Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Busy and busy some more!!

I have been incredibly busy as of recent. In fact, it's to the point where people I live with are forgetting what I look like and making appointments to see me. LOL I'm just kidding!
It actually started about 2 weeks ago when Graduation practice really began to heat up. Because of the situation with the Blackburn baby, my mother could not direct the program as she normally does, and so the directing of the program was left to me. Over the last two weeks, I have averaged 2 practices a day, somewhere around 2-3 hours a practice. Aside from the actual practice, I have had to write, proof-read, and type 4 speeches, as well as proof-read 10 graduate speeches, type 6 songs, practice the songs with the boys, get the program to transition smoothly, etc. To say that this program has absorbed my last two weeks is a huge understatement. The program was this last Saturday the 25th. I can't say it went off without a hitch--and the perfectionist in me hates that--but I once heard a man I greatly respect say that he would go to war with an 80% army, cause you'll never get 100%. So, I need to learn to be content with coming a little short of perfection...

I just got to breathe a sigh of relief over this weekend since the graduation is over, and I am now beginning teacher duties starting today. In care of the Blackburns schooling, I have taken four students, or, stoogents I could call them! LOL They are certainly quite a case to have on your hands! In fact, as I write this, the last two are finishing their school here at about 1 p.m. School starts at 9 a.m. and ends at about this time every day. And in case that wasn't a full time job, at 2 p.m., I will head to the boys home to finish the last two classes of school over there, and then finish the shift until 10 p.m. I wish I could say that this type of schedule was temporary, but it looks to be like this for a while in the future, so don't expect lots of posts. I'm glad I'm staying busy; the idle mind is the devil's workshop, and God knows that, so he's keeping me out of trouble! :) Please pray for me. I will sure need it to keep my sanity! It was hard enough doing my own school, but it does not compare to having to teach others.

By the way, yesterday was the one year mark since I graduated from high-school! Man, time sure did fly! I will be starting college in 3 months from now, my older brother turns 20 in a few weeks, etc. I'm half way to turning 19, and I still haven't stopped to enjoy 18 like I told myself I was going to. Does it ever slow down? One day I'll be a lawyer, and I'm going to wonder where my childhood went. I'm going to wonder what took up all that time... as the old Ron Hamilton song says, "Cherish the Moments."

Well, these needy children are dying to have my always-helpful attention once more, so I'll write more soon. I have a post about the prodigal son I would like to post in the next week or so, but it's real looooooooooong!!! Pray I can shorten it a little.

In Christ Alone,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Miracle of Salvation

He's in a fix. This sea of life is tumultuous! He's been here forever it seems...it might as well be forever, cause he knows of no other life outside this raging sea he lives in. There have been good days and bad, but the good days are few.... and it's so lonely.

Living in the troubled sea is no easy task, especially without the boat, sails, anchor, and captain needed to weather such a storm. The rashes from constant waves and torrents of sins consequences rack his body with pain, and the taste of that awful seaweed rises from his tongue every time he takes a laboring breath...but that's just life here on the sea.

The attacks come so sudden, so sudden it takes him by surprise, though he should be accustomed to it by now. Those sea creatures, monsters that they are, seem to toy with him on a constant basis, the sea monster of them all telling him he's got no hope. What if he's right, though? He wonders when they'll just kill him and end this misery most call life... Well, if this is life, I want no part of it. He seems to think no other life exists...

The storm is back. All of the empty promises, broken relationships, and unfulfilled expectations are thundering through the sky, reminding him of times where he trusted that he could make it on his own, trusting his own heart... well, he still does, cause he learned from those mistakes; I'll do better next time.

It's killing him now, this restless sea. He surely cannot make it long in this darkness...it's overtaking him. He chokes hard on the bile mixed with salt water in a half cough, half vomit that hurts him to his very soul! He feels something like a log of some sort with his right hand, and clutching it with all his might, hoping it will save him from sure destruction, it too crumbles upon contact, following the path of all he has clung to in this sea. His head is barely staying above the water, and only for seconds at a time. The will to survive rises within him, but the weights of his past sins and the bleakness of having true hope...well, why try? He will soon die, he knows. He no longer resists...

He hears the voices of men... sailors ....men somewhere ... maybe he's just already losing consciousness from lack of oxygen ... but no, those are the voices of men he hears!! He hears the croaking of wood and metal as the biggest ship he's ever seen comes into view on the horizon. A life boat with a rescue team is on it's way!!!! Finally, help is here; he may just live! But can they get here in time?

Maybe it's one of the delusions those sea monsters like to pull... but he's never had one like this before. In fact, just the view of the ship and crew seemed to bring over him a longing to be one of them. They worked with such strength and confidence, though they also bore the storm that was raging. They worked with such purpose. There seemed to be a calmness... or peace, aboard that ship... even in such a storm. He wonders who their Captain is...

Well, that was years ago. Now he sits aboard the same ship of grace! He had no problem abandoning his old clothes and ways when this ship passed by. Come to find out, the Captain is there for leadership, but he's also the anchor for stability, the sails for direction, and the bow for durability. It should be easy to trust the Captain, shouldn't it? I mean, the storms are still bad, but he's on a ship that just can't be brought down!!! After all, the Captain promised when they get to port, he will share his name, his wealth, his home, and his inheritance with this old hopeless sinner! He wonders sometimes how long it will take to get home, but as long as they're headed there, he's just fine.

But... sad to say, sometimes his weaker nature gets the best of him. He begins to question the Captains directions, deciding to try to guide the ship his own way... My, what mistakes can be made doing that!! He should just let go and let God...

Why would he question the Captain? Was he doing so great out on life's sea alone? Now he has someone to call family, friends and shipmates that would never let him down if they could help it, and the friend that sticketh closer than a brother! What could he possibly do without the Captain? He doesn't want to leave the ship. To whom shall I go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. He, well, he just doubts sometimes. But what a great Captain he is, he is always forgiving, always concerning, and always caring. But, the only thing is, when he steers things away from the Captains plans, he always hurts his Captain. And he hurts himself as well. The more he tries to control things on his own, the farther he gets from the Captains best for him, settling for God's partial blessing.

Isn't is good that God doesn't kick out the doubters? I mean, Thomas doubted, and Jesus didn't kick him out of the group. That's comforting isn't it? Thomas' only problem was that he missed church on Sunday. :D Remember? Everyone was there on Sunday morning for church but Thomas. He slept in and got a bad rap! Jesus didn't even scold him, he just decided to make a second appearance, and told Thomas, "touch me, and see."

But the doubting isn't only with the saved, it's with the lost. Over in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul had to rebuke a bunch of people who weren't teaching the Resurrection. Doubts, doubters, and doubteresses. (I'm not smart; I came up with that word.) LOL

Listen, if you're lost and you're a doubter, and the Holy Spirit can't convince you, I surely can't convince you. All I can say is, it's true. You're wanted; your soul was worth dying for to the creator of the universe, and the old rugged cross was for you!!!

I met a man the other day who just told me, "That's too good to be true. Nobody gets deals like that in the real world. That's just your crutch." I proceeded to tell him that if you're hurt, don't you want a crutch? And by the way, Christ is so much more than a crutch for me... he's wings to fly as eagles!

I wrote a song the other day for doubters because of that man. The song isn't finished yet, because I only included the lost, but when it's done, the third verse will include the saved who doubt as well. I'll post it when I'm done. Hope it helps!

Could it Be Real
I heard a story; I heard a song
I heard a testimony, the word of God
I felt his touch upon my very soul
This perfect love I simply had to know
I heard his voice; it whispered soft but clear
I needed life that gave me rest from fear
Could I let go, and quell my shameful pride
His blood could heal, forgive, and satisfy
Could it be real, my sins be washed away?
Could he forgive, and cleanse my deepest stain?
If I believe and turn in Godly sorrow
Could it be real, that he my soul would save?
So I believed. By faith I took his word
And now I'm clean, I know my hope's secured
He gave me peace where there was only fear and doubt
And now this love, I know and tell about!
I know it's real; my sins are washed away
His love forgave, and cleansed my deepest stain
When I believed, and turned in Godly sorrow
I found it real, cause he my soul did save!
You may not see, and doubt that it is so
But you can't doubt this joy this peace I know!
I know it's real; my sins are washed away
His love forgave, and cleansed my deepest stain
When I believed, and turned in Godly sorrow
I found it real, cause he my soul did save!
By Clay Maynard

Monday, May 18, 2009

Update on Silas Blackburn

Please pray for Silas. The latest developments are as follows:

Bro. Rob Unger and Bro. Mark Gregory, both men of our church, went to the blood bank on Sunday to donate more blood. Unfortunately, they had to leave in the middle of church as soon as we got the news of his blood count. The situation at the present is, his blood count is extremely low, and their blood needs 48 hours to go through processing and hit the supply shelf for Silas. We are hoping his blood platelet level will stay high enough until then. If it doesn't, they will be forced to use some unknown donor blood, which is not our desire. Please pray that it will stay stable until then. I am told that if he gets low tonight, my blood will be used for him until more is available.

My heart has been terribly heavy as of recent for little Silas. Do not cease to pray for him, brethren and sisters. I will keep you updated as I get news.

In Christ Alone,

Friday, May 15, 2009

More Blood Needed

We have learned from down south Florida at Shands that Silas is in need of more blood. His blood counts are dropping rapidly at this point, and they had to put him back on his morphine drip. They are not ready for Silas to leave there yet. Russell and I drove to Dothan, Alabama today to give blood. He will have it in the next couple of days. Please pray for the little guy. He is in alot of pain.
I shot this picture outside the other day.

Walking across the yard to go to work, something flew past my head as I walked under a tree. Looking to see what it was, it was the poor little bird. He had fallen from his nest. My first instict was to try to get him back to the nest where he belonged, but if you know anything about animals, they will reject their young if human contact is made. My best bet was to leave him on the ground and hope that the parents came to get him.

When I came home from work, he laid there still, dead on the ground. I gave him a proper burial, and went inside with a unique thought. Why couldn't something have been done? I knew he would die without help. His parents must have known that too. But they left him to die alone. Could it be that they were too busy to go get him? Maybe they were so lazy they didn't feel like going to get him?

Regardless, it made me think of Silas. What a loved little boy he is!! I'd take that cancer in his place if I could. In a heartbeat. I'd do it tomorrow if they could possibly pull that off.

But then I think of the cancers around us; worldy music, worldy philosophies, and the influences of sin. These cancers eat up our young today. The young generation of this country is laying in the middle of the yard, subject to being trampled on, freezing to death, and the ravaging of the wild animals. No one would get them some help, or take the necessary means to get them to safety from the snare of the devil. No blood would be donated through prayer and fasting, to get them the transfusion they need from sins diseases.

What a poor little bird. But how much worse to see this generation of kids being ignored the same way.

Please continue to pray for Silas. Every prayer is a petition to the all-powerful King of the universe. We need yours!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Encourage Yourself in the Lord!

I have been reading 1 Samuel as a contrast to my normal Bible reading, which is stuck in the judgement of the major prophets.

Anyway, I read 1 Samuel 26-30 yesterday, and I was touched by the Lord about several things. Today, I picked up a book by Max Lucado called "Facing Your Giants." I picked up reading where I had left off at chapter 8, which happens to be about 1 Samuel 30. This was a great encouragement to me, so I've posted the link below to read it online in Google Book Search. I hope if you're down and out like I get sometimes, you'll take the time to read this.

"Slump Guns"

In Christ Alone,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update On Silas Blackburn

Silas Blackburn's first chemotherapy treatment started on Friday night, and it ends tonight at 7 p.m. It is too early to tell as yet how successful if any the treatment has been. He underwent surgery earlier last week to get a biopsy from his under his arm where one of his tumors are located, and they also took a bone marrow sample. As stated earlier, there are other tumor locations in his abdomen (very large), and in his head. The cancer is also present in his adrenal glands. The biopsy confirmed that it was cancer, and the bone marrow was clear, with no cancer found. The bone marrow results are a blessing because these cells can be used later to grow new cells in case Silas needs them later. This will greatly aid his recovery.

Due to surgery, and the cancer, Silas was in need of blood. His blood was low. The doctors preferred that the blood be that of someone not in the immediate family due to similar antibodies, etc. Therefore, my dad drove over to Gainesville and donated two units of his blood, and my younger brother Aaron donated one unit. My blood type matches his as well, and I am prepared for a trip should he need more blood. I am already on the blood donor list along with my older brother. He will be receiving the blood already taken this morning.

My dad had an interesting conversation with a nurse at the Blood Bank there in Gainesville on Saturday morning. She told him how that when these cancer patients need new blood, they will take the contaminated blood (due to the cancer and the chemotherapy) and replace it with the donor's healthy blood. She said that they trade the sick, diseased blood with healthy, pure blood. He put a big smile on his face and told the nurse that he had that done years ago. She responded, "you had a blood transfusion?" He said to her, "yes Ma'am." He continued, "Years ago, I had sick blood that was contaminated by sin. Jesus Christ replaced that 'bad blood' with his, and since then I have been a picture of perfect spiritual health, and I have eternal life!" This black nurse smiled really big and said, "Honey chile, you shore did!" Glory to God!! As a result of this conversation and others, dad preached a great message Sunday morning at church on "the Blood". Praise God for the salvation, sin-cleansing, sonship, sancitification, strength, and security found in the "Blood of Jesus Christ". (Hebrews 10:19-23)

Thank you for your continued prayers for Silas and the Blackburn family. Below is information to send a personal greeting to Silas Blackburn directly to his hospital room. This is a free service offered by Shands Childrens Hospital. We have seen the cards when they are delivered to the room. They are very nice. To send a greeting card free of charge right to Silas hospital room go to: http://www.shands.org/Public/message/default.asp
You will have to enter the following information.

His name : Silas Blackburn
The facility he is in: Shands Childrens Hospital UF (Gainesville)
The room #: 4528.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request - Silas Blackburn

I am a little late in posting this, but this is an urgent prayer request.
Silas Blackburn is the son of missionary Nick Blackburn to the Congo. At 2 years old, Silas has been diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a cancer that attacks the nervous system. He has a large tumor covering his abdomen, and it is spread through his lymph nodes, brain, and adrenal glands. He is preparing for intense chemotherapy at Shands hospital in Gainesville, Florida, and I'm told will begin chemotherapy treatment today.
My mother is currently residing at the hospital with the Blackburns with my brother, Aaron. My dad just returned home from his first trip down, and plans to commute regularly.
Please, brethren, make this an urgent matter of prayer. They will need much wisdom and grace in the coming weeks while decisions are being made. It is our desire that the Lord's will be done.

If you would like to send a message of encouragement to the Blackburn family, go to http://www.shands.org/ and click on "For Patients and Public." Then click on "Send a Patient a Message," and put in Silas' name and room number, which is 4528.

It is ultimately in God's hands, but your prayers are greatly appreciated. I don't believe the Lord would be upset with any that would push away from the table for a time of fasting over this issue. These folks are one of us, and there's not one of the Truth Baptist Church family that has not been effected by this.
With my dad and Aaron gone, the schedule at the academy has tightened up a little, not leaving me much time, or I would have posted this sooner. The timeline for the situation is indefinite at this point. However, There is no doubt that we need a miracle from God!
On behalf of the Blackburn family, we appreciate your prayers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My Saturday

I had an action-packed day this last Saturday! It started quiet and serene at about 6 a.m. at the location shown below. This is the pond on our property. I believe that God wants us to be still sometimes and fellowship with him. This is a favorite place of mine to do that. "He leadeth me beside the still waters..."

After a shower and a quick breakfast of strawberry yogurt, butter and jelly toast, and a glass of milk, I was out the door. I had the college SAT to take! After arousing my companions (6 boys in the academy) who were also taking the test, we went down to the local high school where the test is administered. Well, 4 hours later, after a real sanity-killing, hair-brained, mind-wrenching effort (LOL), the test was over. It was one tough test, but I am confident that I did well. I had the Lord with me, and he's a lot smarter than the professor that wrote the book. :D I am also very confident in the homeschool system which has proven to do a much better job than any public, compulsory education. I'll get the results from the test in about a month.

Upon getting home, I was delighted to spend the first part of my afternoon with our dear friends in the Netherlands via skype. The Huussens have been dear friends to our family, and it is a fun past time of ours to talk with them occasionally through the amazing modern technology we have today. Not all missionaries have been so priveledged in past times! We communicate with the missionaries out of our church this way as well. I was not much help to the conversation Saturday, but I was there, and the thought is what counts, right? :D

After that, I decided to check up on the gardens. Seeing that this is probably the most exciting time of nature for me(have I already said that?), I took some pictures of them.

There is something uniquely beautiful about the way life begins that has always made me love gardens, even with all the hard work that is involved.
Later that afternoon, we had the whole property over into our front yard for a cookout! This was a special time of fellowship, food, and fun. We cooked out hamburgers on the grill, and had a great time. Sometimes, it is easy to take for granted the place of peace and quiet we enjoy in the middle of a wicked world. It is truly a haven from the pressures, the influences, and ideals of the world.

The night ended on a rather sad note. We received news that the Lymans, evangelists out of our church, had been attacked while street preaching. Without many details, we heard that one had been drug to the ground and beaten while others had been assaulted. This is the day in which we live, folks! This is only the beginning of many more persecutions that will come! Just remember, they hated your precious Saviour before they hated you. No servant is greater than his master.

We knelt there on the porch collectively and had a prayer meeting for our brethren and friends at that street preaching event. We committed the situation and our friends into the hands of the Lord, knowing that the arm of flesh can do nothing. It is not flesh and blood that we fight, dear Christian. It is principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places.

So, while being disturbed and fearful for our brethren in the field, we had the peace and calm assurance that God was and is in control.

And that was the end of the day. Packed day, huh? Well, staying busy keeps me out of trouble, so I can't complain. I would tell you about my wild yesterday, including some interesting events last night, but I don't have the time. Remember, keep me in your prayers. I need it!!

Who ever said the ministry was boring?