2019 – Changed Lives Archives – May/Jun
Kicking His Way To Victory!
When we think about movies like Return Of the Dragon with Bruce Lee, Breaker! Breaker!, Good Guys Wear Black, Forced Vengeance, Missing In Action, Code of Silence, and The Delta Force with Lee Marvin, these block busters have one thing in common: Chuck Norris.
Carlos Ray Norris was born March 10, 1940, and grew up dirt-poor in Ryan, Oklahoma. This non-athletic, shy boy was weak in school studies and even weaker in his social skills, becoming introverted due to his father’s drunkenness and lack of financial support. The stigma followed him for many years as he struggled to fit in. It didn’t help that he had to move 16 times during his first 15 years of life.
There was one gleam of hope in Chuck’s life, however. His mother. She was a strong Christian and a woman of prayer; she never gave up. She always made a way for her family to attend church. She planted good seeds in Chuck’s life from an early age. In an article posted on Baptist Press News, Chuck quoted his mother as saying, “God has a plan for you,” convincing him that no matter what, he could beat the odds. He later got truly serious about his faith when he rededicated his life to Christ at a Billy Graham crusade.
When Chuck turned 18, he joined the U.S. Air Force and at the same time became interested in martial arts. After his discharge he became a Karate instructor, even creating his own form of martial arts called Chun Kuk Do. He excelled in the sport, was a six-time world Karate champion and was the only man in the Western Hemisphere to hold an eighth degree Black Belt Grand Master in Tae Kwon Do.
Norris went on to have good success in the entertainment industry, too. Actually, it was Steve McQueen that encouraged Chuck to sign up for acting classes at MGM. Finally, at twenty-nine years of age, chuck made his acting debut in the Dean Martin film, The Wrecking Crew. He starred in several movies as well as the weekly television series, Walker: Texas Ranger, and much more.
Then there was Chuck’s personal life. He had faith in God from an early age, but he didn’t always live it out. He hasn’t hidden the facts, though. In his book, Against All Odds, Chuck is completely transparent and pours out the failures of his soul for all to see.
He explains that he was married at a young age and although the marriage lasted 30 years, it ended in divorce. He also had a daughter outside of that marriage. It happened early on but he didn’t find out about it until many years later. It came as a total shock to him. He admits, these are the consequences of living one’s life apart from God’s will.
Later on, Norris married again. Six years into their marriage, his wife Gena became pregnant with twins and went into premature labor. It was a death-defying night but by the faithfulness of God she pulled through and later gave birth to a set of healthy babies.
Against All Odds is the inspirational story of how Chuck Norris overcame abject poverty from childhood, the effects of his father’s alcoholism and desertion of the family, and his own shyness and lack of strength and ability early in his life. Norris writes candidly about the past and gives God full credit for where he is today.
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As a born-again Christian, Chuck Norris is deeply involved in fighting for Bible rights in American public schools. He has developed a program called Kickstart Kids, steering young people away from drugs. More than 30,000 kids have graduated from this program that promotes martial arts and builds self-esteem. He is also a staunch republican supporter and firmly stands against same-sex marriage.
Chuck Norris–the introverted kid who was trapped by the bounds of poverty–has literally kicked his way to a place in this world, helping others in disadvantaged situations. By accepting Jesus Christ into his life and giving Him honor and full control, Carlos Ray Norris is no longer clutched by the world, but rather, he gives back to God by serving others in need.
Isn’t it amazing what God can do with a life yielded to Him? Do you need to know how God can work in your life? See our page, “Become A Christian” and receive Jesus today! Click – https://kathyveer.com/become-a-christian/
Everyone knows actor and martial arts champion, Chuck Norris. His is a household name. But did you know Chuck has a son, Mike Norris? Mike, too, has followed in his dad’s footsteps, in more ways than one. Mike has played roles in over two dozen films. He also has produced several movies through his production company, 2nd Fiddle Entertainment. And Mike is also a man of faith. But that wasn’t always the case.
Mike was born in 1962 and raised outside of Hollywood in the south bay area of Palos Verdes. So he grew up out of the lime-light although he was still influenced by his father’s rise to fame, especially in his teen years.
In an interview with Breaking Christian News back in 2011, Mike talks about his life and his faith. He explains that he had accepted Christ as his Savior when he was a child. Additionally, his parents purposely tried to shelter him from the Hollywood lifestyle. He said, “. . . my parents did a great job of keeping me sheltered and grounded as a kid.”
But the crossroads of fame and faith intersected during Mike’s teenage years. By the time he got out on his own, he fell into the Hollywood way of life. And it was disastrous.
Mike goes on to describe how he turned into a rebel. He said, “. . . through my late teens to my early twenty years, I just got caught up in a really bad life style, running with bad people and doing bad things. But yet, in my mind, I kept asking myself why I was doing all these crazy things.”
It is said that God sometimes works in mysterious ways. And God knew just what it would take to help turn his life around. The answer was: a good woman!
Mike tells how the turning point in his life came when he met his future wife, Valerie. He was just 21 at the time, and had already seen so many failed marriages amongst his celebrity friends in Hollywood, that it made him scared. So on his wedding day, he decided he wanted to make a real commitment to his wife. He said, “We were standing in that church and I meant it when I said in front of everybody—and also in front of God—that I was marrying my wife for life! I realized that I had been a party boy, and [being] that, and being married wasn’t going to work. So at that point, there in the church, I said to myself, ‘Mike, get your act together. Be a man. Be a Godly man; be a Godly husband.'” He said after that, his life started to drastically change.
Proverbs, chapter twenty-two, verse six says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it,” (KJV). This was Solomon’s advice to parents, and thankfully, Mike’s parents followed it. Even though their son strayed from his faith for a time, he did return to it. He had been raised to know right from wrong and also saw examples of wrong living all around him. He didn’t want to fail. He wanted to succeed. And so he dedicated his life to Jesus and has been walking in God’s ways, ever since.
The best gift we can give our children is Jesus. As parents, you may not be “there” yourself. Even if you haven’t decided to be a Christian, you should at least be open to leading your children to learn about God. Let them go to church. Encourage them in their spiritual journey with Christ. Even if they depart from it for a time, the seeds will have been planted and they will come back to it.
This book was written to give all parents, grandparents and anyone caring for children, God’s instructions on how to bring these amazing little human beings up in the way they should go, in the love and admonition of the LORD. And all for the glory of God.
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Is that a guarantee? Of course not. There are no guarantees in life. But knowing Jesus in one’s youth is an strong influence that will be ever present in later years.
Even better, why not get your life on track with the Lord. If your heart is right, your life will be right and only good things can come from that, especially in terms of your kids. This world needs more blood-bought, righteous living, kind and loving people. So train up your children in the way they should go so they can make an impact on this world.
So much could be said about Martin Luther. He was a one man revolution in the Roman Church in the 1500s. He was a confronter of corrupt religious leaders and a reformer of religious thought. And he was a man after God’s own heart for he loved the truth of Scripture.
As a young man, Luther entered law school but after four years of study, he decided it wasn’t for him. So he left to join a monastery hoping to get closer to God and better understand his faith. But he was plagued by many questions and his soul was in constant anguish as he searched for answers.
Furthermore, he tried hard to seek out his Lord as a loving heavenly Father. But instead, he saw an angry judge at every turn. His sins were ever before him and he could find no peace.
In spite of his troubles, he was elevated to the office of Priest. After a missions assignment in Rome he returned a changed man. Through intense study of the Word, he discovered the grace of God realizing God forgives our sins completely without need of further judgment. In discussing the matter with the Vicar, he was asked how he had come to this conclusion. Luther replied that he had read it for himself and believed lay people should be able to do the same.
The Vicar insisted that it would be dangerous for the Word of God to fall into the hands of common man because many possible false interpretations could come of it. Therefore, the Bible needed to remain in Latin and out of the hands of the people.
In 1511, Luther came on board as professor and Parish Priest of Wittenberg University. At the same time, he continued to be a student of the Bible as he wrestled over matters of faith. While reading Paul’s letter to the Romans, he said it was as if heaven’s gates opened to him. Chapter one, verse seventeen said, “For in it [the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith,’” (NKJV). Luther finally understood that one is made righteous in God’s sight through his faith, and not through what he does.
In those days Christianity was governed by strict obedience to rigid regulations and passionless, dry ordinances. When rules were broken, penances were issued and indulgences had to be paid. The monies went toward the lavish beatification of the church and its corrupt leaders.
Furthermore; the church offered “forgiveness of sins” without the need for confession. People could simply pay indulgences. The funds, in turn, were used to build St. Peter’s Basilica. Luther argued that you can not buy God’s mercy! This is damnation, not salvation.
Luther protested this “works based” religion and fought to embrace a “faith based” Christianity. He said a believer “only needed Jesus Christ.” Faith alone. That was the turning point in Luther’s life, and in the life of the church. It was the single spark that caused an eventual paradigm shift in the way people practiced Christianity.
Martin Luther: 1954 (106 minutes)
The dramatic black and white classic film of Martin Luther’s life made in the 1950’s. remade in High Definition This film was originally released in theaters worldwide and nominated for an Academy Award. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reforming efforts.
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In 1517, Luther announced his 95 theses by nailing them to the church door. It became one of the church’s most widely read documents in history. The writings were translated into the common language of the people and within months all Christendom was on fire.
Four years later, Luther ended up in the high courts. When asked to recant his writings, he refused. He was condemned and declared an outlaw. He had to run for his life so he took refuge at Wartburg Castle. During that ten month period he studied Greek and translated the New Testament–for the first time–into German. This put the Bible into the hands of the common people. It was finally printed in 1522.
The Roman Church insisted that all Christians should unify, but the Protestants could not surrender their consciences and held fast to the truths they had come to understand. In the end, both groups agreed to disagree, and go their separate ways. Because of Luther’s teachings and example, many monks and nuns left their sheltered lives in the monasteries to go out and serve God and man in the community.
This is how the Protestant Church was born. One man, Martin Luther, made a difference, and did not back down from his beliefs. And because of that, he changed the world.
Making A Difference
Some of you may like to know the job description for the Secretary of State. The person in this position is nominated by the President; he is one of four most important cabinet members, advising the President on all matters relating to U.S. foreign policy. He also negotiates, interprets, or terminates treaties and agreements with other countries and appoints diplomatic representatives to other nations. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the person in this position was a true Christian? He is! His name is Mike Pompeo.
In an article by David Brody at Breaking Christian News, Pompeo explains his full and busy life: he is concerned with many world affairs from North Korea to Israel. He wants to see peace in the Middle East, and he fights against religious persecution and radical Islamic terrorism. In the interview he said,
“I will tell you that it is absolutely a minority within the Muslim faith, but these folks are serious and they abhor Christians and will continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. [Jesus] is truly the only solution for our world.”
Pompeo is the real deal. He grew up going to church but it wasn’t important to him at the time. Then later–while at West Point Military College–Mike was invited to a Bible study. He told CBN News, “. . . during my freshman year, there were two young men who were juniors who were true men of faith. And they held these little Bible study/cookie klatches on Sunday afternoons and they invited all the cadets . . . I started showing up—truly remarkable . . . I started going to church every weekend on my own because I wanted to be there to learn and to grow, and at some point during that first year, I really did come to have an understanding of Jesus that was different than the one that I had before. It fundamentally changed my life.”
That’s what happens when people accept Christ. They have changed lives! That’s what happened to Mike. And as the highest-ranking member of the cabinet, and third-highest official of the executive branch, he doesn’t hide his Christianity, either. He let’s people know he is a man of faith, he includes statements of faith in his speeches, and he warns that the battles we face are cultural and spiritual, and we will continue to fight these battles until the Rapture occurs.
As Christians, we want to influence our world because Jesus is the answer and He will make a difference. The higher the position we have in life, the greater our outreach can be. Mike Pompeo sits at the top of our government. His influence is huge, not only among leaders of other nations but with the President himself, for he has the President’s ear. It’s no accident that God placed Mike in this position because this old world is in deep trouble and God needs workers in the field to carry out His will.
The Pursuit of God is the enduring Christian classic written by renowned pastor and theologian A.W. Tozer. More than 65 years later, the words Tozer penned on a train from Illinois to Texas echo across the decades to resonate with power in the heart of anyone longing for a deeper experience with God.
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Pompeo gets criticized for his Christian worldview but he can not separate it from what he does because it’s who he is. He states in his interview with Breaking Christian News:
“Of course, my mission as a Secretary of State, the thing I raised my right hand to do, [is that] I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and I’ve done that now a handful of times—first as a soldier, then as a member of Congress, then as the director of the CIA, now as Secretary of State. But in each of those missions, the task that I have is informed by my understanding of my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior. I think that makes a real difference, and so I want people to know . . . the perspective that I am bringing to the challenges in the job that I face, and it also requires me to try to hold myself to the standards that Christians hold themselves out for.”
Pompeo is a true Christian believer who does not hide his faith under a bushel basket, but rather sets his light high upon the hill-top for all to see. It’s a real faith that he lives out every day. And the proof is in the pudding. He says, “In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and the truth.”
How are you living out your Christian life?
Muslim Turns To Christ
Dr. Michael Youssef
What can God accomplish through one person? You would be amazed! Take Michael Youssef for example. His mother was advised to abort her at-risk pregnancy while carrying Michael. But her and her husband wanted to please God. At the advice of their Pastor who prophesied this child would be “born to serve the Lord”, Michael was born in 1948.
By now you’ve probably guessed–by his name–that Michael is a foreigner. He was born in Egypt amidst a strong Muslim culture. Yet at the age of 16, Michael committed his life to Christ. In his video-biography at LTW.org, Michael states, “that night my life was changed forever.”
During this time period there was much unrest in Egypt. Fear was in the air as military action between Israel and other Arab countries was pending. The President of Egypt declared that “no university students could travel abroad”. Again, God worked a miracle. Michael was granted an exit visa that allowed him to relocate to Lebanon. By this time Michael was 21, and virtually all alone in the city of Beirut with just $20 in his pocket. It was an intense time for him.
God took care of Michael in the coming months. He stayed in Lebanon until God opened the door for him to emigrate to Australia. So with a few minuscule belongings, and the $100 he had borrowed for the trip, Michael landed in Sydney to begin his life over again. And as his life unfolded, it was clear that God was still ordering his steps.
Michael visited a church soon after his arrival. That’s where he met his future wife, Elizabeth. They married in 1971 and had four children. Michael also pursued his education. He earned his first degree from Moore College in Sydney. Then the family moved to the United States in 1977 where Michael later earned degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary in California, and a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Emory University. God was building something in Michael Youssef that would soon touch the world.
Michael’s global ministry was launched in 1987. He founded The Church of The Apostles with fewer than 40 adults. Its Atlanta based congregation grew to over 3000 and was the forerunner to his current ministry: Leading The Way International Ministry.
At the same time, Michael began to broadcast his message across local radio. Over time, his outreach has been shared across radio, television an the internet in 20 languages, 2300 times a week, and in over 200 countries, world-wide.
His ministry shares the following insights on their website: “While heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached over the airwaves is a pastor’s heart, longing to feed and care for people. God has gifted Dr. Youssef with a bold voice to bring Biblical clarity to today’s issues and speak to a worldwide audience. The path he has walked has given him a thorough cross-cultural understanding and a firm grasp of Scripture.”
Why are suicide bombers attacking our cities? Why are shooters invading our workplaces and malls? What can save us and our children from this chilling future? Michael Youssef, in this groundbreaking book, shows how we can win the war against aggressive secularism, beat back the threat of radical Islam, and build a brighter future for both ourselves and the next generation. Be prepared for the times in which we live. Understand what’s happening. Stand up for a brighter and hope-filled future for our children.
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“Leading The Way claims Dr. Youssef as the ministry’s number one volunteer. He receives no compensation for his time, nor does he receive royalties from the sale of any of the resource materials he produces. Dr. Youssef has authored more than 30 books, including popular titles like Jesus, Jihad and Peace and When The Crosses Are Gone . . .”
In a world where so many voices are clamoring to be heard, and where so many false spiritual narratives are seeping into the minds of people, it is truly a blessing that God has raised up a Christian leader for such a time as this.
Next week, read about a man known as “The Prince of Isis” whose life was changed because of Michael Youssef’s ministry.
The Prince of ISIS
Reaching people from other cultures for Christ takes a special set of skills and a special calling. Last week we shared the story of Egyptian born Dr. Michael Youssef and how God raised him up to lead an international ministry in over 200 countries. This week, we bring you The Prince of Isis. He is one of the people impacted by Youssef’s outreach.
We can’t tell you his name. This young man is under protective orders. His life would be in jeopardy if we revealed his identity. But we can share the details of his journey.
CBN News posted a story back in March of this year. It was about the amazing conversion of this ISIS Spiritual leader.
We are sometimes guilty of looking at a situation as impossible. We think there’s no way that some folks could change their ways. We fear we will be laughed at or rejected for reaching out. And yet, a man of God–Peter–was called to minister to this Prince, putting his very life on the line. Yes, this Prince wanted to kill Peter with a knife, but something stopped him. That “something” was God. You see, God had a plan for the Prince’s life. And so the Lord stitched together the lives and ministries of several people to reach this young man.
Working through The Kingdom Satellite TV, Leading The Way Ministries (founded by Dr. Michael Youssef) broadcasts to the Arabic world. One of the people listening on a particular day was this “Prince”. He was so drawn by what he heard that he called the ministry outreach phone number declaring that he needed to meet with someone.
According to the reenacted video-biography at CBN News, it was explained that because of the danger, these matters are usually handled by phone. But Peter felt led of the Lord to meet with him, so he did. That’s when Peter learned this man was a notorious “Prince of ISIS”, for whom other ISIS members would lay down their lives.
The Prince said, “One day, somebody asked me why I am a Muslim. I began to search in the Quran, Hadith, and Sunnah. I wanted to find proof and evidence that Allah exists and Islam is right. I found nothing.”
As the meeting began, Peter felt the Lord urging him to be bold and direct. He said to the Prince, “Our God is not yours.” But the Prince was angered by what he thought were arrogant words. He quickly began thinking about how he should kill Peter. In the face of danger, Peter pressed on to proclaim the Gospel; it brought tears to the Prince’s eyes. So Peter laid hands on him and prayed. As the prayer ensued, the Prince got up and left.
Some time later, the Prince asked to meet Peter again. During their second meeting, the Prince shared a dream. “I saw an envelope dripping blood with a good fragrance, like musk or perfume. When I saw the blood I was scared,” he said. “Later, Peter told me, ‘Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.’ so I said, ‘What should I do to ask forgiveness?’ Peter answered, ‘The Lord gave it to you for free. You just need to accept it.’”
This book by Dr. Michael Youssef is about ordinary people who prayed extraordinary prayers to an extraordinary God. They weren’t always eloquent. They weren’t always the type of person you might think God would listen to. But they trusted God and his plans for their lives, and that made all the difference. Life-Changing Prayers tells their stories and shares their desperate, hopeful, and gratitude-filled prayers, inspiring and emboldening readers to ask God for the desires of their own hearts.
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Cave Rescue In Thailand
Have you ever embarked on an adventure only to find yourself in deep trouble? “This is not what I expected,” you say. “I’m stunned.” Such was the case for a soccer team of 12 young boys from Thailand. With their assistant coach, they went exploring in a cave one day. They entered a six mile long system of narrow passages and tunnels beneath Doi Nang Non mountain. But after hiking underground for a couple of miles, they suddenly realized their journey was taking a bad turn.
It was Saturday, June 23, 2018. Boys aged 11 through 17 from the Wild Boars sports team headed out for a fun excursion after practice that day. But once deep inside the cave, an unexpected downpour of rain broke out. It was steady and continuous and it flooded the passageways they would need to make their way back out. Because of the rising water, they were stranded inside, and the little bit of airspace they had was disappearing.
Meanwhile, the parents had been calling the head coach to say their children hadn’t come home. He tried calling the assistant coach and several of the boys. Finally, he reached one of the players, but the boy had not gone with the group. He did say where they were however, and that’s when rescue efforts began.
The story made international news and people from all over the world were praying for the safe return of these boys and their coach. British divers John Volanthen and Richard Stanton pushed through muddy waters and narrow passages and located the group alive on an elevated rock about two and a half miles in from the cave entrance. But that was just the beginning of a massive operation that took nine days.
Rescuers tried to figure out the best strategies. Should they drill a hole down to where the boys were? Well that would take too long. Should they wait for the waters to subside? Weather reports were contrary to that idea. Should they teach the boys diving skills? How would that turn out?
There are so many Christian parallels to this story. First of all, there was a sign posted at the opening of the cave, warning people not to enter, especially during the rainy season. The group arrived there only one week prior to the start of the wet season. Anything could happen. So, too, the Bible warns us of things we should stay away from for our own good. Often, we want to “stretch the limits,” or “get away with something” that we shouldn’t be doing. Why cut things so closely? Why not just obey.
Second, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6; NIV). There’s only one way to God, and that’s through His Son. It’s interesting that in this story, there was only one point of contact between this group of boys and the British divers helping them. Why only one? Because of the language barrier. One of the boys, Adul Sam-on, was the only boy in the group who spoke English. He was from Myanmar, and was sent to Thailand at the age of seven to get an education. Adul was taken in by a Baptist church and sponsored by the Christian charity, Compassion International.
This book is filled with incredible true stories of modern day miracles coupled with powerful insights and life-changing prayers. You will journey with the author as his faith in miracles is restored. Along his surprising path, he connects with other ordinary people who the Holy Spirit uses in extraordinary ways. It will strengthen your faith and provoke you to reach higher for miracles in your own life.
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Additionally, Adul was the only Christian among them. It was no coincidence that seven years earlier, God had arranged for this boy to be in the group. God knew they would need his help one day.
Third and foremost, we all need rescuing. God knew we’d never make it through this life on our own. So He sent Jesus to rescue us from sin and eternal punishment. In the same way, God answered the prayers of millions and sent help to the cave boys in Thailand. After nine days, the boys and their coach were gloriously saved. Unfortunately, one of the divers gave up his life in the effort. But sometimes there’s a price to pay for freedom. Jesus knows that all too well.
John 3:16 says , “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” (NIV). God certainly loved those people stranded in that cave. And He loves you very much as well. Do you know Him? Would you like to?
By Jeannie C. Riley
Remember the song, Harper Valley PTA? This author was about eight years old when it hit the radio airwaves. Back then, I didn’t understand what the song was about, but I liked the feel and the flavor of it, musically speaking.
The song told of a certain Mrs. Johnson, who was a widowed mother of a teenage girl. The girl brings home a note one day from her junior high school’s PTA meeting. The note implies that Mrs. Johnson has been behaving scandalously and the folks in her small town have had enough of it. They claim she is setting a bad example for her daughter.
So Mrs. Johnson goes to the next PTA meeting that very afternoon, wearing a miniskirt! While everyone is in shock, she begins to expose all of their misdemeanors, and calls the lot of them “. . . just a little Peyton Place / And you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites!”
The song was written by Tom T. Hall. It became a huge international hit single for country singer Jeannie C. Riley in 1968. Riley’s record sold over six million copies as a single. The song made Riley the first woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the U.S. Hot Country Singles charts with the same song, a feat that would go unrepeated until Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 in 1981.
Miss Riley probably never thought she would find such fame and fortune in her lifetime. She was born in Stamford, Texas in 1945 and was named Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson. She married Mickey Riley when she was just a teenager and had one daughter.
Some time later, one of her demo tapes fell into the hands of Weldon Myrick, a record producer. He invited her to move to Nashville where she worked as a secretary for Passkey Music, while recording demos on the side. In 1968, she recorded a demo of Harper Valley PTA for Mercury records and it became an overnight sensation.
She earned a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocalist and secured her own major TV network variety special, Harper Valley U.S.A., which she hosted with Jerry Reed. She had guests such as Mel Tillis, and Tom T. Hall. Her song went on to spawn a 1978 film and a 1981-83 television series, both titled Harper Valley PTA and both starring Barbara Eden as the widow, Mrs. Johnson.
Riley’s success brought a number of offers from Hollywood. She appeared with Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Bette Davis, Tom Jones, Ed Sullivan and others on various television programs. I’ve heard uninformed comments that she was a one hit wonder but nothing could be farther from the truth.
A candid account of the country-singer’s rise to stardom describes the disruptive effects her success had on her personal relationships and recounts her renewed faith in God. This book is well-written and packed with interesting information on Jeannie’s change from Harper Valley to singing for the Lord.
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In spite of her success, Jeannie C. Riley left country music when she became a born-again Christian in 1974, and began recording gospel music. At that time Jeannie began to distance herself from the Harper Valley song because of its lyrics.
In 1980, Jeannie published her autobiography entitled From Harper Valley to the Mountain Top telling her story of stardom in country/pop music and then moving on into gospel music. The following year, she released a new gospel album with the same title.
Kim Mccully-Mobley comments on GoodReads.com, “I purchased this book two weeks ago at Ernest Tubbs Record Store from Jeannie C. Riley herself. My favorite part of the book is the inside front cover where she wrote me a letter while I was shopping. This classy lady is candid, credible and has a loving spirit. She truly wants to make the world a better place by looking at the lessons she has learned along the way. If you are a country music fan and have ever “bellered” out the lyrics to Harper Valley PTA, you’ll love this quick read. I really liked it.”
Isn’t it amazing how God can change any life that is turned over to Him? What about you?
The Story of Stuart Hamblen
Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us,” (Mark 9:40). Every now and then, a non-Christian will promote the cause of Christ and literally touch millions of lives as a result. That’s what happened in this next story: a hugely popular hit song reached people for God, all over the world, and it all started with a couple of non-believers!
In September of 1949, Billy Graham came to Los Angeles for his first evangelistic crusade. Part of the publicity for the crusade was done on Stuart Hamblen’s radio show, even though Hamblen was not a “believer”; he was known for his drinking and hard living. None-the-less, Hamblen advertised the crusade on his program, and because of that, Billy Graham invited him to attend the meetings, so he did.
Much later that night after attending a meeting, Stuart went to Graham’s hotel and asked if he could talk with him. False reports said Stuart was drunk and that Billy Graham had refused to talk to him or pray for him. This was not the truth! The truth was that in that hotel room that evening, Billy Graham did pray with him, and Stuart Hamblen surrendered his life to Christ.
Now Hamblen had been in the public spotlight for twenty years. In addition to being a radio personality, he was a singer, songwriter, actor, and poet. He also appeared in films with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and John Wayne. He was very well known in his day. In fact, Cliff Barrows (longtime music and program director for the Billy Graham) said Stuart Hamblen became the first publicized conversion from the 1949 crusade and contributed to Graham’s decision to extend the event for eight weeks. That event really put Billy Graham on the map and it brought extra attention to Hamblen as well.
Barrows also reflected how later on, Stuart ran into John Wayne on a street in Hollywood. Wayne invited him for a drink but Stuart refused, telling Wayne he no longer drank alcohol. Wayne then asked him about the rumor around town that he’d “changed his ways”. Stuart told John Wayne that it was true, and that it was “no secret what God had done” for him. He added, “God can do it for you, too, Wayne.” Wayne said it sounded like a song and suggested Hamblen write one. The result was one of Hamblen’s best known tunes, It Is No Secret What God Can Do.
That song became a crossover hit that is regarded as the first to have been number one in three genres: Gospel, Country, and Pop. The original manuscript of, It Is No Secret, is buried in the cornerstone of one of the copyright buildings at the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C.
Henry Blackaby uses scriptural analysis, prayer, and study questions to explore God’s will and His process of refining an ordinary man into an extraordinary agent of God.
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After accepting Christ as his Savior, Hamblen announced that he was going to devote his time to serving Christ. He started a new radio program entitled, The Cowboy Church Of the Air, which became nationally syndicated. When Hamblen refused to advertise alcohol on his program, his sponsors cancelled him and as a result he went off the air. But that was the beginning, not the end.
Hamblen’s firing became so publicized that he was asked by the Prohibition Party to run for President of the United States. He accepted. Although he came in fourth to Republican Dwight Eisenhower, who was elected President in 1952, Stuart Hamblen became famous for standing firm on his Christian principles.
Yes, Stuart Hamblen was used by God while he was still a non-believer to help promote Billy Graham. And John Wayne was used by God to influence Stuart Hamblen’s life and write the song, It Is No Secret What God Can Do. Remember what Jesus said? “Whoever is not against us is for us,” (Mark 9:40).
Have you talked to God lately? Have you asked Him what He can do for you? God answers prayer and loves each of us with an everlasting love. Try Him and see that He is true and faithful. If you need to know how to become a “Christian”, click https://kathyveer.com/become-a-christian/
Matthew 16: 26, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but
lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”