John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

What Price Life?…

Owen Kramer

October 24, 2018

Fellow believers, I share below the earthly circumstances of 3-month-old, Owen Kramer and his parents, Jennifer and Drew.

Owen Andrew Kramer: infant son of Durham couple, Jennifer and Drew Kramer

They are currently waiting on genotype sequencing tests to come back (early November).  Owen has been diagnosed with a Mitochondrial Complex 4 Deficiency which has a broad spectrum of disabilities from mild to severe (death within the first 6 months of life).

He is 3.5 months old.  He is having feeding difficulty (spitting up quite a bit, arching while feeding like he is in pain), developmental delay, and possible seizures.

Jennifer has remained out of work to spend time with him, not knowing the prognosis.  She may be seeking a second opinion at a center of excellence for Mitochondrial disease, like Cleveland Clinic, depending on the results of the genetic tests.

They have received gifts of food, cash, even vacation time; yet, with an awareness of other people in need, today, they graciously turned down newly offered material support.

What they cannot get too much of are our prayers. Would you consider adding them to your prayer list?

John 16:33 (ESV) 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Feel free to share…

Basics of the Christian faith…

8 Signs Your Christianity Is Too Comfortable

Brett McCracken provides signs that your Christianity has become too comfortable.
— Read on

Great minds

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

   -Eleanor Roosevelt


“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

– Thomas Jefferson


“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” – Winston Churchill


“What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.” – Aldous Huxley


“Although believers, by nature, are far from God, and children of wrath, even as others, yet it is amazing to think how nigh they are brought to him again by the blood of Jesus Christ.”

-George Whitefield


“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation.” – William T. Sherman


“She (Mika Brzezinski) was bleeding badly from a facelift”

   – 45th President of the United States

Veritas Aflame: Why I Expectorate at the Thought of Trump Speaking at Liberty

Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama are listed among those invited to grace Commencements this year. It’s a free country; and, most certainly, colleges and universities invite whomever they want to speak at their graduation ceremonies. To me, it would be just as absurd for Liberty University to have beaten out Smith College or UC San Diego for Winfrey or the Dalai Lama as to have settled on their preferred keynote, President Trump. He is no less antithetical a figure at the podium of a Jesus-following institution.

As the Liberty website touts, “Get a world-class education with the solid Christian foundation you’re looking for at Liberty University.”

Yet, where might we find a more exemplary spirit of anti-Christ than in President Trump?

Granted, if we look no further than one thing he tells us, he would appear an apt enough choice: “I have great relationship with God. I have great relationship with the Evangelicals…”

But, if we keep listening…

We know by now, the President “does not regret never asking God for forgiveness, partially because he says he doesn’t have much to apologize for” Not only does that seem oblivious to the difference between a faux pas and sin; but, it kind of flies in the face of the bumper sticker: Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.

Shall we try squaring Trump’s assertion with real Biblical pith like Luke 18: 13, 14? 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

In the words of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: “when we come to God, we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God.

In the words of Miroslav Wolf “Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans ….and myself from the community of sinners.”

And by now we know that “not much to apologize for” was not just an isolated moment of hubris. Trump has gone on to remind, comfort and disclose: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.” “In truth I am dazzled as much by my own creations as are the tourists and glamour hounds that flock to Trump Tower … or any of my other properties.”

Jesus said, as recorded in Matthew 15:11, it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” In saying things like the following, our President qualifies himself as, plainly, apostate.

He warned in “Think Big.” “Even your friends are out to get you: They want your job, they want your house, they want your money, they want your wife, and they even want your dog.” And he has coached: “When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it,” he writes. “I always get even.” “If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck!”

Again, this scarcely comports with Jesus’s sermon in Matthew 5: “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” And Jesus’s words from the same sermon, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor; and hate your enemy.’ But I (Jesus) tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

Speaking of God, the Father, Psalm 68:5 tells us, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” The Bible emphasizes God’s command of giving to the poor; in fact, there are at least 200 places in the Old Testament that are being summarized by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Old Testament passages like… “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!” Isaiah 10: 1, 2. Meanwhile, Trump may be living up to his bid to “bomb the sh– out of them”

Ez. 16:49 – Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.

The docent-for-a-day, President Trump, has implored his supporters to “lock their doors” to keep safe from Syrian refugees coming into the US.

Perhaps, in the context of their choice of speaker, Liberty might aptly alter their motto to “Veritas Aflame”

Tempus fugit!

Sandrine turns 17 on May 5. It’s hard to realize that Terri and I have had the privilege of sponsoring her since 2009. 8 years! To us, sponsoring means sending an amount each month equivalent to about 1/3 of our monthly Time-Warner bill (easily the most odious line item on our budget). Less than $50. To Sandrine and her small community in Rwanda, our sponsorship is a big deal.

Sandrine is not on Facebook. Her community does not have Internet. That’s ok because they do not have electricity. That’s not so bad; they don’t have street lights. Street lights are not really missed; the community does not have paved streets. Painted rectangles on dark asphalt would not make much sense in Nyarutovu because no one has a car.

I could go on: no snow-cones, no swimming pools, no television, no strollers, no hair dryers, no disposable diapers, no smart phones, no closets, no library, no baseball,… grocery carts. To her community and to Sandrine herself, the almost $50 per month is a big deal.

Sometimes she sends photos of what would have gone into a grocery cart if they had them there. Items they bought with the sponsorship money: beans, rice, flour, salt. As cited in my February post, one month, we sent extra and, to our surprise, they bought a cow! The people work hard and they have each other.

In case you are curious, you can go to and become a sponsor. There are brief bios and photos. You may consider current age, the country the child lives in and, certainly, the specific child as you select; or, World Vision can select one for you. Once you experience how meaningful sponsorship is, if you are like me, the next time you find a hole in your sock or that the milk in the refrigerator is older than the best-by date – you take it so much more in stride – even with a grin.

Galatians 5:14

Our neighbors didn’t “have a cow” … when, Terri and I bought one…..

In response to our sending a little extra to the 15-year-old, Rwandan child (and her community) we sponsor through World Vision, we received a moving, hand-written letter back expressing thanks for the gift and itemizing what they used it for:

  • kilograms of beans
  • kilograms of rice
  • a bar of soap and,…
  • A COW!

Terri and I are not special. We are, however, delighted to have made an unexpectedly significant difference in the earthly lives of 15-year-old, Sandrine and her family. (Their neighbors don’t mind either.)

We won’t miss the dollars; hate to think we would have missed the joy.

In terms of mandates to us from God’s word, Jonathan Edwards asserts there is nothing clearer in the Bible (try 200 places in the OT) than that we give to the poor…

And we do not give for the “merit badge”, out of some vaulted nobility of our own, rather, our humble sacrifice sprouts from the power of His caring.

As shared by Rich Stearns– @RichStearns — of World Vision:

When you love the unloved and the broken, it always provokes the question to which Jesus is the answer… the question: Why do you care?”

Galatians 5:14

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”








Valentine’s Day

The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn’t romantic at all — at least not in the traditional sense. Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the real story of the man behind the holiday — St. Valentine.

“He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudius who persecuted the church at that particular time,” Father O’Gara explains. “He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.”

“I think we must bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived,” says Father O’Gara. “Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this.”

“The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict.”

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.

“One of the men who were to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.”

In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”

“What Valentine means to me as a priest,” explains Father O’Gara, “is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that — even to the point of death.”

Valentine’s martyrdom has not gone unnoticed by the general public. In fact, Whitefriars Street Church is one of three churches that claim to house the remains of Valentine. Today, many people make the pilgrimage to the church to honor the courage and memory of this Christian saint.

“Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers. Before you enter into a Christian marriage you want some sense of God in your life — some great need of God in your life. And we know, particularly in the modern world, many people are meeting God through his Son, Jesus Christ.”

“If Valentine were here today, he would say to married couples that there comes a time where you’re going to have to suffer. It’s not going to be easy to maintain your commitment and your vows in marriage. Don’t be surprised if the ‘gushing’ love that you have for someone changes to something less “gushing” but maybe much more mature. And the question is, is that young person ready for that?”

“So on the day of the marriage they have to take that into context,” Father O’Gara says. “Love — human love and sexuality is wonderful, and blessed by God — but also the shadow of the cross. That’s what Valentine means to me.”

Resources for Spiritual Growth

Abiding in Him

“If you’re living for nothing more than your own significance, you will feel more and more insignificant.”


               Verse image below by Donald McQueen in @YouVersion


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