Category Archives: Music

Bridging the Distance

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went to see Dwight Yoakam in concert. It was a great concert — but then Dwight always puts on a great concert. True to my nature, I’ve listened to a lot of Dwight both before and after the concert. He sang one of my favorite songs called “If There Was a Way” and I realized that I did not have that album on my iPod. I quickly remedied that a day or so after the concert and have been listening a lot to that album.

There is another song on that album that has me thinking. It’s called “The Distance Between You and Me.” It’s a sad song about a couple that has grown apart. The chorus says:

I lie awake and hear you breathing
Only inches from me in this bed
Not much space but it’s all that we needed
To live alone now that our love is dead

This song is particularly sad because it describes so many couples in our society today. They start out their marriages happy and blissful, but somewhere along the way a distance grows between them, sometimes so big it’s immeasurable. The distance leaves them alone even as they occupy the same house, the same bed. Many wonder what leads to such aloneness.

But it’s really no mystery. Quoting Psalm 4:4, the apostle Paul advised, “‘In your anger do not sin’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV). Sadly, so many people do not heed this advice. Pride, anger, and lack of forgiveness cause the distance. One spouse says or does something that hurts the other, maybe intentionally but maybe not. And the other spouse refuses to forgive, holds a grudge. Then another incident leads to another grudge, and on and on it goes. Each grudge separates them and eventually enough anger and unforgiveness destroys the love and intimacy they once enjoyed.

Another problem that causes a distance between husband and wife is when one or the other uses sex as a weapon, when because of anger one refuses the other’s advances. Paul also warned against this situation when he gave his “Instruction on Marriage” in 1 Corinthians:

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NLT).

Thankfully, there is a way to bridge the distance and loneliness, and heal the hearts of estranged love. Honesty, love, and forgiveness will heal all wounds. Live together with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV).

The best option is to live by God’s design for a healthy marriage as revealed in His Word and thereby prevent Satan from getting a foothold in your lives and creating that distance that destroys love and intimacy. But where Satan has already gained a foothold and a distance has grown, that distance can be bridged by love and forgiveness. Love that appears dead can be given new life by God’s grace.

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Living with Regrets – A Poem

Next week I am going to see Dwight Yoakam in concert. I love Dwight for the way that he writes and sings of lost love in such a way that it makes me truly appreciate the love of my life. I’ve been thinking this week about a post on this topic, then today the Form for All lesson over at dVerse Poets Pub was a challenge to write Twitter poetry, in which each stanza is exactly 140 characters. It seemed like a good medium for my thoughts on Dwight’s music.

Living with Regrets

At the end of this long life
no one will regret that
their life wasn’t more like
a Dwight Yoakam song,
sad and lonelier, -
heartache filled.

1000 miles of misery
stem from pride,
love lost and heartache found
leaving that sweet face behind
watching clouds, engines roar

Knowing love will never return
feeling emptiness and loss
stems from neglect of love
not reaching out or being there-
Needing words of hope.

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My Final Breath – A Triolet

I’ll sing a song of grace and love
I’ll praise You with my final breath
Lift my voice to Heaven above
I’ll sing a song of grace and love

Your majesty I stand in awe of
You saved my soul from certain death
I’ll sing a song of grace and love
I’ll praise You with my final breath

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – A Poem

This morning as I was getting ready for work the song All Fall Down by MercyMe was playing on my iPod. I paused my iPod towards the end of this song for my prayer time and picked up my book of Psalms for Prayer to read the next psalm, which happened to be Psalm 139. I had to smile when I got to verse 14 because it is one of the lines in the song I had just been listening to. Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I decided to write a short psalm of my own based on this verse and to also share the song by MercyMe. Because it is Tuesday, I will be sharing this later today for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I will praise You, O Lord
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made

You are the Creator of my soul
my mind, my talents and strengths

You knew me before I was
and had a plan for all my days

Take my strengths, O Lord
and use them to Your glory

You are the Creator of all that I am
Your ways are too wonderful for me to understand

Take my weaknesses, O Lord, my God
and show Your might and power to overcome

I am fearfully and wonderfully made
to You belongs all my praise

 

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A Crazy Dream of Love Triumphant

I am thankful for the day off today for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I am also thankful for his dream that love would triumph over hatred and evil. That is my dream, too. And like King, I believe God when He promises that one day this dream will be reality.

In honor of this day and this dream, I decided to post a great song by MercyMe called Crazy Enough. Call me crazy, but I believe in the dream of love triumphant.

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Linda Kruschke:

I don’t usually reblog posts from other blogs, but this one really touched me today. Bryan Lowe has written a great many encouraging and helpful posts, this is but one. I always appreciate his perspective as one who struggles himself with bipolar disorder and some anxiety issues as well. He shares today from what he knows of another great writer who shared from what he knew of the spiritual and emotional battle many face.

Originally posted on Broken Believers ♥:

martin_luther2 (1)Martin’s Depression

The hymn A Mighty FortressIs Our God gloriously celebrates God’s power. It was penned by the great 16th-century reformer Martin Luther, who believed God’s power could help believers overcome great difficulties — even depression. Given his pastoral heart, he sought to bring spiritual counsel to struggling souls. His compassion for those souls shines in numerous places, including his sermons, lectures, Bible commentaries and ‘table talks’. In addition, he devoted many letters to counseling troubled folk.

Luther’s writings reveal his knowledge of various emotional difficulties. For example, in August 1536 he interceded for a woman named Mrs. Kreuzbinder, whom he deemed insane. He described her as being “accustomed to rage” and sometimes angrily chasing her neighbor with a spear.

In addition, Luther’s wife, Kate, struggled with pervasive and persistent worry indicative of generalized anxiety disorder. Prince Joachim of Anhalt, to whom Luther often wrote, exhibited signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder

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I’ll Never Get Bored

Don’t get me started talking about my son or I could go on forever. I love telling people about what a great young man he is, about his artistic talent and generous nature, and about his plans to go to art school. I never get bored telling others about him.

There is another Son that I never get bored with talking and writing about—Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Although not all of the 900+ posts on my blog are about Jesus, the majority are. I have shared about His grace and love, about how He has helped me face challenges in my life and my faith that He will continue to do so, and about the many lessons I have learned from His Word. I love to tell the story of what Jesus has done for me because He has given me a peace and joy I never knew before I knew Him, and I want that peace and joy for everyone I know. Actually, I want it for the whole world. And I know there are people who read my blog who never get bored with reading and hearing about His love, too.

But there is one person who apparently does. (There are probably others, but most who aren’t interested simply don’t read my blog rather take the time to tell me my choice of subject is boring.) This person wrote to me:

I seldom read your stuff…. You are a good writer, but you go on and on and on about the same stuff…. How wonderful God is, and nothing good would happen without the blessings of God, how God feeds the hungry, nourishes the sick, etc. etc. etc. Doesn’t it get boring, reading and writing the same thing over and over? You could substitute just about any of your posts for another.

I was really letting this bother me, but then this morning in church we sang the great old hymn I Love to Tell the Story. The first verse says:

I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above
Of Jesus and His glory
Of Jesus and His love
I love to tell the story
Because I know it’s true
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else will do

I was reminded of why I love Jesus and share His love with others. It’s because He satisfies the desires of my heart as nothing and no one else ever could. There will always be those who don’t want to hear the story of Jesus. That is their choice and I am not upset or offended by their choice. But I will never grow bored with sharing God’s grace with those who want to hear. So I decided today to share Alan Jackson’s rendition of the hymn we sang this morning, I Love to Tell the Story.

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Where My Love Comes From

I’ve been listening to Third Day’s new album Miracle for a while now. I have to confess that I don’t like this album as much as Move or Revelation, but a number of the songs have really started to grow on me.

One song that I am really starting to love is Your Love Is Like a River.

This life can be hard and we suffer hurt and darkness from every side. We are hard pressed to remain standing through it all. We need love, light, and stability just to survive. God’s love is like a river that never stops flowing if we let it. His love is like a fire that keeps the darkness at bay. His love is like a rock that is a firm and stable foundation for every day.

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 (NIV).

What this world needs is God’s love and they will know that love if we, His people, let that love flow from our hearts. We must always remember that He is the source of our love. This song reminds me where my love comes from.

Another thing I love about this song is the underlying message of the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The river is like the Father ever flowing throughout eternity; the fire is like the Holy Spirit who lights our way; and the rock is like the Son who provides a firm foundation for our faith.

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God Knows Me

I could just have easily titled this post God’s Timing Is Perfect, but I want to focus on the real lesson I learned from a recent encounter with God.

Starting about two months ago, every time I would hear the song Beautiful by Mercy Me I would think of a friend and feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit to email a YouTube link to this encouraging song to her. This happened seven or eight times in the course of two months. Each time I didn’t follow through. Until the last time when I replied to God is an exasperated voice (in my head), “Fine, I’ll send her the link.” And I did.

I sent the email on a Friday evening, then worried that maybe I shouldn’t have. I know this person is a Christian, but because of our relationship I wasn’t sure it would be well received. I should have known better with God involved.

On Sunday I received a reply email thanking me for sending the song link and saying that it held a message she needed to hear right then. “Sometimes timing is everything,” she wrote.

This is why I could have titled this little post God’s Timing Is Perfect. But what I learned from this is so much bigger. I learned that God knows me better than I know myself. He knew that I would not follow through on His nudge the first time it came, nor would I do so the second time. In fact, He knew it would take seven or eight nudges before I would throw up my hands in frustration and finally give in.

I believe that God’s hand was in this whole situation. Each time I heard this song it was part of a shuffled playlist on my iPod. My biggest playlist that includes this song has over 450 songs and the smallest has 178, so the odds that this one song would come up so many times were pretty amazing.

I had no idea when would be the right time to share this encouraging song, but God knew exactly when my friend would need it most and what He needed to do to make sure I shared it at that time.

And now I want to share this song with you all today as a reminder that you, too, are beautiful in His eyes.

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Before the Throne – A Poem

This morning as I was listening to music on my iPod the song Trust in Jesus came on and I started to think about standing before God’s judgment throne. Paul confirmed what is written all throughout the Old Testament, that everyone, even Christians, will face God’s judgment.

For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.
It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’”

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Romans 14:11-12 (NIV).

It occurred to me that as much as I appreciate what Jesus has done for me now, it will only be as I face the judgment throne of God that I will be able to fully appreciate the magnitude of His grace. Just as Solomon did, “I thought in my heart, ‘God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed.’” Ecclesiastes 3:17 (NIV). Perhaps it is to fulfill His promise to bring us great joy and blessing that God will reveal, at the end of our days, how much He truly loves us. Only by revealing our great need for His redemption can He make us understand.

Before the Throne

I stand before the throne of God
He opens His book to my list of sins
His messenger begins to read
my transgressions, one by one

In my mind I begin to prepare
my defense, my justification for each sin
I think I am ready to answer
to show that I deserve mercy

The list goes on and on and on
Will it ever end?
My justifications begin to fade
My heart grows weak with shame

How can I stand before His throne
the judgment throne of the Almighty
I tremble in fear of His wrath, His righteous judgment
I know it will destroy me, I cannot stand

I fall to my knees before His throne

I bow my head knowing His judgment is true
Realizing I have no defense
I have broken every commandment, every law
without a single justification

Suddenly before the throne
between me and God’s final judgment
Stands the One who came to save me
His mercy and grace pour over me

I remember with great joy
that while I was yet a sinner
He loved me, He redeemed my soul
I trusted in Him and He is faithful to forgive

Before the throne of judgment and grace
I lift my voice in praise and adoration
Finally understanding completely
What His great love has accomplished

1/8/13: Shared this for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today.

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