Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If I could have the world

I like this song. It's about God's grace looking after us all. Either way you look at it, we are very small and God is very big. Aren't we glad God is on our side?

Follow along with the words below — so nice.

Alison Krauss · In The Palm of Your Hand
If I could have the world and all it owns
A thousand kingdoms, a thousand thrones
If all the earth were mine to hold
With wealth my only goal

I'd spend my gold on selfish things
Without the love that Your life brings
Just a little bit more is all I'd need
'Til life was torn from me

I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees
Your grace provides for me

If I should walk the streets no place to sleep
No faith in promises You keep
I'd have no way to buy my bread
With a bottle for my bed

But if I trust the One who died for me
Who shed His blood to set me free
If I live my life to trust in You
Your grace will see me through

I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees

If I could have the world
If I could have the world and all it owns ...

One last thing ~
You have yourself a Happy Birthday today, Charlie!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday: Day of Resurrection

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
In the early hours of that Sabbath morn came a quake and the earth trembled and Jerusalem was troubled. Out of the skies as a lightning shaft came an angel in white raiment to the sepulcher where Jesus Christ lay buried. He rolled away the great stone and the terrified guards fell as if dead.

And then the dawn was still and beautiful. One by one the stars were doused and a morning carved from heaven broke over the countryside.

In great caution and sadness went Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany to the sepulcher to weep once more over their departed Master; perhaps to spread more spices over His body if the stone could be moved. But they were astonished and without words when they saw the stone had been rolled away. Could His body have been stolen away in the night?

Could He now lie in a common grave? The women moved closer and dared to enter. At first they saw nothing. Then a young man whose white garment shattered the tomb's darkness spoke:

"Be not afraid. He is not here, for He is risen as He said."

Frightened, trembling, the women listened. "Go quickly and tell His Disciples that He is risen from the dead. And behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him."

Quickly the women fled to the house where His Disciples were hiding and spread the news.

"They have taken away The Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid Him!"

Simon Peter and John heard and rushed from the house. John, the younger, came first to the sepulcher and looked past the opening. He saw linen cloth on the ground, but was fearful of entering.

Simon, breathless from his run, arrived and the two Disciples entered the tomb. True, the linens and the white napkin which had been folded around His head were there. And they departed in haste and returned to their house. But Mary lingered and wept. She peered into the sepulcher and saw two angels sitting where His body had been. And they said:

"Woman, why do you weep?"

"Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him."

Then she turned to go away and Jesus stood nearby, but she did not know Him.

"Woman," He said, "Why do you weep? Whom do you seek?"

But Mary supposed Him to be the gardener and she said:

"Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away."

And Jesus said unto her:


And she rejoiced and cried: "Teacher!"

But He motioned her away and said:

"Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended unto the Father. But go to My Brethren and say to them, 'I ascend unto My Father, and your Father, and My God and your God'."

Mary arose and rushed to the Disciples, exclaiming:

"I have seen The Lord!"

The word spread and Matthew told that dazed guards reported the Resurrection to High Priests and Scribes. In hurried counsel with the Elders it was decided to give the guards much money and say unto them: "If questioned, say, 'His Disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept'."

Soon, two friends of Jesus, who had been in the house with His Disciples, journeyed afoot to nearby Emmaus and were talking of events of the past few days in Jerusalem. A shadow fell across their path and they turned to see a stranger. He inquired of their conversation and they told Him the story of Jesus' suffering and the reports of His Resurrection. But of the last, they spoke in doubt.

And then the stranger started from Moses and quoted from all the Prophets in interpreting the Scriptures. Soon they arrived in Emmaus and He sat down with them. The bread was broken!

In astonishment they looked and they knew it was He! And then He vanished. Straightway they returned to Jerusalem and burst into the house of the Disciples, saying: 'The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!"

And while the eleven Disciples heard in wonderment, He appeared in the doorway. One by one He looked at them and then He said: "Peace be unto you." The Disciples were frightened and feared they had seen a spirit. "Why are ye troubled and why do questionings arise in your hearts? See My hands and feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye behold Me having." He lifted His hands and showed them His feet. The scars of crucifixion were still there. He opened his garment and the mark of the spear was on His side.

In joy they still disbelieved, and He asked for meat. And He took it and ate. They believed.

"Peace be unto you. As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whosoever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto you. Whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained..."

They believed and went out to carry His gospel into every land. And out of the heaven seemed to come words reminiscent of His baptism: "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased..."

For a musical adapatation of the events of Holy Week, check out this video:

He’s Alive – Don Francisco

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday: Day of Suffering

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
The day had come — mockery, insults, the fiction of a legal trial, boundless pain, betrayal, and finally, death on the cross.

It was the day of suffering for Jesus Christ. Dawn was the misty witness on that Friday when Jesus, insulted and slapped in the home of Annas, was bound and led away to the palace of Caiaphas, high priest.

The day's first grief came when Peter, frightened and confused, stoutly denied in Caiaphas' courtyard that he was a Disciple of Christ; that he even knew Him. A distant cock crew and Peter gazed into Jesus' face and remembered His words:

"Before the cock crow twice thou shalt deny me thrice."

And Peter stumbled into the streets and wept bitterly, his face hidden in the cloak.

Into the crowded Sanhedrin Jesus, alone now and wrists bound with rope, was shoved to hear perjurers testify before Caiaphas. Two of them swore they had heard Him say in the Temple of God: "I will destroy this temple that is made with hands and in three days I will build another made without hands."

But Jesus answered nothing; nothing until His own words condemned Him in the eyes of these evil schemers.

Caiaphas crooked a finger towards Him and asked: "Art Thou the Son of God?"

And Jesus wrote His own death sentence: "Ye say that I am. I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

Caiaphas triumphantly arose and tore his priestly garments in a deceitful show of rage, shouting:

"Ye have heard the blasphemy. What think ye?"

Death! Death! Death! The halls shook with their verdict. Jesus, exhausted and blindfolded, dried blood still on His cheeks, stood with the guards. A passing Scribe spat on Him. The rabble of servants and guards gleefully followed suit. And then they played blind man's buff--striking Him in His blindness and demanding that He identify His assailants without sight if He were really a prophet.

But they soon tired and Jesus was taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, for confirmation of His sentence. The Pharisees falsely testified again and Pilate, unwilling to shoulder the responsibility, sent Him to Herod when He told him He was a Galilean. But Jesus was silent before Herod and the mob returned Him to Pilate for final decision.

Pilate, defending Jesus through hate of Caiaphas, not love, offered Barabbas, an assassin, in exchange for Jesus, but the throng still clamored for His death. So Pilate had Him stripped and arrayed in a purple garment and the soldiers in the courtyard placed a crown of thorns upon His head and a reed in His right hand.

And they spat upon Him and struck Him and mocked Him with: "Hail, King of the Jews!"

And finally Pilate, fearful of the rising tumult, delivered Him unto the mob and washed his hands in water saying: "I am innocent of the blood of this man; see ye to it!"

Down the stony streets Jesus trudged, bearing His own cross. Two thieves followed, also doomed to crucifixion. Sobbing women, old men, dirty children followed the procession with cries of pity. But Jesus urged them not to weep for Him.

No longer could His strength hold. He fell to the street under His cross. He seemed dead; only gasps of breath indicated life.

The Pharisees cast about in the crowd and picked one Simon to lift His cross that the procession might not be delayed. Outside the city's walls--capital punishment was illegal in the city itself--came the tragic, broken Jesus of Nazareth to a place called Golgotha, scene of the crucifixion.

Four soldiers readied Jesus and the two thieves. Ropes under His arms lifted Him to the cross and nails were driven into His hands and feet.

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do..."

And one of the repentant thieves moaned in agony as Jesus comforted him.

"Today shall thou be with me in paradise..."

Away from the howling men, fearful of it all, stood His mother, Mary. To John and Mary, Jesus whispered:

"Woman, behold thy son: son, behold thy mother!"

Midnight darkness came and the sun was obscured. Many fled in fear but some lingered. The parched lips moved again and at the ninth hour He said:

"My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Dust and blood coated His lips:

"I thirst..."

And a vile soldier dipped a reed in vinegar and brushed it to His mouth.

"It is finished..."

The body trembled and the lips parted in final agony:

"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit..."

And His head bowed and He gave up the ghost.

Suddenly, told Matthew, an earthquake struck the Temple veil was torn from top to bottom. The earth shook and rocks were splintered. Tombs opened and bodies of saints were raised.

The people, in fear and awe, beat their breasts and cried: "Truly, this was the Son of God!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

Jesus' words to his disciples at the Last Supper:
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

John 14:1-3 NKJV

A number of composers have adapted this reasurring passage to music. My favorite is a hymn arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram. To hear an MP3 sample, visit The Music of Ruth Elaine Schram — once there, scroll briefly through an alphabetical title list to Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, then *Click here to listen*.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

John 14:6 NKJV

Maundy Thursday: Day of Fellowship

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
Thirty pieces of silver were to be His doom before the day's end but Jesus of Nazareth tediously planned Maundy Thursday for last moments of fellowship and prayer with His Disciples.

Not many hours of life remained for Him. He was to be betrayed, given a mock trial and crucified before tomorrow's sunset.

So it was His wish that He should gather for the last time His Disciples, but no worldly goods were His and He had no home for such fellowship. He directed two Disciples to go into Jerusalem and follow a man bearing a pitcher and in his home they would dine.

Many men bore pitchers of water from Shiloh on that day but the Disciples followed the first they saw and it was as He said. Arrangements were made.

In the evening Jesus came and sat with His Disciples for the Lord's Supper and the Passover feast. It was the first day of unleavened bread. To prove His love for those He was soon to leave, Jesus stooped and washed the dusty feet of His Disciples. Protests arose but He said: "Verily, verily I say unto you, a servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them."

In His sadness He gave them a new commandment:

"Love one another, even as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends..."

And He took the bread and broke it in prayer and gave it to them, saying:

"This is my body which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me."

And He took a cup and gave thanks and handed it to an Apostle:

"Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many..."

Great lines furrowed His face and He shocked His Disciples when He said:

"Verily, I say unto you that one of you will betray me."

The Disciples searched each other's faces and were sorrowful. They quickly pleaded to know the identity of the betrayer. Judas Iscariot, the 30 pieces of silver even then tightly wrapped on his person, said: "Is it I, Lord?"

In answer, Jesus said: "He it is for whom I shall dip the sop and give it to him."

And Jesus handed the sop to Judas Iscariot. Then He began His farewell conversation with the remaining Disciples who were of heavy hearts.

"Let not your heart be troubled. He who believes in God, believes also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you."

The supper was ended and Jesus took with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane Peter and James and John. He implored them to stay with Him and watch as He prayed. And He fell to the ground and cried to God:

"Father, all things are possible unto Thee; remove this cup from Me!'

But only an angel appeared to give Him strength and in agony he prayed until blood and sweat coursed down His hot cheeks. He wearily arose and walked back to find the three Disciples lost in sleep. Not even His trusted friends could stand watch. He peered down at them and whispered: "Sleep on now and take your rest. Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."

Out of the shadows came Judas Iscariot in the light of lanterns. Swords rattled from scabbards of the motley rabble at his side. For 30 pieces of silver Judas Iscariot was to identify Jesus with a kiss. So he walked straightway to Him and kissed His cheek. And Jesus said: "Friend, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?"

The guards rushed forward and Simon Peter drew his sword and slashed an ear off the high priest's servant. Quickly Jesus said: "Suffer ye thus far." And he touched the ear and healed it.

The Disciples fled in confusion and fear and Jesus was led away to the house of Annas. His death sentence neared.

And Judas Iscariot fled into the night and hanged himself.

Let not your heart be troubled. He who believes in God, believes also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wednesday Before Easter: Day of Retirement

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
On Wednesday of His Passion week Jesus of Nazareth sought seclusion in the quiet of friendly Bethany homes.

No record of events of this day in His life is known.

But wicked schemers the troubled Pharisees and Scribes who feared the challenging power of the Son of David, met to plan details of His death.

To openly assassinate Him would bring down the plague of the people. Betrayal and crucifixion was the plan. The right moment had to be found.

To the court of the high priest, Caiaphas, went the plotters to counsel together. The Sanhedrin, supreme council of the capital's ruling chiefs, was crowded with priests who benefited from the Temple's merchandising, Scribes who tended the law and Elders who represented the middle class.

Why did this group seek the death of Jesus?

Greed and personal interests were the underlying causes.

Intertwined in every business in Jerusalem, from the high to the low, was religion. The high priests were beneficiaries of tithes, taxes from Temple trading, food from sacrificial animals and even from payments for first-born infants.

It was their privilege to take from herds and crops. Under the law even the bread on their tables came from Jews who were compelled to give the twenty-fourth part of the bread baked in their homes. They sold animals to be used in sacrificial offerings and formed secret partnerships with the moneychangers.

Shamefully, the Temple of God became a bartering post around which was wrapped the very life of Jerusalem. Off the Temple lived the priests and the wealthy. Merchants depended upon the priests and the rich and the millions of pilgrims drawn from over the world to the tainted house of worship.

The poor existed from scraps dropped them by those who desecrated the Temple.

To challenge this violation of God's House came Jesus. His teachings substituted love of man for every mercenary scheme and threatened the continued existence of an infamous network.

Many attempts to trap Him with cunning questions had failed. Jerusalem was crowded with foreigners for the Sacrifice of the Passover and tens of thousands were either listening to or hearing of His teachings. It troubled the Pharisees.

Only Nicodemus arose in the Sanhedrin to attempt defense of Jesus but he was quieted by fearful shouts of others that if He were permitted to continue His teachings and gather great followings, the Romans would come in conquering strength and seize the nation.

Finally, the decision was made. Jesus was to be seized before the Passover. But they were cowardly and still feared the wrath of the people. Many schemes were discussed for the actual murder, but it was decided against assassination on the day of the Passover "lest there be an uproar among the people."

But on the next day came a traitor to solve their problem.

Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve Disciples, was to betray his Master for thirty pieces of silver — a modest sum for an avaricious man. It could not have been more than $20.
A small price for a man's life. And no one knows to this day the mystery of Judas Iscariot. We know only:

"Then entered Satan into Judas."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tuesday Before Easter: Day of Controversy

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
It was to be a bitter and full day for Jesus of Nazareth the Tuesday before Easter, last day in His public ministry.

So with the dawn over Bethany He arose, gathered His Disciples and started the day before. Jerusalem was feverish.

It had heard in every house how Jesus drove the wicked from the House of the Lord. The poor rejoiced and left the alleys; leprous beggars lurched toward the Temple ; craftsmen long suffering at the hands of the rich closed their shops.

The courts were overflowing as He walked in one of the porches to begin His teaching. The lame and the poor watched imploringly. The multitude belonged to Jesus that day.

But He was not to be without enemies. In small groups the Pharisees and Scribes who plotted His death filtered into the courtyard. They were haughty sights. Sneering mouths, scorn in their eyes, tilted chins.

Jesus paused and awaited their attack. He knew why they had come. He knew their cunning. Soon one of them shouted: "By what authority do you preach--and who gave this authority?"

Jesus' answer shamed them and the multitude was pleased. "I would ask you a question. If you answer, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John--whence was it? From heaven or from men?"

The Pharisees were shaken. If they answered "from heaven" He would ask "Why did you not believe him?" If they answered "from men" they would be stoned, for the people were persuaded John was a prophet. So they shamefully said: "We know not."

And Jesus said: "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

But again the Pharisees attempted cunning. One asked: "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar? Why pay taxes?"

Jesus deliberated. To have said "no" would have been to command rebellion. To have said "yes" would have belied His own claim to Messiahship. But He knew well of their hypocrisy. He took a coin and said: "What is Caesar's give to Caesar, and what is God's to God."

The Pharisees heard and marveled and left the temple. And the solution Jesus gave has settled for all time the principles underlying it.

Jesus paused for rest on nearby steps and watched the multitude cast money into the treasury. He saw a pauper widow give two mites, the smallest of coins, and knew that her sacrifice was the greatest of all. Their glances met and Jesus was pleased, although He did not speak. Their silence was a tryst for heaven.

The day was long and Jesus was tired. He silenced the Sadducees when questioned on resurrection and then the Pharisees reappeared to plague Him on the law.

"What command is the greatest of the commandments?'' they asked.

"You must love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. There is a second. You must love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

The evening came and Jesus wearied. He had told many parables and had attempted to correct many errors. It was then that He met the approach of the proselytes, Greeks who had married into Judaism. They wanted to become disciples of the Lord of Righteousness. They sent a messenger, Philip Bethsaida, accompanied by Andrew.

And Gentile converts were granted the right to worship and praise Christ, even as men of the Gentile world had paid homage to Him in the stable of Bethlehem.

Jesus said unto Philip and Andrew. "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am there shall also my servant be. If any man serve me, him will the Father honor..."

And Jesus, perhaps the fullest day of His life ended- He had denounced the Pharisees and Scribes, He had foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and His own suffering on the cross--returned to the home of Lazarus in Bethany.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Monday Before Easter: Day of Authority

This is an excerpt from The Immortal Story by Felix R. McKnight:
Jesus of Nazareth strode up the dusty Jerusalem street to the Temple of God, flanked by His fervent followers.

On the hilltop the Temple beckoned in deceiving brilliance. But His gentle heart flamed into righteous indignation as He drew near. He saw what He had feared.

Sin had occupied the House of The Lord. Greed was etched in the faces of the moneychangers who ran dirty hands through bowls of silver and copper. Herdsmen hawked their wares in the filth of their flocks. Vendors shouted raucously beside their pigeon coops.

Oxen bellowed against a backdrop of bleating lambs. He stood in scorn and viewed it all. The house of prayer was now a house of Mammon, and moneychangers cheated and lied and became the tools of priests.

No longer could He restrain His scorn. The gentlest of all men seized a knotted rope and lashed his way through the market place. He stung evil backs and upset benches of the moneychangers. Copper and silver coins clattered to the floor and rolled away. Greedy men bawled in astonishment.

Herdsmen stampeded oxen and sheep through the Temple doors and vendors tumbled to the floor beside upset coops. The babble drew others from nearby courtyards and the clamor rose at the sight of this man cleansing the Temple of God.

He stood majestically brandishing His whip and with the last of the moneychangers crawling from the Temple, loudly called after them: "My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of robbers and thieves!"

And suddenly the courts were cleared and there was peace.

Soon, in the new quiet of the Temple, there came the blind and the lame. Boys of the neighborhood, possibly choir boys, cautiously slipped in to see this man who had driven evil from holy halls.

The Chief Priests and Scribes of the Pharisees, drawn to the Temple by the act of Jesus of Nazareth, watched incredulously while He healed the afflicted. They frowned uncomfortably when little children cried and joyously shouted: "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

Indignantly the Priests called out to Him: "Do you hear what they say?" And Jesus answered: "Why are they saying this of me? Haven't you read in the Scripture: 'You have drawn praise from the mouths of children and infants?'"

And that silenced the Pharisees. But it taunted them and it was that night that they banded together and conceived the bribing of a betrayer --and the cross. It was a delicate plot to plan, for the people had accepted Jesus as the Messiah and treasured His every word.

On that day Jesus, weary and faint of hunger, walked near Bethany. He saw a fig tree and sought to satisfy His hunger. But the tree was barren of fruit and He grew indignant. He spoke that no more fruit would grow on the tree.

Matthew reported the tree withered at once. John told that when they passed it the next day it had perished. But in any event it could not suffer His ire.

Jesus told His followers it was but a lesson--that men needed to realize a simple faith, a faith in God which rests on Him alone.

He was trying to tell them that the fig tree was like Jerusalem, which, with its foliage, was magnificent in its welcome on the day of His triumphant Sabbath entry. But, actually, it had not received Him, did not understand His visitation and was as barren as the tree He had spurned.

And then He went to Bethany for a night of quiet.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Palm Sunday

The Immortal Story is an 18-page booklet of newspaperman Felix McKnight's dramatic chronicle of Holy Week. It begins on what is now known as Palm Sunday.

An excerpt appears below.
The Immortal Story

On this day, [over 1900] years ago, the 33-year-old son of an obscure carpenter rode triumphantly astride a restless colt through Jerusalem's gates acclaimed as the prophesied Messiah.

The faithful, thousands of them, tossed their mantles and palm branches on the street's rough stones before the sad-eyed Jesus of Nazareth. And they cried out: "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

The day was magnificent in its beauty. It was April and spring. The Sabbath sun's brilliance sparkled across vineyards and orchards. Velvety blue skies canopied the countryside.

Only a few hours before Jesus had gathered around Him on the nearby Mount of Olives at Bethphage village, His Twelve Disciples. He told them of His fate that He was to be outraged, struck and spit upon and finally put to death.

It seemed incredible to His followers. But Jesus calmed them. Death was to be the promise of a second, and greater, life and His Passion was to insure eternal freedom of man.

So with a beckoning gesture He started His triumphal march upon Jerusalem--a condemned man who thrice had escaped death but who now chose to save mankind.

The crowd swelled as a mad river out of its banks as the procession neared Jerusalem. The faithful, caught in a great moment of hope, slashed palm branches and boughs of myrtle from the forests and waved them high. The din grew and some feared a riot at the gates. The Pharisees, gathered to prepare the Sacrifice of the Passover, hurried to the scene and drew cloaks about troubled faces as they heard the rolling shout: "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

The first Christian legion storming Jerusalem's gates irked the Pharisees and some cried out at this strange Jesus of Nazareth: "Master, rebuke Thy disciples?

But the answer withered them; rang like a challenge of war: "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out!"

Stones? The stones of dusty streets which had twice been hurled at Him in murder attempts. The desert stones which He had refused to turn into loaves of bread upon the dare of His enemy.

The issue was made. On He rode, the trace of a smile on His gentle face as He raised His head slightly to acknowledge the drumming Hosannas.

A tear dropped on His cheek. He was crying softly to Himself; not in self-pity; not for the suffering He would endure; not for the shame He knew he faced; not for the death that awaited Him a few days hence.

No, He sorrowed not for Himself, but for the poor souls who were about to perjure and compromise themselves at the altar of disbelief. Knowing that the Scripture must be fulfilled, that the prophecy must come to pass, He knew they would do just that.

Meanwhile, the Pharisees called hurried councils among the Chief Priests and Scribes to discuss the threat this carpenter's son had brought to their midst. The throngs that tearfully shouted at His heels disturbed them. He was a menace to be destroyed. But Jesus, marching ironically in triumph to His doom, heard only the joyous shouts that pounded over Jerusalem even to the walls of the Temple on the hill; the Temple filled with sin. "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

Tomorrow He would lash from the Temple of God the moneychangers, the bankers, the venders who dared to invade the House of the Lord.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

It gets even better

Most of what I learned about Felix McKnight was shared with me by his assistant, Joan Jackson-Phenix, many years after I first read The Immortal Story.

Here's excerpts of what she shared with me in 2003.

Sherry Andrus, our Dallas Chapter president of Executive Women International, forwarded your email concerning Felix McKnight to me. It sounds like a great story and I am anxious to hear it.

I know Mr. McKnight will be pleased to know of your interest. Yes, he is alive and at 93 is still sharper than most at 35! I am sure he would be glad to talk to you. You will find him to be a very interesting, charming man. He is just recovering from pneumonia and is still somewhat short of breath. I spoke with him this morning and told him about your email.

* * *

I spoke with Mr. McKnight tonight. He was very pleased that you had been touched by his writing of The Immortal Story. His mother wanted him to write the story of Jesus and His last days on earth, he did it for her.

Briefly, I will attempt to cover some of the highlights.

Taking a leave of absence from the Dallas Morning News — where at that time Mr. McKnight was city editor — to do research, he began his writings. With the help of a Rabbi, Catholic Priest and his own Protestant Minister, he worked on the project for two full months. The Rabbi, the Priest and his Minister were vital to his research. The Rabbi had a marvelous library, especially on the cities where Jesus had lived and preached. The Catholic Priest and Mr. McKnight's Minister were very knowledgeable and extremely helpful in his research.

The story was printed as a series – both the Dallas Morning News and later the Dallas Times Herald ran it front page just before Easter for a number of years. It was syndicated and carried in 80 major newspapers throughout the world.

Among others, Time Magazine reviewed it (and somewhat with tongue in cheek stated that this story had already been told — by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

The Masonic Lodge joined in and had over a million copies printed and distributed worldwide. I believe it was published in 35 countries (don't quote me on the number, I just know it was a lot).

Mr. McKnight's biography is quite lengthy. He began his career on the San Antonio Light. From there he worked for The Associated Press, covering the New London school explosion where so many children and teachers lost their lives. For 11 years he worked for The Dallas Morning News as City Editor but left the News in 1957 to become Vice President and Editor at The Dallas Times Herald. Later he was promoted to Co-Publisher and Editor. He semi retired in 1975 but remained with The Dallas Times Herald for several years writing editorial columns. He served as President of American Society of Newspaper Editors and, along with 11 other major metropolitan editors, traveled to Russia, met and angered Nakita Kruechev. Soon afterward he wrote a book entitled The Russia I Saw and it, too, received wide distribution.

  • Attended A&M University
  • Was very instrumental in major changes in Dallas
  • A great civic leader
  • A renowned speaker
  • An avid golfer, continues at age 93 as a member of Augusta National
  • Married to Elizabeth "Lib" Terrell McKnight
  • Two daughters, one deceased, 3 grandsons and two great grandchildren
  • Not a rich man but generous to a fault — my EWI scholarship is one indication. I have known him to help and find jobs for young men who came in off the street. He has given other scholarships to different universities.
Mr. McKnight is the finest man I have ever known, and I've met many good men. I was privileged to work for him and with him for nearly 20 years as his personal secretary. Through him I worked with top government and city officials. Though he doesn't know it, he was the father I never knew.

This is about all the information I have on Felix R. McKnight, but I did learn of his death on February 7, 2004 at the age of 93.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Who is Felix R. McKnight?

I never had the pleasure of meeting Felix McKnight in person, but the message in his booklet, The Immortal Story, had an impact on my life when I received it from Daddy in the 1970's. His story chronicling events in the last eight days of Christ was given to me at a time when I had been reading about religions other than Christianity.

Although I had realized I was a sinner at the age of six and realized even more certainly that I could not live without sinning by the time I was seven, I had these vague doubts about Jesus Christ himself, who had been cast only as an enlightened man in some of what I had read. It is an historic fact that Jesus was a person who lived on this earth many years ago, but there is much more to the story than this fact. By reading Mr. McKnight's concise description of what has become to be known as Holy Week, those doubts were taken away by what Jesus said at the last supper with his disciples. It was as if He were speaking them directly to me. I will share excerpts from that story beginning with Palm Sunday in future posts.
My postscript to this introduction must include this:

I don't feel the need to nail my faith down with man-made words or doctrine. Doing so, to me, would be trying to make God smaller than He really is. I have believed in God for as long as I can remember and have felt saved ever since I accepted Jesus at the young age of seven.

Like the apostle Thomas, I needed some proof as a young adult. The Immortal Story provided what I needed at that particular time in my life. Those uneasy feelings needed some answers.

But that's not all — I learned more about this fine gentleman:

It gets even better