By Ron Halbrook
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now: being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace (Phil. 1:3-7).
Just as Paul thanked God upon every remembrance of this brethren at Philippi, we too should count it a great blessing to receive strength and encouragement through our brethren in Christ. We sing a song which says, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.” It will do us good to count and name the brethren who have helped us to grow and to be better Christians. Recently I reflected upon this very matter and quickly found my list growing longer and longer. In the hope of encouraging others to thank God for their brethren, I offer here some of the names which come to mind as having blessed my life richly – brethren for whom I thank God constantly.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of Brother and sister H.E. Phillips – for their hospitality, spending time with young people, and encouraging gospel preachers throughout the years.
John Sheahen and Lynn Wade – both of whom obeyed the gospel about twenty-five years ago as young men and have remembered their Creator and are raising godly children in Tampa, Florida with the help of Christian wives.
S. Leonard Tyler – for unselfishly giving his time over and over to share the advice and counsel needed to provide me guidance and stability in my preaching life, and for making me more aware of how to fulfill my family responsibilities.
Rossie Brackeen – an aged widow in Athens, Alabama who has shared for years the fruit of her garden and the fruit of her tender heart with so many neighbors and brethren.
Sarah Sammett – a widow who has opened her home near Athens, Alabama to brethren for years and has tried in every way to share the gospel in her community. ,
Bobby Graham and Wayne Kuykendall – we were in Florida College together and then taught together, at Athens Bible School- in Athens, Alabama – their friendship has been a boon and a blessing through the years.
Steve Wolfgang and Dan King – fellow gospel preachers who helped to sustain my faith during graduate school and whose love for Christ is a sustaining force still.
Richard Sweets – brother-in-law converted to Christ by my sister and one who has grown in the work of the Lord through the years.
Henry S. Ficklin (1883-1974) – an aged gospel preacher whose life was filled with the fruit of the Spirit – near the age of 90 he pressed on in his day’s work at a pace which wore me out by the day’s end as we labored together.
Gilbert Savely (1925-1983) – an elder at the Broadmoor church in Nashville, Tennessee who gave unselfishly of his time in printing our bulletin and often encouraged me during the battle with the new apostate unity movement.
Frank Burns – a brother whose burning desire to grow as a Christian and to serve in God’s kingdom has been an inspiration to me.
Roy Cogdill (1907-1985), Cecil Willis, and Larry Hafley – gospel preachers who have helped me learn to be set for the defense of the gospel – men who have given over and over of their time to help me in studying the Scriptures.
Linda Gull – a Christian lady in Nashville, Tennessee whose hospitality, meekness, friendliness, and dedication to the Lord continue to be an inspiration to many.
Harold Smith – a diligent elder and enthusiastic song leader who served for many years at the Knollwood church in Xenia, Ohio.
Mike Willis – we worked together with the same congregation (Knollwood, Xenia, OH) for four years and never had a cross word. His dedication to the truth and his personal friendship draw me closer to the Lord.
Randy Harshbarger – a brother-in-law who has disciplined himself and developed into an excellent gospel preacher, inspiring me to try to do a better work in the vineyard of the Lord.
Clinton Patrick (1903-1983) – a quiet, but firm, saint who held up the banner of truth in a difficult and isolated community, Cob Hill, Kentucky.
Walter Murphy – a godly brother at Beech Creek, West Virginia whose dining room table is always covered with such tools of study as an open Bible, a concordance, Bible commentaries, etc.
Kate Johnson – the wife of a diligent elder at Midfield, Alabama and a sister who has endured near constant pain for years – she has attended services when it was necessary to stand at the back at times for relief – she continues to extend the hospitality of her home to Christians in spite of her pain.
Rick King and Harry Osborne – younger preachers with strength and dedication beyond their years.
Bill Cavender and Irven Lee – experienced and mature gospel preachers who defended the truth during the institutional apostasy and who have made it a point to encourage men of a younger generation like myself.
Charley Alexander, James Moore, and J.D. Harris – elders here at West Columbia who are serious about watching for souls and leading the church to sound out the word of the Lord in every place.
Rick Moore – one of many men who support themselves while laboring in the gospel and rendering an invaluable service to churches which would otherwise lack consistent and sound preaching.
Che Halbrook – a nephew who obeyed the gospel and who continues to grow as a Christian in Fairfax, Virginia.
Andy Alexander – a friend and brother in the Lord who gave up his business vocation in his early thirties in order to dedicate himself to the work of an evangelist, now working with the El Bethel church in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
Many others come to mind! I know men and women of all ages in many places who strive to serve the Lord faithfully, who sacrifice to do so, and who are unselfish in spirit. The list could go on and on. God still has his 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. I thank God upon every remembrance of my brethren in Christ. For through them God mercifully makes provision to strengthen, comfort, and encourage me in the most holy faith. Take a moment to reflect on brethren who have strengthen and edified you. Then thank God for this merciful provision!
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 2, pp. 40-41
January 19, 1989