CD Review: Silhouette (The Wisecarvers)

I first heard The Wisecarvers on the National Quartet Convention’s live feed in 2017, and I was immediately impressed. I didn’t realize until I started this review that they also write their songs which is a bonus in my book. The only song they didn’t write on this recording is the hymn Amazing Grace.

Songs of special mention:

Best of Forever “I’ll be with You for the best of forever because you saved me from the worst of forever.” It’s not because of anything that I have done but because of His mercy, He saved me. I am so thankful!

When You Look at Me Am I the person God created me to be? Is He pleased with how I am living my life? Good questions to ask yourself.

You Have My Attention I love this song. It starts by painting a picture of someone who is desperate to hear from the Lord and ends with God stopping and paying attention to the soul who is fervently seeking Him.

Love You Still No matter what my future holds, God has been so good to me. He continues to be worthy of our love.

Someone Else’s Valley When things are going well, it can be easy to forget others who are hurting. This song encourages us to not forget someone else’s valley.

Potter’s Wheel is an encouraging song for those who are hurting. God will put the pieces back together. He loves you.

Other songs included are Begin With You, Jesus to Me, Silhouette, Go Down Again, and Manufactured Smiles.

What Every Spouse (and Future Spouse) Needs

Although I am not married, I write on the topic periodically because I am grieved by how many marriages end on a daily basis. For those who are unmarried but desire to be married one day, I encourage you to work on this list now. It can also help to improve other relationships. If your marriage is on the rocks, I hope you will pray over this list and see if there are changes that you can incorporate to improve your situation. You may find that your spouse is not the problem. I don’t write because I have attained–I struggle in these areas myself–but they are Biblical principles that we all must strive for.

Humility – As you’ve no doubt heard me say before, I believe that pride is the root of every relational conflict you or I encounter. Whether the pride is in you, your spouse, or both, it is there somewhere. Humans like to be “right.” They like having their way. If you are not diligent to humble yourself when disagreements arise, you can be sure there will be conflict.

Patience – First Corinthians 13:4 tells us that love is patient and kind. It is very hard to be patient with those you live with. When dating, you may overlook a person’s quirks or idiosyncracies but these can become annoying when you experience them on a daily basis. If something is bothering you, talk with your spouse but do it in a gentle, loving manner. It’s possible that your significant other will be able to change some things to accommodate you. If they can’t or won’t, you must learn to have patience and love them anyway.

Selflessness – Love also does not seek its own way (1 Corinthians 13:5) but it esteems others as better than himself (Philippians 2:3). This is extremely hard to do but, if you want a truly joyful marriage, it is a must. I’ve known marriages that have ended because a husband or wife did not get the “me time” they wanted. Then I hear others complain that their spouse is never around. Everyone’s needs and desires are different so, if you are not yet married but are planning to be, this would be a good topic to discuss before your marriage. Find out what the expectations are and make sure that you are on the same page. If you are already married and struggling with this issue, again, talk it out. See if you can come up with a plan that will allow both parties to receive the time together and the time alone that they need.

I’m very aware that marriage is hard work (every married person I talk to wants to make sure that I know this) but the Bible talks about it as being a good thing and, with God’s help, I believe it can be. Not everyone is called to marry, but if you are, I hope that you will ask God to make you the husband or wife that your spouse needs. Two are only better than one if God is the one bringing them together. If He is, then you must allow Him to do a work in your heart to save your marriage if at all possible. If your spouse walks away anyway, then you can rest in knowing that you did all you could do, and your husband or wife is now in His hands. You may, however, find yourself loving your spouse more than you ever thought possible. God can do so much with a heart truly surrendered to Him.

CD Review: Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout (Various Artists)

If you like bluegrass gospel, you will like this new CD produced by Jerry Salley and featuring songs written or co-written by Rick Lang. Songs include are:

Thinkin’ Outside the Box by Dave Adkins
Heaven’s Back Yard by High Road
I See God by Marty Raybon
Don’t Tune Him Out by The Whites
The Back of the Church by Jerry Salley
Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout by Claire Lynch
Henry Clayton Parker by Bradley Walker
There Will Be Singing by The Cox Family
I’ve Read the Book by Marty Raybon
They Were Fishermen by Kenny and Amanda Smith
Sunday Morning Gospel Jubilee by Larry Cordle
There Is a Light by Dave Adkins

I like the songs sung by female singers or mixed groups. The others are just okay by my standards. This will be an occasional listen for me but there was enough merit to warrant a review.

Live Like Today is Your Last

In the last few years, several of my friends have gone Home to be with Jesus–some unexpectedly.

I think a lot about the brevity of life. We live like there will be a tomorrow, but the fact is that we don’t know whether we will live another day or not. This becomes more clear to me every day.

I wonder how differently I would live if I knew that this would be my last day on earth. I expect that I would spend more time with God and with my family. I would make sure those I love know how much they mean to me. The good news is that we can live this way every day … and I think we should.

In the eternal scheme of things, life is short. We have one chance to make a difference. I, for one, hope to live each day as if it were my last. I expect that I won’t always do it flawlessly but this is one of my goals for 2019. May God help each one of us to know what He desires of us, and may we be faithful to complete those tasks until the day He calls us Home.

What Does Humility Look Like?

This year, my mind has been going in so many directions that, whenever I come up with an idea for a blog post, I go ahead and make a draft with a title so that I can write it when I have time to put my thoughts together. This morning, I did a Facebook live video and shared a few thoughts on pride and humility. Therefore, I had to smile when I opened my drafts folder and found this title that I saved back in September. It is not easy writing this way as it can be hard to remember the direction I wanted to go months ago or what exactly was on my mind, but I know that God’s timing is perfect, and He has a way of bringing the posts together anyway.

Some of the points I made in my video were that pride seems to be the one sin that everyone struggles with. I don’t think I am overstating that. I believe that pride is at the root of every relational conflict when either one or more parties are determined to be “right,” to have their way, or to save face. With this in mind, I think it is important to understand what humility is … and what it is not.

I love how C.S. Lewis put it:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

A humble person does not constantly beat herself up as she focuses on everything she can’t do right or doesn’t think she is any good at. No, a truly humble person will “work heartily as to the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). The focus will be on Him, not one’s own inadequacies. This is something I have not mastered but I pray to improve in this area.

I rarely post anything on Facebook that people will argue with me about but occasionally I remind people that “self-esteem” is not Biblical. This typically brings a response. If you study Scripture, you will not find one place where we are told to love ourselves. In fact, in Romans 12:3, Paul gives us the opposite instruction:

I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

The answer is not low self-esteem either, as this can be rooted in as much pride as high self-esteem. The problem with self-esteem is the word “self.” You need to esteem others as better than yourself (Philippians 2:3). When you do this, you will become the servant Christ is calling you to be.

The best way to humble yourself is to focus completely on Christ and on others. When your goal is to please Him and serve others, you won’t have a need to brag and puff yourself up because you will know that you are only accomplishing what you are because of Him. He will increase but you will decrease … and you won’t mind one bit.

CD Review: Somebody Go Get Jesus (The Troy Burns Family)

Although this CD has been out for a couple years, I decided to review it anyway because so far, this is my favorite CD that the Troy Burns Family has released.

Somebody Go Get Jesus tells the Bible stories of Jarius’ daughter and Lazarus and how Jesus’ appearing changed tragedies to rejoicing. Then it turns to America and how much we need Him before our country dies.

Roses in December talks about God’s encouragement in the midst of trials and then about the ultimate healing. I never cease to be amazed at how God knows what I need right when I need it. And yet I know that nothing here compares with what I will see when I get to Heaven.

I never get tired of hearing Troy Burns sing The Unseen Hand. It’s a great song anyway but Troy does a great job on the delivery.

Tammy Burns is featured on Somebody is Me. I have praised and shouted a lot while listening to this song. If anyone is going to praise the Lord, I pray somebody is me.

Tammy also sings from the heart on God’s Amazing Grace. “My tongue will tell the story forever and a day. Still I can’t do justice to God’s amazing grace.”

The CD ends with a Patriotic Medley of “America the Beautiful”; “God, Bless America”; “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”; and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Other songs included are: One Way, One Name, One Door; Gonna Move on Up the Mountain; Take a Stand; and That Is Where the Scars Are.

Don’t Dwell on the Past … Move On

In my last post, I talked about relationships and how to work through things. But sometimes the hurtful party may not be willing to admit they have done anything wrong. What do you do then? You could follow the Biblical principle and take someone with you to try again but even then, your friend may not be open.  Sometimes you will need to walk away and let it go. This may not be easy but it is vital.

I have known people who, every time they get together with friends, want to talk about those who have wronged them. Many times the wrongs were commited decades ago but they tell their stories as if it happened last week. If this is you, I implore you to ask God’s forgiveness. Colossians 3:12-13 tells us to “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

When I think about how much God has forgiven me, it makes me want to forgive others. Sure, it’s easier to hold a grudge but, ultimately, it eats a person up and isolates them since no one wants to be around someone who can’t let things go.

Although a lot of people struggle with this issue, I especially notice this in young adults toward their parents. If you are having a hard time getting past the way you were raised, I just want you to know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. When a young couple has a baby, their lives completely change. They feel emotions of love and tenderness that they never dreamed they possessed but they also feel the weight of the world as reality sinks in and they realize that it is up to them to ensure this child lives to see adulthood. If they are Christian parents, they also have an intense desire to see their sons and daughters grow up to love the Lord, and that may weigh on them as well. Some parents try the strict approach while others prefer to be lenient but I’m convinced that most of them want the very best for their children. If your life did not turn out the way you would have liked, it is not necessarily your parents’ fault. Sure, their decisions affect us but we are responsible for our own actions as we approach adulthood. I even heard about a young man in his 20s who sued his parents because he had never had exotic fruits. I don’t know if he ever told them that this was a desire of his but I can’t imagine that they would have stopped him from buying any fruit he desired once he had his own money. I know there are evil people in the world and, occasionally, this may include parents, but the majority of those who call themselves “Christian” do not fall into this category. If you think about it, I expect you will find plenty to be grateful for. And if your childhood really was bad, you still need to forgive your parents with the same forgiveness that you would like your children to give to you.

If you are struggling with a relationship and you missed my last post, I encourage you to go back and read it. What better time for hurts to be healed than this season as we approach the beginning of another year. God’s mercies are new every morning!

Tips for Resolving Conflict in Relationships

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight ~Romans 12:16.

I have come to the conclusion that the majority of people do not value relationships as they should. People are the only things we will take to Heaven with us so why do we treat them as if they are dispensable? I expect that it is due to not wanting to humble ourselves in order to work things out, especially if it’s possible that we are the ones in the wrong. It is easier to hold a grudge. Many avoid these issues by not becoming close to others, but that isn’t the answer either. The fact is that, in true relationship, you will more than likely encounter bumps along the way; however, if your desire is to maintain those friendships, let me offer some tips.

1. Don’t take offense. I believe the number one reason people separate is due to taking offense, and I expect many times, they have no real reason to be offended. I hate to admit it but women especially are good at reading into things, interpreting things a certain way, and stewing over them. Instead, we should take James’ advice to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19).

2. Ask Questions. This is an area that is hard for me but one in which I wish to grow. Asking questions is one way to keep from becoming unnecessarily offended. If someone does something to upset you and you think it was intentional, ask her why she did it. You may find that it was totally innocent. Listen with an open heart, believing the best.

3. Talk It Out. Regardless of the motive, if you are not able to let a situation go, go to the person that you are upset with and let him or her know how you feel about what they did. But give your friend the opportunity to explain and apologize. Your motive should be to reconcile. If he feels that his action was justified, then you need to decide if you can agree to disagree. If not, you may need to get counsel from someone you trust to evaluate if the situation is as bad as you think it is or if you need to pray for a change of heart.

4. Be Honest. I believe a big key to having a healthy relationship is honesty. If your friend asks if you are upset with him or her and you are, do not deny it! It will be a lot harder to go to her later. If you don’t want to talk about it, then say something like, “Yes, I am but I can’t talk about it right now. I will let you know when I’m ready. Meanwhile, please pray for me.” A friend like myself will probably push to know what’s wrong but some may give you your space until you are ready to discuss the issue.

5. Pray. Most importantly, pray over the situation. Pray that God will keep you from becoming bitter. Pray that He will soften the heart of the person who has wronged you. Pray for His mind to show you how to handle the situation. You do not want to have regrets about the things you said or did.

I know that these things are not easy. I prefer to work on myself first. If I can let it go without any form of confrontation, that is my preference. (I hate relational conflict!) If there is an issue that won’t stop nagging at me, I pray for strength to talk to the person who offended me. More often than not, being able to talk over a matter brings a sense of resolution and lets me know that the relationship is okay. It’s amazing how quickly this can turn turmoil into peace.

There are some relationships that you will need to let go of. The key is to discern which relationships fall into that category and which are worth fighting for. A little conflict does not automatically negate a relational divorce. Regardless of which path you take, make sure that you honor God in everything you do and say.

Happy Thanksgiving 2018!

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My dear readers, I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a very blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you for the blessing you have been to me and for the encouragement to continue to write and share what God lays on my heart.

Life is not always easy, and one can lose sight of what we have to be thankful for, but a Christian should never draw a blank in that department. If you are going through today just biding your time and waiting for the day to end, ask God to open your eyes to even the smallest blessings. I’ve no doubt that they’re there. You all are among the blessings that I am thanking God for today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Les Beasley Passes Away

  • November 18, 2018 at 2:41 pm in

This morning, I awoke to the news that another southern gospel icon has gone on to Heaven. Although I’ve seen Les at the National Quartet Convention, I didn’t really know him. My impression of him was a man who loved people and always took time for them no matter how busy he probably was. He always seemed to be smiling. My heart goes out to those who were close to him. Please pray for the Beasley family and all those who knew and loved him.

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