Jesus, Friend of Sinners

There’s a song called “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by a group called Casting Crowns. I really love this song because it calls the “Church” to the carpet. We, in our organized religion have sometimes – not always – but often enough to notice, gone about sharing our faith and beliefs in Christ in a way that does more harm than good. We’ve been judgemental, critical, mean, snobbish and self-righteous. Yet, would you believe that many people are really well-intentioned? Yes, it’s true. They just go about sharing their passion for their Christian faith in not-the-best way. I’ve been there, too. I’ve acted those ways. I’m not proud of it. But, when the “light bulb” went on, I was so happy.

You see, God, He’s really amazing. He doesn’t leave us like we are. If we are in relationship with him, He brings certain things to light in our lives that need changed, tweaked, adjusted or even added-to or cut-out of our lives, and He helps us with those things. He’s awesome.

All of this doesn’t mean that if you’re a Christian, you can’t be passionate about what you believe. On the contrary. Your heart can be full of vim and verve for sharing the message/gospel of Christ. Most definitely. But, when we share with others, I think we must always remember how Christ found us…what state we were in. And if we were resistant to the message of the gospel…what was it that reached through our shields and walls and connected with us?

I personally wasn’t resistant to the message of Christ. However, I was struggling with some things personally. And what touched me the most, was a couple of friends who consistently reached out to me. They were my friends and stuck by me through thick and thin. They listened to me without judging me and they shared the message of the Bible with me in a gentle and loving way, over a period of months and years. They never watered down God’s truth, but, always shared it with me in a loving manner and through a friendship. That was how they exemplified Christ’s love to me. It was through their example that I was able to see that even if I was struggling with some things that I knew were wrong or unhealthy, Christ loved/loves me and sticks with me through it all, and helps me eventually overcome whatever it is, if I let him.

If we look at Christ’s dealings with people who were ‘unbelievers’ (this does not include the religious leaders of the day, nor folks that were already following Christ), we see that He was kind, compassionate, caring, gentle, loving, patient. He still shared truth without compromising, but the WAY he did it was key. He did it with love and compassion.

I think that we, as Christians, on the whole, are learning to share Christ’s truth & love in a more loving way. We can choose to love people and befriend people and dialogue with people whose beliefs are different from ours without judging or condemning them. We can share the gospel message of Christ with people, just like my friends shared it with me so many years ago…through friendship and in a loving manner. And if/when we disagree with people or vice versa, it’s okay. One of my former pastors always used to say “Agree to disagree agreeably”. But, at least talk. At least share. It’s not our responsibility as Christians to MAKE people believe. But Jesus said “Go! And tell the world…” So it’s our duty to share the news/message of Christ and let GOD through his Holy Spirit, do the work of working in people’s hearts and minds. What will be, will be. Sometimes you’ll share the news once. Sometimes you’ll share the news over a period of days, months or years. But just share in love. God can surely handle the rest.

The Power of Song – part 3 of 3

Thank you for journeying with me in this mini-series on the power of song.  I’ve enjoyed choosing songs that have been very uplifting, healing and inspirational to me…and I hope to you, too.  I hope it has caused you to think about the power that songs  have to cheer, console and uplift us whenever we need a bit of encouragement.  I love to hear some of your favorites!

The last song I’ve chosen is from a CD that has gotten me through many, many hard times. I played this CD so much, that I began to feel like the artist/singer was my best friend.  Not kidding. 🙂  I knew every word to almost every single song (especially my favorites) and it helped me to keep my faith in tact through some very rough circumstances that were going on over a period of years.  This song is unapologetically gospel.  Even if you do not believe in Christ as savior or Lord, you may find something about it that encourages you…such as the chords, melody, harmonies, tone or warmth of the song.  God bless you.

The song: Thank You Lord (For Being There For Me) – by Fred Hammond and Radical for Christ

Lyrics Below.  Video Link –>  Click Here  (if any of you had trouble with the link at first, I fixed it. Should work now.)

[Chorus]
Thank You Lord for being there for me, for me
I’ve gotta say thank You Lord for being there for me
Seemed like I was going down, but Your love came in and rescued me
Wanna thank You Lord for being there for me
Wanna thank You Lord for being there for me

[Repeat Chorus 1x]

[Channel A]
Now if it had not been for the Lord who
Who was on our side
There is no way that I could make it no
So I come to say
I just want to thank You
Thank You Lord for being there for me, ooh, ooh
Thank You Lord for being there for me, ooh, ooh

[Channel B]
For life and health and strength I’m grateful
For life abundantly I wanna say thank You
For being a partaker of Your grace you know I’m grateful
For receiving Your mercy daily I wanna say thank You
For keeping my loved ones safe You know I’m grateful
 For allowing my next breathe to take
I just want to say I’m grateful, I thank You
You see I can say it and you can say it and she can say it and he can say it
Thank You

[Vamp A]
Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus, thank You
Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus
Thank You
Thank You Jesus
Thank You
I wanna say thank You

[Repeat Vamp A 2x]

[Vamp B]
Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus, thank You
Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus
Thank You
Thank You Jesus
Thank You
I just want to say I’m grateful I thank You
Thank You Lord for being there, for being there for me, ooh, ooh
Thank You Lord for being there
Thank You Lord for being there for me

The Power of Song – Part 2 of 3

Ok, so this is part two of a mini-series on the power songs have to influence us.  My focus is on how music encourages us.  Today’s song speaks to me a story of a person (a woman, but it could apply to a man’s struggle as well) who perhaps has been in some bad relationships.  She’s given of herself to others beyond capacity and tried to please others to her own detriment.  She’s a fighter.  She has pushed through tough times and had to fend for herself to survive.  She’s incurred many bruises and many scars along the way, and has had to hold it all together.  Healing and being able to love again is something that took time, but, in the end she was able to give and receive love again.  Perhaps this speaks to you as it has to me.  Many of us have been through some bad experiences, but, we can heal from them, and experience good things in our futures.  As the song says “It’ll be alright again.” It’s a really powerful song.  It could mean something unique and different to you, but, give a listen to “Little Miss” by Sugarland.

Lyrics below & also in the youtube video.  Here’s the video link –> Little Miss

“Little Miss”

Little miss down on love
Little miss, I give up
Little miss, I’ll get tough, don’t you worry about me anymore
Little miss checkered dress
Little miss, one big mess
Little miss, I’ll take less when I always give so much more

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Yeah, sometimes you gotta lose ’til you win
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
It’ll be alright again
It’ll be alright again, I’m okay
It’ll be alright again, I’m okay (I’m okay)
It’ll be alright again, I’m okay

Little miss, do your best
Little miss, never rest
Little miss, be my guest, I’ll make more anytime that it runs out
Little miss, you’ll go far
Little miss, hide your scars
Little miss, who you are is so much more than you like to talk about

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Yeah, sometimes you gotta lose ’til you win
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
It’ll be alright again
It’ll be alright again, I’m okay
It’ll be alright again, I’m okay (I’m okay)
It’ll be alright again, I’m okay

Hold on
Hold on, you are loved
Are loved…

Little miss, brand new start
Little miss, do your part
Little miss, big old heart beats wide open and she’s ready now for love

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Yeah, sometimes you gotta lose ’til you win
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
It’ll be alright again
It’ll be alright again, I’m okay
It’ll be alright again, I’m okay (I’m okay, it’ll be alright again)
I’m okay! (It’ll be alright again)

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Power of Song – part 1 of 3

This is the first of a 3 parter where I’m going to share 3 of my favorite songs. Why?  Because their melodies & lyrics are examples of the power songs have to give us hope, courage, faith…to lift us up when we’re down or put a spring in our step.  You know how it feels when you hear your favorite song on the radio!  It feels amazing!  You crank it up, you sing along, maybe a little air guitar or air drums are being played.  There is music to fit all of our moods.  We listen to happy music when we’re happy, or listen to a mournful tune while sad, or a party song when we’re getting ready to go out on the town.  Music is so powerful. I love all kinds of music from classical, classic rock, R & B, reggae, latin, alternative, jazz, old school rap, pop…and something I thought I’d never, ever in a million years like…yep, country. I cannot tell you how I used to loathe country music as a child. But, as an adult, I have gained an appreciation for it. Much of it is heartfelt, and wholesome. They’re not afraid to mention God and faith in their songs. And many of the songs are about life, and they many times tell a story.  My selection today is from a more modern country group, Rascal Flatts.  Before you skeptics roll your eyes (Lol) , just give it a chance. 🙂  This song is about how people give of themselves to help, save, bless, encourage others. I personally sing this song to God, because I feel like everyday God saves my life – helps me through the tough times, keeps me encouraged.  And there are plenty of people who come to mind as I listen that have been a blessing to me.  I only hope I am a blessing to others as well.

Here’s the link to the video:  Every Day
And here are the lyrics.
Feel free to follow along:

You could’ve bowed out gracefully, but you didn’t
You knew enough to know to leave well enough alone, but you wouldn’t
I drive myself crazy trying to stay out of my own way
the messes that I’ve made, but my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me, yeah you get me
It’s amazing to me

How every day, every day, every day
you save my life

I come around all broken down and crowded out, in your comfort
Sometimes the place I go is so deep & dark & desperate
I don’t know, I don’t know

How every day, every day, every day
you save my life.

Sometimes I swear I don’t know if I’m comin’ or goin’
 But you always say something without even knowin’
That I’m hanging onto your words with all of my might
And it’s alright
Yeah, I’m alright
For one more night
Every day

Every day, every day, every day
Every day, every day, every day
You save me, you save me ..ohhh
La, la, la… (every day, every-every-every day)
Every day, you save my life.

*Be blessed. 🙂

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net