Corner of Lexington and Tomlin

I was born on Lexington Ave, in Jackson, TN two doors down from Hampton Street then when I was still a baby we moved next door to the corner house and from there we moved to 246 South Lindsey Street in November when I turned four so my memories of those days are very few but I do have some memories that my mother and father told me about that seem to be very real.

Our church was just across the street and a couple of houses down toward the east so it was always in sight and as long as I can remember that was my church.  I lovedCalvary Baptist Church at the corner of Lexington and Tomlin.

My dad said that one Sunday morning as we were all getting ready to go to church that he heard several cars blowing their horns out on Lexington and decided to go and see what all the horn blowing was about. There I was in all my Sunday best standing in the middle of Lexington Avenue holding a stick in my hand stopping all of the traffic. Of course it only took dad a moment to realize the problem and he rushed into the street, picked me up and on the way back to the house asked what in the world I was doing. He said that I told him that I wanted to be the first person in church that Sunday so I decided to block the traffic so that no one could get there before I did.  I guess we should have known then that I was going to become a pastor, I have always loved church, mother said that after we moved to Lindsey Street if we drove by the church and lights were on that I would pitch a fit because we were not there. It didn’t matter to me if it was a ladies meeting or a deacon’s meeting, if someone was in church I wanted to be in church.

I have wonderful memories of Calvary, as an old man I can say for certain that they knew how to love a little boy there. It was there that I made my profession of faith at the age of nine and was baptized and it was there that I preached my first sermon when I was sixteen years of age. I always wanted to pastor a church named Calvary and said that I would buy up every billboard around and put on it – Life Begins at Calvary, Corner of Lexington and Tomlin.

The church family moved some years after I left, I preached the last revival in the building and then took part in the first revival at their new building. The building is still there and when I visited one day about five years ago it stirred up so many memories that I had to weep. For life did begin for me at Calvary, there at the Corner of Lexington and Tomlin. To all those who made it possible, and I know they are all now in Glory, thank you, thank you for knowing how to love a little boy.

Ivan

 

 

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Published in: on May 31, 2012 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Martin the Centurion

Martin the Centurion

William Barclay in his “Daily Study Bible” mentions a Roman solider – Here is my version of the story.

The Centurion Martin a solider of rank in the Roman Army and a Christian in his heart and actions was marching his troops toward a town one cold winter day when he was met by a beggar asking for a coin. Martin told him that he had no coin, but looking at his almost frozen and starved body he pulled him under his coat and then with the mercy seldom shown a beggar took out his knife and cut his coat in half. He place the old worn and dirty coat around the beggar and pulled it tight so that he might stay warm in the cold of the winter night that was coming. Then Martin took a small loaf of hard bread from his pouch and gave it to the beggar saying please eat, I will find more for myself in the morning.

That night as his men made camp the Centurion covered himself with the other half of his dirty, worn, and now torn coat and fell into the sleep of the righteous.

Martin saw Jesus in glory wearing his old, dirty, worn, and ripped coat, while clutching in his hand a piece of hard brown bread. One of the angels seeing his Master dressed so asked, “Master why are you wearing that old ragged cloak, and why are you eating that hard piece of brown bread?” Jesus answered the angel saying, “My friend Martin gave me this coat and this piece of bread so I wanted to wear his coat and eat his food, for he shared it with me.”

Jesus said in Matthew chapter 25 vs. 40 ‘Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Maybe the story will help us see how precious the moments are when we give of ourselves to others.

Ivan

Published in: on May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dearest Mary

(A letter from the Civil War – sometimes it helps to see the broken hearts of others and realize that compared to them our times are good times.)

 

Dearest Mary

It has been so long since I have been able to write and tell you of my hearts desire that will only be complete when I am once again in your arms. It has been more than a year since I have seen you but your face is still etched in my heart and not even the horrors of this war can erase it. Mary I am so glad that you live outside the boundaries of these battles and are spared a little of the darkness of the hour.

We have been so long in battle that it is hard from me to remember why we are here and why ever where I look there is another dead man. I crawled over the body of a boy from near our home yesterday, his uniform was blue and I remembered that the last time I talked with in 1859 he was on his way to west point the union military school for officers. I almost cried when I saw who it was as I made my way across his body, strange that I would cry for a Yankee, but he was from our home and by now the bodies both grey and blue all look alike, just dead, forever dead. I thought of his family, I did weep Mary there was no way to hold back the flow of tears for he was about my age and his family must be so broken because he will never come home.

I pray Mary that I will be home with you before some boy crawls over my body. Remember me and never forget for a moment that I think of you.

Love,

Clark

Published in: on May 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Martin the Centurion

William Barclay in his “Daily Study Bible” mentions a Roman solider – Here is my version of the story.

The Centurion Martin a solider of rank in the Roman Army and a Christian in his heart and actions was marching his troops toward a town one cold winter day when he was met by a beggar asking for a coin. Martin told him that he had no coin, but looking at his almost frozen and starved body he pulled him under his coat and then with the mercy seldom shown a beggar took out his knife and cut his coat in half. He place the old worn and dirty coat around the beggar and pulled it tight so that he might stay warm in the cold of the winter night that was coming. Then Martin took a small loaf of hard bread from his pouch and gave it to the beggar saying please eat, I will find more for myself in the morning.

That night as his men made camp the Centurion covered himself with the other half of his dirty, worn, and now torn coat and fell into the sleep of the righteous.

Martin saw Jesus in glory wearing his old, dirty, worn, and ripped coat, while clutching in his hand a piece of hard brown bread. One of the angels seeing his Master dressed so asked, “Master why are you wearing that old ragged cloak, and why are you eating that hard piece of brown bread?” Jesus answered the angel saying, “My friend Martin gave me this coat and this piece of bread so I wanted to wear his coat and eat his food, for he shared it with me.”

Jesus said in Matthew chapter 25 vs. 40 ‘Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Maybe the story will help us see how precious the moments are when we give of ourselves to others.

Ivan

Published in: on May 30, 2012 at 1:09 am  Leave a Comment  

The Wall

 

I have visited The Wall, Vietnam Memorial, several times and always it leaves me with the same feeling of sadness and tears. Just to see the men who did come home, but never left the war, walk around The Wall and weep over its 58,205 names is more than enough to bring sorrow to your heart. These veterans of the war seem like lost souls on a sea of never ending sailing, unlike the men who came home to cheers, parades, praise, and glory from World War II, they came unnoticed, unnamed, almost held guilty by a nation greatly divided by the war. Many never found recover, never received relief, and never really left the war. I have been at The Wall in the daylight hours and in the dark of night and always it is the same, the unreturned are there searching for something that will never come.

On that wall is the name of six of the nine seniors from Morenci High School who all played football together and enlisted in July after their graduation only three of the nine came home. There are four sets of father and son, Pfc. Rex G. Chrismas escorted his father Lt. Rex Chrismas, USN body home for burial and returning to Vietnam was killed thirty days later. Twenty-nine sets of brothers, sixteen Chaplains, two who received the Medal of Honor; in all 154 of those named on the wall received the Medal of Honor. Some 997 men were killed on their first day in country another 1,448 died on their last day scheduled to be in the country. There are eight women, all nurses, there to give aid and comfort to our men and charged with giving their own lives. There is Sp4 James T. Davis, from Livingston , Tennessee who was the first person killed in battle, it was December 22, 1961 , and members of his family are in our church at First Baptist Byrdstown.

But there could be other walls, 25,000 for the men killed in the Revolutionary War, 20,000, in the War of 1812, 13,283 in the Mexican American War, 625,000 killed in our own Civil War, then many others and the 116,576 left in Europe in World War I, the 405,399 who never came home from World War II and to that 36,516 in Korea and the 1,893 in Afghanistan and 4,484 in Iraq and you have a lot of walls and too many names. Today as we honor our fallen, we honor an unnumbered line of men and women who stood tall, paid the full price, and left this world far too soon. Thank you seems so little, but thank you it is until the hugs of glory. Ivan

Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Pointe du Hoc

Pointe du Hoc

At 4:30 AM on June 6, 1944 225 men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion under the command of Lt.Col. James Earl Rudder made their way toward the point of land which separatedUtah andOmaha beaches the two primary beaches to be assaulted by the American forces on D-Day. Due to high wind and seas the Higgins boats were off course and delayed until the element of surprise was removed from the battle. Their mission was to scale the more than 100 foot cliffs all at ninety degrees and put out of action the more than 300 Germans and the six 155 mm guns which they manned on top of the cliffs. These guns had a range of almost 15 miles and could strike bothOmaha andUtah beaches as well as the ships brining the men to shore. They had to be taken.

The Higgins boats were armed with rocket launchers designed to fire the grapnels hooks to the top of the cliffs but because of the water soaked condition of the ropes many of the hooks failed to reach the top of the cliffs but the men made their assault and climbed to the top and took the Pointe. A side note that one of the Frenchmen at Pointe Du Hoch told Carole and I about when we visited in April was that the Germans did not know what the grapples were and thinking them to be some kind of bomb did not pull them loose and thus keep the Rangers from reaching the top.

The Rangers learned on reaching their destination that five of the guns had been removed and taken about a mile inland to an Apple Orchard in order to protect them from the navy shelling. The Rangers found them, and put all of the six guns out of commission and the battle.

Relief did not come for the 2nd Battalion as planned on that day and by the time it did arrived on June 8 there were only 90 of the 225 men left. Out of water and low on ammunition Lt.Col. Rudder and his men held on to their position and saved countless American lives from the German forces at the top of the Pointe. Thus the name, “The Greatest Generation”. Thank you men of the 2nd Battalion and countless others who did their best and gave their all that I might write this in a free country and send it across our world.

Ivan

Published in: on May 25, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

The Battle

As we cook our steaks and enjoy our family gathering together this weekend let us not forget to take a moment and remember the men and women who gave their all that we might have the freedom to celebrate a holiday weekend.

For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. Psalm 86:13

On March 26, 1945 Marine Sgt. Horace Avery listened as the Jewish Chaplain read this verse to about 35 men of the Marine 3rdDivision.  On the eight miles of ash called Iwo Jima between February 19 and March 26, 1945 6,825 marines and sailors were killed, our causalities were 25,851. There were 22,060 Japanese on the island and 21,844 of them died. Horace had survived and this verse forever became a part of his life as it stuck in his soul like a sharp sword and in December of 1945 when he came home to treatment in an American hospital that verse still burned in his soul. For the next 41 years he shared his story of the love of God and the protection he received from the landing on February 19 until victory on March 26.  Iwo Jima had charged a high price for its eight miles of ash, but he had been spared the depths of the grave.

My father’s brother, Shelby, took part in that battle as a member of the crew of a Navy LST that carried troop in for the landing. He had pictures of ships on each side of him blown out of the water when he came home made with his small brownie camera.

Twenty two Marines and Five Navy men received the Medal of Honor during this battle the largest number for any single battle in our nation’s history.

This was our first invasion of the Japanese homeland and as you can see by the number of only 116 living out of the 22,060 what it would have cost if we had been required to make a main island invasion of Japan.

Many have wondered if the island was worth the high price in lives it cost, I suppose no one can really answer that question but it helps to know that before the end of the war more than 2,400 B 29 aircraft made emergency landings on the island and their 27,000 crewmen all survived. Difficult to measure the price of one life beside another so let us give thanks to our Lord for those who did survive and gratitude and praise for those who made the greatest sacrifice.

Ivan

Published in: on May 24, 2012 at 12:09 am  Leave a Comment  

For great is yo…

For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. Psalm 86:13 Each day that our Lord gives to us is a new dawn for our joy and His glory.

Published in: on May 23, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Three Men

Three Men

Let me tell you about three men. I will begin with the youngest my grandson Blake Raley. Blake will graduate from high school Tuesday night and use the summer to prepare himself for attending theUniversityofTennesseeat Chattooga in the fall. Blake is one of those young men that all grandparents would love to have to call theirs. I remember flying toTulsa,Oklahomawhen he was born and being able to see him on those very first days of his life. He has been a good student, member of the marching band, Christian student who has attended and worked each summer in a Christian camp. He has also held down a job in a local theater at night and weekend, he is not a slacker, but a dourer. God is going to open good doors for him. Blake well done. Pop

Second is Jerry Waters my web master. I met Jerry while I was working at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes; he was one of the first houseparent who came aboard when I was there. Jerry was easy to like, had a love for children and service to the Lord but he always had an eye for across the road, so after a few years with us moved on to other ministries to children and now as a much too young man is in very critical condition because of his lungs. Since Jerry has served as my web master, starting last July we have had more than 26,000 hits on our page and drawn readers from 31` different countries. I urge you to lift Jerry in your prayers.

The third is my Father, the first Ivan Raley. If dad had lived until yesterday, May 21 he would have been 107 years old. He was a man to love, quiet, dedicated, loving, and always building something. Since I am a minister the first question I am always asked is ‘Was your Father a minister?’ Dad was not but he did minister with all his life and all his heart to his wife, children and those who worked for him. If I had been as good a man as my father I would be a much better person. Dad was a great example.

Ivan

Published in: on May 22, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

I Have About Had It

I am not sure all that means but that is the way I feel. Here it is Saturday afternoon, I need to have message for tomorrow and I need to have the energy to share it with others. But I have been sick all week, true I didn’t go to the doctor until Thursday but I was still sick. I say I have the flue; someone said I had a bad cold, another sinus, more tick bite, but it is mine so I call it the flue. Head is breaking open, I can hear my heart inside of it, body is sore, throat hurts to swallow, eyes water so much that I can’t read, go to bed at night must have a fever because I am freezing so I put on everything I can find fall asleep and sometime about three AM I wake us so wet I have to change my shirt, everyone says that is good, your fever broke, well who fixed it for I go through the same thing the next night. I don’t like being in the bed with flue, not a good partner, bad company, it is time for it to leave. Now there is a good side bar, someone brought me a large bowl of homemade chicken soup; it made the stuff I had bought taste like homeless soup. Yeh, they also brought me a cake and some strawberries, flue has a good side but I have still about had it because tomorrow is coming and eleven o’clock will roll around and I will need to preach that I cannot change or stop. Another thing, my grandson is graduating on Tuesday night in Memphis and that is a long drive and I must be up to it; maybe if I double up on the medicine it will fix me up quicker, should I try that? They give horses medicine by their weight, why don’t they give me medicine by my weight, I am big, three pills a day maybe I need five. Mildred, Jack’s wife says that I will get over it, and I am sure she is right, but when I die I have told them to put on my stone, “Mildred I told you I was sick.” Well if you receive this Monday you will know that I am a bit better, if you don’t then you will never know I had the flue, see what you would have missed if you had not opened this blog?

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment