  

German homeschoolers come to the support of the
Wunderlich family.






Monday, October 28, 2013

Give A Gem by Richard Wurmbrand

The following was written by Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor, who was imprisoned and tortured  for 14 years in a Communist concentration camp because of his faith in Christ.  These accounts show the freedom found in forgiving those that trespass against us.

Give A Gem

Dear brothers and sisters,
"You must be born again" (John 3:7).
Let me tell you about a man who was in prison with me. Demitri was a pastor whose backbone had been beaten with a hammer. When a certain vertebrae was hit, he was paralysed so that he could move only his neck.
You can imagine what a tragedy this was. If he had been in a home or hospital, he would have had a wife, mother, or nurse to take care of him. How would we take care of him? There was no running water to wash him, no linen to change him. He lay there in his human waste. He could not stretch out his hands to drink a cup of water. The others who could walk and work were taken to slave labor during the day. When they came back in the evening, he had to wait for them to help him drink a cup of water. He lay like this in prison for a couple of years. It was hell an earth.
Then in December 1989 Romania had a revolution and the dictator Ceausescu was overturned. Freedom came and Demitri was released from prison to be with his family and friends. No doctor could help him, but now he had loving hands to help him. He still could not move hand or foot.
One day someone knocked at his door. It was the Communist who had crippled him. He said, "Sir, don't believe that I have come to ask forgiveness from you. For what I have done, there is no forgiveness, not on earth or in heaven. You are not the only one I have tortured like this. You cannot forgive me; nobody can forgive me. Not even God! My crime is much too great. I have come only to tell you that I am sorry about what I have done. From you I go to hang myself. That is all.' He turned to leave.
The paralysed Brother Demitri said to him, "Sir, in all these years I have not been so sorry as I am now, that I cannot move my arms. I would like to stretch them out to you and embrace you. For years I have prayed for you every day. I love you with all of my heart. You are forgiven."
Demitri had learned love from Jesus, who called Judas "friend", who prayed for those who crucified Him, and who accepted Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor, and made him an apostle.
Our faith in Jesus means imitating Him. Jesus, as often as He met a sinner, did not reproach him. He took that man's sin upon Himself and suffered on the cross for the sin. I could tell you many stories of others like Demitri.
At one point in prison, I felt very sick. I had tuberculosis, diabetes, heart problems, jaundice, and I don't know how many other kinds of sicknesses. I was near death. There was in that prison a cell reserved only for the dying. I am the only one who has survived that cell. I was in that room for over three years and came out on my feet to tell the story. It is a story not only of suffering, but also of so much beauty.
To my right side was a pastor by the name of Iscu. He had been so badly beaten and tortured that he lay dying. He was so quiet. He knew where he was going. Whenever he opened his mouth, he gave gems. In Hebrew the word TO TELL or TO SAY does not exist. The Hebrew word for SAY or TELL means SAPPHIRE, A GEM. TO SAY in Jewish means TO GIVE A GEM. If you open your mouth, give a gem. There may be times when you are sad or angry. Keep silent and wait for the moment when you can give a gem. Iseu gave gems when he spoke. He spoke about the beauties of heaven and the love of Jesus. His body was still on earth, at my right side, but mentally he was already in heaven.
On my left side was the Communist who had tortured him to the brink of death. The government had arrested their own comrade and tortured him. Now he too was near death. During the night, he would awaken, "Please, pastor, say a prayer for me. I have committed such crimes. I cannot die."
What I witnessed next was a scene from heaven (you need not be in heaven to see heaven). The agonizing pastor called two other prisoners to help him and, leaning an them, he very slowly passed my bed and sat down an the bedside of his torturer. Iscu caressed his torturer on his head. I will never forget the scene.
This was the man who had so beaten Iseu that now he waited for death, and Iseu caressed him. He said, "I have forgiven you with all of my heart and I love you. If I who am only a sinner can love and forgive you, more so can Jesus who is the Son of God and who is love incarnate. Return to Him. He longs for you much more than you long for Him. He wishes to forgive you much more than you wish to be forgiven. You just repent." In that prison setting where there was no place for intimacy, I overheard this torturer confess all of his murders to the tortured one. Then they prayed together and embraced each other.
Slowly, slowly, the pastor was helped to his deathbed. They both died the same night. It was Christmas Eve, but not a Christmas Eve at which you celebrate one who was born 2,000 years ago, far away in Bethlehem. Jesus had been born that very evening in the heart of a criminal.
This is what Jesus can do for you. I hope that I do not speak in vain. When I have a gem, I speak. This is the gem I have for you today. Jesus loves you and waits to be born in your heart.
God bless you,
Richard Wurmbrand

I originally read this in the Voice of the Martyrs magazine, but before retyping it I found it at the following website:

You can find out more about the Voice of the Martyrs at www.persecution.com .

Monday, September 23, 2013

Who Made It?

Sir Isaac Newton lived out his life knowing that it had purpose because it was created by an all-wise God.  This account is how he shared his faith with a skeptical friend.

     Sir Isaac Newton had a friend who, like himself, was a great scientist; but this friend was an unbeliever, and the two men often discussed the Christian faith.

      Newton had a skillful mechanic make a replica of our solar system. In the center was a large gilded ball representing the sun. Revolving around this were smaller balls fixed on the ends of arms of varying lengths, representing the planets in their proper order (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and so forth). These balls were so geared together by cogs and belts as to move in perfect harmony when the crank was turned.

      One day, as Newton sat reading in his study with the mechanism on a large table near him, his friend stepped in. He recognized at a glance what was on the table. Slowly he turned the crank and, with evident admiration, he watched the heavenly bodies moving in their relative speeds in their orbits. Standing off a bit, he exclaimed, "What an exquisite thing this is!" Who made it?"

      Without looking up from his book, Newton answered, "Nobody!"

      Quickly turning to Newton, the unbeliever said, "Evidently you did not understand my question. I asked who made this thing."

     Looking up now, Newton solemnly assured him that nobody had made it but that the aggregation of matter so much admired had just happened to assume the form it was in. But the astonished man replied, getting warmer, "You must think I'm a fool! Of course somebody made it, and he is a genius. I'd like to know who he is."

     Laying his book aside, Newton arose and laid a hand on his friend's shoulder. "This thing is but a puny imagination of a much grander system whose laws you know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without either designer or maker! Now tell me, by what sort of reasoning do you reach such incongruous conclusions?"

      The man was at once convinced and became a firm believer that "the Lord, he is God" (1Kings 18:39).

 I retyped this from a pamphlet.  I am uncertain of its source.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Story of Usury and Banking, The Temple of the Thirteen Suns

The Story of Debt as Money

Temple of the Thirteen Suns

This story was told by Mr. Robert Hemphill, former credit manager of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Georgia, when he was called to testify at Congressional
hearings on the cause of depressions in America. Who should know better?

Once upon a time, to the Temple of the Thirteen Suns came the rich and powerful chief Oomah
the Third, who said to the goldsmith of the temple, Hansen L. Roschab . . . "I have much gold and
am about to depart for a far country. Wilt keep this gold safely for me against my return a
year hence? I will pay thee well.''

The wily Hansen coughed loudly and covered his countenance with a cloth lest the rich Oomah
the Third observe his joy to have this treasure in his possession. When he was calm and could
look serious he said to Oomah . . . "It is a very great responsibility and risk, but I will undertake
it for a tithe that will be one shekel in every ten.''

Then said Oomah . . . "It is a deal.'' And forthwith his slaves delivered many bags containing in all
a thousand shekels of gold for which Hansen L. Roschab, the goldsmith, gave the chief a
parchment receipt acknowledging this deposit, which contained the writing, "payable to
whomsoever.'' Thereupon the chief departed happily on his journey.

As soon as he was well out of the country, the shrewd Hansen called his confidential scribe
and bade him thus . . . "Go thee now to the merchants whom I will tell thee of and secretly say
to each that thy master hath a little gold for hire upon good security.'' And the servant
departed swiftly.

Soon there came to him a great merchant who said . . . "Hansen, you old crook, I am in a jam for a
few shekels of gold. Wilt lend me?'' And Hansen replied . . . "Money is very tight these days, but
it might be so arranged. What is thy need?'' The merchant answered . . . "Two hundred shekels.''

Then said Hansen . . . "It is much money. What security couldst thou pledge for so great a sum?''

Then the merchant showed Hansen a writing of his possessions of merchandise to the amount of
a thousand shekels. Hansen said . . . "It is not enough. Thou must also pledge thy dwelling and
thy slaves and thy raiment.'' Whereupon the merchant, after much protest, pledged all his
possessions, even to his innermost raiment. (So Hansen loaned him the money.)

Then said he to Hansen . . . "I have no place to store so much gold. Keep it safe for me and give
me a writing that I may deliver to whomsoever I will.'' And Hansen did even so.

The next day came another merchant, and another, and still another, and to each Hansen
loaned a portion of the gold of chief Oomah the Third, taking from each as security his entire
possessions, including his innermost personal raiment, and gave to each a writing upon a
parchment showing that each had on deposit the gold he had borrowed. And it came to pass that
on the tenth day he had given parchment deposit writings for the whole of the thousand
shekels; but he still had all the gold.

Hansen reflected much upon this curious state of affairs, and said to himself . . . "These birds
know not how much gold I possess. They do not want the actual gold itself. What they really
want is credit, some deposit writing that they may pass from hand to hand as money. I have one
grand idea!''

On the next day came another merchant, and another, and still another, and to each Hansen
showed the great store of gold of Oomah the Third, and to each he pretended to loan a
portion, although he had previously loaned it all to the first ones who came.

And it came to pass that at the end of another ten days Hansen had pretended to loan to many
more merchants and had given writings of deposit for a second thousand shekels, making 2000
shekels in all, although he had only 1000 shekels of Oomah the Third. And still he had all the

Whereupon Hansen reflected to himself . . . "What a leaden-pipe cinch. I wonder I did not think
of this before. I can collect just as much usury from the phony deposit writings as for the
genuine. Verily, I am a financial wizard.''

Thereupon Hansen caused it to be noised about that he possessed a vast store of gold for hire,
and many more merchants came to borrow, and to each Hansen delivered writings of deposit
and collected generous usury and demanded pledges of all his possessions even unto his
innermost raiment, until he had issued writings of deposit for 10,000 shekels and held
mortgages on substantially the whole city.

Then went Hansen to the wise man of the city and said unto him . . . "Verily I have discovered the
greatest racket of all time. I have learned the magic of making gold out of baloney; and if I can
keep the formula secret for a few years I will collect a fortune that will make Solomon's
treasury look like a second hand store. Tell me how I may keep secret this bonanza of mine for
mine own profit.''

Then said the wise man . . . "Look wise and say little and only upon matters afar off. Obtain the
ear of the town crier. Engage him to spread the impression that money is a mysterious subject
that no one understands but thee alone. Be friendly with the king's councillors and grant
their favors that the king may smile upon thee.''

And Hansen did as he was bid and collected much usury from his phony loan deposits that
circulated as money. He built for himself a mansion, collected works of art, and clothed his
wives and concubines with fine linen and jewels.

When his business had grown to many times its humble beginnings, he took over the entire
temple and by way of a sly joke called it the First National Bank, the same being from an
obscure language and meaning "place of imaginary money.''

And that is the reason that all banks today have great marble pillars and bronze doors, so
that they may resemble outwardly as well as internally the "place of imaginary money'' that
Hansen L. Roschab builded upon the gold of Oomah the Third in the Temple of the Thirteen

The End

Robert Hemphill
Published in:
The Technocrat, No. 196, Dec. 1960

The text came from the source listed above.  I have a booklet with some of the illustrations posted here that realated this story.  I am unaware of  who made the drawings.

Below are some verses that relate to this subject that were found in the illustrated booklet:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Horror of Divorce

The  maxim "The family that prays together, stays together" has the testimony
of past generations that gathered around the family alter.

     This is an anonymously written view of the devestating effects of divorce on children from a woman who had been there as a child. Divorce is yet another trap that appears to give freedom.  This writer makes it clear that there are shackles that get put on children in divorce.

"Please, please don't sign them! O Daddy, don't sign those papers!"  My pleadings must have added greatly to my father's burden, but the pen held firmly in his hand continued to write his name on the final papers. 
Thus was my world destroyed and I with it, for on that day something died in the heart of a child. A child?  In years, yes, but the child pleading in the divorce court that day would never again be a carefree little girl.  For now my mommy and daddy were divorced.  It was a big word and a hateful one. What it meant to grown-ups I did not know, but what it meant to me is a story that can never be fully told. 
Right now it meant that the home we had known existed no longer.  To us children our home was our world, with both mother and daddy essential parts of it.  But that had suddenly crumbled.  Like a violent storm that strikes suddenly and leaves you to pick up the pieces.  So life had suddenly turned our home inside out and upside down.  Much of the shock lay in the fact that the ones destroying it had been our very security and life.
From now on my family must be divided.  I was to choose between my mother and father---- I could not have both, though I loved both and wanted them, both of them, to love me.  Each was necessary to me. How could I turn my back on one and say I wanted the other more?
     I remembered nights when I was sick and how my mother kept vigil---- how she had fed me and tended to my needs,  surely she loved me! When things troubled me I had always gone to her and her explanations had banished childish fears.  I had great faith in my mother.
     Nor could I doubt my father's love or the close place I had in his heart.  Often my brothers sent me to Dad when they wanted some favor, knowing he seldom refused me.  This special place I had with Daddy was perhaps because I was so like him and we understood each other so well.  I had deep respect for my father--- but how could I compare it with what I felt for Mother?  And how could I make a decision that would separate me from either?
     This was the down payment in the price of divorce -- and the children had to pay.   To any parent who still count the cost, I plead the cause of your children!  If you subject them to the agony of choosing between the parents he loves, something wonderful has to die in his heart during the unnatural struggle that choice entails. 
    Years have passed, but I still shutter at the memory of the day I left our home with my mother. Daddy cried like a child and then just stood and stared into space.  I have wondered what went through his mind then.  He had worked so hard to do right by his family and now all he had built was gone.  Was part of his grief due to the fact that missing from the circle of his motherless children was his only daughter?  Was he thinking of what might have been?
     In my mind there is no doubt of what might have been: theirs could have been a successful marriage had they determined to keep the home intact-- had both or even one of them been able to sacrifice personal feelings. 
      As far back as my memory goes I remember my parents quarreling. Like all quarrels, these were born of selfishness and stubbornness, with neither willing to give in to the other.  Foolish advice was: "Separate if you can't get along, it will be better for the children."  (Better to crush six young hearts than for one or two to bear small hurts?  Better the blow should fall on six lives, young and tender, not old enough to know why they must be separated from one another?)
     Bitter protest and tears were vain for divorce courts do not consider human hearts when they collect their dues.  Mother and Dad were to be "free" but we children were not.  I became a slave to despair.  The quarrels?  They ceased, to be sure, but the cries of heartbroken children took their place, and I, for one, longed to hear those quarrels, if only it meant I could have my mother and daddy back!
     This story is my own---- the plea I make is that of my own heart, though my brothers, too, could write their own stories, and neighbors in our small town could add to it.  Perhaps it is just a familiar story; a daddy too busy to do the little things that count so much and having to neglect his six  and eight year old boys.  My little brother longed for his mother, but he compensated for his loss and grief by acts of meanness, so he became a problem child at school.  My teen-aged brothers became involved with the law to the point where they spent a night in jail.  I realized even then that this, too, is a part of the price of divorce that the children have to pay.
     Perhaps a girl needs her mother even more than do boys.  I seemed to be cut the deepest and to suffer the most.  The shock of that day in court was indelibly printed on my memory, but I had only begun to taste of the bitter portion meted out to children who are victims of divorce.
     With Daddy thrust out of my life and my brothers gone, my heart fastened more tenaciously than ever on Mother and words cannot express the shock that was mine when I found her in the arms of another man.  In that instant I knew utter desolation. I had lost my father---- now my mother no longer belonged to me!  Another man, a stranger to me, had taken her and this discovery completely changed and embittered my life.
      Emotions that had been sealed within me now broke forth in endless weeping.  Bitterness enveloped me like a cloud and resentment made it impossible for me to speak peaceably to my mother.  Back of the confused emotions came the resolve that no one else should have her.  She belonged to me and to Daddy!  I became obsessed with the idea that I must win her from the one whom I felt was the cause of my sorrow.
     Artist may paint human suffering but neither artist's brush nor writer's pen can recapture the horror of the moment when a child realizes it had lost the battle for its mother's love.  One day she had been my mother-- the next, she was a stranger whose only feeling seemed to be displeasure at her unreasonable child.  Neighbors pitied and tried to comfort, but their words did not reach me.  I only knew departed hope.  My appeal had failed and no failure had ever involved so much.
     So I tried going back to our old home and living with Daddy.  I think I was in a state of shock as I found my way back there.  A few weeks before I had been in this home: a happy confident child, but as I entered the familiar yard there was no joy in my heart--- no anticipation or eagerness.  Daddy met me at the door and seemed thankful I had returned, but he found to his sorrow that it a not the same little girl who had come back.  Sorrow and grief had caused youth to flee, and with it had gone laughter and joy. 
    He tried, but was not able to save me from the depths of despair to which I sank.  I wept until tears no longer came.  Many pitied but there was no healing or my wounded heart.  When we heard that mother had remarried, great bitterness possessed me.  Grief had so eaten away at my life that I became hard and rebellious.  The faith that my mother had destroyed had caused me to lose confidence in everyone, even my father, and I became full of self-pity, feeling that everyone was against me, even my father.
      I left Daddy and stayed with anyone who would have me.  Later, harsh circumstances forced me to go back to my mother and her new husband.
      I must have been a haunt from the past for them, and I lived with the stinging reality that I was not wanted.  Yet every fiber of my being craved to be loved.  Violent argument-- a war of hate began between me and the intruder.  Strain began to show on my mother's face and in my misery, I found secret consolation in that fact.  My frayed emotions became a physical sickness, for the human system can only be over taxed just so long before something breaks.  Fitful sleep, punctuated by nightmares became my new pattern.  No one wanted to be around me and being alone most of the time, I developed a fear of people.
      I succumbed completely to shattered nerves.
      I wish I could take the hand of every parent even remotely thinking of divorce and lead you back with me into the horrible valley of shadow through which I have come.  If the hurt of an innocent child' heart, the bitter shock to a tender life, the tears of an innocent child's heart, the bitter shock to a tender life, the tears of an unwanted misplaced child could all be called to bear witness in a divorce court, there would be a lot fewer divorces granted in our land.
     Thank God, in my struggles through that darkness I met the Savior and slowly-- very slowly-- began to live again.  Since that time I have married, and at one time it seemed that I would fail as my parents had.  But through sacrifice and love I was able to prove that marriage can be made to last.  Today I am so blessed to have my wonderful husband and a secure loving home setting for my precious children.  It is infinitely worth it to work and pray problems through and make Christ the Head of your home.  My marriage did not succeed overnight, but every effort and sacrifice of feeling or pride on my part proved worthwhile as it brought out qualities in my husband that I had not known existed.  God alone knows the joys I now reap from every battle I fought-- with myself-- instead of with my husband.  I had to learn to give when I would have rather taken, to smile when my heart rebelled, to hold my tongue and let God speak for me-- but my rewards are a truly happy marriage and a secure home.
     If any reading this have at all contemplated divorce, I beg of you, gather your children into your arms, look deeply into their faces, and in pity spare them that which I have had to endure and can never forget.

Source: Adapted from the August 2013 edition of The Evangelist of Truth magazine.

The Evangelist of Truth
5830 Alexander Hill Road
Washington, Indiana 47501

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass - From Aesop's Fables

      A Miller and his Son were driving their Ass to a neighbouring fair to sell him.  They had not gone far when they met with a troop of girls returning from the town, talking and laughing, "Look there!"cried one of them, "did you ever see such fools, to be trudging along the road on foot, when they might be riding!"  The old Man, hearing this, quietly bade his Son get on the Ass, and walked along merrily by the side of him.  Presently they came up to a group of old men in earnest debate. "There! said one of them, "it proves what I was a-saying.  What respect is shown to old age in these days? Do you see that idle young rogue riding, while his old father has to walk? --Get down you scapegrace!  and let the old Man rest his weary limbs."  Upon this the father made his Son dismount, and got up himself.  In this manner they had not proceeded far when they met a company of women and children.  "Why, you lazy old fellow!" cried several tongues at once, "how can you ride upon the beast, while that poor little lad there can hardly keep pace by the side of you."  The good-natured Miller stood corrected, and immediately took up his Son behind him.  They had now almost reached the town. "Pray, honest friend," said a townsman, "is that Ass your own?"  "Yes," says the old Man. "O! One would not have thought so," said the other, "by the way you load him. Why, you two fellows are better able to carry the poor beast than he you!"  "Anything to please you," said the old Man; "we can but try."  So, alighting with his Son, they tied the Ass's legs together, and by the help of a pole endeavoured to carry him on their shoulders over a bridge that led to the town.  This was so entertaining a sight that the people ran out in crowds to laugh at it; till the Ass, not liking the noise nor his situation, kicked asunder the cords that bound him, and, tumbling off the pole, fell into the river.  Upon this the old Man, vexed and ashamed, made the the best of his way home again --convinced that by endeavouring to please everybody he had pleased nobody, and lost his Ass into the bargain.

Source: Aesop's Fables: A New Version, Chiefly from Original Sources by the Rev. Thomas James, M. A.   Published in 1851

Check out the subject of  people pleasing in the Bible: Galations 1:10 and 1 Thes. 2:3

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How Guns Relate to Freedom

Here my brother and sister are enjoying some shooting practice 
    Gun control is another issue that is a heart issue.  Using government coercion is the wrong route for "gun control."  I believe this is reflected in the Scripture that says, (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."  People will control their guns properly and shoot the right things when their hearts are right.  There is an old Latin saying that goes:  Minatur innocentibus qui parcit nocentibus.
It means: "He threatens the innocent who spares the guilty."  Many leaders are now threatening the innocent by not allowing the innocent to protect themselves from the guilty.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 
 -The Second Amendment of the Constitution
    Our founders saw the right to keep firearms a very important right to make it number two of the Amendments to the Constitution.  Those that don't like this amendment have taken several different angles to get around it.  These maneuvers are not unique to the gun-control lobbyist. 
1.Twist the meaning of the authority. 
2. Make the authority to appear outdated.
3.  Ignore the authority.
  One way the original meaning is twisted is to say that it was talking about making sure the military is properly armed.  Anyone who knows history knows that this is not what the founders meant as the amendment was a safeguard to make sure the government remained a servant, and not a  tyrannical force.  Then there is the idea that the Constitution is outdated.  They believe that because we have police forces and freedom that we don't need to be ready to protect ourselves.  They don't recognize how swiftly things can change, and that to keep freedom we must have the means to protect it and eternal vigilance. I think of the words of the prophet when he said people were saying, "Peace, peace; when there is no peace."  Because the Constitution has been twisted and made to appear irrelevant it also has been ignored.  Today we see a number of unlawful laws being made that ignore the authority of the Constitution.
I can't help but think about how people treat the Constitution in a similar way to how the Bible is treated.  I believe the Bible gives us the means to live in the soundest freedom available to man.  It's meanings are twisted by those that don't want to know its true meaning.  Those that love freedom must be able to know what words mean and use the true meaning of words when they use them.  One advantage to using a KJV Bible is that it was published when the English language was at its zenith and it has been acknowledged that it has had an influence on our language ever since it was published (just take a look at some of Webster's old dictionaries). John Milton said, "When the language in common use in any country becomes irregular and depraved, it is followed by their degradation.  For what do terms used without skill and meaning, which are at once corrupt and misapplied, denote but a people listless, supine, and ripe for servitude." It seems that those that change the meanings of these documents think that everything is evolving and a higher race of people will bring in a better day.  They can't see that by twisting meanings they bring bondage on themselves and their posterity.  There will be a better day when the guns and swords will be made into garden implements, but not till Christ is known as the true authority.  In the meantime, man has an evil nature that requires us  to take the necessary means to protect the innocent.  We also know that when the command to not steal was given in the Bible it ordained private property and with it the means of keeping it. Jesus said, "But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up" (Matthew 24:43).
Ancient Israel went through a tragic day from sword-control.  The purpose of the sword-control was people control. The Israelites were made captive by the Philistines.  If they had swords it would have given them the means to go free and there would be no more free lunch for the Philistines.  The people were being used.  They were not even allowed to sharpen there own garden tools.  They went to the Philistines to have their tools sharpened.  Among the Israelites there were only two men that had swords, Saul, the king, and his son Jonathon.  It makes me think of Stalin and how he took guns away the farmers in Ukraine.  When he took the farms from the farmers to make collectivist farms the farmers caused uprisings, but not successfully as they only had farm tools to defend themselves.  A similar story is of the government of Turkey and how they confiscated guns from the Armenians before killing many of them through forced labor, starvation and execution until three quarters of the Armenians in Turkey where dead.  The stage was set to take away their ability to protect themselves from a government that sought to destroy them.
There will be the day that the swords and guns will become pruning shears and ground tillers. The idea of peace is noble, but it will not be accomplished without the Prince of Peace. The reason men must still guard their homes and country is that there are people that are evil and purpose evil against others.  Eden is gone and will not come back with our own short-sighted wisdom, but for those that ask the Creator for wisdom it is granted.
On the Web:
This is an interesting take on the issue of gun control.  The author believes our national inheritance and rich history in freedom are strong safeguards against gun confiscation.  He comes at this issue from a different angle from I have.  If you have insights on this issue that might be good to cover further, please let me know.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Charlie Coulson, The Drummer Boy

The following story is a first hand account from the Civil War period by a Jewish surgeon in the United States Army, Dr. Max Lewis Rossvally, about his conversion to Christ.  It was through the testimony of a drummer-boy, Charlie Coulson, whose heart was free that caused the Jewish doctor to recognize the freedom he could find in Christ so his heart and life could be unshackled. I retyped this from the reproduction of a Civil War period Bible tract:

A True Story in the American War
      Two or three times in my life God in His mercy touched my heart, and twice before my conversion.  I was under deep conviction.
     During the American war, I was a surgeon in the United States army; and after the battle of Gettysburg, there were many hundred wounded soldiers in my hospital, amongst whom were twenty-eight who had been wounded so severely that they required my services at once, - some whose legs had to be amputated; some their arms; and others both their arm and leg.  One of the latter was a boy who had been but three months in the service; and being too young for a soldier, had enlisted as a drummer.  When my assistant surgeon and one of my stewards wished to administer chloroform previous to amputation, he turned his head aside and positively refused to receive it.  When the steward told him that it was the doctor's orders, he said, "Send the doctor to me."  When I came to his bedside, I said, "Young man, why do you refuse chloroform?  When I found you on the battle-field, you were so far gone that I thought it hardly worth while to pick you up; but when you opened those large blue eyes, I thought you had a mother somewhere who might at that moment be thinking of her boy.  I did not want you to die on the field, so ordered you to be brought here; but you have now lost so much blood that you are too weak to endure an operation without chloroform, therefore you had better let me  give you some."  He laid his hand on mine, and looking me in the face, said, --
    "Doctor, one Sunday afternoon in the Sabbath-school, when I was nine and a half years old, I gave my heart to Christ.  I learned to trust Him then; I have been trusting Him ever since, and I can trust Him now; He is my strength and my stimulant; He will support me while you amputate my arm and leg."
    I then asked him if he would allow me to give him a little brandy, but this he also refused.
     The look that boy gave me I shall never forget.  At that time I hated Jesus, but I respected that boy's loyalty to his Saviour, and when I saw how he loved and trusted Him to the last, there was something that touched my heart, and I did for that boy what I had never done for any other soldier -- I asked him if he wished to see his chaplain.
    "Oh, yes, sir!" was the answer,
     When Chaplain R------ came, he at once knew the boy from having often met him at the tent prayer-meeting; and taking his hand said, --
    "Well, Charlie, I am sorry to see you in this sad condition."
      "Oh, I am all right, sir," he answered.  "The doctor offered me chloroform, but I declined it; then he wished to give me brandy, which I also declined; and now, if my Saviour calls me, I can go to Him in my right mind."
     "You may not die, Charlie," said the chaplain; "but if the Lord should call you away, is there any thing I can do for you after you are gone?"
     Chaplain, please put your hand under my pillow and take my little Bible.  In it you will find my mother's address; please send it to her, and write a letter, and tell here that since the day I left home I have never let a day pass without reading a portion of God's Word, and daily praying that God would bless my dear mother, -- no matter whether on the march, on the battle-field, or in the hospital."
      Is there any thing else that I can do for you my lad?" asked the chaplain.
     "Yes; please write a letter to the superintendent of the Sands Street Sunday School, Brooklyn, N.Y.; and tell him  that the kind words, many prayers, and good advice he gave me I have never forgotten; thy have followed me through all the dangers of battle, and now, in my dying hour, I ask my dear Saviour to bless my dear old superintendent: that is all."
     Turning toward me, he said, "Now, doctor, I am ready; and I promise you that I will not even groan while you take off my arm and leg, if you will not give me chloroform."
    I promised, but I had not the courage to take the knife in my hand to perform the operation without first going into the next room and taking a little stimulant to nerve myself to perform my duty.
     While cutting through the flesh, Charlie Coulson never groaned, but when I took the saw to separate the bone, the lad took the corner of his pillow in his moth, and all that I could hear him utter was, "Oh, Jesus, blessed Jesus, stand by me now."  He kept his promise, and never groaned.
     That night I could not sleep, for whichever way I turned I saw those soft blue eyes, and when I closed mine,the words, "Blessed Jesus, stand by me now!" kept ringing in my ears.  Between twelve and one o'clock I left my bed and visited the hospital, a thing I had never done before unless specially called; but such was my desire to see that boy.
     Upon my arrival there, I was informed by the night-steward that sixteen of the hopeless cases had died and carried to the dead-house.
     "How is Charlie Coulson?  is he among the dead?" I asked.
     "No sir,"  answered the steward; "he is sleeping as sweetly as a babe."
     When I came to the bed where he lay, one of the nurses informed me that about nine o'clock, two members of the Y.M.C.A. came through the hospital to read and sing a hymn.  Thy were accompanied by Chaplain R-----, who knelt by Charlie Coulson's bed and offered up a fervent ad soul-stirring prayer, after which they sang, while still upon their knees, the sweetest of all hymns, "Jesus lover of my soul," in which Charlie joined.  I could not understand how that boy, who had undergone such excruciating pain, could sing.
      Five day after I had amputated that dear boy's arm and leg he sent for me, and it was from him on that day I heard the first gospel-sermon.
    "Doctor", he said, "my time has come: I do not expect to see another sunrise; but thank God, I am ready to go; and before I die I desire to thank you with all my heart for your kindness to me.  Doctor, you are a Jew, you do not believe in Jesus; will you please stand here and see me die trusting my Saviour to the last moment of my life?"
     "I tried to stay, but I could not, for I had not the courage to stand by and see a Christian boy die rejoicing in the love of that Jesus whom I had been taught to hate, so I hurriedly let the room.
     About twenty minutes later, a steward, who found me sitting in my private office covering my face with my hand, said, "Doctor, Charlie Coulson wishes to see you."
     "I have just seen him," I answered, "and I cannot see him again."
      "But, Doctor, he says he must see you once more before he dies."
     I now made up my mind to see him, say an endearing word, and let him die; but I was determined that no word of his should influence me in the least so far as his Jesus was concerned.
     When I entered the hospital, I saw he was sinking fast, so I sat down by his bed.  Asking me to take his hand he said,--
    "Doctor, I love you because you are a Jew; the best friend I have found in this world was a Jew."
   I asked him who that was.
     He answered, "Jesus Christ, to whom I want to introduce you before I die; and will you promise me, doctor, that what I am about to say you will never forget?"
     I promised; and he said, "Five days ago while you amputated my and and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul."
      These word went deep into my heart.  I could not understand how, when I was causing him the most intense pain, he could forget all about himself, and think of nothing but his Saviour and my unconverted soul.  All I could say to him was, "Well, my dear boy, you will soon be all right:" with these words I left him, and twelve minutes later he fell asleep, "safe in the arms of Jesus."
     Hundreds of soldiers died in my hospital during the war, but I only followed one to the grave, and that one was Charlie Coulson, the drummer-boy, and I rode three miles to see him buried.  I had him dressed in a new uniform, and placed in an officer's coffin, with a United States flag over it.
     That dear boy's dying words made an impression upon me.  I was rich at the time, so far as money is concerned, but I would have given every penny I possessed if I could have felt toward Christ as Charlie did; but that feeling cannot be bought with money.  Atlas!  I soon forgot all about my Christian soldier's little sermon, but I could not forget the boy himself, I now know that at that time I was under deep conviction of sin, but I fought against Christ with all the hatred of an orthodox Jew for nearly ten years, until finally, the dear boy's prayer was answered, and God converted my soul.
     About eighteen months after my conversion, I attended a prayer-meeting one evening in the city of Brooklyn.  It was one of those meetings when Christians testify to the loving-kindness of their Saviour.  After several of them had spoken, and elderly lady arose and said,--
     "Dear friend, this may be the last time that it is my privilege to testify for Christ.  My family-physician told me yesterday that my right lung is very nearly gone, and my left lung is very much affected; so, at the best, I have but a short time to be with you; but I belong to Jesus, and I have a boy with Jesus in heaven.  He was a  soldier in the war.  He was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, and fell into the hands of a Jewish doctor, who amputated his arm and leg, but he died five days after the operation.  The chaplain of the regiment wrote me a letter, and sent me my boy's Bible.  In that letter I was informed that my Charlie, in his dying hour, sent for that Jewish doctor, and said to him, "Doctor, before I die, I wish to tell you that five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul.'"
      When I heard this lady's testimony, I could sit still no longer.  I left my seat, crossed the room, and taking her hand, said, "God bless you, my dear sister!  your boy's prayer has been heard and answered.  I am the Jewish doctor for whom your Charlie prayed, and his Saviour is now my Saviour."

Other Resources:
This is a longer version of this same story.
There is a booklet entitled "From Synagogue to the Saviour"  that carries even more details.
There is also a documentary video called "Rossvally" that relates this story. 
If this story is a blessing to you and you want to share it with others please contact me.  If you want large numbers of this tract, it is available from Re-enactors Missions for Jesus Christ.