What would we give up for Christ

The Story of John E Davis Canadian Baptist Missionary to India. Part I

Recently I read an autobiography of John E Davis. It was one of the most moving missionary biographies I have read. This is the first of several parts that I am writing. to share his story. Jim

What are we willing to give of our lives for Christ? Would we be willing to never embrace our wife or children again? Would we be willing to see our wife slip into eternity unable to comfort her physically or our children as their mother passed away? Would we be willing to suffer for as time as long as what we spent in ministry our body decaying as we lived. Would we be willing to be robbed of our sight, our ability to eat and breathe? Such thoughts seem almost unimaginable but they describe the life of John E. Davis, Canadian Baptist missionary to India.
Davis was born in Wicklow, Ontario Canada on February 17th 1858 into a large family of seven boys and two girls. Life was not easy for his father was crippled and not at least for several years a Christian. His mother, however read the Bible to the children every evening and saw that they attended the local Baptist church. The boys always had to work to help support the family. The first week of 1873 revival broke out at the church. One of Johns friends was saved and this began to convict upon Johns heart. An internal struggle began in his heart that would last for several months. Finally one day “As I rode up to the straw-stack, a verse of Scripture came into my mind: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 'It was like a light from Heaven. I understood it now—Jesus had borne my sins upon the cross and I was free. He cried out: " It is finished,'' and gave up the ghost.I knew that my pardon was purchased by His blood and that I was saved. It all came to me in a moment, like a flash, of lightning from the heavens; and I was so happy that I burst into tears and knelt by the straw-stack and offered thanksgiving and praises to God for His great mercy and loving kindness to me.” He would be baptized the following Sunday. God would eventually call him to preach.
Davis would eventually head to college. He would have to settle for more of a general education as Baptist Colleges were basically nonexistent in the area of Canada that he was in. While there he would fill in for many pastor-less churches during the week and over the summer. He would be ordained in the Bloor Street Church alog with HF Laflame who would later go with him to the mission field. In the early part of 1887 God began to deal in his heart about foreign missions. It became much a subject of discussion between him and his soon to be wife who was in “full sympathy” with him. On July 26th 1887 John Davis and Laura Lockhart would be married. They would honeymoon at Niagara Falls but soon be on their way to the mission field of India in the first part of September. On the 10th of September they would board the White Star Line ship “Arabic” and steam out of New York City. From there they would travel to Liverpool England where they would board the SS McKensie to sail to Madras India. From there they would go on to the mission station at Cocanada. We will pick up the rest of the story there in part II.

Posted on October 27, 2018 .


Joel 2:25  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

26  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.



We all face regrets in life. For each person they vary, perhaps it is something that we did or said or even something that we didn’t say. Try as we might there is nothing that we can do to go back in time and change that. On my shelf is a camera that doesn’t seem like much- in a lot of ways it is common- but it means a lot to me. When my father and mother had to go into a nursing home I was tasked with dealing with their house. When you face these situations there are always things that you greatly regret selling. For me it was Dad’s cameras, I saved all of his slides but I let the camera’s go in the auction. For several years I regretted that until one day I was looking on Ebay. Much to my surprise there was a camera from the city which he lived. I e-mailed the seller to find out that he had bought it in an antique mall there in town a couple of years ago. When I looked at the photo- I recognized a spot on the case where part had came off in my hand. A week later I had the camera and when I unwrapped it, I could smell the distinct scent of my Dad’s den. Now it means even more to me as not only was it my Dad’s God gave it back to me.

            When Joel penned the words above he wrote them to a nation that had lost much because of sin. They had been devastated and certainly they regretted it. O how these verses can help us today with regret. When all of this happened I could not get that verse out of my heart. There are so many could haves in our life and we all live with them but only God can heal them. I have heard many people say “God can’t save me, you don’t know what I’ve done.” Others so live with regret that they don’t darken the door to church. Some even fence themselves into their house and their memories and do not come out. There is one who can heal the regrets of life though and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He said in the Book of Matthew

11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

            Friend are you struggling with the burden of regret today? There is only one that can help and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. If today you are struggling with sin he is the Savior. Please would you ask him to save you today- you can find out more on the salvation page that shows you from the Bible how to be saved. If you are struggling with regret today we want to be a help to you as a church and pastor. Please feel free to contact me.

Pastor Jim

Posted on December 28, 2017 .

When the Gospel first came to Pittsylvania County

Today as you look through Pittslvania County the spires of many Baptist Churches dot the skyline. God has put his stamp here. But everything has a beginning and it all started in a humble little cabin. Daniel and Joseph Murphy and Daniel Marshall were holding a preaching meeting when up strode a Virginia military colonel. Generally this would be bad news for the Baptists as the state church often persecuted them, but God had been convicting upon the heart of Col. Samuel Harriss.

"As the people were collecting. Colonel Harriss rode up, splendidly attired in his military habit. What is to be done here, gentlemen ? said Harriss. Preaching, colonel. Who is to preach ? The Murphy boys, sir. I believe I will stop and hear them. He dismounted. The house was small, and in one corner stood a loom, behind which the colonel seated himself. The Lord's eye was upon him, and the truth became effectual in deepening his convictions. Such was his agony of mind, that at the close of the meeting his sword and other parts of his regimentals were found scattered around him." (James Taylors Virginia Baptist Ministers)

God saved Samuel Harriss and though he would lay down the physical sword, he would take up the sword of the Word of God and be a flaming firebrand all over Virginia, starting church after church. Countless men were saved under the preaching of the Word of God. Sadly today though, Harriss is largely forgotten. A monument to him is by the Family Dollar Store on BR-29 on the way north of Danville on the way to Blairs. The Baptist Heritage Revival Society did put a marker at his grave site in 2013 near Chatham but today the site is again overgrown and choked with weeds. God help us to remember those brave souls that have went before us.


Posted on September 9, 2016 .