In the summer of 2000, my family and I were vacationing in Southern California. I began having double vision and my left eye closed. When we returned to Birmingham, a neurologist informed me that I had a disease called Myasthenia Gravis, which means “Grave Weakness.” A tumor in my Thymus Gland was exacerbating the disease, and it had to be removed immediately. It was located just under the sternum, requiring the same surgical procedure as heart by-pass surgery.
I was in shock. I had enjoyed robust health all my life. I had played football at a small college in Tennessee. I had worked rigorously since I was thirteen. Now my body was weak – very weak! I was in the wilderness.
But just as the sons of Israel experienced Jehovah’s faithfulness, and learned afresh in the wilderness that His loving kindnesses and compassions were new every morning, I learned afresh that God loves me, provides for me, ministers to me, and feeds me with precious Manna. I have lived with Myasthenia for many years now. God has enabled me to continue to pastor, preach and provide for my family. He has been very good to me. As the song says, “Life is hard, but God is good.”
These devotionals were written during some of the most difficult days of my life. Some are synopses of sermons I’ve preached over the years. Others are thoughts from my meditations on Scripture Memory verses. There is at least one devotional based on a text from every book of the Bible. There are also as many entries based on Old Testament texts as New Testament texts.
While writing this book was demanding, it was also a labor of love. My sweet wife, Donna, has always been so kind and loving to me, especially through my illness. She read every entry and offered invaluable advice. We are now in the “empty nest,” growing together. She is still the greatest Christian I have ever known.
I also thank the Lord for our sweet children, Grant, Lindsey, Allison, and Bethany, their sweet spouses, and our precious grandchildren. With all due respect to everyone else, Donna and I have the best kids and grandkids on the planet!
Special thanks to “the Prince of Preachers,” the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, my precious friend and predecessor here at Bellevue Baptist Church, for writing the Foreword. I look forward to seeing him again one day in heaven.
A great missionary once said, “I’m just a beggar, telling other beggars where I found bread.” Those are my sentiments exactly. I’ve been through a lot in life. I am on the way to heaven offering hope to others on the journey. May these devotionals bless your heart, feed your soul, and nourish your thoughts.
Every day, Jesus sets a table for two. He invites you to dine with Him (Revelation 3:20). Pull away, weary pilgrim. Hunger no longer. His Morning Manna awaits you. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
III John 2
Steve Gaines, PhD
Senior Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church
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