[MOL] Bush's Testimony [00654] Medicine On Line


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[MOL] Bush's Testimony



Here's something that might be of interest.  I was impressed.  It is long, so 
take some time.
Marlene




Subject: Bush's Testimony from Howard Baldwin


I just received this from a missionary friend and though you might
appreciate it. Our son Tim Baldwin is a member of a great church in
Austin where Bush often attends. Our nation greatly needs our prayers right

now.

>From George W. Bush when asked about his religious faith: "Actually, the
seeds of my decision had been planted the year before, by the Reverend
Billy Graham. He visited my family for a summer weekend in Maine. I saw him

preach at the small summer church, St. Ann's by the Sea. We all had lunch
on
the patio overlooking the ocean. One evening my dad asked Billy to answer
questions from a big group of family gathered for the weekend. He sat by
the
fire and talked. And what he said sparked a change in my heart. I don't
remember the exact words. It was more the power of his example. The Lord
was
so clearly reflected in his gentle and loving demeanor.

The next day we walked and talked at Walker's Point, and I knew I was in
the
presence of a great man. He was like a magnet; I felt drawn to seek
something  different. He didn't lecture or admonish; he shared warmth and
concern. Billy Graham didn't make you feel guilty; he made you feel loved.
Over the course of that weekend, Reverend Graham planted a mustard seed in
my soul, a seed that grew over the next year. He led me to the path, and I
began walking. It was the beginning of a change in my life. I had always
been a "religious" person, had regularly attended church, even taught
Sunday
School and served as an altar boy. But that weekend my faith took on a new
meaning. It was the beginning of a new walk where I would commit my heart
to
Jesus Christ. I was humbled to learn that God sent His Son to die for a
sinner like me. I was comforted to know that through the Son, I could find
God's amazing grace, a grace that crosses every border, every barrier and
is
open to everyone. Through the love of Christ's life, I could understand the

life-changing powers of faith.

When I returned to Midland, I began reading the Bible regularly. Don Evans
talked me into joining him and another friend, Don Jones, at a men's
community Bible study. The group had first assembled the year before, in
Spring of 1984, at the beginning of the downturn in the energy industry.
Midland was hurting. A lot of people were looking for comfort and strength
and direction. A couple of men started the Bible study as a support group,
and it grew. By the time I began attending, in the fall of 1985, almost 120

men would gather. We met in small discussion groups of ten or twelve, then
joined the larger group for full meetings. Don Jones picked me up every
week
for the meetings. I remember looking forward to them. My interest in
reading
the Bible grew stronger and stronger, and the words became clearer and more

meaningful. We studied Acts, the story of the Apostles building the
Christian Church, and next year, the Gospel of Luke. The preparation for
each meeting took several hours, reading the Scripture passages and
thinking
through responses to discussion questions. I took it seriously, with my
usual touch of humor.

Laura and I were active members of the First Methodist Church of Midland,
and we participated in many family programs, including James Dobson's Focus

on the Family series on raising children. As I studied and learned,
Scripture took on greater meaning, and gained confidence and understanding
in my faith. I read the Bible regularly. Don Evans gave me the "One-year
Bible", a Bible divided into 365 daily readings, each one including a
section from the New Testament, the Old Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. I
read through that Bible every other year. During the years in between, I
pick different chapters to study at different times. I have also learned
the
power of prayer. I pray for guidance. I do not pray for earthly things, but

for heavenly things, for wisdom and patience and understanding.

My faith gives me focus and perspective. It teaches humility. But I also
recognize that faith can be misinterpreted in the political process.  Faith

is an important part of my life. I believe it is important to live my
faith,
not flaunt it. America is a great country because of our religious
freedoms.
It is important for any leader to respect the faith of others. That point
was driven home when Laura and I visited Israel in 1998. We had traveled to

Rome to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter, who was attending a school
program there, and spent three days in Israel on the way home. It was an
incredible experience. I remember waking up at the Jerusalem Hilton and
opening the curtains and seeing the Old City before us, the Jerusalem stone

glowing gold. We visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy
Sepulcher. And we went to the Sea of Galilee and stood atop the hill where
Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. It was an overwhelming feeling
to stand in the spot where the most famous speech in the history of the
world was delivered, the spot where Jesus outlined the character and
conduct
of a believer and gave his disciples and the world the beatitudes, the
golden rule, and the Lord's Prayer. Our delegation included four Gentile
governors-one Methodist, two Catholics, and a Mormon, and several
Jewish-American friends. Someone suggested we read Scripture. I chose to
read "Amazing Grace," my favorite hymn. Later that night we all gathered at

a restaurant in Tel Aviv for dinner before we boarded our middle-of-night
flight back to America. We talked about the wonderful experiences and
thanked the guides and government officials who had introduced us to their
country. And toward the end of the meal, one of our friends rose to
share a story, to tell us how he, a Gentile, and his friend, a Jew, had
(unbeknownst to the rest of us) walked down to the Sea of Galilee, joined
hands underwater, and prayed together, on bended knee. Then out of his
mouth
came a hymn he had known as a child, a hymn he hadn't thought about in
years. He got every word right:
"Now is the time approaching, by prophets long foretold, when all shall
dwell together, One Shepherd and one fold. Now Jew and Gentile, meeting,
from many a distant shore, around an altar kneeling, one common Lord adore.

Faith changes lives. I know, because faith has changed mine."

I could not be governor if I did not believe in a divine plan that
supersedes all human plans. Politics is a fickle business. Polls change.
Today's friend is tomorrow's adversary. People lavish praise and attention.

Many times it is genuine; sometimes it is not. Yet I build my life on a
foundation that will not shift. My faith frees me. Frees me to put the
problem of the moment in proper perspective. Frees me to make decisions
that
others might not like. Frees me to try to do the right thing, even though
it
may not poll well.

The death penalty is a difficult issue for supporters as well as its
opponents. I have a reverence for life; my faith teaches that life is a
gift
from our Creator. In a perfect world, life is given by God and only taken
by
God. I hope someday our society will respect life, the full spectrum of
life, from the unborn to the elderly. I hope someday unborn children will
be
protected by law and welcomed in life. I support the death penalty because
I
believe, if administered swiftly and justly, capital punishment is a
deterrent against future violence and will save other innocent lives.  Some

advocates of life will challenge why I oppose abortion yet support the
death
penalty. To me, it's the difference between innocence and guilt.

Today, two weeks after Jeb's inauguration, in my church in downtown Austin,

Pastor Mark Craig was telling me that my re-election was the first Governor

to win back-to-back, four-year terms in the history of the State of Texas.
It was a beginning, not an end.  People are starved for faithfulness. He
talked of the need for honesty in government. He warned that leaders who
cheat on their wives will cheat their country, will cheat their colleagues,

will cheat themselves. Pastor Craig said that America is starved for honest

leaders. He told the story of Moses, asked by God to lead his people to a
land of milk and honey. Moses had a lot of reasons to shirk the task. As
the
Pastor told it, Moses' basic reaction was, "Sorry, God, I'm busy. I've got
a
family. I've got sheep to tend. I've got a life. "Who am I that I should go

to Pharaoh, and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt? The people won't
believe me, he protested. I'm not a very good speaker. Oh, my Lord,
send, I pray, some other person, "Moses pleaded. But God did not, and Moses

ultimately did His bidding, leading his people through forty years of
wilderness and wandering, relying on God for strength and direction and
inspiration. "People are starved for leadership," Pastor Craig said,
"starved for leaders who have ethical and moral courage. It is not enough
to
have an ethical compass to know right from wrong," he argued. "America
needs
leaders who have the moral courage to do what is right for the right
reason.

"It's not always easy or convenient for leaders to step forward," he
acknowledged. "Remember, even Moses had doubts." "He was talking to you,"
my
mother later said. The pastor was, of course, talking to all of us,
challenging each one of us to make the most of our lives, to assume the
mantle of leadership and  responsibility wherever we find it. He was
calling
on us to use whatever power we have, in business, in politics, in our
communities, and in our families, to do good for the right reason. And his
sermon spoke directly to my heart and my life. There was no magic moment of

decision. After talking with my family during the Christmas holidays, then
hearing this rousing sermon, to make most of every moment, during my
inaugural church service, I gradually felt more comfortable with the
prospect of a presidential campaign. My family would love me, my faith
would
sustain me, no matter what.

During the more than half century of my life, we have seen an unprecedented

decay in our American culture, a decay that has eroded the foundations of
our  collective values and moral standards of conduct. Our sense of
personal
responsibility has declined dramatically, just as the role and
responsibility of the federal government have increased. The changing
culture blurred the sharp contrast between right and wrong and created a
new
standard of conduct: "If it feels good, do it." and 'If you've got a
problem, blame somebody else." "Individuals are not responsible for their
actions," the new culture has said. "We are all victims of forces beyond
our
control." We have gone from a culture of sacrifice and saving to a culture
obsessed with grabbing all the gusto. We went from accepting responsibility

to assigning blame. As government did more and more, individuals were
required to do less and less. The new culture said: if people were poor,
the
government should feed them. If someone had no house, the government should

provide one. If criminals are not responsible for their acts, then the
answers are not prisons, but social programs."  For our culture to change,
it must change one heart, one soul, and one conscience at a time.
Government
can spend money, but it cannot put hope in our hearts or a sense of purpose

in our lives.  But government should welcome the active involvement of
people who are following a religious imperative to love their neighbors
through after-school programs, child care, drug treatment, maternity group
homes, and a range of other services. Supporting these men and women - the
soldiers in the armies of compassion - is the next bold step of welfare
reform, because I know that changing hearts will change our entire society.


During the opening months of my presidential campaign, I have traveled our
country and my heart has been warmed.  My experiences have reinvigorated my

faith in the greatness of Americans. They have reminded me that societies
are renewed from the bottom up, not the top down. Everywhere I go, I see
people of love and faith, taking time to help a neighbor in need...  These
people and thousands like them are the heart and soul and greatness of
America. And want to do my part. "I am running for President because I
believe America must seize this moment, America must lead. We must give our

prosperity a greater purpose, a purpose of peace and freedom and hope.  We
are a great nation of good and loving people. And together, we have a
charge
to keep."


(Please Spread this around on the Internet . . .it will never be published
by the biased news media. The Internet serves notice that the biased news
media no longer has an exclusive control over what is published for the
people to see and hear.) 

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