ResurrectedSon
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Chess is a great father/son sport! My Dad taught me to play when I was a young teen. He beat me all the time so I quit for a couple of years. When I started playing him again he beat me half of the time. Then I quit for a while again. In the meantime I joined a chess club and learned how to play better. Then I started playing him and I beat him almost all of the time. He was a great teacher but he was almost 70 years old then and, as they say, "the old grey matter ain't what it used to be!"

I encourage fathers to teach their sons chess as it is a good way to bond with them and help them to develop mental skills such as planning ahead, thinking before moving, memorizing, studying, and developing one's imagination.

Sometime later I went to college and continued to play chess and won an intramural chess tournament or two. When I was about 19 I met a young man in his early 20's who was a better chess player than me. He usually beat me at least three out of four games.

In the meantime, I recognized academics wasn't everything in life after achieving a high scholastic goal with my grades and feeling empty inside. My emptiness led to a search where I found the Lord Jesus Christ or you could say He found me. I then developed a great appetite for reading the Holy Bible and devoured it. God had become real to me.

After a while, I sensed the Lord wanted me to reach out to my chess-playing friend who was also the president of his own company which really impressed me. I brought my Bible with me and set it down while I played my friend. I beat him badly three games in a row, really crushing him, unlike any of my previous games with him. I knew it wasn't me. It was the Lord!

The Lord got his attention as, unknown to me, he was a Christian who had gotten away from the Lord and who had made chess into an idol. He later got right with the Lord, turned his marriage around, gave up chess for a while, and then went to Bible college to become a pastor.

So remember that chess is a great mental sport but knowing Jesus Christ is so much more important and wonderful. You may also find out like me that you can become addicted to chess and it can crowd out other more important things in your life. I have found out that my interest in chess can even crowd the Lord out of the central place of my heart if I let it.

I just wanted to encourage anyone who reads this that God is real, that He loves you, and that knowing Him is way better than even playing chess or becoming a grandmaster. He wants you to have a real relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for you.

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 I have very recently written a book called A Disciple's Journey: 26 Devotional Studies to Draw You Closer to Jesus. It is about how you can become a true Christian and grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It non-sectarian in its approach and  is available on Amazon or through Barnes and Nobel.

You can get more information from my Web site at www.a-disciples-journey.com. You can also read the introductory material and first chapter for free on Kindle through this link: Here's the link for Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Disciples-Journey-Devotional-Studies-Closer-ebook/dp/B082L6DSQL/ref=sr_1_11?keywords=a+disciple%27s+journey&link_code=qs&qid=1584276443&sourceid=Mozilla-search&sr=8-11#reader_B082L6DSQL

I have created a new group to support those who want to take A Disciple's Journey together who are a part of chess.com. The club is called: Taking A Disciple's Journey Together. If you are interested, please let me know. Thanks! Here is a YouTube Link for a video trailer of my book:

In case you are interested, here is a YouTube Link to the video trailer for my book: https://youtu.be/HHP2zmuUmHo.

I hope you can join us in taking A Dsiciple's Journey together!

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How I Became a Christian

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It happened almost fifty years ago. I went to a Lutheran Sunday School as a young child and later faithfully attended a Christian Science Sunday School for the next fourteen years until I went to college. While in high school, one student stood out among his peers because he always carried a big Bible. I tried to avoid him. However, he and I were the only men in my graduating class to be accepted into a special accelerated program at a state university about an hour away. As providence would have it, we became dormitory roommates for two years.


David believed the Bible, including the account of a six-day creation. He was pursuing a degree in Biology and teaching to better defend and communicate his faith. He was an Independent Baptist and wanted to become a pastor. He prayed for me and tried to share his faith. However, I was not too open and preferred to debate with him instead. One day I found a pamphlet on my desk which documented the origins of Christian Science and how its teachings conflicted with the Bible. I read it but wasn’t sure how I could win a debate with a pamphlet! However, it did cause me to question the teachings of Christian Science and I became open to the possibility that I was wrong.


My roommate was like a John the Baptist for me. He was sent by God to prepare the way for me to come to Christ. Although it took a couple of years to soften my heart, he did the hard work. He prepared the soil and watered the seed through his life, witness, and prayers. But God used someone else to reap what he had sown.


On a late Friday afternoon in April, a friend had invited me to a meeting in a local home where a free home-cooked dinner would be provided. I had planned to head home for the weekend and visit with my parents and family. After waiting over an hour for the Trailways bus, I decided instead to take my friend up on his offer. The opportunity for a free home-cooked meal at a nice home was too much of a temptation for this college dorm student to pass by! I was trying to redeem the evening but God had something much bigger and better in mind.


My friend drove us to the home of the top IBM salesman in the area. It was filled with high-school and college-aged students as it had been on many previous Friday evenings. I was favorably impressed by the friendliness of the people and the hospitality of the host who provided all of the food. After enjoying a nice dinner, I tried to join in as everyone was singing songs about Jesus, accompanied by two guitarists. But I felt out of place like the proverbial bucket under a bull. After the music was over, everyone broke into separate groups.


I joined the other first-timers in a group led by a young man with a very loving and radiant smile. After everyone introduced themselves, he told us a story about a just judge who was also a loving father. He explained how the judge’s only son had gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd and was involved in a tragic event that ended in the murder of an innocent person. The trial was to be held by the judge who was unable to recuse himself.


The judge listened attentively as the evidence mounted against his son, pointing to his guilt in a first-degree murder charge. In a heart-wrenching moral dilemma, the judge was torn between his impeccable justice and the deep love he had for his son. Justice demanded the execution of his son but love wanted to find another way. The teacher asked us if anyone had an answer to this tragic dilemma.


After waiting for several minutes with no response, we heard the judge’s sentence: “Guilty of murder in the first degree! A life for a life!” Then the judge removed his judicial robe, stepped down from the bench, and presented himself to the bailiff to be taken away. His love and justice would both be satisfied as he surrendered himself to be executed for the murder his son had committed.


The young man with the radiant smile then explained that this was exactly what God had done by sending His Son to die for us. Jesus’s death satisfied God’s love and justice and made it possible for us to be reconciled to Him. He then gave another example. He took out his wallet and said, “Let this wallet represent your sin.” After setting it down, he clasped his two hands together in an interlocking oneness and said, “This represents the original relationship and fellowship God had with man.” He then pulled one hand away from the other and clenched it into a fist as he explained how man rebelled against God. He then placed his wallet in the hand that had pulled away as he explained how our sin separates us from God.


We saw the two hands could not come together because the wallet (our sin) separated them. The teacher then took the wallet from the other hand and set it on the floor as he explained how Jesus took away our sins through His death on the cross. He then explained that Jesus left our sins in the grave as He rose from the dead and demonstrated this as one hand left the wallet on the floor. The teacher then explained how we could be reconciled to God if we acknowledged our sin, were willing to turn from it (repent), and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and follow Him. He then reached up with the one hand to grasp the other hand which was waiting to receive it. Then the two hands interlocked again as one. He assured us that we would then go to heaven if we received Jesus into our lives (John 3:16; 1 John 5:13). But I had a hard time believing I had a sin problem until I heard the next illustrations.


Suppose someone stole your furniture when you were not at home and got caught after selling the furniture and spending all the money. He then comes before the judge and reasons, “Your honor, I think you should let me off because I passed by dozens of houses and did not steal their furniture. The good I did by not stealing their furniture far outweighs the bad of stealing the furniture from this one house. And this is only my first offense.” Suppose the judge accepts his reasoning and lets him off. You would probably be pretty upset but could live with the result because your house was insured.


Now suppose you spent your insurance money and bought a house full of new furniture. Then the same thief comes by and steals all your furniture again, while you are on vacation. He sells it, spends the money, gets caught, and comes before the same judge as before. He tells the judge, “I’ve passed by hundreds of houses since the last time and did not steal their furniture. The good I did by not stealing their furniture far outweighs the bad I did by stealing the furniture from this one house. And, besides, this is only my second offense!” Suppose the judge accepts his reasoning and, once again, lets him off. By now you would rightfully be ticked off at that judge and think, “This is not justice at all!”


Because your insurance was canceled, you have to empty out your bank account and buy some decent used furniture as you try to get on with your life. While you are visiting some friends for an afternoon, this same thief comes by and steals your furniture again! He sells it, spends all the money, gets caught, and comes before the same judge. He uses the same reasoning as before, explaining that because he passed by thousands of houses without stealing their furniture and this is only his third offense, his good far outweighs the bad. The judge sides with him again and lets him off. By this time you should be furious and demand the impeachment of that judge! You know this isn’t justice at all!


The teacher explained how we often use the same reasoning as that furniture thief. We think if the good (in our own eyes) we have done outweighs the bad, God will not punish us for our sin. But this is not justice. We also often think God will be lenient with us and overlook our sin. But the Bible says God will by no means allow the guilty to go unpunished (Exodus 34:7). The Bible also says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But what is sin?


The teacher explained there are two kinds of sin. The first is the sin of commission when we do something we shouldn’t do. The second is the sin of omission where we fail to do something we should do. The word sin comes from an ancient Hebrew term which means to miss the mark. It is related to archery when the archer misses the bull’s eye and exclaims, “I have sinned!”


Sin also means to fall short of God’s standard of moral perfection. It included not just wrong actions but also evil thoughts, rotten attitudes, and unkind words. Through the Scriptures, he showed us that we all sinned and stood guilty before God. (“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23; KJV). “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10b; KJV).) But how many times have we sinned?


Suppose I woke up one morning and stubbed my toe and thought some bad thoughts -- a sin of commission. Then suppose I also said a few choice words to my spouse, blaming her because I stubbed my toe -- another sin of commission. To top it off, I did not have a thankful heart -- a sin of omission. I have already sinned three times before even getting out of my bedroom! Suppose you are much better than me and just sinned three times a day. Multiply that by the number of days in a year and you get over a thousand sins a year. Multiply that by your age and you see what I needed to see: We all have a sin problem.


We have each committed thousands and thousands of sins! There is no way the Just Judge can overlook thousands of sins, especially since He will not even overlook one. These illustrations helped me realize that I was a sinner and needed a savior. I realized I deserved to go to hell but Jesus paid for my sin so I could go to heaven.

The teacher asked if anyone had any questions. I asked him about the heathen and was given a pamphlet to read that would help answer my question. I took it back to the dorm and read it that night. After thinking about what I had heard and read, the next morning I decided to accept Jesus Christ into my life as my Savior and I started my journey with Him. I didn’t know too much about what it meant to follow Jesus as Lord. I am still learning about that! How about you?


If you don’t know the Lord, you have no idea how much God loves you. The Holy Spirit grieves for you but He will not manipulate you. Do you want to know how much the Father loves you? He points to His Son and says, “That’s how much I love you!” Do you want to know how much Jesus loves you? He opened His arms as wide as they would go and said, “This much!” Then He died.


We follow in the path of the wise men that sought and honored the King.

This testimony is copyrighted material and taken from my book, A Disciple's Journey - 26 Devotional Studies to Draw You Closer to Jesus, Copyright 2019 , Xulon Press

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My Comments prepared for a Chess.com news item posted regarding Racism and Chess. It was pulled before I had a chance to post these comments so I post them here.  June 8, 2020

I believe Chess.com was established with the idea of bringing people from all walks of life, all nations, all religions, all political orientations, and different mores together to enjoy chess and the camaraderie it offers. That is why they restrict discussions about politics and religion in their public chats and places of discussion. However, they do allow these discussions on individual clubs here. I believe racism and sexism are universally not allowed on this site. I understand why Chess.com would open up this topic and solicit comments from GMs and others who are chess players. However, I believe it opens up a can of worms to bring this discussion to chess.com.


I have been subject to racist comments on occasion. I remember kids and adolescents using all kinds of derogatory terms and applying them to those they don't like or those they are prejudiced against. I have had close friends from many different races and countries. Have you noticed that when someone is your friend you have to think what race they are from? The differences melt into the background when a person becomes your friend.


In the U.S.A. and elsewhere, sad to say, there is an agenda of many in the media to bring our nation down by stoking the flames of division. They magnify the problem of racism even though great strides have been made to correct it. They also seek to create class warfare between rich and poor and portray police in a more negative light than is warranted.

Chess.com has been a fairly comfortable place for chess players to have an online life without bringing all the nasty things of real life into it, such as some NFL players did when they used their professional paid platform to make political statements and advocate for societal change. This double-edges sword cut both ways and left many fans with a bad taste in their mouths where they stopped watching or attending NFL games. It took the enjoyment out of the game by injecting societal problems into what had been a safe haven and a place to escape problems and just enjoy the game.


What happened to Mr. Floyd was a horrendous tragedy and looked a lot like cold blooded murder. As a result of these riots, several police officers have been murdered and many more have been injured. Statistics also show many more police officers get killed in the line of duty by blacks than unarmed blacks get killed by police officers. The bigger tragedy is that many blacks are murdered by blacks.


I would like to encourage all players from whatever country or background to consider this part of the Pledge of Allegiance of the United States and consider adopting it to the degree they can where they live: "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." All human beings should be treated with equal dignity and respect. They should get equal justice under law without regard to sex, race, wealth, education, profession, or any other discriminator. I am hopeful that the discussion here will make chess players more sensitive and less abrasive in their attitudes and comments they make toward others that are different from them.