Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Is Jesus Christ, God's Free Gift...Or It Is Nothing

Not Santa, decorated cedars, jingle bells or eggnog ... Just Jesus

In December 1960 I was pastoring my first of two churches. I turned 30 that month. The editor of the local newspaper asked me to submit a Christmas message for publication the week before Christmas. It was my first sermon to be published. Here is what I believed about Christmas 56 years ago and still believe today .... and forever.

Jesus, God's Free Gift

The words FREE and GIFT are noticed by almost every eye. Because of this fact, advertisers have used these two words together thousands of times, even though they actually mean about the same thing. Anything free is a gift, and a gift is always free to the receiver.

You wouldn't say, "I will give you a gift if you will give me $10.00 for it." That would be a sale and not a gift. A true gift is something which is freely given by one person to another simply because they love them. Otherwise it it a bribe, a sale or an effort to influence. A true gift always comes from a heart of love and is without cost to the one receiving it. The price is paid by the giver.

Did you know that the greatest, most valuable possession the universe can offer is a FREE GIFT to you, if you will accept it? This priceless gift is an absolute necessity to every soul who seeks peace, happiness and eternal life. The Holy Bible directs our thoughts to this greatest of all gifts in Romans 5:18, "Therefore as by the offense of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus) the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of life." 

God has promised you in Romans 6:23 that, "The wages of sin is death; but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." He repeats this wonderful truth in Ephesians 2:8-9 where we read, "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the GIFT of God; not of works, lest any man should boast." How many times have you and I been reminded of this GIFT from the words of John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that HE GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Do you believe what God says in the Scriptures, or do you think you have to work for that GIFT, pay for it, or deserve it before He will give salvation to you? If you believe God meant exactly what He said, and if you want to receive His promised GIFT for your very own, then bow your head right now and call upon Him in prayer as He tells us to do in Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord SHALL be saved." Put your faith in Jesus Christ as your own Savior right now.

"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable GIFT." 1 Corinthians 9:15.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It Was Almost Christmas 1943 In A Dying B17 Over Germany

.... But a miraculous Christmas story was unfolding ... You are in God's hands now...

Exactly 73 years ago, Dec.20,1943, an American farm boy from Virginia had flown his B17 bomber in a bombing run over Germany.  His plane and crew were shot to pieces. As he gently, prayerfully coaxed his wounded plane toward the North Sea and England, he glanced outside his cockpit and froze. He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his co-pilot stared at the same horrible vision. "My God, this is a nightmare," the co-pilot said. "He's going to destroy us," the pilot agreed.

The men were looking at a gray German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip. It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.

The B-17 Pilot, Charles Brown, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission. His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone, struggling to stay in the skies above Germany. Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns.

But when Brown and his co-pilot, Spencer "Pinky" Luke, looked at the fighter pilot again, something odd happened. The German didn't pull the trigger. He stared back at the bomber in amazement and respect. Instead of pressing the attack, he nodded at Brown and saluted. What happened next was one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry recorded during World War Il.

Stigler pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in his flight jacket. He eased his index finger off the trigger. He couldn't shoot. It would be murder.

Stigler wasn't just motivated by vengeance that day. He also lived by a code. He could trace his family's ancestry to Knights in 16th century Europe. He had once studied to be a priest. A German pilot who spared the enemy, though, risked death in Nazi Germany. If someone reported him, he would be executed.

Yet, Stigler could also hear the voice of his commanding officer, who once told him: "You follow the rules of war for you--not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity."

Alone with the crippled bomber, Stigler changed his mission. He nodded at the American pilot and began flying in formation so German anti-aircraft gunners on the ground wouldn't shoot down the slow-moving bomber. (The Luftwaffe had B-17's of its own, shot down and rebuilt for secret missions and training.) Stigler escorted the bomber over the North Sea and took one last look at the American Pilot. Then he saluted him, peeled his fighter away, and returned to Germany.

"Good luck," Stigler said to himself. "You're in God's hands now." Franz Stigler didn't think the big B-17 could make it back to England and wondered for years what happened to the American pilot and crew he encountered in combat.

Charles Brown, with his Charles Brown, with his wife, Jackie (left), With Franz Stigler, with his wife, Hiya. As he watched the German fighter peel away that December day, 2nd Lt. Charles Brown wasn't thinking of the philosophical connection between enemies. He was thinking of survival. He flew his crippled plane, filled with wounded, back to his base in England and landed with one of four engines knocked out, one failing, and barely any fuel left. After his bomber came to a stop, he leaned back in his chair and put a hand over a pocket Bible he kept in his flight jacket. Then he sat in silence.

Brown flew more missions before the war ended. Life moved on. He got married, had two daughters, supervised foreign aid for the U.S. State Department during the Vietnam War, and eventually retired to Florida.

Late in life, though, the encounter with the German Pilot began to gnaw at him. He started having nightmares, but in his dream there would be no act of mercy. He would awaken just before his bomber crashed.

Brown took on a new mission. He had to find that German Pilot. Who was he? Why did he save my life? He scoured Military Archives in the U.S. And England. He attended a Pilots' Reunion and shared his story. He finally placed an ad in a German Newsletter for former Luftwaffe Pilots, retelling the story and asking if anyone knew the Pilot.

On January 18, 1990, Brown received a letter. He opened it and read: "Dear Charles, All these years I wondered what happened to that B-17, did she make it home? Did her crew survive their wounds? To hear of your survival has filled me with indescribable joy."

It was Stigler.

He had left Germany after the war and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1953. He became a prosperous businessman. Now retired, Stigler told Brown that he would be in Florida come summer, and "it sure would be nice to talk about our encounter." Brown was so excited, though, that he couldn't wait to see Stigler. He called Directory Assistance for Vancouver and asked whether there was a number for a Franz Stigler. He dialed the number, and Stigler picked up.

"My God, it's you!" Brown shouted as tears ran down his cheeks.

Brown had to do more. He wrote a letter to Stigler in which he said: "To say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU on behalf of my surviving crew members and their families appears totally inadequate."

The two pilots would meet again, but this time in person, in the lobby of a Florida hotel. One of Brown's friends was there to record the summer reunion. Both men looked like retired businessmen: They were plump, sporting neat ties and formal shirts. They fell into each other's arms and wept and laughed. They talked about their encounter in a light, jovial tone.

The mood then changed. Someone asked Stigler what he thought about Brown. Stigler sighed and his square jaw tightened. He began to fight back tears before he said in heavily accented English, "I love you, Charlie."

Stigler had lost his brother, his friends, and his country. He was virtually exiled by his countrymen after the war. There were 28,000 pilots who fought for the German Air Force. Only 1,200 survived. The war cost him everything. Charlie Brown was the only good thing that came out of World War II for Franz. It was the one thing he could be proud of. The meeting helped Brown as well, says his oldest daughter, Dawn Warner.

Brown and Stigler became pals. They would take fishing trips together. They would fly cross-country to each other homes and take road trips together to share their story at schools and veterans' reunions. Their wives, Jackie Brown and Hiya Stigler, became friends.

Brown's daughter says her father would worry about Stigler's health and constantly check in on him. "It wasn't just for show," she says. "They really did feel for each other. They talked about once a week." As his friendship with Stigler deepened, something else happened to her father, Warner says "The nightmares went away."

Brown had written a letter of thanks to Stigler, but one day he showed the extent of his gratitude. He organized a reunion of his surviving crew members along with their extended families. He invited Stigler as a Guest of   Honor.

During the reunion, a video was played showing all the faces of the people that now lived--children, grandchildren, relatives--because of Stigler's act of chivalry. Stigler watched the film from his Seat of Honor.

"Everybody was crying, not just him," Warner says.

Stigler and Brown died within months of each other in 2008. Stigler was 92, and Brown was 87. They had started off as enemies, became friends, and then something more.

After he died, Warner was searching through Brown's library when she came across a book on German fighter jets. Stigler had given the book to Brown. Both were country boys who loved to read about planes.

Warner opened the book and saw an inscription Stigler had written to Brown: "In 1940, I lost my only brother as a night fighter. On the 20th of December, 4 days before Christmas, I had the chance to save a B-17 from her destruction, a plane so badly damaged, it was a wonder that she was still flying. The pilot, Charlie Brown, is for me as precious as my brother was. Thanks Charlie. Your brother, Franz"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Old Testament A Preoccupied Shadow Of Jesus

And the New Testament

The Old Testament (O.T.) is the New Testament (N.T.) concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The Old Testament is like a signpost in darkness pointing forward toward the New Testament reality. It is a shadow of that reality, a foresight of things to come, a foretaste of God's bountiful table. It is an anxious anticipation of the fulfillment of hope, a prescience book describing the coming revelation of God in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, His O.T. prophesied Messiah.

If your knowledge of God is Mental only, Obedience of God's O.T. Law is the obedience of compulsion, obligation or fear, but Spiritual Obedience of God's will, contained in the law, is a willing heart submitting one's own will to His will. It is a desire and the "delight of the heart". David, a man after God's own heart, prayed...  "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." Psm.40:8

David also prayed to know God's will more completely because He is our God, and He is good, and David's desire and delight was to live in the uprightness of God's will within God's law. "Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness." Psm.143:10. Yes, David also sinned and he disobeyed God in his fleshly weakness, from time to time, but that only proved he was human, not divine, and would, like us, have been hopeless without God's grace, forgiveness and salvation.

Jesus taught us to pray, as David prayed, for God's will. The so called "Lord's Prayer" is not His prayer but a "model prayer" for us, not for Him. In it, the model prayer, asks, "Forgive us our sins....", but Jesus had no sins. We are the sinners. In that prayer, He also taught us to pray for God's will "in earth"In our lives and the lives of others. But God's will is not just a matter of the law, it is a matter of the heart. "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matt.6:9-10

Jesus not only taught us to pray for God's will, but He set the example in his own prayer preceding his crucifixion... "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matt.26:39.
Jesus' flesh resisted death, didn't want to suffer, but the Spirit of Christ in him 'yielded willingly to God's perfect will and purpose. With this he cautioned his disciples to .... "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matt.26:41

There are three levels of faith, (1) Simple Salvation Faith "For by grace are ye saved through faith...."; (2) Miracle  Working Faith. If Jesus had stopped praying after he prayed, "let this cup pass from me....", a miracle would have crushed his enemies and his father would have delivered him from being crucified and there would be no salvation for us. That, of course, couldn't happen because his death was prophesied and he came to die in his flesh. (3) Faith to yield our will to God's perfect will regardless the pain, loss or death itself. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil.2:8. Mary, the virgin Mother of  the Jesus' body, which Christ occupied, came to that third level of faith when she prayed, "... be it unto me accordng to thy word ...." Lk. 1:28. Even though she was a virgin, and pregnancy was humanly impossible, and nobody would believe her. Everybody would think she was lying and an immoral woman, and she might lose Joseph, as well as her reputation, she still yielded to God's will.... "... be it unto me according to thy word ....". 

The Old Testament was a preoccupied shadow of Jesus and the New Testament:

1. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (The blood sacrifice of animals could never Cleanse, make whole, justify or forgive sin. RB).

2. For then would they not have ceased to be offered??? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience (guilt) of sins. (If those animal sacrifices were sufficient they would have ceased to be offered. Once would have been enough. RB)  
3. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made for sins every year. (Each year their sins were pushed forward again awaiting the time when Christ, as the Lamb of God, would fulfill the animal sacrifices, taking the O.T. saints' sins upon his own body once and for all. RB) 
4. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (They were only a shadow type of what the Lamb of God would do)
 5. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (Jesus),
6. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (Satisfaction).
7. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (The entire O.T. points forward to Jesus Christ. RB).
8. Above (v.5-6) when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9. Then said he (Jesus), I come to do thy will, O God (v.7) He taketh away the first (Testament or Covenant), that he may establish the second (Testament or Covenant).
10. By the which will (His last will and testament) we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb.10:1-10.
"Once and for all"
"Once and for all"
"Once and for all"
No one can take anything from or add anything to the Sacrifice Jesus body. All we can do is accept it freely and stop trying to "earn it" or "deserve" it. RB

Monday, December 12, 2016

A 1775 Bunker Hill Battle Soldier's Prayer and Promise Written In His KJV Bible

Francis Merrifield was a 40 year old Christian Veteran of the French and Indian War who re-enlisted, as a sergeant, in the War For Independence. Let his testimony echo, in American hearts, down the centuries and into eternal glory, where it is engraved in the holy records of our God. RB

Soldier's faith: Rare Bible carried at the battle of Bunker Hill has moving inscriptions

From by James Rogers

(Courtesy of Bonhams New York)

A rare Bible from the battle of Bunker Hill will be exhibited at the Museum of the American Revolution when it opens in Philadelphia next year. The recently-acquired King James Bible is inscribed by American soldier Francis Merrifield, who thanks God for sparing his life in the bloody 1775 battle.
The museum confirmed Thursday that it purchased the Bible at a Bonham’s auction in New York on April 11. The Bible sold for $161,000, including the buyer’s premium.
“This Bible is one of only two known to exist from the Battle of Bunker Hill, and is an authentic witness to one of the most iconic moments of the Revolutionary War,” R. Scott Stephenson, the Museum’s vice president of collections, exhibitions, and programming, told, via email. “It provides an incredible opportunity to showcase the role that religious faith played in sustaining those who were involved in the American Revolution. While historians still passionately discuss and debate this important subject, it doesn’t always get a great deal of attention in museums.”
The Bible was owned by Francis Merrifield, who was born in Ipswich, Mass. in 1735. A veteran of the French and Indian War, which ran from 1754 to 1763, Merrifield joined the Ipswich militia after the Revolutionary War began in 1775. Merrifield served as a sergeant in the company of Captain Nathaniel Wade in Colonel Little’s regiment at Bunker Hill. More than 100 American troops were killed and 300 wounded in the battle on June 17, 1775. Merrifield survived heavy fighting during the battle and was one of the last to leave the field, according to the Museum of the American Revolution's Historian and Curator Philip Mead. 
Merrifield wrote extensively on the front and back covers of the Bible, thanking God for his survival. On the reverse of the New Testament page, he wrote: “Cambridge, Jun 17 1775. I desire to bless God for his Kind aperince [sic] in delivering me and sparing my life in the late battle fought on Bunker’s Hill. I desire to devote this spared life to his Glory and honour. In witness my hand, Francis Merrifield.” 
Below the inscription, Merrifield wrote a poem on his hope for divine grace.
The soldier survived the Revolutionary War. He died in 1814. 
Several donors funded the purchase of the rare Bible, the museum told 
(Courtesy of Bonhams New York) When the new museum opens in spring 2017, the Bible will be displayed in a gallery documenting the 1775-1776 siege of Boston. Other exhibits will include a rare signed and dated New England-made military drum and a large-scale reproduction of John Trumbull’s painting “The Death of General Warren at Bunker Hill.”
My Comment: Do not forget that what you write down or say today may be read hundreds of years from now and is recorded within the records of God... under your name. Be sure those words are what you want God, His saints, your mother, and eternity to remember.  And all Americans must remember our Christian faith dates back past all our Bunker Hills, and all our successes and failures, and beyond that to our founding and farther still to our Pilgrim fathers and their fathers. But still farther back, two thousand years to our Savior and His Apostles, and to His Father, God, Creator of the universe and the final judge of all. Be careful how you use your time and life. RB

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Never Say "I Can't " Do A Good Thing. "You Can" is Possible If...

you are willing to pay the "built in" price of good accomplishment.

Faith ... in God ... is a powerful force which is available to every Christian who spends time in worship, prayer and studying God's word. The Apostle Paul who grew from a religious fanatic into a faith full disciple and Apostle of Jesus Christ, did exactly that. He exposed himself to God's word and yielded himself to God's will, and thereby grew in grace and the knowledge of God. He became one of the greatest men who ever lived, wrote more than half of the books of the New Testament, as God gave them to him. "So then, faith cometh by hearing ... the word of God." Rom.10:1.

That is why Paul could say, in faith ... "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil.4:13.

Jesus confirmed this attitude of faith is available to every Christian.
."And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you" Matt.17:13

So if you think a good thing is impossible for you, think again, serve God, worship Him, study his word and seek His will  in prayer. He can help you do what you and others think is impossible. "...But Jesus said unto them ... with men this is imposssible; but with God all things are possible." Matt.19:26.

Considering these words and actions of Jesus ... and Paul, through Jesus .... Never say "I can't", unless God's word or His Holy Spirit tells your heart not to do a thing. Say with the Apostle Paul, "I can do this." But if you say it in faith, that faith will put you to preparing, analyzing, studying, planning goals and working with an almost obsessive, reasoned, confidence toward each of those goals.

Now here is a young lady of whom people said, "It is not possible" for her to be an athlete or to do a thousand other things ... but she did them all. So never quit, never stop trying, never give up on yourself accomplishing whatever is within God's will.... for you. RB

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Arriving In The USSR Just After Communism Broke It

Even their Passenger Airliners had bald tires

Upon landing in Bucharest, Romania, soon after the Soviet Union had begun to disintegrate under Communist rule, having run out of the stolen wealth of the nations it had conquered, the first thing I noticed in the dilapidated airport of that Capitol city, was demoralizing decomposition.  Even the antiquated baggage conveyor system was in irreparable condition, and didn't work, but there were a dozen conveyor mechanics all sitting around on the ruins doing nothing. I was not too surprised considering the refreshments we had been served on the plane, three pretzels and a paper cup of stale water. Also, unbelievably, the airport TV monitors were playing American cartoons. Strange indeed.

Leaving the airport in an ancient, coughing taxi, also with bald tires, we were jostled down the streets of potholes past a statue of their evil, just executed, President, Nicolae Ceausescu, It was all splattered with a dozen colors of paint. and insulting signs hanging around his neck, in the Central Square. We finally got aboard the crowded train to Moscow with our baggage and one case of our many boxes of Russian language Bibles which we intended to give away on the train. We were stopped at the Russian border and a large number of Federal agents, who carried machine guns, came aboard. The officer in charge chose us to question and investigate. He didn't seem too interested in what was in our bags and box of Bibles, but wanted to know if we had any American Credit Cards. We did, of course, and he wanted to see them. So we pulled them out for him to see. He went through them one at a time and studied every facet of each card. The expression on his face was sheer amazement and unbelief. He asked a dozen questions about their use a how many people in America had one, how long they were good for and how much money they represented. When he returned them to us, Buddy Nichols asked him if he would like to have a Bible. The man couldn't believe we were offering him the Bible free of charge. He quickly took it, caressed it to his chest, and slipped it into a worn brief-case. You must remember that few people in the USSR had a Bible after 73 years of Communist Atheism and certainly nobody had a new one. A few minutes later he returned and asked if he could have two more for two fellow agents.

We arrived in Moscow late in the evening and went directly to Red Square to see the midnight changing of the guard. Lenin's Mausoleum, his tomb and Saint Basil's Cathedral are there as well as the Kremlin and other government buildings. It was all lighted up like day-time and a highlight in my life of fighting Communism since I first met it in Seoul, Korea among the hundreds of dead bodies of innocent South Korean civilians, hands tied behind them and executed by the retreating Communist forces of North Korea.
A visit to a department store, to buy mementos of our trip for family members, revealed hundreds of people searching for necessities and finding only empty shelves and a handful of nonsense items nobody needed or wanted. The only impressive things we saw in the USSR was Red Square and the few surviving Christians who could finally meet with other Christians to worship. They could now teach, pray and fellowship together in churches which had, for 73 years, been controlled by agents of the government. We preached, through translators, to those relatively few, faithful believers, who had suffered so much, and who now clung to every word and didn't want it to stop. The way things are going, in our country, their experience could well soon be ours. Strangely, that failed political system which executed millions of innocent lives and ruined many nations, appears now to be the system of choice for nearly half of Americans. But they don't call it by its real name .... Atheistic Communism. They call it "Free Stuff Socialism", "Progressive", "Liberal" or "Democrat". Wake up America! RB

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

E-Mail From Fred Confirming Our Flight To the USSR

Plus another experience

Dr. Blair, I could never forget our trip to Romania and the Soviet Union in 1990. I firmly believe the fact that the Romanian pilot giving permission for you to give a short salvation message on that international airline was historic.  I don't believe such an event has ever happened before. With great joy I recall the applause after your talk. I have enjoyed all of our travels. The 19 day trip we took to the Arctic Circle Alaska was one great adventure. One of the highlights was going up a mountain in North Dakota when a white Ford Falcon passed us; the windows were down and we could see the long blond hair blowing in the breeze. I remember you remarked that the lady was stepping on the gas. We reached the mountain top and started down and setting to our right was that Ford Falcon, the hood up with smoke coming from the engine. We were going pretty fast and passed the vehicle before we could stop. You said that we needed to go back and help the lady. We drove back and found that the blond hair belonged to a man. He told us that the car had slung a piston and he was just going to leave it.  The man's name  was Russell. You asked me to get out and let Russell sit in the middle. Russell looked kind of ruff and I was really surprised that you asked him if he had been in prison. He answered, yes sir, I just got out ! As we drove down the mountain you gave Russell one of the best messages I have heard. " Russell , In your youth, someone placed in your mind that you are less that your brother. You have labored under the illusion that life has handed you a raw deal. Russell, that was all a lie. GOD made you special. God made you so special that he made only one like you. When you were being conceived there were thousands of cells available. God reached down into that darkness and picked just one to live...that one was you Russell. God loved you then and he loves you now .You are one of the most important things that God ever made!" 

We reached a small town and before Russell left us,you led him to Christ. I gave him one of my business cards and asked him to call me sometime . 

I really wondered if Russell truly excepted Christ or just said he did so as not to hurt our feelings. After our trip I had wondered if we would ever hear from him. Sometimes you would call and ask if I had heard from Him. About six months later, one of my workers said a man was on the phone who we had picked up on a mountain in North Dakota . I took the phone and asked, Russell, how are you doing. He said Mr. Good I can't believe you remembered  my name after all this time. I wanted you and Dr. Blair to know that I am serving Christ, Going to Church and reading my Bible. Thank you caring about me!

Fred, after nearly 54 years of being friends, will you please call me Rayburn... and that goes for all of you other friends. Enemies call me what you will. Rayburn ... and yes, Psm.115:1 is still fits here

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I Gave The Gospel Over The Intercom Of A Communist Airliner

Thirty years ago, in 1986, Soviet Prime Minister Gorbachev declared perestroika and glasnost (reformation and openness). Communism had utterly failed them after they ran out of conquered nations' wealth. The Soviet Union was suddenly open to outsiders. Soon afterward, Jack Nichol's brother, Buddy, Lee Roberson's Son-in-law, called and asked if I would go with him and three others to the Soviet Union with a load of Russian language Bibles. Buddy had lined up several preaching engagements in the various Communist countries. I couldn't imagine the Communists allowing us to bring hundreds of Bibles into their union of nations, but was glad for the opportunity. I asked Deacon Fred Good if he would like to go... He did and paid both of our ways. We boarded Royal Romanian Airlines with our Bibles and Gospel tracts and flew out of New York to the capital city of Bucharest Romania. Romania was a part of the Soviet Union and its President, Nicolae Ceausescu, who was one of the most blood thirsty of the Communist rulers, had just been tried in a one hour military tribunal on Christmas day and immediately put to the firing squad with his wife.

So there we were, on a Communist, scheduled airliner, flying over the Atlantic into the heart of America's worst enemy, the Soviet Union, to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the stronghold of Atheistic Communism, the USSR, responsible for nearly 60 million murders and "unnatural deaths", and we would be among the first outsiders into that crumbling, evil empire,

Not long after we took off, Buddy asked the stewardess if we could pass out a gospel tract to each of the passengers. She said she would ask the pilot. Now, put yourself in this pilot's place. He has grown up in the harshest, Atheistic nation in the Communist Soviet Union where Christians were persecuted and not allowed to meet and worship. None of the citizens of those nations knew exactly what perestroika and glasnost allowed or even if it would last. As pilot, he was responsible for everything that happened on that international airliner. Now, he is asked if this little group of Christian preachers may give all the passengers, Kremlin officials, KGB Agents, Atheists and who knows what other high government officials, a piece of Christian propaganda.... by his permission. Maybe it was the euphoria of the fact his vicious Romanian President had just been executed, or that he just didn't know what he could or could not do. I'll never know what he was thinking, but God moved him to say "yes". So we passed out gospel tracts to everyone on the plane.

Having succeeded in that request, Buddy asked the Stewardess if she would ask the pilot if he would let one of us tell the passengers something of Jesus ... over the intercom system. Of course I knew that would never happen, but Buddy Nichol's faith knew no bounds. I could not believe it when the Stewardess came back and said "Yes, you may". No American Pilot would ever dare do such a thing on a scheduled American Airliner... but it was going to happen on a Communist Airliner. I was utterly astounded when Buddy said, "Rayburn, give them the gospel" and handed the microphone to me. you can believe it or not, but the passengers applauded my brief message. They too must have been feeling the relief of their new measure of freedom. Now, I know some of you are going to say, "No way", "That is impossible", "Is this April Fool's Day", "What kind of bate and switch are you pulling on us, Rayburn". OK, ask Buddy Nichols or Fred Good if I am pulling your leg or just lying (I'll put you in touch with one of them). Yes, folks, it really happened out over the Atlantic, and I am safe in saying such a thing has never and will never happen again on a Scheduled, Major Airline Passenger Plane... much less a Communist one.

By the way ... only two passengers complained about what happened ... both were Americans. Democrats no doubt. RB

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fred Good, Once A Cop, Meets Man Who Threatened To Kill Him