Jesus – Friend of Sinners

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ Luke 7:34 NIV

Several years ago I wrote an article on encouraging aging voices to sing. Little did I realize at the time how much I would need my own advice today. It has been discouraging to me this year to realize I am slowly losing my voice. At first I just chalked it up to a bad day or overuse but it is beginning to be clear that I cannot sing as I once did. Now I have a choice to either, quit, deny the change or make the best of the situation. It is a bit like working through the stages of grief. It hasn’t been an easy thing, but I have accepted the weakness as real and will just do the best I can because in my heart the melodies are still ringing.

This week I share, Jesus What a Friend For Sinners, which is one of my favorite hymns. In the words of John Newton, “Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” May you also be blessed as you remember what a great Savior this Jesus – the Friend of sinners has been for you!

This is My Song

I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live, I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. Psalm 104:33 KJV

Our lives are passing with each tick of the clock. Despite everything that television commercials try to get us to buy, there is no product on earth that will make the hands of time spin backwards We are here for only a limited period of time and yet our limits do not limit our value to God. Just as the frame of a beautiful picture does not take away from its value, so the limits of our lives give us a chance to tell others what is important by what we paint inside of it. In today’s Bible verse, King David boldly declared that what mattered most to Him was to be able to praise the Lord. More than 3,000 years ago King David died and was buried. The throne that he sat on and the crown that he wore have long since turned to dust. Even the enormous sword of the giant Goliath has vanished from earth. But the songs David sang are a living picture frame of his life. In the book of Psalms, his praises, prayers, cries for mercy and even his complaints are still preserved for us today.

Every one of us also has a choice as to what will frame the story of our lives. When people read it what will they discover? Will they only remember our bank accounts and accomplishments good or bad? Will our lives form a picture frame to a song of praise> Will they be like the words to the hymn by Fanny Crosby? “This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long!”

Singing With Virginia

O Sing unto to the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Psalm 96:1 KJV

I have been praying for God to open doors at the long-term care facilities I visit, but I wasn’t prepared to see them swing open quite so wide. Today seemed like just any another Thursday morning at the West Wing which is the memory care portion of one facility I visit. I got there at my usual time and found about a dozen folks seated in the TV area by the nurse’s station. They seemed happy to see me as we started singing “Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man who stilled the waters!” As the chorus rang out I noticed behind them a lady named Virginia who was pacing aimlessly back and forth hunched over her walker. I paid little attention to her until she suddenly turned towards us and shuffled in our direction. Being concerned that she might fall, one of the nurses jumped up and gently redirected her back to the hall. But just a minute later Virginia was back and this time walked right up to me and stood quietly for a moment, then reached out her finger and touched the strings of my guitar.

Curious to see what she would do; I assured the nurse that it was fine and I watched to see what she would do next.  I had not been able to see Virginia’s face because she was so completely bent over her walker but on the next hymn she looked up at me and began to sing. Her face lit up with a smile as she stood next to me and our voices joined together, “Jesus – Jesus – Jesus – Sweetest name I know. Hears the every longing of my heart – Keeps me singing as I go!” Oh yes doors began opening today but the doors that swung open wide were not the ones I expected, they were ones to my heart and hers. God sent Virginia to remind me that everyone in all the earth needs to sing for you!