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Savoring My Passage - the monthly journal of A. C. Gray

May 2010

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The calendar turns and my thoughts jump at once to Memorial Day.  The photo above portrays the emotional genesis of this American holiday.  Here is the final resting place of a patriot. Questions haunt me. In what town and state or what country was the photograph made?   Someone with soul wisely remembered his or her sacrifice and decorated the grave. God bless the one who lies there and God bless the one who placed Old Glory there.  God bless all souls who take a moment of time to honor veterans living and dead who served our country in or out of uniform.  Somehow, in my mind at least, this special day of the year takes on greater significance and meaning as the years unfold.

Recently my thoughts have turned to finding a name for another book title.  Infinite Tomorrows comes to mind.  Or simply Forever.  I would let my imagination soar and consider a lifestyle for eternity.  Travel to other worlds would give me material to write about for a million lifetimes. For a Christian, life, after all, goes on beyond the grave and it is not at all unrealistic to dream of exploring all the galaxies of the Milky Way and those of deepest space. It would be published in New Jerusalem several centuries hence.

Blessed rain is falling as I write these lines.  It will bring the moisture needed to germinate seeds planted in gardens and crops all over our Shenandoah Valley.  I am reminded of many times down the years when rainfall has been such a benediction, not alone because of its essential chemistry for life, but for me a wonderful reminder of times when I heard the still small voice of God in the sound of raindrops.  So I go now to blissful sleep and pleasant dreams of other times, other places.

The more one surrenders to God, the more trouble does one take to find out what He wants, studying the Scriptures so as to get to know Him better, listening for His voice in prayer, and being more severe than ever with oneself in one’s efforts to track down the sin that makes us impermeable to His inspiration.  But the whole atmosphere in which one does these things is new.  It is an atmosphere, in fact, of adventure.  It is the adventure of faith, exciting, difficult, and exacting, but full of poetry, of new discoveries, of fresh turns and sudden surprises.  It is adventure with God, a daily adventure, which does not belong only to a few exceptional pious times but to every minute, affecting every thought, every feeling, every act…. It is our fundamental attitude to life that is radically changed…. It is not an escape.  It is not obscurantism.  We do not have to give up reason, our intelligence, our knowledge, our faculty to judge, nor our emotions, our likes, our desires, our instincts, our conscious and unconscious aspirations, but rather to place them all in God’s hands, so that He may direct, stimulate, fertilize, develop, and use them.   Paul Tournier, The Adventure of Living.

   “Much of contemporary life is coarse, vulgar and all too often violent. But people don't want it to be that way. Ordinary people want decency, want to be uplifted, to feel clean, even elegant. Language can still affect us in those ways. So yes, I do think beautiful language will continue to be valued.”  Gurney Norman, Poet Laureate of Kentucky.

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Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy

by Marie Chapian. Bethany House Publishers, June 1978.

Reviewed by A. C. Gray

It was fortuitous that I was reading Marie Chapian’s book Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy simultaneously with studies in Paul’s letter to the Colosians and Hebrews 11, the great chapter on faith. The title for the book came directly from Hebrews 11:38. Aptly titled, Marie Chapian tells the true story of a family in Slovenia and their struggle to survive and proclaim the gospel through World War II when the Nazis invaded their homeland and burned their villages.

The Kovak family (name changed to protect their privacy and safety) overcame crisis after crisis by falling back on their unquenchable belief that God is real and answered their prayers. A remnant of Old Testament faith with New Testament courage permeates their lives and the people they touch with their zeal and determination to share the gospel with their neighbors, nearby villages, and the whole world. A measure of fame accrued to the mother, Jozeka, when she prayed demonstrably, holding her fist over her head to heaven, and begs God to intervene in the lives of those stricken with illness near to death; she becomes known as "that praying woman."

The testimony of the Kovacs to their faith in prayer held true to the description for which Paul had commended the believers in the church at Colossae. He had reminded them of the hope that believers have in the resources of heaven. We live in two kingdoms at once – we for whom Christ is the King of our lives. Our spiritual kingdom with its resources of faith, hope, and love, obtainable through study of God’s word and prayer, gives us courage that we can go to God with assurance that He hears and acts in our time of need. Although the book of Hebrews is written anonymously and its authorship is still debated, I am convinced that it, too, was written by Paul. The Kovac’s lives coincide with all the heroes of the Christian faith listed in Hebrews 11. Who are these in Hebrews 11:38 "of whom the world was not worthy - wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth".? Like Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and others, the Kovac family’s faith was based on the promises of God. (Hebrews 1, 13). Their faith pleased God. (Hebrews 11:1-2-6). Their faith was passionate about Christ (Hebrews 11:16, 26). And their faith persevered in the face of trouble, illness, and death. The world needs more people like them. Readers will find inspiration to face their own crucibles. Highly recommended. Out of print copies can be found at ABE Books.com and ALIBRIS.com.

I have often wondered, when I see our angry culture claiming that God has not given us enough evidence, if it is not the veiled restlessness of lives that live in doubt because of their duplicity.  The battle in our time is posed as one of the intellect, in the assertion that truth is unknowable.  But that may be only a veneer for the real battle, that of the heart.  Ravi Zacharias

And I will give you treasures hidden in darkness – secret riches.  I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the One who calls you by name.”  (Isaiah 45:3)

So tiny