“The colonists came to America because they heard it was a free country. They came from neighborhoods that had problems,” says Nathan, age 7. I wonder if you’re thinking of Australia instead of America. “Early American colonists came to America for freedom, God and gold,” says Jenny, age unknown. Legends of gold cities lured some of the earliest Spanish conquistadors to the Americas, but Natalie, 12, says many early American colonists risked hardship and deprivation for religious freedom: “In their countries, it was illegal to practice religion the way they wanted to. They had to do what their leaders ordered. “This posed a problem since those beliefs were not their own. When they came to America, they established colonies where they could worship freely. The dream of freedom is what brought them to America.” Any view of America’s founding that omits the longing for spiritual freedom does not adequately explain why people left their homes for this new land. Question: In the four decades that preceded the signing of the Declaration of Independence, name the man who spoke to the most Americans: George Washington, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin or Samuel Adams. None of the above. Have you ever heard of George Whitefield? I never had until I read about the Great Awakening, which Whitefield led on two continents (North America and Europe). Some church historians compare this spiritual awakening to the spread of the good news in the days of the early church when Jesus’ apostles took the Gospel to every corner of the Roman Empire. Whitefield, 22, began preaching the necessity of being born again by believing in Jesus Christ alone for eternal salvation. Beginning with coal miners near Bristol, England, Whitefield took the message to the common people by preaching outdoors. As he preached, the crowds grew. On Sunday, March 25, 1739, it’s estimated that 23,000 people in Bristol heard Whitefield preach. When Whitefield came to America on the first of seven preaching tours, he preached from the courthouse steps in Philadelphia. Franklin became fascinated with the carrying power of Whitefield’s voice. He estimated that 30,000 people could hear him. Although Franklin resisted Whitefield’s public and personal urgings to become a Christian, he became a lifelong friend of the famous evangelist and even printed his sermons. From 1736 to 1770, Whitefield preached more than 18,000 sermons, averaging more than 10 a week. Dr. Rimas J. Orentas described the impact: “Through the universal experience of the Great Awakening, we began to realize that we were a nation. This national identity was rooted in the conviction that we were a people chosen by God for a specific purpose. “In the earliest prayer of the Puritans was the idea that their colony could be a city on a hill. Through the experience of the Great Awakening, the entire nation became a citadel of light in a darkened world.” The power of the Gospel hasn’t diminished, but its impact is often diluted by Christians who fail to share the good news with others and live out its implications in their lives. Can you imagine the result if every Christian in America told just one person a month about the saving power of Jesus? Being a light on a hill as a nation begins with individual Christians becoming lights at home, at work and in their communities. Don’t settle for letting your light shine for only an hour on Sunday morning. Live the adventure of taking the light of the Gospel into dark places, where it shines brightest. Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CAREY KINSOLVING DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM <p
The U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 by 56 members of the Continental Congress. John Hancock got to sign first with his huge signature because he was the President of the Congress. It’s commonly believed that John Hancock said, “There, I guess King George will be able to read that!” when he signed, referring to the King’s bad vision, but there’s no actual proof that he really said that.
The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence (Edward Rutledge of South Carolina) was only 26-years-old and the oldest (Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania) was 70-years-old. Two of the signers would go on to be Presidents of the United States. They were John Adams (the 2nd President from Massachusetts) and Thomas Jefferson (the 3rd President from Virginia).
Most of the members of the Continental Congress had notable achievement of their own but their connections to other famed historical characters were often almost unbelievable! One of the best examples of this is Benjamin Harrison. Besides his intense involvement in the development and execution on the American Revolution, Harrison also was the Governor of Virginia from 1781-1784. He went on after that to be elected to the Virginia State Legislature and rose to the Speaker of the House.
But the really interesting stuff about Harrison that is so common with many Continental Congress members is not his great personal achievements. Harrison’s son was William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States, and his great-grandson, Benjamin Harrison VI, was the 23rd President! Harrison’s father was also an ancestor of civil war General Robert E. Lee. The fellow who succeeded Harrison as the Governor of Virginia was Patrick Henry, famed for his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.
In any case, these wonderful characters from U.S. history have a nearly unlimited number of tantalizing stories that should make delightful reading for any history buff.
Below find a list of all 56 Continental Congress members who signed the Declaration of Independence:
Connecticut: Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
Delaware: Thomas McKean, George Read, Caesar Rodney
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Maryland: Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone
Massachusetts: John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Elbridge Gerry, Robert Treat Paine
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, Matthew Thornton, William Whipple
New Jersey: Abraham Clark, John Hart, Francis Hopkinson, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon
New York: William Floyd, Francis Lewis, Philip Livingston, Lewis Morris
North Carolina: Joseph Hewes, William Hooper, John Penn
Pennsylvania: George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, John Morton, George Ross, Benjamin Rush, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson
Rhode Island: William Ellery, Stephen Hopkins
South Carolina: Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, Edward Rutledge
Virginia: Carter Braxton, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Thomas Nelson, Jr., George Wythe
The original Declaration of Independence is badly faded but it is on view in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in Washington, DC. There are also twenty-four copies of the Declaration that were printed by John Dunlap and are known today as “Dunlap Broadsides”.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in less than three weeks at the “Declaration House” located at 7th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The house was nearly new, built in 1775 and was rebuilt from original photographs in 1975. Jefferson often complained about the numerous houseflies that were coming from the stable across the street but soothed his soul after work each day at the City Tavern where he had an account. Jefferson took pride in his writing abilities and wasn’t thrilled when the Continental Congress made changes to “his” declaration in June of 1776.
The common U.S. citizen did not get to see the Declaration of Independence until July 6, 1776, when it was printed in the Pennsylvania Evening Post. It was then officially read to the public on July 8th in Philadelphia.
By the way, despite what you saw in the exciting 2004 and 2007 National Treasure movies, there is no mysterious message on the back of the Declaration of Independence. The only thing written on the back is “Original Declaration of Independence / dated 4th July 1776.” It was originally rolled up for storage and that was most likely written on the back so it could be identified without unrolling it.
See more at: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=1313023&ca=Education#sthash.8lXsklAq.dpuf
People die because “God wants more angels,” says Katie, 6.
Though some people act like angels and others like the devil, angels are angels and people are people.
With the exception of morticians, no one likes funerals. When we experience the loss of a friend or a loved one, it’s easy to forget that death is not part of God’s original plan.
“When Eve sinned and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God said, ‘Out of the dust you came, and back to the dust you will return,'” says Stephani, 11.
Don’t forget Adam. He ate, too.
Death for us does not mean we cease to exist. Death is separation from God. Most people associate death with the physical body, but death begins in our spirits.
Adam and Eve died spiritually before they died physically. The fellowship they once enjoyed with God was broken when they sinned.
Elizabeth, 12, says people die “because God has called them and wants to see them.” Or, as Kyle says, “so they can see God.”
According to Tiffany, 9, God might use some people as his eyes: “The reason people die is so we can go to heaven and watch over our loved ones.”
In the book of Revelation, there’s a snapshot of worship in heaven where 24 elders fall down before Jesus Christ with “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).
Maybe these bowls contain the prayers of Christians on Earth as well as those already enjoying the bliss of heaven. Wouldn’t people in heaven have more incentive to pray for loved ones left behind?
Tiffany has more: “Another reason is so that we can be with Jesus. The reason Jesus stays in heaven is because if Jesus is earthly, then he can’t watch over everybody, but in heaven, he can.”
On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples he was going away, but he promised he would not leave them alone. He said he would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit. Jesus would do far more than comfort through the Holy Spirit. He would dwell inside them and live his life through them.
“Earth is just a place for us to get ready for heaven,” says Ben. “Maybe some people are ready to go to heaven before others.”
How do you know if you’re ready to go?
Listen to Rainey, 10: “I really don’t know why some people die before others, but the important thing is not what age you are when you die. It’s whether Jesus lives in your heart. If he does, you’ll live with Jesus in heaven forever.”
Rainey wrote this only a few months before she and her sister, Lacey Lipscomb, 8, went home to be with their Lord in a train crash in Bourbonnais, Illinois, on March 15, 1999.
Ten-year-old Rainey and her sister didn’t expect to see Jesus so soon, but they were ready. They now know more than ever the importance of having trusted the Lord Jesus with their eternal destiny.
Think about this: None of the people who went to work at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, expected it to be their last day on Earth. The Bible is clear that today is the day of salvation.
Memorize this truth: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Ask this question: Is today your time?
Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CAREY KINSOLVING
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
On April 4, U.S. Marine Cpl. Brandon Garabrant updated his Facebook page as the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion left North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune for Afghanistan.
“Going to do what we do best. Fighting for our country, (our) brothers to the left and right, our friends and families back home,” the Marine wrote. “So that you can have the right for freedom and to live the American dream without fear of anything.”
Corporal Garabrant was proud to be a Marine. Less than a year before going to war, the New Hampshire native made headlines when he told his Peterborough high school that he would wear his military uniform to graduation. Brandon eventually agreed to wear the standard cap and gown after the school denied his request, but even so, the young Marine’s point had been made.
“The United States Marine Corps is proud to have him amongst our ranks, but support the school’s decision to have (then-) Pfc. Garabrant walk across the stage in a cap and gown, as this is recognition of his accomplishments at ConVal (Regional High School) and the final chapter of his high school career,” a June 2013 statement said.
Ten months later, in the same April 4 Facebook post, Brandon was anxious to fulfill his duty as a Marine, even if it meant spending many months away from home.
“This is what I signed up for,” he wrote. “Here comes a long journey into the unknown.”
Twelve days later, Brandon posted an update from Afghanistan. Despite enduring a “pretty bad sinus headache,” he ended his post with a smiley face.
“I’m doing well and still going strong,” he wrote.
After another 12 days in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, where so many have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11 (when Brandon was in elementary school), the Marine’s spirits seemed high.
“Thank you all for your support and helping me out with this deployment!” he wrote after asking friends if they could send some powdered coffee, Slim Jims and other care package items. “It means a lot and I thank you very much!”
On June 7, Brandon posted from Afghanistan’s Camp Leatherneck, where temperatures had reached 95 degrees. Five days later, highs were well above 100 degrees.
“The breeze makes it hotter,” he wrote while explaining brutal conditions inside the war zone. “As if your face was in front of the oven.”
Many Americans take air conditioning for granted, but for Brandon and his fellow Marines, it was a luxury.
“Thank God for A/C in our rooms,” he also wrote on June 12.
Eight days later, on June 20, Cpl. Brandon Garabrant, 19, was conducting combat operations in Helmand Province when he was killed alongside two fellow Marines, according to the Pentagon. Staff Sgt. David Stewart, 34, was from Stafford County, Va. Lance Cpl. Adam Wolff, 25, hailed from Ottumwa, Iowa.
In New Hampshire, where Brandon grew to pursue his dream of Marine Corps service, reaction to the tragic news came swiftly and from the very top.
“As a volunteer firefighter and dedicated Marine, (then-) Lance Cpl. Garabrant was committed to serving his fellow citizens, and he was tragically taken from us far too soon,” New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said in a statement posted on her website. “It is our responsibility as Granite Staters and Americans to come together to support his family and his community.”
I will be reaching out to this fallen hero’s family at an appropriate time to hopefully learn more about Brandon’s extraordinary life. Now is a time for grief, and as the governor expressed, unity and support.
How is our nation so blessed with young warriors like Cpl. Garabrant and the two Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice alongside him? Are we doing enough to make sure the incredible stories of these heroes live on in the hearts of our children and grandchildren?
When I look at my young daughter, I am enormously grateful to the troops, veterans and military families who’ve given her the privilege of growing up in a land of freedom and opportunity. At the same time, my heart aches for those enduring war’s incalculable sacrifices.
“May God be with us on this journey,” Cpl. Brandon Garabrant wrote on April 4.
Corporal Brandon Garabrant, 19, was among three U.S. Marines killed while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on June 20, according to the Department of Defense. Photo courtesy of Facebook/”In Memory of CPL Brandon Garabrant.”
Tom Sileo is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of “BROTHERS FOREVER: The Enduring Bond Between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that Transcended Their Ultimate Sacrifice.” Written with Col. Tom Manion (Ret.) and published by Da Capo Press, “BROTHERS FOREVER” will be released in spring 2014. To find out more about Tom Sileo or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website atwww.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
Despite record-low interest rates, monthly mortgage payments may double for more than 1 million American homeowners. That’s because a decade ago they opted for “interest-only” loans or home equity lines of credit. But most of those loans were structured to reset after 10 years — at which time the loan would require payment of both principal and interest.
That’s what’s happening now. There is about $23 billion in home equity loans scheduled to reset this year, and in each of the next three years — all suddenly requiring the borrowers to pay principal, plus the ongoing interest payments, as the loan converts to a standard 15-year mortgage.
On a $100,000 HELOC with a 3.75 percent interest rate, the monthly payment (not including taxes and insurance) would jump by over $400 a monthly — from a current $300 to $715.
That is enough to truly dent a homeowner’s budget for other spending, and to put a crimp in the economy. And it will be disastrous to those who can’t afford higher payments.
Of course, the obvious answer is to start considering a refinance to a regular 15-year mortgage right now — while interest rates remain low. And if that is not affordable, then you might need to stretch the new loan to 20 or even 30 years to make the payments affordable — adding to your lifetime mortgage burden. If you qualify!
You’ll pay a lot more interest over the life of the loan if you add on more years after having paid interest for the past 10 years. But stretching out the loan now will likely be less of a burden than if you let the current mortgage adjust to include principal and interest payments.
For example, in Florida where so many of these interest-only loans were written, a $100,000 loan for 30 years fixed would pay a current interest rate of 4.31 percent, with a monthly payment of $492, according to Bankrate.com. That’s still a big jump from the current $300 on the interest-only loan. But it is less than the $715 monthly payment (see above) that would be required if the current loan converts to a standard 15-year loan.
The 30-year loan shown at Bankrate.com requires at least a 10 percent down payment (or 10 percent equity in the home if it is a refinance) and a good credit score. And that’s where the real problem comes in. Most people took interest-only loans or lines of credit at the peak values of the market! Even with the market rebound, there might not be enough equity in the home to refinance.
What to Do
Very few people gave thought to what would happen in 10 years when they took out those loans. At the time, the interest-only loans seemed so attractive and affordable. And it looked like real estate values would keep rising, creating the equity needed to refinance down the road. But now that we are at least six years into a stagnant, at best, housing market, these interest-only loans are like a time-release bomb — threatening to devastate homeowners.
Now is the time to face up to your problem — before the mortgage system is once again swamped with demand for refinancing these loans. If you do have some equity in your home and good credit, and you face this type of reset in the next year or two, contact a lender immediately. The current low in rates is a gift that is not likely to last long.
If you don’t qualify for a refinance, based on low home equity or being underwater or having a bad credit report, check into the Federal refinancing programs, especially HAMP. There is an excellent article on Bankrate.com, describing your alternatives: https://www.bankrate.com/finance/refinance/refinance-options-when-you-re-underwater-1.aspx
But as you can see, neither HAMP nor HARP has yet faced the issue of preventing defaults when a mortgage resets.
If you can sell your property now for enough money to pay off the mortgage, before the reset occurs and causes you to default on your payments, you will at least have maintained your credit rating. That could allow you to wait and buy a bargain if another wave of foreclosures occurs in the mortgage market as a result of these resets.
I know it’s not an attractive option to move your family out of a home that you can now afford based on interest-only payments. But if you get the opportunity to sell and get out from under this type of loan before it resets, you’ll be among the few who have flexibility in a buyer’s market.
It has taken a long time for the last of these chickens (call them turkeys) to come home to roost from the halcyon days of mortgage-lending excesses. But they will have a strong impact on the housing market in the next few years, and on the families that will face this hit on their finances. That’s The Savage Truth.
Terry Savage is a registered investment adviser and is on the board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. She appears weekly on WMAQ-Channel 5’s 4:30 p.m. newscast, and can be reached at www.terrysavage.com. She is the author of the new book, “The New Savage Number: How Much Money Do You Really Need to Retire?” “Terry answers readers’ personal finance questions on her blog at www.TerrySavage.com. To find out more about Terry Savage and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2014 TERRY SAVAGE PRODUCTIONS
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