The Great Flag

The Great Flag at Calvary Church

Just two blocks west of Lindsey Street at the corner of Lexington and Tomlin was the church of my birth, both physical and spiritual. I was born in a house across the street on Lexington and met my Redeemer on a Thursday night in February 1947 at Calvary. I remember that in the war years we had a great American flag that hung from the ceiling to the top of the doorway to the pastor’s right. On the stars of that flag pictures were pinned of the young men in our church family who were in the service of our country. Each Sunday as we gathered to worship we would pause and pray for those young men and their families. Now and then a gold star was hung under the picture telling all who looked that the young man in that picture would not be coming home.

One Sunday as we were singing a lady came down the aisle and motioned for the pastor to come down and speak with her. None of us knew the lady and no one could imagine why she had interrupted the service, then the pastor raised his hands, stopped the singing and called for William, our janitor, who always sat just outside the door going into the balcony. He asked William to bring the ladder and in a few moments he explained to all of us that this dear mother had hear about our flag and wanted to know if we would put a picture of her son who was in Europe on one of the starts. The pastor climbed the ladder, read the boys name and hung his picture to the next available star. As he prayed from the top of that ladder there was not a dry eye in the church for God was there putting His arm around that mother and His Spirit over her son. It was a great flag, and CalvaryBaptistChurch was a great church.

Ivan

Published in: on August 30, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

A Boy From Lindsey Street

 

Murray Evans was the oldest of the three boys in his west Tennessee farm family. It fell on him to be in charge of the animals, preparing the land, and in general do all the things that his father’s frail health would not allow him to do.

Having been born in July of 1922 he was 19 when the Sunday of December 7, 1941 plunged us into war. By September of 1942 he like many of the boys of East Jackson found himself in training to become a member of the infantry of the United States Army.

The discipline and hard work of his years as a farmer’s son made the discipline and training of the army a natural for him and he quickly rose to the attention of the army leadership.

Murray was chosen to attend officer’s candidate school and received his commission as a lieutenant in the army in time to make the invasion of North Africa. From North Africa Lieutenant Murray went to Sicily for the tragic fighting for that Island where he was wounded and returned to England for hospitalization.

He was returned to duty in time to make the invasion of Normandy as part of the second wave on June 6, 1944. Lt. Murray led his men to safety and was in the first group to move inland in France.

Six weeks later on July 25, 1944 he was critically wounded and became part of the more than 10,000 Americans whose bodies remain buried in France.

I was with my father the day they came to our house looking for his parents to bring them the official news that their oldest son would never come home. I remember the blue star in their window changing to gold and the deep silence that fell on that little home on South Lindsey Street.

For the next several years I would visit with the family, sit on their porch and listen to Mr. John as he spoke of his oldest and read some of the letters he had sent from all the places where he had served to keep me free.

I didn’t know Lieutenant Murray well, I was too young to be in his circle but I saw first hand the pride he brought to his family and the certainty in their hearts that while he had paid the greatest price, it was a price he would gladly pay to know that his family was safe. The bible says to train up a child in the ways that he should go and he will not depart from those ways when he is old.  Murray was never old, his time stopped at age twenty two but his training as a boy paid great dividends to his family and our freedom.

The sacrifice for freedom has never stopped and the more than 500,000 who paid it in the Second World War has continued to be added to by the young men and women of today who fall in a foreign land that their land might be free. Lets us not forget, for their price is too great for us to waste.

Ivan N. Raley

Published in: on August 29, 2013 at 12:05 am  Comments (2)  

The Winter of 1941

            Most of that first winter on Lindsey Street is from told memory.  Since I was only four I have very little actual memory.  My mother, who was really not thrilled with moving from our rental home on Lexington to our new home at 246 South Lindsey, spent a lot of time telling me in later years about those early days.

            Of course this was a hard winter for our whole nation.  After that Sunday afternoon of December 7, 1941, when the Empire of Japan attacked our Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, life really became a challenge for all the families of our nation. All of Lindsey   Street was worried about their older sons and when they would be drafted in the ‘service’ as we called it in those early days of World War Two.

            The Evans family who lived across the street from us knew that their oldest son Murray would be among the first from Lindsey Street to leave.  It was still early in 1942 when the blue stars begin to appear in the windows of the homes on Lindsey. The Evans house was indeed the first, followed by the Stegalls, Frye’s, Barbers, McPeak, and then around the corner to Lexington on the North and College Street on the South.  Our nation was at war and the fathers and sons of East Jackson joined the millions of other men from across our nation to go to the ‘service’ of their country.

            On the home front it was also a difficult winter.  Since our house was open on all sides underneath Dad spent the winter fighting off the frozen pipes, trying to keep the inside warm and starting his dream projects of making our house into a home.

            The house was really only four large rooms with a bath in the back extending onto the back porch. Where the four rooms came together a grate stood in each corner all using a common chimney. We burned cold in the grates and had a large oil heater in one room to help keep the winter outside of the house. This was a difficult task since the house had no insulation, no sub floor and windows that rattled in the winter wind.

            We had a Christmas tree that year and it even had real lights on it. For the next several years Christmas light would not be available so until Christmas of 1946 these light were made to last as long as possible. In those days when one light on a string would burn out all the lights on that strand would go out so dad spent a lot of time finding the bad light and putting a piece of foil in the socket under the burned out bulb to fool the strand into thinking that the bulb was working. By 1945 very few of the bulbs worked and we burned them only a day or so before Christmas and then on Christmas day.

            1946 would see new lights as well as the invention of the candle bubble light.  It was shaped like a candle and when it got warm it would bubble like it was really burning.  Most of the Lindsey Street boys had returned from ‘the war’ and it was a happy close to four bad years.

            That first winter we stayed bundle up in the house, slept under lots of blankets and fell asleep praying for our soldiers and asking God to give us victory and a future.  It was a sad and hard year but the folks of Lindsey Street held together, worked, worshiped, and believed in our country and the future God had for us. From Lindsey Street to the throne of heaven God knew that we needed Him and depended on Him.

            Ivan

 

 

Published in: on August 28, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Lindsey Street

 

 

            It was a cold November day in 1941 when we left the rental house at the corner of Hampton and Lexington to walk through the lumber yard then across McCrea Street through an unpaved seldom used alley to 246 South Lindsey Street to see our new home.

            It had been build as a duplex with a porch and two doors on the front and a porch running across the back with three doors opening onto that porch.  One door each for the two units and then a door leading into the common bathroom.

            The house rested on concert pillows about three to four feet off of the ground.  You could stand in the front yard and look under the house all the way to the back yard        

            I was only four at the time but I still remember my dad holding mother and telling her that it would be alright. While the house was not as nice as the one we were leaving this would be our house and we would make it into a real nice home.

            We stood there in the cold November wind listening as my father dreamed aloud of all the plans he had for the house and how he would fix it up for mother and someday she would come to see that it was hers and it would look like her dreams as well as his.

            For the next forty-five years dad kept that promise and the house at 246 South Lindsey became home to the Raley clan.

            It was from that house that I would walk to Whitehall Elementary School, Jackson Junior High, Jackson High, and even my first year at Union University. . It was from this house that my friendship with Johnnie Barber had its birth. It was from that house that my three sisters would leave to build houses of their own and from that house that my mother would leave on Thursday night May 5, 1977 to enter her new house build for her by Jesus.

            Come and walk with me as I share the adventures from Lindsey Street that led me to today and life now as I see its tide flowing out and not coming back. We will walk the journey of a boy changing into a man. Visit his heart as he feared the war, learned to ride a bike, noticed girls, Betty Upton Miss Lindsey Street and discovered that they were different. Found his faith in God; build a great admiration for his father who could change a bit of a house into a real house and home. Smell the sweet aroma of a mothers cooking, her tales of woe, her most often pessimists view and the people up and down the street who added to his life, lifted his family, and marked forever his character. From Lindsey Street to glory we shall walk together.

 

 

Published in: on August 27, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Max

I have been worried about my dog Max, he is a for year old German Sheppard beautiful color has the spots in the back of his mouth that prove his pure blood line, plus all of the papers to prove his excellent linage and weights about 110 lbs. But Max has a complex, he really does.

He started out to be a police dog, he was sent to school, told how proud he would be of himself being a trained ‘police dog’; for about six months he ran with the top of the breed, then the unthinkable; there in front of all the dogs he was led out not with a uniform collar and the rank of PFC Police Dog, but with a simple collar and humiliation. The other dogs laughed at him, called him drop out, and made fun of his failure to become a graduate ‘Police Dog.”  No uniform, badge, and certificate for Max.

My son John rescued him but John lived in a condo and Max had to stay by himself all day; nothing to do, no TV, no marching orders, nothing. He killed time by eating the cushions on the couch, then the couch, the blinds, curtains, and almost the glass windows.

So John brought him to me, now no self respecting German Sheppard Police Dog wants to live with an old man, but he does so and with that has come a complex.

I taught him to retrieve a yellow bone, he was good, he could either catch it in the air or grab it the minute it hit the ground and return it to me quickly.

So I got him a new collar, we marched down the drive with an air of confidence and I threw the bone, Max ran quickly, got it and returned it to me. I had him do this five times each time getting a litter further away; he never failed to retrieve the bone.

So I pinned a star on his collar, read him a four color certificate I had printed stating for all the world to know that he was a certified ‘bone fetcher’.

I also presented him with a new bright green bone. I am sure his confidence is better, but I did find the star pinned to his collar, eaten, and the certificate in about 20 pieces, I should have framed it and put in on the wall next to my ‘Dog Training Certificate’ well maybe next time when we finish the salute and hand shake course.

Published in: on August 26, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Judgment – Is it Coming?

I don’t think I have ever seen our nation is such a spirit of fear as we are today. Even when I was a child listing to the news of ‘the war’ I cannot remember us being this afraid.

I also believe that we have a good reason to fear, our nation has lost so much of its moral backbone. We have taken such a turn toward sin that I am fearful that we cannot return to God. Our moral values have decayed in the light of our desire not to hurt someone’s feeling or to deny someone their ‘rights’. I read just today that California now has a law allowing students in school to choose which rest room and shower locker they wish to use. I find it difficult that guys and girls don’t already know which to use, but that seems to be the course we are setting for our children. Why would this even be a concern of law, it would be to me more of a choice of modesty than legislature. What has happened? How did we get this far and when will it reach the point that God will say ‘No More?”

Notice how fast we are moving into a life based on our feelings and desires and away from a life of common decency.  I understand that everyone does not feel the same as I do about the laws of God, the Bible, my own personal faith, but is there not a law of common sense that says some things are as they are because of the way we are each formed and fashioned?

Just from a practical application I don’t think I have ever seen a boy’s gym locker that I would want my granddaughter to have to use; better to hose off in the back yard. I certainly believe there are enough parents in California that will say no to such foolishness; but it is not just the West that has problems; our nation has enough problems in every region to make us fearful that God – Must – send His judgment.

Published in: on August 23, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Just For Fun

Don’t you just love email? I got some great offers today. First there was a lady who wanted me to help her get 50 million dollars which her husband had left her out of some country I couldn’t spell. Seems strange to me that her husband was smart enough to leave her 50 big ones but not smart enough to get it to her. She wanted a lot of information so I sent her the name of the President of our local bank and told her that he knew me and could take care of it without all that much trouble.  I don’t think I will hear from her again but if I see my banker buying a new house and driving a new car I am going to ask some questions.  Then there was the offer to let me go to Nursing School, that’s a good one since I will probably need a full time nurse soon. Also a guarantee that I could be a CSI agent, wow, now I would love that especially if they would put me on TV. The best was one that I should look into; an offer to get me a new chest now that is not the words they used but I am sure that is what they meant. I looked in a mirror, I could sure use a new chest, but then it would be like fixing an old car, where do you stop? I need a lot of parts. Man I love email.

Ivan

Published in: on August 22, 2013 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  

Just Love One Another

Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another! First Thessalonians 4:9

Somehow our world has lost this command of our Lord. I listen to our leadership on the national, state, and yes often in the church speak about each other and those with whom they disagree and there seems to be no love. It hurts my heart when I hear our people speak so harshly about those chosen to lead us. We my not agree with their values and their choices, but God has commanded us to love them.  I have always told my people at church if you don’t like me it very well could be my fault, however if you don’t love me it is your fault.

So much of our news is spoken and designed to cause us to choose sides, to accept one point of view without even listing to another’s opinion. I realize that a number of things are going on which demand Christians to have an opinion and to know right from wrong, but the word does not teach us to dislike others because of their opinions. I am very fearful that under our rule of law if we do not build a group of leaders who can talk to one another, give and take on issues of government we are going to have a house divided that cannot govern and thus leave the door open for more drastic actions. Now I am not talking about moral issues, they are established for us in His Word and we must be willing to say, while you are entitled to your opinion this is an issue that is part of my faith and thus I must stand as the Book of my faith teaches. But we must also remember that there are many issues that are not faith based but political in nature and thus open for a meeting of the minds. Certainly you and I can agree to at the very least take all issues before our Lord and pray for the healing of our nation and the guidance of our leadership.

The word says that we are God-Taught in these matters.  Since the scriptures are true then we must not be listing to God when we do not treat others with respect and love.

Ivan

Published in: on August 21, 2013 at 12:05 am  Comments (2)  

A Friend Not Remembered

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking the rooster crowed.  Luke 22:60

I saw them gathered outside the church door, all the preachers who had just left the meeting.  As I approached I noticed that they were all joining in on a – Rip your fellow minister apart – party. They were just spreading more gossip and enjoying all of it. They asked me what I thought and I paused a moment and said, “Have you ever heard him pray?”  With that I watched as they begin to break up and move toward their own cars.  I was sure that two of the men knew exactly what I was saying; they had to remember when the friend they were destroying had prayed for them and held their hands in a time of personal hardship. The accused man had been one of only two of us who had attended the funeral of one of the preacher’s new born son. Another was about to loose his church when this ‘friend’ he now forgot had helped him pull it together. It is so easy for us to climb onto the trash building over another, it makes us seem so much taller, but in truth we are not, we are just standing on garbage and we have just forgotten a friend. The rumors were flying through the Low Country and in time would cost the man they were stabbing to lose his job and his heart. Years later the truth would be known and all of them were wrong, but that is not the point, the point was they had a Friend Not Remembered. Be careful when you find others guilty; remember Jesus is a friend who will never forget you. He knows the truth and He still loves you….

Ivan

Published in: on August 20, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Do Good

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9 

It is easy to look around us and see so many people who do not play by the rules and yet they seem to prosper and no one even notices.  In fact so many people today live by their own rules and never give right and wrong a second thought. Hard to do the ‘right’ thing in a world filled with so much wrong.  Yet somewhere in our deep spot we know that God has a plan and that His plan is always right, always by His laws, and always for our good.

I suppose the strength that helps us in those times of temptation to vary from the right and do what the world is doing comes from somewhere inside of us that knows that God does not change, that He has our good foremost in His plan and heart.

We also come to see that we are never held to answer for others, never do we give an accounting for them, and we stand on our own service and our own actions. I think too many of us spend too much time finding fault with others and not enough time seeking to know what God desires from our lives. We will never give and account for others but we will certainly give an account for ourselves, our decisions, our dreams, our actions. (Check out Personal – Next story down.

Ivan

Published in: on August 19, 2013 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)