A View from Mt. Perspective

For the last thirteen years, we’ve been blessed to own a piece of property in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. After my father died and we were settling his estate, we had a small amount of money to put toward a down payment on a log house outside of Gatlinburg. Terri and I had prayed for twenty years to be able to one day own a place in the mountains (maybe retiring there at some point), and with a small investment, we bought a little log cabin.

For years she had planned, prepared, and saved furniture and other items to use in our mountain retreat if we ever got one. She knows how to decorate and make a place feel like home!

About six years later, when property values were at their peak, we sold that cabin and bought another house, one that we dreamed would be used by our kids and grandkids for years to come as a family get-a-way. We’ve had that home for seven years this month. We’ve invested time, sweat, resources, and energy into updating what Terri affectionately called “the ugliest house on the mountain.”

Terri made that house a labor of love. When we bought it, it was what she called a “blank canvas.” After ten days of working, painting, arranging, and updating that house was transformed from a blank canvas to a home our rental company called one of the most beautifully decorated homes on their program. We wanted people to walk in and feel “at home” like we did.

I can’t tell you how it felt to walk in those doors several times a year. It was my refuge. I had a study area set up downstairs with a desk and computer. The minute I arrived I would get my books and computer out and get ready to work on sermons, books, and other projects.

Terri would spend time straightening up items that had been moved around by those who had rented the property. We spent many mornings watching the sun rise over the mountains. We spent two weeks snowed in there after a sixteen-inch snow blanketed everything in sight. We always enjoyed building a cozy fire (you don’t use your fireplace much in Albany, Georgia) and watching a movie. I had the most comfortable red recliner in the living room—I could fall asleep in ten minutes in that chair.

We’ve enjoyed days there with our friends Roger and Linda Breland and Charles and Penny Lowery. We’ve been there with my first pastor, Charlie and Retta Draper. I’ve had pastor friends who have used the house for a study break. We’ve had fun times with our girls there. As my friend Roger Breland would say, we’ve had some “lovely moments” there.

The house was named Stand in Awe, and the view is awe inspiring. We have an unobstructed view of the Greenbriar Ridge in the National Park. It inspired me in the moments when I was there to retreat, study, and write. I’ve written the major portion of at least three books in that house. I’ve written countless sermons at that old wooden desk. I’ve been able to step back and get a perspective on ministry, trials, and life in general inside that house.

The view of the mountain sky with no lights was breathtaking to me. Far away from the city, there were few manmade lights to interfere with God’s heavenly lights. Seeing the mountains with nothing but a full moon to light the sky is stunning. The sound of storms rumbling across that valley and rolling over those mountains reminded me of the majesty of our Creator.

The serenity that Terri and I felt in that home was unexplainable. Walking in and seeing family heirlooms, a few pieces of my grandparents’ furniture, gave it a warm touch. Over the years, we had probably placed a dozen of Ken Jenkins’ pictures in the house. Plus the game room walls were filled with signed sports memorabilia I had collected through the years. All this was a quick reminder that this was our “get away” in the mountains. It was our home away from home. 

We were able to maintain the house because we rented it out when we weren’t using it. Over the years, because God has blessed us with consistent rentals, we’ve been able to make significant improvements, building a stone retaining wall, remodeling the bathrooms, putting stone on the front of the house, and in general watching the house get a “touch” from my very creative wife.

Yesterday, Friday the 13th, 2011, that all changed. I got a call from our rental company yesterday afternoon that our house was on fire. It had apparently been struck by lightning. At this point, we aren’t sure of all the details, but we know that our home is, for all practical purposes, gone. We were originally supposed to be there next week to spend a study week and to relax for a few days before a hectic summer schedule. Now, all that has changed. There is no house to go to. Many of the heirlooms are either gone, or we’ll probably not be able to salvage them. I’m not sure what I’ll find when I drive up on Monday to assess where we stand and what the next step is.

Corrie Ten Boom said something to the effect of, “Be careful how tightly you grip things; the tighter the grip, the harder it hurts when God pries your hands from it.” I know that’s not the exact quote, but it’s what came to mind. The reality is that we’ve always said this house was the Lord’s, and now we’ve been tested on that. It was. It still is.

I’ve got a feeling when I drive up on Monday, my heart is going to be filled with a variety of emotions. I hope I can say, “Lord, I know you know we asked you for this house and this view of the mountain. I’m grateful that you gave us what we asked you for. Uh, Lord, did you know that your house burned down last Friday? It was one of your lightning bolts that hit it. Never mind, Lord, you know all things. Now, Lord, that we are here and in this situation, how do you want me to proceed?” I don’t have to “feel” it. I do, because of my faith, feel I must profess that and confess it.

A few weeks ago, we had a number of people gather at Sherwood to tape a DVD on the life of Ron Dunn. Before we started sharing, we all sat down and watched a DVD of Ron preaching on “Not ‘Why?’ but ‘What Now?’” It kind of defines where I am tonight.

Terri and I are grateful no one was in the house—it could have been disastrous. It could have been so much worse (and I haven’t seen it yet). We could have been there. Terri had knee surgery a week ago and is unable to travel. Months ago I reserved the house for two weeks for us to get away right after Mother’s Day. We could have been in there and possibly trapped.

Someone else could have been there. If I hadn’t reserved it, it could have been rented and someone’s life could have been devastated. There was only one way into and out of that house on the front. One person who called me said when they arrived, the whole front door was engulfed in flames and the firemen had to cut a hole into the roof to try to get into the house to put the fire out.

Ron Dunn famously said, “Good and evil run on parallel tracks, and they normally arrive about the same time.” That’s kind of where I am right now. 

When I think of all the families who have lost everything in the recent tornados across the south, I have perspective I might not normally have. What brought me the most perspective was who I was with at the time.

Because Terri was home recovering from surgery, I had gone to the church to meet my friend, Pastor Ed Litton. Ed was in town to speak at Sherwood Christian Academy’s graduation that night. I walked out of my study and next door to the Strauss House, a guest house our church maintains for speakers who come in, and met Ed. We walked across the street together.

For the hour before that, I had been on the phone. I had to call Terri and break the news to her because I was headed to the graduation. I talked to the rental company, to a person who had been on the scene, to Tom Elliff who also lost a house in a fire, and to Ken Jenkins who lives just up the road from us in Gatlinburg. It was a whirlwind of trying to figure out “what now” and when I could get up there to see what’s happened.  

God knew I needed Ed with me at that moment. I wouldn’t see Terri for several hours. My thoughts were spinning. When I saw Ed I was reminded that four years ago, I was in Texas and got a phone call that Ed’s wife Tammy had been tragically killed in an automobile accident. I took a look from Mount Perspective and thought, “Here’s a man who has suffered more than I can possibly imagine, and I’ve seen God all over him in his darkest hours. How could I do anything but trust God in this moment?”

That thought immediately gave me an eternal perspective. What I have lost will one day be gone anyway. What Ed lost on that tragic day was a life, a love, a wife, and a mom to his kids. Looking at Ed I realized, what I lost was stuff. My “loss” was insignificant.

Ironically, (God has to have a sense of humor) our oldest daughter Erin is in Knoxville for six weeks filming a movie. She had called us earlier that day to ask us to pray because she was shooting a scene where she is trapped in a burning building and a wall collapses behind her. We sent text messages to folks and asked them to pray, and God answered that prayer. The shooting of the scene went off smoothly. Two fires in one day—one made for a scene in a movie, the other one not planned or expected.

Just to give us something to laugh about, while Erin was getting ready to film the scene, all the firemen who were there had seen Erin in Fireproof. She had pictures and signed autographs before they shot the scene. I think we laughed to keep from crying.

We don’t know what’s next. We don’t know how bad things are. We do know the damage was extensive, if not complete. I’ll know more next week. I’m sure a range of emotions will hit me when I see it next week. I’m hoping beyond hope that some of our heirlooms survived. We had some old wrought iron tools that belonged to my grandparents on a wall in that house. We had the rocking chair that Terri rocked our girls in when they were babies.

I’m hoping that some of my signed books by Warren Wiersbe, Vance Havner, and others that I kept there survived. I’m hoping my signed mementos by people like Arnold Palmer survived, but I know better. I’m hoping my Ken Jenkins’ pictures weren’t damaged, but I know better. Smoke and water have a way of destroying things once treasured.

Here’s what I do know for sure. God is still on the throne. My family is safe. God knew this was going to happen. He allowed us to enjoy that house and those “things” for a number of years. The first thing Terri said after she got over the shock was, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.”

Blessed be the name of the Lord. Are we sad? Of course. Do we have a clue what’s next? No. What I do know is that God is in the storm. He is the God who causes well-being and creates calamity. He is in the darkness and the light.

We don’t know “why,” but sometimes God works in unexpected ways. We look for Him in a still small voice, and He shouts to us in a mighty rushing wind. We think He will come in on a white horse and deliver us, and He shows up as a baby in the manger. God’s ways are not our ways.

I know this is going to sound trite, but it is true. This world is not our home, we are just passing through. I do know that every treasure I’ve laid up in heaven is going to be there for all eternity. The money I’ve given in tithes and offerings has gone before me, invested by the Lord Jesus who owns it all anyway. The things eternal are not shaken today. Things temporal are always one moment away from being shaken. I’m reminded today to put my trust in the Lord, not in things. 

The reality is that there is so much of life we can’t control. It’s beyond us. That’s why living by faith is the only sane thing to do. Not faith in my ability to guard the gates and nail everything down, but faith in God’s ability to see me through when things aren’t going well.

God will see us through and will give us wisdom on what to do next. We ask the wrong questions when we ask, “Why?” “Why me?” “Why us?” “Why now?” Ron Dunn was right. The question is really, “What now?” Lord, in light of this, what is it you want us to do?

I don’t know the answer. I do know the one who has the answer. If He chooses to show it to me, I’ll be grateful. If He doesn’t, I won’t complain. He’s been too good for too long for me to complain now. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m not a sadist or a fatalist. I’m a realist who knows that God is in control and I’m not. I’m a Christ follower who understands that His ways are not my ways. I know He will work this for our good and His glory.

Others have gone through much worse. We have friends who have lost everything in a fire. We have friends who have lost a spouse or a child. We have friends who are battling cancer right now. I have a longtime friend whose oldest daughter just had a mastectomy and is facing chemotherapy. I know people who can’t find a job. I know church members who have loved ones in hospice care right now.

From Mt. Perspective, I don’t have a fatalistic view. Not at all. I’m not going to stare at this dot on the canvas of our lives for long. I’ll back up, take a panoramic view of the life God has given us, and I’ll thank Him. It doesn’t mean I’m not hurting. I’m not unrealistic. God knows the frailty of our hearts.

When Ed Litton talked to our students tonight he said, “Tornados reveal the foundation.” Tornados strip away everything and reveal foundations. Storms do that. Tonight, I’m grateful to say, our life is built on the solid rock, not sinking sand. My foundation is firm, even if the foundation of our house in the mountains may or may not be firm any longer.

From the mountain you learn there are valleys ahead. It’s in the valley that we encounter life on real terms. As Andrae Crouch wrote, “Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God…I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.” So, we’ll trust Him and take one step at a time. We’ll trust Him and seek to be sensitive to what He wants for us and from us. I do know this is one Friday the 13th I’ll never forget.

As one wise sage once said, “Get ready. You are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or headed into a storm.” Storms are inevitable in life. No one is immune, regardless of what the “joy boys” on TV tell you. I love Jesus, I give faithfully of my time, talents and tithe, but that doesn’t give me a pass from adversity.

The prince of the power of the air may think he won today. What foolishness! My father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. That house sat on the side of a mountain my father formed before the first man ever breathed his first breath. My Father gave us that house. He owned the deed to it (regardless of what my mortgage company might say to me on Monday).

Do you want a view from Mt. Perspective? You’ll have to endure a few falls. The view will allow you to look into the valley of pain and suffering caused by the fall. You’ll see a creation groaning. You’ll be reminded that every day people are being martyred for their faith. You’ll see problems in the valley that can only be addressed by prayer and fasting. You’ll discover someone who has far greater problems than you (which always makes one stop whining). You’ll see, with God’s perspective, how blessed you’ve really been and how you did nothing to deserve it.

Over the course of these last few years, I’ve watched my Father roll like thunder across that valley and over those mountains. Sometimes, the power has been frightening. I’ve sat in that home and watched everything from a seventy-mile-an-hour wind bending the trees outside to a gentle snowfall on a windless day in January.

The last time we were in the mountains, just prior to our annual ReFRESH® conference, we drove by a house that was engulfed in flames. Lightning struck, and it was swallowed up in a matter of minutes. We felt sorry for the owners. But, the reality is, we drove on to our place and laid our heads on our pillow and went to sleep. We observed, but we weren’t affected by it. This time, it was our place. Rather, I might say, it was HIS place. We were just allowed to be the stewards of it for these last several years.

Everything we’ve lost was manmade. Everything we have in Christ is eternal.

32 thoughts on “A View from Mt. Perspective

  1. Again, grieved by your lost, but heartened by your response. “From Mt. Perspective” … sounds like the title of your next movie.

  2. Thank you for sharing your “Mt. Perspective” thoughts. The Smokies are a peaceful place for me too; I have many memories associated with the Gatlinburg area and with Franklin, NC.

    I’m so glad that you were able to enjoy your mountain retreat these past several years, and that you were able to bless so many others (guests AND renters) by sharing it. You are SO right about the ways in which things could have been worse. We are thankful that God protected you and potential houseguests from danger.

    As you go there this week, may you find some miracles in the midst of the destruction. We know this situation will be further evidence of “all things working together for good,” as you seek to glorify God, with both your life AND your stuff.

  3. When you get there, the site will awe you, when you look thru the things to find keepsakes u may cry,when u think of the memories you lost on paper or otherwise u will be sad, when you realize none of it is really important in the purpose here on earth in this life, you will rejoice in what you have learned from God! Then your question will make more sense, “What Now God”?

  4. Well said Michael. I’m sorry for your loss but grateful that God has given you eternal perspective. God bless you as I pray that you will find a few momentos.

  5. I am sorry for your loss and will pray that God will give clear direction for the future. Thank you for sharing your heart and also the truth all Christ followers need to hear.

  6. Wow! I am so gratiful that you, your wife and children were not there and nobody was hurt. I am gratiful that Erin safely filmed yesterday. Praying that God will give you and Terri direction on up coming decisions. I don’t know why but after I read you blog I thought of 1 Peter 1:7. I had a wise lady tell me once, ” that’s not the things that you worry about that come to pass, it’s the things you don’t see coming.” I think if we knew why and what was coming our minds could not handle it. But, God gets all the Glory, Honor and Praise! Praying also for a speedy recovery for your wife. God Bless!

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. God knows everything – nothing is hid from HIM. I don’t have to tell you this. We met for the first time last September at ReFresh. God enabled you to build a ministry for HIM. He will continue to use you — I know you have a humble spirit. I trust that Terri is doing well after her surgery.
    I haves a request: Would you make available, to all of your viewers, the link to my recent book, Walter’s Hope? Thank You. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlhXFTyiILk

  8. Thanks for these comments, brother. And, by God’s grace may these truths resonate in your mind in the coming days as you face the coming realities of this loss. God is good! All the time!

  9. I am so sorry for the loss of your home. I just wanted you to know a few years ago at Rec lab you impacted my heart. I drove home renewed with a greater sense of purpose! I am thankful for you and the ministry God has given you!

    Jeremy

  10. There is nothing that I can say that you don’t know, but my heart hurts for you. Even though this isn’t our home, we do cherish memories of places that have meant so much to us. I will be praying for you and your wife as you deal with things to come. You were used by God in my life several years ago to completely change my life. I’ve been saved 32 years and several years ago, I gave God everything, everything because I wanted Him more than anything. It has been a very grievous road on one hand, but oh, the joy that I have encountered in seeing my Holy God for Who He is, for all He is. I am amazed at the depth that God has taken me in His Word. These are the things that last in your life and by being used by God, they are the things that will last in my life. As I read your perspective, I was reminded of Moses when God passed in front of Him. Moses couldn’t see God’s face. Moses couldn’t see where God was going, BUT Moses could see where God had been and could FOLLOW Him. We have a greater advantage. We can see where God has been in the past through the Bible, His Word. We can see where He has been in our lives. We can’t see where He is going, but we can follow Him and trust Him that He is doing the very best thing for us. Sometimes I choke on the very best thing because it is not pleasant at the time, but He is always faithful. What a God we serve! At this time, you don’t know why this happened. God gave you the best person to be with you at the time, Ed Litton, my pastor. OurLord wasn’t taken by surprise. He may not reveal the reason here on earth for this event, but He had you covered before it happened. I don’t know all of the reason in my life for the hurt that I am experiencing, but I do know Him. I trust Him completely and I suspect in your and in my life, this will result in people giving their lives to Jesus – an eternal treasure that make it worth it all. My prayers are with you. You are truly blessed and God has blessed me through you.

  11. I’ve had the same thoughts on my mind all week as well for some reason…just being reminded that this world is not our home..there’s a popular song now that says, “”what if our greatest disappointments and the aching of this life, is the reveling of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy”. My house I grew up in burned to the ground a few years ago. My mom rebuilt but we lost everything. I remember having the same thoughts, that in our eternal home, “things” don’t matter and it made me long for THAT home in the midst of digging through the ash. We are praying for you and for you to continue to see the Lord’s grace written all over this. The Lord writes GOOD over everything in our lives, even when the enemy intends to try and destroy. He will write GOOD over this. Praying!

  12. Michael,
    Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” This is my life verse because it speaks of God’s plans not my plans. As verse 29 says, God foreknew your mountain home would be struck by lighting and your mountain house destroyed by fire. Just like God foreknew when I was thirteen years old that my dad would be killed and taken away from me. God foreknew the close friends I had in my youth group would abandoned me and Him and are no longer serving the Lord. The day I lost my job when Melinda was six months pregnant with our last child. It hard to understand why things happen but God foreknew these things would happen and all things work together for the good of those who love God.

    4HIM sings a song that has ministered to me, “WHY”. I don’t know WHY God allows these things happen in our lives but I know from my experience, it has drawn me closer to Him and I have learn to draw upon Him for strength, comfort, and peace. The lyrics go like this,

    They say that into every life, some rain must fall
    For the pain is no respector, of the mighty or the small
    But sometimes, it just seems so unfair
    To see the one who’s had more than his share
    Oh it makes you wonder why
    And Lord I wouldn’t second guess, your mighty plan
    For I know you have a purpose, that’s beyond the scope of men
    If you look inside my heart, you will find
    That I have always been the trusting kind
    Oh but still I wonder
    Why(I wonder why)
    Do the rainy days have to come
    When the storm clouds hide the sun
    I wanna know why
    Why(I wonder why)
    When the reasons aren’t clear to me
    When it all is a mystery
    I want to know why
    And though down here, I may not understand
    I wont let go of the Unseen Hand
    For it holds the reasons why
    The Lord has never been afraid, of honest prayers
    And He won’t allow the burden, to be more than you can bear
    When He knows, that your trust, is in Him
    He doesn’t mind the questions now and then
    Even if you wonder
    Why(I wonder why)
    Do the rainy days have to come
    When the storm clouds hide the sun
    I wanna know why
    Why(I wonder why)
    When the reasons aren’t clear to me
    When it all is a mystery
    I want to know why
    And though down here, I may not understand
    I wont let go of the Unseen Hand
    For it holds the reasons why
    When the storm clouds hide the sun
    I wanna know wanna know why
    Why
    When the reasons aren’t clear to me
    When it all is a mystery
    I want to know why
    And though down here, I may not understand
    I wont let go of the Unseen Hand
    For it holds the reasons why

    And though down here, I may not understand
    I wont let go of the Unseen Hand
    For it holds the reasons why

    I don’t know why or understand why God had taken my dad from me at an early age but the last words my dad said to me was, “What are you going to do with your life?” James 4:14 says, You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. The reasons are not clear to me but God has worked all things together to bring Him honor and glory in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    You might not know WHY your mountain house was destroyed by fire.
    When the reasons aren’t clear to you
    When it all is a mystery
    I want to know why
    And though down here, you may not understand
    I wont let go of the Unseen Hand (GOD)
    For it holds the reasons why

    David Cromie

  13. Bro. Michael & Terri,

    I know what you are going through having lost everything in my beautiful two story ranch home fire in June, 1981. All I could pray on the way to the fire was God, please spare the lives of my four children who were all home for summer vacation. I am grateful my 16 year old son removed the twins 7, from the house and tried to retrieved precious things of mine and theirs. The firemen ran them out but not before they saved their baby pictures, my bible and some of my christian books from our bookshelf (amazing a 16 year old knew what was important to his mother). While in the living room the fireman were shooting water down over the wall where a picture of Jesus was hanging. My middle son said, “look Mark, even Jesus is crying that our house is on fire.” Part of the picture burned but only around the top. We still have that picture complete with the burn marks in a frame to remind us that “people are more important than things” I still remember things from that home I wish I had, but then I look at my beautiful grandchildren and remind myself that with the loss of my four children on that day, I would have no grandchildren. May the God of all peace preserve your hearts on this sad day. I know that home was outstanding because every home and house Terri Catt designed, was outstanding and showed her gift of creativity and love for her family. Know you have a special place in my heart and prayers. Love you all. Remember even Jesus is crying over the loss of your home as He did ours.

    Joan.

  14. Thank you first of all, of answering someone whom you don’t have clue but God did and knew I needed to hear that Perspective! I feel for your loss, as I am going through my personal “valley” right now……God used Sherry to post this memo as it touched her and then in turn. God knew it would be used by me ….I hear a lot of “Vance Havner’s” thoughts as you must have also loved him as a mentor. Ironically, Gerald Harris just mentioned Ron Dunn to me a few weeks ago……I definitely will check out his work now that in the words of ” old Paul Harvey” I know the rest of the Story” Hang in there my new friend…..Claim it…….Allow God to use it ….and the rest will all be worked out…..So sorry for the heirlooms….but they are really in your heart anyway…….. In Jesus’ abiding love, Paulette

  15. Dr. Catt,
    Thank you for sharing these powerful words from Mt. Perspective. I’m thankful to God that your entire family is safe and I look forward to the resurrection story to come. God is using your ministry in a mighty way and this will one day become yet another stone added to the monument of your ministry to Him. So grateful for you.

    Blessings,

    Tally Wilgis
    Baltimore, MD

  16. Michael and Terri,
    So sorry to hear of your loss, but grateful that your hearts are ready to hear “what’s next”…from the Lord. We will be praying that God will bring beauty from the ashes, and confident that what He has brought to pass He will bring you through powerfully!
    Praying…

  17. Michael, we are so sorry for your loss. We will pray for God to guide you through this storm and comfort you.

  18. Thank you for modeling authenticity in your feelings of loss and trust in the One whose ways are excellent. I needed the reminder tonight of how i hold too tightly to what is not eternal. Praying for you much.

  19. Praying for you as you make your way up the mountain to assess the damage. So glad you are all safe. God bless you all! Love, Gary and Dana

  20. Michael and Terry, we’re praying that you will find less damage than you think when you get to Gatlinburg. What a retreat that has been for you over the years! Hopefully you will be able to salvage some things, but, as you said, it is all “stuff”! God will prepare you to face whatever awaits you. When Terri recovers, she can enjoy decorating after you rebuild!!
    Love you both,
    Bill and Beth

  21. As I read through your post, I am very aware that this is a huge loss for you and Terri. It is more than “stuff.” It is your refuge, your place of comfort in an often comfortless world. I am sorry. The other thing that struck me iss your loss of autographed items that are such a source of great memories for you. Then I realized there iss one autograph you will never lose, the one Jesus signed across your heart many, many years ago. I am grateful for that autograph. Thank you for the way you lead me in Truth. I pray when this is over, like Job, you will have double what you had before.

  22. Blessings to you and your wife – you are right, it was His to begin with but it still hurts and I know God will use this to strengthen you and Teri and minister to your church family…praise God you have a friend like Ed
    Joel

  23. Michael & Family;
    My heart goes out to you as i read your story awhile ago, just continue to let God use you and your art of putting things in perspective.
    Here is the words to a song written by Chris Christofferson(sp.) that has brought peace and comfort on numerous occasions during trying times.

    “One Day At A Time”..
    By Chris Christofferson:

    I’m only human,
    I’m just a woman/man,
    Lord, help me to be in all i can be,
    And just as I am,
    Show me the stairways,
    I have to climb,
    Then for my sake,
    Teach me to take,
    One Day At a Time..

    Lord, Do you remember,
    When you walked among men,
    Well, Jesus you know,
    If you’re looking below,
    Its’ worse now than then,
    Pushing and shoving,
    Fighting and crime,
    Well Lord, for my sake,
    Teach me to take,
    One Day At A Time..

    One Day At a Time; Sweet Jesus,
    Thats’ all I’m asking from you,
    Lord, please give me the strength,
    To do every day,
    What I have to do,
    ‘Yesterday’s gone, Sweet Jesus’,
    And tomorrow may never be mine,
    So Lord, For my sake,
    Teach me to take,
    One Day At a Time;
    “ONE DAY AT A TIME”!!..

    God bless you and your family in the coming days ahead and may he give you peace, help and good decision makings in coming years and “One Day At a Time”.. Praise the Lord.

  24. I was saddened to hear of your tremendous loss on Friday. I would never have guessed anything so tragic had just happened when I spoke to you just before graduation Friday night or even Sun. morning before the service, Michael. It is a tribute to your strong faith and testimony and I love you all the more as my Pastor. Although we know there will be many precious things destroyed that cannot be replaced, I am praying God will restore your beautiful home and furnish it with whatever brings peace, comfort and rest in HIm.
    Jackie Byrd

  25. So sorry for your loss. We know how much you and Terri enjoyed the cabin. In 1983, our home was hit by a tornado that destroyed part of our home , storage shed and many trees in our yard. Thankfully, we (and our 1 year old, Jeremy) were not injured. That was all that mattered to us. It’s funny, when we had to list everything we lost for the insurance company, we couldn’t even remember what all was in the damaged shed other than sentimental items. We know it will be sad to look at and pray you can salvage some items. Glad Erin was safe. Love to you both.

  26. I “Stand In Awe” at God our creator, who has blessed you with the gift of words to be able to describe the undescribable, the beauty and the pain from Mt. Perspective.

    Thank you for sharing, and my prayer for you and your family is renewed strength and and comfort from our Saviour.

    Mike Stewart

  27. I think I have read your blog 2 times, tonight you were on my heart, so was so sorry to hear of the fire. I will be praying for you and Teri.

  28. I only hope I will handle the next tragedy in my journey as well as you and your family have. Michael, you are leading by example and to God be the Glory!

  29. Thanks so much for the words you shared. They meant a lot to me as I go through that valley now I know he is in control and I am learning to lean on him more and more everyday.
    I am so glad that no one was hurt.

  30. Pator Catt,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss of your mountain home. It is like you said it all belongs to our Heavenly Father. Your view from Mt. Perspective was very touching. Thank you for this perspective because it always reminds us that no matter what we are facing, someone may be or probably is facing something even greater. May God Bless and Keep you, sister terri, and the girls as you deal with this loss. Me and my family will be praying for you. Oh and also, thank you for being my pastor week in and week out. The first time i came to Sherwood Baptist Church and you began your sermon that morning you had my full attention and i knew that Sherwood was where i wanted me and my wife and just a couple of years later our daughter to be and serve God. Again we will be praying for you.

  31. I have never felt compelled to write before, usually choosing to remain quiet and behind the scenes. I have no great words of wisdom to say, only that I am truly sorry about the loss of your log house. Just know that people are praying for you, even from as far away as Iraq.

    God Bless

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