Sweet Surrender

I have been thinking again about the importance of trusting the Lord and yet how difficult it can be to relinquish control. I heard a preacher say one time that “worry” is being concerned that your will is not God’s. That is definitely the case with me sometimes but I’ve walked with God long enough to know that His plans for me are always good. The path to that good is not always the one I would choose but the end is always perfect when surrender is present.

Looking back, I feel like this is an area that I have grown in but I know I will continue to be tested. I pray that I will come through each test shining like gold. I want my whining and complaining to disappear as I wholeheartedly embrace whatever God brings into my life. With His help, I know I can. Thank You, Father, for not giving up on me but continually teaching me to trust and obey.

CD Review: Fredericksburg (Channing Eleton)

The latest release from Channing Eleton features nine original songs written by Channing.

The CD begins with the uptempo Launching Out Into the Deep and then slows down for the title track, which talks about finding Jesus in Fredericksburg.

Big Top is about revival!

Modern Day Prodigal needs no description.

“I want to give you much more than you ever prayed for. Bring to Me Isaac and place him at My feet.” Nothing is worth holding on to. God would like to take your dreams and give you a much bigger one than you could ever dream of.

Pour Down the Peace is a prayer for just that: peace.

Keep On Movin’ talks about moving on with God in spite of what the world throws at us.

“No matter how far you have gone, you haven’t gone too far that the love of God can’t reach you right where you are. … God’s love is Bigger Than the Sun.”

The Silence of God doesn’t mean you are forsaken.” Hang in there. He has promised never to leave you, nor forsake you. This is just a test.

Random Thoughts

Convention season is almost over and I hope to be able to write more than I have been lately. Seems my brain is running in so many directions that it’s hard to focus on getting my thoughts in order.

One thing I have been thinking of lately is how grateful I am for music. There is nothing that lifts my spirits when I’m down like an uplifting Gospel song. There are few things that keep me inspired as much as one of my favorite CDs. Being in ministry makes me appreciate even more the sacrifice that singers make as they strive to point us to the God they are serving. But it shouldn’t just be singers and pastors who do this. Every person who is called by Christ’s name has a responsibility to lift others up, to encourage them, to point them to Him. As the old song says, “It’s a battlefield, Brother. Not a recreation room.” Don’t take that for granted. Make sure everything you do is bringing glory to the One who called you.

In closing, please keep us in your prayers. God is continuing to open doors for us at Family Renewal, and I am very grateful. I am in between editing jobs right now and, since our conference season is coming to a close, I could use more work so I’m trusting God to bring me the next editing job He has for me. He is so faithful. If you know someone who is writing a book, send them to my website. I would be happy to give them a quote.

On a side note, I have also become a distributor for Lilla Rose. If you are looking for nice hair clips or head bands that actually hold, check them out.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I’m sorry I have not posted much lately but I hope to get back in the swing of things soon. Until then, have a blessed weekend and keep serving Jesus with your whole heart.

Fruit of the Spirit 7: Faithfulness

I have been looking forward to writing about this fruit, as this is the one I pray for the most. There are so many things that are constantly vying for a person’s attention, yet my heart’s cry is, “God, help me to be faithful.” I pray to follow Him with my whole heart and not to be distracted with the things the world throws at me. He has a purpose for my life, a reason for my existence.

God is so faithful. Everything He says, He will do. He never lets me down. That is faithfulness.

Faithfulness is being a person others can depend on. A faithful person is a trustworthy one. This is a person who keeps his or her word.

God’s Word is full of instructions as to how we should live. As we grow in Him, we begin to be more faithful to live the life He requires. As we become faithful to Him, we become more faithful in life in general. That should be our goal.

Fruit of the Spirit 6: Goodness

I am sorry it has taken so long to continue my series. Life has been really hectic lately but I continue to think about what exactly it means to walk in the Spirit.

This particular fruit is interesting to me. Romans 3:12 tells us, “There is none that does good; no not one.” Jesus said the same thing in Mark 10:18 and yet “goodness” is one of the fruits that we are to have if we are full of the Spirit. So what does it mean to be good?

In our humanity, we are vile, sinful, selfish creatures. It is only with God’s help that we have any goodness in us. When we come to know God, He teaches us to love others. As we learn to love others, we become more selfless. That is when the goodness of God begins to show through.

I realize that there are “good” people who do not know the Lord but without His Spirit, your goodness avails nothing. Only with God’s Spirit will we exhibit the goodness that leads to life and Godliness.

How Can You Say No?

Thorns on His head
A spear in His side
Yet it was a heartache
That made Him cry
He gave His life
So you would understand
Is there anyway you can say no to this man?

(from “How Could You Say No” written by Mickey Cates)

Growing up, it seemed that more emphasis was placed on Christ’s resurrection than on His crucifixion. Although I can understand why, I think it is equally important to take these couple days prior to Easter Sunday to focus on Christ’s suffering and all that He went through so that we could have eternal life with Him.

I have not yet seen The Passion of the Christ, as I don’t think I could handle being faced with that graphic of a portrayal but I do think everyone needs to realize how horrendous Christ’s suffering was in order to better appreciate the life He died to give to us. He did not die so that we could live in ease and comfort. Jesus died so that we could have abundant life, serving Him all our days. For some, that may mean working on a mission field or in a homeless shelter. It could be serving your family day in and day out, whether they appreciate it or not. There is a chance that your primary task is to be a light in your workplace so that others can see what a Christian looks like. I don’t know what God is asking of you but I know that He has a purpose for every person He allows to be born on this earth. Whether or not we accomplish that purpose is up to us.

As you think about the cross this weekend, ask God what it is that He is asking of you. Then examine your heart to know if you are ready and willing to surrender whatever that thing might be. Christianity is not a halfhearted commitment. Jesus gave everything for us, and He asks that we give everything in return. He tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow. This is a daily task but one that a true follower will do.

Think about everything He has done for you and then answer me honestly: How can you say no?

Tribute to Joshua Copenhaver

  • March 30, 2015 at 10:47 pm in

Josh CopenhaverSome of you may not know the name Josh Copenhaver, but I hope you will take the time to read this anyway.

I first met Josh at the National Quartet Convention eight or so years ago. At that time, he was singing with his mom and brother in a group they simply called The Copenhavers. Since their booth was directly across from ours, we had the opportunity to get to know them a bit. They were so warm and friendly that we quickly began to call them our friends.

The following year, we went back to the National Quartet Convention and were pleased that they remembered us. I attended their showcase that week and watched them perform an old song, “I’ll Be There.” I loved the way they sang it, and it is still my favorite song they ever recorded.

This past Saturday afternoon, I found out that Josh had a heart attack and went to be with Jesus. My initial reaction was shock, followed by extreme sadness. I’ve not interacted with Josh much in the last couple years but I still remember a young man full of life and joy. He married a couple years ago, and I was so happy for him. I can’t imagine anyone not loving Josh, and I know his death has caused a void in a lot of hearts.

Although I am grieving, it is not as one who has no hope. You see, even if you do not know the name Josh Copenhaver, the Eternal God knows his name and, for a reason that I don’t understand, God chose Saturday to call this young man Home.

The last song I saw Josh sing was, “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.” Judging by the comments I’ve read on Facebook, Josh’s living was not in vain. His life touched so many.

As I always do when someone I know dies, I am thinking a lot. I am inspired once again to tell those close to me that I love them since I may not get the chance to do so again. I am thinking of those I love who do not know the Lord and how much worse my grief will be when they leave this life unless their course in life changes.

None of us are promised tomorrow. When we’re young, it’s easy to think we have forever when, in reality, the hourglass is ticking away so quickly. Today is when we need to evaluate our lives. Are we spending the time God’s given us serving Him or focusing on our own desires? Are we walking in the Spirit or fulfilling the lusts of the flesh? Can we truly tell Josh, “You may look for me, for I’ll be there”?

The older I get, the more I long for Heaven. I miss my loved ones who have gone before but, with that, comes an increasing desire to be faithful until the day it’s my turn to enter my beautiful Home.

Josh, I miss you but I love the mental picture of you in Jesus’ arms. It may be a while before the thought of your smiling face does not bring tears to my eyes but they are selfish tears. In reality, I would not call you back to this world of sorrow. I will pray for your friends and family, as I know they miss you dearly as well. It’s amazing that someone so young could make such an impact but you definitely did. I am so blessed to have known you.

CD Review: The Horn Family

I first became aware of The Horn Family a year or so ago but I was instantly impressed. This CD is top notch both musically and vocally. A mixture of country, some soul, and a bit progressive, this group will still appeal to many Southern Gospel fans.

I’ve Got It is a Pentecostal song about receiving the Holy Ghost.

The tempo slows down for a beautiful song Tracy Horn wrote, titled Rise Above the Fall. A country sound with a good message. “In all the tough times I have seen, greater is He within than He that’s after me.”

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need “Victory through the name and the blood of Jesus.”

He Called Me Brother is pretty progressive music-wise. Jesus said that the one who does the Father’s will is His mother and brother and sister. How amazing is it that you and I can be Christ’s brother or sister!

Mary Magdalene (Why You Crying) is my least favorite song on the project but this is my preference. It’s not my musical taste but it is a song of redemption. If you know the story of Mary Magdalene, you know that she was despised in most circles, yet Jesus loved her and revealed Himself first to her after He arose from the tomb.

For the Life of Me is another slow, country-sounding song. “He gave His life for the life of me.” What a Savior!

The CD ends with an a cappella version of the old song, Lights of Home.

Other songs include Peace Everlasting, Love Like Rain, and It’s All in Jesus.

Fruit of the Spirit 5: Kindness

When I think of kindness, I think of a heartfelt desire to bless other people. I’m sure that is not the definition according to Webster but it may definitely be defined my way.

Kindness is deferring to others, preferring them above ourselves. It is not always having to be right. It is biting our tongue when we would like to comment on a “stupid” decision someone just made.

Kindness is servanthood. It exhibits itself in the way we talk about others. It is having a heart of compassion. It is selfless and patient (two other fruits of the spirit we’ve studied).

Colossians 3:12 tells us to put on kindness. Would your friends and family classify you as a kind person? If not, this is an area you must work on. As you begin to act kinder, people will better enjoy being around you.

Fruit of the Spirit 4: Patience

Oh boy. This is another hard one. I’m sure we’ve all heard people say, “Don’t pray for patience. God will test you on it.” I want to suggest that we should indeed pray for patience. The fact is we all need it, whether it’s standing in line at the checkout counter, waiting for a family member to get ready so we can leave, trying to teach something to a person who just is not getting it. There are many things that come up in a day’s time that requires our patience … unless we want to alienate ourselves from everyone around us.

First Corinthians 13:4 tells us that “Love suffers long.” If you truly love a person, you are going to bear with them. Instead of letting your frustration show, you will breathe deep and remind yourself that, sure, you may be a little late but you will be with your loved one and it’s not worth both of you being stressed as you go out the door.

Sometimes we must make a conscious effort to do the right thing, and I expect patience may be something that does not come easy for you but it is something you must work on. I am not a patient person by nature but, with God’s help, I have learned to trust Him when things do not go my way. As long as I am not making people wait on me, I’ve learned to get ready, let others know I’m ready when they are, and then find something to occupy my time until we are ready to go. It has done a lot to help my relationships.

In the words of Herbert the snail, “Have patience. Have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry. Remember. Remember that God is patient too and think of all the times when others have to wait for you.”

That puts it into perspective. Just as I want others to be patient with me, so I must be patient in return. I am still a work in progress but I’m thankful that God is working.