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Passages Ministries

The Ministries of John "BJ" Hall

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Since January 18, 2015

He Took My Place

~ 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.

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.


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.


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