By: Jim Sanders January 20, 2020

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black grew up memorizing scripture.  His wise mother rewarded Barry with a nickel for every verse he could commit to memory.  And Barry was smart enough to quickly figure out that he earned the same amount of money for committing to memory short verses like “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) as he did Esther 8:9 (the longest verse in the Bible—somewhere around 80 words).

Along the way, Barry also learned there was a treasure trove of wisdom in the pithy verses of Proverbs.  And with each practical piece of sage insight memorized, another nickel landed in his pocket.

Chaplain Black figured out the game quickly, making enough money in the 1950’s to buy a “big Snickers.”  So much so, his mother had to put a limit on his income to $.25 per week.

What may have seemed to have been an innocuous, if not spiritually enriching game, his mother’s wisdom came into sharp relief:  two of his young friends came to his door and asked him to join them.  They wanted “to get back at someone.”

One of the passages he’d memorized was Proverbs 1:10: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”  That passage reverberated in his mind.  By his own admission, his refusal to join them saved his life.

Later, on the news, he saw a story about a killing that day.  Subsequently, those same two friends were arrested. Both were eventually tried and sentenced to life for the very act to which he was invited.  All through the years, he was, and is, distinctly aware of the protection—and freedom—of scripture.

Chaplain Black said, “I literally owe my life to the freedom that came from those nickels that motivated my siblings and me to get supernatural power inside of us.”

He went on to say, “Jesus filled the emptiness.  I’m just a boy from the ‘hood’, but I encountered Someone who made a difference in my life.”

In recent days, Charles Morris has interviewed Chaplain Black on Haven Today.  And he’s right!  It’s all about Jesus.  Barry’s testimony is well worth the listen!  Come to the website and be encouraged by this man who came from nothing, to lead our nation’s leaders in prayer in the U.S. Senate.


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