Friday, January 31, 2014

A Gift of Poetry for Capt. Billy

One of the men who prays on my Pastor's Prayer Patrol heard me say that my Dad, Capt. Billy, loves poetry. In response, this kind man of prayer and poetry, Gene, sent some original lines to share with my Dad during his cancer challenge season of life. When I read it to my Dad, tears lined his eyes and he said, "Son, write those lines on a 3x5 card so I can keep it in my Bible." Here is the simple but profound gift of poetry for Capt. Billy and for the rest of us:

Lay your tear-stained cheeks at His blood-stained feet
He may not dry your eyes or make your problems flee
He will however give you strength to endure and joy through sorrows
as the bitterness of your tears turn sweet.

-- Gene Stainback


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Human Striving or Holy Strength

Human striving is a sorry substitute for Holy strength. Too often we as mere people give more attention to expending our own limited resources than we do in trusting God and His unlimited supply.

As I grow older, I realize more and more that I am anything but independent. Not only am I dependent on God for every breath, but I also find I am dependent on Him for everything else that will last.

I often find myself praying the lyrics of an old 1500's hymn: "God Be in My Head." It's true. Every good and perfect gift is from Above, especially every good and perfect thought is from Almighty God. Oh my, how I so depend on God to develop deep within me The Mind of Christ.

Friends, I surely depend on God for my soul's encouragement. As I listen to the competing voices of this world, it seems too many, maybe even most, have yielded to temptation and are embracing sin instead of yielding to Christ and letting Him embrace them. It's extremely painful and overwhelming to my soul. Yet, in it all, even though my strength is often depleted, I call out to The Lord and He hears and soothes my troubled soul with His Peaceful Presence.

So, today, and day-by-day, let us fall on Jesus and live. While we pray for Holy Spiritual renewal in our world, ultimately we can only choose Christ for ourselves. 

Will we remain on the Lord's side? Will we surrender our human striving for His Holy strength? Will we let Him be our Everything?

I will. 

Holiness Unto The Lord!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Brother Lawrence And God's Presence

This morning I have the writings of the Jesus-loving Monk of yesteryear, Brother Lawrence, on my mind. If you are not familiar with Brother Lawrence's writings, you can read them in the classic book entitled "The Practice of The Presence of God."

Yes, I awoke today remembering Brother Lawrence's testimony. His practice was to desire the Lord Himself at all times, whether in the sanctuary in corporate worship with others or all alone at the kitchen sink washing dishes. Brother Lawrence always witnessed the powerful embrace of the Lord's presence wherever he happened to be and in whatever he was doing.

Brother Lawrence's desire is my desire. How I want to love and to know my Lord at all times. Yes, in any situation or circumstance I find myself in, I long to be in His Holy Presence and to know His Holy Presence within me.

As I write these words, I have spent the days of this week waiting on the daily needs of my Dad, as he journeys forward with cancer, and my Mom as she recovers from a broken pelvis. In short, I am what my family refers to as the chief cook and bottle washer. 

The point is, I have spent the last 20 years of my life as a pastor of just one congregation. It has been and continues to be a glorious assignment. However, the Presence of The Lord has been as real to me during these hard days working with my parents as He has been when I endeavor to be faithful in the holy work of the local church. 

I don't expect anyone to be surprised by this reality, I only state it to reinforce this truth: "The Practice of the Presence of God" is an experience that knows no boundaries. 

Let us not compartmentalize "The Presence of God" by referring to only some experiences as "sacred" and labeling other experiences as "non-sacred". All of life is a sacred experience as long as we are found in His Holy Presence and His Holy Presence is found within us.

Devotion calls. So, until next time, join me at basking in The Holy Presence of God, in all things and at all times. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Glorious Golden Daybreak, Indeed!

My Dad, Capt. Billy, loves poetry and perhaps his favorite brand of poetry comes in the form of hymns and spiritual songs. This morning with a brokenhearted voice of praise, Dad awoke singing aloud these poetic words of victory. Dad said he sung these words many times over his fishing boat radio for other seamen to hear as they headed out to the sea on early mornings:

(1) Some glorious morning sorrow will cease
Some glorious morning all will be peace
Heartaches all ended, school days all done
Heaven will open--Jesus will come

Some golden daybreak Jesus will come
Some golden daybreak, battles all won
He'll shout the vict'ry, break thro' the blue
Some golden daybreak, for me, for you.

(2) Sad hearts will gladden, all shall be bright
Goodbye forever to earth's dark night
Changed in a moment, like Him to be
Oh, glorious daybreak, Jesus I'll see

Some golden daybreak, Jesus will come
Some golden daybreak, battles all won
He'll shout the vict'ry, break thro' the blue
Some golden daybreak, for me, for you.

(3) Oh, what a meeting, there in the skies
No tears nor crying shall dim our eyes
Loved ones united eternally
Oh, what a daybreak that morn will be

Some golden daybreak Jesus will come
Some golden daybreak, battles all won
He'll shout the vict'ry, break thro' the blue
Some golden daybreak, for me, for you.

These are hard days of trial but also sacred days of triumph because of the Wonderful Name of Jesus.

Let us not forget that If we belong to The Victor, Victory is ours today and Someday it will be truly Visible. The End will be worth it all, faithful friends. The End is only our Beginning -- A Glorious Golden Daybreak, indeed!


Monday, January 27, 2014

"Man of Sorrows" -- "The Song"

Rarely does our local worship pastor send me a song and preface it with these words: "This song moves me to the core!" But with this song below, those were his words. So, without further explanation, click and listen to "The Song!"

Jesus Paid It All... In Full, My Friends.

"Suffering" According to Capt. Billy

This morning I eavesdropped as my Dad talked with his cousin on the phone. Here was his commentary when his cousin questioned: "Why do things like this happen -- cancer, suffering, etc?"

"There's nothing I did to bring my suffering on. There's nothing my wife, Melba, did, either. Suffering comes to everyone -- to the young and to the old. If we handle suffering the right way (with humility) God will get glory from Our suffering. There's no sense in fretting over suffering, just stand on the Scriptures the Lord gives you each day."

Lord, have Your way with Your clay, today. Amen.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Come to Jesus"

Today, this song was the response after my Sunday message titled "Suffering -- Perspective". May these words by Chris Rice warm your soul and give you endurance in your trials and triumphs of life.

Deo Volente.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Then, Thursday Night Came..."

Here's another update on my parents, Capt. Billy and Lady Melba.

As you know from my earlier post this week, Dad is at home now and getting along in a wheelchair with Mom's help. 

Then, Thursday night came... That's when Mom tripped backwards over the end of Dad's wheelchair and fell hard on the wood floor. We were concerned she may have messed up her recent hip replacement. However, after X-rays she broke her pelvis in two places. 

So, now they are both somewhat crippled, Dad caring for Mom from his wheelchair and Mom assisting Dad from her walker.

Can I say one thing? "A husband and a wife staying together for better or for worse over the longhaul is a beautiful thing!"

Through sacred tears last evening Dad tenderly testified: "We are unoffended in The Lord."

My brothers and I are burning up the roads between Virginia and North Carolina these days. And it's all joy, my friends, all joy!


Note: This is my 1600th All-Time Blog Post. So glad it is wrapped in Luke 7:23 (KJV).  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Because You Rescued Me

You, Lord God, are my mighty rock and my fortress. Lead me and guide me, so that your name will be honored. Protect me from hidden traps and keep me safe. You are faithful, and I trust you because you rescued me.
-- Psalms 31:3-5 CEV

Deo Volente!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Update on Capt. Billy ("Dad" to Me)

For those who are still faithfully praying for my family and are awaiting an update on my Dad's health challenges following his December 19, 2013 cancer diagnosis, in "brief" here's where Dad is:

This past Tuesday, Capt. Billy, completed his 20-day stay at the rehab home, Sailors' Snug Harbor, where his physical therapy has been coming along slowly but surely. On the same day his second round of chemotherapy resumed. So, Dad is now back at our island home place and will be transported back and forth to town for chemo treatments while his physical therapy will continue in the home. 

At his recent oncology visit, Dad's diagnosis was reinterpreted. The new understanding initially took our breath away, as the doctor said he believes Dad's diagnosis is not Stage 1, as we were told in December. The updated diagnosis is believed now to be Stage 3, maybe even Stage 4.

We finally exhaled as we remembered that our God is not at all intimidated by even Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Dad's spirit is still strong as he also continues to tenderly and genuinely encourage everyone he encounters. 

More Good News: Dad's new cancer doctor is obviously an extreme believer in Jesus. He told Dad to pray for medical wisdom from on high as he treats Dad on this Jesus-led journey. The new doctor assured our family that while he will diligently attend to Dad's physical needs, he will pray for him fervently as well. He softly said to Dad, "I will care for you like I would my own Father."

Whew... I know I've shared a lot already, so let me bring this update to a pause.

I talked with Dad yesterday (the morning after his second round of chemotherapy that lasted for nine long hours). Dad slept well that night and said he really felt good. 

And as for Mom, Lady Melba? She's surely been nearly overwhelmed a few times, but told me this powerful information yesterday: "The Lord is our Comforter and Helper." Then, she added:  "I am learning to obey these words of Jesus: 'Don't worry about tomorrow.'"


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Double-Blessing In The Land of Suffering...

This one verse about the Old Testament Joseph intrigues my soul today: 

“He named the second son Ephraim [Blessed Twice With Children], because God gave him children in the land where he had suffered.” -- Genesis 41:52 (GWT)

Lord, in the land of suffering I anticipate your double-blessing.

Deo Volente. 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Who Is Jesus?"

Could it be that the best way to answer the question "who am i?", is to first ask the greater question "Who Is Jesus?"

In the song titled, "He Is", we get a head start on understanding "Who Jesus Is" from God's Holy Word:


Monday, January 20, 2014

"Be" -- (My Prayer to God For Us)

Almighty Personal God...

(1) Be before us -- our undeniable Guide

(2) Be beneath us -- our unshakable foundation

(3) Be above us -- our impenetrable shield

(4) Be among us -- our holy unity

(5) Be around us -- our strong tower

(6) Be within us -- our ever-present guarantee

(7) Be behind us -- our rear guard

In the Name of Jesus, I desperately pray.

Holiness Unto The LORD!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"Who Am i?"

Consider the words of this old song written by Rusty Goodman and sung by Elvis Presley:

You and I are valuable to God!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Recreate Within Me Who You Are..."

This is my sacred and solemn prayer, O Lord:

Jesus, please recreate within me "Who You are". Indeed, I must have Your Holy Spirit possessing me if I am to ever profess with pure integrity the virtues of Your Holy Character.

Only with Your Holy Presence controlling and consuming my life, will I ever be able to powerfully witness aloud in my earthly lifetime for Your eternal glory. 

I want my heart, mind, soul, and strength to continuously -- now and for forever -- cry out: "Holiness Unto The LORD!"

In the Name of...
God The Father...
God The Son...
God The Holy Spirit... ONE...
I now make my sacred and solemn  request known. Amen, Amen, and Amen.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” --- Promise of Jesus in Acts 1:8 GWT


Friday, January 17, 2014

A Passionate Poem & A Powerful Psalm -- REPEAT

In case you are curious, over the years I have been posting blogs, this has been the most read entry. I posted it originally on January 2, 2010. Because of its popularity, I thought it would be good to just repeat "the good stuff":

Alfred Lloyd Tenneyson was an English Poet. His classic poem titled, Crossing the Bar was written in 1889, just three years before his death. This is my Dad's favorite poem. He has quoted it to me from memory many times over the years. Because my Dad has spent the majority of his life on the ocean as a shrimp-boat captain, the imagery of the sea is especially meaningful to him when it comes to understanding life and death.

The word "bar" in this poem, for example, has to do with "a final sand bar near a safe harbor before a captain puts his vessel out into the unknown deep". "Moaning" in this poem likely refers to "bad weather". Also, "Pilot" as used by Tenneyson is a synonym for "Captain". It is an endearing title given to "God" by sailors. You might be aware of the cherished hymn, "Jesus, Saviour Pilot Me."

Anyway, here's the passionate poem, Crossing the Bar, by Tenneyson:

Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark.

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Also, Psalm 107:23-31 is my shrimpboat-captain-dad's favorite Bible passage. I refer to it as The Sailor's Psalm:

(23) Some went off in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. (24) They, too, observed the LORD’S power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. (25) He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. (26) Their ships were tossed to the heavens and sank again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. (27) They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. (28) "LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. (29) He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. (30) What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! (31) Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! -- God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Psalm 51 Amplified

Psalm 51

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bathsheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly [and repeatedly] from my iniquity and guilt and cleanse meand make me wholly pure from my sin!
For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me [and I too am sinful].
Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean [ceremonially]; wash me, and I shall [in reality] be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness and be satisfied; let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, andsteadfast spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted andreturn to You.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness and death, O God, the God of my salvation,and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness (Your rightness and Your justice).
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You delight not in sacrifice, or else would I give it; You find no pleasure in burnt offering.
17 My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise.
18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then will You delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, justice, and right, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then bullocks will be offered upon Your altar.
Amplified Bible

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Heart and A Right Spirit

Today, I am remembering a few weeks back when my Dad was in the hospital and a heart technician came in asking him questions about his physical heart. My Dad said tenderly, "I am 73-years-old but you should know that when I was 27-years-old, I had a heart transplant." The technician smiled and said, "I have a feeling you are about to tell me about Jesus." She was right. That's what he did.

The Psalmist cried out to God, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me." (Psalm 51)

Do you have a new heart and a right Spirit yet? You can have both in Jesus' Name.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shining Upon Us

If your faith is feeling flat-footed and wide-eyed today, I believe this passage of Scripture from the Old Testament Psalms will help. Read and claim the portion you need most. That's what I will do also:

Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the Lord. These gates lead to the presence of the Lord, and the godly enter there. I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord ’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success. Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. -- Psalms 118:19-29 NLT

Holiness unto The LORD! "The Lord is God, Shining Upon Us!"

Monday, January 13, 2014

Journey On, Weary Pilgrim, Journey On!

Sometimes we grow weary as pilgrims journeying through this land on our way Home. My week has been somewhat wearisome. However, I will keep my face to the wind until I one day reach that worthy Land called Heaven.

As I write this blog post, I am watching the sunset in a beautiful cloud cradle of orange across the ocean. I am reminded of the life-slogan I once adopted as my own: "My dream holds to sail beyond the sunset."

Just the thought of arriving one glorious day in a place called Glory adds strength to my weariness. I pray that we will meet on that beautiful shore someday. Yes, in that Land where there will never be a bad report only glad news. 

Until then, please keep your face to the wind, anticipating a time when being weary will only be a faint memory, if that. Finally, I leave you with the Word of the Lord: "The Joy of the Lord is your Strength." Mine, too.

Journey on, weary pilgrim, Journey on.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How We Know God Accepts Us

God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. (Acts 15:8, 9 NLT)

Question: So, how do we know God accepts Jews and the rest of us?
Answer: He gives us His Holy Spirit to cleanse our hearts by faith.

Glory, glory to the Father.
Glory, glory to the Son.
Glory, glory to the Spirit.
Glory to the Three-in-One.

Holiness Unto The LORD!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Heal Me. Save Me.

Yesterday on my Twitter account, @PastorKerryW, I tweeted a Don Moen Praise Song link and it's still strong in my soul today, so I am posting it now as well. As you watch and listen to the message of the YouTube link, take time to saturate in the Scripture verse below as well.

O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
If you save me, I will truly be saved.
My praises are for you alone.
-- Jeremiah 17:14 (NLT)

Holiness Unto The LORD!

Friday, January 10, 2014


Recently, I was asked how I felt about miracles? The challenge was something like this: "Shouldn't the word 'miracles' be only used for only big, unexplainable events, like raising the dead?"

Well, here is a paraphrase of my answer:

When it comes to miracles, surely, some are grander in appearance than others, but for me miracles are not limited to raising the dead and the like. Sometimes it's simply us partnering with God in allowing Him to profoundly change our minds, attitudes and preferences. At least that's the way it is for me. In fact, what God can recreate within an alive person may be a greater miracle than resurrecting a dead corpse.

Holiness Unto The LORD!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Today, I Pray Specifically

Let us pray one for the other. Today, I pray specifically in these areas for you and for me:

Strength for the rest of the journey. 
Healing from the Great Physician.
Power from on high to lift us here below.
Peace that cancels out every fear.
Faith that is anchored in Jesus.
Hope that the devil cannot hinder.  
Love that never fails and always prevails.

In Jesus' Name.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Do We Have an Anchor?

Click this link to learn what page my Dad is opened to in his personal praise and worship song book today.

This message was seen posted on a sign at the bend of a river to warn boaters to beware and to be aware just before the fast-moving river turned into a trecherous waterfall: "Do you have an anchor? Do you know how to use it?"


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'm a Rich Man. It's a Good Day.

Today, my Dad is even more sentimental than usual and I must say it's quite inspiring. It's like he is taking me on a tour down memory lane and tears of joy are flowing freely from the one doing the guiding and the one doing the listening.

Mostly, this morning Dad is recounting God's faithfulness to the Willis family across the generations. He's telling me stories about his dear Grandmother, Bernice, his Great Aunt, Mary, and his Great Uncle, Anson, and he is especially weeping as he recalls their tender love for each other and especially their passionate love for The Lord. 

"Precious memories," Dad calls it. It's priceless to my soul. I'm a rich man, especially in heritage and holiness.

At my Dad's rehab bedside, I am truly finding favor in a get-rich-quick scheme that I recently shared with our local church family: "Want to get rich quick? Start counting your blessings now."

Yes, It's a good day. We have a GOOD God!

Grateful... Indeed!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Celebrate Epiphany -- The Light is Revealed

Jesus Immanuel! 
Hope Illustrated!
He is Our Light!
He is Our Hope!
He is Our King! 

He is Our Epiphany!
He is Our Assurance! 
He is Our Everything!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Realizing the Value of Time and Relationships

Friends sent me this writing recently. It will touch you somewhere in your heart:

To realize
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.
To realize
The value of one month:
Ask a mother
Who has given birth to
A premature baby.
To realize
The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realize
The value of one second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.
Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when
You can share it with someone special.
To realize the value of a friend or family member:
(The origin of this letter is unknown)


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Worship of The Trinity is My Reality!

It's a cold Saturday evening and I have my mind focused on the warmth of our Sunday morning worship services.

However, Old Man Winter's weather forecast is calling for frozen rain for the early morning hours and as a result surely the expected elements of nature threaten to make the commute to the local church quite challenging at best.

I pray that we will be able to gather together as a family of faith, hope, and love. Two realities are ruling my thoughts right now:

(1) I know we really need God.
(2) I also believe we really need each other as God-worshipers, too.

So, my prayer in two Latin words is "Deo Volente" (Whatever God Wants!) I do hope we get to meet together to corporately worship and praise our Almighty God, but if the weather prevents it, worship of the Trinity will still be reality in my life.

One of two things will be happening for me when morning comes:

(1) There I'll Be to Worship! 
(2) Here I am to Worship!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Tonight, I Am Fervently Praying For You...

You should know that tonight, I am fervently praying for you...

"Lord, I pray for each one who reads my humble writings.
Please fill them with Your maximum presence and holiness.
Bless them in ways that will cause others to wonder about You.

Meet each person exactly where they are with Your great compassion.
Lord, as this day slips slowly away, increase Your peace within them.
And tonight as they sleep, be their Faithful Healer and Forever Guard.

When the morning comes, come to each heart with Help from Above.
Make Your Amazing Grace and Love to be indescribable and undeniable.
Show Your Power in ways that will glorify You and Unify us as Your own!
In Jesus' Name. Amen."


Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Song In The Day & Night

My Dad told me early this morning that The Lord has given him many songs during these days and nights of physical trial. 

Today's song on his heart is that old hymn:

"I Will Praise Him. I Will Praise Him. 
Praise the Lamb for Sinners Slain. 
Give Him Glory All Ye People, 
For His Blood Can Wash Away Each Stain." 

This link should take you to the whole song sung by The Isaacs: