Truth reveals hidden realities. Hence, the lover of truth daily discovers new opportunities to walk wisely in the ways of Christ. Because He is the Truth, a love relationship with Jesus illuminates truth by His Spirit and illustrates truth by His life. The fruit of truth grows in a life of educated faith. Those who romance truth in God's Word grow to know Him in deeper intimacy. Just as a loving husband pursues his wife, so loving followers of Jesus seek out His truth and His life.
Is the foundation of your marriage based on honest truth or dishonest deception? If as a couple you commit to open agendas, pure motives and transparent communication, you value truth. Indeed, truth is a tool for loving correction, not a club for angry retaliation. You speak the truth in love to one another and so bear one another's burdens. You rejoice, as you truly do life together. Truth talking facilitates freedom to trust, as fear of a secret life fades away and is forgotten.
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2 Love loves truth because it knows truth sharing is caring. When we love someone enough to not leave them in their ignorance we show we care. Love takes the time to explain and instruct, not complain and erupt. Yes, you patiently instruct your child in the teachings of Christ, so they will come to know Him and grow in His grace. Perhaps, you create a culture of apprenticeship at work so everyone has a mentor who models and teaches true best practices that develop leaders.
Lastly, season your passion of truth with the spices of humility and grace. Truth is volatile in the hands of pride, but embedded in a heart of humble grace it experiences transforming results. Also, use humor to illustrate hard facts that seem harsh when spoken directly. Also, levity can lighten the mood when the seriousness of a situation begins to become real. Above all love Jesus, Truth personified. His Spirit will direct you in all truth, so you can live truth in a spirit of love.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Prayer: Heavenly Father my heart is to know You and Your truth to help others be set free.
Related Readings: Psalm 26:2-3; Romans 12:9; Ephesians 5:9; 2 John 1:1-3
Post/Tweet today: A love relationship with Jesus illuminates truth by His Spirit and illustrates truth by His life. #lovetruth
"... but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
Ever feel like God signed you up for an intense "wait training" class?
You pray. You ask. You anticipate God's answer, but like an Internet page taking a long time to load, you must wait.
And wait some more.
I had to wait years before I became pregnant. During that time I attended baby showers while choking back tears.
I had to wait nearly three years for our too-expensive-for-our-new-financial-situation home to sell. During that time, I pinched pennies and lost sleep.
And I'm still waiting on many prayer requests: for a spiritually lost loved one, a family friend in ICU, a plan for my high school son's future. Waiting, waiting, waiting ...
But just as physical weight training builds strength, so does spiritual "wait training." We are promised this in Isaiah 40:31:
"... but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
How can waiting renew our strength? After all, doesn't waiting seem to sap our strength as we worry and fret and drum our fingers impatiently? It's exhausting playing the "What if?" game in our minds:
What if this doesn't work out?
What if God's answer is "No"?
What if the thing I fear the most actually happens ... what then?
All of this worry-laden waiting drains rather than strengthens. How can we turn this around and actually find ourselves renewed?
I have found that to shift my perspective in the waiting times replenishes my strength. I try not to think of those times of seemingly silence from God as waiting in the sense of sitting and anxiously anticipating a response. But as in waiting like a butler, maid or restaurant server.
Those who "wait on the Lord"—as in serve Him, cater to Him, help Him accomplish His work; those who take His order and bring Him what He wants—they are the ones who renew their strength.
They mount up with wings as eagles.
They walk and do not faint.
As we serve, we become more aware of what the One we are waiting on desires. We become alert, attentive, and in tune with His wishes. We begin to take our eyes off of our problems and fix them on the Lord instead. As we do, we get a glimpse into His heart.
Then, instead of the wait sapping our spiritual strength, it is renewed as we seek to do the Lord's will ... to make Him famous ... to give Him glory. Even in those long, hard times of waiting for an answer, we continue to serve Him.
Will you sign up with me for Wait Training 101?
You'll grow stronger spiritual muscles if you do. But we must commit to this perspective: we won't just "wait on the Lord," we'll wait on Him. Trust me, the tips He leaves are out of this world!
Dear Lord, teach me to shift my perspective during those times of waiting and doubt. May I stop fretting and worrying, and busy myself serving You instead. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Name a time in your life when you had to wait on God for an answer. Rate yourself from 1 to 10 on how you did in the waiting (10 is patiently worshipping and 1 is freaking out).
Now, think of something you are currently waiting on God for an answer. Write down two or three new actions you will take to "wait" on the Lord.
Memorize either today's key verse, Isaiah 40:31, or one of the power verses below. During the times you are tempted to fuss and fret, quote the verses to yourself.
Psalm 40:1, "I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry." (ESV)
Psalm 100:1-3, "Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (ESV)
It breaks the heart of love to see sin break the heart of God. Love may warn a loved one of sin’s snare, but if their choice is to continue in unseemly behavior, the evil effects are vexing. Love for the Lord feeds fear of the Lord. A heart of holiness flows from a faith that fears God. There is a respectful and reverent attitude that accompanies disciples of Jesus who are deeply in love with Him. The righteous disdain evil like a cancer to the soul. There is no delight in doing wrong.
Have you cracked the door of your life to sin that’s crouching outside ready to slither in? If so, slam it shut, because your love and loyalty is to the Lord. Do not succumb to unfaithfulness to your Savior Jesus, your jealous groom. Yes, God’s grace will allow you back into His good graces, but do not stray in the first place. Show Him your sincerity by not being captivated by sin’s sirens. Because you love God, you are able to love what He loves and hate what He hates.
If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Genesis 4:7
A husband and wife who embrace loving accountability enjoy delighting in the Lord and delighting in each other. As married couples we are committed to a covenant love relationship that only flirts with each other and not another. The mutual fidelity in our relationship contributes to a loving simplicity and avoids the drama filled complexities of infidelity. Sin complicates.
Lastly, make sure your love for the Lord motivates your other relationships. The deeper you fall in love with Jesus the further away you will run from temptations and sin’s allure. Every day with Jesus does become sweeter than the day before. The evidence that you love Christ is you obey Christ. Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and then doing the right thing. Therefore, run from wrong and walk with the Lord in a loving relationship. Love delights in doing right.
If you love me [Jesus], keep my commands. John 14:15
Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for loving me so I am able to love and obey You.
"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV 1984)
They were laughing in their matching neon pink t-shirts with the words "Bethany's Birthday Girls" printed on the front. They were going bowling after school. Then to get pizza. Then a sleep over.
When Bethany passed out the shirts that morning I pretended to be too busy to notice. I stayed hyper focused on unpacking my book bag into my locker. And then I hurried off to my first class.
It was clear. Bethany had made a list of her friends and I hadn't been included.
I thought I would be. We'd gotten together before. I'd invited her to my pool party.
"No big deal," I tried to tell myself all day. I had plans that night too.
To sit at home. Alone. And wonder why I hadn't been chosen.
It's been years since I watched those neon pink shirts all pile into a station wagon after school and drive away.
But it hasn't been years since I've heard the negative inside chatter that ensued afterwards.
"You're not liked."
"You weren't invited."
"You weren't chosen."
Here's what I wish I could have told my little non-wearing pink t-shirt self back then ... and what I need to remember when those same feelings creep in today ...
Don't put the whole of your identity into the smallness of this situation.
Not getting a pink t-shirt that day felt like a defining moment. And maybe it was for that day. I wasn't invited to Bethany's party. And that stunk.
But it wasn't a defining moment of my identity.
It was a moment. And moments shift. People are fickle. People shift.
In the moment Bethany made the list of who to invite to her party, I wasn't on the top of her mind. Not because she didn't like me, but simply because she hadn't thought about it.
It was a small situation.
And I can't put the whole of my identity into the smallness of this situation. Or any other for that matter.
My pastor used a verse in his sermon recently that echoes these same thoughts, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ" (Colossians 2:9-10).
I have been given fullness. I am filled up by Christ. With acceptance. With love. With all the fullness of an identity that can't be shaken.
I can place the wholeness of my identity in that reality ... and see everything else as small in comparison.
Dear Lord, I praise You for Your faithfulness to me in every situation. I don't want to get hung up on the small things of this world. Please help me to place the wholeness of my identity in who You are and the everlasting acceptance that You provide. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have a daughter or know another young woman who might need encouragement for her walk with the Lord, Lysa TerKeurst's book What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God would be a perfect gift. Click here to pre-order your copy.
Reflect and Respond:
What past hurt are you still processing that seemed like a defining moment in your life?
Reflect on our key verse and power verses. Write them down in a place where you'll see them every day. This will help you remember what God says we are to Him – His beloved children who have been saved through His grace.
Ephesians 2:4-5, "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." (NIV)
John 1:12-13, Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (NIV)
Love keeps no records of wrong. 1 Corinthians 13:5
Record keeping of wrongs is taboo for those who love lavishly. Love funnels all its focus toward forgiveness and relational restoration. It refrains from retaining resentment which leads to wasted emotional energy. Yes, unforgiveness maintains a mental checklist of grievances that offers the enemy an entrance to encroach into a soul’s spiritual stability. Love is not an account ledger that credits rights and debits wrongs. Love is a white board that regularly erases infractions and hurts.
Do you bear the burden of accounting for all injustices committed against you? Are you weary of wishing you had not been wronged? If so, look into the keyboard of your heart and by God’s grace press the delete button of forgiveness and erase external irritations. Start with a clean slate and your spirit will be set free to rest and enjoy God and people. Let go of harmful words that broke your heart and let the Lord mend it with love. A mind at peace is the fruit of forgiven love.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them. Romans 4:8
Since the Lord’s love doesn’t keep records of wrongs against us, we are wise to forgive ourselves of past guilt. The command to love ourselves includes not having a standard higher than God’s toward our transgressions. We are either forgiven of all or not forgiven at all. Jesus Christ’s redemption is not partial, but whole. He does not pick and choose cleansing based on the degree of our offense. Hallelujah we are categorically and fully forgiven of past, present and future sins!
Therefore, since Christ doesn’t count your sins against you, you can’t count your offender’s sins against them. Your forgiving love chooses to wipe away hurtful infractions. Indeed, ask the Holy Spirit to repair relationships broken by another’s bad behavior: broken trust, broken promises, broken romance, broken cars, homes and bank accounts. Offer up your broken and contrite heart to God, receive His healing love and forgiveness and then extend His forgiven love to others.
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Psalm 32:1
Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for Your forgiven love, give me grace to lovingly forgive.
After five years away, Audio Adrenaline is back - by popular demand and with a renewed mission. The faces may look a little different, but the heart and passion of this GRAMMY-winning band remains unchanged. Yes, that's Kevin Max of dcTalk and solo fame at the mic and founding member Will McGinniss on bass. The new lineup is rounded out by CCM vets Dave Ghazorian (Superchick), Jared Byers (Bleach), and singer-songwriter Jason Walker. Former front man and co-founder Mark Stuart remains very involved and contributed to many of the songs for the new album.
This talented group of like- minded musicians share a common goal: to be the voice for orphans in Haiti and around the world. Lead single, "Kings & Queens" is an orphan anthem that celebrates the transformation God can bring about.
I had the opportunity to have a phone conversation with both Will and Kevin one late afternoon. What follows is a real and honest conversation about where these guys have been and where they are going.
All within and by the grace of God.
John van der Veen (FC):
First of all, I did send out a couple of tweets to the people that follow us on Family here, and there’s a few questions that came back to us, and I’m going to throw those out to you first and then we can kind of just build on those.
First question is: Did you guys ever think about bringing Bob Herdman or Tyler Burkhum back to the band when Audio A was basically trying to rejoin back together again?
Will McGinniss: Uh, yeah, I’ll take that—this is Will. I mean, basically, Bob has been out of the band for a number of years. He came off the road in the 90s actually to start a record label. He ran that for a number of years and then he also, of course, helped us start hands and feet and then worked for H&F for a few of years as well. He‘s on the board of H&F too, still permanently. So, Bob’s obviously in ministry with Mark and I and has been through the years and will continue helping us with Hands & Feet.
He really probably wouldn’t have been one that would have been one of the core band guys. After he came off the road, the band kind of took on a whole new kinda shape and format and just kept on going. And so we did go back to the band members that we had on the road in 2007 when Mark’s voice went out and we shut it down. And we went back to Ben (Cissell) and Tyler and we asked them if they’d like to redo this thing with Kevin singing and they’re just at different places in their lives right now. Ben’s more in a corporate setting. And Tyler’s got his own band and is traveling around playing guitar for other groups as well, so he just wasn’t able to make it work. But both of them were very amicable, both of them love what we’re doing and that we’re getting back together, especially with the connection to Hands & Feet, which both of them helped start. So, very amicable and very excited for us and they wish us well.
FC: Will Mark (Stuart) join you guys when you go on tour. I mean, how involved is Mark in all things Audio A right now?
Will: Well, you know, he’s super instrumental. He was the heart of Audio A. He was the lead singer and kind of the main speaker for H&F, if you will. He and I spoke a lot on stage. He’s been writing a lot on this new record. He’s got writing credits on almost every song. He is the exec dir of H&F. He and I had plugged into H&F and were doing ministry outside of Audio A in Haiti. So, he and I are still in ministry together. I’m on the board and it was for that reason that Audio even got back together. I mean when Wes Campbell, who is our manager, came to us with the idea of putting Audio back out there, you know with this idea of putting Kevin at lead singer, you know, we didn’t go for it at first because just to go back out there and play our instruments again or to rock out or whatever for no reason just wasn’t that exciting to us.
And personally I’ve gotten some great family rhythms and all that with my family and it would take something pretty special to get me back out there. And so that component that was the special piece of the puzzle was that we can broaden Hands & Feet’s reach. We can broaden the story of the orphan and widow in Haiti. We can broaden the work there and so for me that made all the difference in the world. My family is plugged into H&F at a deep level, my wife works for them and I take my kids there every summer, and so that’s the piece that really made sense and so Mark’s gonna go out when it makes sense for him to speak on behalf of H&F and to be able to represent [them] in that way. We’ll use Audio in that way whenever we can and he’ll have some comments in the album art about H&F and what he’s doing. We have several webisodes that are out there that kind of explain it in depth. How Mark’s handing off this thing to Kevin and how we’re all connected as one big family still.
FC: Kevin, let’s talk a little bit about that. What are your thoughts as you’re stepping into the role of what Mark has done for a number of years. I mean, what is that feeling like for you?
Kevin Max: It’s interesting because you know it’s familiar and yet it’s not at the same time. So if that makes sense. We traveled quite a bit together back in the day and you know I was friends with the band for many, many years. I’m a fan of what the band’s done and I’m a fan of all of the guys in band—all of the previous members. The only guy that I really didn’t know was Tyler Burkhum, but I know Bob really well and I knew Barry really well and I knew Will and Mark and of course Ben Sisal, and so I feel like putting me in the group was kind of an easy fit. But I feel like what Mark did as a lead singer is very different from what I do. But, in cool ways it’s different, you know, and I can learn a lot from Mark. I can really kind of watch what Mark does and what he says about what he would do in different situations. I’m still learning actually from hanging out with mark as a friend. Will and Mark still live here in Nashville, so it’s kind of cool to be able to hang out quite a bit and we’ve been doing a lot of radio tours together. And Mark has come out and has been there with us on all of these trips. So what’s going to be kind of odd in my opinion is to go out and perform without Mark being there, because he has been still even though he’s not singing like he was back in the day, been a part of this the whole way. But I take this job very seriously and I have absolutely wanted to be in a rock band since I was a kid, and I guess maybe this is the first time I’ve been able to do that.
FC: Kevin, what is it like singing Audio Adrenaline songs? I’m assuming that once you guys go on tour, there’s going to be some catalog songs as part of that. How does it feel singing older, classic Audio A songs?
Kevin: It feels great!
Again, Mark and I have a very similar range, so when I’m singing these tunes, you know, they’re not out of my range. Actually my range is very strange. I can sing pretty low. People don’t realize how low I can sing. I’m kind of known as the guy who sings kind of high, but I’ve actually got kind of a low voice as well. So it’s fun to sing these songs and put my spin on them. And they’re all really great. I mean, Will is careful and so is Mark about picking what songs we do from the past. The songs that I’ll be singing for the new album and performing from the new album, I think that they’re also some unbelievably great songs on this album. So we’re all excited about what kind of packet we can throw together from a live standpoint, and, you know, uh, we’ll just shoot for the stars and hopefully hit somewhere on the horizon.
FC: When does the tour begin, or has that been nailed down yet?
Kevin: Wait, wait, that was a really weird quote. I apologize.
FC: I liked it, actually.
Kevin: Uh... I’ll let Will pick it up from here.
Will: Yeh, no, you’re all good. We have the album dropping March Tuesday, March 12, so we’re finishing that up now to get it out. And then the tour, I believe, kicks off March 1st. We do have a handful of dates in January, uh, and then we move into summer festivals after a short spring run. It’s not gonna be too crazy, just wanta get some shows under our belt to refine and connect as a band and get some things nailed down and then I think that summer festivals are really the big kick-off. We’re headlining some of those, and also are opening for the mainstay acts that are headlining for some of those festivals and then looking to the fall after that, so.
FC: Are you guys gonna be playing “Big House”?
Will: Heh, heh. Yeh, actually that is one of the ones we’ve been playing. I’ll tell you the ones we’ve been playing. We’ve been playing “Ocean Floor,” “Our Hands & Feet,” “Get Down,” “Big House,” “Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus,” but we’ve also talked about including like “Mighty Good Leader” and maybe “Some Kind of Zombie,” “I’m Not the King” and a few more of the rock side, and remove some of those others, or “Chevette” that’s been one that’s come up. So that’s kind of the quiver that we have at our disposal of the old catalog. There’s tons to go through, I don’t know, we may go through more and come up with more. I mean the set’s gonna be, depending on the length of the set, maybe 50/50, or 60 new / 40 old, or 50/50, whatever, so we’ll have to play it by ear and see how much time we have to play and all that kind of stuff. If we’re doing an opening set of 40 minutes, then obviously we’re limited by that, but we’re going to give the fans old and new, things that they can relate to and connect with.
FC: That’s great.
I’m going to switch gears a little bit. I’m gooing ask some questions about how you guys sort of came back together again. Just, because it’s not just the reforming of a band, but it’s also, as we touched on earlier, Kevin stepping in and doing vocals. I mean, what was that like for either one of you guys? Uh, was it like this “Paul” kind of experience, where this bright shining light was being cascaded down on Kevin, and Kevin you were knocked off of your donkey and you said, “Oh, I have to start singing for Audio A now”? You were doing your own thing and successful with that, making a solo career and now this. How did this whole transition kind of fall into place?
Kevin: I actually was kind of brought into the idea of it slowly and there were probably a couple of different scenarios. One was me singing on the Newsboy’s project, God’s Not Dead, I sang on two of the songs on that album. And when one of those songs started charting, they asked me to come down and go on the road with them for about six shows, and I was singing on stage with them for the Newsboys. And we had such a great time, I think the manager for the Newsboys at that time was just like, “Wow, I’ve been basically bugging Audio Adrenaline for some time to do the same thing, so we get Audio Adrenaline back up and running, because it’s such a great band. And it’s a shame—or, not a shame necessarily—but kind of a group tragedy that they’re not able to continue because of Mark’s voice and we wanted to get them back out there with another singer. And Mark has given his blessing, and we’re looking at guys to do it. So, well, my take on that immediately, was “Absolutely!” I’ve know these guys from the very beginning. At dcTalk, we found them early on in Kentucky and basically brought them to the label at the time, which was Forefront, and they went on to great success.
Um, and so I feel like I’m a part of that story and after that, throughout the years we’ve toured together and we became great friends, and so it’s a very, very good fit, you know, even on paper. But I think that what really kinda got me was that mark was so passionate about making the right decision, and so was Will. And, also including Hands & Feet into the story of what’s happening now. So that when we go forward with albums, we’re actually raising awareness for H&F project, which in my opinion is much cooler than just being a rock band. So we’ve got lots of different things that are happening here that are just exciting and that just make sense to me.
FC: Kevin, did this decision involve you saying, “Okay, I’m putting down my solo career for a time being, or this is just the new path that God has for me?
Kevin: My solo career has been from one moment to the next both somewhat successful and completely tragic (laughs), in terms of success. In terms of personal gratification and what feel like I’ve been able to do, I’m extremely happy with what I’ve done on my solo career. Even though I haven’t reached even close to the numbers we did with dcTalk, I think that I’ve reached a completely different crowd. And that’s primarily what I set out to do as a solo artist. To create music that I wanted to create and not necessarily follow the rhyme and the rhythm of what Talk did from the beginning. You know? So, in way, personally, I feel like I’ve covered a lot of ground and am extremely proud of what I’ve done.
At this time when I decided to do this, I wasn't really taking my musical career very seriously because I'd been writing a novel. What a lot of people don't know – they will know at some point – is that I wrote a sci-fi novel about angels and basically it's going to publishers now. I spent close to two years writing this book. I'll be pretty transparent and say during those years I really wasn't interested in being on stage anymore. I kind of went through a period of not self-loathing but I just didn't want to be the guy on stage. I gained a certain amount of weight and I was just a family guy and I wanted to get into books and I didn't want to be the front man necessarily. So when this was brought up to me, I'd kind of written the book and was kind of going through a different period in my life, you know? When Wes approached me and Mark and Will, I had to go back to my wife and go, "How serious are we going to be about this? We have to do some major shifts in our life to make this happen. I'm going to have to go on the road." I've got four kids that are under the age of 7 so I really had to make a decision. So I got serious and I started writing songs and lost a bunch of weight, basically talked about getting back to Nashville. I've lived in Nashville for over 20 years but sold our house in East Nashville a few years previously, so we basically had to move back to Nashville. So, there's been a lot of changes, but It's interesting, you know?
FC: Is Audio Adrenaline all about taking care of the widow or the orphan right now? “Hands and Feet” – is that the banner that is being raised up by Audio Adrenaline right now?
Kevin: Yeah, it's one of the major we're raising. It is Hands and Feet because the idea of doing this in the first place was to raise awareness for Hands and Feet. I think Mark and Will were hesitant at first about even putting it back on the road of that wasn't a part of it, so of course, we're all extremely excited about raising awareness. Also, it's something that we can connect to on so many different levels, from the live show to Internet to merch stands. It's something that we're not ashamed of at all. In fact, we're proud of. And just to get people to understand what's going on over there right now is huge. So definitely, it’s a huge part of what's going on right now.
FC: Will, are you back? (Dropped call with Will)
Will: Yeah, I'm here. Sorry about that.
FC: No problem. I was just asking the question if Hands and Feet were basically the banner for Audio Adrenaline. I think Kevin did a fine job in answering it.
Audio Adrenaline - Kings & Queens
What are you guys most looking forward to doing in 2013?
Will: Oh man. That's a big one. I mean for me, I feel like what you're saying is true. I feel like the momentum we have right now is incredible, nothing short of miraculous. I feel like God is doing something way bigger than us. And just the favor I feel that we have…I feel like if you compare it to Michael going to The Newsboys…they were up against a lot more. They had a lot more criticism, a lot more opposition. It was a totally different scenario, I understand that, but this is similar in the fact that we're adding a lead singer to a pretty significant brand that's already been out there. And even new other members. I'm the only member of Audio A in this thing.
But, to me, God has orchestrated a thing here that's just crazy. You couldn't have wrote this. He's an amazing author. So many redemptive stories at play with the different guys in the band and our stories and our families and Kevin's story. So, for me, I think the Hands and Feet component is what's the most significant, I think by and large. Mark being so involved in this thing, so attached to it with Hands and Feet and also writing a lot of the songs, being a part of that process, being a part of putting the record together, being a part of the future. For me, I'm just excited to see what God does. Like I said, it's going to be bigger than all of us can imagine. It's gonna be great music and all those things as well, but I think there's gonna be surprises along the way that we couldn't expect. Little turns He'll write into the story that we didn't expect, you know? But for me, we're just going to try to, with as much grace and with as much love and mercy move into this thing and tour it and leave our families again and walk through all of those situations with as much grace and mercy as we can and just see what God does with it. I think each show we want to take one at a time and really be intentional about connecting with the people that are there backstage, the people in the crowd, whatever, and giving them our full attention and just doing it in a way that is excellent and that you know that we're there for you and to serve you that day.
FC: Are either one of you coffee drinkers? Or is it Mountain Dew? Or Red Bull?
Kevin: I'm huge into coffee. I'm drinking like my fourth cup right now. Just to stay awake during these interviews. You've done really well asking some really great questions. I will say sometimes the questioner can lead me down a path to deep slumber.
FC: Well, I certainly appreciate both of you guys taking the time to talk with me today. And as I said, I just want to echo what the feeling is in our building and with a lot of our customers: we're anxiously waiting for March 12 to come around. I think it's going to be an exciting day. And then, of course, the tour.
Will: It's crazy, the favor we have. I always liken it to the Bad News Bears, where we're so bad but everyone wants us to do well.
FC: Oh, come on!
Kevin: I don't know if I like that one either. Don’t sell yourself short, man.
Will: Just trying to be humble. But "Kings and Queens" is the biggest single out of the box in Audio A history ever. So something big is happening and it's abnormal for even Audio things, so I'm just stoked.
FC: Well, congratulations to you guys. God bless you and thank you again for taking the time to talk with me today.
Because Mark is on a continual voice rest, I had the chance to email him a few questions.
They are listed here:
FC: Mark, what is the transition like for you? Moving from you to Kevin being the lead singer? How do you feel that you were the voice for AA and now someone else is?
Mark: It would be very strange for me to give the reigns over to someone else if I wasn't able to contribute to the record making process. I definitely miss being a front man and the excitement of leading an audience. But to be able to help craft a record and collaborate in writing is a huge thrill for me. I miss the creative process much more than being on the road. I feel as much a part of this record as any previous Audio Adrenaline album. It's a blessing to be in the mix!!!
FC: Is your voice getting better?
Mark: Unfortunately, my voice continues to get weaker, even though I'm not singing. It can be frustrating for sure. However, I truly believe that God is directing my path. My focus, on a daily basis, is no longer being in a band or getting my voice back, but becoming a better leader, and stronger voice for the orphans of Haiti.
FC: What is your involvement with AA going forward?
Mark: I will continue to partner with the guys in writing and producing records, but the bigger partnership is with the Hands and Feet Project. The heartbeat of Audio A moving forward is furthering the cause of the Hands and Feet Project and the children of Haiti. The Audio A guys and I are always dreaming of ways we can use our music and our platform to bring hope to the next generation of Haiti.
GRAMMY and DOVE Award-winning Jason Crabb has become one of the most respected names and voices in Christian music. Working alongside accomplished producers Jay DeMarcus (band member of Rascal Flatts), Ed Cash and Wayne Haun, Jason has delivered his sophomore studio solo recording, Love Is Stronger. A moving collection of down-home gospel and contemporary songs that feature Jason’s incomparable voice and heartfelt performance style, the release offers inspiring and challenging messages of comfort through the love of Christ that conquers all. Loved by audiences of every age and background, Jason Crabb is fast-becoming a prominent voice of hope for his generation and for generations to come.
I had the privilege of talking with Jason over the phone recently to hear about his new album, his family and his heart for God.
John van der Veen (FC): Hello, Jason. Thanks for talking with me. How are you?
Jason Crabb: Hello! Fine. We’re getting ready for a concert tonight.
FC: Oh I'm excited to hear about that.
Jason: Oh, thank you. I appreciate all that you do.
FC: I'm not sure how often you check your twitter account, but I did send out a message earlier today asking all of our friends if they had any questions that they wanted me to ask you, and someone suggested, “What was the greatest advise Dottie Rambo gave you in your beginning?”
Jason: Oh, wow! I will never forget that. When we first started out, we used to host a concert at the Executive Inn, on the river front there in Woodboro, Kentucky. One of the performers that came in was Dottie. We were on stage with her and Dottie—she was always polite, and she always messed with you, she was just so funny—well, she was getting ready to play a song. And she said, “Oh, Jason, can you come out here and get my guitar pick? It's in my shoe, and she was sitting down. So I had to go out, get down on my knee and get the guitar pick out of her shoe. And it was kind of a funny thing to be doing, and then, you know, we're sitting there and she said, “Well, now sing a song with me, and we sang together, and then she said, “Jason,” she said, “if you take care of these people (and she was pointing at the audience) and be there for them, they will always be there for you.”
I took that to heart, and that's why during every intermission, after every concert, I'm the last one to leave the building because I want to be there for the people, and I want to hear what they have to say and listen to their prayer requests and things like that. You know what, I can really truly obviously say that was one of the best things that anybody has ever told me, because truly I believe that is why I am here today, doing what I'm doing. Because I'm there for the people... and they've always been there for me.
FC: Jason, let me ask you a little bit about the influences that you have had in probably your personal life at least the way that you're talking about Dottie, but your personal life as well as your career. You have mentioned that Bill Gaither has been not just an influence to you, but certainly a mentor, and probably even somebody closer than that as well. Bill said once, “Jason Crabb is the real deal. I love his voice, I love his heart and I love the unique way he can connect people to the hope every human being needs to hear.”
Jason when you hear that and have people talking into your life like that, how do you take that as a man who is pursing Christ? How do you take the words from other people and then apply them to your own life? And then what does that mean for us, and how should we be looking for mentors and other people to speak into our lives as well?
Jason: Let's go back to Bill and those people that are speaking into your life and influencing you. I have had so many in my life; of course, my family—all my family from my parents to grand parents to my siblings. They've been so supportive with encouragement and we've helped each other out, but I mean also people on the road and in different situations and things. Bill is one of those. He's one of those men that if you'll just sit, watch and listen, you can learn so much. I think people like that when they speak into your life and they truly mean it, if they say something positive about your life, what it does for me is it challenges me to be even better. It challenges me to live up to maybe what they might say. If they say, Hey, thanks for being there for me,” then it makes me want to be there for others as well. Those things feed the spirit of the person that is there and it feeds your spiritual side. If you use it the right way. Even bad things, things that people say—could even be in a negative way—can be turned around for the good. I think we have to use all of that.
So yes, everybody needs that person to speak truth into their life, whether it's good or whether it's bad. Like, “You just have to watch how you treated this person,” or “I just couldn't believe that you went down and talked to that person and you didn't have to.” That makes you want to do those things, and so I think it's very important to listen and let those things help create who you are.
FC: How does Jason Crabb—not Jason Crabb the artist or the actor or the author or the TV personality—but Jason Crabb the regular guy keep a continual focus on Christ in your own personal walk? When the rubber meets the road, Jason, how are you doing that?
Jason: I think the Lord will find ways to speak to you. Of course, in His Word, He speaks to you on what to do in character building and those types of thing. One way that He speaks to me--I've got two kids and a gorgeous wife—is through parenting. He lets me know, kind of the role that He plays in my life, and in a similar way with my kids, such as being gracious and how to treat my children if they falter or fail at whatever they do. Those situations draw me to Him, and it's the same with my ministering on stage a lot of times. Even though I am ministering, I still get ministered to as well, and feel like I'm in the presence of God and being led by Him and those types of things.
Even the times that we are on the road, people come up and say certain things that minister to me. And believe me, I do know who I am without Christ and it's a mess. I know who I need to be with and I know I need him to be the center of my life and so whatever way that I have to do that, whether it's reading or whether it's listening to one of my favorite ministries, church and all of those things, I just think that it has to be an every day moment in your life. And usually He'll show you how to get to the best ministry to where you need to be. I can also say there have been many times when I've failed at that, and I would be the first to tell you that I am not perfect, but when I do falter I'll learn from it, and that's the whole walking it out with Christ part, just to experience all those moments.
FC: As you mentioned, your family and obviously the family that you grew up in, and of course now, you and your wife have some kids… The traditions that you had growing up musically, I'm picturing like the Crabb Family Pray album where there is that little girl, I think, in front of the white church and you just kind of have this picturesque family all together and periodically you guys have these moments where you are bursting out into song. I'm not exactly sure if that's true or not, but that's just what I had in my head as I listen to the Family records. Do you and your wife have that similar tradition with your kids? Are you incorporating those traditions that were passed down to you as a child onto your kids?
Jason: Well, yes and no.
FC: I guess more specifically, when it comes to music?
Jason: Yeah, kind of. Here was the plus for the home that I grew up in: My dad was a pastor, so we had to go to church. We were at church any time the doors were open. We were the music, we were the Sunday School teachers and more. When actually somebody should have been teaching us! (laughs) But we had to step in to fill the gap, which was alright.
It's different for me, I'll leave the house and go on the road, and my kids are in school and they've got the normal routine. The everyday life of a child that is normal at that age. It is very important to have those one-on-one moments with your child, and what’s more, I've learned that it's very effective in parenting. We learned the works of God, the work in ministry, but the cool thing is now that I know that side of it (and they do get to experience that on the road with me sometimes), I've learned that it's the one-on-one thing that counts, or when everybody grabs each other's hands and prays. If you got a problem, then you talk it out and you say, “Okay how do we handle this?”
Or when one of my kids prays for someone, I realize Christ is at work in my family, that faith is present there. My daughter was getting ready for a cheerleading competition and one of the girls got sick. And in a cheerleading competition, if one person is missing, then the whole routine that they have practiced is gone. So they were all nervous about it and my daughter walked over and she said, “Let's all pray for her.” I'm talking about like at six or seven years old, she's saying let's pray for this girl and so the whole cheer team is over there praying. That's when I knew that Christ was real in our lives. That what we are teaching, that what Christian school and church is teaching is working and that what she has accepted and believes in is alive!
Even though our lives are totally different than what it was growing up in the church, her traveling full time with me on the road, that's how I knew it is still alive. You've got to know it in every day life, in what you do and in all those types of problems that Christ is present, and so it is truly cool to watch faith come alive in their lives.
FC: I appreciate your honesty there. Let's switch gears a little bit and talk about the new record, it's called Love Is Stronger which comes out in March. When you go in and begin the process of putting together a new album, what does that look like? For instance, where do you begin with that process?
Jason: We got together and kind of wanted to talk about direction and what we wanted to target and who we wanted to help us do that. I think one of the keys for me was learning how to let go and let people that are skilled and crafted at what they do help me hit that right target. You can practice and practice, but if you are not doing certain things right, then you are practicing the wrong way and so it doesn't matter.
I think it was key for us we went in and said these are the targets we want to go after, now who can help us hit that mark. We started choosing different ones, different producers and we had three different producers on this record and that's kind of where it began, where we begin on the record.
FC: A couple of these producers are new right? That you haven't worked with before?
Jason: Actually I've not worked with all three of them. Ed Cash, Wayne Haun, and Jay DeMarcus, from Rascal Flatts, produced six.
FC: That's great. So what is behind the title, Love Is Stronger?
Jason: A lot of the lyrics in the songs deal with how we get through situations, and how we help others, and also what helps us get through times like that. The song called “Love Is Stronger” is one of my favorite cuts on the record, and that's hard to say because I love them all--every lyric on this record. But that is one of my favorites, and I just felt that was kind of the direction for this record.
FC: The song, “What the Blood Is For”—Wow! What a powerful song. How do you approach a song like that? I'm not sure who wrote it, did you do write that song?
Jason: No, I didn't write the song. Two men by the name of Ronnie Freeman and Tony Woods wrote that song. How real is that song? It is just as real as can be…
FC: That's my question, when you sing that song how do you—in a rhetorical sense--how do you keep yourself from just falling apart? I was just blown away by the words and the power of that song. Unbelievable!
What the Blood Is For
I’m a mess today
I followed the desires of
My foolish heart into the dark
Feeling far away
Need a couple of days
To work real hard to hit the mark
To get myself back in good with You
Oh what a waste, what a losing game…cause
That’s what the blood is forIt cleans the dirty man I amMakes it possible to standBefore You LordCause that’s what the blood is for
What if I fall
One more time
Or soon forget
That You’re the light
Where I am free in perfect peace
And what if I can’t get my act together
That’s what the blood is forIt cleans the dirty man I amMakes it possible to standBefore You LordYes, that’s what the blood is for
It’s Your blood that compels me
Holds the power to my victory
It’s still speaking, You Lord to me
That’s what the blood is for
That’s what the blood is for
It cleans the dirty man I am
Makes it possible to stand
Before You Lord
That’s what the blood is for
That’s what the blood is for
That’s what the blood is for
It cleans the dirty man I am
Makes it possible to stand
Before You Lord
That’s what the blood is for
Ronnie Freeman and Tony Wood
Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (ASCAP) // Lehajoes Music (ASCAP) // Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing (ASCAP) // Songs From Exit 71 (ASCAP)
Jason: It is so real--where we are and how people feel, you know… like, How can I fix this? or Where can I go? and, well, it's just by the grace of God. You've got to grasp onto that or you'll never live in Victory because we, as humans, boy, we make a mess of things, don't we? It's totally grabbing a hold of the mercy and the grace of God, and believing it, you know, that it works. That's what the Blood is for. It’s because of that that I am able to stand; it makes me alert.
FC: Real quick, going back to the record here… There are a couple of duets, and a couple of guest appearances. You have Joyce Martin, Michael English and Kari Jobe. What was it like singing with those guys? I am assuming you've sang with Mr. English and Miss Martin before, but how about Kari Jobe?
Jason: My time with Michael English—both with the Gaither Vocal Band and his solo efforts—and with the Martins were a huge influence in my life growing up. Those were the records that you just waited in line to get. I couldn't wait to get my hands on them. Couldn't wait to hear what the next thing was, what it sounded like, or what they did and pick out my favorites and listen to them vocally. So I was very, very excited about the songs they cut, and the records, and so now I get to do that and I have always just been very excited about that.
On the flip side with Kari Jobe, now that's ... I had never heard a voice like that, ever. I remember the first time I heard her; I was just blown away. It was something that she wasn't just one of those voices where you just listen to how high she sings or something. It wasn't that. It was just the touch of God that is on her voice, and the anointing that is on her life that is just ... she sings in such a real place and I just don't know how to describe it. I am so honored that she would come and sing with me on this record. I was blown away and still am every time I hear it. I'm like, really, I can't believe this really happened. (Laughs)
FC: Jason, what kind of music do you listen to today, that lately you've been listing to, that makes you go, Wow, this is some really good art!
Jason: There is so much good stuff out there today. You know I love what tobyMac always puts out. Such great pieces; he is just so talented. And I listen to a lot of different stuff. I'm more of a guy that just likes the feel of good music, whatever style it is. It’s what I draw from and I just love it. I think tobyMac’s new record is great, and I love Kari Jobe's record, and oh my goodness, there are just so many great, great artists out there. The Vocal Band has just put out a brand new project, which is wonderful. My brothers have just put some new stuff too. Aaron has a new project and it's going great. I'm producing one of Adam's records and I'm excited about that also. I'm just wrapped in music all the time, I just love all of it.
FC: Are you a book reader?
Jason: You know what, I've just really kind of gotten into that a little bit.
FC: What have you been reading lately?
Jason: I've been reading a lot of Andy Andrews. I really like his books. I also, I just picked up a book that is an old book. It is really neat. It is about the Jubilee Singers, that was based out of Nashville and it's the Fisk University and it's about a group of African-American singers that toured around the globe and sang just about everywhere. I picked this up, I found it at a bookstore, and it's a real old book, an antique. Also, there is a writer that wrote hymns ... well, not really hymns just kind of lyrics and poems. He was a slave. He wrote about some of their lyrics—his name is Dunbar. I like history, so I loved the Jubilee Singers, that's just a really cool book and I'm just getting started in it. I guess I like a lot of different things.
FC: Sounds neat. Now I have two random questions to kind of wrap things up. Are you a coffee drinker or Red Bull drinker?
FC: Coffee? Is it black or is it a king of frou-frou type of coffee?
Jason: No, you know, I have moments where I like a little cream and sugar, but then there are moments where I just like black. My trainer tells me it's black, so… you know how that goes. (Laughs)
FC: Last question, Jason Crabb. Just how Southern are you?
Jason: How Southern am I? (laughs)
Jason: Oh my goodness! I guess if people really only knew, they would probably never come and see me. (laughs again). No, I absolutely love the Southern style living. I'm kind of a—oh, I don't know what you would call it--a hybrid, I guess. I love all of it. Fried chicken, the fried pork chops, I'm in the woods a lot, and I love the outdoors. I even like to hunt a little. That’s just the way we grew up. I grew up in the swamplands of Kentucky, with coal miners and different ones and that's pretty much who I am. But then again, you know, I love nice cars (that I don't have!) and the finer things in life as well. But if it ever came down to it, give me the rocking chair, the front porch and a cup of coffee and I'm in a good place.
FC: Sounds good. Jason, thank you so much for taking the time. Man, I really appreciate it. I love the new record. I've loved your family for a long time. I love all the records. I have them all. I think they're phenomenal. Jason, you're a great singer, don't ever lose your voice, man. Sometimes when I think that you're hitting those notes, I think, Dude, it's going to pop one of these days--his voice is going to go.
FC: I thank the Lord for you and for your gifts, and I am so thankful that you use it for Him and not for yourself. Blessings to you my friend.
Jason: Thank you so much. I give Him thanks and praise every day for allowing me to live this life and to get to experience the goodness of it, and what He is and what He has done for us. To be honest with you, from where I came from in life, I'm going, How am I getting to live this? How am I getting to do this? Thank you for allowing me to get to present your love and your dreams for our lives, Lord. Your desires for our lives you know, and it's just so, I am just overwhelmed every day and that's the truth. I'm thankful for it. I really am.
Bill & Gloria Gaither - Until Then [Live] ft. Jason Crabb
"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)
My heart breaks as I watch my girls struggle. Navigating the waters of school, I watch as the storms of rejection slam against their hearts.
Often, I feel like I'm in the hurricane with them. Why do I feel vulnerable when I see the tears in their eyes?
I guess it's because memories of my own turbulent teen years are not far gone. The painful remembrances of growing up come to the surface: confusion, a boy's brush-off, constant over-analyzing myself.
Yet my girls' struggles also bring thankfulness to my heart. Thanksgiving that God sent amazing friends into my life when I was a young woman. I remember the ones who helped me discover that no man, be it a dad, boyfriend or even a husband one day, could fill the love-gap in my heart. Only Jesus can fill what He created.
I am also thankful God has placed me here, in my daughters' lives, to share with them this same truth. You see, when Jesus showed me He was the only one who can fill the emptiness of my heart, He didn't just give that truth for me! Jesus gave me this truth so I can pass His radical love on to my kids and hopefully my grandkids one day.
What is one truth God has revealed to you which you can pass on to your children, your children's children or young people in your world? God has given revelations to you, treasures from His Word, glimpses into His heart. He has entrusted those to you not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of your family and those in your sphere of influence.
Has the Lord given you a clear understanding of forgiveness? Teach your child the process of working through a grudge. Have you experienced the Lord's healing? Come alongside those in your life as they mend. Do you cling to hope because God has lifted your spirits? Share that with another who's in the middle of grim circumstances.
As our key verse tells us, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." (Deut. 4:9)
We have opportunity and influence in the lives of our children and others. Let's not take for granted all the Lord has done in our lives. Instead, let's be intentional to pass on the good things the Lord has accomplished so our children will be encouraged to trust Him for the things to come in their lives.
Dear Lord, help me be intentional today to share with my children and those in my life all of the truth You have set to work in my life. Let me take advantage of the message You have given me and pass Your Word on to the next generation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
In the next 24 hours, look for an opportunity to share with your child, or someone you love, one truth the Lord has made real in your life. When you connect a teaching to a story, it helps stick in the heart of your listener!
When is your child most open to hearing testimonies from your life? Think of these times in advance so when the time comes, you are ready to share.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (NIV)
Anger dismisses love in the moment, as hurtful emotional outbursts overwhelm any evidence of love’s presence. However, anger’s most feared enemy is love and forgiveness. Love can handle anger’s influence. It sees anger coming and prepares for its onslaught with a prayer for patience and forgiveness. Tempers are tempered when a culture of love surrounds relationships. Love does not allow anger to make itself at home in a heart that’s been hurt. It avoids anger.
Has the someone who knows you the best hurt you most? Is it hard to love them because your pain screams for retaliation? If so, seek the Lord for an infusion of His fresh fire of love and forgiveness. Your unconditional love is needed most during times when your spirit has been crushed by an unlovely person. Let go of the need to inflict pain on the one who was insensitive to you. Grace and forgiveness are your tools of love that rebuild broken relationships. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. Luke 6:31-33
Your love is a gift you give in exchange for an angry interaction. Rise above petty arguments and model for your mate a mature faith that doesn’t fight back in raw irritation. Because you have been loved supremely by your Savior you lavish the same unrestricted love on those who let you down. You replace an angry attack on your adversary with patient restraint backed by heaven’s unlimited resources. You love much because you have been forgiven much by God.
Let the Lord’s love lead you away from a focus that demands to be right and instead give room for flexibility and restoration. Dismiss the need to get your own way and own the need to love your loved one at their point of need. Like miraculous modern medicine apply the ancient ointment of love to disjointed, even diseased relationships. Remove the cancer of anger with the sharp scalpel of selfless love. The Lord’s love frees your heart to be a fierce lover for Him!
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47
Prayer: Heavenly Father I receive Your limitless love, so I can aggressively love for You!
Related Readings:Numbers 20:10-12; Psalm 106:32-33; Proverbs 14:17; Matt. 5:22; James 1:19
Post/Tweet today: The Lord’s love frees our heart to be a fierce lover for Him. #love
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (ESV)
Numb to the pain, I sat in my counselor's office to talk about the rape that occurred 10 years prior. I wanted to share what happened but the words would not come. Even if they did, would I feel better? I hoped so, but doubted the process. This part of my life had been hidden for 10 years; surely another 10 wouldn't hurt, right?
Although I wanted desperately to run, I desired freedom more than escape.
Freedom from nightmares, uncontrollable mood swings, panic attacks, and the feeling of gasping for air. Freedom from unforgiveness. Hiding any longer from my pain would never help me move forward. So I stayed in counseling.
Uneasy, I described what happened. The sounds, sights, and smells returned as if it were yesterday. I was left wanting one thing.
Couldn't someone say they were sorry for what happened? Not a shallow apology, but one that would restore meaning to my life. One that would somehow return my loss of innocence. Surely an apology from the man who raped me would make a difference, right?
After 10 years, I knew I wanted freedom from the unforgiveness that seemed to enslave me. But how was I supposed to forgive when he never said, "I'm sorry"? I spent a lot of time praying and studying how to move forward when bitter and angry. How to forgive when an apology never comes. Along that journey, I learned a few things.
First of all, for forgiveness to bring freedom, I had to offer it freely, with no strings attached. Not because the person who hurt me earned it, but because it's Christ's gift. If you are a Christian, no one's sin, not even your own, has the right to hold you captive. That means you are free to forgive.
You may not feel like forgiving, but that is where you ask for God's strength. Ask Him daily for help until you are able to offer forgiveness freely to yourself and others.
Second, I had to release my shame. Often when someone hurts us, we blame ourselves. If we had been a better person, done something differently, or spoken more assertively we could have avoided what happened. Right?Wrong! Pressing shame and blame upon ourselves is not conducive to freedom and healing. Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
Shame is a yoke of slavery. Instead of accepting shame, choose to stand firm in Jesus' love. Stand firm in His freedom that releases you from shame. Because of His sacrifice on the cross you are free!
Third, I had to keep walking forward. To move past your past you must walk through it to move beyond it. This might involve time and professional help ... but here's the freeing part: your past does not define you, Christ does!
I never received an apology from the man who raped me. But I've come to realize that even if he were to apologize it would not make up for the hurt he caused. His apology could not and would not set me free.
Freedom is not contingent upon receiving an apology from those who have hurt us. Instead, forgiveness leads to freedom and is possible because Christ's death on the cross set us free.
Dear Lord, thank You that Your death on the cross gives us all the strength we need to forgive those who have hurt us. Where there is unforgiveness, uproot it with grace. Allow Your mercy to fall on the burdened places of our hearts and minds and show us the areas we need to be set free. Thank You that Your grace, always has been, and will always be, enough. In Jesus' Name I Pray, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
In what ways are you living with unforgiveness that anchors you in a victim stance?
What is the first step you can take to forgive? If your heart is unwilling, ask Christ for the strength it will take to set you free.
John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." (NLT)