Monday, September 22

Other blogs updated.

Hot links in post below.

Thursday, July 10

The Last Drink

Cold Water is from "a distant land". Because of this reality, this will be the last post on this blog. I live in America now, and will remain here at least for the near future. I feel strongly that this blog has served it's purpose over the past two years. Initially keeping folks informed of the work in Ethiopia as well as family life while here in the States. But now there is no consistent "news" concerning the work because I live here now.

The work with PTI will be noted in the future at a different site.

Also, there is some small chance I will post concerning family updates and/or personal thoughts.
Those as well will be hosted in another spot.


Thursday, June 19

Reflections from Joseph Crampton

You’ve probably heard it said that we ought to eat our green vegetables because there are starving children in Africa (or at least that there are so many poor people across the globe that we ought to more rightly appreciate what we have). And it may well be safe to say that many people who live in poverty would love to come over here where no one really lacks necessities; in fact, I’d say that no one is really poor having been to Ethiopia. My little brother and Anthony spoke all week about how little the lack of material wealth really matters.
I can still not get far beyond the difference between common life over here in Mississippi and the common, everyday way of life over there, but I know that the same glorious God Who is over us is governing the frail beasts that plough the Ethiopian fields. I know also that the same Lord Jesus who was raised up on the third day to be a propitiatory and atoning sacrifice is preached by pastors on the countryside, several missionaries in the country, and by “Antony” when he’s there. I know that the same Holy One draws men to Himself through the preaching of His excellent Name, the reading of His Word, and even through the lives of believers.
I know that there are men and women in that country who say “Jesus is all I need” and then run to the mall to disprove their statement. We should be thankful for the woman whose only need is Jesus, the feet that bring the Good News, and the God Who brings about salvation for eternal beings.
So, while we ought to be concerned that 169 out of every 1,000 Ethiopian children under the age of five dies, we must not forget to pray that the Word of God would be a priority for the ministers. The salvation of souls ought to be our hearts’ cry.

Tuesday, June 10


I am very grateful for my church. When I left for Ethiopia, I left a house empty and dirty. I had just paid the rent for the remainder of 2008 and planned to get "moved in" upon my return from Africa. However, while away, most everything needing to be done in order for me to move in, was completed.
Everything...Cleaned. Furnished. Pantry Stocked. Flower beds weeded. Anything that was necessary was taken care of.

God continues to express wonderful kindness toward me in all things.
Please join me in thanking Him for His amazing mercy in my life.

Friday, May 30

In Amsterdam

I had to wait until I had adequate bandwidth in order to post the pictures in the previous post. We are in fact sitting in the airport in Amsterdam now waiting to board the plane to Memphis.

At about 5:00 p.m., we should be on the ground in Memphis.
Thanks for your prayers during the past week.

Thursday, May 29

Faiza Update.

Many of you do not know Faiza, and yet others will remember her from just over a year ago.

I went to visit her this week. It was the first time I had seen her since the accident. I cannot express how good it was for me to see her. She is a beautiful little girl. I had tea with she and her dad in a small cafe in her village one afternoon.

Here are some pictures for you to witness the answered prayers of the Lord for yourself.

Monday, May 26

Tuesday Morning.

It is bright and early this morning, with the birds fighting for time and space to get their voice in edge wise. We have watched them picking apart the pomegranate on the tree just outside the front door.  God is truly amazing in all His creation. Not only that, but He is wonderfully merciful in all His ways as well. It is mercy for Him to give us breath, and it is all the more merciful of Him to blow upon our dark, cold hearts and grant regeneration to our souls. Shockingly, He does not stop there either, but continues to work in us, ministering to us, based on Jesus' continued work for us and through the Spirit's work in us. He has been this for me this week, no doubt. I have really enjoyed my time here the past 4 days. I have been able to see so many people and take care of several issues that needed to be taken care of. I appreciate you praying for me thus far. We only have 3 days left here and will only spend two more nights here. The time has flown, as it always does. The guys with me are doing great. From what I can tell, they are enjoying everything about this place. Kurt has been so gracious to take care of the teaching, while at the same time doing a remarkable job with it. He has posted daily a bit about the sessions

Again, thank you for your continued prayers on our behalf.


Sunday, May 25

Thoughts from Jamie Crampton

 I asked Jamie to jot down some thoughts from the past couple of days. Jamie is a sixteen-year old that I attend church with in New Albany. He and his brother Joseph are two of the four guys that accompanied me on this trip. Please forgive the format...we are dealing with 3rd world technology.

Unsearchable Riches

There is more poverty in this land than I could have imagined. There have been

many times that I have wanted to sit down and weep. But the riches of Christ

shine brightly in the face of poverty. The poor and beggarly souls are invited

to stretch out their poor and withered hands to the Savior.

The bitter cup of poverty is a small taste of the emptiness of the soul, and

the hopelessness of the poor is nothing compared to the hopelessness of the

enemy of Christ. To be without God is to be without hope. But God, who is rich

in mercy, is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.

We have been given so much; we have been given all things in Christ. Why are

we so slow to take up our crosses and follow Him? When He commands us to leave

all and follow Him, it is like telling a prisoner to leave His chains, the

debtor to leave His debt, and the beggar to leave His scraps so that He might

come to the feast. Oh, that we might live as beggars and pilgrims in this life

that we might be kings in the next. We might beg ourselves rich by the grace

that is in Christ.

Ultimately, the rich have nothing more than the poor. Either we have Christ,

or we have nothing. What are all the treasures of this life when we die?

Christ is all in all. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where

moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for

yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where

thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20) We who have nothing are

freely offered to buy the pearl of greatest price.

Look to the face of Christ, not the hand of providence. The LORD is all love

to His people. There have been moments were I questioned the sovereign love of

God to the Christians in Ethiopia. But it is high treason against the King to

lodge bitter thoughts about Christ. Circumstances may be dark to our eyes, but

the Sun of righteousness is all light. "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is


Thursday, May 22


We are here and at the house. 

We are getting settled in and hoping to get some sleep soon.

Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, May 20


Well, Isaac is now really Isaac and really mine. The proceedings yesterday were nothing really, just me answering yes to about a dozen questions and the judge rather uninterestingly mumbling "yea, we'll grant it". So the petition to make Isaac my son was granted, and now we wait for the birth certificate and social security card. Thanks for praying, and for your constant concern.

Today I am packing for the children and I for the next 10 days. They will be off in about 4 hours to stay with friends and grandparents, while I will depart in the morning for Ethiopia. I do appreciate your prayers. I will make some attempt to update the work in Ethiopia while away, but the word I have on the situation there is very little electricity, water, and phone it the past month. Which also translates to internet issues. You may try Kurt's blog if I have not posted.

Again, thanks for praying for us.

Thursday, May 8

Isaac's Adoption

Many of you may not know that Isaac's adoption is not yet finalized. In actuality, he is not Isaac Anthony yet. But, I am hopeful that the finalization date is near, May 19, to be exact. Please do pray that I am able to get my petition for adopting him heard that day before I depart for Ethiopia just two days later.
There does not appear to be any hiccups in the process and for the most part all that is required is jumping through these last few hoops. Everything required to satisfy the state and the agency has been met, and a court date is all that remains.
I do appreciate your continued prayers in this regard.

Monday, April 21

No News... Good News?

This age-old adage is usually accurate, you know. However, due to the circumstances that I find myself in, there are scores of you who have suggested that you are, in fact, assuming otherwise. Many of you have said to me or have sent word to me that, due to my hiatus from writing here, you are “worried” or are “wondering if I am OK.” So, I am glad to take this opportunity to write what I feel truly is “Cold Water.”

The Lord, our Lord, does not change. He has not wavered one bit in His commitment to me. His great promise to uphold me with His strong, righteous right arm rings ever true in my heart and mind.

Tuesday (22nd) of this week marks three months since the wreck. Three months. My life, by the great help of God, seems so “normal” to me. I do not find myself struggling to rise in the mornings because of not wanting to face each day. Rather, God in His mercy grants much joy in what He has given me in life: a Savior like Christ who has born all my grief, a Savior like Jesus who sympathizes in all my weaknesses…

I often find myself wondering, “What more can He give than to me He has given?” I know that this quote is referring to the Scriptures and, in some way, so am I. Both the living Word who is Christ and the Scriptures as the Word of God are so wonderfully helpful and sweet to me right now.

Consider this verse that I have often noted here:
Romans 8:32 “He Who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all…how will He not, with Him, freely give us all things?”

I have Christ. God forsook Him for me—left Him on the tree to die. Why?
Well, a few clear reasons come to mind: God forsook His Son so that He might now freely grant me all that is needed for life and for godliness; so that, in the ages to come, He might show me the surpassing glories of that same dear Son; and so that, in the present, in the mundane, in the rising and lying down, in the child rearing, He might be my all in all. He gave His Own so that He Himself might really, experientially have first place in all things that pertain to me and my life.

I do realize that I have been all over the place in jotting down these thoughts, but the fact is: my heart is quite full—full of gratitude towards you all for your concern and prayers and full of thankfulness towards God for His Loving-kindness that endures forever.

I am also, in fact, busy these days. This is not an excuse for my lack of updating the blog, but it is a reason nonetheless. I was out of pocket last week, and even as I write, I am not at home (well, I am at what was home for me for ten years of my life—my parents house), but I am on the way to an eventful two weeks. The schedule on the right of this page tells the specifics of how you can pray for me. Please do remember that I am traveling, preaching, and visiting with friends, as well as being a dad to Ellie and Isaac. So, do pray for us.

Friday, April 18

PTI 5 -- Just One Month Away

I stated in my previous post that specifics would be coming "soon". Today is "soon".

Specifics have been spelled out by Kurt, who will be providing the training for the men this time in Ethiopia.

Also, I do realize that there are a number of you anxious to 'really' hear from me, and my goal is to post an update this weekend. My hope is that be mentioning it here, I will be motivated and accountable to do so.

Tuesday, April 1

PTI 5 -- Fast Approaching

I am in the planning phase for the logistics of PTI, round 5.
There are a few of us traveling to Ethiopia together for this round.

The emphasis will again be on Jesus, primarily in the book of Hebrews. Kurt Strassner will do the lion-share of the teaching.

I will spend most of my days meeting with friends and taking care of the necessary issues with the home there.

I am writing this with a three fold purpose:

1. Pray for PTI-5
2. If you are interested in traveling, notify me soon.
3. There are needs that must be met for the training to happen, and I will post concerning that soon.

Thursday, March 27

A Long Overdue Thank You

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
Philippians 1:3-5

I want to express my gratitude to you for these past two months. The Lord has granted me great comfort and has poured out immense grace throughout these days, and He has used you to do it. Thank you.

From the concern expressed to the kindness shown to the love displayed toward me, I am forever grateful and appreciate it very much. The Lord has been wonderfully kind to use all that you have been and done for me for my comfort. Thank you.

God has dealt with me in such a merciful way during these recent weeks that I cannot imagine one thing that I would change in an attempt to improve upon what He has done in and for me. He is merciful in all His ways, and though His ways are past finding out, He does all things well.
My attempt to offer thanks via this small note is far too inferior when compared with what you all been for and done for me. Nonetheless, thank you.

God has definitely given me the best fathomable situation for living through these circumstances at this time. Sure, He dealt a heavy blow, but He has not left me alone. Rather, He has kept His loving hand hovered over me, protecting me, comforting me, loving me. What He has provided in family, friends, my church, and the Church worldwide is astounding even now for me to consider. Thank you.

And still the greatest thing that God has done for me was to not spare Christ, but to give Him up for me, so that He may freely give me all things. Not free to Him, it cost Him His Son. But wonderfully free to me.
Samuel Rutherford said it well when he penned these words, "To live on Christ's love is a king's life".

Please accept this 'thank-you' for all that you have done for me.
I do covet your continuing prayers on my behalf, and on behalf of Ellie and Isaac as well.

Thursday, March 20

Ellie & Isaac

These outfits were smocked by Amber this winter.

Wednesday, March 19

Saturday, March 15

St. Patrick's Day


A Slave?

A Missionary?

Do you have any idea who this shamrock fellow was?

Thursday, March 13

If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee

If thou but suffer God to guide thee
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trust in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that naught can move.

What can these anxious cares avail thee
These never ceasing moans and sighs?
What can it help if thou bewail thee
O’er each dark moment as it flies?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.

Be patient and await His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whatever thy Father’s pleasure
And His discerning love hath sent,
Nor doubt our inmost want are known
To Him who chose us for His own.

God knows full well when time of gladness
Shall be the needful thing for thee.
When He has tried thy soul with sadness
And from all guile has found thee free,
He comes to thee all unaware
And makes thee own His loving care.

Nor think amid the fiery trial
That God hath cast thee off unheard,
That he whose hopes meet no denial
Must surely be of God preferred.
Time passes and much change doth bring
And set a bound to everything.

All are alike before the Highest:
’Tis easy for our God, We know,
To raise thee up, though low thou liest,
To make the rich man poor and low.
True wonders still by Him are wrought
Who setteth up and brings to naught.

Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
Perform thy duties faithfully,
And trust His Word: though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee.
God never yet forsook in need
The soul that trusted Him indeed.

Georg Neumark

Helpful Hymns

Hymns have been particularly sweet to my soul as of late. Here is one that was sent to me at some point in the last 2 months. The author is John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace.

Begone unbelief, my Savior is near,
And for my relief will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle, and He wilt perform,
With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.

Though dark be my way, since He is my Guide,
’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.

His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.

Determined to save, He watched o’er my path,
When Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death;
And can He have taught me to trust in His Name,
And thus far have brought me, to put me to shame?

Why should I complain of want or distress,
Temptation or pain? He told me no less:
The heirs of salvation, I know from His Word,
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.

How bitter that cup, no heart can conceive,
Which He drank quite up, that sinners might live!
His way was much rougher, and darker than mine;
Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?

Since all that I meet shall work for my good,
The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food;
Though painful at present, wilt cease before long,
And then, O! how pleasant, the conqueror’s song!

Tuesday, March 11

Romans 8:28

We often quote this verse, don’t we:

“For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God”

But, so often our reciting it is because of our desire to have all things orbiting around us and our assuming that if God is about doing us good we ought to join Him in making all things good for us.

So, what about difficult times? Heartaches? Real Loss?

“Ergo, shipwreck, losses, etc. work together for the good of them that love God. Hence I infer that losses, disappointments, ill-tongues, loss of friends, houses or country, are God's workmen, set on work to work out good to you, out of everything that befalleth you. Let not the Lord's dealing seem harsh, rough, or un-fatherly because it is unpleasant. When the Lord's blessed will bloweth across your desires, it is best, in humility, to strike sail to him, and to be willing to be led any way our Lord pleaseth. It is a point of denial of yourself, to be as if you had not a will, but had made a free disposition of it to God, and had sold it over to him. And to make use of his will for your own is both true holiness, and your ease of peace. You know not what the Lord is working out of this, but you shall know it hereafter."

S. Rutherford

One Office of Christ

"If your Lord calls you to suffering...there shall be a new allowance of the King for you when you come to it... God hath called you to Christ's side, and the wind is now in Christ's face in this land...He delighteth to take up fallen bairns (children) and to mend broken bows: binding up of wounds is his office."

Samuel Rutherford

Monday, March 10

It is well, with my soul

Before reading the well known hymn below,
you should consider the circumstance from which
Horatio Spaford penned these remarkable lines:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Wednesday, March 5

"The Lord is my portion...

...therefore I have hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24

"For your Maker is your husband--the Lord Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth." Isaiah 54:5

Thoughts from Octavius Winslow:

How many--appropriate to our circumstances, and endearing to our hearts--are the titles and relations of God! Is there one more sacred or precious to the Christian widow than this--"Your Maker is your HUSBAND." The Lord brings us into a gracious and experimental acquaintance with Himself by the circumstances in which He places us. Just as we learn certain lessons in certain schools, so we learn the relationships which the Lord sustains to us in the positions in life to which those divine relations are the most appropriate. Thus, He may have written you a widow, a "widow indeed," that He might stand to you in a new and more endeared relation--even as you stand to Him in a new and more dependent character--the relation of a HUSBAND--the character of a widow. As such He is your portion. Your bereavement is so crushing, your grief so profound, your desolation so vast, your loss so irreparable, the pen shrinks from even the attempt to describe it. The strong and beautiful staff is broken, the earthly counselor is perished, the tongue is mute that blessed you, the bosom cold that pillowed you, the eye dim that smiled upon you, and the whole landscape of life is draped in wintry coldness and gloom.

But the Lord is your Portion. "For your Maker is your husband--the Lord Almighty is his name." Divorced by death from an earthly husband, you are united more especially and closely to a Divine and heavenly Husband--even to God in Christ, who stands now in a new and more endeared relation to you, as you have now a new and more sacred claim upon Him. The widow is an object of His especial regard. No being has He more closely fenced, none for whom He has discovered more tender care. Listen to some of His touching injunctions respecting you. "You shall not afflict the WIDOW." "Plead for the WIDOW." "He will establish the border of the WIDOW." "He relieves the fatherless and the WIDOW." Such is the divine Portion, under whose sheltering wing you have now come to rest. "Your Maker is your HUSBAND." All, and infinitely more, that the fondest, most powerful, and faithful husband ever was, the Lord is to you. Let Him, as none other can, fill the vacant place. He can make even your solitary and desolate heart sing for joy. Espouse Christ afresh. Renew your 'first love' to Him, the love of your earliest union.

Trace nothing but love in the removal of a human object so dear; and know that love--divine, tender, unchangeable love--will guard, guide, and comfort you until wedded hearts, sundered by death, shall meet to renew a fellowship of love in the glorified presence of Jesus never to be sundered more.

Blessed Jesus! heavenly Husband! let me now be united only and forever to You! Give me Your Spirit to seal the sacred union. Enable me, as enjoined in the word, "to trust in God, and to continue in supplication and prayer night and day, to lodge strangers, to wash the saints' feet, to relieve the afflicted, and diligently to follow every good work" (1 Tim. 5:5, 10). And thus striving by Your grace to glorify You in the solemn character of a God-fearing, God-trusting widow, enable me to rejoice in You as my portion--my Husband--believing that You will shield me in temptation, supply me in need, comfort me in sorrow, be with me in death, and give me a place at the marriage-supper of the Lamb.

In addition to the loneliness of widowhood, there may be the heavy charge and anxious responsibility of the parent. Your children, are half orphans--fatherless. Be it so. You have now a double claim on God's care and provision; and that claim, offered in the prayer of faith, He will acknowledge. His promise is--and on that promise you must rely--"Leave your FATHERLESS CHILDREN, I will preserve them alive--and let your widows trust in me." God will now be, in its fullest sense, your children's Father. He will preserve them alive; in other words, He will provide for the life that now is, and will make them partakers of the life that is to come in the sovereignty of His grace.
Have faith in God! He never yet broke a promise to a saint--He never will to you!

Monday, March 3

Jesus. In verse.

Immortal honors rest on Jesus’ head;
My God, my portion, and my Living Bread;
In Him I live, upon Him cast my care;
He saves from death, destruction, and despair.

He is my Refuge in each deep distress;
The Lord my strength and glorious righteousness;
Through floods and flames He leads me safely on,
And daily makes His sovereign goodness known.

My every need He richly will supply;
Nor will His mercy ever let me die;
In Him there dwells a treasure all divine,
And matchless grace has made that treasure mine.

O that my soul could love and praise Him more,
His beauties trace, His majesty adore;
Live near His heart, upon His bosom lean;
Obey His voice, and all His will esteem.

William Gadsby


He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Colossians 1:15ff

Have you considered recently these amazing attributes that are ascribed to Jesus in this short little paragraph?
According to God, Jesus is everything!
Nothing else compares! It is all about HIM!
His honor, His renown, His reputation, His glory!

Don’t you agree?

However, one does not have to look very far or wide upon this earth to see an apparent contradiction with this passage and with what seems like reality.
Do you see clear evidence of ALL things being created by Jesus?
Is there any evidence of Christ holding all things together by the word of His power?
Is there overwhelming evidence that He is the Head of His church?

Jesus will have first place in everything!
Is this true for you? Really true?
Have you yet to be reconciled to Him?
Has lasting peace been made between you and your creator Who shed His blood to make it happen?

Thursday, February 28

Daily Light - February 28

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; 1 John 4:8-11

Wednesday, February 27

Live in Love :: The Love of God

2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

Live in the Love of God.
There is a vast difference between understanding that God loves sinners, and actually making your home in His love. Most of us believe that God loves us and sent His Son to die for us. But some of us have yet to get up out of our pitiful make-shift shanties and laid down to rest in the immense love of God. We are still trying to prove to ourselves or to others that we are capable of being satisfied on anything but God. We are still spending our inheritance on what doesn’t satisfy. We are still living in miserable conditions disappointed with ourselves because we are uncertain of God’s love.

Today could be a moving day. Today could be the day you fold up the cardboard box and make the journey home. Today could be the day you throw your sins and self-reliance in the dumpster. Today could be the day you leave your unhappiness and uncertainty in the back alleys. Today could be the day you come empty-handed to a Father who loves you and will welcome you home. Today is the day to move in and set up house in the love of God.

Live in Love...Live today and forever in the Love of God.

Tuesday, February 26

"The song that my soul still sings with joy"

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Edward Mote

Monday, February 25

From Amber's Pen :: Concerning Her Conversion

The following was taken from the journal of conversions at our Church. Amber recorded her account in Spring 2003.

I first came to Christ Community Church in a miserable condition. Though most of my past consisted of morality and religion, I had spent the months prior to coming in open rebellion to the commands of Jesus Christ, which I had claimed to know so well. Therefore, when we came to the church I was already asking the question, “Is it possible to sin in such a way and really be a Christian?” As I kept asking this question I realized that I only wanted God to answer me with a simple “yes” and to allow me to move on with my new life at a new church in a new town, away from all that tempted me before.

However, God chose not to answer me in such an easy way. Instead, He increased my anxiety by giving me glimpses into my own heart and by showing me that my problem was much deeper than I had first imagined. I began to see evil in everything I tried to do. My terrible state before God was not a result of my outward sins, but of my evil heart that sought to satisfy self in every action. The lives of others at the Church also troubled me as I saw a real humility and selflessness in their walks with God.

God also used Richard Owen Roberts’ book Repentance to deepen the anxiety I already felt. In one chapter Mr. Roberts exposes seven myths of repentance, stating clearly that sorrow over sin, self-preservation, and reformation did not equal repentance. Upon finishing the chapter I thought, “If repentance is not summed up in those seven points, then I have no idea what it is.” As I continued to seek, I began to understand further that my problem was not merely my actions but my heart and I began to agree that I was fully deserving of hell with no right to expect mercy from God on the basis of myself.

Feeling some of the danger of my condition I began to seek counsel from my pastor. Through his counsel and teaching, God showed me that repentance and faith are gifts and that I could do nothing to earn them. I read the following hymn by Horatius Bonar daily to remind me of this:

Not what these hands have done
Can save this guilty soul;
Not what this toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.

Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God
Not all my prayer, and sighs, and tears
Can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, O Christ
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God
Can give me peace within.

Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest.
And set my spirit free.

Thy grace alone, O God,
To me can pardon speak;
Thy power alone, O Son of God,
Can this sore bondage break.

I began to pray this hymn to the Lord and to ask Him for these gifts, believing for the first time that I did not deserve them and that He did not owe them to me just because I asked. Suddenly I was overcome with the fear that God would choose not to grant these gifts.

I turned again to my pastor who kept pointing me to the One who was able to rescue my soul from death. I can still hear him say, “Look to Christ.” He told me that I was spending too much time looking inward to weigh my thoughts and motives. He once said, “If you are seeking to know Christ, do you really think that God will allow you to miss salvation?”

That thought was freeing to me, and God used it to shift my focus from myself to Him. Not long after that he recommended the book The Inner Life of Christ by William Blakey, wherein I saw the beauty of Jesus. I was caught up in His humility and perfections yet still doubting that He was willing to save me.

One morning I awoke in desperation and fear, and I begged God to use the books that I was reading to help me. The chapter that I was reading in The Inner Life of Christ pointed me to Luke 5 where the man with the leprosy looked to Jesus and said “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus responded, “I am WILLING, be cleansed.” The Holy Spirit spoke these words to my soul to erase my fears of being rejected by Christ. The same day I also read the chapter on faith in The Anxious Inquirer by John Angell James, which again confirmed God’s willingness to save me because of the righteousness of Christ.

That afternoon God put in my heart the song that my soul still sings with joy:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

Saturday, February 23

Divine Sovereignty vs. Human Responsibilty

In the mind of Ellie: a 4-year old.

What does this age old question look like in her little mind?

Yesterday, while we were on our lunch 'date', and discussing some of the details in our life right now, she said...

"Daddy, is God going to give us a car OR are we going to buy one?"

We have been praying about a vehicle, and she knew that it was close to coming to fruition. She wanted to know exactly how this answer to prayer was going to happen.
---Was God going to answer the prayer by 'giving' it or by 'providing' for it?---

So, did God 'give' us a car or did we 'purchase' one?

Here is my answer to Ellie: YES!

Friday, February 22

Remember Lot's Wife (4th & Final)

You may be tempted to say:

"I am convinced of the danger that hangs over me"
Lot's wife was convinced, and it was NOT enough.

"I am escaping the danger, I am fleeing the wrath to come"
Lot's wife was escaping too, she was fleeing, yet it was NOT enough.

"I am near the place of refuge. I can see it in the near distance."
Lot's wife was quite near to Zoar and could see the mountains. It was NOT enough.

You must not be content with mental knowledge of the danger, with some past experience of escape (like the sinner's prayer or baptism), or even with the sight of hope in the foreground. You must not stop. Do not halt. Don't even slow in your pace. Definitely do not rest now, and please do not consider ever looking back.

Surely you are not willing to live and die as living proof that sinners may be almost saved, yet NOT really saved at all.
Surely you are not willing to starve to death at the threshold of the feast that has been offered to us in Jesus Christ.
Surely you are not willing to die of thirst and the base of the fountain of salvation because you would rather turn away and dig broken cisterns that can hold no water.

This is what letting up will get you!
Not finishing well and pulling up short will earn for you eternal perishing. Nothing less.
If this is the end you want, the death you long for, then look back to Sodom, stretch out your hands to the world around you. Turn back now to become a lifeless, white, shiny, column of salt.

But, if this is not the end you desire, then...

Escape for your life! Do not look back! Do not stay anywhere in the valley!
Escape to the Mountains, or be consumed!

When the temptations arise and the urge to look back comes...Do not yield to it.
Let memory do the work of sight. Instead of looking back to perish without hope...

Remember Lot's wife.

Thursday, February 21

Remember Lot's Wife (3)

Having considered Lot's wife, her history, and her frightful end, we must now turn to the question that really ought to be plaguing us all. WHY? Why remember this no-named sinner from several thousand years ago?

Because we, like Lot's wife may also merely be 'almost saved'. Sure, you may have fled the outright Atheism of our day. You may not dwell in the land of the Sodomites. It may even appear that you are hand in hand with your family and friends escaping the 'apparent' destruction to come.
Do you feel 'safe' from the heathens and 'soundly secure' from the pagans among you? If this completes your spiritual resume then you are indeed lingering in the valley just like Lot's wife, and it is NOT SAFE. God said to them, "do not stay anywhere in the valley". He says to you as well, "you must not stay anywhere in the valley".
It does not matter one iota how 'safe' you feel. You must not hesitate in this journey through the valley. Yes, you do have to enter the valley called life, but it is safe for traveling only, not for lingering. You must press on through the valley, press in to the mountains of refuge that we have in Jesus.

"Run in such a way as to obtain the prize"

Lot's wife was almost saved, but perished ultimately in the end. She was following safe guides. She was headed in the correct direction. BUT, she hesitated, and looked back, and she was no more! It will be the same for you if you attempt to set up a comfortable camp here in this valley. If you stop, yield, or linger, you too will perish. No matter with what motive you 'look back', you will perish.

"Do not look behind you"
"Do not stay anywhere in the valley"

Both of these commands are required. Not one or the other. Not one to a greater degree. Both.

Remember Lot's wife!

Wednesday, February 20

Remember Lot's Wife (2)

The first thing that we ought to remember about Lot's wife is that she was 'almost' saved.
The second thing that we ought to remember is that she perished.

1. She experienced extraordinary deliverance. She had undergone an unexpected escape. She was in certain safety. In expectation and probability, she was in fact saved already. In actual experience she was even almost saved. The burning city was behind. She had been led out by angelic hands. Her husband and children were at her side. The assigned refuge was in clear sight ahead of her. Consider what she had in her favor: her family one side and the Savior on the other...Sodom behind, and Zoar ahead...who would not consider her 'saved'? She could have been left in Sodom a suicidal victim of her own unbelief, but the Lord was merciful to her and was slow about his anger with her. Think of the mercy extended to her: the cry of the angel in one ear, the crackling of the flames in the other...both impelling her onward, to that refuge in the mountains. All these incentives and still she was ONLY almost saved.

2. She perished, that is certain, but the major issue for us to take note of is where she perished. If we could ask her she might say that she perished from absolute safety. She had indeed escaped the obvious danger, right? Yet, in the very moment of deliverance, she perishes and is no more!

Remember Lot's wife.
Remember that she was 'almost' saved.
Remember that she was NOT.

More thoughts forthcoming.

Tuesday, February 19

"Jesus was with us in the wreck"

This is 'new' information that was divulged to me today by Ellie.

We were in the car, and many times these days in the car Ellie inquires about 'tumping' over or another car 'hitting' us. In answering her each time I try to assure her that no matter what happens Jesus is with us. Well, today I had only completed half of my 'usual' answer and then she chimed in with her own rendition of the second half.

Ellie said, "We will not tump over, the other cars will not hit us, and Jesus is with us. Jesus was with us in the wreck. Mommy didn't even cry, because Jesus was with us. Mommy even went to be with Him after that, because He was with us in the wreck. But me and Isaac did not go to be with him. But when God says it is time for us to leave earth, we will go to be with Jesus too, and then we can hug our Mommy again. will have to help Isaac hug her because he is just a baby, he it too little to hug her by himself. But I can hug her."

What can I say? But, thank You Jesus, for being there in the wreck, for being here even now, and for being You forever. Thank You.

Remember Lot's Wife

Jesus, the King of the universe, says "Remember Lot's wife". He never suggest commemorating any other figure in history. Only this nameless sinner from a half forgotten age. He skips over Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He fails to mention David, Isaiah, or Daniel. He doesn't even point out His own disciples. Yet, this obscure, seemingly unimportant woman gets singular prominence, when Jesus commands us to remember her.

What should we remember about her? She has no name. We no nothing of her birth. Her lineage is not listed. There are no extraordinary achievements recorded for us to grant commemoration to her as a result. She is referred to as 'wife' three times in a few verses and outside of that the only time she is mentioned is when Jesus Himself says to remember her.
What should we remember about her? Her history consists of these events: Genesis 19:15ff

When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city." But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. When they had brought them outside, one said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away."

But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

She appears in history just long enough to disappear again.
A remarkably brief history, yet Jesus says "remember Lot's wife".
Specifics about what we ought to remember and why are forthcoming.

Saturday, February 16

Thoughts from a previous post

In a prior post I wrote this:

With this type of kindness being experienced rather than just mentally agreed upon, there comes a real thief into the situation. In order for that thief not to rob God of His honor, humility before Him consistently is of utmost importance for me. For His honor, but also for my sustenance, to not lean on my own understanding or 'strength', is an absolute must for me during these days.

I want to specify the reference I made to a 'thief'. I do wish I had taken this opportunity before now to delve in more so than I did in the above quote, but now is better than later.

This is the thief that threatens: PRIDE. I know, you're thinking even in this situation. Pride? Are you kidding me, or yourself? Our hearts are so incredibly bent towards honoring self they will take any and every occasion to do so. It does not take much apparent strength for our self-absorbed hearts to cling to things like, "you are so strong", "I don't know how you do it", and really any other statement, no matter how true it may be or from what genuine motive it was derived.
God is strong. And He has held me and mine during these days. He will be ultimately committed to doing so, I am sure. However, I am just as sure that any attempt to stand in my own strength will result in a kind display from the Lord that He is strong and I am not.
The thief of pride longs more than anything to rob God of His unimaginable honor, and to steal from Him that glory which belongs only to Him. Because our hearts are not much more than idol factories with the one idol of self being the most prominent, it is utterly crucial that Christ be continuously seated there on the throne of our hearts and that our own plans, strength, etc. be cast down doing proper homage to Him.

Wednesday, February 13

"Love to the loveless shown"

My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

Samuel Crossman

Providentially in The Love Chapter this Morning

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Is 'love' really all that big of a deal? That even in my speaking, if it is done while lacking love then my words are just a racket and of no value whatsoever? Is 'love' so crucial that even if I know all things and possess all faith, yet without love then "I am NOTHING"? And if I gave ALL my possessions to the poor...even my own life to be burned, then there is zero profit if done apart from 'love'?
This chapter is really something for us to ponder. We are familiar with it, we have heard it read at weddings, but I fear many of us have failed miserably at living in light of the realities that are posed here.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

God is Love. This passage describes Him perfectly. The Levitical Law as well as Peter's first letter command that we be Holy as God is Holy. Included in His Holiness is His Love, so the implication for me in this description of 'love' is the expectation for me to love like this...Patiently, with kindness, without jealousy, not boasting, unselfishly, forgiving, righteously, with joy in truth, with all hope, faith, and perseverance.
To quote Ellie in recent days when I encourage her to be obedient, "But, it is hard Daddy". Yes Ellie, it is very hard, but we have more Help than it is hard, right? "Yes", she says. Who is our help? "Jesus, He will help us" Ellie responds, resigned to hope in His help yet again.

The familiar hymn begins with this wonderfully helpful line:
"Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come..."

Love never fails...For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Again, God is Love. Therefore, God never fails. No matter what! We are seeing 'dimly' now...Oh, but then...then....then we will see face to face, see Him face to face. We will see Him and be made like Him. We will know Him fully, we will fully know...Him, Who is Love and all Love to and for us.
Now faith, hope and love are present, but the greatest is Love? How so? What is it about love that will outlast hope and faith?

Hope becomes Reality when we see Him!
Faith becomes Sight when we are present with Him!
But Love endures forever, both now while we do not see Him, yet we love Him, and for all of eternity as we worship Him in unveiled glory!

Tuesday, February 12

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Consider Jesus– in Loneliness

Jesus, for the most part, lived a lonely and solitary life. It was of necessity so. There was much in His mission, more in His character, still more in His person, that would baffle the comprehension, and estrange from Him the interest and the sympathy of the world; compelling Him to retire within the profound solitude of His own wondrous Being.

The TWOFOLD NATURE of Jesus contributed essentially to the loneliness of His life. The 'great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh,' would of itself confine Him to an orbit of being infinitely remote from all others. Few could sympathize with His perfect sinlessness as man, fewer still with His essential dignity as God.

As it was with the Lord, so, in a measure, is it with the disciple. The spiritual life of the renewed man is a profound mystery to the unregenerate. Strangers experimentally to the New Birth, they cannot understand the 'divine nature' of which all believers are 'partakers.' Nor this only. Even among the saints we shall often find our path a lonely and solitary one. How much may there be in--the truths which we hold, in the church to which we belong, and even in the more advanced stages of Christian experience we have traveled, which separates us in fellowship and sympathy from many of the Lord's people. Alas! that it should be so.

Our Lord's WORK contributed much to His sense of loneliness. How expressive His words--"I have food to eat that you know not of. My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work." And so may it be with us. The Christian work confided to us by Jesus may be of such a character, and in such a sphere, as very much to isolate us from the sympathy and aid of the saints. It has concealed temptations, hidden trials, unseen difficulties, distasteful employments, with which we can expect but little sympathy and pity; compelling us, like our blessed Lord, to eat our 'food' in solitude. But, oh, sweet thought! the Master whom you serve knows your appointed sphere of labor, and will, by His succouring grace, soothing love, and approving smile, share and bless your lonely meal.

The TEMPTATION of Jesus rendered His path lonely. He was alone with the devil forty days and nights in the wilderness. No bosom friend, no faithful disciple, was there to speak a word of soothing sympathy. And are not our temptations solitary? How few are cognizant of, or even suspect, the fiery assaults through which we, perhaps, are passing. Of the skeptical doubts, the blasphemous suggestions, the vain thoughts, the unholy imaginations transpiring within our inner man they know nothing--and this intensifies our sense of loneliness. But the Tempted One knows it all, and will not leave us to conflict single-handed with the tempter, but will with the temptation make a way for our escape. "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation."

The SOUL-SORROW of Jesus rendered His path lonely. Prophesying of Himself, He said, "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me." How lonely may be your grief, O believer! None share your sorrow, few understand it. You are 'as a sparrow alone on the house-top.' There are none to watch with you in the garden of your anguish--your wounded heart, like the stricken deer, bleeds and mourns in secret. But your sorrow is all known to your loving, compassionate Savior; whose wisdom appointed it, whose love sent it, whose grace sustains it, and who will soothe and strengthen you with His tenderest sympathy. Let your labor of love, your lonely sorrow, throw you more entirely upon, and bring you into closer, more believing, and more loving relations with, the Savior; wean you more from the creature; separate you more from the world; and set you more supremely apart for God. Oh! then you will thank Him for the discipline of loneliness as among the holiest and most precious blessings of your life!

O. Winslow

Valentine's Day is Thursday?

Here is something REAL for us to think about.

While thanking God for those whom He has given to us to Love, and blessing His Name even for those that we love whom He has taken, there are yet still amazing realities for us to ponder during this season.

Monday, February 11

CD's and DVD's

Many of you have made inquiries about copies of the Funeral audio as well as the video of Amber speaking on the past year in her life.

These are now available for you.

You may request a CD copy of the Funeral audio by emailing your request to and including your address and pertinent information.

For a DVD copy of Amber's talk on the Lord's kindness to her, send an email to and include your address and pertinent information.

1 Corinthians 9.23

I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

I have been in First Corinthians devotionally of late. The Lord has been kind to meet me there. This verse has been the dominating theme in the past week, and I pray will be a dominating theme in my life. Kurt has posted recently about the two words all things. One of the most amazing truths about all things is that it leaves nothing out. Not a morning devotion, not reading to Ellie, not giving Isaac a bottle, not any of the mundane daily tasks...nothing escapes the all inclusive 'all'.

So if everything is included in 'all things', then there is a major questioned posed. Namely, HOW?

How do I do 'all things' for the sake of the gospel? How do I live each moment in light of the gospel realities that hang over the situation? The day I came to chapter nine verse twenty-three, was the same day I had an appointment at the Social Security office for an interview. As I sat there, I thought to myself "How?, How do I handle this situation for the gospel's sake?" This lady cares little to zero about me and my situation. She does this all day, everyday and I am just another 9 digit number to her and Amber is merely the same. I had to sign a form agreeing that several facts on it were accurate. One in particular was hard to see. I haven't considered it at all evidently, but these people are matter of fact to say the least. I don't think I was quite ready to read and sign something that stated, "My marriage ended on January 22, 2008". Those words in that order you just don't want to ponder. But there I was with no choice, but to read it, accept it, and sign that it was true. I 'know' that legally it is a reality, for sure, but emotionally I was just unprepared I suppose.

As you can imagine this produces another twist internally for doing all things for the sake of the gospel. Does all things include when you don't feel like it, or when times are tough? All means all no matter how we slice it. I would even go so far to say that in times like this and so many others that I find myself in these days, it is even more crucial to do ALL things for the gospel's sake. People are watching closer, listening more attentive, and the gospel is just as real in times like these.

If the verse ended with the first part it would be splendid indeed, but God is so wonderfully kind to offer us so much more. As I/we do all things for the sake of the gospel, I/we become partakers of that very gospel. We benefit infinitely from doing all things for the gospel's sake. We get God. We are joined forever to God. We play a part in the gospel of God.

Thursday, February 7

Atoning Blood

I just came across a small piece of paper that I found in Amber's bible. She has a quote jotted down for frequent referencing. I don't know where she got the quote from, so I am unsure of the author.

Let no man dream of true mortification of sin,
of real sanctification of heart,
who does not deal constantly, closely, and
believingly with the atoning blood of Jesus.

Addendum: The eldest of my elders has notified me of the author. Not surprisingly, it is Octavious Winslow in his book The Work of the Holy Spirit. Amber read this book this past Spring in Ethiopia, actually outlining it as she read, so that I could use the outline in the class I was teaching on the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks Lanny.

Isaac A. Mathenia

Resilient - that is the best way I know to describe him.

I haven't mentioned much about what is going with him in recent days, but that is because not much is different in him...that he realizes anyway. Of course, there is the same life altering reality for him as for us all, but at 6 months (7 on Sunday the 10th), he is doing quite well.

Last night for example: He slept 15 and a half hours. That is the amount I have slept in the past week it seems. He is really a content, good natured kid.

The Lord has been and continues to be, so wonderfully merciful in all His ways.

Wednesday, February 6

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

I want to encourage you to read the hymn below. Really read it. Notice the wonderful truth. Pay close attention to how applicable it is. Allow God to minister to your soul in it. I would like to commentate on it, but desire not to take away from the poetic beauty that exist in it.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

William Cowper - late 1700's

The songs on Ellie's lips

In the past half hour Ellie has been playing with her dolls. I have heard her singing two different songs. One, not surprisingly, is Jesus, I am Resting, Resting. She was putting her baby night-night singing that song to her. The other...well I don't know where it originated, but trust it is something the Lord is working in her. These were the words of the first verse...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful
The Lord is so wonderful to us,
He gives us His Son, Jesus Christ.
Now don't ask for anything else.

Maybe she heard this somewhere recently? Wherever it originated, may God make it real in all of our hearts!

Tuesday, February 5

Amber--on the past year.

Just 5 weeks prior to Amber being made like Him, because she now sees Him as He is, she shared with our local church on the past year of her life. What the Lord had shown her. What her struggles were. How the Lord had shown her mercy.

It is absolutely amazing that we have it on video. I hope you benefit from this, and that you too will find the Love of God to be a primary theme in your life and experience.

Daily Light

There have been some requests for how to get the Daily Light that I have referenced recently.

You can access it electronically here.

You may be interested in purchasing one, and you can do that here.

You will benefit from this book, because it is nothing but the Bible.

I whole-heartedly recommend it to you.

Enjoy it and Him.

Thoughts about Love...Ephesians 3:14-19

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

My language is strained to accurately portray the immensities of the love of Christ. And every effort fails in weakness before this amazing theme. If all the vocabularies of earth were completely exhausted they would still give insufficient insight to His unfathomable Love. It is enough to fill the endless ages of eternity. Paul in his prayer for the church makes the effort to exhibit an object that has four dimensions—breadth—length—depth—height. In the realm of our nature no such object can be found—no discoveries of science can reach it—no flights of imagination can conceive such immensity.
But the Love of Christ is all reaching...His love's breadth-infinite. His Love's length-infinite. His Love's depth-infinite. His Love's height-infinite.

We are therefore prepared for the concluding assertion the Paul makes in his prayer for us, "It passes knowledge." It is not only unspeakable—it is unsearchable—it is inconceivable. BUT we may know the reality, though we cannot know the fullness. We may know the spring, though we cannot measure the full flood. We may know the dawn, though we cannot gaze on the unclouded sun. We may know in part, though we cannot know in full extent. So, let us daily and hourly strive to advance in this pursuit. With this object of His Love before us, let us search and ponder its records in the Scriptures. Let us meditate on all its evidence in the work of Christ—His assumption of our nature—His birth into our family—His death in our stead—His rising for our justification—His present work as mediator at God's right hand on our behalf—His many precious promises, which are all yes and amen in Him—His willingness to receive us unto Himself forever—to enrich us with the glories of salvation—to put us in possession of the purchased inheritance.

Oh, the Love of the Most Lovely...Christ, the King of all Glory!

A Prayer Often Repeated by Amber

O Sovereign Lord, Let those that are united to me in tender ties be precious in thy sight and devoted to thy glory. Sanctify and prosper my domestic devotion, instruction, discipline, and example, that my house may be a nursery for heaven.

Quoted from The Valley of Vision

The Love of Christ

The infinite ocean of Christ's love! 
The mind has often been sensible of a feeling 
of awe as we have stood upon the shore, and 
gazed upon the vast expanse of the ocean. 
With a similar, yet far transcending emotion, 
we approach the infinite ocean of Christ's love! 

Like the eternity of God, we cannot fathom 
where His love begins, or where it terminates. 

There is no other solution to the marvelous 
mysteries of His Incarnation and Sacrificial 
Death but this: Christ has loved us.

Love originated all, explains all, illustrates all. 

Love is the interpreter of every Divine mystery. 

There is not a circumstance of our Lord's history 
which is not another form or manifestation of love. 
His incarnation is love stooping. 
His sympathy is love weeping. 
His compassion is love supporting. 
His grace is love acting. 
His teaching is the voice of love. 
His silence is the repose of love. 
His patience is the restraint of love. 
His obedience is the labor of love. 
His suffering is the travail of love. 
His cross is the altar of love. 
His death is the burnt offering of love. 
His resurrection is the triumph of love. 
His ascension into heaven is the enthronement of love. 
His sitting down at the right hand of God is the intercession of love. 

Such is the deep, the vast, the boundless ocean 
of Christ's love! The soul muses in silent awe as 
it gazes upon this fathomless, limitless sea!

O. Winslow

Monday, February 4

Daily Light - February 4 - Morning

“The Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’”

If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one . . . choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.—“But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.—“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.—“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.”

He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Deut. 17:16; Heb. 11:15, 16, 25, 26; Heb. 10:38, 39; Luke 9:62; Gal. 6:14; 2 Cor. 6:17; Phil. 1:6

One year to date...from Amber's Journal

Amber writes to a friend, then records it in her journal:

I just wanted to tell you that I am really loving Communion with God. I am not very far into it since I have only been reading a few pages at a time, but today I read the first part of chapter 3 about how our communion with God is founded in His love. Wow...I don't even know what to say. I don't know if I have ever seen it that way before. Usually I feel like I am scrambling around looking for the love of God and trying to believe it, but through His explanations and lists of verses I felt like I was drowning in it. I found myself frantically flipping to all the Scriptures listed saying, "Tell me that you love me again, God...tell me again...tell me again." It IS so wonderful. Even John 3:16 is especially sweet to me today. I cannot explain how I see the love of God as so rich and abundant and not this little thing that He is reluctant to bestow on me. Owen explains how the love of God is the 'discovery of the gospel' we see God as angry with us, a consuming fire, full of wrath and hatred toward our sin...and then in the gospel the “kindness of our God and Savior” appears to us. After all of the expressions of love in His Word it does seem such a sin and a dishonor to Him to doubt that love.
God help me not to doubt it.

Saturday, February 2

7 Days : Heavy Hearts : Christ's Sufficiency (2)

Saturday, January 26, 2008.

This day would be the most difficult thus far. The funeral was planned for the afternoon, and how in the world do you 'plan' for your wife's funeral. What does preparation look like? What does it entail? What emotions are to be expected? And on top of that, in my orchestrating the funeral itself, I had given myself quite an immense responsibility.

I awoke at 4 a.m. having slept six uninterrupted hours. I grabbed a scratch piece of paper and began to jot down a few things. Christ, in His Word, was oh, so precious. He was so Kind. So Filling. So...Enough. I still lacked the confidence and ultimately faith in Him to do what I felt like would be most pleasing to Him during the service. Nonetheless, I ventured on. Hoping. Praying. Soliciting pray-ers.

From my perspective, there is very little I would have changed, if anything at all. It is so comforting to me, that God was/is so interested in His own renown that He held me up, keeping me from being a distraction from Him. What kindness He showed to me that day, and each day since.

With this type of kindness being experienced rather than just mentally agreed upon, there comes a real thief into the situation. In order for that thief not to rob God of His honor, humility before Him consistently is of utmost importance for me. For His honor, but also for my sustenance, to not lean on my own understanding or 'strength', is an absolute must for me during these days.

On Sunday, a good friend, rode with me to my church in New Albany, MS. Psalm 116 was expounded upon at a greater length than on Saturday afternoon. The prayer time, sermon, and the singing of hymns were all so wonderful for my soul, and I trust for all others who were present.

Monday, January 28, I turned 31. Seems old to me really. But still too young for these circumstances to be a reality. It was a good day. Ellie played her guitar and sang Happy Birthday to me probably a dozen times. She made me a chess pie, with a little help of course, and gave me the gift that Amber had ordered for my birthday.

That evening I had the opportunity to spend time with three great friends. The conversation was helpful. The laughing was beneficial. Their friendship is invaluable.

And Tuesday catches us up to the 7 day mark.
The heaviness of heart is understandable.
The sufficiency of Jesus...inexplicable!

Pray with me that the sufficiency of Jesus would dominate all other feelings, emotions, and experiences.

Friday, February 1

Transparency :: How Beautiful!!

From Amber's Journal:

Speaking of self-love, yesterday was a hard day for me. I was SOOOOO bored, which is really just part of living here. (for now at least) I said things that I knew I shouldn't have said to Anthony (loving myself more than him) about how I didn't understand why we have to live here. It seems that we are doing nothing on a day to day basis and that everything we are doing we could be organized from the states while attending church there and being near our friends and our family. I know this isn't true, but in the moment it felt so real. This morning in my Daily Strength for Daily Needs book I read a quote about God's guidance and shepherding of us. The writer said that no matter where we find ourselves we can trust that it is a green pasture for us where we will grow and thrive. And regardless of the circumstances around us we can trust that they are 'still waters' for us as long as we lay down beside them and drink of Christ. What a gentle rebuke! I even thought this morning that being bored is a lot better than being a lot of other things. I thought that God could be choosing so many other circumstances or emotions or whatever for us and may someday, but for today it is boredom. How small!
I want to learn to rejoice in the Lord in it.

Wednesday, January 30

Amber's Journal Entry :: Almost 1 Year Ago

Today Daily Light was all about keeping our minds on heavenly things. The one familiar verse “our citizenship is in heaven” really struck me today. It made me return to a book that I was reading before about putting on Christ in our minds. I will put some quotes here that were so good to me:

“The vanity of the mind is our fault and our shame, and the one chief cause of our misery. We too much mind earthly, carnal and sensual things. Hence Christ our chiefest glory is too much banished from, and kept out of our minds...When Christ, the sun of righteousness shines in the mind, the tongue will discover it: the life will manifest it. “

“O Christian, the riches of your Christ are boundless and bottomless. You have in Christ unsearchable riches: Bags which wax not old; an exhaustible treasure which fails not.”

“Ever reflect on your new birth, and heavenly pedigree in Christ. Ever clothe your mind with what honor now comes to you by Christ, and what glory awaits you with him in the heavenly mansions. So you will look down with a holy contempt upon all objects beneath your Beloved, to make you honorable.”

“Aristotle mentions a parcel of ground in Sicily, that sends forth such a strong smell of fragrant flowers that no hounds can hunt thereabout, their scent is so confounded by the sweet fragrance. Thus it will be, when Christ is put on the mind, as our chiefest pleasure, we shall find such sweet fragrance flowing from him, as will confound our scent, and prevent our hunting after the vain pleasures of sense, and the carnal joys of a wicked world.”

Think on these things. Let us labor to have our minds fixed upon and filled with Christ so that all in comparison would be loss and dung to us.

7 Days : Heavy Hearts : Christ's Sufficiency

A week ago last night was the new beginning of life as I now must get to know it. Amber had spent most everyday the previous two weeks visiting old friends, new friends, and family. She was actually on her way from a cousins home to eat dinner with her father, when her life was abruptly cut short and ours in turn, changed forever.
Her parents were near enough to be on the scene within minutes. The people who stopped to help, were able to think with great clarity and quickness. From what I hear, the folks at the hospital that night were simply amazing with my children. Needless to say, it is all just hearsay to some degree for me. Having not 'lived' through it, only hearing others tell about it and relive each detail, I can imagine in some small way what it may have been like, but then again...not really able to comprehend it at all.
I was oblivious to all that was happening as I attempted to sleep some forty-thousand feet in the air high above Libya, North Africa. I was not just unaware for a few moments, but for exactly 24 hours, I was planning, preparing and looking forward to seeing my family again. Now, it is possible that I could have found out in Amsterdam during the layover. But I had friends and family who were/are committed to my best and that, without a doubt, even in hindsight, was obtained by restraining the news from me until my arrival. Amber had planned to pick me up at the airport and have dinner prepared once we got back home. She had a welcome home gift already wrapped.
Wednesday night looked quite different from my plans or her plans, and for many of you too, I assume. I was met at the airport by my brother-in-law, my pastor, and a friend of 23 years. They broke the news. It seemed like a dream. In so many ways, it still does. Friends and family were at the house upon my arrival there, but I could not get Ellie and Isaac off of my mind. Isaac was doing well, and still is. He will never know experientially what he lost in Amber. Ellie had fallen asleep on the couch, so I had to wake her discuss some of the realities of what had happened. I was given the privilege of actually notifying her of the results concerning the accident. She seems to remember the accident itself in some parts. Her rendition is, "a car hit us, we tumped over, Mommy hit her head and closed her eyes". There was a lady on the scene immediately that saved her from seeing more than that. Praise the Lord for His kindness.
Thursday was crammed full of all the stuff that has to be done in these situations. I felt like I was 12-hours from finding out the worst news possible and now I have to spend a day with bad used-car salesmen. Needless to say, it was not enjoyable, but then again how could it be. On Friday I tried to rest, knowing in some small measure what the evening would bring. The first sight of Amber in two weeks, only now, without life. That night some eight-hundred people filed through to pass along greetings, condolences and the like.
The most difficult part of the evening was hands down taking Ellie in and attempting to explain at still another depth the implications of death and physical separation. In the car on the way, I reviewed some catechism questions with Ellie:

Who was the first man God made? Adam
Who was the first woman God made? Eve
What did God make Adam from? The dust of the ground
What did God make Eve from? One of Adam's ribs
What did God give to Adam and Eve as well as bodies? Souls that would never die
Do you have a soul as well as a body? Yes. I have a soul that will never die
How do you know that you have a soul? Because God tells me so in the Bible

Then, upon arrival I continued that theme to explain that this is merely the body that God gave to Mommy to live in, but her soul is with Jesus in heaven for ever. Of course, it was a terribly difficult conversation, not unlike others that have come since or will come later.

For your sake and mine too...I will split this into parts. I will continue from Saturday onward soon.

I cannot express how I appreciate and still covet your prayers.

Tuesday, January 29

A good day...

But far too overwhelmed to post. Too exhausted may be more accurate. My heart is in fact full, but my mind is scattered. So I will just point you to something helpful.

Tomorrow's post :: The past week in my life.

Monday, January 28

72 Hours prior:

Daily Light - January 28

“As your days, so shall your strength be.”

“And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”—“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

The God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!—He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.—I can do all things through him who strengthens me.—“March on, my soul, with might!”

Deut. 33:25; Mark 13:11; Matt. 6:34; Ps. 68:35; Isa. 40:29; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Phil. 4:13; Judg. 5:21

Sunday, January 27

Friday, January 25

Pics at your requests from the funeral slideshow

More Articles to Note

From Hope to Reality

Union University

Grace Church-Memphis

Some tributes to note.

Here are some links to a few blogs marking the work of Christ in one of His own.

From Her own pen & An old friend

From Carmichael & a Sixteen year old.

Thursday, January 24


Visitation - Friday 5:00 p.m. - Munford Funeral Home-Millington Chapel
Funeral - Saturday 2:00 p.m. - First Baptist Church, Millington


The more I rest, the more real it becomes. The more I rest, the more it hurts.
Oh! To rest solely in Him, like the great hymn writer:

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Thursday, January 17

PTI-4 - Jesus, still the focus

Greetings on this Friday morning from here in the city of 8 million, seated 8,000 feet above sea level. I am so happy at the sight of what has happened during this week so far. As you might have suspected, by the second day I was feeling a bit discouraged at the lack of interest in Jesus and His exclusivity. Well, the power of the Gospel has proven to be the power of God. Following that day, I resigned to be even more careful to offer them nothing but the God-Man, minute by minute, morning and afternoon, day after day. The help from the Lord in preaching His Christ was so wonderful - in so many ways unlike I have experienced before. Even as I was preaching I felt as if I had 64 people tracking with me as we were exploring an old mansion again for the first time. Uncovering beautiful truths that had been lying dormant for years - or forever. We ripped up the old dirty shag carpet of our own understanding and, with a little work, were able to gaze at the beautiful, exquisite, intricately designed hardwood of Christ’s reality. We went around this corner and into that room and, time and again, made a fresh new discovery. Christ. The ever-present, never-changing, glorious Son of Man who Himself is God in the flesh.

I really cannot begin to tell you the benefit for my own soul. After 6 weeks of preparation, day after day of looking at Him, and then to be so full of Him and unable to hold it in as we looked at passage after passage that revealed to us His matchless glory.

Yesterday, following lunch we made our usual trek down to a little café for coffee and tea. I heard the conversations at each of the tables of 4 or 5 men everyday. The weather. Home. School. But then, yesterday it was as if we were still in the session. A discussion here, a question about Christ’s two natures there, many were still thinking about Him and considering what we had seen about Him thus far, all the while anxious to know more of Him, realizing how He had been forsaken among them. I was almost ready to burst with thankfulness to God.

Please do pray for the remaining times together.

That God would in a very real way solidify "the truth as it is in Jesus" on the hearts and minds of His own.