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Category Archives: Hymns and Songs

“Down on my Knees” by Susan Ashton

I’ve got a witness not too stable
It wouldn’t get me very far
I’ve got one hand on the table
And one in the cookie jar
I’ve got sins that need eviction
From a temple that’s a wreck
I’ve got a chain of contradiction
Hanging around my neck
So I go down, I go down, down
I go down on my knees

I feel the bitter winds grow colder
They are dancing with my pride
I’ve got a chip on
my shoulder
Bigger than a mountainside
And these claws of human nature
Hold me tight within their clasp
I’m not worthy of forgiveness
But I just had to ask
So I go down, I go down, down
I go down on my knees

Feed my hunger – slake my thirst
For a spiritual rebirth
Light my darkness

Move in me
Make me more than what you see
As I go down on my knees

When I’ve all but killed the fire
And my soul’s in desperate need
But I wallow in the mire of complacency
That’s when I go down on my knees
I want to taste the fruit I’m missing
And yet I feast only on the bread
My desire’s alive and kicking
But my drive is dead

So I go down on my knees

Feed my hunger – slake my thirst
For a spiritual rebirth
Light my darkness
Move in me
Make me more than what you see
As I go down on my knees

You bear the weight of condemnation
Cleansing with the blood of truth
So with my humble acclamation
I want to give myself to you

So I go down, I go down, down
I go down on my knees
I go down, I go down, yea
I go down on my knees
I go down, I go down, down
I go down on my knees

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Wayne Kirkpatrick

Dear God, I think Wayne Kirkpatrick is an underrated songwriter. I remember when this album coming out 30 years ago and noticing that he wrote a lot of the songs. The lyrics are great and obviously written by someone who knows what working out their faith with fear and trembling through the trials of life is like. I put Ashton’s first two albums on yesterday while I worked out and was brought back to some really great songs from my past. So I thought I would start today with her first single that shot up the charts of Christian music, “Down on my Knees.”

To look at the lyrics of this song, it’s all about the internal (and outward) hypocrisy and struggle against our nature that we experience as Christians. The first verse just exemplifies Paul’s words in Romans 7 when he talks about struggling with sin. In verse 15 he says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” I think anyone who has submitted themselves to discipleship and following you has felt these internal emotions. Kirkpatrick definitely has, and Ashton did a great job articulating it:

I’ve got one had on the table and one in the cookie jar.

I’ve got sins that need eviction from a temple that’s a wreck

I’ve got a chain of contradiction hanging around my neck

These claws of human nature hold me tight within their clasp

I’ve all but killed the fire and my soul’s in desperate need, but I wallow in the mire of complacency

I want to taste the fruit I’m missing, but I feast only on the bread

My desire’s alive and kicking, but my drive is dead

So what do I do with all of this? That’s when I come here in prayer to you. That’s when I go down on my knees and humbly repent and ask you to:

Feed my hunger

Slake my thirst

Light my darkness

Move in me

Make me more than what you see

And when I do that, here’s what you do:

You bear the weight of condemnation

[Cleanse me] with the blood of truth

Father, sometimes this life in you is just about slogging away each day–each moment. Slogging against my lethargy and self-indulgence. Seeking your forgiveness and your strength. Asking you to move through me in to the world in ways that I’m not capable of on my own, yet they will help you to enter the world and let your kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So, please give me this day my daily bread. And forgive me as I forgive others. Help me be strong against temptation. Deliver me from Satan’s plans. For the kingdom, power, and glory are yours, now and forever.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2021 in Hymns and Songs

 

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“Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flats

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

That every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yes, He did

I think about the years I spent just passin’ through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there, you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yeah

And now I’m just a-rollin’ home
Into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, mm, mm

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Marcus Hummon / Jeff Hanna / Bobby Boyd

Dear God, this is a love song, but I think it has a great message from a macro level. We all have broken roads in our lives. I’ve certainly had things that didn’t turn out the way I wanted. When I’m in the midst of the valley this is the concept I put my faith in: sometimes this is the only path that leads to where you need me to be.

I’ve mentioned in these prayers before the time I told a friend about some of my frustrations and he said, “It’s hard when we are disappointed with God.” It was the struggle through that concept of being disappointed with you that brought me to a reality that I didn’t truly trust you. I still had a baseline of expectation that I expected you to meet. I was willing to accept some potholes in the road, but I wasn’t ready to deal with mudslides that collapsed the road out from under me. But I’ve walked and traversed the broken road long enough now to at least come to some level of peace about accepting my circumstances and then seeking your direction as to how I should respond. I’m still sad. I still mourn loss. I’m not “okay,” but that’s okay. That’s part of my formation too.

Father, every long lost dream leads me to where you are. So take my dreams and be glorified through my life and the lives of those most precious to me, regardless of what it costs me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2021 in Hymns and Songs

 

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“Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson

I’m gonna make a change
For once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I, turn up the collar on
My favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind

I see the kids in the streets
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
‘Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
Na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na, na-na

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
They follow the pattern of the wind ya’ see
‘Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could’ve been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that
Change!

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Oh yeah!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could’ve been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
You gotta get it right, while you got the time
You can’t close your, your mind!

That man, that man (With the man in the mirror)
That man, that man (Oh, yeah!)
That man, that man (I’m asking him to change his ways)
That man (Better change!)

No message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change

Na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na, na-na
Gonna feel real good
Na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na, na-na

I’m gonna make a change
It’s gonna feel real good!
Chime on!
(Change)

Just lift yourself
You know
You’ve got to stop it
Yourself!

I’ve got to make that change, today!
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)

You got to
You got to not let yourself
Brother
Hoo!

You know, I’ve got to get
That man, that man
(Man in the mirror)

You’ve got to move! Chime on!
Chime on!

You got to

Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
(Yeah! Make that change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now!
(Man in the mirror)

You know it!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it!

Make that change

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Glen Ballard / Siedah Garrett

Dear God, I watched an interview on Saturday with Siedah Garrett, the woman who wrote the lyrics of this song. It was inspirational and good-hearted. I enjoyed hearing how she wrote the song, and how Michael Jackson ended up deciding to record it. And it’s a good song. A really good song.

So I’ve sat with it for the last couple of days. I’ve decided that it’s great, but it’s definitely missing something. It’s missing you. It’s missing your love. It’s missing your broken heart and your Spirit motivating us. It’s missing the first step, which is our repentance. It’s missing the part where I ask you what you want me to do, and then I seek your provision as I move through it. It’s missing the possibility that I might have to be inconvenienced to do the work–well, maybe that part is in there.

I heard someone say one time that the church, your body, is your Plan A, and you don’t have a Plan B. Why is there suffering in the world? Well, as we talked about a few days ago from that interview I quoted about pain, it’s not for me to ask why. My job is to ask how you want me to respond to it.

I confess that I still limit my exposure. I still have some nicely drawn walls around my life. They might be a little, or a lot, wider than they were 20 years ago, but they are certainly still there.

Father, it doesn’t start with the man in the mirror. It starts with you. It starts with repenting for caring more about myself than I do you, your kingdom, or others. Then it moves to asking you to guide me into your work. Asking you to lay issues on my heart. Asking you to move me beyond my comfort zone, to give out of my need, and leave it all on the field. I’m sorry for not doing that. I’m sorry for not loving you with all of my heart, soul, and strength. I’m sorry for not loving my neighbor as myself. Help me to fulfill all of your law by simply doing those things.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2021 in Hymns and Songs

 

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“Ode to Joy” Flash Mob

[English Translation of “Ode to Joy” by Ludwig van Beethoven]

Oh friends, no more of these sounds! Let us sing more cheerful songs, More full of joy!
Joy, bright spark of divinity, Daughter of Elysium, Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary!
Thy magic power reunites
All that custom has divided;
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.
Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs, Join in our song of praise!
But any who cannot must creep tearfully Away from our circle.
All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine, A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can feel contentment, And the cherub stands before God!
Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses through the
splendor of the firmament;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race, As a hero going to conquest.
You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world! Brothers, above the starry canopy There must dwell a loving Father. Do you fall
in worship, you millions? World, do you know your Creator? Seek Him in the heavens!
Above the stars must He dwell.

Dear God, this song is so special to me. I’m pretty sure I’ve journaled on this version of the “Ode to Joy” before, but I came across it again a couple of nights ago and it so blessed me I needed to do it again.

What did this do for me? It brought me into worship when nothing else could. I had prayed. I listened to some Christian music that is meaningful to me. Nothing was helping. I was in a glum funk, and I couldn’t pull out of it. Then, for whatever reason (I’ll say it was the Holy Spirit), I was reminded of this video and I put it on. I literally had full-body chills and tears running down both cheeks. I was watching these people play and sing this song, and I joined in their chorus. My wife suggested it was a spiritual warfare situation, and somehow the Holy Spirit used this to break a spirit that was attacking me. Frankly, that’s exactly what it felt like. It literally felt like something broke.

Father, there is nothing like simply worshipping you. You are great. You are the source of love, joy, peace, etc. To be in your presence and joined by all of those who worship you is an amazing feeling. I guess that’s one of my favorite parts of this video. Not only do the players and singers gradually join the happy chorus, but the unsuspecting crowd joins as well. Everyone joined in some form of worship. Maybe some of them weren’t REALLY worshipping you, but many of them were. I certainly was as I watched it. Thank you for rescuing me not only from hell and a life and death spent apart from you, but for rescuing me a couple of nights ago. I needed you and I still need you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2021 in Hymns and Songs

 

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“The Dance” by Garth Brooks

“The Dance” by Garth Brooks

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared ‘neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance
Holding you, I held everything
For a moment wasn’t I the king
If I’d only known how the king would fall
Hey, who’s to say, you know I might have changed it all
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance
If our lives are better left to chance
Oh, our lives are better left to chance
Oh, our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance
Source: Musixmatch
Dear God, I was listening to this song yesterday and thinking about the introduction Garth Brooks gives it in the official music video. The first verse obviously sets the context as being about a romantic relationship, but he explains in that he also likes to think of it as being about living our lives in general and the choices we make to try to do the right things. Sometimes it ends in pain, but the pain or even tragedy is part of the journey and story as well.
Now, I know that not everyone even has the “dance” in their lives. The really joyous good times. I know that some have known nothing but pain their entire lives. But I can claim no such thing. I have had some remarkably wonderful times. There are times I still remember from childhood that were amazing. I’ve known my wife nearly my entire adult life, and we have done remarkable things together as well. When we got married, we had no idea some of the pain that awaited us. I could enumerate the pain we’ve experienced over the last 32 years of knowing each other, but you know it all better than I do. My life, comparatively, hasn’t been tragic my any stretch of the imagination. I’ve had pain to be sure. And there are some specific aspects of my current life that are extremely painful. Frankly, I’m not sure if they will ever be resolved. I’ve done what I can to resolve them, but their future is in the hands of others. So I’ve resigned myself to love them through letting them go and accept the pain as part of that love.
But coming back to this song, there is a lot of brilliance in it. I’m glad I didn’t know 20 or 30 years ago that I’d be exactly where I am now. There is so much wisdom in you keeping me on a need-to-know basis. It’s 8:32 in the morning as I type this right now. I don’t even know what 8:33 will bring. That’s okay. That’s good. If I will just stay in the moment and not worry about the next one then I can fully enjoy the good you are bringing me, absorb the pain, and commune with you.
On this vacation, the vision I keep having is from the 23rd Psalm. This two-week break is a luxury. You are leading me to green pastures and still waters. You are restoring my soul. There will be other times when I will experience the valley of the shadow of death. There will be times when I will be before my enemies. But right now, in this moment, you are restoring my soul. Thank you.
Father, I told you several months ago that I was having dinner with some old friends, and as we shared our lives with each other I thought of the metaphor of each of us having a representational bucket that contained the circumstances of our lives. All of the good and all of the bad. I came to the conclusion at that dinner that if I had the option to put my bucket in the middle of the table along with theirs and then we were each able to choose someone else’s bucket, I would, without a doubt, take my own. Everyone there would probably do the same. Why? As I sit here this morning, I think it is because, regardless of the pain in that bucket, it also contains all of those good and precious memories and moments of which I could not bear to let go. I have more than I deserve. I am grateful for the good and the bad. I embrace the life you’ve given me. Help me to, even in the hard times, worship you as the God who really loves me and can use my life in whatever way helps your kingdom to come to earth and your will to be done.
In Jesus’s name I pray,
Amen
 

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“God’s Country” by Blake Shelton

“God’s Country” by Blake Shelton

Right outside of this one church town
There’s a gold dirt road to a whole lot of nothin’
Got a deed to the land, but it ain’t my ground
This is God’s country
We pray for rain, and thank Him when it’s fallen
‘Cause it brings a grain and a little bit of money
We put it back in the plate
I guess that’s why they call it God’s countryI saw the light in the sunrise
Sittin’ back in a 40 on the muddy riverside
Gettin’ baptized in holy water and ‘shine
With the dogs runnin’
Saved by the sound of the been found
Dixie whistled in the wind, that’ll get you Heaven bound
The Devil went down to Georgia but he didn’t stick around
This is God’s countryWe turned the dirt and worked until the week’s done
We take a break and break bread on Sunday
And then do it all again
‘Cause we’re proud to be from God’s country (yeah, yeah)I saw the light in the sunrise
Sittin’ back in a 40 on the muddy riverside
Gettin’ baptized in holy water and ‘shine
With the dogs runnin’
Saved by the sound of the been found
Dixie whistled in the wind, that’ll get you Heaven bound
The Devil went down to Georgia but he didn’t stick around
This is God’s country (yeah)God’s countryI don’t care what my headstone reads
Or what kind of pinewood box I end up in
When it’s my time, lay me six feet deep
In God’s country (yeah, yeah)I saw the light in the sunrise
Sittin’ back in a 40 on the muddy riverside
Gettin’ baptized in holy water and ‘shine
With the dogs runnin’
Saved by the sound of the been found
Dixie whistled in the wind, that’ll get you Heaven bound
The devil went down to Georgia but he didn’t stick around
This is God’s country (God’s country)
Yeah, I saw the light in the sunrise
Sittin’ back in a 40 on the muddy riverside
Gettin’ baptized in holy water and ‘shine
With the dogs runnin’
Saved by the sound of the been found
Dixie whistled in the wind, that’ll get you Heaven bound
The Devil went down to Georgia but he didn’t stick around
This is God’s country

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Devin Dawson / Jordan Schmidt / Michael Wilson Hardy

Dear God, I was helping a relative do some manual labor work yesterday and this song came on their playlist. I hadn’t heard it before. When I heard the phrase “God’s country,” I started paying attention to the lyrics. I had an immediate negative reaction to the song. As I listened more and heard him talk about being baptized by the rain and such I started to wonder if I shouldn’t like this song and maybe I was missing something. I decided then that I would look at it again this morning and spend some time thinking about what was rubbing me the wrong way and discern if I was wrong or if it was perhaps revealing a truth about our world.

In the end, I think it’s possible that Mr. Shelton and the writers of this song have relationships with you that are deep and personal, but I think this song affirms a view of you that’s not much different than the Greeks had of Zeus. You are this big powerful up there who expects our worship, tributes, and even our tithe, but where’s the relationship? Where’s the humility? Where’s the “love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself”? Is it implied? In the lyrics. Maybe Shelton and the writers intended to imply it, but I would bet that a lot of the people who love the song don’t infer that.

This goes back to the theme of my prayers to. You over the last couple of months when I heard the sermon by Andy Stanley when he talked about the difference between being a believer in you and a follower of you. A believer just gives you your homage (maybe) and prays when they want something. A follower seeks to be transformed by you into your likeness. A follower works out their faith with fear and trembling. A follower sincerely asks what Jesus would do, not just to decide what action to take, but to also repent of the part of their heart that doesn’t want to follow that path.

Father, any song that talks about you but drives me to strut around with my chest out is probably not giving me the right ideas. Like I said, Mr. Shelton and the writers of this song might be in deep relationship with you, but I can completely see this song being played over loudspeakers at a Christian Nationalist event. So help me to put songs like this in their place. They aren’t bad. I would just call it incomplete. There’s nothing wrong with feeling confident in you and your provision. There’s nothing wrong with feeling proud of my faith. Just help me to remember that there’s more. There’s this time. There’s the time I spend praying to you—repenting and seeking your wisdom and insight. I need wisdom and insight right now. Help me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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“Remember When” by Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson – Remember When (Official Music Video) – YouTube

“Remember When” by Alan Jackson

Remember when I was young and so were you
And time stood still and love was all we knew
You were the first, so was I
We made love and then you cried
Remember when

Remember when we vowed the vows and walked the walk
Gave our hearts, made the start, it was hard
We lived and learned, life threw curves
There was joy, there was hurt
Remember when

Remember when old ones died and new were born
And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged
We came together, fell apart
And broke each other’s hearts
Remember when

Remember when the sound of little feet
Was the music we danced to week to week
Brought back the love, we found trust
Vowed we’d never give it up
Remember when

Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now lookin’ back, it’s just a steppin’ stone
To where we are, where we’ve been
Said we’d do it all again
Remember when

Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won’t be sad, we’ll be glad
For all the life we’ve had
And we’ll remember when

Remember when
Remember when

Dear God, this is a great song on its own, but the video really adds some depth to it. I looked it up, and Alan Jackson wrote the song himself. It’s all quite beautiful. In fact, I used it in the 50th wedding anniversary video I made for my parents.

So it’s Saturday afternoon, I I felt like spending some more time with you, but I needed a prompt. What to talk about? Well, I think one of the more interesting things about life at any age is its unpredictability. We simply have no idea what will happen from one moment to the next in a world that tracks in linear time. I have a neighbor down the street who is in his mid-80s and struggling with health issues. He was getting weaker and weaker. His wife was probably about 10 years younger than him and was very vibrant. She was able to care for him. It was a late-in-life marriage for both of them, so there are step children on both sides. I think his children were grateful she could be there to care for their dad since none of them live in our small town. Then something surprising happened. She had a series of falls, with the last one resulting in her hitting her head and dying. From the first fall until her death, it was about a month. None of us would have guessed she would go first. But now he’s alone and he and his children are trying to figure out his path forward without her as his caregiver. Interestingly, he seems to be rising to the occasion and getting a little stronger. He’s a very responsible man who had ceded some of the work of living to her. Now he has to step up and he is.

I look back on who my wife and I were when we met at 18/19 respectively. We didn’t know much. To our credit, I think we knew there was a lot we didn’t know, but we had no idea how much we didn’t know. 32 years later, there’s still so much we don’t know. But the other thing I’ve learned over the years is that you often keep me on a need-to-know basis, and I very rarely need to know.

But we would never have guessed where we would end up professionally, as parents, as members in our community, as a couple, or even as Christians. We had no idea where life would lead.

So some highlights from the song:

We lived and learned, life threw curves
There was joy, there was hurt

I’m surprised how many times I’ve hurt my wife and others through the years. And I’m surprised how many times I’ve been hurt by her and others. There was a lot of joy too, but the hurt somehow is what lingers longer. Why is that?

Remember when old ones died and new were born
And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged
We came together, fell apart
And broke each other’s hearts

You don’t get married thinking about relatives dying and what that will look like–especially when you get married young. The first death we experienced was the miscarriage of our little girl. I still look forward to meeting Sandra someday. I wonder what she’s thought as she’s watched us go through life. Has she been cheering us on? Has she been praying for us as we experienced other losses and trials? Yes, my wife and I have broken each other’s hearts at times. And we’ve had our hearts broken by others. I am incredibly grateful to still have her as my wife. Thank you for her.

Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now lookin’ back, it’s just a steppin’ stone
To where we are, where we’ve been
Said we’d do it all again

A couple of things here. First, I was 35 when I got the job I have now. That was over 15 years ago. I felt older than I now know I was. Even now, I am sure I feel older than I am, but the nice thing about pursuing you in discipleship is that I feel like I am constantly reminded how small I am in the grand scheme of things. And you aren’t calling me to figure everything out. You are just asking me to follow you moment to moment, listening for your leading and being willing to obey your voice regardless of what it will cost me in my selfishness or insecurity.

Second, I’m not saying I’d want to do it all again, but there are very few things I regret. It’s been hard (not that I’m complaining because plenty of people have had harder lives than I’ve had–in fact, I’m probably a 1-percenter when it comes to how easy my life has been compared to the other 6 billion people on this planet. I’m just saying that it’s kind of like high school. I enjoyed high school, but I wouldn’t want to do it again. But there are certainly some moments I wouldn’t mind reliving–especially now. I have some sweet, sweet memories of times that I do, indeed, miss.

Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won’t be sad, we’ll be glad
For all the life we’ve had
And we’ll remember when

Here’s where I’m a 1-percenter: I am incredibly fortunate to be married to a woman whom I enjoy after over 30 years of knowing her. I’m fortunate that letting the children move away didn’t leave my life empty and void of meaning. I’m very fortunate to be able to sit here, even just being middle-aged, and be grateful for the life I’ve had.

Father, thank you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2021 in Hymns and Songs

 

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“Rise Up (Lazarus)” by CAIN and Zach Williams

https://youtu.be/pw8IgPHRBr4

“Rise Up (Lazarus)” by CAIN and Zach Williams

In the dark and all alone, growing comfortable
Are you too scared to move and walk out of this tomb?
Buried underneath, the lies that you believed
Safe and sound, stuck in the ground
Too lost to be found

You’re just asleep and it’s time to leave

Come on and rise up, take a breath, you’re alive now
Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us
Out from the grave like Lazarus
You’re brand new, the power of death couldn’t hold you
Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us
Out from the grave like Lazarus
Rise up, rise up, rise up
Out from the grave like Lazarus

When He said your name, the thing that filled your veins
Was more than blood, it’s the kind of love that washes sin away
Now the door is open wide and the stones been rolled aside
The old is gone, the Light has come, so

Come on and rise up, take a breath, you’re alive now
Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us
Out from the grave like Lazarus
You’re brand new, the power of death couldn’t hold you
Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us
Out from the grave like Lazarus
Rise up (like Lazarus) rise up, rise up
Out from the grave like Lazarus

He’s calling us to walk out of the dark
He’s giving us new resurrected hearts, oh-whoa
He’s calling us to walk out of the dark
He’s giving us new resurrected hearts, oh

Come on and rise up, take a breath, you’re alive now
Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us
Out from the grave like Lazarus
You’re brand new, the power of death couldn’t hold you
Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us
Out from the grave like Lazarus
Rise up (He’s calling you out, no) rise up
Get me up from the grave like Lazarus

Rise up (You don’t have to stay there)
Rise up (oh, we hear You calling)
Rise up (calling us, calling us)
Out from the grave like Lazarus

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Madison Cain / Taylor Cain / Logan Cain / Ethan Hulse / Nick Schwarz

Dear God, the last few days, I’ve started to put these prayer journals together, but I’ve had too much to say on my phone’s keyboard so I’ve waited to write the bulk of them until I got to a real keyboard. But then I never made the time to actually sit down and pray through the things I was thinking when I started each of these. All of that is to say that I’m sorry I didn’t make it more of a priority to really spend some time with you.

When it comes to this song, I came across it in the last couple of days and it made me think of one particular person in my life. She/he is so locked up in secrets. She/he is so defensive of her/his life choices. She/he is so stubborn when it comes to being open to you. I look at the words to this song, and I just sing them for her/him:

In the dark and all alone, growing comfortable
Are you too scared to move and walk out of this tomb?

I remember several years ago I had a relative who was locked in a lot of secrets. I would tell my wife, “There is so much freedom waiting for him if he would just let go of these secrets. If he would just admit he needs help and let us help him.” Then he did, and he was able to have a pretty peaceful life. He still had struggles. He still had to battle (sometimes unsuccessfully) with addictions, but even though he has since passed on, he was able to have a peaceful last few years of his life.

Secrets, secrets, secrets. They are where we give Satan the biggest foothold in our lives. Secrets. Shame. Self-condemnation. Then we look to vices to give us respite from that shame and self-condemnation. Alcohol. Drugs. Porn/Sex. Food. Zoning out in front of a screen watching what we used to call “TV.” None of it works for very long, and all each of them does is destroy us and our relationships even further. There is no life. There is only death. But moving out of that “tomb” can seem like too much to handle.

Father, help me to be exactly who you need me to be. Help me to face the realities of my life. Help me to be what my wife, children, family, coworkers, and friends need me to be. Be glorified in me for your kingdom’s sake. Help me to rise up.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2021 in Hymns and Songs

 

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“We are not as Strong as We Think We Are” by Rich Mullins

“We are not as Strong as We Think We Are” by Rich Mullins

Well, it took the hand of God Almighty 
To part the waters of the sea 
But it only took one little lie 
To separate you and me 
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are 

And they say that one day Joshua 
Made the sun stand still in the sky 
But I can’t even keep these thoughts of you from passing by 
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are 

We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made 
Forged in the fires of human passion 
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage 
And with these our hells and our heavens 
So few inches apart 
We must be awfully small 
And not as strong as we think we are 

And the Master said their faith was 
Gonna make them mountains move 
But me, I tremble like a hill on a fault line 
Just at the thought of how I lost you 
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are 

We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made 
Forged in the fires of human passion 
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage 
And with these our hells and our heavens 
So few inches apart 
We must be awfully small 
And not as strong as we think we are 

And if you make me laugh 
I know I could make you like me 
‘Cause when I laugh I can be a lot of fun 
But we can’t do that I know that it is frightening 
What I don’t know is why we can’t hold on 
We can’t hold on 

It took the hand of God Almighty 
To part the waters of the sea 
But it only took one little lie 
To separate you and me 
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are 

When you love you walk on the water 
Just don’t stumble on the waves 
We all want to go there something’ awful 
But to stand there it takes some grace

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Beaker and Rich Mullins

Dear God, we just keep getting humbled over and over again. I wonder at what point we will finally break and repent. I fear it will take a lot more.

I have to be honest. I’m in a bit of a fog right now. Almost overwhelmed into inaction. I just want to hibernate and go into self-preservation mode. Every man for himself sort of thing. But I’ve been so fortunate throughout this deep freeze. I have had electricity and water. I’ve been trapped, but being trapped has been pretty survivable.

That’s why I chose this song today. We are not as strong as we think we are. We have all of these great feelings of accomplishment. All of these plans. And then they just go out the window. I am not nearly as strong (or humble, meek, mild, peaceful, joyful, patient, kind, good, etc.) as I think I am. I talked yesterday about the idols I’ve made out of the infrastructure around me. I feel that same powerlessness today.

Father, I pray right now for the suffering. I pray for those who are cold and don’t know when they will be warm again. I pray for those who live on the margins and don’t know how they will get their next meal. I knew that we might have some water problems. Maybe some road problems. I did not foresee the electricity problems. Please show all of us how to give of ourselves so that others might have a chance. Frankly, I feel like I am praying in circles and I don’t even know how it pray. Holy Spirit, please help. Please intercede. Please pray. It is Fat Tuesday before Lent. May this be a Fat Tuesday like none other. A Fat Tuesday that doesn’t bring gluttony, but truly ushers in a season of worshipping you for everything you do.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2021 in Hymns and Songs

 

“Keep Me In The Moment” by Jeremy Camp

“Keep Me In The Moment” by Jeremy Camp

I’ve been thinking ’bout time
And where does it go
How can I stop my life from passing me by, I don’t know

I’ve been thinking ’bout family and how it’s going so fast
Will I wake up one morning just wishing that I could go back

I’ve been thinking ’bout lately, maybe
I can make a change and let you change me
So, with all of my heart this is my prayer

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I’m chasing after
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Keep me in the moment
Oh, keep me in the moment
Keep me in the moment
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

When I wake up in the morning
Lord, search my heart
Don’t let me stray, I just wanna stay where you are

All I got is one shot, one try
One go around in this beautiful life
Nothing is wasted when everything’s placed in your hands

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I’m chasing after
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Keep me in the moment
Oh, keep me in the moment (Keep me in the moment)
Keep me in the moment
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

I’ve been thinking about heaven
And the promise you hold
So, it’s all eyes on you
Until the day you call me home

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
(I don’t wanna miss, I don’t wanna miss)
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I’m chasing after
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Keep me in the moment
Oh, keep me in the moment
Keep me in the moment
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

Keep me in the moment (Keep me in the moment)
Oh, keep me in the moment (Keep me in the moment)
Keep me in the moment
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (What you have for me)

Songwriters: Jordan Sapp / Matthew Joseph West / Jeremy Camp

Dear God, I have been singing this song all morning to myself, so I thought I would dig into it a little. I linked to the official video for it above, but, to be honest, the portrayals kind of went in a different direction than I expected. Not that I disagreed with them, but they were mainly about family and not missing the relationships that we have. And while that is important, I think there is something more that is missed by not living in the moment and being distracted by the future or living in the past–you.

One of the things I read that has had the most impact on my life was from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. In the 15th letter, Screwtape (mentor demon) gives his nephew Wormwood (apprentice demon) some advice about keeping his human “patient” away from God:

Our business is to get the away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we somethimes tempt a human (say a widow or scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity.

This is brilliant on Lewis’s part, and if they were still adding to the Bible today I’m not so sure some of his writing wouldn’t have been added to it. But I think it also plays to the lyrics of this song, if not the message of the video. There is a lot more that you have called me to than just family, although family is the most important call. But I don’t want to make an idol of them. They are not my ultimate joy. They can’t be. It’s not fair to my children or my wife to ask them to be. No, my ultimate joy is you, in this moment, as a 50-year-old male. A year from now, when (if) I’m still here typing these prayers to you, I will be a 51-year-old male and you will still be the same God. I’ll be different, but you won’t. I won’t find you by worrying about the future. I won’t find you by living in the past. I’ve tried to do both of these things. I’ve tried to go back and recapture the times when our family and our children were younger and things were easier. I’ve tried to fast forward life to get to a place where I want it to be. Instead, the thing for me to do is just live in this moment and ask you, What do you want me to do today?

Father, keep me in the moment. Help me live with my eyes wide open because I don’t want to miss what you have for me. Oh, Lord, show me what matters. Throw away what I’m chasing after because I don’t want to miss what you have for me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2021 in Hymns and Songs

 

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