Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him! ~Proverbs 20:6-7.
When I was a child, I was amazed at how many adults did not keep their word. They would promise, “One day, I’ll _________” but, alas, that day never came, and I would be disappointed.
When I was a teenager, my mom hired a man to tune our piano. I enjoyed watching him, and he talked to me as he worked. In the course of conversation, I mentioned that I like southern gospel music. He told me he would take me to a concert sometime. At that time, I’d lived long enough to know people often said things they didn’t mean so I didn’t figure I would ever see him again. A short time later, however, he called and asked if he could take my brother and me to a concert. This was over 25 years ago, and I still remember his kindness. He could have gone to the concert by himself, and I would never know, and I probably wouldn’t remember him but he took time to honor his word, which still blesses me today.
It is sad to me how many young people walk away from the Lord or never embrace Christianity, even when they have grown up in church and in Godly homes. I’ve fought to understand why, in order to be able to stop this trend. I believe a big reason for this is due to the hypocrisy they see in their parents and others in the Church. I know this is not the only reason an adult child will rebel but I expect it is the case in many situations. Young people pick up on whether people are real or phony, honest or crafty.
Even as an adult, I want to surround myself with people I can trust. I get so tired of dishonesty, backbiting, double lives, etc. I pray often that God will help me to be faithful. I want to be dependable, loyal, and trustworthy. I want to be faithful to point others to the Lord, not only in word but also by example. I believe if the world saw more faithfulness in God’s people, they would desire to know this God as well.
When I was young, it was discouraging to me how difficult it was to get close to people. Everyone would put on their best face and was always “fine” when asked how they were doing. This was not my reality but I followed suit. It seemed like no one wanted to really know what was going on in others’ lives anyway, unless it gave them something to gossip about.
The last few years, I have been encouraged by the people God has brought into my life who will be real with me. Now, being real does not mean being down and complaining all the time. If you can never testify to God’s goodness in some area, you are being no more real than those who try to convince you that everything is “fine.” Being real does, however, mean admitting when you are struggling, being willing to lend a listening ear or a helping hand to those who are down, not pretending to be someone that you are not. In the past, I have seen myself as a strong woman but sometimes I’m just not.
I struggle with not wanting to bring people down and yet not wanting others to think I am someone I am not. I am a Sister who loves the Lord and wants to serve Him and encourage others but there are days when my focus turns to myself and I have to fight to not be discouraged or self-centered. I want my emphasis to be more on God’s goodness but I don’t ever want to be too proud that I can’t ask others for prayer or encouragement. I believe God will help me with this as I keep seeking Him.
I encourage you, my readers, to find people you can be real with and who will be real in return. It’s a lonely existence when there is no one who will help to bear your burdens.
My first CD review this year goes to my favorite CD of 2016. It caught my attention after hearing a few songs off of it. When I got the CD, I was not disappointed. I ordered a copy for a friend right away and, thankfully, he shared my sentiments. It was five years in the making for The Hoppers but definitely worth the wait.
I believe Jesus, the One was their first radio single. This was the only song I wasn’t really wild about when I first heard it but it’s grown on me.
Life is Good is my new pick-me-up when I’m having a rough day.
Connie sings the lead on Grace Will Get to You. No matter what you’ve done, God’s grace will find you.
“If He asks you to walk a mile with him, Walk Two. If He asks you to lend an ear to Him, listen the whole night through.” The world is full of people who will grudgingly do the bare minimum. God needs people willing to wholeheartedly go above and beyond the call of “duty.”
I love their arrangement of Brethren We Have Met to Worship. It will make you want to “have church.”
Another song I really like is If We Ever Gotta Look. I saw them do this in concert and loved it immediately. “If we ever gotta look at what’s waiting up there, we wouldn’t want to stay down here.”
The tempo slows down as Claude sings an old Rusty Goodman song: Until You’ve Known the Love of God.
Song of Moses is a song of hope. “All your battles, He won at Calvary. Shout the message of Moses’ song.” If you know the story of Moses, you will recall the stories of victory, hope when all seemed hopeless.
I’ve enjoyed seeing Dean & Kim’s daughter Karlye on stage with her family this year. She sings the lead on My Ransom.
The tempo picks back up for By and By.
Before the Sun Goes Down is the perfect ending for a thought-provoking CD. “Before I reach the end of day, I’ve got to know I’ve walked Your way.” A song to ponder as you listen carefully to the words.
I’ve been pondering lately what makes people afraid. To fear is to not trust God but the average person would not give that as a reason for their fears. I know, in my life, my biggest fears have been due to thinking God would not intervene in a bad situation. The bottom line was that I wanted what I wanted and I did not want to accept the fact that God may not give me what I wanted. (How selfish is that!)
In talking with a friend recently, I realized that fear in some people may have to do with knowing that one is not right with God. Maybe they fear God will do bad things to them because of how they are living, or maybe they’re afraid of dying because they know that they are not ready to meet Him.
If this is the root of your fear, it is not too late to repent of your sins and ask God’s forgiveness. God did not give you that spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). He desires for you to walk in faith and victory, completely trusting Him in everything! This is not impossible.
When one knows that there is nothing hidden in their life that is displeasing to the Lord, he or she can lay down that fear and walk in complete trust, knowing that God will take care of them. Sure, disappointments will still come. We will still face financial stress, sickness, death, and a myriad of other things but we will also be able to say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” (Job 13:15).
I am praying for strength to trust Him more than ever this year. This past few years, I’ve dealt with more fears than I remember dealing with previously, but I know in reality that nothing can happen to me that my God doesn’t allow. I am continuing to learn to rest in that. I pray that you are too.
And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. ~Daniel 10:11
And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. ~Daniel 10:19
I admit I’m a bit different in the way I think sometimes. Words jump out at me and send my mind to wandering. As I was reading the Book of Daniel a few weeks ago, I was struck by the angel calling him “greatly beloved.” To me, that speaks more than just, “You are loved.” “Beloved” means “adored, cherished, treasured, highly regarded, esteemed, much loved.” Daniel held a special place in God’s heart, and God wanted Daniel to know that.
We all know that God loved the world that He gave His Son but it seems like there are some who hold an especially close place in His heart. With Moses, God talked face to face (Numbers 12:8). At one point, God stated, “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated” (Malachi 1:2-3). He called David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). I’m sure there are more examples I could give, but you get my point.
I don’t write this to begin a doctrinal dispute. I just feel like it’s easy to take God’s love for granted and to think that, since God loves us, He will love us regardless of how we live. I want to study the lives of people like Moses and Daniel and David and find out what it was that made God pay special attention to them. They were just men and yet each one of them had a heart that was fully toward the Lord.
I pray that God will find me drawing ever closer to Him, that nothing will be more important than spending time with Him and taking time to hear what He would speak. I pray that pleasing Him would be my goal before anything else. I pray that He would say to me, “O daughter, greatly beloved, I am here.” I can’t think of anything that speaks peace more than that.
I’ve noticed people posting their “word for 2017″ on Facebook. There are two words that come to my mind that I feel a need to grow in: Faith and Victory.
This past year, I really struggled in those departments. It is so easy to let the cares of life bring one down and yet, when we do that, we are failing to communicate to the world that we serve a magnificent God who is greater than our burdens.
I also want to be more of an encouragement to others this year. This will require focusing on others more than myself but, with God’s help, I want to do that. There are so many hurting, lonely people in the world. I pray that I will do better at pointing others to Jesus, who is the Hope and Life that they need.
I know that I will be tested on these things. Any time God is working, the enemy of our souls is also working to discourage us and keep us from fulfilling God’s plans for our lives.
We never know what a year will bring, but we do know that, if we walk with the Lord, He will walk with us through every storm that we face.
I am blessed with friends who have stuck with me and encouraged me this year when I felt like they should have left me to wallow in my own misery. That is the sign of a true friend: one who will not be pushed away by negativity but will continue to be there to listen, pray for you, and just “be there” for you. I am so blessed to have people like that in my life.
This reminds me of how much we need the Body of Christ. Don’t take your Brothers and Sisters for granted. If you find that person who knows how to encourage you and is not afraid to challenge you when you need it, treasure them. Friends like that are hard to find and yet sometimes we don’t notice them because we are too busy with our own lives to pay attention.
My posts have been sporadic this year so I want to thank each of you who continue to read my blog. Don’t forget you can subscribe so that you know when I have a new post up. I hope to write more this year, but it can be hard to find time in the midst of a hectic schedule and only having so much energy.
May this coming year find you drawing ever closer to our Lord and Savior. May we all become more selfless and more God-full. May this be our greatest year yet!
Last night, I was thinking about my family. I have five younger siblings. As I’ve watched them grow into adulthood, it’s been interesting how different we all are. We have different music interests, movie likes, convictions, etc. And yet we also share memories, stories, private jokes. I think deep down we also have a commitment to not allow things to become so mountainous that it negatively affects our relationship. Sure, we might strongly disagree with each other but most of our disagreements are not worth losing the friendship we have.
This is how the Body of Christ should be as well. If we really understood that “we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:5), maybe we would cherish each other more. If you were in an accident and lost your hand, you would no doubt try to find it and take it to the doctor to see if he could sew it back on. Yet, when a Brother or Sister cuts himself or herself off from the Body, we hardly notice. We may even think “good riddance.” I wonder if we would see more people come to know the Lord if they saw genuine love and care from God’s people.
This coming year, let’s ask God to give us greater hearts of love. Ask Him to give you His heart for those around you. I believe you would begin to look at people differently than you ever have before. God doesn’t look on a person’s outward appearance. He looks at the heart. We must learn to do that as well. As we draw near to Him, I believe He will help us to do so.
The last couple years have been rough for Jim Brady and his family. Last year, Jim’s dad and sister went on to Heaven within a short time of each other. The other night, Jim’s older brother Chuck was killed in a car accident. Please keep the Brady Family in your prayers once again. May God grant them comfort like only He can.
My “must watch” Christmas movie the last few years has been A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. I realize that it can be spooky and a bit scary for some people, but it is thought provoking and has a great message if you can get past the eeriness.
I’m sure almost everyone is familiar with this classic about Ebenezer Scrooge, the mean, selfish, wealthy miser who cares nothing for anyone but himself and despises Christmas as a day when people want to deprive him of his hard-earned money. The thing that makes this story great, however, is that it does not end on that note. By the end of the story, Mr. Scrooge realizes that, “If those courses be departed from, the end must change,” and he becomes willing to make those changes. The next morning (Christmas day), no one recognizes him as the man they had seen the day before. Sure, he looks like himself, but he does not act like Mr. Scrooge at all. He is a new person, and it is noticeable to everyone he comes in contact with.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone changed that easily? We all have roots of pride and selfishness but, many times, we choose to ignore them and fail to see what effect those things are having on others.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we might be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6).
“And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
When we come to know the Lord, Christ begins to live in and through us. We become a new creation as old things pass away (2 Corinthians 5:17).
My prayer this coming year is that people see more of Christ and less of me. I don’t want to hang on to any “sin that so easily ensnares” (Hebrews 12:1). This week, as the year winds to a close, I encourage you to take the time to look at your life. Are you doing what God wants you to do? Are you impacting people for His Kingdom? Are you walking in faith and victory, full of anticipation for what God is doing in your life, or are you depressed and downhearted? These are questions I am asking myself. It’s not easy but I am making myself be quiet and trusting that God will continue to speak to me this week. As He does, I will share with you all. If the Lord lays it on your heart to share what God is speaking to you, I welcome your comments. Let’s lift each other up as we walk down this road of humbling ourselves together.
The Kingdom Heirs have released a new Christmas CD. Although many of the songs will be familiar to all, they are sung with the Kingdom Heirs’ sound and style.
Beginning with Jesus is Born Today and Glory to God in the Highest, the tempo slows down for Mary, Did You Know.
New songs to me are Singing to the King, Christmas Cookies, and The Christmas Wish.
Other songs included are Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; The King of Eternity; Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child; and an instrumental version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.