Stay In the Castle!

~Once upon a time there was a princess that lived in a beautiful palace overlooking a simple but worldly village. She lived in the castle with her Father, the King, and a handful of faithful servants. Her Father doted over her, supplying her every need and most all her wants. Over the years, she blossomed into a beautiful teenage girl, quick-witted, full of laughter, and always obedient - but increasingly lonely.

~Often, later at night, she woild gaze from the window of her room, high in the castke wall, watching the people far away in the streets below. She would lean towards the gaiety, straining past the sounds of music and laughter, to try to pick out the words of the young people. No sad, lonely sounds ever reached her ears, and she began to believe that they must be the happiest people in the kingdom.
~"Father?" she asked one evening as they worked together on what he called her preparation. "Do you think that perhaps I might one evening be allowed to attend one of the festivals at the villiage? Perhaps just for a short time?"
~The old, but wise King laid aside the Book of Lessons and looked upon his daughter with compassion and concern. "My child, the villiage below is a worldly place full of sad people. The sound of merriment that you sometimes hear is their attempt to drown out the emptiness and despair of their lives. It is best that you stay in the castle."
~Though she loved her Father, it was not the answer the wished.
~"But Father, how will I ever meet...I mean...someday I would like to.....Oh Father, you are so good to me, and I do so love it here, but at times I get so lonely!"
~The King sat back in his chair, his eyes suddenly seeing his daughter not as the little girl she would always be to him, but as the young lady she was becoming. He then decided.
~"It is time that I tell you."
~"Tell me what, Father?"
~Standing to his feet, he walked to a window overlooking the countryside to the East. His eyes fastened onto the King's Highway, a straight road that passed high above the villiage and led to the castle gate.
~"Shortly after you were born, I foresaw the day when you would need someone special--someone with whom to spend your life. I set out to search; to visit other castles in the Kingdom; to find a Prince for you. Not just anyone, but that special someone."
~The King turned to look at his Princess, her eyes full of wonderment.
~"I have met him. I know who he is."
~"Oh, Father, where does he live? When do I get to meet him?"
~"He lives far away, but not so far. In a castle not unlike this one. He, too, is being prepared as you are--both for the other. Come stand beside me, my child."
~She walked to where her Father stood by the window.
~"See there? That's the King's Highway. When the time is right and not before, he will come on a white steed. You will know him."
~Then taking her into his hands, he looked into her tear brimmed eyes.
~"Princess. Never forget you are a child of the King. You are Royalty. The one being prepared for you is also of Royal Descent. Be patient. Prepare. And stay in the castle."
~She hugged the King, jumping into his arms, happy now and determined to prepare and wait. For many months, at night, she looked out her bedroom window, past the villiage and it's sounds to the Highway above, watching and dreaming of the one who would someday come.

~A year passed. Then another. The dream became harder to envision, and the night sounds of laughter and glee from the village below again began working their way slowly into her thoughts. It became harder to concentrate on her preparation; harder to be patient.
~One morning while taking her breakfast in the Royal Kitchen, a knock was heard at the back door; the door where deliveries were made from the village below. She waited for one of her Father's servants to answer, but when none immediately did, she decided to answer it herself.
~"Hello," said the young delivery man as he pulled off his crumbled hat and bowed. (It was an exaggerated bow, very low and lasting, followed by a winsome smile.) She couldn't help but laugh.
~"Delivery for his Royal Highness, the King." he proclaimed with just the slightest shade of irreverence. "And my, but I must say that he has hired some lovely kitchen help, a great improvement indeed!"

~"Why, thank you, but I'm not the kitchen help," she said blushing, "I'm the King's daughter."
~"I had heard that he had a daughter. But I was never told how beautiful she was! Do you live here all alone with your Father?"
~"For now," she replied, thinking briefly of the now fading story her Father had told her. He carried the supplies past her into the kitchen. "You ought to come down to the village some night. The lads would be taken with you! Lots of friends your age and wonderful parties."
~"Tell me about the village."
~For an hour they talked--talked and laughed. Every story of the village life  seemed so full of humor and excitement! He acted out the stories  he told and sang a village favorite, dancing merrily to the tune. She could not remember ever laughing so much, and found herself resenting her Father for not allowing her to take part.
~"You must come to the village this very night. The Fall Festival begins, and it is the best of the year."
~She glanced awkwardly at the closed kitchen door. "I don't believe my Father would allow me to attend."
~"Then sneak out after dark. I will meet you at the bridge this side of the village. You'll have a great time!"
~"Perhaps." She hesitated. "But I can't promise."
~"I'll meet you there," he said, then shut the door and was gone before she could answer. That evening, she sat with her Father in the Great Room, he reading aloud from the Book of Lessons, and she pretending to be listening. In reality, she was measuring the diminishing light from the setting sun. The distant music began to loft it. It took several moments before she realized that her Father had stopped reading.
~"You seem far away tonight."
~She straightened her dress nervously, "No, just tired I think. Perhaps I should go to bed early."
~ "Darling...."
~ "Really, Father, I'm fine," she said, quickly getting to her feet. "Good night," she said back over her shoulder as she scampered up the stairs.
~Two hours later, when it was believed that all in the castle were sleeping, a lithe, young figure stole out the kitchen door and disappeared into the night.

Three months later, a slightly older, but much changed Princess marched into the Great Room to announce to her Father the decision she had made on the previous night. Her midnight visits had increased in frequency since that first visit a long time ago. The village night life was more exciting than she had ever dared imagine. The people, though sometimes crude, laughed and sang and danced and chased each night into dawn. They were living! Living now! Not just waiting for a dream that might never come true.
The young man that had met her that first night had treated her, well, like royalty! In a hundred ways he had made her feel special. Then last night, the greatest of all nights of her life, he had proposed to her. She clutched the ring he had slipped onto her finger tightly in her palm, drawing courage from the pain it produced.
"Father, I have something to tell you."
He sat in his chair, the Book of Lessons on his lap, it's pages freshly stained with his tears. She almost lost her resolve.
"I've met a young man. I know I shouldn't have gone without your permission but...anyway, we are going to be married--right away!"
The King shut the Book and stared out towards the Highway. "I watched you go each night, wishing you back." Then turning his eyes to her he said. "This castle has never been a prison. This castle is a decision. I want you to know that if you leave here, things will never be the same again. My love for you will never change, but everything--everything--else will." She wavered for a moment, but only a moment, her head filled now with the village ideas.
"I know that this is what is right for me. He may not be Royalty, but I love him." And with that she left the castle.

~She woke with the dawn, not knowing that it was a year to the day since her departure. Her back hurt. "Just part of being in your last month of pregnancy," the village woman had told her. Rising with difficulty, her husband muttered something in his half drunken state. He had come home only hours before and they had argued--again. Oh, well, after the baby is born maybe things will get better.
~There was still a house to clean and chores to do. Picking up a worn, straw broom, she walked outside to sweep the front porch. Their house was small. It sat at the edge of town, not far from the bridge where he had waited for her that first night. Her eyes followed the path up to her Father's Castle. The King had still found little ways to show her that he had not forgotten her; that she was still loved. But what he had said was now true. Nothing was the same.
Her eyes wandered to the East to spend a few minutes watching the sun rise, a simple pleasure that she shared alone each morning. It's rays almost blinded her, distorting the trees and the hills beyond. Squinting against it's brightness, she returned to the job at hand, first glancing absently up the High Road.
~Her heart seemed to stop, gripped as if by a strong hand. The broom quivered in her grasp. Far down the road came a white horse, it's rider sitting straight and tall. He seemed to be coming straight out of the sun. The horse quickened it's pace as it neared the castle, sensing the excitement of it's master. Her heart began to beat again, now loud and in rhythm to the pounding hoofs. He reighed his mount to a stop outside the castle's front gate. She could not make out his features, but his stance spoke of honor and character. He knocked on the front door, her front door not that long ago. The King stepped out to greet him, and she watched as they conversed; watched as the King spoke with his hands, and then pointed toward the village. Involuntarily, she took a step back into the shadow of the porch.
~The noble Prince listened carefully, his strong shoulders sagging in disappointment and sadness. Shaking the King's hand and receiving from him a consoling hug, he mounted his horse. He looked toward her village home, his eyes finding her in the shadow. For a moment they both stared. Then, pointing his mount back toward the sun, he rode away into it's brightness.
~She felt the hot tears on her arms and hands long before it occurred to her that she was crying. Nothing, she thought, will ever be the same.


Written by Pastor Jerry Ross
Stay in the Castle is a story written by Pastor Jerry Ross about a young lady who finds herself at a crossroads. One road is marked, "My will,” the other, "God's will.” It is a love story–a story of misplaced love, lost love and genuine love realized. Best of all, Stay in the Castle is a true story. 

I hope this story was helpful to you. I know that it encouraged me to "Stay in the Castle" and wait on God's will for me no matter how long it takes! 

A friend of mine recently told me from her experience,"The most important thing to have a happy and healthy marriage is how you prepared for it. Did you honor your parents, heed their advice, value their counsel? Or did you despise them, and do what you wanted to do. Marriage doesn't have to be terrible, and discouraging. It's all in the way you prepare for it!"

Why is it so Hard to Draw Near to God?

In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth, and man had no one else to communicate or fellowship with, but God. Without sin, the human heart had no desire to please and gratify itself, and thus it was easier, and even natural for man to draw near, and to desire to draw near to God.

We can now only imagine life without sin, as it quickly became a reality in the Human race at the fall. Man in all of his natural sins, now has no desire whatsoever to communicate, or fellowship with God, and because of this, mankind's relationship with God doesn't exist except for the natural knowledge of a final judgement, and the knowledge that there is a God, written on every human heart.

It is now not natural to desire to draw near to God, and as a result, it is only possible by the Grace of God. Drawing near to God is something that cannot happen unless the soul has been spiritually changed. That is why salvation is not a work of our own free will. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" Titus3:5-7

Even when we are saved, it is still not easy or natural to desire God, and to want to draw near to Him. We must consciously confront every selfish desire, and continually strive to know God more every day. The older I get, the harder it becomes to consistently draw near to God. As things fill our day, and we become "busy" with life, we can easily loose sight of the eternal perspective.

So what makes a person draw near to God, and how do you know when you are closer to God than you were before? This question has perplexed me and confused me for quite a while as I have contemplated the true meaning of drawing near to God. From searching the Scripture, I have found that drawing near to God, does not necessarily come from an individuals actions, but rather from how much a person has a relationship with Jesus Christ.

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews10:19-22

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." James4:6-10

From the above passage, we can clearly see 10 steps of action that we can take to grow in our relationship with The Lord, and draw nigh to God in the process. The steps of action are,

  1. Submit yourself to God. 
  2. Resist the devil. 
  3. Draw nigh to God.
  4. Cleanse your hands.
  5. Purify your heart. 
  6. Be afflicted.
  7. Mourn.
  8. Weep.
  9. Let your laughter be turned to mourning.
  10.  Humble yourself in the sight of The Lord. 

Following these clear steps of action is The only God-given way to draw near to God. It takes a work of God's grace, and no efforts on our part can draw us closer to God. We must cry out to Him for mercy, and seek His face continually.

Don't get to the point where I got and you have to look back on the great relationship you had with God. Don't loose sight of His great love for you that surpasses all understanding. Recognize that you are the reason that it is so hard to draw near to God. You are the problem, and you are the solution. If you don't draw near to God each day, you cannot blame anyone but yourself. You are the only one who can choose to draw near to God with your thoughts, words, and actions, and you are also the one who can choose to stray form God with your words, thoughts, and actions.

Focus on God and seek to draw nearer to Him everyday. In the end all that really matters is our relationship with God, and how we apply that to everyday life. If you want your life to be significant and matter for the kingdom of God then you have to make it your goal to draw near to God at all costs. God speaks to us through His word. You must be continually in the word at all times. We should make it our goal in life to draw near to God at all costs!

"But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works." Psalm 73:28

Powerful Praise Music Conference

A hands-on conference that equips church musicians to glorify God by making truly excellent worship music.

Since many of you all enjoy music, I thought you all might be interested in this conference a friend of ours is putting on. 

Go to this link to get all the details. 

Early Bird registration ENDS APRIL 30TH, so be sure to signup soon if you plan to attend. 

Reasons I’m excited to attend:)
It's going to be a very good conference focused on Hymns and worship music for church and singing in harmony. 
I know quite a few people that are going. Evan and I will be there with our parents, and lots of other friends will be as well. I'm sure you will know lots of people too:) 
Personally I’m really excited to meet Faye Lopez as I have really liked lots of her hymn arrangements, and books. Also, I'm excited to see Brian Fox again. He used to lead a homeschool choir of young people at a conference we used to go to.
 I also hope to learn more about chord structures and key progressions as well, as I’m not very solid in that area when it comes to church accompanying. 
Anyhow, I hope that answers your questions. Please let me know if you have any others:) I do hope you're able to come. I'm sure it would be a blessing to you. 

OH and be sure to tell your friends about the conference, and invite them to attend. It's going to be wonderful, and you won't regret it I'm sure:) I look forward to seeing you at the conference:)

And since we're on the topic of music, leave a comment and let me know …………………

Let Your Life Be Like a Faucet!

O let my life be like a faucet, 
Let your water flow free, 
Let my life be a simple channel 
By which others see Thee. 

Just an idle piece of metal, 
Almost useless to be sure, 
We're all like broken faucets,
All stopped up without a cure. 

No water ever flowing, 
No handle ever turned, 
Our life sits still, and empty, 
Our true purpose never learned. 

But in Christ we have a hope, 
And only through His matchless grace,
He clears out all our grime, 
And puts living water in it's place. 

For when the faucet's broken, 
It does bear the shame, 
Oh, but when it's open, 
All the glory goes to Your name. 

He wipes away our dust,
Puts His shine upon our face, 
With His hand upon our future,
Our life is safe in His embrace.

Our purpose is discovered, 
Oh what a blessed thing to be,
A faucet spreading the water of life,
By which others become free.

A soul may be cleansed, 
A sin may be removed, 
An offense may be blotted out, 
A fault may be reproved.

Lives will be completely changed, 
By the His water, that from us flows free, 
But it's not because we are the faucet, 
It's because of His death on Calvary. 

So let your life be like a faucet, 
Let the water of Life flow free, 
Through your words, and deeds and thoughts,
Let your life say, "Christ lives in me."

I thought of this poem when I was washing my hands one night. Our sink had a clogged drain, and I was trying to fix it. I keep thinking about how sometimes our lives get all clogged up, and no one can see our true purpose. How we let mistakes, and failures cause us to be weighed down, and we cease make a difference in the lives of people around us. 

And then I couldn't help but see a picture of the hope we have in Christ. Just like that clogged drain, their was no hope for us to cleanse ourselves of our sin. We were utterly and completely powerless to do so. And the more we kept putting the water of our good works into the sink, the more clogged up, and proud we became. No, our only hope was for a supernatural (against nature) external source, to have compassion on us, and give His life so that our lives could be cleansed completely. Oh, what a blessed Christ we have, who has given us such a hope and a glorious future. 

"Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? ......I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, 
The law of sin." Romans 7: 24-25 

When things seem impossible!

Here's a poem I wrote that brings me great comfort when I feel alone, and desolate.
We serve an awesome God don't we!
I'd love to hear about what keeps you going in the hard times.

When things seem impossible,
I will be with you.
When things seem impossible,
I will be near you.

When you wish you were dead,
And you've no where to lay your head.
When things seem impossible,
I will be there.

When you're life brings sorrow,
And you don't know if you'll see tomorrow,
When things seem impossible,
I will care.

When things seem impossible,
I will be with you.
When things seem impossible,
I will be near you.

When you're stuck in despair,
And there's nobody there,
When things seem impossible,
I will still be there.

" But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

How Hard is it to Wait?

Dear Friends,

Here is a wonderful poem that I heard today on the radio.
It really emphasized the theme of waiting in my mind. I hope you enjoy it.
How many times do we give up moments before we see the victory ahead?


by Russell Kelfer
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

Blessed Hour of Prayer!

Here's a encouraging song I heard on Sermon Audio the other day. I hope you are blessed by the uplifting words.

All too often I forget how important it is to bring everything to God in prayer.
Recently I have begun a prayer journal by keeping a record of answered prayers. It is amazing to see how much God cares for us in the simple things of life.

One such answer to prayer, was the time when I said to God how nice it would be to see the hands of my friend who was playing piano at a concert I was attending. I was in the third row, but the people in front of me were obstructing my view of the pianists hands. My friend was the last pianist of four to play, and at the intermission, after taking a break to stretch and fellowship with others, I rushed back to my seat just as the second half of the program began.
As I took my seat and looked up to see the piano, I was amazed to see that the people in front of me had moved over making a wide passageway for me to clearly see the pianist's hands. I lifted up a silent grateful prayer to God at that moment, and realized again how much He cares for us and answers our prayers even when we least expect it. How truly blessed is the hour of humble prayer.

Blessed Hour of Prayer

By Fanny Crosby.

’Tis the blessèd hour of prayer, when our hearts lowly bend,
And we gather to Jesus, our Savior and Friend;
If we come to Him in faith, His protection to share,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

Blessèd hour of prayer, blessèd hour of prayer,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

’Tis the blessèd hour of prayer, when the Savior draws near,
With a tender compassion His children to hear;
When He tells us we may cast at His feet every care,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

Blessèd hour of prayer, blessèd hour of prayer,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

’Tis the blessèd hour of prayer, when the tempted and tried
To the Savior Who loves them their sorrow confide;
With a sympathizing heart He removes every care;
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

Blessèd hour of prayer, blessèd hour of prayer,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!

At the blessèd hour of prayer, trusting Him, we believe
That the blessing we’re needing we’ll surely receive;
In the fullness of the trust we shall lose every care;
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!