Archive for September, 2013

08
Sep
13

Cheer up, we will understand it all by and by

In my younger years I used to love strumming the guitar and sing simple songs (I wasn’t very good at all). One of the first songs I learned how to play became one my favorite songs due to its message. Over the years when I led a fellowship or meeting I many times had everyone sing this song because it was simple, short and encouraging.

Recently I was amazed to find out there are MANY verses to this song instead of the first verse and refrain I had heard all my life. Once I saw the complete song, I knew I would have to blog about it because some of the verses are truly awesome. Without further ado, may I present to you, the complete song “Farther Along”.

1. Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.
o Refrain:
Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
2. Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer,
Go in the rain, the cold, and the snow,
When there are many living in comfort,
Giving no heed to all I can do.
3. Tempted and tried, how often we question
Why we must suffer year after year,
Being accused by those of our loved ones,
E’en though we’ve walked in God’s holy fear.
4. Often when death has taken our loved ones,
Leaving our home so lone and so drear,
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.
5. “Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master;
Short is our time to labor and wait;
Then will our toiling seem to be nothing,
When we shall pass the heavenly gate.
6. Soon we will see our dear, loving Savior,
Hear the last trumpet sound through the sky;
Then we will meet those gone on before us,
Then we shall know and understand why.

There are several contradictory claims for the authorship of this song. The words and music are frequently attributed to W. B. Stevens, although others have attributed the words to W. A. Fletcher

If there is anyone out there who has never had these questions come up in their mind, I wonder how much of a stand for God is really being made. Anyone who boldly proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ and faithfully stands firm in that Gospel SHALL suffer persecution, affliction and tribulation, many times while watching people who despise God seemingly live the “perfect life”.

Unless we live for more than what this life has to offer, we will spend much of this life in misery, jealous of others success and questioning our very faith. We live, stand and speak God’s Word not for the physical rewards in this life but rather because God says to do it with the hope that farther along we will understand why.

I pray that having these words to this simple song handy can bring you comfort during times of distress, joy during times of sorrow and confidence during times of uncertainty. Always remember that just because we don’t understand the whys and the wherefores of things today doesn’t mean we won’t have an epiphany tomorrow. Cheer up my brothers and sisters and live in the sunshine for God has assured us that we will understand it all by and by.

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02
Sep
13

Living the love of God instead of just talking about it

As I watched the “Secret Millionaire” show last evening, which featured Tri Coastal Community Outreach which I have worked closely with for seven years, I was struck again by how ignorant many Christian denominations are when it comes to charity. For reasons that escape me, there is a belief among some branches of our faith that it is a bad thing to help people in any way except preaching the Bible to them. I believe this is not only shortsighted but also in direct opposition to what Jesus said in the parable recorded in Matthew 25:34-46.

When someone has been beaten down by life’s storms, the last thing they need (usually) is someone to slam a Bible over their head and tell them to believe. When someone has seen their home washed away, their job dissolved, their family split apart or their physical body break down; the last thing they need to hear is that they are a sinner and all these things happened to them because they sinned.

When I dropped everything in May of 2006 and took off for the Gulf Coast to try and help those who were in great need after Hurricane Katrina, I had one goal in mind and that was to be of service. I of course had my Bible with me and studied it faithfully, but I did not embark on my journeys to be an evangelist but rather to be a servant.

Many times I found myself loading or unloading trucks in 99 degree heat, tearing out rotten drywall in a mold infested house, running all over three states trying to find supplies when none were to be found and numerous other menial tasks. My greatest joy came when I was able to be a part of a distribution day at one of the outreach centers when food and other supplies were passed out.

I remember vividly handing a package of toilet paper to an older lady at a distribution center one day. I had to drive nearly 100 miles to find that paper due to shortages. Upon receiving the package, the woman broke down in tears and thanked the Lord for His faithfulness over and over again. How can helping someone SEE the love of God in manifestation be wrong?

When I wasn’t actually helping people I was traveling across the United States trying to present the needs I had witnessed to churches, ministries and other groups who claimed they wanted to help people. For the most part my appeals landed on deaf ears. Time and again I heard the same excuses which were that these people needed to help themselves and just “giving them things” did not help them rebuild their lives.

If more Christian preachers and teachers spent less time talking and more time putting on their work clothes and helping someone rebuild their home, clean their yard or find supplies to stay alive; more people would come to the Lord by seeing the love of God in manifestation than just hearing about it on Sunday morning. Those who live their faith provide a far greater testimony to the faith than those who simply want to talk about it.

01
Sep
13

Tri Coastal Community Outreach is on television tonight

I first met Carolyn in June of 2006 at her outreach center near Mobile, Alabama. At the time, she was taking care of displaced Hurricane Katrina victims out of her father’s unfinished church. Unlike many of the people I had met doing the same basic thing; I knew from the outset that there was something special about the way Carolyn did things.

Carolyn had been a wedding planner before the hurricane with no thought of coordinating a sprawling charity. But, when the devastation became apparent soon after the storm passed, her ironclad Christian faith and abounding love manifested in mercy prompted her to act instead of reacting. Instead of sitting around in a daze waiting for someone to help her and her family, Carolyn immediately started finding food and other supplies to help others.

I was in Kentucky when I received a call from Carolyn in July of 2006. Her father had just died and she was suffering physical problems herself that would necessitate her going in the hospital. Although we had only met once, there was a bond that quickly developed between us due to the mutual respect we had for what each other was doing.

I had to go to Pennsylvania to do a meeting but afterward I made a beeline for Mobile to visit Carolyn in the hospital and do what I could to help the people she was ministering to. Thankfully I had my little green van to stay in and help out. That trip 7 years ago fostered a relationship of trust and thanksgiving that remains vital even today. Although I rarely see or even talk with Carolyn much anymore, I deeply admire what she is doing and pray for her and her outreach daily.

Carolyn refused to quit, get discouraged, compromise or sell out to anyone over the years. Her group, Tri Coastal Community Outreach, is truly independent and is not supported by government programs or underwritten by a major denomination. Carolyn has depended on donations, both large and small, to stay afloat for years. She draws no salary but works 60-80 hours a week strictly as a labor of love.

Over the years, I have supported Tri Coastal through donations of money and goods. I even purchased freezers for them in 2007 to allow them to give out frozen food. More than once I have taken trailers of goods from our eBay store to help stock their thrift store. Of all the people and groups I met in 2006-2007, none were as pure and Godly in what they were doing as Tri Coastal.

Years ago Carolyn started conducting classes on how to repair your house, set up a checking account, stay healthy and many other things. This was all done to break the cycle of dependency many charities fall into. It is a true saying that if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day but if you teach him HOW to fish he can eat for a lifetime.

Two years ago, ABC television visited Tri Coastal and filmed an episode of their unique show “Secret Millionaire”. Tonight at 7:00 pm CDT on ABC that episode will be aired. If you want to see how much good a grass roots charity can do when the leader is a devout Christian who refuses to compromise Biblical truth; I urge you to watch or record this show for it will truly bless you.

Many of you know of my admiration for Carolyn and Tri Coastal for I have written of her before. It fills my heart with great joy and thanksgiving to know that this evening, her group will finally receive the recognition it deserves. For me, it is like the joy a parent feels when seeing their child graduate. Thank you for allowing me to share a bit about someone and something very near and dear to my heart.