Be Encouraged!

Great song. Great Lyrics!

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Jesus Calms the Storm!

Journal Entry Friday April 5, 2013.

It was a beautiful day today. I have not seen the suns face in a few weeks now that it has finally come out of hiding. It was refreshing and comfortable brought upon by the rays. The air was crisp but not cold. There was nothing unusual about this day. It was just another Friday here at Southwestern. The signs given by the day appeared to have no storm ahead. When evening broke the voyage of the day was coming to the shore. The sun slowly dimmed. The night was old and ready for the new day.

When immediately,

A storm catapulted unto the sea and the waves began to break into the boat. The wind hurled the vessel to and fro across the cascades. There were no signs for what was before me. I found myself on my knees crying out to God that the morning would come. I am still looking for the morning. What a fair but now fowl day I have seen today as Macbeth said in his play. The Word of God gives me peace and a stronghold. However it did not stop the tears at-least not yet.

My mom was diagnosed with a dire stage of breast cancer today. At first I was in shock and in disbelief. That was only the superficial; little did I understand what this really meant. I got on my knees and began pleading with my God and it went something like this:

Heavenly Father, creator and sustainer of life you give and take away. And everyday is a blessing poured down upon us. I thank you Lord God for this day. I pray that you would forgive me of my sins, wash my heart and mind so I may be pure and clean. Father God I thank you for sending your only Son to come in the flesh to die for us wicked and rebellious sinners. You were publically humiliated and scourge, you took the nails and the crown of thorns, the spit in the face, the spear in the side. Thank you Lord for dying for me. You were dead and buried behind the sealed tomb. They’re the guards stood and kept watch while you descended into hades and paid the ransom for my sins. You defeated death and overcame the evil one. Then you rose from the grace and removed the stone to let others in to share with your resurrection and ascension. Lord you overcame the greatest disease. You are the cure and the life for the dead. Jesus Christ is your name, the great physician. I lift up to you you’re servant. My Mother. You made the blind see and the lame walk. Jesus the Son of God who cast out demons, turned water into wine and fed the people by the thousand. Lord I know that you do not promise a good and healthy life but eternal life. However I plead with you this night to remove my Mothers cancer. May you give her another fifty-years. There is still much I have not learned from her. She has become more precious to me this night then any other please Father do not call her home this night. Increase my faith! Help my unbelief! Lord I know you can heal her. Give her new strength tomorrow, strength like she has never experienced before in her entire life. Remove the cancer, oh Great Physician. Only you alone can do this. I will labor and not cease in prayer until she is healed. I love you Lord God and I ask all this in the name of your Son Jesus.

Amen

Why a blog? Why writing?

Journal entry Thursday May 9, 2013.

By: Josiah Durfee

Whenever it has been a few days away since I have last written in this little journal I usually get the conviction to pick up my pen again and start writing. I love writing. It is really unlike anything that I do. After all we are story creatures constructing new plots to our lives each day. There really is nothing like going through barrels of ink. There are so many  avenues that I can take. I can think hard for a minute or two to come up with a better word to convey what it is I am trying to say or take the short cut. Writing is like strategy or a game of chess. It is hard and it is more frustrating when you always loose.

Can one ever win in writing?

When the chessboard is before oneself it is hard not to feel contempt towards the player across for you. It is a battle of the mind. It is a battle to see who has the better mind. Who is smarter? The difference between winning and loosing is if one has prepared himself better. The difference is made even more acute if you lack a creative mind. How can you get the other player to move there, and the words to say something well? Every writer must have the desire to say something/write something timeless. The problem is being able to build it. In my mind there are great stories and beautiful sentences but I am unable to access them in my words. My own devices trap me.

My ability to command the words that I want to say is distressing. How can I control my sentences and form them into a beautiful stream. Or like a rushing waterfall off a mountain like Paradise Falls.

With a sigh, “Why is writing this journal entry so difficult?”

There are so many questions that I have, is writing all about the rules? Can one know everything about writing and be a terrible writer? Why am I even writing? I am determined to overcome this beast. After all no one is going to read this journal (I guess only a few entries) there must be other reasons. I want to write more so that I can write better. I want to write about the great and the small, the extraordinary and minute and capture it in an arrow and shot it on paper. I want to write a piece with force, a piece that will change peoples lives and see the beauty in life. And above all in all my pieces I desire to glorify God with my writing! This is my goal, my target and I will continue to write until I am there and then I will keep writing. Until the time comes for God to call me home.

Pastor Kelvins last sermon at Kirkville Wesleyan Church

The morning of Sunday the 16th dawned on the congregation of Kirkville Community Church with unexpected expectation. For our neighbors and co-workers it was another Sunday morning, but this morning the church was passing a baton. One last chance the people could have to hear Pastor Kelvin stand behind the pulpit and proclaim the Word of God. One last time the people would hear his wife fill the sanctuary with her music. And one last time the people could worship God with an old friend who is moving away.

The attention was strong. There was not one sleepy eye or deaf ear in the well-packed pews. The service was unlike any other. After a few songs of praise the children gathered around Pastor up on by the pulpit to send him off with their prayers of thanksgiving and blessings. Others including myself were a fortunate group to have been raised under the Pastor’s full influence since our childhood. There was a sense of pity I had for those children who would not have the benefit we had when we were young. I never realized how much an impact Pastor Kelvin had on my life. After every sermon my Dad, brother and I would pack into the farm van (or truck, whatever vehicle that was not broken that week) and discuss Pastors sermon. How well was it? Did it stay faithful the text? What would you have done? What did you like most etc.? And during all those conversations I did not know what it would do for my own ministry. Today, when I prepare for my sermons I constantly reflect upon these conversations and my Pastors sermons. This now frequently happens subconsciously.

Everyone has their own story. We all learned from his humility.

Moving on will be the hard part. How can anyone package anyone’s ministry of 22 years in a short sermon? In the minds of the people in the congregation Kirkville Church was almost synonymous with Kelvin’s ministry. Maybe it was his smile, the relaxed expression, or something deeper. His humble heart and patience that helped pave the years of unceasing proclamation. Through trials and difficulties by the grace of God working in our Pastor our Church concluded with his ministry there a success. Not a success in the eyes of the world like a large church attendance or overwhelming prosperity. It was a success of a much greater value. A value that cannot be measured with graphs or data charts or any instrument of measurement for that matter but it was a value that will only be seen in eternity.

The last sermon was both appropriate and fitting. It came from Deuteronomy 31:1-8 when Moses stepped down and gave the leadership to Joshua. From the beginning the message crescendo to its climax: be strong and courageous in the Lord because the Lord is with us. The closing soon followed with a liturgy then the final passing of the keys of the church to Pastor Eric. In addition, a Bible was given to him that symbolized the Pastors role of devout study in the Word. He was also given a towel. It was not a special towel in fact it was just an ordinary kitchen rag. This could only symbolize one thing; a servant attitude clothed in humility and weakness is the only way to lead.

The Useful Vessel: A Weak and Lowly Spirit

It was a cool and wet Saturday morning. As if that were not discouraging enough I woke up much latter then usual and that really threw my entire day off. I like to keep my days orderly and neat that way I can get more work done. So it is a big deal for me.

Saturdays I go out to share the Gospel with my community. I was determined not to let this day bog me down but immediately I was overcome by a lack of usefulness for God. I am sure you have all been there. You lack the conviction that only the Holy Spirit can give and you just feel unable to do God’s mission because your just not feeling it. At-least that was how I felt.

I knew however, that regardless of how I felt there was no reason why I could not make myself share the good news. After all feelings are not reasons. After a week of prayer and knowing that my friends were praying for me as well I knew that God would do something great. I felt weak and knew more clearly then other days that if anything were going to happen it was going to be all on God’s part.

I stepped out expecting not to see many people out on this rainy day. Yet, God was going to teach me that through my weakness I am made strong (2 Corinthians 2:10). I was an empty and useless vessel before God but it pleased Him to fill me with His Spirit and use me for His glory. Thankfully, I shared the gospel with two men. Another gentlemen was not interested. Nevertheless, what a harvest the Lord had planted. One of the men was interested in attending my Church to learn more. And the other was a Catholic man and I got to encourage Him with the Gospel and a verse that comes from John 8:31, which says something like, abide/continue in my word then you are truly one of His disciples. I ended up having a great time and experiencing awesome joy. There is something about doing what God has called you to do that satisfies the soul because God is working for the advancement of His Kingdom.

After I cam home I realized that over the past year God seems to use us to His full ability if we are weak like children. Our weaknesses display our dependency upon God and manifests our hopelessness. A servant of Christ who is not willing to pour out his life and allow God to fill him with His strength is handicapping himself. Let us have the heart of a child. Like a child they have a healthy appetite for food and milk (especially nap time). So our desire and appetite should be for the pure milk of the Word seeking God’s provisions and emptying ourselves out daily (1 Peter 2:2).