Underneath me are the Everlasting Arms;

They catch me when I fall,

They correct me when I stray.

They keep me from sin,

And guide me along life’s way.

When troubles cross my path,

I find refuge under their strength.

When life is falling apart & heartache enters my day;

His Hands keep me on His path,

I rest on the Ancient of Days.

His Arms are not too short that He can’t save.

His eyes look to and fro and help me along life’s way.

His hands stretched out to me carry the scars of love;

They willing bore my sins,

And He wrote my name above.

Like a child He wraps me in His arms and blesses me with His grace.

And as my days turn into years and my youth like a flower fades,

He bares me in His arms until I fly away.

The valley I now near and death’s shadow covers my face;

In my Shepherd’s hands His rod and staff keep me from all fear as night turns into perfect day.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

Be thou my love for thee;

Today tomorrow and into eternity.

For your love constrains me to thee;

A love that set my Savior to be cursed on a tree.

Be thou my love for thee;

For your love is the love that sets my soul free.

You came at your appointed time and died,

Leaving the fragrance of your love still fresh and new as the day you, my Lord were crucified.

Be thou my love for thee;

Let it be set on your love that gives me eyes to see.

When once in my sin like a prisoner was chained,

Your love searched me out and your death broke sins reigns.

Be thou my love for thee;

A love that is set on you as you set your love on me from time long ago into eternity.

Your cross knows no limits your love knows no bounds;

My Savior who humbled himself to wear a thorny crown.

His pierced hands reach through the ages for His children to free;

His heavenly throne He left to take our penalty.

Be thou my love for Thee;

A love to my Lord that is sustained by His love for me,

Christ who is risen, glorified and sets men free.

May He be lifted up for all to see.

Be thou my love for Thee;

For thou Lord, has first loved me.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

Have you been in the presence of a fellow believer that when you are with them you know that they have been with the Lord? Those great soldiers of the cross that inspire us are like a shooting star jetting across the night’s sky. God blesses us with the privilege to see them shine for the Lord, perhaps but for just a moment, but still what a blessing and encouragement to our own souls. Our time with them is but for a moment as they streak across the sky and light up the darkness. We stop and pause and are inspired by their walk with the Lord, but they are not still for they are moving towards their end destination. Like those shooting stars that we may rarely have the blessing to see, we stop and pause and try to capture the moment that we have been blessed to be in their presence. Their home is not here but in Heaven with their Lord. Jesus commands us, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) They in deed fulfill their purpose lighting up life as they share through the example of their life the light of the world, Jesus Christ, and glorify their Heavenly Father. What a blessing to see them shine. Likewise may they inspire us to shine across the darkness of this world and light up our life with the glorious good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ burning in our hearts. Even for this fleeting moment we are here in this life as we follow their path and pass by into the eternal rest of our Lord Jesus Christ as shooting stars reflecting His glory.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

I looked for the Lord while in the storm.

Weary, wayworn and torn;

I was sinking like a ship tattered upon life’s sea.

Looking for a hand to reach out to save me.

I looked for the Lord beyond the storm,

But blinded by the heavy swell that threatened to cause my harm.

Without any hope that I could see;

I was in need of the Savior to reach down and rescue me.

I thought to myself, “How can I survive this trial?”

“How can I bare to go one extra mile?”

I wanted so desperately to be free;

From this storm that had overtaken me.

In my vain thoughts I wondered, “Did my Lord abandon me?”

“Did He leave me here alone to drown in this sea?”

Then a hand; a strong arm reach down and lifted me.

It was my Savior, my Lord, who came to rescue me.

I said, “Lord I am ready to get out of this sea.”

Quickly as I spoke, His Word rose in my heart and and gently reminded me, “My Grace is sufficient for thee.”

How much more l wondered as I stood with Him on that sea.

The storm didn’t still but by now I could see;

My heart was at rest as I walked in the midst of the waves with my Lord guiding me.

As I reflect back on that boisterous sea, His Grace truly was sufficient for me.

My Lord who I thought left me alone in that sea,

Was there all along strengthening me.

When life storms arise and certain they will;

Thank Christ for the storm for this is His will.

His child through His blood He has purchased you on Calvary’s tree.

Surrender to Him and He will take care of thee.

Storms come and go but remember still;

Your Savior is with you and this is His will.

Though trials and storms come as they be;

It is those same trials and waves that push you to the Rock of Ages standing firm in the midst of your stormy sea.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

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Gone are the days when the good guys wore the white hats.  When evil was clear and the bad guys were just that, bad.  Today we live in a culture that is promoted by the media where there is no right and wrong.  Where everyone does what is right in his own eyes as we try to exist in shades of gray.  We live in days similar to the time during the Bible’s book of Judges, as it stated in Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” This was a time when the people threw off the authority of God as delivered through the king.  The people wanted a king, so God gave them a king. Then they threw of his authority as given by God and begin to try to live according to their own standards and not God’s standard as revealed to us in His Word.  It was a time of chaos, similar to the times we live in now.  We live in a time when everyone attempts to define their own reality.  We live in an era when bad can be good, if that’s how you see it.  Without God as our standard bearer, we come to a place where there are no standards.  This is often reflected in our media and entertainment.

Now we live in a world, because we have lost our way, that does not obey, or even respect Christian values and the God of the Bible from whom these values of right and wrong were established.  Isaiah 5:20 reminds us, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” In my opinion that is where we are at now in our culture.  We call cars demons and laugh at pornography.  We call an unborn baby a fetus and we call killing a baby in the womb pro-choice.  My question is who’s choice is it?  The baby didn’t get a choice.  Yet God has given us the foundation of truth to build our life, our families and our culture upon. When we have stayed true to His foundation, His Word, we have been blessed and when we have strayed we reap the consequences of those choices too.  The Ten Commandments are still not suggestions, but the foundation of God’s truth on how we should live.  Exodus 20:13 makes it clear, “Thou shalt not kill.” But yet the unborn are being decimated in their mother’s womb, the very place they should be the safest.

So what do we do?  There is a battle being fought every day between light and darkness, between good and evil.  We can either put our heads in the sand, as the saying goes, or we can take a stand.  The question I have for you is which hat are you going to wear?  Are you going to put on the white hat that represents absolute truth and the light of Jesus Christ, or the black hat that represents the darkness of the world and its king, Satan.  The culture wants to make a third hat, a gray hat.  A hat that says I can be whatever I want to be.  In reality they are just coloring the black hat another shade and trying to hide what color it really is, black. What they are really saying is as old as the devil himself.  They are saying, “I can be like the most high God.” I can set the standards of what is good and what is evil.  Satan too, the Bible tells us, appears as an angel of light, but don’t be deceived, because the destruction he leaves in the lives he infects is real.  Jesus reminds us of this in His Word when he said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Satan thought he could set the standard and be like God, but he was wrong and the consequences of his choice is real.  Isaiah 14:12-15 tells us of what happened to him, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground.  You who weakened the nations!  For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit.”   Satan’s future has been determined by God, but for his short time left, he continues to, “weaken the nations,” and he does this with his lie.  The lie that you can be like the Most High.  It didn’t work for Satan and it will not work for those who chose to rebel against God today. This is nothing new.  God told Adam and Eve of the fruit of the tree that they were not to eat of or they would die, Satan comes along and tells them in Genesis 3:5, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Satan sold them on the same lie of his own evil ambition, to “be like God.” To put themselves on the judgement seat of what is good and evil and in so doing ultimately attempt to remove God from His throne.

The good news is that like the days during the time of the Judges in the Bible, when there was no earthly king and everyone did what was right in their own eyes, we still have a King and He is and will remain on His throne.  Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords! As Paul expressed to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:15, “He who is the blessed an only Potentate, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power.” That is my King! That is my Lord!  And He is Jesus Christ and He is still on the throne! The question is not what will you determine to be right and wrong in your own eyes, but whom will you serve?  The only choice we really have if we don’t deceive ourselves is not what is good or evil, but will we serve the good Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is blessed forevermore, or will we serve the evil one, Satan who has been cursed to the pit. Will you serve Jesus, or Satan? That is the real question. Will you serve Satan, the king of this world, the one who has convinced our culture of the “gray,” the option for men to attempt to make their own standards for right and wrong. A world where they reject the God of this universe and His standard for us, the Bible. I challenge you with the words of Joshua, “And if it seems evil to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Paul reminds us in Romans 13:12 that, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Are you ready to stand out and stand up?  Ready to wear the white hat again?  The time is far spent, it’s time to put on the armor of light.  Let us put on Jesus and shine bright in a culture of grays, which are really shades of black. A culture that reflects the darkness of the human heart and rejects the sovereignty of a Holy God who is the standard of truth for a world in darkness. Will you stand? Will you put on the truth, Jesus Christ and His armor of light?  Will you wear a white hat.  Now is the time to put it on.  Our culture needs you. Our world needs the good guys and gals, men and women who stand for the truth of Jesus Christ and are willing to represent Him in a world of darkness.

“A Wretch Like Me” ~ David D. Hanson

Where have all the good guys gone?

The men who wore white hats and fought against sin hard and long.

Soldiers who endured the battle with a song.

Warriors of light who in their weakness Christ makes strong.

Our world is in desperate need of men who wear white hats.

Men who don’t trifle in trivial spats;

But stand up for the truth in a world dimmed of the light.

Men who put on Jesus and continue to fight the good fight.

Men who say right is right and wrong is wrong whom you cannot shake.

Men of Jesus, who like Hugh Latimer played the man and lit his candle for the truth even as he was being burnt at the stake.

We need men who follow the Savior no matter the cost;

Men to gain Christ are willing to suffer the world as a loss.

Will you be a man and pick up the white hat and wear it again?

The world needs you now more than ever His truth to defend.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

When shadows of sorrow like death remain;

And fear loathes my soul like a wounded gazel that be slain.

It’s then in my darkness, in the blackest of night,

His Holy Word fills my heart and shineth bright.

He lighteth my path so that I may see;

The glory and grandeur of His love for me.

He directeth my steps along life’s narrow way;

It’s a path to His cross wear by His Grace I will stay.

My sin how it does condemn me unclean,

But then a drop of His blood washes me clean.

O’ what knowledge to know that He has pardoned me.

What joy to be forgiven cleansed and free.

Sin’s tormenting chains that pulled at my heart,

Have been broken asunder when his arms on the cross stretched out far apart.

My soul, O’ my soul, what a magnificent thought;

Has been purchased at Calvary; my pardon He bought.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

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What do you do with a little girl with a handful of acorns and a heart full of dreams?  As I was sitting on the green lawn under a late summer sky, my daughter was busy.  She was so proud to collect her handful of acorns.  She proudly presented them to me and placed them in my hand.  It was her treasure.  We’ve all probably had our acorn dreams at some point in our life.  Those little treasures that mean the world to us, but little to someone else.  Then we grow up and our hands become full with other dreams and the busyness of life. Those acorn dreams fall from our hands, to make room for new bigger dreams, greater treasures and the daily demands on us as adults.   When I reflect back on my little girl’s sparkle in her big blue eyes as they squinted in the bright summer sun as she surrendered her most prized possession to me, I’m reminded of the importance of not letting our treasures have us.  The greatest pleasure I had that day is not in receiving the acorns, but watching my daughter give her treasure away with a joyful heart.  She was so pleased to give her treasure, all she had to her daddy.  Likewise I can only imagine how much our Heavenly Father must be pleased when we give Him all we have from a heart of love and gratitude as we glorify Him.

One of the great things about a treasure is giving it away.  On that late summer day, my little girl generously shared her treasure with me.  As she opened her hand and placed her most precious possession into mine. She released her abundance as she willing shared it with me.  Theologian Matthew Henry once said, “Whatever we have of this world in our hands, our care must be to keep it out of our hearts, lest it come between us and Christ.” The only treasure that should have our hearts is the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel.  Every other earthly treasure pales in comparison to the gift of Grace given to us by the Savior when His Holy Spirit imparts new life to our dead souls, making us alive in Christ Jesus and giving us the faith to believe. We should hold every other earthly treasure with an open hand and be willing to give it all away.  I think of the rich young ruler.  He came to Jesus and left with his hands full, but his heart empty.  He wasn’t willing to give away all he had and follow Jesus.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 19:22 that, “he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” What a sad state to be in.  Full of yourself and empty of Jesus. He traded the worthlessness of this world in place of the Kingdom of God.  People throughout history have filled themselves, like this young ruler, full of their possessions, but they remain empty without Jesus.  He is the only one who can satisfy the emptiness of a lonely and longing soul for their Savior.  We must be willing to open our hand and give Jesus our heart.

God wants men and women who will walk with Him with an open hand.  Men and women who are willing to freely give away all they have, their “handful acorns,” and give their heart to Christ.  Let Jesus take your heart, and He will give you a new heart.  Give him your stony heart and let Jesus give you a heart of flesh.  A heart that beats for the Savior.  And then you can live with a renewed spirit and an open hand.  The greatest treasure a Christ follower can give away is not in their hands, but in their heart.  It is the good news of Jesus Christ the power of His cross and truth of His resurrection.  Will you release your, “handful of acorns,” those little treasures that grab your heart and ask Christ to give you a new heart today? Will you replace those acorns you give away with a real treasure, a treasure where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in to steal, as the Scriptures tell us.  If you will, you will have a joy even greater than my daughter’s as she shared in her innocence her treasure with me.  My hope and my prayer is that one day my daughter will trade those acorns for the real treasure.  An empty hand and a heart full of Jesus Christ, receiving Him as her Lord and Savior.  Will you do the same?  You won’t regret it. Drop your acorns and give the Savior your heart today. As the Bible tells us,”Today is the day of salvation.” Give Jesus your heart today.

“A Wretch Like Me” ~ David D. Hanson

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Pastor and author Albert Mohler once said, “You can divide all leaders into those who merely hold an office or position and those who hold great convictions.”  As a leader convictions are something  you hold, but they also hold you.  Your convictions to lead must be founded at the core of who you are because they permeate all that you will do in your life as an individual and also as a leader.  If people don’t believe in you and your convictions, why should they  believe in where you want to lead them.  The most impactful leaders are those who hold the greatest convictions.  They know who they are and what they believe and they know where they are going and they compel you to come along with them on the journey.  Leaders move people, but it convictions that move the leader.  When everything else is falling apart all around them the leader with deep convictions can continue to hold their ground and eventually begin to press forward.  For lasting leadership that can be sustained through the years, we must lead from our convictions.  Our convictions to lead bind our purpose to our values and keep us going straight to our objective despite all the distractions and discouragements along the way.  To know why you lead and where you are going, I encourage you, as a leader, to know your convictions.  What matters to you the most as a leader? And how does your convictions compel others to follow.  If you must lead, lead with convictional leadership.

“A Wretch Like Me” ~ David D. Hanson

 

Life is not in what you can gain but what you can give away. What are you giving away that will live beyond you? More importantly who are you giving away?  Are you willing to give Jesus to a world filled with rich paupers who are in desperate need of salvation and don’t even know it?  Rich in the things of this world, but poor in a hope for Heaven. What are you leaving behind you? Charles Spurgeon once said, “A good Character is the best tombstone.  Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered.  Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”  As believers the only thing that is truly ours forever is Jesus. Jesus is the greatest treasure that heaven has, or will ever give us. Who will you share your treasure with? Who will you enjoy the treasure of your Faith in Jesus Christ with forever. Your wife? Perhaps your child? Your parents, or perhaps a friend?  If you keep anything it will be Jesus who has freely given himself to you, his child and it is really he who keeps you. In Romans 8:37-39 the Apostle Paul tells us, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, no principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”  What assurance.  theologian R.C. Sproul encouraged us to remember that, “We must never lose sight of the fact that we are bound to Jesus by mighty mystical cords that cannot be broken.”  Heaven is ours, because we are His.  He will not lose one of his children.

I think our goal in life should be to die without owning a thing. Give it away and give it in Jesus name. We don’t own anything in this world and we can’t take things with us. But pass on the things with the message of the Gospel. Give away your possessions and as you travel closer to your heavenly home may your load get lighter of worldly possessions as you pass on your faith. Don’t focus on the things you give as if that’s your real treasure, but let them be life lessons to to teach and share Jesus with others. And when they look at what you gave them, may one day they pass it on as well along with the truth of the Gospel. May the one thing that you pass onto them that they freely give away and still keep, Be Jesus. Charles Spurgeon, who was known as, “the prince of preachers,” made what we would be the equivalent in our time in the sum of millions of dollars during his lifetime, but he died with little possessions. He put all the money he earned back into his schools and orphanages.  He plowed it back into the work of the Gospel. The greatest treasure that the world can’t take away and we can keep is Jesus. The Bible reminds us that,  ” For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”  Jesus is our greatest treasure. May our heart be with our Savior who is in heaven, where moth and rust destroy not and where thieves don’t break into steal. Pass on Jesus. He is your greatest treasure you could ever give away and still keep. The rich man who clings to his wealth and earthly treasures is poorer than the beggar on the street that has Jesus. Jesus told us in Mark 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Jesus is the treasure of Heaven that no one can buy and yet no man can take away. He is a gift from God to us. John 3:16-17 reminds us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” The greatest gift God gave us is his only son Jesus Christ, the hope of Heaven. My greatest treasure is not in what I hold in my hand, but in the one who holds my heart. Jesus is my greatest treasure. May he be yours also and may we share our treasure with those we love.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson