Thursday, February 25, 2016

Please Pray for Jonathan Stevens, & Update on Brody

"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: 
He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Psalm 55:22
(KJV)

What a mighty God we serve!
He is able to absorb every burden of every person and sustain each one of us, too!
I often think of the many times I come to Him, heavy-hearted and laden with care,
and it occurs to me that I am only one of literally billions of Christians who do the same thing every, single day.

About Christianity, I found this on Wikipedia...
"The faith represents approximately one-third of the world's population and is the largest religion in the world, with the three largest groups of Christians being the Catholic Church, Protestantism, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The largest Christian denomination is the Catholic Church, with 1.09 billion adherents."

According to this, one-third of the world's population are Christians.
If each one of them call upon Him as frequently as I do,
that is a whole lot of praying going on.
And, yet, our omnipresent, Almighty God hears every one of those prayers...
even the whispered, barely-audible ones.
Even the ones that are spoken in tears...and tears alone.

Gordon Jensen wrote a song that says this, 
"Tears are a language.  God understands."
(Video at end of post.)

In the book, "Echoes From The Heart", there are original and selected sacred poems
arranged and compiled by Emma Moody, wife of the great preacher, Dwight L. Moody.
The book was published in 1876, and in it is contained one of my favorite poems.
The Lord brought it to mind as I was penning this post,
and how very shocked I was to discover that the title to this poem is taken directly from the exact, same Scripture He gave me to include at the very beginning!!!
I can't begin to tell you how many times God does things like this as I am writing and sharing the burdens He has placed upon my heart.
It is all Divine orchestration, as I have nothing of my own to offer that is in any way inspired or of any significant or eternal importance.

The poem of which I speak is called, 
"Cast Thy Burden Upon The Lord, and He Shall Sustain Thee".
Oh, the countless times these precious words have comforted me through the years, 
as I hope they will encourage you now!

Sadly, I could not identify the author of these inspired words, so I do not know who to accredit.
What I do know is that the original poem was slightly altered and beautifully set to music by Barney E. Warren and published in 1893,
It is his version that I have heard and sung and loved so dearly since childhood,
and his is the version I am including here.
(If you care to read the original, unaltered poem that was published in Emma Moody's book, 
you can do so by clicking here.)

"Christian, when thy way seems darkest,
And thine eyes with tears are dim,
Straight to God, thy Father, hast’ning,
Tell thy sorrows unto Him.
Not to human ear confiding
Thy sad tale of grief and care,
But, before thy Father, kneeling,
Pour out all thy sorrows there.

Sympathy of friends may cheer thee,
When the raging storm is past,
But God only can console thee,
In the wild, terrific blast.
Go with words, or tears, or silence,
Only lay them at His feet:
Thou shalt prove how great His pity,
And His tenderness how sweet.

Think how thy divine Redeemer
Knows, as thou canst never know,
All the deepest depths of suff’ring,
All the weight of human woe.
And, though now in glory seated,
He can hear thy feeblest cry,
Even hear the stifled sighings
Of the dumb heart’s agony.

All thy griefs by Him permitted,
Needful is each one to thee;
All thy tears by Him are counted,
One too much there cannot be.
And if, while they fall so quickly,
Thou canst own His way is right,
Then each bitter tear of anguish,
Precious is in Jesus’ sight.

For too well thy Savior loves thee
To allow thy life to be
One long, calm, unbroken summer,
One unruffled, stormless sea.
He would have thee fondly nestle,
Closer to His loving breast;
He would have that world seem brighter,
Where alone is perfect rest."

Did you catch this part?
"Go with words, or tears, or silence,
Only lay them at His feet;
Thou shalt prove how great His pity,
And His tenderness how sweet."

How many of us can vouch for this?
How many of us have fallen upon our knees countless times,
tears flowing incessantly,
unable to utter even a word,
yet, we knew, deep within our hearts, that God understood completely.

Words are not necessary for God to understand.

I seem to call upon Him more and more.
I find that the longer I serve Him and the longer I live,
the more I need Him and depend upon His strength.

Sometimes, I feel bad for asking so much of Him,
and my daily prayers begin to sound like a broken record.
And then I remember the words dear Mom spoke to me so many times...
"Cheryl, God is pleased the most when we lean on Him the hardest."

God wants us to lean on Him.
He wants to hear our prayers.
He delights in the sound of our petitions being raised to His throne of grace.

What a blessed privilege is prayer!

I come before you precious prayer warriors once again with another prayer request.

Some of you know Chris Thompson, who blogs at So Much At Home,
and you may remember the original prayer request for her nephew, Jonathan Stevens,
that I posted here last August.

I am sorry to say that Jonathan continues to have health issues and needs a lot of prayer.


Here is the updated information about his condition in Chris's own words.

"As you know, he (Jonathan) has been having trouble for quite some time now. 
 I know that you remember doing a prayer post for him before. 
 He has had his appendix and gallbladder removed. 
 He has had several lab tests. 
 He still has trouble with getting sick and vomiting after he eats. 
 I think the doctor did say that he has Barrett's Disease. 
(In Barrett's esophagus, tissue in the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus) is replaced by tissue similar to the intestinal lining.) 
 However, that should not be causing all his trouble and sickness. 
His blood work has been showing elevated liver enzymes, and today he had more blood work done. The doctor called him back while he was on the way home and told him that he needed a liver biopsy. This was very sudden and has caused much worry for him and our family. 
I have no other information on the test results from today. 
 Please be in prayer that his biopsy will show nothing life threatening."

Please add Jonathan to your prayer lists and ask others to pray for him.
Pray for the answers he needs and for peace for him and his family.
Pray for our dear friend, sister in the Lord, and fellow blogger, Chris
as we all know how hard it is to worry and feel such concern over a loved one who is ill.
We are looking for God to heal Jonathan and bring him through whatever lies ahead of him.

"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."
Mark 9:23

******************************************************************

Next, I would like to ask you to please continue to pray for Baby Brody,
who still stands in much need of prayer.


I received this update from his grandmother, Debbie, this morning:

"We have Brody home, and it's been so nice having him here.  
It has been a huge adjustment though...we all are still figuring out the best way to take care of him. We bought a two shelf rolling cart from Amazon to move equipment from his bedroom to the living room.  We ordered another crib mattress to have him higher in the crib so it's easier to reach him better for the treatments.   We've been working on these kinds of things every night. We put a toddler bed in the living room for him to lay in so he can be with the family and not just staying in his crib in the back bedroom. We want him near us throughout the day.  He loves being with us and is so much happier to be at home, he smiles all the time now. We are all trying to be creative on his care, learning easier ways to move equipment, bathe him, doing his breathing treatments and most importantly, figuring out what makes him happy and more comfortable. 
  We have a nurse here during the day hours and it is helping some.  
It does give Jenn a little time to shower and rest.  
She has to do his treatments on Brody every 4 hours, and they can take up to four hours."

I can't even imagine how hard all of this is...on the family, and also on this precious baby boy!

The future must loom as an insurmountable challenge to this dear family,
and they would surely appreciate your continued prayers for them....
for strength, for peace, for healing for Brody, and for wisdom as to his care and future.

God bless them all and hold them ever close to His loving heart.
And, God bless all of you, dear readers, and hold you ever close, too.

I know many of you are battling your own hard trials.
Many of your crosses have become exceedingly heavy to carry,
and you feel that you will fall beneath your load.

I want to remind you that God is with you...
even in those moments that He feels a million miles away,
and it seems that He doesn't notice all you are going through.

His eye is upon you, and for purposes greater than you or I may ever know or understand,
He is allowing you to walk through this valley of heartache.

Please hold on to His nail-scarred hand, and know that He loves you so much!
His love for you goes deeper than you can even imagine,
and He does not permit your trials to come without purpose.
He is working in you "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: 
for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:17,18

We must continue to press on and walk by faith, and not by sight.  (2 Corinthians 5:7)
One day, all of this will be over.
There will come a day when you will remember this no more.
For you will be with Him!
For eternity in Heaven!

Can you even imagine?

Until then, God bless you, dear one.
Look up, and be of good cheer!
Our Redemption draws very nigh!

I leave you with His precious words....being spoken now to you, my dear friend....

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; 
for your redemption draweth nigh."
Luke 21:28

and

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. 
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; 
that where I am, there ye may be also."
John 14:1-3

and

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. 
In the world ye shall have tribulation: 
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

And remember this....

If video doesn't load, click here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Missing Mom and Dad

"You keep track of all my sorrows. 
You have collected all my tears in your bottle. 
You have recorded each one in your book."
Psalm 56:8
(NLT)

I apologize that this is not an upbeat, encouraging, happy post.

It is real,
raw,
and full of emotion.

Because today, I am really missing Mom and Dad,
and today, Mom would have turned 88.
It is hard for me to believe she has been away from us for nearly four years.

Last night, just after midnight, Zachary and I were still up praying.
Since my little family and I obeyed God and launched a little over a month ago,
(you can read about that HERE),
we have felt perplexed and heavy-laden.

We have launched, so now what?
Where do we go from here?
When?
How?
Why?
What was the point of our launching?

As we prayed last night, shortly after the clock struck 12, Kevin came into the room and said,
"Happy Birthday to Mom."
Hearing those words caused the floodgates to open.

I just cried and cried.
Does the pain of missing a parent ever lessen?

I think I have felt the loss of Mom and Dad more lately, 
as I have realized how much I need to talk to them and run some things by them to get their opinion.
As I feel bewildered, seeking God with my whole heart for clarity and direction,
I feel such a need of knowing what Mom and Dad would think...
how would they advise us?
What would their perspective be?
This is the first time in my life that I have stood at such a major crossroads....
without either of them...
without their wisdom, their input, their care and concern.
Oh, I miss that!

As I ponder, I can almost hear Mom's sweet, familiar voice,
and I can almost know for certain what she would say.

"Cheryl, God's timing is not our timing.
He has His own timetable.
We can't rush God.
You have done all He has asked you to do.
Now, you have to wait upon Him, and be still.
You know God cannot do three things...
He can't change, He can't lie, and He can't fail.
Keep pressing on.
Keep looking unto Jesus.
Keep encouraged.
Keep the faith.
God is going to work this all out.
You will see."

And, I can almost hear dear Dad agree with her and add his comforting,
"Everything is going to be alright."

I don't know why, but when Dad said that, it just held so much weight.
When he said that, I knew.
Because he only said those words to me when he truly believed with all his heart that everything would be alright.

Where does one go to find a substitute for precious parents like mine?
How does one fill that void?

I pray and pray, and I seek after God with every fiber of my being,
and sometimes the answers just do not come.
It is then that I long for that parental guidance...
those words of affirmation...
the human voices of my precious parents...
telling me it is better farther on.

If Mom were here today, I would be getting ready to cook her birthday meal...
one of her favorites, no doubt, and I would bake her a cake, buy some ice cream and candles,
and take out the special birthday tablecloth we have used for the past 16 years.
I wrote about that tablecloth in a post called "Tablecloth Memories" during the first birthday of Zachary's that we celebrated after Mom's death.
You can read it by clicking HERE.

Mom and Dad's kind are a vanishing breed.
They gave with all their hearts.
Their love was sincere and genuine to the nth degree.
They never counted the cost of what it took out of them to do for others.
They would just as soon see us all prosper and be happy,
than to experience their own happiness, because truly, seeing us happy is what created their happiness.

I ask again, where does one begin to go to find people like them?
When they were alive, I didn't take them for granted,
but, looking back, I know I didn't appreciate them nearly as much as I could or should have.
Somehow, I had some sort of delusion that they would always be here.
Knowing they are not brings some of the deepest pain of heart I have ever experienced.

Grief is an odd thing, isn't it?
One minute, I can feel like I have a good handle on this missing Mom and Dad.
The next minute, the slightest thing can trigger a meltdown.
Things like...
the first few notes of a bluegrass song,
the ring of a five string banjo,
the scent of one of Mom's favorite perfumes,
a stranger's voice speaking in a Tennessee, southern drawl,
making a new dish and realizing they are not here to try it out with us,
hearing the phone ring and thinking, just for a split second, that maybe it is Mom,
seeing Dad's military flag on the shelf in our living room,
coming across one of the many "trinkets" Dad made for me,
laughing at Zach acting silly and telling him how much he reminds us of Dad,
realizing he is so much like Dad, even though the two of them never met,
needing to pick up the phone and hear Mom say, "Cheryl, the Lord gave me a Scripture for you"...
what would I give to hear her say that one more time?

Losing a parent is truly one of life's greatest sorrows,
and losing that last parent takes grief to a whole new level.
Parents are our link to the past.
The severing of that connection leaves an irreplaceable, agonizing void.

Have you lost your parents?
If so, you will absolutely know what I am talking about.
If not, please cherish your Mom and Dad!
Overlook their quirks.
Spend extra time with them.
Be patient when they push your limits.
Call them often.
Lighten their load.
Be thoughtful of them.
Tell them you love them.
You can never say it enough...or too much.
And, my dear friend, if you are at odds with your parent(s),
PLEASE forgive, and let it go.
If apologies need to be made, do it now.
Don't wait.
Once they are gone, there is no bringing them back,
so do what you need to do, say what you need to say, 
and prevent regret while there is still time and opportunity.

What I wouldn't give to see Mom today on her birthday!
How I wish I could get in the car and drive the 9.7 miles to her little apartment,
pick her up, take her on one of the long drives she enjoyed so much,
bring her back to our house for one of her favorite home-cooked meals,
light her birthday candles and watch Zach and her blow them out....
she always got such a kick out of letting Zach do those things with her.

Oh, she loved this boy!
Kevin often tells me how proud she would be if she could see him now,
hear the way he so earnestly prays, see him digging into the Word of God with such zeal and passion, watch him excel in his school work, listen to him share some new thing God has been revealing to him, see the way he reaches out to others with such selfless abandon.
For the last eleven years, four months, and two days of Mom's life,
Zach was literally her reason for getting out of bed in the morning.
Just the thought that maybe she would see him that day would give her the courage
to push past the pain in her body and put her best foot forward.
Mom's face would literally light up when Zach walked in the room.
I know, without a doubt, that she would have laid down her life for him, if need be.

Last night, as I cried missing her, Kevin slipped over to sit down beside where Zach and I were praying.
He always knows what to say...what to do...to get my tears to stop.

"She wouldn't want to come back, even if she could."

I know he is right.
As much as Mom loved us all...especially Zach,
as much as she loved our times together,
as much as she would appreciate the birthday meal I would so gladly prepare for her today,
as much as she would love sitting at our table with us once again,
if given the opportunity, she would make the choice to turn it all down.
I have no doubt.

Because Mom is in a much better place than this sin-blighted world.

She didn't have to feel the spiritual anguish I felt yesterday and cry as I did,
over the unbelievably wicked and reckless decision made in Charlotte.
She doesn't have to worry about the evil that is running so rampant in our nation.
She isn't having to plead with God concerning this next presidential election,
that is, without a doubt, the most crucial, significant presidential election in the history of our country....ever. 

She now lives in a city "Whose builder and maker is God."  Hebrews 11:10
Where God has wiped every tear from her eyes.  Revelation 21:4
Where there is no more sorrow, no death, no pain, no good-byes.
Where there is no darkness, for the Lamb of God Himself is the light.
Where she is finally reunited with dear Dad, and Papaw, and Mimmie, 
and the beloved sister she lost at 17 and never quite stopped missing for the next 67 years, 
and so many, many other family members, dear friends, and loved ones.

So, dear Mom, happy 88th birthday, if you were still here on earth,
and happy almost 4th anniversary in Heaven.


My eyes are full of tears today, as I miss you and Dad as desperately as ever,
and I love you both with more love than my heart could ever hold.

Here is one of Mom's, Dad's, and my favorite bluegrass songs that we used to pick and sing together.
I hope you enjoy!

If video doesn't load, click here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Inner Views of Kelly Bowling

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22, 23
(KJV)

More than once over the course of the past few years, I have mentioned or included the song,
"I'll Be Alright As Soon As I Touch Calvary" in my posts.
That song has come to mean so much to my family and me,
and last year, we were blessed to be able to hear it sung, in person,
by the group that first introduced the song to us.
(You can read about that special night, by clicking HERE.)

So, it was no surprise that while seeking God's face about His will concerning future Inner Views,
the dear lady you will read about today was brought to my mind.

I made contact, and she so graciously granted us an interview!
I am eternally grateful, and I know you will be very encouraged by meeting her.
Perhaps you are already familiar with her and her family's music.
If not, you are in for an extra special blessing!


The
of follower of Jesus, wife, mother, and soprano singer for The Bowling Family,
Kelly Bowling.

Cheryl:  First of all, I want to thank you, Kelly, for taking the time to grant us an interview. What an honor it is to be able to have you share with us today! To start off, can you tell us about yourself? 

Kelly:  I'm married to Mike. We have three daughters, ages 16, 12, and 9. We are on tour about 209 dates a year, so life is crazy at times, but we are blessed and together.  I sang for 17 years with my family, The Crabb Family, before Mike and I started The Bowling Family.

Cheryl:  We would love to hear about your Christian testimony. How old were you when you gave your heart to the Lord? What life events led up to that decision? How has following Jesus changed your life?

Kelly:  I was 14 when I got saved.  I was listening to music at home.  At first, secular music, but I had one gospel cassette (showing my age) to my name, and decided to listen to it.  Before I knew it, tears were falling, and I gave my heart to the Lord the summer before my freshman year of high school.  It set me on a totally different path, and I'm so thankful.  God has been so faithful to me.

Cheryl:  How long have you been singing? Can you recall any special memories of your first time singing in public? When did you first realize that God was calling you to sing full-time for Him?

Kelly:  I started singing at age 3.  I don't remember the first time I ever sang in public, but I remember the young years being up there, and I knew I loved it.  However, I got shy as I got older, and took some time away, but when I got saved, there was a new fire in me to sing again! I'm so glad I did! 

Cheryl:  How did you meet your husband, Mike, and how did you know he was “the one”? What is it like being on the road with him and your children, and being able to sing for the Lord together as a family? As a girl growing up, did you have any dreams or aspirations that this is what your life would one day look like?


Kelly:  I met Mike in Boaz, AL.  He was the lead singer for the Perry's.  My family was just getting started.  We had so much in common, it didn't take long to realize that he was the one. We dated about two years, and then he proposed.  I had always hoped to stay in ministry, and marry someone who had that same vision.  Our road life can be challenging, chaotic, and everything you can imagine life to be with three kids and raising them part time on a bus, but we're together, and that is the best part of it!

Cheryl:  Over the course of the past few years, my family and I have gone through some intense, fiery trials, and one of the songs that has gotten us through is “I’ll Be Alright As Soon As I Touch Calvary”. Last year, we were blessed to be able to attend Singin’ In the Sun in Myrtle Beach, and as we were standing in the part of the arena where the product tables were set up, we heard you and your family practicing that song next door. I can’t even begin to tell you the profound effect that moment had upon me, as I stood there, tears pouring down and thinking back over all of the many times we have turned to that song for comfort. Later, we got to see you all perform it live, and it was, without a doubt, my favorite moments of our entire time there. Can you please tell us the history behind your singing this song? Was there a particular reason you chose it, and what has the song meant to you, on a personal level? How has it affected others who have heard you sing it?


Kelly:  Mike has always loved this song, and he cut it as a solo artist years ago.  It is a Rusty Goodman song, and we have always loved his songwriting.  He was one of the greats!  I love to hear Mike sing this as well, it suits his voice, and the message never gets old.  It's wonderful to be reminded that at the foot of the Cross, is the only place we need to go! 

Cheryl:  Will you share with us about what happened on July 1, 2010? How has that event changed your life? What impact has it had upon your ministry? How was God’s love demonstrated to you throughout and in the aftermath of this ordeal?

Kelly:  On July 1st 2010, our family was in a bad bus wreck that left us with several injuries.  I suffered a broken back and Mike was airlifted with a brain injury.  Our daughter, Katelanne was airlifted as well.  It was my darkest day as a wife and mother, but God was with us, and brought us through.

It was life changing, we learned to trust God on a different level, and we learned that even if the enemy tries to destroy you, God has the final say.  There are not enough words for me to say how faithful God has been to us! 

(To read news article about the accident and to view pictures, click HERE.)

Cheryl:  As a woman who is involved in full-time ministry and who is also a wife and mother, how do you find balance and maintain Biblical priorities?

Kelly:  As, a mom, I just try to look to the Lord to lead me.  I'm sure I fail daily, but I feel the key is to keep God first, to live what you sing, to let your kids know that it's more than when you're on stage, and that you're a Christian first with or without a platform.


Cheryl:  There is an element of sincerity and genuineness in your stage presence that is so evident and refreshing. In moments of success and public affirmation, what is the one thing that you would say most keeps you humble and grounded in your walk with God and His purpose in having you do what you do?

Kelly:  What keeps me grounded is knowing who I am.  I don't deserve this wonderful life I've been blessed with, I know that.  I know that every good gift is from God. 

Cheryl:  We are, undoubtedly, living in the last and perilous times that were prophesied of in God’s Word. It is easy, in these troubled times, to become discouraged and lose hope. Are there any words of encouragement God is laying upon your heart to share with us here?


Kelly:  I would just say keep your faith in God, no matter what.  I often say, the enemy wants your faith, more than anything.  He attacks different areas of our life to ultimately steal our faith.  But God says we walk by faith and not by sight.  Trust Him even when life is crazy, trust Him when the rain is falling.  He is faithful, and I believe he'll prove that to you if you trust Him!

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you? Are there specific needs the Bowling Family would like us to know about? How can we support your ministry and purchase your products?

Kelly:  I appreciate all prayers, especially as we travel!  You can get our music at http://www.bowlingfamilyonline.com.


Bless their dear hearts!
This family has truly been brought through the fire,
and God has allowed them to live to proclaim His glory and praise.
With permission, I am including several videos concerning their bus accident.
As you watch, you will see the amazing power of God and how His mighty hand has been upon
this dear family through it all.
What a blessing it is to watch how God turned such a horrible test into such an amazing testimony!
As you watch, you will be abundantly reminded of the miraculous power of God.


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A BIG thank you to Kelly Bowling for granting us this interview.
To GOD be the glory!
Great things He has done.

It is my hope that by reading Kelly's story and watching the videos that reveal the trials and ordeals
she and her family have been through, you will be reminded that there is always hope in God.
No matter what you are going through, 
He is bigger than your problem.
He is greater than your situation.
He loves you so much!
You can trust Him.
Even though He allows us to walk through hard places, He is ever present in our lives.
The 4th man is always in the fire.  (Daniel 3:25)
He doesn't walk out a moment ahead of us.
He is always faithful!
Don't give up, my friend, no matter what you are facing.
Keep looking unto Jesus!
He will see you through.
As Kelly mentioned in her testimony above, Jesus made a promise to us.
"...lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Matthew 28:20

I hope you will stop by The Bowling Family's Website to learn more about this sweet family,
their music, and their ministry,
and please keep them always in your prayers.

God bless you and your family, Kelly!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

7,000 Reserved

"I say then, Hath God cast away His people? 
God forbid. 
For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. 
Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; 
and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
But what saith the answer of God unto him? 
I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, 
who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Romans 11:1-5
(KJV)

I don't know about you, but when I read this passage of Scripture, I find it hard to keep from breaking out into a little BIG shout of praise to God.
Because, I can so relate to Elijah and how he was feeling when he prayed that prayer.
Can't you?

In this evil age of time, when there is no distinction in people's minds between what is holy and what is profane, (Ezekiel 22:26),
 one who is standing firmly in defense of God's Word,
and who is trying their utmost to live a holy life,
can begin to feel like they are the only one left who is wholeheartedly doing what is Biblically correct.
It gets to be downright discouraging.

The liberal-driven media would have us all believe that we are grossly outnumbered,
that the whole rest of the world is following after evil,
that things are just too far gone in the wrong direction,
that we are the last Christian soldier standing,
and that there is no chance of redemption, so we may as well just stop hoping, trying, 
and even praying for it.

Tuesday, those lies were exposed.
Tuesday, God's people showed up.
Tuesday, we saw, with our very own eyes, that "even so at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Tuesday, my little family and I attended the Franklin Graham Decision America 2016 Tour,
and I was blessed indeed to be a part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association volunteer team.

And, I saw the proof.
A remnant indeed!
I stood in the crowd, surrounded by those of like mind and heart,
whose heads were bowed, whose eyes were closed,
and whose voices were raised in a unified prayer to God for forgiveness...
for the sins of our nation,
for our own sins,
and for the sins of our fathers.
Just like Nehemiah prayed.

Nehemiah 1:1-7 was the text used in Franklin Graham's sermon on the steps in front of our state's capitol.
I listened, with other volunteers, from the left of the stage,
as he poured out the burden God has placed upon his heart,
and he delivered the sobering news that if we do not repent and turn our hearts back to God 
and get out and vote Christian values (as closely as we can) in this next election,
we stand in peril of completely losing this great country called America.
We all knew he was exactly right.

As he preached, I could actually feel the sense of anguish that is in his heart.

Hearty "amens" were heard all through the crowd...like rustling whispers carried on the blustery, 
cold wind that whipped around us, but could not silence our voices or convince us to stay home.

I'll admit we were tempted.
None of the three of us physically felt like going that day.
It was a long drive.
My dear husband worked all night long the night before and didn't get so much as a wink of sleep before we left early that morning.
Neither Zach nor I had slept at all well, either.
The weather was extremely cold, and the wind chill factor made it feel even colder.
It took everything we could muster to keep our word and show up there Tuesday.

I am eternally thankful we pushed against the temptation to stay home.
I would not have wanted to miss this.


Can you see Zach and Kevin inside the red circle?

When we got there, I wasn't sure what would be expected of me
or what my actual volunteer duties would be.
It didn't matter.
I was willing to do anything I could...just to be a part of this history-in-the-making.

It ended up that I, along with other volunteers, was assigned to a post on the northwest side
of the capitol building, and as God's will would have it,
ours were the first faces the travelers who were dropped off by incoming buses got to see.

Tears filled my eyes, as I watched bus after bus after bus pull up near the curb
and people with eager, hope-filled faces continually pour out of them.

I cried because it touched me to the core that the interest level was so overwhelming.
I cried because, for that one hour of time, we were all coming together, with one heart and one mind.
I cried for sheer joy that, at least for one hour, the denominational walls crumbled to the ground,
and it didn't matter what names were painted on the outside of the buses,
because for one hour every one of our eyes were upon Jesus, and Jesus alone.

Somewhat off the subject,
it hit me, as I was standing there, smiling from ear-to-ear, saying "Welcome",
patting arms, whispering "God bless you", and pointing them to where they needed to go, that, as volunteers, we were also ambassadors.
Wearing our little "Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Volunteer" lanyards
automatically associated us with the great preacher himself.
What we did, how we acted, and the way we presented ourselves,
was a direct reflection upon the 97 year old minister who is now unable to travel and fight on the front lines, but who was at home in North Carolina praying for his son who would soon step behind a microphone and deliver God's Word to this hungry-for-hope-and-truth crowd.

With that thought in mind, I did my utmost to put forth my best effort,
regardless how frigid the weather was or how severely the wind felt like it was whipping right through my thickly-insulated, warm coat.
There was a reputation to maintain, and I was bound and determined to do it...and do it right.

As much as I would never in a million years want to cast a negative shadow upon Billy or Franklin Graham, it hit me with such force that there is One far greater than either of these mortal men,
and I wear His "badge" every day of my life.
How am I representing Him?
When I call myself a Christian, do I act like Christ?
Do I make Jesus look bad by professing to be a follower of His and not doing the things He would do or doing things He would not do?
Am I the type of ambassador that He deserves?
Do I diligently and consistently live up to HIS standard?
How am I presenting Him to the world around me?

Standing there made me think about so many things.


After we got home, and God began to deal with me about sharing some of those thoughts with you here, the Scripture passage He kept bringing to my mind is the one at the beginning of this post.
I kept thinking about the "7,000 Reserved" who are standing firm for what is holy,
who are steadily and determinedly refusing to bow their knee to any other God except THE God of Heaven, and who would rather lay down their lives than to deny our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As I thought about those "7,000",
I recalled all of those faces...out there Tuesday,
braving the elements,
giving their full attention,
bowing their heads in Godly sorrow and repenting for their own and America's sins,
old, young, black, white,
all hearts united,
all eyes fixed upon the only One Who can truly turn this country around.

Later, I mentioned to Zach that I would love to know how many people showed up Tuesday.
I have been reading of the numbers of people that have been turning out at the first four stops on this tour...
numbers like more than 2,500 in Iowa,
an estimated 3,500 in Tallahassee, Florida,
more than 4,200 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
and about 1,500 in Concord, New Hampshire.

I wanted to know how our state measured up to the others, number-wise,
because it sure looked like a lot of people to me.

Zach went online to investigate, without knowing anything about the thoughts God was placing upon my heart.
When he told me the number of people who were there,
my mouth literally dropped open.

Are you ready for this?

Approximately SEVEN THOUSAND!
That's right...7,000!!
(Read article here.)

The significance of that number was not lost to me.
And, my heart felt encouraged.
Just like Elijah, when God told him he had reserved 7,000 to Himself.

We are not alone, my friend.
Regardless how much evil rages around us,
God still has a remnant...
who will not bow to political correctness,
who will not succumb to the pressures of secularism,
and who are continuing to relentlessly fight against the evil tide.
Praise His name!

Will you join me in praying for Franklin Graham and his team,
as they continue to press forward and visit every one of the 50 states this year?
To find out when he and the Decision America 2016 Tour will be visiting your state, click here.

"And let us not be weary in well doing: 
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Inner Views of Bob Sellers

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9
(KJV)

If you have been reading Homespun Devotions for very long, you will know that my family and I are huge fans of the Southern Gospel group, The Kingsmen.
They have been such a dear blessing to us throughout the struggles and trials of the past few years.
You can read previous posts I have written about them by clicking the following links:

My family's correspondence with The Kingsmen has been mainly through emails
to and from the gentleman who is being featured in today's Inner Views.
When God first began dealing with me about beginning to conduct interviews to post here,
he is one of the first people He brought to my mind.
We were so thankful that when we asked, he was willing to grant us an interview!
What a blessing!

I know you are going to love reading this, and you will be abundantly blessed!

We gratefully present to you....
 sinner saved by grace
and lead singer of the Grammy-nominated and Dove award-winning Kingsmen Quartet,
Bob Sellers.


The 
of
Bob Sellers.

Cheryl:  Could you please give us an introduction as to who you are, personally, and what you do, professionally?

Bob:  I'm a native and lifelong resident of Pickens County, AL. My hometown of Gordo is about 30 minutes from downtown Tuscaloosa. I graduated from The University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) in 1998 with a degree in Finance with a concentration in banking and financial services. I spent 17 years in banking, working the last ten years of my banking career as a commercial loan officer. I left that career in 2011 to join The Kingsmen full-time filling the position of lead vocals. Prior to joining The Kingsmen, I also had my own group (Capstone Quartet) that traveled part-time mostly on the weekends. I have been married to my high school sweetheart and the absolute love of my life, Kansas, since 1998, and we've been blessed with three children. Our oldest girl, Corley, is fifteen, Ellie is 12, and our son, Will, is 10. My wife is a sixth grade teacher here in our hometown. We live a simple life out in the country with one inside spoiled rotten fur baby ("Bella", a Malti-szu), three outside dogs and a cat. When not on the road with The Kingsmen (which I am 200+ days each year) I do some handyman-type work on the side such as painting and light remodeling, wood and tile floors, etc. I find it's a good way to stay somewhat in shape physically and mentally while not on the road and spend my time making a little extra money when Kansas and the kids are at school versus laying around being lazy. If and when there is any time left, my hobbies include anything going on outdoors such as camping, hunting, hiking, etc. and of course, obsessing over Alabama Crimson Tide sports, especially football. Roll Tide!


Left to Right:
Kansas, Bob, Corley,
Will, and Ellie Sellers

The Kingsmen
Left to Right:
Randy Crawford, Brandon Reese, Ray Dean Reese, Bob Sellers, and Chris Jenkins

Cheryl:  How long have you been a member of the Kingsmen, and how did you become a part of this ministry?

Bob:  I had gotten to know a couple of guys in the group pretty well over the years and in early 2011 I had a chance to fill in for one of them one night down in south Alabama. I guess owners Ray and Brandon Reese thought it was a pretty good fit, because a few months later they would have an opening at the lead position and offered me the job. I've been here ever since and haven't once regretted the career change. My wife is so supportive of what I do. I could never do it without her support and can't imagine trying to! She believes just as I do that this is God's purpose for my life right now, so we are totally committed to fulfilling that calling together. 

Bob and Kansas Sellers

Cheryl:  How did you come to be a Christian, and when did you feel God calling you to full-time ministry?

Bob:  I accepted Christ as my Lord and personal savior on June 6, 1984 during a week long summer revival at the church my grandfather Paul Sellers founded back in 1978. Granddaddy has gone to be with the Lord, but I am still a member of that church and I actually live about 200 yards from the back door. Although I rarely get the privilege to attend, it is a very special place to me, and all my family are active members there. I felt for several months at my last banking stint that God had other plans for my life. I was miserable at the time and having tried for a long time to make the best of a bad situation, I had begun to pray for a way out, and I really felt deeply within my heart that God had a career change in my future. I had no idea that it would be in full-time ministry, but as soon as Ray called it was as if a light bulb came on and God said, "Here's your answer!". 

Cheryl:  Your song, “Battle Cry”, has so deeply stirred our hearts and the hearts of many others, as it is so spiritually fitting to our times. Can you tell us how the song came to you and what your initial reaction was when you, as the Kingsmen, first heard it? Did you immediately discern the power of the song or have any idea how much of an impact it would make?
If you could sum up the current “battle cry” that is going forth from the heart of God, how would you describe it, and what do you think we, as the Body of Christ, should be doing in response to that battle cry?


Bob:  "Battle Cry" was one of dozens of songs (probably well over a hundred, actually) that we were blessed to have pitched to us by songwriters from all over the world. We listened for more than two years trying to find our favorite ten songs for this project and actually ended up with eleven, because we just couldn't bring ourselves to culling that last favorite. I was actually the first to hear the demo for "Battle Cry". I immediately liked the song. For me, I know by the time I hear a couple of measures of music and some of the lyrics of a song whether or not I like it, and it was just one that grabbed me immediately and got stuck in my head. I think the song resonates as it does because of the things happening in the world around us. God certainly wants us to pray, but I also think He desires to see His church put action behind our prayers. The days of Christian people sitting on the sidelines only hoping and praying for change have passed us by. We’ve got to take up arms against Satan. The mindset of staying quiet on the sidelines has allowed things such as gay marriage and abortion to be accepted in our country and what got God escorted out our schools. It's time Christians get busy spreading the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, just like the Word of God compels us to such as in Luke 14:23 and Acts 1:8, reaching as many as we can while there is still time. Also, we need to stand for what is right and stand against what is wrong and practice what we preach. My favorite line in the song says, "Let us not grow weary as we carry the gospel to the lost, let us lay our lives down in the service of our captain and His cross; for evil rages, so hearts courageous, we must soldier on!". That truly is the Christian battle cry!

Cheryl:  As you travel from place to place and sing to different audiences in various venues, how do you compare the current level of spiritual fervency, dedication, and support with levels of the past?

Bob:  I think the biggest difference over the past generation or so in this industry is that more of us out here on the road have as much of an evangelical drive as we do an entertainment drive. I certainly believe that you can present the gospel in song in an entertaining way. After all, it's a dark, hard world sometimes, so if people can leave all that behind, come and sit through 90 minutes or a couple hours of a concert with us and have a smile put on their face, we're not going to apologize for that. Part of The Kingsmen's legacy is taking the audience on a roller coaster of emotions, whether it's laughing hysterically one minute to crying the next. We want a concert with us to be more than an emotional experience, however, and for people to leave having enjoyed a true worship experience. The best pay we ever receive is seeing someone in a service we've led come to the saving knowledge of Christ. The best compliment we get is when someone tells us they received a blessing.

Cheryl:  How many times do you perform throughout the year, and how do you find balance in maintaining family life along with being on the road?

Bob:  We perform anywhere between 180 and 200 dates a year. For me, it's a 450-mile drive to Asheville, NC, where the group is headquartered and where the bus leaves out of. I don't always have to drive that far, but I end up being away from home upward of 220-230 days each year. That is incomprehensible to some people, however, what I’ve learned to do is make the absolute best out of the time I do get at home. My wife's and my relationship has never been stronger. There really is a lot of truth to the old adage "absence makes the heart grow fonder". When I'm on the road, sometimes my heart absolutely aches for home, so when I am home, each and every moment, whether it's time with my wife and kids, some time spent on a hobby, spending time with my parents and other family I don't get to see as often as I'd like or just whatever I'm doing feels like a real privilege. Of course, the chores and other obligations of home still have to be met as well. Missing ballgames, recitals, “firsts”, etc. of my kids is the worst, or when someone at home is ill or injured. I prayed when I started with the group that I'd never have any regrets and that my children would never wish I'd have been there more. Obviously, we'd always like to be together more, but we've all learned to adapt to the point that it's just normal life for us, at least. 

Bob, Ellie, Corley, Kansas, and Will Sellers

Bob, with his parents, Helen and Robert Sellers

Cheryl:  What are some of the most humorous things that have happened during your concerts?

Bob:  Oh my goodness! You can’t imagine some of the hilarious things that happen on the road. They usually involve our bass singer and owner, Ray Dean Reese. He may be 76 years old, but he can be a big kid at heart. He does things to crack us up all the time. He’s been with The Kingsmen for 50 years and one of the funny things he's known for is if he ever forgets the lyrics to a song he will just sing “watermelon, watermelon, watermelon”. He says no one ever knows the difference as long as it blends in with what the rest of us are singing. As you can imagine, it never really blends in that well. Some of the funniest things also happen at the product table. For example, I had a man in Indianapolis actually argue with me over whether or not we were the same “Kingsmen” who sang the song “Louie, Louie”. I tried to explain that they were a rock and roll group from the northwest who came along a few years after us and that we’d never done “Louie, Louie”, but he said, “No, it was you. I saw you do it right here in 1968!”. At that point I just gave up and agreed with everything he said. We love them all, but people can say some of the wildest things at the table! It’s always entertaining.

Cheryl:  We are living in the perilous end times prophesied about in God’s Word, and it is easy to become discouraged in these dark days. In closing, what words of encouragement would you like to share with our readers?

Bob:  Yes, we are indeed. I'd just say just what the Bible says, “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  My life verses are Proverbs 3:5-6, which say, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

A BIG thanks to Bob for his time and for sharing his amazing story and testimony with us!
We are just so honored and humbled to have been able to interview such an inspiring man of God.

A few months ago, God blessed us to get to meet Bob in person and see The Kingsmen in concert!
That special evening was a night we will never forget and a tremendous blessing to our souls.
You may read more about it by clicking here.

Chris Jenkins, Zach, and Bob Sellers

And, guess what?????
Battle Cry, written by Joel Lindsey, Sue C. Smith, and Lee Black, 
and recorded by the Kingsmen, was the #2 Radio Song for 2015, 

The words to this song stir a deep longing within me to arise out of spiritual lethargy,
to shake off complacency,
and to do my personal part to defend God's truth in this evil age.
I never listen to this song without being profoundly moved,
and seldom do I hear it without shedding tears.


If video doesn't load, click here.

Another recent release from The Kingsmen's Battle Cry CD is "Cross of Grace".

I hope you will take the time to listen to it here.


If video doesn't load, click here.

God bless Bob Sellers, and God bless The Kingsmen, as they travel and do their utmost
to bring glory and honor to our dear Lord in these perilous, last days of time.

If you would like to support the ministry of The Kingsmen and/or order any of their products,
please click HERE!

To read previous
 click the links below.

The Inner Views of Joshua Becker
 The Inner Views of Lisa Newton
The Inner Views of Dr. Alveda King
The Inner Views of Jen Avellaneda
The Inner Views of Tonya Shellnutt
The Inner Views of Karen Del Tatto
The Inner Views of Evelyn Rennich