“Streams in the Desert Devotional” – April 28th

“God is preparing His heroes;

and when the opportunity comes,

He can fit them into their place in a moment,

and the world will wonder where they came from.”


“Streams in the Desert Devotional” based on Judges 3:9-10



I think there are many who would vouch for that.   Heroes in just the right place at the perfect moment. (see here)

HT: Mrs. DG


Tom Lee’s Graveside Service

Tom Lee’s Graveside Message

Pastor Mark Liddle

May 1, 2011


I only knew Tom Lee for these last 8 weeks in which he began attending Dominion Baptist Church.  He seemed to me kind, gentle, wise and a lover of the Scriptures as well as a lover of Christ.  He would come to the back of the church after the preaching, as Brother Mark Travers has said, not to speak of trifles but to share what he had learned from the message, for that was the character of the man. Though we have only known the family for a short while, they are like family to us.


Our text today comes from:

Romans 8:16-18

16 The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


I wish especially to think upon

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

The Apostle speaks of suffering. What is he saying about suffering? Is he making light of the sufferings of the saints? I think not. The Apostle Paul knew what it was to suffer in this world for following the Lord Jesus Christ. Our dear brother Tom, no doubt, also knew what it was to suffer for following Jesus Christ and for simply trying to apply the truth of scripture to every aspect of life as he walked through the wilderness of this world.


The Apostle Paul was not making light of suffering for he had suffered much and has given us lists of his sufferings in the Scriptures. {II Cor. 11:23-28} And his suffering was real and was painful. He says “I reckon that the sufferings”, that is, he had reckoned these things up. He had made an accounting of his sufferings over against the Glory of God to be revealed in him. His conclusion after the reckoning, was that the sufferings were not worthy to be compared to the Glory that was to be revealed.


So was he making light of the sufferings? No, he is not minimizing the sufferings; he is emphasizing the magnitude of the Glory.


Does God minimize our tears? No, the Psalmist tells us that our tears are kept in His bottle and are written in His book. {Psalm 56:8}

Does God minimize our pain? No, we have a high priest who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. {Hebrews 4:15}

Does God minimize our sorrows? No, Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief as he traversed our troubled world. {Isaiah 53:3}

Does God minimize the death of our loved one? No, the one recorded instance of Christ weeping was at the house of his dear friends, Mary, Martha & Lazarus. As Mary sat at his feet confused, bewildered, and weeping over the death of her brother, the Scripture says Jesus wept and groaned in His spirit over the wreck and ruin that sin had brought upon the earth. {John 11:32-38}


He does not minimize our suffering, he acknowledges the depths of it and comes as the Savior who will mend the brokenhearted, bring strength out of weakness and who says that he will not leave us orphans, but come unto us with those comforts which the Holy Spirit alone can give. {Luke 4:18, Hebrews 11:34, John 14:18}


Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


As Paul recognized the depths of suffering from his own experience, he is expressing to us in the strongest possible terms, the exceeding weight of glory to be revealed in us. Do we see what he is saying? If the suffering of this world is so great {and it is} what must the glory be that is coming?!


He does not say the glory revealed ‘to us’ but he says ‘in us’, for this glory is not just something that we will ‘see’ but is that which we will ’experience.’


Our suffering reaches to the very depths of our souls as the Psalmist says Ps 130:1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.

This means, according to our text, that the glory revealed in us will reach to the very depths of our souls, and that eternally.


There are two things which I would like to comfort your hearts with from our text.

1.)    That your dear husband and father has entered into that exceeding weight of glory which far exceeds his earthly suffering.

2.)    That your husband and father, who has placed you on the road to the celestial city desires that you too would experience the exceeding weight of glory though you must pass through many sufferings along the way.


What is this Glory revealed in us? It is a fuller manifestation of Christ to our souls. It is the unveiling of Christ’s character and attributes when we shall see Him as He is.

It is also the fuller manifestation of the sons of God. An unveiling of what we are in Christ for John says ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.’


Our suffering now affects every part of us for a time; the head throbs, the heart aches, the knees are weak, and the stomach hurts.

Even so the glory to be revealed in us shall affect every part of us forever.

-         we shall be delivered from the body of this death

-         we shall know as we are known

-         The former things shall be remembered no more


Suffering causes us to feel as though we are in the presence of death for a time

Even so the glory revealed in us will usher us into the presence of life continually

-         For the sun shall arise with healing in his wings

-         And we shall leap as calves from the stall

-         We shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint


Our suffering at times seems unbearable

The Glory revealed in us will bring our joy to the highest pitch a human being can enjoy and will do it for an eternity

-         It shall be the cloudless day, always blue, ever sunny

-          we will have no need of the sun for The Lamb shall be the light of that place


Our suffering affects others about us as we weep with those that weep

Our Glory shall affect all the other saints in glory, whose joy shall be only increased forever by the happiness they see conferred upon fellow redeemed sinners.


As our suffering now at times consumes our every thought

So the glory revealed shall consume every thought and imagination of the heart and never cease.


This is Tom’s present experience.

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


He knew what he was about and where he was going and he had a destination in mind. That destination is part and parcel of the Glory that shall be revealed in us. Paul to the Hebrews tells us what Tom has come to.


Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Tom has come to ‘ Mount Zion ’, the glorious Exalted Church with its exalted head, whose name is above every name and whose name we bear by adoption!


He has come to the ‘city of the living God’, the Living Church where every member is alive by the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost and never a hypocrite enters in. That church which lives and moves and has its being in God through Christ.


The ‘Heavenly’ Church which has slipped the surly bonds of earth and worships in spirit and in truth, never fettered by the flesh we struggle with here.


He has come to an ‘innumerable company of angels’, a happy holy band of creatures devoted to God.


Tom has been collected into the ‘General Assembly’, The Gathered Church, Glorious Church , Church Triumphant, The Church at rest, he is gathered unto his people.


He has come to the ‘church of the firstborn’, the Privileged Church which is a co-heir with our elder brother Jesus Christ who was the strength of his Father, who received the double portion of power in heaven and on earth, and we are partakers in His privileges


Tom is safe as he has come to dwell with those whose ‘names are written in heaven’, The Secure Church that has no more doubts or fears. Whose names are written upon the palms of our dear Redeemer’s hands whose names are written in blood, written in love, and as the high priest bore the names of Israel upon his breast, so our great High Priest bears eternally the names of his children upon His heart.


He has come to the ‘judge of all’ who has judged His people fit to enter into this exceeding glory by the merits of Jesus Christ. The Church with an advocate.


And to the ‘spirits of just men made perfect’, the Perfected Church in what Jonathan Edwards called a world of love where every tongue speaks from a pure heart fervently. Where every motive is right and every intention is true. Where there is never a misunderstanding and every imagination of the thoughts of the hearts are only goodness eternally.


And finally Tom has met the dear Savior, the mediator of the new covenant who did for us what we could not do for ourselves, in that he fulfilled all the demands of the covenant in our stead. In his passive obedience upon the cross he purchased a pardon for our sin and in his active obedience He purchased a perfect righteousness for us who had no righteousness at all.


So dear family, may it comfort your hearts to know your dear husband and father has entered into such unspeakable glory. That it is his present experience.

And that he desires that you too would persevere to the end midst many sufferings as you continue in the wilderness of this world; that you too would arrive at and experience the exceeding weight of glory to be revealed in you.


Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.



I will close with a hymn from the Old Methodist Episcopal Hymn book of 1855


Rejoicing in the Prospect of Heaven


Come on, my partners in distress,

My comrades through the wilderness,

Who still your bodies feel:

Awhile forget your griefs and fears,

And look beyond this vale of tears,

To that celestial hill.


Beyond the bounds of time and space,

Look forward to that heavenly place,

The saints’ secure abode;

On faith’s strong eagle pinions rise,

And force your passage to the skies,

And scale the mount of God.


Who suffer with our Master here,

We shall before his face appear,

And by his side sit down;

To patient faith the prize is sure;

And all that to the end endure

The cross, shall wear the crown.


Thrice blessed, bliss-inspiring hope!

It lifts the fainting spirits up;

It brings to life the dead:

Our conflicts here shall soon be past,

And you and I ascend at last,

Triumphant with our Head.


That great mysterious Deity,

We soon with open face shall see;

The beatific sight

Shall fill the heavenly courts with praise,

And wide diffuse the golden blaze

Of everlasting light.


Alabama Tornado Relief Links

Alabama tornado relief: How you can help

Clearing House of Links for Donations, Volunteering, Pets, etc.  Many items listed by city or county.

Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes

Many pictures and documents found over several states are posted with contact info to retrieve them.

Animals Lost & Found from the Tornadoes in Alabama on 4/27/11

Pictures and descriptions of lost and found pets due to the tornadoes.



Alpha Ranch Damaged in Tornado

Alpha Ranch

Alpha Ranch is an independent living ranch offering assistance for young men who are coping with a difficult transition into adulthood. The facility, located in beautiful Shoal Creek Valley near Ashville Al, offers opportunities for personal improvement in a peaceful environment.

Alpha Ranch is run by Kelly Crawford’s family of Generation Cedar.  Her father had a heart attack the morning before the tornado and was in the hospital during the storms.

Alpha Ranch is scheduling work crews for the next few months so if you have a group who would like to plan a work day to help in the tornado recovery contact them.



A Ministry Nevertheless (3)

There have been so many opportunities for the churches and individual Christians to minister to others during the aftermath of the tornadoes in Alabama.  Another person who ministered greatly is a good friend of ours.  I won’t use her name because I know she’ll fuss if I single her out.  I had waited about saying anything since her ministry included helping a minor but now that they’ve been in the news I guess it is OK.

Thursday, April 28th, was a very hectic day as many, many communities were just discovering the effects of the tornadoes on their towns, friends and family.  The damage has been so wide spread and communication so difficult that just yesterday I found out an uncle’s house was destroyed by several trees and they are staying in a hotel nearby.   In our area a shelter was set up in the local middle school initially.  That became the staging area for much ministry until schools resumed.

Our friend, like always, was available to help out in any way she could.  She was asked to help the Sanders.   The first we knew of what she was doing was when Thursday evening she called to get directions to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.  That’s not good when someone needs to get to a hospital.  She didn’t have time to talk then we could tell so we just prayed for whomever she was going to the hospital for.  It wasn’t until the next day that we found out.

Around here it is common for several related family members to have homes near each other.  Often the parents or grandparents divide off portions of the original family homestead to their children.  So as it turns out the Sanders family had three family houses close enough to all be destroyed in the same tornado.  Our friend was helping the senior Sanders on Thursday.  The tornadoes were so bad that most families affected also lost all their cars.

The Sander’s son and daughter-in-law’s house was destroyed and both of them killed in the tornado.  Their three granddaughters were sheltering in a bathtub but were unable to hold on to the bathtub during the worst part of the tornado.  All three were sucked up out of the tub by the tornado and thrown across fields.  Two were able to cling to each other and weren’t thrown as far as their sister.

So many trees were down all over that area that it took rescue crews hours to get in and rescue the injured.  See A Ministry Nevertheless (2) for a good explanation and pictures of the damage.  During triage the three girls were sent to different hospitals according to their injury levels.  One granddaughter suffered from cuts and scrapes.   One had a serious leg injury while the third was sent to UAB’s trauma center with very serious and lasting injuries.

So on Thursday the grandparent Sanders were left to deal with the death of a son and daughter–in-law, grandchildren in different hospitals, another son seriously injured and in the hospital, several destroyed houses, no cars, and not even clean clothes.  Most clothes that could be salvaged from the destroyed houses are unusable due to the amount of fiberglass insulation embedded in the material.

Our friend was able to provide some clothes and help transport the Sanders around as they tended to so many needs.  While they helped meet the physical needs I know our friend and her husband also prayed with the Sanders and has been praying for them.  They continue to help out by fostering a couple of the Sanders pet dogs while the Sanders get settled into a temporary house and tend to their grandchildren in the hospital.

If you desire to aid the three Sanders girls in the aftermath of the tornado here is a link to a fundraiser and more information.


Al and Angie Sanders, Ashville tornado victims

Facebook movement helps tornado-orphaned St. Clair sisters



A Ministry Nevertheless (2)

This account of the Tornado is written by Kathy Brodock friends with the Crawfords, Lees and Boyds.

The Night the Tornado Hit – Part 1

May 4, 2011

I know I need to document our experience with the tornado, but I’m having a hard time mustering up the words. I know I need to write it all down before I forget the details, even though I keep going over it in mind constantly.  This is going to be pretty long so I understand if you just want to move on to something a bit more light-hearted.

Olivia and I take our cameras everywhere, mainly because we blog,

little did we know what laid ahead of us this night!

April 27, 2011

Wednesday morning I was awoken by hail hitting my bedroom window, that is stronger than a cup of coffee to get you going! Shortly after that our power went out. Jeff and Josh were out most of the day cutting trees with the fire department.

We are Bound by Blood – Alabama Tornado Part 2

You can read about the night the tornado hit here.

That night was a living nightmare.

Among our friends, three homes were destroyed and one damaged along with one life lost.

We have a large Christian homeschool community here that spans several counties.  Not only are we large in number but we are large in love for our brothers and sisters.

During the sermon Sunday one of our elders retold the series of events that happened since Wednesday night.

“We are blood family…bound by the blood of Christ. And when one of us suffers, we all suffer. If one of our family loses all that is normal, we all lose what is normal. When I pulled into Shoal Creek and saw the devastation all I could think was ‘I’m not leaving here without my family.” ~Ted Phillips

Jeff, Josh, me and the girls, along with most of the Huie family were right behind the first responding officials. I am so glad they did not make us go back, but I really don’t think they had a choice, we would have walked (in Jeff’s case, ran) cross lots to get to our people!

I am amazed at how beautiful the body of Christ has been as people and supplies have flooded in from all over, not only from our area, but from other states and countries!


Alabama Baptists Bring Tornado Help

Without the help of many churches some rural areas would have had even more issues recovering from the tornadoes in Alabama April 27, 2011.

You don’t have to have a degree to minister. Maybe just a chainsaw.

St. Clair County churches survive storm, reach out to neighbors

By the mercy and grace of God, we are still here today.”

On April 29, that was the praise that went up from Marlin Cox, pastor of Greensport Baptist Church in St. Clair County’s Shoal Creek Valley area near Ashville and Ragland.

It was that area where a reported 11 people lost their lives in tornadoes that struck the evening of April 27. Two other fatalities occurred in St. Clair County during the first wave of storms that hit early that morning, according to news reports.

Three of the 11 people who died in Shoal Creek Valley had ties to Greensport Baptist, Cox said.

During the storm, Cox and his wife, Jamie, were sheltered in a Shoal Creek home with a group of other people. Though all in that home were safe, the roof came off the structure.

“God was with us,” Cox said April 29 in recounting what happened. …

The help from area and even out of state churches has continued.



A Ministry Nevertheless

Many people consider being a pastor or missionary (meaning overseas) as being the ultimate way to minister the gospel to the world.   Maybe they would expand that list to include music leaders and musicians in the church.  Yet ministry is too narrowly defined to be limited to that.  Here are some ways others have ministered during and after the tornadoes in Alabama on April 27, 2011.

During the tornadoes:

The Weathermen

I particularly prefer James Spann on ABC 33/40.  He has been around for so long ( he jokes he is as old as Noah) and really seems to understand weather in Alabama better than many weathermen.  I’m sure others did just as well but we were watching Spann all day.

I turned the TV on around noon since Tornado Warnings were beginning to be posted for counties in Alabama.  Up until that time I had checked the weather blog for updates.  As soon as I turned the TV on there was a live shot of a tornado moving to and then through the city of Cullman.  James Spann was calling out areas to get in a safe place and they began listing areas that the tornado appeared to be hitting.  The weather crew was familiar enough with the city to call out streets and buildings just from the video feed of the tornado.  We knew that First Baptist Cullman and the Cullman Court House was hit before any news or actual pictures could be transmitted.  We all watched in horror as that tornado moved through a highly populated area.  Needless to say the news remained on.

Hours later while the TV was still on in the background I hear James Spann warning Tuscaloosa county and the city of Tuscaloosa.  Not only were we concerned for the people in Tuscaloosa but storms there tend to move up this way and affect us within an hour or more.  The ugly picture of a huge tornado was soon displayed on live cameras for all the world to see.  There was no doubt that this tornado was on the ground and doing severe damage.  Spann over and over again warned the folks in Tuscaloosa to take shelter.  This was serious.  Once the tornado moved into the city even James Spann stood for a moment silent it was too late to warn anymore.  After a moments silence he said in a soft serious voice “All we can do now for them is pray.”  I know he was.  Immediately he had to start warning other areas in the path of this tornado because it wasn’t slowing, lifting or weakening.  Areas in B’ham were hard hit and then thankfully the tornado lifted for a few miles in B’ham before setting down again in St. Clair county and continuing its devastation on lives and homes.

Many, many people were informed to be in their safe places by the steady voices of weathermen warning over and over how this was a serious event going on.  Although the devastation was so severe that even in a central bathroom or hallway many could not survive the tornadoes.  We were warned and the weathermen stayed right there warning the public instead of leaving to take care of their own families.  I don’t know when James Spann went off Wednesday night or Thursday morning.  But several times in the aftermath of the storms I would hear him say something about possible fatalities in Tuscaloosa with a catch in his voice.  It was much later when we started to hear about the fatalities in North B’ham and other areas affected by tornadoes that day.

Not only does James Spann take his job as a weatherman seriously but he shares his faith in the process.  There is no doubt about whom he calls upon when the weather gets rough.

His wife wrote this:

A Personal Note…

We just drove, sun in our faces, until we reached it; the twisted limbs and scattered pieces announcing what was ahead of us. This was the edge of the storm, James told us. We were going in from the side or back of it. I don’t know what was drawing me so desperately to be there, (aside from praying to God with all that is in me that there would be someone I could help, some way, other than just water or food. I think I just wanted to talk and see, and hold a hand. I don’t know.) I don’t know this any more than i know what drives me to write all of this down. If you are reading it, I have chosen to share it. But for now, it is for my own eyes. I don’t understand what I saw today. Black words on white paper may help me to see it more clearly. There has been enough gray. …

And there are many, many more ……………


Links to Missing Persons / Lost Items