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    Articles, devotionals, short stories, and other written expressions by ChristianWriters.com members

    Carl Halling
    devotionals

    That James Abram Garfield is one of America’s least remembered Presidents is something to lament in the light of the fact that the 20th man to hold office as such was manifestly a man of genuine decency, a true Christian gentleman. Yet, as the great American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote of him in his short story The Four Lost Men:
     ‘For who was Garfield, martyred man, and who had seen him in the streets of life?’[ii]
     This ‘martyred man’ was born in a log cabin in Cuyahoga County, Ohio[iii] on the 19th of November 1831 into a family affiliated to the Disciples of Christ denomination, also known as the Christian Church[iv]. Largely of English ethnicity, he was a descendant of Mayflower passenger and convicted murderer John Billington[v], while French Huguenot ancestry arose through his mother Eliza Ballou. His father, Abram Garfield, died when he was less than two years old and he was subsequently raised by his mother[vi], notwithstanding a brief second marriage.
     Aged 16, he worked for six weeks as a canal driver near the big city of Cleveland, before malaria forced him home.[vii]
      In March 1849, he joined the Geauga Academy in Chester, Ohio, founded by Free Will Baptists in 1842, where he discovered a taste for academia, which led to his being offered a teaching post in 1849, which he accepted, although his teaching career was not without its problems.[viii]
     A year later, aged 18, he was baptised and would remain a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination for the remainder of his life, as he wrote in his diary:
     ‘”Today, I was buried with Christ in baptism, and arose to walk in newness of life’”.[ix]
     From 1851 to 1854, he was a student at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, now known as Hiram College, founded by the Disciples of Christ in Hiram, Ohio, where he developed a special interest in Greek and Latin, and ended up teaching there, while serving as a preacher in local churches, then at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1856. However, he decided against preaching as a vocation[x], returning instead to the Eclectic Institute, where he taught Classical languages, and where, while still only in his mid-twenties, he was elected principal in 1857 (a position he held until 1860 or 1861 according to the account).[xi]
     A year later, on the 11th of November 1858, he married one of his more gifted Greek pupils, Lucretia Rudolph, who, of German, Welsh, English and Irish ethnicity, was a Mayflower descendent such as himself, whose ancestors James and Mary Chilton had been among the original pilgrims[xii]. She went on to bear him seven children.
     In 1859, he entered politics for the first time, becoming elected an Ohio state senator in 1859, serving as such for two years, while in 1860, he began to study Law, being admitted to the Ohio bar in that year[xiii].
     When the Civil War began on April the 3rd 1861, he joined the Union Army, and the following August (the 18th), while still under 30 years old, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 42cnd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, rising to the rank of brigadier general of the Twentieth Brigade in the Army of Ohio on the 10th of January 1862. Also in 1862, he was elected by the Republicans to the United States House of Representatives; and by the time he resigned his commission in December 1863 to take his seat in congress, he had been promoted to major general of volunteers[xiv]. He was elected the 20th president of the United States in March 1881, an office he held for four months.
     On the 2cnd of July 1881, President Garfield was shot by a one-time author influenced by the religious writings of John Humphrey Noyes, founder of the Oneida Community of New York with which he had been unhappily associated as a young man[xv], and very briefly, lawyer, by the name of Charles Julius Guiteau. Like Garfield, Guiteau was a Midwesterner, born in Freeport, Illinois on the 8th of September 1881, of partial French ancestry, who had latterly written a pamphlet in support of the soon to be president, before becoming a desperate - and consistently rejected - seeker of political office.[xvi]
     Garfield survived the attempt on his life, and was bedridden for several weeks in the White House, before being moved to the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey in September in the hope that the fresh air might provoke a recovery, but this was not to be and he died on the 19th of that month from a massive heart attack exacerbated by a variety of factors including severe infection of the wound, which served to fatally compromise his immune system.[xvii]
     Before being so violently cut down, Garfield had led a brilliant and heroic life, having transcended the utmost indigence to ascend to the highest political office in America, becoming the only serving church minister to do so[xviii], and it was his faith that had inspired his affiliation with the Union cause, as Fred Rosen has written of him in this respect:
     ‘For him, fighting for the Union was a spiritual calling. It was quite simple; slavery was against the laws of God and Man and should be abolished.’[xix]
     Had he lived, it is possible that he would be spoken of in the 21st Century in the same breath as Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, as one of the greatest and most fabled of all American Presidents, rather than being spoken of - if he is spoken of at all - as a mere ‘martyred man’ of American history. Yet, despite his obscurity, he could be said to be the very quintessence of all that is no
    Ira Rutkow, James A. Garfield: The American Presidents Series: The 20th President, 1881 (New York: Henry Holt, 2006), p. 3.
    [ii] Thomas Wolfe, The Four Lost Men: The Previously Unpublished Long Version, edit. by Arlyn and Matthew J. Brucolli (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2008), p. 78.
    [iii] Ruth Tenzer Feldman, James Garfield (Twenty-First Century Books, 2005), p. 10.
    [iv] The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, edit. by Douglas A. Foster (Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing, 2004), p. 95.
    [v] Michael Newton, Crime and Criminals (Infobase Publishing, 2010), p. 24.
    [vi] Feldman, p. 11.
    [vii] Feldman, p. 17.
    [viii] Allan Peskin, Garfield, a Biography (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 1978), p. 16.
    [ix] Feldman, p. 28
    [x] William C. Ringeberg, The Religious Thought and Practice of James A. Garfield: The Stone-Campbell Movement: An International Religious Tradition, edit. by Michael W. Casey and Douglas Allen Foster (Knoxville: University of Tennessee press, 2002), p. 219.
    [xi] Michale Duvalle, Complete Book of Historic Presidential Firsts: With Fascinating Details & Factual Tidbits (Bloomington, Indiana; XLibris Corporation, 2009), p. 125.
    [xii] Chronology of the U.S. Presidency: Volume One: George Washington through James Knox Polk, edit. by Matthew Manweller (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2012), p. 629.
    [xiii] Duvalle, p. 125.
    [xiv] American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection, edit. by Spencer C. Tucker (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2013) p. 744.
    [xv] Charles E. Rosenberg, The Trial of the Assassin Guiteau: Psychiatry and the Law in the Gilded Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), p. 19.
    [xvi] Jonathan Goodman, Bloody Versicles: The Rhymes of Crime (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1993), p. 36.
    [xvii] David J. Phillips, On This Day (Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse, 2007), p. 159.
    [xviii] Duvalle, p. 125
    [xix] Fred Rosen, Murdering the President: Alexander Graham Bell and the Race to Save James Garfield (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2016), p. 34.

    Living Stone
    devotionals

    Hello, I recently sensed the direction of the Father to go and bring encouragement and comfort to my brothers and sisters in Christ on as many website forums as He leads. I have many prepared "papers of truth" I would like to share on a variety of subjects. This in one of them,
     
    Understanding the Bible, what are the keys?
     
    How God’s word (the Bible) works.
     
    Do we really know how God’s word works?
    The vast majority of Christians, who actually spend time in their Bibles, endeavor to conform themselves to the scriptures. They view the word of God as God’s ideal standard for life and try to attain to it. This carnal approach to the Bible is doomed to failure. Such Christians consequently will never be changed into the likeness of Christ and will most likely end up either in frustration or concluding that conformity to Christ is simply unattainable and that you must just do the best you can. They remain oblivious to the reality that the word of God does not work this way under the New Covenant. The word of God works in a completely different and infinitely superior way. What way is that?
     
    Jesus explains how the word of God works under the New Covenant,
     
    Mark 4:3 (Jesus gives the parable of the sower and the seed) Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
    Mar4:10-13 (Jesus says this parable reveals the mystery of the kingdom of God and holds the key to all parables) But when He (Jesus) was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God… “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”
    Luke 8:11 (Jesus then explains the parable – The seed is the word of God) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
    Luk 8:8&15 (The soil is the heart of a person) And some seed fell into good soil… But as for that seed in the good soil, these are the people who, hearing the Word, hold it fast in a just and worthy heart… AMP
    Isa 45:19 (The One who speaks the word and sows the seed is God) I, the LORD speak righteousness --- Prov 11:18 But he who sows righteousness…
     
    This sowing of the word into a heart is how everyone that is a Christian, was born again,
     
    1 Pet 1:23 Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible (seed), by the word of God which lives and abides forever,
     
    The very first word of God (seed) that God speaks by His Spirit, either directly from the scriptures or from a Gospel book or tract or most likely through the mouth of a Christian, that a person hears with their heart (they may have heard thousands of scriptures with their heads) – it is the entrance of that first living word (Jesus) into their hearts that brings the beginning of the life of God into the person’s spirit and they are born again.The sowing of more of God’s words into a heart brings more of the life & nature of Christ,The parable of the sower and the seed not only reveals the mystery of how the beginning of the life and nature of Christ enters a person (through one living seed of God’s word being sown in the heart) but also how progressively more of the life and nature of Christ grows in that person (through more living seeds of God’s words being sown in the heart).This transforming process, by which the very nature of a Christian, after the new birth, can continue to be changed into the likeness of Christ, without that Christian grimly struggling to comply with the scriptures, is beautifully described in these pivotal verses:
     
    2 Cor 3:15 (First, concerning the Jews) But even to this day, when Moses (part of the Bible) is read, a veil lies on their heart. (And the words cannot enter them)
    2 Cor 3:16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
    2 Cor 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
     
    Let’s consider this in some detail:
     
    We can see from verse 15 that the veil being spoken of is a veil on the heart, therefore an unveiled (spiritual) face is simply an open heart that can now hear God (this is what the word meek means). With such an open heart we are now to look at that mirror which reflects God, what mirror is that, the mirror is the Bible. And what do we see, we see the Spirit of God glorifying the word of God, how? By making the word of God alive to us so that it now speaks to us personally. Each glorified word (seed) now sown in our hearts (our unveiled face) will change us into the very image, likeness and glory of that living word – or in other words into the image, likeness and glory of Christ who is the living word. This is precisely what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do in John chapter 16:
     
    John 16:13-14 (Jesus) But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth or Word giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth. For He will not speak His own message on His own authority but He will tell whatever He hears from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him (the word of God), …He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of what is Mine (I am the word of God) and will reveal declare, disclose, transmit (and sow) it to you. AMP
     
    Every word God sows into our hearts needs time to germinate, grow and bear fruit,
     
    Mark 4:24 And He (Jesus) said unto them, Take heed what you hear: …unto you that hear shall more be given. (For any of the seed of God’s word to be sown in the soil of a heart, the word must be heard and believed by that heart – to the one who hears and believes the sown word, more word will be sown).
    Mark 4:26-28 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed (God’s word) into the ground (a heart); And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he does not know how. For the earth brings forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. KJV
    Luke 17:21 …For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.
     
    Jesus says here’s how the Kingdom of God works. Seed is sown into the ground, springs into life and grows and given time begins to reproduce and bear multiple like seeds. If we understand the parable of the sower and the seed we can now understand this parable - that the word of God sown into the soil of a human heart will germinate and grow and given time will multiply itself as the seed of the word of God sown by that person into the hearts of many others. Does this divine means by which the words of God’s kingdom are passed on from person to person apply only to the first word of God that is sown in a person’s heart, the word by which they are born again? No, the same divine process is the way in which the rest of the gospel, the full counsel of God, the entire nature of Jesus Christ, is sown as seed into one heart, reproduced and then sown out of that heart into the hearts of others. Hence in the book of James the Holy Spirit has this to say to those who are already born again as Christians:
     
    James 1:18-21 And it was of His own free will that He gave us birth as sons by His Word of Truth… Therefore, my beloved brethren (this clearly is being written to Christians)… In a meek and humble spirit (continue to) receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted in your hearts contains the power to save (deliver, preserve, keep safe, heal, make whole) your souls. AMP
     
    The word “implanted” used in the above scripture, to reflect that after being born again God’s words should continue to be implanted or sown into our hearts – the definition of the Greek word translated as implanted is according to Strong’s concordance as follows:
    New Testament word #1721 Emphutos (em'-foo-tos); Comes from a combination of the New Testament preposition # 1722 En commonly meaning in, within or among and a derivation of the New testament word # 5453; Phuo (foo'-o); meaning to "puff" or blow, or in other words to swell up; to germinate or grow (sprout and produce). Hence im-planted. Summary:
     
    God the Father is the sower. The seed is the word of God, Jesus Christ. The soil is my heart. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus by declaring the word of God to me. When I receive the word with unveiled face, a meek and humble heart, the living seed will be implanted in me. The seed will germinate and grow automatically night and day in the soil of my heart. In due season that word will be established in my heart conforming my nature to the likeness of itself (Himself) and starting to reproduce itself (Himself) out of my mouth as living seeds into the hearts of others, some 30, 60 some a hundredfold.
     
    This is how the word of God is intended to work in the lives of every Christian.
     
    God Bless you

    Njoku Vivian Chidinma
    devotionals

    The fall of Lucifer can be found in Isaiah 14: 12 -17. 
    Verse 13:  You said in your heart,
                    “I will ascend to the heavens;
                     I will raise my throne
                    above the stars of God;
                    I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly
                  on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.[a]
                  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
                  I will make myself like the Most High.”
     
    “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.” Lucifer became so impressed and obsessed with his beauty, intelligence, power, and position that he began to desire for himself the honor and glory that belonged to God alone.  And he lost his position in the presence of God. HABITUAL PRAISE CORRUPTS THE HEART.
     

    Maurice M Hebert

    L Is For Love

    By Maurice M Hebert, in The Reading Room,

    other

    Of all the concepts known to man, love is the most mysterious most powerful and most misunderstood. It is often mimicked and maligned and many are seduced by its counterfeit cousins' lust and desire.  The Bible describes the love of God this way:
     
    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
     
    Without God's love, we would not be here today exploring its meaning. For it is the love of God that has saved us and allows us the opportunity to choose freely to love Him in return.
    The love of God is the highest and greatest of all, for God Himself is love. 1 John 4:8  All relationships since creation seeks to attain that love and to maintain and perpetuate it through each generation. His love is timeless, it reaches out from beyond eternity to our present reality in time and is expressed in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
    The Bible explains that in the fullness of time God sent His Son to rescue us from the curse of our rebellion and to be adopted as His children. Gal 4:4-7
     
    The Old Testament is the narrative of creation and the prophecy of the coming king. The New Testament details how this prophecy was fulfilled and how our loving God rescues all who believe.  Jesus gives us a great lesson about the type of love He had for us and came to express. In the research on love, you may come across anywhere from 3 to 14 types of love. In Jesus time the Greeks recognized 4 types of love.
     
    Philia is a love found in strong relationships such as friends who support and encourage each other. We may have many friends and acquaintances but few that share mutual trust and confidence. This is a love on has for a true friend committed to a long-term relationship.
     
    Eros describes the passion and intimacy found in a romance between lovers. Eros is a committed devotion to one particular individual where passion and intimacy is the result of a relationship that incorporates the types of love described here. The sexual expression of which is reserved for a man and a woman as husband and wife.
     
    Storge is reflected in the loving relationship of a family. Strong families are built upon the characteristics of this love. The family unit is built up and strengthened by mutual compassion, empathy, and affection.
     
    Agape is a selfless and unconditional love. Loving another regardless of faults or failures. It is more than a friendship or a romance. It is a higher form of love that we are called to approach. It is a Christ-like love.
     
     
    The Agape love of our creator is a love beyond all understanding. It reaches into the darkness and shines light upon our path. It builds up rather than tears down. This unconditional love reaches out selflessly, gives sacrificially and is concerned only with the well being of others. Here is a love that sees the need and provides, that seeks out and rescues those in peril, who are lost, confused, hopeless, depressed, and fatigued. This love brings victory to the defeated, dignity to the shamed, righteousness to the degraded and the depraved. This love rescues humanity from all its failures, and heartaches, and its total depravity. God's love reaches out and says I made you, I love you, learn of me, seek me and I will be found, turn to me and I will pick you up.  Isaiah 1: 18, Isaiah 55:6-7 ,  Matt 7:7-12 , Matt 11:28-30
     
    Jesus is God in the flesh and as He placed his arms outstretched on the cross, His love overpowered all temptation to curse and condemn His creation. He recalled the words He spoke earlier to the people in town.   "No one takes my life - I lay it down freely" John 10:17-18 As He remembers gazing over Jerusalem from the hillside and weeping over the condition of His people, Jesus surrenders His earthly life in pain and anguish. He cries out "It is finished" John 19:29-30  God came to the earth He created to confront and defeat death. "For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. " Hebrews 12:2-3
    He now calls us to believe and rejoice in Him and His love and Eternal Kingdom
     
    https://www.gotquestions.org/God-is-love.html
     

    Njoku Vivian Chidinma
    devotionals

    The Bible clearly states when you accept Jesus, you are under no curse. "Curse is He who hang on the tree, He became a curse to save us from every curse"(Galatians 3:13).
     
    Christ was tortured at the cross, He endured all that pain for us to enjoy His gain. But one major distinction in His suffering is He descended into Hell. 
     
    He committed no sin but the sins of mankind was on His shoulders,  "But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ"(1 Corinthians 15:57).
    And hold the keys of death and Hades(Revelation 1:18).
     
    Jesus paid the price and paid it in full. And He disarmed the devil and made public spectacle of them (Colossians 2:15). So Satan is eternally defeated.
     
    And Christ did not stop there, He rose from the dead and we are seated with Him in Heavenly places, far above all principalities and power,  but some still ask why am I been attacked?
     
    Because bully's attacks are projections of their own shame or inadequacy. So in order to raise themselves they diminish others. Satan is a bully, But bullies do not attack confident people. The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26). Its not God's will to allow weakness to reproduce.
     
    Most times bullies attack what appears to them as weakness. So be of good courage, do not give credit to the enemy,  Put your  confidence in Christ finished work of redemption..
     
    Shalom!
     
    Thank you Holy Spirit.

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