Below is the Vow Made To God on the 16 December 1838, known As
by the Boer Nation In Return For Victory of less than 500 Boers Against The Mighty Zulu Army of 16000
Here we stand before the holy God of heaven and earth, to make a vow to Him that, if He will protect us and give our enemy into our hand, we shall keep this day and date every year as a day of thanksgiving like a sabbath, and that we shall erect a house to His honour wherever it should please Him, and that we also will tell our children that they should share in that with us in memory for future generations. For the honour of His name will be glorified by giving Him the fame and honour for the victory.
as told by Evan Davies
On Dec 16 at 6a.m., 464 Boers saw from their laager through the early morning mist, the first division of a Zulu army sitting quietly in a semicircle, 100m deep. The Boers nearly lost their nerve.
Under the command of Ndlela and Nzobo, the 16 000 strong army had been commanded by King Dingane to “find the Boers before they enter the heart of my Kingdom, and eat them up.”
Besides the Boer combatants the laager was crammed with people and animals. The 130 or so wagon drivers and leaders tied their teams of oxen head to head and pegged them to the ground and talked soothingly to them throughout the battle. The approximately 200 grooms held the terrified horses in fours.
The Zulu leaped as one to their feet, whistled, drummed their short heavy spears against their ox hide shields and rushed the laager chanting their war cries. It was a sunny day, and the Boers’ powder remained dry, and the laager was soon obscured by a rising cloud of black smoke. So rapidly did the defenders have to fire that there was no time to ram the charges into the muskets.
By 8a.m. some 500 Zulu dead lay dusty and trodden. The first division, known as the uDlambedlu regiment, refused to face the fire any longer. The main body of the army, the umKhulutshane and the iziGulutshane regiments, moved up.
They made repeated and determined efforts, and before their attack faltered the third division arrived in their rear and began taunting them with cowardice, and pushing through their ranks, driving the front ranks on to the laager.
But by 11a.m. the Zulu assault broke down in futility. Immediately a mounted Boer force of 160 sallied out and cut the army in two. A large part tried to hide in the reeds of the Ncome river, but marksmen picked them off to a man. It was to be known after as the Battle Of Blood River. The pursuit continued until the horses were exhausted. According to a Boer witness, the Zulu dead “lay on the ground like pumpkins on a rich soil that had borne a large crop.” That no Boers were killed was taken as a sign from God of the rightness of their cause, and gave thanks to God for the miracle of victory.
It is believed among the Boers of today that God is punishing them because they have forsaken their holy Covenant made with God and it is not being celebrated anymore by what is left of the nation. As in America and the world, people are turning away from God, and because of this, terrible things are happening, things that people who don’t believe in God don’t understand. The Boer Nation of today is the only nation on earth without their own country where they can live in peace and practice and preserve their own heritage. All nations in South Africa have their own part of the country which they identify with, yet the Boer Nation has no place to call home. South Africa is not the Rainbow nation the world believes it is. The mighty propaganda machine that has been focused on the Boer Nation for so long is still making sure that the world believes that everything that is happening to the Boer (which according to the majority of the SA population, includes all white people, even foreign ones) now is because they deserve it. The Boer Nation who are mostly Christians can have their children, Sons, Daughters, Mothers, Fathers, Grandfathers, Grandmothers raped, beaten, stabbed, disemboweled, impaled, burned and tortured to death and still the propaganda machine makes sure that the world overlooks this as punishment. It has become very clear to me over the past few years that all this is happening because we are still Christians, and we can be gotten rid of very easily as the world is looking the other way.
I used to believe that America will one day realize what is really happening here and save us, but today I am really sorry to say that America is going down the same path as we have and that America now needs to be looking at saving themselves as they are being attacked from within right now, and it seems as if it is not going to stop. Their latest disaster was from one of their own, and how do you defend yourself against your own people. America you are still the hope of the free world, we need you to be strong. and we pray as hard for you as we do for ourselves. – 2012
When God is deserted Evil Takes Over, God is Good, Evil Is Bad.
Suppose I asked what the mission of the church is—how would you answer? Although the church accomplishes many tasks, its only message to the world is the gospel of Christ. Everything else we do is merely an extension of that primary goal. The gospel we offer the lost is superior to every worldly philosophy. Never outdated or in need of correction, it is always sufficient to meet humanity’s greatest need: reconciliation with the Creator.
Although the message is always the same, methods of making it known are many—including the spoken word, music, printed material, and electronic media. But all these avenues of communication require the individual involvement of God’s people. It is every Christian’s responsibility to use his or her spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities to help fulfill the Great Commission.
Some Christians think that this role is given only to pastors, missionaries, or other people with an “up-front ministry.” But all of us have the responsibility to be involved in whatever way we are able and in whatever opportunity God gives us. Not everybody is called to go abroad as a missionary, but we all can give, pray, and tell friends and family what the Lord has done for us.
When you’re truly committed to getting the gospel out, God will reveal what work He is calling you to do. He has a place for every one of us—nobody is insignificant or unusable. The limiting factor is not the Lord’s ability to use us but our availability to His call.
View a special tribute video to “The Battle Of Blood River” at the bottom of this article
Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps Covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9
For over a century and a half, throughout South Africa, 16 December has been observed as The Day of the Covenant. Marking the decisive Battle of Blood River, the Day of the Covenant has been recognised by many, not only as a victory for the Voortrekkers, but as a triumph for Western civilization and Christianity in Africa.
Shaka the Zulu king had built the Zulu into a great warlike nation. He unleashed waves of destruction that left enormous stretches of country uninhabited by people. The Mfekane unleashed by Shaka had led to the annihilation of literally hundreds of tribes. Known as “the Black Napoleon”, Shaka had soaked Southern Africa in blood, devastating countless kraals, particularly between 1820 and 1824. Shaka was described as a military genius. He moulded the previously insignificant Zulu tribe into a mighty war machine. He introduced new systems of fighting, abandoning the long throwing spears, and introducing the far more lethal short handled broad-bladed assegai. He compelled his men to throw away their sandals and to harden their feet. His regiments (Impis) would be compelled to dance on thorns and if anyone showed pain they were immediately executed. Instead of standing at a distance singing, and taunting the enemy, and ineffectually throwing their spears, Shaka trained his men to fight as a cohesive unit, in the shape of cattle horns. The most experienced troops were at the head to gore, and the younger warriors were put on the horns to encircle the enemy. The Zulu were trained to rush straight in for the kill. They overwhelmed every tribe they came across and annihilated them. Many of the young women and young boys from these defeated tribes were amalgamated into the Zulu tribe, but the older people and warriors were exterminated.
The Gullibility of Piet Retief: When the Trek leader Piet Retief came to Dingaan to negotiate the right for the Voortrekkers to settle in the depopulated territory between the Tugela and the Bushmans River (present day Natal) he was warned by the missionaries that one of the principle objectives of Shaka had been to totally depopulate all the surrounding territory as far as his soldiers could penetrate so that his followers, over whom he held such despotic sway, might have no asylum or refuge if they attempted to escape his murderous rule. Retief was also warned that the defeat of the renegade Zulu general Mzilikazi at the hands of the Boers in the Transvaal had sent shockwaves through Zululand. As Dingaan’s military expeditions against Mzilikazi had all been indecisive, he feared the power of the Boers. Yet, Piet Retief seemed supremely self-confident and brushed aside every warning about the danger of the dictator with whom he was attempting to negotiate.
Mgundgundlovu: Dingaan’s capital, Mgundgundlovu, was described as an efficient military camp entirely fenced in with thorn bushes. The king’s quarters dominated the high ground, overlooking the two thousand huts on each side of the main entrance and open arena. Each hut accommodated twenty warriors. Within the lines of the military huts were four strongly fenced in cattle kraals. Dingaan’s own quarters consisted of hundreds of beehive huts including huts for his enormous harem, and his counsel house and reception hall, both some 20 feet in height, with the roof supported by 22 pillars entirely covered in bead work. The floors were made of mud and dung, polished with blood and fat until they shone like a mirror. Mgundgundlovu as a whole was arranged in ovals, circles and semi-circles, with thousands of beehive huts appearing like beads in a necklace. Facing the capital, on the other side of the stream below was the hill of execution (KwaMatiwane).
In the Presence of Dingaan: Dingaan required his subjects to throw themselves to the ground and crawl forward in the dust for about two hundred metres before coming to a halt a good distance from his throne. Piet Retief and the other white visitors refused to succumb to such an indignity, and stood in the presence of the king. They noted that Dingaan was entirely hairless. He was shaved every day and was described as having an abhorrence of human hair. He wore many ornaments on his head and his body was rubbed daily with fat to make him appear like polished ebony.
Warnings from the Missionaries: Acting as the king’s secretary was Rev. Francis Owen of the Church Missionary Society. Most of what we know concerning the meetings of Piet Retief with Dingaan come from Owen’s diary. Piet Retief first reached Mgundgundlovu on 5 November 1837. The king entertained him with war dances by thousands of his warriors. Owen warned him of the countless cruelties, tortures and executions that he had been forced to witness. However, Piet Retief seemed most impressed with the “sincerity”, “graciousness”, “intelligence”, and “goodwill” of Dingaan.
After seeking to impress Retief for two days with parades of his regiments and herds, Dingaan informed Retief that he was willing to grant the Trekkers the territory his armies had depopulated across the Tugela, and around Port Natal – on condition that Piet Retief should return the cattle which had been taken by Sikonyela and his Batlokoa people. As they had come on horseback and dressed in clothes, Sikonyela’s people had been assumed to be Boers. To prove that the trekkers were not in any way responsible for Sikonyela’s cattle raid, he required them to deal with this chief.
The CMS missionary, Francis Owen, warned Piet Retief that he was wasting his time, for Dingaan was utterly inconsistent and had already granted the desired territory to the English government through John Gardiner. However, Piet Retief regarded the expedition against Sikonyela as necessary for the vindication of their honour. Owen questioned how a man of Retief’s intelligence could attach any value to any promise made by a tyrant like Dingaan.
When Piet Retief later gave an enthusiastic account of the splendours of Dingaan, his kindness and boundless hospitality, American missionary Rev. George Champion declared: “I have known Dingaan for two years Mr Retief, and I know full well what a dangerous character he is. I can only see disaster should you visit him again.” Rev. Kirkwood also warned Retief of Dingaan’s intention to have him put to death as “a wizard.” But Retief brushed all their warnings aside declaring: “Have no apprehension on my account!”
Failing to Heed Advice: A passing trader warned Piet Retief of Dingaan’s planned treachery against him upon his return. Fellow trek leader Gert Maritz repeatedly warned Piet Retief not to return to Dingaan declaring: “I do not trust Dingaan!” But, every attempt to dissuade Piet Retief was brushed aside. Maritz reminded him of the murder of Anders Stockenstrom in 1811 while having friendly talks with a band of Xhosas.
Gullible’s Travels: Piet Retief, with almost a hundred followers, arrived at Mgundgundlovu on Saturday 3 February. He was rebuked by Dingaan for having released Sikonyela unharmed. Dingaan was shocked that Retief had not executed him, or at least brought him to the Zulu capital for execution.
He then requested the Boers to make a demonstration of their war dances on their horses. The trekkers staged an impromptu charge on horseback in the royal arena, making the air resound with the sound of their muskets. Dingaan and his subjects had never seen anything like it and were plainly shocked at the speed and agility of the Boers on horseback and the deafening sound of their muskets. The missionary warned Retief that his display was entrenching the fear of Dingaan that he was a wizard and a threat that must be eradicated.
However, when Dingaan agreed to sign the document drawn up by Retief to cede the territory between the Tugela and Umzimvubu Rivers to the trekkers, Retief felt that all of his trust in the word of Dingaan was fulfilled. This document was placed in his leather briefcase with great relief.
However, the CMS missionary, Rev. Owen, was most disturbed that Retief and his followers had missed the Sunday morning church service on 4 February, for these formalities for the king. Retief later said that he had forgotten what day of the week it was.
On Monday the trekkers were treated to an endless display of war dances and military manouvres by Dingaan’s Impis. Dingaan was described as “a master showman” with his entertainment the most spectacular ever seen in the sub-continent. Dingaan again asked for a display of the Boers war tactics on horseback. The Zulus sat stunned at the speed and perfect control of the men with their rifles on horseback.
Defenceless Before Dingaan: On Tuesday morning William Wood, a young English trader fluent in Zulu, who was visiting the Owens, warned Retief that “your entire party will be massacred before the day is out.” As the Retief party struck camp and were preparing to leave, they were invited to a final farewell display. For this they were requested to leave their firearms, bandoleers and powder horns outside the gates of the kraal. Incredibly they asceeded to this demand. Leaving their firearms outside the kraal, they walked defenseless into the arena of Dingaan’s kraal. After ominous war dances which increased in volume and intensity, Dingaan stood up and shouted “Babulaleni abathakathi!” (“kill the Boers!”).
Cold Blooded Murder: From across the stream on the opposite hillside, Francis Owen was reading the New Testament when a messenger rushed up to inform him that Dingaan had decided to kill the Boers but he was not to be concerned. Owen looked with horror as he saw an immense multitude, “about nine or ten Zulus to each Boer were dragging the helpless unarmed victims to the fatal spot” on the hill of execution. Many of the Boers were impaled on assagais, and they were all clubbed to death. Piet Retief’s young son was killed before his eyes. Amongst the dead was their interpreter, Thomas Halstead, the only Englishman of the party. The various missionaries and traders who had warned Piet Retief repeatedly questioned how such an intelligent and experienced man as Piet Retief could have been so thoroughly deceived, even mesmerized, by the tyrant Dingaan. Soon, the sky above the hill of execution was black with vultures. The heart and liver of Piet Retief was brought to Dingaan, but the rest of the corpses were left out in the open on the hill of execution to later be discovered along with Retief’s bloodstained leather case containing the signed treaty with Dingaan. It was almost ten years since Dingaan had murdered his half-brother Shaka to assume the chieftainship.
Massacre at Midnight: About noon on that fateful Tuesday, 6 February, Rev. Owen saw Dingaan send out a huge army in the direction from where the Boers had come. There was no doubt that even worse was to come. In the early hours of 17 February, ten thousand Zulu warriors attacked the sleeping Voortrekkers between the Bushman’s the Blaauwkrants Rivers. There was no moon that night and it was pitch dark. Trekkers awoke to the sounds of their dogs barking. Wave after wave of Zulu warriors were stabbing men, women and children, wiping out whole families.The followers of Gert Maritz were more cautiously laagered and better prepared to defend themselves. However, the followers of Piet Retief were spread out and most vulnerable. Sarel Cilliers and Gert Maritz led charges to rescue fleeing trekkers. Women and children, even as young as ten years old, fought tenaciously, selling their lives dearly. Marthinus Oosthuizen charged through the mass of Zulus to a wagon for ammunition and then back again to re-supply the beleaguered Van Rensburgs surrounded on a hill. Fighting continue until the afternoon of the 17th when the Zulu army retreated, taking over 25,000 cattle, and many horses and sheep, with them. Many hundreds of the Zulu attackers had been killed in the fierce fighting. As the Voortrekkers began to count up their own dead, they grieved over the loss of 185 of their children murdered. Of the women 56 were dead – this included even grandmothers – many with multiple assagai wounds. The murdered men numbered 40. Incredibly, some women who had been horribly stabbed were found alive amongst the piles of dead. Johanna van der Merwe and Margarita Prinsloo had each survived despite 20 assagai wounds, and Klasina Le Roux with 17 stab wounds. As Gert Maritz organized a mass burial of the slain trekkers, the sky was full of circling vultures and the sounds of weeping could be heard throughout the area. The Boers later founded a town at the site of the massacre which was named Weenen (The Place of Weeping).
Ambushed at the Buffalo River: On 6 April a counter-attack by a Boer commander led by the two rival leaders Piet Uys and Andries Potgieter was ambushed across the Buffalo River at Italeni. A British expedition from Port Natal rushed to assist the beleaguered trekkers, but ten of the commando were killed, including Piet Uys and his brave son Dirkie who kept fighting by his father’s side to the very end. As this commando retreated it became known as the Vlugcommando (the fleeing commando). It was the darkest time of despair for the Voortrekkers. Death, disaster and dissension seemed to doom their ambitious enterprise.
Andries Pretorius Comes from the Transvaal: With the arrival of Andries Pretorius from the Transvaal, there was fresh hope. The widow of Piet Retief declared of Andries Pretorius: “This man has been sent by God. He will help us obtain justice.” Andries Pretorius was a dynamic pistol packing farmer from Graaf Reinet. He was described as a tall, imposing figure in a well cut suit, with a pistol and a cutlass at his belt. He also came with 60 Transvaal volunteers for the Wencommando that he intended to organize. At an assembly of the Volksraad, Pretorius was elected Commandant General.
The Wencommando: Within a couple of days, he was heading out with 464 men, and 64 wagons, to engage the Zulus. Pretorius adopted the motto Eendragt Maakt Magt (unity is strength). (These words were to become the motto of the Transvaal Republic.) All in the Wencommando (The Victory Commando) were lectured on discipline, Christian conduct, decency, integrity, compassion and courage. As God’s soldiers their conduct had to be of a high standard. The chaplain, Sarel Cilliers, who was widely respected as a man of God, and who had proved himself in battle at Vegkop, ensured strict religious observance with daily devotions and prayer times where the men were required to kneel. On the move the 64 wagons travelled in four rows so as not to make the column too long for the vanguards and rearguards to protect from ambush. Every night their laager was drawn up, sentries posted, inspections held, and defensive drills practiced. Scouting patrols were sent out every day to ascertain the whereabouts of the Zulu army, and to identify any potential threats.
The Covenant: As the Tugela River was flood, the Wencommando crossed near Spioenkop. At Waschbank, on Sunday 9 December, Sarel Cilliers stood on a gun carriage before the men had who assembled for worship and he proposed a solemn vow: “My brethren and fellow countrymen, at this moment we stand before the Holy God of Heaven and earth to make a promise. If He will be with us and protect us and deliver the enemy into our hands so that we may triumph over him, that we may observe the day and the date as an anniversary in each year and a day of Thanksgiving like the Sabbath, in His honour; and that we shall enjoin our children that they must take part with us in this, for remembrance even for our posterity; and if anyone sees a difficulty in this, let them return from this place. For the honour of His Name shall be joyfully exalted, and to Him the fame and the honour of the victory must be given.” All the English volunteers joined with the Afrikaans Voortrekkers in taking this Vow. From 9 December the Vow was repeated every evening, up until the night of the 15th, during evening services when Psalms were sung and prayers were offered.
Confronting the Zulu: There was a calm deliberation amongst the men of the Wencommando. They knew that they were going up against the most formidable force in Africa at that time. Up to that point, the Zulu Impis had never been beaten. They knew that Dingaan had over 20,000 warriors that he could throw at them. They were only 464, and this being 1838, they only had smooth ball muskets, which required 30 to 40 seconds to reload. And they knew charging Zulu warriors could cover a lot of ground in that time.
To the Ncome River: On Saturday the 15th of December the Commando crossed the Buffalo River and outspanned between the Buffalo River and the Ncome River. Two scouts reported that they had seen a huge Zulu army only half an hour ride away. Pretorius inspected the terrain for a suitable laager site and he sensed God’s guidance for there was a perfect spot on the other side of the Ncome. On its western bank there was a deep hippopotamus pool and a large donga, or gully. The laager was set up making use of these natural defensive features on two sides. The 64 wagons were firmly lashed together with two battle gates secured at the two openings where the canon were placed. The back of the D-formation was set against the donga, and the semi-circle faced towards the open plain. Candles were set out everywhere and lanterns suspended over the wagons on the long whip handles, to prevent the Zulus from approaching the laager unseen in the night. As Sarel Cilliers led the Commando in repeating the Vow for the last time, and then in singing the Psalms, the Zulus had moved within earshot and could hear their strange singing and see the eerily lit laager.
To Beat the Unbeatable Foe: It was a suspenseful moonless night. Two hours before dawn the trekkers were at their posts. A veil of mist lifted and a perfect day broke. There was not a cloud in the vivid blue sky and there was no wind. It was a day of crystal clarity. As the mist lifted the Boers saw the entire Zulu army seated facing them with their shields in front. The front row of the Zulus was only 40 paces away from the half moon of wagons. Row after row of Zulu regiments were grouped according to the colour of their shields. There were between 12,000 and 15,000 Zulu’s surrounding the laager. “Do not fear their numbers, we can deal with them”, shouted Pretorius. As warriors were moving into position to attack from the donga in the rear, Commandant Pretorius decided to seize the initiative and he ordered his men to open fire immediately. Before the Zulus could even begin their intimidating war dances the roar of gunfire shattered the early morning peace. The day began in furious battle with Zulus yelling, hissing, smashing their assagais against their shields, thunderously stamping the ground with their feet, charging the laager at full speed. The two little canon cut swathes through the Zulu ranks, and the deadly aim of the Boer Commandos took their toll. As a mass of Zulus tried to scale the donga and assault the rear of the laager, Sarel Cilliers led his men to cut them down.
Taunting the Enemy: As the Zulus retreated out of range to about 500 metres, Pretorius sent out his brother and an interpreter to taunt the Zulus: “What are you doing, men of Dingaan? We have come to fight men, not women and children! Why don’t you attack?”
Facing the Zulu Tidal Wave: The Zulus leapt up to attack, drumming their shields, yelling, whistling, hissing and swept in a black wave down upon the wagons. This was the longest charge of the two hour battle. Muzzles were becoming dangerously hot, wagons bristled with assagais, but the strategic positioning of the laager was frustrating the assaults of the Zulus. The closer they got to the wagons, the more they were funneled and compressed by the river and the donga until they were tripping into one another and stumbling over their earlier casualties. Their losses were becoming enormous, yet without achieving anything. Never in the experience of their warrior nation had anything like this happened to them before.
Charging the Enemy: Andries Pretorius sensed a change in the tempo of the battle and ordered a charge form the laager. He had the two canon dragged out and fired from the front. Then he led a charge into the middle of the Zulu Impi. For the first time in history a Zulu Impi broke and fled. The cohesion on which the Zulu Impis was based was shattered. The Zulus began to flee across the Ncome River, many drowning in the process. As Pretorius fired on one Zulu his horse reared and threw him off. A Zulu lunged at him and Pretorius managed to ward off the assagai with his rifle. As the Zulu struck again Pretorius was thrust through his left hand. He pinned the Zulu to the ground and grappled hand to hand until the warrior was stabbed with his own assagai.
Pursuing the Enemy: On the other side Sarel Cilliers led a commando charge that put to flight the other section of the Zulu army. The mounted Boers pursued the fleeing Zulus, shooting at them as long as their bullets lasted, and firing pebbles when all their bullets were exhausted. Over 3000 Zulu dead were counted around the laager. Yet not one Voortrekker had been killed, although several were wounded.
Thanksgiving: As the Sun set the exhausted Commando members returned for a service of Thanksgiving and for their first meal of the day. Then they had to clean their muskets and cast bullets for the final push to track down Dingaan at Mgundgundlovu. The Remains of Retief By the 20th December the Zulu capital was sighted. It was ablaze from one end to the other. Dingaan had fled and set fire to his own capital. When the grizzly remains of Piet Retief and his 100 followers was discovered on KwaMatiwane they saw the legs and arms still tied with thongs, the impaling sticks still visible. Next to the remains of Piet Retief lay his water bottle and leather satchel which still contained Dingaan’s signed and witnessed agreement for the cession of Natal. On Christmas Day the remains of these victims were all gathered and buried in a communal grave at the foot of the koppie. The Zulu kingdom fell into a civil war and Dingaan was overthrown by his half-brother Mpande.
Blessed in Order to be a Blessing: God’s promise to Abraham is being fulfilled to this day: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and ye shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:2-3
View video on YouTube PLEASE NOTE VIDEO is in Afrikaans
Jane Johnson Struck set out on a frigid winter evening to deliver dinner to the family of a friend who had died. Snarled in traffic and juggling an already overloaded schedule, she was feeling sorry for herself—and irritated when she arrived and found nobody home. Using her mobile phone to let them know she’d been there, she was dumbfounded when the answering machine kicked in and a familiar voice started singing: ‘Grab your coat, collect your hat, Leave your worries on the doorstep; Life can be so sweet on the sunny side of the street.’ It was her friend Annie, the one who died after a prolonged battle with breast cancer, leaving three kids and a grieving husband. Struck writes: ‘People who’d been touched by Annie’s larger-than-life personality, perseverance, and testimony in the face of grueling and unfair circumstances, hadn’t expected to hear her voice on the machine. Her indomitable spirit amazed me…she’d talked openly about her prognosis, yet never hesitated to give God glory for the grace and peace she experienced. She knew that life with Jesus, come what may, was a walk on the sunny side of the street.’ The Psalmist prayed, ‘Give me life through Your Word’. Struck continues: ‘As I listened to Annie’s voice on the machine…even in death God used her life to challenge me. I drove home pondering how He illuminates the darkest journey…how pity parties keep me from savoring life’s sweetness…then asking forgiveness for my selfish attitudes. It was a powerful reminder that one day life will be complete on the sunny side of the street…in heaven, where there’s no darkness, disease or death.’
2018 saw no shortage of amazing music from the Nashville community so SLN gathered our favorite country albums of the year.
Newcomers ruled 2018 with standout debut releases from Devin Dawson, Jordan Davis and Jimmie Allen. The year also brought the much anticipated comeback of Sugarlandand the Pistol Annies. While females struggled at country radio throughout 2018, they inarguably delivered some of the strongest projects of the year with both Kacey Musgraves and Ashley McBryde receiving Best Country Album nominations by the Recording Academy. Whether you prefer traditional country music or are a fan of the genre embracing slick beats, pop influences and swagger, 2018 offered up a mixture of both.
Below are our favorite albums of 2018.
Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour
Kacey Musgraves released one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year with the striking Golden Hour. The singer penned all 13 of the project’s heartfelt tracks, which spans traditional country, pop influences and even disco flavors. Her vulnerabilities are showcased on powerful ballads like “Butterflies” and “Mother,” both of which highlight her ethereal vocals. Meanwhile, standout track “Space Cowboy” shows her prowess as a vivid lyricist and the feel-good “Velvet Elvis” demonstrates her fun side. With 13 tracks that span her influences, Musgraves more than delivered on Golden Hour. Fittingly, the project was nominated for two Grammy Awards in both the Best Country Album and all-genre Album of the Year categories.
Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty
Carrie Underwood returned in 2018 with her most dynamic release yet. The country powerhouse co-produced her album for the first time with producer David Garcia, and the project blends country and pop elements for a truly memorable compilation. While the title track showcases Underwood’s unwavering ability at vocal gymnastics with belts that leave the listener’s jaw on the floor, other songs like the sultry “Backsliding” with forward-thinking production, demonstrate her penchant for trying something new. Pop-tinged tracks “Southbound” and “End Up with You” highlight Underwood’s crossover ability while the timely “Love Wins” and poignant “The Bullet” channel the country genre’s powerful songwriters. All the while Underwood continues to prove why she’s one of the industry’s most revered vocalists.
Kane Brown’s Experiment
Kane Brown made history with his sophomore album, Experiment, as the first male country artist in 24 years to have his second project debut atop the Billboard 200 in its opening week. The album includes many of the old-school instruments that country music is known for — the dobro, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and steel guitar — mixed in with a “new cool sound” according to Brown. Tracks like the traditional sounding “Short Skirt Weather” coupled with the sultry R&B and urban rhythms of “Weekend” exemplify this diversity. “Lose It,” the album’s lead single, has gone on to become the fastest rising single of Brown’s career and third-consecutive No. 1. As he continues to break down boundaries as a biracial artist in the industry, Brown also made one of the most enjoyable albums released in 2018.
Brothers Osborne’s Port Saint Joe
On Port Saint Joe, Brothers Osborne prove why they’re the reigning ACM and CMA Vocal Duo of the Year. Their standout musicianship and powerful lyrics make for a memorable record that continues to grow with each listen. Additionally, Port Saint Joe spans a broad spectrum of sounds and musical influences. While writing the country waltz “Tequila Again,” Brothers Osborne envisioned Willie Nelson cutting the tune for Red Headed Stranger. Meanwhile, “A Little Bit Trouble” evokes an old R&B and soul flavor, one of the many sounds they grew up listening to. Brothers Osborne are well known for bringing the guitar slinging to their rock-fueled tracks, but their sensitive side is also showcased on songs like the ode to lifetime love, “Pushing Up Daisies,” and powerful album closer “While You Still Can.”
Eric Church’s Desperate Man
Eric Church has a long history of bucking trends, and his sixth studio album Desperate Man is no different. The 11-track project finds the singer once again pushing boundaries as well as himself. The album reflects a man trying to find his place in society, and while at times he’s unsure of his footing, he remains solid in his conviction and in his roots. The rollicking and bluesy throwback “Hanging Around” highlights Church’s mesmerizing falsetto alongside hand-clapped rhythms and sultry piano accompaniment. While “Desperate Man” and the bluesy “Solid” showcase Church’s steadfast nature, it’s the heartbreaking “Jukebox and a Bar” and the reflective “Some of It” that illustrate his soft side. It’s this raw vulnerability coupled with stellar musicianship and the element of surprise that has Church on an entirely different playing field from his contemporaries.
Pistol Annies’ Interstate Gospel
Pistol Annies’ superb harmonies are at the forefront of Interstate Gospel as is their candid storytelling. With a unique take on divorce (“Got My Name Changed Back”), heartbreak (“Masterpiece”) and marriage (“When I Was His Wife”), the acclaimed trio, made up of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, don’t hold anything back. Much of the album comes from real-life experiences the women have faced, but they’re not revealing to which singer. That, they leave up to their listeners to ponder. A powerful force, Pistol Annies prove that women have songs that need to be heard and stories that need to be told. While the genre seems to be leaning more and more towards pop production and hip-hop elements as of late, Pistol Annies stand firm in tradition with country instrumentation, witty songs and honest storytelling that makes the listener stop and think.
Ashley McBryde’s Girl Going Nowhere
Ashley McBryde’s honest songwriting is highlighted throughout Girl Going Nowhere, and the singer puts the listener in the song on tracks like “A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega” and the unique love song, “American Scandal.” On “Andy (I Can’t Live Without You),” McBryde shows her vulnerabilities when penning a song for her best friend and guitar player. The standout moment, though, is the album’s title track, which has become an anthem for both the singer and country fans alike. Inspired by an algebra teacher who told the Arkansas native she should have a backup plan when she shared her dream of moving to Nashville to write songs, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” is a powerful and heartfelt ballad that has McBryde proving her naysayers wrong. And with a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album McBryde is getting the last laugh now.
Devin Dawson’s Dark Horse
Devin Dawson blends country, Motown and rock influences for a memorable debut album. The California native had a hand in writing each of the 12 tracks on Dark Horse, and whether he’s lamenting of the end of a relationship on “Secondhand Hurt” or singing of treating his lady right on the sultry “I Don’t Care Who Sees,” his unique blend of country songwriting and musical swagger impress. Standout song “Asking For a Friend” further showcases his talent as an adept songwriter. On closing track, “Dark Horse,” Dawson opens the curtain and shares who he is as a person. His unique storytelling partnered with Jay Joyce’s standout production give Dark Horse it’s appeal, which is surely just a taste of Dawson’s promising career.
Dierks Bentley’s The Mountain
Dierks Bentley returns to his roots for his ninth studio album, The Mountain. The singer wrote and recorded the project in Telluride, Colorado, after attending Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Throughout the album, Bentley’s appreciation for the genre and musical and lyrical authenticity shines through. The Mountain kicks off with the standout “Burning Man,” featuring Brothers Osborne, where Bentley sings of life’s struggles and triumphs. This introspection is heard throughout the majority of the project, particularly on the reflective “Living” and album closer “How I’m Going Out.” Never afraid to switch gears or push genre lines, Bentley proves a master at finding inspiration within his surroundings. As a result, his talent as a songwriter and distinct musical influences merge on The Mountain for a release that will serve as a timeless addition to his catalog.
Jordan Davis’ Home State
Jordan Davis proves his staying power on his superb debut album, Home State. The Shreveport, Louisiana, native worked with producer Paul DiGiovanni for the 12-song collection. All co-written by Davis, Home State blends slick production and thoughtful lyrics for a unique project. Standout ballads like “Slow Dance In a Parking Lot” and “Leaving New Orleans” emphasize his sentimental side, while “Take It From Me,” “More Than I Know” and debut single “Singles You Up” showcase his undeniable country swagger. A standout debut that highlights Davis’s ability as both a vocalist and a songwriter, Home State marries big sounds and production with the vulnerability of his lyrics for a truly enjoyable listen.
Keith Urban’s Graffiti U
Keith Urban’s ninth studio album, Graffiti U, continues where his adventurous 2016 release Ripcord left off. While slick production and Urban’s familiar vocals are heard on each song, Graffiti U pushes the singer’s music into new territory. Though the guitar-driven songs display Urban’s undeniable talent, Graffiti U also showcases his innate ability at singing emotional ballads. His voice soars on songs like the poignant Ed Sheeran penned “Parallel Line,” which includes a sample of Coldplay’s “Everglow,” as well as “Same Heart,” where he sings of trying his best to move on at the end of a relationship. Urban excels at pushing genre lines and, despite a bevy of producers putting their fingerprints on Graffiti U, the beloved singer never strays from the guitar shredding and vocally captivating country artist that he is.
Sugarland marked their return in 2018 with the triumphant Bigger, their first collection of new music in seven years. Well known for penning songs with a message, the duo’s Bigger is no different. On the 11-track album there are songs that touch upon the countless school shootings throughout the nation (“Tuesday’s Broken”), female empowerment and the #MeToo movement (“Bigger”) and an all-encompassing love (“Mother”). The duo penned 10 of the 11 songs with the exception of their current single, “Babe,” co-written by Taylor Swift and Train’s Pat Monahan. A versatile release, Sugarland’s powerful messages alongside forward-thinking production make Bigger an essential listen.
Cole Swindell’s All of It
A versatile mix of heartfelt songs, party starters and arena anthems, Cole Swindell continues his upward climb within the genre on All of It. The infectious “Love You Too Late” kicks off the project and sounds like something Luke Bryan could have recorded. An arena-ready anthem with soaring guitar parts, heart-pounding beats and polished production, “Love You Too Late” has Swindell singing of a relationship that ended before he realized what his girl meant to him. While “Somebody’s Been Drinkin’” brings the feels, standout album closer “Dad’s Old Number” leaves the greatest mark. A poignant song, it’s the sequel to “You Should Be Here” and has Swindell confessing that he still calls his dad’s phone number in hopes that he’ll be on the other end. Throughout All of It, Swindell furthers his reach within the genre.
Ashley Monroe ‘s Sparrow
Ashley Monroe’s descriptive songwriting is at the forefront of her latest release, Sparrow. Working with producer Dave Cobb, Monroe enlisted the help of a string orchestra which brings each song to life. The striking musicianship heard within opening track “Orphan” alongside Monroe’s haunting vocals make it an album standout. The introspective tune has the singer questioning how she can make it through the world alone. It’s this vulnerability that is heard on every track and continues to illustrate why Monroe is such a cherished songwriter within the Nashville community. Heartbreaking piano ballad “This Heaven” stuns while the sultry “Hands On You” leaves the listener mesmerized by Monroe’s ethereal vocals and the song’s steamy storyline. With a blend of traditional country and singer-songwriter appeal, Sparrow was one of 2018’s most treasured releases.
The poorest person in the world isn’t the one without money, but the one without a God-given vision. Vision requires faith—and focus. Unless you understand what’s worth fighting for, you risk: 1) Fighting the wrong battles. 2) Fighting at the wrong time. 3) Fighting when you shouldn’t be involved. 4) Fighting because you need to win in order to feel good about yourself. 5) Fighting even though the battle is already lost but your pride won’t let you accept it. The most important thing is: stay focused on the goal God has given you. John Mason says, ‘Destiny delayed is the devil’s delight.’ If Satan can’t defeat you outright, he’ll try to distract you with unimportant things, or disqualify you by getting you to make bad decisions. Either way, he wins and you lose. Just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s right for you. When your plate is full doing what God’s already given you to do, learn to say ‘no’ to everything else. Once you can do that, you free yourself from other people’s expectations and the need for their approval. Bear in mind also that ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘never’; often it means ‘not now’. When you’re spread too thinly you become mediocre at everything and effective at nothing. When you try to fight on every front you wear yourself out and fail to win where it counts. Fighting a battle without spoils is like pouring water on a burning shack—unless somebody’s life is in danger it’s probably not worth it. So conserve your energy for when you have something really important at stake.
keep me focused and keep me from fighting the wrong battles.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson has announced a dozen new tour dates for 2019. Kicking off January 25 in Louisville, KY, the singer will trek across the United States through most of the year before wrapping his run on September 21 in Jacksonville, FL.
Joining Jackson out on the road will be rising country star William Michael Morgan, with Randy Houser filling in on select dates. In addition to Morgan and Houser, Jackson has invited several of the artists that play in his downtown Nashville honky tonk to perform at the shows. Giving aspiring singer/songwriters a moment in the spotlight is something Jackson has always strived to do, as he’s welcomed many of country’s now-biggest names out on their first major tours (Brad Paisley, Sara Evans, LeAnn Rimes, Chris Young, and more).
Tickets for most of his 2019 dates are already on sale, with more dates to be added soon. For more information about tickets, of the CID Entertainment VIP experiences, visit alanjackson.com.
Alan Jackson’s 2019 Tour Dates (Dates Already On Sale, Unless Otherwise Noted):
Friday, January 25 – Louisville, KY (KFC Yum! Center) – with William Michael Morgan
Saturday, January 26 – Greenville, SC (Bon Secours Wellness Arena) – with William Michael Morgan
Friday, February 22 – Madison, WI (Alliant Energy Center) – with William Michael Morgan
Saturday, February 23 – Grand Rapids, MI (Van Andel Arena) ** – with William Michael Morgan
Sunday, March 10 – Bossier City, LA (CenturyLink Center) ** – with William Michael Morgan
Friday, April 12 – Oklahoma City, OK (Chesapeake Energy Arena) ++ – with William Michael Morgan
Saturday, April 13 – Omaha, NE (CHI Health Center) – with Randy Houser
Friday, April 26 – Fort Wayne, IN (War Memorial Coliseum) ** – with William Michael Morgan
Friday, May 10 – Columbus, OH (Schottenstein Center) ** – with William Michael Morgan
Friday, May 17 – Winston-Salem, NC (Veterans Mem. Coliseum) ++ – with William Michael Morgan
Saturday, May 18 – Hershey, PA (Giant Center) ++ – with William Michael Morgan
Friday, August 9 – Rogers, AR (Walmart AMP) – with William Michael Morgan
Saturday, August 10 – Wichita, KS (Intrust Bank Arena) ++ – with William Michael Morgan
Friday, August 23 – N. Charleston, SC (N. Charleston Coliseum) – with Randy Houser
Saturday, August 24 – Charlotte, NC (Spectrum Center) – with Randy Houser
Friday, September 20 – Orlando, FL (Amway Arena) ++ – with William Michael Morgan
Saturday, September 21 – Jacksonville, FL (Veterans Memorial Coliseum) ++ – with William Michael Morgan
** Tickets on sale Friday, December 14
The Bible says: ‘…It is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure…satisfaction and delight’. We have a tendency to allow a hundred-and-one different things to crowd God out of our lives, so He creates within us the desire to do His will. When you desire to read your Bible, it’s God urging you to do it. When you desire to pray, it’s God moving you to do it. When you desire to give, it’s God motivating you to do it. Jesus said: ‘…I am the Vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing…If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!’ (John 15:5, 7). Note the word ‘dwell’; it means to live in and take up residence. So as you live in close relationship with Christ, the desires conceived within you are desires He can fulfil. When you sense that God has put certain desires in your heart, it’s important to pray and ask for those things. If you’re not sure whether or not they’re from Him, pray: ‘Lord, I believe You’ve put this desire in my heart so I am asking You to fulfil it. But I can be happy without it, because I am happy with You. Now it’s up to You to do whatever You want. Amen.’
While artists like Brett Young and Luke Combs enjoyed their fourth consecutive No. 1 singles in 2018, others including Jordan Davis and Abby Anderson released their debut singles to country radio. This year also marked the return of the Pistol Annies as well as several standout collaborations. Miranda Lambert joined Jason Aldean on “Drowns the Whiskey” while David Lee Murphy and Kenny Chesney collaborated on the feel-good “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” And we can’t forget the massive crossover hit and 50-week No. 1 “Meant to Be” with Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha.
Here are our favorite songs of 2018 (in alphabetical order):
Brett Young – “Mercy”
Brett Young’s emotional vocals on this stirring ballad evoke the pain a breakup often brings. His slowed singing style alongside delicate piano accompaniment struck a chord with listeners and it’s easy to see why. A standout song, “Mercy” is the last single off his debut album. A two-week No. 1 hit, the track also became Young’s fourth consecutive chart topper.
Carrie Underwood – “Cry Pretty”
Carrie Underwood made her triumphant return to radio earlier this year with the spellbinding single, “Cry Pretty.” The touching ballad has the singer in a vulnerable state as she explains that no one — not even her — can cry pretty. With notes that showcase her ability at vocal gymnastics, this is the best we’ve heard Underwood sound on a single to date.
Dan + Shay – “Tequila”
A song that had country fans and artists alike praising, Dan + Shay’s “Tequila” pulls on the heartstrings. “Tequila” has a man admitting that he can’t taste the spirit without thinking of a former lover. Soaring harmonies from Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney further impress and showcase the duo’s evident staying power. The song became such a smash that pop radio has embraced it, making it a multi-genre hit.
David Lee Murphy feat. Kenny Chesney – “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”
David Lee Murphy catapulted back onto country radio this year with the infectious “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” The lighthearted tune, which features Kenny Chesney, asks the listener to take a deep breath and don’t hit the panic button. A sentiment we all need. Murphy’s first solo chart topper since 1995’s “Dust On the Bottle,” the song was also named Musical Event of the Year at the 2018 CMA Awards.
The second single off Dierks Bentley’s latest album, the standout “Burning Man” has the vocalist singing of life’s struggles and triumphs. With a thumping beat, white-hot guitar accompaniment (from John Osborne) and added vocals from Brothers Osborne, “Burning Man” promises to be a highlight in Bentley’s live show. Penned by Luke Dick and Bobby Pinson, Bentley makes the song uniquely his own with slowed vocals and striking musicianship.
Florida Georgia Line feat. Bebe Rexha – “Meant to Be”
Holding strong at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for an unprecedented 50 consecutive weeks, “Meant to Be” was a crossover smash for Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha. The infectious lyrics and hand-snapped beat made the track an immediate ear-worm and it’s relatable lyrics had us all singing, “If it’s meant to be it’ll be, it’ll be / Baby just let it be” all year long.
Jason Aldean feat. Miranda Lambert – “Drowns the Whiskey”
This heartbreaker has Jason Aldean lamenting of how he can’t seem to get over an ex no matter the amount of whiskey he consumes. “Whiskey’s supposed to drown the memory / I’ve gone from one to one too many,” Aldean croons. Miranda Lambert assists throughout the song and provides striking backing vocals that manages to enhance the hurt within the song’s lyrics. A standout duet, their collaboration went number one and is sure to become a modern classic.
Jordan Davis – “Singles You Up”
“Singles You Up” launched Jordan Davis onto the country music scene late last year and the debut single also became his first chart topper in April. The catchy track showcases Davis’ ability to combine vivid lyrics with slick beats for a memorable song, but don’t let this feel-good track fool you as there’s also plenty of depth on his album, Home State.
Kacey Musgraves – “Space Cowboy”
One of the best written songs released this year, Kacey Musgraves’ “Space Cowboy” paints the picture of a relationship that’s on the rocks. Instead of staying bitter, the country starlet urges her man to leave if he wants his space with colorful imagery. “Sunsets fade and love does too / Yeah, we had our day in the sun / When a horse wants to run ain’t no sense in closing the gate / So you can have your space, cowboy,” she sings on the chorus.
Kane Brown – “Heaven”
Kane Brown proved his staying power this year with his second No. 1 single. “Heaven.” The track showcased the singer’s more sentimental side as he sings of how he can’t imagine anywhere he’d rather be than laying next to his girl. While the song highlights his booming vocals and knack for clever songwriting, its success also helped Brown become the first artist to top Billboard’s five country charts simultaneously when it debuted at No. 1 on the publication’s Country Digital Songs chart.
Luke Bryan – “Most People Are Good”
Luke Bryan is well known for his party songs, and his sentimental ballads sometimes get overlooked. His three-week No. 1 hit “Most People Are Good” was a welcome addition to his catalog. The song sees Bryan singing of how he believes kids should stay kids as long as they can and the importance of working hard for what you want in life. “I believe you love who you love, ain’t nothin’ you should ever be ashamed of / I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks,” he sings on the uplifting chorus.
Luke Combs – “She Got the Best of Me”
Luke Combs garnered his fourth consecutive chart topper with this four-week No. 1 hit. A fan favorite, “She Got the Best of Me” has Combs singing of slowly getting over an ex with the help of an old trusty guitar. Written by Combs, Rob Snyder and Channing Wilson, “She Got the Best of Me” showcases the singer’s rich vocals alongside soaring guitar parts tailor-made for a singalong (and air guitar performance).
Maren Morris – “Rich”
This tongue-in-cheek track has Maren Morris singing about a man she can’t rely on. If she made money from all the lies he has told her over the years, she’d be rich with a “Benz in the driveway, yacht in the water.” It’s a unique take on a relationship that begs the listener to sing along with its infectious chorus. The final single from her debut album (which peaked at No. 2 on the charts), it also marked the end of Morris’s “Hero” era, as the singer noted on Twitter, saying, “Super bittersweet but who am I kidding? It’s way more sweet than bitter.”
Old Dominion – “Written In the Sand”
Old Dominion are well known for their songwriting chops and this is best evidenced on “Written In the Sand.” A No. 1 single penned by the band’s Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen and Brad Tursi with Shane McAnally, the song has a man trying to figure out where his relationship is headed. “Are we just a backseat, trying to get it while we can? / Are we names in a tattoo, or just a number on a hand? / Are we last-call kissing or will we be reminiscing with each other for the next 40 years? / Are we written in the stars, baby, or are we written in the sand?” they sing wistfully on the chorus.
Pistol Annies – “Got My Name Changed Back”
It has been a long five years since the Pistol Annies have released new music and “Got My Name Changed Back,” the lead single off their latest studio album, proved that some things are well worth the wait. The upbeat divorce party song has the three women singing triumphantly of a marriage gone awry alongside memorable guitar picking (and Miranda’s washboard playing). “Well I got me an ex that I adored / But he got along good with a couple road whores,” they sing. The ex-wife isn’t sad, though. In fact she and her girlfriends celebrate her newfound freedom together at the DMV. “Got My Name Changed Back” is the divorce song we didn’t know we needed.
Scotty McCreery – “Five More Minutes”
Scotty McCreery knew he had a hit on his hands with the nostalgic “Five More Minutes.” In fact, he bought back the publishing rights of the song after losing his first record deal and decided to release it independently. He was right. The heartfelt song struck a chord with listeners and became the singer’s first No. 1 hit earlier this year. “Out of every song that I was willing to bet my career on, ‘Five More Minutes’ was that,” McCreery told Sounds Like Nashville at his No. 1 party. “This one was special from the moment we wrote it.
Thomas Rhett – “Marry Me”
On this heartbreaking piano ballad, TR sings of a girl who has her whole wedding planned out. At first it seems like he’s the groom, but as the story develops there’s a twist. Rhett has said he wrote the song from the perspective of what would have happened if he never told his wife Lauren how he felt about her years ago. The heart-wrenching song leaves a lasting mark on the listener and urges them to think twice as to not wind up like the man in the story.
When Paul wrote to the Philippian believers, he told them God was at work in each of them. What an awesome truth! He wrote: ‘I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God’ (vv. 9-11).
You say, ‘That’s a tall order!’ Yes, and you’ll never accomplish it through willpower, good intentions or self-effort. You must seek God for direction, submit to Him in all things, and draw strength from Him. Trying to do for yourself what only God can do is like trying to pick yourself up by your own bootstraps; it doesn’t work. You must entrust to God the job of equipping you for the work He’s called you to do. Yes, you need to do your part, but don’t try to do God’s part! ‘…We all…beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory [degree by degree]…by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). What is it that changes us? ‘The Spirit of the Lord.’ He takes the pressure off, and relieves us of the stress and anxiety we so often feel when we try to ‘change’ ourselves.
help me get out of the way of myself so that You can work in, with, and through me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen