Help Me, Lord, in Becoming

Lord, don’t let me become satisfied
With what I think I’ve become for You,
But help me, Lord, in becoming.

Lord, You know I can’t match
What You become for me day by day.
Please help me, Lord, in becoming.

Lord, don’t let me become satisfied
With what I think I have done for You,
But help me, Lord, in doing for You. Lord.

You know I can’t match
What You do for me day by day.
Please help me, Lord, in doing for You.

Lord, don’t let me become satisfied
With how I’ve tried to love You,
But help me, Lord, in loving You.

Lord, You know I can’t match
How You love me day by day.
Please help me, Lord, in loving You.

About this Song:
Are you ever tempted to feel satisfied with your service to God?

I hate to admit it, but I am–every once in a while. I think about my church activities: singing in the choir, playing bass on the praise team, and participating each week in the nursing home ministry. I’ve recently begun using my photographic skills at special church events, too. Those are all good, wholesome, need-to-be-done activities that–frankly–take some time and energy I don’t always have a lot of to spare.

On top of that, I write Christian songs and Christian fiction. I bear a much clearer witness to God through my writing than through my meager efforts at sharing His Good News verbally, so I feel that my writing is important for Kingdom purposes.

Surely God is pleased with what I’ve become, what I’m doing for Him, and how I’m trying to show Him my love. Thinking that way is definitely a periodic temptation.

That’s when I imagine God laughing gently and asking how many brownie points I think my activities are worth. And what good I think they’ll do, anyhow. He reminds me that He doesn’t operate on a system like that.

Our relationship is based on the fact that “He is God, and I am not.” He made me in His image, but we are NOT equals. And His “good and perfect gifts” are nothing I could ever afford. He is the Creator of all that is, and I’m one of His creations. He paid a price I can’t even conceive of to make me His child through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

And what parent doesn’t provide good things for his children? God’s gifts are truly the BEST. Better than anything a human parent can give his children.

So, forget thinking I can pay God back for His goodness. I can’t.

I can thank Him, though. By doing my best to obey Him. By trying to please Him. By trying to become the person He wants me to be, by trying to do the things he wants, and by loving Him in every way I can.

Becoming is a gradual process, however, and the wonderful thing is, God knows how incapable I am of becoming anything worthwhile on my own. I have to depend on Him totally.

Yet no matter how often or how severely I fail, He not only forgives me, He also picks me up, dusts me off, and sets me on the right path again. He knows how much–in my heart of hearts–I want to please Him. No matter how often I mess up and need His forgiveness.

What greater desire can a Christian have than to grow closer to God and to become more Christlike in every possible way? Even though it’s a process that takes an entire lifetime to accomplish.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

Free lead sheets are available for many of my songs, including today’s. You may find them here.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. If you’d like to see “On Aging Gracelessly,” check it out here.

Best regards, Roger

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Without You, Lord

Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t be all You want me to be.
Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t be all You want me to be.

Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t see all You want me to see.
Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t see all You want me to see.

Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t do all You want me to do.
Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t do all You want me to do.

Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t give all You want me to give.
Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t give all You want me to give.

Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t love all You want me to love.
Without You, Lord, without You, Lord,
I can’t love all You want me to love.
I can’t do all You want me to do.
I can’t be all You want me to be.

About this Song:
(NOTE: This is one of the easiest songs I’ve ever tried teaching a group, because only one word changes from stanza to stanza; note those words in italics above.)

Without You, Lord focuses on how being God-like affects us and what it enables us to do–things we can’t begin to accomplish fully without His help. In our effort to be the people He wants us to be, we will open our eyes to see the needs surrounding us. Then we will do what God wants us to do to touch the lives of others. Consequently, we will give of ourselves–our time, our talents, and our resources. And we will love others because God loved us first. Only with God’s help can we be, see, do, give, and love.

A free lead sheet is available for this song. Select “Without You, Lord” from this drop-down box.

You might also be interested in my other blog, “On Aging Gracelessly.” Check it out here.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday with more lyrics.

Best regard,
Roger

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His Life for Mine

I was God’s enemy
Till He made me His friend,
Giving the greatest gift,
His life for mine.

God gave Himself through Christ;
His Son He sacrificed.
He died to give new life:
His life for mine.

Though a good man might give
His own life for his friends,
Yet who would die to save
His enemies?

Even the least man gives
His family what it needs.
Yet who’d give up his own
Son for his foes?

I was God’s enemy
Till He made me His friend.

About this Song:
I wrote this song in 1982–and put it in a minor key. I don’t think I ever sang it publicly that way but once, and that was at a tiny church in Australia. Even though it has a positive message, I found the minor key to be so depressing I actually said something about that to the congregation. Not something I would normally do, especially during a worship service, and I still feel funny about having done it.

So in 2003, I decided to rework the melody and put the song in a major key. Much nicer, I believe.

If you’re familiar with Scripture, you won’t have any trouble recognizing the passages referenced.

John 15 says:

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

And Matthew 7:11 says:

As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

There may well be additional relevant Scriptures I haven’t thought to include here. If you can think of any, please feel free to post them in a comment.

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Free lead sheets (melody, chords, and lyrics) are available for many of my songs, including this one. See the whole list here.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. If you’d like to see “On Aging Gracelessly,” click here.

Best regards,
Roger

 

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Paddlefoot

As I got into the car on a Saturday morning,
I chanced to turn the CB radio on,
When I heard a female voice asking local information
About how to find a particular place in town.
When no one answered her, I knew that I must try;
Though in a hurry, I somehow couldn’t count the cost,
For I realized I’d been there once myself;
I know how it feels to be lost.

I know how it feels to be lost,
I know how it feels to be lost,
I know how it feels to be lost,
I know how it feels to be lost.

So I spoke into the mic and I asked her location,
And I told her to stay where she was for a while,
And I started off on my mission of mercy
With a hurried and worried smile.
But I’m so bad at giving directions,
I had her head just spinnin’ around;
So instead I led her to her destination.
I know how it feels to be found.

I know how it feels to be found,
I know how it feels to be found,
I know how it feels to be found,
I know how it feels to be found.

About this Song:
Many of you–maybe most–are too young to remember the Citizens Band radio craze that was popular during the early seventies, but it seemed like everyone had a CB radio in the car, and many people had a base station at home, too. Not only did it provide a great means of communication during those days before cell phones, it also provided a social outlet for many of its users.

My wife of the time and I were among the CB crazies, and we took it seriously. So it’s not surprising that I would have turned the car CB on when we started out to breakfast one Saturday morning. We were living in Easton, Maryland, at the time.

A lady trucker who identified herself by the handle Paddlefoot was on her way from Atlanta–or at least she was from Atlanta–to Waverly Press there in Easton. I knew where it was, but I couldn’t think to tell her over the air, so I found out where she was and asked her to stay there since we were just a couple of minutes away.

I’m a whole lot better at putting things in writing than I am using spoken words, and my attempts to tell Paddlefoot how to reach Waverly Press in an eighteen-wheeler were getting worse and worse. I finally just told her to follow me. We led her there without any problems.

My wife had a pamphlet of Scriptures from Christian Womens Club with her, which she gave Paddlefoot in an effort to explain why we had gone out of our way to help her.

This song was a lot of fun to do way back then, but with CB radio being so passe, it would be almost meaningless now–even with all the explanation I’m giving you. Nonetheless, I thought I’d share it today because it has such a good lesson.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, melody, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Not this one, however. For a complete list, look here. Recordings of some of my songs are available on the Listen tab at RogerBruner.com.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. If you’d like to see “On Aging Gracelessly,” check it out here.

Best regards,
Roger

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A Child Much Loved by You

Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

About this Song:
Long before Kathleen and I got married–or even lived in the same state–we liked to pray together electronically. Either in an Internet chat room no one else was using at the moment or by email.

We agreed at the outset that formal prayers didn’t cut it for us. But since Jesus had referred to God as Abba–”Daddy”–we felt comfortable thinking of God in an equally father-and-child way.

So I ended up writing this song to describe the idea–that we would first climb into God’s lap in our imaginations. Then we would look into God’s face (in a purely spiritual sense, of course), lean against His arm, and then whisper in His ear–whatever we wanted to say to Him. And of course that also put us in the right position for Him to speak back to us.

Praying that way couldn’t last 24 hours a day, however. We would have to end our prayer eventually. But that didn’t mean we wouldn’t continue to enjoy fellowship with Him. Furthermore, spending that time with God should energize us to action. Hence the last stanza.

As a novelist with two published books–and two due out within the next year–I have to laugh at one aspect of my lyrics. Using the passive voice–”a child much loved by You” rather than something like “a child You love very much”–would be a real no-no in one of my novels. But as the title and ending line of each stanza of this song, that doesn’t concern me.

What do you think? When you pray, do you do it formally or informally? How do you feel about our approach to prayer? Please share a comment with the rest of us.

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Free lead sheets (music, chords, & lyrics) are available for a number of my songs, including this one. Go here for the complete list.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have another blog, “On Aging Gracelessly.” Please check it out here.

Best regards,
Roger

 

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The Goodbye Song (w/Monologues NIne & Ten)

[from the 1974 pop Christian musical, Song of Plenty]

Monologue Nine:

GIRL (continuing letter). . .

My life was at a crossroads. A silly rhyme I once heard somewhere popped into my head:

A turtle passed me as I was walkin’ down life’s road.
I was really quite surprised ’cause, man, he was goin’ so slow.
But he was goin’ straight and I was movin’ from side to side.
When he got there first, I just fell down and broke my pride.

I smiled then–all over–for I realized just how much God had already changed me. My new friends were special to have shared their love so freely; I could never thank them for that. But I knew I would have to thank them by saying goodbye, and that was hard.

Song:

Goodbye, brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Faith declares us winners in a race that’s not yet done.
Distance doesn’t matter, but how and why we run.
God’s the one we look to; He’s the one our eyes are on.

His one way leads in separate ways through many different phases:
Through different paths and through different mazes to many different places.
Pray we may be faithful, that we won’t be misled.
God help us not look right or left, but only straight ahead.

We’ll unite with God in heaven as on earth we’ve all been one;
Let our greatest blessing be His softest said “Well done!”

Monologue Ten:

GIRL (concluding letter). . .

I knew something else: if I couldn’t even thank my friends, then the most impossible thing of all would be to try to thank God adequately for His love.

Mom and Dad, I’ve let God change and renew my life, and He told me to begin thanking Him by coming home to you.

(The sound of several knocks on the door.)

About this Song:
The apostle Paul had a lot to say about running races and keeping our eyes upon the prize.

Acts 20:24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Galatians 2:2
I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
 
Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Those idea are reflected in the first stanza of this song.

The second stanza is a reminder that God’s children aren’t all alike. We have various interests and talents. But if we keep our eyes on God and use our talents in the ways we feel God leading us to do, we are still part of that great race we call Life.

I don’t know about you, but my greatest desire is to enter heaven–that part is  assured because of my faith in Jesus–and hear God saying, “Well done.” And not because I could ever be good enough to earn His love and approval, but because He knows I’ve done my best to keep my eyes on Him. Not perfectly, but always desiring to do better.

And so ends the Christian musical, Song of Plenty. I hope it’s given you something to think and meditate about. Remember that audio files of all of the songs from one of the musical’s three public performances are now available at my website. Look for the appropriate dropdown box in the center of the page.

If you’re a writer, remember that you’re free to quote (or even misquote) any of my lyrics at no cost. Just give credit where it’s due. And you musicians might want to check out this list for my free lead sheets.

We’ll be back to individual and probably unrelated songs starting next week. Please keep coming back.

Some of you might be interested in my other blog, On Aging Gracelessly. Find it here.

Roger

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Image of God (w/Monologue Eight)

[from the 1974 Christian pop musical, Song of Plenty]

Monologue Eight:

GIRL (continuing letter). . .

We were all one in love. Then the speaker looked me straight in the eye and said, “You’re on the up-road now. But you’re only human, just like the rest of us. You’re going to need God’s renewal of your life many times daily to put this new-found love into practice. God’s love can’t be just a feeling.

Song:

I bear an image of God,
Though it gets broken many times each day.
When the fire in me dies down, the image shatters,
And I need to be remade.

Every time God looks at me and cannot see Himself,
He sadly smiles a smile so warm it melts my heart.
In the heat of love I’m melted–
Healed, made new, made fresh, made perfect–
In the perfect image of my God.

I bear an image of God,
Though it needs mending many times each day.
When God relights me inside, His spirit glows,
And I know I’ve been remade.

Every time man looks and me and cannot see himself,
He strangely smiles a smile of wonder asking, “Why?”
Then in heat of love I answer,
“It’s not me; it’s my Creator.
Let Him now begin to work in you.”

About this Song:
I must have gotten the idea for this song from Brent Coleman, my pastor at that time, because I dedicated the song to him.

Even though “Image of God” doesn’t specifically reference what the Bible says about Believers being clay in the Potter’s hands, that always comes to mind when I think about this song. When a potter’s work-in-progress isn’t going right, he doesn’t throw the clay away. Instead, he lovingly reworks it until it once again takes on the shape He wants it to be.

God has to do that frequently for each of His children–not because He has failed to carry out His design correctly, but because we somehow fail–through our sins and our disobedience–to let Him do what He wants to do with us and through us. That introduces impurities into His work of art–impurities that need to be dealt with and removed.

The work of any well known artist is easily recognizable–not so much just because it bears his signature, but because its style is so representative of that artist’s style. God wants each of His children to bear such a resemblance to our Maker that other people can tell who He is.

The more like our Maker we are, the more we’ll make others admire Him and want Him to do a similar work in their lives, too. What would be more wonderful than that?

What does this song say to you? I’d love to read your comments.

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Coming next Wednesday. . .the final song in Song of Plenty, the monologue that precedes it, and the one that concludes the musical. Audio of the songs from the original performance of this work is available on my website.

If you’re interested in my other blog, On Aging Gracelessly, please go here.

Roger

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