Even if

They say sometimes you win some,
sometimes you lose some…
And right now… right now I’m losing bad.

I’ve stood on this stage night after night
reminding the broken it’ll be alright,
but right now… oh, right now I just can’t.

It’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down;
But what will I say when I’m held to the flame like I am right now?

I know You’re able, and I know You can
save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t,
my hope is You alone!

They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain –
good thing a little faith is all I have right now…

But God when You choose to leave mountains unmovable,
oh, give me the strength to be able to sing:
“It is well with my soul!”

I know You’re able, and I know You can
save through the fire with Your mighty hand…
But even if You don’t,
my hope is You alone!

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t,
my hope is You alone!

You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good all of my days.
Jesus, I will cling to You come what may,
‘cause I know You’re able;  I know You can…

Chorus

It is well, it is well with my soul…

~ Written by:  MercyMe, Tim Timmons, Crystal Lewis, David Garcia & Ben Glover
Performed by:  MercyMe
Album:  Lifer ~

Daniel 3 (King James Version)

14  Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?  15  Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”
16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  18  But [even] if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
19  Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:  therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.  20  And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.  21  Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22  Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  23  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24  Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”  They answered and said unto the king, “True, O king.”  25  He answered and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego in the fire
26  Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.”  Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.  27  And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.  28  Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.  29  Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.”

Advertisements

The Story

This is a story:
A story about a Hero and a damsel,
a villain and a scandal…
So bend down, untie your sandals,
’cause where we’re going is holy ground.  (Exodus 3:5)

Starts like this:

In the beginning there was the Hero.  (Genesis 1:1)
And the Hero was the Father.
And the Hero was the Spirit.
And the Hero was the Son.
And if this hurts your head already, welcome to the kingdom.
Immutable, inscrutable, infinitely glad-hearted Triune Perfection;
His ancient love reverberated off each Member with no hint of dissension.
Perfect in unity,
Perfect in diversity,
Holy trinity.

And even before the rocks could cry out His Name, He was singing His own praises –
How could He not?
You know anyone else who goes by “The Rock of Ages”?
He needed nothing from no one,
as if something made could improve upon His majesty.
His majesty’s amp was already at 11.
And if this was the end of our story,
that’d be enough for us to glory for a thousand eternities at Him.

But our story isn’t over because one day the Hero started speaking.
And when He started speaking, things started being:  (Genesis 1 & 2)
Light, night, wind, water, mud, moons, seas and spiders,
swimmers and flyers, gallopers and gliders,
Stars and seasons, rhyme and reason to all of it, and all of it was good.
And suddenly all the commotion came to a standstill,
when our Hero bent down and fashioned His damsel.
God leaned over our body of earth,
breathed life into our lungs, made our heart beat from dirt.
He put light into our eyes
He gave us each other and He gave us Himself as a prize.  (Philippians 3:14)
And we were naked and were not ashamed.

But of course, the plot thickens…
Enter stage right The Villain.

The serpent was craftier than any beast in the garden.  (Genesis 3)
He made a beeline for the tree line and found Eve and her husband,
and in less than fifty words he convinced perfectly satisfied people
they were starving to death.
And since that day God’s damsel has known nothing but starving to death;
The poison of asps is heavy on her breath.
We traded the glory of the incorruptible God for a silly substitute
like a school kid duped into giving up his brand new Jordan’s for a pair of worn out tennis shoes.
We became dark-hearted.
Bent inward on a mission to find within ourselves the solution,
like trying to number the stars while gazing through L.A.’s air pollution.
We couldn’t see and we fell in love with lesser things;
and we bought them each a diamond ring,
and we betrayed our Maker, our Husband, our King.

Let me clarify:

‘Cause this doesn’t just apply to the treacherous and murderous –
even the best of us are as bad as the worst of us:  (Romans 3:23)
Outwardly clean, but inside full of dead men’s bones.  (Matthew 23:27)
Like the Taj Mahal, it looks good and all but there’s nobody home.
And one terrible day, we looked around,
but there was no more villain to be found:
he’d crawled inside of us!
Like a virus, rewired us
and now the damsel is the villain as well!
We tied our own self to the train tracks, the horn blows
and careening toward us
is 10’000 tons of God’s wrath;
sounds so loud, you can barely hear the screaming chorus,
“Who will save us from the body of this death?!”  (Romans 7:24)

Enter stage left, Jesus of Nazareth

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  (John 1:14)
He came lowly.
Perfectly holy.
He came like a groom on His way to the altar to meet the bride
and for the dowry, He had no cash so He paid with his life.  (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Are you shocked by the consequence of sin?
Be more shocked at the mercy of Him!
Couldn’t free ourselves, so Christ became our freedom;  (Galatians 5:1)
Couldn’t fill these lungs, so He became our breathing.
We live because He died.  (2 Timothy 1:10)
Once a harlot now a bride.
Sins were scarlet, now made white.  (Isaiah 1:18)
Perfect by proxy,
Saved by a surrogate,
Holy through Him – (Romans 5:9)
the Hero and the damsel are one once again.  (Revelation 19:7)

But wait:

I haven’t told you the best part yet.
See, as if there wasn’t enough Hero already to impress you,
the best part about this story, is this story is true.
The only fairytale that’s not a fairytale:
So long, Mother Goose!
Farewell, Dr. Seuss!

This here’s the genuine article:

God made.
We strayed.
God’s love displayed 
God-Man gives grace,
stands in our place:
Our sins erased,
debt paid always.
So fall on your face,
and give God all praise.

~ Written and performed by:  Jimmy Needham ~

I’ll worship only at the Feet of Jesus

I went to visit the shrine of plenty,
but found its storerooms all filled with dust.
I bowed at altars of gold and silver,
but as I knelt there, they turned to rust…

So I’ll worship only at the feet of Jesus,
His cup alone: My holy grail
There’ll be no other gods before Him
Just Jesus only will never fail.

The call of fortune made me a pilgrim
to journey to fame’s promised heights.
But as I climbed, the promised faded
and wind blew lonely all through the night.

Just desert dust and empty shadows;
all promises that turned to lies.
The gods of earth fell and betrayed me.
You alone are Truth and Life!  (John 14:6)

Just Jesus only will never fail.

~ Performed by: Gaither Vocal Band
Lyrics by:  Gloria Gaither (1991) ~

Exodus 20
1  And God spake all these words, saying,  2  “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  3  Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.  4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

Daniel 3
1  Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.  14  Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?  15  Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”  16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  18  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

Daniel 6
10  Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.  11  Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.  12  Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; “Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?”  The king answered and said, “The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.”  13  Then answered they and said before the king, “That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.”

1 Kings 19
11  And He said, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.”  And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:  12  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small Voice.  13  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a Voice unto him, and said, “What doest thou here, Elijah?”  14  And he said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”  15  And the LORD said unto him, “Go, return on thy way to the wilderness…  18  Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

Lord, I need You

Lord, I come, I confess:
Bowing, here I find my rest…
Without You I fall apart;
You’re the One that guides my heart.

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You!
My one defense, my righteousness:
Oh God, how I need You!

Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more;
Where grace is found, is where You are;
And where You are, Lord, I am free –
Holiness is Christ in me!

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You…
Every hour I need You!
My one defense, my righteousness:
Oh God, how I need You!

Teach my song to rise to You
when temptation comes my way.
And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You:
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay!

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You!
My one defense, my righteousness:
Oh God, how I need You!

You’re my one defense, my righteousness;
Oh God, how I need You!
My one defense, my righteousness:
Oh God, how I need You!

~ Written by:  Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Maher
Performed by:  Matt Maher ~

The Faithful One

I find no hope within to call my own
For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone
But deep within my soul is rising up a song
Here in the comfort of the Faithful One

I walk a narrow road through valleys deep
In search of higher ground, on mountains steep
And though with feet unsure, I still keep pressing on
For I am guided by the Faithful One.

Faithful, faithful to the end,
My true and precious Friend,
You have been faithful,
Faithful, so faithful to me

I see Your wounded hands, I touch Your side
With thorns upon Your brow You bled and died
But there’s an empty tomb, a love for all who come
And give their hearts to you, the Faithful One

Faithful, faithful to the end,
My true and precious Friend,
You have been faithful,
Faithful, so faithful to me

And when the day is dawned and when the race is run
I will bow down before God’s only Son
And I will lift my hands in praise for all You’ve done
And I will worship You, my Faithful One

~ Performed by: Selah
Written by:  B.G. White & C.N. Eaton ~

Blue Skies

Yesterday’s forecast called for rain and I
found all my so-called friends to be fair weather kind.
Looking for shelter, I was standing out in my pain;
That’s when You came and You changed everything

‘Cause April-showers bring May-flowers, like
only You turn my darkest hour into

Blue skies, blue skies
Not a cloud over-head in my life
When it’s gray out, I don’t mind –
I’ve got blue skies on the inside

Tossed about upon the stormy sea I swayed
Scared to death, not at the wind, but what I heard You say:
It’s not every time Your hand the wind will stay
Sometimes You’re calling me to walk out on the waves…

My perception should be a reflection,
not of what my eyes see, but what Jesus tells me

Chorus

I’m not saying I won’t ever have a problem
Sometimes life’s gonna rain on my parade,
but if I know that You’re right here with me then
why should I worry? Why should I be afraid?

Outside when the rain is pouring all around,
I don’t have to let it get me down

~ Lyrics By: Mike Weaver, Jay Weaver, Andy Cloninger
Performed by:  Big Daddy Weave ~

~ Scripture reference:

Luke 8:22-25 
Now it came to pass on a certain day, that He went into a ship with His disciples: and He said unto them, “Let us go over unto the other side of the lake.”  And they launched forth.  But as they sailed He fell asleep:  and there came down a storm of wind on the lake;  and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.  And they came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we perish.”  Then He arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water:  and they ceased, and there was a calm.  And He said unto them, “Where is your faith?”  And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, “What manner of man is this! for He commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey Him.”

Matthew 14:22-33
And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray:  and when the evening was come, He was there alone.  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves:  for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a spirit”;  and they cried out for fear.  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”  And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.”  And He said, “Come.”  And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid;  and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “Lord, save me.”   And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.  Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped Him, saying, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.”

2 Chronicles 20: Victory in praises

1  It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
2  Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, “There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.”
3  And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4  And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
5  And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
6  And said, “O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
7  Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
8  And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
9  If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
10  And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
11  Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
12  O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”
13  And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
14  Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;
15  And he said, “Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
16  To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
17  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.”
18  And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.
19  And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
20  And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
21  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.
22  And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
23  For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
24  And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
25  And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.  (What army takes such abundance of riches and precious jewels with them to battle except the LORD made them do it?)
26  And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.
27  Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies.
28  And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD.
29  And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.
30  So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.

Hebrews 12:2

Matthew 14v27-33

Just keep your eyes on Jesus!

Matthew 14

27  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”  28  And Peter answered Him and said, “LORD, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.”  29  And He said, “Come.”  And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  30  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid;  and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “LORD, save me.”  31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”  32  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.  33  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.”

ABC motivation

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving –
Do not begin to blame.
Even though times are tough,
Fierce winds are bound to blow:
God is forever able –
Hold on to what you know.
Imagine life without His love:
Joy would cease to be.
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee.
Move out of “Camp Complaining”;
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone.
Quit looking at the future.
Redeem the time at hand.
Start every day with worship –
To thank is a command.
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky,
We’ll run the race with gratitude,
Xalting God Most High.
Yes, there will be good times, and yes, some will be bad, BUT
Zion waits in glory, where none are ever sad!

~ Cindy Blackamore ~