Maybe I can share something...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Forget Not His Benefits

"Praise the Lord, O my soul, forget not His benefits..." (Psalm 103:2)

"The drought continues and has been unrelenting here in the south", the news caster announced as he stood in front of the dry wind swept wheat field. Turning to the farmer beside him he began to interview the gentleman. The farmer spoke about the effect this drought was having upon all the farmers and forecasted the effect would have upon our nation for this year there would be no harvest. "This is the first time in my lifetime that we will not have a harvest", declared the farmer, who was in his late fifties. The program quickly cut away focusing on how many farmers would loose their farms, the increased prices that our nation would soon see, and how this would effect the economic state of our country. They even mentioned how it could possibly effect the elections in the fall.

No one can deny the hardship and dire consequences of events like this. Its effects are far reaching. But the farmers statement about how long it had been since there was not a harvest caught my attention. Everyone was focusing in on this year's non-harvest, missing a very crucial fact - we have had many years of bountiful harvests. We have been a very blessed people. Are we simply going to take this for granted?

We are well trained in focusing on the negative, the tragic, the limitations, the woes, the trouble, etc. It is a habit that we all, if not careful, fall into. That's why this passage gives us a direct imperative - "forget not His benefits!" It is not a suggestion. It is not a denial of the trouble, pain, suffering, and tragedy we face and experience in this world. It is not mere optimism. It is a deliberate choice to remember how blessed we are. It is reveling in the wonder of God's love, grace, and provisions. It is willful choice to focus on the benefits that God graces our lives with. Whenever God's people get disgruntled and complaining, they loose their perspective and soon, their way. It is often the first step to selling out, walking away, giving up, or succumbing to the world's declaration that God does not care or even exist.

Do not misunderstand. We will cry out to God. Our laments have their place, when they are directed to God. For when they are directed to God they are an act of faith. By directed them toward God we are affirming our faith that He will and is able to do something about that which we are lamenting. Nevertheless, we need to always remember His benefits. Even in our lament we need to affirm our trust in the one who owes us nothing, but has given His all. Is this not the very nature of grace? We may be more inclined to "forget not His benefits" if we would first remember that God owes us absolutely nothing, and anything we have is an wondrous grace gift.

Beloved, read the rest of this Psalm sometime today and choose to forget not His benefits.

Keep Close To Jesus
Pastor Gerry

Pastor Gerry has started a new, exciting ministry. He is now available for Disciple Development Retreats, Intensive Bible Study Series, Leadership Development Seminars/Retreats and more. For more information, check out We welcome prayers for Pastor Gerry and his new ministry, may it be a blessing to many.

A Pause To Ponder God's Word is written and distributed by Gerald Whetstone, Ordained Elder and teacher in the Church of the Nazarene. These devotionals may be transmitted, duplicated, used in part or in entirety without permission for nonprofit purposes only. Responses welcome.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Wedding

FINALLY!!! Life has finally slowed down just enough for me to find some time to put these pics up. All of these photos are from the cameras of family members and friends. The photos from the hired photographer haven't come back yet but I thought I would share some of what we had. I hope you enjoy them. Next to my salvation this was the most exciting day of my life. I kept telling myself before the wedding that I wouldn't be scared or nervous, but when that ceremony started I was everything all at once!! But it's certainly a decision I don't regret and life has only become more sweet everyday since the wedding.
For those of you who are on a dial-up connection it may take some time for you to see all the photos since there are so many.

The Rehearsal

Since my family was in charge of the rehearsal dinner, we decided to make it an all cajun dinner. Special thanks to Mr. Bobby Hamlin for making the gumbo and jambalaya. We could have just eaten all night and been happy!!

We had syrup pies made from Steens Cane Syrup, which is made from sugar cane all grown in south Louisiana. It's distinctly Louisiana, but if you ever get a chance to try one you'll be hooked for life!

A great big thanks goes out to Gotreaux's Bakery in Rayne, LA for making a couple of Mardi Gras king cakes for us out of season. They were delicious!!

The happy couple chowing down on some gumbo and jambalaya

Some members of the wedding party, spouses and friends. L-R: Stacy Porterfield(with back turned), Jason Rowenski, Chad and Beth Meek, Ali Razavi(with back turned)

Dan and Noah Whitman

Let the rehearsing begin!! Everything went smoothly! (except maybe trying to corral the kids!!)

Some of Valerie's family members made her a bouquet and veil from the bows and ribbons taken from gifts given at some of the showers prior to the wedding. That is definitely the woman I fell in love with!!

Not to be outdone, Chad(my best man), decided that I needed a few extra "accents" to my evening attire.

It's "I do" not "you bet"!! Get it right!!

Now thats a hot couple!

Valerie's niece Courtney thought the veil was quite fashionable

The Ceremony

The church was beautifully decorated. Special thanks to Frank and Charlotte Hensley and everyone that helped them.

Valerie's mom, Brenda Whitman, lighting her portion of the unity candle

Valerie and her dad Robert Whitman

Here comes the bride!!!

Nervous...Scared...Excited...Thinking, wow, this really is happening!

Valerie's dad giving her away to ME!!!

It was a beautiful ceremony!

For some reason Valerie left "obey" out of the vows....I'm sure I'll learn more about that over time!! hehe

I DO!! (She wouldn't let me say, "You bet!!!")

Trying to navigate her dress down the steps to go light the unity candle

Lighting of the Unity Candle

Her train has made a great car cover! JUST KIDDING!!!! Good grief...give a guy some slack here!!


The guys: Calvin Porterfield, Chad Meek(best man), me, Ali Razavi, Daniel Satterlee. These are some of my best friends from Oklahoma City. It was great to have everyone together again, I really miss hanging out with ya'll!!

The girls: Melinda Faminoff, Alicia Ammons(sister and Matron of Honor), Michelle Whitman, Amy Uran, Courtney Ammons(Junior Bridesmaid), not pictured Allison Ammons also a Junior Bridesmaid

Greeting friends and family after the ceremony

The Cake

I know that one of the other major focal points of a wedding is the cake. So I thought I'd throw in a couple of pics of the cake to satisfy those of you who were wondering, "What kind of cake did they have?" This is for you!

Valerie's Aunt Beverly is a phenominal cake decorator, so we decided to ask her to make the cake for us. She did an outstanding job, the cake turned out just beautifully!! Thank you Aunt Beverly!!

Aunt Beverly's daughter Shara helping with the decorating

It's coming together!

The finished product! It didn't last long though! Especially the middle layer.(I think thats because it was chocolate!)

The grooms cake complete with musical notes and a Dixie Echoes cd!

Who cares about the cake...she sure is a beautiful bride!!!

The Reception

These pictures really don't need captions. Just the usual wedding reception pics!

Sorry ya'll, I would have smeared it all over her face but Valerie's aunt cut the pieces of cake too small. I just didn't have enough to smear!!! My only victory was small with a dab of icing on the end of her nose.

I don't think any of the reception would have worked as smoothly as it did had it not been for Valerie's Aunt Beverly and her daughter Shara. She made both cakes and made sure all the food was on the tables and replenished when needed.

Valerie visiting with friends during the reception

The Snapshots

Sisters....Alicia and Valerie

Valerie's nephew Mr Brady Whitman looking sharp before the wedding

Is it time yet???!!!

Miss Emily getting ready for the wedding

Valerie's sister Alicia Ammons and sister-in-law Michelle Whitman helping decorate the fellowship hall for the wedding reception. A great big Thank You to those that stayed up all hours of the night to get things ready!

Valerie and I with all of our nieces and nephews L-R: Emily Ammons, Allison Ammons, Brady Whitman, Noah Whitman, Sydney Ammons(on lap), Sarah Cundiff, Matthew Cundiff(on lap), and Courtney Ammons

Tracy's Family L-R: Barry and Becky Ryals(aunt & uncle), Cherie Cundiff(sister), Sarah Cundiff, Scott Cundiff, Matthew Cundiff, me, Bill Crouch, Jr.(dad), June Henderson(grandmother), Laura Crouch(mom)

Valerie's brother and his son, Dan and Noah Whitman. Like father, like son!!!

Valerie's dad and step-mom, Robert & Alatha Whitman

Valerie's uncle and his sons, L-R: Tim, Richard, and Richie Auter

Valerie's niece Miss Sydney Ammons

Sydney's big sisters, Allison and Courtney Ammons were Junior Bridesmaids

Two young cousins enjoying some wedding cake, Emily Ammons and Jade Mitchell

Myself and my big sister Cherie Cundiff

My niece Sarah Cundiff

Myself and my wonderful grandmother June Henderson(she makes a mean pot of gumbo!!! actually I think everything she cooks is great!!)

Flower girls Emily Ammons and Sarah Cundiff. It was at this point during the ceremony that Emily plopped herself down on the platform step and proudly announced, "So, what do we do now?"

Miss Sarah Cundiff

My niece and nephew Sarah and Matthew Cundiff

Sarah making sure she has all of her flower petals to drop down the aisle

The real main attraction of the wedding...The flower girls!

Emily and Sarah did an outstanding job as flower girls