Additional Photos After Testimony
4880 cdd Eye of the Storm
Cyber Daily Devotion
Volume 20 Number 129
Today’s Author: Pastor Bill
Scripture: Matthew 7:25
“The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” NKJV
Hello, my name is Brother Charles Key with the Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Panama City, Florida. October 10, 2018 Category 5 Hurricane Michael cut a 350-mile wide path and 60 miles deep over our area leaving massive destruction. An area twice the size of Vermont.
This is my Cross Testimony of the resilience of our congregation as we stood strong together while more than 150 MPH sustained winds pummeled everything. Then we experienced the Bullseye. The storm settled directly over us ensuring a second round of destruction, as fierce as the first part.
I grew up in Augusta, Georgia just down the road from the Augusta National Golf Club. It’s here where annually, since 1934, they hold the world-renowned Masters Golf Tournament. I was the 6th born of 10 children. One girl and nine boys. My dad was a small arms repairman for the US Government. Mom worked in a cotton mill on a weaving loom and worked with building cones of string. We were a family with ten children and looking back, one could say we were poor, but we never knew it. The Lord always provided.
We were a church family and whenever the church doors were open, we were there. I participated because it was the family thing to do. When I was 17, there was a church revival. When the alter call was announced I was all in. I opened my life to Jesus. From that day forward, everyone, I mean everyone knew something happened. I shared Jesus with anyone I met. I told them what receiving Jesus in my heart meant. I asked them to receive Jesus too. I finished high school on fire for Jesus.
We moved to Anniston, Alabama. I met my wife Linda there, and a year later we married. We started a family, having two sons. It wasn’t long after I felt God calling me into the ministry. We took a leap of faith and headed to Graceville, Florida. I worked and studied hard trying to take care of our family. Three years in Bible School was a fresh revelation of Jesus Christ. Upon graduation I pastored a small church in Marianna, Florida, New Salem Baptist Church for two years. Then I was called to pastor a church in Dothan, Alabama, Mount Enon for four years. Here I learned what the Lord would have me do for his Kingdom. The Lord was asking me to be a shepherd for His people.
Four years later Linda and I were called to Pastor here at the Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Panama City, Florida. That was 43 years ago. And we are still here.
Throughout our shepherd ministry I have enjoyed encouraging people most. Talking with them about the Lord, visiting in their homes and especially visiting when they are in the hospital.
For 43 years the Lord has blessed us with a strong congregation, and we grew steadily. Then October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael blew in bringing immense destruction. We held a prayer vigil during the storm seeking the Lord for protection. He was faithful. When the storm subsided, everything was flattened. No more electric poles and no more electricity, no operating cell towers, buildings were leveled, and homes carried away. Only exception, Cedar Grove Baptist Church. Oh, we had damage, but the structure of our church stood tall through the storm. The church building became a refuge for those who lost all. 25 people found protection here for three months.
We pulled together as a church and today we are stronger in the Lord than ever.
Pastor Bill please tell your supporters, “Thank you for the Cross. When we first spoke, it was just after the hurricane hit. And just knowing that you would be coming into this devastated area to plant this Cross has been an inspiration to us all. It has been a tough time and we have much to be thankful for — and we still have much to do to get back to where we were. But the Lord is good, and we are so encouraged by this shiny new Cross standing with us for all to see. Thank you.
Looking back the Lord has presented dreams, visions and miracles into my life but the one that stands out above the rest is when I was in Bible school. It was a big challenge to raise a family with two children and go to school. The school required full payment for each semester before taking final exams and enrolling into the next semester. In the middle of my schooling it was especially tough going.
I went to the Registrar’s office to tell them that I didn’t have the money to pay. The lady behind the desk looked at my tally with surprise and said, “Mr. Key, I believe you are mistaken. You are completely paid up.” Pastor Bill, I’ll be 80 years old in September and what I learned those many years ago has played out time and time again in my life. I learned then and there when you are in God’s will — God will provide.
My favorite Bible verse is: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” NKJV
The Cross to me is Life. The Cross is the price paid by Christ and when we accept that we gain Eternal Life.
The miracle of Calvary was the Eye of the Storm for all time. And it is as fresh today as it was 2,000 years ago. I would like each person who passes by this Cross to understand the price Christ paid for their salvation. And ask themselves this question: “Jesus, how could you die just for me?” If they will ask, He surely will answer.
Prayer: Father thank you for the resilience we experienced with Brother Charles Key and the Cedar Grove Baptist Church members in Panama City, Florida. Lord bless them and all those throughout the world who survive the Eye of the Storms of life to carry on for You. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!