Tag: Encouragement

Search Me O God

Search Me, O God

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Ps 139:23-24 NLT

It was over 20 years ago that I wrote the song, “Search Me, O God”, based on Psalm 139:23,24.

Have you ever talked with someone who was absolutely sure they would never flake out on God? Someone who was so confident in their ability to stand against any and all temptations or adversities, without so much of a bend?

Someone who could ignore scriptural warnings such as…

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the forces of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9,10 NKJV

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV

Well, that someone was me.

I wrote the song for some people in our church who were struggling with being true to their marriage vows. Seemed like a good song for them. But a year later, I was dealing with the very same thing!

I didn’t pay attention to the warnings of the Spirit, the Word, and other Christians. I felt I knew my heart, in spite of what God said in His Word; in spite of the warnings.

Now, when I sing this song, I’m not singing it for anyone else. I sing it as a prayer for me!

Yes, thank God for His mercy and restoration. Thank God for new hope, new opportunities! But it is a whole lot better, and safer, to keep out of traps and shackles strewn across the land of my heart.

Now, as far as I know, I am loving the Lord and serving Him with all my heart…

…as much as I know my heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart
Try me and know my thoughts
See if there be any wicked way in me
And lead me in the way everlasting

When the storms of life are raging and my feelings all confused
Lead me to the Rock that’s higher than I
May Your Spirit gently woo me and help my heart to see
That not everything I feel is Your desire
O may my life be consumed by Your Holy fire.

As from glory to glory I travel, upon the road of faith
Remind me that it’s You Who holds my hand
And if I’m walking on the water, or drowning in my tears
Help me be secure in Your plan
In love, faith, and holiness to stand.

The Master Plan… my short story

Jan and Phyllis2It was a dark and dreary night, which seemed to last a lifetime.

In fact, it was lasting a lifetime. The first 20 years of my life.

Darkness and chaos describe my early years. Oh, sure, there were glimpses of light and order, hope and joy, now and then. But dreariness described my life as a whole.

Kind of like when “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. There wasn’t a sign in the heavens inviting change. No. Darkness, disorder, decadence, and dismay screamed constantly at Him and His plans, “We cannot, will not, be changed. We will forever remain like this!” That seemed to describe my life.

But, the entrance of His Word brought light; and the rest, they say, is history.

I had times, as a kid, really enjoyed my life and thought things were great. Like the times we’d have the neighborhood over and play ball in our backyard. Kids everywhere, running, laughing, without a care in the world. Or the time the ice cream truck would come down the street, beckoning us with its happy tune. All the neighborhood kids would stop what they were doing, run to find their parents, and literally beg them into buying a Buried Treasure, Drumstick, or some other sweet and cold treat. Ah, the good old days.

There were a few times of hope and joy as a teenager, but those years were primarily filled with strife and unrest. Not much hope for the future. No promise of life, that I could see anyway. Have you ever known someone who seemed to be okay and in great health, but was really losing a battle with cancer? That’s how my life was. Looked alright on the outside, but inside I was dying. If something happened I didn’t like, couldn’t control, or attacked my vulnerable heart, I would pack up and leave. I tried fighting back, but eventually concluded leaving was the best way to preserve what life I had.

A few people told me about this Man named Jesus. Fairytale stuff, as far as I was concerned. Besides, I didn’t need religion. Darkness and chaos were serving me just fine. It was something I was used to.

When I was 17, darkness seemed to ease up a bit. I met this girl who began to love me; darkness, chaos, hurt and all. I was so energized by her, hope for the future began to grow. Plans for a life together were forming. Buying an old “Bread Truck” decorated with colorful flowers, travelling the country, playing music, seeing the sights, living the dream, became known to us as “The Master Plan”.

We finally did get married and started living the Plan. No bread truck, just a cool 1964 Rambler Classic 770 named “Roger”. Life was but a dream, sh-boom, sh-boom.

Something happened during our second year of living our dream. I can’t really explain it. I only know we met this couple who had a “light” shining in their life. Love and life seemed to exude from them, attacking the darkness surrounding us; as though God was looking at our world, commanding His light to shine in our dark places.

Light be! Light was!

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of Life.”

That was close to forty years ago. Never did get a bread truck. We have done some traveling, played some music, lived a few dreams, had a few nightmares. But we discarded the Master Plan. Traded it in for something full of love, life and hope. A future and a hope! We call it “The Master’s Plan.”

And the rest is, as they say, His Story.

If darkness and chaos has filled your life, there is a God in Heaven Who knows how to change your world.

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