Psalm Forty (Part Two)

Happy are those who trust in You, Lord,
Not in the false gods of this world;
So many gifts You’ve given,
I can’t name them all.
Lord, there’s no one else like You.
Lord, there’s no one else like You.

About this Song:
Part Two of the songs from Psalm 40 is short and to the point. It’s based on verses 4 and 5:

4 Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.[b]
5 Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

I’m the first one to admit that the Scripture does the idea more justice than my song does. I didn’t make any effort to deal with the reference to “the proud.” Neither does it refer to the things God has planned for us.

But it does focus on three of the basic ideas from those two verses:

  1. Unlike those who trust in false gods, those who trust in God are happy
  2. God’s gifts are too numerous to be counted or named
  3. God is incomparable; no one is like Him

Check back here next Wednesday for Part Three of Psalm 40.

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

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them (does not include today’s), go 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

Posted in God's Gifts, Happiness, Psalm Forty, Psalms | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 40 (Part One)

Lord,  I was sinking deep;
There was no hope for me
Until You heard my prayer for help
And picked me up and rested me upon a rock.

Lord, You picked me up
And put me on a rock
Where I can sing
A song of praise
For all that You have done,
All You’ve done.

Lord, on this rock I stand
And sing a song of praise
To thank You for the way You guide me
And to thank You for the many gifts You give.

Lord, You picked me up
And put me on a rock
Where I can sing
A song of praise
For all that You have done,
All You’ve done.

Lord, may this song I sing
Be heard by everyone
Who needs to be told all about Your love
And goodness and to put their trust in You.

Lord, You picked me up
And put me on a rock
Where I can sing
A song of praise
For all that You have done,
All You’ve done.

About this Song:
Early in 1985, Dr. Don Runion, the pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, preached a four-part series on a portion of the fortieth Psalm. I can’t recall whether “From the Mire to the Choir” was the name of the first sermon or of the whole series, but it was a catchy title–one I didn’t need to write down to remember. Don did such a terrific job that I felt led to write a song based on each of the four sections he covered.

Just as Don preached only on the first eleven verses, I limited my song set to the same ones.

I was about to insert the appropriate lyrics beneath each of the verses listed below, but then realized I couldn’t. Although the song matches the whole content of the first three verse of Psalm 40, they don’t match stanza to verse.

Here are the verses I used for this song:

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

King David must have been in humongous trouble. “Mud and mire” makes me think of quicksand. Not something someone can necessarily get out of without help.

But he didn’t start this psalm of praise by complaining about the “slimy pit” and the “mud and the mire.” He began by acknowledging God’s response to his cries for help.

Isn’t God’s help more important than the problems He helps us with?

God didn’t simply set David on solid ground again. Solid ground might have been at the same level as the top of the pit.

Instead, he set him on a rock. And a rock would be elevated–especially if it was so large that David couldn’t have climbed up on it by himself. Apparently it formed a natural pulpit.

Not a pulpit for preaching, however, but for composing a new song and singing praise to the Lord for His miraculous intervention in the midst of David’s otherwise insoluble problem.

But wouldn’t you know David realized that his song had an evangelistic function? “Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”

Shouldn’t that be the desire of every Christian musician–to write songs that show what God has done in their lives, to stand on the rock where God has placed them, and to use those songs to “preach” God’s Good News to everyone who will listen?

We’ll look at Psalm 40 (Part Two) next Wednesday.

If you’d like to share any thoughts about Psalm 40, please leave a comment.

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If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones (not including today’s, unfortunately) and print or download any of them, GO 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

Posted in Don Runion, King David, Mire, Quicksand, Rescue | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Will You Leave Behind?

When you die, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Precious memories for your friends and family
Or relief that you’re no longer there?
Will the faith you’ve shared bring them comfort
Or your hopelessness cause them more grief?
When you die, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

When you pass away, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Will your words continue to encourage
Or the harm they’ve engendered linger on?
Do your sermons tell of God’s Kingdom
While your actions point the other way?
When you pass away, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

When you depart this life, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Will the good you’ve planted grow like flowers
Or the problems you’ve sown spread like weeds?
Is your life well invested in others
Or will your influence die at your death?
When you depart this life, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

When you expire, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Meager savings that soon will be used up
Or all the riches of the least child of God?
Will you leave debt for things that don’t matter
Or your witness to what God paid for you?
When you expire, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

About this Song:

There are two songs I want sung at my funeral–other than some favorite hymns. Chi Coltrane’s “Go Like Elijah.” I doubt that Chi, who has no idea who I am, would have any interest in coming to sing at my funeral So I’d have to leave a CD where Kathleen can find it.

The other song is this one. And I doubt seriously that Kathleen would be emotionally up to singing it, so I recently spent a number of hours recording a CD of this song for future use.

This song was a challenge to write. Among other things, I was hard pressed to find and fit synonyms for “die” into the song’s rhythm in the second, third, and fourth stanzas.

But that’s not really the point, is it?

We’re all going to die, and each of us will leave some sort of heritage behind. Some people will barely be missed. The death of others even be a relief. How sad.

As Christians, however, we have the chance to leave so much more than material goods. If our lives are filled with love, kindness, consideration, generosity, and so many more virtues than I can begin to list here, we will continue to live in the memory of others in a good way.

But how would we feel if all we knew that all we would be remembered for was hatred, nastiness, selfishness, violence, or any of an endless list of other negative characteristics?

Very few people are remembered throughout the centuries. Probably only the very greatest people–and the most wicked.

But why should we waste the opportunity to be remembered approvingly for as long a time as possible? It’s up to each of us as individuals, isn’t it?

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.

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I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them (including today’s), GO 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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Sometimes I Wonder

Sometimes I wonder why the righteous suffer,
And I make a mental note to ask God by and by.
But when I get to Heaven and meet Him face to face,
I know I will forget to ask, for Heaven is a perfect place-
With no memories of earthly pain.

Sometimes I wonder why the wicked prosper,
And I make a mental note to ask God by and by.
But when I get to Heaven and meet Him face to face,
I know I will forget to ask, for Heaven is a perfect place-
With no memories of earthly wrongs.

Sometimes I wonder why disasters happen,
And I make a mental note to ask God by and by.
But when I get to Heaven and meet Him face to face,
I know I will forget to ask, for Heaven is a perfect place-
With no memories of earthly woes,
And no memory of earthly wrongs,
And no memory of earthly pain,
And no memory of earth at all.

About this Song:
Do you ever wonder why a loving God would allow people to suffer–especially good people? Or why a righteous God would permit the worst of people to live the happiest and most prosperous lives? Or why God the Creator doesn’t use His powers to prevent  earthquakes and tsunamis from wiping out thousands of people at a time?

People have been asking those questions for thousands of years. As Christians, we should be able to explain that God gave mankind free will because He wanted us to love Him voluntarily. Making us robots would have prevented us from being able to do that. But with free will came sin, and the effects of sin have been with us ever since.

I believe that with all my heart. But I also believe God loved us so much that-even before we were conceived–He planned a way out for us: Salvation  through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. He promised us eternal life in Heaven, yes, but also strength and guidance for living the most meaningful life on earth.

But the “most meaningful life” isn’t one that’s free from pain and suffering. We are still subject to the problems brought on my mankind’s sin–not just Adam and Eve’s original sin, but sin throughout the ages. Let’s not forget that God’s forgiveness doesn’t prevent us from suffering the consequences of our own mistakes–and our own sins.

Our problems sometimes aren’t even caused by our own sins, though, but by the sins of other people. Like accidents caused by drunken drivers, for example.

But does knowing and believing those things keep us from wanting to ask God why? Don’t we still want to find an answer that makes it all seem more logical–and more acceptable?

If you’re like me, you’re probably saving up a number of similar questions to ask God when you get to Heaven. I doubt we’ll get the answers there, though, because–if Heaven is truly as perfect as the Bible says–we’ll forget all the questions we have about the bad things that happen on earth.

My theory–my understanding, anyhow–is that we won’t even remember our earthly lives. And we won’t care, because eternal life in our Heavenly Father’s presence is so much better. What a wonderful thing to look forward to!

Do you truly believe that, too? How about leaving a comment to share that fact with the rest of us.

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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 free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them (including today’s), go 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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Night Sounds

I listen to the night winds sigh
Because they know you’re not with me.
I listen to the night winds sigh
Because they know you’re not with me.
And I reach out for you,
But you’re not there.

I listen to the crickets chirpin’
As they wonder where you are.
I listen to the crickets chirpin’
As they wonder where you are.
And I reach out for you,
But you’re not there.

I listen to the night birds singing
As they call out your name.
I listen to the night birds singing
As they call out your name.
And I reach out for you,
But you’re not there.

I listen to the running footsteps
As the moon lights up the path.
I listen to the running footsteps
As the moon lights up the path.
And I reach out for you,
And you take my hand,
And the night’s like the day.

About this Song:
This is the only purely secular song I’ve ever written, and it dates back to the mid-seventies, when my first wife and I were still relatively newly-weds. Her family was visiting, and I had gone to bed while she stayed up talking with them. As I lay in bed, not altogether happy at her not being there, the idea came to mind.

Professional singers Mike and Sally Hendon (they performed together for years as Two’s Company–you may have seen them at the Trappe Family Lodge in Stowe, VT–but are no longer together) later sent me a recording they had made of this song. One thing they had added to the “as they call out your name” line was a plaintive echo of “Debbie, Debbie, Debbie.”

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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.

I have free lead sheets (music, lyrics, & chords) for many of these songs. “Night Sounds” is one of them. Look for it in this drop-down box.

“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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