• Overcome

    When a lot of you read the title of this post, perhaps you thought of the word “overcome” as an exhortation to perform in such as a way as to achieve victory. Work harder, pray enough, trust more, etc. Well, that is the furthest from my mind as I write this. It wearies me to even think in those terms, though I was a prisoner of depending on my own efforts for many years and still fall into that trap if not reminded, yes even  overcome, by the gospel.

    My good friend Dudley Hall compares a legalistic emphasis on performance to what he calls the “do-to-be” tree.  If we will (do this) then God will…  When Adam and Eve sinned, into mankind entered the staggering weight of self-sufficiency. As another preacher friend, Adrian Varlack., puts it: “Before the fall, man had no self preservation instinct.” Indeed, because of the Presence of a loving Heavenly Father Who provided everything that man needed, self-sufficiency wasn’t even thought about. Thanks be to God for the beauty of the gospel! God in His love is the Initiator, and He even gives us the power to respond to Him and to the good news appropriately. Jesus has overcome and when I think about His love, His grace and power and acceptance revealed to me through the Cross, the resurrection and His sometimes tangible Presence in my life… I am overcome!

    Last week Rita and I were in Grand Rapids, MI, ministering and sharing songs and laughs with dear friends John and Donna Chisum. I had some time at the piano and was inspired, and overcome, by the Presence of the Lord as He gave me this song. It’s quickly become very dear to my heart and I hope it will encourage you in the Love of God as well. It’s called “Overcome.” (click the link for a youtube video of an unplugged version of the song.)

    Italy Beach Sunset









    Gentle Jesus meek and mild
    Heaven’s Lion fierce and wild
    Watching for this wand’ring child
    To welcome me back home
    So strong and yet so tenderly
    You run again to rescue me
    When You reveal Your heart for me
    I am overcome

    Overwhelmed and overflowing
    Overcome by the knowing
    That God the Savior is my friend
    I am overcome

    When youth has long forsaken me
    I hope that those who look still see
    Your light within my eyes
    Where does this kind of love come from?
    I was an orphan now I’m a son
    When I remember all You’ve done
    I am overcome

    Overwhelmed and overflowing
    Overcome by the knowing
    That God the savior is my friend
    I am overcome

    “Overcome” Words and Music by David Baroni/2014  Kingdomsongs Inc./BMI/CCLI






  • Put Down Those Oars!

    “Put Down Those Oars!”

    oarImagine yourself in a canoe floating down a stream that is flowing in the direction you want to go. All you have to do is sit in the canoe for awhile, admiring the scenery, waving at the fellow boaters, delighting in the sight of a fish leaping gleefully in front of you. You smell the sweetness from the fragrant trees on the shore. Perhaps you are enjoying a cool drink and a bite to eat. The current and the boat cooperate marvelously to facilitate this journey. You are resting, yet still making good progress toward your destination.

    How foolish it would be to suddenly grab a paddle and begin to over-exert yourself with stroking, thinking that it takes your effort to complete the journey.

    Welcome to the world of the Believer who is unwittingly serving God in his (her) own strength.

    As author Major Ian Thomas says in his wonderful book, “The Saving Life of Christ”: “Serving God in our own strength is like someone giving us a fine automobile. We receive the gift thankfully, then proceed to get behind it and push it where we want to go! We are sincere, we are going in the right direction, and we are… exhausted! Why? Because the automobile was never designed to operate properly by being pushed!” (my paraphrase)

    And we were not created to live the Christian life in our own strength. As the Apostle Paul said, “I live, nevertheless not I, but Christ Who lives in me!” Jesus is the Christian Life. Put down those oars!