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The Evangelistic Ministries of John "BJ" Hall

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Satan's Sifting

October 18, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I believe there is a real devil! Many people don’t. They put him in the same category as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. They relegate him to the superstition and ignorance of the Middle Ages.

The Bible declares his existence, his intentions, as well as his methods. It tells us he is a spiritual being who is the enemy of God, his people, and all that is good. Jesus once said to Peter, “Satan desired to sift you as wheat...” (Luke 22:31). The purpose of sifting is to separate. Satan’s desire is to shake us loose from our faith. Here is that passage in its context:

Luke 22:31-34 (KJV)
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

How does Satan sift us today?

SATAN SIFTS US BY DOUBTS. He tries to discredit God’s word in our minds and to get us to doubt it. This is exactly what he did in the Garden of Eden with Eve. He discredited God’s word in her mind. If he can do that we can be easily led into sin.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

SATAN SIFTS US BY DISAPPOINTMENTS. When the Lord or his people do not measure up to our expectations, it discourages us. My father warned me as a youth, “If the Devil can’t make you fall, he will make someone fall, whose fall will make you fall.”

Disappointments can turn us from the Lord. BUT they don’t have to. We can allow it to make us stronger.

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” — Eliza Tabor

SATAN SIFTS US BY OUR DESIRES. James says that we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts (James 1:14). If we follow our desires rather than God’s Word, we end up in sin. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food.

Have you ever, while watching an interesting program on TV, seen a commercial come on that had some tantalizing food. It looked so good you could almost taste it? How tempting it is to get up and go to the refrigerator and get out something to eat. Why, because our desire has been aroused.

This happens in our spiritual walk as well.

“Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.” — Jeremy Taylor

SATAN SIFTS US BY DECEIT. He is the father of all lies. If he can deceive us, he will. Again, this is one of the things he used in the Garden. He told Eve that she could be like God.

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” —Homer

SATAN SIFTS US BY DIFFICULTIES. Disease and death, sickness and sorrow, are not the handiwork of God. As in the case of Job, these are most often the works of Satan. Trouble has shaken more people’s faith in God than anything else I know.

People who have bought into the “name it and claim it gospel” are especially susceptible in this area. Just imagine, being taught that if you have enough faith, or speak the right words, or give to the right preacher your child will be healed. Then when he is not, many turn away from their faith and leave the church.

“There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself meeting them.” — Phyllis Bottome

We must learn to trust the Lord in everything. He will never let you down. Trust in me and I will disappoint you. I am a man with the same weaknesses as all men. But Christ lived a sinless life and died for our salvation. Trust Him today.

He Strengthens Me

When all of life begins to pale,
My Lord has promised not to fail.
His Word is fresh, and never stale,
And strengthens me when I am frail.

So I can trust Him as my friend.
He will be with me to the end.
He helps me stand against the trend,
And for His will, my life I’ll spend.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries. 

The Witness at My Door

October 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

They were standing at my front door. Two women and a teenage girl stood there after knocking on the door. When I opened the door, I knew who they were and why they were there. They each were holding a copy of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The leader of the group was also carrying a briefcase.  She handed me a pamphlet and asked, “Could we sit down together and talk about the Bible?”

I asked, “May I ask you a question?” She agreed. I continued, “Just suppose for a moment that I have a knife sticking in my back and I am bleeding to death. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

“Well,” she said, “That is an interesting question. Could we come in and talk about this pamphlet?”

I did not allow her to sidestep the question. I said, “Remember, I am bleeding out in front of you. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

She was flustered. She had no response.

I then asked her, “What did the thief on the cross have to do?” There was no response. I said, “Look in your New World Translation and read Luke 23:42-43.”

The youngest one opened her copy and read, “Then he said: ‘Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom. 43 And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

I again asked, “What did the thief have to do to enter into the Kingdom?” I said, “He only had to ask Jesus to remember him when he got to HIS KINGDOM.”

I asked, “Whose Kingdom are you trying to go to?” They said, “Jehovah’s Kingdom.”

I said, “You just read it. It said your Kingdom. That is, Jesus Kingdom.”

I then said, “Now turn to Revelation 1:8 and read that to me.” Again it was the young girl who turned to the passage and read, “I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”

I asked, “Who is Alpha and Omega?” They all said, “Jehovah.”

Then I said, “Turn to Revelation 21:6-7 and read that to me.”

This time it was the leader who read the passage. “And he said to me: “They have come to pass! I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga, The beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. 7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

I asked, “Who is Beginning and End and Alpha and Omega?”

They said, “Jehovah.”

I did the same thing with Revelation 22:12-13. But then came the climax. I said, “Please read to me Revelation 1:17-18.”

The leader read aloud, “And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha’des.”

I asked, “When did Jehovah God die?” They stood there looking like a calf looking at a new gate. They had no answer. I then said, “Please read Isaiah 43:10-11 to me.”

The leader read, “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”

I asked, “Who is the Savior?” They said, “Jehovah.”

I said, “Please read one more passage to me. Titus 2:13-14.”

Once again the leader read, “While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of the Savior of us, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works.”

My final question, “Who is our Savior?”

The leader said, “We have to go. May we come back and talk about these things?”

I said, “Certainly.” I never saw them again.

It is important to note, IF you try this, have them read the passage to you out of their own “Bible”

There is one Savior. He died on Calvary for you and for me. It doesn’t matter if you are a Baptist, a Jehovah’s Witness, or an atheist. Jesus is our only hope and He is the one on whom you must call to be born again.

Ye Must Be Born Again

“Ye must be born again,” He said,
And Nicodemus heard with dread,
That he must come as though a child,
With contrite heart and spirit mild,
And turn from sin, 
of this world born.
That’s what it means to be reborn.

Christ Jesus died upon the cross,
To save our souls from endless loss.
If you will just repent of sin,
And turn your life control to Him,
He’ll save your soul and make you new,
And He will come and live in you.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

NOTE: The passages quoted in this blog are directly from "The New World Translation of  the Holy Scriptures." They are exactly as presented and printed there. Don't be tempted to use your King James Bible to do this. They believe the King James Version (and all other translations) are corrupted by faulty translation.

Help My Baby!

October 12, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I was on my way to seminary classes at Oklahoma Baptist University. As I drove south out of Chandler I crested a hill and saw a woman lying in the middle of the highway. Several hundred yards south there was a van in the ditch on my side of the road. I stopped to check on the woman. She was unconscious. I checked her pulse and there was none. I then checked for other injuries. There didn’t seem to be any, so I took her by the shoulders and drug her off the road where I immediately began CPR. I was at the time a certified CPR and Emergency First Aid Instructor/Trainer for the American Red Cross. After a few minutes, I check her again and she had a pulse.

Another motorist had pulled over and was kneeling beside me. Suddenly we heard screaming from down the road. I looked up and a young woman was running toward us crying, “Help my baby! Help my baby! I can’t get him out!” Since the first victim was now breathing without assistance, I asked the fellow that had stopped if he would keep a close watch on her. He agreed.

I started running toward the van and saw flames coming out of the broken passenger side window. The young woman ran with me and said her baby was in the back of the van. By the time I reached the van, it was fully engulfed in flames. I grabbed the handle of the side door and threw it open only to see that it was too late to save the baby.

I sat beside the road and grieved with that mother and the baby’s grandma (whom I had administered CPR for). I flagged down a passing car and asked them to contact the police and to send an ambulance and fire truck. As I listened, they began to weave together the pieces of this tragic event. The family was returning home after their one-week checkup following the baby’s birth.

Flames suddenly began shooting out from under the dash near the steering wheel. Grandma, who was driving, panicked and bailed out of the still moving van. The baby’s mama reached through the flames and grabbed the steering wheel, guiding it into the ditch.

My heart was broken that day. I was somehow changed in a way that I can’t explain. I began having recurring nightmares of fiery crashes where no one survived and I was unable to help the victims. I grieved as though it had been my own child who died. I felt guilty for not being “brave enough” to reach through the flames and save the child.

I now know that there is nothing I could have done for the baby. He was dead before I ever reached the van. I now am thankful that at the very least I was able to save the grandmother’s life by pulling her out of traffic and administering CPR. I did what I was trained to do.

I haven’t always done what I was trained to do. There are times that I don’t share my faith in Christ with the lost person standing next to me. I can’t look back and beat myself up for what I haven’t done. But I CAN make a decision today to do the work of the Lord in this day, and in every way possible. Oh for sure, I will sometimes fail. But each time I do I can pick myself up and see what I did wrong so that I will not fail in the same way again.

I may not be able to go back and help the baby in the van, but I CAN touch the lives of children today. I CAN attempt to put a smile on their faces. I CAN show them His love in a world filled with hatred. I CAN be the light reflected from the Son of the Most High God.

Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV) “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Paul — An Example

Ne'er was a man, so filled with passion,
With the authority of the law.
Doing the will of God, he fashioned,
Persecuting Christians, that he saw.

Hunting believers, traveled the world,
Nothing on earth could stand in his way.
‘Til on the road, his plans came unfurled.
He met Jesus, as he walked that day.

What a miracle, Saul, that hour,
Became an apostle of the Lord.
Now he has a purpose, and God’s power.
And travels the world, to spread the word.

This is the glory of the Savior,
He came to the world to save lost men.
Won’t you now trust the Lord to save you?
Turn from your wickedness and your sin.

If Jesus can save a man like Paul,
And make him a servant of the Lord.
‘Tis certain our Lord can save us all,
For He promised He would, in His Word.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

How is Your Forgetter?

October 9, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

I was watching TV and decided I wanted to get a drink. I got up and walked with the remote to the fridge. I looked inside and saw some tea that I wanted. I placed the remote in the fridge, closed the door, and walked back into the den. I sat down, kicked back in the recliner, then I realized I had not gotten the tea to drink. So I get up and go back into the kitchen, get the pitcher of tea out of the refrigerator and poured it into a glass. I put the tea back in the fridge right next to the remote. Half an hour later the show was over and I wanted to change the channel but I couldn't find the remote. I looked under the cushions of the couch, searched both recliners and scoured every last inch of the den. I finally gave up and switched channels manually. About that time I heard my wife in the kitchen. She said, "Honey, why is the TV remote in the refrigerator?"

I said, “Oh, yea, the batteries seemed like they were getting too hot.” Please don’t tell her the real reason. 

There are some things we should forget. We should forget the offenses caused by a brother or sister in Christ. Hanging onto them does not harm our brother, but it does harm us and our fellowship. We should forget the things God has forgiven us in the past. The devil is the one who wants to remind us of those things. He does it to dissuade us from serving our Lord.

We should not forget the kindness shown to us by others. Neither should we forget to show the same kindness to others. But most importantly we should not forget the price paid by Jesus on Calvary for our sin. We should not forget to share God’s great love in every opportunity He gives us. We should not forget God in our times of trouble. Jonah 2:7 (KJV) “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.”

God chooses to forget the sins that have been forgiven. Isaiah 43:25 say,I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not  remember thy sins.” In Micah 7:19 (KJV) the Word says, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

God will not forget His promises to His people. God made a promise to Noah and all of his descendants in Genesis 9:15-16 (KJV) He said to Noah, “And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16  And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

Finally, Jesus not only remembered the thief on the cross. He made a promise to him. Luke 23:42-43 (KJV) “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

How is your forgetter?

My Forgetter

My forgetter’s better than it used to be,
My rememberer is not,
For the things that seemed important to me
Are the things that I forgot.

A good friend told me that I could do better
If I tried real hard each day.
But the more I try to change my forgetter
The further my memories stray.

I decided one day I would not forget,
A note to myself I wrote.
But now I’ve a reason that I should fret.
Where’d I put that silly note?

 

© Copyright 1985 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Do All the Pieces Fit?

October 4, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

A little girl was having difficulty with her United States geography lessons. Her dad had a great idea. He bought a puzzle map of the nation with the puzzle states cut into pieces of the puzzle. She struggled to get the pieces to fit so that her dad would be proud of her.

One day she came running to her father and said, “I did it, Daddy, I did it!”

When he came to inspect her work he was very pleased with what he saw. He asked, “That was a hard puzzle. How did you finish it?”

She proudly said, “I figured out that there was the picture of a man on the back of the puzzle.” She proudly continued, “I just turned all the pieces over and put the man’s picture together.”

The puzzle of life has a picture on the back. If we get that picture right, the rest will fall into place. That picture is of Jesus hanging on the cross. If you get Him right, the rest of life will fall into place.

When my wife and I go camping, we love to work jigsaw puzzles on the dinette table. When we need to eat we have a mat that we can roll the incomplete puzzle in to keep the pieces all in place. The side benefit of the roll is that it keeps the puzzle pieces from being lost. Or at least it is supposed to.

Once in a while, a piece will fall off the table before we roll up the puzzle. The next time we unroll the puzzle and begin working on it, if we don’t find the piece before we finish, we will NEVER finish the puzzle.

Paul said in Philippians 4:8-9 (KJV) “. . . whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”  Jesus is the most important piece of the puzzle. If we think about Jesus, we will see all these things come into our lives.

Thinking Of You

As I travel through this world I sometimes lose my way
And I struggle just to see The hope in every day.
Until I change direction And focus on your way.

Thinking of you, Lord Will help me change my view
Thinking of you, Lord Will make my life renew

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this chorus contact Passages Ministries.

He Took My Place

September 30, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

It was a cold January day in 1965. The heat was supplied by an open-faced propane heater in the back of the classroom. The class bully had a few firecrackers left over from summer. When the teacher had her back turned, he tossed them in the heater. When they exploded everyone in the room was startled.

The teacher looked at the two boys sitting closest to the stove and asked, “Which one of you did that?” Neither student admitted to the prank. The teacher took told them, “If one of you doesn’t own up to this, the whole class is going to suffer.” He said, “There will be no recess time for the next week.”

The quiet, skinny, kid held up his hand and said, “I did it Mrs. Smith.” She took him by the arm and marched him down to the principal’s office. There he received five licks from the big paddle the principal kept on his desk.

That afternoon, the bully came up to the skinny kid and said, “Why’d ya do it? Why’d ya tell Mrs. Smith you did it when you knew it was me?”

The skinny kid said, “Because, it was the right thing to do.”

“What do ya mean ‘the right thing to do’?” He said, “You coulda told her it was me.”

The skinny kid replied, “But if I had done that you would have just denied it and we would have all been in trouble anyway. And besides, someone else took my punishment a long time ago.”

The bully said, “I just don’t get you, man!”

From that time forward, the bully began to change. First, he stopped picking on the skinny kid. Then he started treating other kids better. He even volunteered one day to clean the blackboards in Mrs. Smith’s classroom.

While he was there he told Mrs. Smith that the skinny kid had taken the blame for what he had done. He apologized for the way he had behaved.

Mrs. Smith said, “He paid the price for you. I hope you will always remember that.”

This took place in central Oklahoma. The skinny kid was me. The bully became my best friend and biggest defender. Why did I tell you this story?

It is because someone took the blame for me and took my punishment. An old hymn says it best. The chorus says, “He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sin away. And now I sing that brand new song: Amazing Grace, For Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.”  

Isaiah 53:4-5 (KJV) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  

You Have A Friend

So many times I look upon my life
And see that it is filled with endless strife.
“Why is it so?” I asked my Lord today
This is what I heard him gently say.

Chorus:
When troubles seem to fill your life with woe
Just turn to me and let those troubles go.
No matter what the difficulties be
You can depend; you have a friend in me.

But now I look, and all the world around
There’s war and strife and famine to be found.
“Oh why, my Lord, do children starve this way?”
This is what I heard Him gently say.

Chorus

Now I have learned, upon Him to depend.
For in my Lord, I’ve found the greatest friend.
Now when I come to Him and humbly pray
This is what I always hear Him say.

Chorus

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

What a Hero Looks Like

September 27, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Our nation has forgotten what true heroes look like and what they do. Here is my take on that subject.

A young soldier was in the regular army before World War II began. He had gotten married before war broke out and he was “retained for the good of the country.” At the time he was a private in what was then named the “Horse Drawn Artillery” of the United States Cavalry. He shipped out to England and waited for his battalion, the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, to be deployed.

He was among the first troops to invade North Africa. There, he had his comrades fought Rommel all the way across North Africa. Then they shipped out to Cicely and Italy and fought their way north toward the heart of Germany.

Toward the end of the war, they were looking to join up with an infantry battalion for a joint push into Germany. Communications were a severe problem in WWII. The commander did not know where the infantry battalion was so he ordered the battalion to stop and our soldier was to run forward on foot in an attempt to locate the infantry.

As the young man, now a Staff Sergeant ran forward, he saw a German helmet among the hedgerows. He ducked down and followed that German back to his camp. The camp was a German headquarters group. He watched as the Germans worked over a map under a tent with the flaps raised. He could see that they were planning an attack on the very infantry battalion he was looking for.

He ran as fast as he could back to the commander and told him what he had seen. The commander ordered him to get in his half-track and lead the battalion in. He was to stop “two clicks back” from the camp. They then circled the camp with the three-inch naval guns that were mounted on the half-tracks lowered and aiming into the camp. The commander got on the bullhorn and said, “I am the commander of the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion of Patton’s  3rd Army.” He continued, “You are completely surrounded. If you desire to live, lay down your arms and come out of the camp with your hands over your head.”

The Germans did as they were commanded. Our Sergeant’s actions had saved an entire battalion of infantrymen from being attacked. This action earned our Sergeant his second Bronze Star.

The Sergeant had been on the front lines for 34 months without R&R. When his commander found out that he had been there that long with no relief, he gave the soldier ninety days R&R in the States. He landed in New York harbor the day that President Roosevelt died. Just a few weeks later, May 8, 1945, victory was gained in the European Theater of Conflict.  I know these things because that young Sergeant was my father, Harold Amos Hall, a native of Hennessey, Oklahoma. 

I shared this story with a WWII veteran in a doctor’s office waiting room. With a tear trickling down his cheek he said, “My brother was in the Infantry Battalion your dad saved.” He said, “He told me several times about a Sergeant in the Tank Destroyers that saved them from a surprise attack in Germany.”

This is what a true American hero looks like.

But there is a greater hero. One who died over almost 2000 years ago on a hill called Golgotha. He laid down His life in the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace and salvation to a lost world. His name is Jesus. Have you trusted in Him?

Acts 4:12 (KJV) says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

He saves us from the attack of the enemy every day of our lives and for eternity to come. All you have to do is believe in your heart that He is the Son of God and that He died for our sins. Then confess with your mouth, turning from the sins that enslave you.

Let Jesus Christ be your eternal hero.

© Copyright 2017 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.

Christ is Our Hope

September 23, 2017

– By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

We were in Colorado working wildfire recovery in the Black Forest. Everywhere we went we saw the fingerprints of God. One home was burned completely to the foundation. One of our team members reached down and picked up a broken shard of pottery. Under that shard was a perfectly preserved aluminum coin with the Lord’s Prayer on one side and the Ten Commandments on the other. On the same property, I spotted what appeared to be a cross standing near the fence. On closer inspection, it proved to be a wooden pole and cross-member where a plastic basketball goal had hung. The wood had survived the fire, but the plastic didn't.

Another property was owned by a hardened atheist woman. She had told us when we arrived, “I don’t want to hear the name of Jesus on this property!” As we worked, sifting through the ashes to recover anything that might have survived, I picked up an unmarred plastic child’s cup with the words, “Jesus loves you” printed clearly on it.

When I handed that cup to the woman, she broke down in tears. She said, “That cup belonged to my granddaughter. She died last year.” As I comforted her I sensed, for the first time, an openness in her spirit. Within about fifteen minutes I had the privilege of leading her in the “sinners prayer” as she trusted in Christ as her Lord and Savior.

In Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief we have a practice that, if the homeowner permits, we use a chainsaw to shape one of the tree stumps into a cross. As our team member carved the cross, this dear former atheist leaned her head on my shoulder and said, “You guys are going to make me cry.” When the cross was finished she said, “I’m going right now to Colorado Springs to buy some polyurethane and pour it over the cross so it will always remind me of what happened here today.”

Paul began his first letter to Timothy, his son in the ministry, with these words. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.”

The former atheist learned that her hope could be in Christ. Where is your hope today? Christ is my hope. How about you?

 

Thank You, Jesus

Thank you, Jesus, for coming our way.
Thank you, Jesus, for coming to stay.
We turn in repentance,
You give us forgiveness.
We thank you, Jesus, for loving us today.

You’re our hope and salvation, always.
You’re the one through Whom we must pray.
We give our lives to you,
To do what you would do.
We thank you, Jesus, for loving us today.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

The Starting Point

September 19, 2017

- By Evangelist John BJ Hall -

My father was a wise man. Many times I heard him say, “If God can’t use you where you are, He certainly can’t use you where you’re not.” I have found this to be true in life. If I am not willing to serve God where I am, how dare I think I will serve Him somewhere else?

Sadly many professing believers have tucked the message of hope away in a bottle of disuse. Someone else will tell them, we think. But we never open the bottle for those near to us.

After one of Dwight L. Moody's meetings, a locomotive engineer came forward and said he had decided to become a missionary to a foreign country. Moody asked him if his fireman were a Christian. "I don't know," was the reply, "I've never asked him." "Well," said Moody, "why don't you start with your fireman?"

A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the events that took place in my father and mother’s lives. Those stories remind me of where I came from. They are stories of a life well lived for the cause of Christ.

All of us have a story. Families hand down stories, and they are often repeated at festive occasions. Individuals have stories to tell, and so do congregations.

But there is a story, a message, that is more important and poignant than any other that I could share. That story, that message, is of how God looked upon us with love and sent His Only Son to die in our stead. He did this so that we could be cleansed of our sin, and made it possible for us to be in perfect fellowship with Him.

Professing Christians are commissioned to tell the story of the promised Messiah, His life, death, and resurrection. Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV) says, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

It is vital to the hope of our world that we let the message out of the bottle. That is the starting point.

The Message

Oh, how He loves this world that He made.
So great is His love, His life He paid.
There on the cross, He hung for our sin,
He died beside the vilest of men.

Down through the years, by messengers true,
God’s Word had been spread, the whole world through.
The message of hope brought on the tree,
Made its way down to sinners like me.

Now that the love of Jesus is mine,
I find myself singing all the time.
I can’t be still as long as it’s known,
His love 
to millions has not been shown.

Just as He came to set my soul free,
I’ll go to the world, so they can see.
That His blood shed on that cruel cross,
Will save all who trust from endless loss.

This is the message we all must bring
So that the rest of the world can sing.
A message of hope and glory too,
Of what Jesus did for me and you.

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

True Love

September 12, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

On January 6, 1970, I met a beautiful brown eyed girl, who I knew I would spend the rest of my life loving. She was a senior in high school and I was a freshman in a junior college. Two days after we met, I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

The only thing she knew about me was that I was her pastor’s son. I had been away in college when my father accepted the call to pastor her church. The only thing I knew about her was that she was beautiful and her brown eyes….. Well, what can I say, it was love at first sight for both of us.

We were married on May 29, 1970, less than five months after we met. Over the years, we have both said the words, “I love you” thousands of times. But there is more to love than mere words. You see, love demands action.

We have learned a lot about love over the last forty-seven-plus years. The most important thing we have learned is that love is not a noun. It is not just an “intense feeling of deep affection.” Nor is love a verb in the traditional sense of a “deep romantic or sexual attachment.”

What we have learned is that love is very active. Love is seen in a glance across the room. It is felt in a tender touch as one passes by the other. It is displayed by actions taken day after day, week after week, year after year, that say I not only love you but I respect you and honor you. 

This is true of our relationship with our Lord as well. Love is not just singing a song of worship. It is more than simply listening to a sermon or Bible study.

Love is “boots on the ground” in service to those whom God loves. It is helping an elderly neighbor by mowing her grass. It is stopping by just to chat with someone who is lonely.

But most of all, just as Christ gave His life to teach us what love is, it is giving the lost a cup of cool “water of life.” It is serving a loaf of “the bread of life” to the spiritually hungry. It is telling the lost of the hope that can be found in loving arms of Jesus.

How do you show your love?

 

How I Love Him

How I love Him, Yes I love Him,
For He first loved me.
I will give Him; Yes I’ll give Him,
My life totally.
For He gave me; Yes he gave me,
His love on a tree.
Yes, Jesus my Savior gives love full and free.

I will hear Him; Yes I’ll hear Him,
And His will obey.
I’ll stay near Him; Yes stay near Him,
And I’ll never stray.
For He hears me; Yes He hears me
When to Him I pray.
Yes, Jesus my Savior Will ne'er go away.

I will serve Him; Yes I’ll serve Him,
With all of my might.
I will praise Him; Yes I’ll praise Him,
All through the night.
He forgave me; Yes forgave me,
Now with God, I am right.
Yes Jesus my Savior, Gives love and new sight.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages ministries.

 

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Satan's Sifting

October 18, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I believe there is a real devil! Many people don’t. They put him in the same category as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. They relegate him to the superstition and ignorance of the Middle Ages.

The Bible declares his existence, his intentions, as well as his methods. It tells us he is a spiritual being who is the enemy of God, his people, and all that is good. Jesus once said to Peter, “Satan desired to sift you as wheat...” (Luke 22:31). The purpose of sifting is to separate. Satan’s desire is to shake us loose from our faith. Here is that passage in its context:

Luke 22:31-34 (KJV)
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

How does Satan sift us today?

SATAN SIFTS US BY DOUBTS. He tries to discredit God’s word in our minds and to get us to doubt it. This is exactly what he did in the Garden of Eden with Eve. He discredited God’s word in her mind. If he can do that we can be easily led into sin.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

SATAN SIFTS US BY DISAPPOINTMENTS. When the Lord or his people do not measure up to our expectations, it discourages us. My father warned me as a youth, “If the Devil can’t make you fall, he will make someone fall, whose fall will make you fall.”

Disappointments can turn us from the Lord. BUT they don’t have to. We can allow it to make us stronger.

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” — Eliza Tabor

SATAN SIFTS US BY OUR DESIRES. James says that we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts (James 1:14). If we follow our desires rather than God’s Word, we end up in sin. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food.

Have you ever, while watching an interesting program on TV, seen a commercial come on that had some tantalizing food. It looked so good you could almost taste it? How tempting it is to get up and go to the refrigerator and get out something to eat. Why, because our desire has been aroused.

This happens in our spiritual walk as well.

“Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.” — Jeremy Taylor

SATAN SIFTS US BY DECEIT. He is the father of all lies. If he can deceive us, he will. Again, this is one of the things he used in the Garden. He told Eve that she could be like God.

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” —Homer

SATAN SIFTS US BY DIFFICULTIES. Disease and death, sickness and sorrow, are not the handiwork of God. As in the case of Job, these are most often the works of Satan. Trouble has shaken more people’s faith in God than anything else I know.

People who have bought into the “name it and claim it gospel” are especially susceptible in this area. Just imagine, being taught that if you have enough faith, or speak the right words, or give to the right preacher your child will be healed. Then when he is not, many turn away from their faith and leave the church.

“There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself meeting them.” — Phyllis Bottome

We must learn to trust the Lord in everything. He will never let you down. Trust in me and I will disappoint you. I am a man with the same weaknesses as all men. But Christ lived a sinless life and died for our salvation. Trust Him today.

He Strengthens Me

When all of life begins to pale,
My Lord has promised not to fail.
His Word is fresh, and never stale,
And strengthens me when I am frail.

So I can trust Him as my friend.
He will be with me to the end.
He helps me stand against the trend,
And for His will, my life I’ll spend.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries. 

The Witness at My Door

October 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

They were standing at my front door. Two women and a teenage girl stood there after knocking on the door. When I opened the door, I knew who they were and why they were there. They each were holding a copy of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The leader of the group was also carrying a briefcase.  She handed me a pamphlet and asked, “Could we sit down together and talk about the Bible?”

I asked, “May I ask you a question?” She agreed. I continued, “Just suppose for a moment that I have a knife sticking in my back and I am bleeding to death. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

“Well,” she said, “That is an interesting question. Could we come in and talk about this pamphlet?”

I did not allow her to sidestep the question. I said, “Remember, I am bleeding out in front of you. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

She was flustered. She had no response.

I then asked her, “What did the thief on the cross have to do?” There was no response. I said, “Look in your New World Translation and read Luke 23:42-43.”

The youngest one opened her copy and read, “Then he said: ‘Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom. 43 And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

I again asked, “What did the thief have to do to enter into the Kingdom?” I said, “He only had to ask Jesus to remember him when he got to HIS KINGDOM.”

I asked, “Whose Kingdom are you trying to go to?” They said, “Jehovah’s Kingdom.”

I said, “You just read it. It said your Kingdom. That is, Jesus Kingdom.”

I then said, “Now turn to Revelation 1:8 and read that to me.” Again it was the young girl who turned to the passage and read, “I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”

I asked, “Who is Alpha and Omega?” They all said, “Jehovah.”

Then I said, “Turn to Revelation 21:6-7 and read that to me.”

This time it was the leader who read the passage. “And he said to me: “They have come to pass! I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga, The beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. 7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

I asked, “Who is Beginning and End and Alpha and Omega?”

They said, “Jehovah.”

I did the same thing with Revelation 22:12-13. But then came the climax. I said, “Please read to me Revelation 1:17-18.”

The leader read aloud, “And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha’des.”

I asked, “When did Jehovah God die?” They stood there looking like a calf looking at a new gate. They had no answer. I then said, “Please read Isaiah 43:10-11 to me.”

The leader read, “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”

I asked, “Who is the Savior?” They said, “Jehovah.”

I said, “Please read one more passage to me. Titus 2:13-14.”

Once again the leader read, “While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of the Savior of us, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works.”

My final question, “Who is our Savior?”

The leader said, “We have to go. May we come back and talk about these things?”

I said, “Certainly.” I never saw them again.

It is important to note, IF you try this, have them read the passage to you out of their own “Bible”

There is one Savior. He died on Calvary for you and for me. It doesn’t matter if you are a Baptist, a Jehovah’s Witness, or an atheist. Jesus is our only hope and He is the one on whom you must call to be born again.

Ye Must Be Born Again

“Ye must be born again,” He said,
And Nicodemus heard with dread,
That he must come as though a child,
With contrite heart and spirit mild,
And turn from sin, 
of this world born.
That’s what it means to be reborn.

Christ Jesus died upon the cross,
To save our souls from endless loss.
If you will just repent of sin,
And turn your life control to Him,
He’ll save your soul and make you new,
And He will come and live in you.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

NOTE: The passages quoted in this blog are directly from "The New World Translation of  the Holy Scriptures." They are exactly as presented and printed there. Don't be tempted to use your King James Bible to do this. They believe the King James Version (and all other translations) are corrupted by faulty translation.

Help My Baby!

October 12, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I was on my way to seminary classes at Oklahoma Baptist University. As I drove south out of Chandler I crested a hill and saw a woman lying in the middle of the highway. Several hundred yards south there was a van in the ditch on my side of the road. I stopped to check on the woman. She was unconscious. I checked her pulse and there was none. I then checked for other injuries. There didn’t seem to be any, so I took her by the shoulders and drug her off the road where I immediately began CPR. I was at the time a certified CPR and Emergency First Aid Instructor/Trainer for the American Red Cross. After a few minutes, I check her again and she had a pulse.

Another motorist had pulled over and was kneeling beside me. Suddenly we heard screaming from down the road. I looked up and a young woman was running toward us crying, “Help my baby! Help my baby! I can’t get him out!” Since the first victim was now breathing without assistance, I asked the fellow that had stopped if he would keep a close watch on her. He agreed.

I started running toward the van and saw flames coming out of the broken passenger side window. The young woman ran with me and said her baby was in the back of the van. By the time I reached the van, it was fully engulfed in flames. I grabbed the handle of the side door and threw it open only to see that it was too late to save the baby.

I sat beside the road and grieved with that mother and the baby’s grandma (whom I had administered CPR for). I flagged down a passing car and asked them to contact the police and to send an ambulance and fire truck. As I listened, they began to weave together the pieces of this tragic event. The family was returning home after their one-week checkup following the baby’s birth.

Flames suddenly began shooting out from under the dash near the steering wheel. Grandma, who was driving, panicked and bailed out of the still moving van. The baby’s mama reached through the flames and grabbed the steering wheel, guiding it into the ditch.

My heart was broken that day. I was somehow changed in a way that I can’t explain. I began having recurring nightmares of fiery crashes where no one survived and I was unable to help the victims. I grieved as though it had been my own child who died. I felt guilty for not being “brave enough” to reach through the flames and save the child.

I now know that there is nothing I could have done for the baby. He was dead before I ever reached the van. I now am thankful that at the very least I was able to save the grandmother’s life by pulling her out of traffic and administering CPR. I did what I was trained to do.

I haven’t always done what I was trained to do. There are times that I don’t share my faith in Christ with the lost person standing next to me. I can’t look back and beat myself up for what I haven’t done. But I CAN make a decision today to do the work of the Lord in this day, and in every way possible. Oh for sure, I will sometimes fail. But each time I do I can pick myself up and see what I did wrong so that I will not fail in the same way again.

I may not be able to go back and help the baby in the van, but I CAN touch the lives of children today. I CAN attempt to put a smile on their faces. I CAN show them His love in a world filled with hatred. I CAN be the light reflected from the Son of the Most High God.

Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV) “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Paul — An Example

Ne'er was a man, so filled with passion,
With the authority of the law.
Doing the will of God, he fashioned,
Persecuting Christians, that he saw.

Hunting believers, traveled the world,
Nothing on earth could stand in his way.
‘Til on the road, his plans came unfurled.
He met Jesus, as he walked that day.

What a miracle, Saul, that hour,
Became an apostle of the Lord.
Now he has a purpose, and God’s power.
And travels the world, to spread the word.

This is the glory of the Savior,
He came to the world to save lost men.
Won’t you now trust the Lord to save you?
Turn from your wickedness and your sin.

If Jesus can save a man like Paul,
And make him a servant of the Lord.
‘Tis certain our Lord can save us all,
For He promised He would, in His Word.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

How is Your Forgetter?

October 9, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

I was watching TV and decided I wanted to get a drink. I got up and walked with the remote to the fridge. I looked inside and saw some tea that I wanted. I placed the remote in the fridge, closed the door, and walked back into the den. I sat down, kicked back in the recliner, then I realized I had not gotten the tea to drink. So I get up and go back into the kitchen, get the pitcher of tea out of the refrigerator and poured it into a glass. I put the tea back in the fridge right next to the remote. Half an hour later the show was over and I wanted to change the channel but I couldn't find the remote. I looked under the cushions of the couch, searched both recliners and scoured every last inch of the den. I finally gave up and switched channels manually. About that time I heard my wife in the kitchen. She said, "Honey, why is the TV remote in the refrigerator?"

I said, “Oh, yea, the batteries seemed like they were getting too hot.” Please don’t tell her the real reason. 

There are some things we should forget. We should forget the offenses caused by a brother or sister in Christ. Hanging onto them does not harm our brother, but it does harm us and our fellowship. We should forget the things God has forgiven us in the past. The devil is the one who wants to remind us of those things. He does it to dissuade us from serving our Lord.

We should not forget the kindness shown to us by others. Neither should we forget to show the same kindness to others. But most importantly we should not forget the price paid by Jesus on Calvary for our sin. We should not forget to share God’s great love in every opportunity He gives us. We should not forget God in our times of trouble. Jonah 2:7 (KJV) “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.”

God chooses to forget the sins that have been forgiven. Isaiah 43:25 say,I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not  remember thy sins.” In Micah 7:19 (KJV) the Word says, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

God will not forget His promises to His people. God made a promise to Noah and all of his descendants in Genesis 9:15-16 (KJV) He said to Noah, “And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16  And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

Finally, Jesus not only remembered the thief on the cross. He made a promise to him. Luke 23:42-43 (KJV) “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

How is your forgetter?

My Forgetter

My forgetter’s better than it used to be,
My rememberer is not,
For the things that seemed important to me
Are the things that I forgot.

A good friend told me that I could do better
If I tried real hard each day.
But the more I try to change my forgetter
The further my memories stray.

I decided one day I would not forget,
A note to myself I wrote.
But now I’ve a reason that I should fret.
Where’d I put that silly note?

 

© Copyright 1985 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Do All the Pieces Fit?

October 4, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

A little girl was having difficulty with her United States geography lessons. Her dad had a great idea. He bought a puzzle map of the nation with the puzzle states cut into pieces of the puzzle. She struggled to get the pieces to fit so that her dad would be proud of her.

One day she came running to her father and said, “I did it, Daddy, I did it!”

When he came to inspect her work he was very pleased with what he saw. He asked, “That was a hard puzzle. How did you finish it?”

She proudly said, “I figured out that there was the picture of a man on the back of the puzzle.” She proudly continued, “I just turned all the pieces over and put the man’s picture together.”

The puzzle of life has a picture on the back. If we get that picture right, the rest will fall into place. That picture is of Jesus hanging on the cross. If you get Him right, the rest of life will fall into place.

When my wife and I go camping, we love to work jigsaw puzzles on the dinette table. When we need to eat we have a mat that we can roll the incomplete puzzle in to keep the pieces all in place. The side benefit of the roll is that it keeps the puzzle pieces from being lost. Or at least it is supposed to.

Once in a while, a piece will fall off the table before we roll up the puzzle. The next time we unroll the puzzle and begin working on it, if we don’t find the piece before we finish, we will NEVER finish the puzzle.

Paul said in Philippians 4:8-9 (KJV) “. . . whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”  Jesus is the most important piece of the puzzle. If we think about Jesus, we will see all these things come into our lives.

Thinking Of You

As I travel through this world I sometimes lose my way
And I struggle just to see The hope in every day.
Until I change direction And focus on your way.

Thinking of you, Lord Will help me change my view
Thinking of you, Lord Will make my life renew

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this chorus contact Passages Ministries.

He Took My Place

September 30, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

It was a cold January day in 1965. The heat was supplied by an open-faced propane heater in the back of the classroom. The class bully had a few firecrackers left over from summer. When the teacher had her back turned, he tossed them in the heater. When they exploded everyone in the room was startled.

The teacher looked at the two boys sitting closest to the stove and asked, “Which one of you did that?” Neither student admitted to the prank. The teacher took told them, “If one of you doesn’t own up to this, the whole class is going to suffer.” He said, “There will be no recess time for the next week.”

The quiet, skinny, kid held up his hand and said, “I did it Mrs. Smith.” She took him by the arm and marched him down to the principal’s office. There he received five licks from the big paddle the principal kept on his desk.

That afternoon, the bully came up to the skinny kid and said, “Why’d ya do it? Why’d ya tell Mrs. Smith you did it when you knew it was me?”

The skinny kid said, “Because, it was the right thing to do.”

“What do ya mean ‘the right thing to do’?” He said, “You coulda told her it was me.”

The skinny kid replied, “But if I had done that you would have just denied it and we would have all been in trouble anyway. And besides, someone else took my punishment a long time ago.”

The bully said, “I just don’t get you, man!”

From that time forward, the bully began to change. First, he stopped picking on the skinny kid. Then he started treating other kids better. He even volunteered one day to clean the blackboards in Mrs. Smith’s classroom.

While he was there he told Mrs. Smith that the skinny kid had taken the blame for what he had done. He apologized for the way he had behaved.

Mrs. Smith said, “He paid the price for you. I hope you will always remember that.”

This took place in central Oklahoma. The skinny kid was me. The bully became my best friend and biggest defender. Why did I tell you this story?

It is because someone took the blame for me and took my punishment. An old hymn says it best. The chorus says, “He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sin away. And now I sing that brand new song: Amazing Grace, For Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.”  

Isaiah 53:4-5 (KJV) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  

You Have A Friend

So many times I look upon my life
And see that it is filled with endless strife.
“Why is it so?” I asked my Lord today
This is what I heard him gently say.

Chorus:
When troubles seem to fill your life with woe
Just turn to me and let those troubles go.
No matter what the difficulties be
You can depend; you have a friend in me.

But now I look, and all the world around
There’s war and strife and famine to be found.
“Oh why, my Lord, do children starve this way?”
This is what I heard Him gently say.

Chorus

Now I have learned, upon Him to depend.
For in my Lord, I’ve found the greatest friend.
Now when I come to Him and humbly pray
This is what I always hear Him say.

Chorus

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

What a Hero Looks Like

September 27, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Our nation has forgotten what true heroes look like and what they do. Here is my take on that subject.

A young soldier was in the regular army before World War II began. He had gotten married before war broke out and he was “retained for the good of the country.” At the time he was a private in what was then named the “Horse Drawn Artillery” of the United States Cavalry. He shipped out to England and waited for his battalion, the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, to be deployed.

He was among the first troops to invade North Africa. There, he had his comrades fought Rommel all the way across North Africa. Then they shipped out to Cicely and Italy and fought their way north toward the heart of Germany.

Toward the end of the war, they were looking to join up with an infantry battalion for a joint push into Germany. Communications were a severe problem in WWII. The commander did not know where the infantry battalion was so he ordered the battalion to stop and our soldier was to run forward on foot in an attempt to locate the infantry.

As the young man, now a Staff Sergeant ran forward, he saw a German helmet among the hedgerows. He ducked down and followed that German back to his camp. The camp was a German headquarters group. He watched as the Germans worked over a map under a tent with the flaps raised. He could see that they were planning an attack on the very infantry battalion he was looking for.

He ran as fast as he could back to the commander and told him what he had seen. The commander ordered him to get in his half-track and lead the battalion in. He was to stop “two clicks back” from the camp. They then circled the camp with the three-inch naval guns that were mounted on the half-tracks lowered and aiming into the camp. The commander got on the bullhorn and said, “I am the commander of the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion of Patton’s  3rd Army.” He continued, “You are completely surrounded. If you desire to live, lay down your arms and come out of the camp with your hands over your head.”

The Germans did as they were commanded. Our Sergeant’s actions had saved an entire battalion of infantrymen from being attacked. This action earned our Sergeant his second Bronze Star.

The Sergeant had been on the front lines for 34 months without R&R. When his commander found out that he had been there that long with no relief, he gave the soldier ninety days R&R in the States. He landed in New York harbor the day that President Roosevelt died. Just a few weeks later, May 8, 1945, victory was gained in the European Theater of Conflict.  I know these things because that young Sergeant was my father, Harold Amos Hall, a native of Hennessey, Oklahoma. 

I shared this story with a WWII veteran in a doctor’s office waiting room. With a tear trickling down his cheek he said, “My brother was in the Infantry Battalion your dad saved.” He said, “He told me several times about a Sergeant in the Tank Destroyers that saved them from a surprise attack in Germany.”

This is what a true American hero looks like.

But there is a greater hero. One who died over almost 2000 years ago on a hill called Golgotha. He laid down His life in the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace and salvation to a lost world. His name is Jesus. Have you trusted in Him?

Acts 4:12 (KJV) says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

He saves us from the attack of the enemy every day of our lives and for eternity to come. All you have to do is believe in your heart that He is the Son of God and that He died for our sins. Then confess with your mouth, turning from the sins that enslave you.

Let Jesus Christ be your eternal hero.

© Copyright 2017 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.

Christ is Our Hope

September 23, 2017

– By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

We were in Colorado working wildfire recovery in the Black Forest. Everywhere we went we saw the fingerprints of God. One home was burned completely to the foundation. One of our team members reached down and picked up a broken shard of pottery. Under that shard was a perfectly preserved aluminum coin with the Lord’s Prayer on one side and the Ten Commandments on the other. On the same property, I spotted what appeared to be a cross standing near the fence. On closer inspection, it proved to be a wooden pole and cross-member where a plastic basketball goal had hung. The wood had survived the fire, but the plastic didn't.

Another property was owned by a hardened atheist woman. She had told us when we arrived, “I don’t want to hear the name of Jesus on this property!” As we worked, sifting through the ashes to recover anything that might have survived, I picked up an unmarred plastic child’s cup with the words, “Jesus loves you” printed clearly on it.

When I handed that cup to the woman, she broke down in tears. She said, “That cup belonged to my granddaughter. She died last year.” As I comforted her I sensed, for the first time, an openness in her spirit. Within about fifteen minutes I had the privilege of leading her in the “sinners prayer” as she trusted in Christ as her Lord and Savior.

In Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief we have a practice that, if the homeowner permits, we use a chainsaw to shape one of the tree stumps into a cross. As our team member carved the cross, this dear former atheist leaned her head on my shoulder and said, “You guys are going to make me cry.” When the cross was finished she said, “I’m going right now to Colorado Springs to buy some polyurethane and pour it over the cross so it will always remind me of what happened here today.”

Paul began his first letter to Timothy, his son in the ministry, with these words. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.”

The former atheist learned that her hope could be in Christ. Where is your hope today? Christ is my hope. How about you?

 

Thank You, Jesus

Thank you, Jesus, for coming our way.
Thank you, Jesus, for coming to stay.
We turn in repentance,
You give us forgiveness.
We thank you, Jesus, for loving us today.

You’re our hope and salvation, always.
You’re the one through Whom we must pray.
We give our lives to you,
To do what you would do.
We thank you, Jesus, for loving us today.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

The Starting Point

September 19, 2017

- By Evangelist John BJ Hall -

My father was a wise man. Many times I heard him say, “If God can’t use you where you are, He certainly can’t use you where you’re not.” I have found this to be true in life. If I am not willing to serve God where I am, how dare I think I will serve Him somewhere else?

Sadly many professing believers have tucked the message of hope away in a bottle of disuse. Someone else will tell them, we think. But we never open the bottle for those near to us.

After one of Dwight L. Moody's meetings, a locomotive engineer came forward and said he had decided to become a missionary to a foreign country. Moody asked him if his fireman were a Christian. "I don't know," was the reply, "I've never asked him." "Well," said Moody, "why don't you start with your fireman?"

A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the events that took place in my father and mother’s lives. Those stories remind me of where I came from. They are stories of a life well lived for the cause of Christ.

All of us have a story. Families hand down stories, and they are often repeated at festive occasions. Individuals have stories to tell, and so do congregations.

But there is a story, a message, that is more important and poignant than any other that I could share. That story, that message, is of how God looked upon us with love and sent His Only Son to die in our stead. He did this so that we could be cleansed of our sin, and made it possible for us to be in perfect fellowship with Him.

Professing Christians are commissioned to tell the story of the promised Messiah, His life, death, and resurrection. Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV) says, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

It is vital to the hope of our world that we let the message out of the bottle. That is the starting point.

The Message

Oh, how He loves this world that He made.
So great is His love, His life He paid.
There on the cross, He hung for our sin,
He died beside the vilest of men.

Down through the years, by messengers true,
God’s Word had been spread, the whole world through.
The message of hope brought on the tree,
Made its way down to sinners like me.

Now that the love of Jesus is mine,
I find myself singing all the time.
I can’t be still as long as it’s known,
His love 
to millions has not been shown.

Just as He came to set my soul free,
I’ll go to the world, so they can see.
That His blood shed on that cruel cross,
Will save all who trust from endless loss.

This is the message we all must bring
So that the rest of the world can sing.
A message of hope and glory too,
Of what Jesus did for me and you.

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

True Love

September 12, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

On January 6, 1970, I met a beautiful brown eyed girl, who I knew I would spend the rest of my life loving. She was a senior in high school and I was a freshman in a junior college. Two days after we met, I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

The only thing she knew about me was that I was her pastor’s son. I had been away in college when my father accepted the call to pastor her church. The only thing I knew about her was that she was beautiful and her brown eyes….. Well, what can I say, it was love at first sight for both of us.

We were married on May 29, 1970, less than five months after we met. Over the years, we have both said the words, “I love you” thousands of times. But there is more to love than mere words. You see, love demands action.

We have learned a lot about love over the last forty-seven-plus years. The most important thing we have learned is that love is not a noun. It is not just an “intense feeling of deep affection.” Nor is love a verb in the traditional sense of a “deep romantic or sexual attachment.”

What we have learned is that love is very active. Love is seen in a glance across the room. It is felt in a tender touch as one passes by the other. It is displayed by actions taken day after day, week after week, year after year, that say I not only love you but I respect you and honor you. 

This is true of our relationship with our Lord as well. Love is not just singing a song of worship. It is more than simply listening to a sermon or Bible study.

Love is “boots on the ground” in service to those whom God loves. It is helping an elderly neighbor by mowing her grass. It is stopping by just to chat with someone who is lonely.

But most of all, just as Christ gave His life to teach us what love is, it is giving the lost a cup of cool “water of life.” It is serving a loaf of “the bread of life” to the spiritually hungry. It is telling the lost of the hope that can be found in loving arms of Jesus.

How do you show your love?

 

How I Love Him

How I love Him, Yes I love Him,
For He first loved me.
I will give Him; Yes I’ll give Him,
My life totally.
For He gave me; Yes he gave me,
His love on a tree.
Yes, Jesus my Savior gives love full and free.

I will hear Him; Yes I’ll hear Him,
And His will obey.
I’ll stay near Him; Yes stay near Him,
And I’ll never stray.
For He hears me; Yes He hears me
When to Him I pray.
Yes, Jesus my Savior Will ne'er go away.

I will serve Him; Yes I’ll serve Him,
With all of my might.
I will praise Him; Yes I’ll praise Him,
All through the night.
He forgave me; Yes forgave me,
Now with God, I am right.
Yes Jesus my Savior, Gives love and new sight.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages ministries.

 

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Satan's Sifting

October 18, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I believe there is a real devil! Many people don’t. They put him in the same category as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. They relegate him to the superstition and ignorance of the Middle Ages.

The Bible declares his existence, his intentions, as well as his methods. It tells us he is a spiritual being who is the enemy of God, his people, and all that is good. Jesus once said to Peter, “Satan desired to sift you as wheat...” (Luke 22:31). The purpose of sifting is to separate. Satan’s desire is to shake us loose from our faith. Here is that passage in its context:

Luke 22:31-34 (KJV)
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

How does Satan sift us today?

SATAN SIFTS US BY DOUBTS. He tries to discredit God’s word in our minds and to get us to doubt it. This is exactly what he did in the Garden of Eden with Eve. He discredited God’s word in her mind. If he can do that we can be easily led into sin.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

SATAN SIFTS US BY DISAPPOINTMENTS. When the Lord or his people do not measure up to our expectations, it discourages us. My father warned me as a youth, “If the Devil can’t make you fall, he will make someone fall, whose fall will make you fall.”

Disappointments can turn us from the Lord. BUT they don’t have to. We can allow it to make us stronger.

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” — Eliza Tabor

SATAN SIFTS US BY OUR DESIRES. James says that we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts (James 1:14). If we follow our desires rather than God’s Word, we end up in sin. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food.

Have you ever, while watching an interesting program on TV, seen a commercial come on that had some tantalizing food. It looked so good you could almost taste it? How tempting it is to get up and go to the refrigerator and get out something to eat. Why, because our desire has been aroused.

This happens in our spiritual walk as well.

“Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.” — Jeremy Taylor

SATAN SIFTS US BY DECEIT. He is the father of all lies. If he can deceive us, he will. Again, this is one of the things he used in the Garden. He told Eve that she could be like God.

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” —Homer

SATAN SIFTS US BY DIFFICULTIES. Disease and death, sickness and sorrow, are not the handiwork of God. As in the case of Job, these are most often the works of Satan. Trouble has shaken more people’s faith in God than anything else I know.

People who have bought into the “name it and claim it gospel” are especially susceptible in this area. Just imagine, being taught that if you have enough faith, or speak the right words, or give to the right preacher your child will be healed. Then when he is not, many turn away from their faith and leave the church.

“There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself meeting them.” — Phyllis Bottome

We must learn to trust the Lord in everything. He will never let you down. Trust in me and I will disappoint you. I am a man with the same weaknesses as all men. But Christ lived a sinless life and died for our salvation. Trust Him today.

He Strengthens Me

When all of life begins to pale,
My Lord has promised not to fail.
His Word is fresh, and never stale,
And strengthens me when I am frail.

So I can trust Him as my friend.
He will be with me to the end.
He helps me stand against the trend,
And for His will, my life I’ll spend.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries. 

The Witness at My Door

October 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

They were standing at my front door. Two women and a teenage girl stood there after knocking on the door. When I opened the door, I knew who they were and why they were there. They each were holding a copy of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The leader of the group was also carrying a briefcase.  She handed me a pamphlet and asked, “Could we sit down together and talk about the Bible?”

I asked, “May I ask you a question?” She agreed. I continued, “Just suppose for a moment that I have a knife sticking in my back and I am bleeding to death. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

“Well,” she said, “That is an interesting question. Could we come in and talk about this pamphlet?”

I did not allow her to sidestep the question. I said, “Remember, I am bleeding out in front of you. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

She was flustered. She had no response.

I then asked her, “What did the thief on the cross have to do?” There was no response. I said, “Look in your New World Translation and read Luke 23:42-43.”

The youngest one opened her copy and read, “Then he said: ‘Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom. 43 And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

I again asked, “What did the thief have to do to enter into the Kingdom?” I said, “He only had to ask Jesus to remember him when he got to HIS KINGDOM.”

I asked, “Whose Kingdom are you trying to go to?” They said, “Jehovah’s Kingdom.”

I said, “You just read it. It said your Kingdom. That is, Jesus Kingdom.”

I then said, “Now turn to Revelation 1:8 and read that to me.” Again it was the young girl who turned to the passage and read, “I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”

I asked, “Who is Alpha and Omega?” They all said, “Jehovah.”

Then I said, “Turn to Revelation 21:6-7 and read that to me.”

This time it was the leader who read the passage. “And he said to me: “They have come to pass! I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga, The beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. 7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

I asked, “Who is Beginning and End and Alpha and Omega?”

They said, “Jehovah.”

I did the same thing with Revelation 22:12-13. But then came the climax. I said, “Please read to me Revelation 1:17-18.”

The leader read aloud, “And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha’des.”

I asked, “When did Jehovah God die?” They stood there looking like a calf looking at a new gate. They had no answer. I then said, “Please read Isaiah 43:10-11 to me.”

The leader read, “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”

I asked, “Who is the Savior?” They said, “Jehovah.”

I said, “Please read one more passage to me. Titus 2:13-14.”

Once again the leader read, “While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of the Savior of us, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works.”

My final question, “Who is our Savior?”

The leader said, “We have to go. May we come back and talk about these things?”

I said, “Certainly.” I never saw them again.

It is important to note, IF you try this, have them read the passage to you out of their own “Bible”

There is one Savior. He died on Calvary for you and for me. It doesn’t matter if you are a Baptist, a Jehovah’s Witness, or an atheist. Jesus is our only hope and He is the one on whom you must call to be born again.

Ye Must Be Born Again

“Ye must be born again,” He said,
And Nicodemus heard with dread,
That he must come as though a child,
With contrite heart and spirit mild,
And turn from sin, 
of this world born.
That’s what it means to be reborn.

Christ Jesus died upon the cross,
To save our souls from endless loss.
If you will just repent of sin,
And turn your life control to Him,
He’ll save your soul and make you new,
And He will come and live in you.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

NOTE: The passages quoted in this blog are directly from "The New World Translation of  the Holy Scriptures." They are exactly as presented and printed there. Don't be tempted to use your King James Bible to do this. They believe the King James Version (and all other translations) are corrupted by faulty translation.

Help My Baby!

October 12, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I was on my way to seminary classes at Oklahoma Baptist University. As I drove south out of Chandler I crested a hill and saw a woman lying in the middle of the highway. Several hundred yards south there was a van in the ditch on my side of the road. I stopped to check on the woman. She was unconscious. I checked her pulse and there was none. I then checked for other injuries. There didn’t seem to be any, so I took her by the shoulders and drug her off the road where I immediately began CPR. I was at the time a certified CPR and Emergency First Aid Instructor/Trainer for the American Red Cross. After a few minutes, I check her again and she had a pulse.

Another motorist had pulled over and was kneeling beside me. Suddenly we heard screaming from down the road. I looked up and a young woman was running toward us crying, “Help my baby! Help my baby! I can’t get him out!” Since the first victim was now breathing without assistance, I asked the fellow that had stopped if he would keep a close watch on her. He agreed.

I started running toward the van and saw flames coming out of the broken passenger side window. The young woman ran with me and said her baby was in the back of the van. By the time I reached the van, it was fully engulfed in flames. I grabbed the handle of the side door and threw it open only to see that it was too late to save the baby.

I sat beside the road and grieved with that mother and the baby’s grandma (whom I had administered CPR for). I flagged down a passing car and asked them to contact the police and to send an ambulance and fire truck. As I listened, they began to weave together the pieces of this tragic event. The family was returning home after their one-week checkup following the baby’s birth.

Flames suddenly began shooting out from under the dash near the steering wheel. Grandma, who was driving, panicked and bailed out of the still moving van. The baby’s mama reached through the flames and grabbed the steering wheel, guiding it into the ditch.

My heart was broken that day. I was somehow changed in a way that I can’t explain. I began having recurring nightmares of fiery crashes where no one survived and I was unable to help the victims. I grieved as though it had been my own child who died. I felt guilty for not being “brave enough” to reach through the flames and save the child.

I now know that there is nothing I could have done for the baby. He was dead before I ever reached the van. I now am thankful that at the very least I was able to save the grandmother’s life by pulling her out of traffic and administering CPR. I did what I was trained to do.

I haven’t always done what I was trained to do. There are times that I don’t share my faith in Christ with the lost person standing next to me. I can’t look back and beat myself up for what I haven’t done. But I CAN make a decision today to do the work of the Lord in this day, and in every way possible. Oh for sure, I will sometimes fail. But each time I do I can pick myself up and see what I did wrong so that I will not fail in the same way again.

I may not be able to go back and help the baby in the van, but I CAN touch the lives of children today. I CAN attempt to put a smile on their faces. I CAN show them His love in a world filled with hatred. I CAN be the light reflected from the Son of the Most High God.

Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV) “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Paul — An Example

Ne'er was a man, so filled with passion,
With the authority of the law.
Doing the will of God, he fashioned,
Persecuting Christians, that he saw.

Hunting believers, traveled the world,
Nothing on earth could stand in his way.
‘Til on the road, his plans came unfurled.
He met Jesus, as he walked that day.

What a miracle, Saul, that hour,
Became an apostle of the Lord.
Now he has a purpose, and God’s power.
And travels the world, to spread the word.

This is the glory of the Savior,
He came to the world to save lost men.
Won’t you now trust the Lord to save you?
Turn from your wickedness and your sin.

If Jesus can save a man like Paul,
And make him a servant of the Lord.
‘Tis certain our Lord can save us all,
For He promised He would, in His Word.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

How is Your Forgetter?

October 9, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

I was watching TV and decided I wanted to get a drink. I got up and walked with the remote to the fridge. I looked inside and saw some tea that I wanted. I placed the remote in the fridge, closed the door, and walked back into the den. I sat down, kicked back in the recliner, then I realized I had not gotten the tea to drink. So I get up and go back into the kitchen, get the pitcher of tea out of the refrigerator and poured it into a glass. I put the tea back in the fridge right next to the remote. Half an hour later the show was over and I wanted to change the channel but I couldn't find the remote. I looked under the cushions of the couch, searched both recliners and scoured every last inch of the den. I finally gave up and switched channels manually. About that time I heard my wife in the kitchen. She said, "Honey, why is the TV remote in the refrigerator?"

I said, “Oh, yea, the batteries seemed like they were getting too hot.” Please don’t tell her the real reason. 

There are some things we should forget. We should forget the offenses caused by a brother or sister in Christ. Hanging onto them does not harm our brother, but it does harm us and our fellowship. We should forget the things God has forgiven us in the past. The devil is the one who wants to remind us of those things. He does it to dissuade us from serving our Lord.

We should not forget the kindness shown to us by others. Neither should we forget to show the same kindness to others. But most importantly we should not forget the price paid by Jesus on Calvary for our sin. We should not forget to share God’s great love in every opportunity He gives us. We should not forget God in our times of trouble. Jonah 2:7 (KJV) “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.”

God chooses to forget the sins that have been forgiven. Isaiah 43:25 say,I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not  remember thy sins.” In Micah 7:19 (KJV) the Word says, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

God will not forget His promises to His people. God made a promise to Noah and all of his descendants in Genesis 9:15-16 (KJV) He said to Noah, “And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16  And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

Finally, Jesus not only remembered the thief on the cross. He made a promise to him. Luke 23:42-43 (KJV) “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

How is your forgetter?

My Forgetter

My forgetter’s better than it used to be,
My rememberer is not,
For the things that seemed important to me
Are the things that I forgot.

A good friend told me that I could do better
If I tried real hard each day.
But the more I try to change my forgetter
The further my memories stray.

I decided one day I would not forget,
A note to myself I wrote.
But now I’ve a reason that I should fret.
Where’d I put that silly note?

 

© Copyright 1985 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Do All the Pieces Fit?

October 4, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

A little girl was having difficulty with her United States geography lessons. Her dad had a great idea. He bought a puzzle map of the nation with the puzzle states cut into pieces of the puzzle. She struggled to get the pieces to fit so that her dad would be proud of her.

One day she came running to her father and said, “I did it, Daddy, I did it!”

When he came to inspect her work he was very pleased with what he saw. He asked, “That was a hard puzzle. How did you finish it?”

She proudly said, “I figured out that there was the picture of a man on the back of the puzzle.” She proudly continued, “I just turned all the pieces over and put the man’s picture together.”

The puzzle of life has a picture on the back. If we get that picture right, the rest will fall into place. That picture is of Jesus hanging on the cross. If you get Him right, the rest of life will fall into place.

When my wife and I go camping, we love to work jigsaw puzzles on the dinette table. When we need to eat we have a mat that we can roll the incomplete puzzle in to keep the pieces all in place. The side benefit of the roll is that it keeps the puzzle pieces from being lost. Or at least it is supposed to.

Once in a while, a piece will fall off the table before we roll up the puzzle. The next time we unroll the puzzle and begin working on it, if we don’t find the piece before we finish, we will NEVER finish the puzzle.

Paul said in Philippians 4:8-9 (KJV) “. . . whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”  Jesus is the most important piece of the puzzle. If we think about Jesus, we will see all these things come into our lives.

Thinking Of You

As I travel through this world I sometimes lose my way
And I struggle just to see The hope in every day.
Until I change direction And focus on your way.

Thinking of you, Lord Will help me change my view
Thinking of you, Lord Will make my life renew

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this chorus contact Passages Ministries.

He Took My Place

September 30, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

It was a cold January day in 1965. The heat was supplied by an open-faced propane heater in the back of the classroom. The class bully had a few firecrackers left over from summer. When the teacher had her back turned, he tossed them in the heater. When they exploded everyone in the room was startled.

The teacher looked at the two boys sitting closest to the stove and asked, “Which one of you did that?” Neither student admitted to the prank. The teacher took told them, “If one of you doesn’t own up to this, the whole class is going to suffer.” He said, “There will be no recess time for the next week.”

The quiet, skinny, kid held up his hand and said, “I did it Mrs. Smith.” She took him by the arm and marched him down to the principal’s office. There he received five licks from the big paddle the principal kept on his desk.

That afternoon, the bully came up to the skinny kid and said, “Why’d ya do it? Why’d ya tell Mrs. Smith you did it when you knew it was me?”

The skinny kid said, “Because, it was the right thing to do.”

“What do ya mean ‘the right thing to do’?” He said, “You coulda told her it was me.”

The skinny kid replied, “But if I had done that you would have just denied it and we would have all been in trouble anyway. And besides, someone else took my punishment a long time ago.”

The bully said, “I just don’t get you, man!”

From that time forward, the bully began to change. First, he stopped picking on the skinny kid. Then he started treating other kids better. He even volunteered one day to clean the blackboards in Mrs. Smith’s classroom.

While he was there he told Mrs. Smith that the skinny kid had taken the blame for what he had done. He apologized for the way he had behaved.

Mrs. Smith said, “He paid the price for you. I hope you will always remember that.”

This took place in central Oklahoma. The skinny kid was me. The bully became my best friend and biggest defender. Why did I tell you this story?

It is because someone took the blame for me and took my punishment. An old hymn says it best. The chorus says, “He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sin away. And now I sing that brand new song: Amazing Grace, For Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.”  

Isaiah 53:4-5 (KJV) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  

You Have A Friend

So many times I look upon my life
And see that it is filled with endless strife.
“Why is it so?” I asked my Lord today
This is what I heard him gently say.

Chorus:
When troubles seem to fill your life with woe
Just turn to me and let those troubles go.
No matter what the difficulties be
You can depend; you have a friend in me.

But now I look, and all the world around
There’s war and strife and famine to be found.
“Oh why, my Lord, do children starve this way?”
This is what I heard Him gently say.

Chorus

Now I have learned, upon Him to depend.
For in my Lord, I’ve found the greatest friend.
Now when I come to Him and humbly pray
This is what I always hear Him say.

Chorus

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

What a Hero Looks Like

September 27, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Our nation has forgotten what true heroes look like and what they do. Here is my take on that subject.

A young soldier was in the regular army before World War II began. He had gotten married before war broke out and he was “retained for the good of the country.” At the time he was a private in what was then named the “Horse Drawn Artillery” of the United States Cavalry. He shipped out to England and waited for his battalion, the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, to be deployed.

He was among the first troops to invade North Africa. There, he had his comrades fought Rommel all the way across North Africa. Then they shipped out to Cicely and Italy and fought their way north toward the heart of Germany.

Toward the end of the war, they were looking to join up with an infantry battalion for a joint push into Germany. Communications were a severe problem in WWII. The commander did not know where the infantry battalion was so he ordered the battalion to stop and our soldier was to run forward on foot in an attempt to locate the infantry.

As the young man, now a Staff Sergeant ran forward, he saw a German helmet among the hedgerows. He ducked down and followed that German back to his camp. The camp was a German headquarters group. He watched as the Germans worked over a map under a tent with the flaps raised. He could see that they were planning an attack on the very infantry battalion he was looking for.

He ran as fast as he could back to the commander and told him what he had seen. The commander ordered him to get in his half-track and lead the battalion in. He was to stop “two clicks back” from the camp. They then circled the camp with the three-inch naval guns that were mounted on the half-tracks lowered and aiming into the camp. The commander got on the bullhorn and said, “I am the commander of the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion of Patton’s  3rd Army.” He continued, “You are completely surrounded. If you desire to live, lay down your arms and come out of the camp with your hands over your head.”

The Germans did as they were commanded. Our Sergeant’s actions had saved an entire battalion of infantrymen from being attacked. This action earned our Sergeant his second Bronze Star.

The Sergeant had been on the front lines for 34 months without R&R. When his commander found out that he had been there that long with no relief, he gave the soldier ninety days R&R in the States. He landed in New York harbor the day that President Roosevelt died. Just a few weeks later, May 8, 1945, victory was gained in the European Theater of Conflict.  I know these things because that young Sergeant was my father, Harold Amos Hall, a native of Hennessey, Oklahoma. 

I shared this story with a WWII veteran in a doctor’s office waiting room. With a tear trickling down his cheek he said, “My brother was in the Infantry Battalion your dad saved.” He said, “He told me several times about a Sergeant in the Tank Destroyers that saved them from a surprise attack in Germany.”

This is what a true American hero looks like.

But there is a greater hero. One who died over almost 2000 years ago on a hill called Golgotha. He laid down His life in the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace and salvation to a lost world. His name is Jesus. Have you trusted in Him?

Acts 4:12 (KJV) says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

He saves us from the attack of the enemy every day of our lives and for eternity to come. All you have to do is believe in your heart that He is the Son of God and that He died for our sins. Then confess with your mouth, turning from the sins that enslave you.

Let Jesus Christ be your eternal hero.

© Copyright 2017 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.

Christ is Our Hope

September 23, 2017

– By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

We were in Colorado working wildfire recovery in the Black Forest. Everywhere we went we saw the fingerprints of God. One home was burned completely to the foundation. One of our team members reached down and picked up a broken shard of pottery. Under that shard was a perfectly preserved aluminum coin with the Lord’s Prayer on one side and the Ten Commandments on the other. On the same property, I spotted what appeared to be a cross standing near the fence. On closer inspection, it proved to be a wooden pole and cross-member where a plastic basketball goal had hung. The wood had survived the fire, but the plastic didn't.

Another property was owned by a hardened atheist woman. She had told us when we arrived, “I don’t want to hear the name of Jesus on this property!” As we worked, sifting through the ashes to recover anything that might have survived, I picked up an unmarred plastic child’s cup with the words, “Jesus loves you” printed clearly on it.

When I handed that cup to the woman, she broke down in tears. She said, “That cup belonged to my granddaughter. She died last year.” As I comforted her I sensed, for the first time, an openness in her spirit. Within about fifteen minutes I had the privilege of leading her in the “sinners prayer” as she trusted in Christ as her Lord and Savior.

In Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief we have a practice that, if the homeowner permits, we use a chainsaw to shape one of the tree stumps into a cross. As our team member carved the cross, this dear former atheist leaned her head on my shoulder and said, “You guys are going to make me cry.” When the cross was finished she said, “I’m going right now to Colorado Springs to buy some polyurethane and pour it over the cross so it will always remind me of what happened here today.”

Paul began his first letter to Timothy, his son in the ministry, with these words. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.”

The former atheist learned that her hope could be in Christ. Where is your hope today? Christ is my hope. How about you?

 

Thank You, Jesus

Thank you, Jesus, for coming our way.
Thank you, Jesus, for coming to stay.
We turn in repentance,
You give us forgiveness.
We thank you, Jesus, for loving us today.

You’re our hope and salvation, always.
You’re the one through Whom we must pray.
We give our lives to you,
To do what you would do.
We thank you, Jesus, for loving us today.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

The Starting Point

September 19, 2017

- By Evangelist John BJ Hall -

My father was a wise man. Many times I heard him say, “If God can’t use you where you are, He certainly can’t use you where you’re not.” I have found this to be true in life. If I am not willing to serve God where I am, how dare I think I will serve Him somewhere else?

Sadly many professing believers have tucked the message of hope away in a bottle of disuse. Someone else will tell them, we think. But we never open the bottle for those near to us.

After one of Dwight L. Moody's meetings, a locomotive engineer came forward and said he had decided to become a missionary to a foreign country. Moody asked him if his fireman were a Christian. "I don't know," was the reply, "I've never asked him." "Well," said Moody, "why don't you start with your fireman?"

A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the events that took place in my father and mother’s lives. Those stories remind me of where I came from. They are stories of a life well lived for the cause of Christ.

All of us have a story. Families hand down stories, and they are often repeated at festive occasions. Individuals have stories to tell, and so do congregations.

But there is a story, a message, that is more important and poignant than any other that I could share. That story, that message, is of how God looked upon us with love and sent His Only Son to die in our stead. He did this so that we could be cleansed of our sin, and made it possible for us to be in perfect fellowship with Him.

Professing Christians are commissioned to tell the story of the promised Messiah, His life, death, and resurrection. Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV) says, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

It is vital to the hope of our world that we let the message out of the bottle. That is the starting point.

The Message

Oh, how He loves this world that He made.
So great is His love, His life He paid.
There on the cross, He hung for our sin,
He died beside the vilest of men.

Down through the years, by messengers true,
God’s Word had been spread, the whole world through.
The message of hope brought on the tree,
Made its way down to sinners like me.

Now that the love of Jesus is mine,
I find myself singing all the time.
I can’t be still as long as it’s known,
His love 
to millions has not been shown.

Just as He came to set my soul free,
I’ll go to the world, so they can see.
That His blood shed on that cruel cross,
Will save all who trust from endless loss.

This is the message we all must bring
So that the rest of the world can sing.
A message of hope and glory too,
Of what Jesus did for me and you.

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

True Love

September 12, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

On January 6, 1970, I met a beautiful brown eyed girl, who I knew I would spend the rest of my life loving. She was a senior in high school and I was a freshman in a junior college. Two days after we met, I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

The only thing she knew about me was that I was her pastor’s son. I had been away in college when my father accepted the call to pastor her church. The only thing I knew about her was that she was beautiful and her brown eyes….. Well, what can I say, it was love at first sight for both of us.

We were married on May 29, 1970, less than five months after we met. Over the years, we have both said the words, “I love you” thousands of times. But there is more to love than mere words. You see, love demands action.

We have learned a lot about love over the last forty-seven-plus years. The most important thing we have learned is that love is not a noun. It is not just an “intense feeling of deep affection.” Nor is love a verb in the traditional sense of a “deep romantic or sexual attachment.”

What we have learned is that love is very active. Love is seen in a glance across the room. It is felt in a tender touch as one passes by the other. It is displayed by actions taken day after day, week after week, year after year, that say I not only love you but I respect you and honor you. 

This is true of our relationship with our Lord as well. Love is not just singing a song of worship. It is more than simply listening to a sermon or Bible study.

Love is “boots on the ground” in service to those whom God loves. It is helping an elderly neighbor by mowing her grass. It is stopping by just to chat with someone who is lonely.

But most of all, just as Christ gave His life to teach us what love is, it is giving the lost a cup of cool “water of life.” It is serving a loaf of “the bread of life” to the spiritually hungry. It is telling the lost of the hope that can be found in loving arms of Jesus.

How do you show your love?

 

How I Love Him

How I love Him, Yes I love Him,
For He first loved me.
I will give Him; Yes I’ll give Him,
My life totally.
For He gave me; Yes he gave me,
His love on a tree.
Yes, Jesus my Savior gives love full and free.

I will hear Him; Yes I’ll hear Him,
And His will obey.
I’ll stay near Him; Yes stay near Him,
And I’ll never stray.
For He hears me; Yes He hears me
When to Him I pray.
Yes, Jesus my Savior Will ne'er go away.

I will serve Him; Yes I’ll serve Him,
With all of my might.
I will praise Him; Yes I’ll praise Him,
All through the night.
He forgave me; Yes forgave me,
Now with God, I am right.
Yes Jesus my Savior, Gives love and new sight.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages ministries.

 

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