Monday, June 18, 2018

Ten Scriptures, Songs, & Some Thoughts To Encourage You In Uncertain Times

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
I Thessalonians 4:16-18

I will never forget a particular time of prayer in early 2015.
Praying is a natural, many-times-a-day occurrence for me.
I find that the older I get and the longer I serve Jesus, the more I need to pray.
So, for me to say I remember an individual moment spent at the feet of Jesus may sound odd, especially to those who know me well and are familiar with my daily routine.
But, there are moments in prayer that are profound—that shake you to the core and leave a lasting, indelible mark, changing the course of your life forever.

That prayer was one of those kinds of prayers.
We were in the beginning stages of that dreadful identity theft nightmare —the one that turned out to be one of the biggest turning points of our lives.

As I prayed, I heard God whisper,
"I am a jealous God.
I want to be your all in all."

I sat there, speechless.
Wasn't He that already?
Hadn't I been serving Him since I was a little girl?
Hadn't I made Him Lord of my life and surrendered all to Him at that little spot on Buena Vista,
where I wholeheartedly handed Him the reins?
What, in my life, could be competing with Him that would provoke His jealousy?

I have pondered His words, "I want to be your all in all," as, over the course of the time between that day and this, He has repeated them to me time after time.

I realize now, looking back on the time God spoke those words to me in 2015 that I had no idea of what was coming up ahead, and how one at a time, He would ask us to cut the shorelines to everything that we have depended on to keep us "safe"— the things that were competing with Him as our source.

So often, I reflect upon Ezekiel 47:3-5,
"Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep.  Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep.  Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep.  Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through."  (ESV)

In this post, I talked about how God has called my little family and me out of the boat into deep waters.
Events since the writing of that post have plunged us into even deeper waters that are over our heads, and we can no longer feel the ground beneath our feet.
As I was praying this morning, it hit me that the only thing we are standing on right now are the promises of God.

When life takes uncertain turns, and we find ourselves in such unfamiliar territory,
it is easy to become overwhelmed and even terrified.
Today, I wanted to share ten Scriptures and encouraging songs that are ministering to me right now.
I truly hope they bless you as much as they are blessing me!

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Isaiah 41:10

If you are facing uncertain times, pray, my friend.
Pray now.

Pray Now ~ Karen Peck & New River

"And the LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."
Isaiah 58:11
(King James 2000 Bible)

Grab Your Umbrella ~ The Talleys

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5,6

All My Hope Is In Jesus ~ Crowder w/Tauren Wells

"This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."
Isaiah 48:17

Until Then ~ Pap & Paul Wilson

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15:57

"I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:  and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel."
Isaiah 45:2,3

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
Deuteronomy 31:6

"Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began."
Psalm 139:16
(Christian Standard Bible)

God of All My Days ~ Casting Crowns

"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left."
Isaiah 30:21
(King James 2000 Bible)

Broken People Like Me ~ Old Paths

"My times are in Thy hand."
Psalm 31:15

Take courage, my friends!
God is winnowing our paths, sifting out the things satan tries to inject that are contrary to His Divine will.
He sees you.
He hears your prayers.
He is for you.
He loves you so much!
So, do I.
I am praying for every person who will ever read this.
Look up!
Our Redemption draws nigh!

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Inner Views of Susan Whisnant

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth, and with my song will I praise Him."  
Psalms 28:7

The sweet lady who is sharing her Inner Views with us today is beautiful both inside and out.
She has a deep love for God and her family and is such a blessing to the world of Southern Gospel Music.
My family and I were recently blessed to see her in Myrtle Beach,
and she so graciously granted my request for an interview.

It is with joy that I bring to you the
Susan Whisnant.

Cheryl:  Please tell us about yourself.  

Susan:   I was born in Lancaster, SC to Roland and Carol Dry.  My dad became a pastor when I was 8 years old, so I was blessed to be raised in a pastor’s home.  I began singing with my mom and dad when I was 12. We did revivals and Saturday night concerts.  I actually met Jeff Whisnant at a concert that we sang at in SC.  We began dating a year later and have just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  I loved to sing but never dreamed it would be something I could/would do for my living.

Cheryl:  How did you come to know Jesus?  Who introduced you to Him?  How has He changed your life?

Susan:  I asked Christ into my heart at the age of five.   We were actually getting ready for church on a Sunday morning... I remember my dad was shaving in the bathroom... I asked him how I could ask Jesus into my heart... he picked me up, put me on the counter and told me!  I’m so thankful that I gave my heart to Christ as a child.  I rededicated my life to Him at 16 and surrendered to whatever He wanted in my life.

Cheryl:  When did you first realize that God has blessed you with the talent to sing? 

Susan:  My parents had a Quartet called The Melody Singers that traveled every weekend.  I sang my first solo at age 5. I knew then, that this was what I wanted to do. 

Cheryl:  Did you feel the call of God to minister through music before or after you met your husband?

Susan:  When I met Jeff, I was singing with my family, and he was singing with his.  We started dating and after about a year, we realized we would spend our life together.  Two years after we were married, in 1990, we surrendered to a “full-time” ministry in music.  That was not an easy decision for us as Jeff worked as an accountant, and I was an executive secretary at a bank.  We just knew that God had opened the doors, and we wanted to walk through them.  We’ve never regretted a mile!!

Cheryl:  How did God make it apparent that Jeff was the man He intended for you to marry?

Susan:  We met in SC and didn’t date for a year.  Our first date was on July 4th weekend.  I actually came home and told my parents I would marry him.  It took him a little longer but..... oh well!! God is good!

Cheryl:   What do you most enjoy doing when you are off stage and experiencing a normal day?  

Susan:  When we’re home, I love to drive my car... doesn’t even matter where... that is so relaxing to me!   I also love getting with our friends and going to eat.... spending time together!

Cheryl:  As you look back over your years singing for the Lord, what is one of the most meaningful demonstrations of the Holy Spirit's work that you have experienced during a concert?

Susan:  The night we surrendered to a “full-time” ministry was definitely a work of the Holy Spirit that all three of us heard loudly!  We had battled with this decision for 2 years... knowing God was leading us in that direction, but we were too afraid. We were comfortable, and family was pushing us away from that decision. However, we were standing on stage in Spartanburg, SC singing, “I Want A Servant’s Heart," and we all three looked at each other and said, “It’s time.” We had no clue how/what God was gonna do. We just finally said "YES," and He took care of all the rest.

Cheryl:  Who has been most influential in your personal walk with Jesus?  How has this person impacted you the most?

Susan:  My mom and dad have been the most influential in my walk with Christ.  God has so blessed them as they have been obedient to the Lord, even when it didn’t make sense.  They had no one to help them in their early life, and they totally depended on Christ and His sufficiency to get through each day.  They’ve been married 60 years and have taught me to trust Christ in all things.

Cheryl:  As a Christian wife and mother who is involved in full-time ministry, how do you maintain a sense of balance in your life?  What do you most often do when you are feeling overwhelmed by the many hats you are expected to wear?  What advice can you offer other women who are struggling?

Susan:  Wow... being a mom with other responsibilities can most often be overwhelming.  I was blessed to homeschool my two boys who are now 23 and 20, and it’s definitely easier since those years are behind us. I would do it all over again just so they could be with us and enjoy being on the road.   When I get overwhelmed, I walk and pray... maybe listen to one of my favorite CDs...most often, I just have to be quiet and listen.

Cheryl:  What would you identify as being one of the main challenges of being in a position of front-line ministry where it can feel that you are being held to a higher standard than those whose Christian walk/ministry is less visible?

Susan:  Well, the Bible says, “To whom much is given, much is required.”  We are to let our light shine daily... whether we’re on stage or at Walmart.  I take that very seriously!   If we’re serving the Lord, it really doesn’t matter what level we’re on, we are to stay faithful!  Is that easy? No!  I think people do hold others that are more visible to a “higher standard,” and truthfully I think that’s ok!   I always want to encourage those that are coming up and help them realize the importance of representing Christ in everything we do!  People are always watching, and we have to be careful.... when we think no one is watching.... someone is!!!

Cheryl:  How many singing engagements do you accept per year?  What are some of the hardest parts of being on the road and away from home? 

Susan:  We do about 180 dates per year which take us away from home approximately 200 days.  The hardest part is leaving family behind.

Cheryl:  If there was one thing you had the power to change about the Christian music industry, what would it be?  

Susan:  I’m not sure of the changes I would make.... would love to see people realize that it’s a privilege to serve the Lord.  We’re not doing God any favors because we stand and sing... if we don’t do it, He has someone else that can/will. We should never take an opportunity for granted.

Cheryl:  As the culture that surrounds us becomes more hostile toward God, His Word, and Christianity, how do you stay encouraged?  Are there particular Scriptures, songs, books, or other resources you turn to in times of discouragement? 

Susan:  We are definitely living in a difficult time. Christians are persecuted and made fun of.  People that don’t know Christ need to see it lived out in front of them... the old saying “your life may be the only Bible some people will ever read” is probably truer now than ever.  I try and stay in the Word. We, as a family,  listen to preaching in our’s very important that we feed our souls while we’re off the stage.

Cheryl:  What is one of the darkest times you have lived through?  How did your faith in God sustain you during that time?  What were some of the most effective ways members of the Body of Christ reached out to you and helped you through the darkness?

Susan:  I have had some vocal trouble in the past and you want to talk about scary!!  I’m very thankful for the prayers and advice of my friends in this industry that have loved me and encouraged me to keep pressing on.

Cheryl:  What is your favorite Whisnants' song?

Susan:  My favorite Whisnant's song is probably...“Even In The Valley.”  Honestly, that’s hard because there are so many that I love.

Cheryl:  Can you tell us about any songs you have written or co-written?

Susan:  I have co-written 4 songs that are on my solo projects. 

Cheryl:  What are some of the items still remaining on your bucket list? 

Susan:  I really don’t have a “bucket list” per se.  I just want to watch my kids continue to grow, get married, and start their own family and see how God continues to use us all together. 

Cheryl:  What is your biggest regret, and what would you most like to have the chance to do over?

Susan:  No regrets.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you, your family, and your ministry?

Susan:  Pray that God will continue to keep His hand on us as we travel and try to point people to Christ.  Also, in this day, pray that God will continue to help us encourage others in their walk with Christ.  We live in a different day... people are struggling.

Thank you ever so much, Susan, for sharing your heart with us!
May God continue to protect and bless you, your family, and your ministry!

Dear friends, please take a few moments to stop by The Whisnants' website,
where you can learn more about them, buy products, and support their ministry.
You can also connect with them on FacebookTwitter, and their YouTube channel.
And, please keep them in your prayers as they travel and share the good news of Jesus' love.

In closing, this is my all-time favorite Whisnants' song.
I can't count the times this song has ministered to me.
I hope it blesses you, too!

To read previous
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