Always Be True
MAC: Always be True is really a relationship song. There are several songs on the record—Let Me Love You, Call My Name—that can be looked at from a perspective of us hearing from God or from a loved one. This song I wrote specifically for my family, for my wife and also my kids, me telling them and reminding them that I’ll always be true to them. I think I can use it to speak on behalf of the other guys in the band as well, speaking into their families and saying that even though we are gone quite a bit and there is so much going on in a busy life that we’ll put them first above our jobs and even our ministry. It’s a reminder for us and for our families about our priorities.
TAI: I Will Always be True was written as a simple song of marital faithfulness and pledged devotion. As I listened to the early mixes of the song on the back of an Air Force cargo plane in Iraq last year, I couldn't help but apply the message of the lyrics to the men and women that we were meeting every day on the ground. In a band, we experience a fair amount of team dynamics, but it pales in comparison to the soldiers who are so completely and faithfully relying on and serving each other. I love getting the privilege of dedicating this song to the men and women that are serving our country overseas. I think that our audience appreciates the opportunity to express their gratitude as well.
QUESTION: So a devotional focus for this song would be about faithfulness, relationship, family, people around you, and being true to them.
MAC: Absolutely! That’s exactly the heart of the song.
Barnabas—The Son of Encouragement
The disciples didn’t call Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, Barnabas for nothing. The name meant the son of Encouragement and Barnabas sure was an encourager. His motto to all who spoke to might easily have been ‘Always Be True’. When he arrived in Antioch, having been sent by the disciples, we read this:
"When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts" (Acts 11:23, NIV).
And later on in his missionary journey with Paul, we read of them strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:22, NIV).
Barnabas really believed in the power and importance of community, early on in the book of Acts he had sold a field he owned and given the money to the disciples in order to help those in need. He was described as a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and someone through whom God brought many others to faith. It was Barnabas who recruited Paul to go to Antioch on mission, and they became fellow missionaries together.
Unfortunately, they disagreed later on the suitability of John Mark as a member of their team and so they went on separate mission trips for a while before reunited later in their ministry. Barnabas was a people person above all else- he’d wanted to give John Mark a second chance after Mark had dropped out of a mission trip but Paul had written off Mark. Wherever Barnabas went he spent a quality length of time with fledgling believers in young churches, encouraging them, building up their faith, and reminding them to always be true to Christ and to each other.
MARY MAGDALENE—ALWAYS TRUE TO JESUS
We live in an age where faithfulness, integrity and commitment are scarcities. Marriages, if even entered into, often don’t last long. People break promises and change their minds like the wind. Friends and spouses who remain always true are few and far between. Yet we all long for someone who really will always be true to us.
We don’t know much about Mary Magdalene but what we do know points to a woman whose mission statement could also be ‘Always Be True’. The gospel writers tell us that Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene, and from that moment onwards she became part of the group of people who followed Jesus throughout His ministry. Mary was faithful enough to be with the women who agonizingly watched the crucifixion of Jesus, and it as this point in the narrative that we learn these women had looked after Jesus whenever he was in Galilee. Mary, according to John’s gospel, was close to the cross when Jesus was dying, according to Matthew’s gospel she followed the body of Jesus to the grave, and all the gospels tell us that she was the first to learn of Jesus’ resurrection. In fact, Mark discloses that Mary was actually the first person to see the risen Lord Jesus.
Read Mary Magdalene’s story in Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:9;John 20:1-9 and 18.
Mary and the other women were marginal in Jewish society, and must have felt helpless as they saw Jesus being arrested. They would have been unable to speak on his behalf before the High Council, Pilate would have ignored any appeal they made, and once the angry crowd started baying for Jesus blood then the women would have been very afraid. Certainly, the Roman guards surrounding Jesus on His journey to Calvary and onto the cross would have made it impossible for the women to help Jesus at all.
Yet Mary did what she could in extreme circumstances to remain true to Jesus. She stayed around the cross whilst the male disciples fled. She followed Jesus to the tomb when the men had given up hope. She helped prepare spices to anoint the body—a sign of her love and devotion. As a result, Mary was the first to witness the miracle of the resurrection. She’s already experienced a miracle first hand when Jesus cast those seven demons out of her, and now because of her desire to always be true to Jesus, she was the first person to meet the risen Lord Jesus back from the dead. Her worship and devotion to Jesus was lavish even in adversity, when others had retreated into despair. When the male disciples were crippled with fear, Mary was always true.
The gospel writer John wrote a letter to his dear friend Gaius, and commends him thus:
It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (1 John 3:3-4, NIV).
Old School Third Day—Listen to ‘Till the Day I Die’ from Live Wire
Written by Pastor Nigel James