I was watching a water rescue unfold live on the Weather Channel the other day. A man who was driving got caught up in a flash flood. Thankfully, he was able to climb out of his car and take refuge on the roof while he waited to be rescued. The car was also pinned against a gate, so it was being prevented from moving downstream.
The rescue team had to daisy chain two ladders together in order to reach the man. One of the rescuers stayed at one end of the ladder, while the other rescuer slowly and carefully made his way to the man. Once the rescuer arrived at the car, he gave the man a life vest to put on. After a few seconds when the rescuer was probably telling the man how to walk across the ladder, the man very carefully started walking across the ladder. The rescuer stayed close behind him, while the other rescuer was helping to keep the ladder steady on the other side of the water. Both the rescuer and the man made it to safety.
The rescuers literally laid their lives down to save this man’s life. The rescuer that was walking across the ladder behind the man could have easily fallen in the water himself. He was willing to take that risk to make sure the man made it across the ladder.
This amazing water rescue reminded me of the good shepherd described in John chapter 10. In verse 11 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” These brave water rescuers were literally being “good shepherds”.
The water rescue serves as a visual representation of how Jesus is always with us. He is always right behind us, guiding us through life. He is also in front of us, leading us on the path to salvation. As it says in Psalm 139:5 (NLT), “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”
We will face difficulties in life, just as the man who was rescued did. However, the Bible tells us that God is always with us.
To give you a short biography of Keith Green, he was a hippie-ish looking Christian of the 1970’s/early 80’s who really loved Jesus and loved telling people all about Him through his music. Green was not always a man of God, however. He was raised in a Christian Science household, and he had Jewish roots.
According to Wikipedia, Green was very much a part of the worldly culture of his time, from experimenting with drugs, “free love”, and studying eastern mysticism. After what Green called a “bad trip,” he stopped doing drugs. It was then that Green started studying theology. He met his Jewish wife, Melody, when he was 19 years old. Keith and Melody wed after a year of dating. Green rejected Christian Science and became a Jesus-believing Christian, and Melody accepted Jesus shortly thereafter.
It is not Green’s past that most people recognize him for. It is his “No Compromise” approach to the Gospel which shined through every one of his songs. In fact, the name of one of his albums and songs is No Compromise.
According to the Last Days Ministries website, Green originally wanted to be a successful secular musician. God chose to make Green successful as a Christian musician instead, and his first Christian album was at the top of the charts. Green was humbled about his Christian “fame,” and he preached against people being star struck, calling it “idolatry.” Green was adamant about walking the Christian walk, not just talking the talk. You can read an article Green penned called So You Wanna Be a Rock Staron the Last Days Ministries website. In the letter, Green said he would stop being a musician if God wanted him to do something else to reach people for Him. Imagine giving up your life’s passion in obedience to God!
Sadly, God called Green home to Heaven in 1982 when he was just 28 years old. Green died in a tragic small plane crash, and two of his children also perished in the crash. God spared Melody and two of their children, one of whom Melody was pregnant with, as neither of them were on the plane that day.
In Green’s short life, he accomplished much for Jesus. His music is still helping people grow in their faith to this day. I’ll admit, when I first listened to Green’s music, I did not like it. It was because I did not have the Holy Spirit. I was not truly saved. Years later when my heart changed, I started listening to his music. Let me tell you, Green’s music helped me get through some really difficult times in my life. I could feel God’s presence when I was all alone through Green’s music. His music is not only enjoyable to listen to, the messages in the songs will compel you to grow in your walk with Christ.
If you read through the comments of some of Green’s music on YouTube, you will learn just how on fire for God he was. People who were actually at a Keith Green concert shared how he was able to preach the Gospel in a brutally honest way, just as Jesus intended it to be shared. Yet, Green also had a sense of humor which shows through some of his songs such as So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt.
Green’s message was not a popular one, but Green knew being in the Kingdom of God is not about popularity. It is about worshipping God, having a personal relationship with Him, and bringing other people to the Kingdom through sharing the good news.
I believe Green accomplished exactly what God wanted him to accomplish in his short, Gospel-filled life. He was not a part of the popular Christianity of today. He was a genuine, Jesus-loving Christian who was not ashamed of the Gospel nor singing and preaching about it. Green’s music was kept uncorrupted by the false Christianity that is so rampant today.
Though Green’s passing was difficult for his family, friends, and even people who grew in their relationship with Christ through his music, we can all take comfort knowing Green is worshipping God in Heaven. Even in today’s culture, Green’s music is helping people grow in their walks with Christ. As Green said in his So You Wanna Be a Rockstar article, I truly believe God told him, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant” when Green met Him in Heaven.
Chances are, you have experienced emotional pain that was completely unbearable at some point in your life. The pain was so inexplicably bad that you literally felt like you couldn’t handle it. I’m not going to pretend I have the answers to taking away your pain. I do know one thing is true, though. God is always with you, and He is the ultimate comforter.
It is ok to be sad. It is ok to feel pain. Just know that it does get better. God loves you. Pray that you would feel God’s comfort. I promise you that God knows what you are going through, and you are never completely alone. As scripture tells us in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God inspired me to write this poem for people who have gone through any kind of emotional pain.
Your pain is unbearable, your heart completely broken
No one could understand your pain even if you could show them
You feel like you can’t go on anymore, your faith’s completely gone
The one last shred of hope you had is like a shadow in the dawn
You know it would be easier to just up and give right up
But there’s a stirring in your heart that knows your time is not yet up
There IS a light at the end of this dark tunnel my child, don’t you give up
There is someone who knows your pain, and He wants to hold your hand
He’s telling you “My child, I love you dearly, and I understand.”
“You want to give up, but you can’t, for I have plans for you my dear,
Your brokenness is for a time, but my love is always here.
You won’t always feel like going on, you won’t always feel that I’m here
But I promise you I will never leave you, you can trust in my love for you my dear.”
You see the one who loves you loved His Son so much, that he watched Him suffer too
He went through pain unimaginable, But he counted it as a gain for you
His love covers over everything, yes even the broken you
He died so He could live through you, will you let Him live in you?
God’s Word is alive and active, and it falls like a holy rain
There is a peace that surpasses all understanding, even your unbearable pain
God’s love will sustain you, He will put people in your path
To encourage you, to comfort you, to help keep you on the narrow path
I don’t know the human words to comfort you, but I know these simple truths:
He will sustain you in the rain
He will sustain you through your pain
He will uplift you through His holy words and by His Holy Name
He will sustain you
He will sustain you
Note: The line “God’s word is alive and active” was inspired by the Bible verse Hebrews 4:12.
Have you ever experienced the discouraging feeling of seeing “seasoned” Christians failing in their faith? It can be hard realizing that every Christian, even Christians who we look up to as role models, are not perfect. They can stumble just like everyone else. Growing is tough enough, and it becomes even tougher when our role models fail to live up to our expectations.
God used a tree in my backyard to show me that, despite what we see other people doing, we can continue our own personal growth. There is this tall tree in my backyard that has spots of green mold on it, and most of its branches are leaning down. However, on this old and decaying tree, new life is springing forth. One of the leaning branches has a branch growing on it that looks like a miniature tree. This branch is not leaning like the rest of the branches on the tree. On the contrary, it is growing straight up towards the sun like a new tree would. In fact, it may be an actual tree growing- if you are a tree expert, I would love to hear an explanation for this!
Anyway, this tree is living proof that we can continue to grow despite what is going on around us. Even when people fail us, we can choose to seek God for ourselves and stay on the straight and narrow path.
Similarly, we can grow even after we ourselves fail in our faith. Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV) tells us, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall,for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
Do you have anything in your past you are ashamed of? Like the tree, the guilt of your past may make you feel like you are slumping. However, God promises us that we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Like the tree, we can “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NIV)
Do you have fears? If you are not careful, your fears could cause you to stumble in your faith. For instance, many people begin various addictions due to peer pressure, or the fear of not fitting in. Others get into abusive relationships because they fear being alone or they long to have a family.
I myself was in a very destructive relationship years ago, and I am just now healing from the emotional wounds it caused me. It’s funny, though, because I did not realize at the time just why I entered the relationship. It was only after I got out of the situation and looked at it from a distance that I understood why I allowed it to happen in the first place: it was because of fears I was faced with at the time.
If you have let your fears give way to sin, you are not alone. If it’s one thing I’ve learned from years of observations, the root cause of many people’s sins is fear, my own past sins included.
Thankfully, there is a way out. You have a God that loves you more than words describe. He died on a cross for everyone, and that includes you. Here is a poem I wrote illustrating how fears can lead to sin, and the solution.
Fear is what keeps us from our full potential
Fear puts us in invisible chains
Fear tempts us into sin, until we finally give in
Then more fear sets in
We sin more, we fear more, we sin more, we fear more
We sin until we believe we’ve gone too far to come back to the way we were before we feared and let sin come in
So we keep sinning, and the sin starts to feel normal
We talk ourselves into believing this is the way life should be, but deep down we know it’s wrong
We seem happy, but we’re really miserable
Our souls are screaming for the fear and sin to go away
We want to be truly happy, but we can’t while we’re this deep in sin
It’s not natural to fear, no one had fear before their first life upset
Life beats us down, and we turn to things that feel comfortable again
It’s funny though, because eventually our fake comfort becomes too fake for comfort
We all have to face the way we once were, what we were born to be eventually
We all have that deep crying out to be loved and accepted as we are naturally
We are all children of God, and we all deserve true happiness that only comes from Him
It is never, ever, ever too late to turn away from our sin
God knows exactly what and why we do what we do when we do it out of fear
Know that when He seems the farthest away, is when He is really near
He is crying out to you when you are in your deepest pain
He wants you to come back to the person you were before you let fear rule your life
All you have to do is repent, believe, and start to truly live again
Fear cannot live where true love lives
For where true love is, fear is unable to exist
God’s love gives us true happiness, true peace, true love, and true hope
Never let your fears make you give any of that up
Walk confidently in Christ, He will set you free from your fears and from your sin
He will give you the strength to walk again
So, walk, live, breathe, love, hope, and don’t lose your faith
God is with you now, He was with you then, and He’ll be with you to the very end.
I wrote this poem as a reminder that, as Christians, we should always remember to be humble, especially when we are doing any type of ministry work. We need to keep in mind that the whole reason for doing any type of work related to our faith is to glorify God. It’s too easy for us to focus on ourselves and building up our own image. However, this is not what God desires. God wants us to build His kingdom, and we do that by giving Him all the glory!
Lord help me to stay humble when I’m speaking of Your truth
May my thoughts stay narrowed in on the Father and on You
Let my words be free of pride and of self-seeking and of greed
Let the world know, through me, that You’re the only one they need
For if I’m not humble, my pride will surely get in the way
Of your simple message of hope, of everlasting life, and of grace
And if the end goal of these words is my own selfish ambitions
I’m neglecting to carry out my God-given mission-
To tell a lost world of the hope they have in You
To simply just tell them of your freedom-giving truths
And if it’s money and possessions that I’m seeking
Then my Father in Heaven is surely looking down on me and weeping
For the God I serve does not deal in money
But in peace, love, joy, and in words as sweet as honey
God, please make your truths evident to people through these words
May they lead people to the Bible, the God-breathed Word
Lord, keep me as a vessel who’s carrying the Good News
And by You, may the lost be delivered as they discover your Gospel truths.