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Current Blog...         THE SALVATION ARMY GUY               11/27/2022                                                                                     William Booth
       William Booth was a shining star. Born in 1829, just north of London, England, and born-again at the age of 15, Booth became a self-taught Methodist preacher with a true heart for outcasts such as drunkards, gamblers, prostitutes, and thieves, as well as the poor and the needy. But his outreach efforts did not sit well with church folks of that day. They frowned on his undertakings in the slums of London among the “lowlifes” of society. But Booth pressed on, going against the grain to eventually form what we know today as The Salvation Army.
       William Booth’s organization began as The Christian Revival Society in 1865. A bit later, the name changed to The Christian Mission. He had only 10 volunteers in the first couple of years but by 1874, that number had grown to 1,000. They had also spread out to neighboring cities and regions.
       In a sense, Booth was a rebel. In an article by Desmond Smith at SalvationArmyCarolinas.org, he states: “[William Booth] walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute. He abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people. His fervor led to disagreement with church leaders in London, who preferred traditional methods. As a result, he withdrew from the church and traveled throughout England, conducting evangelistic meetings.”
       Growth was slow and the work was hard. Wikipedia notes that his wife had written how he would “stumble home night after night, haggard with fatigue, often his clothes were torn and bloody bandages swathed his head where a stone had struck.” At one point they set up a tent meeting in a graveyard for lack of a facility. Meetings were also held in an old warehouse where urchins threw stones and fireworks through the window.
       They didn’t call William Booth a “General” for nothing. He was a warrior at heart; a combatant; a faithful and loyal soldier for God. And the name certainly fit, as later on, his mission became known as The Salvation Army, acquiring uniforms and titles like officers. He had organized his ministry in a way that made a statement to the world, which in essence is: people need Jesus.
       In the introduction to his book, In Darkest England and the Way Out, he states: “I have no intention to depart in the smallest degree from the main principles on which I have acted in the past. My only hope for the permanent deliverance of mankind from misery, either in this world or the next, is the
regeneration or remaking of the individual by the power of the Holy Ghost through Jesus Christ. But in providing for the relief of temporal misery I reckon that I am only making it easy where it is now difficult, and possible where it is now all but impossible, for men and women to find their way to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
       During his lifetime, William Booth established Army work in 58 countries and colonies. Today, that number has grown to over 109. An article at PA.SalvationArmy.org notes that the movement came to the United states and held its first meeting in Philadelphia in 1879.

Purity Of Heart is a compilation of letters to Salvation Army officers by William Booth.
The chapter headings include 1. Purity: What Is It, 2. Purity Commanded, 3. Purity Means Deliverance, 4. Purity Described, 5. Purity and Love, 6. Purity Possible, 7. Purity, God’s Gift, 8. Purifying Faith,
9. Witnesses, 10. How To Keep Pure.
This book is a classic and will delight your soul!

(Click Pic to Purchase)
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON

 
        Booth was despised at the outset of his calling, but he stuck with it. Over the years, opinions changed. In time, he was received by kings and emperors and presidents, who greatly admired him, and his reputation as “The General” became an endearing term.
       While Reverend Booth was very much interested in the physical needs of down-and-out people, he was even more concerned with their spiritual well-being. He certainly paid the price of persecution to advance the mission of the Lord. The result? It’s estimated that 250,000 people were converted
under his ministry between 1881 and 1885 alone. Today there are 1.7 million members world-wide;
the number of converts are probably even greater than that!
       Are you willing to go against the grain and step outside the box, for Jesus?

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Booth
https://pa.salvationarmy.org/delaware-command/william-booth
https://www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/blog/2013/05/07/william-booth/



Previous Blog...    FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN PART II     11/13/2022                                                                                Paul Overstreet
       Previously, we shared the testimony of Randy Travis. This week, we bring to you the artist who wrote the song, Forever and Ever, Amen: Paul Overstreet.
       So who is Paul Overstreet? In a 1996 article at Christian Study Library, Wes L. Bredenhof writes, "Paul Overstreet is a very different kind of country musician. He cannot be strictly classified as a gospel singer, since most of his material does not speak openly of religious themes. However, Overstreet's work in most instances clearly reflects a Christian outlook on life. This shows us that Christian's do not have to write “gospel” songs in order to be culturally involved. Christians, for example, may also sing and write love songs, but those are going to reflect our Christian worldview, as do Overstreet's songs."
       Paul was born in 1955 in Vancleave, Mississippi. His dad was a Baptist minister [1] but that did not guarantee that he would never fail. When Paul was six, his parents divorced and Paul didn't get to have that close relationship with his dad he'd always wanted. He said, "There was a root of bitterness growing inside of me but I didn't know it," [2]
       Hard times followed. Paul writes, "There were weeks we didn't know where our food would come from. Mom cried a lot, prayed a lot, trying to figure out a way to take care of her family." Paul said they would have to stand in line for Government-commodities like cheese, peanut butter, lard, and flour. [3]
       Paul blamed his dad. His dad wasn't there for him. And though Paul had a Christian background, he was very far from "walking the walk." He writes, "There was a time in my life when I was playing around with some of the 'recreational' drugs . . . At some point it changed from 'play' to something different...the next thing I knew I couldn't stop . . . I hated the weakness I found in myself. I'd go home feeling so defeated . . ." [4]
       And Paul's songs reflected his experiences. He admits he was heavy into drug and alcohol use during his early years in Nashville. He said he was was "conditioned to write about misery."
       He continues, "This went on for a while, but soon I started to realize if I just kept reading the Bible and quit the smoking, I'd just get stronger and stronger. I can't remember the last time I smoked marijuana--the desire just went away. [5]
  There's an expression we've all heard: "God helps those who help themselves." Some folks think those words are in the Bible, but they're not. Overstreet wrote a song on his Sowin' Love album called, LOVE Helps Those Who Cannot Help Themselves, (emphasis added). Isn't that just the perfect picture of God's love?
       The Bible says in Philippians 4:6, 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," (NKJV). Yes, God is our strength, and He is the one that makes everything possible.

Seldom has an American Country musician changed the face and tenor of the
modern-day genre with as much impact as has Paul Overstreet—
the humble songwriter who chose to stop writing songs about misery
and start writing songs with Christian values. These songs have become
huge hits for Country artists such as Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Paul Davis, and the Judds.
In his own words, Paul tells how he was inspired to write such hits as,
 I Fell in Love Again Last Night, When You Say Nothing at All, and Forever and Ever, Amen.
This biography is a celebration of a life once lost, now found— and a man
who has written songs that have touched so many others in their everyday lives.

(Click Pic to Purchase)
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON

 
      Paul Overstreet does not really have a fast-paced, gutter-to-glory testimony. He learned to walk with God through a lot of trial and error. It was a gradual process. First, he discovered his bitterness toward his dad and really forgave him. Their relationship was eventually restored.
       And after being married and divorced once, he found a wonderful, supportive wife who is with him to this day. He continues his two-time Grammy Award winning career as a prolific country/gospel music songwriter and has inspired millions through his music as a singer and as a writer for other artists. He is still active on the road. This year (2022) he will be performing his Sunsets and Songs Tour; dates are booked through May.
       Paul writes that he ". . . believes that it was his talent and vision, given to him by God, that enabled him to reach his goals as a songwriter, artist, and producer." Yes, God calls each of us to a unique purpose. I think Paul Overstreet's purpose is simply to inspire. And God uses that inspiration to draw people to Him.

References:
[1] Overstreet, P. (2001). Forever and Ever, Amen Destiny Image Publishers, Inc. Pg. 9.
[2] Ibid, Pg. 12.
[3] Ibid, Pg. 22.
[4] Ibid, Pg. 37.
[5] Ibid, Pg. 38.
https://www.christianstudylibrary.org/article/paul-overstreet-%E2%80%93-country-leaven
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Overstreet
https://www.jubileecast.com/articles/27151/20211214/paul-overstreet-returns-to-the-road-in-2022.htm
https://www.pauloverstreet.com/bio



Previous Blog...                                  MY DAD, JOE                           10/9/2022                                                                        And the Thief on the Cross
       God deals with each of us differently. Some people accept Jesus as Savior at a very early age. Others become saved during adult life. Still others wait until they reach death's door. And of course, some never do come to Christ.
       My dad, Joe was one of those who waited right until the very end. And God was gracious enough to give him the time he needed instead of taking him suddenly.
       I know my father was afraid of dying. I know, because my mother told me so. When my dad's health started to seriously decline, he said, "I never thought the day would come when I would pass away." But the day was fast approaching. Did you know God is not willing that anyone should perish? That's why He makes salvation simple.
       Now, don't be mistaken. The Christian walk is quite the daily challenge but deciding to accept Christ is not hard. We just need to agree with God that we are flawed and have sinned, ask for His forgiveness, and then ask Him to come into our heart and be Lord of our life, (meaning we will promise to live for Him).
       So, what if a person's time is short or he doesn't know the steps or he has no one to help him? Remember the thief on the cross? He certainly was running out of time. He realized he would die within an hour or two. He didn't know what repentance from sin was. He didn't know he needed to ask God for forgiveness. He had no future to surrender to the Lord. Even so, he had something going for him: the right attitude. Here is the story from Luke 23:39-43; (ERV).
       39 One of the criminals hanging there began to shout insults at Jesus: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Then save yourself, and save us too!” 40 But the other criminal stopped him. He said, “You should fear God. All of us will die soon. 41 You and I are guilty. We deserve to die because we did wrong. But this man, [Jesus] has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he [turned to Jesus and] said, “Jesus, remember me when you begin ruling as king!” 43 Then Jesus said to him, “I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
       As my dad lay in his bed, dying of end stage liver and kidney failure, he said, "God, please take me to heaven." And he described a vision he had of Jesus coming down off the cross to walk with him. Later, I spoke to him, and said, "Daddy, when your time comes, just call on the name of Jesus," for the Bible says, "Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved," (Romans 10:13; TLB).
       Maybe you've shared Christ with a friend or a loved one but they just haven't come around to making that decision. Please don't be discouraged. I, and many others prayed for my dad for over 40 years and often shared the Bible with him.
       I wrote countless letters to my dad over the years. None of those efforts were wasted. Remember, "As the rain and snow come down from heaven and stay upon the ground to water the earth, and cause the grain to grow and to produce seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry, so also is my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to and prosper everywhere I send it," (Isaiah 55:10-11; TLB).

One of the most popular introductions to Christian faith ever written titled,
Mere Christianity, has sold millions of copies worldwide. The book brings together
C. S. Lewis's legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he
set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common
o nearly all Christians at all times." Rejecting the boundaries that divide
Christianity's many de-nominations, Lewis provides an unequaled opportunity
for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case
for the Christian faith. It is a collection of scintillating brilliance that remains
strikingly fresh for the modern reader and at the same time confirms
C. S. Lewis's reputation as one of the leading writers and thinkers of our age.
(Click Pic to Purchase)
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON
   
       God loves people and He honors His word. Yes, there are folks who absolutely refuse the gift of salvation. Somehow, they think their way of believing is better. But what could be better than what the Lord and Creator of the universe has to offer?
       People say there aren't any atheists in the fox hole. When death is knocking on one's door, it's the same thing. There is no hope, peace, or assurance outside of Jesus Christ. If you don't yet have a personal relationship with God, I urge you to take care of business before it's too late.
       We will all pass away one day and will have to face God. The only way to be invited in through the pearly gates of heaven is to declare that we have accepted God's Son, Jesus Christ. What say you?
My Dad, Joe
November 8, 1937 - September 17, 2022
May he rest in peace.



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