CD Review: A Million Miles (Sunday Drive)

If you are as old as I am, you may remember a group called Cedar Ridge. I loved their sound and have wondered at times what happened to them. Well, I recently found out that Jeff Treece now sings with Dusty Treece and Misty Treece in a group called Sunday Drive.

This CD starts out by asking, “Lord, am I Right Where You Want Me to Be?” This is a question we should each be asking ourselves.

I grew up listening to the music of Evie so I am happy to hear her popular song Born Again.

I’m Not Gonna Leave is a unique song that talks about never leaving the feet of Jesus.

I love the title song. No matter what you are going through, you can travel A Million Miles to reach the throne of God.

“I’m Living in the Middle of His Will, and life is better than it’s ever been.” True words. The Christian life isn’t trial-free, but if you are in the will of God, His grace will carry you through.

Other songs included are: What Can Change the World, He Set Me Free (not the old classic but a new song written by Misty Treece and Jeff Treece), Angels Sing My Victory Song, Just Before the Dawn, and It’s All About Me.

Your Life Matters

Those who got no further than the title probably assumed that this was going to be a post of psychology or a simple “God loves you” kind of post but my purpose in writing goes deeper than that.  When people talk of “finding” themselves, they typically are looking for validation, desiring to feel loved and accepted while figuring out why they were placed here on this earth. That comes closer to what I am addressing but not exactly.

Maybe I say too often that you were placed here for a reason, and you need to find that reason, but instead of rolling your eyes and moving on to other things, I want you to think about this: Your life matters. Not only to you and those around you but to future generations. Have you ever thought about that?

If you study the first five books of the Bible, you will find that God sometimes blesses future generations based on their forefathers’ faithfulness and obedience. He also punishes descendendants based on decisions their parents made. Besides that, a life lived wholly for the Lord can speak volumes after a person is dead.

I think of Jonadab who commanded his sons to never drink wine. Years after their father was gone, they were still honoring his wish. Because of this, God protected them from Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.

On the flip side of this was King Saul whose family was wiped out because he turned away from the Lord, while David was promised that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne due to David’s faithfulness. You may think that when you make a bad, selfish, or even sinful decision, that you are hurting no one but yourself. You may be hurting a lot more than you realize.

Not long ago someone made the comment that it’s hypocritical for parents who were involved in drugs or drinking when they were younger to tell their children they can’t drink or do drugs. I disagree with this statement since we learn from our mistakes, and it is a natural desire to keep others from making those same mistakes. However, think of how much better it would be had the parents not done those things in the first place. These are the things you need to think of.

For the last week and a half, I’ve been highlighting a book on my website titled Habits: The Mother’s Helper. In this book, the author talks about how you can teach character to your children by creating habits. I appreciate that she points out that this has to start by example. Whoever said “more is caught than taught” was correct.

So, you see, your life matters. Every word, every action is not only seen by your Heavenly Father, but it is also seen by those around you who will be seen by those around them and so on until, generations later, others may be carrying on the legacy that you left behind while having no idea who they have to thank for it.

Don’t take your life for granted. Don’t assume that, once you’re gone, your life is over. If you are a Christian, you will live forever. Not only in Heaven but also in the lives of those you left behind.

Are You Burnt Out?

Last Fall, while traveling with my brother on one of his speaking tours, I talked with a several people who mentioned that, in the past, they had become burnt out with serving, and some had even walked away from God for a while due to being tired and disillusioned. At least one person mentioned feeling like she was carrying a lot while others were doing nothing.

I suspect burnout is a common experience but one that most don’t talk about. After all, you might appear to be not very Christian if you admit that your heart is not into your service. If this is you, I hope this post will encourage you.

You may remember the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was busy serving while Mary spent the day sitting and listening to Jesus talk instead of helping her sister. I believe Scripture records this story so that we can learn from it.

“Martha” personalities have a hard time saying No. Whenever something needs done, they sign up, not really thinking through the activities they are already committed to and making a responsible decision to know whether or not this is something they can pull off.

Although I know there are some, I really don’t see many “Marys”–people who are spending quality time in God’s presence and are making that their priority. The reason most people don’t volunteer to do things is due to laziness or not wanting to come out of their comfort zones. And this is why “Martha” is getting burnt out.

If you are exhausting yourself to the point of frustration and failing health, I would like to suggest that it might be time for you to take a break and learn to become Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus and letting Him refresh your Spirit. Fulfill any commitments you have made but don’t take on anything else unless you know it’s what God is calling you to do. If you are serving out of guilt or obligation, there is a good possibility that God never intended for you to take on so much.

I believe that one can do thankless, exhausting work and yet have joy while doing it. If you are not experiencing this joy or the grace that comes from the Spirit when you are doing His work, then it’s time to reevalute. Now, if you are a complainer who doesn’t like to do anything, I am not talking to you. This is for those who have a heart to serve but who really need a break. You know who you are. The fact is, as hard as it may be for you to believe, you are replaceable. If you are like me, you don’t like to hear that, but you are. And it’s possible that, if you step down, someone else, whom God has been working on to develop a servant’s heart, will step up to the plate.

Remember the people I talked to last Fall? They had all returned to being active in the church but they’d learned to scale back and not over-commit. Even Jesus needed rest sometimes. Don’t underestimate the importance of that.

How to Read the Bible


Reading the Bible is a discipline that many find hard to do. Those who do get into a routine of reading every day can easily fall into a rut where one is reading the text but it’s not impacting them any more than if they were reading a novel. I find myself going through this as well so I wrote down some suggestions that can help us all to get more out of our Bible reading.

Highlight commands. Years ago, a pastor said that he puts a “C” in front of every command he comes across in the Bible. I started to do that in one of my Bibles but lately I have started underlining commands that jump out at me. This can be anything from words of Jesus to instructions from Paul to the churches which could still be applied today. If you already underline verses in your Bible, then you may want to do the “C” method. Regardless of how you do it, I think it’s good to pay attention to the things that Scripture commands us to do, how to act, etc.

Slow down whenever God or Jesus asks a question. My brother has written a couple books titled Questions God Asks and Questions Jesus Asks. These books have helped me to read the Bible in a new way. If we truly believe that everything is in the Bible for a reason, then we should take the time to figure out what God is speaking to us through even the simplest things. It may look like God is asking Abraham a question, for example, but is there something in that question that we can learn from today?

Mark verses you want to be able to find quickly. I know there are some who believe we shouldn’t mark up our Bibles and, if that is your conviction, that is fine. For myself, however, underlining verses that I especially want to remember is very helpful in finding them again. I have a hard time memorizing references but I can sometimes remember the book a Scripture is in, and this saves me a lot of time.

Don’t read when tired. This is something I am working on. I like to have my prayer and Bible time the first thing in the morning but if I push myself before I’m really awake, I end up barely getting through a chapter before I’m falling back to sleep, and I don’t comprehend what I read. I also like to go through a Bible study at night which means making time to do that before I’m too tired. On the evenings that I play out early, I may review the previous evening’s study but I don’t try to do a new lesson if I don’t have the mental energy to put into it. If you find that this is your experience every morning and/or evening, then you will have to find a time that you can devote to reading. The answer isn’t to ignore the Bible but to find a way to get the most out of it.

Pray. Take time to pray before you read. I often pray that God will open my heart to receive His Word and know what He desires to speak to me, that He will give me ears to hear and a willingness to obey. I usually have a time of praise first as well which can help to prepare me to read the Word.

Let’s all endeavor to not just be hearers of the Word but doers as well. If you have found something that has helped you to get more out of your Bible study, feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

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.