Have You Experienced Any Storms Lately??

A pastor had been on a long flight between church conferences. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: Fasten Your Seat Belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, “We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened.”
As the pastor looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive.
Later, the voice on the intercom said, “We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us.”
And then the storm broke ..
The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash.
The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, “As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.
“Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly.
“Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid.” The minister could hardly believe his eyes.
It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the little girl whom he had watched for such a long time.
Having commented about the storm and the behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.
The child replied, “Cause my Daddy’s the pilot, and he’s taking me home.”
There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. Physical, mental, financial, domestic, and many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.
Let us remember: Our Father is the Pilot. He is in control and taking us home. Don’t worry!
— Author Unknown

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Just Missing Old Friends

I published this 3 years ago today in FB. Every year, it seems, I lose more and more friends in death. I know it won’t be too long before I join them, but in the mean while I’ll rejoice that I knew them and thank God for the impact each one has made on my life.
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When we reach our 80’s we begin to notice that many of our friends have outstripped us and are now with the Lord. Spurgeon puts this in perspective in this little devotional paragraph. I hope you enjoy it as I have.  –BroJames
APPLES OF GOLD.
Proverbs 25:11
I seem to be standing increasingly alone, for many of my friends are melting away. My brothers, my comrades, and my friends are leaving me for the better land. We have enjoyed holy and happy fellowship in days of peace. We have stood shoulder to shoulder in the Lord’s battle, but they are now melting away. 
One has gone and then another, and before I look around, another will have departed. I see them for a moment, and then they vanish from my gaze. They do not rise into the air like our Divine Master (Acts 1:9), but I am persuaded that they do rise. It is only the poor body that descends, and that descent is only for a little while. They rise to be forever with the Lord, and the grief is ours who are left behind.
Why this constant thinning of our ranks when the warfare is so difficult? Why are the finest removed? I am sad. I could best express myself in a flood of tears as I survey the line of newly dug graves, but I restrain myself and look on it in a clearer light. The Master is gathering His ripest fruit, and well does He deserve them. He is putting His apples of gold in settings of silver (Prov. 25:11).
When we realize that it is the Lord who desires them to be with Him (John 17:24), it dries our tears and makes us rejoice. We are no longer bewildered because we now understand why the dearest and best are going home:
Father, I long, I faint to see
The place of Thine abode;
I’d leave Thine earthly courts and flee
Up to Thy seat, My God.
Charles H. Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters, ed. Roy H. Clarke (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 119.

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In Calm Repose

“I will make them to lie down safely.”—Hosea 2:18
YESthe saints are to have peace. The passage from which this gracious word is taken speaks of peace “with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground.” This is peace with earthly enemies, with mysterious evils, and with little annoyances! Any of these might keep us from lying down, but none of them shall do so. The Lord will quite destroy those things which threaten His people: “I will break the bow and the sword, and the battle out of the earth.” Peace will be profound indeed when all the instruments of disquiet are broken to pieces.
With this peace will come rest. “So he giveth his beloved sleep.” Fully supplied and divinely quieted, believers lie down in calm repose.
This rest will be a safe one. It is one thing to lie down, but quite another “to lie down safely.” We are brought to the land of promise, the house of the Father, the chamber of love, and the bosom of Christ: surely we may now “lie down safely.” It is safer for a believer to lie down in peace than to sit up and worry.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” We never rest till the Comforter makes us lie down.
— C.H. Spurgeon

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How to Handle Worry

Follow Paul’s instructions given in Philippians 4:6-7, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.(KJV)
I like the way the New Living Translation gives us help to understand what the Apostle was saying, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

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A Reason for Praise

William Cowper (1731-1800) wrote many great hymns, among them was “There Is a Fountain.” He wrote this hymn based on the scripture Zechariah 13:1, “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” (NKJV)

As I read and meditate on this scripture and hymn my heart is blessed. I can see a sermon in each stanza of the hymn and they all point to what the Lord Jesus did for us on the Cross. This is a personal testimony of praise for what Christ has done for me.
As you read and think on these words may they fill your heart with praise to the one who shed His blood “…for sin and for uncleanness.” If you do not know Him, may God, the Holy Spirit, open your heart to see your sin and lead you to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
  The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day, and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away.
  Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its pow’r, till all the ransomed Church of God be saved to sin no more.
  E’er since by faith I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply, redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die.
  When this poor lisping, stamm’ring tongue lies silent in the grave, then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.

Special Words for the Season

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[Float your cursor over the Scriptures and the verse will open in a pop-up.]

Allen C. Myers, in the Eerdmans Bible Dictionary has given the traditional order of the seven recorded “words” of Christ from the Cross as:

(1) “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34),

(2) to one of those being crucified with him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43),

(3) to Mary his mother and “the disciple whom he loved,” “Woman, behold, your son” and “Behold, your mother” (John 19:26–27),

(4) “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (Matt. 27:46 par. Mark 15:34),

(5) “I thirst” (John 19:28),

(6) “It is finished” (John 19:30), and

(7) “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

All of this He suffered for sinners. He was manifesting what Paul said in Romans 5:8. What a gracious Savior is He.

At Calvary  —  by William R. Newell, 1895

61 Amazing & Blessed Years

61 Amazing & Blessed Years….

Sixty-One years ago yesterday, April 10, 1952, the prettiest little 5’2″ blue-eyed blonde, made me the happiest boy in the world. We stood at the altar of Lakewood Baptist Church and pledged our love to one another. Little did we realize we would make it this far, and although we were filled with love, we had no idea just how much love could be shared by two people. What a glorious ride we have been on, thanks to our Blessed Savior Who not only knit our hearts in love, but more importantly to Him. We look forward to an awesome future because of Him.
This picture on the right was made on our Anniversary last year when we enjoyed our 60th with all our children and grand-children and her brothers and sister-in-law here. Billie was able to be up in her chair and enjoy all the laughter and fun. What a difference a year makes. Easter Sunday was a blessed day. She had not been responding very much, but Bridget brought Gabe (our 2 ½ year old) in and when she saw him her face broke into the biggest smile I had seen in a long time. She loves him so much and it really shows, but then, he loves her so much too. Used to he would make a bee-line to me when he came in the house, but that has long since gone away. Now he heads straight for her bed and has to get in the bed with her and kiss her numerous times and lets her kiss him on the cheek.
This year, the Lord willing, we will both complete our “three-score and ten plus ten.” That will be a record for both our families. She has lived longer than any known female in her family and I have lived longer than any known male in my family.
I give thanks to my gracious heavenly Father for giving this wonderful girl to me and I thank her for the most blessed 61 years and counting.
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