Janet Wukash asked me last Sunday if I knew why the above date is so important. I am ashamed that I didn't; friends will immediately understand my embarrassment when they learn the answer: That's the year Dr. Pepper was introduced to the public! Why is that important? Hey, it makes D.P. the oldest major soft drink on the market! Coke didn't debut until 1886. I will never be unaware of this vitally important date again.
Rita Bauschard sent me the following email for our friend Bobby Barlow. Bob is ministering in China and seeing amazing fruit in the proclamation of the grace message. Perhaps you'll be as fascinated as I was by this nugget he uncovered while researching King James:
I thought this interesting to share with friends who really love smokers but despise 'smoking.' This is a five-hundred-year-old quote I found serendipitously while doing research on King James 1 of England. Remember your history? He is the person our King James Version of the Bible is named after.
King James 1 authored "A Counterblast to Tobacco" (1604). It is one of the first, and surely one of the best, attacks on smoking ever written. "Smoking", James tells us, is "a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless."
A word to the wise: It is high time we let the smokers alone....We must ever be on guard about chiding our fellow members in the Body of Christ for such habits. We must never give the loathsome suggestion that somehow the love of God would be increased toward such an individual IF they stopped smoking. Our place is to assure them that they are "already complete in Christ," they are already possessors of "all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ." By failing to do that we are treating some of beloved in the Lord like 'second class citizens of heaven." Not even an innuendo of suggestion should emanate from us that WE are better Christians than they are because WE do not smoke and THEY do, unless of course we are vying for the "Pharisee of the Month Award."
Well said, Bobby. And Godspeed to your ministry in China--not exactly a "smoke free" environment!