Our Faith: Do We Really Have Any At All?

 

Faith is a beautiful word and if one truly has faith in what they are speaking or doing the chances are that they will do better regarding that subject matter than if they are lacking in the faith there of. Most of the time when I have heard the word faith it is being spoken of in a ‘religious’ context yet faith is not exclusive to religion. We can have faith in just about anything. We can have faith in our athletic ability, or our ability to make our car or house payment each month, or that our spouse will not cheat on us with another. It is not wrong to have faith in things other than God, yet if we have more faith in something above what we have in God then that subject has become our God. I have faith that the Sun will come up tomorrow just as it did today, but only if God ordains it to be so. I have faith that the Sun will set this evening yet I do not know if I will still be alive to see it, that is up to God. I have faith in God, not the Sun or the Moon, I by my own strength can not cause the Sun or the Moon to do anything, only by God’s strength do they or I exist.

 

There are a few Scriptures that I will add at the end of this article that concern ones faith in God that you can browse through if you wish to. But this article today is going to be about our faith in God and the main Scripture I am going to refer to is found in the Book of Hebrews, the 11th Chapter, verses 1-4 and 6-9.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.

For by faith the Elders won God’s approval.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: And by it he being dead yet speaks.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

By faith Noah, being warned by God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear. Prepared an Ark to the saving of his house (family), by which he condemned the world.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go into a place which he would later receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.

By faith he (Abraham) journeyed in the land of promise, as in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.

 

Okay, that is it for the Scripture quotes of this article today. In my belief there is one main theme that runs throughout those 8 verses and that theme is ‘faith’ in God our Creator. Faith, to me, is the actual base of each and every person. Each person has faith in something, the core of their personality is what their faith is in, even if one only has faith in themselves. I have met many people in my life who do not believe in “a God”, the government, their education system, or even in any member of their family. These tended to be people whom in their own eyes had been let down by pretty much everyone and everything they have experienced in their own lives. All of a persons possessions, all of our family and friends, just like our own bodies, will pass away. There is only one thing we have that is eternal and that is our own Soul and it came from God and after we die it will go back to God. So, personally, if I am going to have total faith in anything or anyone, it will be in He who created us, and who will judge us at the end of our life. He who will decide, from our own actions while we lived, as to where we will spend ‘forever’ at. Our actions while here in this life are dictated by the things we believe in, or do not believe in. I chose to have faith in God before and above all else. If a person has a ‘Godly’ Soul they will put God first and being that God is the foundation of all that is good, if we do honestly put God first then we will tend to walk the path of light that He request of us.

 

Concerning religion it is common to hear term’s concerning the ‘path’ of life that we are walking just as in the business world when it is spoken of our ‘career’ path which decides our advancement in the ‘firm’. What we want the most in our lives is what we tend to believe in most, even if that faith is only in ourselves. When we tell someone that we will walk somewhere with them, would it not help if we move our feet? Lip service to ones faith does not compute to actual faith if there is no physical movement toward that which we say we believe in. We can say we are a rocket scientist because we have done a lot of studying in that field and we may enjoy hearing all about the fields scientific accomplishments, but if all we do is sit on our behinds and do not engage that entity, are we really a rocket scientist?

 

Many people say they are Christians because they do believe that Jesus Christ and the Holy Father Jehovah do exist yet they do not study God’s ‘instruction’ Book at all nor do they attempt to walk a ‘Holy’ lifestyle. We all know of cases where Preachers/Ministers have seriously hurt peoples faith in God because of their personal horrible actions. I was once in the break room of a company I was visiting shortly after a certain well known Preacher in Baton Rouge Louisiana had disgraced himself by his personal actions and a lady in the break room said because of this Preachers action whom she had been a long time follower of that “I will will never believe in God again” because this ‘great’ man had fallen to his temptation.” Everyone of us a human, we all have weaknesses and the Devil and His Angles know exactly what those weaknesses are, this is where they attack us, in our weaknesses, not at our strengths.

 

There will be an event that all of us must face and that event is ‘The Judgement Seat Of Christ’. If our own personal faith was weak or non-existent during our lives, Jesus will know it. Our Creator knows how each of us think and how we believe, or don’t believe, concerning Him and His teachings that He left for us to learn and live by. Our faith toward something is measured by our actions, if we believe in something very strongly, our actions show that belief, that faith, to the rest of the world around us. If we are lacking in that faith, our actions show that to the rest of the world around us also. I will finish this article with one question, when Jesus looks us straight in our eyes, and He will, what then?

 

These are the Scripture verses I spoke to you about at the beginning of the second verse of this letter to you:

Galatians 5: 22-23

John 6: 29

Ephesians 2: 8

I appreciate your time folks, I hope that you obtained some enjoyment and maybe even a little knowledge from the article. I pray that you and your loved ones will choose to have faith in God and in His love for you.

Speak as if it’s already accomplished!

Purplerays

17630015_1190465437728976_3157306238826182819_n

Speak as if it’s already accomplished!
Be thankful in advance and you clear a path
for whatever it is you seek to make it’s way into your experience.

Text & image source: Spiritual Awakenings ॐ https://web.facebook.com/Spiritual-Awakenings-%E0%A5%90-105433989565465/

View original post

If The Haggadah Has Got It Correct Then Western Education Has It All Wrong

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 Print
 Email

What’s So Wise About the Wise Child?

They say the Haggadah never ends. That makes sense, because the Haggadah is the classic Jewish guide to education, and education never ends.

So now that we’ve done our Seder for the 3,329th year, and while it’s still Passover, I’d like to open a discussion on how we educate our kids. And I’d like to start by listening to what the Haggadah is telling us.

It seems it’s telling us we’re doing it all wrong.

Here’s evidence: How do we test, monitor and measure the success of our students? By asking questions, right? (Like I just did.)

And indeed, the average middle-grade teacher asks around 400 questions a day. That’s about two per minute. After 15 years, a teacher has asked at least one million questions. The student has asked if he can go to the bathroom.After 14 and a half years, that’s a million questions. The average student, however, generally only asks two or three questions a week—most commonly, “Can I go to the bathroom?” In high school, not much better, with about ten questions a day. Compare that to preschool kids, who ask an average of 100 questions a day.

Some will tell you that’s the Socratic method. We’re attempting to elicit intelligence from students by battering them with questions they never thought of asking.

But the Haggadah does the opposite. Rather than evaluating children by their ability to answer, it identifies them in four categories by their ability to ask.

Questions Are Rich

That turns everything around.

For one thing, from a child’s correct answers, you often know very little. Maybe he simply has a good memory. Maybe he’s good at guessing what you want to hear. At very best, a child’s answers only tell us what that child knows.

But theA child’s answers tells us what he knows. A child’s questions tell us who he is. child’s questions provide a window into the child’s mind and soul. A child’s questions tell us who that child is.

Every child is on a critical mission to make sense of things, to find the meaning behind everything, to put the pieces together. But each child sees a different world, through different eyes. So each child discovers that meaning in his or her particular way.

So that only once we know what this child is looking for, and how he is looking for it, only then we can assist him to find it. And that is education—assisting the child on his or her particular journey of discovering meaning.

Ask! Please Ask!

Let’s start from the beginning: The Haggadah is designed to incite questions.The Haggadah is designed to incite questions. How does it do that? By breaking the routine.

Generally, a festive Jewish meal begins with a blessing on the wine. We then all proceed to wash our hands, return to the table, and say a blessing on the bread.

On the Seder night, we also start with the wine. And then the hand-washing. And we return to the table. And then we take small vegetable and dip it in some sort of liquid, and eat it.

Why the change?

You’ll hear all sorts of reasons, but there’s one definitive answer cited in the Code of Jewish Law: We do it so that someone will ask a question.

And if they ask, what do we answer? We answer that they got it right. They asked a question.

Which means that the question is of prime value, even when there is no answer. As the ancient rabbis said, “Even though we have no answer for this question, once the child is asking, he will ask more questions.”

And why is that important? Because, to those ancient rabbis, it’s obvious that you can’t teach a child a thing until the child has a question.

Passing by a ninth grade classroom in a yeshiva, I hear the teacher lecturing: “Okay, so the ultimate reason for the creation of all things is…”

The diligent students take notes. The rest stare into empty space. The teacher may as well be speaking about the average rainfall in Indonesia.

You can’t teach a thing until you have first awakened a question.

A question creates a vacuum, a space in the brain to fit new knowledge. Just like a car is useless if you live in a big city where there’s no place to park it, and a meal goes in the trash if there’s no one to eat it, so the most satisfying answer in the world is meaningless to the child who never had the question. He has no place in his skull to store it. It’s just a distraction and confusion for his mind from its true quest—to find meaning.

Yes, in case the child has no questions, we provide some, in the form of the Ma Nishtana—”Why is this night different from all other nights?”

But that’s Plan B. Plan A is that the children will ask questions of their own. And you, the parent, will wrack your brains finding answers for them.

Answering the Children

That brings us to another vital lesson from the Haggadah: We don’t answer the question.Don’t answer the question. Answer the child. We answer the child.

“The wise child—what does he say?” Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitchwould point out that in Hebrew, with just a slight change in punctuation, those words can read quite differently: “The wise child—what is he? He says…”

Through the question, we see the child. And that is who we answer.

The wise child articulates his question. He’s obviously thought it through well and knows exactly what he’s looking for.

If he’s wise, why does he ask? Why doesn’t he just have faith, like a good religious boy, and accept all his parents and teachers tell him?

He asks because he has faith. Like a scientist who believes that there will always be an explanation if we will just dig a little further, he believes that there will always be meaning, and deeper meaning, and yet deeper. His mind is not fettered by faith, but driven by it. And his faith, in turn, is enriched by his questions.

Something neat Rabbi Avraham Altein just pointed out: If there are no children to ask, no guests, nobody, the halacha is that you have to ask the question to yourself. According to Maimonides, even if the children have asked the questions, the parents must also ask.

Get that? You know the answer, but you have to ask again. Really ask. Revisit the darkness of “I don’t know”—as though you never knew. Because last year’s answer no longer satisfies you. That’s how you get to a new light. And that’s what it means to be wise.

All the Children

Which all explains why the Wise Child often ends up getting all the attention, while the others are left out.

But no, there are three more children in the room.There are three more children in the room. They are also our children. They are also our children.

Like the Wicked Child. He’s next in line in expertise at asking questions. After all, he has identified exactly what it is that is bothering him. Problem is, he’s not interested in an answer.

But he’s still number two, because something bothers him. The whole Seder bothers him. Which means he’s alive and kicking. Which means there’s something there to work with.

The Simple Child asks, but he’s not sure what he’s asking. He’s the one that is too often ignored. Since you don’t really get his question (because neither does he), he never gets an answer. In the times we live in, that’s a precarious situation. Because that may one day mean to him that there is no answer. And if so, he will have a different question: “Why am I doing all this if there is no answer?”

So the Haggadah instructs you to tell him stories of wonders and miracles. That is his world, that is what he sees. He is in wonderment. Go with it—take that wonderment and nurture it, all the way. Don’t give him any less than the Wise Child, or the Wicked One. And don’t demand that he become the Wise Child—lest you push him towards his cynical brother.

As for The Child Who Doesn’t Know How To Ask—In illustrated Haggadahs, he’s always a baby with a pacifier in his mouth. But that’s nonsense.The Inquisitively Challenged Child got 100% on his Haggadah test. I’ll bet he got 100/100 on his Passover Haggadah finals.

You know why I think that? Look at the answer we give him: “For the sake of this, G‑d did what He did for me when I left Egypt.” That’s a deep answer to an intelligent person.

So what does it mean that “he doesn’t know how to ask”?

Many of the ideas I’m writing here were sparked years ago by a conversation with an Israeli researcher, a student of renowned educational psychologist, Benjamin Bloom, who visited our school along with many high schools across North America. At each school, the researcher would ask the principal, “Give me your best students, one by one, in a private room.”

When the student would enter, she would just sit there for a minute or two. Then she would ask, “Do you have any questions?”

Silence.

Then: “I’m visiting from Israel.”

More silence.

“I’m doing research.”

You get the gist of it.

But then, she would ask the principal to bring in the troublemakers, one-by-one. They would enter, and immediately break into, “Why am I here? Who are you? What is this all about? Israel? What’s that like?”

Open For This Child

So this child #4, a bright child who excels in school, why does this child not ask? Why is he not in search of understanding and meaning? What went wrong?

My guess? He went to school. There he was rewarded for answering questions just the way the teacher likes. But he was never rewarded for asking the really good ones that might disrupt the class, or the questions that the teacher might not have the answers to.

So Teach him, by example, that it’s even ok to question the most basic assumptions.for this child, “You must open for him.” Open his mouth. Teach him to ask. Teach him that it’s ok to ask. Teach him that it’s even ok to question the most basic assumptions. How? By example. By showing him how you yourself question assumptions.

That could explain another one of those Seder tidbits that should spark a thousand questions—or at least some annoyance. Immediately after the episode of the four children, a heavy chunk of Talmudic exegesis plops down upon us, seemingly telling us nothing of the Exodus narrative or the people sitting here.

Here’s the classic translation:

One may think that [the discussion of the exodus] must be from the first of the month. The Torah therefore says, “On that day.” “On that day,” however, could mean while it is yet daytime; the Torah therefore says, “It is because of this.” The expression “because of this” can only be said when matzah and maror are placed before you.

But Rabbi Don Yitzchak Abravanel (15th century) tells us it’s actually as relevant as you can get. It’s a response to that Inquisitively Challenged Child. It’s about opening his mind with a question that challenges the most unquestioned assumption of the entire ritual: Who says it’s Passover tonight?

Try reading it like this:

You: Hold on, maybe we were supposed to do this Seder on Rosh Chodesh—15 days ago on the first day of the month!

Child: Umm. Why then?

You: Because that’s when God told Moses about the mitzvah of Pesach.

Child: Okay, so we messed up.

You: Nope, it says on that day.

Child: Okay, so let’s get on. What do we say next?

You: Not so simple. Because then we should be doing it during the day. Now it’s night already.

Child: So it’s over. Let’s eat.

You: Not so fast. You see, it says, for the sake of this stuff. Meaning this matzah and bitter herbs that we eat on the night of Pesach. So we have to wait until we’re supposed to eat that stuff—and that’s tonight.

Child: Why on earth do we have to tell a story to food?

See? It worked!


So here’s what I’m taking from my Seder into the coming year:

Torah comes to us in a beautiful package, wrapped and tied. The only way to untie those knots and open up its treasures is by asking the right questions whenever and wherever they come to mind, and asking them without fear or shame.

How do we get ourselves,How can we teach the faith and courage it takes not to fear a good question? our children, other Jews, and everyone else who can benefit, to ask? How can we teach the faith and courage it takes not to fear a good question?

If we can find answers to those questions, we will have half of education nailed.

What’s So Wise About the Wise Child?

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman’s writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org’s copyright policy.

Pope Francis: Read The Bible As Often As You Check Your Cellphone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME AND THE VATICAN AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Pope Francis: Read the Bible as Often as You Check Your Cellphone

12:51 PM Eastern

(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis has called on the faithful to consult the Bible with the same frequency as they might consult their cellphones for messages.

Francis urged a packed St. Peter’s Square following his weekly Angelus blessing Sunday to give the Bible the same place in daily life as cellphones, asking: “What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones.”

The message was a twist on Francis’ frequent use of social media to reach the faithful, including regular messages on Twitter.

Why I Choose To Operate A Diversified Website

 

I know that there are a lot of folks who choose to stay very narrow in the material they publish on their websites and I do totally understand that line of thought. There are many people who are by their nature very narrow-minded in the way they choose to live their lives, some would say they are very ‘focused’ and I do not doubt their sincerity, our lives after all is a personal thing. Some people are wildly diversified in their beliefs yet choose to be very narrow in the material they will post in their blog, that is understandable to me also. There are a lot of people who when they get onto the internet in search of material to read they want to go to sites that totally and only agree with their personal points of view. This is understandable to me if a person is looking for a certain venue like muscle cars, farm equipment or clothing fashions. There are some folks who run websites who know their targeted market and the people who visit their site so the author’s stay on that narrow path so that they don’t lose readership, in my opinion that is a safe way to operate your site. Yet there are subject matters in this world we live in that are diversified by their very nature.

 

I know that there is an old cliché about never mixing religion and politics into a conversation unless you are wishing to start a war, or to get everyone to leave your party. Yet these are two genre’s that affect our lives whether we wish them to or not. So, this is why I add them into the things I write about and that I reblog for other writers. I try to be a bit eclectic on purpose hoping that I can get people to think outside their norm. I want my readers to search out this website each day for the purpose of liking some things and getting upset about other things they find on this site each day. I do not agree with everything I reblog from other writers, some I very much do not agree with. Yet I do this to broaden my own area of knowledge and hopefully broaden the knowledge of some of my readers.

 

Before I went to college I did not write anything at all except maybe an occasional letter to a family member. While in school I was forced into taking a class called Creative Writing, one that I am positive many of you folks also had to labor through. I found that I actually liked writing during the time I was in those classes though. I survived by writing a lot of poems that a lot of people seemed to like and I was pleased to be able to pass the course. As many of my readers know I still post one of my poems once in a while just to break a routine from serious articles. In the political arena I am a registered Independent voter who is sick of both the Republican and the Democratic parties yet on this site I post articles that are for and against both of these parties as well as other parties and groups of people like Nazi believers, Communists believers and even Socialists believers. Do I do this because I wish to start a war? No, not at all, what I am trying to do is to help start a conversation between these different ideologies. You know, sometimes this conversation I am trying to facilitate is even one that is between one’s own ears.

 

Another genre that a person will find on this site is about religion, or should I say religions. Personally I am a fundamentalist Christian that does not agree totally with any of the world’s main denominations doctrines. There are many ‘Christian’ religions and many people through the past two thousand years have died fighting against other ‘Christians.’ In my personal opinion this violence toward each other is anti-Christian. Then as you know, there are many other ‘religions’ here on this planet that have nothing to do with Jesus (Yeshua) or God the Father Jehovah (Yahweh). There are billions of people who believe in Gods that are not found in any version of the Bible such as Buddhist, Hindu and Islam to name just a few. Yet you may ask why I will forward writings from other bloggers on to this site that are not fundamentalist or even Christian at all and this is a fair question. If you have ever read my homepage article you know that I was brought up in the ‘Church of Christ’ as a kid and as a teenager. I was taught that only people who were members of the Church of Christ would go to Heaven and that everyone else on Earth would go to Hell. Yet there were many questions I had that the Elders would not or could not answer so I started digging into other religions, Christian and otherwise. The Church taught that we were correct and every other religion was wrong yet I was expected to go around the neighborhood knocking on people’s doors telling them that their version of Christian worship was wrong without knowing what they were wrong about. How does one do that? Yet the Elders told me it was evil to be reading materials about religion that wasn’t from the Church of Christ. My opinion then was as it is now, how do you tell someone they are wrong if you don’t even know what they teach?

 

These are the reasons why I post a different type of articles and opinions on this website, to get people to think, to read, to question, to understand. Do I believe in everything I post up each day? Of course not. In editing this site I have learned so very much from what other writers have written. I have learned many things about other cultures, religions, jobs, economies, militaries, and about other countries, some of which I did not even know existed. Friends this is why I do what I do on this site. No one is paying me anything at all to write what I do or to reblog what I choose to reblog, I have never earned one penny from this site and I do not ever expect to. I write and read these articles to educate myself and hopefully to help broaden the understanding and knowledge of others. I do have things that I will not put over onto this site that other WordPress bloggers who read me write about though. I do not put anything I consider to be pornographic nor do I put over articles with filthy language onto this site. That is just a personal choice, just as I hope it is your personal choice to stop in each day to see what range of genre I have posted for you to consider. Until we can meet again, Shalom my friends, may God bless you and your loved ones always.

The Book Of Revelation: Chapter #6

 

Revelation: Chapter #6

Chapter #6, this is where the beginning of the ‘Great Tribulation’ period here on the Earth begins. When the Apostle John was in Heaven (in his Spirit) these are the events that he beheld. Now, as Jesus (Yeshua) broke each of the Seven Seals of the Book that had been bound in Heaven that no one else could break, John witnessed the events upon the Earth as each Seal was broken. There are only 17 verses in this chapter, so I am going to type them down for those who do not have access to a Bible. After we read these 17 verses we will then break down each of the events so that we can have a better understanding of what we are being told.

“And I (John) saw when the Lamb (Jesus) opened one of the Seals and I heard what was like the noise of thunder and one of the four Beasts said to me, come and see.”

“And I saw and beheld a White Horse, and He that sat on him had a bow; and a Crown was given to Him; and He went forth conquering and to conquer.”

“And when He had opened the Second Seal, I heard the second Beast say to me, come and see.”

“And there went out another Horse which was Red, and power was given to Him that sat upon this Horse to take peace from the Earth so that people would kill one another. And there was given to Him a great sword.”

“And when He had opened the Third Seal, I heard the third Beast say to me, come and see. And I beheld, and lo there was a Black Horse. And He that sat upon him had a pair of scales in His hand.”

“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four Beasts say, a measure (1 quart) of wheat for a penny (1 day’s wages). And three measures (3 quarts) of barley for a penny ( day’s wages). But see that you do no hurt to the oil or the wine.”

“And when He had opened the Fourth Seal, I heard the voice of the fourth Beast say to me, come and see.”

“And I looked and beheld a Pale Horse: and His name that sat upon him was Death, and Hell followed with Him. And power was given unto them over one-fourth part of the Earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with wild beasts of the Earth.”

“And when He had opened the Fifth Seal, I saw under the Altar the Souls of them that were slain for the Word of God and the testimony which they held.”

“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord, Holy and True, until you judge and avenge our blood on those that dwell on the Earth?”

“And White Robes was given to every one of them. And it was said unto them that they should rest (be quiet) yet for a little season (while),  until their fellow Servants also and their Brethren, that would be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”

“And I beheld when He had opened the Sixth Seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the Sun became black as sackcloth hair and the Moon became as blood (turned red).”

“And the Stars of Heaven fell on to the Earth, even as a fig tree casts away her untimely figs, when she is shaken from a mighty wind.”

“And the Heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

“And the Kings of the Earth and the great men and the rich men and the Chief Captains (military leaders) and the mighty men and the bondmen (slaves) and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and under the rocks of the mountains.”

“And (these people) said to the mountains and the rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sits upon the Throne (The Holy Father/Yahweh), and from the wrath of the Lamb (Jesus/Yeshua).

“For the great day of His wrath has come; and who will be able to stand?”

Okay friends, that is the 17 verses of this chapter. I will now do my best to point out the definitions of some of the things written in this chapter that might be stumping a few of you. Folks, chapter six is the dividing point within the book of Revelation. But before we get into this break down I would like you to look up something that the Apostle Peter wrote in the book of Second Peter chapter #1  verse # 20 “Knowing this first, that no Prophecy of the Scripture is of any interpretation.” I am no different from many millions of you in the reality that God’s Holy Spirit indwells me, as He does you. All Scripture is given by the Holy Spirit, we all form the “Body of Christ” and like any body, it has many parts, many different gifts. Peter is speaking that no one Prophecy stands as an island unto its own. All Prophecy is given by the Holy Spirit and all Biblical Prophecy stands together as one unit, they are all pieces that fit together as in one puzzle, or one Book. If you think back into the different Prophecies within the Old Testament they fall into place, Prophecy is about the things that are yet to happen, about the future. Prophecy is not about the past, that is simply called History. Revelation is a Book of Prophecy, we are being told what the final chapters of the Earth and humankind is. I want to make this point as clear as I can, in the Book of Revelation chapters 6 through 20 are about events that are yet to happen.

Now, let’s start with that First Seal. The rider of this White Horse is the Antichrist. He is a fake ‘Saviour’, the people will be begging for help from anywhere they think they can get it. Wanting to be rescued from all the bloodshed and famine they will want peace at any price and they will ‘elect’ their own destroyer. Right now this world we are living in is ripe for the Dictators who are being elected freely by the people themselves. Look at the current leadership in Turkey, the Philippines, the so-called democracies in the Arab World. What about the current situation here in the U.S.? Friends, there will be no peace here on this Earth because the powers that be, the super rich, the super powerful survive through the chaos they themselves create. When they just promote one of their own to the Throne of their countries, it is just the same evil for the people, just with a different face.

The Second Seal, the Red Horse of War. The fake peace that the Antichrist of the First Seal was just a ruse, we all know the story, a politician promises the people one thing, then they get hold of the reigns of power and what the people get is a ruthless power-hungry Dictator. In the first Book of the New Testament, the book of Matthew please read chapter 24 verse 2. This is where Jesus tell His Apostles that where they were at, the Temple in Jerusalem, that there will be a day when not one stone will be left upon another. A lot of folks believe that the destruction of the Temple happened when the Romans destroyed the Temple in  A.D. 72. Folks, the people who teach this are wrong, the event that the Lord was speaking of had nothing to do with the Romans. The reason I know this is simple, have you ever heard of the Wailing Wall or the West Wall which is at the Temple Mount? Friends, this is part of the West Wall of Solomon’s Temple, there are many stones, one upon another still in existence. The event that Jesus was referring to, has not happened yet. For your own thoughts, what is powerful enough to level Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to where there would not be one stone left upon another? To me, the answer is obvious, is it really a secret to you? I believe an event like Israel deciding to go ahead with the plan to build Synagogues on all four corners of the Temple Mount would infuriate the Arab World and if one of them has nukes (Iran), they would use them on Israel, this is the only thing I can think of that could cause the event of which Jesus spoke of. What kind of “peace” do you think the world will be in when this happens?

The Third Horseman, when Jesus broke the Third Seal the rider of the Black Horse came forth. The Black Horse represents ‘mourning’. There are a few paragraphs of Scripture I wish you to read so that you will understand better what I am saying. These Scriptures are Jeremiah 4:28 and Malachi 3:14. After the arrival of the Third Horseman there will be a world-wide famine. Please read Lamentations 4: 8-9 “There appearance is blacker than coal; they are not known in the streets (they look so bad they can’t be recognized): their skin clings to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. Those that are killed with the sword are better off than those that will be slain with hunger. For these wither away, stricken through for want of fruits of the field.” Famine and disease will be the norm in these times. The wealthy will still have their wine and their oil in these times just as it has always been throughout human history. Those whom have the most will be the least, and the last affected, just as it has always been. Yet these events, will be on a global scale, every Nation on Earth will be infected.

The opening of the Fourth Seal: The Rider of the Pale Horse. The Pale Horse represents plague and pestilence. When Jesus was upon the Mount of Olivet He spoke what has become known as the Olivet Discourse. Please read Matthew chapter 24: 5-8. Please take the time to read and understand these words the Lord spoke about the four Events are the Horsemen. These events are about to happen with the opening of the Fourth Seal, these events folks will kill a full one-fourth of the whole world’s population. If you used the population of the Earth today as an example, that would be about one billion seven hundred million people would die. Remember the Lord’s words concerning this matter: “Except those days be shortened, there would be no flesh saved, but for the Elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” These “Elect” that the Lord is speaking of are the ones who have been left on Earth after the Rapture who have decided to turn to God/Jesus and believe in and to follow after the Lord and His teachings. Most people when they fall upon hard times and I do mean very hard times, tend to curse God and to turn their back on God and walk away from Him, a few do just the opposite, they turn to God in these times, these are the ones being spoken of here. If you honestly think about it, if the Rapture happened today, would even 10% of the people who say they are Christians be taken up with the Lord at that time? Do you remember in the “Left Behind” movie where even the ‘Preacher’ got left behind? If we do not have faith, it is impossible to please Him!

The opening of the Fifth Seal and the prayers of the martyred Saints. The Souls mentioned here that are under the Altar of God. These are the Souls of the people who have been murdered for their doing of God’s word, their teaching and living according to God’s word. These are those who lived during the time frame of the ‘Old Testament’. Please open your Bible to the Gospel of Luke and read chapter 11:50-51. Our Lord spoke on this matter “That the blood of all the Prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation. From the blood of Able (Adam and Eve’s son) unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the Altar and the Temple. Verily I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation.”

With the opening of the Sixth Seal, the Lord’s ‘Day of Wrath’ has come. But the good thing is for those still upon the Earth, this is the beginning of the end of the Tribulation period. These events though are horrifying just in reading them. Please reread chapter 6 verses 12-14, also please read Revelation 20:11 and the Old Testament Prophet Nahum 1:5. Friends, it is easy to see how pathetic and weak humans are and will be upon the Lord’s return. Folks, the Demons and Satan Himself have already learned this horrible lesson but we humans have self-induced blindness toward the word of God. We humans are walking hand in hand with the very same Demons we have chosen to worship and to serve and those that do so will be their servants in Hell for ever and ever. Folks, what we don’t know can and will do more than just destroy us in this life.

The Seventh Seal does not get opened until the beginning of the eight chapter so for you who want to read ahead and have any questions, go ahead and do so. I am never ever going to tell a person to not read the Bible. I wish that all humans wanted to see, understand and believe in God’s teachings to us. I do believe that time is running short for the human race, for me personally I know that because of my health that my time left here is very short. We all very badly need to turn our lives over to God. We all have flaws, we all make mistakes, none of us are perfect and God knows these things about us. Our lives come down to faith, what do we put our faith in? If we put our faith in our Creator, if we live our lives according to His teachings of love then we have no need to fear the events that will happen to us after this life is over. Lord willing I will speak with you soon when I do my best to breakdown chapter seven. Shalom

Bible: Revelation Chapter #2

 

Revelation Chapter #2

Chapter #2 is all about the message the Lord Jesus gave to his Apostle John about seven of the Churches that were in Asia-Minor at that time. There were many Churches at that time but God chose these seven in which to give direct messages to. This chapter touches on all seven of the Church’s but it concentrates mostly on just four of them, the other three will be covered more in chapter #3. One thing that all people need to understand is that ‘The Church’ is the ‘Bride of Christ’ that He will be coming back to get. Like any ‘Bride’ the Groom wants His Bride to be as pure and faithful as possible, the ‘Church’ for Jesus is no different. In the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation the Church is mentioned 19 times yet in chapters 4 through 20 the Church is not mentioned at all. The reason for this is that after chapter #3 the Church leaves this physical Earth. Chapters 4-20 covers issues of what is yet to be. Jesus in His messages to these seven Churches were direct in their meanings and in their messages to these late first century Churches. O, by the way, if you are able to afford the trip, the ruins of these seven Churches still exist today if you wish to go check them out.

With how the Lord addressed each of these Churches it gives us a snapshot of the condition of each of their congregations at the time. All Churches are made up of human beings and just like human beings each Church then and today, have their own personalities, their own little quirks about them. This is one huge reason why it is so important for a Church to have Holy Spirit led Leaders within the Church family. If the head is a snake it will poison the body and consume all that was good about it. This is true of a family, a business, a Country, or of a Church. First I would like to discuss the Church that was at Philadelphia. The Lord was addressing this one Church yet it is obvious that He was addressing not just the Church at Philadelphia, He was addressing these other six Churches as well. What was also obvious is that He was addressing every Church Congregation every where, then and now. Remember, every Congregation just like any other family is made up of individuals, so the Lord was also talking directly to me, and to you. You see, all Churches must be in lockstep with each other in that there is only one Lord, one God, one Church (Bride), and one Head of The Church (one Groom) and that is Jesus The Christ who bought us with His own blood. If you will notice, there are seven addresses given to these seven Churches and within them is given the seven periods of the Church’s history. For those who are unaware of it ‘The Church’ began on the Day of Pentecost after the Lord had risen and ascended back to His Throne in Heaven. This day is when ‘The Kingdom, The Comforter’ which was the Holy Spirit was given to the twelve Apostles of Christ.

The Lord starts off His address to each of the Churches with the saying “I know your works”. With most of the Churches He congratulates the Congregation and then gives a condemnation to them. Yet, for two of the Congregations He did not give a condemnation, these two Churches were the ones at Philadelphia and Smyrna. The reasons for this are rather simple, Philadelphia was a missionary Church and Smyrna was a martyr Church as both of these Churches were effectively getting out the Word of God in their areas. Another thing to notice is the fact that He gave no congratulation to the Congregation at Laodicea, He only gave them a condemnation. The reason for this is that this Church, this Congregation had fallen away from the teachings of God that it had been founded upon. Each of the seven messages to the seven Churches all ended with the same warning “He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says.”

Within chapter #2 you will find the Lord’s messages to the first four Churches. In verses (1-7) you find the Lord’s message to the Church that was at Ephesus, in verses (8-11) this message is to the Church at Smyrna, in verses (12-17) the message is to the Church at Pergamos. The last of this chapter is to the Church at Thyatira, verses (18-29). The Lord’s messages to the other three Churches, Philadelphia, Sardis, and Laodicea, you will find in Chapter #3. If you would, please consider the Lord’s four messages to these first four Churches. Now remember, these messages are to the Apostle John at the direction of The Lord Jesus. “Unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus write these things that the Lord has to say to them.” ” I know your works and your labor and your patience. I know how you can not tolerate them which are evil, and how you have tested them which say they are Apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. also how you have borne burdens and have been persistent, and for my Name sake you have labored and have not become weak. Never the less I have something against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and practice your first works, or else I will come unto you quickly and will remove your candlestick out of its place, unless you repent. But there is one thing which you hate, that is the deeds of make-believe Christians, which I also hate. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. To him that overcomes this world I will give to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the presence of God.” You see my friends, there is such a thing as falling away from the truth of God, and there is no such thing as ‘once saved always saved.”

Now the message from Jesus to the Church at Smyrna. “To the Angel of the Church in Smyrna write; these things the Lord has to say to you, He which is the first and the last, which was dead and is alive.” “I know your works and your tribulation (time of great affliction) and your poverty (but you are rich). I know the blasphemy of those which say they are Jews and are not. But are of the Synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which you shall suffer. Behold, the Devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tested and you shall have tribulation. But if you are faithful until death I will give you a Crown of Life. “He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches, he that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.” Again my friends, the Lord says plainly that we must remain faithful unto death. These ‘Churches’ of today who are not teaching this, are not teaching the message that God Himself has given to all of us, they are not, teaching God’s word!

Now let’s study the message that God gave to the Church that was at Pergamos. “To the Angel of the Church in Pergamos write, these things says He which has the sharp sword with two edges. I know your works and where you live, I even know where Satan’s seat is. I know that you hold fast to My name, and that you have not abandoned My faith, even in those days when Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you. Because among you there are those that hold to the doctrine of Balaam who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel. To eat things which had been sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. You also have among you those that follow the teachings of make-believe Christians which is something I hate. Repent, or else I will come unto you quickly and will fight against you with the sword of My mouth. He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit has to say to the Churches. To him that overcomes this world I will give them to eat of the hidden manna, and will give them a White Stone. And in the Stone a new Name written. Which no man will recognize except for he that receives it.” My friends, again and again, we must remain faithful through our deaths. Also, in these verses we are being told very plainly that it does matter what the Churches, the Preachers, are teaching the Congregation. It is very important for the people to know exactly what “The Truth” is and the best way to do this is to separate out a little bit of our day each day to study the Bible and for prayer. It is also the absolute duty of the Congregation to insist that the Church Leadership is teaching the true messages of God to the Congregation, it does matter what is being taught from the pulpit.

I am going to finish off this article tonight with the message that the Lord gave to the Church at Thyatira. “Unto the Angel of the Church at Thyatira write. These things says the Son of God who has His eyes like unto a flame of fire and His feet are like fine brass. I know your works and charity and service and faith and your patience. But I still have a few things against you because you allow that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a Prophetess, to teach and to mislead my Servants to commit fornication and to eat things which have been sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent of her fornication but she did not repent. Behold, I will cast her into a bed and those that promote pagan religious ideas with her into great troubles, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her offspring with death and all the Churches will realize that I am He which judges the wills and the hearts. And I will give unto everyone according to your works (deeds). But unto you I say and unto the rest in Thyatira and for those who do not practice pagan doctrine and have not experienced the depths of Satan as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden. But the faith and doctrine which you already have, hold firmly until I come. He that overcomes and maintains my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the Nations. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.”

As you can easily see The Lord has many things to say to the Churches then and to the Churches now. Just as The Lord had a lot to say to the individuals then, He said a lot to each of us now. The Lord has made it so very plain that we must all remain faithful unto our own death, a Church or a person that teaches otherwise is not teaching the Word nor the Will of God. Anyone who teaches something so ridiculous as you can sprinkle a little water on an infant and that this baby, this person is now saved is just that, ridiculous. Think about this for a moment please, Hitler’s Mom was a Catholic, so there is a real good chance that Hitler was “saved” as an infant. So, then he grew up to be the monster that he was, but that was okay for him, he was still saved. Really folks? We are not saved by our works, our deeds, it is the Grace of God we are saved by. But God has laid down His “to do list” for all of us. We must walk after the heart and the face of The Lord everyday of our lives. He knows we will all have days that we will stumble but God knows each of our hearts, He will judge us by that, the condition of our hearts and our efforts. Okay, that is all for this evening, I hope this breakdown was of some help to you. Hopefully I will be able to get to chapter #3 tomorrow. For now, good night and God bless.

Give Thanks to Him and Praise His Name: This Thanksgiving And Everyday

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS)

Give Thanks to Him and Praise His Name

November 23, 2016

Dear Friend of Israel

On Thanksgiving, Americans gather with family and friends to share a meal and give thanks to God for their many blessings. It is one of America’s most beloved holidays – one of those rare times when we come together to reaffirm the principle that the good we have received as a nation and as individuals is a gift from God.

Though Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Israel, its theme is woven throughout Jewish life and holidays. During Hanukkah, which we will observe next month, we remember with a thankful heart God’s gift of a flask of oil that miraculously lasted eight days. On Purim, giving thanks to God is central to the joyous celebration of the Jews’ victory over the evil Haman. On Passover, our hearts are filled with gratitude when we remember how God delivered our ancestors from captivity in Egypt.

I am also reminded of this spirit of thanksgiving whenever I visit our Fellowship sponsored programs in Israel and hear heartfelt expressions of gratitude from Israel’s needy people for the help they are receiving. Through your generosity, this year more Jews have been brought to their biblical homeland, more hungry Jews have been fed, and more Jewish orphans have been given safe, comfortable places to live than ever before.

We cultivate a sense of thankfulness, first and foremost, by cultivating a sense of gratitude toward God, the One Who made us and sustains us. Psalm 100:4-5 tells us to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” When we learn in all things to “give thanks to him and praise his name,” we will find that gratitude – for the smallest blessings, as well as the largest – will follow us throughout our lives.

This Thanksgiving, as I thank God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon me and upon The Fellowship’s ministry, I will also be thanking God for you, our Fellowship supporters – for your generous spirit, and for all He has accomplished through you. Your compassionate help provides so many needy people with the life-giving support that gives them hope. May your heart be filled with gratefulness for the many blessings in your life, and brim over with thanks to the God Who is the source of all those blessings.

With prayers for shalom, peace,


Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

The Life And Times Of Blanche Anders Savage (The Cookie Lady) 1930-2000

 

The  Cookie Lady-A True Story of a wonderful person who lived from 1930-2000.

My name is Blanche, I was born into a poor white family in Benson Minnesota in September of 1930. My mother is Sophie Amanda Hanson. She was born here in Benson Minnesota in December of 1905. My dad is Elbert Anders of Galax, Virginia. He was born in September of 1905. I only have one sibling, my brother Lonnie who was born in January of 1936 in Faith South Dakota. But, I won’t speak of Faith just yet. My mom’s parents came here from Norway in the late 1880’s and had more kids than the fingers could count. Mom was just one of many of the Hanson children but in my opinion was the sweetest of all. Mom obtained a seventh grade education, enough to read and write clearly. Dad was a rambler who was doing just that in 1928 when he and my mom met.

Dad seemed to always love two things most in life, horses and women. I don’t blame my dad for all of his faults; after all, we all have some. Dad never had any education at all and never did learn to read and write. It was the late 1960’s before he learned how to sign his name.

Watching my parents struggle throughout my childhood ingrained in me the determination to get an education and to stay in school and get my high school diploma. This was one of the few goals in my life that I was able to accomplish.  My childhood taught me many things; things like the rich had good educations. And that the rich got rich and stayed rich on the sweat off the uneducated poor man’s back. Even as a small child I was always aware that we were looked down upon by those who could afford the nice clothes, fancy cars and big houses.

Mom and dad got married in 1928 in Benson. I never could figure why mom would have married my dad. Maybe it was that she was considered an old maid, going on 23 and still not hitched. I know she was never happy in her life with the cards she had been dealt. You know, uneducated, poor women aren’t anything except slaves to their uneducated ignorant husbands. Even the children that they bare are just an extension of the male’s property.

Shortly after I was born dad moved us to a little town in western South Dakota called Faith. A saying that I remember about Faith was fitting, “Faith South Dakota, a hundred miles from anywhere”. Dad had a couple of brothers that lived out that away. So I guess it was fitting that he would up and ramble toward them next.

I remember our years in South Dakota as being a pure hell, Faith with its dirt streets and water that had to be trucked in. It seems like I was always cold and dirty there. We lived in several one room shacks, some just lean-to’s on the back of peoples’ houses, seems like we were always hungry and cold. There were several of the places we lived that had dirt floors with walls and roofs that you could see straight through to the outside. I guess Faith was the reason I never did like to do any camping, so many of the places we lived seemed almost like we were camping.

To be fair to the town, maybe things wouldn’t have been as bad as they were if dad would have cared more about his family and less about other women, horses and bulldogs. Dad always tried to keep a horse and a bulldog or two. The horse I could understand, we hardly ever had a car, so the horse was his transportation back in those years. The bulldogs, I don’t know why he liked to have them. I guess it was just so he could have something else to beat on. I was always scared of his dogs, yet I always felt sorry for them. They were always kept chained to a stake in the back yard. Looking back, it might have been that he knew the dogs would bark if we had any visitors. The way he was always chasing after women, I guess that wasn’t such a bad idea.

My brother Lonnie was born there in Faith in January of 1936. It was always nice having a brother. Throughout our childhoods we were each others best friends, confidants and play partners. Yet having a brother was difficult too. It wasn’t just having another mouth to feed and back to clothe. It was also the having to see the hardships put upon yet another one that you loved without being able to do anything to correct it, or stop it.

I remember one night it had gotten dark and dad wasn’t home from his job yet and mom was crying real hard. I didn’t understand why mom was so upset because it was normal that dad didn’t come home before dark. I asked mom what was wrong and she told me about the rent being due that night, and dad being paid that day, but he hadn’t paid the rent or come home with his pay.

This was in the summer of 1937 and I was almost seven years old. My brother Lonnie was just about one and a half at the time. Mom said she had to stay home with the baby, but she told me to go through town and look for dad’s horse, find him and ask him to please come home, pay the rent and buy the family some food. It wasn’t long before I found dad’s horse tied up beside a building that had a lot of music and noise coming from it. I noticed a window on the side of the building with some empty wood crates by it. I took a few of the crates and stacked them up to where I could get up on them and look into that window. What I seen shocked me a lot. There was a naked woman sitting on top of my dad in a chair and he was also naked. They were just laughing and seemed to be having a lot of fun. Well, I was so surprised that I stumbled and fell off the crates onto the ground, with the crates falling after me. I made such a noise that the woman and dad both came and looked out the window at me. Dad was sure mad at me and he whipped me all the way home.

When we got home dad was still mad and he hollered at mom for a long time, I know she cried for hours. Dad said that mom and I had embarrassed him something horrible by doing what we had done. A couple of days after that dad sold his horse and his dogs and he pulled up to the shack we were living in, in an old dilapidated 1922 Ford car. Dad and mom took what few things we had, stuffed them and the four of us into the car and we left Faith South Dakota for a place called Galax Virginia.

I didn’t know anything about this place we were headed, I just hoped it was better than the place we had been. I know I prayed that I would never see Faith or South Dakota again for all I remembered of them was hardship. As it turned out I would see both again, but at least it would wait almost thirty years.

The trip from Faith to Galax is about 2,000 miles and in that old piece of junk dad was driving it took us three weeks to make it to Galax. I learned that the reason dad chose Galax was because he had several brothers and sisters living in and around this town he was born in. The three weeks the trip took seemed like forever. At night we would stop alongside the road and we would sleep on the ground beside the car. I remember being so scared and so hungry, hoping that we could make it to our new home.

When we finally made it to Galax we were broke and hungry. None of dad’s folks knew we were coming but none the less they took us in and kept us alive. I know it embarrassed mom a lot as we moved from one of dad’s kin to another over the first two months. But eventually one of dad’s brothers was able to get dad on at the mine he was working at just across the North Carolina line. Mom got a job at the local hospital changing linens and bed pans for the patients.

After a couple of months mom and dad were able to save enough money to rent a house in “the bottom” there in town. The bottom was a place that the working white poor folk lived. But still the house we were renting was like a real home. It had windows and wood floors and you couldn’t see any stars at night while lying in bed. Even though you could feel the cold air in the winter around the windows and doors at least it wasn’t so bad that the snow would come through them when they were closed. A few years later we were able to buy a different house there in the bottom down by the swinging bridge. That was after the war had started and dad was getting to work regular. It was a two bedroom with an inside toilet and a pot-bellied coal stove in the living room that kept us warm in the winter.

With the move to Virginia our scenery got a lot prettier, the weather was a lot nicer, and the people seemed to be friendlier. Our housing situation was much more stable and mom and dad had regular work. So a lot of things were better, more stable for us now, but there was still much heartache. The change of location didn’t change any of dad’s ways. We soon had a bulldog staked in the backyard and dad bought himself a horse and paid a farmer money to keep the horse at his place. Any money he had left was always spent on other women.

By now I was reaching an age to where I wasn’t as blind to the reality I was living in. For years I was required to take this little red wagon I had to a building downtown where I got food twice a month. This place handed out some flour, cornmeal, beans, bread, and cheese. If it wasn’t for Mr. Roosevelt, mom, Lonnie and I would have been very hungry. I guess that is a big reason why I was a lifelong democrat. I grew up believing that to vote republican you either had to be rich or stupid.

At the age of fourteen, I was able to get a job at the soda fountain inside the Peoples Drug Store in downtown Galax. I worked there three hours each evening and all day on Saturdays. I used this money to buy my own school clothes and the cost of my school supplies. I also worked in the school cafeteria serving food so that I could get my meals there for free. That was a lot better than having to run home at lunch, get a sandwich and a glass of milk then run back to school especially on the cold winter days.

I graduated high school in 1947. It was then I started working full-time at the drug store. I still lived at home and remained under dad’s control. I was never allowed to date. I’m sure it was because dad had his view of what women were and he wasn’t about to let me be anything like the women he had always known.

Dad worked with a man named Wayne Savage whom dad admired a lot because he was very strong and a real hard worker. As things worked out, Wayne had a younger brother named Bill who was getting out of the Navy from his two-year hitch in February of 1948. Wayne got Bill a job there at the mine when he was discharged from the Navy. So I ended up with dad’s insistence dating Bill and then marrying him May 29th, 1948. One truth I was always proud of is that I was a virgin on my wedding night.

Bill turned out to be a lot of the things dad was, and a lot of things he wasn’t. I think the reason Bill got married was for the free sex, free housekeeper, free cook and an extra paycheck. In my dad’s defense he was a hard worker and a non-drinker. Unfortunately Bill was an alcoholic and he never found a job he would stick with.

From 1949 through 1956 I gave birth to four children. Our oldest Larry was born in my mom’s home in June 1949 with a midwife. Our second child, Steven Ray was born in a hospital in Winston-Salem North Carolina in May of 1952. I have always been so glad that I gave birth to Steven in a hospital or I never would have been able to forgive myself. The doctors said Steven was born with a hole in his heart. In 1952 they couldn’t save him; he lived three days, never leaving the hospital. We buried Steven in the McKenzie Cemetery just outside of Galax. Our third child was our little girl Jackie; she was born in September of 1954. Jackie and our last child Ted were born in the hospital in Galax. Ted was born in August 1956. He was always sickly and skinny as a rail, at every meal it was difficult to get him to eat. This just made him a target for Bill. I dreaded every meal because you always knew that Bill would start yelling at him and then start beating him. Ted had to put up with that until he was seventeen. He stood up to Bill then and it was plain that Bill got scared, but he never treated Ted like that again. But that was 1973, so I’m getting ahead of myself so I’m going to step back in time to 1961.

Bill and our family had rented many places until we got lucky and was able to get the bank to finance us a small eight acre farm in nearby Woodlawn, Virginia. It was a dream come true for me, our own house. It was a three bedroom, one bath, two-story house with a small detached garage, a full size barn, and a hog house. The property was fenced in so we could have a cow and there was plenty of wild game such as squirrels, rabbits, pheasants and turkeys to keep the freezer full. In 1961 the cost of all this was $8,000.00.

By the time the spring of 1965 rolled around Bill had worked at about every place in the Galax area and none of the employers would have him anymore. That spring one of Bill’s drinking buddies stopped by our house and talked to Bill about the coal mines in Butte, Montana. Telling Bill about the good paying jobs there in the mines and how wonderful Montana was. In less than two weeks Bill was on a Greyhound bus.

The plan was for Bill to go there, get a good job, find the family a place, then in August come back to Virginia, sell the farm and we would move to Butte. Like always things didn’t work out that way. Bill came back on the bus the first of August without a dime in his pockets. He had been living in an apartment and had no place ready for us to move to. He said he had been keeping all his money in his apartment and shortly before he was to come back home someone broke into the apartment and stole all the money.

Bill’s plan was to come back to Virginia, sell the farm, and use the equity money to move with. It was many years later before we found out that the mines Bill was working at had closed down. This explained why he was broke when he came back. This also meant that Bill had no job to move us to.  So he came back, we sold the farm for $8,500.00 netting a clear $800.00 to use for the move. Bill’s plan was to stop in Deadwood South Dakota where I had two uncles and aunts, play sick, say he went to a doctor, lie saying he had black lung and that he would be dead by forty if he continued mining. He was one month away from thirty-eight at that time.

So Bill, with no job to go to, sells our home, and moves his wife and three kids across the country headed to nothing. We stayed with my family for three days while Bill found a job in nearby Spearfish at the Homestake Sawmill. We then found a basement apartment to rent nearby the mill. The jobs in Galax all paid the minimum wage of $1.25 per hour. I found a job in a nursing home for, you guessed it, $1.25 per hour. Bills job at the mill paid $1.90 per hour.

This was August 1965, we didn’t escape there until November 1966. A representative from Chrysler Corporation came out there trying to recruit employees for a new assembly plant in Belvidere Illinois. Seems the local people were too offended that Chrysler was going to pay people more than $5.00 an hour with great benefits while the rest of the town was settled into jobs paying less than $2.00 an hour. I know that makes no sense, but a lot of people from South Dakota jumped on those jobs the Belvidere locals didn’t want.

In the fifteen months we were in Spearfish I was so depressed that we were going to end up stuck there forever. I have to admit we had a few good times while we were there. We did visit a few local parks, and Spearfish is in the “Black Hills”. During this time our oldest son Larry went back to Galax to live. He was sixteen, almost seventeen and he got a job at Vaughan Basset Furniture factory. He stayed there until just before we moved to Belvidere. He came back and helped us with the move then he decided to stay in Belvidere and when he turned eighteen he also got a job at Chrysler.

I remember that while we were in South Dakota we visited Mount Rushmore on our eighteenth anniversary (1966). We also took a trip in the summer of 66 to Faith to watch a big yearly rodeo they held. The roads were still dirt and I still saw water trucks, but they did have a good rodeo. On the Fourth of July 1966 we went to the big rodeo show in Deadwood. During an intermission they put on the Wild Bill Hickock Show, the one where he was shot in the back playing cards in the saloon. That’s pretty much all the good memories I have from there. I was just glad to get out of there in November of 66 as we headed east praying that Belvidere would be better.

When we got to Illinois we rented an apartment in the town of Cherry Valley for three months. The rent was $150.00 per month but after we had been there for three months they raised the rent to $200.00 so we looked around and found a nice old house in Belvidere for $85.00 a month. It was right by the city park, real close to the waterfall. If Bill could have ever quit his drinking and acted like a husband and a dad we could probably have been happy there.

We lived in that house from February 1967 till April 1970. We all survived the big F-4 tornado of April 21st, 1967 unharmed while living in that house. Also during that time frame Bill got hurt at work. Bill’s foreman told him to take a part over to a certain bucket and wash it off. Turns out the bucket had acid in it. Bill had only stuck his right hand down in it thank goodness. The acid really messed up his hand and the nerves with it. He ended up missing several months work and we sued Chrysler settling out of court for $10,000.00. We put $8,000.00 down on a home on the western outskirts of town that was priced at $25,000.00. It set on an acre of land bordering a large county park. Once again, if Bill could have just acted like a man we could have been very happy there.

In February 1974, Bill and I were in a car wreck in Belvidere as a man drove through a stop sign and hit us broadside. I wasn’t injured but Bill broke his left hip and cracked his left ankle. The day after Bill had his hip replacement he had a heart attack while lying in his hospital bed. He ended up having to have a four-way bypass operation. While Bill was recuperating he got a check in the mail from Social Security. Turns out that Chrysler went through the process to get him disabled because he had nine years in with them and at ten years guaranteed lifetime benefits would be coming into effect and they weren’t wanting to have to pay them.

Larry had gotten married in October 1968 to a lady with two kids; I think he married her to get out of being drafted into Vietnam, though I’ve always believed she really loved him. Jackie got married in August of 1971; I believe just to get out of the house and away from Bill. My youngest, Ted, got married in May 1975. Now I was home alone with Bill all the time. Without the kids there Bill was still as hateful as ever.

In 1977 we sold the big house on the west side and bought a nice ranch style house only a couple blocks from my work in town. It was a beautiful house and I really loved it. Also about this time Bill finally quit drinking and I had high hopes for a better life but that was just wishful thinking. Bill stayed just as hateful and self-centered as he had always been. I had always hoped it was the alcohol, it wasn’t, it was just who he was.

I had a bad left hip during this time and it was real painful to try to work with. I had tried for Social Security but got turned down so I had to go back to work after about eleven months off. I had only been back to work less than a year when Bill came up to the office and told them I had to quit because I had gotten my Social Security. When we got home I found that was not true. It had only been suggested by my lawyer to appeal. Well, during this time our income was not enough to pay the bills. So in 1981 we had to sell the house before we lost it. We only had enough money to buy a new, but cheap single wide trailer that because of zoning laws we had to put into a mobile home court. It was the nicest court in town but losing our home because of Bill’s ignorance just made me sick.

Shortly after we got moved I was turned down again on the Social Security. I had to go back up to that hole I had worked at since 1968 and ask for my job back, to my surprise they reinstated me with full seniority. I did end up getting a left hip replacement on my birthday 1992. The month before my oldest son Larry died of an aneurysm in his apartment in Scranton Pennsylvania. Bill’s health was constantly deteriorating and he died just before Christmas 1993 from heart failure. I ended up retiring in February 1994.

Now I was truly alone except for my daughter Jackie who lived locally and was now a Methodist minister. I did have a few people at church that I associated with. My son Ted was a long-haul truck driver who only got to stop in for a night or so about three or four times a year.

My dad died in his sleep in early March 1987. I had a major heart attack on June 1st, 1996 that really set me back physically. But 1996 would only get worse. Mom died all alone in a nursing home in August and my brother Lonnie died that November of brain cancer and heart failure.

The next year, 1997, I had to have my right hip replaced, again on my birthday. It was hard to make do on my own but I made it. Jackie came over and helped me some while I was recuperating and Ted would send me extra money when he could to help me out. He was paying my lot rent for me each month which really helped out. One day when Jackie and her husband were over I got a letter from Ted with a check for $690.00 in it, $190.00 for the lot rent and $500.00 to put up for emergency needs. Jackie and her husband got really mad at me for “taking Teds’ money” like that. So from that point on Ted and I never mentioned anything about him helping me.

In March of 1999, Ted had to have heart surgery after a heart attack and he was out of work with no income for a long time. So in the summer of 1999 I took a job at a local nursing home two hours per night. My job was to help clean up the dining area and kitchen after supper had been served to the residents. It wasn’t much of a job, I hated doing it but it did make my lot rent payment.

That fall an opening came up for an extra half hour per night to go from room to room passing out cookies. I took on the extra work, but I truly enjoyed doing it. I felt sorry for so many of these people who had been discarded and abandoned here by their family members. I enjoy talking with them each evening, trying to cheer them up. It wasn’t long before I became known as “the cookie lady”, I enjoyed that title, it made me feel wanted.

Well, this is Sunday morning August 20th, 2000. I sometimes find it hard to believe that with the life I have had that I would have made it to the year 2000. I just spoke to my son Ted at his home in Florida but I need to get going or I will be late for church. I still need to stop by Jackie’s before church and get her newspaper put in her house because they are on a weekend vacation.

Mom never made it to church. As she slowed down and turned into my sister’s driveway a young man driving a four-wheel drive Dodge Ram pickup thought it was a good time to speed up and pass. He hit mom right in the driver’s door at about seventy miles per hour, killing her instantly. He had hit her so hard that the coroner said the impact tore all the arteries away from her heart.

A bright light put out. A life lived in the darkness of others, seldom being allowed to shine. A life lived in so much sadness, put upon by others. So many joys of life denied her. In so many ways, a light, a life, unfulfilled. But a woman who will always be very much-loved, and missed “The Cookie Lady”, our Mom.

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Finally Gets Something Correct About The U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNS NEWS AGENCY)

Ayatollah Weighs in on US Presidential Nominees: ‘Spirituality and Faith are Lacking’

By Patrick Goodenough | October 19, 2016 | 5:50 PM EDT

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks to university students on Wednesday, October 19, 2016. (Photo: Office of the supreme leader)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. presidential campaign and issues raised by nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are evidence that “spirituality and faith are lacking among those in power” in America, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared on Wednesday.

Speaking to university students, Khamenei addressed what an official website paraphrased as “the difficulties and problems perplexing mankind today, and the dead-ends that materialistic thought patterns sustain.”

He told his audience, “The campaigns held during presidential elections in the U.S. and the worries conveyed by the two candidates are a clear example that spirituality and faith are lacking among those in power.”

“Within the next few weeks, one of these two dueling candidates in the U.S. election – whose status and words you can observe – will become the president of a country which holds the world’s most power, wealth, nuclear weapons, and media,” the ayatollah added.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

He made the observations about the election campaign hours before the third and final debate between Trump and Clinton. The last one saw Clinton accuse Trump of debasing women, while the GOP nominee highlighted accusations of sexual wrongdoing by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Khamenei regularly speaks reprovingly about Western morality and ethics, painting them as deeply deficient as he extols Islamic values.

At the same time, he heads a regime which the U.S. government says is the world’s number one state-sponsor of terror, and whose human rights record draws sharp criticism from experts and rights campaigners.

In his speech Wednesday, Khamenei also reprised complaints about U.S. policy in the aftermath of the nuclear accord which came into effect last January. When Iran makes concessions on one issue, he said, the U.S. simply moves on to demanding concessions on the next one, and so forth.

A raft of sanctions linked to Iran’s suspect nuclear programs have been eased or lifted under the nuclear agreement, but some relating to other conduct, including its ballistic missile activities and support for terrorism, remain in place.

Khamenei told the students that, “if you withdraw on the nuclear issue, they will raise the issue of missiles.”

“And if you continue to withdraw, they will raise the issue of supporting ‘Resistance,’” he continued, using Iran’s term for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. (The official website said Khamenei was drawing attention to “the animosity revealed by satanic powers against any oppositional movement.”)

“And once you withdraw from that,” Khamenei went on, “they will raise the issue of human rights.”

And if Iran accepts U.S. standards on human rights, he added, then the U.S. will then move on to demanding the removal of “religious values” from Iran’s government.

Khamenei’s office indicated that he was referring to a recent interview in which Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. was trying to help Iran benefit from sanctions easing, but that the regime’s behavior wasn’t helping.

“[I]t’s very difficult when Iran is engaged in Yemen and supporting Assad and supporting Hezbollah and firing missiles that people deem to be threatening and so forth. That hugely complicates efforts to move forward rapidly,” Kerry told the Council on Foreign Relations’ publication, Foreign Affairs.

In earlier Iranian response to the Kerry interview, Iranian armed forces spokesman Brig Gen Massoud Jazayeri declared that U.S. “hegemony” is the root cause of all the problems in the region.

“The U.S. presence in the region is a malignant cancerous tumor and the only way to treat it is to remove this infected tumor and kick the U.S. out of the region,” he said.