The Flame that Never Goes Out

God’s love is a flame that never goes out.
God’s love is a flame that never goes out.
God’s love is a flame that never goes out.
God’s flame never goes out, no,
God’s flame never goes out.

A match–once struck–very quickly dies down.
A match–once struck–very quickly dies down.
A match–once struck–very quickly dies down,
But God’s flame never goes out, no,
God’s flame never goes out.

A lighted candle soon expires.
A lighted candle soon expires.
A lighted candle soon expires,
But God’s flame never goes out, no,
God’s flame never goes out.

A fireplace burns till the wood is all gone.
A fireplace burns till the wood is all gone.
A fireplace burns till the wood is all gone,
But God’s flame never goes out, no,
God’s flame never goes out.

A lantern glows till the oil is used up.
A lantern glows till the oil is used up.
A lantern glows till the oil is used up,
But God’s flame never goes out, no,
God’s flame never goes out.

A flashlight lights while the batteries last.
A flashlight lights while the batteries last.
A flashlight lights while the batteries last,
But God’s flame never goes out, no,
God’s flame never goes out.

God’s love is a flame that never goes out.
God’s love is a flame that never goes out.
God’s love is a flame that never goes out.
God’s flame never goes out, no,
God’s flame never goes out

About This Song:
Every once in a rare while, a song or book idea comes to me in a dream, and this song is one of them.

I dreamed I was at a church business meeting when somebody passed around a disposable lighter with the Broadman (the old name for Lifeway Christian Stores) insignia on it. Apparently to consider as an advertising gimmick. As unlikely as Broadman was to use a tobacco-related item that way, it was equally out of place for consideration at a church business meeting. Definitely a strange dream.

When I woke up, though, I couldn’t help thinking about the temporary nature of a disposable lighter. It does its job–but only as long as the fluid lasts. God’s love never runs out, however–no matter how many people it touches or how often.

All I had to do was come up with a variety of flame- or light-producing items to contrast with the permanence and dependability of God’s love. The first four stanzas were the original ones. Years later I added the lantern and flashlight stanzas. I’m no longer considering an additional stanza that would go something like, “The sun keeps shining till its gases burn out.”

This song isn’t complicated, but it’s both fun and (I believe) theologically accurate, even though it’s not as directly Scripture-based as many of my songs. It should make a good song for children.

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

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Posted in Broadman, Children's Song, Dream, Flame, God's Endless Love, Lifeway | 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:
Those lyrics are pretty simple, but they express some very basic Christian theology. Basic, but extremely important.

How many people believe they’re good enough to “earn” their way into heaven? Quite a few, I’d guess. They fail to recognize that we’re all sinners and even the best of us doesn’t deserve God’s love.

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

And how many people–not just those locked up in prison–reject Christianity because they don’t believe God can possibly forgive them for their sins. Ironically, their ultimate 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 we can 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?

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:

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

The Younger Son

There was a man who had two sons,
And the younger one said to him,
“Give me the portion of wealth which will be mine,
So I may enjoy life while I am young.”

Then he packed his bags and headed off,
Wasting his whole wealth in every wicked way.
When there was nothing left, he lived by feeding hogs
And gladly would have eaten what they left behind.

Then he thought about his father and his home,
And he repented of all the wrongs he’d done.
So he packed his bags and headed home, a servant hoped to be.
But his father was so forgiving he restored him as his own son.

About this Song:
If you’re familiar with the New Testament, you undoubtedly recognize this song as Jesus’s parable of The Prodigal Son. Although He told the story much better than I can, I’ve done my best to boil the basics down into something more succinct than in any of my other songs. I hope it captures the essence of what Jesus was teaching: We can never sin so badly that God won’t forgive us or welcome us home again–just as a human father would welcome back a wayward child–if we return to Him seeking forgiveness.

I’ve heard sermons that claim this parable is actually about the older brother–the son who stayed home and didn’t stray–but I don’t agree. I think the older brother was jealous of his younger brother from start to finish. After all, unless I’m mistaken about how things worked in biblical times, the younger brother wasn’t entitled to any of his father’s money anyhow; it should all have become the older brother’s at the death of their father. So the younger son was–in effect–stealing from his brother.

Judging by the way the older son reacted to his father’s celebration over his  brother’s return, he was still jealous.  And unforgiving.

So I still believe the parable is all about God’s love and forgiveness.

Sin is anything that separates us from God. So–as the Scriptures state so clearly–“All we like sheep have turned away” and “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Nobody is good enough to be friends with God. Not without faith in Jesus as God’s son and repentance of our sins.

As Jesus made so clear in this parable, God is waiting for you, ready to forgive. Don’t put it off if you haven’t already made that commitment.

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:

Posted in Forgiveness, Forgiving Father, Jealous Brother, Jesus' Teaching, Parable, Prodigal Son, Repentance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Lone Angel

In these days of great darkness,
The righteous are not spared.
Though they’re on mission for their God,
The dangers are quite real.
Sometimes the Lord assures them
That He’s still in control
By sending one lone angel forth
To lead them through the storm.

‘Twas in the midst of chaos,
A bullet struck her head;
Unconscious for a moment,
She lay still upon the ground.
Her husband rushed to help her;
The bleeding would not stop.
A friend helped get her to the car,
Their passports left behind.

A man stepped through the chaos,
A stranger to them all.
He knew this lady would die soon;
Her life was in his hands.
He led them to the clinic
By many twists and turns.
The precious moments that he saved
Helped get her there in time.

The doctor said the bullet
Had passed right through her head,
And it had done no damage,
Though it glanced against her skull.
He said, “You are hard-headed.”
She laughed. “Like those I love.”
While friend and stranger went back for
The passports left behind.

When their friend turned to thank him,
The stranger was not there;
Though this was in an open place
With no place he could go.
They said, “We’ve seen an angel
Sent by the Lord today:
He’s come here just to help us
And remind us of His care.”

In these days of great darkness,
The righteous are not spared.
Though they’re on mission for their God,
The dangers are quite real.
Sometimes the Lord assures them
That He’s still in control
By sending one lone angel forth
To lead them through the storm.

About This Song:
Around Christmas we’re apt to think about angels. The Bible usually portrays them as messengers. For example, an angel told Mary she would become the mother of Jesus. An angel told Joseph not to reject Mary for her pregnancy because God was the father. Angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.

But angels in the Bible aren’t limited to Christmas. Neither are they limited to being messengers, as we see in this song.

“One Lone Angel”  is based on a news article written by Robert O’Brien and published by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) a number of years ago. It’s an accurate rendering of Robert’s article. The incident took place during fighting in Albania, where Burt and Debbie Ayers served as CBF missionaries.

The “friend” who helped Burt was an unnamed Mennonite missionary. The stranger who saved Debbie’s life was–who knows?

Not everyone believes in angels. But it’s difficult–in my case, impossible–to read this story or consider the words of the song and deny that something quite supernatural occurred that day. If you don’t believe it was an angel, please share your explanation in a comment.

The Ayers don’t have any other explanation.

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:

Posted in Albania, Angels, CBF, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Friend, Life Saving, Missionary, Stranger | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Two Friends Walk Together

When two friends walk together,
When two friends walk together,
When two friends walk together and one falls,
The other helps him up.

But when someone walks alone,
When someone walks alone,
When someone walks alone and he falls down,
There’s no one to help him up.

If a rope has several strands,
If a rope has several strands,
If a rope has several strands and one strand breaks,
The others will hold fast.

When I’m walking with the Lord,
When I’m walking with the Lord,
When I’m walking with the Lord I need not fear.
He will not let me fall down,
He will not let me fall down,
He won’t let me fall down.

About This Song:
I always associate this song with my father. The week he died, he fell in my parents’ bathroom and wasn’t able to get up. My mother couldn’t lift him.

She called me and I rushed over from work, but he was too heavy for me as well. So we called the paramedics, who had no problem putting him on a stretcher and transporting him to the hospital.

The song–like many of mine–is based on Scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

9 Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
(NIV)

At first glance, that Scripture doesn’t sound “religious.” Those verses express truths that don’t appear to have anything to do with faith or God.

Yet the Scriptures–and consequently my song–have always seemed Christian.  Even before I added a new final stanza a few years ago (twenty-seven years after first writing the song), using an idea not based on Ecclesiastes.

As a whole, I think the lyrics describe the ultimate in Christian unity and fellowship: when a Christian helps to lift a fallen brother or sister; when a church as the body of Christ cannot be broken by the failure of one weak member.

So it’s not surprising that I view the second stanza as a sad reminder of the hopelessness of people who aren’t part of a church fellowship and have no one to depend on. Therefore it’s ultimately a call to be on the lookout for the fallen who may not even be part of the church fellowship–and to be willing to help.

Willingly. Without counting the cost.

I feel certain that–in the context of biblical history–verse 11 doesn’t have any sexual implications. But I preferred not to use it in my song rather than chance having someone snicker when they heard it.

Is there a time in your life when you’ve needed someone to lift you up? How about sharing a comment?

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Church, Ecclesiastes, Falling, Fellowship, Friend, Helping, Lifting, Rope | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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Posted in Children of Israel, Deliverance, Forgiveness, God's Leading, Moses, Obedience, Promised Land, Repentance, The Devil and Pastor Gus | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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Posted in Angels, Christmas, Joy, Love, Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment