Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry
(1 Corinthians 12:28)

Following in the footsteps of the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke, Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry exists by the grace of God to further the first century Apostolic tradition serving in the Great Commission.

(St. Matthew 28:16-20)

In World Trouble And Suffering Take Courage I Have Conquered World Love Jesus

Imparting affectionate love, whimsical romance, sprinkled along with a dash of warm sentimentality accompanied with devotion toward loved ones may depict Valentines Day.

Love may make its presence recognizable to a number of human beings as the ocean spray does when it is splashed up into the air causing a mist to form softly cascading upon one’s face.

February fifteenth, may be depicted as a day when couples may still be recuperating from the wound of cupid’s arrow after bathing in the rays of romance expressed by each toward the other on Valentines Day.

This spine-tingling happening took place on February fifteenth, the day after Valentines Day. An inaccurate identification nearly cost me my life!

This year, Cupid had not elected for me to receive his mark on my heart, rather I was alone in my apartment when, without warning, someone began to knock on the screen of my front door.

Being an apartment manager my Friday and Saturday evenings are required to remain available for on call tenant emergencies. Upon hearing the knocks at my door, the first thing I considered was a renter had once again locked himself out of his apartment forgetting to take his front door key.

For others, what may be considered an intrusion, on a quiet blissful weekend evening when one is not expecting company; I welcome. These kinds of tenant contact emergencies have provided for me, on many a repetitious evening of watching television, listening to music or reading a good book, an entertaining intermission that I would not ordinarily think to provide myself.

Approaching my front door, I habitually asked, “Who is it?”

“This is Bill!”

I opened my front door with a courteous customer service smile. Waiting until I opened my screen door then BADA BING BADA BOOM!

The man who earlier sounded sheepish almost contrite for interrupting my Friday evening now look as if he had turned into an aggressive wild wolf acting without restraint.

Placing two hands directly on the front door, pushing the door aside, like a Midwestern twister picking up a barn tossing it to one side, Bill power strengthened his path all the way through into my apartment entrance way.

Being vigorous, I attempted to deliver myself like a stag from the hand of a hunter by quickly moving behind my lazy boy chair.

Bill seemed to want to engage in fists, I in turn attempted to disengage him through engagement with my wit. Before tonight I know I never had the pleasure of meeting this man therefore I knew as a fact I had never agreed with any hired boxing agent that Bill may have employed, to be Bill’s sparring partner.

I saw that the telephone sitting on the built in bar to my left was still just a bit out of reach. As I began to move unpretentiously in the direction of the telephone, I asked this want to be gladiator why was he here acting in this manner.

As I understood Bill, he was standing in my apartment den in order to preserve his honor for the reason that he accepted as true, “his woman” and I were both seeing one another and had previously been engaged in doing the wild thing.

Hearing these words my heart began to cleave within my chest. Like Bill, I had been dishonored too, through similar circumstances in the past. Still compassion may not seem able to save me here. My conscience continued to be unclouded, to be undivided. Having been a crisis phone counselor for five years, I drew from my vast range of experience rather than drawing a classic Scottish Claymore sword from a shoulder sheath.

I now knew how Henry Fonda’s role character may have felt in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “The Wrong Man.” I now was “The Wrong Man” in this melodrama. I was being inaccurately identified I was NOT sleeping with “his woman.” Being a born-again Christian, in fact, I was not sleeping with any woman.

This man appeared that he came for a duel. The only duo with bill I was interested in was becoming a Dynamic Duo. Teamed up like a couple of superheroes for a moment I imagined Bill and me seeking out truthfulness finding the accurate dirty rotten scoundrel that was responsible.

After a short time talking with Bill, using my wit I realized that I was at my wit’s end. I went for the phone. Keeping the lazy boy chair between the two of us, I dialed 911.

The police dispatcher answered. Knowing that the police switch board now listed caller’s addresses and phone numbers on the dispatcher’s monitor, without wasting any valuable time I roared into the phone, “Help, there is a man here in my apartment who says he is going to kill me.”

Giving Bill his rotation to decide whether he would like to change his career from being a boxer to being a boxing ring announcer, I pointed the phone receiver in his direction. Bill now appeared to take on the attributes of a W.W.F. wrestler being interviewed by a television announcer.

With graphic morbid detail, Bill was now illuminating the audience, here the police dispatcher, as to what he was planning to do to me once our wrestling match would start.

Bill was not conducting himself as the good humor man. He looked as if he was not pleased with me calling the police. I thought, with this bronco in my house, in order to survive this rodeo I had best be acting like a rodeo clown. Bill did not want to clown around any longer.

Having the police dispatcher still on the telephone line, going on to become a magician, Bill took hold of the phone line with his two powerful hands. Without further ado and a poof later, the one phone line now was two. The police dispatcher by that time fell off the line as it were.

Up to now, Bill may be described like a bull whose front hoof was digging into the dirt. So far he seemed to be making more of a dust cloud around himself than being a physical threat to the torero. After becoming a human wire cutter, splitting my telephone line into two, Bill now evolved into becoming like a bull in Ernest Hemingway's classic novel, The Sun Also Rises, ready to charge.

It was now my turn to become a magician. I turned myself into a human turtle. Tucking my head down into my shoulders and bringing my arms up along the side of my two ears I curved forward looking like an old man with arthritis.

Bill began to swing his fists. The first blow was to the left of my head and then another connecting with the right side of my head. For the most part the shield of the back of my clinched hands over my ears deflected his arrows.

After a small number of these blows, he withdrew his attack retuning now towards the front door. At this point of tonight’s entertaining intermission, that I would not ordinarily think to provide myself, I began to be aware of feeling like an hour glass being turned over repeatedly waiting for the police to come to the scene.

It was time for the cavalry to arrive. Bill may be aware that time was no longer his ally.

I thought of a phrase I once read written on a U.S. Marine recruiting poster Trouble --- dial 911 MARINES!

“Maybe,” I thought, “I should have called them.” “Where were the police?”

Initially, Bill first power strengthened his path all the way through into my apartment entrance way like a Midwestern twister picking up a barn tossing it to one side. With the intent to leave, Bill now power strengthened his path away from me like a Midwestern twister. As he began moving across the dining room floor to my front door, his interest focused upon my walled bookshelf. As he moved along the path toward leaving, he placed his hands on the top row bookend. Pushing through the row one book upon another began tumbling together like falling dominoes.

Having destroyed my bookshelf, Bill now seemed to have decided that it was now time to assault my screen door. Bill punched out a hole through the screen. Taking hold of the torn screen, Bill began stripping the remaining attached screen from the doorframe like a hunter skinning his prey.

Bill’s sudden urgency to leave my haven of rest reminded me of the cartoon character Snagglepuss the cat. As a child, watching cartoons religiously, Snagglepuss the cat was my favorite cartoon character. Snagglepuss when leaving would say, “Exit stage right!” That was exactly what Bill did.

Soon after Bill left, the reinforcements arrived. Bill got away, just like the big catch of the day when I used to go out with my old man on a fishing expedition.

As with the television show, “The Streets of San Francisco,” with Karl Malden and Michael Douglas, this story has an epilogue too. It was my friend’s idea to check out the other apartment complex

There was a separate apartment complex across the parking structure from ours. Having a one word difference in the title of our two apartment properties, my friend figured that we should go over to the other property and check out his theory.

Finding the same apartment number as I had we knocked on the door. We spoke to the resident that answered telling him about my adventure. His face color turned pale. We found out later that he was the man Bill was looking for. There were no hurt feelings on my account towards him of what I endured. I understood that he put in for a thirty day notice to vacate his apartment. After all these years, I never have seen him or Bill again.

After this escapade, I continued working as an apartment manager for several years keeping my Friday and Saturday evenings opened for on call tenant emergencies. I want you also to know, I may be an old dog and still, this old dog does learn new tricks. After this adventure before opening the door asking, “Who is it?” I add, “What is your apartment number?”

Love For Enemies Suffering For Doing Good

Love for Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." St.Matthew 5:43-48

Suffering for Doing Good

Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. For the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit. And he must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil.

For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good? But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit. In it he went and preached to the spirits in prison, after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels and authorities and powers subject to him. 1 Peter 3:8-22

In Jesus name,

Brother Richard, MS Ed
Brother Richard, MS Ed

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