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Showing posts with label soldiers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soldiers. Show all posts

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Fears

2016 Fears
Are you sitting all alone in a cold dark room, figuratively at least, and dreading the coming year? What do you fear the most? Is it the Isis, coming nearer and nearer? Maybe they have already invaded your town and you wonder how long it will be until you are singled out. That’s a fear that could surely grip one’s heart and make them tremble.  
Or maybe your worries are in in a different line. Maybe you are wondering when will you or your spouse find work. It has been so many months now. How long will you be able to put bread on the table, pay the bills, keep up with the rent? Will you end up on the street?
Maybe there is discord in the home, or drinking, or violence. Maybe you feel like you are to blame and you feel so guilty, but don’t know how to stop. Will the coming year be any better?
Maybe a loved one died. Maybe tragically, maybe through natural causes, maybe it was suicide. To say the future looks bleak without them just doesn’t cut it. It looks awful, just plain awful.
And now it’s 2016 or soon will be, and it feels like the weight of the world is crushing you down.


You feel like those soldiers long ago who were heading home to Italy but there were mountains to cross on foot, and the blizzard surrounded them. The climb seemed endless and was getting continually harder as they struggled through the cold, deepening snow.
What happened then? Many of those mighty warriors were growing faint of heart so what did Hannibal do? He found a good look out point and rallied them all together with shouts of encouragement.
The message was simple, brief…and wonderful. Over these steeps lay Italy, their sunny homeland where loved ones were waiting for them. His words gave them the stamina to continue, but do your know what? Our Captain, the Captain of the Lord’s Army offers even more.
He says that after these struggles and trials our Heavenly Home is waiting us. That is glorious, without a doubt, but sometimes the storms of life make it hard to set our hopes on something so distant so He does one better that that ancient general so long ago.
Listen now, this is important. If you are fainting beneath your heavy load of --life, call out to Him. Keep calling and He will carry you. I promise. Maybe you won’t feel any different immediately, but I promise you if you keep trusting Him He will comfort you. How do I know? Because He’s helped me.
Even tonight.

I’ll remember you in my prayers.

Monday, September 7, 2015

What Happened to the Living Bread

This is based on a true story from what we call the Dark Ages. Thank you Google Images for the suitable picture.

Margit looked anxiously as her husband Jacob.

“Are you sure the children will be safe whilst we are gone?”

“They are in the Father’s care, wife. He will watch over them just as He will be with us.”

Margit nodded and picked up her satchel. If it were not for the urgent need to see her dying mother in another valley and another town, they would not have considered leaving their children overnight.

“Fear not, mother,” seventeen year old Eloise comforted, “We will be fine. Obed will care for the goats and other outdoor chores and I what pertaineth to the house.”

Margit nodded, and then whispered in Eloise’s ear. “Beware of the soldiers.”

Eloise was fearful, but pretended not to be, as she let her handkerchief flutter gaily in the breeze while watching their parents make their way through the empty streets.

Soon the early morning mist hid them from view.

                Well, we might as well start with our chores,” she began. “It will make the time go faster.”

Obed nodded and picked up the milk bucket, “Beware of the soldiers,” he also warned.

Once again they were on a rampage against the Christians. She shook her head woefully before picking up the straw broom to sweep into all the corners of their three room abode.

After that was done, she cleared the breakfast dishes off the table, and washed them in a pottery bowl, searched for the eggs from their tiny flock of chickens clucking in the yard, and laid out the ingredients for making the daily bread.

A few minutes later her fifteen year old brother handed her the milk from the goats then caressed the Bible resting on the corner of the wooden plank table.

“Henrik and Maria were taken in for questioning, “He informed her.

Although Eloise’s hands were busy adding the starter mixture to the ingredients in her dough trough, she stole a glance at the word of God.

“Aye, but it is so precious,” she murmured. “Our lives have been much changed since Papa and Mama have been taught by the Word. Papa no longer comes home drunk and brutal, and---“

“Shh, I know. But be careful. I must needs bring the goats out to pasture.  But ye be careful, ya hear?”

Eloise nodded and had a strange impulse to hug him, but that was not done in those days, so she dismissed it.

The silence hung heavily about the house after the last family member departed. Eloise wiped her hands on her apron and strained the milk.

I will put it to cool in the stream once the bread is rising.

Eloise found herself gazing frequently out the one small window at the street winding past their house. Then she heard it: the tromp of soldiers’ feet. They were across the street now, pounding on Neighbour Saul’s door but within minutes they would arrive at their own, ready to confiscate the Bible once they laid eyes on it, and possibly throw her in prison for breaking the law.

Eloise’s heart pounded as she snatched up the life changing word and pressed it against her bosom. Where oh where can I hide it?

The rough, angry voices grew louder, they were nearer.

“Forgive me Lord,” she whispered as she plunged the Bible into the dough that she had begun to knead  and carefully folded another portion on top.

“Open up! We command ye!”


“My hands are in the dough,” she responded with a slight tremor, “But the latch string is on the outside.”

The three burly men seemed to fill the space as they crowded in. Eloise noticed their eyes were blood shot.

“Hand over the heretic’s Bible,” the spokesman demanded. “We have heard that your parents purchased one from that wicked bookseller who came into the valley.”

“How we can hide anything in this small abode, “Eloise asked gently, “If ye insist on searching, look for yourselves for my hands are sticky.”

It didn’t take long before everything was upturned and even their straw pallets were slashed open.

“Where are your parents?” Simon demanded.

“They went to visit a dying relative. “She sprinkled some more flour into the mix and continued pressing it with the heels of her hands.  It is a good thing that Mama asked me to make a large batch so we would have some to give to the poor and needy, she thought, but one corner of the Bible did want to protrude.

“Did they take it with them?”


“Take what with them?   

“The Bible, you imbecile!”

“I trow not. They would not prate around town with such a dangerous item.”

“Simon, we are wasting your time here,” Thomas grabbed him roughly by the shirt. “It’s obvious there are no books of any kind in this humble cottage. We must be going.”

Simon cast one last suspicious glance at Eloise’s pale face before stomping out.

Many hours later Obed returned, his eyes wide with concern. “Where is the Word,” he asked? “I heard they made a search."

“Be careful when you cut the bread,” she answered simply.


www.prairieviewpress.com (Marilyn Friesen)







































































Monday, September 29, 2014

Doomed Soldiers Went Singing to Heaven


(A true story)

One of the strangest experiences in my life is connected with war, says Nordenberg, an eminent engineer in Finland.

“I offered my services to the government and was appointed as an officer in General Mannerheim’s army. It was a terrible time. We besieged the town. It had been taken by the Red Army and we retook it. A number of the Red soldiers were under my guard. Seven of them were to be shot at dawn on Monday. I shall never forget the preceeding Sunday. The seven doomed men were kept in the basement of the town hall. In the passageway my men stood at attention with their rifles.

“The atmosphere was filled with hatred. My soldiers were drunk with victory and taunted their prisoners. Some swore as much as they could and beat the walls with their bleeding fists. Others called for their wives and children who were far away. At dawn they were all to die.

“We had the victory, that was true enough; but the value of this seemed to diminish as the night advanced. I began to wonder if there did not rest a curse on arms whichever side used them.

“Then something happened. One of the men doomed to death began to sing. “He is mad” was everybody’s first thought. But I had noticed this man, Koskinen, had not raved and curved like the others. Quietly he had sat on the bench, a picture of utter despair.  Nobody said anything to him—each was carrying his burden in his own way and Koskinen sang, rather waveringly at first, but then his voice grew stronger, and filled out, and became natural and free. All the prisoners turned to look at the singer who now seemed to be in his element.

Safe in the arms of Jesus

Safe on His gentle breast

There by His love o’er shadowed

Sweetly my soul shall rest

Hark tis the voice of angels

Born in a song to me

Over the fields of glory,

Over the jasper sea.


“Over and over again Koskinen sang that verse and when he was finished everyone was quiet for a few minutes until a wild-looking individual broke out with “Where did you get that, you fool? Are you trying to make us religious?”  Koskinen looked at his comrades and his eyes filled with tears. Then he asked quietly, “Comrades, will you listen to me for a few minutes? You asked me where I got that song. It was from the Salvation Army.  I heard it there three weeks ago. At first I also laughed but it got to me. It is cowardly to hide your beliefs; the God my mother believed in has now become my God also. I cannot tell how it happened, but I know it has happened.  I lay awake last night and suddenly felt I had to find the Savior and hide in Him. Then I prayed-like the thief on the cross-that Christ would forgive me and cleanse my sinful soul, and make me ready to stand before Him whom I should meet soon.”





“It was a strange night, “continued Koskinen. “There were times when everything seemed to shine around me. Verses from the Bible and from the Song Book came to mind. They brought a message of the crucified Savior and the blood that cleanses from sin and of the Home He has prepared for us. I thanked Him, accepted it, and since then this verse has been sounding inside me. It was God’s answer to my prayer. I could no longer keep it to myself. Within a few hours I shall be with the Lord, saved by His grace.

“Koskinen’s face shone as by an inward light. His comrades sat there quietly. He himself stood there transfixed. My soldiers were listening to what this Red revolutionary had to say.

““You are right, Koskinen,” one of  of his comrades said at last. “If only I knew there was mercy for me too! But these hands of mine have shed blood and I have reviled God and trampled on all that is holy.  Now I realize that there is a Hell and that it is the proper place for me.”

“He sank to the ground with despair depicted on his face.  “Pray for me Koskinen,” he groaned, “Tomorrow I will die and my soul will be in the hands of the devil!”

“And there these two Red soldiers went down on their knees and prayed for each other. It was no long prayer, but it opened Heaven for both, and we who listened to it forgot our hatred. It melted in the light from Heaven, for here two men who were soon to die, sought reconciliation with God. A door leading into the invisible stood ajar and we were entranced by the sight.

“Let me tell you shortly that by the time it was four o’clock all Koskinen’s comrades had followed his example and began to pray. The change in the atmosphere was indescribable. Some of them sat on the floor, others talked of spiritual things.

“The night had almost gone and day was dawning. No one had a moments sleep. “Sing the song once more for us, Koskinen,” said one of them. And you should of head them sing! Not only that song, but verses and choruses long forgotten came forth from their memories as buds (opening) in the sunshine. The soldiers on guard united their voices with them.

“The town clock struck six. How I wished I could have begged grace for these men, but knew this was impossible.

“Between two rows of soldiers they marched out to execution. One of them asked to be allowed once more to sing Koskinen’s song. Permission was granted. Then they asked to die with uncovered faces and hands raised to Heaven. They sang with might and main.

‘Safe in the arms of Jesus

Safe on His gentle breast…’

“When the last lines had died out the lieutenant gave the word “Fire!” and the seven Red soldiers had fought their last fight.  We inclined our heads in silent prayer.

“What happened to the hearts of the others, I do not know, but as far as I was concerned, I was a new man from that hour. I had met Christ in one of His lowliest and youngest disciples and I had seen enough to realize that I too, could be His.  “The Lord looketh from Heaven: He beholdeth all the sons of men.” Psalms 33:13

“Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life:  he that believeth in me, though he were to die, yet shall he live. John 11:25 RV)


Translated for “All the World” by Major Clara Becker. The War Cry