Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stopping A Downward Spiral

"Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfill the statutes and judgments
which the Lord charged Moses with concerning Israel:
be strong, and of good courage;
dread not, nor be dismayed."
I Chronicles 22:13

The other morning, I had one of the most disturbing dreams I ever remember having.
Nightmare would be a more accurate description.
In it, I was driving our car, and on the front passenger seat beside me,
was my oldest nephew, Shawn.
Shawn and I are actually the same age, born only 5 1/2 weeks apart,
as Mom and my oldest sister, Sharon, were expecting us at the same time.
Growing up, we were more like brother and sister than nephew and aunt.
No one believed me when we attended the same school, 
and I would introduce myself as Shawn's aunt
and explain that I was an aunt the moment I was born.

In my dream, we were heading to a family get-together,
and the event was to be held at a park near a river.
For some strange reason, we were supposed to park single-file on this narrow concrete ramp
that extended into the water at the end.
The ramp was very long, sort of like a long boat ramp and extremely steep,
plunging downward at a very sharply-slanted descent.

As we descended along this ramp, I could feel our car picking up speed,
and suddenly, I felt like things were reeling out of control.
I put my foot on the brake pedal and tried frantically to bring the car to a stop,
but the more I applied pressure to the brake, the faster we spiraled downward.
I reached for the gear shift and tried, out of desperation, to shift the car into park,
but each time I pushed it forward into park, it would slip all the way back into drive.
This was happening repeatedly, and I couldn't understand why it would not stay in park.
I grabbed the emergency brake handle and pulled it upward, trying with all my might 
to make it engage, but no matter how hard I tried, there was no response,
and the more I grasped for ways to make the car stop, the faster we were going.

"Shawn!  Help me!" I screamed.
"Do something!  I can't get it to stop!"

But, Shawn was as helpless as I was to make a difference.
By this time, we were going so fast, it felt like we were literally flying.
Soon, we reached the end of the concrete ramp, and we were actually on top of the water.

"Call on Jesus' name!", I kept screaming to Shawn.

Over and over I kept repeating, "In Jesus' name" and urging Shawn to do the same, 
as our car seemed to be floating across the water,
somehow barely and miraculously staying on top of the surface.
The water was dark and raging.
I still remember the horror I felt as I watched the violent current in front of us and realized how incredibly fast it was flowing, pulling at everything within its reach and overpowering it.

Somehow, I managed to reach my arm out of the driver's side window
and grab onto the top of the concrete slab that ran alongside the river.
With some sort of supernatural strength, I held on with all my might,
and by some miracle, my hanging on to the concrete managed to pull the car over to the side
close enough for me to somehow pull myself up and out of the car.
Once I was out, I gained enough leverage to manage to reach into the passenger side
and grab a hold of Shawn and literally drag him out of the car and fling him onto the ground next to me.

In real life, this could never happen.
I am not that strong.
Shawn is a lot taller than me, and this would never be possible.
Thank God, in my dream, it did happen, and both of our lives were spared.

The instant we both were safe, I looked back into the water just in time to see the very top of our car go under the fiercely raging waters of the river and completely disappear into its fathomless depths.
A feeling of sheer horror encompassed me, as I realized that we got out just in time.
Right after, I awoke from sleep,
panic-stricken, terrified, and beyond grateful to God that it had only been a dream.

While I am not a person to pay a great amount of attention to dreams,
this one has lingered with me for days.
I can't shake the feeling of terror it brought over me.

I have pondered what it could mean, as many possibilities have come to mind.
Whatever the interpretation of this dream, there is one thing it has clearly reminded me.

It is hard to stop the momentum of a downward spiral, 
and as sad as it is to admit,
there are times that the force is so powerful that it makes it humanly impossible to apply the brakes and turn the tide.
In these situations, our only hope is to reach beyond the vehicle that is propelling us downward,
grab on to something solid, and make the necessary effort to jump to safety.

I think you know where I am going with this.

Our nation, our world, is reeling out of control.
We are being propelled by the force of a spiral that is plunging us downward at breakneck speed and picking up momentum as we go.
Those of us who have our spiritual eyes open can see where this is heading.
And believe me when I tell you, it is not good.

You and I are living in the midst of an Ezekiel 22:26 moment, in which, our society
"have put no difference between the holy and profane".

Holy is being called profane.
Profane is being called holy.

If our founding fathers were permitted to come back to life in order to see what is happening,
they would not be able to grasp the reality that this is America.

Christians are being persecuted, ostracized, and literally punished for standing up for their convictions, sticking to their guns, and "clinging" to the holy Word of God,
while the ones who scream "tolerance" are the most intolerant of all.

Babies, unborn and defenseless, are being brutally murdered and their little organs extracted,
all under the sickening description of "harvesting".

Women, created by God with an innate, deep-seated intuitive nature to nurture, defend, and protect their young, sip wine and eat salad while they discuss the skill they have acquired in being able to "crush" the babies' organs in just the right spot, so as to preserve livers, lungs, and other organs, keeping them in tact and sellable to the vultures who purchase them.

Marriage, the most sacred of all human institutions and Divinely ordained by Almighty God as the permanent union of one man and one woman,
 is being distorted and twisted into perversion by now including a legal "marital" union between two males and two females.
Students are not allowed to pray or mention the name of God or carry their Bibles in public school.
A Kentucky county clerk is thrown into jail and called Hitler, because she chooses to obey God's sovereign law.
Atheists file law suits to have the Ten Commandments, crosses, and manger scenes removed from the public square, and way too often, they win.
Television commercials and shows are the most blatantly evil, profane, perverse, and vulgar they have ever been, and there seems to be no limit to the extents of nudity, profanity, and violence producers will dare to go, never minding the fact that innocent, pure-minded children have easy, living room access.
Movies are filled with demonism, the glamorization of vampires, ghouls, and zombies, 
and the glorification of every, single work of the flesh mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21.
Just take a listen, and tell me whether or not I am telling you the truth.
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; 
sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 
idolatry and witchcraft; 
hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; 
drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Could there be a more accurate description of the filthy trash being conveyed through modern-day television and movies?

Is anything sacred anymore?
Is anything off-limits?

Is it any wonder our youth are completely desensitized and cannot discern good from evil,
when all of their lives they have been bombarded with glaring exhibitions of darkness
within the walls of their own homes?
Would you agree that we are on a downward spiral that is continually picking up speed?

My dream/nightmare often comes back to my mind.
The car was going down.
Shawn and I could either pretend it wasn't happening,
continue to stay on board, allowing ourselves to apathetically go down with it,
or we could rise to the occasion, produce strength we didn't know we had,
cling to something that was way stronger than us, and take the necessary steps to alter the outcome.

There is this temptation right now to sit back and pretend things are not as bad as they really are.
There is this paralyzing, distortedly "comforting" hankering among us to bury our heads in the sand,
leave reform to happenstance, close our eyes, and hope for the best.

Let me just tell you that if we make the choice to stay on board a sinking ship
and do nothing to alter the course, 
we are going down with the ship, my friend.
To think otherwise is pure foolishness.

Things are bad.
The spiral is downward.
It is plunging with a never-before-heard-of or heretofore-imagined force and intensity.
But, just because evil is rampant, and things are reeling out of control,
don't ever allow the enemy to convince you that things are too far gone to improve.
The generations before us have passed off the scene.
They can no longer help or hurt the situation.
The torch has been passed to you...and to me.
The ball is in our court.
We can choose to drop it and buy into the delusion that we are absolved from all personal accountability and responsibility, or we can face the reality that we, who now live in this present world, will absolutely give an account to God for what we did and did not do
  during our watch.

I realize this is going to be a challenge larger in stature than anything we have ever before faced.

But, isn't there something within you that has an intense desire to rise to this challenge?

I recently heard this quote...
"We are looking for ideas large enough to be afraid of again."
Tyrone Guthrie

Since I love a good challenge, I LOVE that.

It is time to stretch ourselves, my friends.
To reach outside of this drowning vessel to the solidity of a Higher Power.
To swim against the raging spiral.

"If My people, which are called by My name, 
shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways
then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14

Ideas large enough to be afraid of again...
ideas that will compel us to wake up,
ideas that will require us to deny ourselves,
ideas that will rise before us like a bold, audacious dare.
As I was writing this, it occurred to me that these ideas so large that they cause us to be afraid
are not new ideas at all,
and all we really need, at this point, is to be reminded of them.

Things like....

1.  Fear GOD.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom..."
Proverbs 9:10
I tell you, my friends, it is a sad day when you look around and realize that to find someone
who truly and wholeheartedly fears God is a difficult quest.
Not only is it hard to find someone who possesses a genuine, healthy fear of God,
but what you find, most often, is the total opposite.
There is a blatant, unashamed disdain for God and all things holy.
There is a powerful push against Christianity and anything that has to do with the cross of Christ.
It seems to me that we are completely losing our fear of Almighty God.
It seems that we are pushing the envelope as far as we can possibly get away with,
defiantly standing in God's face and daring Him to do anything about our wickedness.
What we seem to be forgetting, in our rebellious provocation,
is that God is our only hope.
He is our Creator.
He will one day call this world into final judgment,
and each one of us will stand, individually, before His presence,
and there will be no place to hide.
The infiltration of humanism into our mindset has ensnared us into thinking we are in control.
We could not be more deceived.
We will never get ourselves out of this mess.
It isn't humanly possible.
To find help, we must look beyond ourselves to the One Who created us,
Who is in control, Who is our only hope.
We are going to have to reach outside our own resources,
and grasp for His unchanging hand.
To fear God is the first step to wisdom.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: 
Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
Ecclesiastes 12:13
Dare to fear Him, honor Him, respect and revere Him.

2.  Pray.
I know it sounds simplistic and elementary.
But, just how much time do we really spend calling out to God about present conditions?
How often do we mention the name of America to Him in prayer?
How often do we pray for the modern-day church?
There is amazing power in prayer, and faith-driven praying absolutely moves mountains.
It is going to cost us...time, energy, anguish of spirit.
Is this why we don't do it?
Is the idea of effectual, fervent prayer so large that the very thought of what it will require makes us afraid?
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."
Ephesians 6:18
"And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint..."
Luke 18:1

3.  Fast.
Just how bad do we want to see reform?
Laying aside food and following Biblical demands for fasting adds amazing additional oomph to the power of prayer.
Jesus said in Matthew 17:21, 
"...this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
There are certain situations that are just that drastic.
When is the last time you pushed back your plate and refused to eat because your heart was so heavily-burdened for our nation, and you were so sorry for our sins?
Why does the idea of fasting seem so large that it makes us afraid?

4.  Vote.
Again, such a given.
But, it is amazing to hear how many Christians do not vote.
My friend, this is not only our God-given privilege, it is our responsibility, and it is one way you and I can make a difference.
I know it is just one vote.
One vote could tip the scales.
One vote matters.
Presidents, senators, and members of the congress are elected officials.
In turn, presidents personally choose and appoint Supreme Court justices.
Do you not see how imperative it is that we make our voice heard in the voting process?
If you are not registered to vote, take the necessary steps to become so.
November 2016 will be here before we know it.
Stay informed.
Study the spiritual stances of the candidates.
Then, go vote for the one who aligns him/herself most closely with Biblical values.
Please, I beg of you.
Go vote!
We can afford to be intimidated no longer.
The time for the marriage of our faith and our politics has come.
It is imperative that they merge and become one.
Just look around and see where Christians not voting has landed us.
This is not rocket science.

5.  Get involved.
Become proactive.
Sit on the sidelines no more.
Jump in, and do all you can.
I just spent two days with some of the sweetest, most genuine prayer warriors I have ever met.
The ladies of Concerned Women For America are sold out to God
and determined to make a difference in our world.
They are a unified, powerful voice which will not be silenced.
Will you consider supporting their efforts?
Either by joining and/or starting a local prayer chapter, 
or by giving of your resources to enable them to continue to do what they do?
To donate or find more information about participation with CWA, click here.
I have admired them and supported them for a long time,
but after spending this face-to-face, quality time with them,
I feel inspired to do more.
I am super excited to see how He is going to use and direct this effort.
Some other causes I believe in and would suggest supporting are:
to name a few.
Why does the thought of getting involved make us so afraid?
We must individually overcome that fear, and step out in faith.

6.  Rescue your loved ones.
It saddens me to think of the lack of spiritual understanding that is prevalent in this generation.
An overabundance of watered-down, sugar-coated preaching, and a lack of proclaiming the whole, unadulterated truths of God's Word has resulted in a younger generation who are spiritually uninformed as to what God really expects of them.
I am frequently astounded at their innocent oblivion to spiritual truth.
Hosea 4:6 says,
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."
This is heartbreaking to me and makes me think of Romans 10:14, which says,
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? 
and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? 
and how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Anyone can see that there is no modern-day shortage on preachers.
But, there is an extreme scarcity of preachers who preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
We can't depend on church leaders to inform the generation following us.
You and I are going to have to pick up the mantle and teach truth to all who will listen.
We are endowed with spiritual knowledge, understanding, spiritual enlightenment, and discernment,
and we owe it to them to pass it on.
We must rescue the perishing and make them aware of what the truth is,
and of the consequences that follow disobedience to it.
We must apply eye salve to those who are in darkness,
who are following along, floating downstream, unaware and oblivious to what is up ahead.
The idea is large, but we must rise to the challenge, and do it anyway!

7.  Take courage!
God is still on the throne!
He is still in control.
Regardless who denies His existence or who mocks His name.
He is and will forever be sovereign.
Praise His name!
Aren't you glad He is on the side of right?
Dare to stand and be counted on the Lord's side, in the face of uncertainty, opposition,
and yes, even persecution.
Noah was scoffed, scorned, and ridiculed, as onlookers heard him speak of and watched him prepare for upcoming judgment.
He continued to speak and prepare anyway, and, one day, the flood did come,
and the scoffers, scorners, and those who ridiculed found themselves drowning on the outside of the ark he so faithfully built.
To be courageous is an idea large enough to make us draw back in fear.
But, what did Jesus say?
"No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:62

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Romans 8:31

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: 
because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
I John 4:4

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Romans 8:37

We are in an unprecedented cultural war.
Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, the battle is engaged,
and if we would be followers of Jesus Christ, we must rise to the challenge.
We must fight the good fight to lay hold on eternal life.  I Timothy 6:12

I leave you with these questions....
what has God called you to do in these perilous times?
What idea has He presented to your mind that is so large it makes you afraid?
What is God calling you to do?
Only you can answer.
There is a place in His Kingdom that only you can fill.
You were brought to the Kingdom "for such a time as this".  Esther 4:14
This is your Esther 4:14 moment.
With what mission has He entrusted you?
Are you fulfilling that mission?
The battle cry has sounded.

(If video doesn't load, click here.)

How will you respond?

To stop this downward spiral, you and I must take the lead
in taking a stand.

God help us all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kingsmen "Battle Cry" CD Giveaway - FIVE Winners Announced!!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
James 1:17

I could hardly wait until 12:00 am!

If video doesn't load, click here.

This is our very first giveaway here at Homespun Devotions,
and all three of us were just super-excited to see who the five winners 
of the wonderful Kingsmen "Battle Cry" CD would be!

The only sad part is that we wanted ALL of you to win!!!!
We feel bad for the ones who didn't.  :(

Everyone in the world should own this CD!

So, without further ado....drumroll please,
the numbers 3, 6, 11, 12, and 16 were chosen!!!!

Which means, our blessed winners are...

Bronda Boley,
Caroline Harries,
Lady Linda,
Judith Kowles,
and Laura Lane!!!!!!

A BIG Congratulations to each one of these special ladies!!!
We can't wait to get your CDs in the mail to you!!
Please accept them as a gift from the Lord!

And for those of you who didn't win, you may order your own copy of this CD
by clicking here.

Thank you for all of the wonderful comments and entries to the giveaway!!

God bless you all!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Kingsmen - BATTLE CRY CD Review & A Giveaway!!!!

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
I Corinthians 16:13

Up until now, I have never tried my hand at writing any type of review post on Homespun Devotions.
Up until now, I have never felt led to.
But, after a recent, personal encounter with the Southern Gospel group, The Kingsmen,
I began to feel God leading me to promote their latest project to the faithful readers who come by here.

First, I will say that my little family and I have attended a lot of singing events over the years.
We find such encouragement and many blessings in traveling and listening to the various 
groups God sends within a driveable distance from us.
So, when we found out The Kingsmen were coming within 80 some miles from us, 
we were beyond excited!!

They have been one of my favorite groups since I was a young girl growing up in Dayton, OH.
I would listen to them regularly, as a local DJ named Tim, would play their songs on a station called WGIC in Xenia, OH.

It was funny how our finding out about them coming to our area recently came about.

One evening, Zach was in the kitchen drying supper dishes,
and Kevin had started working the night shift in his home office near the kitchen.
He often puts in a CD to listen to as he works,
and Zach and I get to enjoy listening to it, too, as the sweet sounds float from room to room.

Soon, the sounds of this song, one of our all-time favorites by the Kingsmen, began playing.

If video doesn't load, click here.

I don't know about you all, but every time I hear this song, (written by Joseph Habedank), 
I have a hard time stifling shouts to Almighty God!
It just speaks out the very experience of my heart.

Soon, Zach poked his head around from the kitchen to peek into where Kevin was working.

"Daddy, who is that singing that song?" he asked.

"It's The Kingsmen", Kevin answered.

"Wow, it would be neat if we could go hear them in person", Zach replied.

As soon as the words were out of Zach's mouth, 
it occurred to me that I had seen their name on the Gospel Gigs website,
when I had been scouring it earlier to check out upcoming concerts near our area.
Then, I had been distracted while reading it and never got to see
where the concert was actually going to be.

(If you love Southern Gospel, and you are interested in finding out which groups are coming within a certain proximity to where you live, Gospel Gigs is a wonderful resource.
You can also sign up to have their weekly updated schedules automatically sent to your inbox.)

I immediately went back to the Gospel Gigs website, and lo and behold,
there it was.
The Kingsmen would be less than 85 miles from us the following weekend!

I was so excited and hurried to tell Kevin and Zach.
We immediately began making plans to attend their concert
and could hardly wait until the day arrived.

You never really know what to expect when you attend one of these events.
Sometimes, you feel a sense of bondage, as if you are afraid to raise your hand in praise,
or say "amen", or "praise the Lord".
There are occasions that you sit through the concert, then visit the artist's product table afterwards,
only to meet with disappointment as you find them to be unfriendly, condescending, or worse,
or that they seem to expect your compliments and are so used to hearing them that they no longer hold much significance.
You can feel "brushed off" and leave wondering why you ever made the sacrifice to be there in the first place.
Then there are those other times, when you immediately discern that the precious Holy Spirit is present in the place.
You sense a strong anointing upon the singers and the songs being sung,
and you feel a freedom to praise God and worship Him, without restraint. 
Tears flow freely, as you are keenly aware of His presence,
and you realize anew that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
2 Corinthians 3:17

So, we drove the 80 some miles to get to the place where The Kingsmen were performing that night, not really knowing what to expect, other than to have a pretty good hunch about the songs that may be sung.

Dear friends, what we found that night was truly amazing.
God's presence was there from the moment Bass Singer and 50 year Kingsmen veteran, Ray Dean Reese; Lead Singer, Bob Sellers; Baritone Singer, Randy Crawford; and Tenor Singer, Chris Jenkins walked on to the stage.

The blend of talent that is represented in these four guys is absolutely an orchestration of the Divine will of God.
Harmony is impeccable.
But, it goes beyond that.
It is the spirit in which these guys sing, and the spiritual depth that is contained in their song selection that makes the difference.
Their genuine love for Jesus Christ and the passion with which they speak and sing about Him
blessed our souls more than I could ever hope to put into words.

It is one thing to "seem" spiritual while on stage,
while performing, and while far-removed from the audience who listens.
It is quite another thing to show that same level of spirituality when the spotlight has dimmed,
and you are standing face-to-face with the people who came to hear you sing.

To be honest, I was curious as to what kind of reception and interaction we would find as we walked up to their product table, after the concert was over.
How relieved and grateful I was to find that these 4 guys are as humble and Christlike off-stage
as they are on.
We met Bob, Chris, Randy, and Ray Dean.
We found them to be gracious, humble, down-to-earth,
and easy to talk to.

Wouldn't you know, I forgot to take our camera, (I know...so silly of me!), 
and we were having phone difficulties.
So we didn't end up getting a picture with all four of them,
but, thankfully, we finally resolved our phone issues towards the very end, 
and we were able to get this picture of Zach with two of them.

We will always cherish, not only this picture, 
but our memories of that special evening with The Kingsmen.
What a blessing!

A few months ago, we began hearing the song "Battle Cry", 
(written by Lee Black, Sue C. Smith, and Joel Lindsey), 
being played on the radio.
Battle Cry is the title of their latest CD, 
and also the number one song for the month of August!!
Please take a listen.

If video doesn't load, click here.

I can't exactly put into words just what this song means to me.
I can't think of any lyrics that could more adequately describe what is going on in the spiritual realm in these last, perilous days, and I can't imagine any song that could more fully articulate the personal burden that is upon my heart right now.
It is ever present with me.
And, do you know what?
I thank God for this burden.
Because it shows that He has not allowed me to fall into a state of spiritual apathy.
Feeling this alarm and concern makes me know that my spiritual eyes are wide open.
May they ever be!

There is a battle cry going forth that cannot be silenced.
God is sifting through His people, 
and soon, it will be clearly evidenced as to whose side each one of us is really on.

Can you hear the battle cry?
Will you respond to it?
Will you do your individual part to uphold the pure, unadulterated truths of God's Holy Word,
swim upstream against the current of evil,
and take a firm stand for righteousness?
Or will you ignore the battle cry and choose to succumb to floating downstream
and cave to the snare of political correctness?

There are eleven songs on The Kingsmen's Battle Cry CD,
and I must tell you that there is not one song on this CD that isn't top-notch.

Kevin and I have been huge music fans all our lives,
and the other day, after listening to the Battle Cry CD all the way through,
for the umpteenth time I might add, Kevin said,
"I have never had a CD that I like this much!"

That, my friends, is saying a lot.
In our family, we call Kevin the walking music encyclopedia.
His remembrance of the old songs, who sang them, and interesting back stories and tid-bits
is truly amazing.

In addition to "Battle Cry", which is track #1 and which I can never say enough good about,
there are 10 other tracks.
Usually, when we buy a CD, there are at least a few songs that we don't really care for,
and we always skip those while listening.

I can tell you that there is not one song on this CD that we are tempted to skip through.
The Kingsmen mentioned that they had taken two whole years to select the songs they
wanted to include on this CD.
I am sure a lot of prayer and seeking God's will went into that process.

Believe me, it shows.

The other songs that are included on the Battle Cry CD are:

 I've Never Seen The Righteous Forsaken
(written by Rebecca J. Peck),
 He Took Away My Burden
(written by Daryl K. Williams and Scott Inman),
Oh Yes I Am
(written by Regina Walden),
Cross of Grace
(written by Rebecca J. Peck),
Beautiful City
(written by Ashley Franks),
I Know
(written by Ila Knight),
It Should Have Rained
(written by Dianne Wilkinson and Rusty Golden),
(written by Belinda Smith and Kenna Turner West),
Come and Dine
(written by Daryl K. Williams and Dianne Wilkinson),
Here I Stand Amazed
(written by Kingsmen baritone singer, Randy Crawford)

Now, because of the passion we feel concerning God's Battle Cry
and the way this Kingsmen CD proclaims it,
Kevin, Zachary, and I felt led to purchase five extra copies of the Battle Cry CD
and make them available to be given away here!

We're keeping things real simple.

All you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section below.

Please make sure you comment in a way that we will have access to your contact info., 
so we can notify you if you should win.

If you must comment anonymously, PLEASE email us privately and let us know how to contact you, should you win!!

There is no purchase necessary.
Due to shipping costs, giveaway is available to US residents only,
and will remain open from 9/10/2015 through 11:59 PM, Monday, 9/14/2015.

Chances of winning depends upon the number of entrants.
If there are only five comments left, all five commenters will receive the prize!!!  LOL!!

Winners will be picked, fairly and at random, and be announced here
shortly after the giveaway ends.

Prizes will be mailed within 2 weeks of the end of the giveaway, Lord willing.

Wish we could give every single Homespun Devotions reader, subscriber, & follower
a copy of this CD!
It is just that good, my friends.  :)

God bless you all!!

UPDATE:  9-10-2015 6:00 PM -
To visit The Kingsmen's Facebook page and see their nice comments about this giveaway,
click HERE!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

God's Grace and The Cell Phone & Updates on Ryker & Terri Presser

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God..."
Ephesians 2:8

Do you understand what grace is?

I don't really think I do.

By all means, I should know...
as well, or even more-so, than most.
Through the eternal mercy of a loving Heavenly Father,
I was raised in a Christian family, 
by two precious, blood-washed, Godly parents,
around a family altar.

Furthermore, the very first song I ever remember singing was "Amazing Grace." 
I was three years old, but I remember it like it was last week.

Back then, we didn't have to wear seat belts, 
so my favorite way to ride was with my little elbows propped up on the back of the front seat,
between Mom and Dad.

I remember how safe I felt, as we drove along, and Mom and Dad sang "Amazing Grace".
It wasn't long until I began to chime in with my two-cents' worth.
How I did it, I don't know,
but according to Mom and Dad, my little voice was belting out perfectly-on-pitch tenor.

I don't know how perfectly-on-pitch it has been, but I've been singing ever since.
Singing those old-time hymns will always be one of my favorite things to do.

So, since I was raised in a God-honoring, God-worshiping home,
and since we went to church three times a week for most of my growing-up years,
wouldn't you think I would know the meaning of grace?

I think it is somewhat absurd that I don't know.
How many times have I sang about it, heard it preached, read about it in God's Word,
and had it pounded into my head over the past 48 years?
I must be a really slow learner, because somehow the light bulb is just NOW starting to come on.

I've been seeking after God with all my heart.
I can honestly say that there has never been another time in my life
in which I have been more serious or diligent in my pursuit of Him.
This journey has led me down some pretty rough roads,
but how else could one ever hope to find Him?

Jesus' life was beyond difficult while on earth,
and if we would follow Him,
we are going to have to imitate His steps of denying ourselves and taking up our cross.

In my quest to know Him, I have often talked to Him about grace
and how I don't really understand it and how it is hard for me to wrap my mind around 
the fact that it could ever possibly apply to me.

I just don't feel worthy.
Does anyone?

It is easy for me to tell others of God's grace.
It comes so naturally for me to speak words of comfort to those who need it.
I speak with conviction, because I believe with all my heart that it is real,
and that it is available to all who come to Him.

So, why the disbelief when it comes to my own need for grace?

As I continue to seek God to reveal Himself to me and to show me what grace is all about,
He is blessing me with some pretty amazing demonstrations,
and with each one of these, the light bulb is growing just a bit more luminous.

Yesterday, Kevin, Zach, and I had some errands to run.
I went out of the house first, and I remember placing my water mug on top of the car,
then reaching in and tossing my purse and a handful of individually-wrapped prunes
(yes, I said prunes!...don't ask!),
on the seat of the car.
I walked to open the gate at the end of our driveway,
walked back, picked up my water mug and placed it in the console drink holder between the two front seats, got in the driver's seat, and proceeded to back the car out of the driveway.

I waited for Kevin and Zach, and soon they had joined me,
we had bowed our heads and prayed our routine before-we-leave-home prayer,
and were on our way down the street.

We had driven, oh, say maybe a mile and a half, when we heard a series of thumps.
They seemed to come from the top of the car,
then make a procession down the back of the car towards the trunk.

"What was that?" we asked each other in unison.

None of us could explain it.
I thought maybe something had fallen from a tree above the car,
but when I looked back in the mirror towards the road behind us,
I didn't see anything.

There was a car following closely behind us, 
and I figured if it had been anything too major,
they surely would have waved us down to get our attention.

So, on, we traveled.
We drove, oh, I would say another 3-4 miles, 
when it occurred to me that Kevin's mom had called and left a message earlier,
and none of us had taken the time to call her back.
I mentioned it to Kevin, and he reached towards his pocket for his cell phone.

I heard him take in a deep breath....one of alarm.

All at once, it hit us all.
Right at the same instant.

Kevin groaned.

"Oh, no!"

The cell phone was not in his pocket.
He grabbed my purse.
The cell phone was not in my purse.
He looked around the car, then picked up the trac phone that I carry in my purse
and called his cell phone number.
No ring.
The phone was obviously not in the car.

All of us remembered that as I had walked out the door ahead of Kevin and Zach, 
I had told Kevin I would pick up his phone off the counter and bring it out for him.

"Do you think you put it on top of the car?"
Kevin gently asked.

"I don't think so", I answered.

Panic washed over me as I realized Kevin's phone and our car are exactly the same color.
Solid BLACK.
Black as night.
A sickening realization dawned on me that had I put the cell phone on top of the car,
then reached for my water mug, 
I more than likely wouldn't even have noticed the phone still sitting there.

I started to cry.

Now, before you judge me and my weak emotional state,
let me explain something.

Kevin's phone is not really Kevin's phone.
It was provided to him by his employer so they would be able to get a hold of him at all times.
This is not a cheap phone, trust me.
It is far beyond anything we would ever purchase on our own for ourselves.
They spare no expense and provide the best.
I can't say enough good about the company Kevin works for.

There were so many things going through my mind, in that instant...
things like how gracious they have been to us,
how they have allowed us unlimited usage of the phone even for personal use,
how they entrusted it to Kevin,
how he needs it in order for them to reach him....
all of that was weighing on me.

But, do you want to hear the thing that was upsetting me the most?

The thought that trumped all others was how much this would embarrass Kevin.
It wasn't even his fault.
I kept thinking how he would have to call his boss and explain my stupidity.
How bad it would make him feel.
How they might even make us pay for the replacement.

So, what did I do?

I began to call on the dear Lord.
In earnest.
I mean, I was doing some serious praying,
as we turned that car around and began back-tracking down the road to the spot where we had heard the series of thumps.

Kevin and Zach decided they would get out and walk and look around,
while I drove back home to see if I had even indeed brought the phone.

I seriously worry about my memory sometimes.
I could not even recall whether or not I had, for sure, picked up the phone, 
and I sure didn't remember placing it on top of the car.

So, I dropped them off and drove home, 
crying and praying pleading with God all the way.

"Lord, I know you knew ahead of time that this would happen.
You knew ahead of time that I would be praying this prayer.
God, PLEASE, rebuke the devourer for me.
I know I don't deserve this.
But, please God, please."

I went on reminding God how we are faithful to pay our tithes and offerings, 
and how He promised me in Malachi 3:11 that if we did this that He would,
"rebuke the devourer for our sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground..."

I have claimed that verse more times than I can even remember,
and I have witnessed GOD coming on the scene and doing just that time after time.

I should write a book.
Maybe, one day, I will, by God's grace.

Anyhow, I pulled into the driveway, put the car in park,
opened the car door, and God spoke.

"Use your trac phone to call the cell phone once more."

I grabbed it off the seat beside me and dialed Kevin's number.

I waited.

It felt like eternity.

Then, softly, ever so faintly, I heard something....
that familiar ring.
Where was it????

I stepped out of the car, thinking I must have somehow managed to drop it in the ditch
beside our driveway or on the driveway itself.

Then I noticed it seemed to be coming, not from the ground, but from some place higher.
I followed the sound of the ring.
My heart was pounding.
And, as I reached the spot, I figured out the meaning of grace.

My friends, what I am going to tell you next may not mean much to you.
But, I tell you this.
I have never, in my 48 years of life, felt more grace-washed...
than I did in that moment.

The God of the universe had directed that falling phone,
and, by some Divine miracle, He had directed it to fall,
not off the side of the car to crash headlong smashing to bits on the road beside us, 
(as would have made the most sense),
but straight down the edge of the top of the car,
to fall hard onto the trunk and land underneath the spoiler,
and then to wedge itself in between the top and bottom of it!

I stood there, at the end of our driveway, 
on the edge of our road,
and something happened to me that rarely ever occurs.

I was absolutely speechless.

I couldn't even say thank you.


I felt so many mixed emotions, I could hardly sort them out.
GOD saw me.
He watched me put that phone on the top of the car, right beside my water mug.
Then, He saw me pick up the water mug, 
get into the car, and drive off, with the phone still riding on top.
He saw it shake loose and begin to fall.

And God chose to redeem my mistake.

He chose to bestow grace.

the free and unmerited favor of God, 
as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.


I finally found my voice and began to praise Him from the depths of my soul.
I hurriedly drove back to where Kevin and Zach were still searching...
wishing I had a way to let them know the good news before I got there.

I spotted them afar off and got to them as quick as our 30 mile per hour, small town speed limit would allow, and I pulled the car off the road.

"Just look at what God did!" were the first words out of my mouth.

We all stood there staring at that spoiler.
In total amazement.
Overwhelming gratitude filling our souls.

We got back on our way, and Kevin called his Mom.
The phone worked fine.
No breakage.
No damage at all.
Not even a scratch.
We decided to eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant, 
and when we got out, Kevin discovered something else.

He placed the phone under the spoiler.
Then he slid it straight through to the other side.
No problem.
Then he tried doing the same thing way over on the edge closest to the side.
That was the only spot that created a wedge and would have prevented the phone from falling all the way through to the road behind us.
That is the spot God chose to have that phone land.

Because God's grace is abundant.

Through our meal, I couldn't keep from crying.
Not sad tears, but tears of joy.
Tears of thankfulness.
Tears of worship.

"I wish I could go somewhere and just fall on my knees!"
I told Kevin and Zach.

It was amazing.
It was grace.

As we talked, Zach revealed something else to me.

In his intense search for the phone, he hadn't been watching the road
and had nearly been hit by a car, as Kevin watched from a few feet away!

Oh, dear Lord!
Mercy extended....to undeserving me.
Yes, me.

Thank the dear Lord for His mercy to all of us...
I just have no words, my friends,
to thank Him enough.

I made the mistake.
It was not intentional.
I didn't even realize what I had done.
When I did, I regretted it from the depths of my soul.
I deserved to find a shattered-to-bits phone.
I deserved retribution...for my carelessness...my negligence....my silly, silly oversight.

Oh, my! 
I did not deserve mercy...compassion...grace.
Free and unmerited favor is the last thing God should have bestowed.

As I pondered this later, He spoke again.
"Child, do you see how grace works?
You have sinned.
You have done wrong.
Not only accidentally, but intentionally.
You have fallen short of My glory.
The punishment for sin is death...
eternal separation from Me.
Yet, I chose to have mercy.
I chose to send My Son to die, in your place, 
to make an atonement for the sins you have committed.
I chose to extend grace to you, My dear child.
Even you."

It makes me cry....again...even now....hours later,
to know that God took care of that phone.
Just for me.
And it makes me love Him ever so much more each day
to know that He loves me enough to cover all of my sins.

Do I deserve it?
Not even a chance.
Does He extend grace anyway?
You better believe it.

God sees us, my friend.
He cares about every, single detail of our lives,
and He loves us with more love than His heart can hold.
That's why He pours it out upon us every day.
He gives us the total opposite of what we deserve.

And that is what grace is all about.

Great news!

The last time I heard from Shyla, little Ryker was doing much better,
and he was going home!!

Praise God forevermore!

And the last email I got from Terri Presser, she was still waiting to have her surgery. 

So, please keep praying, dear friends!