Lessons from Jeremiah 26

  • Posted on April 21, 2020 at 9:03 pm

Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people that the priest and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, You shall surely die. … Then spoke the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying This man is worthy to die; for he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your ears. ~ Jeremiah 26:8, 11

Jeremiah was the son of a priest. When he was young, probably a teenager, God called Jeremiah to speak for Him. Being a prophet was the most thankless job at that time. Not only did prophets not get paid, they didn’t even get thanked for their obedience. At best, they were mocked. At worst, they were murdered. And yet, when God called, you could not very easily say, “No thanks. Find someone else.” Jonah tried that and ended up in the belly of a stinky fish.

What struck me as I was reading the above verses is that this time, it was not the people who wanted to stone Jeremiah; it was his friends and family! They did not like what he had to say and, for that reason alone, they wanted to put him to death. Being the brave lot that they were, however, they weren’t going to take it upon themselves to do so unless they had the multitude’s approval. Interestingly, the people didn’t agree.

Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God. (v. 16)

It amazes me that the princes and the common people recognized the word of God, but those who professed to be God’s servants did not. It seems to me that not much has changed in that department. Many times unbelievers know more how Christians should act than professing Christians do. I wonder if it was the descendants of these unbelieving priests that ordered Jesus to be crucified many years later. Somehow, they forgot why they were called, and they became haughty and self-righteous.

Discernment is as important today as it was back then. When God is speaking, we must hear and be quick to respond. But we should also know when a voice is not the Father’s.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  ~1 John 4:1

The priests of old did not test the spirits. They had preconceived notions of what was acceptable and did not want to hear anything that would stir them out of their comfortable position. True prophets brought forth messages that weren’t popular, and the priests wanted nothing to do with that.

Who do you relate to in this story? Do you have a heart to hear God’s voice no matter how difficult a message it may be? Or do you shy away from people who make you uncomfortable because their convictions are different than you, and you may become challenged to change? Jesus had some harsh words for the Pharisees. He called them hypocrites and snakes. Not only do I not want to be called those things, I don’t want to be those things!

Father, help Your people who are called by Your name to humble themselves and pray and seek Your face. Bring conviction where we need it and make us willing to repent so that we can be better used of You. Give us the boldness we need to proclaim Your words, and discernment to know when a word is not from You. Give us a greater burden for studying Your word and spending time with You so that we are better able to know what is true from Scripture. You are so good to us, Father, and we love You. May we be faithful to pray without ceasing and rejoice always. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Thinking of Faye Speer

  • Posted on October 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm

I awoke this morning to hear that one of the classiest ladies in Southern Gospel Music, Faye Speer, passed away early this morning. My mind instantly went back to the only time I saw The Speer Family in concert, which was right before they retired. Brock was obviously not feeling well, and Faye talked about how their family is not immune to hard things but God is always there. I was impressed with the strength she exhibited, even though it had to be a very difficult season for her.

One of the earliest songs I remember hearing from The Speer Family was “He’s Ever Interceding.” I also liked the way Faye sang, “Look me in the heart and tell me there’s no saving grace.” She had a great alto voice with good control.

She will be missed but I know she is happy to be rid of pain and death, to finally see the face of the One who was ever interceding for her while she lived on earth.


Eric Phillips Rejoins Mark Trammell’s Group

  • Posted on December 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Eric Phillips, who was the original tenor singer for the Mark Trammell Trio, has come back to be part of the Mark Trammell Quartet and I am one of those who are excited to hear that. Eric is a top-notch tenor who took a break from singing to go into law enforcement but, when God opened the door, he was ready to return to the road. I’ve not yet had the blessing of seeing the Mark Trammell Quartet in a full concert but I’ll be watching their schedule, hoping to go see them if they get close to me. Welcome back, Eric. May God continue to use you in a mighty way as you sing for Him.

Jackie Wilburn is With Jesus

  • Posted on November 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I awoke this morning to find that Jackie Wilburn of the Wilburns went to Heaven early this morning. My first reaction was disbelief but the reality slowly sunk in that yet another man of God has been called Home.

Singing News Magazine posted about Jackie’s last day as told by his son Jonathan and, as I read the account, I thought, “What a way to go!” For those of us here, the loss of a loved one leaves a huge void. However, for the one in Heaven, there is no more pain, no more sadness or sorrow. They’re rejoicing on the streets of gold awaiting our arrival.

Please keep Elaine Wilburn and the rest of the family in your prayers. I know this will be a bittersweet time for them as they praise God for the time they spent with Jackie and the fact they will see Him again; yet, I know they will miss him terribly.

When praying about a song to post, I was hoping to find Jonathan Wilburn singing, “Don’t It Make You Want To Go.” However, the following seemed appropriate too. Jonathan mentioned that his dad loved to preach. You can tell from this video. Let it encourage you.

Highlights from the National Quartet Convention 2011

  • Posted on September 22, 2011 at 11:23 pm

As happened last year, I did not have internet access at the hotel we were staying during the National Quartet Convention. However, I figure better late than never with sharing about my week. Unlike last year, I did not get many pictures so this will not be as interesting but I hope it will still give you a glimpse of what you would have experienced had you been my shadow last week.


On Monday, I got to see a few showcases, all of which impressed me. I was looking forward to seeing the Calvarymen since, although they’re based in my state, I don’t get to see them much. I had just sat down when my phone rang. I went out to take the call and, when I returned, Barry Maust (the lead singer of the Calvarymen) was singing by himself. For some reason, Steve Ratliff and James Bruney didn’t make it but I missed the reason. (Fortunately, they arrived later in the week.) I will say Barry did a great job singing solo to tracks on “I’m On My Way” and “Give Me Jesus.” It’s a true professional which can roll with whatever happens and not let it rattle him.

I also caught Beyond the Ashes singing “The Coming of the King” and “Miracles Happen Whenever We Pray.” I hadn’t heard them before but I hope to hear more of them.

A group that stood out to me last year was the Forgiven Trio so I wanted to be sure to catch their set this year. They sang “Only One Well” and “The Joy of Knowing Jesus.” Their slow songs have a sound reminiscent of the Weatherfords.

A bit later that day, I headed over to the other showcase room in time to hear Tribute Quartet sing “He’s Leading the Way.” I love the song anyway but Tribute kept the excitement in the song with the great reminder that, no matter what’s going on around us, Jesus is leading the way.

During the evening concerts, I caught the Hoppers, Gold City, Freedom, the Collingsworth Family, and Brian Free & Assurance. It was neat seeing Freedom whom I hadn’t seen before and I enjoyed the other groups as well but my favorite set was Brian Free & Assurance’s. Granted, they had the finale so they may have intentionally revved it up but it worked. They sang “What a Beautiful Day,” “Anything is Possible,” “I Believe,” “God Will Close the Door” and “Long as I Got King Jesus” which continues to be a favorite of mine.


Tuesday was “Christmas” at NQC starting around 8:30 a.m. when various groups sang songs from their Christmas recordings. Groups I remember are The Crist Family, Greater Vision and Legacy Five. I know there were others but, unfortunately, I didn’t take notes.

The showcases I saw this day were excellent too. Highlights were CS&K singing their “Shout to the Lord Medley”; the Greenes singing “Miracle in Me” and “The Cost of the Call” (written by Joel Hemphill); Wilburn & Wilburn singing “I Ain’t Giving Up on Jesus” and “Let’s All Go Down to the River.” It is so fun watching Jonathan and Jordan sing together. They are full of life and energy, and Jonathan still has his smile. I’m so glad God’s given them this opportunity to sing together.


On Wednesday, I only caught a few songs from the “Songs in the Key of Life” showcase but it ended with Jeff Stice playing the Hallelujah Chorus. I love Jeff’s playing but his playing that song is beyond description. I can almost picture the heavens opening and Jesus beckoning for His followers.

This was also the day of the bluegrass showcase which Les Butler hosts every year. The groups performing were the Ward Family (a group of young girls who are very good both vocally and playing instruments), Mike Scott, the Rochesters, the Isaacs, and the Primitive Quartet. I’d never heard the first two performers but Mike Scott sang a song called “Take Me, Lord, and Use Me” which has a great message. I always enjoy the Rochesters and the Primitive Quartet, and the Isaacs were top notch as always.

Bluegrass awards were given as follows:

Instrumentalist: Ben Rochester (Rochesters)
Female Vocalist: Becky Matthews (Rochesters)
Male Vocalist: Ben Rochester (Rochesters)
Group: Primitive Quartet
Song: “Dying to Live” (Canaan’s Crossing)
New Artist: Canaan’s Crossing


On Thursday, Bill Gaither brought his current Vocal Band together with a lot of his former members. The first Gaither Vocal Band record I ever heard was “Passing the Faith Along” so I was happy they did that song along with “He Came Down to My Level,” “Amen,” “Your First Day in Heaven,” “I’ll Meet You in the Morning,” “The Love of God,” “Heartbreak Ridge and New Hope Road,” “Hold God’s Unchanging Hand,” “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked,” “Daystar,” “I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy,” “That’s When the Angels Rejoice,” “Jesus on the Mainline,” “Build an Ark,” “The Rumormill,” “New Point of View,” “I’m Free,” and “Let Freedom Ring.” It’s amazing all the people who have come through the Vocal Band but they can all still sing and they seemed to have a lot of fun singing again these old songs.


On Friday, I arrived in time to attend Bill Gaither’s Sing Along. They’ve had one the last couple years but I didn’t know what it was. It’s similar to a Homecoming concert where your favorite artists sing a lot of old hymns as well as a few other songs you’d recognize from the videos. I’ve always appreciated the fact that Bill will invite the audience to sing along so this showcase is aptly named. Along with artists singing live, they also threw in a few videos featuring James Blackwood, Howard Goodman and J.D. Sumner.


Since the Singing News Fan Awards were moved to Pigeon Forge, there was a showcase for the fan award nominees to sing their nominated songs. My prediction is that “Celebrate Me Home” by the Perrys will win. However, my vote on the best performance Saturday afternoon was Brian Free singing “Never Walk Alone.” Both of Brian’s parents went to Heaven in the last year and, as he sang that song, I thought about the inspiration and the testimony he is. Because of what Jesus did for us, no matter how many friends die or move away, we will never walk alone. Praise the Lord!

In the middle of this showcase, they featured a short tribute to the Dixie Melody Boys which included a lot of their former members. They sang “Antioch Church House Choir,” “Good Ole Boys,” “Ride That Glory Cloud,” and “The Call is Still the Same” featuring Matt Felts and Rodney Griffin.

This was also my first time to attend the “Song of a Lifetime” showcase. I was surprised but pleased when it started with Channing Eleton singing his new single, “Up On This Ridge.” If you haven’t heard it, look it up on YouTube. It’s an uptempo song which Channing wrote and which he plays accordion on.
Tribute Quartet
sang “One Holy Lamb” written by Phil Cross.
Other songs included were:
The Kingsmen: “He’s Everything I Need”
Gold City: “Preach the Word”
The Talleys: “Hands of Grace”
Booth Brothers: “When You Bow at Jesus’ Feet”
Kingdom Heirs: “We Will Stand Our Ground” (written by Dianne Wilkinson)
Tim Lovelace: “Side Effects”
Mark Bishop, Lauren Talley, Bill Shivers, Mitchell Jon & Sisters: “My Name is Jesus”

And there you have my summary of this year’s convention. Other highlights which weren’t in my notes were seeing the Hinsons perform. (They were my favorite group of the 1980s and I’m thrilled that they were able to get together to do some songs.) I also enjoyed seeing the Freemans, the Kingsmen, the Whisnants and the Booth Brothers. There were a lot of groups I didn’t get to see as I wanted to spend time with people in the exhibit hall but, as always, God knew what I needed and led me in the way I needed to go.

It’s hard to know what the future holds for NQC with attendance down and the number of exhibitors declining each year but I hope they will be able to continue to have a place where people can go to be revived and encouraged.

Hominy Valley Sing Snippet

  • Posted on June 30, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Last night, I had the blessing of stopping in at the Hominy Valley Singing in Candler, NC. It was about 9:45 PM when we arrived so I only heard a few songs but I loved hearing a couple songs by the original Primitive Quartet (Norman Wilson, Furman Wilson, Reagan Riddle and Larry Riddle). Their sound has changed a bit over the years but they’ve stayed true to the message and serving the God they sing about.

Archie Watkins and Smoky Mountain Reunion sang a couple songs too, the highlight of which was Troy Burns singing lead on Jesus is Coming Soon. That was actually the finale with the Primitive Quartet joining them but I love the way Troy makes that song come alive. I’ve heard the song as long as I can remember but the message is still true. Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready?

Thoughts of Harold Lane

  • Posted on June 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I was sad this week to hear that Harold Lane has joined those who have gone before us to Heaven. I didn’t realize he was sick so this was unexpected for me.

I’ve known about Harold for as long as I can remember but the first time I remember seeing him was on the Gaither Homecoming Video, Reunion. A while later, I got a copy of the Speer’s 70th Anniversary video and I loved to watch Harold harmonize with Ben Speer on the second verse of “I’m Standing on the Solid Rock.” I never had the opportunity to meet him but he seemed like a sweet, humble man. Our loss is Heaven’s gain but I’m thankful that I’ll have a chance to meet him in a place where we’ll never have to say goodbye again.

Shannon Childress is Home with Jesus

  • Posted on May 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I just found out that Shannon Childress, the former pianist for the Hoppers, went to be with Jesus this afternoon. Although I’ve seen the Hoppers in concert twice, I only saw Shannon with them once back in 1993 or ’94. He struck me as someone who was not always in the limelight but who was very talented. He was a good songwriter, arranger and producer. When he stopped traveling with the Hoppers, I was sad to see him go but I knew God would continue to use him in whatever He called Shannon to do.

Today is also my birthday but, in spite of how wonderful my day has been, I know Shannon’s has been better. He’s gone where there will be no sorrow, no sickness, and no pain.

My favorite song that Shannon wrote was titled “Anchored to the Power of the Cross.” If you haven’t heard it, I would encourage you to do a search for it on YouTube by the Hoppers. My prayers are with Shannon’s family but I know that our loss is Heaven’s gain. I’m thankful God allowed Shannon to touch the lives he did and I praise God we will one day join him “where there’s no time to cry, no time to die, we will be where there’s no time at all” (quoted from the Hopper’s song “No Time at All”).

Thoughts of David Wilkerson

  • Posted on April 28, 2011 at 1:18 am

I realize David Wilkerson is not associated with southern gospel music but I hope you’ll bear with me as I share my thoughts this morning.

For those who haven’t heard, Mr. Wilkerson was killed in a car accident last evening while driving with his wife in Texas. Please pray for Gwen Wilkerson as she is in critical condition.

My initial thought when I heard of Brother Wilkerson’s death was that America’s in a lot of trouble. Few are the Godly men who are willing to dedicate their whole life to God and who will challenge the Church to live holy, consecrated lives. There are few role models in the world but Mr. Wilkerson was one of them.

I never had the opportunity to meet him but his life was a testimony. I couldn’t look at David and Gwen without smiling. They always looked so sweet and peaceful, and it was obvious that the light of God was all over them.

I’ve no doubt that God chose this time to take David home for a reason. God’s timing is always perfect but I for one will miss Brother David. I pray that others will rise to the challenge that he often gave–to live for God no matter what and to offer hope to a dying world. These weren’t just nice words; they were the words by which he lived. If ever there’s a time to seek God, it’s now. As David was driving down that Texas highway, I’m sure he didn’t have a clue that yesterday was the day he would see his Savior whom he devoted his life to serve. In a way, I’m envious but, as one who’s left behind I’m sad. I do know, though, that one day I will get to meet him and let him know what a blessing he’s been to me. Until that day, may I be faithful as he was to do the work God’s called me to do and to be a light for Him.

In closing, I would encourage you to read David Wilkerson’s blog. I’m thankful the words God gave him will continue to minister to people even though he’s gone.

Tony Dykes of the Greesons Goes Home

  • Posted on November 5, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Singing News’ website was the only place I saw that mentioned the recent Homegoing of Tony Dykes so I decided to veer off of my Thanksgiving focus to ask prayer for a group that I only recently found out about.

I don’t think I’d ever heard of the Greesons until a couple months ago at the National Quartet Convention. I heard their name a couple times during the week and then got to meet a couple of the members the last day of the event. Although a relatively brief meeting, they struck me as a group I really should get to know.

When I heard today of Tony’s passing, my heart went out to his family and I just thought I’d ask the Body of Christ to cover his wife, Lisa, and children, Jacob and Emily, as well as the Greesons and ask God to pour out the special grace they need during this time. Not only was Tony a husband and father but he was the lead singer and emcee of this group. As difficult as this is, I know God doesn’t make mistakes and I know that His purposes will be accomplished in those who are still here. The group plans to continue singing.