Tag Archive for God’s faithfulness

Father, as I Look Back

What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4, NIV)

Father, as I look back,
I realize that as I simply trust You,
You bring a consistency to my life that is
totally beyond me.

I stumble through life.
My response to You is on and off,
easily distracted.
It is so far less than the truth demands.

But You are always with me,
always guiding,
always enabling,
always blessing.
Thank You,
merciful and patient Father!

Hymn: My Loving Father
Printed Music & Lyrics

A Personal Reflection

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

I’ve been in full-time Christian ministry for forty-four years. I began in 1973, teaching at God’s Bible School in Cincinnati. Two years later I moved to Kansas City to work for Lillenas Publishing Company, where I spent 34 years. Since leaving there at the end of 2009, God has focused me on writing and publishing hymns and devotional material. All my adult life I’ve also been active in my local church, mostly teaching the Bible.

From my own experience, I offer this testimony:

God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed (2 Corinthians 9:8, NASB).

God has fully equipped me for absolutely everything He has ever called me to do. Every task, every time.

Have I always felt confident in myself? Heavens, no. Usually the opposite. Though I’ve been teaching for all these years, public speaking has never come naturally to me. But God uses me, enables me, and always gives me a message that I know is from Him. He shares His wisdom with me, and He shares His wisdom through me.

I’ve written over 600 hymns, a number of books, a regular blog, and articles for a variety of uses and formats. But every morning as I get up to write, I deeply feel my total inadequacy for that day’s task. Every single morning. Before I get out of bed, I pray, reminding God of my total dependence on Him. I make myself available to Him, telling Him that I can only do what He enables me to do.

For my part, I pray, study, prepare thoroughly, rest, exercise, try to take care of myself, and work hard. I do my best with everything I write, whatever the task. And at the end of the day, sometimes I feel comfortable with the results of that day’s writing. Sometimes I don’t. But I keep it committed to Him, and I trust Him to work in His own way and time.

Even though I am not confident in myself, I am confident in Him. And He never, ever lets me down. As long as I look to Him, He never abandons me to my own weakness and incompetency. Forty-four years and counting. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Speak Your Word, My Father
Printed Music & Lyrics

A Testimony: God Is Faithful

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you.  (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

One of the responsibilities I’ve carried in my local church is choir chaplain. For seven years, week in and week out, my responsibility was to give five-minute devotionals to close our Wednesday evening rehearsals. It was a wonderful opportunity. The devotional could be on any subject, and the five-minute length was perfect: long enough to express a complete thought, yet short enough not to need hours of research.

Most of us have that kind of long-term ministry in one form or another. Such ministries can be great opportunities, but they can also seem heavy obligations at times.

Therefore I offer this testimony of a few things God taught me through that weekly devotional ministry.

God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV)

God always gave me something to say. I never had to throw together just anything to fill a slot. A few times I panicked on Tuesday night and forced something together, but He always preempted it and gave me something much better before Wednesday night.

Yes, I studied and did all I needed to do. I prayed and prepared and looked to Him. But He consistently gave me ideas and leadership as to what I should say.

God is incredibly faithful. When He gives us a job to do, He never abandons us to our own devices. He always gives us everything we need.

God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:8, NASB)

It’s easy for any of us who “minister” to get caught up in ourselves and our ministry, rather than in the people we serve. When I approached the devotional time nervous about what I was going to say and worried about how it would go, I tended to get uptight and struggle. But when I rested in the Lord and concentrated on the people to whom I was ministering, it worked more naturally.

In fact, I learned to spend my last few moments praying for the people in the choir, instead of reviewing my notes. It focused my heart and opened me to God working through me.

Preparation is essential, but it is never a substitute for relaxing and letting the Spirit accomplish His will through us. And He will, every time, if we let Him. We won’t always finish the job confident that we were great and everything went smoothly. But God plants His seed through us. It is good seed, and He will make it grow.

The longer I serve my Father, the more joyful it becomes. I serve in His presence, with His arms wrapped around me, personally bringing me the guidance and strength I need for each task. It’s exciting to realize I’m caught up in His work. Right now He is creating a world of love and beauty that will last forever. When we live in Him, we are a part of it. Praise to His wonderful name!