You’re the Railing

Lord, You’re the railing that we cling to,
Climbing up the steep stair steps of life.
Although we pretend to be surefooted,
You know how easily we fall.

As we climb life’s steps we cling to You.
As we climb life’s steps we cling to You.
As we climb life’s steps we cling to You
That we may not fall.

Rarely do falls bring tears of laughter;
Usually they cause us tears of pain.
Lord, You know that we’re weak and fragile.
We must cling to You so we won’t fall.

As we climb life’s steps we cling to You.
As we climb life’s steps we cling to You.
As we climb life’s steps we cling to You
That we may not fall.

Lord, You know all our limitations;
We can’t even see the stairs ahead.
But we know by faith You have no boundaries;
You see far above, beneath, beyond.

As we climb life’s steps we cling to You.
As we climb life’s steps we cling to You.
As we climb life’s steps we cling to You
That we may not fall.

Lord, all around are those who’re falling,
Toppling backwards from their heavy loads.
Help us each to take one hand in our hand
And show them just Who THE RAILING is.

As we climb life’s steps we cling to You.
As we climb life’s steps we cling to You.
As we climb life’s steps we cling to You
That we may not fall.

About This Song:
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to believe I’m in control of my life. At almost seventy, however, I’m smart enough to know I’m not. I’m fragile and anything but sure-footed, both literally and symbolically.

I believe life is very much like a steep set of stairs–so steep I can’t see more than a step or two above me as I climb.

So trying to live life on my own–without God’s help–is like trying to climb those steps without holding onto the railing. How easily I can fall backwards.

But God is not only a sure support, He’s the only one who sees the steps I can’t see. He knows the problems I’ll face. He knows the dangers. Clinging to Him as a railing doesn’t guarantee that I won’t fall, but at least I’ll have the assistance of the only one who can help me up again, no matter how badly I’m hurt.

Holding on to the railing only takes one hand, though. That leaves one hand free. As a Christian I need to keep that hand ready  to extend to someone else who’s groping for safety.

While I can’t lead that person’s life any better than I can lead my own, I can at least point him or her  to my Lord and Savior.

Do you ever feel as if you’re falling down life’s stairs? Do you depend on God’s help? How about sharing a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Falling, God's protection, Railing, Stairs, Steps, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Selfless Love that Binds

When we met and fell in love,
We married such very different points of view,
And we promised from the very start
Because we’d agreed to be a Family.

We’ve been growing our Family,
And it’s prospered from our special give and take
Till we reached the point where each of us wants his way;
Can love that like sustain a Family?

What will happen to the Family
As it suffers anguish from our tug of wills?
Is there not some way we can show them yet
That selfless love will bind a Family?

Is there not some way we can show them yet
The Selfless Love that will bind this Family?

About This Song:
“The Selfless Love that Binds” is a song I didn’t want to write. But I felt compelled to.

The last quarter of the twentieth century was a turbulent time among Southern Baptists. Conservatives believed that the liberals had gone too far, and they set out to restore the denomination to a more conservative path. Unfortunately, their methods were often less than ethical and loving, and the denomination appeared to be headed for a split.

As it turned out, many of the liberal churches formed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship without necessarily leaving the Southern Baptist Convention totally–a number of churches align themselves with both groups–while the conservatives took over the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention and its schools and agencies.

The political shenanigans were especially upsetting to those of us who have deep Southern Baptist roots.

I wrote this song as an appeal to both sides to be united in love, using marriage and family as a symbol of the relationship of Baptists having variant ideologies.

Conservatism and liberalism aren’t new. So I pointed out that the two sides came from “very different points of view” and “compromised from the very start.”

Then I noted that “our special give and take” had resulted in growth and prosperity within the denomination.

Finally, I emphasized the damage the “tug of wills” does to the “Family.”

But I couldn’t leave this song on a negative note. So I appealed to liberals and conservatives alike to do the Christlike thing: to let God’s perfect, selfless love bind them together once again.

I don’t hear much about those problems anymore, although they still exist. My wife and I belong to a very conservative church. So conservative that I feel slightly uncomfortable at times.

But I don’t mind compromising. At least to the extent that I’m able to accept the fact that I can’t claim to be the ultimate source of truth.

What about you? Have you seen the damage that can be done when people having polar-opposite viewpoints can’t or won’t compromise? Perhaps the political situation in the United States is a good example. If you have thoughts on this subject, please leave a comment.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Compromise, Conservatives, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Family, Liberals, Marriage, Southern Baptist Convention, Southern Baptists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dark Is the Night

I lie down and close my eyes;
I dream, though I do not sleep.
Tomorrow’s ills seem too real today,
Tomorrow’s paths too steep.

Dark is the night and steep is the path,
When I close my eyes to the Way of God’s Son.
But bright is the night when I open my eyes
And follow in faith as God’s Son leads me
Till my journey’s done.

Then I open my eyes in faith
To One Who has been here before.
He knows where I come from;
He knows where I’m going.
I’ll let Him lead,
I’ll let Him open each door.

Dark is the night and steep is the path,
When I close my eyes to the Way of God’s Son.
But bright is the night when I open my eyes
And follow in faith as God’s Son leads me
Till my journey’s done.

About This Song:
I don’t recall the circumstances under which I wrote this song, but I can easily imagine them. I admit that–even as a Christian–I sometimes permit myself to worry when turning my concerns over to God and letting Him lead me safely through the valley would be so much better.

Jesus encountered the worst of every problem I can possibly face in my earthly life and then some. That qualifies Him as the Ultimate Guide.

All I have to do is quit being so self-dependent–and worrying because I know I’m not really in control of my life, no matter how much I’d like to think I am–and let God take the wheel.

Are you a worrier, too? Have you experienced the freedom of stress-free living that comes only from giving God complete control of your life? If not, you’ve missed something of major importance. It’s not too late, though. . .

As I grow older,  my faith in God’s ability to lead me grows stronger, because I can look back to the ever-increasing number of problems God has led me through. He may not have always provided the answer I wanted or expected, but He’s never let me down.

What about you? Are your “nights” fearfully dark or are you following the “Light of the World”? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Darkness, Dreaming, Faith, Light, Sleep, Uncategorized, Worry | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Widow & the Judge

A widow came before the judge
To ask for his assistance.
That lazy rascal turned away,
Unmoved by her insistence.

You are God’s children;
He wants what’s best for you.
All you have to do is ask.
Pray without ceasing;
Seek, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will open wide.

That lady kept on coming back;
It broke down his resistance
Till he complied with her request,
Worn out by her persistence.

You are God’s children;
He wants what’s best for you.
All you have to do is ask.
Pray without ceasing;
Seek, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will open wide.

The Lord’s not like that worthless judge;
He longs to give assistance.
And He will never turn away;
He’s moved by your insistence.

You are God’s children;
He wants what’s best for you.
All you have to do is ask.
Pray without ceasing;
Seek, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will open wide.

Although you keep on coming back,
You do not meet resistence.
God never tires of listening
To your prayers of persistence.

You are God’s children;
He wants what’s best for you.
All you have to do is ask.
Pray without ceasing;
Seek, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will open wide.

About This Song:
I used to really marvel at Jesus’ parable about the widow and the wicked judge in Luke 18:1-5:

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
(NIV)

But then Jerry Rankin, at that time the President of the International Mission Board, gave a meditation about this parable, and I saw it in a new light. The point is that God is the very opposite of the wicked judge.

Whereas the judge had no relationship with the poor widow who needed his help and finally agreed to help her because she had worn him down, God has a personal relationship with each of His children. Like any earthly father, He wants His children to have the best He has to offer.

The refrain comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:17:

Pray without ceasing.
(NIV)

and Matthew 7:7:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
(NIV)

Unlike the wicked judge, God respects our persistence. We don’t have to beg Him for His help, but we do need to ask in the right spirit–“Not my will, but Yours.”

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Assistance, Insistence, International Mission Board, Jerry Rankin, Judge, Persistence, Prayer, Widow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord (Who) Never Stops Loving Me

What good can I do?
What good can I say
That’s good enough to
Pay the Lord for loving me?

There’s nothing I can do,
There’s nothing I can say
That’s good enough to
Pay the Lord for loving me.

What bad can I do?
What bad can I say
That’s bad enough to
Keep the Lord from loving me?

There’s nothing I can do,
There’s nothing I can say
That’s bad enough to
Keep the Lord from loving me.

Well, what then can I do?
What then can I say
To thank the Lord
For loving me?

I’ll do everything I do,
I’ll say everything I say
In the name of the Lord
Who never stops loving me,
In the name of the Lord
Who never stops loving me.

About This Song:
The lyrics of “The Lord (Who) Never Stops Loving Me” are pretty simple, but they express some basic and very important Christian theology.

I wonder how many people believe they’re good enough to “earn” their way into heaven. More than I could guess. They fail to recognize just how perfect God is and how far even the best of them misses the mark on his own.

One thing for sure,. Jesus is the only way to reach God, and not even the Mother Teresas of the world can make it to heaven without faith in Him as their personal Lord and Savior.

I also wonder how many people–look at many of the prison population–reject Christianity because they don’t believe God can possibly forgive them for their sins. Ironically, their rejection of Him is the only sin He can’t forgive.

As hard as it is to believe–it might even rub us the wrong way–God loved  Hitler, Stalin, and Jack the Ripper–as much as He loves each of us. Regardless of their horrendous crimes, he would’ve forgiven them if they had turned to Him in faith and repented of their sins.

So we can’t be good enough to pay God for our salvation, and we can’t be bad enough to keep Him from loving us. What CAN we do?

We can be God’s loving, obedient children. Faithful in our gratitude for what God has done in our lives and continues to do daily. And share the Good News with others.

What about you? Do you think you’re good enough on your own, or do you recognize that God’s forgiveness is necessary for everyone, no matter how good a person he or she may be?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Actions, Badness, Forgiveness, Goodness, Gratitude, Hitler, Mother Teresa, Words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giver, Gift, Gifted

God is the vine,
And we are His branches.
We are known by the
Kind of fruit we bear.

refrain
God is the giver of every perfect gift.

Christ, His only Son, is God’s most perfect gift of all.
When we accept Him, we become the gifted,
Gifted with eternal life by God’s redeeming love,
By God’s redeeming love.

God’s fruit is love,
Love that gives and forgives,
And strives to turn
His enemies into friends.
(refrain)

God is the vine.
We are His branches.
When we share His love,
We bear His fruit.
(refrain)

About This Song:
“Giver, Gift, Gifted” uses something closely related to a neologism.

“Huh?” you might say. I had to look that word up the first time I saw it.

A neologism is a made-up word. We writers love to use them. Especially novelists and other writers of fiction.

In this song, however, I haven’t created a new word, but I’ve given a new meaning to an existing word: “Gifted” to signify that the recipient of God’s love (rather than talents) has been blessed with something special. The lyrics are based on these Scriptures. . .

  • James 1:17
    Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
    (NIV)
  • John 1:12
    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
    (NIV)
  • John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    (NIV)
  • John 15:4
    Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
    (NIV)

Hence God is the Giver, Christ is the Gift, and Christians are the Gifted–the blessed recipients of God’s gift.

However, what the lyrics strongly imply comes closer to the conventional meaning of “gifted” as well. Through faith, Christians have been joined to the vine and thus enabled to bear God’s fruit.

If you’re a Christian, have you allowed God to fully enable you to bear His fruit? If you have a comment about this song, please leave a comment.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Fruit, Gift, Gifted, Giver, God's love, Love, Neologism, Uncategorized, Vine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That God’s Love Might Show

Live purest lives, God’s innocent children,
In this world of darkness and sin.
You must shine like stars in the night sky
As you share God’s message of life.

God is your father, Christ your brother.
How you live reflects on their name.
Show great care in using your freedom
That you don’t lead the weak to fall.

Feed those who are hungry, clothe the naked,
Visit those who are in jail.
Love each other and love those who hate you
That God’s love may show through you.

You must shine like stars in the night sky
That God’s love may show through you,
That God’s love may show through you.

About This Song:
The first thing my wife noticed about this song is that the words of the title don’t appear anywhere in the lyrics. That oversight occurred so many years ago I won’t make any effort to justify it now. I’ll just laugh at myself once more.

I have fond memories of singing this song the first time at an old age home in Australia. Can you imagine addressing a group of old folks as “God’s innocent children”? But when it comes to our relationship with God, we’re all children–regardless of age.

I believe this song probably comes closer to capturing the essence of the Christian life than any of my other songs.

It has a good biblical basis. The main idea comes from Phil. 2:15-16a:
15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
(NIV)

But related Scriptures include:

Matt. 5:44. . .
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
(NIV)

1 Cor. 8:9-13. . .
9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
(NIV)

Matt. 25:35-40. . .
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
(NIV)

John 1:12-13. . .
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
(NIV)

Rom. 9:8. . .
8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.
(NIV)

Rom. 14:13. . .
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
(NIV)

John 3:1-3. . .
1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
(NIV)

This planet we live on is populated with billions of people who don’t even know Jesus’ name, much less the hope He provides not only for eternity, but for a more meaningful life here on earth.

I can’t conceive of billions. I can’t even conceive of millions. But even if I could, that wouldn’t change the fact that my sphere of influence is pretty small.

That doesn’t free me from the responsibility to live in the light and to be light to others, though. I know the Good News. I have the Good News. But how can I show myself a child of God if I’m unwilling to share it with others?

“Faith without works is dead.”

What about you? Does your faith compel you to shine like a star in the night sky of sin and darkness so others can see you’re different?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Children, Darkness, Faithfulness, Light, Night Sky, Obedience, Serving Jesus, Sharing, Sharing God's Love, Stars, Works | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment