Daily Devotionals

Devotional: March 17th

My oldest son is serving in Christian camp this week just a half hour down the road. He was the one asked to speak last night for the worship time for the campers so my wife and I went over to hear him speak. While there we met Gene and Pat White. They are originally from the North Central Ohio area as well as having served ministries in the Central Kentucky area. We know a lot of the same people.

And they knew Earl Swank. Earl Swank was from North Central Ohio and an Associate Minister at the Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Kentucky. He served there under Wayne Smith, the venerable dean of Central Kentucky ministers. Earl was asked to return to his home church in the little community of Palmyra, Ohio for a revival one year.

I preached just a few miles up the road in Bellville and was asked to lead the song services. The first evening was one of the best revival services I can remember. The people sang their hearts out for the Lord. Then Earl Swank preached a sermon on worry that made several men in the sanctuary, myself included, weep.

When I hugged Earl that evening on the way out I did not know that a few hours later he would be dead. Yes, Earl Swank preached a sermon on worry and then seemingly died to prove his point. He suffered a heart attack in his sleep. His sister, with whom he was staying, told me that he had slept very restless that night. When she went to wake him he was dead.

Another man was preaching one day. It was not a formal revival service or even a church service. He was preaching to a group of some twelve men. In the body of His sermon he said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13 Then he went to the cross to make sure they understood the message. Do you?

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