The first southern gospel concert I ever attended was on May 13, 1989, when my mom paid for me to see the Gold City Quartet. They were my favorite quartet at the time, and I thought Heaven could not be better. The group at that time consisted of Tim Riley, Mike LeFevre, Ivan Parker, Brian Free, and Garry Jones. Twenty-Five years later, on May 15, 2014, I got to see The LeFevre Quartet, owned by former Gold City baritone, Mike LeFevre. I have seen the quartet a few times at the National Quartet Convention but this was my first time to see a full concert of theirs. It was reminiscent of the Gold City concert I attended long ago: good harmony, great songs, some humor, but everything centered around God and giving Him the glory.
They started the concert with Brandon Barry singing, Plan of Salvation.
Next was a new song to me: Standing on the Daily Promises.
I never tire of hearing Mike LeFevre sing, When I Get Carried Away. He gave another excellent performance this evening.
Mike then introduced pianist Michael Lott, at which point they went into an instrumental version of Just a Closer Walk With Thee.
Brandon was featured again on I’ll Let You Lead Me. Then Mike introduced him to those of us who were seeing him for the first time. After that, Brandon sang, Let ‘Em Find Me Guilty. I had never heard this song before either but it is a very powerful song.
Jordan LeFevre sang, Come and See. “Miracles are still alive today. It’s not the lack of God’s power; it’s the lack of our faith.” Then they sang the old quartet song, There’s a Rainbow.
After Thomas Nalley was introduced he sang, I Know a Man Who Can. That song was followed by a toe tapper Brandon Barry wrote entitled, Saved by the Blood. They ended the first portion of the concert with Jesus Saves.
Unfortunately I lost my notes for the last half but they took requests, singing at least a chorus of each song that was requested. One highlight for me was when they sang I Love to Call His Name, an old Rex Nelon song.
My favorite song of the evening was Put it Right There. The first verse talks about a young man who tells his dad about his drug addiction. The father tells the son to, “Put it right there. We’re in this together. I’ll help you through this” (my paraphrase). The second verse talks about Jesus dying on the cross and possibly telling the soldier to “put it (the nail) right there,” as He paid the price for our sins.
After that, Mike gave a really good message about the importance of surrender. They closed with the perfect song, I Surrender All, as they encouraged those who needed to surrender to come to the altar.
Other songs on the latest CD by The LeFevre Quartet include: But for the Cross, I’m So Saved, The Wedding Song, We Are the Church, The Blessed Hope, and Someday Soon.
This CD was released in 2012 but Mike told me they are working on three CDs which will be coming out yet in 2014. They have a table CD which will be releasing soon, and then later this year, they will release a Christmas CD and a CD of all new songs. I can’t wait to hear them.
Today is my birthday which means a time of reflection. This past year has been one of change for me. Although I usually fight against change, I am learning to embrace it since, without change, there could not be growth. Growth is important to keep us from being stagnant or complacent in our walk with the Lord.
Today, I am recommitting my time and talents to the Lord. I want to see Him use me more than ever before. I hope my new editing venture continues to give me constant work. I pray God continues to open doors for travel and ministry. But I know that, if I leave everything in His hands, He will provide just what I need to help me to best serve Him. This should be my heart’s desire anyway.
I don’t know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future. I know His plans for me are good and not evil. Although I can fall into pouting if I don’t get my own way, I pray those days are few and far between, as I learn to rest in my Father’s plans for me. I am re-learning the art of being thankful in everything for this is the will of my Savior. I pray that I will be a faithful student and learn what my Father desires to teach me so that I can better help others.
God has been so good to me, and I know He won’t fail me now. I look forward to seeing what the coming year brings. I trust His grace to bring me through the hard times but I know there will be joys as well. That’s the kind of God I serve.
Last week, Triumphant Quartet announced that Jeff Stice has decided to come off the road to help take care of his parents. I, for one, will miss him, as he has become one of my favorite pianists the last few years.
Although I don’t like change and did not see this change coming, I know God still has a plan for Jeff’s life, and I know that He will continue the work that He has begun both in Triumphant Quartet and in Jeff Stice. God is faithful. Please keep Jeff and the group in your prayers as they make this adjustment.
If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you’ll notice that I’ve been listening to Karen Peck and New River’s Revival CD a lot lately. There are seasons where different recordings minister to me. Right now, this one does every time I hear it.
As I was reviewing the CD last week, I read along as they sang, “I’ve Been Broken.” With the permission of the songwriter, Daryl Williams, I’d like to share the lyrics with you.
The blessing of a broken heart is what God chose to use
He never had His eye off me though His hedge had been reduced
Like Job, He let my soul be tried even though He knew the cost
My victory would be so much more than anything I lost
I am a lyric person, and there is so much in just that one verse. Take time to meditate on each line. I especially like the second and fourth lines. Now let’s look at the second verse.
If you don’t see a reason for the trial you’re walking through
Just keep your faith established on the Word of living truth
Our God is faithful to the end, and He will never change
He knows when it’s over, that you can help me say
I’ve been broken but I’ve been blessed
I’ve been down yet I have found His peace and rest
I’ve known the emptiness of failure when there was nothing left
I’ve been broken but I’ve been blessed
I trust that is your testimony as well. I know it’s mine. I am so grateful for God’s redeeming grace. If you are broken today, keep looking up. God has not left you. Keep drawing near to Him, and He will draw near to you. I trust you will see His blessings once again.
“I’ve Been Broken” copyright 2012 Christian Taylor Music/BMI, a div. of Daywind Music (admin. by ClearBox Rights). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Ain’t God good to give us so many blessings
Undeserving, that’s what we are
We ought to thank Him, love and praise Him
A little more today … a whole lot more tomorrow
Earlier today, I had to pause and consciously acknowledge God, thanking Him for His blessings. God has been so good to me yet there are still days I feel tired and overwhelmed. I have a mountainous to-do list but, without His strength, I cannot do it. I am humanly ready for a break.
In those moments, I hear His gentle voice giving me the direction I need and telling me He loves me. I may not feel like I have time for this but, without it, I cannot go on. I needed to experience peace and a reassurance that He is here. He knows the way I should go, and He will grant me the wisdom I need and the strength to do what is absolutely necessary. I just need to take time to listen.
I’m so grateful for this reminder. I have time with God every morning but I think sometimes it becomes routine with being rushed and not taking time to fully enter His presence … at least to the point that I can feel Him. There are days that my schedule is extremely hectic and I have to pray on the run. I know He understands that. But I also know that this should not be the norm. And I need not neglect to take time in the middle of the day if that is what it takes. He really is so good to me. I have the most blessed life I can imagine: a couple jobs that I love, a family who loves me, nieces and nephews who wouldn’t know what to do without me … yes, God has been very good to me.
God, forgive me for temporarily losing sight of this. Thank You for Your mercy and patience. Continue to make me a daughter You can be proud of. I love You, Father.
Lately, I have been listening to the latest CD from Karen Peck and New River, and it has been ministering to me more than any other. Nice arrangements and thoughtful lyrics make this a CD I’ve not gotten tired of yet although it came out last year.
Revival describes what many think of when revival is mentioned. “Red back hymnals, folding chairs, canvas tent in the open air,” etc.
Oh Hallelujah is a song of praise to our Savior. We have so much to praise Him for.
Finish Well is one of four songs on this recording co-written by Karen Peck Gooch. A very powerful song reminding us to finish well until the Savior finally calls us Home. It often brings me to tears, as this is the cry of my heart. I really want to Finish Well!
“If Everybody’s Going Through Something, I’d rather go through something with Him.” There is tremendous truth in that statement. Life is not easy. Jesus promised us that. At the same time, He told us He would never leave us or forsake us. Because of that, we can let Him handle the storms of life that come our way.
Joseph Habedank, Sue C. Smith, and Tony Wood wrote the uptempo Dancing Like Lazarus. When you meet Jesus, you will never be the same. You’ll be dancing like Lazarus when the grave clothes fell away.
Jesus, Remember Me is a prayer for Jesus to remember me in everything I do.
“I’ve Been Broken but I’ve been blessed.” How many of us can relate to that? It takes maturity to understand that God uses both brokenness and blessing in our lives, often at the same time.
Joy in My Heart is a song that was actually written in 1991 and recorded previously by the Hoppers and I’m sure other groups as well. I still love the song though. An uptempo song of … well … joy.
Jeff Hawes sings You Did It Anyway. Knowing the pain and heartache He would face on the cross and afterward, as people would continue to curse Him and mock His name, Jesus still chose death on the cross.
The CD ends with the uptempo I’m Saved. “Now I sing Hallelujah! I’ve been redeemed!”
The last couple weeks have been hectic and a new dimension in learning to trust the Lord. My brother developed bronchitis, sinusitis, and an ear infection while we were in Washington a couple weeks ago. We ended up staying an extra day as the doctor said, if he flew too soon, he could burst his ear drums. God covered us, and we arrived home safely although our flight home was cancelled and we had to take a bus for the last leg of our journey.
Due to our change of plans, we now had one day to get ready for our trip to Canada. The last time I remember being that stressed was when I flew for the first time two years ago. This trip probably even had that beat. So many thoughts and worries going through my mind. I reminded myself that God opened the door for us to go, and He would work everything out but I could not make myself calm down. I prayed and quoted Scripture and fought the negative feeling I had until I drifted off to sleep about 4:30 a.m. Three hours later, my brother knocked on my door, surprised to find me still in bed. We had planned to leave at 8:00 but I was having a very hard time waking up. I finally dragged myself out of bed and did a mad-dash packing job.
As we headed out, I still couldn’t shake the fear that I’d forgotten something major, that we would get to the border just to be harassed and possibly returned to our own country or, at the very least, we wouldn’t be allowed to take our books in. A couple hours from the border, I finally began to feel a peace that I had not been able to feel previously. I knew God would take care of everything. Sure enough, although we were at the border for four hours, God gave us favor and we were able to go on our way. We had a blessed weekend, knowing we were right where God wanted us.
I don’t know why I still have times of doubt. I have seen God move so many mountains, perform so many miracles, and prove over and over again that He is faithful. Yet, humanly, there are still times I struggle. When I think of it, it’s not God that I doubt as much as it is myself but, even in that, I am learning that faithful is He who called me, and HE will do it! I am so grateful. In my strength, I couldn’t do anything right but, with God, I can do it. I pray my ears become more in tune with His voice so that I will be faithful in everything I do for His glory.
“If everybody’s going through something, I’d rather go through something with Him.” I’m thinking about the truth of that statement from a song on Karen Peck and New River’s Revival CD. Jesus does not promise to take away the stresses of life if we follow Him but He has promised to walk through those stresses with us, and I am so grateful to Him for not failing to keep His promises.
I am also grateful for the Brothers and Sisters God has put in my life to encourage me when I begin to get discouraged. God did not create us to go through life alone but He told us to encourage each other, to lift up the downhearted. I pray I am faithful to do that.
Praise the Lord that He does not leave you when the going gets rough. Though all else may forsake, our Lord walks ever nearer holding our hand and carrying us when we are too weak to walk on our own. He is so faithful.
“Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.” Oh, how I have prayed this so many times the past few years. This morning, as I listened to Karen Peck and New River and sang with them “Joy in My Heart,” I began praising God that He has answered my prayer. It was a long time coming but I am so grateful that God is not finished with me. As I near the end of my 40th year of life, I needed that confirmation.
The Christian life is a battle. The enemy wants you to be discouraged, defeated, and depressed while God wants you to be full of life, joy, and victory. It is vital that you not let the enemy win. I know it’s not always easy but a Christian does not have the option to quit. We must be faithful to the end.
I cried during the song, “Finish Well” and prayed again for God’s help to do exactly that. Sometimes I feel so weak but, in my weakness, He is strong. That is not a cliche; it is truth. And I am so grateful.
No matter what you are going through, don’t lose heart. Jesus loves you. He cares. He still has a plan for your life. Stay close to Him. No matter how busy you are, don’t neglect time with Him. Ask Him to speak to you. You may not hear His voice immediately but the more you draw near and fervently seek His face, the more you will begin to see Him and feel His presence and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves you.
Take it from one who knows. I don’t deserve His love and His grace but He loves me just the same. I am so grateful. He has never left me or forsaken me, and I know He never will. I know He won’t forsake you either. He truly is faithful who called you, and He will complete the work He has begun in you … just like He is doing in me.
This is the song I’ve been focusing on this Easter. I think even the hardest heart would have a hard time walking away from the reality of what Christ went through for us and at least not think about saying Yes to Him. I watched Jesus of Nazareth last night but I didn’t watch the crucifixion. Instead, I closed my eyes and imagined in my mine’s eye the pain that must have went through Jesus’ body with every blow of that cruel hammer. Yet every day, people go about life as if He doesn’t exist. That must pain Him even more.
I pray that, for those of us who know Him, we never fail to show our love for Him and let Him know how grateful we are for His sacrifice. As we do, we can sing wholeheartedly, “Glorious morning! Jesus has risen!!!”