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Somewhere it’s Snowing

I love snow. Don’t you? Well, I guess how you fell about it that might actually depend on whether or not you’re seeing this post in August or January. I mean, everybody loves snow in the summer, right? But when there’s a couple feet of it in your driveway, you might feel a little less thrilled about it…

But seriously, there really is something beautiful – in fact almost magical – about those tiny, perfectly-formed, crystalline works of art, falling from the sky. And snow does make everything beautiful, right? From the flocked trees and rime-covered branches, to that smooth, cloudlike blanket snuggling the ground.

An outdoor writer named Gene Hill once wrote, “Snow is nature’s makeup.” And if you think about it, it really is. Snow makes this scarred, littered Earth look as fresh and beautiful as the day it was first created.

Years ago I was flying from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Virginia Beach to meet with a record company about my songwriting. But the destination really didn’t change my life as much as the airline connection did. My airline connection city, to be exact. Our layover was in Pittsburgh, PA, where a series of lake-effect snowstorms had had a profound effect upon the landscape. As we touched down, I noticed that the snow on the ground beside the runway was almost three feet deep.

Having grown up in the South, I’d never seen anything like this. I remember thinking, “Holy Cannoli, there could be a garbage dump under there, and nobody would know it.”

Then it hit me: Isaiah 1:18 says, “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

And that’s what Jesus did for all of us who are born again.

Now when I was a baby Christian – I got saved when I was 17 – I didn’t really understand all this. I knew my whole world had changed, and that I loved Jesus, so in an honest attempt to please God and live a pure life, I went around trying to be perfect, never sinning, ever. As if that was ever gonna happen.

So I felt guilty all it all time. What did I expect? I couldn’t do it. None of us can do it. It’s impossible. We’re humans – messed up – “fallen”, as the Bible puts it. And because of that, we’re essentially incapable of doing enough good works to make ourselves truly holy.

Now there is a way we can get holy enough to stand before God, but it’s not through our own human efforts.

Anyway, at that time I attended a weekly youth meeting called “YAC” (Youth in Action for Christ), and there I met a “grownup” couple, group sponsors, who somehow discerned my problem. Basically they could see the torment I was in and asked if I could come over to their house after the meeting, to listen to a tape that might help me.

Well I was always down for more of Jesus, so I went. And the old, reel-to reel tape they played me, (remember reel-to-reel?), contained a teaching from the Book of Galatians explaining how we were no longer under the Law of Moses, where you earned your salvation through the good deeds you performed, but instead received it by God’s generosity, or grace. In fact, they said, you were made perfectly righteous in God’s sight by this grace, the moment you gave your heart to Jesus.

By the way, I’m talking about perfectly righteous, as if you’d never sinned. By God’s grace you were made as pure as the driven snow, because that’s what Jesus’ death on the Cross bought for us. You see, God knew we could never be perfect, so He provided another way. A better way: right standing with Him through the crimson blood of Christ.

1st Corinthians 5:21 puts it this way: “God made Him, who knew no sin to be sin, for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

Now think about that: the righteousness of God. Wow, now that’s pretty big stuff. But the fact is, In God’s eyes, you really are perfectly righteous. As righteous as Jesus Himself is, in fact, and that’s not blasphemy, that’s just Bible truth. Colossians 1:21 even says, “You who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight.”Irreproachable. I mean, just, wow!

We Christians really do want to do right. We want to live holy lives, because doing what God says is wisdom, and we were created for that. But living by the Law is not the way we can accomplish that, or get to Heaven, or receive prosperity or healing, or any other blessings from God. Galatians tells us that we didn’t receive the Holy Spirit, or flow in Gifts of the Spirit, or even miracles in our lives because of good works. All that stuff is ours because we’re joint-heirs with Christ. Period.

Now this is actually basic stuff, but as I said, I didn’t know it back then, and learning it changed my life. Galatians 1:6 says we’re accepted in the Beloved, who is Jesus Christ. We’re already accepted, so we don’t have to work to earn God’s favor, or blessings; He already considers us worthy to receive them.

Anyway, back to Pittsburgh and the three-foot snow: I wound up spending the remaining segment of that flight scratching out lyrics for a new song that I’d call “Somewhere It’s Snowing”. But I didn’t have any music for that song, since I was on a plane and far from my guitar, so I used the melody to “On Top of Old Smoky” as kind of a crutch-tune to provide rhythm and meter for the words.

Back then I was just beginning to write songs with my now co-writing partner Stephanie Boosahda. But that was a new thing for us back then. At that point in time, her recording career was on the rise and she needed a lot of material. And being friends, we soon discovered that since she was good with melodies and I was good with lyrics, we could work together and wind up with some pretty good stuff.

So when I got back from my trip, I called Steff and read her my “Somewhere it’s Snowing” lyrics, and she said, “Oh wow, I can’t wait for us to write this together.”

Well, I also wrote songs on my own, and I especially liked this one, so I said, “No, this one’s different. Personal. I think I want to write this one by myself.”

Over the next few days I worked and worked on composing a tune for those lyrics, but I couldn’t come up a thing. Well, I did come up with a few things, but most of sounded like  On Top of Old Smoky. Plus, during that time, Steff kept asking if she could help finish the song, which made it difficult, because I had to keep saying “no’ to her.

Well, the day finally came when I realized I was in over my head and just gave up. That day happened to be Steff’s birthday, and if I remember right, at around 10 a.m. it started to snow.

So I gave in, picked up my handwritten lyric sheet, and trudged over to her place, (she and her husband Wayne lived close by), and knocked on her door. When she opened, I held the sheet out to her and said, “Happy Birthday Steff. Here are the lyrics. Please write this tune.”

She smiled and said “Well come on in, then; I’m not gonna do this alone.”

So we sat on the piano bench in front of her old Estey baby-grand piano, which stood in front of their big, sliding-glass door, and began discussing what these lyrics needed in the way of music.

Meanwhile, the snow stepped up outside, and by this time it was coming down big-time, in huge, quarter-sized flakes. Have you ever seen snow like that? Beautiful is too weak a word…And beautiful is too weak a word to describe the melody she wrote that day.

You may know the song, or you may not. It’s been recorded by a lot of folks and has gotten pretty good airtime. But at any rate, that’s how “Somewhere It’s Snowing” was born. Not just from what is now a lifelong friendship, or from a blizzard season up in Pittsburgh, or a beautiful snowy day in Tulsa Oklahoma, but most importantly, from the grace of a kindhearted and merciful God who washes our scarlet sins as white as snow and makes us the righteousness of God in Christ.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Crazy Prayers

John 14:14–If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Psalm 139:4–Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, o Lord, you know it altogether.

Psalm 118:5–I called on the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.

Sometimes we’re too careful with our prayers. We only want to pray for what’s possible. We limit our faith to believing for things that any human could accomplish without divine involvement. We want to pray sanely. Logically. Nothing far-fetched, too…crazy.

And yet God answers crazy prayers. They’re all over the Bible. Joshua prayed that the sun would stand still, which frankly, seems insane to me. But God answered that crazy prayer, and the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. (Josh 10:14) Now that was a crazy prayer!

Jesus prayed Lazarus would come walking out of his grave, alive and well. And it…happened! (Jn. 11:1-44) Yet another crazy prayer…

Moses prayed the Red Sea would part so the Children of Israel could escape through it to the other side. (Ex. 14.) That was an even crazier prayer!

Thing is, we’re used to hearing these stories, and they seem, in a strange kind of way, “normal” to us. (Normal as in fairy tales, anyway…)

 But when you think about someone actually praying and believing for things like these, they might actually seem kinda a little wacko. Very wacko, in fact.

Nevertheless, God did, and still does, perform wacko miracles for those with the faith, confidence, and abandon to presume He would do such things for them.

Truth is, God loves performing miracles, displaying His power, and most of all, helping us any way He can, even when all hope seems lost.

Back when I was a lot more foolish than I am today, I was driving way too fast down a muddy Oklahoma back road. Suddenly, quick as a snap, my car hit a rut and slipped into a four-foot deep ditch. The car never slowed, just continued flying like an arrow down that gully, bouncing up and down, rattling my teeth, shaking my skull.

The sides of the trench were too steep to traverse. So on the edge of panic, I simply released the steering wheel, hoping God would know what I meant, and called out, “Jesus!”

It was a clumsy prayer, a crazy prayer, even an irresponsible one. And it wasn’t even a question, really. It wasn’t really even a request; just an exclamation. But I guess what I was really saying was, in the words of the popular song, “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

But seriously, the whole thing was nuts. What was I expecting him to do, just pick me up and put me back on the road?

And yet God seemed to understand my crazy prayer perfectly, because he answered it in just that way. In the blink of an eye my car was back on that muddy back road, still traveling down it at full speed. With a sigh of relief I eased off of the accelerator, and drove carefully the rest of the way home.

It wasn’t the Red Sea, or sun standing still, but it was still a crazy prayer, and a crazy miracle. And I thank God I was just wacko enough to pray it, because God loves doing these kinds of things.

So don’t put God in a box. When you pray, pray your heart. Just open up and let her rip. Because simple, honest prayers of faith can sometimes generate crazy prayers, but they can produce crazy miracles.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

The Rest of This Year

It’s been a weird few months, right? Somebody said, “Lord, can we just uninstall and reinstall 2020? It has a virus.” 😉 But seriously, it’s had more than just that, right?

But here’s the good news: The rest of this year will be the best of this year. Why? Because your words, spoken in Jesus’ Name, have power; “you can declare a thing, and it will be established” – Job 22:28, Mk. 11:23-24. And also because, “the path of the righteous grows brighter and brighter to the perfect day” – Pr. 4:18.

So I’m expecting God to make the rest of this year amazing. Lift up your eyes, because God is good, He gives good gifts, and never leaves His people in the ditch.

Oh, and speaking of good things: My first-ever podcast has been accepted by Apple! Woo-hoo! So if you have an iPhone, just go to the Podcast App and search my name; it should come right up for you. If you don’t have an iPhone, the Android version should be following in another month. The podcast is called “Up”, and it’s full of encouraging words.

One last thing: Thank you so much for being my partner. You are essential to this ministry. God bless you for all you do. We’ve been home for a few months, but things are opening up and we’re getting back out there now. I’m excited, and trusting for the rest of this year to be the best!

 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The Little Things

aca266901e32509cc9a78bc35704b236_sewing-needle-with-red-thread-on-white-background-royalty-free-_450-450Acts 9:36-41– At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated “Gazelle.” This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Tabitha had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.

Tabitha was “full of good works and almsdeeds,” meaning she was a giver. Jesus said “Give and it shall be given to you.” I guess we could all agree that her being raised from the dead constituted a good harvest from the seeds Tabitha had sown.

But what intrigues me most about this account has to do with the nature of the deeds this humble woman performed. She was a seamstress who gave away clothes. That’s it, nothing more.

Giving presents may not seem like much of a ministry in today’s internationally conscious, media-oriented Christian society. We like to focus on the spectacular: famous evangelists who convert multitudes, business people who give hundreds of thousands into the Gospel, Christian singers who produce multi-platinum albums. A nice lady giving away a few garments doesn’t seem headline-worthy these days.

But God sees things differently. He immortalized Tabitha’s good works in Scripture as an example of what serving Him is all about. And when you think of it, the giving of these small presents were the very acts responsible for inspiring her friends to intercede for Tabitha’s restoration. Yes, Tabitha was raised from the dead because people cared about her. And they cared about her because she cared about them.

The little things we do for others matter. They matter to God and they matter to the people we help. A kind word, a small gift, a favor done to get someone through the day…such insignificant acts make headlines in the Kingdom of Heaven.

And they make headlines here too, not in the newspapers, but in human hearts. So let’s do something for someone else today. After all, you never know the kind of harvest your little seed might one day produce.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Early Christmas

Early Christmas

Christmas started early this year. Seriously early. The malls turned red and green as soon as the orange and black goblins vacated. And as would be expected, people started complaining about it, saying it was just a commercial ploy to get people buying presents early.

Maybe it was. Probably it was. But as a Christian, what do I care? The more we celebrate Jesus, the happier I get.

Besides, I like red and green together. I love twinkling lights, golden garlands, angels, and guiding stars, too. And I especially love hearing all those songs about a God who’d be willing to be born as a destitute child in a third-world country if that’s what it took to rescue me.

And he did–rescue me, I mean. He rescued me from hopelessness, depression, loneliness, sickness, lack, and so much more. He turned my emptiness into fulfillment, my purposeless into mission. He transformed the water of my existence into wine.

So yeah, I’m into Christmas. Big time. Bring it on. And the longer it lasts the better. Because every time we deck a tree, string lights, or set up a crèche, we’re saying “Go Jesus! Save more folks the way you saved me.”Because face it. We live in a secular society these days. The only time most people hear about Gods’ love is during these last magical weeks of the year. So let’s go for it. Sing the songs. Light the lights. Let’s have Early Christmas every year.

David Stearman

*A giant Thank-You! to all who have helped us reach the world via our missionary outreaches this year! You are a gift from God ❤

**Also: Many of you might not realize our address has changed to: PO Box 764, Maineville, OH 45039. Please make a note…I’ve missed hearing from many of you! 

***…and Big News!! I’ll be starting a podcast, “The Encouraging Word Podcast”, early next year. I’ll give you a heads-up when the first episode is uploaded, so you can be on the lookout!

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Ageless

Ageless

As a Southern-California teenager, I’d haul my long green surfboard, dubbed The Pickle, to Newport Beach every weekend. I wasn’t much of a surfer, but I did loved the wind and the waves, and I still do.

It’d been a long time since I’d done that, so a few years back near the Mexican Coast, I asked one of my friends where I might take a some brush-up lessons.

 

A shocked expression washed over her face. “At your age?”

I shrugged. “Sorry. I didn’t know there was an ‘age’ for it.”

Fact is, I’ve never very age-conscious at any time in my life. Because age is a relative measurement, right? And if we Christians are going to live forever, then we’re really all still pretty young.

So why do we pigeon-hole ourselves into these groups? Is it because our moms used to say, “Act your age?” I don’t think that’s what she meant…

Norman Vincent Peal said, “Forget your age and live your life.” That’s what Moses did. He was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear and he was as strong as ever – Deut. 34:7. And Caleb was 85 when he and his army drove the Canaanites out of Hebron. He told Joshua, “I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me” (at age 40). “As my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in” (Josh 14:11).

I know our bodies change, but could it be that some of those changes have to do with our own inactivity, i.e. “acting our ages”? Could be. But perhaps aging has more to do with attitude than anything else. I remember Lester Sumrall once saying, “I’ve seen fifteen-year-olds who are old, and eighty-year-olds who are young,” (He was one of them), “because being young is about having a future. It’s about having hopes and dreams.”

What I’m trying to do here is liberate you from the compulsion to live the way everyone does. Don’t feel compelled to squeeze yourself into your culture’s predetermined mold. Rise above it and be yourself – the self the Bible promises you can be. Because you’re not really young, you’re not middle-aged, and you’re not old. You are…ageless.

David

 

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Christmas Miracles

Christmas Miracles

Christmas is about the supernatural, about guiding stars, mystic prophesies, and virgin birth. At Christmastime we gaze beyond the limitations of our earthly existence to a Power that supersedes mere natural law. Yes, Christmas reminds us that nothing is impossible, that any dream can materialize, any wish can come true, and that the impossible becomes likely when we believe.

But Christmas is about mercy, too. It’s about do-overs, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, since the quintessential story of the season involves the whole world getting a second chance.

And yes, Christmas is about presents, but most of all, a Present. It’s about God so loving that he that gave his very Best. Yes, Christmas is about the unworthy receiving unlikely favors – unwarranted miracles. It’s about Ebenezer Scrooge, George Bailey, and Scarlet Ribbons.

Do you need a help? Do you need mercy? Do you need a miracle? Then Christmastime is the time for you. Talk to God now. Hold nothing back. Ask for the unaskable, even if you don’t deserve it. For at this time of year, more than at any other, we’re reminded that God is able, merciful, and generous – and looking down on us with wonder-working love.

David

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

New Things

New Things

 

Like most fly fishermen, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to my hobby. For example, I inherited a split bamboo fly from my uncle when I was fourteen, taught myself the art of flycasting, and enjoyed that old rod thoroughly. There were fiberglass models everywhere at the time, but I refused to even consider buying one. Bamboo fly rods were classic. And as the country folks used to say: “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?”

Later came graphite. Space Age material. It was supposed to be lighter. Have faster action. Enable longer casts. But it wasn’t bamboo – what I was used to – and so I resisted. By then I was emotionally attached to my old stick anyway. It had always served me well…until it started coming apart earlier this week.

Forced by circumstance, I finally caved in and bought one of the newer graphite-composite rods. The UPS guy brought it to my house just the other day. I took it from the box, strung it up with line, and took it outside to test it out. Two casts and I was hooked. (Not literally; bad pun, I know…), but honestly, it was as if it opened up a whole new world of wonder. I felt like the legendary flycaster Lefty Kreh, throwing farther, more accurately, and with more finesse than I’d ever thought possible. I blurted aloud, “Graphite, where have you been all my life!?”

Oh wait, it had been there for decades. I’d just been too set in my ways to try it out.

The Pharisees were like this about Jesus. They weren’t interested in His newfangled message of love and grace, so to their detriment and loss, they resisted the Good News.

When God invades our lives, He offers change. Jesus said, “Follow Me,” and following implies movement. Movement from one place to another, for sure, but also from one way of thinking to another. “Be transformed by the renewal of your minds,” wrote the Apostle Paul. In other words, be open to new ideas, new methods; new ways of looking at the truths revealed in God’s Word. Always stay open to change, so God can change you. It can open up a whole new world of wonder 😉

David

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Gossamer Web of Faith

The Gossamer Web of Faith

Psalm 91:9-11–Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.

Matt. 17:20– So Jesus said to them…“if you have faith as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you.”

We all face threats from time to time, but few of them are as menacing as one faced by a certain WW2 American soldier. Separated from his company and surrounded by Nazi troops, he took refuge in one of the small caverns scattered about the area. The enemy was close; he could hear them speaking to one another as they scoured the little hillside caves, killing any and all American soldiers they uncovered.

“Save me, Lord,” he prayed.

And yet no delivering army came to his rescue. He cowered in that cave for hours; exercising what little faith he had, as a tiny spider began spinning its frail web across the entrance. That’s nice, he thought, but it’s gonna take more than a spider’s web to protect me.

Soon the Nazis stood at the entrance to his hideout. As one of them began to crawl inside, another commented that no one could have gotten into that cave without disturbing that frail spiderweb. Agreeing, the enemy soldiers moved on, and the American’s life was saved.

I don’t know what kinds of threats or challenges you might be facing today, but I do know that your faith in God, no matter how weak and fragile it may seem, is still powerful enough to keep the enemy from harming you. Just remember that though your faith may be small, your God is great. You can count on Him to rescue you.

 

David

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Facebook Prophecies

Facebook Prophecies

I recently read a Facebook post that went something like, “How can you guys believe in all these prophecies going out over social media. Do you really believe God could give a prophecy to everyone on Facebook at the same time? C’mon, people, get real.”

I understand this person’s skepticism, but my simple reply to their statement is two-fold:

1: Your God is too small. God can do anything He wants. Period. I think the parting of the Red Sea, Joshua’s stopping the Earth’s motion, and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proves that.

2: Prophecies delivered via public venues are not, and have never been, for everyone who hears or reads them. Israel received some positive prophecies during Queen Jezebel’s reign, but they weren’t for Jezebel; she was eaten by dogs. Yuck – ‘nuff said.

You see, it was Jesus himself who said, “Let those who have ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Rev. 3:22). So what Jesus was saying to the churches wasn’t for everyone who would ever pick up a Bible and peruse the Book of Revelation, it was for those who might have ears to hear.

Do you ever read prophecies on social media that seem to ring like a bell in your heart? When you read them, do you think, “Yeah baby, that’s for me!”? Then guess what, it is for you, because you have ears to hear what God is saying to you and all the others like you. You have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to His church.

David

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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