Feb 20, 2017

Precious Memories, How They Linger ... Of My Forever Friends

More Precious As The Years Carry Me Farther From Them...

Mrs Blair and I arrived in Tallahassee, Fla., with our six children, on this date, Feb.20, 1963 to start Temple Baptist Church, now North Florida Baptist Church. I write today to all of you who were ever members of that body of believers.

Most of life's experiences are not worthy of memory, for most are of mundane, trivial, and temporal things. But some things are enduring, eternally precious, and will never be forgotten. Spiritual birth, through faith in Christ, is the crowning glory among eternal memories. Whereas, physical birth, without the second birth, has a very pointless duration and a very sad ending. At this time there are over seven billion flesh and blood people on earth experiencing the wood, hay and stubble of life in addition to the pains, difficulties and temporal pleasures which come their way. But of those billions of living individuals, though many profess Christianity, there are probably many fewer who are actually born again believers in Jesus Christ. Oh yes, most of the world's people have some sort of religion, for every human being has a born in, deep inclination toward believing there has to be a God somewhere out there. Even as the intellectual Athenians built an altar "To The Unknown God".

Besides the usual memories of childhood, growing up and those thousands of unimportant, common memories which all of us have, I have many others which are precious fuel for the low burning flame of old age.... Memories of the mountain top years of my life ... All of which, in one way or another, have to do with God's service, His calling and ministry ... for me, and those precious people I served with and loved over those glorious years.

Sometimes, in the darkest hours of night, the faces and voices of old friends drift through my memory ... and carry me back to those precious times, at the top of the world where you and I were blessed to be a part of things eternal.... together. That holy place where our great God and Father came down and drew us up into His presence... endures still. It was not our church or our message He chose to bless. It was His own ... and we were just there ... hoping to be be used by Him. I think we all sincerely desired His will for our lives, and struggled to be obedient and faithful ... as best we could. The many successes we saw unfold through those years, which accompanied our feeble efforts, were not my successes, or yours, but His. Yet, more yours than mine ... your faithfulness, sacrifices and prayers ... my voice ... but God's word, God's holiness, God's will and God's glory. I have always known it was our Lord, not I, who founded and built that church.The credit and glory are all His. It was that knowledge which signed all of my letters, over my signature with  Psm.115:1 "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake." 

Now, 54 years since the birth of our church ... God's church, began in February/March, 1963, an old man's midnight memories are a treasure and a comfort which overshadow any regrets or failures. In the darkest hours of night, I see your faces ... and  "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you...." Phil.1:3.  You are, and always will be... my Forever Friends. I love you all with a love only Christ can give. Psm.115:1, Pastor Blair

Precious mem'ries, unseen angels
Sent from somewhere to my soul
How they linger, ever near me
As the sacred past unfolds.

Precious mem'ries, how they linger

How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness of the midnight
Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

As I travel on life's pathway

I know not what the years may hold
And as I ponder, hope grows fonder
Precious mem'ries flood my soul

Precious mem'ries how they linger

How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness of the midnight
Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

Precious Memories written by Ed Reeves.

What ever happened to the great old hymns,
where did they go...or is it us who departed
from them? RB


Ron Blair said...

Thank you Lord for precious memories.

Tonya Suber-Duncan said...

Pastor Blair,
You just brought tears to my eyes with the memories of Temple Baptist Church and my church family.
I thank my FATHER my GOD that he sent you to Tallahassee, Florida to teach HIS word to us and bring us closer to The Lord and understand how we as humans came to be and where we will go (by our choosing) for eternal life. You taught us HIS love for us and that we are never alone. Also, that our FATHER wants us to to be a daily part of HIM. HE will lead and guide us if we choose to let HIM. HE gave us free will and all that we do is by our own doings. GOD is there for us, all we have to do is ask. HE cared enough to leave us a "Letter", the Bible, of what was and what is to come, what to expect and how we can live a wonderful life and go on to eternal life with our FATHER.
HIS love for HIS children is awsome!
I miss you and your family.
Our son is in the 6th grade, middle school, at Wakulla Christian School.
He played Soccer on the JV Soccer Team and is now playing baseball on the JV Baseball Team. We are the "Saints" Our home games are played on the James "Jim" Pound Baseball Field!!
It reminds me of old North Florida Christian School times and our son, as our daughter did, gets to experience it just at another location.
Thank you for being in my family's life.

Jane Ryder said...

Thank you for the sweet memories. I feel honored to have been a part of the earlier days with my parents and brothers in the storefront and at Sealey school, spending time with your kids, and enjoying close fellowship. You officiated my wedding in our first building, celebrated the birth of my first child, and helped to support us as we went away to Springfield. The church thriving here in Lake Worth which began in 1972, is an extension of your ministry. May God continue to bless you, your precious family, and your continuing web ministry. Jane (Huggins) Ryder

Sabrina Gilliam said...

Pastor Blair,
My parents (Adeeb and April Ayoub) raised me at Temple. I still remember many of your sermons from when I was a little girl. Thank you for your faithful ministry! Sabrina