True Story from Childhood - Room 316
To Honor Jesus Christ, Glorify
God, Encourage Believers, & Warn All
with the hope that YOU can come to KNOW the Lord personally.
When my 3 brothers and I were growing up, our Father, a fireman for 35 years, taught us many things for which we are now forever grateful. I remember well the impression he made on me (as a teenager) when he told of his own encounter with the Bible. He quoted the verse which described the way believers received the Word: “They received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the Word of God.” He said to me, “Son, when I read that verse, I was astonished to find I had in my hand the very Word of God.” This comment made a life changing impression on me.
One of the things he taught us was John 3:16. This happened when we were all less than ten years old.
When I say John 3:16 was taught to us, this is what I mean – every night before we went to sleep our Father would come into our room (we were all in the same room). He had a litany of questions to ask us. Each one of us took his turn being asked the same questions.
Who made the world? God.
Who is God’s son? Jesus.
What did Jesus do? He died on the cross for our sins, was buried
and rose the 3rd day.
What does this mean? He came back to life.
Jesus is our what? Savior.
Can you say John 3:16?
Each one of us not only would say the TEXT for John 3:16 but also the WORDS “John 3:16” both before and after the TEXT.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Each one of the four boys took his turn. This scenario created eight (8) “JOHN 3:16”s and four repetitions of the John 3:16 text. This is the John 3:16 story during our childhood, but the story does not end here. Our Father was placed in the hospital with terminal cancer many years later (when he was 80 years old). We were told, “He has 2 weeks to live.”
My son, David, turned to me and said, “Dad, did you notice the room number?”
My Dad had been placed in ROOM 316.
The LORD was winking at us.
The LORD was saying, “See there, I told you so.”
The LORD was saying to us that HE had accomplished HIS purpose in my Father.
On my Father’s tombstone is the inscription “Jesus Is the Way to God.” He had it inscribed before he died.
If he was alive and telling a joke, he would tell the one about the man who was so mean that he had placed on his tombstone the following words: “What Are You Looking At?”
I am reminded of the LORD’s words:
Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Coincidentally, my Mother died on the same Saturday in December exactly one year later. Her faith was not as vocal as Dad’s. My brother asked her (while she was in hospice dying from cancer) if she wanted to pray. My brother thought he could pray FOR her. Instead, SHE began to pray for all of US. We had never heard our Mother pray before. On her tombstone is the inscription “Steadfast Love.”
This is a 1960 photograph of the “John 3:16” boys.
At the recent funeral of one of Dad’s longtime friends at the Fire Department, I was told by a fireman, “Your Dad witnessed to every person who joined the Fire Department”… and …”people were afraid to ride patrol with him because he would preach to them”… and … Your Dad told me once when riding past a Liquor Store with a recently emptied shipment of liquor boxes, “Before I was saved I drank enough liquor to fill ALL those boxes.” [He never drank again.]
By the way the fireman friend was our neighbor and I watched the Washington Redskins with him on TV many times. He had 4 sons as well. They were our friends growing up. These 4 friends were the exact same age as the "John 3:16" boys except their oldest was 1 year older than our oldest.
Here is a 1960 photograph of the “John 3:16” boys and 3 of our neighborhood friends (along with their dog in the foreground).
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