Saturday Afternoon

Elizabeth Stewart Biscotto

(May 3, 1919 – March 28, 2008)

Died at 11:50PM on Friday, March 28, 2008 at her residence in Fluker, LA. She was a native of St. Helena Parish, LA. Age 88 years. She was a member of Amite-Arcola Presbyterian Church “Women of the Church”, retired Postmaster at Fluker, LA after 32 years, and a member of United Daughters of the Confederacy. Visitation at McKneely Funeral Home, Amite, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday and from 8 a.m. until religious services at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Services conducted by Rev. Gaylord Dodgins. Interment Jackson Cemetery, Liverpool, LA. Survived by daughter, Beth Morris and husband, Chuck, Kentwood, 2 sons, George I. Biscotto, Jr. and wife, Lyn, Luling, Dewey A. Biscotto and wife, Barbara, San Antonio, TX, 6 grandchildren, 7 great- grandchildren, devoted caregivers, Emma Addison, and Diane Rogers. Preceded in death by husband, George I. Biscotto, Sr., parents, Bulius A. Stewart and Nancy Travis Stewart.

Saturday Update – Aaron Hill

Early Saturday morning posting
Frann Smith Clark

I have drawn such strength this morning from the messages and posts. Last night was very tough for Aaron and his mom and dad. Aaron did not do well after his cath and it seemed like he wanted to go to heaven to be with God. They finally let us in to see him about 7 and he looked awful. Much worse than after his surgery. His heart was doing the same thing it did after surgery-racing uncontrollably then slowing, then racing again. The doctors thought he was ok, then his blood gases started looking bad. We sat in his room for almost 3 hours as 3 doctors and 3 nurses worked feverishly to help Aaron. I have never seen someone get as many drugs, blood products, ECHOs, x-rays and tests as he got. I have never been so scared before.

The doctors are not sure why Aaron did not handle the cath well. They were concerned he might have a brain bleed or an infection, or his heart might have been injured by the catheters. It is still unclear whether he has an infection, but all else looks ok. He is still very critical, but somewhat stable. Scott and I know that it is only by your prayers that Aaron did not become an angel in Heaven last night.

Scott and I continue to struggle with seeing Aaron this way. He seemed so perfect an unharmed before we handed him over for surgery. Now there is not an inch of flesh that isn’t covered by ivs, stickers, lines, bandages, sutures, etc. We pray that one day this experience and the images of seeing Aaron struggle will be a distant memory.

Please continue to pray for Aaron as the weekend progresses. His surgeon wants to see how he does over the weekend and evaluate the need for another surgery on Monday.

Love to all.

As I was working on this post I got a call from Mrs. Barbara Baugh. She wanted to tell me about Aaron. Bro. Joe and “Miss” Barbara had a grandchild born at the same hospital, CHOP, as Aaron. Because of Mississippi connections, the Baugh family and the Hill family have discussed the difficult decisions parents have to make to care for their babies. “Miss” Barbara was calling this morning to ask for prayer for Aaron and his family. She had no idea there was a Kentwood connection, Mr. George R. and Mrs. Myrtle Smith!

Please continue to pray for Aaron, Scott, and Faith Hill and all the other family members as they have a hard time today. As always, you prayers are greatly appreciated!


And climbing out of the boat,

Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.

But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid.

And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand,

caught hold of him,

and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:29-31 (HCSB)

Aaron Hill

Early Friday morning
Frann Smith Clark

This morning brings more disappointment. We had gotten excited yesterday evening when Aaron got moved to a private room. We saw it as a sign of improvement. However, this morning’s x-ray shows that there is more fluid building up on the left side of Aaron’s chest. They stopped his feeds and are putting a chest tube in his left side this morning. They are also doing another catheterization this afternoon. Another scary procedure and it means Aaron will go on the ventilator again. We want them to find the problem so our Aaron can get better, but we are scared for our little man. Please pray for him and for the doctors as they sort out the questions. Please pray that God will solve the problem and heal Aaron.

Friday Evening

Just a quick update for everyone. Aaron has been out of his cath for a bit. The preliminary report is that there is a hole where they closed his VSD and possibly another hole. Because of the holes, the right side of his heart has been pumping three times as much blood as normal. This is the reason his heart has been working so very hard for the past 9 days. It is doubtful that they will be able to close the holes without doing another surgery, but we await the review from Aaron’s surgeon. Aaron has been such a strong little man throughout this trial. Please pray that he will continue to be strong and that God will do a mighty work and close these holes Himself. We will give Him all the glory.

Baby Rebecca will be buried today. Her family delayed the burial because the pastor, family members, and friends were on a mission trip to Mexico this week. Please be in prayer for them as they bury this precious gift that God loaned them for a short period of time.

Mickey Cade

  • 75th birthday party
  • 2-4 P.M. today
  • FBC, Fellowship Hall
  • No gifts

Migrant Kits

  • Due Wednesday


The following have been suggested as some ineffective daily affirmations:

– I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring
levels of suspicion and paranoia.

– I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that
are someone else’s fault.

– I no longer need to punish, deceive or compromise myself. Unless,of course, I want to stay employed.

– I honor my personality flaws, for without them I would have no
personality at all.

– I am grateful that I am not as judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.

– I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper and complain.

– The first step is to say nice things about myself. The second, to do nice things for myself. The third, to find someone to buy me nice things.

– All of me is beautiful and valuable, even the ugly, stupid, and
disgusting parts.

– Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with imaginary fears.

– Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than “I told you so.”

– A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem.

– Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day watching
TV. Instead I will move my TV into the bedroom.

– I will find humor in my everyday life by looking for people I can
laugh at.

– I am willing to make the mistakes if someone else is willing to
learn from them.

There’s obviously not a single one of the affirmations above that provides a foundation for successful living. So what can we “affirm” daily that will give us the strength we need to face the difficulties that each day bring? Allow me to share with you two affirmations from scripture:

“[The accusers] had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.” (Acts 25:19)

“This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.” (Titus 3:8)

If we will affirm daily (acknowledging God’s power) that Jesus Christ was not left in the tomb, but is a risen Savior, and if we will affirm daily (acknowledging our responsibility) that we ought to live lives of obedient faith, then we truly have the foundation to meet whatever life sends our way.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Your prayers mean so much to so many. Thank you for being there each day. Please feel free to contact me with praises, requests, and updates for The Prayer Link. (You can do so by using the CONTACT button at the top of The Prayer Link screen.)

Anna Lee


“And this gospel of the kingdom

will be preached in all the world

as a witness to all the nations,

and then the end will come.”

~Matthew 24:14~

Aaron Hill & Marshall

Noon posting

Frann Smith Clark

We were disappointed last night when the doctors decided not to start feeding Aaron…again. They wanted to see if his chest continued draining fluid and how he handled it. He was irritable and fussy and they didn’t want to give him any more morphine to “see how he handled things.” Apparently that theory didn’t work during the night so he got more drugs to sedate him and they started tiny feeds at 2 a.m.(2 ml per hour-not much). He was getting so upset that his heart rate was up in the high 180s-not a good thing at all. This morning, however, another attending physician was in charge and decided to up his feeds to 5 ml per hour to see if his tummy tolerates it and is happy and to continue steady sedation. We are glad b/c we want him comfortable and fed. Good news is that the fluid from the right side of his chest has pretty much resolved. There was a little fluid building up on the left side of his chest in this morning’s x-ray, but not enough to require a drain. If he keeps doing well today, they MIGHT remove the medication lines to his heart and pacer wires from his chest tomorrow. If they do this and are also able to remove his chest drain, they will probably let us hold him and comfort him when he cries. Of course, as his mother, I think being held and having a full tummy will make him much happier, but I don’t want them to move prematurely if the lines need to stay in. Please pray that the decision will be clear on all these issues.

Please keep praying for Marshall as well. He is still waiting on his new heart.

Mason and Adam Carter

Lawana shared the wonderful news that Mason was baptized at Spring Creek Baptist Church on March 16 and participated in the Easter Drama that week. She is thankful for God to has worked in Mason’s life, to Bro. Danny for investing time in Mason and sharing with him, and to the Spring Creek Baptist Church for accepting him.

Lawana requests prayer for her younger son, Adam, who has an extensive rash and has been running a temperature. Pray this will soon be resolved.

Please pray for Mason as he grows as a Christian and for Adam’s health to improve.



Kids on Mission Pray

March 28, 2008

“Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” Luke 18:16b

5 Minute English!

We want to find a way to talk with people; so in Japan, we do something fun. We hold signs up at train stations and scream “5 Minute English!” The Japanese stop and we have an English conversation with them, using questions from a book.

The questions usually say things like, “Are you a religious person and why?” This is the most popular way to get their attention. Please pray that the people we met will have a hunger to know God. ASHLEY, age 13 (Pacific Rim)

ABOUT THE PAC RIM We received a lot of prayer requests from children in the Pacific Rim, so this week will focus on that region. Where is it? Well, go to your map and travel halfway around the world. The Pacific Rim region includes the countries of Korea, Japan, all the countries of Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the nations of the South Pacific-lots of islands! More than 800 million people live in the Pacific Rim. THAT’s a bunch! That’s more than two times the number of people in the United States-it’s almost three times. I can’t count that high, can you?


Pray for me and my sister to get along. Please pray that my basketball team will come to know Christ. ADAM, age 11 (Pacific Rim)

Pray for me so that I will have the discipline to learn Thai so I can communicate God’s love to my Thai friends. LUCIUS, age 16 (Pacific Rim)

Can you pray for my family? We are about to go stateside and go to a school there. MADELYN, age 13 (Pacific Rim)

Please pray that I will have a good day at school. And pray for my brother Jake who is in boarding school. JED, age 6 (Pacific Rim)

Sometimes I have trouble with my brother. We can annoy each other. Please pray that I will have a loving heart and that we won’t be so annoying. Also, all my friends have moved. I’m really lonely. Please pray that some people will come and be my friend. HOPE, age 10 (Pacific Rim)

My Prayer request is this: I have met a new friend, KZ, and if everyone would pray that he would email me so that I can share the Gospel with him. ASHLEY, age 13 (Pacific Rim)-yes, the same Ashley who told us about 5 Minute English.Be Born Again

Billy Fraham Evangelistic Association

Billy Graham reminds us of the time when Satan tempted Jesus Christ:

He tried to get Him to fall astray. But He did not do it. He was filled with the Holy Spirit; He quoted the Scriptures; He was in prayer. And as a result of all of this, He overcame the devil. And He teaches us that we too can resist the devil and the devil will flee from us. But the first step in your life is to come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. That means you must be born again if you are to see the kingdom of God. You can do that by, first, repenting of your sin right now-that means changing your lifestyle; that means admitting to God that you have sinned-and then turning by faith to Jesus Christ as Lord, Master, and Savior. You can believe now, and the Holy Spirit will come and dwell in your heart.

To begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, call us at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, toll free, at 866-JESUS-CARES. Or click

Jena revival to enter 7th week

The devil is certainly being put in his place in Jena, Louisiana! I hope you have time to read this article and to pray for the same revivals spirit to continue to move in Louisiana, in American, and throughout the world.


“But know that the Lord has set apart

for Himself him who is godly;

the Lord will hear when I call to Him.”

~Psalm 4:3~

Aaron Hill

Posting for Aaron


Thank you, Natalie, for reminding me of this verse.

‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.’ Matt. 6:26-27.

God is still feeding Aaron this evening. He has had a very quiet day, resting and draining fluid. The doctors haven’t decided on starting to feed him yet, but hopefully they will start some form of nutrition after night rounds. They had to cut the nitric up again on his breathing assistance, but it seems to make him more comfortable and for that we are glad. His heart rate and breathing is less labored and we are thankful for that as well.

We still struggle with patience. However, we are grateful and thankful for Aaron’s stability today and his small progress. Thinking about patience and Job today, I read a devotional on thankfulness. The text was Job 42:10- ‘And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” I am so thankful for everyone’s continued prayers for Aaron and hope that God will bless each of you twofold for praying for us-as friends

(NOTE: One of the families mentioned today may be familiar to many of you.)

Baptist Press

March 26, 2008

WASHINGTON–‘Living together’ a statistical risk, experts say.

TENNESSEE–Churches help ease pain of flood victims.

CZECH REPUBLIC–Kids help mom & dad evangelize Gypsies.

NORTH CAROLINA–Gypsy outreach gets First Baptist boost.

NEW ORLEANS–Prof lends expertise to martyrs documentary.

KENTUCKY–Page warns against weak prayer lives.

DALLAS–FIRST-PERSON (Tamara Quintana): About those prescription meds …

Deacon Hospital Visitation

  • Jimmy Williams
  • James Rimes

Nursery Volunteers for Sunday, March 30th

  • Bobby Raborn
  • Wanda Miller
  • Susan Rimes
  • Paul Scott Schwartz

Church Council Meeting

  • Sunday, March 30 @ 4 P.M.
  • Room across from the Heritage Room

Birthday Celebration for Mrs. Mickey Cade’s 75th Birthday

  • Saturday, March 29th
  • 2 – 4 P.M.
  • Fellowship Hall
  • Your presence is your gift.

Migrant Health Kits

  • Soap, Washcloth, Shampoo, Comb, Deoderant, Toothpaste, Toothbrush
  • Place items in a gallon size Zip-loc bag.
  • The church will supply a Bible
  • Deadline: Wednewday, April 2

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering

  • Our goal: $13,000.00
  • Received so far: $6,218.75

Boxes of Offering Envelopes

  • Available on the table underneah the soundroom stairs


  • Sunday during AWANA time
  • Each child is to bring 6 candy-filled plastic eggs

Associational Missions Fair

  • April 19th – FBC in Amite
  • April 20th – Individual churches


“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…”

(Philippians 2:10).
Mike Benson, Editor

LIGHT AND DARKNESS are common Biblical themes throughout Scripture…

They express vividly the chasm between Christ and Satan. We would all do well to mine its depths in our own personal study.

We understand clearly physical darkness and light. Sighted people witness it daily. Darkness, dawn, daylight and dusk frame our lives. They hide or irradiate our existence. The lessons from them are bountiful.

Someone steps out of physical darkness into light. The contrast is clear in our minds. We are in one or the other. When mixed in between, we characterize it as being shaded in darkness or some such phrase. However, we do not say they are standing clearly in the light. Sometimes, we ponder what they are hiding. We sense danger when someone is remaining partially shadowed in darkness.

Criminals, like some vicious animals, use darkness as a cloak to hide their predatory behavior. Rebels who seek a break from proper society often employ an air of darkness and mystery.

Darkness obscures truth and clarity, replacing them with confusion and deception. Shady deals are those that employ the latter to steal money from their victims.

God brought physical light into the world through Christ (Genesis 1:1-4; John 1:1-3). “God divided the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:4, NKJV). The creation of light was an astounding moment that still reverberates.

God brought spiritual light to the world through Christ (John 1:1-5). “Jesus spoke again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life'” (John 8:12). Humanity will never be the same.

Christ throws open the shutters on the clandestine methods of Satan and his dark kingdom. Satan is the father of lies, an adversary that seeks to devour and deceive all of us (John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9). He remains shrouded in darkness leading people to think he is a fairy tale while empowering them to do his will. His deception leads billions astray (Matthew 7:13-14; Psalm 82:5; Proverbs 4:19).

Christ offers life through the light (John 1:4). The path to heaven opens up before us. “Your word is a lamp to my feet [a]nd a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). We learn of Christ through Scripture and it becomes the path to salvation (John 12:48; Romans 10:17).

James Stewart writes, “Christ is the redeemed man’s new environment. [The Christian] has been lifted out of the cramping restrictions of his earthly lot into a different sphere; the sphere of Christ…His spirit is breathing a nobler element. He is moving on a loftier plane.”

Salvation is only in Christ (John 14:6; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22-23; Hebrews 9:11-15). “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Grace through faith and the sprinkled blood of Christ saves us from Satan’s clutches (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:6-11).

Christians must be actively faithful and obedient to God’s Word (Ephesians 2:10; John 14:15). “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). We are to walk worthy of Christ every day as we show his light to the world (Ephesians 4:1; Matthew 5:14-16).

We cannot try to stand in darkness and in light simultaneously. It will only be shady and deceptive. Christ demands that we follow him exclusively.

Darkness brings death while light brings salvation. Which path

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Wednesday Afternoon

Aaron Hill and family

Mid morning posting. His little body has so much to do.
Frann Smith Clark

We got a call around 6 a.m. that another echo showed that Aaron needed to have the fluid drawn off his chest. They sedated him and put in another chest tube to allow the fluid to drain off. His heart rate has slowed a bit and he seems to be breathing easier with the fluid gone. Aaron’s doctors think that some of the fluid is coming from his blood vessels, but some of it was also building up b/c of his feeds and other iv nutrients. Because of this, they are continuing his diuretics and watching him today to see if he keeps the fluid out of his chest. If so, they may start feeding him through his tube again. They aren’t making any other changes-just keeping him sedated and giving him a little rest. Please pray that Aaron’s body will be able to shed the fluid on its own and that his heart and lungs will continue to grow stronger and able to do the work that they need to do. We are impatient, as we want Aaron better FAST, but we are happy that he is moving in the right direction

Faye Carney asks for prayer for Sue Todd. She recently had surgery and was found to have cancer. Treatment is being scheduled. Please be in prayer for Sue, her family, and her friends as they face the coming days.

Dr. Welby Bozeman, a former area pastor and also a former LC professor passed away. He and his wife, Dr. Jeanne Bozeman, who works through NOBTS, have been very influential on thousands of lives over the years. Please be in prayer for the family.

Dr. Thomas Welby Bozeman

(November 27, 1927 – March 24, 2008)

Dr. Thomas Welby Bozeman, age 80, of Covington, Louisiana died Monday, March 24, 2008, of complications from pancreatitis. He was born November 27, 1927 in Searight (Covington County), Alabama, the son of Exer Phillips and Alfred Bozeman. He was a Chaplain’s Aid in the U. S. Army in Hawaii from 1946-1948. He was a graduate of Dozier High School, received an A.B. from Samford University in Birmingham, AL, a B.D., Master of Divinity, Master of Religious Education, Specialist in Religious Education, and EDD in Psychology and Counseling from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Welby was married August 28, 1960 to Jeanine Cannon of Dozier, AL. He was pastor of churches in Alabama from 1950 – 1967 (New Hope Baptist Church, Dozier Baptist Church while concurrently serving as Principal of Dozier High School, and Westside Baptist Church in Elba, Alabama). In Louisiana, he was Pastor of First Baptist Church of Chalmette and Tangipahoa Baptist Church in Tangipahoa. He was Professor of New Testament and Religious Education at Louisiana College in Pineville, LA from 1982-2000. After retirement, he served as interim pastor for numerous churches in LA and was currently serving at Grace Baptist Church in Folsom, LA.

Welby had a life-long interest in vegetable gardening, fishing and shrimping, reading biographies, maintaining physical fitness, and he never lost his love of learning.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, March 26 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Covington, 16333 Hwy 1085, Covington, LA 70433 and Thursday, March 27 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at Foreman Funeral Home, 1516 Martin Luther King Parkway, Andalusia, AL 36420. The funeral will be Friday, March 28 at 2:00 p.m. at Dozier Baptist Church, 253 School Street, Dozier, AL 36028 with a visitation beginning at 1:00 p.m. Interment will be at Dozier Cemetery, Foreman Funeral Home officiating.

He is survived by his wife, Jeanine Cannon Bozeman; a sister, Bonnice Wilks of Troy, AL; a brother, Ray Bozeman of Andalusia, AL and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the T. Welby Bozeman Scholarship Fund at Louisiana College, P. O. Box 589, 1140 College Dr., Pineville, LA, 71359.

E.J. Fielding Funeral Home entrusted with the arrangements.

You may want to write a message to the family on the funeral home website. There’s also a nice picture of Dr. Bozeman there.


Jesse Dean

Jesse had a much better day yesterday. Thank-you for your continued prayers for him.

Joan Hagan
Joan’s surgery has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 30th. Please keep Joan in your prayers.

Dustin Clark

please pray for my son, dustin clark. (frann clark’s grandson) he has a doctor’s appt regarding his colon.
thanks keith clark

Aaron Hill

Please pray for Faith & Scott. They are so tired. Pray for healing for Aaron & the right path for the doctors to take.
Frann Smith Clark

We have had a disappointing day so far. Aaron was given morphine throughout the night last night to calm him, as his crankiness was causing his heart rate to rise. This morning, they started giving him phenabarbitol to help with anxiety and to sedate him as well. His feeds still have not been increased. A chest x-ray showed some fluid in one side of his chest. Because of this and because of the elevated heart rate/pressure in his heart, they are doing another echo in a little while to check on things. Although his bloodwork and overall blood pressure seem okay, they have indicated they might need to do another heart catheterization to take a closer look at things since he isn’t getting better. Because of these issues, they won’t be taking out any of his pacemaker lines or heart medication lines today.
We are worried and sad. We know we can’t help the doctors sort these things out and trust that God will show us and the doctors the next step to help Aaron. We wish that God would just work His healing b/c we know He can and doesn’t need help from any doctors, drugs, etc. But that might not be His plan. When you pray for miraculous healing for Aaron, please pray for his peace and our patience.
Thank you so much…Faith

Just received a notice of a posting. Faith sounds so tired. Aaron was born Feb. 18 & it has been such a tiring time for all of them.
Some of you have asked my connection. Aaron’s grandfather is my 1st cousin. My mother (Myrtle Smith) & Aaron’s great grandfather were sister & brother.
Frann Smith Clark

“Today was a day filled with a lot of waiting. Not that every day isn’t that way to some extent, but today was especially difficult. We got kicked out after hearing Aaron would have an echo this morning so the physicians could do rounds. Then two post-operative babies came into Aaron’s room, so we had to stay out until 5. Aaron finally had his echo, which showed both positive and negative findings.
First, Aaron’s heart repair still looks good. His heart seems to be functioning fine. However, there is a moderate amount of fluid around his heart. This fluid is likely the reason for the breathing difficulty, his elevated heart rate and the increased pressure in his right atrium. Tonight, the doctors decided to stop giving him diuretics to see how he does overnight/if the fluid builds up again or if he can shed it. If he does not, they may have to go in and draw off the fluid from around his heart. If they do this, they will likely have to put him under anesthesia again/ventilate him again. For this reason, they have totally stopped feeding him-even the miniscule amount he was getting.

I know they are being conservative b/c he can’t have food on his belly if they have to intubate him, but it is so hard to see my child hungry and not be able to feed him. He has been hungry for over 2 days now and I want to give him what he needs instead of seeing them deal with his hunger by putting narcotics into his body to dull the hunger pangs.

God has been good. He has brought Aaron out of the rocky place and is continually healing him. He did not promise us an easy road. Please pray 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, that we may be able to offer Aaron the comfort that God has offered us. Thank you all for your continued prayers and messages of comfort and support.

Baptist Press
[Includes two more articles on the Roma (Gypsies)]
March 25, 2008

POLAND–Gypsy family ties conducive to outreach.

ROMANIA–He no longer avoids the Gypsies.

WASHINGTON–HHS challenges threat to pro-life physicians.

ISRAEL–Messianic pastor’s home targeted in bombing.

TENNESSEE–Spike in Baylor tenure denials protested.

KENTUCKY–Mohler tumor clear of cancer.

LOUISIANA–FIRST-PERSON (Keith Manuel): Witnessing to a ‘CEO.’

Melvin L. Tate
McKneely Funeral Home, Kentwood, at 10 a.m.

Charles Adrian Bridges
The Lord’s Church, Kentwood, at 1 p.m.

The Real Meaning of the Cross

Rev. Billy Graham

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Jesus Christ died on a rugged cross for our salvation. We do not worship that cross; we worship Christ, who is alive. Yet among all the emblems of the world, the cross is admired with awe and wonder.

A Message From Billy Graham

The history of the cross goes back long before Christ came. But it was the Romans who used it on a massive scale to execute people. The victim was fastened to the cross by cords, or his hands were nailed, and he was left to die. Even with the heat of the sun, the pull of the body and the torture the victim had endured before being put on the cross, sometimes it took a week to die on a cross. It was one of the most terrible, painful ways to die.

God loves us all. His love extends … to the whole world.
But Christians started to use the cross as a symbol of Christianity. And every time the Gospel is proclaimed, those who hear the message and receive Christ as Savior come to faith by way of the cross.

Four dimensions of the cross come to my mind. First, I think about the breadth of the cross. The love of Christ is manifested in the cross to everyone. When I study the world population and see how fast it is increasing, I am staggered. Yet God loves us all. His love extends to Africa, to Asia, to Latin America, to Russia, to China, to the United States, to Canada-to the whole world. It includes you, whoever you are, whatever your religion, even if you have no religion. God says from the cross, “I love you.”

Then there is the length of the cross. It has no measure. It extends from eternity to eternity, from everlasting to everlasting. When Noah built the Ark, it was 450 feet long. When Solomon built the Temple, it was 60 cubits long. If you build a shed for garden tools, you can measure the lumber with a tape measure. But how can you measure God’s love for us on the cross?

The Bible says that God’s love surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). There is no way that our finite minds can even begin to understand the love God had for us when He gave His Son on the cross to die for us, because you and I deserve death. We deserve judgment and hell.

Then I think of the height of the cross-it extends to the throne of God. It doesn’t matter how high heaven is. Through the cross, God draws all people to Himself. But you have to make a decision about Jesus Christ.

And I think about the depth of God’s love for us on the cross. You can fall into the pit of sin and degradation. You can live like an animal. You can be a murderer, a rapist. But you can’t get beyond the love of God. The cross covers to the very gates of hell. How deep is God’s love? The Bible says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33). It can draw every sinner up to the exalted height of heaven. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).

Think of the cross for a moment. Think of Christ’s suffering for you and for me. It’s said that Jesus endured five kinds of wounds: Concussion, when they beat Him on the head; laceration, when they bared His back, took long leather whips with steel pellets on the end and beat Him until He was bleeding from head to toe; penetration, when they crushed that crown of thorns on His brow; perforation, when they drove the nails through His hands and feet; and incision, when they put the spear in His side.

Think of Christ’s suffering for you.

Those nails through His hands and feet were driven by you and me and all the peoples of the world. We all had a part in the death of Christ because of our sins. Our sins put Him on the cross-and you participated.

You will never understand the Bible, you will never understand the death of Christ on the cross, until you understand that God is a holy and righteous and pure God. He cannot even look upon evil.

In that terrible time of the agony of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, a shadow came between God the Father and God the Son. God cannot look upon sin, and in that moment He was laying your sins and mine on Christ.

He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). That means that He had never known sin, never told a lie, never had an evil thought, never had any greed or lust. But all of the filth and dirt from your life and my life descended on Him. None of us will ever understand the mystery of that moment. It was God’s great love for each of us that allowed His Son to take that suffering.

He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us.

You and I have sinned against God. We have broken His laws. God told Adam that if he broke God’s law, he would surely die (Genesis 2:17). But Adam and Eve broke His law.

They sinned. We have all deliberately rebelled against God. God would not be God, He wouldn’t be just and righteous and holy, if He came along and patted us on the back and said, “You’re forgiven.” We either had to die for our own sins, or somebody who was qualified had to die for us. That Person who was qualified was Jesus Christ, and He volunteered to do it. He died in our place. People will do almost anything to get rid of their guilt. The place to get rid of guilt is at the cross. Jesus came to die. On the cross He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

God had given Jesus a work to do, and in the Gospel of John we read that Jesus said, “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). We wonder why He didn’t feed everybody and heal everybody. He could have done it. He healed some people and fed some who were hungry, and He did that out of compassion. But His real work was the cross; there He was dealing with eternity.

Your body will go to the grave. Your soul, your spirit-the part of you that lives forever-will live on. Where will you spend eternity? Heaven or hell? That will be decided by what you do about the cross, because from the cross Christ is asking you to repent of your sin and receive Him as your Lord and Savior.
From the cross, Jesus reached out by His death and rescued us.
On the cross Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). They did not take His life from Him; He laid it down voluntarily. He gave up His Spirit to God the Father. And in saying this, He conferred upon every one of us the possibility of the gift of eternal life. You can have eternal life, too. Jesus’ invitation is to heaven.

We were lost, confused, without purpose or meaning in life, without assurance of a future life. But from the cross Jesus reached out by His death and rescued us. We can say to Him today, “Lord,” “Savior.” Are you sure that He is your Lord and your Savior? Thousands of people attend church, but they are not sure that they have committed their lives to Christ.

The crowd at the cross was shouting, “Save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40). Others were saying, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save” (Matthew 27:42). They were mocking, jeering, laughing.

Christ was on the cross for six hours between two thieves (Luke 23:39-44). They both deserved to die, according to Roman law. But one of the thieves looked at Jesus, and he saw that Jesus was different. He must have said to himself, “He has to be the Son of God. He has to be Lord.” He said, “We deserve what we are getting, but He does not-He hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he turned to Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). What an act of faith!

Jesus was different.

And what did Jesus say? “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). That thief will be in heaven. Jesus forgave him by His death on the cross.

The forgiveness and the mercy of God are so far beyond our comprehension that we can hardly even talk about them.

Do you know Christ? Do you know the forgiveness of the cross and the power of Christ’s resurrection? Are you forgiven? Have you received new life, resurrection life? I am asking you to make your commitment to Christ. God will help you, if you are willing.