When We Return to Him in Faith

Through Moses, God delivered the children of Israel
From their Egyptian captivity,
And He safely guided them through the wilderness
Towards the Promised Land.

But, stubborn and rebellious, they sometimes wandered needlessly;
Yet God never sleeps, and He stayed close by,
Ready to forgive when they returned to Him in faith.

Through Jesus, God delivers all those who believe
From their captivity by sin and death,
And He safely guides them through this earthly life
Towards their heavenly home.

But, stubborn and rebellious, they sometimes wander needlessly;
Yet God never sleeps, and He stays close by,
Ready to forgive when they return to Him in faith.

But, stubborn and rebellious, we sometimes wander needlessly;
Yet God never sleeps, and He stays close by,
Ready to forgive when we return to Him in faith.

About This Song:
I dedicated this song to my pastor at the time, Rand Forder. If anyone happens to know Rand’s whereabouts now, please let me know. He’s a great guy and a real inspiration, even though I doubt that his Snoopy sermon illustrations affected this song in any way.

If the Children of Israel had obeyed God instead of turning their faces from him so often, they could’ve made their trip from Egypt to the Promised Land in a LOT less time than forty years. Less than one year, I’ve heard, but I don’t recall the specific estimate.

Have you ever tried to go somewhere with a strong-willed child under tow? Took a lot longer than it should have, didn’t it?

The Children of Israel tried God’s patience more than once, yet He was faithful to fulfill His promise of deliverance from slavery.

I don’t know about you, but I try God’s patience far too often. He’s trying to lead me on a path I can’t see. If I just trust Him, it’s a sure way–the only sure way–to go. But I like to be in control–or to pretend I am. I like things the way I like them. I want to know God’s path ahead of time so I can decide whether His plan is really that much better–or that much more to my liking, anyhow–than mine.

Sounds pretty self-centered and precarious, don’t you think?

But God stays close by, just as He always has, ready to forgive and to put me on the right path again as soon as I admit my sin and seek His forgiveness. He may have to put me on an alternate route from the one He’d originally planned, but He sees that I’m still going to get there. “There” may not be where I wanted to go, but where He wants me to be. If I’m to trust Him fully, I also need to trust that He knows my destination a lot better than I do.

What about you? Are you pursuing your own path and wandering in the wilderness? Or are you willing to let God do the directing?

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

The Devil and Pastor Gus has a new cover.

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Peace on the Earth!

Peace on the earth! Joy to the world!
Love to the universe from all those who know the Lord.
We can’t live without the Lord.
We just can’t live without His love.
We just can’t live without the love of the Lord.

Peace in our hearts! Joy in our souls!
Love from God’s presence in our lives to all those who need the Lord.
You can’t live without the Lord.
You just can’t live without His love.
You just can’t live without the love of the Lord.

About This Song:
I’m not sure how obvious it is that “Peace on the Earth!” is a Christmas song, but that’s what I intended when I wrote it forty-some years ago. And I didn’t write it as a solo song for myself, but with vocal parts for a small group.

I used a reel-to-reel recorder to record separately on two tracks. I recorded guitar on one track, dubbed bass guitar in with it, and recorded the group singing it in a worship service.

I thought it was a wonderful presentation. and–to this day–I lament the loss of that recording.

Several years ago I made a few changes and created a solo version with a MIDI-based accompaniment. If you’re interested in hearing it, go HERE and select “Peace on the Earth” from the drop down box. Or watch my presentation at our local nursing home ministry today.

Regardless of the history of this song and its recent changes, the important thing is that “Peace on the Earth!” reflects the joy I imagine the angels expressing when they announced Jesus’s  birth to the shepherds in the fields.

May it bring peace and joy to you as well and challenge you to share God’s love with others.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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A Special Brand-New Sun

The Lord is so giving and forgiving.
Long years ago He made a wondrous star to shine
On a world so lost in death and darkness,
Yet still it leads to a manger bed of hope.
Yet still it leads to a manger bed of hope.

The Lord is so merciful and tender.
He made a special brand-new sun to rise and shine
On a world lost in death and darkness
And guide our footsteps in His path of peace.
And guide our footsteps in His path of peace.

The Lord is so merciful and tender.

 

About This Song:
This is one of my several original Christmas songs, although I’ve written two or three songs that talk about both Christmas and Easter.

When we think about the Star of Bethlehem, we usually think about the so-called wise men–the Magi–who followed the star from the east. The Bible includes these references:

Matthew 2:2
and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (NIV)

Matthew 2:7
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. (NIV)

Matthew 2:9
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. (NIV)

Matthew 2:10
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
(NIV)

When I did a Bible search on “star” in the four Gospels, I was shocked to discover that the Scriptures didn’t say anything about the shepherds seeing the star above the stable. No wonder I’d always thought otherwise, though. The typical Nativity Scene features shepherds and wise men worshiping Jesus together around the manger.

In reality, the wise men didn’t arrive on the scene until a year or two later. Mary, Joseph, and infant Jesus were no longer in the stable.

Although the first stanza of this song references the Christmas star, the second stanza refers to Luke 1:78-79:

78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.
(NIV)

I’ve watched a wonderful video that explained the Star of Bethlehem as a natural phenomena. Such a scientific explanation of the star in no way diminishes my faith or my fascination with the star as a special sign, however.

If anything, a scientific explanation makes the story of the star even more special. Would a star just happen to reveal Jesus’s exact location unless God had arranged the circumstances for it to happen?

No way do I consider that a coincidence.

What about you, though? What are your thoughts about the Star of Bethlehem? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Bethlehem, Christmas, Magi, Mercy, Shepherds, Star, Sun, Tenderness, Wise Men | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Almost You’re Smiling

“Little baby in a manger, almost You’re crying.
Can it be You feel the coldness of the world You’ve come to?
Do You somehow miss the warmth You’ve left at home in Heaven?
Little baby in a manger, almost You’re crying.

Do You see Yourself as just an ordinary baby,
Or do You somehow recognize that You’re the Son of God?

Little baby in a stable, almost You’re smiling.
Can it be You feel the joy of those who wait Your coming?
Do You somehow know what hope You’ve brought to earth from Heaven?
Little baby in a stable, almost You’re smiling.

Do you see Yourself as just an ordinary baby,
Or do You somehow recognize that You’re the King of Kings?”

Do you see Yourself as just an ordinary baby,
Or do You somehow recognize that You’re Emmanuel?

 

About This Song

If you’re like me, you’ve often wished you’d been around two thousand years ago to witness Jesus’s life and ministry in person.

But wishing doesn’t change the fact we were born two millennia too late.Rather than fret about it, let’s imagine we were among the shepherds who saw and listened to the angels’ spectacular announcement of Jesus’s birth–no Super Bowl commercials will ever come close to matching it!–and have come to the stable, where we’re looking at Jesus as a newborn.

Hmm. No matter how special the angels said He was, He looks pretty much like any other baby, doesn’t He? Or does He look a little bit more peaceful than a regular baby as he lies there sleeping?

He opens His eyes. He appears to look first at you and then at me. Strange. Newborns aren’t able to focus that way, are they? More amazing still, He appears to be deep in thought. But babies can’t think yet; thought requires a knowledge of language, something  babies aren’t born with.

Of course, we know He’s both human and divine. So isn’t it possible He can observe things a normal baby can’t observe? And think or feel things babies shouldn’t be able to think or feel?  Alas, the Bible doesn’t tell us.

I speak to baby Jesus, aware that He shouldn’t be able to understand me. Yet He appears to be listening to my words. Perhaps even comprehending them. As if He might truly be more than just an ordinary baby. After all, fully human and fully divine is a strange and powerful combination. Not to mention a unique one.

Yes, Jesus is unique. Even so, I’m certain He won’t be able to answer my questions or comment about my observations.

I don’t know how Jesus differed from ordinary babies while–at the same time–still being quite ordinary. It doesn’t  matter. Even as a baby, He deserved and deserves my praise and adoration–during the whole year. Not just at Christmas.

Please feel free to share a comment.

By the way, I play an instrumental third stanza on guitar before singing the “Emmanuel” lines above.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Links you might be interested in:

 

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To Those Who Win the Victory

To those who win the victory,
God gives the right to eat
From His tree, the tree of life,
That grows in His garden.

Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life,
The only Way to God.
He is the door to His Father’s fold
And bids lost sheep to enter.

To those who win the victory,
God gives the right to eat
From His tree, the tree of life,
That grows in His garden.

Jesus knocks at the door of your heart
And waits to be admitted.
He would live and work through you
To help you to do all things.

To those who win the victory,
God gives the right to eat
From His tree, the tree of life,
That grows in His garden.

As you seek to run the race,
Problems will distract you.
Keep your eyes upon the prize
And victory will be yours.

To those who win the victory,
God gives the right to eat
From His tree, the tree of life,
That grows in His garden.

About This Song:
These lyrics come from a number of different Scriptures:

Revelation 2:7. . .
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God
(NIV)

Revelation 3:20. . .
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
(NIV)

John 10:7-9. . .
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
(NIV)

Hebrews 12:1-2. . .
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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(NIV)

John 14:6. . .
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(NIV)

Philippians 4:13. . .
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Do you remember the Boston Marathon bombings? I do. Perhaps the better question is how we could ever forget them.

I can’t imagine the joy the first few people felt when they crossed the finish line or their terror when they learned about the bombings and realized that the goal they had worked so hard to reach was deadly. If the timing of the bombs had been different, those winners could have been the victims.

Christians will never experience that kind of terror at the end of their “good race.” The path they’re running may be fraught with troubles and even danger–Jesus promised that–but we don’t have to worry about unexpected dangers when we pass over from this earthly life to our heavenly life with God Himself.

And what a grand victory each of us will experience. We’re not competing with one another for the prize. Every Christian will be a winner; in one sense, we’ll all be in first place. That’s the kind of victory I’m looking forward to.

Are you assured of that kind of victory? How about leaving a comment?

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Links you might be interested in:

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By Faith We Are Saved

By faith we are saved,
But by our fruit we prove that
We’re what we claim to be.
For we cannot be light
If we hide from the world
That is dying in darkness.

By faith we are saved,
But by our light we are known.

By faith we are saved,
But by our fruit we prove that
We’re what we claim to be.
For we cannot be salt
If we lose the taste of love
That this world’s dying for.

By faith we are saved,
But by our salt we are known.

By faith we are saved,
And with hope we endure.
But with love we are everything
God wants us to be.

About This Song:
I dedicated this song to the memory of Mrs. Ed Weldon. Mr. Weldon was my junior college choir director.

The Scripture basis is Matthew 5:13-14. . .
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
(NIV)

Yet it also hints of ideas in 1 Corinithians 13:1-3. . .
1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
(NIV)

And perhaps a sprinkling of Mark 9:50. . .
50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
(NIV)

While this song doesn’t specifically refer to James 2:14-17, I certainly had that in mind when writing “By Faith We Are Saved”. . .
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
(NIV)

Faith is a good thing. Right?

Faith in God. Faith in our family and friends. Faith in our neighbors.

Yet our neighbors–and even our closest family and friends–will occasionally let us down. As we let them down.

But God never lets us down. He may not always do things the way we want–He has a perspective and a purpose we lack–but He is faithful. Always. Every time. Under all circumstances.

It’s reassuring to know that our relationship with God results from our faith in Him through accepting His Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior.

But as the Scriptures this song is based on emphasize, faith ought to result in “works”–doing the things God expects of us. This post would be endless if I tried to quote the appropriate verses.

Suffice it to say that God expects us to be salt and light to the world. If we demonstrate real Christian love to those about us, we will bear the kind of fruit that shows the world that our faith–and the God our faith is in–is real.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

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God Will Provide for Us, Too

Look at the birds of the air, how they’re fed.
Look at the flowers of the field, how they’re dressed.
We need not worry about food or clothes,
For God will provide for us. Yes, He’ll provide for us.
God will provide for us, too.

We are often troubled, but we are not crushed;
Sometimes in doubt, but never in despair.
There are many enemies, but we’re never without a friend.
Though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.

Look at the birds of the air, how they’re fed.
Look at the flowers of the field, how they’re dressed.
We need not worry about food or clothes,
For God will provide for us. Yes, He’ll provide for us.
God will provide for us, too.

God, our Heavenly Father, knows all our concerns;
When we put Him first, He supplies our needs.
What a waste to fret about all the troubles tomorrow brings.
Let’s let God be in charge each day as it comes.

Look at the birds of the air, how they’re fed.
Look at the flowers of the field, how they’re dressed.
We need not worry about food or clothes,
For God will provide for us. Yes, He’ll provide for us.
God will provide for us, too.

God will provide for us. Yes, He’ll provide for us.
God will provide for us, too.

About this Song:
Do you tend to worry? If so, join the club. Most of us–even the most devout of Christians– worry some.

The Scripture passages that today’s lyrics are based on remind us that worry is unnecessary. God is on our side and ready to meet our needs when we depend on Him rather than ourselves.

Matthew 6:25-34 was the primary source for these lyric ideas:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

But 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 makes a significant contribution as well:

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Although the Bible passages are special in their wording, putting them to music enabled me to make the biblical message more personal. And gave me a sermon to preach to myself as frequently as I need to.

How about leaving a comment about worry…

~*~

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Links you might be interested in:

 

 

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