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I am a Freelance writer, poet, editor, artist & catoonist. My work is used by several OnLine companies to attract readers. Some of my writings have been translated into Chinese on the internet. I am posted on FaithWriters & Ezine and I edit the Harford County Christian Jail Ministry, (HCCJM) Newsletter, in Harford Co. Maryland. A follower of Christ, I work for the humane treatment of prisoners, the homeless and the disenfranchised

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


abstract watercolor on gesso treated, wet media paper 8.5"x11"
by J.A.S.
People have curious belief about angels don't they?
This painting was laid and created in a landscape format
when I was done I wasn't real impressed
It wasn't until I turned on end that I saw Angels in it
Ps.91:11* (NLT)
For he will order his angels to protect you
where ever you go
*The footnotes in the NLT, Life Application Bible on Ps.91:11 states
"Angels are not visible except on special occasions"
I guess for me, this was one of those special occasions
And now it can be one for you too

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Outstanding Blogger Award

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Clasp My Hands In Prayer

Hands clasp in Prayer
by J.A.S.
I clasp my hands in prayer my God
Beckoning Your Comforter in
Confessing the Truth's so difficult
So darkened and scarred by sin

Thursday, December 27, 2007


by J.A. Stratemeyer
Art Journal:
This is another Christ Mass piece which I Had To Do This Season!
I don't know why, I just had to, I've never done a Nativity before.
I mean except for grade school Christmas projects.
As far as I remember, I never believed in the Advent Miracle stories.
Even as a child in the 1950's & early 60's I was in a world so saturated
by materialism that I had become jaded to the concept of miracles.
And in my little no it all elementary school consciousness
I put them on the shelf with:
Mother Goose, Grimm Fairy Tales, Santa Claus & the Easter Bunny.
Today's kids not only have the materialistic saturation and
the accompanying conditioned responses,
they are also dealing with an openly secular world.
There were plenty of secular materialist back then too,
They were just in the closet, but hypocrisy is easy for kids to spot.

Again this piece it is totally experimental on my part.
I did a light fast sketch and shaded it with pastels and colored pencil.
I then scanned it and highlighted different color spectrums.
I'm not satisfied with the result. (Are artist ever?)
But the more I look at it the more it grows on me.
I hope you like it. Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 16, 2007


The sand, by the God, the sand!
It never ends, there is no way out!
We must keep moving, that we may see,
having been appointed from our youth we three,
taught, prepared,
we know that He has finally come!
We of all the others get to see Him!
Just we three.

Art Journal
This piece I call "We Know"
pastel, charcoal, colored pencil
approx. 8"x10" on paper

It was something I had to do!
It happened fast.
It had to be pastel.
It had to be now.

Humble as a child,
He lives always, here, now.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Award Frenzy Strikes Again

This Good Buzzz Award was passed on to us by Colin, a.k.a.cotojo
The Good Buzzz Blog Award is for blogs that have generated a happy hum in the blogosphere. Whether it be for their blog in general, one outstanding, unusual or controversial post, or for something cool the blogger has done. Or even for recognizing some promising, brand-new blogs and Colin has
Awarded this GOOD BUZZZ to:
Aslan of Straight Truth
& to his partner
Colorado Baby of Los Dos Amigos,

To Him That Was Crucified, by Walt Whitman

To Him That Was Crucified
by Walt whitman
My spirit to yours dear brother,
Do not mind because many sounding your name do not understand you
I do not sound your name, but I understand you,
I specify you with joy O my comrade to salute you, and to salute those who are with you, before and since, and those to come also,
That we all labor together transmitting the same charge and succession,
We few equals indifferent of lands, indifferent of times,
We enclosers of all continents, all castes, allowers of all theologies,
Compassionaters, perceivers, rapport of men,
We walk silent among disputes and assertions, but reject not the disputers nor any thing that is asserted
We hear the bawling and din, we are reach'd at by divisions, jealousies, recriminations on every side,
They close peremptorily upon us to surround us, my comrade.
Yet we walk unheld, free, the whole earth over, journeying up and down till we make our ineffaceable mark upon time and diverse eras,
Till we saturate time and eras, that the men and women of races, ages to come, may prove brethren and lovers as we are.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The You're An Amazing Blogger Award

This award was passed to me by Allison a fellow blogger who I respect and maintains two of the most well done, informative and entertaining weblogs in the blogoshere:
"the Old Time Greatest Stars" http://oldclassicera.blogspot.com/ And
"Doris Day An American Icon" http://dorisdaytribute.blogspot.com/

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Monday, December 03, 2007


"Come now, and let us reason together"
Says the Lord
Isaiah 1:18

The following was written by Ben Stein
and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary***
My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Brad and Angelina and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Brad and Angelina came from and where the America we knew went to. In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:
This is not intended to be a joke;
it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter
was interviewed on the Early Show
and Jane Clayson asked her
'How could God let something like this happen?'
(regarding Katrina)
Anne Graham gave an extremely profound
and insightful response.
She said,
'I believe God is deeply saddened by this,
just as we are, but for years
we've been telling God
to get out of our schools,
to get out of our government
and to get out of our lives.
And being the gentleman He is,
I believe He has calmly backed out.
How can we expect God to give us
His blessing and His protection
if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events...
terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.
I think it started when
Madeleine Murray O'Hare
(she was murdered, her body found recently)
complained she didn't want prayer in our schools,
and we said OK.
Then someone said
you better not read the Bible in school.
The Bible says thou shalt not kill,
thou shalt not steal,
and love your neighbor as yourself.
And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said
we shouldn't spank our children
when they misbehave
because their little personalities
would be warped
and we might damage their self-esteem
(Dr. Spock's son committed suicide).
We said an expert
should know what he's talking about.
And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves
why our children have no conscience,
why they don't know right from wrong,
and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers,
their classmates, and themselves.
if we think about it long and hard enough,
we can figure it out.
I think it has a great deal to do with
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God
and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say,
but question what the Bible says.
Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail
and they spread like wildfire
but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord,
people think twice about sharing.
Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles
pass freely through cyberspace,
but public discussion of God is suppressed
in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing?
Funny how when you forward this message,
you will not send it to many on your address list
because you're not sure what they believe,
or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about
what other people think of us
than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not then just discard it... no one will know you did.
But, if you discard this thought process,
don't sit back and complain
about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards.
Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein
*** This an excerpt from third comment on this post:
While the text you entered is supurb, it is unfortunately mis-quoted. Ben Stein did not in fact write or speak all of that. Most of the quoted text comes from the following two locations: Ben Stein, Dec 18 2005:
+ <>< <>< <>< + ><> ><> ><> +
There are several other links in the comment
This piece came to me as a circulating email this Christmas season of 2007-08
I thought it worthy of reading and posting and I posted the email with text virtually unedited for Christmas.
This is a non-profit weblog! However if any of this material is under the protection of copyright and improperly posted, I will withdraw it from my weblog as soon as I am notified by the copyright holder.
Blessings to all

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Award by Hanna for Global Communities from Italy

I would like to thank with my Award
the blogs that represent the special people
to my notice
for appointment, genius, quality and liking.
"Love-buds put before you
and within you whoever you are"
Thank You I am Honored by this award
I know that it was not given lightly
Ciao! Aslan
Hanna's weblogs and profile
Her MyBlogLog Site:

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Old Saint Paul's Church in Baltimore

Old Saint Paul's Chuch
Baltimore, Maryland
by J.A.Stratemeyer

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

SILVER AWARD For Recommended Read

and whoever else may be responsible

Sunday, November 04, 2007

About A Stone's Throw Away, Luke 22:41

You could have kept on walking
Before the Sun arose that day
But instead you only walked
Just about a stone's throw away
No one was there to stop you leaving
That beautiful garden of meditation unwalled
By our Father's will alone you stayed
Fulfilling that purpose to which you were called
Loving us unto the end

We who would rather run and stray
But that morning in the garden you only walked
About a stone's throw away

About A Stone's Throw Away,
Copyright © 2006
by James A. Stratemeyer

Luke 22:41-44
about a stone's throw from them
and knweeling, he prayed. saying
"Father, if you are willing,
take this cup away from me;
still, still not my will but yours be done."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Out of Egypt I Called My Son

"Out of Egypt I Will Call My Son"
Matthew 2:14 & Hosea 11:1
by JAS
"When they* had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up" he said."take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you,
for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet*:
"Out of Egypt I called my son"
* the wise men from the East
* the prophet Hosea 11:1
The Book of Matthew 2:13 & 14 (NIV)
Art Journal:
This is my second watercolor about 11"x 8" on multimedia paper: JAS

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IF: written by a 16 year old girl on the street*

If all lips spoke the truth,
All pride was cast aside,
Greed was packed and stored away,
And jealousy subside,
If love could rule the universe,
Kindness was sown to every race,
Then one could glance into a mirror
And view God in His face …

*From “God Please Save Me”
Covenant House 1998
Sister Mary Rose McGeady

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Friday, October 26, 2007

The Book of Luke 22:16

Luke 22.16
"blindfolding Him 'Prohesy who hit you' they said"
chalk pastel on paper 11" x 8.5" by JAS
Art Journal:
A very early experiment in freehand color quick sketching using only chalk.
I just didn't want to give up the security of those pencils & charcoal

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Josephus: The Antiquities 18:63,64

"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standings among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who in the first place had come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has so far to this day not disappeared."

Flavius Josephus was a Jewish Historian writing for the Romans around the time of Christ...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Lion of Judah (Revelations 5:5) by J.A.Stratemeyer

The Lion of Judah
(Revelations 5:5)
as after C.S.Lewis
Art Journal:
This is my very first attempt at use of acrylic based paint. It is not connected in any way with the poem below which is a poem that I posted on FaithWriters.com back in 2005.
This painting is my interpretation of Aslan as the Lion of Judah.
Aslan is a fictional charachter
created by C.S.Lewis in his
"Chronicles of Narnia" stories.
I have read that Aslan is the Turkish word for lion.
If you like this painting or not please take a moment to leave a comment either on this blog or at:

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The Savior's Riddles

Rabbi, what do You mean, in John fourteen?
Your promises are many.
You say we know the place, we know the way;
but questions, there are plenty.

You say You go before us,
and blaze a trail, just for us few.
In Your Father's house of many mansions,
You make a place for us to be with You.

You say, let not our hearts feel trouble,
because You promise us redemption.
Yet what happens if we stumble,
before we reach Your mansion?

You say, the wonders that You showed us,
in Your Name, we can do them too.
What do You mean by "in Your Name?"
Just what are You leading us to do?

When we look into Your written word,
to seek Your Eternal Truth,
will we find It, before our temples gray,
and waste our vigor, and our youth?

What do You mean Savior Jesus,when You say,
You'll leave us orphans, not?
I know this prayer is nothing but questions,
but right now questions, are all I've got.

by James A. Stratemeyer
HCCJM Newsletter, editor

Harford County Christian Jail Mnistry (HCCJM) website: www.hccjm.com

more work by J.A.Stratemeyer & StraighTruth sites:
EzineArticles.com index:
StraighTruth’s “Six Degrees” AIM Page for HCCJM

I was ... in prison and you did not visit me." Matt. 25:43 by J.A.Stratemeyer

Matthew 25: 41-45
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me,
sick and in prison
and you did not visit me.'
Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?'
Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you,
as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' "

*Art Journal:
The painting above of the praying hands reaching through the cell bars which I entitled "Matthew 25" is my very first attempt at using oil pastels, linseed oil & brush. It is the first time I have ever ground and mixed pigments so that a brush and palette knife could be used as applicators. It is on mixed media paper and is about 8"x10" in size. The original sketch was done with charcoal. I have used oil pastels before but experimentally, more like you would use crayons, without very good results. I am new at using color and was intimidated by thought of expanding out for some time. My former mediums were simple lead pencil & charcoal on paper or cardboard.
Up until this summer they were the only tools with which I felt comfortable.
And if it were not for encouragement
of my lovely wife
I would most likely have never tried it.
I hope you like this painting and I pray
that the imagery and the verses which inspired it are meanigful to you.
Whatever the results, either positive or negative take a second to leave a comment either here on this blog or at:
I would appreciate it so much.

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I Care

*"Prometheus" drypoint by Wolfram Geothe
I Care
I care about my city, which I have seen slowly dying under the attack of the demons of illicit drugs and criminal activity, from the mayors and crooked city counsel members to the kids on the street; of course, the only ones who end up in jail are the underprivileged (poor) kids.
I care about my countrymen who are serving and giving there best around the globe and are proving that the people of our nation care about other countries.
I care about the people of other nations.
I care about them whether the governments of those nations would make themselves our enemies or not.
I care about every single prisoner anywhere in any prison anywhere for any reason.
I care about the homeless,
the ones who many of our citizens
in the financial upper strata don’t want to see.
But I also care about the rich people too.
I am a Catholic and I care about my Church, because like my nation, she is always at work to help people (mostly anonymously) and no matter how much she gives even the people whom she has helped still put her down.
I care about grandmothers who are raising the third and fourth generations of their progeny because the first and second generations succumbed to the drug & vice scene and ended up disabled, dysfunctional, dead or institutionalized for some reason or another.
These courageous women (mamas) keep our country together, their love and faith are the gravity, fabric and glue that binds and unites our society at its roots and keeps our nation from dissolving into something that would be an unrecognizable mess; they are the Suns around which our families orbit, believe it or not, this assertion is true.
Think about it.
I care about my family,
even though they can be self-absorbed jerks,
I still love them.
I care so much that I have to declare it just so I can try to understand it, because I don’t understand why I care so much now; I spent most of my life not caring about anything and being a self-absorbed jerk; I’m still a self-absorbed jerk just like most of the rest of my family, at least now I care about it and am trying to change and I know that the young ones are going to make the same mistakes I made and no matter how much I care I can’t prevent them from doing that.
All I know for sure is that I started to care when I surrendered to the will of God, I know that sounds korny to some, but I really heard It, that Still Small Voice, which is written of in the First Book of Kings and which said to me “Let go” when I responded in my meditation “Let go of what?” the whispered answer was “Everything.”
I care about the ministry for which I volunteer. I pray that she is always guided and directed by the Holy Spirit.
I care about the outreach agencies and medical institutions that help me, I care about those who work for them and the other people they help.
I care about and love my wife in ways that go so deep into my Soul that I haven’t found its limits and don’t believe I ever will.
I care about you.
It is a beautiful but hard and painful thing, to care so.

Copyright © 2007 by James A. Stratemeyer
HCCJM Newsletter, editor

The Harford County Christian Jail Ministry Is a non-profit, all volunteer, prison outreach. Visit the ministry website @ http://www.hccjm.com/
We rejoice in the opening of Lydia's House our safe house for women in the Aberdeen/Edgewood area of Harford Co. Md. this August 2007.

If you like this piece or not take a moment to leave a comment either on this blog or follow this link: http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/members/StraighTruth/
and post it there

links to more of my writing and artwork:
EzineArticles.com index:
Straightruth's "Six Degrees" AIM Page for HCCJM:

I would like to thank our Ministry President Mr. Phil Kenny for providing me access to the internet since 2004. (Thanks Phil)


Saturday, August 25, 2007


by J.A. Stratemeyer
August 22, 2007
Art Journal:
This Abstract, "Energy" is my first attempt using chalk pastel only.
I just didn't feel secure enough to work without my pencils & charcoal until I did this piece. It started as a practice sheet and very early on something took over and I abandoned control and just went with it. If you click on the image the larger resolution will show, take a second and just let your eyes and mind get absorbed into the color, you will be surprized at some of the things you see, most of them I did not put in there, it is just the way it came out. At first I didn't think people would like it, but I was amazed at the positive feedback I got. "Energy" is the perfect name for it because as I started to draw & slash with the pastels, using both hands and grabbing different colors at random, I felt almost electrified!

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Progeny of Abraham

God, gave us our life,
and our path to choose.
By our choices each day,

we either live or lose.

Isaac and Ishmael,
of the same paternal line;
Emanations of different mothers,

yet both sons of the Divine.

It seems our present conflicts,
find their origins here.
For both men fathered nations,

founded in jealousy and fear.

We worship the same God,
at least that’s what we claim.
And our tribes trace their source,
to the iconoclast, Abraham.

From our faithful Father,
should we not take our lead,
And shatter our idols,

of mistrust and greed?

For the ancient war continues,
and we are all at fault.
Intolerance and hate have chained us,
to a final, fatal result

Our teachers tell us to,
“Love God and one another,
As we would do for ourselves,
Let us do for our brother”.

Let our kind not die,
bearing the Mark of Cain!
Let us forgive and bless and,
break this age-old chain!

The choices we make,
determine the lives we lead.
Let us forget the past,
and from its curse, be freed.

We are together on Earth,
for so short a time.
God made us all different,
His Will …….. Sublime!

J.A. Stratemeyer
( January, 2002: four months after 9/11)
Illustration top left of poem
by 19th century Master Illustrator, Gustav Dore',
depicting Rebecca & Jacob deceiving Isaac
in order to steal Esau's paternal blessing.
Genesis 27:1-41

See also:

Friday, August 24, 2007

Maryland Blackeyed Susans in Perrier (vase?)

Drawn July 5th 2006
Copyright © 2007 by James A. Stratemeyer
Art Journal:
This is the very first piece of my own art posted on any of my blogs.
It is my first attempt at freehand drawing in over thirty years.

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Saturday, September 30, 2006


I sit and listen to you all boast about how you will never do “this” or “that!”
This after years of waiting, looking and praying about whether truth and vulnerability are appropriate and healing.
Always wondering who you can trust and who is
playing the game, working the system.

So finally, after years and only once, the pain is so great and the isolation and secrecy so intolerable …
I see
honesty,,,. truth slip out.

Then you sit back in your chairs, prop back your shoulders, puff out your chest, cross your arms and smugly declare that you will never talk to a therapist, or a “shrink” or take this or that medicine, as if it is not masculine or mature to do this.
You mean if you or your children were diagnosed with some pernicious infectious disease, AIDS or any other afflictions that modern medicine didn’t know about or even recognize, just a decade ago or so, are you saying that you would not take the medicine or give it to your children?

Because it isn’t manly.
Because it would show you weak.
Because it would show you vulnerable.
“As a child of Christ, you can always pray it away!”
Hah!, man have you got some surprises comin’!

Think again all of you self-determined, self-made, lone-wolf, know-it-all, spiritual cowboy Tom Cruises out there, some of you with maybe a whole month or two clean time,
do not tempt God!
Before I reached my bottom,

if in fact, I have reached my bottom yet,
I did virtually everything I arrogantly declared
“I would never do!”
And just about everything happened to me

that I said would never happen.

Saint Peter swore his allegiance to Christ to the death.

Just hours later he was cowering from some woman around a fire in a courtyard, and denied Christ to His face!

All you boasters think again before you say

“I would never do that”
or “I’ll never let myself get that low!”
Think again before you say
Don’t be so quick to judge another!
Beware your day is coming!
I remember when I said the same things.

Copyright © 2005 by James A. Stratemeyer

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Daylight Moon

I just saw the waxing Moon,
in the middle of the afternoon.
I stepped out of the library doors,
it was just after three.
I looked up, and there it was,
clearly visible to me.
Between the basilica bell towers,
shined a glorious half moon.
Everyone else just rushed on by,
not even noticing the wonder,
and the beauty in the sky.

composed by Jim Stratemeyer,
Copyright © 2003 by James A. Stratemeyer

The Binding Force

Love is the binding force of the Universe!
Without the gravity of love,
all things disintegrate into … oblivion. ...

first published in the HCCJM Newsletter - Summer 2005
composed by the editor, Jim Stratemeyer,
Copyright © 2003 by James A. Stratemeyer
The Harford County Christian Jail Ministry


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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Your Honor, I find the defendants: Not Guilty

I admit that I have a bias here; that is, as soon as I hear someone say that President Bush aided in the events of 9/11, I mostly tune them out. I do the same to those who claim that President Roosevelt knew and aided in the events of 12/7/41.

Don't get me wrong, I don't tune out all conspiracy theories. I am convinced that the CIA and certain branches of U.S. military intelligence, motivated by power (some of them were about to lose their jobs). Teamed up with the U.S.military industrial complex of the early 1960's, motivated by profit, to murder our President on 11/22/63 in Dallas, TX.. (The same military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address.) Anyone who isn’t so convinced, should start looking into the evidence that is now available. I would passionately suggest that you read:
Professor Mellen's recent book "A Farewell to Justice" as a starter. (www.joanmellen.net)

I have an open mind about other historic and contemporary events labeled conspiracies. Lets admit it, most people conspire to do something, not by the book, almost everyday of there lives. From penny ante theft like stamping one another’s time cards at work to major schemes by the new international industrial complex or governments looking for new ways to screw the proletariat and make money for themselves, it happens every minute of everyday, somewhere. I have done things in my life for which I am very sorry. I am no better than anyone else and in my travels I have witnessed conspiracies (big & small) from both sides of the desk.

All politicians get caught up in the power and money games to some extent, it is unavoidable. Many of them are still patriotic, caring citizens nevertheless.

The love of money and absolute power corrupt. (I know the former is Biblical and the latter is Poor Richard, I think.) Both of these assertions were known to be true by our Founding Fathers, that is why we have a triune balance of power built into our government’s structure (theoretically).
However, I simply will not accept as undisputed truth that either President Roosevelt or President Bush had anything to do with intentionally killing thousands of their own countrymen.
In fact, if I had any money, I’d give even odds that Roosevelt and Bush lost good personal friends or children of their friends in these attacks, respectively.

I have no doubts that they knew there was trouble brewing and they were definitely getting intelligence indicating that something was up. That doesn't mean they knew exactly what, when or where it was going to happen or that they helped plan it.

I was born during Eisenhower's watch and I would assert that: any of the Presidents in my lifetime so far, would do everything they could to prevent such an attack, much less would they conspire with our enemies to perpetrate an open Act of War upon our own Nation!

When it comes to traitorous citizens or those who would prosper from war, I hold to different certitudes altogether!

I concede that it may be politically naive, but I believe the men who have achieved the office of the President of the USA and realized the magnitude of the responsibility, have done the best job they could. Whether I voted for them, whether I approved of what they did, whether they were good at the job or even whether they were honest or not, makes no difference. I still believe that as each in their own way grew into the office, they all did what they thought was best for our country; that includes Nixon, Johnson, Ford; & yes,
even now with G dubya.

John 18:38 Pilate said to Him "What is truth?" ...
"seek, and you shall find …" Matthew 7:7

May God Most High Bless you and yours.
Commentary by

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Paul, A Prisoner For Christ

* indicates footnotes
“Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love.” 1* The famous “love chapter” of the Bible, 1st Corinthians 13 ends with these beautiful words. There is a reason why I begin this article about the imprisonment of St.Paul and what the modern detainee may learn from Paul’s experience with these words. While studying background material and the Scriptures in preparation to write this piece, I discovered a Paul that I didn’t know before and did not expect to find.
By that I mean that I always thought of Paul as the fearful figure that the early Church thought he was before his conversion. Paul, who was still using his given name Saul at that time after the first fearsome Hebrew King, had held the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen and “… was consenting to his death.” 2* A fanatic Pharisee he was “still breathing threats and murder” 3* as he journeyed to Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem, the “followers of the Way 4* … both men and women.” 5* in chains. He was feared by the early Christians and for good reason!

Even later, during his ministry, he still seemed like a dynamic aggressive individual to me. He argued with Barnabas (who had witnessed for his acceptance into the Church) about John Mark. 6* He stood up to the magistrates in Philippi after being beaten and jailed, 7* and to the Jews in Athens by boldly speaking at the Areopagus. 8* He chastised the Corinthians for allowing incestuous adulterers in their fellowship, instructing them to turn the offenders over to Satan for destruction of the flesh, 9* and in Jerusalem he spoke boldly to a rioting mob that was screaming for his blood. 10* I always thought of him as kind-of-a-gutsy, outspoken and zealous evangelist. Well, he did all of those things and Paul was brave and zealous for certain, but there is another side to his character that had not, until now, spoken to me from the pages of Scripture. That is the Paul who truly loved his students and the congregations that he planted throughout the Eastern Mediterranean; the Paul who got tired and lonely and toward the end was betrayed and felt abandoned by those to whom he had given so much of himself for Christ. 11*

Every Biblical scholar, academic and commentator, whether secular or parochial, has there own theories about virtually everything regarding the origin, authorship and history of New Testament Canon. But many acknowledge that at least five of Paul’s thirteen extant epistles were written while he was imprisoned. Four of them are generally referred to as the Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. One is from a grouping referred to as the Pastoral Letters: 2nd Timothy. 12*

It is primarily these five letters that I studied in preparation to write this article and it is here, in these letters written from jail, that this other side of Paul spoke to me. The second letter written to his student and friend Timothy is believed to be Paul’s swan song, most likely some of the last words written by St.Paul, one of the most beloved and influential men in history. In this letter we meet a teacher who is passing the torch to one his most cherished apprentices. A teacher who is either already condemned to death or who knows he soon will be, either by a whim of Nero or one Nero’s kangaroo courts. Paul tells Timothy that everyone had deserted him except Luke 13* (the author of the Gospel which bears his name and also the book of Acts.)
Paul names some of those who betrayed him or did him harm and warns Timothy about them.
As far as those the believers who just left Paul alone however, I think it would be mistake to judge most of them too harshly. Keep in mind that during the Neronian persecution it was a possible death sentence even to be seen with Paul, to confess Christ, or to be called a Christian. My guess is that Paul probably told most of his fellowship to keep their distance except those whose aid he really needed. Luke probably got away with it because he was a Greek physician and was more than likely a man with some social status.

Paul realized all these events were in the hand’s of God whose only begotten Son, Christ Jesus had summoned Paul to service. He understood that God uses all the occasions of a life of service past, present or future; whether they bring comfort or pain, to spread the Good News to as many of us as possible. I say us because we are still reaping the benefits of Paul’s long years of selfless work for Christ. Many of those years were spent in custody, sometimes imprisoned in horrid miserable conditions meant to torture and break him; but they never did break him. Instead, Paul overcame these evil things by doing good. 14* He managed to encourage his friends, teach his students and keep many early European and Asian Churches running and growing by the loving letters and instructions he wrote them. Paul even states that many in Caesar's own household were hearing the Gospel! Plus he mentions that his guards knew that he was a prisoner for Christ. Why would these observations be worth mentioning if Paul didn’t think that some of these people were being turned to Christ?

The modern detainee who has confessed, repented and come to know the saving grace of Christ, should learn from Paul’s example. Do as he did. Stay in touch with your family as much as possible. Keep your business affairs in order as best as you can. Don’t give up! Don’t let your mistakes keep you from growing in your life or in your relationship with the Lord. Realize, just as Paul did, that it is all in the more than capable hands of Christ. Know that He loves you, and lay your problems at His feet in faith. Seek the Fruit of the Spirit 15* in your life regardless of your circumstances. Live as an example of Christ’s dignity. Share His gifts with the lost souls whom God has placed with you.
If you don’t yet know Jesus and want to, look for Him and you will find Him. If you don’t have a copy of the Scriptures; ask around you will find a copy. I would suggest that you start your study of the Bible with one the Gospels or maybe the Psalms.16*

In Jesus, God gave us the wonderful promised gift of His Son. He came in a human form and we can relate to Him, and He with us.
Just talk to Him like He is right there with you, because He is.
Then just listen, my experience with Him is that He seldom shouts, He usually whispers ...

1) faith, hope, love: 1st Corinthians 13:13 NLT (2nd edition)
2) consenting: Acts 8:1 NKJV
3) threats and murder: Acts 9:1 NKJV
4) “followers … Way”: one of the firsts terms used to describe Christians.
Acts 9:2 NLT 2nd
5) men & women: Acts 9:2 NLT 2nd ed.
6) John Mark: Acts 15:36-40
7) Philippi: Acts 18:38
8) Areopagus: Acts 17:16-34
9) destruction of the flesh: 1 Corinthians 5:5
10) Jerusalem riot: Acts 21:27-22:22
11) betrayed and abandoned: 2nd Timothy 4:14-16
12) Pastoral Letters: 1st & 2nd Timothy & Titus, three letters written to trusted students of Paul to advise them how to pastor the Churches in Ephesus (Timothy) &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; on Crete & elsewhere (Titus)
13) all except Luke: 2nd Timothy 4:11
14) overcome evil with good: Romans 12:21
15) fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22
16) Don’t make the mistake of trying to read the Bible by starting at Genesis and reading through to Revelation. That method seldom works for the first time readers. In The Road Best Traveled, Stuart McAlpine suggests starting with the Gospel of Mark. It is a short, concise and easy to understand narrative of Jesus’ life.

first published in the HCCJM Newsletter - Summer 2006
as a feature in its running series Prisoners in the Bible
researched and written by the editor, Jim Stratemeyer

Copyright © 2006 by James A. Stratemeyer
The HCCJM: The Harford County Christian Jail Ministry
is a non-denominational, Bible based, all volunteer, prison outreach.
Ministry website: http://www.hccjm.com/

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Passover Lamb

The olive grove in the
Garden Of Gethsemane
as it appe
ars today.

Photo of Gethsemane courtesy of http://www.holylandphotos.org
* indicates footnotes
The story of the week long celebration that most contemporary Christians refer to as Easter or Holy Week,* begins with mankind's fall from God's grace in Eden.* It is because of our disobedience to God and the death that accompanies sin, that our salvation through the Christ becomes necessary. If we had never sinned then the price for our sin, the blood of the lamb without blemish,* would never have had to have been paid by the sacrifice of the sinless Jesus of Nazareth.
The ten plagues were the price that ancient Egypt had to pay for Pharaoh’s disobedience to God’s commands sent through His messenger Moses.* The Passover was the means that God offered to the faithful of Israel to escape the tenth plague.* The tenth plague occurred when God allowed the destroyer* to come in and “… at midnight, … struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed.” *
For the ancient Jews the Passover Lamb was the lamb carefully selected for each household of the descendants of Jacob who were enslaved in Egypt. The lamb was slaughtered and its blood collected in a basin, a cluster of hyssop was dipped into the blood and the lintels and doorposts of every Hebrew house were struck* with the blood in the basin and no one in the household was to venture outside that night. The Lord promised that He would pass over the homes marked with the sacrificial lamb’s blood. However, for Christians and Messianic Jews the Passover Lamb is Jesus Himself, and the epoch of the Exodus from Egypt is God’s historic prelude to the sacrifice of the true Passover Lamb for all of humanity.
In Revelation 13:8, the Apostle John tells us of “the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” There is an unbroken chain of cause and effect, events and prophesy, documented in Scripture, which connects the covenants God established with the Patriarchs to the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. Moses begins the whole of Scripture with “In the Beginning God.” Conversely in Revelation 22:13, just seven from the last verse of the whole of Scripture, Jesus proclaims “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
Several prominent figures have their significant counterpart in each Covenant. John the Baptist of the New Testament is compared to Elijah of the Old. Jesus even calls him Elijah* and the Baptist himself claims to be the herald of the Messiah prophesied in Isaiah.* Moses and Elijah appear with Christ at the Transfiguration and Jesus refers to Himself several times as the Son of Man a mysterious term used over one-hundred-seven times in the Old Testament.* In 1st Corinthians15:22, God has Paul teach us that “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” And significantly, in Hebrews 5 the Father tells Christ "You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek,”*
Melchizedek, is a another mysterious figure of some importance, who is also mentioned in the Old and the New Covenants. Connections and symbols are set throughout both Testaments. Like azimuths to steer by, they lead us inevitably too the shed blood of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice.
It is interesting to note that the only sacrament that Jesus tells us to observe in regards to Him is the eating of His body, broken for us and drinking of His blood which was shed for us.*
Scripture tells us that Jesus celebrated the Passover and we may assume that He probably observed other formal Hebrew holy days and customs because, at times, he instructed others to do so.* Also, we know He was baptized and we know He attended a wedding and we know He gathered with the assembly in the synagogue. However, according to Canon, Jesus never told us to celebrate either Christmas, His birth or Easter, His resurrection. Jesus tells us simply to obey the Great Commandment and the Golden Rule, to go forth and teach all nations and to take up our Cross and to follow Him. Otherwise, just as the ancient Hebrews were spared physical death by the blood of the lamb struck on their door, just so, today’s faithful are spared Spiritual death by the blood of the Lamb struck on the Cross.
Jesus is the Lamb because His life was the single life that was experienced by God Himself through His Only Begotten Son, the Christ. He became man so that His act of love and sacrifice could redeem the sinful soul of man and He could show us the Way to eternal life. It was God Himself, Who paid the very price that He asked of mankind: a life for a life.

“This is My body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of Me.”
Luke 22:19

*Footnotes & Credits:
1)'Holy Week': from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, this week usually coincides closely with the Jewish Passover. Western & Eastern Churches celebrate Holy Week usually during different weeks.
2) 'Eden': Romans 5:12-20,See also: WebBible Encyclopedia article “Fall of Man” by Matthew G. Easton,
3) 'lamb without blemish': Exodus 12:5 (NKJV), Hebrews 9:2 (NKJV)
4) 'His messenger Moses': Exodus 7:14-12:30
5) 'tenth plague': The New World Dictionary-Concordance to the NAB pg.511 “Passover”
6) 'the destroyer': Exodus 12:23 (NKJV), some versions of the Bible exclude this term, others translate it differently i.e.: destroying angel, destroying spirit or the angel of death. According to Strong’s the Hebrew word used here is also used for: Corruptor, spoiler, batterer & waster.
7) 'first born taken': Exodus 12:29 (NLT 2nd ed.)
8) 'struck': Exodus 12:21&22
9) 'Elijah': Matthew 11:14 & Mark 9:13
10) 'Isaiah': Compare Isaiah 40:3 to Matthew 3:3 & Luke 3:4
11) 'Son of Man': is used 93 times in Ezekiel alone. (ESV)
12) 'Melchizedek': The High Priest of Salem, to whom Abram (aka Abraham) gave a tithe offering, see Genesis 14
13) 'body & blood': referred to as Communion, the Eucharistic Service or the Lord's Supper in modern churches
14) 'customs': see Matthew 8:4, Mark 1:44 & Luke 5:14

first published in the HCCJM Easter Flier - 2006
researched and written by the editor, Jim Stratemeyer
Copyright © 2006 by James A. Stratemeyer
The HCCJM: The Harford County Christian Jail Ministry
a non-denominational, Bible based, all volunteer, prison outreach
Ministry Website: http://www.hccjm.com/

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Love's Perfection

Love's Perfection
(a prayer for us)

God, Thank You and bless us,
with our desires, our needs.
From the mistakes of our youth,
let us be freed,
to grow together
to comfort, to laugh,
illumine and straighten
one another's path.

With mutual respect
and profound affection,
may we bring Life to Love
and Love, to Perfection.

Composed to my lovely wife Denise,
three days after we met.
I didn't want to post this, it is very personal.
Denise wanted me to.

She said she wanted others
to know its simplicity and beauty.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Bible In My Hand

I love to hold my Bible in my hand,
even if I'm not reading it.
It feels good and balanced,

and it makes me feel secure,
I'm not quite sure why.
Maybe it's because

I'm holding onto God's Promise to us,
although this is an oversimplification I know.
Sometimes I hold it while I pray.
Sometimes I even carry it from room to room,
and I always have it with me,

when I leave my home.
I answered Christ's call rather late in life,
I guess I've always been slow to catch on.
I remember that

it was just days after I surrendered
to Christ's will for me,
I was reading my Bible,

in a public building not in Church;
I looked up and the beautiful woman,
who was to become my wife,
sat down right next to me.

composed by Jim Stratemeyer
Copyright © 2005 by James A. Stratemeyer

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Perfect Vehicle

The Wonder & Joy of The Birth of Christ be In Your Hearts This Christmas Season!

This is the beautiful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who was God's sinless and perfect vehicle for the redemption of mankind.
The Bible states that Jesus was tempted in all ways just like other men, but He was the only man to remain sinless, ever. Other men may found favor with God but Jesus is the only man to remain sinless, perfect. Through that one solitary life God offered us His best gift of love, an intimate personality with which we could relate. That one solitary life sealed the blood oath with Abraham, and answered for the sins of all men, because it was the one life that God Himself experienced first hand, It is through that solitary life that we are joined with God, if we choose to be and seek Him out.Most of God's prophets and servants have been far from sinless or perfect in fact Jonah told God "No! I'm not gonna do it!" (loosely paraphrased of course). David was an adulterer and murderer, his son and heir Solomon allowed idol worship in Israel, and Rahab was a harlot.
These are only some of the Biblical examples of how God has used His imperfect and occasionally defiant servants. Throughout our relationship with Him, He has used His imperfect vessels to get His message across and His work done.
George Muller was a Prussian born philanthropist and minister who lived during the nineteenth century, he moved to England in his twenties and eventually settled in Bristol, he remained in Bristol for the rest of his life. His funeral, over fifty years later, was so massive that it closed down the town.
In his troubled youth, George was not the object of such community affection, in fact he spent at least twenty-four days (that we know of) in jail for theft and other charges. His father was apparently a rather successful government official and if it weren't for his father's money and influence he probably would have done a lot more time than he did. George was about sixteen at that time in his life and he was a cynical, impatient and ungrateful young man.Apparently he had many of the material advantages that the upper middle class youth of his day could possess, and a trusting father that was willing to pay for him to get an education,but that wasn’t good enough for George.
Much like young people who get themselves into trouble today, he wanted it all, right now! He didn’t have a lot of scruples about just taking what he wanted either. He stole from his friends, his father, his school and his government. He was a liar, a con-artist, and a playboy, and by his own reckoning, a servant of Satan destined to eternal damnation which he didn’t believe in so he didn’t care.
He spent most of his young life in trouble and thinking about ways to get over. His alcohol abuse was so bad that as his own mother lay fighting a losing battle for her life, he was found drunk and staggering around in the streets. He justified his actions and attitude by watching the moral behavior of others, and in comparing himself to others he claimed there was only a difference of degrees. He attended Halle University which had a Divinity College with nine-hundred students in it including George and he claimed that there wasn’t nine among all of them worthy to teach morality or divinity to anyone.

When George Muller was twenty, something happened to change the course of his life forever. All written accounts relate that it had something to do with a Saturday evening prayer meeting that George attended with one of his old party pals, another Halle University student named Beta. It was at this meeting that George met and fellowshipped with sincere Bible believing Christians for what he claimed was the first time in his life. Also I suspect that George knew that he had reached his bottom and he started to hear the Lord in his conscience calling him to repentance. George found acceptance and understanding at the meeting and he was given a kind and open invitation to return and worship anytime he felt led to do so.
Within weeks of that first Saturday evening fellowship George Muller had become a new creature in Christ. He started to hold a Bible study and fellowship of his own at 6 A.M. every morning before his 8 A.M. classes and in the evenings he would pray with anyone he could find and many nights these evening prayers would last until after midnight. As it is with all of us, Jesus led him step by step, George started to understand the importance of meditating on the Scriptures and then the realization came to him that God was calling him to the missionary field.
When George told his father what his plans were, his father withdrew his financial support and George was on his own. From that point on, George never relied on another human being for financial support, any need he had he took to God in faith and in secret. He began to keep an accurate account of the petitions that he set before the Lord. His secret prayer journal contained when the Reverend Muller would start to pray for something and when and how the Lord answered his prayer. No one knew of this prayer journal until after his death at ninety-two years old and it was found among his papers.
By the end of his long life Reverend Muller, with guidance of the Holy Spirit had started 117 schools that educated over 120,000 children and he had raised and given away more $7,500,000.00. When he died he had less than $300.00 in total personal assets and the orphanage work, that he became so famous for, began with two children that ended up in his care when he had only two schillings in his pocket.
The Reverend George Muller’s life is an example of what the solitary life of Jesus whose birth we celebrate, at this time every year, can do if we have faith and choose to seek His truth, live by His will and for His glory. It doesn’t matter what kind of start we had in life or what kind of tangent our lives went off on. If we seek Christ and take him at His word and understand that He is the perfect vehicle of our redemption, the Son of our God, a God of kept promises and miracles, there isn’t anything we can’t overcome. No obstacle is too big for God, not jail, addiction, depression nor any type of past abuse or neglect that God can’t fix if you honestly seek Him and His will for your life.
This Christmas give Christ what He wants for His Birthday:
recognition, love and obedience, pretty much in that order.
May our God bless you and yours this Christmas and this coming year.

fiirst published in the HCCJM Christmas Flier- 2005
researched and written by the editor, Jim Stratemeyer
Copyright © 2005 by James A. Stratemeyer
The HCCJM: The Harford County Christian Jail Ministry
a non-denominational, Bible based, all volunteer, prison outreach
Ministry Website: http://www.hccjm.com/