Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GRIEF

GRIEF

Patricia Erwin Nordman


In Loving Memory of our son Chuck
and in thanksgiving for our sons
Richard, Robert, Danny and Mike

MY SON! MY SON!

His days were yet in spring of life,
Yet doubt had scarred his growing reasons.
In full he knew the banal strifes
That touch each man in each the seasons.
His teachers charged the grievous words
Of hate, despair, and godless fear.
What hope, he cried -- I can't be heard
Above the world of scorn and jeer.
So to the woods he went, my son --
A gun in hand, his heart full spent.
In peace he rests, my golden son --
O God, dear God, my heart is rent!
Nineteen -- so young to bear earth's weight
On heart and mind still pressed with child.
O World, why do we decimate
The hearts of those unreconciled?

-- Patricia Erwin Nordman



I walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chattered all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne'er a word said she,
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.
Anonymous

On December 16, 1976, our oldest son came home for the Christmas holidays,
got the shotgun and went to the adjacent woods. At 7:10 p.m. we heard him
scream and then shoot himself to death. Four months later I wrote a booklet
titled Grief which went into a world-wide ministry. The booklet is now out
of print and I offer it to you, dear reader, in God's name and grace. May
it help give you peace in a world that has become very confused and sad.
Patricia Erwin Nordman

(Verses are from the New King James Version unless otherwise specified.)

GRIEF
Precious friend, is your heart broken? Are you in utter despair, not
knowing where to turn or whom to trust with your crushing burdens? If so,
then please read this message of comfort and hope for yourself and others
passing through the waters of trouble and fires of affliction.
Isaiah speaks of the "day of grief and desperate sorrow." Isaiah 17:11
KJV. But, my dear friend, "The Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow,
and from thy fear." Isaiah 14:3 KJV. Yes, I realize that in your anguish it
seems impossible that darkness will again be light and despair will turn to
hope.
My grieving brother or sister, I walk in the valley of grief with you, for
we lost our oldest son in a terrible tragedy. Because of this I would like
to share with you the love of a most merciful and tender Father, as He led
me through the valley of sorrow on to the mountain of hope and trust again.
My "day of grief and desperate sorrow" began at what is supposed to be the
happiest season of the year. Chuck called from his out-of-town college to
tell us he wanted to bring his girl friend home two days later to spend the
Christmas holidays with us. That evening and the next day I cleaned and
shopped, happily anticipating their arrival. We would be crowded -- Chuck
had four younger brothers -- but we would manage very happily. Imagine the
shock when, a day earlier than he was expected, we found his car with all
his possessions, but not him. Then we heard his heart-tearing scream and
the shot that killed him immediately.
It's a rending experience to close out your child's life -- to add a death
certificate to the birth certificate. Chuck's life held so much promise. He
was a brilliant, stately, dignified young man who often said he wanted the
best in life.
Chuck's books revealed perhaps more than he would have wanted us to know.
He had marked such lines as "Fortune, honor, beauty, youth, are but
blossoms dying! All our joys are but toys ... All is hazard that we have!
... Secret fates guide our states ... " I'll never know what one
circumstance or combination of circumstances prompted this desperate final
act. It was over three years later that one of his friends finally told me
that he was trying to get off drugs when he descended into the depths. (Oh
friend, if your child is on drugs, God help you both! We had no idea. Back
then we knew so little about the drug culture.) Beside the passage on
suicide from MacBeth he wrote in small, close letters, "Life has no
meaning, no purpose," and on another page the word "nothing" was written
and scratched over many times.
The night Chuck died I sank to my knees and boldly demanded of God, in a
grief I didn't think possible, that He keep every one of His promises of
comfort. In the midst of the demands I kept saying over and over, "Thank
You, Father" -- for what, I really didn't know and doubted that night if I
ever would know. But I was convinced that if I didn't say those words then
-- right then -- I would never say them again. I thought of all the sons,
husbands, and brothers who have been killed in all the wars, whose loved
ones will never know their whereabouts. At least we knew. I was grasping
for straws of comfort! I would like to share with you another thought that
surely the Holy Spirit gave me when my brother-in-law came out from the
woods and told us that our son was dead: God our Father was there when His
Son died. For the first time in my life I felt I understood what our
precious Father must have felt and it overwhelmed my heart. How strange
that I never gave it any thought before! Perhaps it was because now I felt
I could understand in a small way ...
That night, after the police and the ambulance were gone, I sunk to my
knees and I begged God to work, through this horror, a good that at that
moment I did not think possible. Romans 8:28 became my strength in the
hours, days, weeks, and months ahead, and for the birthdays and holidays
that would no longer be Chuck's to enjoy. I had to know that all things do
indeed work together for good -- or lose my sanity. Dear friend, I want you
to know that God provided in many marvelous ways. It was only God's grace
that enabled me to carry on in the face of such totally unexpected anguish.
I learned to lean on my precious Father as never before and God indeed
granted me the gift of knowing for a certainty that much good would come of
the evil that Satan had wrought. We were told shortly after Chuck's funeral
that someone had slipped LSD into a drink Chuck had set down while at a
party in Daytona Beach. Chuck himself admitted to me a few weeks before his
death that he smoked marijuana. This has convinced me that one of Satan's
most powerful weapons against our priceless young people today is drugs.
How sad!
Someone at his funeral told me I must accept "God's will." No, friend! Our
God does not "will" the agony of mind, heart, and body that has plagued the
earth since Adam and Eve lost faith that God knew what was best for them.
It surely was not "God's will" for my son to die by his own hand. But it
was God's will that I accept what happened and use this tragic circumstance
for His glory and for the comfort of others who suffer heartache that seems
never-ending. What God always wills for us is to be happy and whole in mind
and body. He wants His men, women and children to be at peace with Him and
each other. But this peace depends upon our own will and willingness to let
Him guide our lives, fortunes, and even, at times, misfortunes.
Many question God's love when something seemingly unbearable happens. I
try to view tragedy as a lost-and-found department. We lose someone or
something very dear to us, but in the loss we find a treasure far more
valuable. I found a loving Shepherd who wants me to live with Him for
eternity and will carry me through. Until we are to the point in life when
we are forced to admit that there is absolutely nothing we can do about
this, then I wonder if we have given ourselves totally to God. The night
Chuck died I felt so helpless. My son was dead and there was nothing I
could do about it! What a frightening feeling! Another agonizing aspect of
sorrow is the possibility that we will never know the answers to many of
our whys on this earth. I had a very hard time with this. But we eventually
learn that the whys become unimportant. It is what we do with the troubles
and sorrows that matter.
I learned to thank God as never before for blessings I had taken for
granted all my life. Particularly in grief, a spirit of thanksgiving is a
simple yet most profound antidote to the self-defeating feelings of anger,
resentment, guilt, and self-pity that so often accompany an incredible
sorrow. It amazed me what was in my heart. I was to discover that grief is
a sieve that brings up out its swirling waters the deformities of our
hearts that we didn't even know existed. I was amazed at the anger and hate
that gripped me. My Christianity was certainly in question!
I discovered that no matter how bad my problem is, others have suffered
worse trials. How my heart ached as I listened to other parents recount the
years of agony they have gone through with children on drugs. Some end up
in mental institutions. Some struggle to recover a normal life. Others rest
as our son is resting. I will never forget the agony of a father as he
sobbed out the horrible details of how his son, on drugs, shot himself to
death in the house and the blood ran down the boy's bedroom door. I don't
know how that poor father kept sane!
I learned that only in sharing comfort are we comforted: "Blessed be the
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of
all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to
comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we
ourselves are comforted by God" 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Everyone has problems
-- deep wounds of the spirit. "The souls of the wounded cry out for help"
Job 24:12 NIV. I found many wounded souls! I also began to understand that
the person who truly cares about others doesn't constantly load them down
with his own aches and pains, either of body or heart. This can be selfish
and cruel.
William Barclay, in The Letters to the Corinthians, relates the story told
by H.L. Gee about two men who met to transact some business during the war.
"The one was full of how the train in which he had traveled had been
attacked from the air. He would not stop talking about the excitement, the
danger, the narrow escape. The other man said quietly, `Well, let's get on
with our business now. I'd like to get away fairly early because my house
was demolished by a bomb last night.'"
A certain mental picture helped me greatly. Picture yourself carrying in
one hand your suitcase of troubles. It's heavy, and you feel weighted down
on one side. Along comes another, weak and tired, with his suitcase of
troubles but, unlike you, he can barely walk under his load. The Christian
thing for you to do is to offer to carry your brother's troubles, thereby
freeing him and balancing your own load.
Alexander Maclaren beautifully expresses the strange conjunction of joy
and sorrow: "The highest joy to the Christian almost always comes through
suffering. No flower can bloom in Paradise which is not transplanted from
Gethsemane. No one can taste of the fruit of the tree of life, that has not
tasted of the fruits of the tree of Calvary. The crown is after the cross."
Kahlil Gibran, in his essay on joy and sorrow in his book The Prophet
writes: "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy it can
contain." And Homer observes: "Even his griefs are a joy long after to one
who remembers all that he wrought and endured."
"Being punished isn't enjoyable while it is happening -- it hurts! But
afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character."
Hebrews 12:11, TLB. We all flinch from the unexpected, from pain and
suffering. But " ... the Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who
are bowed down" Psalm 145:14; "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy
comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5; "Affliction will not rise up the second
time." Nahum 1:9. What beautiful and encouraging promises!
In 2 Corinthians 4:8 Paul says: "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet
not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair." How can this possibly
be? Let's consult Philippians 4:6 and 7: "Be anxious for nothing; but in
everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests
be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Here, friend, is the practical way to deal with despair. It covers all the
circumstances of life and gives us the solution: prayer and thanksgiving.
The word "supplication" means to pray for a particular need. What a great
Father we have!
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tells us in his book Spiritual Depression, Its
Causes and Cure, "Would you like to be rid of ... depression? The first
thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past.
Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ. Never look back
... again. Say: `It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ.'"
Thank You, Father!
Matthew and Mark tell us: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"
Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34. Luke gives us more hope: "Father, into Your
hands I commit my spirit." Luke 23:46. But John, the beloved of Jesus,
gives us the insight: "It is finished." John 19:30. Indeed, the sacrifice
has been made and the work of redemption finished so we can have hope of
everlasting happiness. It is finished! Whatever happens in between is
covered by the bookends of Jesus's birth and death.
My greatest anxiety for weeks after my son's death was his salvation. It
haunted me. But two dear editor friends within hours of each other quoted
this same verse, and I accept it as a sign from my Father that my mind is
forever at rest on this matter: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do
right?" Genesis 18:25. Of course He will! When we lose a loved one, we must
learn to say, "It is finished," and know that God will rightly judge. Too,
some presume to know who is saved and who is lost. Because Chuck took his
own life, there were some who told me that he would not be saved. My
friend, only God knows what was on Chuck's mind and heart that night. How
cruel of these well-meaning Christians! It reminds me of the day I went to
see my bed-ridden and dying sister-in-law and she was in tears. She told me
about the three women who came to comfort her. They told her that if she
had enough faith she could be cured and get up and walk. I was outraged. It
took me the whole afternoon to convince Dorothy that God doesn't cure
everybody. In fact, we all die! We talked about Paul and his thorn and
God's grace: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made
perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9.
This verse became very meaningful to me after both Dorothy's and Chuck's
deaths. We wonder how we will manage after something enormous alters our
life. Paul's life was transformed on the Road to Damascus. I think in some
ways sorrow is our road to Damascus. It fells us and makes us blind and
then our kind Father tells us He will give us the grace to bear it, even
though we will carry the scar to our grave. I knew that I would never
forget my first-born; the scar of remembrance would be there as scars from
surgeries I've had. But I also knew that I would recover from the initial
intense hurt, as I recovered from the surgeries. This thought really helped
in the first months! I knew that God's grace could not remove the scar, but
the scar could -- as Robert Schuller so eloquently puts it -- become a star
for me, to guide me in a kinder and gentler direction toward my hurting
brothers and sisters. Another thought: those of us who have been gifted
with the knowledge and love of God need a greater foundation. As a writer
said, "The ship in the high wind needs plenty of ballast. When we build
high we must also build low -- the lofty building needs a deep foundation."
Sorrow builds the deep foundation as joy builds the high sails! God is
shifting our ballast. He also promises an abundant provision of grace, for
there are some circumstances in life that we cannot alter and that God does
not see fit to alter. Inward strength to endure is a great manifestation of
the acceptance of God's will and His grace. Outwardly we may be weary and
heartbroken, but we can claim the promises of God and enjoy that inward
peace that only God can give.
Adversities are God's sieve to help us discover what is most important in
our lives. Joseph Hall tells us, "The most generous vine, if not pruned,
runs out into many superfluous stems, and grows at last weak and fruitless:
so doth the best man if he be not cut short in his desires, and pruned with
afflictions." We don't choose affliction, but it may be the only way God
can redirect our lives.
When a person is called to rest early in life, Isaiah 57:1 is of great
solace: "Merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the
righteous is taken away from evil." It is so difficult to accept the death
of your child before he has had the opportunity to partake of life fully. I
was told of a mother who prayed desperately that her son might recover from
an automobile accident, refusing to accept the possibility that he might
die. God answered her prayer, and the boy recovered. But his subsequent
life was the tragedy. After years of causing his mother all kinds of grief,
he was finally killed in a fight. Perhaps the mother should have simply
prayed, "Thy will be done, Lord, and whatever is best I accept it, for I
know You will give me the strength and grace to bear it."
In unspeakable grief it is difficult to believe that the sun will shine
again, that we will again be touched by the beauty of the flowers and the
rainbow after the rain, that music will once again bring quietness of
spirit. Often in overwhelming sorrow the very things that should comfort us
only serve to bring even more sadness because they remind us that we shared
them with our loved one.
When tragedy strikes suddenly, sleep can be impossible. I prayed to be
spared nightmares, for Chuck's scream etched deeply into my heart. My
prayer was answered in a way that caused me to give thanks with an
overflowing heart. At this point I want to share something with you that
astonished me. The afternoon I received the letter from the publisher
telling me he felt the Grief booklet would help many grieving people, I
felt very tired, which was unusual. I never took naps then; I worked
part-time and was very active. But that afternoon our precious God put me
to sleep and gave me a gift.
In this wonderful daydream I was in a room that was totally and purely
white. It was as if I was compassed about with clouds but yet it was
clearly a room. There were no windows or doors but I didn't feel enclosed
or restricted in any way. I wasn't there long when Chuck walked through the
cloud. He was so beautiful! I thought him to be about 33 (a figure I
wondered about later, because he died just before his 20th birthday), tall
which he was in life, and he had long reddish hair, and a beard and
mustache, which he never sported in life. But what amazed me was his
serenity. He smiled at me and then turned and went back through the cloud.
No words were exchanged. I awoke immediately.
I felt overwhelmed! What a gift from our beloved God, I thought. The peace
I felt at that moment must be the peace which Jesus spoke of to His
disciples: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you..." (John
14:27.) I finally shared the dream with a friend and I had to admit that
I'm not sure if it was Chuck (who at the time I truly thought it was) or if
it was Jesus Himself who I saw. The afternoon I experienced the dream I
truly thought it was Chuck, but as time passed and Grief went into a
world-wide ministry, I now believe it was Christ Himself who smiled and
wordlessly whispered to me not to grieve anymore. He would take it from
here. I had done what He wanted me to and the rest I was not even to think
about. In his exposition on Mark in The Interpreter's Bible (p.652),
Halford E. Luccock wrote, "A man's life may have a dull setting ... but if
it catches the reflection of the glory of God which is in the face of Jesus
Christ, it becomes a burning and a shining light; is given as much meaning
and dignity and joy that one of the supreme tragedies is to miss it." I
know I caught the reflection of Jesus that afternoon! Precious Father,
thank You for healing dreams that encourage us to have faith that all works
together for good.
Before our tragedy I felt God didn't want to be bothered with the little,
trite parts of our everyday lives, but I have prayed mightily these past
months for many little comforts as well as big ones, and each prayer has
been answered faithfully. We must not hesitate to bring our requests to
Him, no matter how insignificant they may seem, for our loving Father knows
that sorrow and its components can be crushing weights on fragile hearts. I
take great comfort in the thought that my dear Father is waiting for me to
come to Him to have my tears wiped away and to rest my weary head on His
shoulder. My earthly father would do no less.
It is vitally important to read God's Word during times of stress. Verses
read hastily and indifferently before take on new life and meaning. God
gives renewed insight into familiar verses because grief and a desolated
spirit changes our perspective on life. Because of the circumstances of
Chuck's life -- his fear of living and his mode of dying -- 2 Timothy 1:7
became more meaningful for me: "God has not given us a spirit of fear; but
of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Satan gives an unholy spirit.
God gives the Holy Spirit.
In almost unbearable heartache one night I decided to read the book of
Genesis. Surely God was leading me, for I came across a verse that made me
give thanks even in the midst of this horror. Hagar, a mother in grief,
cried out, "Let me not see the death of the boy." Genesis 21:16. Thank You,
Father, that I did not see the death of my child!
There are so many verses and chapters in God's priceless Word that give us
comfort and hope and joy in sufferings. I personally found my comfort in
the Old Testament, and the Book of Job in particular. The Books of Isaiah
and Psalms became my spiritual food during this time, too. There were also
certain writers who poured balm on my broken spirit.
One of the worst parts of grief is not understanding what has happened and
knowing that you may never know. God granted me great comfort from this
passage: "The things we may so much desire to do may become a reality after
God has proved us in the school of experience, and among our greatest
blessings may be counted the thing we were not privileged to do, that would
have barred the way from doing the very things best calculated to prepare
us for a higher work. The plain, sober duties of real life were essential
to prevent the fruitless striving to do things that we were not fitted to
do. Our devised plans often fail that God's plans for us may be a complete
success. Oh, it is in the future life we shall see the tangles and
mysteries of life, that have so annoyed and disappointed our fond hope,
explained. We will see that the prayers and hopes for certain things which
have been withheld have been among our greatest blessings."Ellen G. White,
Our High Calling, p. 318.
God does not wish to destroy us when suffering comes. He wants to refine
and sanctify us. When bowed in grief, we should turn to Him for support and
love. Joseph was able to say to his brothers: "But as for you, you meant
evil against me; but God meant it for good." Genesis 50:20. Joseph was able
to see the hand of God in many instances of unfair suffering in his life.
During my own time of grieving, Joseph became a hero and I often reread his
life and his graciousness in dealing with situations that most of us could
not have handled. It helps if we remember in both good and bad times that
God's purpose always is to redeem us. But He will not force salvation on
us. If we do not refuse or hinder the workings of His Spirit, He can help
us to accept His saving grace in the bad times, too.
I want to stress how important it is to take care in what we read and in
the company we seek out during times of affliction. I became very
discouraged when certain friends and relatives told me I would never get
over the death of my son and the circumstances surrounding it. I finally
learned to stay away from even my well-meaning relatives and friends who
only made me feel worse. I think it is true that we never forget certain
events, but that is far different from never getting over a tragedy. So it
is necessary to read positive material and be around positive-thinking
people. This is true even in normal times!

Why You?
And now, dear friend, why you for the blizzards of life that temporarily
whip off the blossoms and fruit? Because God loves you! He wants to
strengthen you so you can be His special ambassador to carry to others His
message of hope to a struggling world so in need of comfort and love. If
you can see your sorrow as a gift from God (yes, I know this sounds
impossible!) then I believe it helps the healing process. I tried to see
Chuck's death as his legacy to the world, and that God appointed me his
executor to pass on a message of hope and comfort.
In Isaiah 48:10 the Father tells us that He has chosen us in the furnace
of affliction. He doesn't want us to while away our lives in comfortable
beds when we should be up and doing for others -- in spite of our gnawing
griefs. I read many times this admonition from Joshua, "Get up! Why do you
lie on your face?" Joshua 7:10b. And He certainly doesn't want us in the
local bar bathing our burdened mind and heart in liquid anesthetic. Indeed,
we lose a precious blessing that He has just for us, when we try to escape.
But He kneels and weeps with us! Oh, friend, please believe that! The
shortest and most poignant verse in the Bible is "Jesus wept." How
marvelous -- the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with our unspeakable griefs,
kneeling and weeping with us, His gentle arms enfolding us as we cry out in
anguish. Dear friend, what a beautiful thought! There were many dark nights
when I felt those arms! In my distress I pictured the Father as giving
strength, the Son giving hope, and the Holy Spirit giving wisdom. These we
need so urgently, so quickly, so completely, in the darkest moments.
At this point I would like to share with you tried and true steps in
dealing with deep grief. Dear friend, I want for you at this moment of your
sorrow that peace that only God can give. May He bless you and grant you
comfort and calm as you read these practical steps in dealing with what now
seems so impossible.

1. Don't constantly talk about your feelings of despair. Ellen G. White
says it is "a law of nature that our thoughts and feelings are encouraged
and strengthened as we give them utterance." Ministry of Healing, page 251.
We need to share, yes, but try to speak of hope. Confine your deepest grief
for friends who really do understand. When we constantly talk of the
negative aspects of our grief, we make it just that much more difficult to
recover. It may be tempting to open your bleeding heart for all to see and
suffer with you, but a wound always exposed and being probed doesn't heal.
God will provide the balm. Please believe that!
2. Don't worry about eloquent prayers, but do pray. Realize the prayers may
be silent or sobbing prayers. In your confusion you may not know what to
pray for, but God knows and that is the important thing. Just keep the line
open. God understands the temporary static. Don't feel He has lost you or
left you because of the way you feel. He, too, walked the earth, He felt
pain as we do, He loved as we love, and He felt losses as keenly as -- yes,
more keenly than -- we ever could.
Remember that God surely hears these prayers -- the silent ones, the
weeping ones. He hears them instantly. Our agony deeply touches His heart.
The eighth verse of Psalm 56 is a prayer in itself: "Put my tears into Your
bottle." How extraordinary! God takes note of every tear, drop by sorrowful
drop. The word bottle takes on a holy significance, for it is God's
receptacle in which He preserves and then transforms our tears into pearls.
What a thought when we feel we cannot go on another hour!
I believe that the greatest prayer we mortals can offer is an ever-present
prayer of thanksgiving. Oh, yes, dear hurting soul, thanksgiving! But how
can you be thankful when struggling under a load too heavy for a human
heart to bear? Give it to Jesus, my friend. Right now, as you read this.
Pray, "Jesus, please, I beg You, hold this broken, shattered heart of mine
in Your gentle hands." Picture Jesus giving it healing, rest and peace.
Than thank Him, friend, and know that He is healing your heart.
Then open your Bible to Philippians 4 and read over and over these verses.
Verse 6: "Be anxious for nothing: but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
Verse 11: "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." Verse 13:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Mark these verses.
Go to them in moments of searing pain.

3. Count your blessings. Trite, but I have found this to be truly helpful.
Charles L. Allen, in his book All Things Are Possible Through Prayer, tells
of the lady who asked him, "What have I done to deserve this?" His reply
was, "Nothing. Neither have you done anything to deserve many of your
blessings." Mr. Allen also points out that every blessing has within it
the risk of sorrow. If we love, we risk losing the object of that love.
But surely, as the saying goes, it is far better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all. If it helps you, jot down your blessings
(you will be surprised to see how many you have!); and when grief begins to
overwhelm you, read them again. I found this to be particularly helpful.
Tangibles such as a note to read can stabilize our emotions and clear our
clouded minds.

4. Take one step at a time and one day at a time. We hear this so often,
but it becomes a practical necessity in times of extreme suffering. God has
promised help for the day and strength for the next agonizing hour, and He
has yet to break a promise. It is up to us to cling to that promise. Allow
friends and relatives to take over the physical and mental duties for
however long you need their help. They want to. Don't deprive them of this
Spirit-inspired wish to be of service. Someday they may need you. Thank God
for them and accept their help graciously.
At the time of sorrow it is imperative that we keep up our strength. When
searching Scripture for comfort, I was impressed with the many promises of
actual strength. One of the treasures I discovered in my sorrow was: our
God is a practical God. Isaiah 40:29 and 31 became as necessary for my
heart as food for my body: "He gives power to the weak, and to those who
have no might He increases strength ... But those who wait on the Lord
shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Our God is
a God who "neither faints nor is weary," (Isaiah 40:28b) so He is there for
us every moment. But, dear friend, don't run ahead of God! Don't become
impatient if He allows you to remain in the valley for a while. There may
be lessons we still have to learn. "The hand of the Lord came upon me and
brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of
the valley; and it was full of bones." Ezekiel 37:1.
Adversity is frightening. It also becomes the test of strength, including
physical, for stress can affect our physical condition. I tried to
understand that when difficult situations come into our lives it is because
God knows we are strong enough to endure this and this temporary grief will
make us even stronger. Psalm 46:1 assures us that "God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in trouble." What a blessed promise! Another
thought I would like to share: while reading the Book of Job it occurred to
me that it wasn't so much that Job trusted God, but that God trusted Job!
For some inexplicable reason, that thought got me through some very bad
moments when I thought I was losing it. But I would stop and think, "God
trusts you, Pat, to come through this! He's depending on you to bring
victory from this."

5. Get busy as soon as possible. This is imperative. I cannot stress it too
much. Work keeps mind, heart and body intact. Start jobs that have
accumulated over the months and years. If you have a paying job, get back
to it as soon as possible. Physical exercise with a friend is most helpful
also: jogging, walking, camping, swimming, picnics, tennis, basketball --
whatever you like to do -- but do it with a friend and do it outdoors
whenever possible. Nature has definite healing powers for the hurting hurt.
I believe this is one of the most important steps in dealing with grief.
In New England there is an expression used for those in heart pain: "Go out
and tell it to the bees." The bees stay busy.
Physicians tell us that we use the brain cells of our frontal lobes when
we are worried and fearful. Other brain cells control muscular activity. In
physical activity we relieve the strain on the cells of the important
frontal lobes and allow them to rest from their intense stress. The very
worst thing we can do is withdraw from life, crawl into bed, and pull the
covers over our heads, and reflect on what an injustice we have been dealt.
God's natural world provides the fresh air, sunshine and beauty we so need
at all times, but especially in the dark times.

6. Hold on to faith -- faith in today and, above all, faith in tomorrow.
This perhaps is the most difficult step of all. Does God really know best?
Does He really care about our tangled hearts, our shattered dreams, our
sleepless nights, our Gethsemane moments? Oh yes, my dear friend, He does!
At the time you may not believe it, but hold on to the reality that when
you are trapped in that terrible valley of despair, the everlasting hills
are all around you.
In the immediate aftermath of grief we are so tempted to ask why. Indeed,
we feel we have a right to know why we have been singled out for such an
unbearable burden. We may pass through the futile and self-pitying stage of
thinking that no one else suffers as we do. My friend, go next door, to
church, to the grocery store, to the halls of Congress, to that friend who
seems so carefree, and seek out a fellow sufferer. The world is filled with
them! Grief is universal and is no respecter of age or status.
Rather than wasting time and emotion threatening God -- "I'll never trust
you again, God!" -- study His Word. There you will find an answer to your
grief, although you may not find the reason why grief is permitted. There
are certain pieces to God's puzzle that He reserves for Himself to test our
faith. But you will find an answer to wait in faith on God. Faith is simple
in definition but enormously difficult in practice. It is admitting and
believing that our Father has complete control of our lives. We are not the
masters of our fate, as Henley in his poem Invictus would have us believe,
but we can choose the Master of our fate.

7. Keep in mind that in grief there is a peculiar ministry. I use the word
"peculiar" in the sense that it is used in God's Word: set apart,
consecrated, exclusively God's. You who have borne sorrows made bearable
through a divinely renewed heart and mind have a special work for God. Your
heart has been broken up, watered with tears, and planted with God's
special seeds so that you may bear the graceful blooms of hope, love and
gentleness for others to appropriate in their dark moments. What a
beautiful ministry!

8. Remember that only God knows the end from the beginning. There is a
sublime purpose for and in our lives which includes everything that happens
to us. Joseph's beginning was full of trials: he was sold by his brothers
into slavery and then he was imprisoned for something he didn't do. But he
believed, he held on to his faith and he was rewarded. God had a plan for
Joseph, and it could only be fulfilled with his cooperation. So it must be
with our lives. "Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and
knows the One Who is leading." Oswald Chambers.
Job is another example of stability and steadfastness in the face of
catastrophe. He lost all, he was afflicted bodily, and yet he could still
say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust him." Job 13:15. Still another of
Job's complete trust: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed
be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21. In Job 42:10 (KJV) we are told that
"The Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends." The
word "captivity" is significant. We become captive to feelings of anger,
hate and distrust in extremity of heart or body.
When Job prayed for others his captivity was turned and he was given twice
the blessings he had before. When sorrow descends on us, it is so easy to
be made a captive of self-pity and resentment. But in praying for others,
in listening to the even greater burdens others must carry, we can be
liberated from our own prison of discontent.
There are well-meaning friends and relatives who tell us that time heals.
They are right -- it does. But I'm grateful for the advice of a good friend
who warned me that before the hurt is lessened it might get much worse. God
may ask us to remain in the dark for a while, to learn more lessons and to
discover the shadows in our heart that we don't even know we have. Only in
the dark can we finally see the Light. The school of sorrow has within its
walls a unique kind of education obtained nowhere else.
G.R. Nash writes: "When the famous artist Sir James Thornbill was painting
the inside of St. Paul's Cathedral he stepped back one day to view the
effects of his work, bringing himself, without knowing it, so near to the
edge of the scaffolding that another step would have sent him hurtling down
to certain death. His assistant, seeing the danger but not daring to shout
lest the shock should make the other lose his balance and his life, rushed
forward, then snatching up a brush he rubbed it straight over the painting.
Overcome with rage, Sir James sprang forward to save his work, only to be
pacified with these words: `I spoiled your painting, Sir James, that I
might save your life.'" (When Days are Dark, p.29.)
It is at these times we must appropriate the precious promises. One of the
dearest promises in all the Bible is Revelation 21:4: "And God will wipe
away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow,
nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed
away." This is the verse on my son's grave.
Think of it, dear weeping friend! No more tears; no more pain in body,
mind or heart; no more parting from loved ones. We shall know as we are
known; we shall again meet those we have loved. We shall walk hand in hand
with our lovely Saviour up into the everlasting hills.
Thank You, Father!

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Warning to Netaholics

Did Jesus use a modem at the sermon on the mount?
Did He ever use a broadcast fax to get His message out?
Did the disciples carry beepers as they went out and about?
Did Jesus use a modem at the sermon on the Mount?

Did the Apostle use a laptop with lots of RAM AND ROM?
Did he use an email alias Such as Paul@Rome.com?
Did the man from Macedonia Post an email saying "come"?'
Did the Apostle use a laptop with lots of RAM and ROM?

Did Moses use a joystick at the parting of the sea?
And a Satellite Guidance Tracking System to show him where to be?
Did he write the law on tablets, or are they really on CD?
Did Moses use a joystick at the parting of the sea?

Did Jesus really die for us that Friday on the tree?
Or was it just a hologram, a bit of wizardry?
Can you download the video clip to play on your PC?
Did Jesus really die for us one day upon a tree?

If in your life, the voice of God is sometimes hard to hear.
With other voices calling, His doesn't touch your ear.
Then set aside the laptop and modem, unplug the fancy gear,
Open up that dusty Bible and talk to Him in prayer.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

YOU WORRY ME

THE CANADIAN CONTENT APPEARS AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE AND IS MEANINGFUL TO SAY THE LEAST.

This pilot 'hit the nail' right on the head in his open letter.

The paper stated that some Muslim doctor is saying we are profiling him because he has been checked three times while getting on an airplane

The following is a letter from a pilot. This well spoken man, who is a pilot with American Airlines, says what is in his heart, beautifully....

Read, absorb and pass this on.


'YOU WORRY ME!'
By American Airlines Pilot - Captain John Maniscalco

I've been trying to say this since 911, but you worry me. I wish you didn't. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country. But you don't blend in anymore. I notice you, and it worries me.

I notice you because I can't help it anymore. People from your homelands, professing to be Muslims, have been attacking and killing my fellow citizens and our friends for more than 20 years now. I don't fully understand their grievances and hate, but I know that nothing can justify the inhumanity of their attacks.

On September 11, ARAB-MUSLIMS hijacked four jetliners in my country. They cut the throats of women in front of children and brutally stabbed to death others. They took control of those planes and crashed them into buildings killing thousands of proud fathers, loving sons, wise grandparents, elegant daughters, best friends, favorite coaches, fearless public servants, and children's mothers.
The Palestinians celebrated, the Iraqis were overjoyed as was most of the Arab world. So, I notice you now. I don't want to be worried. I don't want to be consumed by the same rage and hate and prejudice that has destroyed the soul of these terrorists But I need your help. As a rational American, trying to protect my country and family in an irrational and unsafe world, I must know how to tell the difference between you, and the Arab/Muslim terrorist.

How do I differentiate between the true Arab/Muslim Americans and the Arab/Muslim terrorists in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in OUR communities under the protection of OUR constitution, while they plot the next attack that will slaughter these same good neighbors and children?

The events of September 11th changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with ALL of its religions, with ALL of its different citizens, with all of its faults. It is time for every Arab/Muslim in this country to determine it for me.
I want to know, I demand to know, and I have a right to know, whether or not you love America. Do you pledge allegiance to its flag? Do you proudly display it in front of your house, or on your car? Do you pray in your many daily prayers that Allah will bless this nation, that He will protect and prosper it? Or do you pray that Allah with destroy it in one of your Jihad's? Are you thankful for the freedom that only this nation affords? A freedom that was paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of patriots who gave their lives for this country? Are you willing to preserve this freedom by also paying the ultimate sacrifice? Do you love America ? If this is your commitment, then I need YOU to start letting ME know about it.

Your Muslim leaders in this nation should be flooding the media at this time with hard facts on your faith, and what hard actions you are taking as a community and as a religion to protect the United States of America. Please, no more benign overtures of regret for the death of the innocent because I worry about who you regard as innocent. No more benign overtures of condemnation for the unprovoked attacks because I worry about what is unprovoked to you. I am not interested in any more sympathy. I am only interested in action. What will you do for America - our great country - at this time of crisis, at this time of war?

I want to see Arab-Muslims waving the AMERICAN flag in the streets. I want to hear you chanting 'Allah Bless America ' I want to see young Arab/Muslim men enlisting in the military. I want to see a commitment of money, time, and emotion to the victims of this butchering and to this nation as a whole.

The FBI has a list of over 400 people they want to talk to regarding the WTC attack. Many of these people live and socialize right now in Muslim communities. You know them.
You know where they are. Hand them over to us, now! But I have seen little even approaching this sort of action. Instead I have seen an already closed and secretive community close even tighter. You have disappeared from the streets. You have posted armed security guards at your facilities. You have threatened lawsuits. You have screamed for protection from reprisals.

The very few Arab/Muslim representatives that HAVE appeared in the media were defensive and equivocating. They seemed more concerned with making sure that the United States proves who was responsible before taking action. They seemed more concerned with protecting their fellow Muslims from violence directed towards them in the United States and abroad than they did with supporting our country and denouncing 'leaders' like Khadafi, Hussein, Farrakhan, and Arafat.

If the true teachings of Islam proclaim tolerance and peace and love for all people, then I want chapter and verse from the Koran and statements from popular Muslim leaders to back it up. What good is it if the teachings in the Koran are good, and pure, and true, when your 'leaders' are teaching fanatical interpretations, terrorism, and intolerance? It matters little how good Islam SHOULD BE if huge numbers of the world's Muslims interpret the teachings of Mohammed incorrectly and adhere to a degenerative form of the religion. A form that has been demonstrated to us over and over again. A form whose structure is built upon a foundation of violence, death, and suicide. A form whose members are recruited from the prisons around the world. A form whose members (some as young as five years old) are seen day after day, week in and week out, year after year, marching in the streets around the world, burning effigies of our presidents, burning the American flag, shooting weapons into the air. A form whose members convert from a peaceful religion, only to take up arms against the great United States of America, the country of their birth. A form whose rules are so twisted, that their traveling members refuse to show their faces at airport security checkpoints, in the name of Islam.

We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest constitution in the world. I want to know where every Arab Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family.
I am pleading with you to let me know. I want you here as my brother, my neighbor, my friend, as a fellow American. But there can be no gray areas or ambivalence regarding your allegiance, and it is up to YOU, to show ME, where YOU stand. Until then.
'YOU WORRY ME!'

CANADIAN COMMENTS:

Canadians should agree with this sentiment and forget all about the 'political correctness' mandate we've had rammed down our throats, and see if this doesn't ring true in your heart and mind. For Canada, with all the multiculturism we've been told is so important....why should we not, as Canadians, expect that the millions of new people immigrating to our country will show their love for our country, their allegiance to our country, their willingness to obey the laws of our country, and acceptance that we are a Christian country? Just because they are able to enjoy exercising their own religion, they should not expect us to be ashamed of ours. They knew Canada was a Christian country when they came here. Why are we erasing Christianity because immigrants who are unwilling to adopt our way of life expect us to? There is just too much insanity in the world, and we have to start taking a stand.

I hope you will forward, so others will feel they are not alone if they are starting to feel the same.

THIS IS TOO GOOD TO JUST READ AND DELETE.... LET'S SATURATE NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, THE USA, CANADA, GREAT BRITAIN AND EUROPE WITH THIS ONE!

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility

Synod Statement of the International Presbyterian Church 7.11.1981
The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility

1. We believe that the existence and character of the infinite and personal God is the only basis for
affirming human responsibility.

2. We reject any statement of the doctrine of God's sovereignty which makes it seem that an emphasis
on the real significance of man's choice is a denial of God's sovereignty or vice versa.

3. We believe that the difficulty of this question is one which is true of all of our knowledge.
For example, in science, even though our understanding increases with increased information,
we will never comprehend the infinite. Similarly in thinking about God and man we have simply
to affirm that man is fully responsible and that God is fully sovereign.

4. We reject all statements that affirm or imply that God is the author of evil, or wills human sin,
or that history is the unrolling of a divine determinism.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Five Points of Calvinism and Arminianism

The following is a comparison of the five points of Calvinism and the five points of Arminianism arising out
of the Dutch Remonstrance controversy. The "Five Points" of Calvinism can be easily remembered by the acronym
TULIP. Admittedly, this discussion favours the Calvinist side. This material originally appeared in "Romans:
An Interpretative Outline (pp. 144-147), by David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas.
Quoted from Loraine Boettner's "The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination." Permission to reproduce granted in
the book.

Cut and paste did not space this well. so click on the title to see the article on http://www.christiansquoting.org.uk/page6.html#The%20Five%20Points%20of%20Calvinism%20and%20Arminianism

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Did 300 British Soldiers Die so Afghan Christians Could be Executed?

NEWS RELEASE: Tuesday, 22 June, 2010 9:22
From: "Christian Peoples Alliance" View contact details

"Did 300 British Soldiers Die so Afghan Christians
Could be Executed by Kabul's Government?"
Action Demanded on Human Rights by Christian Democrats

In the week when the British armed forces are marking the death of their three-
hundredth member in operations in Afghanistan, the Christian Peoples Alliance party
is demanding that steps are taken in Kabul to uphold fundamental human rights. The
party is backing an urgent and passionate plea for help and intervention on behalf of
Afghan Christians, who experience official harassment and attack by extremists.
Converts face execution under the policies of the government of President Hamid
Karzai. The CPA wants the Foreign Office to raise the matter directly with the President.

The appeal for help has been issued by Afghan Christians in India, in response to a
very recent wave of arrests, torture, and imprisonment of Christians in Afghanistan. An
Afghan member of parliament has even called for Afghan Christians to be executed
publicly. (See the Afghan Christians' letter below, together with its introduction, also
from Afghan Christians.)

Dr Tom Rogers is on the National Executive of the Christian Peoples Alliance party:

"There are some painful ironies in the fact that the government of Afghanistan tolerates
a campaign to brutalize and eliminate its Christian citizens. Soldiers of predominately
Christian nations like the USA, Australia and Britain are sacrificing their lives in an
attempt to establish peace and the rule of law in Afghanistan. Is the public execution of
Christians what they have been dying for?"

This week also saw publication of Whitehall figures revealing the £11.1 billion expenditure
incurred in Afghanistan between April 2001 and March 2010, including £1.2 bn on humanitarian, reconstruction and development assistance for the same period, according to the Foreign Office.

Dr Rogers added:

"The CPA call upon all the nations who are currently providing protection to the Afghanistan
government to put pressure on Afghanistan to stop this cruel and inhumane persecution.
This is not the sort of society the public in Britain expect to be supporting with the lives of their
sons and daughters and scarce resources that could be invested elsewhere."

Afghanistan's constitution was established while NATO forces have been in the country and
states that laws must be based on Islam. Islamic Sharia is the basis of law and the Sharia
includes laws which mandate the killing of apostates. (Article 3: "No law shall contravene the
tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan." Also Article 119, the Judge's
oath states: "I swear in the name of God Almighty to attain justice and righteousness in
accordance with tenets of the Holy religion of Islam".) Any Afghan who is born as the child of a
Muslim father, and who later becomes baptized as a Christian would be in danger of his or her
life in Afghanistan today.

ENDS

For more information: Dr Tom Rogers 07941 966292 or email
press@cpaparty.org.uk
Or visit www.cpaparty.org.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS:

INTRODUCTION SENT WITH THE LETTER

We need your help to stop the Afghan government from arresting Afghan Christians and condemning them to death by public execution!

The enclosed letter addresses recent events inside Afghanistan that have unfolded since May 27th, 2010 after an incendiary documentary showing photos and videos of secret "Afghan Christian Converts" aired on Noorin TV, an independent tv station based in Kabul. The documentary was the first of its kind to ever air publicly on national TV in Afghanistan, a country that considers itself to be 100% Muslim. The controversial content, revealing names and faces of supposed Afghan Christian converts, sparked riots and demonstrations throughout Afghanistan in the days that followed.

During the ensuing protests, demonstrators called on President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan government to take strong and decisive actions against these exposed Afghan Christian converts by enforcing the Afghan constitution, based on Islamic Sharia law, which clearly call for the arrest and public execution of anyone who leaves Islam for another religion.

According to an online report by the Associated Free Press dated June 1, 2010, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, deputy secretary of the Afghan lower house in parliament, called for the execution of Christian converts from Islam saying, "those Afghans that appeared in this video film should be executed in public, the house should order the Attorney General and the NDS (intelligence agency) to arrest these Afghans and execute them".

In another reported statement, Qazi Nazir Ahmad, a lawmaker from Herat, declared that killing a Muslim who converts to Christianity is "not a crime". Waheed Omar, the spokesman for the President, told reporters that President Hamid Karzai himself was "personally" taking an interest in this case, and had ordered his interior minister and the head of the country´s spy agency to do a full investigation and "to take immediate and serious action to prevent this phenomenon".

Reports from inside Afghanistan already tell of many arrests in recent days, frequent and ongoing searches of homes and businesses, as well as claims of torture by those under arrest in an effort to forcibly extract the names of other Afghan Christian converts and the locations of secret Afghan Christian "churches" and underground fellowships throughout the country.

In light of all these events, and the perplexing media silence on these atrocities occurring in plain view of the international community, we are pleading with the Body of Christ around the world to support our Afghan Christian brothers and sisters during this critical time by taking a firm and vocal stand against the severe and devastating wrongs being committed against them by their own government!

We ask that you please forward and share the enclosed "open letter to the church" with your friends, churches, prayer groups, human rights
advocates, the media, your local representatives, senators and other government bodies and authorities... We need everyone's help to make our voices heard!

We must make people aware that right now our Afghan Christian brothers and sisters are being subjected to forcible arrest, intimidation, fear, torture and certain public execution merely for choosing to be Christian! We must raise up a standard against these egregious injustices and blatant human rights violations by taking a strong and public stand against these unconscionable actions being perpetrated and condoned by the Afghan government from the parliament floor against its own people!

The enclosed letter was written on June 8, 2010 by Afghan Christians who are currently living in exile from their beloved homeland because they were forced to flee their country in order to save their lives and the lives of their families, due to orders of execution issued against them by the Afghan government for choosing to convert to Christianity:

************


Letter to the Body of Christ around the world,
written by members of the Afghan Christian community on June 9, 2010:

To the Body of Christ:

This letter is written by the Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi, India which is a small community of 150 Afghan Christian refugees and asylum seekers.

We left our country because we were sentenced to death on the account of our Christian faith (conversion), as Afghanistan is a Muslim Country, the Afghan Government is an Islamic government, and Islam is the only formal religion of the country, and according to the Constitutional law of the Afghan Islamic Republic, conversion is considered as a big crime,
Christian are called pagans and infidels and are sentenced to death by the Afghan Government. Christians are considered criminals. Death penalty is waiting for all those who want to leave the darkness and come to the true light, repent from their sins, and put their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lord and Savior of all human being.

We believe that you (the Body of Christ) have already heard that some pictures and movies of the Afghan believers (from Delhi and Kabul) were shown by an Afghan Private TV (Noorin TV), this TV channel showed these picture in a especial program (Sarzameen Man), and the Government and people were encouraged and provoked to think about the issue of
conversion, to make a stand against it and to take serious and practical measures and actions to destroy Afghan Converted Christians (Sons of God) and those who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Lost.

The Afghan Parliament, Senate, Religious Council and Islamic Parties and leaders made statements that the Afghan Government has to search, find, arrest, deliver to courts and executes all Afghan Christians, and the Christian NGOs and Organization have to be stopped too. University students protested against Afghan Christians in Kabul and Herat Provinces, and the Afghan Government also made a statement that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed, and the Christian NGOs and Organizations which involved with the issues of conversion will be closed.

Mr. Mujajdi the Chairman Of Afghan Senate said that if the Afghan
Government does not take serious action, he and other Islamic leaders will call and request the Afghan people to take practical measures to kill all Afghan Christians. President Karzai himself showed his personal interest in this regard and said that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed and Christian organizations which are involved with this issue will be stopped. He ordered the Afghan security organs to take serious measures in this regard. The Afghan Home Minister and the Chairman of the Afghan Intelligence told the Afghan Parliament that 4 Afghan Christian individuals and one family have been arrested and they are under
investigation, 13 NGOs have been named and suspended, the names of Afghan Christians have been listed, and the Afghan Intelligence agency is trying to arrest them. Two Church organizations by the names of WCA and NCA have been closed. As we are in contact with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, many believers are arrested, our houses are checked by police and intelligence people in Afghanistan, our families and parents (though they are Muslim) are under investigation and even arrested, and all Afghan believers are misplaced.

So, We (Afghan Christian Community) along with our other Afghan Christian brothers and sisters who are in Afghanistan request you to:
Please pray for us and for this critical situation, pray for those who are arrested, and those who are under investigation.Please come together and help your Afghan brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are sentenced to death, we are arrested, we are under investigation, the Afghan Government kills us because we believe on Jesus Christ, we know that we should consider it pure joy when we suffer (James 1: 1 -4), and we are enjoying all suffering all joy. But we also know that faith without deeds is useless (James 2: 14 - 17), and this is the time to raise your voice for your brothers and sisters, for our children, for our old parents, for the execution of thousand Afghan believers. This is the day that all of us should come together and pray, think, help and raise our voices to the International Community, to put pressure on the Afghan Government to stop killing, persecuting and executing Afghan Christians, to give us freedom of religion, to respect and accept us as Afghan Christians.
We do not know how the whole world and especially the Global Church is silent and closing their eyes, while thousand of their brothers and sisters (Body of Christ) are in pain, facing life danger and death penalty, and are tortured, persecuted and called criminals because they believe in the Truth.

We need to wake up, get up and speak up today, and to prove it that we are really in concern, and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should help the persecuted part of the body of Christ, for His Glory. If we really believe that Lord Jesus Christ is God, then, He commands us to love Him and to love our neighbor, if our own brothers and sisters, are in pain and suffering, and we are silent and we ignore them and their suffering, then the question is that do we really obey Lord Jesus's commandment to love Him and our neighbor?

So, dear brothers and sister (the Body of Christ), we (Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi) on behalf of all Afghan Christians request you to support us by your prayers and practical measures, let us tell the Afghan Government that we are not pagans and infidels, we are not criminals because of our Christian faith, and let us tell them not to sentence us to death.

May God bless you!
Afghan Christian Community
(Obaid S. Christ)

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Speak out on behalf of Nigerian Christians today

Use your voice to seek justice for our Nigerian brothers and sisters who faced brutal attacks in January and March.

In the UK and Ireland, 3,000 emails and letters of concern have been sent to the Nigerian High Commissioner in London. Thank you if you have already taken action but if not, please help us to reach our target of 5,000 messages. You will join with hundreds of other Christians from the United States, Netherlands and South Africa.

Several hundred Christians were killed in appalling massacres in Plateau State, Nigeria. The military and the police have been accused of doing too little too late to protect the Christians and some army personnel have been accused of being complicit with the Hausa and Fulani Muslim extremists.

Christians continue to mourn the loss of loved ones and many remain homeless.

Be a voice for Nigerian Christians. Write to the Nigerian High Commissioner, Dr Dalhatu Tafida, now and urge that the perpetrators of these vicious attacks are held accountable, victims compensated and that the Nigerian authorities do their utmost to restore peace and security in Plateau State.

Read more information >>

Welcoming MPs – action update

Over 2,000 Open Doors campaigners wrote to their newly-elected Member of Parliament through our online campaign action. As a result almost 600 MPs were contacted and many sent swift, positive responses, expressing thanks for the congratulations and prayers, and promising future action on behalf of those persecuted for their faith.

We were delighted to hear that several supporters went on to arrange meetings with their MPs in order to share further about the persecuted church.

And thanks to all this action, we have been able to contact some new Christian MPs who were alerted to our work through your emails, and share with them how they can be a voice for the persecuted church within Parliament!


Thank you for taking action on behalf of Christians in Plateau State, Nigeria. Please pray for those who have lost loved ones, who are homeless, injured or fearful of further attacks.

With best wishes,

Alice J
Advocacy Manager
Open Doors UK & Ireland


Open Doors UK, PO Box 6, Witney, OX29 6WG. Registered Charity in England and Wales No 1125684.

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Christian Child Abducted, Forced into Bonded Labor in Pakistan

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Muslim landowner offers to remove chains from 11-year-old boy if he ’converts to Islam’
By Dan Wooding Founder of ASSIST Ministries

WAZIRABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Compass Direct News (CDN) is reporting the shocking story of an 11-year-old Christian boy from a Pakistani village who is “growing weak and ill” from malnutrition from working in “slave-like conditions” for a Muslim landowner who kidnapped him and is forcing him to work off his family’s debts, his mother told the news service.
According to CDN, Katherine Bibi said that landowner Ashraf Cheema of Dhonikay village, Wazirabad, has offered her son better conditions and possibly cancellation of the debt if he would “convert to Islam.”
CDN went on to report that young Danish Masih works without break from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m., often in iron chains, on half a loaf of bread per day. This was according to Dawood Masih of the National Commission of Justice and Peace.
The boy’s father and older brother had been working for Cheema to pay off a debt of 142,000 rupees (US$1,640), but their employer was “neither paying their monthly wages nor deducting the amounts from their debt,” said Emmanuel Berkat Gill of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance.
The story said, “Cheema also extorted land worth 35,000 rupees (US$404) from the boy’s older brother, again without deducting the amount from their debt, and ransacked the family’s house in Ali Naggar village, stealing Katherine Bibi’s dowry worth 200,000 rupees (US$2,308), she and Gill said.
“The family decided to flee to Islamabad, 102 miles away, Katherine Bibi said, but 18 months ago Cheema found them and abducted Danish Masih.”
Contacted by Compass, Cheema said that no such boy works at his farm or fields, and that “someone must have misled you.” Besides the court recognition of the abduction, however, Gill, and other credible sources, assert that Danish Masih works from dawn to dusk under a sizzling summer sun without any break or meal.
“At press time local Christian leaders had petitioned the deputy superintendent police of Wazirabad to recover Danish Masih,” the CDN story concluded.
For more information, go to: www.compassdirect.org
ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net -- E-mail: assistnews@aol.com

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Collectivism and Individualism

The two prevailing views of human social life are, collectivism and individualism. It is the great contribution of Kuyper & Dooyeweerd to show a Xn alternative to both and thus why being presented with only them is a false dilemma. The basic issue is: which is the fundamental reality the group or the individual? Is it that groups give rise to individuals or do individuals give rise to groups? This would be funny - like the question which came first the chicken or the egg - if it didn't have such serious consequences.

The collectivist view is that it takes a community to produce and maintain an individual. Aristotle, for example, says "the solitary individual dies" and holds that anyone who can survive outside the state is either a beast or a god but not a human. Hobbes, on the other hand, says that only solitary individuals existed at first and all groups are the product of their free decisions to form them. The state is voluntarily formed because of fear, since life without it is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Locke followed him.

The thing is, each has a plausible argument. Surely there can be no individuals without parents. But just as surely there can be no marriages without individuals. The Xn position is given, I'd say, in Genesis where we're told that God created more then one human and put them in community with one another. So the short reply is: neither individuals nor groups are the origin of human society, God is. And every theory that regards either individuals or groups as the origin of the other both ignores God and overestimates the role of whichever it picked in his place. So, for example, individualism has led to the notion that ONLY individuals have rights and legal standing, and that the state (and other communities) exist only to serve the individual. On the other hand collectivism has led to the notion that the individual exists to serve the group, so Aristotle actually held that justice is whatever preserves the state. By contrast, the WdW frees us from that false dilemma and calls for rights for families, churches, schools, businesses, etc. as well as individuals. It also calls on the state to aim at PUBLIC justice not just the preservation of individual rights.

But pointing to all that shouldn't blind us to the elements of truth in each of the false views. It surely is the case that a sense of individual worth and independence was a marked improvement over, say, the tribal mentality. And the belief that each individual has his or her calling from God frees a person from feeling bound by traditional ideas of class and occupation. So while the good that Hayek points to is legitimate, it doesn't arise only from individualism but also from the doctrine of creation and sphere sovereignty. So despite what's right about his point it is still a mistake to identify the Xn position exclusively with either individualism or collectivism. - Roy Clouser explained more fully in The Myth of Religious Neutrality?

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The Creed of Christian Reconstruction by Rev. Andrew Sandlin

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Calvinist. He holds to historic, orthodox, catholic Christianity and the great Reformed
confessions. He believes God, not man, is the centre of the universe and beyond; God, not man, controls whatever comes to
pass; God, not man, must be pleased and obeyed. He believes God saves sinners. He does not help them save themselves. A
Christian Reconstructionist believes the Faith should apply to all of life, not just the "spiritual" side. It applies to art, education,
technology, and politics no less than to church, prayer, evangelism, and Bible Study.

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Theonomist. Theonomy means "God's law." A Christian Reconstructionist believes God's
law is found in the Bible. It has not been abolished as a standard of righteousness. It no longer accuses the Christian, since
Christ bore its penalty on the cross for him. But the law is a description of God's righteous character. It cannot change any
more than God can change. God's law is used for three main purposes: First, to drive the sinner to trust in Christ alone, the
only perfect law-keeper. Second, to provide a standard of obedience for the Christian, by which he may judge his progress in
sanctification. And third, to maintain order in society, restraining and arresting civil evil.

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Presuppositionalist. He does not try to "prove" that God exists or that the Bible is true.
He holds to the Faith because the Bible says so, not because he can "prove" it. He does not try to convince the unconverted that
the gospel is true. They already know it is true when they hear it. They need repentance, not evidence. Of course, the Christian
Reconstructionist believes there is evidence for the Faith, in fact, there is nothing but evidence for the Faith. The problem for
the unconverted, though, is not a lack of evidence, but a lack of submission. The Christian Reconstructionist begins and ends
with the Bible. He does not defend "natural theology," and other inventions designed to find some agreement with
covenant-breaking apostate mankind.

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Postmillennialist. He believes Christ will return to earth only after the Holy Spirit has
empowered the church to advance Christ's kingdom in time and history. He has faith that God's purposes to bring all nations,
though not every individual, in subjection to Christ cannot fail. The Christian Reconstructionist is not utopian. He does not
believe the kingdom will advance quickly or painlessly. He knows that we enter the kingdom through much tribulation. He
knows Christians are in the fight for the "long haul." He believes the church may yet be in her infancy. But he believes the
Faith will triumph. Under the power of the Spirit of God, it cannot but triumph.

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Dominionist. He takes seriously the Bible's commands to the godly to take dominion in the
earth. This is the goal of the gospel and the Great Commission. The Christian Reconstructionist believes the earth and all its
fullness is the Lord's: that every area dominated by sin must be "reconstructed" in terms of the Bible. This includes, first, the
individual; second, the family; third, the church; and fourth, the wider society, including the state. The Christian
Reconstructionist therefore believes fervently in Christian civilisation. He firmly believes in the separation of church and state,
but not the separation of the state or anything else from God. He is not a revolutionary; he does not believe in the militant,
forced overthrow of human government. He has infinitely more powerful weapons than guns and bombs, he has the invincible
Spirit of God, the infallible word of God, and the incomparable gospel of God, none of which can fail.

He presses the crown rights of the Lord Jesus Christ in every sphere, expecting eventual triumph.

Copyright © 1997 The Chalcedon Foundation, all rights reserved.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Aruba

I thought I new the names of all countries but this is a new one to me. Click on the title if you share my ignorance. I only discovered it as this blog registered a visitor from there.

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Statement of Faith

The Triune Majesty

The Triune God is the one uncreated Creator of all things that exist; between the Creator and His creation is a fundamental divide. This one God is eternally existent in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. His Majesty is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, and limited by nothing other than His own nature and character, He is holy, righteous, good, stern, loving, and full of mercy.

Creation

In the beginning, God created the material universe from nothing. He spoke, and by the Word of His power, it was. Our knowledge of the nature and time of this event must be determined solely through careful study of God

Sin

Our first father Adam was our federal head and representative. He was created innocent, but through his rebellion against the express Word of God, plunged himself and his entire posterity, represented in him, into the hopelessness of death in sin. This sin is lawlessness an attempt to live apart from the law and word of God. Since that first great apostasy, no descendant of Adam has escaped from the death of lawlessness apart from efficacious grace.

The Incarnate Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ is, according to the flesh, a descendant of David, and sits on David's throne. He is, at the same time, God enfleshed. He is one individual with two natures fully man and fully God. As a man, He is our elder brother and High Priest before God, representing us to God the Father. As God, He is the visible image of the invisible Father, representing God to us.

Salvation

Because all sons of Adam are spiritually dead, they are consequently incapable of saving themselves. But out of His sovereign mercy, God the Father elected a countless number to eternal salvation, leaving the remainder to their sinful desires. When the time was right, the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross and was raised to life as an efficacious redemption for the elect. Thus He secured the salvation of His church, for which He laid down His life. And at the point of each individual's conversion, the Holy Spirit brings resurrecting grace to each, effectually calling him by His power, with the result of repentance and faith.

Revelation

The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, inerrant in all they affirm. The Word has divine authority in everything it addresses, and it addresses everything. In no way should the Scriptures be brought to the judgement seat of human reason; rather, we must rationally and submissively study the Word granted to us.

Law

The grace of God in the gospel does not set aside the law of God; rather, it establishes it. To the one who believes, the law of God is precious, and through faith the law is established. The law stands as God's testimony of His own righteous character; as such, it cannot be altered by anything other than God's express Word. Consequently, we receive the entire Bible, Old and New Testaments, as fully containing the will of God for us. To all who do not believe, the law of God condemns them in self-righteousness.

Covenant

When God is pleased to bless the proclamation of His gospel, the result will always be a visible collection of saints bound in covenant to Him. They will be characterised through their assembly around the preached Word, their faithful administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and their orderly and disciplined government according to the Word of God.

Witness

As believers present the gospel to those who remain in rebellious unbelief, there must be no halfway compromise with that unbelief. The ground and precondition for all creaturely ventures is the Word of God, which necessarily includes our teaching, apologetics, and evangelism. Every thought is to be made captive to the Lord Christ, and every tongue is to glorify the Father.

Eschatology

As the gospel of Christ is proclaimed throughout the world, the result will be the gradual transformation and salvation of the world. Prior to Christ's return, the earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the water cover the sea, and the whole earth will be full of His glory.

Originally written and published by Douglas Wilson

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wise as Serpents

This was in the June Record of the Free Church of Scotland.

Wise as Serpents

I am writing this two weeks before the General Election. By the time your read it a new government will be in office . Various organisations have been encouraging Christians to examine the policies being advocated by the various parties, to write and question candidates, attend hustings and examine the voting records of MPs seeking re-election. It is certainly right that candidates be questioned on issues of special concern to Christians like pro-life, euthanasia and the restrictions on freedom of conscience and speech. This is especially the case when all the major parties seem to be fighting over the same central ground and presentation seems to sway the opinion polls more than policy.

One Christian initiative in the election campaign is Westminster 2010: Declaration of Christian Conscience (www.westminster2010.org.uk). We are told that
“ Westminster 2010 is a declaration aimed to appeal to UK Christians of all denominations who subscribe to the historic Christian faith and who hold orthodox Christian beliefs about life, marriage and conscience.” The declaration pre-able says, “Protecting human life, protecting marriage, and protecting freedom of conscience are foundational for creating and maintaining strong families, caring communities and a just society. Our Christian faith compels us to speak and act in defence of all these.”

I have been happy to sign the declaration as have over 36,000 others at the time of writing. But whenever any Christians take an initiative there are always those who are unhappy. Christian Concern For Our Nation have backed this initiative and I have a friend who works there. She tells me that some Christians will not sign because it means making common cause with Roman Catholics and others they do not wish to stand alongside. Indeed any person identifying themselves as a Trinitarian Christian could sign the declaration.

I fear such objectors signing have not understood what it means to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves when it comes to political involvement. In fact I suspect many of them to also be of the pietistic mindset which regards politics as a dirty game in which Christians should not really be involved. After all, they would ask, is not our calling to change the world through preaching the gospel? I agree that the Great Commission is the calling of the church as church. But Christians have various callings to follow in this fallen world . The sphere of politics is not excluded. As Abraham Kuyper, the theologian and pastor who became prime minister of The Netherlands said, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare,'That is mine!'.”

Politics is the art of the possible. One will not find it possible to be wise in this art unless you understand the distinction the late Francis Schaeffer made between co-belligerents and allies; ‘A co-belligerent is a person with whom I do not agree on all sorts of vital issues, but who, for whatever reasons of their own, is on the same side in a fight for some specific issue of public justice.' A reformed Christian will not be an ally of the Roman Catholics in evangelism but should be a co-belligerent with then, standing together protesting outside the abortion clinic and I trust signing the Westminster Declaration.

Back in 1986 I had my first real experience of political campaigning when some local Christians wanted to protest against the plans of our newly elected local authority to have a policy for sexual equality in education. This proposed policy stated among other things that homosexuality is equally valid. When we formed the Ealing Parents Action Group to challenge this folly, I made sure it was not named as a Christian lobby group. I hoped for co-belligerents from Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs in the borough.

Let us be wise in finding nests of co-belligerent serpents for effective political action. Let us not be left as a few isolated doves whose cries remain unheard.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

AMAZING LAXMI SHINES IN COURT

After being cancelled once before, Laxmi's trail finally came to court again. She was very reluctant and said that if this time the trail was cancelled for any reason, she would never come again! She works for an NGO in her village and did not want to miss a day at work. However, Laxmi came with her colleague to testify in court. Her colleague had never seen Mumbai and both were very excited. They came so happily, as if they were out on a picnic.
Laxmi was very confident of what she had to speak in the court. When her hour to witness came, she correctly answered all the questions asked by public prosecutor and the defence. There were two advocates who cross examined her. She was irritated by the way they were asking questions and how they were trying to prove that the accused was innocent. They were asking repeated and irrelevant questions. The judge too was annoyed at the defence and scolded them for wasting the court's time. Toward the end, Laxmi gave them a stern look and answered in such a way that they asked no more questions!
God was clearing directing each and everything that happened with the case. Laxmi went back home in happiness that day! She had the joy of getting some legal action done against her perpetrators. After the court, Laxmi had the most amusing ride on the Mumbai local trains. She did not want to miss a single bit of all she saw around - the ladies who jumped in and out, the tall buildings all around, and most of all the speed of the express train!
After her rescue several years ago, Laxmi spent two years in rehabilitation homes recovering from her trauma and gaining new skills. She then served as a social worker in a red light district counselling prostitutes and often taking their children to school. She now works with a NGO to contribute in the development of villages. She has had several opportunities to address groups of girls to be aware of strangers in their villages. She told those girls of what happens when strangers or even family relatives lure young girls away and sell them into prostitution. She has even shared her story of rescue and restoration.
--------------------
This account comes from Amee C., a Freedom Firm Social Worker. Amee works with rescued girls to prepare them for testifying in court, counsels them in government aftercare homes, and spends time with them in whatever capacity needed to help in their restoration.

Freedom Firm
78/85 Indu Sadan
Glenrock
Ooty, Tamil Nadu 643 001

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Afghan Christians Plead for Help as they are Exposed and Threatened with Execution

Afghan Christians in exile are urging their fellow-Christians around the world to help stop the Afghan government from arresting and executing Afghan Christians. While international media and politicians are silent, within Afghanistan a dramatic anti-Christian furore has erupted, in which Afghan media and politicians alike are calling for the death of converts from Islam, in line with Islamic sharia law.
“We do not know how the whole world and especially the Global Church is silent and closing their eyes while thousands of their brothers and sisters (Body of Christ) are in pain, facing life danger and death penalty and are tortured, persecuted and called criminals,” wrote a group of Afghan Christians in New Delhi, India on 9 June.
Media

Towards the end of last month, TV footage was broadcast showing alleged Afghan Muslim converts to Christianity, including scenes of baptisms.
Although at least two years old, the footage triggered a frenzied anti-Christian response, including death threats and demonstrations throughout the country.
The TV moderators urged viewers to find more Afghans who had left Islam and report them to the police.
Parliament

On 31 May, the Deputy Secretary of the Afghan Lower House of Parliament, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, called in parliament for the public execution of the Afghan Christians shown in the TV programme. Other members called for proselytising groups to be expelled from the country.
On 1 June, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said that the president was taking a personal interest in the situation and had ordered immediate and serious action to prevent any more conversions. In the following days many Kabul homes were searched and dozens of Afghan Christians fled.
On 5 June Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said that they had been investigating the issue of conversions for the last two years. He announced that the government had a list of 23 people, Afghans and foreigners, whom they were seeking to arrest.
For the full story visit [LINK]
For the full text of the letter from Afghan Christians in New Delhi visit [LINK]
A call for change

It is time for real change by abolishing the Islamic law of apostasy and guaranteeing equality and freedom of religion to citizens of all faiths in Muslim countries, including converts from Islam to Christianity.
We call on Christians around the world to protest against the travesty of justice, peace and tolerance taking place in Afghanistan.
We call on Western governments to intervene on behalf of the persecuted Christians of Afghanistan.
We call on Muslim governments to protect their Christian minorities, including converts from Islam, and ensure the rights of all to freedom of religion.
We call on Muslim communities in the West to protest at what is happening in Afghanistan and for the law of apostasy to be abolished.
We call on Christians engaged in mission to Muslims to protect converts to Christianity by being extremely wise and discreet in all they publish and broadcast.
We call on President Obama, a Christian with family links to Islam, to help Afghan Christians.


For more information on Islam’s apostasy law, see Freedom to Believe: Challenging Islam’s Apostasy Law by Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund. (Isaac Publishing, 2009) ISBN 978-0-9787141-9-2. Copies can be ordered from www.barnabasfund.org.

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Father of the Bride

It is now nearly nine years since I gave the happiest speech of my life.


Ladies and gentlemen,
I will try to follow the advice that a university president once gave a prospective speaker. "Think of yourself as the body at an Irish wake" he said. "They need you in order to have the party, but no one expects you to say very much."

Accustomed as I am to public speaking, I have never before received so much advice on what to say, or rather on what not to say. The etiquette books outline what you should say then family and friends tell you what not to say. These have ranged from the obvious, You must not embarrass your daughter, ight through to dire unnamed consequences to be visited upon me by a certain guest if I asked him to sing.But no, for once in my life I am resolved to do the right thing.

First of all I must express my gratitude to certain people today. And first of all to you all for all coming. Some have motored over 200 miles to be with us and I am pleased to have one guest from half way round the world, New Zealand. I want to tank Derek and Thelma for giving me such a good husband for my lovely daughter, and to thank them for all the practical help they have given us towards and on this happy day.

Parents are always concerned about who their child befriends and then wants to marry. We are very thankful that our children have all chosen Christian partners from Christian families. Education begins with our parents. If we have learned from them what it means to love and serve God , how to live together as a family, then we have received the best possible preparation for married life in a world where marriage is increasingly devalued and scorned. So thank you Derek and Thelma for all your help and for Adrian.

I should also like to thank the ladies of their church, Oldfield Baptist for decorating the church and for the birthday tea., and also the minister, Darren Hurst

Now there are lots of other people to be thanked, but I have to leave those to Adrian in his speech. And it is to him, my first son in law that i now turn. To Adrian goes my warmest thanks for taking Rachel as the new Mrs Little.However I have to say she comes to you with a little extra, namely father in laws advice. I don't think this can be a bad thing because I have never heard a father in law joke, so this must be a serious matter too. After all I have had 26 years experience of the life of this young lady, as well as 32 years experience of marriage. So here goes.

Love may be blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener...and that is a positive thing.A man may be ignorant of his own faults, but not if he is married.Martin Luther said that There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.However, it is evident that There are two times when a man doesn't understand a woman - before marriage and after marriage. Sigmund Freud wrote The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ``What does a woman want?' Geoffrey Chaucer had given an answer 600 years before Women desire six things: They want their husbands to be brave, wise, rich, generous, obedient to wife, and lively in bed. A more modern feminine perspective is this from Round the Horne where CELIA says, : Oh Charles - a woman needs certain things. She needs to be loved, wanted, cherished,sought after, wooed, flattered, cosseted, pampered. She needs sympathy, affection, devotion, understanding, tenderness, infatuation, adulation, idolatry - that isn't much to ask, is it Charles

Marriage is the process of finding out what kind of man your wife would have preferred. I can tell you now one sure and certain thing about Rachel, she prefers a man who does not embarrass her.This is a lesson you must take to heard now. Failure to do so could have dire consequences.

Let me tell you a true story. It is July 1987 and 12 year old Rachel has been at her farewell party at Christchurch School. Father turns up to take her home dressed somewhat less elegantly than I am today. I was wearing a tattered pair of shorts at least ten years old. Rachel asked to go back into the dance to say goodbye to friends. I followed her. Immediately she asked to go straight home . I said I wanted to stay to dance with one of the mothers there. No, says Rachel , You are embarrassing me with those shorts. We left and for the next three of four years my daughter refused me any show of physical affection whatsoever. no kisses, no hugs until the day she was walking out late lamented dog and another hound attacked. I came to the rescue, got a hug of gratitude and the past was forgiven.

So Adrian, beware. If you embarrass your wife you could be in for a lonely time. Marriages may be made in heaven, but man is responsible for the maintenance work. All men should freely use those seven words which have the power to make any marriage run smoothly: You know dear, you may be right. To do this you have to learn to listen My wife says I never listen to her. At least, I think that's what she said. Lyndon Johnson said I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her way. And second, let her have it.

So I conclude with Ogden Nash
To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
Whenever you're right, shut up.

That is what iIwill do now after I give you the toast, so Please be upstanding, Ladies and gentleman, to the bride and groom Rachel and Adrian,

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