By Evangelist John BJ Hall
My father was reared during the depression and dust-bowl days in northwest Oklahoma. His family farmed a forty acre patch of sand and scrub. His father, besides being a farmer, was a mule skinner. He raised and trained mules for work. It was hard work but it built character into his young life.
He learned faith and faithfulness. He learned the love and compassion. Most of all he learned to love the Lord with all his heart. He carried those values into his marriage and then into war. My parents had only been married a short time, when war broke out. He was a private in the United States Army’s Horse Drawn Artillery.
When he was shipped overseas he was assigned to Patton’s Third Army, 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. He was one of the first to land in North Africa to fight Rommel across the desert sands. Then went north through Cicily and Italy and pushed the Germans back with one victory after another. He was on the front lines for 34 months with no rest and recuperation. During that time his actions earned two bronze stars and an elevation to the rank of Sergeant.
While he was at war, my mother worked as a nightclub singer in St Louis, Kansas City and in California. She was about to sign a recording contract to be known as Kate Smith of the Ozarks, when she received a telegram saying that Daddy was headed home from war. She rushed home to be with the love of her life.
Not long after their reunion they attended a revival meeting at Washington Avenue Bible Church in Enid, Oklahoma. One night during the invitation Daddy went to the front surrendering to God’s call to ministry. At the same time, Mama went forward to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior. Neither knew of the other’s decision until after the service.
Together the began a journey of faith that would result in over 60 years of marriage, and more than 40 years of service to the Lord.
This is the home that I was born into. This is my heritage. Faith and faithfulness were a part of my earliest memories. Everything we did as a family led us closer in our relationship to the Lord and one another. Our home was built on the solid rock foundation of faith in Christ alone.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I am thankful for the heritage of faith that my parents gave me. There is nothing in life that could have been a greater gift.
Jesus told his followers in Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
Our family has gone through many storms of life, but we stand because we have a firm foundation. The Rock of our salvation is Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of the Most High God.
What foundation do you have? Is your house built of the Solid Rock? Or is it built on the shifting sands of this world? You can have a firm foundation today. It is your decision. As Joshua said, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (KJV)
There were hardships all around.
On a sandy land farm, he did grow,
As he worked and tilled the ground.
His family was so filled with love,
It mattered not they were poor.
For their love was given from above,
And it grew there even more.
As he grew up and became a man,
He met a wonderful girl.
Soon he would stand and take her hand,
And promise her the world.
To service for our Savior.
And through their home, God’s love was shown,
Through word and through behavior.
To pass on to our children,
Than teaching how to love and share,
God’s love with family and friend?
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