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Monday, February 15, 2010
Chloe Jean Crockett celebrated her 5th birthday last week. It caused me to reflect on many changes that have occurred in my life of that short amount of time. The day she was born I was leaving for an appointment in South Georgia. I was so glad she came about an hour before I had to leave town. Memaw (Frances) and I were in the room at the time the baby came. Looking back - I can see the hand of God from day one of this child's life. She is so sensitive and aware of God. (That's Chloe in the green outfit) Of course she has much growing and learning to do - but is well on her way to being a true servant of the living God. I've heard it said that Catholics say, "Give us a child until it is seven years of age and it will always be a Catholic." The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) Ruthie and Curtis Crockett are doing a masterful job of raising this child in church and teaching her the ways of the Lord. Thank you Ruthie and Curtis.
The day Chloe visited with us we had a birthday present ready. She brought along one of her neice's, so Memaw made sure that Caitlin Crockett had a gift too. She's a big-hearted grandmother. She has 7 biological grand-children plus 2 step grand-children; and 2 biological great-grandchildren plus 8 step great-grands. (I think I've counted them all). :D
The highlight for me was when the two girls picked up a story book and brought it to me, asking me to read to them. Of course I was delighted to read for them. They both amaze me.
That's Caitlin sitting on my right knee (in pink) and Chloe on my left knee (in green). What a wonderful feeling. Chloe is our grand-daughter. Caitlin is our great-grand-daughter.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
News on the internet today says that the 10 missionaries who had been arrested on kidnapping charges for trying to take 30 plus children out of the country illegally are now free to leave that island nation. Thank God for the ability of the judge to see the true hearts of those well-meaning persons.
It just goes to show though, that good intentions alone can land a person in a heap 'o trouble! I remember hearing a saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Hopefully this type incident will never, ever happen again. This brings up the question of whether a Christian with the mandate of Jesus to "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" has the right to violate the law in order to "obey God". We are faced with the same dilemna when illegal aliens look to the church for refuge from the Border Patrol. In my view WE MUST OBEY THE LAW! If a law is un-just, there are ways to work to have that law changed - but until then, even tho I risk being redundant, WE MUST OBEY THE LAW.
I'm sure there are many who will disagree with me. However, I strongly believe that Romans 13 gives clear instructions that Christians are to obey the laws of the land of their citizenry.
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."
In discussing this passage of scripture there are always those who will ask me if I always obey the law of the land. My response is, "I am subject to the law of the land." Inevitably someone will point out that I break the speed law from time to time. Still, I am subject to the law. When/if I speed, and an officer pulls alongside me and asks me to pull over - I do not hesitate to pull over. I do not "run" or try to escape. I stop. I obey the officer's every command. If he writes me a ticket, I simply appear before the proper authorities and pay the fine. I have had to pay three speeding tickets in my life and that is because I am subject to the law of the land. I'm going to be 72 years old in July and got my first license when I was 16.
I am also strongly opposed to paying bribes...but that should be the subject of a separate blog lest I bore everyone with posts that are too lengthy.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Today I've read the news about the ten missionaries being arrested in Haiti who are accused of kidnapping some 30 kids in Haiti and trying to take them out of that country without legal papers. In my heart I believe the people are most likely folks whose hearts over-whelmed their brains. I've seen it happen many many times. People leave the U.S. and forget that they are guests in someone else' home. Their magnanimous hearts cause them to do things totally against the law of the land. They also do things that makes the person they are trying to help feel (as my grand-kids are wont to say) very "dissed". I have also stumbled many times - so don't think I'm trying to set myself up as an expert. Good hearts and good intentions can often greatly offend. In this case of the Haitian children, it seems that a person would know they are not allowed to just "take" a child with no papers. They themselves have to have passport, visa, shot record, etc. and etc. - so surely they knew it would be illegal to try and take kids without any identification papers out of that country. I hope and pray that Haiti does not prosecute them and make the case larger than it really is. But it is serious. I read an article once which was entitled, "How To Share Your Faith Without Losing Your Head". If I remember correctly it was not done with this same thought in mind - but I think it is appropriate for the present distress. I had a friend who was a leader in an underground church in a foreign country who regularly took tours of Christians into his area. On one occasion his life and the lives of all his team were endangered because one of his visitors "felt the Holy Spirit tell him" to go out into the street in front of their hotel, alone, late at night and witness to a police guard. I've personally been grieved inside as visitors in Africa reached into their bags and threw foil-wrapped Hershey's Kisses, handful by handful, out the vehicle window to the kids in the streets. The national leader who was with us was embarrassed. He pointed out to me that these kids had never seen chocolate before and some of them were eating the treat tin-foil and all. He was concerned what the parents would think when their children complained of the tummy ache.
On the other hand - it looks like law and order with the best interests of the children at heart would have taken a different approach than to arrest the would-be saviors of the kids. The wrong these American "missionaries" had already been done. Of course we do not know - there could have been other connections involved - like schemers among the Haitians "selling" the kids. It could be that they just collected them from the streets in anonymous fashion. It could be they were collected from an Haitian Orphanage. I'm sure we will all know more within the next few days.
- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.