The Haven of Rest

Long before I was saved, I was attracted to the hymn entitled The Haven of Rest.  I would often sing it to myself as a kid. I loved the tune as it ebbed and crested like the waves of the sea it talks about.  

Although I did not comprehend the message as a kid, I think the Lord listened to me sing it, and smiled at what He had in store for me.  The words are as follows:

  • My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea, So burdened with sin and distressed, Till I heard a sweet voice saying “Make Me your choice,” And I entered the haven of rest.
  • I yielded myself to His tender embrace, And faith taking hold of the Word, My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul.  The haven of rest is my Lord.
  • The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole, has been the old story so blest, Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have A home in the haven of rest.
  • Oh, come to the Saviour, He patiently waits To save by His power divine.  Come, anchor your soul in the haven of rest, And say, “My Beloved is mine.”
  • Chorus: I’ve anchored my soul in the haven of rest.  I’ll sail the wide seas no more. The tempest may sweep o’er the wild stormy deep; In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

                                                             Written by Henry Gilmore, 1837 – 1920

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Hebrews 4:9&10

My Personal Testimony

My Testimony

I claim to be a Christian.  This is my personal testimony of how I came to the Lord.

Every Christian’s testimony is different, but the plan of salvation always includes the following:  the realization of the need to be reconciled to God; a conviction of sin; repentance (changing the mind); a willingness and desire to accept Jesus Christ as personal Saviour; belief in His death, burial, and resurrection; and faith in His merit alone. 

The following is how God worked in my life to bring me to salvation.

While growing up, I attended church with my family every time the doors were opened.  I was taught Bible stories and knew the plan of salvation from an early age.  I was baptized as a youth.  I served as janitor of the church, cleaning it every week with one of my siblings.  In addition, I mowed the church yard and shoveled the sidewalks.  I was in the youth group and sang in the church choir.  At times I even participated in church services, but through all of these things I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The fact that I did not have a relationship with Christ was manifested by my eagerness to sin as I struggled to get out from under my parent’s authority.  My life became characterized by the things done by those whom the Scriptures describe as being alienated from God, but I was having a great time or so I thought.

The difficulty with the sin (disobeying direct commands of Scripture) and having a great time participating in this lifestyle, was the emptiness left within.  While a student at a small college in the Midwest, I wrote the following: Love is eating away at my soul, and I can do nothing for its control.  I wish someone could help me, but no one can.  I’m destined to die a lonely man.

There were two things wrong with that statement.  First, it wasn’t love eating away at my soul, it was sin. Second, it wasn’t true that no one could help me, the Lord could.  He heard my cry, but He had to put me in a position where I would want His help.

The tragic deaths of four young men got my attention.  They died doing things that I had done under similar circumstances.  Something would happen to me, and then it would happen to one or two of these young men, resulting in death.  The first events were over a year apart, the second set of events were months apart, and the last events were just seven days apart.

When those last two young men died, a fraternity brother said to me: That was you and me last Friday night!  His words became the writing on the wall.  I wasn’t ready to die.

I knew something had to change in my life, but I wasn’t exactly sure what or how.  My sister was home for Christmas, so I asked her if I could go back to Florida with her after the holidays.  She consented after a couple of days of prayer!  I had no job, no money, and no wheels, so I attended church with her where I heard the plan of salvation again.

One night in the spring of 1973 I got on my knees beside my bed and read through the Romans Road in my Bible (see blog article entitled the same).  I admitted to God that although I knew how to be saved, my life gave no evidence that I had a relationship with Him through His Son.  I told God that I wanted to be saved, and it was then that He not only changed my heart, He began a work in me which would change my life. 

That is my testimony of how God brought me to Christ.  What is your testimony?

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.  II Corinthians 5:17


Religion Is Not Enough

This world is full of religion.  Religion is man’s plan for god.  Most of it involves some type of activity to please a god or some type of search to find a god.  Actually the one being pleased is man himself as he creates his own god to worship in his self will.

Every culture has intertwined into its roots, some sort of religious belief and practice meant to soothe and bring relief to man’s troubled conscience.  This religion pleases the people because it allows them to do something to secure their religious obligations and then quite often, to live as if there is no God at all.

This religion is not God centered.  It is man centered and it focuses on what man can do to secure his soul.  It is full of religious tradition and religious activity which is external and powerless.  Religion often parades in the clothing of Christianity.

Man is not seeking or searching for the true God.  Scripture tells us that “all we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned each one to his own way”, “there is none that seeketh after God, no not one.”   Even so, mankind knows there is a God.  The laws of God are written on man’s heart, so that he is without excuse.  Man loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil.

Religion is not a new problem.  It has been around since the beginning.  Cain worshiped God, but he did it his way.  He was rejected by God, because he brought the fruit of his own hands, showing that he did not accept God’s provision for his sin.

The Israelites had God dwelling among them with His presence manifested in the tabernacle and in the temple.  How quickly they turned their worship into a religion.  Their hearts grew cold and their worship external.  Through their self will and disobedience they incurred the judgment of God.

In Jesus’ day, Christ confronted the Jewish religious leaders concerning their outward religion.  They had pedigrees that they could trace back to Abraham.  They followed their religious traditions to the minuscule letter, but the Lord called them whited sepulchers (white washed tombs), full of dead men’s bones.  

These religious leaders knew the Scriptures.  The Pharisees even believed in the resurrection, but they did not have a personal relationship with God’s Messiah.  Instead they hated Jesus Christ, the very one the Old Testament scriptures prophesied would come and deliver them from their sins.  

They were the blind leaders of the blind.  They made every effort to discredit Christ, to frame Him and to kill Him.  

The Lord said to them, “And ye have not his (the Father’s) word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  Search the scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:38–40.

So what about you and I?   Do we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or are we just religious?

Our Church

My wife and I attend Heritage Baptist Church in North Sioux City, SD.  The church website is at   Messages by Larry Bunton, our teaching elder are available for listening and/or downloading at the website.

Would You Give Anything To Know God?

There is a song that I occasionally hear on the radio that says; Lord I want to know you, in its lyrics.  It is a beautiful song and is very moving.  It expresses a sentiment that I’m sure is shared by many believers, but it doesn’t really address the how to of knowing Him. 

Jesus gave some wonderful teaching and a marvelous promise concerning the “how to” of knowing God in John 14:21-23.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

They that love God live according to His word.  His promises and instruction in Scripture are precious and highly prized by those who love God and seek to obey Him.  

To those who keep His words, Jesus has promised to reveal Himself.  He not only promised to manifest Himself to believers, but He promised that He and God the Father will come to them, and abide with them.  

Would you give anything to know Him?  Do you really, really want to know Him?  You don’t have to climb a mountain.  You don’t have to sit out in the woods.  You don’t even have to find yourself.  All you need is a Bible, a willing heart and some quality time.  

Note: Make sure the Bible is a translation and not a paraphrase.