Pious Bob - Taking Our Responsibility Seriously

 In Paul’s letter to the Romans we hear: “For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:15b-19).

The bad news is that Adam ate the forbidden fruit. The good news is that Christ has brought abundant consumable fruit. A number of

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Craig Ford - Why Alabama should allow early voting

This week, voters across Alabama went to the polls to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. In November, we will do it all over again.

More than three million people are registered to vote in Alabama, and in the last presidential election, 73 percent of those people actually turned out to vote. This November, turnout could be

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Pious Bob - Becoming Recognizable

In the Gospel of Mark, we hear a man say something that many have a hard time saying today: “Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:33-39).

On our last day will it be said of us that, “Truly this

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Craig Ford - It’s time to let the people vote

There is no better form of government than democracy. Our founding fathers gave their lives just so we could have the right to vote and the right to govern ourselves.

Democracy is fundamental to being an American. We all have the right to be heard in our government. And when it comes to the state of Alabama, it’s time

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The Vagabond - History of streetcars in the Gadsden area Part II

Last week the Vagabond discussed the early streetcars in the Gadsden area, the first ones being drawn by horse and later ones by steam locomotion dummies. We continue this week to the electrified streetcars. The story continues...

As stipulated, Captain Elliott had agreed to extend a line to Noccalula Falls on Lookout Mountain. In 1891, the Hollingsworth estate granted

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Pious Bob - Living the Promise

This portion of Psalm 91 meant much to me as I faced a hurdle in life: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12).

This psalm impacted me in a time

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Craig Ford - U.S. Cong. Robert Aderholt has some explaining to do

When U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt spoke to the local Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday (Feb. 17), he had a lot of explaining to do.

To start with, he should explain why anyone who wanted to hear his/her congressman speak had to pay $25 per person. We elected him; we shouldn’t have to pay just to have the opportunity to

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The Vagabond - History of streetcars in the Gadsden area Part II

Although a precise detailed history cannot be written about Gadsden’s street railway and steam dummy systems, the following tentative history has been pieced together.

Sometime during 1886, Col. R.B. Kyle and Herman Herzberg and their associates petitioned the Gadsden City Council to grant the Gadsden Land & Improvement Company a franchise to build a horse car street railroad in the

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Pious Bob - Decisions at the Fork in the Road

We hear in Psalm 50 how thanking the Lord and living right is all He wants: “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!...Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50)

Everything that we do should

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Craig Ford - When ideology becomes idolatry

There’s a fine line between standing up for your principles and political extremism. These days, unfortunately, political extremism seems to be the standard. There’s no clearer example of this than the reaction Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) to House Democrats’ legislative agenda last week.

House Democrats’ agenda includes a lottery, an educator pay raise, warning labels on e-cigarettes

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Vagabond - Early interesting facts about Attalla and its railroad connection

Part II


The story of the naming of Attalla is often incorrect, and The Vagabond would like to tell the factual history on how Attalla was named and how the city was connected with the early railroad that went from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Meridian, Miss.

We continue the story…

An early employee of the railroad remembers that the

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Pious Bob - Don’t Be Careful Who You Pray For

We hear in the Gospel of Matthew: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven...” (Matthew 5:43-48).

If anyone needs praying for, your enemies do. If we were in a right relationship with God, would we pray for harm to come

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Craig Ford - Instead of Super Prisons, let’s build Super Schools

During his State of the State Address Tuesday night, Gov. Robert Bentley laid out his four-year plan, which included spending up to $800 million to build four new super prisons. The next day, the governor announced that he wants to transfer $181 million out of the education budget and put it in the general fund budget, which also pays

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Pious Bob - Truth, Water and Blood

In 1 John we venture into our true relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: “For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers

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Craig Ford - Is Republican lottery bill just an attempt to kill the lottery?

There’s no doubt that momentum for the lottery is building in Alabama. A public opinion poll, paid for by the House and Senate Republican Caucuses, found that 62 percent of likely Republican Primary voters support the lottery, and 59 percent even support expanding gambling in Alabama.

These strong numbers show why two Republican state legislators, Rep. Alan Harper and

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The Vagabond - The Old Mineral Springs Hotel

This past week The Vagabond was on Lookout Mountain and recalled the old hotel that once stood overlooking the mountain.

There are a few of the old families who children remember their parent talking about the Mineral Springs Hotel. Many people who settled in this portion of Northeast Alabama in the early 1900’s recall that about the time the

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Pious Bob - Finding a Friend in Need

In the Acts of the Apostles we hear Jesus telling Paul: “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you...” (Acts 18:1-11).

Paul was opposed and reviled in the synagogue in Corinth. He then went out to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles in the surrounding area. The Lord spoke to Paul in

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Craig Ford - Proposed Merit Pay Bill has serious flaws

When the state legislature returns to Montgomery in two weeks, one of the top issues will be a cost-of-living pay raise for educators. Both parties agree that the money is there, and now is the time. But there are some major differences between what both parties are proposing.

House Democrats will propose a five-percent pay raise for all teachers,

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The Vagabond - History of the drinking water fountain on First & Broad streets in Gadsden

Have you ever wonder about the little marble water fountain on Broad Street near the Emma Sansom statue and in front of Gadsden City Hall? 

Recently on the Welcome to Gadsden Facebook page, a photo was shown of the old fountain and folks were asking about it. The Vagabond did research and found that the fountain had a very

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Pious Bob - Striving to be Effective and Fruitful

In 2-Peter we are reminded of challenges of life before us, and at the same time realize how difficult those challenges are for us: “For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness,
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Craig Ford - Alabamians want a lottery, but not a blank check lottery

As droves of Alabamians recently flooded into Tennessee, Georgia and Florida for a chance to win the $1.6 billion Powerball, it’s obvious the people of Alabama want to play the lottery.

People in 44 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands are all allowed to purchase lottery tickets. Alabama is one of just six

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Pious Bob - The Sound of Silence

The Bible seems to connect with everything in life. In Leviticus we hear: “You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:14).

A week and a half ago my cochlear implant was activated. While my hearing ability has been deteriorating for several years

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The Vagabond: A. Lloyd Wagnon: Listening is love in action

Former Gadsden-Etowah Tourism Board executive director Albert Lloyd Wagnon recently passed away. The Vagabond knew Lloyd for many years and often stopped by to see him at the tourism office. Lloyd was an inspiration to many as he was to The Vagabond. In his recent book Vapor Trails, he mentioned the Etowah Historical Society and what folks need to

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Craig Ford - A new year, a new opportunity to right a wrong

New Years is a time of reflection and resolutions, a time for changes and fixing mistakes. With the state’s next legislative session beginning in less than a month, there’s a resolution I would like our state leaders to make: fix the problems with the Accountability Act.

The Accountability Act was sold to us as a way to give children

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Pious Bob - Knowing What the World Needs Now

In the Acts of the Apostles we hear St. Paul speak to the Ephesian Elders: “But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace...remembering the words of the Lord Jesus,

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The Vagabond - In Memory of Hazel Louise Pierce Oliver

One of Gadsden’s finest Southern ladies passed away last Saturday (Dec. 26) at the age of 100. 

Until a few months ago, no one could keep up with Hazel Oliver because she stayed extremely active and involved in so many things.

Hazel’s mind was sharp as a tack, and she gave you an answer at a moments notice. She

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Craig Ford - Time to expand Pre-K in Alabama

Since 2008, education spending for K-12 in Alabama has gone down by more than 20 percent. Those cuts have been felt in every classroom in the state, from outdated textbooks and technology to larger class sizes.

But this year, the state has an opportunity to invest in education again instead of cutting it.

This year, the state of Alabama

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Pious Bob - The Gift Unopened

In 1 John we see our second chances: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins

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Craig Ford - Remembering Christmas

What does Christmas mean to you? 

It’s a question that will probably get a different answer from every person you ask. Every family has their own traditions and customs that make Christmas unique to them.

Of course, certain things about Christmas are universal. For every Christian, Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He

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Pious Bob - Showing up to accept our prize

In 1 Peter we hear of God’s gift to us through Jesus: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in

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The Vagabond - History of the Noccalula Falls Christmas lighting

Attempts in the past for making the mountain a special place have come and gone. Back around the 1980s, local historian Joe Barnes met with many interested parties at the old Clayton’s Cafe on Noccalula Road to encourage improvements. A lot of dreams were shared. One of these dreams was to have an alpine village at Noccalula Falls and

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Craig Ford - We can’t have education without educators

One of the biggest problems we have in education right now is the shortage of teachers. This is true both nationally and in Alabama.

Today, fewer college students are enrolling in education courses. Eric Mackey, the executive director of the state superintendents association, recently told the Times Daily that there are about 40 to 45 percent fewer college students

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Pious Bob - Admitting to Knowing Him

In the Gospel according to Luke we hear this concerning Peter: “And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:52-62).

Peter is destroyed as he realizes his denials, which Jesus had predicted. This was a low point in Peter’s life. He had committed everything to Jesus. He had gone the whole way of Christ’s ministry. Now, as Jesus is

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Craig Ford - Maybe Santa will bring us what Rep. Aderholt won’t

We are just a few weeks away from Christmas, and children across the state are heading to the mall or shopping center to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

I haven’t sat on Santa’s lap since I was a kid, but at this point Santa may be our best hope for finally getting

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Pious Bob - Spiritual Restructuring

In St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, he gives us some good food for thought:  “Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
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Craig Ford - Republicans should leave teachers’ retirement alone

It’s been a rough year for the powers that be in Montgomery.

There have been more than a few bad headlines this year, and we only avoided a government shutdown after three costly legislative sessions that led to an $80 million raid on public education and $86 million in new taxes.

The wheels clearly have come off the bus

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Pious Bob - The Waiting Game

In Psalm 62 we hear, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” (Psalm 62:1).

Are we willing to wait in silence for God? We are hyperactive and impatient when it comes to waiting on God. In our fast-pace world we need answers and solutions now! God doesn’t work that way. He’s more like your

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Craig Ford - Remembering our educators this Thanksgiving

In our house at Thanksgiving, our family likes to sit around the table and name the things we are thankful for in our life. Of course, everyone always names the big things like family, our freedom and so on. But the things that I’m most thankful for are the people in my life who have made a difference -

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Pious Bob - Living on Praise and Thanksgiving for Him

We hear about a positive way of connecting with the Lord in Psalm 100: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of

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Craig Ford - Progress has been made, but more work needs to be done

Congratulations to Gov. Robert Bentley and Secretary of State John Merrill on their work to fully enact the “motor voter” law. It’s refreshing to see a news article about voting in Alabama that isn’t negative. And while it did take more than 20 years and the threat of a costly lawsuit, Alabama is finally moving toward compliance with the

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Pious Bob - Placing Our Confidence

We hear St. Paul say in Colossians: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have come to fullness in him, who is the

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Craig Ford - Appreciating our veterans on Veterans Day

November is a time to be thankful. Of course, we celebrate Thanksgiving later on in the month. But November is also the time when we celebrate Veterans Day and give thanks to all those who have served our country.

Veterans Day began as a day to remember those who served in World War I. That war ended at the

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Pious Bob - The Journey to the Spirit

In the Gospel of John we hear Jesus say, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-52)

St. John’s explanation of these words of Jesus is, “Now he said this about the

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The VagabondStrange happenings around Etowah County - Part V

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend. The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens.

Earlier in the series we discussed Bigfoot sightings around the area. This week

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Pious Bob - Seeking God’s Household

In John’s Gospel we are told: “Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’ “  (John 8:31-47).

Being a slave

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Craig Ford - Animal cruelty and neglect no laughing matter

It blows my mind that we still have to deal with animal cruelty and neglect in 2015. But unfortunately there are still sad stories like the one that just came out of Walker County. A man there owned more than 50 dogs. When his house was foreclosed on, he took 11 of the dogs with
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Craig Ford - Where's the beef?

Do you remember that old Wendy’s commercial with the older lady asking, “Where’s the beef?” The point of the commercial was that Wendy’s competitors didn’t deliver what they promised and, more importantly, didn’t give the customer what they wanted.

When I think about Alabama politics and what’s going on in our state government, I find myself asking that same

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Pious Bob - The Intercession Network

In St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans we hear, “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring charges against God’s

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part V

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend. The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens. 

This week we continue our discussion on UFOs found around Etowah County. Unfortunately,

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part IV

The Vagabond has place together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend! The Vagabond has actually witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens. This week we will discuss UFOs found around Etowah County. Unfortunately, there have

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Pious Bob - The Power and Glory Forever

In the Book of Isaiah 42:1-9 we hear foretold, “I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench...He will not grow

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Craig Ford - Our state leaders need to get back to the mainstream

When even the Republican leader in the state senate says you’re out of touch, you know things have gone too far. But that is where we are in Alabama politics these days. It’s about the mainstream versus the extreme, and right now the extreme is winning.

In a recently released recording of a meeting between the governor and the

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Craig Ford - What education surplus?

Stealing from children is wrong. Period. But that’s exactly what the Alabama Legislature has done and will probably continue to do.

Several members of the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives have written and spoken publicly about a “surplus” in education. They have also claimed that if we combine the budgets, it will solve all our general fund budget

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Pious Bob - Patience in Serving

In First Peter 4:7-19 we hear: “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part III

Watch out…there may be monsters in the Coosa!

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We recently discussed a Bigfoot roaming in the area and 12-foot giants buried in Whorton Bend. Researching these stories is an adventure in itself, and The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings.

This week we will discuss river

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Craig Ford - The importance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

There are a lot of things that make October a special month - the Major League Baseball playoffs, the heart of football season and the changing weather, just to name a few. But October is also important because it is the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I’ve always been proud to support those who fight against this terrible disease,

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County - Part II

The Vagabond has place together several strange happenings in Etowah County, so over the next few weeks we will discuss such topics as a Bigfoot roaming locally, large monsters of the Coosa River and UFOs. It is an adventure in itself, and The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings.

This week we’ll discuss sightings of Bigfoots

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Pious Bob - All in the Same Boat

We hear Mark quote Jesus in Chapter 4:35-41: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 

This story of Jesus causing the wind to cease and the sea to be calm while the disciples were fearful for their lives is a snapshot that lives in the photo albums of every generation. We are all challenged. It’s the same

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Craig Ford - Bentley got his tax increases but still closing parks and DMV offices

As if $86 million in new taxes and an $80 million raid on public education weren’t bad enough, Gov. Robert Bentley now has announced that he will close more than 30 drivers license offices, as well as some state parks and National Guard armories.

The governor has spent this entire year trying to convince legislators and the people of Alabama

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Pious Bob - Making Prayer a Partner

In 1-Thessalonians 5:12-28, we hear St. Paul say: “See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 

Paul reminds us

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Pious Bob - Magic or Faith

In John 4:46-54, we see how Jesus deals with someone who initially wants Him to perform magic. Someone who is not a believer: “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ The official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden, Part 6

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks back about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. 

Along with Altoona historian Ryan Cole, The Vagabond visited the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to perform mining and historical research at one of the school’s libraries.

Prior to that visit, however, and with Andrew

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Craig Ford - Paul Lee is the one who should be ashamed

It would be an understatement to say that this year has been an odd one for Alabama politics. But nothing surprised me more than when Rep. Paul Lee, a Republican from Dothan, came up to the microphone on the last night of the legislative session that ended last week and gave a speech during which he said that it

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Craig Ford - State Republicans still don’t solve the budget crisis

In a special legislative session where their options were to either raise taxes, cut services or raid education, the Republicans in the Alabama Legislature somehow managed to do all three and still not solve the long-term problems in the budget.

What is also very telling are the taxes they chose to raise. Every one of their tax increases is

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Pious Bob - A Two-Way Street

In 2nd Kings 2:1-18 we hear Elisha seek something special from Elijah: “When they had crossed [the Jordan], Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’” 

Have you ever known someone whose spirit impacted you the way

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden, Part 5

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks ago about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started.

Along with Altoona historian Ryan Cole, The Vagabond recently visited the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to conduct research in the W.S. Hoole’s Special Collection Library. While on campus, we discovered a wealth of information

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Craig Ford - Ford introduces legislation to protect school chaplains

College football has finally started back, and it couldn’t have come soon enough! Football is a way of life here in Alabama. Only family and God are more important.

That’s why I was so troubled a few weeks ago when the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Auburn University asking them to “abolish the chaplaincy” in

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Pious Bob - Placing our confidence

In Colossians 2:8-23, we hear St. Paul say to us: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him,

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden Part 4

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks ago about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There was some surprising history to be found.

As mentioned earlier, the early settlers knew the presence in the Gadsden area of iron ore. John S. Moragne, one of the first settlers, discovered in 1850

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Pious Bob - Understanding acceptance

There is a difference between falling in love with someone and loving the Lord. Falling in love is a wonderful experience, but God’s love is what we should fall for. We share that kind of love with all human beings. It’s hard work sometimes.  

In Deuteronomy 6:1-9 we hear Moses sharing: “You shall love the LORD your God

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden- Part 3

The Vagabond recently started a new series about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There is surprising history to be found.

As mentioned earlier in the series, the early settlers knew the presence of iron ore in the Gadsden district. John S. Moragne, one of the area’s first settlers, discovered the outcrops

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Craig Ford - Legislature shouldn't waste another chance to pass lottery

There aren’t a whole lot of good things anyone can say about what’s been going on in Montgomery lately. The legislature has failed to pass a budget - twice! Legislators return to Montgomery next week for a third legislative session to address the budget crisis, but there is still no agreement on any solution.

But despite all of this,

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden Part Two

The Vagabond started a new series last week about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There are some surprising histories to be found. Last week’s article was about the mine explosion near Tuscaloosa Avenue.

The region’s early settlers knew the presence of iron ore, coal and limestone in the Gadsden area. John

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Pious Bob - At Home with God

God wants us to connect with His eternal kingdom while we are still in the natural world. By sending us His Son Jesus the Christ He is making that connection for all people forevermore. It is hard for us to think eternally. 

In Revelations: 212:1-7 we hear in part; “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will

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Craig Ford -Time for state leaders to prove that life matters

Last week, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey wrote an article entitled “Life Matters” in response to the recent Planned Parenthood videos. Like Lt. Gov. Ivey, I am 100 percent pro-life, and was shocked by the videos that came out. Life does matter, and should be treated with dignity and respect at every stage, including before birth.

But Lt. Gov. Ivey’s

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Pious Bob - Preparing for His visitation

In the modern world we want to know if someone has tried to get in touch with us, or has left us a message. Technology has provided us with so many ways to communicate with each other. There is scarcely a place on the planet with which we cannot have some sort of communication.  We
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The Vagabond -Early iron ore mines of Gadsden - Part I


The Vagabond is starting a new series about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There are some surprising histories to be found.

1908 explosion

On Oct. 28, 1908 at 8:15 p.m., an explosion of 400 cases of dynamite was so terrific that almost every plate glass front in downtown Gadsden was broken. Twenty-four

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Craig Ford - A new school year is starting, but it should be starting later

Remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day? Over the last few weeks, students across Alabama have started a new school year right in the middle of August. Some have even been back for two or three weeks.

Instead of spending the last few weeks of August working summer jobs or on family vacations, teachers and students are

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Pious Bob - Pain and Seeking

In Acts 17:26-27 we hear, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one

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The Vagabond - Grover B “Billy” Bowers of the Gadsden Pilots

The Vagabond recently looked at two baseball bats and a vendor badge that were used in the Gadsden Pilots games and owned by Grover B “Billy” Bowers, a player for the Pilots. Grover’s son was given these items. They later were given to his best friend, Richard Short, who lived a few doors down. These items were recently donated

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Craig Ford - A path forward

It isn’t often that legislators in Montgomery are universally in agreement on anything. But this week it happened, twice.

First, legislators in the State House of Representatives agreed by a vote of 92-2 to kill the budget that had passed earlier in the year. Additionally, everyone agreed that this legislative session has been a complete failure and waste of

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Pious Bob - Seeking the Lord has no Barriers

You have probably seen TV commercials for a medicine or treatment that describe a product while showing people doing lots of neat things as if the medicine or treatment would turn their lives totally around. As the joy and wonder on their faces is being shown and the product is described, there is something else going on in the

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden 1836-1900 Part 5 - Final

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith, the mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically valuable essays,

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Craig Ford - Republican legislators need to stop blaming Democrats and start leading

The wheels have come off the bus in Montgomery. 

That’s the only way to describe what’s happening in our state legislature. Now more than ever is the time for legislators to reach across the aisle and work together to solve this budget crisis. But instead, Republican legislators are attempting to blame Democrats because they can’t pass their own tax

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Pious Bob - To Whom Can We Go?

We hear this story in John 6:60-71, “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know

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Craig Ford - Robbing our children is not the answer

The crisis in the General Fund budget has dominated lawmakers’ focus this year, and for good reason. But one proposed solution continuing to come up would be devastating for Alabama.

State Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) has introduced a bill to combine the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets. In the past, I argued that all that would

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Pious Bob - Contemplating Our Lives

People tend to contemplate life as they live it from childhood to late life. A person’s particular take on life will guide them in how they see themselves in their life. There’s always a chance to change our direction in life, whether we seek guidance from God, a friend or take it on ourselves - or maybe

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: Part V: 1836-1900

Recently The Vagabond pulled up an article called “Early History of Northeast Alabama.” In it was a section called “A history of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Charles P. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences for the Gadsden Evening Journal. He wrote six extremely interesting

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Craig Ford - The “Element of Surprise” is Just Another Game

Two weeks ago, Gov. Bentley surprised everyone when he called the special legislative session. Legislators had expected the governor to wait until mid-August to call the session, but the governor said he wanted to use “the element of surprise” and take pressure off legislators over the gambling issue.

The people of Alabama expect their leaders to work together, and

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Pious Bob - Ships Passing in the Night Need Light

Isn’t it a pity that the relationships with others in the environments in which we live can be like ships passing in the night? We move past our fellow citizens without even noticing that they exist. Ministry to others is the furthest thing from our minds. We have our things to do and seek activity with our favorite groups

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Craig Ford - The smart way to spend the BP money

Alabama won a huge victory last week when the BP Oil settlement was announced. As a part of that settlement, the state will receive $2.3 billion dollars over the next 18 years, with a billion of those dollars being given to our state’s General Fund budget. That means legislators now have to determine what is the best use of

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: Part III: 1836-1900

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically

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Pious Bob - Branching Out from the Lord

In receiving Holy Communion, we connect with Christ Jesus through His Body and Blood. Another way of understanding this connection we make to Jesus is actually being part of His Body and Blood. A way we describe this is by understanding we are in the vineyard with Jesus. The gospel of John enlightens us with the description by Jesus.

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Craig Ford - You can’t fix something you don’t believe in

For months, we have been told that the state needs at least another $200 million to avoid catastrophe. We have been told that we are broke because the way we budget for our state government is broken.

Unfortunately, what we have been told is true: our government is broke, and it is broken. But you can’t fix something if

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Pious Bob - Forgiveness by the Grace of God

We live in a country that is managed by politicians and government. Fortunately, we are a democracy and not a dictatorship. We get to vote who goes into political office. While our democracy was founded by faith based leaders, we are not a theocracy. In our democracy, the Church and State are separate, but live together in some sort

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900 Part II

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically

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Craig Ford - Time for a real solution to gambling question

Decisions made by the government and high-profile court rulings consumed the news last week. Most of the breaking news has centered on the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. But there is one court ruling that hasn’t gotten as much attention, and it’s just as important to the people of Alabama because it has such a huge impact on the future

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The Vagabond: A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900, Part II

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and

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Pious Bob - The Importance of Dots

Imagine the World Globe with dots all over it. Using dots on the globe is a way learning institutions, governments and the media show us certain information about things that impact us. It’s a way of describing the places that certain things are happening. As I watched some dots on a television documentary the other day, I began to

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900

The Vagabond recently pulled up some papers called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which included a section called “A History of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith.

Smith was born in Sulphur Springs, Ga., on May 20, 1863. He attended schools in Sulphur Springs and Trenton and graduated from the Chattanooga High School at the age of 17. The next

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