Shalom to the many wonderful people who have visited SHMAmusic.com through the years and to those of you who have been faithful to pray for this ministry, for my family, and for me. I can assure you that your prayers and words of encouragement have made a great difference and I am forever grateful. It has been a tremendous blessing over the many years to travel with my family to bring music and a message of hope to people in so many places. It was such a thrill to share with people the wonderful ways in which God was blessing us and the great joy that I experienced as I saw His great victories in our lives and the lives of others.
However, our faith is truly tested in the difficult times. It is in the midst of unspeakable tragedy that we are forced to decide whether or not we will serve Adonai and praise His name in times of sorrow a well as in times of joy. For me it was a test of whether or not my service and praises to Him would just be a façade that covered a dying soul within me or would it be genuine? Unspeakable tragedy can come in different forms, but as most of you know, it came to me when I lost Carmen, my wife and friend, the wonderful mother to my children, and a great woman of faith who blessed many people through the years. I was suddenly confronted with the question that some of you have faced and that is, “Where is God now and how can anything good come from such a great loss?” The words from Psalm 13:1-4 expressed my feelings in those days: "How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' and my foes will rejoice when I fall."
I must be honest and admit that my revival did not come quickly nor easily. I lived in great sorrow for a long time, too long. Grief and sorrow are natural, appropriate, and even healthy when we experience great loss, but my sorrow had turned into self-pity and a lack of purpose or even interest in my life. I will forever be grateful to three godly men, brothers in the faith, that understood what I was going through and at different times and independent of one another, spoke words of life into me. I resented their words at first, but the words forced me to confront myself and accepted this simple truth: Our Messiah has promised that a place is being prepared for us in the life to come, but while we are yet in this life, while there is still breath within us, while there remains any strength in our bodies, God expects us to LIVE! We are to live for His glory, for the benefit of those around us, and for our own sake. Yes, I had to learn that God was there even in the darkest times. He did not abandon me. He did not forsake me.
When I accepted this simple truth, my life began to change dramatically and almost immediately. Life suddenly had “color” again and joy returned. This brought about some unexpected changes for me (or maybe I should say surprises!). Amazingly, God brought someone into my life to help me learn to live again. Although I had known Janine Handler before, God opened my eyes to see her in a new light. I began to court her and, miracle of miracles, when I asked for her hand in marriage, she said, “Yes.” Janine is an incredible woman who loves the Lord and desires to serve Him with all her heart. She has a passion for Bible study and teaching and has a great talent for “making the connections” within scripture. She is an accomplished musician who spent years in the secular music world until she had an encounter with God that changed her life. Her music abilities, as well as her gift for teaching are now totally devoted to God. She has an incredible story to tell and I hope that you will go to her bio to learn more about her.
Janine and I are now embarked on a new adventure: a music and teaching ministry that we look forward to sharing with you. Please take the time to look at some of the information about our ministry that can be found on this website. We also like to promote the work of others that we support and you can find information about other people on this website as well. As time goes on, I hope to share more about our new life and our ministry. I will also try to give updates on the family from time to time. So, please check back occasionally to see what is new.
God brings us through the dark times and back into the light. And now I don’t have to stop at verse four from Psalm 13, but can continue on with Psalm 13:5-6 where these words can be my own and I can speak them with conviction: "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me."
Shalom and many blessings,