Wednesday, May 30, 2007

'Given to Hospitality'

One of the traits of the Old Baptists that I am most fond of, is their kindness to guests.

Growing up in the south, and in a rural community, I was taught the value of kindness to those in need. We were well acquainted with our neighbors, we knew their hardships and tried (though poor ourselves) to step in and relieve their want. Perhaps hospitality is a trademark of America in general, but we took it very seriously where I grew up.

One of the qualifications for a gospel minister is to be 'given to hospitality' (1 Timothy 3:2), literally to be "fond of guests." Not only is this benchmark given to the ministry, but saints in general:

"Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality" (Romans 12:13).
"Use hospitality one to another without grudging" (1 Peter 4:9).

As I am getting ready for a trip this weekend to Nashville, I was phoned by those I am staying with to let me know the details of the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of a large gathering on Saturday evening with many friends at the Stubblefield home, for a time of fellowship. I was thankful to hear of this, as I love to visit the saints there, and I am most appreciative of Brother Truman and Sister Barbara for their graciousness to host so many.

Little Flock is gearing up for our annual meeting, and I always look forward to hosting folks in our church, but also in my home. I get as excited as a child in a candy store knowing folks are coming to see us, surely we don't deserve their effort!
Many in our nation, and I suppose that the world at large have mostly lost the desire and joy of 'lodging strangers.' What a joy they miss in this great blessing of opening our homes and lives to those who are strangers, or traveling through. This past weekend I had the blessing of entertaining the Lindsey family from Arkansas as they traveled to their family reunion in Indiana. What a sweet time it was.

I hope with all I am that the Primitive Baptist people will always have hospitality as one of their hallmarks. May we always have a fondness for guests, and treat them as though they were at home while abroad.

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2).

Monday, May 28, 2007

41 Years Ago

On May 28, 1966, 41 years ago today, Little Flock was constituted as a Primitive Baptist Church. Throughout her history she has felt many afflictions from the wicked one, and enjoyed many blessings from her Lord.

With the Lord's grace, we trust and pray, that she'll continue for many more years.

We, her members, pray that we live our lives in such a way that our Lord would be pleased to continue to dwell among us.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Gardening - Week 4

This week, due to a thorough watering, then several days of rain, I've not been able to get in and weed the garden. However, there will always (hopefully) be tomorrow!

Here's an update. Man it is growing like a weed!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Communion with God - Baltimore

From all that's mortal, all that's vain,
And from this earthly clod,
Arise my soul, and strive to gain
Sweet fellowship with God.

Say, what is there beneath the skies,
In all the paths thou'st trod,
Can suit thy wishes or thy joys,
Like fellowship with God?

Not life, nor all the toys of art,
Nor pleasure's flow'ry road,
Can to my soul such bliss impart,
As fellowship with God.

When I am made in love to bear,
Affliction's needful rod,
Light, sweet, and kind the strokes appear,
Through fellowship with God.

In fierce temptation's fiery blasts,
Or dark desertion's road,
I'm happy if I can but taste
Some fellowship with God.

And when the icy hand of death
Shall chill my flowing blood,
With joy I'll yield my latest breath
In fellowship with God.

When I, at last, to heav'n ascend,
And gain my blest abode,
There an eternity I'll spend
In fellowship with God.


My dear, dear friends, Elder Jon and Sister Amanda Mizell are expecting twins! The two blessings are expected to arrive this November!

Farewell For Awhile

Isaac Corn, a member at Little Flock, left today for a 10 week internship in Colorado. Brother Isaac is trying to finish up his four year degree in some type of science (I am not a science guru, actually I know VERY little about science). He told me recently that it has to do with chemistry. He could give you all the details. It is fascinating, just beyond me, so I can't remember what he said!

He will be returning in August to finish his last semester at SIUE, then will be moving on to his doctorate work. We know we'll most likely lose him to a southern school (who could blame him?), but I don't look forward to the time that he's gone.

In the nearly four years that I have pastored here, Brother Isaac has been a continual encouragement to me. I've been thankful to watch him throughout this time and see him face, with grace, the challenges of youth. I always enjoy hearing him tell of the various folks he engages in doctrinal discussions, and to see how well equipped he is to defend the doctrine that was once delivered to the saints.

I hope you'll join me in praying for Brother Isaac, that our Lord will protect and preserve him over the next 10 weeks, and guide him in the decisions that are forthcoming.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Revive Thy Work, O Lord - Albert Midlane 1858

"O Lord, revive thy work...” Habakkuk 3:2

The scripture above, and the song below, have been on my mind periodically throughout this day. So often our hearts grow cold, our affection for things above is blotted by our lust of things beneath. How I pray for a revival of my heart, a revival of my zeal, a revival of my diligence to more faithfully serve my Lord.

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Thy mighty arm make bare;
Speak with the voice that wakes the dead,
And make Thy people hear.

Today, I was driving home from the grocery store and listening to the news on the radio. The story was of yet more crime, more wickedness, more hatred that is prevalent in our world today. I couldn't tell you the details of the story, I am so used to hearing them that often I don't remember what I last heard. It reminds me of Noah's day, when it is recorded, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart" (Genesis 6:5-6). God's response was, "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth" (Genesis 6:13).

How wonderful when the Lord "speaks with the voice that wakes" a dead alien sinner, and that one who before loved to fill himself with ungodliness, now hates those things he loved.

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Disturb this sleep of death;
Quicken the smold’ring embers now
By Thine almighty breath.

Yet, while I look at those wicked around, I often forget how I too, need a daily renewal within. The Apostle Paul said that "though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16). How refreshing it is to have the inward man renewed each day by the power of God.

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Create soul-thirst for Thee;
And hungering for the Bread of Life
O may our spirits be.

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God" (Psalm 42:1). For any to thirst, or hunger for the Lord, they first must have experienced His grace. I never hungered for any certain dish until I first tasted it. Yet, after I've tasted some mouth watering meal, I find myself craving for it again and again.

We have experienced the Lord's goodness, His presence, His power. And as a deer longs for the cool water to relieve his tongue, our hearts now pants, or cries out and longs for the experience of God that we've once felt. However, there are times that I've departed from the Lord out of indifference, yet didn't realize that I was without the Lord. Then, ever so faithful, the Lord revives my desire to thirst and hunger after Him again, so I return to His throne seeking His presence!

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Exalt Thy precious Name;
And, by the Holy Ghost, our love
For Thee and Thine inflame.

I suppose there is no greater motivation for the Lord's people to have their love of God, and their brethren increased, than to see the exaltation of the Lord's name. I think of the occasion that Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, when He was viewed high and lifted up, the seraphim's cried, Holy, holy, holy... The only response Isaiah could muster was "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Yet, by the end of this experience Isaiah was pleading to speak in the cause of God and was used of God as one of the most influential prophets the earth has ever seen. This all began because the precious name of God was exalted, Isaiah's love for God was then inflamed.

What an experience, to see the thrice holy God high and lifted up - to know how undone we are, yet, with the Lord's help are able to do that which He bids us do.

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Give Pentecostal showers;
The glory shall be all Thine own,
The blessing, Lord, be ours.

When the apostles, ministry and disciples that made up the church at Jerusalem experienced the "showers of Pentecost," their only response was praise to God. There was no claiming of credit by the apostles for the visions, or the ability to speak in the various tongues. However, they were recipients of the blessing of the power of God, and the witness of 3,000 souls being added that day to the church of God. How often do we pray for such a revival in the kingdom of God today?

Perhaps we have prayed for it, but our motivation was to see our church increase, instead of the glory of God being fulfilled. The whole desire any should have when pleading for revival, should be the exaltation of the name of God in another child of God's life, and the glory of God being further witnessed by the church. It isn't wrong to seek that blessing, but blessing and glory are two different things. All too often I hear ministers and churches glory in their new converts instead of the Lord. I know they are excited, yet, I often fail to hear thanks ascending to God. May we remember, when revival comes, to place the glory and thanksgiving at the feet of our God, and be humbled by the blessing of His reviving Spirit in our lives, and in His kingdom.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Gardening - Week 3

I am still amazed each day as I walk through the garden to see the difference a week, and often, even a day can make! Here are the photos from this week! You may notice that the patio (and yard) and been thoroughly cleaned up!

Angle 1:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Angle 2:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

And just to show that I do occasionally clean up the place, here is a shot of the new & improved patio. Now there is finally room to sit out back and relax.

I spent the day (after a Little League meeting, I am umpiring baseball this year) cleaning the patio, watering the garden (some), putting away tools, mowing the grass, etc. It was quite an enjoyable day, and it ain't over yet ... our church will have the monthly fellowship here in about an hour or so!

*Ignore the tires along the fence, they're going in a garage sale soon!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Reading Sister Michelle's post today reminded me of some reflections I've had over the past few weeks.

The Lord calls upon His people to "Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah" (Psalm 4:4) and "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10).

Too often we fail to pause and consider (inspect, perceive, regard and know) the wonders of the Lord's creation.

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Matthew 6:28-29).

According to all evidence I can see, Solomon was one of the wealthiest men in the Bible, and probably the wealthiest of Israel's kings. Yet according to the Lord Jesus Christ, that in all his glory, Solomon still didn't reach the glory of the raiment of the Lord's lilies.

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise" (Proverbs 6:6).

Like Sister Michelle, I've also had a problem with little ants this year. They've been frustrating at times, yet at other times I love to sit and watch them. They really are amazing little creatures. Very social, they travel great distances to find food, work together to bring the food home, defend themselves and one another, work very hard in the time of harvest to prepare for times of want.

Many today are so dependent upon the government, their parents, or a multitude of others to provide for them, instead of considering the ways of the ant, being wise by following their method of organized, hard work.

"Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God" (Job 37:14).

At times when we're distressed, and begin to question the reason of our affliction, or wish to demand an audience with God to plead our cause, perhaps, we as Job, just need to "stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Job would've been wise, and probably would have avoided the hot answer from God out of the whirlwind - yet, even in God's response (Job 38 & 39), we see the wondrous works that God has done, that we so often fail to recognize.

"He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion" (Psalm 111:4).

Katelynn's Accident

Yesterday, my niece Katelynn took a fall and damaged several of her teeth, and also her gums. Katelynn was playing in their backyard, did a flip over the porch rail. Sadly, the porch and her mouth got very acquainted with one another.

She went to the ER, they said she'd be OK till this morning.

So this morning she went to the dentist, had three teeth removed (they were only there by ligaments, they'd been torn from the bone). The doctor at the ER, and the dentist said it looks worse than it is. The teeth she lost were all baby teeth, and her permanent teeth are almost ready to start moving down, so there was no damage to them.

I think my mom and sister were more upset than Katelynn. She was to graduate today from her preschool, and she was more upset to miss that. So, they made sure she was able to go for the graduation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Opening Editorial for the Spring issue of The Gospel Witness

Salvation Is of the Lord

“We believe that the gospel is to be publicly preached only by men called of God for that purpose. It is to be preached in all the world as a statement of truth, and as a witness of Jesus for the comfort and instruction of regenerated men and women; but deny that it is to offer grace to the unregenerate or that it asserts there is an obligation resting upon the unregenerate to believe that Jesus is their Saviour (Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 5:42; Romans 10:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:11; 2 Timothy 4:2).”

We believe that good works, obedience to the commands of God, are well pleasing in His sight, and should be maintained in the church; but they are to be considered only as evidence of a gracious state, and are not a condition of eternal salvation (James 2:17-18; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 2:12-13; Matthew 5:16; John 14:21).”

Articles of Faith Nos. 10 and 11
Little Flock Primitive Baptist Church
Edwardsville, IL

To these articles or principles of faith, I fully subscribe. The gospel message has been, and is constantly my only hope of being able to inhabit heaven. I know the blood of Jesus Christ must have saved us before we can ever stand just before God. I thank God that He has expressed this news in the gospel, and has afforded me the faith to believe in it, the opportunity to have heard it, and a heart to receive it, and that He saw fit to place this wretch in its ministry to others. Truly the gospel is a comfort to regenerated men and women, and to no others. I thank God to be able to believe through faith and hope that Jesus is my Saviour, and to express this “good news” to His children.

I am further thankful for the gospel’s benefit of instruction, which has been called by our fathers Time or Gospel Salvation. It is a blessing to know through the words of the gospel the obligations I am under, and, through the grace of God, should fulfill to the pleasure of our Father. In the words of Jesus Christ: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). Truly those who have been afforded the blessing of gospel salvation have been given much, and should with their whole being and energy seek to fulfill that which is required of us: to be the people of God not only in name, but also in action.

There are untold many of the elect of God who have been called, yet so few chosen. We who have been afforded the blessings of gospel knowledge should thank God for this salvation. It should be our chief aim to continue following the Spirit’s leadership in our lives, to further please our Master and thus to see His approving nod.

May we ever look to the help of our Lord to continue producing the wonderful fruit of the Spirit in our lives, thus giving ourselves evidence of a “gracious state,” and bringing glory and praise to our Father in heaven.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Approach My Soul the Mercy-Seat - John Newton

Approach, my soul, the mercy-seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly bow before His feet,
For none can perish there.

Thy promise is my only plea,
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened soul to Thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.

Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely pressed;
By wars without and fears within,
I come to Thee for rest.

Be Thou my shield and hiding-place,
That, sheltered near Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him, "Christ has died."

O wond'rous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame;
That guilty sinners, such as I,
Might plead Thy gracious name.

"Poor tempest-tossed soul, be still;
My promised grace receive;"
'Tis Jesus speaks: I must, I will,
I can, I do believe.

This hymn, by John Newton is one of my ministerial fathers favorite hymns. The message is simple, yet it strikes to the depths of the soul - plainly confessing to God our sin and pleading for the help of Jesus Christ the High Priest of our soul. We know we are not worthy, yet the mercy-seat is the place of our refuge, for so often "mercy is my only plea, have nothing else to pray."

What a privilege, and high honor, yea what consolation and relief to know that we may plead the gracious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, and with that name our fierce accusers and Satan himself will flee.

And as the final verse says, let us now be still, be calm, "hope thou in God." Jesus does speak, and we must, and I trust we will, can and do believe.

Wow - how fast it grows...

It has been almost a week since I took the pictures in the last post - here's the difference a week makes:

Pics on the left are last week, pics on right are from today!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. - Lou Erickson

In years past, I've always enjoyed gardening. I've enjoyed flowers, vegetables, keeping a nice lawn in every aspect. In the last few years since I've been in Edwardsville, my yard has been lacking its pristine nature they had back in Texas. For some reason I've not had the motivation to do much more than maintain the yard.

This year I decided to put in a garden, mainly to give Grandma something to do. She enjoys working in the garden.

So, last Monday we planted the seed (the ground had been previously cultivated by Bro. Jerry and myself) and started the process of waiting.

When I arrived home on Saturday from Nashville, the green beans (pinto beans picked early are our green beans) were coming up. Now most everything has broken ground.

The garden is 24'x24', relatively small, but large enough for us. We've planted:

Green Beans
Squash (two types)
Zuccini (two types)
Tomatoes (two types)
Bell Peppers

The pesky squirrels and birds have been nipping at the tender plants, so Grandma has been our scarecrow. Each day she sits outside under the patio umbrella, and she slaps her book when a critter comes, and some (says she) have the audacity to just look at her till she has to get up and chase them off.

In addition to the larger plowed area, I also had a couple flower beds tilled for vegetables. One length is 9'x2', the other 12'x2'. This is where the tomatoes and bell peppers are planted. On the left side of the sidewalk are several hostas, and a couple squash plants have been planted in between the hostas.

Here is a shot of the whole garden:

(Don't mind the junk, my patio is the staging area for whatever is going on, and left over clutter is a norm. I am hoping to have it all cleared and ready for relaxing soon!)

"Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it." - Author Unknown

"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity." - Lindley Karstens

Monday, May 7, 2007

One Year and Counting

On May 7, 2006, after 8 years of smoking on average of at least 2 packs a day, I smoked my last cigarette.

The journey hasn't been easy, but each new day I am thankful for the blessing of God to continue with the decision to quit. There are times that I still have a strong desire to smoke, but they are fewer and farther between. Thankfully now the smell of tobacco gives me a raging headache.

I have gained about 40 pounds, but each pound needed. I had lost about that much and now am at a perfect weight.

I was blessed to be able to just quit. No medications, no gum, no patches. I just decided to quit using tobacco. Each day I continue the same therapy of convincing myself I am healthier and wealthier when I do not smoke! :-)

The Lord has been good, my finances better, and I am certain that years have been added to my life. I pray for the continued strength to continue to abstain from the use of tobacco.

To those who may smoke, or engage in some other unhealthy habit - pray for grace and strength to overcome, find a strong desire to end it, and then continually make the choice to end that which destroys the life the Lord has given you!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A Very Blessed Meeting

On Thursday morning, after a short visit to the hospital to see the Zimmerman family, I headed for Nashville for Bethel's annual meeting. I enjoyed a nice, relaxing drive, full of meditation and listening to sermons and hymns.

I arrived at Brother Lawrence's home at 4 in the afternoon, and shortly after Elder Guy Hunt, his wife and another couple (I feel horrible that I cannot remember their names) arrived at Brother Ronald's also. We had a good visit, then all departed for Elder John Tidwell's home. He and Sister Tidwell were hosting supper for about a dozen and a half people, the food was delicious, the fellowship refreshing. I had the blessing of visiting most of the time with Brother Stokes Lawrence, Elder Ronald Lawrence's father. He and I hit it off very well and I have a great amount of respect for this dear saint who has served the Lord faithfully for many years.

We then assembled at Bethel Church for evening services. The song service was a joy, and then Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Jr. preached, followed by Elder Guy Hunt.

Brother Lonnie preached from Matthew 3 and defended the doctrine of baptism by immersion, and the Scriptural intent of baptism. He preached a very able, very instructive discourse that was a wonderful blessing.

Elder Hunt followed and preached from 1 Samuel 17, "Is there not a cause?" He spoke about our need for diligence in the cause of the Lord Jesus. That we are not wandering aimlessly, but the Lord has purpose, and for this cause we're to sacrifice and serve the Lord with all we are and have.

I then went home with Brother Truman and Sister Barbara Stubblefield, a couple that I love very dearly. I've stayed in their home several times and have always enjoyed being with them. Elder Ben Winslett of Huntsville, AL also stayed with them and he and I were blessed to become somewhat acquainted. In fact we stayed up until 2:00 in the morning! I was/am very impressed with Brother Winslett and look forward to hearing him preach and spending many years in service together with him.

On Friday morning Elder Michael Green preached first on the subject of the miracles of God. First he showed several miracles from the Bible, but then how those specific miracles ceased, but that God still blesses us each, and our own life (when we're born again) is a miracle testifying that God is still at work in the world. I enjoyed his discourse very much.

Elder Hunt followed him and preached on "We are His Workmanship." Brother Hunt preached a very calm, soothing message that fed my soul. His message pointed that our lives, from election before time, to the cross, to regeneration to glorification are a testimony of the workmanship of God. He showed how wonderful the craftsmanship is in every aspect of His work, and thus we should be careful in our walk, to give our best effort to show what the Lord has made us, instead of following the lusts of our flesh.

Following lunch, I enjoyed some time of fellowship with the ministry, first at the church, then we moved to Brother Ronald's home. It was a nice, relaxing afternoon with good counsel from fine brethren. We spoke of both doctrinal and practical issues and enjoyed a refreshing time of unity.

We traveled back to Bethel for the evening services. Elder Michael Green preached first on "rightly dividing the word of truth" and then proceeded to teach the 3 words of the Bible - the Word - Christ, the written word - the Bible, and the preached word. It was a very good discourse!

Elder Mozingo followed and preached how we can overcome all obstacles of life "through Christ who strengtheneth me." It was a very practical message with wonderful illustrations and pointed statements of truth that left us all encouraged and ready to face the world!

Elder and Sister Lawrence then invited all to their home for fellowship after the Friday evening service. I am not sure how many gathered, I think about 40 or so. We ate, visited and sang till about midnight. I had as much fun that night as I've had in quite some time. It was good to have several conversations with old friends, rekindling relationships and enjoying the fellowship of fine brethren.

I went to the Stubblefield's home and crashed about 12:30, then on Saturday morning drove to Sister Velda Stubblefield's. We then drove to Dixon, TN to see her mother, Sister Edgie. Sister Edgie is in her mid 90's and living in a nursing home. Sister Velda and I had a pleasant visit on the way to and from Dixon, and then it was wonderful to see Sister Edgie again. She had lived here in St Louis with James & Velda for a time, and it was such a blessing to have her with us each week. I really miss her, and Brother James who passed away last month.

I left Sister Velda about 2 in the afternoon, then had another pleasant drive home, mostly on the phone catching up with various friends and family. I arrived home about 6:30 and had a very enjoyable evening preparing for services Sunday at Little Flock.

The Lord blessed with such a wonderful weekend, a time I greatly enjoyed and will not soon forget.

I highly recommend traveling to Bethel Church, they are a wonderful group of the Lord's saints.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Bethel's Annual Meeting

Bethel Church in Nashville, TN has been a place that I have greatly enjoyed attending over the past few years. I am thankful for several friends the Lord has blessed me with that are members at Bethel. It has been over a year since my last visit, and I am looking forward to traveling there tomorrow.

Bethel's meeting will begin tomorrow evening, and the invited speakers are Elders Lonnie Mozingo, Jr., Guy Hunt and Michael Green. I am looking forward to the preaching and fellowship of the church, these ministers, and their pastor, Elder Ronald Lawrence, a man that I highly esteem.

I've heard each of these men preach wonderfully in the past, and I trust the Lord will bless them again this weekend! I'll be sure to give some details of sermons when I return on Saturday.

Elder James Compton

February 18, 1905 - May 2, 2007

I just received word that Elder Compton was called home by our God at about 7:30 AM EST today. May our Lord be praised for his grace in giving us a wonderful blessing in Elder Compton, and may He be praised for taking him home to rest forevermore.

"And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?"

"For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption."

I will miss Elder Compton dearly, but I am thankful that his long sojourn has ceased, and he is finally at home where he so long desired to be.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Nearer, My God, to Thee

Words by Sarah Adams, Music by Lowell Mason

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

{Though I know very little of Sarah Adams, the words of this hymn have always been very special to me. In this verse, she clearly knew that it is generally by affliction that we are drawn, or raised, to God. It is often through our trials that we will most humbly approach, or "draw nigh" to God, and thus God draws nigh to us.}


Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God to Thee.

{We are often the sheep that slowly, and sometimes suddenly depart from the Shepherd, and the rest of the flock. Then, just as a bold wandering sheep, we are caught in the darkness all alone, experiencing the fear of the world while the rest of the flock is resting safely in the light of the Shepherd. Yet, we, like Jacob take a stone for our pillow, we beg for sleep to dream of the closeness we once had with our Lord and His people.}

There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.

{Even a fleeting dream is sweet, if in it we feel a closeness, or nearness to our God. Often in my dreams I've been privileged to feel such a closeness to my Lord. Mercy sent many blessings to me even in sleep, and just as Jacob dreamed and saw the ladder into heaven, there have seemed to be times that I could, at least in my dreams drift right into heaven.}

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.

{Sweet often have been my dreams, and many times I hesitated to wake for fear that the precious moments with God would be destroyed. Yet Jacob woke with bright thoughts of praise. He knew he'd been with God, and while he had the grief of a night spent alone in darkness, outside of the fellowship of those he loved, he awoke not with complaint, but with adoration, and the raising of God's house. Through his woes, he was brought nigh to God.}

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

{Surely we've all experienced closeness to God in our afflictions, yet the most precious times are those when we truly are so caught up in praise, that we would gladly leave all the best of earth and creation for more closeness with God.}

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be, nearer my God to Thee.

(Verse 6 written by William Johnson Fox)

{Truly the time will come when we'll no longer be the wanderer, never caught in darkness, but will be safe and at rest. Never to be removed from the closeness with our God that we have so long desired. What a day it'll be when we have the full realization of the mercy of our God.}

Interesting information about the song:

Lowell Mason recorded, "One night, some­time af­ter ly­ing awake in the dark, eyes wide open, through the still­ness in the house the mel­o­dy came to me, and the next morn­ing I wrote down the notes."

“Nearer, My God, to Thee” is sung at the end of the 1936 mo­vie San Fran­cis­co, which was nom­in­at­ed for sev­er­al Acad­e­my Awards. It is al­so played by the ship’s band in Ti­tan­ic, win­ner of the Acad­e­my Award for best pic­ture of 1997.

There are al­so ma­ny in­spir­ing true life stor­ies as­so­ci­at­ed with this hymn. Some Ti­tan­ic sur­viv­ors said it was played by the ship’s or­ches­tra as the ocean lin­er went down (though other sur­viv­ors said it was a dif­fer­ent song).

Another story con­cerns the death of Amer­i­can pre­si­dent Wil­liam Mc­Kin­ley, as­sass­in­at­ed in 1901. Dr. Mann, the at­tend­ing phy­si­cian, re­port­ed that among Mc­Kin­ley’s last words were “‘Near­er, my God, to Thee, e’en though it be a cross,’ has been my con­stant pray­er.” On the af­ter­noon of Sep­tem­ber 13, 1901, af­ter five min­utes of si­lence across the na­tion, bands in Un­ion and Mad­i­son Squares in New York Ci­ty played the hymn in mem­o­ry of the fall­en pre­si­dent. It was al­so played at a me­mor­i­al ser­vice for him in West­min­ster Ab­bey, Lon­don.

The hymn was also played as the body of assassinated American President James Garfield was interred at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

Elder James Compton

Elder Compton, a man I consider a giant among our people, suffered a massive stroke this past Thursday. The doctors at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore have given him no hope of recovery. He is not able to see, speak or move much. He was able to nod his head "yes" or "no" and communicate, but is now having difficulty doing that. At the present he is home, resting until the Lord calls him to his eternal home.

Each time a person of such age, wisdom, stature and grace nears the end of their course, I find much to lament. The world is so void of godly wisdom, and when one such as Elder Compton departs, we lose a great deal of godly, Biblical wisdom from which to receive good counsel.

Elder Compton worked for many years as a watchmaker and jeweler in Washington, D.C. His store was in the 1700 block of G Street NW in Washington, only a block from the White House. The Old Executive Office Building was the only thing that stood in the way of a wonderful view of the President's house.

(Elder Compton with his son, Alan, who now own and operates the store, and Elder Compton's grandson, Craig.)

A newspaper ran an editorial about Elder Compton in 1977, this above picture was taken from that piece. I'll include the article:

Jim Compton is the man who got the Presidents to their appointments on time, even though he was never known as a White House insider.

He worked on their watches at his Washington, D. C., jewelry store, which is located less than a city block from the White House.

Compton went to Washington from his father's farm near Amity Hill in Iredell County 50 years ago, and he began working on the Presidents' watches along about the time Herbert Hoover took office.

"We did a lot of work for Presidents Johnson and Truman," Compton said from his Washington, D C., home in a telephone interview. "They didn't come in personally but they sent work m. They had a clock man at the White House but he didn't take care of watches and fine jewelry. He only took care of clocks and easy work, like large watches. He didn't work on complicated watches."

Compton and his brother, Howard, operated Compton's Jewelers at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street. The shop, now operated by Compton's son, Allan, and his grandson, Craig, is just a hop and a skip from the center of things in Washington and it naturally draws politicians off the street.


The shop also has an established reputation for good work. Even when he refused to bid on wholesale government jobs during the 40s and 50s, the government chose his shop for clock repair work in the Capitol, state department and other branches of government.

"We had more work than we could handle because of more trade coming in from the street," Compton said. "We didn't need the wholesale work. The government sent out bid sheets every six months and we didn't bid but they fixed us up with approved bids. They knew our work."

The Compton brothers' shop cared for the clocks in the Capitol for years in this way. "There were hundreds of clocks in the Capitol," Compton said. "Each Congressman and Senator had a clock in his office. We would go with our truck and take as many as two loads a day in for repairs. It took us weeks to work those over. Most all of the clocks then were very fine, weight-driven Seth Thomas clocks.

"And over the Speaker's desk was a clock with a 30-inch plate glass dial. The movement was built in the dial." That clock faced a twin across the room from it, Compton said. “And when they did the dome over, I kept those two clocks in my basement. That was in the '50s.”


“And believe it or not, they junked those clocks and put up electric clocks. Somebody wanted the accuracy of electric docks. Those very fine clocks didn't mean anything to them. I was told they went for junk. Some people today would give their right arms for those clocks. They had handmade brass cases and were put in when the Capitol was built. They had special plate glass hand-made dials.”

Compton, now 72 and doing a little Baptist preaching in his retirement, still mourns their loss and the loss of all the other weight-driven clocks in the Capitol. "After we stopped repairing them, it was hard to get anyone to repair them right, so they replaced them," he said. "They had to be wound once a week. I understand they were thrown out on a scrap heap but they would bring a fancy price today."

Although Compton has worked on the watches of several Presidents during the last half-century, he says you can't tell much about a President by his watch.

"Some of them had pretty fine watches," he said. "President Johnson had extremely fine foreign made watches. They were Swiss made and sold for $1,600. And President Eisenhower, the watch he used was a 17-jewel which sold for about $35 then."

Another "star customer" was General John Pershing, the World War I hero. "He was a collector of fine watches and clocks," said Compton. "He had work at the shop almost constantly."

Field Marshal (Bernard) Montgomery of England once brought his watch by the shop before he went to a conference in the White House with President Roosevelt, Compton recalled. "We did work for General Eisenhower before he was President, and he brought Field Marshal Montgomery in when he was here from England during the war. We had the radio on in the store and were listening to the report of the generals landing. The radio said they were on their way to the White House and the next thing we knew they were in the store."

Compton and his brother, who now lives in Hyattsville, Md., went to Washington in 1927 because they had relatives there. His mother, Mae Compton, is 92 and lives near Troutman so he returns here as often as he can. There are also relatives in the Troutman and Amity Hill sections of Iredell and in western Rowan County. His first job was in the Troutman Cotton Mill, but both brothers decided to stay in Washington in the '20s to work for a jeweler, Frischkneckt Watchmakers. They bought the shop five years later. The business thrived and soon they employed eight men and had a repair truck on the street, Compton said.


The two brothers learned their trade back on the farm in Iredell County by disobeying their father, Compton said. "My brother, Will, was just a tot and he found a watch somebody had lost In the woods." it was about to go up in flames on a brush fire when Will picked it up and "was almost melted down," Compton recalled. "My father took it to Statesviile for repairs but the man never found the trouble. It never worked properly.

"My father put the watch above the fireplace on a nail, way up high so we couldn't reach it," he said. "But we got it down and took it apart and fixed it. We made a part for it with a sewing needle by grinding the needle down and we got it running.
"My father then allowed us to trade it off for a gold watch and we got $3 to boot. We got that little gold watch running and we traded that for a motorcycle. Our ambition was to get some tools and a workbench to work on watches and clocks.

"There was a widow in Statesville and her husband had been a watchmaker. Our hope was to get his workbench and tools. We traded the motorcycle for enough junk to build an automobile and we traded that automobile to her for the tools and bench. We had heard she wanted a car to go to work.

"I was 17 years old then and my brother was 15 months younger."

That was the beginning, and looking back on his life, Compton remembers the challenges of repairing various watches better than he remembers the famous men who wore them. "It was not something you make a fantastic amount of money doing," Compton said, "but it's challenging."


Elder Compton once related a story to me about Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, the father of President John F. Kennedy. When Elder Compton bought the store, the previous owner left an antiquated clock hanging on a wall. The clock didn't work, but one day Joe Kennedy came in the store and wanted to buy the clock for his son's (John F's) 17th birthday. Elder Compton told him the clock didn't work and wasn't for sale. However, Kennedy convinced him to sell him the clock. Elder Compton went over it and got the clock working, but didn't guarantee the work for he feared it would soon break.

Sure enough, a few days later Kennedy called demanding the Elder Compton come fix the clock. Elder Compton arrived in the Kennedy home and tried to repair it, but couldn't. So he took it to his store. Upon further review he learned it could not be repaired so he contacted Kennedy and offered his money back. Joe Kennedy then came in the store with his attorney and proceeded to give Elder Compton a good tongue lashing with all sorts of profanity. Kennedy then threatened to file suit and turned the matter over to his attorney. The attorney listed to Elder Compton's side of the story and turned to Kennedy and said, "you haven't got a case." Joe Kennedy fired the attorney in front of Elder Compton and stormed out of the store.

When I asked Elder Compton what he did or thought, he simply said, "Mr. Kennedy wasn't a very nice man."

More than the interesting people and events Elder Compton saw in Washington, his chief joy was the house of God. He related to me that his most joyous time was pastoring the old London Tract Church. Sorrowfully, he had to resign its care when he fell from a tree while cutting limbs on the property of the church. He broke both arms and couldn't get around well. He was about 75-80 when that happened.

Since he turned 99, Elder Compton has been blessed to travel to at least a dozen states on preaching trips with Elder Steven Bloyd. About three weeks ago they flew to Arkansas and Elder Compton preached twice! All this at age 102.

Elder Compton's ministry was one of integrity, and of working hard for peace in the churches. He is one of the finest men I know, and I sorrow his illness, and I pray our Lord will quickly come and relieve him his suffering.

Elder Compton was married to his wife, Sister Becie for over 75 years. They were an exceptional example of a Christian husband and wife. They were faithful in their love and kindness to one another. Elder Compton said they both agreed before marriage that they'd never argue or fight, and the Lord blessed them to keep that promise. They disagreed, but would take time alone to calmly collect themselves, they'd work through whatever problems there were in peace and love.

I never met Sister Compton, I met Elder Compton just a few months after her death. However, I look forward to meeting her in heaven, and enjoy getting to know her there with our Lord.

I ask all to join in prayer for Elder Compton, that the Lord will bless him with peace and rest until He takes Him home, and that He will do that soon.

Written in love and respect for a "prince and great Israel."

A New Blessing in the Form of a New Car

Over the past few months I've learned that my SUV (a 2000 Ford Explorer) was going on the blink. It had an engine problem that was estimated at $2,000-4,000 to repair. Well, the poor old thing has 175,000 miles on it, it is 7 years old and I couldn't justify spending that much money on such a car. However, I was content with the vehicle and enjoyed driving it very much. But, I was getting rather nervous taking it on trips, and being a minister, I do travel quite a bit.

My former car gave me trouble in January '06, I had it repaired, the problem reappeared in October '06, I had it repaired. It reappeared in March '07, I had it repaired, the problem reared its ugly head last week, I had it repaired and the same day the problem came back. The problem, a cracked valve of sorts that I don't know, but the symptom was blown spark plugs. They were lasting about 10 months, then 6 months, then 2 months, then 1 day. Well, it cost about $25 each time I had it replaced, which was fine for a bi-annual repair, or even bi-monthly, but not daily!

So I was trying to decide what to do. Either fix this car, deal with the problem a while longer, or begin looking at new vehicles. I've already said I was content, and truly I was. Until Sunday night when I went looking at new cars. It happened. New car fever. Careful, it is contagious. After I purchased my new one yesterday, I drove to Brother Paul and Sister Barb's house to show them, and suddenly Barb (who before was content with her car) wanted a new car! :-)

So I looked and looked, then went online for quotes, and had a man call from a Cadillac dealership in St Louis yesterday morning. So I went over, thinking I'd test drive several, not really thinking I'd come home with a new (or new to me) car.


A 2007 Chevrolet Impala. This one is slightly used with 22,000 miles on it. I had the choice of white, charcoal gray and black. My Explorer was white, so I was a little tired of white. The Impala I saw on Sunday was the charcoal gray and I thought I'd buy it - but when I saw the black, I just liked it, A LOT! I know, I know, it will be hard to keep clean, but it is pretty!

I am thankful that the Lord provided, and now as I depart for Nashville for Bethel's meeting, I won't have to worry about the engine conking out on the drive down, I trust!