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Good friends are for life. Real friends remain with you even after they move on to eternal life. Although we delight in knowing that Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for us to receive salvation, and that we will live eternally with Him after we pass from this life, we continue to hold on to this world and its trappings as vigorously as we can.

When my wife went through six months of a horribly devastating illness, and three years now of a very difficult recovery, I prayed and prayed to my Heavenly Father that we would allow me to keep her at my side for another season. He blessed me with that gift, for which I give thanks many times every day, and give Him praise at every opportunity.

I have also maintained a prayer page on this blog since her illness, sharing with our readers the concerns and praises of others who are meeting life’s challenges, and dealing with them through prayer requests and praises. We have been truly blessed to see the effectiveness of our meager efforts on behalf of others, and give praise and glory to God for all He has worked in reponse to those concerns.

Today I was privileged to receive a note from a dear, longtime, friend who was suddenly taken ill and rushed to a hospital hundreds of miles away. Having very limited ability to communicate with him or his family, we placed a prayer request for him on our blog and waited for God to work. Today we are able to give praise to the Lord for Gary’s recovery and share with you his note, slightly modified to remove personal information:

“I was dismissed from (the) Hospital last night, (Sunday), about 6:00PM. They took the tube out of my side about noon, and everything seems to be working. I’m on 2 ml oxygen at home for a while, and am being very careful hoping the right lung doesn’t collapse again. Hopefully the surgery they did last Wednesday will prevent that from happening.

Thank you for all of the help, visits, and cards from many of you. I will be stuck at home for a week or two before going out in the cold air, so feel free to call or e-mail me.

After two weeks in the hospital, three holes poked between my ribs to re-inflate my lung, and the panic of not being able to breathe and two ambulance rides, I’m ready for a little peace and quiet at home.

And for those that are wondering but are reluctant to ask, yes, my smoking was probably the biggest contributing cause, and yes, much as I enjoyed it for many years and it helped to cope with the stress of the job, my last cigarette was smoked the morning of Nov. 25th just before I lost about 90% of my ability to breathe, and took the first ambulance ride to Tipton Hospital.

Spending Thanksgiving in the hospital is not my idea of a good time.

Gary (Retired & tired town Marshal)”

We give praise to God for so many blessings He has worked in our own lives, and in those lives of those we love, and those we don’t know other than through contacts made through this blog. He is a caring and loving God, and He absolutely does respond to prayer requests. We praise our loving Heavenly Father for Gary’s recovery, and pray that He will be with Marnita this morning as she receives an artificial heart.

We must always keep in mind that what we pray for may not be the best solution for the working of His great plan which is worked through us and our daily lives. We aren’t intended to understand the grand scheme of things until we are at His side and His great plan is revealed to us.

Thank You, Father, for the grace given us, the great Hope available through Jesus, and the shower of blessings You so lovingly provide to Your children. Help us to be patient, thankful, and ever mindful of our life-long role in helping bring others to salvation. Praise to You, Lord, for the tender mercies delivered to so many who course through my mind as I write this, and please continue to bless our humble ministry, that we might better serve You. In Jesus’ name we give Thanks. Amen.

Hello friends and family,

I presume that most of you know by now that I have received a new heart. I went to surgery at about 1:00 AM on Friday, November 14th. They finished the surgery at 6:30 AM which was pretty fast. Everything went well, and continues to do so. I was in a chair most of the afternoon today. Sitting up was good but the transition from bed to chair was a little shaky.

My cardiac output numbers are much improved. I am off of some of the medicines and the Swan and arterial pic have been removed. Tonight they are weaning me off of the Milrinone that was being given to strengthen the heart’s contractions, and then tomorrow they will remove the external pacer. The doctors are very pleased with the progress. and I will probably be moved out of Cardiac Recovery into the stepdown unit tomorrow or Tuesday. They are targeting to send me home this coming Friday. Amazing!

I was totally surprised at how little pain I have experienced. No more than any other surgery for certain. Just thinking about getting a new heart one Friday and going home the next – WOW! They think that I received an excellent heart that will serve me well. I know nothing about the donor yet. They delay that information out of respect for the families, but encourage contact at a later time. I will definitely try to make contact.

My immune system is at it’s lowest right now and the doctors recommend that I have only immediate family visitors now and for the first couple weeks at home until I recover somewhat. I ask that you respect that and when you are ready to come see me, please call first. I’m sure I am not going anywhere for a little while so there will be plenty of time. I look forward to seeing many of you in the near future and I think you will be surprised how am doing. My family cannot get over it.

All of you who have supported and prayed for me have made a huge difference, and I thank you so much. I hope I will able to give some back in the future.

Thank you for being there for me.

Joe Stroup
Born 13-Feb-1947 and 14-Nov-2008

Praise to God! Our friend Joe Stroup is in surgery tonight, getting a new heart! He has been on the heart transplant wait list for months, his health deteriorating all the while. He reached a point five weeks ago that required him to be hopitalized until a suitable heart could be located for him. Four possible replacement organs have been passed up by his surgeons because there was something about each of them that didn’t seem to be just the right match. Finally, this afternoon he and his wife received word that a suitable replacement had been obtained, tested and approved. It was enroute when they received the message, and preparations were being made for his surgery.

He had time to dash off a quick email to his mailing list, which reads in part:

Hi everyone,

I said I would send an update this week after tests were done and I had more information. I pretty much am all better now. My temperatures are normal now and I have not been having any chills. They did a scope of my bladder yesterday just to make sure there were no cists or inflamation. Everything looks good. They replaced my Swan Tuesday evening and moved me back to 1A. We’re all set to go again.

This is going to be a short update, and I wanted to tell you that all of my nurses are so great, and I wanted to tell that because I’m going to be leaving them tonight. Dr. Walsh just left after letting me know that they have a good heart coming for me this evening. So thank Amy, Evon, Teresa, Tracy, Kim, Erica, Carolyn, Kathryn, Ann, Bonnie, David, Randy, Rob, Justin and Brett – I know I probably missed someone.

There is one other thing I want to tell you before I need to get off of here. Last week my granddaughter Ashlynn Nicole sent me an email telling me that she had had a dream, two nights in a row, that she came to visit me on November 14th but I wasn’t there and they told her I was in surgery. Since the heart will not be here until this evening, and the typical surgery time is 6 hours, my second birthday will likely be that day. God works in mysterious ways and through all peoples.

Wish me luck and thanks for the many prayers.

Love to all
Joe”

We grieve for the unfortunate family who lost a loved one in order for this heart to become available for Joe. I know it is not much consolation to them, but Joe is a wonderful man loved by his family and countless friends. Joe deserves a good heart, a fast recovery and return to the selfless service to others that has always been a hallmark of his personality. We wish him well in his surgery tonight, and look forward to excellent news of his recovery and return to health in the near future.

Lord, God, you know our hearts and desires, and that we lift Joe up for your blessings for good health because we believe him to be a worthy servant who still has much to do in Your service here with us. Please guide the hands of the doctors and surgeons and grant Joe a full and complete recovery. We also pray for the peace and comfort of the donor’s family, that they might see You glorified through their loved one’s passing into eternal life. Thy will be done. In the name of Jesus Christ, our savior, we give thanks. Amen.

UPDATE

Joe emerged from surgery at 6:27a.m. the following morning after what doctors called a routine heart transplant. The new heart was pumping strong, and there were no complications. Joe is expected to have a full recovery and return home soon with more energy and stamina than he has felt for many years. We thank God for blessing Joe and his family with an uneventful surgery, and pray that the recovery will be just as routine. Glory to God for His miraculous healing, and for guiding the surgeons as they perform these amazing procedures!

From Dutch Sheets, Dutch Sheets Ministries

November 6, 2008

I feel certain that many in my stream of the Church want a statement from me concerning Tuesday’s presidential election. I will be frank in my remarks but I do not, however, intend to vent anger or attack anyone. I have read several statements from friends and colleagues I respect very much.  Their thoughts are well stated and, for the most part,insightful.  None of them, however, seem to want to say some things that I believe need to be said. I do not claim infallibility or to have the final word, but my convictions run deep and I believe I bear a God-given responsibility to share them.

Was This God’s Will?

Was what happened Tuesday God’s will?  I am quite confident it was not.  America was offered a very clear choice between moving further toward protecting the unborn or further away; between a Supreme Court that would move toward honoring God, life and morality or away from it.  The stakes couldn’t have been higher nor the cost greater. As a nation we put on blinders concerning Barak Obama’s background, associations, beliefs and practices, and set these causes back years, possibly decades.  And in doing so we took another step away from God and His plans for America, and another step toward judgment.

Judgment Will Increase

This is not a fire and brimstone warning from an angry,legalistic preacher.  In fact, I feel more sadness and grief than anything else.  Perhaps I feel what Jesus felt as He wept for Jerusalem while announcing its judgment. I am not hoping for judgment; I am saying it is inevitable. I don’t know where the unbiblical belief comes from that says a nation can live any way it pleases, can reject God and His ways-even mock Him-and not receive His judgments.  Nor do I know when the belief came that it is always mean-spirited or judgmental to warn of these things.  To the contrary, I believe it is our responsibility.

In warning of judgment, I am not suggesting that God is going to intentially and directly hurt people.  Much judgment is simply the absence of God’s protection and provision, caused by a rejection of His laws and ways.  We have been experiencing some forms of judgment in America for years, but God in His incredible patience and mercy has kept us from the level we’ve deserved.  I believe this will change to a degree and judgment will now
increase:

For those in the Church who aligned themselves with pro-abortion forces, I believe judgment will result.
For leaders in the Body of Christ who refused to take a stand for fear of losing people, money, and tax-exempt status-I believe there will be a degree of judgment.
For those, both within the Church and without, who voted money over morality-a potential raise or better health insurance over the life of a baby-there will be judgment. (The irony is that this decision to base one’s vote on the hopes of a better economy won’t produce the hoped for result anyway. The scriptures teach that it is righteousness which exalts a nation and that the nation is blessed whose God is the Lord.)

I have heard the argument that God cares as much about social justice issues (such as poverty and racism) as He does abortion, making a vote for Obama OK.  I certainly believe God puts a very high priority on caring for the
poor and I, too, have wanted to see equality demonstrated through a “minority” president. But to equate having a better income or the desire for a first black president, regardless of his positions on abortion and morality, to the issue of killing 50 million babies is not justice-it is a gross distortion of justice and great deception.

I fear that we have been desensitized to this issue of abortion.  I believe it kills babies and takes innocent life.  I also believe it is blood sacrifice that empowers demons. Let’s not forget this in our noble attempts to be kind and conciliatory. For African Americans I can easily see how it could bring healing to have a first black president, just as it would be for Native Americans to achieve this or for women if a woman were elected president.  Again, I have wanted to see justice in this way.  I am only saddened that the price for this healing ended up being Barak Obama, a man that will set the cause of life and, most-likely, our God-given destiny as a nation back so drastically. (I also realize there are some who interpret any criticism of Obama as racism. Racism is so NOT what I am about nor what I live, that I will not even dignify any such accusations with a response.)

What Can We Expect?

What are some of the judgments we can expect on our nation from this election?

. More economic woes
. More violence in an already violent nation
. Disease and death (satan, who is responsible for these things will have greater inroads to our nation.)
. Natural disasters (weather-tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, drought; fires; earthquakes; etc.)
. Terrorism (they will fear us much less now)
. War, perhaps on our own soil
. Judgments relating to the Court. The stacking of the Supreme Court against the sanctity of life and God’s influence on America will occur, which will in turn cause the shedding of more innocent blood, more rejection
of God’s laws and the stealing from us of our godly heritage-all of which will perpetuate a cycle of even more judgment.

How Did This Happen?

I’ve been asked if this could have been averted had there been more prayer.  I’m not sure. I believe there was a remnant of Christians fervently praying over these elections-I don’t think there was anything more they could have done. Others, obviously, should have done more.  The complacency and lack of discernment concerning our real condition in America-especially by the Church-is both appalling and horrifying.  America is in serious trouble and it seems no one wants to say it.  Fewer still are willing to do anything to change it.

Though I understand our reasons, we must be careful in our attempts to placate our feelings and calm our fears through religious phrases like “God is still on the throne” or “God has a plan”.  He was on His throne 35 years and 50 million babies ago.  And He had a plan back then. The problem is, it was us.  I understand our reasons for waving high the banner of God’s sovereignty at times like these-it gives us hope.  I will wave it, as well. But please be careful with this. Too much emphasis on God’s sovereignty and we’re worthless; too little and we’re hopeless.  Maybe we should say, “we lost a critical battle but God will give us strategy to win the war.” Then find the strategy.

But still yet, since God is usually willing to work through a remnant, I thought we had enough prayer. Obviously, God decided otherwise.  There comes a time when He will not forgive or bless the majority based on the prayers or actions of only a few.  America rejected God and asked for a king; believe we now have our Saul (see 1 Samuel 8:5-7)-a man who does not have God’s heart for America but his own. Like Israel in scripture, our nation believes it can turn from God and still be blessed.  In His mercy and justice He will show us otherwise.

Like many, believing I had many promises and confirmations that God would “grace” us with a pro-life president in this election, I failed to consider strongly enough that all promises-even scripture-are conditional 99.9% of the time. Though I never prophesied or made guarantees that McCain-Palin would win, failing to factor this principle in strongly enough no doubt caused me to share my optimism with others inappropriately. If this
caused any harm or confusion, I apologize.

Has the fact that my prayers weren’t answered shaken my faith? No. I’m a little confused and discouraged. I’m also somewhat angry at the nation in general and much of the Church. Mostly I’m grieving over the nation and what this will cost us. I am not, however, angry with God and do not question His justice. And it is not true that we wasted our time, energy and money in our efforts anymore than it is a waste when we share the gospel with people who don’t get saved.  We must keep in the forefront of our thinking the fact that ultimately we are doing this for Him and that He will reward us for our faithfulness.  And who knows, perhaps He will store up all those prayers for the next battle (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-5).

A friend and fellow warrior said it well: “We did ‘give it our all.’ I know the Lord was pleased with that. A coach wants to know one thing at the end of a heartbreaking sports loss: ‘Did you leave it all on the field?’ (your passion, your commitment, your strength, your courage, etc.) I know that we ‘left it all on the field.’ We didn’t hold anything back until the game ended. Tragically, it ended in defeat. We will rise for another day because Jesus is worthy.”

Where Do We Go from Here?

Does this election outcome shake my faith that we can see a great awakening and ultimately reformation in America? Absolutely not (and it strengthens my resolve).  We will simply get there through greater pain and loss.  Even my passion to see the Supreme Court shift is not from a presupposition that there can be no spiritual awakening without it.  It is simply due to my deep conviction that their decisions bring so much death, destruction, curses and judgment to America; and because our full destiny as a nation is unquestionably linked to their decisions. So, yes, we will get an awakening and reformation; but the reality is that this reformation of the nation will reform the Supreme Court (and government, in general), not vice-versa.  My faith has never been in people or a political party; my faith is in the God who works through them.

I’ve been asked if my feelings about Sarah Palin have changed. They have not. I believe she is an Esther, a Deborah, with a huge mantle from God for reformation. God has a great destiny for her related to this nation if she chooses to continue down this path.

So, in conclusion, we must re-group as an apostolic, praying church and advance.  We must maintain an immovable faith in God, His plans for America and His mercy.  And we must move beyond simply asking God for a spiritual awakening and ask Him for strategy to produce reformation, as well.  I, for one, am just getting started!

For God and this great nation,

Dutch Sheets
http://www.dutchsheets.org/

Today is our grandson, Benjamin’s, first birthday. It will be a day of celebration and joy enjoyed by many of his loved ones, with sweets and treats, gifts and tokens of love carefully selected to be special to him and his parents. There will be no gift, however, more touching, powerful, or stirring than that I will receive as God grants me the privilege of seeing my wife with my grandson; a blessing I had never even dreamed was possible.

I awoke early yesterday morning with thanksgiving in my thoughts. As I often do, when I realized I was awake, I also realized that I was praying, thanking God for the blessings He has worked in our lives, and for another day to be together. I also found myself thinking back on where we were three years ago; a time that is, gratefully, slowly beginning to lose its piercing pain and fade from its constant presence, and was led to go back and look at the photos from Lea’s time in Hartford Hospital, to remind myself of where we were just three years ago.

Lea was still struggling with regaining strength and control of her muscular system after having been in a coma for so long. She couldn’t walk or even hold a drinking glass. She couldn’t gather enough strength to tear the paper off a drinking straw. She was on a ventilator; her lungs hadn’t recovered from the collaspes caused by her course of treatment. She was trying to regain her memory and full use of her mental functions, although the surgeons said she might not.

Her nurse, Chris Watkins, had bravely lowered her into a cardiac chair, bundled her up, hooked all of her equipment to transmitters, and wheeled her outside the hospital for her first breath of fresh air in three months. She had just taken an overall turn for the worse, and her air ambulance transfer to an Indianapolis hospital had been cancelled for fear that she wouldn’t survive the ordeal. Another nurse, Liz Blair, had taken extra time to help Lea work through another panic attack caused by her recent weaning from the paralyzing narcotics that had kept her physical and mental capacities immobilized.

Our son Lance had just left for a flight back home after spending several days with us. He had brought several small games for his mother to help her regain her abilities, and spent countless hours trying to help her recall the difference between a cat and a dog, or to be able to manipulate her fingers enough to grip and pull two small magnets apart. He had gently combed her hair and put it in a pony tail for her. He shaved her legs, painted her nails, and talked excitedly about the upcoming visit from two of her dearest friends, Shana and Sherri, who were supposed to arrive in a couple of days. Unfortunately, her health took another downturn during their visit, and it was quite disappointing for all of us. It took another two and a half months to be released from the hospital.

As I was led to review the photos from three years ago, I was moved to tears and blubbered mouthings of gratitude and praise for our caregivers, our friends and family who helped in every way they could, the daily doses of strength the Lord provided me, and the release from the horror I constantly felt for those terrible six months. I cried as I recalled the helplessness of those days and nights, and yet, there were two photos the Lord put on my heart and moved me to share these thoughts in praise of His unspeakable love, kindness, grace, and benevolence.

As Lea and I prepare to attend the first birthday party for our grandson, we will be keeping in mind that he is much more than a blessing from our God, he is a reward! We had no idea that there would ever be a grandson in our lives. We couldn’t even think beyond the end of each day during those times. But, the joy we feel today when we are with Benjamin, the glimpses of God’s love we see in his eyes, and the soul-warming promise of his embrace are incredible! The effect on Lea’s mental acuity has been wonderful as she cares for and plays with him. I have been blessed over and over by seeing her recover much of her “old self” in the past year. Praise God!

The photos are of Lance with his mother on October 23, 2005 in Hartford Hospital, and of Lea on October 26, 2005, napping with the stuffed animal Lance had purchased for her. God’s sense of humor, and His hidden promise, are evident in these snapshots, because He knew there was a greater gift in our future.

I give thanks for each and every day Lea and Ihave together, and pray for God’s guidance in helping us better witness for Him. To God be the glory. Amen.

1 MINUTE EACH NIGHT

This election is the most frightening of my lifetime. In fact, this may well be the scariest election we as American Christians have ever faced! Our country is in REAL danger from within and without our borders! We are in real danger of losing our Christian country, and haven’t been in such tremulous times since the great depression. Even those days we, as a nation, called upon God to deliver us from our financial woes.

He responded with blessing after blessing and gave this country financial healing and the experience to ensure financial disaster of that magnitude never happened again. Still, I’m not sure we were then in as much danger of losing our country and core Christian values as we are today. Will our country be eventually ruled by a non-Christian religion and other religious values? Will we live to see our country plundered and ravaged as so many others have experienced over history? I pray not!

Prayer works. Group prayer works even better. I have seen prayer bring about miracles in my own personal life, and in the lives of others. I also know that prayer can help this country through this extremely dangerous time. The loss prayer in public schools started the decline of Christian values in this country, and we are beginning to clearly see the effects of that loss with this generation. The United States of America and our citizens need God’s presence more than ever!!!

This country needs help! Christian values need to be reestablished as our guideposts, and healing begun. This is going to require a great effort on the part of those American Christians who will dedicate themselves to a special calling on our country’s behalf. We are going to have to become vocal about regaining Christian values and guidelines if we are to save our country.

During WWII, Churchill’s administration organized an historic group of Brits who became prayer warriors for their country. They dedicated themselves to joining a spiritual effort to save their countrymen from the constant bombing from Germany. They stopped every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. History tells that this had an amazing effect, as the Nazi war focus suddenly changed, and the bombing stopped.

You can help save America. Join American prayer warriors each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific), and spend one minute praying for:

1. Safety of the United States, our military troops, and our citizens;

2. Peace around the world;

3. Wisdom in the upcoming presidential election;

4. That the Bible will remain the basis for the laws governing our land;

5. That Christianity will again grow in the US.

Where ever you might be during those minutes of dedicated prayer, you will feel the presence of angels all around you, joining in prayer, on holy ground, as you join other prayer warriors around the country in lifting these desires to His attention. You will be blessed in this effort, just as you will be a blessing to this country. As one who has witnessed first hand the power we have available to us through group prayer, I know that our prayers are the most powerful blessing we have. Please join us as a prayer warrior to help save this country. Join American prayer warriors each evening for one minute at 9:00 Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific)

God Bless You, and GOD BLESS  AMERICA ! !

OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR JOSEPH BIDEN

Dear Senator Biden:
I write to you today as a fellow Catholic layman, on a subject that has become a major topic of concern in this year’s presidential campaign.

The bishops who have taken public issue with your remarks on the Church’s historical position on abortion are far from alone. Senator Obama stressed your Catholic identity repeatedly when he introduced you as his running mate, and so your statements carry considerable weight, whether they are correct or not.

You now have a unique responsibility when you make public statements about Catholic teaching. On NBC’s Meet the Press, you appealed to the 13th Century writings of St. Thomas Aquinas to cast doubt on the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion.

There are several problems with this. First, Aquinas obviously had only a medieval understanding of biology, and thus could only speculate about how an unborn child develops in the womb. I doubt that there is any other area of public policy where you would appeal to a 13th Century knowledge of biology as the basis for modern law.

Second, Aquinas’ theological view is in any case entirely consistent with the long history of Catholic Church teaching in this area, holding that abortion is a grave sin to be avoided at any time during pregnancy.

This teaching dates all the way back to the Didache, written in the second century. It is found in the writings of Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine and Aquinas, and was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which described abortion as “an unspeakable crime” and held that the right to life must be protected from the “moment of conception.” This consistent teaching was restated most recently last month in the response of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Statements that suggest that our Church has anything less than a consistent teaching on abortion are not merely incorrect; they may lead Catholic women facing crisis pregnancies to misunderstand the moral gravity of an abortion decision.

Neither should a discussion about a medieval understanding of the first few days or weeks of life be allowed to draw attention away from the remaining portion of an unborn child’s life. In those months, even ancient and medieval doctors agreed that a child is developing in the womb.

And as you are well aware, Roe v. Wade allows for abortion at any point during a pregnancy. While you voted for the ban on partial birth abortions, your unconditional support for Roe is a de facto endorsement of permitting all other late term abortions, and thus calls into question your appeal to Aquinas.

I recognize that you struggle with your conscience on the issue, and have said that you accept the Church’s teaching that life begins at conception – as a matter of faith. But modern medical science leaves no doubt about the fact that each person’s life begins at conception. It is not a matter of personal religious belief, but of science.

Finally, your unwillingness to bring your Catholic moral views into the public policy arena on this issue alone is troubling. There were several remarkable ironies in your first appearance as Senator Obama’s running mate on the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

His selection as the first black American to be the nominee of a major party for president of the United States owes an incalculable debt to two movements that were led by people whose religious convictions motivated them to confront the moral evils of their day – the abolitionist movement of the 19th Century, and the civil rights movement of the 20th Century.

Your rally in Springfield took place just a mile or so from the tomb of Abraham Lincoln, who in April 1859 wrote these words in a letter to Henry Pierce: “This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.”

Lincoln fought slavery in the name of “a just God” without embarrassment or apology. He confronted an America in which black Americans were not considered “persons” under the law, and were thus not entitled to fundamental Constitutional rights.

Today, children of all races who are fully viable and only minutes from being born are also denied recognition as “persons” because of the Roe v. Wade regime that you so strongly support. Lincoln’s reasoning regarding slavery applies with equal force to children who are minutes, hours or days away from birth.

The American founders began our great national quest for liberty by declaring that we are all “created equal.” It took nearly a century to transform that bold statement into the letter of the law, and another century still to make it a reality. The founders believed that we are “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and that first among these is “life.”

You have a choice: you can listen to your conscience and work to secure the rights of the unborn to share in the fruits of our hard-won liberty, or you can choose to turn your back on them.

On behalf of the 1.28 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the United States, I appeal to you, as a Catholic who acknowledges that life begins at conception, to resolve to protect this unalienable right. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues personally with you in greater detail during the weeks between now and November 4.

Respectfully,
Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight
SOURCE Knights of Columbus

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Oh, Heavenly Father, HELP this country in this time of turmoil and uncertainty! Protect us from the evil one’s destructive influences manifested through the Antichrist and his minion who sway America’s naive and ill-informed of falsehoods as though sheep being led to their slaughter. Amen!

On September 11th an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States . Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this anniversary of one our country’s worst tragedies in 2001. We do this to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism, and prayed for God’s healing grace.  Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared over the years.

Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times on and after 9/11, and it shouldn’t take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds

Action Plan:

So, here’s what we need you to do ..

(1) Take a moment to think back to how you felt on 9/11 and let those sentiments guide you.
(2) Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11. Honestly, Americans should fly the flag year-round, but if you don’t, then at least make it a priority on this day.

Thank you for your participation.  God Bless You and God Bless  America !

‘You Ain’t Gonna Like Losing.’
Author unknown

President Bush did make a bad mistake in the war on terrorism. But the mistake was not his decision to go to war in Iraq.

Bush’s mistake came in his belief that this country is the same one his father fought for in WWII. It is not.

Back then, they had just come out of a vicious depression. The country was steeled by the hardship of that depression, but they still believed fervently in this country. They knew that the people had elected their leaders, so it was the people’s duty to back those leaders.

Therefore, when the war broke out the people came together, rallied behind, and stuck with their leaders, whether they had voted for them or not or whether the war was going badly or not.

And war was just as distasteful and the anguish just as great then as it is today. Often there were more casualties in one day in WWII than we have had in the entire Iraq war. But that did not matter. The people stuck with the President because it was their patriotic duty. Americans put aside their differences in WWII and worked together to win that war.

Everyone from every strata of society, from young to old pitched in. Small children pulled little wagons around to gather scrap metal for the war effort. Grade school students saved their pennies to buy stamps for war bonds to help the effort.

Men who were too old or medically 4F lied about their age or condition trying their best to join the military. Women doubled their work to keep things going at home. Harsh rationing of everything from gasoline to soap, to butter was imposed, yet there was very little complaining.

You never heard prominent people on the radio belittling the President. Interestingly enough in those days there were no fat cat actors and entertainers who ran off to visit and fawn over dictators of hostile countries and complain to them about our President. Instead, they made upbeat films and entertained our troops to help the troops’ morale. And a bunch even enlisted.

And imagine this: Teachers in schools actually started the day off with a Pledge of Allegiance and with prayers for our country and our troops!

Back then, no newspaper would have dared point out certain weak spots in our cities where bombs could be set off to cause the maximum damage. No newspaper would have dared complain about what we were doing to catch spies.

A newspaper would have been laughed out of existence if it had complained that German or Japanese soldiers were being ‘tortured’ by being forced to wear women’s underwear, or subjected to interrogation by a woman, or being scared by a dog or did not have air conditioning.

There were a lot of things different back then. We were not subjected to a constant bombardment of pornography, perversion and promiscuity in movies or on radio. We did not have legions of crack heads, dope pushers and armed gangs roaming our streets.

No, President Bush did not make a mistake in his handling of terrorism. He made the mistake of believing that we still had the courage and fortitude of our fathers. He believed that this was still the country that our fathers fought so dearly to preserve.

It is not the same country. It is now a cross between Sodom and Gomorrah and the Land of Oz We did unite for a short while after 9/11, but our attitude changed when we found out that defending our country would require some sacrifices.

We are in great danger. The terrorists are fanatic Muslims. They believe that it is okay, even their duty to kill anyone who will not convert to Islam. It has been estimated that about one third or over three hundred million Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorists cause…Hitler and Tojo combined did not have nearly that many potential recruits.

God help us…we either win it – or lose it – and I don’t like the thought of losing

I’m posting today an email missive I’ve seen come around every once in a while, and although I’ve received it several times over the years, I always read it again, and decided this time to post it here. I don’t know who the author is, but hope they are receiving many blessings just knowing that this writing continues to touch the lives of others.

RED MARBLES

I was at the corner grocery store buying some new potatoes when I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily admiring a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes, but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’
‘H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good.’
‘They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?’
‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.’
‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’
‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’
‘Would you like take some home?’ asked Mr. Miller.
‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.’
‘Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?’
‘All I got’s my prize marble here.’
‘Is that right? Let me see it’ said Miller.
‘Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.’
‘I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?’ the store owner asked.
‘Not zackley but almost.’
‘Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble’, Mr. Miller told the boy.
‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller!’

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me, and with a smile said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’ I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man.

A short time later I moved out of state, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles. Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends back home and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.

Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts…all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes. When our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size…they came to pay their debt.’ ‘We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ‘. With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.”

The Moral : We will be remembered by our kind deeds. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to notice the ordinary miracles when they occur. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

May God continue to richly bless us all with His love and compassion, that we might share it with others.

ABOUT HARTFORD LETTERS

Experience the Miraculous Healing of Lea Vaughn, and the incredible spiritual journey of her husband during 180 days of treatment in Hartford (CT) Hospital. Read his original daily emails to friends and family in "Hartford Letters" above. ____________________________

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