Obama’s Mental Disorder

Written by Michael A. Haberman, M.D.

Sam Varkin

Sam Vaknin

Dr. Sam Vaknin is an Israeli psychologist  who has studied Obama. Vaknin States “I must confess I was impressed by Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident, a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. Obama’s speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi “religious” impact on so many people.

obama-bestThe fact that Obama is a total incognito with Zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects.”

Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the Malignant Self Love believes “Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist.” Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands narcissism and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens. Vaknin says that Obama’s language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest friends suggest that the man is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves. Jim Jones, the charismatic leader of People’s Temple, the man who led over 900 of his followers to cheerfully commit mass suicide and even murder their own children was also a narcissist. David Koresh, Charles Manson, Joseph Koni, Shoko Asahara, Stalin, Saddam, Mao, Kim Jong Ill and Adolph Hitler are a few examples of narcissists of our time. All these men had a tremendous influence over their fanciers. They created a personality cult around themselves and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for life. They gave them hope! They promised them the moon, but alas, invariably they brought them to their doom.

When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don’t know it until it is too late. One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse “Obama’s early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations, “says Vaknin. “Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant two years old. Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia , a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. “She died of cancer in 1995.”

One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents. Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and does not deserve their attention.

If an issue raised in the Senate does not help Obama in one way or another, he has no interest in it. The “present” vote is a safe vote. No one can criticize him if things go wrong. Those issues are unworthy by their very nature because they are not about him.

Obama’s election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review led to a contract and advance to write a book about race relations. The University of Chicago Law School provided him a lot longer than expected and at the end it evolved into, guess what? His own autobiography! Instead of writing a scholarly paper focusing on race relations, for which he had been paid, Obama could not resist writing about his most sublime self. He entitled the book Dreams from My Father.

Not surprisingly, Adolph Hitler also wrote his own autobiography when he was still a nobody. So did Stalin. For a narcissist no subject is as important as his own self. Why would he waste his precious time and genius writing about insignificant things when he can write about such an august being as himself?

Narcissists are often callous and even ruthless. As the norm, they lack conscience. This is evident from Obama’s lack of interest in his own brother who lives on only one dollar per month. A man who lives in luxury, who takes a private jet to vacation in Hawaii, and who raised nearly half a billion dollars for his campaign (something unprecedented in history) has no interest in the plight of his own brother. Why? Because, his brother cannot be used for his ascent to power. A narcissist cares for no one but himself.

This election was like no other in the history of America. The issues were insignificant compared to what is at stake. What can be more dangerous than having a man bereft of conscience, a serial liar, and one who cannot distinguish his fantasies from reality as the leader of the free world?

I hate to sound alarmist, but one is a fool if one is not alarmed. Many politicians are narcissists. They pose no threat to others. They are simply self serving and selfish. Obama evidences symptoms of pathological narcissism, which is different from the run-of-the-mill narcissism of a Richard Nixon or a Bill Clinton for example. To him reality and fantasy are intertwined.

This is a mental health issue, not just a character flaw. Pathological narcissists are dangerous because they look normal and even intelligent. It is this disguise that makes them treacherous. Today the Democrats have placed all their hopes in Obama. But this man could put an end to their party. The great majority of blacks voted for Obama. Only a fool does not know that their support for him is racially driven. This is racism, pure and simple.

The downside of this is that if Obama turns out to be the disaster I predict, he will cause widespread resentment among the whites. The blacks are unlikely to give up their support of their man. Cultic mentality is pernicious and unrelenting. They will dig their heads deeper in the sand and blame Obama’s detractors of racism. This will cause a backlash among the whites.. The white supremacists will take advantage of the discontent and they will receive widespread support. I predict that in less than four years, racial tensions will increase to levels never seen since the turbulent 1960’s.

Obama will set the clock back decades. America is the bastion of freedom. The peace of the world depends on the strength of America, and its weakness translates into the triumph of terrorism and victory of rogue nations. It is no wonder that Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, the Castrists, the Hezbollah, the Hamas, the lawyers of the Guantanamo terrorists, and virtually all sworn enemies of America are so thrilled by the prospect of their man in the White House.

America is on the verge of destruction. There is no insanity greater than electing a pathological narcissist as president .

{I do believe that Dr. Vaknin agrees with Hank Jr. and so do I}


Bright Future For Israel: America, Not So!

Charles Dickens began his novel The Tale of Two Cities with these words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

obama-bestIf you are an evangelical Christian living in the United States, you probably share my sentiment that these are not the best of times. Our president is on the verge of betraying Israel if he has not already done so. “Erasing Israel off the map is not negotiable,” said Iranian paramilitary leader Mohammad Reza Naqdi in a March 31 meeting between the Iranians, the U.S. and five other nations. The shock and awe of it all is that the U.S. delegation was not offended and continued negotiations with a terrorist State whose primary mission is to annihilate Israel and Christianity and then subjugate everyone else, making the globe the world of Islam. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was livid, and translated Obama’s conciliatory attitude with Iran as betrayal. I wish there was a way to make Netanyahu an American citizen so he could be our President. The highly intelligent Israeli Prime Minister made a moving speech before our Congress on March 3. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado said, “I was in the room and it was a speech for the ages.” Obama disagreed, matter of fact, he did not want Netanyahu to speak before Congress. According to Fox News, Obama loathes Netanyahu. Notice the expression on Biden’s face. He does not look happy.

a ben netanyhu

I am neither a prophet or the son of a prophet but in reading God’s word through several times, I am of the firm conviction that a betrayal of Israel is suicide for America. I am not a Zionist; I interpret everything though the lens of the Gospels and the words of Jesus. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” The is emphatic, meaning Jesus is the only way to the Father for Jew or Gentile. I firmly believe that the Jewish people scattered around the world, are going to mysteriously turn to Christ. You should check out Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn on YouTube. In Zechariah 8:22-23 we find these prophetic words, Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and to ask for his blessing. “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In those days ten men from different nations and languages of the world will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” I am a Gentile and we have been given 2,000 years to carry out the Great Commission but we have failed. Being a Southern Baptist, for years I thought perhaps the IMB working with other Mission Organizations was the answer to getting the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth but now I see another way and I am excited. I think God will use the Jews to fulfill the Great Commission. Give it some thought: [1] They are scattered all over the world. They do not have to be sent by a mission board, they are in place as I write. [2] They make better evangelist than Gentiles. They are more persuasive, more determined and if you check out Jonathan Cahn, you will see a boldness that we Gentiles lack. I would not be shocked to hear just any day that Jews all over the world are turning to Christ. Make no mistake about it: Christ is the answer, not Baptist, not the U.S. and not Israel. Where I differ greatly from Zionist is the emphasis on Christ. It is only when the Jews become believers in Jesus that God will use them to evangelize the world. Of course we are going to work along side them.

Zionist believe that Judaism will be revived, that the Temple will be rebuilt, that animal sacrifices will be carried out just as in the Old Testament. The New Testament makes it crystal clear that Jesus is greater than Judaism. Judaism is the shadow whereas Jesus is the substance. Jesus fulfilled Judaism. He taught clearly that Christianity was not an extension of Judaism but a totally new covenant.  In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus said, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”  

With Christ death on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn into from TOP to BOTTOM. This marked the death of Judaism. Everyone should get thoroughly acquainted with Hebrews chapter 10…

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
    But you have given me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
    or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
    as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect.

I understand why the Jews have trouble letting go of Judaism, even Paul struggled with this issue. He got arrested while fulfilling and OT vow that had nothing to do with the new covenant. Why would we want to see a revival of Judaism? I think it is a misinterpretation of God’s purpose and of scripture.

If you will read the Old Testament prophet and look for certain things as you read, you will see that every prophet, major or minor, speaks about the dispersion and also the ingathering or the return to the land of Israel. Even Moses prophecies the dispersion and the ingathering.

 “In the future, when you experience all these blessings and curses I have listed for you, and when you are living among the nations to which the Lord your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions. If at that time you and your children return to the Lord your God, and if you obey with all your heart and all your soul all the commands I have given you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. {Deut 30}

Even the Psalmist said in Psalm 44… You make us retreat from our enemies and allow those who hate us to plunder our land. You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations.

  • Isaiah 11:12–He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth.
  • Jeremiahs 31:10– “Listen to this message from the LORD, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock.”
  • Ezekiel 11:17—I the Sovereign LORD, will gather you back from the Nations where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again.
  • Daniel 9:7“Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us, including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you.”
  • Amos 9:17—And the people of Israel will certainly become captives in exile, far from their homeland.
  • Zephaniah 3:20– “At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” Says the Lord.
  • Zechariah 10:9– Though I have scattered them like seeds among the nations, they will still remember me in distant lands. They and their children will survive and return again to Israel.Not only do the prophets predict the dispersion and the restoration: they predict that Israel will triumph over all their foes.
  •  Micah 5:9—The people of Israel will stand up to their foes, and all their enemies will be wiped out.
  • Micah 2:12-13– “Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left. I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture. Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds! Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land. Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”
  • Amos 9:15– I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.
  • Hosea 14:4-7– The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.  My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.
  • Jeremiah 33:6-9– “Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace.  I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them. One of the most amazing prophecies in the bible is found in Deuteronomy 28. I share just a portion but there much more in the chapter. Deuteronomy 28:63-67– “Just as the Lord has found great pleasure in causing you to prosper and multiply, the Lord will find pleasure in destroying you. You will be torn from the land you are about to enter and occupy. 64 For the Lord will scatter you among all the nations from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship foreign gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods made of wood and stone! 65 There among those nations you will find no peace or place to rest. And the Lord will cause your heart to tremble, your eyesight to fail, and your soul to despair. 66 Your life will constantly hang in the balance. You will live night and day in fear, unsure if you will survive. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were night!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’ For you will be terrified by the awful horrors you see around you.  
  1. Take you from the land
  2. Scatter you among the nations
  3. You will find no rest [peace]
  4. Live in constant fear and dread
  5. Your soul will despair
  6. Eyesight will fail [insight]
  7. Insecure and unsure of survival
  8. Terrified by the awful horrors you see

adolf-hitlerBefore I get into the prophecy: I want to tell you a story. Several years ago a Messianic Jew visited with us here in Danville. I carried him to supper and took advantage of the opportunity to ask him some things that had been bothering me. Why are the Jews liberal? Why do they support the democratic party and abortion? Why do not trust the religious right? He said, “It’s simple. Most Jews are not believers in Jesus Christ and they do not understand Christians. They associated evangelical Christianity and the religious right to Hilter. They are convinced that Hitler was a part of the religious right, a fanatic who hated Jews under the guise of Christianity. I said, “Why don’t they get the facts? Hitler was a Satan worshipper and had a Narcissistic Personality Disorder [worshipped himself].  The religious right is pro-Israel and the democratic party is weak in its support of Israel. He said, “I know what you say is true but you can’t convince them.” Obama may convince them. It is true that Jews in American are very liberal and most are agnostic but that can change and I believe it will. I am not saying that the Jews are going to all get saved and thus save America. I do think that the fall of America could open their eyes and I do believe that eventually their eyes will be opened. How do I reconcile this theory with free-will? I don’t try, I’m basing my thoughts on what I see spoken in the word of God over and over. My Jewish friend from New York confirmed the prophecy of Moses… There among those nations you will find no peace or place to rest. And the Lord will cause your heart to tremble, your eyesight to fail, and your soul to despair. 66 Your life will constantly hang in the balance. You will live night and day in fear, unsure if you will survive.

There are other things that amaze me about this prophecy. Moses made these predictions long before Israel became a Nation, or at least long before they had a king and a government. It would be some 500 years later before Saul was anointed king of Israel. The first great dispersion starting taking place in 734 BC when the Assyrians began displacing the Northern 10 tribes. This means Moses prediction came 7-8 hundred years before it actually happened. Tiglath-pileser III deported a group from 734-732. A second dispersion took place under Shalmaneser V [729-724] and a third under Sargon II moved the Israelites further east to Babylon and beyond. I have a chart that will give you some idea.The is 605 Nebuchadnezzar invades the South and take captives {Daniel and friends}, then in 586 [due to the Jews rebelling] Nebuchadnezzar totally destroys Jerusalem and the Temple and they deport almost the entire population. They did leave a remnant of caretakers and Jeremiah the prophet stayed with them. This situation did not last long, some of Jews rebelled against the government that Nebuchadnezzar had installed, they assassinated the Governor and then a large portion of the remaining Jews fled to Egypt and South of Egypt.

assyrian captivity

Being defeated by foreign foes was only one of the many ways that Israel got scattered. Some of wealthy Jews fled to the West when they saw the hand writing on the wall. Others were shipped abroad as slaves. Slavery was big business even in the time of Christ. We tend to think that the gospel stayed in Jerusalem until the death of Stephen and James; the Jewish persecution of Jewish Christians did scatter many believers but actually, the Gospel went into many parts of the world after Pentecost when the Jews from all over the world returned home. Paul did not carry the gospel to Rome: it was already there when he arrived. The Jews continued to migrate both toward the East and West. Eventually, they would be in Western Europe and both America’s. To the East the migrated all the way to Russia. This means, they have the globe covered. There are Jews everywhere which is a good thing, I believe. God is going to make this work for our good and His glory.

Everything on Moses list has been fulfilled so what makes you think the prophecies about an ingathering are not going to be fulfilled, especially since my generation has witness the beginning of the restoration of Israel which began in 1948.  Some jumped to the conclusion that the end was near and it is the human tendency to do so but I believe it marked the beginning. Sometimes God has to put a thorn in our nest to get us to move. There are millions of Jews in America, perfectly content now but Obama may be the thorn in the nest. Jews are still migrating back to Israel, 26,500 last year. The restoration began in 1948 with 3 million Jews from 90 countries. It will continue until there are more Jews in Israel than you can count. There population will increase and their land mass will grow. Eventually, they will occupy land on the East side of Jordan.

I know it is dangerous for me to prophecy but based on the evidence of scripture, I believe the number of Jews migrating back to Israel will continue to grow. Israel had only two allies, the U.S. and Great Britain and both of those seem to be caving, however I don’t think it matters. The Jews are going to triumph over all their foes. I am praying that we don’t become a foe. Woe to the foe! Iran is not going to annihilate Israel; they may try but they will not succeed. If we betray Israel, we can stop singing God Bless America. So my firm conviction is that Israel will continue to grow in number and strength and that God will supernaturally aid them in their defense. The words of all the prophets will be fulfilled and not one prophet mentioned the annihilation of Israel. 

This article has not been edited. They are probably many typo’s.

In Memory Martha Allen Newby

Martha Elizabeth Allen Newby

January 26, 1922-November 27, 2014

martha newby


Mrs. Martha, as we fondly referred to her was promoted on Thanksgiving day at the age of 92. Mrs. Martha was born in Columbia, Tennessee to William James Allen and Gladys Wilson Allen. She graduated from Columbia Central High School in 1940 and Athens College in 1944 where she meet her husband, James Martin Newby. They were married for 68 years until Mr. James’ promotion in 2012. She was a teacher at Copeland School and Johnson Jr. High School. Mrs. Martha was a member of Sardis Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and sang in the choir for many years. She was a devoted wife and loving mother and grandmother with many friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Martin Newby, her parents, sisters, Mary Frances Gladney, Annie Walker Bailey, Gladys Clymer, Marguerite Allen, brothers, Jimmy Allen, Evan Allen and Paul Allen. Mrs. Martha is survived by her sons, James [Jimmy] Martin Newby, Jr. and wife, Martha and Jerry Allen Newby and wife, Dianne, both of Athens; daughter, Susan Newby Ming and husband, Bill of Athens; grandchildren, John Martin Newby and wife Monica, Leigh Anne Newby Toone and husband, Shane, James Michael Newby and wife, Lindsay, Elizabeth Ann Newby Crow and husband, Justin. Mary Anna Newby, Jerry Allen Newby, Jr. and wife, Ashley, William Calvin Ming, Jr., Elizabeth Newby Ming, Sarah Martha Ming; 10 great-grandchildren; brother, Ernest Wilson Allen and wife, Virginia of Columbia, TN; sister-in-laws, Lorene Allen of Columbia, TN and Wynelle Allen of Pulaski, TN and many nieces and nephews. To donate to the Martha A. Newby Scholarship Fund, send money to University Scholarship Fund Foundation, P.O. Box 70 Athens, AL.


I’ve been in the gospel ministry for over 45 years and I’ve never known a perfect couple but the couple above came as close to perfection as any I know. I’ve never known a man to treat a woman with more respect than did James Martin Newby. Mama, as he referred to her was number one and he let everyone know that she was number one.

James, William, Martha

When I was a kid there were two professions that I shied away from and that was preachers and school teachers. As a general rule, school teachers and I did not get along all that well but it was not their fault. I ate at Mrs. Martha’s table a lot as a kid and I had great respect for she and Mr. James. Actually, it was more than respect, it was fear and trembling and the man never raised his voice to me one time. I don’t know what it was but the one thing I knew was I did not want to get in his dog house and I imagine I came close a couple of times but thank God Jerry was always first in line. After he finished with Jerry, I think he knew that I was not going to be a problem. He did have a one of one with me when I was about 14-15 and I have not forgotten it. He was very clear but very kind and it was a turning point for me. I didn’t get that close to Mrs. Martha until the later years.

Martha, James, Naola (1)

To be honest with you, I was a little shocked that we hit it off so well. Mrs. Martha was an avid reader of the DIGEST for years. She did get to where she could not read the last couple of years but up till then she read it front and back. There were times when I was a little nervous about visiting she and Mr. James due to something radical that I had printed in the DIGEST. I came to discover that she was as conservative as I was and she became my number one encourager. She never rebuked me the first time but always laughed at the stories and encouraged me to keep writing. We are Americans and we frown at the idea of Kings and Royals but to me Martha Newby MNewby2 (1)was a noble woman, a cut above. She had both class and convictions; manners and morals; beauty and brains. She was sophisticated but simple. She was low maintenance. She was content with what she had. Her salt and pepper shaker were the same when she departed as they were when I was a kid. I had planned to visit her on Friday November 28 but I go the call about her departure on the 27th, Thanksgiving Day. I was disappointed, I thought I had at least one more Christmas with Mrs. Martha. I drove by the house Christmas Eve. I miss her! When I looked at the house, I had a big empty feeling. Below is Mrs. Martha with her beautiful daughter Susan. Danville folks, if you can guess Susan’s age, I’ll take you to CB. Athens folks are disqualified. She looks 29 but you’ll have to guess a little higher to get close.


In Memory of Hugh Fitzgerald

Hugh FitzgeraldHugh Fitzgerald

November 24, 1924-November 28, 2012

I met Hugh Fitzgerald for the first time back in March of 1979. Hugh had with him Lewis Sims, Bobby James, Jimmie Stephenson and Charles Penney: this group made up the DBD pulpit committee. Hugh was the chairman. I must tell you that I don’t have any idea why they even fooled with me but Hugh was like a bulldog and once he set his mind to something, it was hard to tell him no. We locked horns immediately. He wanted to know why I was on edge and I asked him why they came without telling me. We did not get off to a good start. I told him the truth: “I planned to resign this morning and then you showed up and I did not want to embarrass my folks by doing it with strangers in the audience so I’ll have to do it tonight.” He could tell it was not a good time to talk to me so he said, “It’s obvious that you don’t want to be anybody’s pastor right now but would you come and fill in for us until we can get someone?” I said, “Sure, I’ll be glad to preach.” He said, “Just show up on Sunday morning and we will have someone take care of Wednesday nights.”  This was are first agreement and I don’t know what they thought but I did not think anything would come of it. That shows you how much I know. Long story short, Hugh and the committee showed a lot of patience and two months later I accepted the call to DBC.

I soon learned that Hugh had a lot of influence within the church and out. He was definitely the key leader and he had some side kicks. Kenneth use to refer to them as the big three: Hugh, Jimmie Stephenson and John Tanner. If those three were opposed to it, you were in trouble but now those three didn’t agree on everything. Jimmie had worked hard to get the church to adopt By-laws and Hugh and John were not really excited about the changes but in time, it all worked out. Hugh lead the music at times and he was always the chairman of the nominating committee, always. Everyone said, “Make Hugh the chairman because people have a hard time saying no to Hugh” and that was true.

Hugh at old church

Right after coming to Danville, I go to the Farm Store one day and Hugh is chewing Kenneth out for something. After he left, I looked at one of the workers, I think it was Gary and I said, “I thought Kenneth was the boss.” “He is,” Gary said. I said, “Well who is Hugh’s boss?” He said, “Hugh don’t have a boss.” Hey, you would have to know Hugh to appreciate what Gary said but he hit the nail on the head. Hugh and I were never enemies but our friendship evolved over time. We did have a few run-ins in the early days.  We got into a heated discussion about the pastorium and I probably said too much and I sure it did not come out the right way. Hugh was very forgiving toward me. I am very fortunate in that respect. That was way back in 91 and I don’t think we ever had any problems afterwards: he did chew me out a few more times but I don’t think I ever responded and I knew it was his way of showing me that he cared.

He stopped being hard on me a long time ago and then I noticed he and Joe David in a debate one day. I told Joe David later, “Son, do not argue with him. Let him have his way.” I don’t remember exactly what Joe David said but he didn’t agree to let him have his way.

Hugh was tough. He was a rugged individual. I saw him weep  a couple of times at most. He could handle pressure as well as anyone I have ever known. He was very insightful and he had a rare gift of diplomacy. He could chew you out and not only would you know that he was right, but you would be grateful for the chewing. He was a shrewd investor and a very good businessman. Hugh had a strong work ethic and physically, he was strong as an ox. Even at age 80, he would work most of us under the table. At age 76 he carried 5 gallon buckets of concrete up the steps at the FORTE. He enjoyed helping with all the cooking events. He helped with all the breakfast meals until just a few years ago. He cut the grass here at the church until he was 82 and we had to talk him into quitting then.Hugh on Tractor

Hugh love farming and especially messing with cows. He had no fear. He had his own system of doing things and generally speaking, he didn’t need much help. He got James Kyle to help him haul cows to the sale but he did most of it himself. There is no telling how many miles he walked checking fences. He would not hear of a four-wheeler. Every time John mentioned him getting a four-wheeler, Hugh would go into a tirade. Hugh always pulled his weight but he was not into frills or extravagance.

I’ve been thinking since Hugh’s promotion: “Why in the world would he and Mavis take such a liking to me?” I don’t have an answer, other than the grace of God. If Hugh liked you, he liked you and if he didn’t there was little chance that anything would change. He and Mavis were always there for us. Over the years Hugh became one of my very best friends. We fought some battles together and he fought one for me without my assistance. I would not be at DBC if it were not for men like Kenneth, Jimmie and Hugh. You will not find a lot of folk that will stand up for a preacher, especially when the chips are down but they did and that is why I got to raise all my kids in Danvillesee them all graduate from the same school which is rare among preachers.  I have a great deal of admiration and thanks for Hugh’s life. I have said a temporary good bye to most of my life coaches this year: Bro. Inman in December of 2011, then Mr. James newby, Joe Eaton and now Hugh–all within a years time. This time last year, I could talk to all four of them.  My world is changing rapidly but that’s okay, the Lord is preparing me for the next. I am just very thankful that I could be Hugh’s pastor for almost 34 years.

In Memory of Kenny Holladay

In Memory

Kenny Michael Holladay

Dec. 8, 1949—Jan. 31, 2015

kenny-jpgOur good friend Kenny Holladay was promoted on the last day of January. He was very sick when we published last months DIGEST. He put up a noble fight. I am extremely grateful for having known Kenny and I look forward to seeing him in the City built by God. Abraham was content to live in a tent because he believed in a CITY. I’m getting to the point that I have more folks in the City than I do living in tents.

Paul said to the Philippians in chapter 4 of his letter, “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all that you do.” Kenny Holladay incarnated this verse, he epitomized the spirit of consideration. I nicknamed him, Mr. Consideration. If you do a study on the word Paul uses and translated ‘consideration’ by the NLT only, it refers to a person who gives us their legal rights or claims for the sake of another. Let’s say you have a friend who owes you money but he or she is having a very difficult time and so you forgive the debt. You did not do what was legal, you did something higher and more noble, you gave up your claim or legal right to the money for his/her benefit. Kenny was just the kind of man who would do this for friends and relatives.

I got to know Kenny over 30 years ago when his father was sick. We became friends and I played a lot of rook in his living room. Kenny was not a professing Christian although he attended church occasionally. He called me one night a couple of years after I  got to know him and asked me to come to his mothers. We went in a back bedroom and Kenny got on his knees beside the bed and asked Christ into his heart. Kenny endured some hard and difficult times in the later years but he never abandoned his faith. He went through a painful divorce and then lost a son. Kenny knew first hand about suffering and sorrow but it did not make him bitter, it made him better.

Kenny was an avid, dyed in the wool, Alabama fan. He knew as much about Alabama football as Gregg or Joe David. He loved Coach Saban and the Bear.  He loved going to the games and I think he attended them in person until the final year. Kenny did remarry and had some happy years with his wife Jean. I saw them on a regular basis at two places: church and Cracker Barrel. Jean battled cancer for years and was promoted on March 7 2012. Kenny sat by her side and attended to her even though he had already been diagnosed with cancer. After Jean’s departure, Kenny had surgery in Birmingham. It was a rare and difficult procedure and Kenny could not eat solid food for 6 months. He lived on apple juice and a stomach tube. After his esophagus healed, he was able to eat some but not as before. He had a couple of good years before the dreaded cancer came back. Kenny came to church as long as he could. He came Sunday night and morning. He sat with Jean’s family on Sunday morning and with Gregg and Tracey on Sunday night. Jean’s sisters Gloria and Ann attend here and they gave love and support to Kenny throughout the rugged ordeal. I know these girls appreciated Kenny: he practically allowed Jean to live with Mrs. Robinson in her later days and then he took care of Jean their sister.

Kenny had a lot of misfortune but he was very fortunate when it came to family. In all my years of ministry, I have never seen a family like the Holladays and the Robinsons mentioned above. His brothers and sisters where there and his baby sister Sheila became his primary care giver. His sons Ken and Brad came in to help in the last days. They were there night and day. Kenny’s mother, Mrs. Ona Holladay, who resides at Summerford’s nursing home, has taken Kenny’s departure hard. She and Kenny were tight. Kenny was the consummate son. His example made me feel very guilty. He called or visited his mother every day until he became physically unable. He tried his best to protect her from any bad news. Mrs. Holladay will be 100 years old this August. She was born in the same year as my Mother, 1915.

I can honestly say, Kenny did things for me no other person has ever done. I am not denigrating others, I am lifting Kenny up. His consideration of others was off the charts. One of the most precious moments came when I knelt by his bed and placed his hand on my head and Kenny blessed me! It was a moment so sacred that the LORD told me never to share it with anyone and it will not be shared. I do wish I had written it down for myself but I didn’t.

The Three Victims of Abortion

Proverbs 24:11-12, NLT

Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;
    save them as they stagger to their death.
Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”
    For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
    He will repay all people as their actions deserve.


james draperThis is a rewrite of an article by James T. Draper, Jr. His comments in detail can be found in chapter one of a MESSAGE FOR THE JOURNEY, a book published by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

I have been avidly pro-life from the moment I came to understand the process and nature of abortion. Unfortunately, though I was of age, I did not know what the word meant in 1973. My education came after 1979. Abortion has been legal for 41 years and even today with all the new information on babies in the womb, I see no end in sight. The liberals are adamant about their perceived right for a woman to give consent for her baby to be terminated. I know that no such right exists.

A holocaust is a massive and brutal destruction of human life. Unfortunately, as history verifies, babies have been the victims more than any segment of society. We all remember Pharaoh law regarding the male Hebrew children. I was shocked to learn that many ancient cultures practiced infanticide. In the Roman Empire, it was common for parents to carry unwanted children to the city dump and leave them. The babies would die of exposure or become a meal for wild animals. In both Roman and Spartan culture, parents were selective about which babies they kept. They would not keep any baby that was deformed or deemed unfit. Many babies were abandon to exposure simply because they were girls. In Pharaoh’s and Herod’s case, it happened to be boys.

adolf-hitlerWhen we think of modern holocaust, we think first of Hitler because that is how we have been conditioned but he is one of many. Stalin murdered more Jews than Hitler but it is politically incorrect to speak evil of communism. Mao Tse-Tung murdered millions and so did Saddam Hussein. The Kurdish people would have been annihilated had not the U.S. invaded Iraq. The Kurds live in Northern Iraq. Though they are nominal Muslims, they are friendly to the U.S. and Israel which sets them apart from the Arab world. They of course do not consider themselves Arabs. They do have the ability to rule themselves and should be given Nationhood which the experts say will never happen because the Arab nations are opposed to the Kurds having their own homeland. An estimated 170 million [most of them Christians] died during the last century and most of that number was due to communism. Islam is running a close second. Since January 1 of this year, Muslims have killed over 200 Christians in the Borno State of Nigeria. They are burning entire villages and taking the land. Over 10,000 Nigerians have been displaced because their homes were burned by Muslim terrorist.

The above deaths are talked about some although you will not see these things reported in the lame stream media; all the while, the leading cause of death in the U.S. is not from disease or accident but from abortion. Abortion claims the lives of 4,100 innocent babies per day in the U.S. alone. Every minute, three precious infants are executed violently. Abortion is not a disease or an accident or a medical problem: it is pre-meditated murder. Where do we get the authority to take a human life? Dr. Draper suggest three areas: [1] Human Reasoning [2] Ecclesiastical Fiat or [3] Divine Revelation. As Christians we rely on divine revelation and the bible. Secular humanist operate from reason and reject the bible as the word of God. Secular humanist today insist that collective human reasoning provides an adequate consensus for “morality.” Interesting to note that Hitler and the Nazis used the same logic. Hitler did not break the laws. He did have them changed to his satisfaction. The most consistent protest of the Nazis tried at Nuremberg was “We were only carrying out orders and it was the law.” Despots and tyrants always twist the laws to justify their crimes.

Psalms 94:20-21, NCV

Crooked leaders cannot be your friends. They use the law to cause suffering. They join forces against people who do right and sentence to death the innocent.

The greatest deception has to do with the victims. Who suffers from Abortion?

The first victim is the UNBORN BABY

Psalm 139:13-17

You alone created my inner being.
You knitted me together inside my mother.
14 I will give thanks to you
because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made.
Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.
15 My bones were not hidden from you
when I was being made in secret,
when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book
before one of them had taken place.
17 How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God!
How vast in number they are!
18 If I try to count them,
there would be more of them than there are grains of sand.
When I wake up, I am still with you.

The New Testament was written primarily in Greek which is a more precise language than English. The most common word for child in the Greek is teknon [used 99 times]. A second word for child is paidon, meaning small child. However there is an interesting word found 8 times in the N.T. which throws a lot of light on the what the bible teaches about infants. It is the Greek word brephos. Note their usage:

Acts 7:17-19

“As the time was drawing near to fulfill the promise that God had made to Abraham, the people flourished and multiplied in Egypt until a different king who did not know Joseph ruled over Egypt. He dealt deceitfully with our race and oppressed our ancestors by making them leave their infants [brephos] outside, so they wouldn’t survive.

Luke 18:15

Some people were even bringing infants [brephos] to Him so He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children [paidon] come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [paidon] will never enter it.”

Luke 2:12

This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby [brephos] wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.

Luke 1:41

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby [brephos] leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:44

For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby [brephos] leaped for joy inside me!

Jeremiah 1:5

I chose you before I formed you in the womb;
I set you apart before you were born.
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

The bible makes it abundantly clear that the unborn are persons just like you and I. It is the highest form of insanity to deny personhood to the unborn.

  • At conception, the new life is composed of hundreds of cells and has developed a protective hormone to prevent the mother’s body from rejecting it as a foreign tissue.
  • At 7 days the new life has developed it own blood cells; the placenta is a part of the new life and not of the mother.
  • At 19 days the heart begins to beat. [amazing]
  • At 20 days, the foundation of the entire nervous system has been laid out. [Wow]
  • At 24 days the heart has regular beats and pulsations.
  • At 30 days there is a regular blood flow within the vascular system.
  • At 35 days the eyes begin to develop and 40 pairs of muscles are present.
  • At 40 days the heart energy out put is 20% of an adult.
  • At 42 days brain waves are detectable.
  • At 49 days the skeletal system is developed.
  • At 50 days all internal organs and external structures are identifiable.
  • At 56 days all organs are functioning.
  • At the 9-10 weeks the teeth and fingernails begin to form.
  • At the 11-12 weeks the baby can grasp objects placed in his/her hand, can have hiccups, urinates, and recoils at pain.
  • At 13 weeks the baby’s sex is identifiable.
  • At 16-20 weeks the baby hears external voices, sleeps and dreams.
  • At 21 weeks the baby can survive outside the womb. [Remember this article is 7 years old]

The process of abortion is not a simple medical procedure; it is brutal and invasive. The head is usually crushed and the body torn into fragments so it can be sucked out by a tiny vacuum. The saline abortion is just as barbaric. The saline solution is injected into the protective compartment in which the baby lives. It burns the skin of the baby and poisons the infant at the same time. There is no term too offensive to describe this violent procedure. In truth, abortion is more violent than the most brutal murder committed on the street. Attorney Mark Belz argues this very point:

  • The victim is the most innocent member of our society.
  • The victim is helpless, cannot defend him/herself.
  • The order to kill comes from the biological mother.
  • It is a calculated, premeditated, intentional act.
  • The person doing the killing gets paid just like a hit man.

The Second Victim is the Parents, Presumably the Mother

We know the father shares the responsibility and in some cases he may be the one who pressured the mother into the abortion. However, in our present culture, it is the woman’s decision and the man cannot legally stop her and neither can grandparents. Abortions not only take the lives of the innocent, they destroy marriages and people. The number one problem with abortion [second to the baby] is guilt. Sometimes it is 15-20 years before the emotional melt down but it is coming in one form or the other. Most women will not talk about past abortions but every now and then, women speak out and tell us about their experience. One mother wrote Dr. Draper, “I was 16 when I had my abortion. I really didn’t want the abortion but felt like I had no choice. As I lay in the clinic, I could hear my baby being sucked from my body. Immediately I felt a sense of loss and I cried. I started having terrible nightmares every night. I was obsessed with doubts and questions: What would my baby have looked like? Was the baby a boy or girl?”  She had the abortion in 1975 which means she is probably a baby boomer. She said, “I came to realize that an abortion does not just kill the baby, it kills a part of you. Had I not come to know Jesus as my Savior, I don’t know what I would have done. I don’t think I would have made it.”

In my early days as a pro-lifer I was an advocate for the baby; it was 12-15 years later that I began to realize the untold damage it does to women. I have also met grieving fathers who lamented the death of their sons or daughters. I had one man tell me that he thought about his child every day and was anxious to get to know him or her in heaven. I have come to understand that although I abhor abortion, it is not an unpardonable sin. I know some sweet women who made the mistake. Every honest woman that I have met who would talk about the subject said that there was tremendous grief and guilt; much more than they imagined possible. I have also come to realize that to some extent, we are all guilty which I am about to address in length.

The Third Victim is the Conscience of the Nation [Culture]

This is the subtle thing about sin, it is so deceiving. We live in a nation of idiots. These folks support abortion on demand and are fully convinced that abortion bears no consequences. We are a nation of fools.

harry BlackmunWhat Harry Blackman and a misguided not so supreme court did was legalize the murder of the innocent unborn. Most Americans were in the dark at the time. Very few people knew what was going on. Our Catholic friends were fighting this battle alone. By and large, the Protestant world was in the dark. The liberals knew that what they were doing was unethical but they pushed their agenda even though it meant misrepresenting the truth which they don’t have a problem doing. Sarah Weddington, the lawyer for Jane Roe was informed by Norma McCorvey [Jane Roe] that she had lied about being raped. Weddington told her to keep her mouth shut that the truth had nothing to do with this case. Now there is so much more knowledge with ultrasound and modern technology that practically every American knows that what the liberals call a fetus is actually a baby. We have transgressed a fundamental principle that God holds dear, THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE. We have not only offended God, we have seared our conscience to the point that we are becoming insensitive to any transgression. There is no way you could have gotten same-sex marriage to fly in 1973 but Obama pulled it off before the last election. My son came to me as soon as Obama went public with his support of gay marriage. He said, “Daddy, he has messed up this time, this will do him in. He will lose the support the African American Christian family.” I prayed that my son was right and he usually is in matters of politics but not this time.

Sarah Lied and Million Have Died

Sarah Lied and Million Have Died

One of the big arguments put up by the liberals, including Foy Valentine [past president of the SBC Christian Life Commission], was that we don’t take proper care of the children we have. We need to exert our effort in raising the quality of life for the children already born. Now 800,000 children per year disappear and much of this is proliferated by pornography which is supported by the left. Child abuse has not gone down, it is on the increase. A little girl was abducted yesterday [Feb. 17, 2014]in broad open daylight and they found her body today. Things are not better folks, they are deteriorating before our very eyes.

From time to time I bump into one of these bleeding hearts who say, “Abortion is legal, it is the law of the land, deal with it.” This is where liberals underestimate the resolve of the church. We have no intention of living by this malicious and cruel law. Let me remind you that the Nazis legalized everything they did. They passed over 400 laws and decrees against Jews alone. They made exterminated Jews legal just like we have made exterminated babies legal. There is not one bit of difference between what they did and what we are doing. I am not a Hank Williams, Jr. fan per say but this is exactly what made his treatment by T.V. networks so hypocritical. He was simply pointing out that we are doing some of the same things Hitler did.

How did the Nazis pull it off? How can you make a law and enforce it when it calls for the extermination of an entire race?

  1. First, Hitler changed the definitions and the language. He was a master at propaganda. Does anyone come to mind? Does a political party come to mind like the Democrats who sense they may be in trouble so they make “Minimum Wage” the new debate. The democrats are for higher wages making them look good and positive, but in reality raising the minimum wage will hurt the economy and cripple many small business. It is estimated that over 500,000 jobs will be lost. What gives the democrats an overwhelming advantage is that they have the support of the media. They and the media are propaganda artist and the American people are ignorant and gullible.
  2. Secondly, Hitler changed the laws. He redefined “Personhood” and Jews were excluded. Does that sound familiar? The unborn are not persons, just globs of tissue.
  3. Thirdly, Hitler had the brass and resolved to enforce the bad laws. What did Hitler promise? A better society. Liberals don’t read history evidently because Hitler did not make good on his promise. We were told in 1973 that abortion would up our quality of life.

Any sane person who is willing to look at facts can see that abortion has not made us better. Child abuse has not gone down, it has gone up. Overnight, abortion became abortion on demand but that is not what they presented plus it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Should we profit over the killing of the unborn? What has happened to our conscience? As a society, we have seen our morals decline at a rapid rate since 1973 and where is it going to stop. AMERICA’S ONLY HOPE IS JESUS.  Dr. James Draper said, “A part from genuine repentance, America has no hope.”

I think he is right. I know he is right. I think God is already judging us for our sins. I think He is using Obama to do it. You think things are bad now, you haven’t seen anything yet. Two years into Obama-don’t-care and you are going to hear some howling. There is going to be some moaning and groaning. We are going to want to go back but it’s going to be too late. I think the mid-term elections are our last hope.

Is This Still America?

Obama And Holder

Obama And Holder


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

There are no winners in the trial of George Zimmerman. The only question is whether the damage that has been done will be transient or irreparable.

Legally speaking, Zimmerman has won his freedom. But he can still be sued in a civil case, and he will probably never be safe to live his life in peace, as he could have before this case made him the focus of national attention and orchestrated hate.

More important than the fate of George Zimmerman, however, is the fate of the American justice system and of the public’s faith in that system and in their country. People who have increasingly asked during the lawlessness of the Obama administration, “Is this still America?” may feel some measure of relief.

But the very fact that this case was brought in the first place, in the absence of serious evidence — which became ever more painfully obvious as the prosecution strained to try to come up with anything worthy of a murder trial — will be of limited encouragement as to how long this will remain America.

The political perversion of the criminal-justice system began early and at the top, with the president of the United States. Unlike other public officials, who decline to comment on criminal cases that have not yet been tried in court, Barack Obama chose to say, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

It was a clever way to play the race card, as he had done before, when professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard was arrested.

But it did not stop there. After the local police in Fla., found insufficient evidence to ask for Zimmerman to be prosecuted, the Obama administration sent Justice Department investigators to Sanford, Fla., and also used taxpayers’ money to finance local activists who agitated for Zimmerman to be arrested.

Political intervention did not end with the federal government. The city manager in Sanford intervened to prevent the usual police procedures from being followed.

When the question arose of identifying the voice of whoever was calling for help during the confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, the normal police procedure would have been to let individuals hear the recording separately, rather than have a whole family hear it together.

If you want to get each individual’s honest opinion, you don’t want that opinion to be influenced by others who are present, much less allow a group to coordinate what they are going to say.

When the city manager took this out of the hands of the police and had Trayvon Martin’s family, plus Rachel Jeantel, all hear the recording together, that’s politics, not law.

This was just one of the ways that this case looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland. Both in the courtroom and in the media, educated and apparently intelligent people repeatedly said things that they seemed sincerely, and even fervently, to believe, but which were unprovable and often even unknowable.

In addition, the testimony of prosecution witness after prosecution witness undermined the prosecution’s own case. Some critics faulted the prosecuting attorneys. But the prosecutors had to work with what they had — and they had no hard evidence that would back up a murder charge or even a manslaughter charge.

You don’t send people to prison on the basis of what other people imagine, or on the basis of media sound bites like “shooting an unarmed child,” when that “child” was beating him bloody.

The jury indicated, early on in their deliberations , that they wanted to compare hard evidence, when they asked for a complete list of the testimony on both sides.

Once the issue boiled down to hard, provable facts, the prosecutors’ loud, histrionic assertions and sweeping innuendoes were just not going to cut it.

Nor was repeatedly calling Zimmerman a liar effective, especially when the prosecution misquoted what Zimmerman said, as an examination of the record would show.

The only real heroes in this trial were the jurors. They showed that this is still America — at least for now — despite politicians who try to cheapen or corrupt the law, as if this were some banana republic. Some are already calling for a federal indictment of George Zimmerman, after he has been acquitted.

Will this still be America then?

— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2013 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

The Breaking Point

There is an interesting story in I Kings about Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king.  The leaders of Israel summoned Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.

Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer.” So the people went away. Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”

The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”

But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”

The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”

Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered but  Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors  and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!”

 So the king paid no attention to the people

When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded,

“Down with the dynasty of David!
    We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Back to your homes, O Israel!
    Look out for your own house, O David!”

So the people of Israel returned home.

Mr. Webster gives us three meanings for the term “Breaking Point”:  [1] The point at which a person gives way under stress, [2] The point at which a situation becomes critical and [3] The point at which something loses force or validity. All three are applicable to this text. Solomon had pushed the Israelites right up to the brink of rebellion. His massive building programs had been expensive and had created a huge tax burden for the common man. While Solomon lived in a luxurious palace and dined on caviar and fine wine, the Israelites were struggling to make ends meet. Solomon walked on floors and side walks overlaid with gold, the common people were walking on dirt. His extravagance might have impressed the Queen of Sheba but it had lost its luster with the Israelites; they were feed up.

Rehoboam was no spring chicken; he was 41 years old and I am sure that his father saw to it that the boy had the best education that money could buy but for some reason the boy was dumb. His first decision as king was a colossal blunder, one that his grandfather David would have prayed about but not Rehoboam. Not only did he not pray, he also rejected some very good counsel from men who had worked with his father and were aware of the state of the country. They understood that the wood was dry and the least spark would ignite a massive rebellion. Nevertheless, Rehoboam spurns their counsel and listened instead to a bunch of dump punks who did not know their back side from a hole in the ground. Rehoboam spoked harshly to the people and they didn’t like it. His rudeness and his harsh words was the match that ignited the rebellion. In an instant, the damage was done and it was irreparable. All the kings horses and all the kings men could not put the kingdom together again.

There are times when it is good for us to reach a breaking point. Nicodemus reached that point when he saw his peers celebrate the brutal execution of Jesus. Something in this proud Jew snapped and the man who came to Jesus by night to keep his peers from finding out suddenly becomes a man of courage who doesn’t care what the Jews or anyone else thinks. He is going to help Joseph take Jesus down from the cross in broad open daylight and he dares someone not to like it. Nicodemus had reached his breaking point.

For Nicodemus, reaching the breaking point to where he did not care what others thought was a good thing. I have noticed that young people are especially prone to live in fear of what others think, especially young women. I do think youth is a factor but I also think gender is a factor. Most women worry about what others think; most men don’t give a rip. Women get torn up about things that are funny to men. You do need to reach that point where you do not live in fear of what people think. It is a bondage that you need to be freed from. There is only one good fear and that is “Fear of God” and all the rest or terrorist. They will torment you day and night.

I started this article as a blog and then realized quickly that I could not say all I wanted to say on the subject in my daily blog. I see several truths in this story that are worthy of comment.

  1. People, anyone male or female, can be pushed only so far…everyone has a breaking point. Husbands and wives need to keep this in mind. A man came into my office many years ago and said, “Preacher, my wife told me at least a dozen times that she was going to leave me if I did not change my ways…she’s gone and she says “She aint coming back.” Guess what? She did not come back: he pushed her to her breaking point. He was a good provider and gave her a healthy allowance to run the house. She drove good cars and had no worries about money. She left it all simply because she reached a breaking point. In other words, Mona Lisa lost her smile.
  2. Never attempt to manipulate, control or force those who seem weaker than yourself to do what
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    you want them to do. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a brilliant man. As I read and muse over his works, I am awed. I do praise God for giving men that kind of intelligence. I have been listening on audio to Life Together which is a collection of his lectures on the church and I am amazed at his insight. Bonhoeffer says that it is the tendency of the natural man to judge another man immediately, to size him up so to speak, to look for his weakness. To strategize and seek a position of strength so that we might use this person to accomplish our purposes. Dallas Willard, the late professor of Philosophy at USC said something similar, “Growing up is largely a matter of learning to hide our spirit [true self] behind our face, eyes and language so that we can evade and manage others to achieve what we want and avoid what we fear.” [Divine Conspiracy, page 76] Bonhoeffer in Life Together points out this natural tendency to control others by referring to Luke 9:46… “Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.” Bonhoeffer gives the devil credit for planting the seed of discord in the minds of brethren [disciples] and we would be wise to give it some thought. If he put it in their mind, will he not do the same to us? Despising another or looking down on someone who you feel is inferior is a base and ignoble sin that is prevalent among us and is a sin that God convicts me of often. I guess there is a bit of a tyrant in all of us and we would take advantage of the weak if not for the grace of God.

  3. Weak or strong, you can only push a man so far. Vicktor Frankl, Austrian born Jew who was a
    Viktor Frankl

    Viktor Frankl

    neurologist and psychiatrist. He was a survivor of the holocaust [two different death camps] and is most noted for his book, Man’s Search For Meaning. Vicktor Frankl discovered by his own experience that “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” He was one of the few that survived not one but two death camps. In this horrible environment, he saw men, weak and strong snap. He saw them reach a breaking point. The German guards were brutal, they were to be feared but Frankl noted that once a man reached that breaking point, the guards held no power over them. He said, “I saw one man after another give up. They simply refused to get out of bed. I saw the guards beat them with the butts of their rifles but they just lay there and they laid there for days until finally they died.”  This lead Frankl to the conclusion that has changed modern psychiatry and counseling, man cannot survive without hope, he must have a purpose for living. If you destroy a man’s hope, you will destroy the man himself. We must resist the temptation to control others. We must not ride a person until they reach a point of despair.

  4. The fourth and final thing that I wish to say about the subject is that you must learn to protect yourself from being manipulated or controlled by others or their opinions.  People marvel that I have not made a commitment to my eschatological views. People ask me if I am Pre, Post, or Historical Pre-Trib and I tell them, “I don’t know what I am other than a believer in Jesus.” I have my own theology and I am not the least bit intimidated by those who disagree. I think everyone has a right to be wrong. Bro. Inman use to say, “I am not Pre or Post, I am Pan, I believe it will all pan out.” Let me give you some advice, let the bible be your chief source for your theological views. Some of the things people are trying to persuade you to believe is Western and wishful thinking. I dare you to talk to the Eastern world about an age of persecution. They don’t know anything other than persecution. Don’t let anyone do your thinking. Do not be a dupe. Parrots get on my nerves. Think for yourself, speak for yourself, and don’t allow another human to control you, dupe you or break you to the point of despair. One of the first things a young pastor has to learn if he is to survive is that you cannot listen to all the criticism. You have to listen to some but there is a point where you close your ears. Let me share a couple of insights that have helped me.
  • Study and discern the spirit of the criticism. Constructive criticism will come from people who love you. They are actually trying to help you when they point out certain weaknesses. The tendency is to resent all criticism but this is a mistake. We all need constructive criticism. If the critic is malicious, do not listen. Their purpose is to hurt and destroy and if you allow it, they will destroy you. The devil wants to discourage you and he will used others to accomplish his goal. It is a subtle trap, don’t get caught in it. One of the things that did impress the Jewish religious leaders about Jesus was He didn’t care what people thought about Him…“Teacher,” they said, “we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You teach the way of God truthfully. [Luke 20:21] Before you take any criticism to heart, determine its origin: is it coming from Satan to hurt or is it coming from God to help?
  • Do not over-estimate your strength: you can be broken, everyone can be broken. Jeremiah
    Jeremiah Denton

    Jeremiah Denton

    Denton was a POW in Viet Nam wrote a book about his experience as a POW, it is titled When Hell Was In Session [There is also a movie]. Denton was a Navy pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines. He was a tough guy and was determined not to be broken but he discovered that daily torture will break even the strongest. Acknowledge your weakness, your limitations; don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are invincible because you are not. REMEMBER this truth: God wants to break your will but not your spirit. The devil is attempting the opposite, he wants to strengthen your will and break your spirit.


Breaking points can be good or bad; it all depends. For Nicodemus, it was a good thing for the men in the concentration camps it was not good. Nicodemus breaking point lead him to a new freedom from fear and gave him the ability to serve Christ openly. For the POW’s in the death camps, their breaking point lead to total despair and the loss of all hope. You can see the difference, one is good and to be desired while the other is bad and must be avoided.

Mildred M. Stephenson

Mildred Morris Stephenson

Mildred Morris Stephenson

In Memory of Mildred M. Stephenson

{The Proverbs 31 Woman}

December 21, 1912–June 17, 2013

[Eulogy delivered at Mrs. Stephenson’s Celebration of Life Service, 11:00 am, June 19, 2013]

We have gathered here today to celebrate the life and legacy of Mildred M. Stephenson who celebrated her 100th birthday last December 21. We are also here to celebrate Jesus Christ the resurrection and the life and to celebrate Mrs. Stephenson’s [Nanny as she was known by family] promotion to the land that is fairer than day.

Mrs. Mildred was preceded in death by her husband Bill, her son Jimmie and great grand son Wesley. She was loved and will be missed by her daughter Janie S. Nolen and husband Charles and Daughter-in-law Betty S. Harpe. Mrs. Stephenson was dearly loved by her three grand children: Suzanne Stephenson, Jennifer Garner [Jeff], Fred Stephenson [Mary] and FOUR GREATS: Stratton Garner {Kayla}, Maggie Cunningham {Charlie}, Stedman Garner and Sarah Stephenson. We have one great-great on the way.

Mrs. Mildred requested a brief service, she said, “You preach your funeral by your life.” I’m not about to say she was wrong. But I don’t call this a funeral. I call it a celebration of life and never before does that word seem more fitting than today. The bible says to give honor to whom honor is due and Mildred Morris Stephenson is due some honor.

She left us her favorite scriptures but I have been thinking about one that is not on the list and I have altered it somewhat,  I have paraphrased and personalized. It comes from Proverbs 31, the last part of the chapter and I used the ERV to help me word my paraphrase. We can call it the JEV if you like, Jack’s everyday version.  I must say that I have never used this scripture in this particular way and I doubt that I will ever do it again.

Mildred Stephenson was a strong person, and people respected her. She looked to the future with confidence. She was truly a woman of faith. She spoke with wisdom and she taught others to be loving and kind by her own example. She took care of her household. She was never lazy. Her children say good things about her. Her grandchildren praise her. There are many good women but she was the best. Grace and beauty can fool you, but a woman who respects the LORD should be praised. {Proverbs 31:25-31, JEV}

  1. I Praise Mrs. Mildred for being FAITHFUL…for more than a decade she has attended our Senior Adult fellowship. Up until April she had only missed one. She was faithful to attend her church. She loved West Hartselle and Bro. Jack. She was faithful in reading the word of God [3 hours every day]
  2. I Praise Mrs. Mildred for being GENEROUS…Mildred Stephenson was a giver…she loved to give. I saw that same characteristic in Jimmie. She always sent us a check to help on our LOTTIE MOON Christmas offering. I know that these kids and grandkids have been blessed by her generosity.
  3. I Praise her for her enduring PATIENCE. In all the years that I’ve known this sweet woman and I have been with them in some tough times, I have never seen this woman agitated, upset or angry with anyone. This may be the most amazing thing about Mrs. Mildred.
  4. I Praise Her for being GRACIOUS. When you look up the word gracious, Mrs. Stephenson’s picture should be there: she epitomizes the gracious spirit. She had the gift of mercy and I don’t think she ever looked down on anyone. Of course a part of being gracious is to be grateful and Mrs. Mildred was grateful. I never heard her complain, did you? She even liked my apple pies.

I could say a lot more but I want to honor Mrs. Mildred’s request. Mrs. Mildred loved poetry and so I want to close with a couple of poems…one you have never heard and one that is very familiar.

Mildred Stephenson

She wore a smile upon her face,

 a walking billboard of God’s grace.

Her words were soft, her deeds were kind,

A more virtuous woman, you could not find.

She was never boisterous, never used force,

Never distracted but always holding a steady course.

She was not flashy or into sensation

But she was faithful to Christ and His congregation.

She was loyal to Christ her Savior and LORD,

If all were like her, we’d be in one accord.

She made her mark, there is no doubt or question.

Mildred M. Stephenson has left a deep impression.

The second poem, her favorite was written 3,000 years ago. Most popular poem ever written.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Mrs. Stephenson’s favorite scriptures were: Psalm 23, Hebrews 13:5, Romans 8:38-39, I Corinthians 2:9, John 14:1-4, Philippians 1:21 and Revelation 14:13. Her favorite hymns were He Touched Me, Sheltered in The Arms of God and the LORD’s Prayer.

Mrs. Mildred was an avid reader of the word of God. She was known to spend 4-5 hours per day reading her bible. She read the bible through every year since 1965, 48 years in a row. That is a record that I will not break because I did not begin doing it until my early 50’s. In the last few years, she read it through twice each year. Mrs. Mildred said, “I fall short of being the Christian I should be but the Bible is my guidebook and I pray God will forgive me the many times I have failed.” What about that folks! This woman had an incredible attitude. Her creed was “To do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This woman lived her creed in word and deed. She said her father always taught her…”If you don’t have something good to say about someone–don’t say anything.” I knew her for 35 years and I never heard her say a critical word about anyone, not even her husband   Bill. Folks, this fact alone, blows my mind.

Another favorite poem of Mrs. Mildred’s was THE ROAD HOME

When I come to the end of the road
and the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free!
Miss me a little–but not too long
And not with your head bowed low;
Remember the love that we share
Miss me–but let me go.
This is the journey we all must take
And each must go alone;
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home!
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds,
Miss me–but let me go.
Mrs. Mildred was raised in the Cedar Plains Christian Church. She moved her letter to West Hartselle Baptist Church on January 28, 1979. She served there for many years as their Librarian. When you look up faithful in the dictionary, Mrs. Mildred’s picture should be there, she was Simper Fi. I loved Mrs. Mildred and I love the last verse of her poem above. She lived that verse. She incarnated that verse. I know she faced many sorrows but the one that I shared happened on October 31, 1998, the night her only son Jimmie was killed in an automobile accident. It was a horrible night that we will not forget as long as we have memory. Mrs. Mildred hurt but she suffered graciously. I never heard her complain or feel sorry for herself. She carried her grief nobility and grace. Mrs. Mildred was truly the Proverbs 31 Woman.



In Memory of O.B. Owens…Jan. 14, 1938–June 14, 2013

O.B. "Coach" Owens

O.B. “Coach” Owens

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. ~Vince Lombardi
Winston Churchill said, “I cannot forecast what the Russians will do, the Russians are a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma. O.B. was a man of mystery, a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I knew him for more than a decade before I broke through that outer shell and began to see a bit of his heart. Note: I did say a bit.
            O.B. and I did not get off to a great start; probably more my fault than his. My first impression of him was that he was crass, rude, and a little too direct. I guess it’s ironic that people see me in that same light. OB and I had a minor confrontation in 1990. He gave me some advice that I did not appreciate at the time. I walked away from the conversation convinced in my mind that the man was wrong and I thought that I was right. A few years later, I came to realize that OB was right and that I had been wrong. Actually I was amazed, the words he had spoken to me were like prophecy. This revelation was so clear that I was compelled by conscience to go to OB and apologize. In retrospect, I think what had happened had bothered me a lot more than it did him. He knew he was right. When I apologized, he accepted the apology and after that we became friends. I don’t know exactly how it happened, it just happened.
            Little by little, I began to see the heart of the man. I am convinced beyond a doubt that OB had a heart of compassion but for some strange reason, I don’t think he wanted people to know. He loved and cared for people deeply. OB was old school…he believed in showing people you loved them, not telling them. I was raised by an old school father so I can relate. I have some old school tendencies myself. For whatever reason, OB was not one to share inner feelings.
            Not only was he compassionate, he was generous to a fault. We shared a lot of meals together and he paid for everyone. I tried…I would even insist but it was like water off a ducks back. He was going to pay or else. I did get to buy his supper a couple of years back. June and I saw he and Linda at the Western Sirloin in Moulton. We had finished and were paying and they had just finishing their meal. I told the cashier, I want to pay for that couples meal. She allowed me and June and I got the heck out of Dodge. I did not want to be there when he figured it out. Linda said that when he did, he said, “I’ll get him back”. The next THANKSGIVING we got a turkey and a ham. You could not out give O.B. and that is a very Christ-like quality.
            I’d like to tell you that we talked about matters of the heart and spiritual things but we didn’t. I let OB lead the conversation. We talked about what he wanted to talk about. He picked at me a little about my political views. I didn’t pick at him that much.  The strange thing about the friendship is that we never agreed on anything. What ever I said, he always disagreed. It became a sport to me. I would stand by him on the fence watching a high school football game and I would pick out a player and say something like this…Coach that number 41 is going to be a player, don’t you think? He’d say, “Hey, that dude is going nowhere. He is as good as he’ll ever get and that aint saying much, besides he has a bad attitude, know what I mean. He isn’t worth a plug nickel.” If I had said, “That kid is not worth a plug nickel, he would have said, “Hey, slick, that kid is a winner. He has heart. If I were picking a team, he’d be my first pick.
Those who didn’t know him well will be shocked at my third observation…
  1. OB was compassionate
  2. OB was generous
  3. OB was a Sage…he was a wise man
At first, I thought he was a smart alec but I learned that he knew what he was talking about. He had a deep insight into things and he had a gift of discernment that I don’t have. I thought he was too hard on certain people but he knew human nature and he did know a bad attitude when he saw one. It took some time for me to come around but I learned that OB was a Teacher, a mentor and I came to respect him as such. Believe it or not, for the most part, OB talked and I listened. That is how much respect I had for the man.
I do have one haunting regret. I tried to hook up with OB this past year to talk with him about some personal things. I stopped at the florist several times hoping I would catch him. I even went to the house he bought in Falkville, hoping to catch him there. I do wish now that I had tried harder. I will say this: OB’s departure has definitely changed my world and it has given me one more reason to long for the world I was created for. Jesus wept with Mary and Martha…it is good to have a God who will weep with us but it would be sad indeed if weeping with us was all that He could do. Jesus not only weeps with us, He has defeated death and the grave in our behalf and once we reach the other side, He will wipe all the tears from out eyes. That being the case, I will cling to the hope that my friendship with OB will be renewed and on a much higher level. I love you family and I long as I have memory, I will remember OB and cherish his friendship.
P.S. Huge crowd at the Celebration of Life Service.
O.B. was survived by his sweet wife Linda, one daughter Jonna, one precious and beautiful grandaughter Macy Beth Lee, two sister–Barbara Cherilla and Brenda Mutchler and several nieces and nephews.