Friday, December 28, 2012

Excerpts from Christ in the Camp


This book was purchased in 1994 when we were visiting the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park while travelling in the Eastern part of the United States. The copy of the book which I have was printed by Sprinkle Publications, P. O. Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. The book contains photos of men such as Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson and Jefferson Davis and others which make the events even more real and enjoyable. Hopefully, these short excerpts will whet your appetite for more. A downloadable pdf of this book may be obtained at  Sadly the pdf does not have the photos.

The book was written by J. William Jones, former Chaplin in Army of Northern Virginia. J. William Jones was an ordained Baptist minister who was preparing to leave for China when the Civil War broke out. He enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army but in a year he began serving as a chaplain. Christ in the Camp is the result of  Jones’  reports of the ongoing revival that he had witnessed among the Confederate troops.

The first Copyright was 1887, by B. F. Johnson & Co. In the Preface the author writes “It may be proper to add that, while the book is written by an ardent Confederate, who does not pretend to conceal warm Confederate sympathies, everything has been scrupulously avoided which could reasonably give offense from either sectional or sectarian bias.”  Having said that he goes on to state that he sends forth the book “with the earnest hope that it may prove acceptable to many at the North as well as the South, with the fervent prayer that it may be useful in leading men to Christ and in strengthening the faith and brightening the hope of true children of our loving Father, who, behind the ‘frowning providence’ of war, hid ‘a smiling face’ for those who trusted Him even in the storm.” The book is full of stories relating the preaching of the Gospel and conversions to Christ as Saviour during a time of war.

There are thirteen chapters in total and it is from these that I will draw some excerpts which I trust will help you appreciate what the Lord accomplished through men during this conflict between brother and brother.  In the Introduction J. C. Cranberry, former Chaplin in the Army of Northern Virginia wrote “The only triumphs the author records are the triumphs of the cross. That so many soldiers were saved by the power of the Gospel to the praise of the riches of God’s grace is the facts in which he desires all Christians to rejoice.”

Throughout these excerpts the emphasis will be that of this editor. Page 28 begins A LETTER TO A SON IN CAMP. This is a letter from a father to his son and the father outlines his letter in six points. The father’s third point is “Try to maintain your Christian profession among your comrades. I need not caution you against strong drink as useless and hurtful, nor against profanity, so common among soldiers. Both these practices you abhor. Aim to take at once a decided stand for God. If practicable, have prayers regularly in your tent, or unite with your fellow-disciples in prayer meetings in the camp. Should preaching be accessible, always be a hearer. Let the world know that you are a Christian. Read a chapter in the New Testament which your mother gave you, every morning and evening when you can, and engage in secret prayer to God for his Holy Spirit to guide and sustain you. I would rather hear of your death than of the shipwreck of your faith and good conscience.” Oh, how America and Australia need fathers such as this TODAY! What a concern this father had for his boy who was facing death each and every day. This father’s wish was not that his boy becomes a man through fulfilling worldly passions but rather his boy keeps his heart and life right before man and God! 

In point four this godly father wrote his son to “…make special associates of those whose influence on your character is felt to be good.” Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” The father wrote “Some men love to tell extravagant stories, to indulge in vulgar wit, to exult in a swaggering carriage, to pride themselves on their coarse manners, to boast of their heroism, and to give utterance to feelings of revenge against their enemy. All of this is injurious to young and impressionable minds. If you admire such things, you will insensibly imitate them, and imitation will work gradual but certain detriment to your character. Other men are refined without being affected. They can relax into occasional pleasantries, without violating modesty. They can be loyal to their governments without indulging private hatred against her foes. They can be cool and brave in battle, and not be braggarts in the absence of danger. Above all, they can be humble, spiritual, and active Christians, and yet mingle in the stirring and perilous duties of soldier life. Let these be your companions and models. You will thus return from the dangers of camp without a blemish on your name.”  Oh, to be such a wise and godly father to give such counsel to your son who is living daily in such close quarters among the unsaved and at any moment might be going into the heat of battle.

The father’s sixth point was that “Providence has placed you in the midst of thoughtless and unpardoned men. What a beautiful thing it would be if you could win some of them to the Saviour! Will you not try? You will have many opportunities of speaking a word in season.”

May we who are fathers and grand-fathers read the above words and take them to heart. As the world turns whether it is war or everyday living our sons and grandsons will be facing the wiles of the devil. We ought to be deep enough in the Word and close enough to the Saviour to give such godly and wise advice! 

On page 35 we read “We have plenty of men to fight, but not half enough to pray.” 2Timothy 2:3, 4 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

On page 36 this wonderful testimony is given. “Rev. Mr. Hopkins, of Martinsburg, Virginia, sends $5.00 to be appropriated to the purchase of tracts for Captain Robert White’s company, Thirteenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers. It is a thank-offering from a widowed mother, whose son died of fever at Winchester, contracted at Manassas. Up to the time of leaving home he had not made a profession of faith in Christ, although she had long dedicated him to God’s service in the ministry. But her cause of gratitude now is, that during his camp life he evinced so much devotion to reading his Bible, and for some time before his sickness had shown signs of piety, and died acknowledging his love to the Saviour, and supported by this love now ‘sleeps in Jesus.’ – Central Presbyterian.   

On page 38 we read these words “The darker the conflict the brighter the transition.” On the same page and page 38 we read “I lay both my good deeds and my evil deeds together, and flee from them to my Saviour.”

As we finish Chapter One may we purpose to be true and loyal soldiers of the cross so we too will “return from the dangers of the camp without a blemish” on our name or His! 


Sunday, December 23, 2012


                                                      2012 Sunday School Programme
Matthew 19:14 "...Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


No one can say the shooting that recently took place in the state of Connecticut, USA is not a sad, sad tragedy. What was going through the mind of this young man that he would kill his own mother and then innocent children in a school?! Is it time for more government intervention on guns? Many would say, yes!!
Think about what makes someone do what this young man did? Yes, I am going to get religious and go to the Bible. Most people remember Cain and Abel. Here is what the Bible says about the FIRST MURDERER.  Genesis 4:3 - 10 “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.”

Here we have a brother murdering his own brother! This is a parent’s worse nightmare. Why did Cain do it? Firstly, Cain murdered Abel because Cain was mad at God. Cain had brought his offering but God refused it and Cain knew it. Secondly, Cain couldn’t really take it out on God for God was God so Cain turned his hatred toward his brother.
How did Cain kill Abel? It wasn’t with a gun; we know that. Murder can be committed in many ways for all it takes is the murderer to perform the act. Cain was not an atheist, agnostic or an evolutionist. No, Cain knew God in a very personal way for the Bible says God spoke to Cain and Cain spoke to God. However, it is easy to see that Cain did not have faith in God as his brother did for we read in Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”  Abel was right with God but Cain was not.

The Bible declares in Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and in Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. Sin was Cain’s problem and so it is with all men for all are born into this world hating God just as Cain.
It isn’t the gun but the man! Yes, the gun was used to murder these innocents but it was THE MAN that pulled the trigger! What is it that made really this man? What was his life composed of? Was he from a home that was composed of a loving mother and father? From the news he was from a home that had suffered a divorce. This is known to make life harder for children.

Then it needs to be considered whether he was a man that had partaken of drugs that are known to have an adverse effect on the mind? Was he man that was in the habit of evil thinking? Was he watching movies that would motivate him to such an action? Was he playing some of the video games that are now being produced that promotes killing? Was he a man that believed he was just a product of chance?
There are many other areas that must be considered but in the end it was not the GUN BUT the MAN! This whole incident isn’t just about the right to bear arms BUT it goes deeper than that. What had this man been taught about God, the world, man, life, death and eternity to name just a few!

The day in the United States is coming very quickly when the right to bear arms will be no more. However, it will not stop murder for as stated earlier it is NOT THE GUN BUT THE MAN! The man must be changed; 2Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”     

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Caleb's 2012 School Christmas Programme

Caleb is in the 2nd row, third from left in red shirt
or just look for the cutest boy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


    Caleb on the left, Joshua in the centre and Keirsten on the right! Do you think they are always this calm?                                    

Monday, December 3, 2012


Dear friends  thank you for taking time to read this Christmas post. 2Corinthians 8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” It seems almost impossible that Christmas is just a few weeks away and the world is once again scurrying about celebrating a “season” which they really know nothing about. To the world it is often called the “silly season” but to us which know personally the Saviour it is a time to rejoice in the fact that He “...made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Philippians 2: 7-11.             

Thanksgiving has come and gone. We had fourteen around the table with I Thessalonians 5: 18 positioned in prominent places in the kitchen and dining room to remind us that in EVERTHING, yes EVERTHING we are to thank Him! We gathered in a circle holding hands with each one giving thanks for something or someone and then David quoted I Thessalonians 5: 18 and then gave thanks to the Lord in prayer.  

Only the Lord knows what 2013 will bring and in many ways we are thankful for that. We could never imagine that 2012 would have Pam undergo open heart surgery and a pacemaker implanted in David. David has had no more fainting spells since the pacemaker was implanted for which we thank the Lord.            

Pam went to the endocrinologist again last month for her thyroid. He wants her to take some radiation medication to kill the nodules on her thyroid. He told her the percentage is in her favour that it will only kill the nodules and not the thyroid. However, she is putting off taking the medicine until after the grandchildren’s school Christmas programmes as she is not to be around anyone for a couple of days after taking it due to its radiation. The place where she goes to have the medicine administered is changing doctors as well so it may be in January when it happens. 

In closing this last epistle for 2012 we thank the Lord Jesus that He has allowed us to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” here in Australia these past thirty four years. We also ask the Lord to give each of you a very blessed Christmas with the knowledge of God’s having given “his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It looks like our Christmas is going to be a HOT one. Summer began the 1st of December and it was over 100 degrees that day.

We are certainly nearer His Coming than this time last year,

David and Pam