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About the Author
John Adam, B.B.A, B.S., P.E. is an alumnus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a veteran of World War II. He retired in 1993 from The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer. He married Shirley Dean in the year 1950. John and Shirley are graduates of "The International Bible Study Fellowship" which is a non denominational study of scripture from the Old and New Testaments of the "New International Version" of the Bible.
Shirley Dean is an alumnus of Austin College, in Sherman, Texas. She served in WW II as a Civil Servant at Los Alamos, New Mexico, and at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage Alaska. She served in Personnel as a Professional Secretary. She has a busy resume with many years of service in various offices. She was the first secretary elected for the mission of St. Marks Episcopal in Arlington, Texas. She retired in 1994 from First Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas.
Read an Excerpt
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Who is the Greatest?
The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven: Matthew Chapter 18:1-7 ... 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked. "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said; "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "5 And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!
Once upon a time in a small town in Texas, there lived a young boy who was bewildered by his situation; his home life was disrupted and he was troubled and unhappy. His serene and comfortable home life had radically changed. These were the days just before the beginning of the great depression. For the next few years Johnnie would be living with six or seven family conditions. He became rebellious and independent while trying to adjust to the various authority figures imposed on him! These troubling times for a four year old boy occurred because of the separation of his family. Johnnie was living in a boarding house with strangers while his Dad went to work. Like all dads, in those economically troubling time, his dad was also working long hours. Johnnie's two brothers, George and Bob, were not with him anymore and he missed their companionship; they were boarding somewhere else after the divorce. All of these situations made sleep increasingly difficult for Johnnie.
It was a summer night in Texas, when one of those seasonable thunderstorms, filled with considerable thunder and lightning, suddenly blew in. This summer night was just before his fifth birthday, and he was alone on a screened-in porch trying to sleep. The weather and humid conditions were making it difficult. There were no air conditioning systems in those days. Johnnie lay sniffling and afraid of the stormy conditions.
What is the matter Johnnie, Aunt Jo asked in a warm and caring tone? Johnnie had recently been brought to his Uncle's home to stay for awhile and his Aunt now looked after him! Why are you crying, she asked? That noise frightens me, said Johnnie! That is just a thunderstorm and that noise is just "thunder balls" rolling around in the sky, replied his Aunt. Oh, but I am by myself, and it is dark here on this porch. Please turn on a light for me, said Johnnie. You are not alone said Josephine because the Lord is watching over you? I don't know him replied Johnnie.
His Aunt Josephine explained God is the one who created you: and he always cares for you and watches over you. Oh, said Johnnie, feeling much safer, and he suddenly relaxed and quit sniffling.
In a few minutes he drifted off to sleep after saying a short bedtime prayer that Josephine taught him to say: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take". God Bless Mother and Dad and all my friends, Johnnie had started to public school and was learning the three R's [Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic], taught to the tune of a hickory stick; this was a song that all the kids learned.
Johnnie was seven years of age when he finished the first grade. Nana, Aunt Josephine's mother, decided Johnnie should go to vacation bible school that summer. Johnnie studied scripture with the King James Edition of the Bible for the first time; and memorized the 23rd Psalm, the Lord's prayer,and the Ten Commandments. Johnnie received a gift of a Holy Bible as a reward for his efforts.
Johnnie had not at this time attended "Big Church" as it was referred to by the older kids. He looked forward to being with the "grown ups". It was a Sunday morning on his ninth birthday. Mrs. Egbert, Johnnie's Sunday school teacher, decided to take him in to 'big church' as the children spoke of it,
Hand in hand they climbed the high steps leading to the sanctuary of the church. Johnnie noticed as they climbed that the church on the adjacent corner appeared to be empty. People were not entering the building and Johnnie wondered about that!
Johnnie asked, "Why aren't children going into that church this Sunday? Mrs. Egbert replied "Oh, that is a Jewish Synagogue and they do not go to Church on Sunday however, they do go on Saturdays." That answer satisfied his curiosity for the time being. He always had questions and big church was a bit too much and he was very restless during the preaching as he did not understand it.
A few years later, at ten years of age, Johnnie was enrolled in a new Sunday school class in the City Temple Church in downtown Dallas, Texas. He had many questions for Mrs. Egglehoff, his new Sunday school teacher. The Old Testament stories about two young boys, David and Jonathon, were very interesting to him. Also, there were some interesting stories about Joseph and his brothers. Johnnie liked these studies and he invited a few friends to attend these Sunday school classes.
Johnnie was taught about Jesus, God's only begotten son that died on the cross for the children of the world. He learned many other things about Jesus' life, his suffering and death on a cross. The children were taught to sing about Jesus. All the class would sing: "Jesus loves the little children; all the children of the World; red and yellow black and white they are precious in his sight; Jesus loves the little children of the World."
Another favorite song about Jesus that the children sang was. "Jesus loves us this we know; for the Bible tells us so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves us, Yes Jesus Loves, Yes Jesus Loves us, yes Jesus loves, the Bible tells us so. What great memories and comfort these lessons and singing were to Johnnie.
Mrs. Egglehoff advised Johnnie about salvation from his sins and that he could be one of Jesus' children by being baptized in the "Big Church".
There was an enclosed area where water was kept and Johnnie inquired about that place. He was advised that the children were in past times baptized and immersed in that water; but now they were baptized in front of everyone for the forgiveness of sins."
It was on Easter morning, near his tenth birthday, that Johnnie got all dressed up in his new long pants, coat and tie. He went to "Big Church" to become a child of God. Dr. Smith, the Pastor of City Temple, baptized Johnnie Easter Sunday". This experience was to be a turning point in Johnnie's life. Johnnie's Uncle Fred had a secondary avocation. He was a boxing and wrestling promoter. Johnnie got to watch the boxers and wrestlers train in the ring at the large Sportatorium. He also got to see the World heavyweight boxing champion, Max Baer, in a three round "Prize Fighting" exhibition. Johnnie was trained by his uncle in the so called manly arts of self defense. Johnnie at this young age wouldn't retreat from a confrontation where he could practice these skills. The first day in the first grade at grammar school he tussled with a classmate for taunting him. He soiled his "sailor suit" wrestling in the dirt; his Aunt Josephine scolded him about that.
Suddenly after his baptism, and to Johnnie's surprise, he noticed that he no longer liked to engage in "Tussling" and "Fisticuffs". This left Johnnie wondering what had happened to him. Of course, Johnnie didn't know, at that time, that God promises us when we are "born again" that we will be new creatures. He would later realize that God changes many things in believer's lives with his "born again" experience gifted by the Holy Spirit.
It was in the summertime, a few years later. The economic depression that had engulfed the World had eased somewhat. The men in the U.S.A. were returning to work, the bank holidays were over and smiles were flowing once again. Very few women in those days worked away from the home. Johnnie spent this summer playing outside with his brother, cousins, and their mixed breed dog named Bingo; on a slope, at the new house, on Monte Vista where they had moved to that summer. There was to be the good news of his Dad's forthcoming marriage to a beautiful lady from Texas. Johnnie's life was about to once again change dramatically.
Everything exciting seemed to happen on the week-ends in those days; when the men would be at home and visit with the family.
Dad would take Johnnie for a drive in his Ford "Model 'A' Coupe" with a rumble seat. We would stop at a Kress five and ten cent store. All of the displays were at eye level for Johnnie. There were thousands of items on display and he often visited these stores.
What a treat it was to go to the "Talking Movies", for a dime, and to have popcorn and candy for another dime. Saturday mornings at these movies were fun times. The kids would scream during the Cowboy and Indian games with arrows and bullets flying everywhere. At play and at home the boys would decide who would be Hop along Cassidy, Tom Mix, or Hoot Gipson; some of the famous movie heroes in those days. Most did not like to be chosen to play the part of an Indian in the staged battles.
It was an exciting time when his Dad and his new bride came from Houston to visit and to meet Johnnie and his brother George. They would soon move to a small Texas town and start a new life in a new Christian family and a new church family.
Picnics in the park with the church family were soon to be a new experience and one that the boys thoroughly enjoyed. In those young lives, thoughts about God were usually reserved for these special occasions, Sunday mornings, and night time prayers.
Small town living had many challenges for the boys and their new family life was becoming settled and routine. The brothers had two new dogs that were named Skippy and Scrappy!
Life was great in the country setting of the small East Texas town. Dorothy, their stepmother, sang in the choir and made sure the boys attended church every Sunday morning. Liturgical church services at their new church were very different in many ways. The services emphasized the Altar with flowers, candles, and bowing towards the Cross of Jesus. Holy Communion, taken while kneeling at the altar rail, was a new experience. Bible study classes were still an important part of each Sunday morning.
Johnnie and his brother George were to become young Altar boys and to learn all the duties of serving with the Priests during Holy Communion services. Vestments were provided to wear when serving on the altar. These vestments, called Cassocks and Cottas, were unusual to the boys and it took some time before they became accustomed to wearing them. Marching in a procession with the Cross and American Flag in the Lead to the Altar was a great experience each Sunday.
It was a very special Sunday when Johnnie's Dad knelt at the Altar Rail with his two boys. The Bishop of Texas formally received them into Christ Church in Nacogdoches, Texas. The boys attended confirmation classes for many weeks before they could be received into the Church by the Bishop.
They learned about the Apostles and why the Bishop would lay his hands on their head. They were told that the Holy Spirit, whom they had become familiar with by saying the Apostles creed each Sunday, provided gifts to each new believer.
Bishop Helvy of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas laid his hands on each of their heads that Sunday. This formal ceremony was called confirmation. Johnnie felt so grown up after that ceremony. At last an adult and a member of "Big Church". Each Sunday morning thereafter, as part of the liturgy, the brothers would recite the Ten Commandments and would say after each commandment the prayer "Incline our hearts to keep this law".
Many years later John was restless while trying to sleep. John was asked by his wife, "Why are you so restless"? I am concerned, tonight said John. About what, asked his wife? About all the conflict televised. There is so much suffering, violence, starvation, accidents, forest fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and plagues. These problems are worldwide.
Christians are, in general, maintaining a real effort to be peacemakers: but the problems of the World seem to be increasing in spite of all their effort. Some of these problems are on my mind and I am unsettled and concerned about the future. Well John, said Dean, we must trust "Our Lord" that he has control of all of these situations: we have been advised to trust in the Lord in all things and lean not unto our own understanding.
I have been looking for understanding about these problems for many years now, said John. I have been diligently seeking His "Face", as the scriptures say we should, but I can't seem to really see Him, nor can I seem to completely trust that He is in control! I do have a certain peace about life. However, when I look at what is going on in the World I wonder if God really is in control? I know I shouldn't have these doubts but it is troubling.
I do believe that God works for good for those that Love Him. We must continue on with faith. God's grace will be sufficient for us. Yes, said John and I have for a long time hoped that is true. I will just pray for more faith and grace in these adult years. It was so easy, when I was a young child, to think that God had the whole world in His hands.
There are many Scriptures indicating that Jesus will return to this World and alleviate all these problems. In the book of "Revelations" or the "Apocalypse", it implies that these problems terminate with a great "Tribulation"; one like the world has never seen before. Jesus will come to take the Christians to be with Him. In the book written by the Prophet Ezekiel, it states, that Jesus and David will rule the World forever from Jerusalem. David will be King once again to the Israelites during the age called the 'Millennium', a thousand year period of time.
The scriptures state that there will be wars and rumors of wars just before Jesus comes back to rule; in the book of Revelations it states that a great war, called Armageddon, will be going on when Jesus returns.
It is comforting to think that Christians may be taken by Jesus before these events happen. Reading about the end of the age, in these recently published "Left Behind" series of books by Tim LaHey, show us what may occur.
John, said Dean, it is best for us to trust God and just watch His plan, to defeat His adversary, unfold before us. Alright, said John that will be what I will do. I have always tried to place my trust in God's Word since I was a small child, however, God, at times, seems so far away.
Dean, said John, I remember in scrip- ture that Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to his disciples while away; and that He would be their Counselor forever.
In John [14:18-20]. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 29On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you". Dean, those are really comforting words. It implies that the Holy Spirit indwells all his children to teach, comfort and protect them in this world filled also with evil.
I am recalling, at this moment, when our daughter, Catherine, passed away so suddenly that we were somehow comforted by the Holy Spirit. That was such a blessing to us at such a troubling time. It has been almost three decades now since our 21 year old daughter was so tragically and suddenly hurt in her new Ford Mustang Gia..
So many other relatives and close friends have also died since that accident. I am thankful for those that went to be with the Lord, and I know we will see them again. Subsequently, as we age we lose so many friends and family.
Death is a mysterious part of the Good News about God's plan for us. I will try to learn more about this mysterious feeling when the world seems so nice in church. That's great said Dean so why don't we enroll in I.B.S.F. (INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDY FELLOWSHIP) AND LEARN MORE ABOUT GOD'S PLAN FOR US.
It is the Twentieth Century now said John. Time waits for none of us. Life seems surreal. Dean, we joined the IBSF study of the Life of Moses in 1996: studying God's word on a daily basis. We have finished seven years of study now and have completed the course. It seemed much longer than seven years. I mean all that daily study of scripture, and listening to the ideas of others, and it seemed so confusing at times, and it has given us a lot to think about. I do really feel better now that I have read more of God's plan for us.
I believe that we have a better understanding of what God is trying to do; allowing us to have free will about our choices of good or evil, and providing free grace; that, with Faith, will accept His plan of redemption.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Days of Mystery: Faith Worth Finding II"
Copyright © 2019 John Adam.
Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
THE BEATITUDES, 7,
1. THE KINGDOM OF GOD, 13,
2. THE DECALOGUE, 30,
3. SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS, 34,
4. THE FLAT EARTH SOCIETY, 45,
5. THE SABBATH COMMAND, 48,
6. THE LAW AND THE PROMISE, 52,
7. THE GLOBAL SOCIETY, 57,
8. SALVATION - GUIDES, 62,
9. COUNCILS - APOSTOLIC, 66,
10. FELLOWSHIP OF BELIEVERS, 71,
11. WALKING IN THE LIGHT, 72,
12. APOLOGETICS, 75,
13 THE GREAT COMMISSION, 114,
14. IMMORTALITY, 124,
15 THE GREAT HARVEST, 128,
16. GOD'S PLAN OF THE AGES, 131,
17. REASONS TO BELIEVE AND STUDY, 136,
18. REASONS FOR FAITH, 139,
19. REASONS TO REJOICE, 142,
20. SIGNS OF THE TIME, 144,
LIST OF SCRIPTURES, 152,
AUTHOR INFORMATION, 154,