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Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross

I wonder what is your favorite hymn or song. What is the one that moves you more than any other? Is there one?

When I was saved the Holy Ghost started opening up the scripture to me. Passages I had read all of my life and had memorized suddenly came alive and I actually heard what I was reading and they had great meaning. The Holy Ghost did the same with me regarding the hymns and songs that I had grown up singing. I grew up singing in the choir so I knew many of the words of praise songs and traditional hymns by rote…but I suddenly really felt the words to the core of these songs. I no longer sing any song to the Lord without recognizing the words coming forth from my mouth and heart and these days I am a great lover of these hymns. My favorite is “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” by Fannie Crosby. When I heard it again it was as though it were for the very first time I was so incredibly moved by the words that I took an old hymn book and removed this page and placed it on my living room wall. It is my prayer every day.

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Refrain
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.

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Freedom Isn’t Free!

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends”. John 15:13

Thank you Veterans, both of the Nation and the Kingdom!!

I am the wife of a Veteran and I am very proud of our years of service to our country. For every Veteran there is a family that also served in some way. I am also the daughter of a Veteran. My dad’s military history and then death by suicide years after his discharge…and the groundbreaking federal court battle that followed, led to the establishment of the first real mental health care for our nation’s military and veterans. See, my dad sought help but instead of help he was immediately discharged. He was shamed by the country he served and sent out and his medical file “swept under the rug.” No one wanted the responsibility for the wounds but that they neglected him as a person and in doing so left the family with absolutely nothing, including a dad, compounded the injustice. Freedom isn’t free! But no more would emotional wounds of battle be just “swept under a rug.”

My dad was not just a veteran of the military, he was also a veteran of the Kingdom of God. He was both a Sailor and a Preacher of the Gospel -a church planter in the Northwest while he was in the Navy and then later a pastor of several churches in the states of Washington and North Carolina.

The battle wounds of the military and the ministry have many similarities. As a daughter I felt that I lost much in battle. Some good had come out of it, but my lingering pain propelled me to help those that I felt were still being “swept under a rug” because of wounds. There was too much shame attached to ministers that were suffering and because of the stigma most ministers wouldn’t ask for help. I had seen this with my dad but following the suicide of a pastor while I was a military wife, I joined with other like-minded individuals in Hampton Roads Virginia and we started a pastoral counseling center working with the military community but mostly as a group our primary focus was on giving free care to ministers and their families. We purposed never to turn anyone away and to this day we have not. We hired and then trained some of the best professional pastoral counselors in the state. Today it is our privilege to work almost exclusively with these two categories of Veterans – those that have laid down their lives to serve our nation and those that have laid down their lives for the “High Calling of God in Christ Jesus!!” For me, it is a great honor to know each of them to the extent I am allowed and I am incredibly grateful for their service.

Freedom isn’t free! Thank you Dan and dad! Thank you Veterans!!!
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Something I feel I have to say: Those that know me well know that I have changed a lot over the last decade because I view everything now as a TRULY saved person and true disciple of Jesus Christ. I have also changed though because the mental health system has changed so much and I have seen so many men and women fall to the “power” this field seems to give. I take great issue with what I consider abuses and abusers in mental health care… but there are some great counselors and pastors that give excellent Biblical care and I believe in that kind of care with all of my heart. The insurance system may or may not pay for this type of care, but I find God always makes a way. Please get care but please don’t compromise!!!! Follow Jesus – He is the healer and deliverer!!!!!! I know firsthand and if He did it for me, HE WILL DO IT FOR YOU!!!

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She Only Had A Song

A revival began on Father’s Day, June 18, 1995, at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida. Millions of people are reported to have attended the revival with more than 100,000 salvations.

The atmosphere of the church was charged with the presence of the Lord. Something happens to saints and sinners alike when we encounter His manifest presence like what was occurring in that place.

One of the hallmarks of the revival was the song “Mercy Seat.” It was sung every evening for five years during the altar call for salvation. It was such a stirring song. A 14-year-old named Charity James sang it for all of those five years.

Recently, I read Charity’s story about the song as told by Teena L. Myers. It really spoke to my heart. It is an amazing illustration of the five loaves and two fishes told in the gospel of Matthew chapter 14.

“Charity had been singing in revivals since she was ten-years-old and had grown weary of the same routine: a church invited a special speaker, she sang a special song, meetings were held daily Wednesday through Sunday. She never witnessed a true deep change in the people and her heart drifted away from her Savior.

The process of restoration began when her mother heard “Mercy Seat” on the radio and believed her daughter was meant to sing it. “I don’t want to hear it,” snapped Charity.

“This is a great song, you need to hear it,” her mother pleaded. Charity consented to listen to the song but didn’t like it. Her mother encouraged her to listen to the song again.

Charity started the song again and listened to the lyrics. “The lyric’s seemed to melt into me. I had never heard a song like this before. That happened shortly before my fourteenth birthday, which is the day before Father’s Day,” said Charity.

On Father’s Day 1995, Charity stood to sing Mercy Seat for the first time in the independent church her family attended. The power of God filled the church. People that Charity had known most of her life came running to the altar. An hour away, Steve Hill stood to preach the now famous sermon that started the Brownsville Revival.
Three weeks later, Charity’s mother, a devout Christian who longed for the presence of God learned about the Brownsville Revival and encouraged Charity to attend. She wasn’t interested in attending another revival but agreed to make the hour-long trip to Brownsville with her mother.

Charity and her mother had attended every night of the Brownsville revival for a week when her mother announced, “Charity, you are supposed to sing “Mercy Seat” here. I know it.” Fearful of singing before the large crowds that the revival attracted Charity said, “No way, that’s not going to happen.”

Undeterred by Charity’s objections her mother spoke to the youth pastor, who brought Charity to the attention of Lindell Cooley, the minister of music at Brownsville. “I was so nervous my knees were knocking when I sang for Lindell. My life changed that day. On the way home, I looked out of the car window at the moon and stars and recommitted my life to Christ. Whatever God wanted me to do, I was ready to yield my life to him.”

Lindell scheduled Charity to sing “Mercy Seat” during the offering the following Friday. She sang the last note and found herself face to face with Steve Hill. “Will you sing that song again during the altar call?” he said. That request resulted in Charity singing “Mercy Seat” every night of the revival for the next five years.

Charity grew thoughtful as she shared her final thoughts. “I didn’t have much to offer God. All I had was a song. He took the little I had and changed the world around me.”

There is so much we can get from this story like the persistence of godly mothers, the unlikely people God will use to do mighty things, and of course, giving God your 5 loaves and two fishes and watching Him change the world around you with them.

I love to read the stories of revivals but even more I long to see corporate revival for myself.

Lord, do it again with us.