We March On

What a wonderful photograph! A group of Salvationists, circa the 1950s, marching along High Street withstanding the rain. Nearby the procession leader is an elderly lady, dressed in a thoroughly sensible overcoat, unbreakable shoes, and her Salvation Army uniform and bonnet. She is followed by a group of stragglers, mainly in Bible-black, soaked to the skin and valiantly managing a collection of instruments and bedraggled flags.

Not much of an advertisement for the Kingdom. Did they look a bit weird as they claimed the shining highways for God? An odd bunch in the eyes of the world? Maybe, but only until our hearts are warmed by the sight and we begin to see this photo with admiration and affection. Might the tiny Salvationist giant of yesteryear be entitled to say, “Yes, my legs are as crooked as a £6 note. But do you see the soaking wet ribbon on my bonnet? It says, “The Salvation Army.” That tells me Jesus is leading these kids in the hope that someone might hear that God loves them too.

In this picture, we catch a glimpse of evangelism that not even a rainstorm deterred. People were willing to look strange if it meant touching lives. We are confronted with a reminder that oddness is sometimes called for and fitting in was never the plan for God’s people anyway. Humbled, we march on.

Written by Stephen Poxon

How Important Is Prayer?

Have you ever been dissatisfied with the seemingly fruitless and dry times you spend in prayer? I have. There are many books written on prayer and many rich promises in Scripture concerning prayer. “If you ask anything in My name,” Jesus said, “That I will do.” And in another place, “Hitherto you have asked nothing in My name; ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.” There are other promises as well.

When I read about prayer or hear sermons urging believers to pray, it may get me going to my prayer closet for a few days, but then it seems I am soon back to that same old dry place again.

Thank God, our heavenly Father knows our needs. He knows we need inspiration and not simply a set of rules.

So it is that the Lord gave me a parable to show me the importance of prayer. He likened prayer to the human body with its bones. Just as the bones are necessary to our physical bodies, prayer is of utmost importance to the Body of Christ.

When we think about the skeletal system we see, first of all, that prayer is a private matter between the believer and God. Jesus made this clear when He spoke of prayer. It is not a public affair to show off how spiritual we are (Matthew 6:5-6). For example, if people see a bone sticking out of my leg or arm, they know something is wrong. In the same way, a life of prayer is a hidden life. People do not need to see it to know it’s there.

If we look at the functions or special work that bones do, we see a picture of what can be achieved in the prayer closet or through intercessory prayer groups.

1. Bones give the body its structure and support.

The shape of our physical body depends on our skeleton. So it is with the Body of Christ, that is, the church. The bones of prayer support the body. These bones need to be strong, whole, and in good working order. Have you ever noticed how the skeleton is designed to lift the head? Our Head is Christ; we are to lift and exalt Him.

2. Bones protect the vital organs.

If we look at the body the Lord has given us, we can see the vital organs – the brain, heart, lungs, etc. – are well encased in bones. The skull protects the brain; the ribs protect the heart and lungs, and so on. In the same way, we must add protection around our spiritual leaders (and government leaders) through our prayers. Let’s not leave these important organs of the Body of Christ open to attack by the powers of darkness that would seek to injure them.

3. Red blood cells are produced in the marrow of the bones.

This is an especially interesting function of bones. We know that blood is the life of the physical body. What an important responsibility bones have, generating the red blood cells that carry nourishment to every cell in the body and carry away waste. It’s been said that “the life is in the blood” and in a very real sense the very Life of Christ is brought forth in the Body of Christ through our prayer life.

How important are bones to a physical body? That is how important prayer is to the Body of Christ.

Written by Ed Newman

Behind Prison Walls

I want you to understand, my friend, that which I state is not about what I did but what God did. Because of God’s great mercy I am able to tell you that Christ saves to the uttermost all who come to God through Him.

I had very good opportunities. My mother loved the Lord Jesus Christ, and she did her best to train me in the right way. For some time, I thought that I should be a Christian, but I got away from Christ and turned completely from everything good.

Mother prayed for me throughout her life. Ninety-six days after she died, I was sentenced to the Iowa State Penitentiary for a term not to exceed ten years for embezzlement.

When the huge steel doors of the prison clanged shut behind me on September 20, 1938, I was destined to spend several years in a cold, barren world that few good citizens ever come to know.

I began to have the empty feeling that inevitably comes to one who has lived a pointless life. Wrong living, the result of wrong thinking, had caused my downfall. This was something I did not want to acknowledge.

Soon I found myself hating everything that went to make a prison–warden, guards and the chaplain included. As the weeks passed, I became more weary and irritable, blaming the whole world for my sorry plight.

I had a feeling of self-pity and thought that I had been dealt with much too severely. I constantly talked about my troubles to everyone who would listen.

One of the inmates, whom we shall call Claude, decided that he was through listening to my tales of woe.

Claude said kindly but firmly, “What you need is a new outlook on life, and I’m going to make it my business to see that you get a bird’s-eye view of a way of living that will help you.”

He opened up on me then. What a lecture. “Love God. Don’t curse Him. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemies. Be kind to those who persecute you, and above all, thank God for the judge who sentenced you here, for he has done you a great favor.”

“Just a moment please,” I said. But Claude said, “No. No, you’ve talked too much already. I’ll do the talking now.”

“The reason you and I are in prison is that we have violated the law, and I mean the law of God. All righteous laws come from God. You are miserable because you refuse to think comforting thoughts, good thoughts. At one time I was in the same boat you are now in, and what did I do? I got a new outlook on life, a new viewpoint. I let Christ guide me. What you need is God—faith—a new viewpoint!”

I was so dumbfounded that I couldn’t get angry. Anyhow, I felt that he was telling the truth.

“Claude, I admire you for your frankness,” I confessed, “but I don’t want to become a Christian.”

Then, a few weeks later I learned that he had written about me to the Salvation Army Prison Secretary in Chicago. Soon after, this Salvationist came to see me at the prison, and about three months after his visit I was told to pack my belongings and report to the deputy warden’s office. I was informed that I was going out very soon on parole.

On April 14, 1941, I was paroled to The Salvation Army. After I had served my required year with The Salvation Army, the officer asked me what I was going to do. I told him that I had no place to go, and as I was getting on in years, probably could not find a job very easily. He told me that I could remain in the employ of The Salvation Army, and for the past seven years I have been working in the Men’s Social Service Department of this organization.

On Sunday morning, November 2, 1947, I went to the social service center’s regular chapel services and sought Christ as my personal Savior. I went to the penitent-form while thirty-five or forty of my fellow workers looked on, and I have never been sorry for my decision.

Today I am not railing at fate, nor crying because I have spent years in prison.

Somehow, I now can see beyond another human being’s loathsome physical condition. I can feel and understand what he is suffering in his soul, for his disgrace was my disgrace. His punishment was my punishment. His chains are the same chains that shackled me for so many years.

In our special efforts to win souls for Christ, shall not we who are fitted by punishment turn lovingly to the poor outcasts who no longer have the courage to make known the longing they inwardly experience?

If we go after them in the spirit of love, perhaps our compassion will rekindle the spark of decency and good even as respiration revives the dying if but a single spark of life remains.

God has work for us to do. He wants us to testify for our blessed Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who came into this world to save those who are despairing and lost.

Oh, I am so grateful that He took me up and healed my blackened, sin-stained soul when there was no other help. He opened my eyes to the truth.

If you are not a Christian, bow your head at this moment and ask Jesus Christ to come into your life. Quicker than it takes for me to speak these words He will enter and take possession. Do it now.

Written by Jerry Donaghy

The Founder’s First Convert

I am an old Irishman and used to be a prize fighter, many years ago. I usually bested what I took on. We used to fight at the back of The Blind Beggar public house, and it was there that a match had been arranged between me and another Irishman named Fitz-Gerald.

There had been a bit of a chip between us, and the fight was to be a big one. One morning I was walking towards the public house when I came across Mr. Booth for the first time in my life. That was on the twenty-sixth of July, 1865. I stopped dead in the street looking at him. And he stopped too, looking at me.

I could see he was a minister, for he wore a white choker and a tall hat, and I thought he was strange to the place. After he had looked at me a long while, he said sadly, “I’m looking for work.” I was taken aback.

“I’ve got no place,” says he, “to put my head in.” I got hold of some coins in my pocket, and was just going to offer them to him, when he pointed to a great crowd of the boys outside a public house nearby.

“Look at those men!” says he. “Look at them! Nobody cares about them. Why should I be looking for work? There’s my work, over there, looking for me. But I’ve got no place where I can put my head in.”

“You’re right, Sir,” I said, “those men are forgotten by all. And if you can do anything for them ‘twould be a great work.”

And what made me say that? Well, he was the finest looking gentleman ever you saw–white-faced, dark-eyed, and a great black beard over his chest. Sure, there was something strange about him that held onto a man. Well, he told me he was preaching in the Mile End Waste, and asked me to come and hear him, and bring some of the boys along with me. I said I would.

On the next day I was to fight Fitz-Gerald. I says to myself, “This’ll be the last fight of your life,” for I was still thinking of that Mr. Booth.

Well sir, I thought Fitz-Gerald would kill me. He was a terrible man, taller altogether than me and fierce with it, and proud too. But he gave up after an hour and three-quarters. I beat him, and all the boys were making a hero of me. But I felt sick. I didn’t want ever to fight again.

As soon as I could I went off to Mile End Waste, where Mr. Booth was preaching. He was holding forth, surrounded by the blackguards of Whitechapel, who in them days were the greatest vagabonds you could meet anywheres on God’s earth.

Some were mocking and some were laughing, but Mr. Booth he shouted at them finely, and then gave out a hymn and led the singing till he just drowned their noises, or nearly so.

I felt funny.

I threw off my coat, and walked around the ring instead of joining them vagabonds. In two minutes they were as quiet as lambs.

Well, when the meeting was over, Mr. Booth linked hold of me and said he, “How did you do it?” I told him that there were better men than me in that crowd, but that my nationality covered a bit of that, for they all knew an Irishman could fight.

Then he looked me square in the face and said, “You’re not happy. You’ll perish like a dog. You’re living for the devil. The devil will take you.”

I reared back.

“Who made a prophet of you?” I says, but I had to put down my eyes.

Mr. Booth didn’t give up. He said, “You’ll be a man yet.”

Not long after, I couldn’t stay away and went to his meetings.

“You’re not happy!” he says, putting his arm around me. And I knew it was true, for I was everything vile, contaminating and diabolical. So he prayed and I was converted.

In This Uneasy & Frightened World, Where Does the Salvationist Stand?

In 1946, I was honored to meet President Truman at the White House in Washington, D.C. After I had ventured to express the hope and prayer that the United States of America might prove by God’s blessing to be the principal lamplighter in a darkened world, the President, speaking of the duties of his office and mine, said, “General, you and I are working in our different ways for the same purpose: the peace of the world.”

Nearly five years have passed since I visited the White House. No man can say that there is peace in the heart of the world today. From the windows of our International Headquarters I look out upon a world darkened by storm clouds. Here and there I see the dull, red glow of fires, intensified at times into a sudden flash of demonic fury. Battle is joined—men and machines are striving for mastery. Ever and anon a new cry of fear and distress breaks upon the ear, and no one is conscious of a fresh upheaval.

Some of our own comrades have fallen to the bullets of anti-Christian persecutors. Others are imprisoned. Many suffer all manner of cruel social pressures upon themselves and their families because of their faith and witness. Our Army, which is part of the Lord’s living body on Earth, is bearing His Cross and sharing His wounds.

In my travels in the five continents, I have had opportunities for observing the trends of thought and assessing the true desires of men. It has been my privilege to speak with many rulers and statesmen, and leaders of thought and action, as well as countless ordinary people.

Of all subjects arousing and engaging interest I have found one that undoubtedly holds first place. It quickens conversation, lights the lamps of hope and even though the gleam is often dimmed by the shadow of fear: it makes congregations intense and alerts pressmen like a trumpet-note; it fills and floods alike political speeches, pulpit utterances, radio broadcasts and public prayer. It is the word peace.

As I recall my boyhood in the ‘nineties, and the noisy sequence of the following years, I have an impression of almost ceaseless wars mounting to the Second World War in an unbroken flood of waste, hate and misery.

With sickening horror, I now hear the voices of world statesmen informing a helpless and traumatic public that they must prepare to spend unimaginable millions on armaments and forces at the cost of many simple amenities and the shattering of innocent and cherished dreams of home and comfort and personal independence. It is all heartbreaking, and no amount of sophistry can make sense of it, let alone make it right. It is satan’s cruel game of counters, with the lives of men, women and little children and their simple loves and treasures as forfeits—the cruel dilemma of mankind when war, famine and pestilence drive us headlong to doom.

Doubtless the hopes and ideals of peace are variously interpreted. With many, it is merely a confused and inarticulate longing, a desire to be left alone. Others desire peace as a condition of good business, profitable enterprise, personal security. Some, no doubt want peace for pleasure and for their own pursuits. Many see it, however, as something more than a pause between battles, something more than a political expedient, backed by bigger and better bombs, or an opportunity for vanity to have its fling—they see peace as the fruits of righteousness, conditioned by unselfishness, within the Kingdom and reign of Jesus Christ.

In this uneasy and frightened world, where does the Salvationist stand, and what should he do?

The Salvationist will remember and regulate his life by that word of Scripture which saith: “Whatever happens be self-possessed, flinch from no suffering, do your work as an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:5, Moffatt).

He will not show the alarm of the worldly minded, whose whole world is founded and bounded by personal possessions and pleasures. He will behave and speak like a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom. If suffering comes, perhaps in the form of unpopularity, isolation and contempt, and even in open persecution, he will rejoice that he is counted worthy to share his Master’s Cross.

Always and everywhere, whether men bear or forbear, he will maintain a clear witness for Jesus Christ as the hope and Savior of the world.

The Salvationist will not be ashamed of Jesus. He will maintain his faith in the power of personal testimony, in the preaching of Christ crucified, and the conviction that man cannot save man, but God alone.

He will not allow himself to be deluded into believing that there is any saving Gospel for the human race other than that proclaimed in the New Testament.

The Salvationist will firmly adhere to, and express by word and deed his faith that all members of the human family are as one in the sight of God. He will cherish and strengthen the spiritual bonds of our international Army, wherein we are truly united, not by any artificial cement, but in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost.

He will hate and abjure all narrow, intolerant and truculent racialism, whether at home or abroad. Loyal to his own country, with a love that is not blind he will not boast of blood superiority nor regard any other race as inferior.

If animosities arise, and threats and counter-threats poison the air, he will have in mind the meekness and forbearance of Christ and speak and act accordingly. Under no circumstances will he hate others, individually or in groups, he will “hate the sin with all his heart, and yet the sinner love.”

The Salvationist is a soldier of peace in an army of peace. He is a man of peace in his very soul. This means that in his personal and private life he walks honestly and not in strife and envying. He refuses to be a participant in any kind of violence in family, corps or in community life, if he realizes that Christ would be grieved and His body hurt by any such action. He is willing to be known as a man who at all times will “seek peace and pursue it.”

He builds his character and reputation accordingly. His standard is not “peace at any price,” but “love at all costs.” He is not a supine and meanspirited man, incapable of wrath, willing to follow the line of least resistance.

In moral and spiritual welfare he will be found where sacrifice “unto blood” is called for and given, but he will never be found raising hand or voice for selfish ends.

If he finds his loyalty as a citizen involves him in martial duties which he would never choose but must needs accept, he carries his loyalty to Christ and his Salvationist principles into barracks and battlefield, ashore or afloat, on the airfield or aloft. Should he be conscientiously unable to bear arms, he will nevertheless display a true son’s loyalty to his parent-country and be prepared to suffer and to serve as a requirement. In such case, though he may find himself in a minority, even among his own comrades, he will remain true and unembittered in his spirit.

The world would seem to be rapidly approaching a state of tension, anxiety and embattled misery, when man’s self-reliance must break an account of stresses within his own structures. Signs of a return to God are, nevertheless, beginning to appear; more and more people are beginning to cry, “Who will show us any good?” Let Salvationists everywhere give themselves to prayer and the preaching of God’s word, instant in season, out of season.

Let us not think that what we need is redoubled effort, although it is still true that faith without works is dead. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord…”

If the prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come,” is to be fulfilled and answered, it will be by the faithfulness of our Lord’s disciples, when fiery trials come upon them. In the midst of conflicts, they must remain loyal to the person and purposes of the Prince of Peace. They must not show surprise or annoyance when troubles and sorrows come upon them.

Steadfastly enduring “as seeing Him who is invisible” and with faith and love rekindled by the Holy Spirit, let our Army everywhere quicken its spiritual offensive. The time is “now.”

“It is time to seek the Lord”…The clock is almost at midnight—but also–the morning.

Written by General Albert Orsborn

A Heritage Collection: Stories from the 1950s

San Antonio Provides for “The Boys” – April 21, 1951 (pictured above)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Captain and Mrs. Rowland)—While not having a Red Shield Center in San Antonio, the Corps is endeavoring to meet some needs for the military personnel.

For some boys, the three ping-pong tables offer enjoyment. Not only the odd game but tournaments are held. Others enjoy the Lounge Room with the television set. Still others prefer reading, checkers, chess, etc.

Each Sunday, a bountiful dinner of “home-cooked food” is the order of the day. Immediately following the morning meeting, every serviceman attending is invited as a dinner guest of the Corps.

Many boys are active in the Corps, including the band.

Salvation Army Car Wins Soap Box Derby – August 24, 1957

ASHLAND, Kentucky-The annual Soap Box Derby, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, was won this year by nine-year-old Danny Samson. Danny and his car were sponsored by The Salvation Army.

The Soap Box Derby is the highlight of the Kiwanis Club’s “Kid’s Day.” The racing cars are built by father-and-son [teams] and placed in competition for the gold trophy and the honor of representing the city in the national Derby contest in Akron, Ohio.

Queen of the Year Contest – February 18, 1956

LOCK HAVEN, Pennsylvania-The Home League is having a “Queen for the Year” contest. The contest will be held for a period of thirteen weeks and is based on weekly credits. Credits are given for attendance, being on time, bringing an old member, and weekly quizzes. Bonus credits are given for old members active, new persons enrolled, perfect attendance and good standing.

There were twenty members present for the first week of the contest. Each member was given a record chart to mark her own credits. The lady having the most credits at the end of the thirteen weeks is chosen queen.

Pavilion Shelter, Gift of Rotary Club, Dedicated at Fort Herrick – September 6, 1959

Mentor, O.—Camp Fort Herrick’s annual open house, on its sixty-second anniversary of camping, attracted a host of well-wishers, advisory board members, auxiliary members and campers’ parents. One of those in the crowd was Jack Munro, who proudly announced: “I was a camper here seventeen years ago. Spent four seasons. Saw the newspaper account of this celebration and decided to come back and see what the old place looked like. Sure has changed!”

And Jack was right. It has changed, for, in the past ten years, more than $200,000 has been spent on a program of expansion and building replacement that has provided a near-complete face-lifting for this oldest of The Salvation Army’s summer camps.

This year’s feature was the dedication of “The Rotarium,” a rainy-day pavilion shelter contributed by the Cleveland Rotary Club.

Realtor Remembers World War I Service – March 9, 1957

NEW ORLEANS, LA—When The Salvation Army bought industrial property here recently as the site of a new Men’s Social Service Center, the transaction was handled by Ed Polson, vice-president of Latter and Blum real estate firm.

When the deal was completed, Mr. Polson mailed a four-figured check to Gulf Divisional Headquarters, donating his entre commission back to the Army. He explained that he was “paying interest on an old debt.”

In 1918 Ed Polson was one of thousands of servicemen benefited by The Salvation Army’s coffee-and-doughnuts ministry in the front lines, camps and railway stations here and overseas. He particularly recalls a helping hand extended by Captain A. E. Chesham, now Lt.-Commissioner Chesham (R).

In the years since World War I, Mr. Polson has demonstrated his friendship for the Army in effective service as a member of the New Orleans Advisory Board.