Tag Archives: Christian Music

God Is Always with Me

At the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus says to the disciples, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b (NIV). When He said this, He was talking not just to those disciples who were present, but to all who believe in Him even today. That includes me. He is always with me. He showed me that in a very concrete way this past week.

On Tuesday I had an appointment that I had been putting off for over a year. It may seem like a small thing to many of you, but to me it was huge. I was afraid to make and keep this appointment. But with God’s encouragement I finally did it.

I went to the dentist to have prep done for a crown. I know, people get crowns every day, but I have since childhood been extremely uncomfortable in the dentist’s chair. It stems from a childhood experience that I won’t go into because it’s not the point of this story. Suffice it to say that I have for as long as I can remember been tense and nervous when I have to go to the dentist, even for a cleaning.

There was no getting around the fact that I needed a crown. I have a hairline fracture in a tooth and I barely chew on that side because if I chew on anything even slightly hard it hurts. A year ago the new dentist I started seeing told me I needed to do this. He was nice about it and understanding about my fear, and he didn’t pressure me to put a crown or overlay on every molar in my mouth as a prior dentist had tried to do. I liked his manner enough that I finally felt like I’d found a dentist I could trust. (His name is Jack Henry in Lake Oswego, if you happen to be looking for a good dentist.)

After praying for God’s peace (see Philippians 4:6-7), I finally scheduled a cleaning one week and the crown prep the following week. Halfway through the cleaning appointment, I realized I was the most relaxed I had ever been in a dentist’s chair. This gave me hope that the crown prep wouldn’t be so bad.

Did I mention that I dislike Novocain intensely? It tends to cause my cheek and jaw to hurt for several days. So in spite of the good cleaning appointment, I was still feeling anxious as I looked ahead to the crown prep because I knew there would be Novocain and drilling involved.

But again, I prayed that God would give me peace and help me to not be afraid during this appointment.

I arrived on time and was escorted to the dentist’s chair. I asked if I could listen to music while they worked because I had brought my iPod and headphones. The dentist not only said I could but said it was a great idea. He likes to listen to music when he has dental work done, too, because he doesn’t like the sound of the grinder and drill. It was very reassuring to know that he understood that this procedure was not at all pleasant and that he was going to do whatever he could to make it better.

As he began to work, I shuffled my iPod on a MercyMe and Jeremy Camp playlist I had created in anticipation of Fish Fest that I am going to in August with some friends. And that’s when God so clearly reminded me that He is always with me. The first song that played was God with Us by MercyMe. I heard these beginning lyrics:

Who are we
That You would be mindful of us
What do You see
That’s worth looking our way

We are free
In ways that we never should be
Sweet release from the grip of these chains

I knew that He was mindful of this small thing in my life. I knew He had released me from the chains of fear that had kept me from making this appointment a year before. As that song ended, I felt the peace of knowing God was with me, but He wasn’t done reminding me. The next song to randomly play on shuffle was Here with Me, also by MercyMe, with lyrics that say:

And I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I’m lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to your love

You’re everywhere I go
I am not alone
You call me as your own
To know you and be known

Oh, that He would care so much for me; that He knows so well my anxiety and fear and also how to calm that fear. And then He reminded me of why I was feeling such peace in what would have otherwise been a tense and stressful situation. The next song to play was Every Time by Jeremy Camp. The chorus and one of the verses of this song say:

Every time I’m on my knees, pleading for Your strength
I will find You there, find you there
Every time I’m on my knees, reaching for Your strength
I will find You there, find You there

I’m holding on to this hope
I’ve been given, to be always with You
I’m seeing now
That this fullness of faith is, always seeking You

That very morning I had been on my knees pleading God for strength and peace to endure this appointment that my natural self dreaded. I held onto the hope that He would be with me, and He was faithful as always. Rather than be anxious about my appointment, I brought my concern to God, with thanksgiving, and His peace was my reward.

By the time this third song ended, Dr. Henry was done with the drilling and grinding. I was not tense and had not felt a thing. And to top it all off, the Novocain wore off much more quickly than I had expected and there were no lasting effects of pain in my cheek or jaw.

God is always with me, even at the dentist. What an awesome and wonderful God He is!

 

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This Big Light of Mine

For the past week or so I’ve been listening to the new MercyMe CD “Welcome to the New” as often as I can. There is not a song on this CD that I don’t love. I’ve written a post inspired in part by one of the songs, Flawless, and have wanted to write about more of the great music on this CD, but it’s hard to choose which song to write about. Perhaps in the end I’ll write about most or all of them, but for today I want to share my thoughts on Burn Baby Burn. I’m going to start by sharing the video:

I love this song because it is another one that reinforces what I’ve been learning in Bible Study Fellowship this past year. I’ve learned that it is not enough to believe who Jesus is and that He saved me if that knowledge doesn’t change me. I have the Light and I need to let it shine. I have the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, and I need to rely on that power in every circumstance. I need to truly know, with every fiber of my being, who I am and what I have in Christ.

Jesus’ disciples were truly changed by their encounter with Him, both before His crucifixion and after His resurrection. But even more importantly, when they were filled with His Holy Spirit, they became bold and fearless proclaimers of the truth. They knew who they were and what they had. The book of Acts is brimming with stories of the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through Peter, John, and the others. Eventually they all were martyred for their faith, but because they knew to whom they belongs they did not fear death or any earthly trial.

You probably know the old children’s song This Little Light of Mine. If all you have is a little of God’s light, it is good to let it shine. But I’d rather have a gigantic portion of the Light of Christ and to let it burn baby burn. How about you? Do you know who you are? Do you know what you have? Are you letting the torch of Truth burn bright in your life because you are thankful for God’s gift of grace and know He is with you?

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV).

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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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