Summit at Sawyer Offers Hope to Raleigh

It was a beautiful day to celebrate the groundbreaking of Summit at Sawyer. This 154-unit neighborhood will offer affordable housing options in the heart of Southeast Raleigh. This day has been many years in the making with partnerships that include the City of Raleigh, Mills Construction, and Mount Pleasant Worship and Outreach Center. Some of the funding for the community initiative come from the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

“Something unique is happening on Sawyer Road in Raleigh,” said Apostle Phillip Walker, Mt. Pleasant Senior Leader. In the past, this road was known as “the worst and most dangerous street in the city of Raleigh. It was a haven for gun violence, crime, drug dealing, illegal sale of alcohol and vice,” said Walker. The church has made great strides in the last 50 years including shutting down prostitution on the very ground of the building sites.

The sounds of automatic gunfire during church services have stopped for Mount Pleasant Worship and Outreach Center located on Sawyer Road in Raleigh NC. Now, you can hear the incredible sounds of bulldozers making the way for affordable homes to be built across the street from the church.

The community being built on Sawyer Road represents the highest point (“Summit”) of living in Raleigh (City of “Oaks”) – making affordable housing possible and will be a stepping stone for home ownership. The units are expected to be available Fall of 2024.

Watch the video to hear remarks from Apostle Walker, Senior Leader Mt. Pleasant Worship and Outreach Center. Additional pictures from the event are at the end.

For more on the affordable housing goals in Raleigh, click here for the CBS story.

Pink House Post Captures Cary Charm

Thousands of journal notes, poems, and pictures have been captured in Sheila Ogle’s Pink House Post Journal. “We are truly in awe of the amazing outpouring of heartfelt messages from friends as young as seven and up to 97-years-old who live down the street and from across the world. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your love, your prayers, and ideas!” Sheila

It’s been a year since we celebrated the opening of the Cary Pink House Post, a mailbox with a journal for friends to write a note of inspiration, a memory, a poem, a wish for the future or whatever would be honoring of our community.

The response to writing in the journals was slow at first, but since about September, your outpouring has filled three journals! Here’s just a sampling of the messages that range from love for the beautiful Cary Pink House to prayers for passing a math test:

The Pink House is a memory that is loved, admired, and treasured by so many! Thank you for sharing it for so many causes, as well as super special gathering place for friends! Dru and Bill Smith

The Pink House, so tall and slender, filled with the wishes, the dreams of those who came before. The stained glass sparking from the early spring. The chimney once warm and full of life, now cold and empty waiting for someone to come.  The Pink House, the hopes and dreams, a child’s cry, a mother’s prayers. The Pink House, a wish waiting to come true – the CA

The Haughn family visiting from Indianapolis. Our local family took us to see the lights in downtown Cary. The Pink House was our favorite! Sabrina, David and Henry

A little house

 A little love

 A few good friends

A happy child

A simple life well-lived


I feel sad and things have been hard lately. I want things to get better. I hope things well be okay. I feel really bad and it has affected my relationships. I’ll try to keep trying to fix things. Wish me luck – anonymous

We saw this walking and loved the sign, “Curious? Open me!” Thanks for making our evening! Catie and Derrick

I hope to write a story the whole world would want to read. And I hope I never lose single one of my friends. I hope that every wish written and every desire hidden comes true – anonymous

I want to travel the world with my daughter and my husband and spend long lazy summers exploring Italy and all of Europe. Eating delicious food, listening to church bells, sleeping peacefully each night – anonymous

During times like these, there never is a time spent wondering how to create new memories. After living in Cary for almost 22 years now, I love the little ways such as these to stay interconnected in a now not so small town. Here’s to growth and love! Happy New Year – Naneshea

Happy to visit from Miami! Blessed to celebrate 29 years with Rick, Lauren, and Kiki – Nikki B

I hope that I can pass my next math test, and so can my friends – anonymous

We are so blessed to be able to live in Cary. It feels like a real community with all of the little things that connect us. This post is just another think that warms me when I see it. The pop-up installations are so fun also! KD & Bob

Walking down the street, cold crisp December night looking at the pretty lights. So much has changed in downtown Cary, but the Pink House still stands beautifully! Happy New Year and all the best for 2023 – anonymous

We love this sweet Pink House and we love cookies from the Blue Moon Bakery! Chris, Gus and Julian

I feel okay now. It makes me glad. I’m happy today. I’m spending time with the guy I love and we are having a good time. It’s nice. I hope you have a nice evening as well – anonymous

Thank you Pink House owner for putting out this cool book for Cary to share memories! Anonymous

I am really sad today and I hope things get better. Pray for me…

         Things will get better even though it feels like the word is ending right now. It will get better – you will see.

                                UPDATE – Things have improved and my friends are being supportive. Thank you Andie, Logan and my brother for being here during this hard time. You mean a lot to me 😊

Love this beautiful Victoria treasure! Enjoying the beautiful sunny weather today in Cary! Anonymous

Thank you for being here for us!

Always be true to yourself. Love and accept yourself for who you are. Show kindness, love, and empathy towards others – always.

Make Amends

Laugh often

Be open to the signs and in life generally.

Explore nature.

Eat GOOD food – drink well.

Trust in the universe.

Enjoy the ride

XO Alyssa A. DeRita

4:44 p.m. April 2, 2023 In loving memory Nancy W. Tobin AKA Mom. I love you and I miss you

This house is beautiful! We have been to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox! Thank you for the Pink Post! Stephanie

See God in all things big and small and in-between. Remember when I forget. Remind when others have forgotten. Trust. In a gentle way you can shade the world – Hope

My dream is to have a farmhouse on a few acres in the country with a beautiful view. It will have a huge front porch with a swing and rocking chairs. I hope that my children and their families will visit frequently and we can laugh and make beautiful memories. I desire to travel to beautiful places all over the world with my soul mate – Lisa Weeks

Be a lighthouse for others in a world of oceans! Share light and reflect others back to them – Maya, Nicole and Vishal

You did not wake up today to be mediocre – S

About the Pink House Post

The Pink House Post is self-service with community friends able to open the box for the journal they can write in or leave a note for the Pink House. We are sharing some of the notes and journal entries left in our Pink House Post on our Facebook and Instagram pages. The captured messages may be published in a book.

The inspiration for the Cary Pink House mailbox comes from “Every Breath” by Nicholas Sparks that tells the story about the Kindred Spirit mailbox at Sunset Beach.

About the Cary Pink House

The historic Guess-White-Ogle House is located in downtown Cary, NC at 215 S. Academy Street. The home was built in 1830, on the national historical registry and received an Anthemion Award for its restoration in 2002.

Although known locally as the Cary Pink House, this home has had many owners throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1880, railroad “roadmaster” Captain Harrison P. Guess and his wife, Aurelia, purchased the land to build the original home from Allison Francis “Frank” Page, Cary’s founder and local businessman.

John White, a local Baptist minister, bought the house from the Guess’ in 1896 and substantially remodeled and expanded it. He transformed the house into a Queen Anne structure by adding a three-story tower to the façade, a front bay window and much decorative woodwork.

Carroll and Sheila Ogle bought the property in 1997 and renovated it, adding onto the house, building the outside steps and repainting the exterior.

In 2019, Sheila Ogle published “The Pink House” to not only tell the story of the renovation but also her memories of living there with her late husband Carroll.

“The book is a little bit about Cary history, but very personal and talks about the process of renovating the house,” Ogle said.

When Ogle writes about her experiences and memories, the Guess-White-Ogle House becomes a character on its own, as “The Pink House” describes in third person how the house felt when Sheila and Carroll first came there and how it felt during events such as Thanksgiving parties.

“I based her on my personality. She speaks and she tells stories,” Ogle said. “The words just came through the house and feels as if you are talking together.”

Copies of “The Pink House” are available at Ashworth Drugs and Quail Ridge Books for $20.

The Cary Pink House is Ogle’s personal home and not open to the public.

Elevating Precious Moments with Aimee Cuthrell

For over 20 years Aimee Cuthrell has been a commission artist painting timeless portraits and memorable moments for clients and future generations. Aimee believes that our special stories and the important people in our lives are part of the fiber that makes us who we are. A commissioned painting is a way of elevating these moments, preserving them so you to go back in time again and again as you share them with friends and family. Commissions capture treasured moments for this generation and serve as inspiring legacies for the generations to come.

In this video, Aimee describes how she worked with a picture of Bonnie to create the beautiful portrait of my granddaughter and the chickens. This portrait is a timeless treasure for our family.

You can contact Aimee for a consultation today through

About Aimee: Though Aimee is a native North Carolinian, she also lived in South Carolina and Georgia. Aimee went to high school in eastern North Carolina and graduated from Meredith College in 1984. She lives with her husband, her mother, two cats, and one dog in their forever-home located in Raleigh. She also has two amazing grown children, Shannon and Brad, who have chosen to stay near to family in their home state of NC. In the early 1990’s Aimee began studying portraiture. Since then she has continued with excellent training from some of the best art instructors in the country. With great excitement and a desire to share her paintings with others, Aimee launched Aimee Cuthrell Portraits & Fine Art in 2001. Since the beginning, Aimee has been fortunate to work with numerous kind and generous clients. She has found joy and deep connections while collaborating with her clients to create paintings that allow the beauty of their unique stories to come alive on canvas.

Hope Outside of Prison

Life in prison puts everything in stark contrast to life outside prison. Connections to family and friends are lost. Time passes slowly.

Mike Shank, founder of Pardoned by Christ, knows this experience all too well. He was 22-years-old when he was convicted of trafficking cocaine and a served three and a half years in prison. In the last 40 years, Mike has walked the road of reconciliation and restoration in his personal and professional life. The greatest thing about Mike is his love for the Lord and how the Holy Spirit orders his steps. Mike wants to see lives changed and to give back.

A pardon from the governor in 2001 was the first of many steps that led Mike to create Pardoned by Christ in 2005. “Many inmates want to turn their lives around and maybe, someday, receive a pardon from the Governor of North Carolina.  At the end of the day, it is Christ’s pardon that we need for true freedom,” said Mike.

PBC Ministries volunteers help inmates and families in several ways. They provide Bible studies, family support groups, mentor services and other resources including 4 transitional homes for up to 27 men, most have just been released from prison.

PBC Transitional Homes

Residents at the transitional homes are chosen for their commitment to Christ and to pursuing a positive life.

“I noticed that when guys got out of prison, most had nowhere to go that would help them get a fresh start,” said Mike.

At the transitional homes, volunteer counselors work with the men on a plan to rebuild their life such as getting help finding a job, learning how to pay bills, and connecting to local agencies who can help with clothing, discounted cars from Wheels of Hope, and job training.

In return, residents must help with chores and follow the house rules. Keeping the men focused on Christ is at the center of the mission.

“The blessings of this ministry come from the smiles when the residents get their first paychecks out of prison,” Shank said. “It helps build their self-esteem and get a fresh identity.”

Family Support Ministry

The Family Support Ministry encourages family who have a loved one that has been incarcerated or in any way has been affected by incarceration. The group meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 7 p.m. to strengthen and encourage those in need. The gatherings are facilitated with speakers, group interaction, and development of one-on-one relationships.

Ministry at Youth Development Centers

Youths who are adjudicated for offenses that occurred prior to their 18th birthday may be committed to a Youth Development Center (YDC) for mentoring, education, and therapeutic treatment to prepare youth for a fresh start when they re-enter their communities.

PBC Volunteers share the word and serve as mentors for girls and boys in Chatham YDC in Siler City the 2nd and 4th Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. and boys in Edgecomb YDC in Rocky Mount on the 3rd Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m.

It has been one of my life’s most memorable time volunteering with PBC at the YDC in Siler City. The image shown above is from a few years back with the volunteers. Seeing a young person transition from serving time for offenses to finding hope and healing through this process is truly a gift to know I made an impact.

PBC Ministries Impact

The need for groups working to offer criminal offenders a second chance is revealed by the high re-incarcerated rate, known as recidivism. When many prisoners return to communities, they lack the skills “to find jobs and stay out of trouble,” according to a NC statewide initiative. Many end up back in prison.

Here’s the breakdown from a 2020-2021 NC DPS report.

More than 34,000 people are in state prisons and another 77,763 offenders are under the supervision of the Division of Community Corrections. The majority (82%) were under probation (Source N.C. Department of Public Safety). The highest percentage of those incarcerated are male.

  • During FY 2020-2021 the highest age category of females entering prison was 30-39 (N=944). In this age group, 82% were White Female, 14% Black Female, 2% Hispanic Females, 2% Other Female and less than 1% Indian/Asian.
  • During FY 2020-2021 the highest age category of males in prison was 30-39 (N=8,148). In this age group, 61% were Black Male, 28% White Male, 7% Other Male, 2% Hispanic Male and less than 1% Indian/Asian Male.

Overall recidivism rates. Of the 47,000 people covered by the report, 41 percent were arrested within two years. Probationers (37 percent) were less likely to be re-arrested than prisoners (49 percent). The recidivist incarceration rate for inmates released from prison was 36 percent.

Only 7% of the 178 PBC Transitional Homes returned to prison. The savings of having that many men not be re-incarcerated translates to about $2 million a year.

These numbers help underscore the importance of finding ways to help ex-offenders become productive citizens.

 “Everybody has done things wrong, some have to go to prison,” Shank said. “Everyone should be given a chance for forgiveness and a redemptive process.”

To learn more or get involved today, visit or email Mike Shank at

Creating a Culture of Kindess

My heart aches when I hear of another suicide. It’s like the pain from losing two loved ones to suicide comes rushing forward. Nothing can stop the aching. Time heals some wounds, but not this one.

The path forward for all of us when we learn about the tragedies at NC State University is to become aware of others. Aware of subtleties in behavior change that may include withdrawal from normal activities. Aware of the pain in the eyes. Aware of the catch in the voice when you ask, “How are you doing?”

It wasn’t that long ago when Green Hope High School dealt with two student deaths from suicide. At that time, I was the PTA President and knew our community needed a path forward, a way to heal. We pulled a community of parents and students together and drafted a plan for a memorial walk that raised money to implement a Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention program that we established in Western Wake County. Volunteers were trained to share the steps to “Be-A-Link” Save A Life!

Over the next few weeks, I volunteered time talking with students in high schools and churches encouraging students that it’s OK to ask for help. We also encouraged students to take these steps if they felt a friend was struggling:

  • Stay with the person – you are their lifeline
  • Listen, really listen. Take them seriously!
  • Get, or call, help immediately.

During one of the workshops, I noticed a young man who had come to earlier program. He approached me afterward to thank me. You see, after the first workshop, he noticed a friend was struggling. He kept chatting with the friend online while he called his mother over to find a way to get help to his friend while he kept the conversation going. With tears in his eyes (and in mine), he told me that his friend was alive because he stayed with them and really listened. More importantly, he had the little Yellow Ribbon card I had given him with the these numbers on it for his Mom to call:

Hopeline: 919-231-4525

800-273-TALK (8255)

800-Suicide (784-2433)

Today, we can just call or text 988 to be a link and save a life.

Will join me today in creating a culture of kindness?

Day 6: Civilized to Death

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.

 Luke 12:13-21

In the older sections of this country may be seen old buildings which have housed the same family for three or four generations. When our great grandsires, in some instances our grand sires as lads played around the old building, nowhere in the world a R.R., telephone, no matches, no gas or coal ranges, no electric lights, no sewing machines. Letters were written with quills and dried with sand because there were no blotters and of course there were no typewriters, radios, victrolas, bicycles, autos or airplanes.

It is amazing when we think about how absorbed the past three or four generations have been in inventing and producing the external paraphernalia of civilization. To phrase the situation in convenient terms used by the sociologist, “Man’s life can be divided into two distinguishable – the closely interrelated areas – civilization and culture.”

Civilization is the complex of devices by means of which we live. Culture is the realm of spiritual ends, expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion for which at our best, we live. Civilization is made up of things which we utilize to get something else. Culture is made up of values which we desire for their own sake. Civilization is what we use. Culture is what we are.

For three or four lifetimes, we have been busily engaged in building a civilization. This is a vast complex of implements by means of which to live, but we have not with any similar intelligence and care been engaged in creating a culture of spiritual ends, personal and social, for which to live.

Mankind stands, it hands full of devices, but as bewildered and unhappy as mankind has been for centuries. In the words of G. L. Dickinson, “We have spurned spiritual values but in love with devices.”

Listen to Jesus, then, though he did live 2000 years ago, speaking as if to us, “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of things which he possesses.” What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul.

The meaning of those words constitutes a searching diagnosis of our social ills. Though mankind amasses things without end, achieving even the marvelous apparatus of modern civilization, that by without worthwhile ends to live for – a material civilization without a soul to guide it. It is like a magnificently furnished ship without an idea of what port it is headed for. This situation underlies every lesser problem of mankind today. Here lies the explanation of the optimism which characterized our American fathers but which among us has collapsed into disillusionment. Whatever else our fathers were – they were optimistic.

Progress was the real religion. They as well as ourselves lived in a time of the first of so many marvelous and astonishing devices that life became eager, standing on tiptoe, wondering what new marvel would arrive tomorrow.

We believed Herbert Spencer when he told us that man’s progress toward perfection was an inevitable necessity. And because this multiplication of means by which to live was our serious aim, we thought we were successfully headed toward a great end, and our lives were pitched on an optimistic key.

Now however, we have plunged headlong against a stubborn fact – all this boasted civilization we have gloried in is nothing but means, only implements to be utilized, and the more powerful the implements become, the more insistently the question rises on the answer to which man’s destiny hangs. “To what end will mankind use them?” To that question civilization does not possess the answer. The answer to the question is found not in a nation’s civilization, but in its spiritual culture. For civilization is what we use; culture is what we are.

Some in those old days foresaw the danger in which the trend of things was leading. Thoreau said, “with all America busily engaged in producing the paraphernalia of living improved means to an unimproved end.” He was referring especially to the new and marvelous Atlantic cable, concerning which he said, “The first news that will leak through the American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.”

Now many improved means to unimproved ends we have today! The phrase suggests to create the device and degrade morals with it. Create the radio and give nonsense a wider hearing with it. Create the automobile and implement gangster with it, and the countless ways in which the old Bulgarian and the old barbarian reach out controlling hands for the new devices. The phrase suggest also that society can as a whole use the amazing devices so as to plunge millions into unemployment and poverty, or furnished with world-wide intercommunication, can make of them world wars, armed with techniques that would cause the very devils of Milton’s hell to blush with shame. ‘Improved’ means? No doubt. But to an unimproved end.

For three or four lifetimes, we have been busily engaged in building civilization, as though man’s life could consist in the abundance of things. But the other realm where man’s real life lives, the spiritual culture, the profound faith that alone gives life meaning, the great goal that gives life direction has so often been treated as a decoration, an afterthought.

And now the God of judgment speaks – the end of the road on which you travel is perdition. If you love your children, recenter your attention.

One thing supremely matters to mankind today. The quality of spiritual life which will use these amazing implements. “What shall It profit a man or a nation, or the race, to gain the whole word and lose his soul.”

There is one clear difference existing between civilization and culture. Civilization is easily handed down. Devices invented in one generation are taken for granted in the next.  They are improved, expanded and they go marching on. But profound spiritual culture is not so. It must be re-experienced by every soul. Its insights, devotions must be individually produced. Values inwardly possessed and assimilated. No one can love great music for me. There are no proxies for the soul.

While the apparatus of civilization piles up and moves on, there is an appalling lag in spiritual culture. Mankind stands with vast new implements to use and the old barbarian using them.

The houses in which we live come from civilization, but the homes for which we ought to live are the fruit of spiritual culture. And as one sees some houses and some homes within them the description holds good, “Improved means to an unimproved end.”

For happiness and for peace we yearn. But such not found in the means by which we live, but in by the ends for which we live.

The church will accomplish its mission in the world not by the means – organization – theology – creeds – and opinion, but in that for which it exists. Not by might – but by His spirit.

Christ is still waiting and still saying, “For a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.” And what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul.

The problem of salvation lies here – in our spiritual culture.

The chief purpose of man is to know God and enjoy him. We were made for God and not satisfied until we find him. He has set eternity in our hearts.

From Grandpa’s Whit and Wisdom, Devotions compiled by Liza Weidle / January 2023

Day 5: God’s Perfecting of Life

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. Psalm 138:8 

God has great thoughts concerning each of us. Upon this physical basis he means to rear a life that will reach up to the skies and will be so beautiful and beneficent, so broad in sympathy, so fruitful in divine ministries. So exalted in character, that through the years it will grow into a temple beautiful, adorned with all the graces that will at last bring us into the image glorious of God himself.

We determine our own destinies by the choices that we make. By the lives we live, by the laws we obey or disobey.

Some have claimed that it would have been better if man had never been created a free agent and given the power of choice. But man as a clock run by springs, is one thing, and man endowed the kingly powers of choice, having dominion over all the earth, rising into God-likeness, is another thing, a Godlike thing.

How can God take this life and train it and develop it and finally perfect it, and transform it into his own image?

In order to develop your life and mine and make it what it ought to be, God began ages ago to plan and labor with reference to your life today. God brings to bear upon us the best that all the centuries have been able to bring forth. All the toil and the struggles, and the battles and the tragedies are summed up in us. We are the result of the best thinking and the doing, and the best agonizing, of the best men of all times.

We are what we are because of Christian parents, because of the family alter in the old home, and the inspiration, we have received from Christian teachers, and from God’s children, who have walked as the God’s angels by our side in humble disguise. In the perfecting of our life today, God is using all the weapons of the ages have forged, and all the discoveries and inventions and all the learning and the spiritual experiences of the generations who have gone before.

A second great agency of the perfecting of our lives that God uses is inspirations that transform our souls. From some divine place there must come sweeping in upon the soul tides of inspiration, teach us that there is something, higher and better beyond.

Miss Sullivan, the teacher, sought to open up communication with the darkened mind of Helen Keller. Now this is just what God is seeking to do; he is trying to find a way to open up  communication with the darkened mind of man. He is seeking in a thousand ways to communicate to the soul of man a true, knowledge of his love and grade to teach Him to spell slowly the meaning of all things in life around him.

When a man comes to understand that God is trying to speak to him and revel to him his mission and immortal destiny, then his life is changed and he becomes a different kind of man.

Mark this:  If you soul is not on fire, and if you have not a consuming desire to life to do good, you have not yet learned your mission. Unless you have that great desire to use your life for God and the good of your fellowmen, you have not yet understood your life’s purpose.

Then again, God uses ideals as the third agent in perfecting of our lives. Our inspirations are behind us; our ideals are before us, beckoning us on. God opens up communications and reveals to use the meaning of life, our eternal destinies, that our future is being determined during these days here at the beginning of our immortal career.

God sets before us the ideal life Jesus choice and says, “Copy that.” Look at a class of students studying and copying the work of great masters. Some will have very imperfect sketches while others imitate the copy before them. Some of God’s children are following the copy very poorly. But though you fail and sometimes make miserable work of it, keep the copy before you.

Maybe after many failures we will resemble somewhat the master’s life. Keep Christ the ideal man before you.

The fourth divine agency in the perfecting of life is service. Inspiration and ideals are useless unless there is service. Jesus spent the most of his time in bringing His twelve disciples to new inspiration and ideals, and then sent them into the world to begin their service, and finally the ignorant peasant men of Galilee turned the word upside down.

Theses inspirations and ideals that are set before us must be put into practice. Our faith will grow strong only as it is manifested through faithful service.

Discipline is the fifth agency God uses in the perfecting of our lives. Christianity introduces man to conflict. It provided weapons for his warfare, but he must use them on the battlefield. Where does God’s part come in you say? God equips us with Godly heritage, in furnishing us with the inspirations, in setting before us the lofty ideals, in furnishing us opportunities for service, in walking by our sides and assuring us of his sympathy, friend Christians.

There is the discipline of pain-sorrow. Even the dumb beast learns the lesson on pain. When we are well, we feel strong, but when sorrow comes we reach out our hand for help.

God has great thought for your life. He means to make your life a glorious one. To this end He has endowed you with all the precious inheritance of the past.

He is setting before you new inspirations. You may see some vision and come to some splendid purpose.

He sets before you new ideals and He came himself and lived in the human flesh that you might have the ideal to copy.

He sets you at work in this world and perfects your life in service. Through the tears and the heartaches, and anguish of life, he means to teach us our best lessons and perfect us in the school of trials.

God gives to every man a splendid chance and the rest remains with him.

Are you doing your part? Are you working with God? Are you giving him an opportunity to perfect that which concerns you?

If so, God will bring out the divine and you will leave behind sin and follies. Through the years, you will grow humble in spirit and sweet in soul, and come finally into the beautiful image of God himself.

From Grandpa’s Whit and Wisdom, Devotions compiled by Liza Weidle / January 2023

Day 4: The Christian Life

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second like it is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other greater commandment than these. Mark 12:30-31

The Christian life is an active life. There are various kinds of activities. There is the activity of the circus clown. This is physical. There is the activity of the man of business – that is intellectual, systematic, and methodical. There is an activity that gets its motive or impulse from far within – from a source from far within. That is spiritual, and that is what I mean by the “Christian life being an active life.”

The outward look. As you enter into the life and spirit of Christ, and they enter into you as you read his words and become filled with his purpose, you being to discover that the extent of His love for the universe is not bounded by any age, people or time.

You find that the world is large – not as large as his sacrifice. That it is sinful. But not so sinful as his forgiveness is powerful. That is lost – but not so far lost that it cannot be found by the good shepherd.

As these things begin to dawn upon you, you find yourself not living in your little town, but that you are living in the world. Your little town is just a mere spot where a few of God’s people have been redeemed from the power of evil and blessed with the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

It wakes a man up to the fact that there is something outside himself – of a world beyond his little horizon. And he thinks of a world having some sort of a future to it.

He may keep right on at what he is doing, but all his physical and mental activity will be shaped and colored by his belief in the divine meaning of human life.

As such, one cannot be busy with everything except that which ought to demand a large share of our thought and life. But what a little circle the most of us move about in.

I wonder if you have found this to be true. The people who know the least about God are the very ones who have so much to say about his system of government – that it is all a blunder. The people who know the least about the church are the ones who are everlasting talking about its failures, but do very little to help matters. The people who know the least about the woes and sufferings of the world talk the most complainingly about their own. The people who think the least about other people are the ones who think the most about themselves.

If you feel sure that God made this universe and put you in it. If you can rest your heart’s faith on the atonement as a great fact, it will simply take it off your heart and cause you to want to rush out in the street and compel men to listen to the story of the gospel.

For if you tell them how to make ten dollars, they will be interested. If you tell them of politics and matters of state or education, they are interested. So why not interest them in the fact that God loves them enough to have suffered for them; that he has promised eternal life to all me. and the only price to be paid is loving obedience and faith.

There is nothing that will wake a man up so thoroughly to a sense of the power and beauty and exhilaration and triumph of living, as the full knowledge of Christ as a personal savior, a personal redeemer from evil.

It does not mean perfection – far from that. It does not mean freedom from anxiety and depression and fits of the blues.

It does mean this:

  • A peep through God’s telescope.
  • A growing belief in the final triumph in God’s kingdom.
  • A more unselfish and active life.
  • A lifting of the man upward with increasing hopefulness and usefulness in the world.

A knowledge of Christ as a personal redeemer broadens a man’s view of himself and starts him up to develop unused powers within. This is the inward awakening.

The inward awakening is two-fold. Unworthiness. The most satisfied man in the world, self-satisfied man, is the man who thinks that he does just about what is right. They have no burden of sin resting upon them. They can go to the temple on Sunday and pray like the Pharisee of old. While the man who sees the bleeding Christ and feels the touch of his divine mercy, stands in some obscure place and cries out “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

The more a man knows of Christ and his love, the more he knows of himself and his inward imperfection and the more willingly is he to acknowledge it. The burden of sin like Christian in the pilgrim’s progress has rolled away at the foot of the cross. Not that any more. But you are carrying is a keener knowledge of yourself, a finer conscience. A cleaner look at the real nature of right and wrong. A more luminous comparison between what I am and what I might be.

A Christian is always awake to a knowledge of his own worthiness. A sense of unworthiness does not mean what some make of it, constant confession of sin and groaning of past deeds. It means more knowledge of the inner man. It means a higher standard. It means humility but not humiliation. It means that the Christian is awake to his worthiness. Not contradictions here; for the same light that has shown him his sinful, selfish heart has also shown him the possibilities of that heart for progress in all high and noble things.

A look within, monsters of selfness and impurity and greed of all sorts. But I am equipped to subdue and be victorious. I am capable of doing what these evil demons say I can’t do. Christ the savior has lifted the curtains and I see a host of the redeemed and I take courage.

It is time we were looking for a text. Now suppose we take these words; “Though shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with thy mind, and with all thy strength. And thy neighbor as thyself.” Mark 12:30-31.

That covers the ground of Christian activity. A command that demands your best self. If lived up to what a change in society and government there would be!

To sum up: The Christian life is an active life because a thorough knowledge of Christ wakens a man outwardly to a knowledge of the world as a universe of sinful but savable humanity. It wakens a man inwardly by showing him the state of his own heart and its capacity for good or evil. Unworthiness and worthiness.

Christian activity rests upon love to God and love to men. Love to God for he gave his son for our redemption. Love to man, because he is our brother in the same redemption.

Upon such a basis the Christian sets his life and builds upward to God and out toward man. The deity is enthroned in his heart, and humanity swaying the scepter of his great hope for a final triumph of soul over matter.

From Grandpa’s Whit and Wisdom, Devotions compiled by Liza Weidle / January 2023

Day Three: Tell Your Story

Jesus said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5: 1-19

The story is bewildering. It sounds like foreign language. This should not blind us to the fact of its central message. This has to do with the setting of the jewel and not the jewel itself. It tells of what Christ did for a man long ago and also what he can do for the soul today giving him a chance.

Some think that religion has more weight than wings. That its best benefits are rather trifles. But in these seeming trifles are the great things – priceless. Supreme things.

Tell what great things the Lord has done for thee.”

Have you such a story to tell? What is the Lord is doing for you? Can it be described by the word “Great”? If not, you have lost your spiritual birthright. Your religion is not to you for which it is intended. But not God’s fault. Whenever Christ has a chance, great things happen to that soul – such is here the case.

Look at the man describe in Mark 5 – the description must have come from the pen of an eyewitness. The boat had hardly landed when this ghastly figure rushed out from the tombs half naked – unkept, half mad. A person with whom we feel little kinship. We are far saner and more respectful. The difference, however, is that of degrees rather than in kind.

What was his trouble? A divided personality. In answer to Jesus, my name is Legion. Not one, but many. Not so much a personality as a battleground. He was at war with himself. Being pulled in a thousand different directions – thousands of impulses and passions were warring with his soul. Such we meet today in the hospitals on the streets and in our homes. Not so pronounced, but the conflict is there. All know something of the tragedy of a divided personality.

This fact is emphasized in modern psychology. We are possessed with conscious and subconscious minds. In the subconscious mind are the driving instincts that have come to us from our ancestors. Instincts without conscience. Have a conscience, we say. Here is no moral sense. Gratified in their one fulfillment without attention to right or wrong. But in the conscious mind there is the sense of oughtness. I must do this or I must not do that. The conscious mind rises up against the subconscious mind. Our ideas fight with our instincts. Our higher self fights battles with our lower self.

A divided personality – incarnate civil war, victims of the deepest of deepest conflicts. The conflict with ourselves. Long before modern psychology, Bible writers discovered this fact. Divided personalities, conscious and subconscious mind. Here is a man who is conscious that he loves the Lord. A man of piety and prayer. He is kneeling with his face turned up to God. But there is another self, refusing to kneel. Laughing and jeering at him when his higher self seeks to pray. Out of the agony of such conflict he cries to God, “Unite my heart to fear thy name.” He prays for unified personality, a wholehearted devotion to God.

Here is another who is deeply religions, but seems more sensitive to the lure of evil than to the good. In spite of this he cannot give himself wholly to the lower. He has gone in to the far country of his choice, but he can’t feel at home there. Therefore, he cries out in his prayer “My soul cleaveth unto the dust, quicken thou me according to thy word,”

The man of the text being at war with himself was naturally wretched. Always night and day crying and cutting himself with stones. Fighting himself, always his worst enemy. He is a stranger to happiness. No one with a divided personality can ever be happy.

Here is another great soul in the midst of the age-old conflict, Paul. He is headed for the high road, but when he begins to climb, he slips. He cries out “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me.” I know of a man who lived in excellent circumstances, committed suicide and left this as an explanation. “I was tired of fighting with myself.”

The man of the text being divided and wretched was also antisocial, separated himself from his fellows. Lived alone, no one could tame him. At war with himself. At war with others. It is ever so to ascertain degree with all who have a divided personality. We explode, slam the door, break the dishes. Stab right and left with the sword, the tongue. Tell how poorly we slept how badly we feel and call it our nerves.  But so often it is for the lack of inward harmony. Those torn with inward strife are hard to live with. The demoniac being unable to live with others was equally unable to live for others.

He was or had a divided personality. He was wretched. He was antisocial and he was incurable. He had no hope for himself. Others had no hope for him. He was beyond help. No one could tame him. Divided wretched, unable to live with or for others. An extreme case. Few can recognize any kinship with him. But his needs were and are our needs. What Jesus did for him is just what Jesus longs to do for each of us. He is still able to save to the uttermost.

What did Jesus do for him? He gave him a unified personality. He can do that for us. We can hardly reach the high goal except through him. Certainly no one can find the inward peace by yielding to the basic self. And whatever one may do, he can’t quite hush the voice that calls from the heights.

Lady Macbeth, the most heartless woman of all literature, seemed to have had her prayer answered when she prayed to the demons to take her milk for gall. She could turn her husband to a murdering traitor. Plot the death of her royal guest with devilish eagerness. She was so bad to seem to have no feeling. But not so in her waking hours she was by force able to hide the conflict raging within. Asleep the conflict reveals itself when she seeks to cleanse her hands from the bloody deed. “Out damn spot, out I say.”

We find the unified personality by taking the high road, not the low road. Listen once more to Paul’s anguish cry “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me? Who indeed? Is there no answer? There is “I thank God through Jesus Christ. Thus, he sings “there is therefore no condemnation.” No inward strife, the heart no longer condemns us. With Christ’s gift of a unified personality there is inward peace. A surrendered life to him does just that. Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.

Every man’s religion ought to give him that inward unity which has its assurance in inward peace.

Jesus enabled this man to live with and for his fellows. To live with and for those with who it was impossible for him to live before this contact with Jesus. The broken home. The man met Christ and Christ enabled him to go back and rebuild the broken home. This is the Christian test. This is the test that every man should put his religion to. Can you get along with people? A Christian will certainly be able to meet the test. Live with them and for them.

Here are some of the things that our Lord can do for us. Give us unified personalities and inward peace. Enable us to live with and for our fellows.

How are we to set out to realize the great things the Lord longs to do for us? The first step, repent the and be converted. Old fashion term you say. But if it is and our group has dropped the term, psychologist have taken it up. Conversion is a fact. We may be born anew. We can be born from above or below.

The young man, the Christian, a ministerial student, hopeful. Bright outlook. Well thought of promising. A few years later, I met him. He had become associated with scoundrels and in their fellowship had become reborn, born from below. To be born from above must change the master passion of our lives. Instead of self-centered must become Christ-centered. Matthew, follow me, he did, that was his spiritual birthday. Jack London discovers this in “The Call of the Wild” as Buck becomes the hero. On the way to arrive, the master dies. Buck is reborn by the old instincts. A dog needs a master, he cannot arrive without a master.

When a man arrives at his best something has mastered him. It is not what he possesses but what possesses the man.

We need a Master. Put your hand in his and he will change your discord into winsome music. Take a chance to meet your Master face-to-face.

I Met the Master Face to Face by Lorrie Cline

I had walked life’s way with an easy tread,

Had followed where comforts and pleasures led,

Until one day in a quiet place,

I met the Master face to face.

With station and rank and wealth for my goal,

Much thought for my body but none for my soul,

I had entered to win in life’s mad race,

When I met the Master face to face.

I had built my castles and built them high,

With their domes had pierced the blue of the sky,

I had sworn to rule with an iron mace,

When I met the Master face to face.

I met Him and knew Him and blushed to see,

That His eyes full of sorrow were fixed on me;

And I faltered and fell at His feet that day,

While my castles melted and vanished away.

Melted and vanished, and in their place,

Naught else did I see but the Master’s face.

And I cried aloud, “Oh, make me meek,

To follow the steps of Thy wounded feet.”

My thought is now for the souls of men,

I have lost my life to find it again,

E’er since one day in a quiet place,

I met the Master face to face.

From Grandpa’s Whit and Wisdom, Devotions compiled by Liza Weidle / January 2023

Devotion Day 2: The Giving of Self

Have mercy on me, O Lord – my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon – Matthew 15:22

A mother with a shadow over her home and over her heart. She has an afflicted daughter. The nature of the affliction we do not know. According to the belief in that far off day, she was afflicted with an evil spirit. But whatever her malady, it was robbing her of opportunity. It was laying her life in ruins. But hard as it was on the daughter, it was harder for the mother.

Suffering with the child, she is willing to pay any price within her power to bring healing. When she hears of Jesus, she hurries to him and prays the prayer’ “Have mercy on me, O Lord, my daughter is tormented with a demon.”

The prayer is beautifully unique. The mother is not praying as one might expect. She is not praying as we usually pray. Instead of praying “Have mercy on my child. It is, “have mercy on me.” Her prayer is not an effort to stand from under as ours so often are. She is not seeking to push her burdens on the shoulders of others. Hers is not a cheap prayer. It is costly, as really praying ever is. She made the burden of her daughter her own. The giving of self in the interest of others is costly.

Self-giving just like that is required of all who truly pray. We cannot pray except at the price of self-surrender. If we cease to surrender when we pray – sooner or later we surrender prayer. The most amazing of all Christian experiences is the strength-inward. We well know that God can only trust this amazing power to those who are willing to give themselves. Real prayer always involves surrender.

Self-giving is the essence of Christianity. “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” says Paul, and so fulfill the law of Christ. The law of self-giving – the law by which Christ lived. He was and is the great burden bearer. He is constantly putting himself under our loads. He takes upon himself the burden of our sin. He offers himself as the bread of life – the water of life. He takes the burden of our weariness and restlessness, saying, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He was, he is constantly offering himself – this the whole meaning of his life.

Such is not only the law by which Christ lived, it is the law by which he expects us to live. What he did and what he does – he counts on us to do.

We are to have his mind, his disposition, his way of looking at things, his way of doing things. Give ourselves for the good of others even as he did. If he laid down his life for us, we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren. In that spirit, the early church lived and served, we can be truly Christians no other way. Must Jesus bear the cross alone?

Jesus makes self-giving the law of life for us. Why? Not because he looks upon sacrifice as an end in itself. To cause ourselves needless suffering is not in itself a virtue. Self-giving even to the first limit, is not necessarily a good. “If I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.” 

If sacrificing in the sense of surrendering something of value were an end in itself – then these who are the farthest from wishing to make any sacrifice at all would be the most enriched. No one gives up quite so much as the one who is the most determined to sacrifice nothing – give nothing.

When the prodigal son went into the far country, certainly, he had no thought of making any sacrifice. But in spite of the fact he found his adventure most costly – cost him the companionship of his father – gnawing, hunger-burning, thirst-usefulness – cost him everything. It is true that none surrenders so much as those who are bent on surrendering nothing.

Why does Jesus ask me to make self-giving the law of my life? He does so because it only as I give myself that I can achieve the highest usefulness. But if this self-giving is to be of supreme value, it must have at least two characteristics. First, it must be voluntary. For only as such can my giving become shot through and through with the spirit of the cross. Some have burdens thrust upon them and become reconciled by saying well this is my cross and I will bear it. But it is not a cross – it is a burden – you did not want. You would not have accepted it if you had not been forced to do so. We can only count our cross that we bear of our own choice. Jesus did not have to bear the cross.  When He spoke of giving up his life on the cross, He said, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.”

Not only must the burdens we bear be voluntary, they must be borne from a worthy motive. Jesus never did look on any form of suffering as an end in itself; not even the cross.

Well, you say, why did he put himself under the burdens of others, even to the point of going to the cross – to Calvary for them? It was for the joy set before him that he endured the cross, despising the shame. The joy was not the joy of suffering, but the joy of winning the world through suffering. He suffered because of the conviction that after he was lifted up, he would draw all men unto him. It was through suffering on the cross that he attained his highest usefulness. All subsequent centuries bear witness to the fact that his expectation was well founded.

We too, can only serve in a superlative way at the price of a life laid down. We may serve in a superlative way at the price of a life laid down. We may serve at a lesser cost and receive commendation; but we can’t accomplish or best-realize our highest, except at the price of life laid down. This is true in all departments of human endeavor – books – art – the old artist who painted with life’s blood. In the realm of service – Rockefeller vs. the widow’s mite – $530 million. He gave of his superfluity – she of her wants. The missionary in an obscure Chinese village – the forgotten Doctor.

Jesus urges me to give myself not only because this is the way to highest usefulness, but also to my highest self-realization. But you say, this is all well and good for the receiver – what about the giver? The receiver is enriched, strange as it may seem, the giver is enriched even more. Once it was believed that personality was a gift, but now we are learning that personality is a matter of development; but can only be developed by self-giving. The greater the abandon – the richer our personally – the more abundantly we live.

A few years ago, a Japanese student left these shores with the sentence of death passed upon him. The doctor told him he could not live for long. He went home to the slums, flung himself away in the cause of others and there were such powers given him which made death impossible.

Now the greatest Christian of the world, to fulfill the law of Christ by self-giving is at once the way to highest usefulness and self-realization.

Look at what self-giving did in the story before us. “Have mercy upon me” prayed the sorrowing woman; “My daughter is grievously ill-vexed with a demon.” What was the worth of the prayer to the one on whose behalf it was offered? There is mystery connected with intercessory prayer, but we are taught throughout the Bible to pray for another “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord,” said the prophet of long ago “in ceasing to pray for you.”

Such praying does not make it so here. It was through this woman’s prayer that healing came to her daughter. By her prayer, she took her afflicted daughter in her arms and fairly laid her upon the lap of God. O woman, great is they faith be it unto thee as thou wilt; and her daughter was made whole for that hour. Thus, while her prayer brought blessing to her child, it brought even greater blessing to herself.

It was by self-giving that our Lord won his crown. “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who existing in the form of God counted not the being on the equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, ye, the death of the cross. Wherefore God highly exalted him, and gave him, and gave unto him that name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, the glory of God the Father.”

Thus, according to Paul, Jesus climbed to the highest heights because he was willing to stoop to the lowest depths of humiliation and even shame.

The Chinese king put to the disposal of his chief minister all the wealth of the kingdom that he might make a bell which would ring with a note of flawless sweetness. But the bell was soulless to the disappointment of all-ordered the bell recast – but still the bell was soulless. The king was angry – ordered the bell recast and commanded that if the bell did not ring with flawless sweetness this time that his life would be the forfeit.

The girls part flung herself in boiling caldron, thus with the gold and silver was mingled the blood of a devoted heart. When the bell was hung in the tower and the kind and his people came to hear it rind and such heavenly music had never been heard before. It attained the flawless sweetness in the blood of a devoted heart.

Our lives never attain their best, highest possibly sweetness and beauty, except at the price of utter self-giving.

From Grandpa’s Whit and Wisdom, Devotions compiled by Liza Weidle / January 2023