The Only Hope I Have

A very old audio home recording of this song may be heard here.

God’s love and mercy never fail;
They’re fresh as every brand-new day,
Sure as every sunrise.
God helps those who place their trust in Him
He is the only hope I have.

I know how it feels to be punished by the Lord,
Locked in His prison, with no hope for release,
Thrown into such darkness that each day seems like the night,
And choked by the poison of my own bitter thoughts.

Then in my depression, hope returned.

God’s love and mercy never fail;
They’re fresh as every brand-new day,
Sure as every sunrise.
God helps those who place their trust in Him
He is the only hope I have.

About This Song:
RogerCapped - smaller
The prophet Jeremiah wasn’t the only person in the Bible who let his depression show when he was in bad circumstances. Poor Jonah really poured his heart out to God during his time in the whale’s belly. (See “Jonah’s Prayer”.)

The most depressing part of “The Only Hope I Have” is based on Lamentations 3:1-18. I’m including only verses 7-9 here, but take my word for it (better yet, look it up yourself in the Bible), the rest of it is depressing, too.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.
He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.
(NIV)

The transition from depression to hopeful comes in Lamentations 3:19-21.

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
(NIV)

When hope comes in this passage, it’s like a blackened sky that fireworks have suddenly brightened like daylight. Here are verses 22-25…

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,  to the one who seeks him;
(NIV)

I began this song with the same stanza it ends with for a reason: to focus on hope rather than on hopelessness.

Most of us–perhaps all–experience at least a small bit of depression at times, but we’re not crippled by it. I’ll never forget one period of time in my life when I went right back to bed after getting up; I couldn’t face the circumstances of being awake.

Yet my depression wasn’t as bad as what a number of people suffer, and my heart goes out to those who are crippled by severe depression on an ongoing basis.

When we’re going through times like those, don’t we sometimes tend to blame God for our bad circumstances?  Although He’s big enough to listen to those accusations without growing angry–He listens compassionately–He’s not to blame. God didn’t create bad things or evil.

The free will God endowed each of us with resulted in sin, and sin has brought about suffering and death. And, yes, the evil that surrounds us and seems to grow worse with every passing day.

No matter how deep into depression we may sink, those of us who’ve become God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ have a special source of hope others don’t have. Whenever we examine God’s Word, we  come across numerous reassuring promises God has made to provide for His children.

Through Him, nothing is eternally hopeless.

God may not provide for our needs in our choice of times or ways, but since He is unfailingly faithful, we can trust Him to always do what He knows is ultimately best for us.

Can we expect less from our Heavenly Father than we do from our earthly fathers? Will He fail to provide the best for His children, even if that sometimes means allowing us to suffer the results of bad decisions and wrong words and actions?

No matter what my circumstances, God is the only hope I have. God will fulfill His promises in His own time and His own way.

Do you have that hope?

Feel free to leave a comment and come back again next week. Better still, subscribe to receive these posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Eighteen Novel 4x6 Postcard

Links you might be interested in:

Posted in Depression, God's Promises, God's Provision, Hope, Lamentations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special to God Almighty

A recent home audio recording of this song is available here.

I am special to God Almighty,
For He made me in His image,
And He always wanted me to be His child,
To be His child.

Long before the start of earth time
God planned my life in detail;
He knew everything I’d ever be and do.

In my mother’s womb He formed me;
He handcrafted all of the pieces,
And He made sure each part fit in place just so,
In place just so.

As I grew there till it was birthtime,
I remained safe in His watch-care
I developed just as God Himself desired.

Now that I’m born and I have grown up,
I’ve begun to call God ‘Father,’
For I know I’m who I am because I’m His.

God knows everything I’m feeling;
He knows what I will think next.
He knows what I’ll say before one word is formed.

I’m surrounded by things I don’t grasp,
While God understands them clearly.
Can I ever hope to understand the Lord,
To understand Him?

Where is there that the Lord can’t find me?
Can the night hide me from His eyes?
What’s more special than His constant love for me?
What’s more special than God’s constant love for me?

About This Song:
RogerCapped - smaller
“Special to God Almighty”
is based on Psalm 139. If you’re not familiar with it, let me just share that it’s one of pro-Lifers’ key passages–and probably one of abortionists’ most hated.

Here are just a few verses from it in the New International Version. . .


13 
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Often when I pray I thank God for making me exactly the way He made me. That’s a lot better than griping about my face or my hair or my height or my weight. It’s also better than wishing I had the talents this person or that one has.

God intended for me to be the person I am. That should be enough not just to satisfy me, but to make me be proud and to make me want to live up to God’s highest expectations of me.

My awareness of God’s love also makes me extremely thankful that I came to be a Bruner through adoption rather than being killed by abortion. Tell me, are you thankful you weren’t aborted? Can you imagine how different the lives around you would be if you didn’t exist?

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Feel free to join me then or, better still, sign up to receive these posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Eighteen Novel 4x6 Postcard

Links you might be interested in:

Posted in Abortion, God's plan, Pro-Life, Psalm 139, Psalms, Satisfaction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jigsaw Puzzle

Life can seem like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces just won’t fit;
Sometimes we struggle hard to fit a wrong piece into place,
While with our best intentions we ignore the better choice.
Life can seem like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces just won’t fit.

We can never see how the picture looks till the puzzle is complete;
Each piece put into place brings changes that we can’t anticipate.
We cannot be sure which piece placed where will make the picture whole.
We can never see how the picture looks till the puzzle is complete.

God Himself designed the puzzle; He knows where each piece fits.
He knows all about our struggles and the choices we must make.
He wants so much to help us; all we have to do is ask.
God Himself designed the puzzle; He knows where each piece fits.

About This Song:
RogerCapped - smaller
I’m not sure whether I wrote this song just before or just after my father’s death in 1993, and I can’t ask my mother because she died a year later. But I do recall sharing this song with her and her expressing concern. “Do you really feel that way?”

Yes, I did at that time, and I occasionally still do. Life is full of things that can’t be explained–bumps in the road that keep us from having a totally smooth ride as we proceed towards our inevitable earthly death. Bumps that just happen.

People often get caught up with asking God why. At least they seem to recognize that He knows why, even when He chooses not to explain.

The older I get, the more satisfied I am with leaving things in His hands. The more I rely on Him and the less I attempt to rely on myself–that doesn’t mean I don’t use my head or my talents to solve whatever problems I can–the closer I come to being the jigsaw puzzle God designed me to be.

What could be more special than that? How about leaving a comment?

A free lead sheet for this song is available here.  A VERY old home recording can be heard here.

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

Best regards,
Roger

Eighteen Novel 4x6 Postcard

Links you might be interested in:

Posted in Designs, JIgsaw, Life, Picture, Puzzle, Questions, Struggles | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The More Like Him I Grow

God is my Heavenly Father;
He made me who I am.
He wants all that’s best for me;
It’s written in His plan.
His Son is like a big brother
Who guides me as I go.
The closer I walk beside Jesus,
The more like Him I grow.
Yes, the more like Him I grow.

The more I come to love Jesus,
The more I learn about me:
Who I was and who I am
And who God wants me to be.
It’s a lifelong transformation;
The changes seem so slow.
Yet the more I seek to please Jesus,
The more like Him I grow.
Yes, the more like Him I grow.

About this Song:

While I was away on a mission trip to Australia in 1995, my daughter, Kristi, made a profession of her faith in Jesus Christ at our home church; she was eight years old at the time. I wrote this song soon after my return, dedicating it “to Kristi at the beginning of her Christian growth.”

She sang it with me at our church not long after that and again at the Windsor District Baptist Church in Australia on a family trip in 1996. Never has her singing been sweeter. A home recording of her and me singing it together is here.

Not one of us is born an adult anymore than a new Believer begins her Christian walk at full maturity. Our growth into human adulthood takes years, and our growth into Christian maturity is apt to take even longer. As this song states, the growth into being who God wants us to be “is a lifelong transformation.”

Christians don’t necessarily mature equally. But those who “seek to please Jesus” will continue to grow into the kind of people God wants them to be.

If this post has spoken to you, how about leaving a comment?

A free lead sheet is available for this song here.

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 Children, Growth, Kristi, Maturity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Like a Dog Chasing His Own Tail

Like a dog that is chasing his own tail
In a circle around, as he goes to lie down,
So my life’s been a cycle of searching
For happiness that disappears
As soon as it’s found.

Like a dog madly scratching at his fleas,
As if to say, “Please get rid of these.”
So my life’s been an everyday battle
Against fears and failures
And my weaknesses*.

Like a hungry dog that is wolfing down a big meal,
Slurping water everywhere, trying to get his fill,
So my life’s been spent thirsting for truth
And trying to sort through
The things that aren’t real.

Like a lost dog that’s finally found his home again–
No more to be alone, no more to roam–
So my life’s found a safe home in Jesus;
I’ll live with Him forever,
For I am His own.

*I pronounce this as “weaknessees” to force an amusing rhyme with fleas, please, and these.

About This Song:
RogerCapped - smallerWhen I was growing up, we always had a dog. First was Melina (that’s from  Greek for black, my father said), a mixed breed pup some friend of my parents brought back from the South Pacific at the end of the second World War. She lived to be seventeen or eighteen.

Then during my college years came Elsa, followed in turn by Fancy. Both were German Short-haired Pointers. Despite their high breeding, they proved too nervous to function as show dogs. They made great pets, though–once we got used to their skittishness at being touched or petted. The last dog I remember–this was long after I grew up–was a miniature Schnauzer named Schneider.

As a mid-lifer, I had to take Schneider to be put down because my father was seriously ill at the time. Too ill to do it himself. In fact, I’m not sure he knew what my mother and I were doing. If I recall correctly, she was relying heavily on his acceptance that we had done what had to be done. He accepted Schneider’s death as gracefully as possible once he got better.

When my father’s 70th birthday was approaching, a dog-themed song seemed an appropriate gift. That’s how this song came into being. The framed copy of the lead sheet I gave him that day is hanging in my hallway.

Now flash forward. From 1981 to 1991. I was on my first volunteer mission trip–to do ministry activities at the Windsor District Baptist Church about fifty miles northwest of Sydney, Australia. Our host pastor, George Stubbs, was a diligent worker, and he determined to work our team as fully as he could. He was–to be blunt–a loving slave driver.

One of our activities was presenting Scripture lessons in the public schools. When Pastor Stubbs told us the lesson was to be about the lost sheep, he looked at me as if I might easily pull something out of my head. I nearly panicked. I didn’t mind talking to kids. I just didn’t know how to do it. And what was I to sing? I’d never written any children’s songs, and I’d never written one about searching for and finding the one lost sheep.

But then this song came to mind. All of the stanzas dealt with our need for Jesus, and that final one dealt specifically with lostness and coming home. God worked a miracle in helping me introduce that song in a way the children could really relate to, and I ended up using it in other Australian schools and on mission trips in other countries.

I hope these lyrics not only make you smile, but inspire you to appreciate what a privilege it is to belong to belong to God and to depend on Him for your needs.

Are you a dog person? Can you relate to these lyrics? How about leaving a comment?

A free lead sheet (lyrics, tune, and chords) is available for this song here.

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 Australia, Birthday Present, Children, Dog, Lostness, Missions, Searching, Windsor District Baptist Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Assured of Complete Victory

A home studio audio recording of this song may be heard HERE.

What can separate us
From the love of God’s own Son?
Can hunger or hardship or danger or death itself
Separate us from His love?

I know that nothing can separate us
From the love of God’s own Son.
Not hunger or hardship or danger or death itself
Can separate us from His love.

We are assured of complete victory
Through the power of Jesus’ love.
Love that is greater than life and death
And greater than all things yet to be.

About This Song:
RogerCapped - smaller
“Assured of Complete Victory”
is based on Romans 8:35-39 and is dedicated to an old friend, Isaac “Iggy” Sahhar. Here’s the Scripture from the NIV:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I’m the first to admit that the way the Bible puts it–no matter which translation you prefer–is more poetic and less repetitive than my version. But I needed a simpler way to state it and hope I’ve succeeded in staying true to the basic idea.

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.

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:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Assurance, Death, God's love, Hardship, Hunger, Isaac Sahhar, Romans, Security, Uncategorized, Victory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lord, You Planned Me

You may listen to an audio home recording of “Lord, You Planned Me” here.

Lord, You planned me before I was conceived.
Lord, You planned me and then made sure that
Things went according to Your perfect plan.
Lord, You planned me.
Lord, You planned me.

Then at birth You gave me the choice
To follow You or run and stumble
On my own disastrous, catastrophic way.

Lord, You loved me before I was conceived.
Lord, You loved me, although You know how
Far I’d run before I turned to You.
Lord, You loved me.
Lord, You loved me.

Then at birth You gave me the choice
To follow You or run and stumble
On my own disastrous, catastrophic way.

Lord, You still love me no matter how often I stray.
Lord, You still love me and how Your arms out
To welcome me home again when I turn back to You.
Lord, You still love me.
Lord, You still love me.
Lord, You still love me.

About this song:
RogerCapped - smallerPsalm 139 has always been one of my favorite Scripture passages. The idea that someone as big as God–and who can imagine how huge He must be?–has known me from the beginning of time blows my mind whenever I think about it.

I mean, how could He possibly keep me straight among the billions of people who live on earth now, much less among all of the people who’ve lived here since He first created the world?

Yet I believe He knows every detail of my existence. That’s what the Bible tells me. He even knows where every hair that used to cover my bald head has gone. He knows more about me than I know about myself.

As if that’s not sufficiently overwhelming, the fact that He made sure I developed according to His plan and then set me free to do as I pleased is many steps beyond incomprehensible.

But He also knew I’d ultimately come back to Him. He didn’t make me love Him. He couldn’t do that. Enforced affection isn’t love.

He gave me His love–the real thing–and He wants the real thing back.

So He let me discover that He is so lovable I couldn’t fail to love Him. And if I love Him, I want to please Him.

So this song draws from Psalm 139 to express my amazement at God for loving me in spite of myself.

Some of you may resent my pointing this out, but Psalm 139 is a clear indication that the Bible is Pro-Life.

You can find a free lead sheet of this song in the drop down box found on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page.

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

Best regards,
Roger

Eighteen Novel 4x6 Postcard

Links you might be interested in:

Posted in Baby, Body, Conception, Created, Creation, Freedom, God's love, God's plan, Human, Lead Sheets, Life, Living, Psalm 139 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Song Is Unworthy

My wife, Kathleen, is singing this song with me here.

No song is unworthy to be sung to the Lord
If God lives within you, making your life sing for Him.
Sing for Him, sing for Him, sing for Him.

No tune is less than beautiful to be sung to the Lord
If your life’s in tune with what God wants your life to be.
Wants you to be, wants you to be, wants you to be.

No rhythm is unsteady to be sung to the Lord
If your life’s in rhythm with God’s heartbeat of love.
Heartbeat of love, heartbeat of love, heartbeat of love.

No words are less than poetry to be sung to the Lord
If your life sings of the Word who is making your life sing.
Making you sing, making you sing, making you sing for Him.

About this Song:
Best Small Trans Headshot lightened
A number of years ago, I was feeling rather down about my singing and songwriting, and I wrote this song to convince myself that what I was doing was important to God, even if it didn’t matter to anyone else.

I wrote a harmony part for it and have done duets with various people on mission trips overseas (everywhere from Wales to Australia) as well as locally with my wife. I’ve also enjoyed doing private duets with such (more professional) singers as Janet Roller, Angela Hunt, and Jane Jenkins Herlong. Incidentally, Jane was so gracious she emailed me to thank me for letting her sing it with me.

Note the logical progression of the lyrics. It goes from “song”–the song as a whole–to the various components: tune, rhythm, and words. I always consider words to be the most important part of a song. Because of that, perhaps the fact that I have a blog like this shouldn’t surprise you.

You can find a free lead sheet of this song in the drop down box found on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page.

Comments are always welcome.

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

Best regards,
Roger

Eighteen Novel 4x6 Postcard

Links you might be interested in:

Posted in Lyrics, Rhythm, Songs, Tune, Words, Worth, Worthiness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Because He Is Lord

How happy are those who worship the Lord with their songs
And live in the light of His presence!
Because He is Lord, they rejoice always,
And they sing of His everlasting goodness.
Yes, they sing of His everlasting goodness.

How happy are those who trust in the Lord with their hearts
And not in their own understanding!
Because He is Lord, they rejoice always,
And they sing of His ever abundant mercy.
Yes, they sing of His ever abundant mercy.

How happy are those who strive to live within God’s will,
Convinced that His plans all prove perfect!
Because He is Lord, they rejoice always,
And they sing of His never failing kindness.
Yes, they sing of His never failing kindness.

How happy are those who worship You, Lord, with their songs
And live in the light of Your presence!
Because You are Lord, they rejoice always,
And they sing of your everlasting goodness.
Yes, they sing of your everlasting goodness.

About This Song:

Because He Is Lord”
was inspired by three different Scriptures…

Psalm 89:15-16
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
(NIV)

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
(NIV)

Romans 8:28
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(NIV)

When’s the last time you had a complex plan work out exactly the way you intended? It does happen sometimes, but–more often than not–even the “best-laid plans” encounter little glitches along the way.

God’s plans are perfect, though.

“What?” you ask. “If His plans are so perfect, why isn’t my life perfect?”

To answer that, we need to look back at the Garden of Eden. Life was perfect–until Adam and Eve sinned. God had to expel them from the Garden, and their lives ceased to be perfect. Because they failed to remain in God’s perfect plan.

Throughout the Bible, God promised His people–not just the Jews, but everyone who trusted in Him–that He would take care of them. But if they strayed, they brought imperfection into their lives.

Hmm. We all sin, though. Where’s our hope?

God’s mercy is far beyond my ability to comprehend. When we confess our sins and ask His forgiveness, we place our lives under His control. That won’t necessarily make them perfect from a human perspective, but we can rest assured that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s all the assurance I need. No wonder I love to sing about God’s goodness.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs, although none is available for this one. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see which songs have lead sheets. 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 God's goodness, Happiness, Light, Perfect Plan, Trust, Worship | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s My Soul Worth to You, Christian?

What’s my soul worth to you, Christian?
Is it worth your time of day to speak to me some words of love and faith–
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

What’s my soul worth to you, Christian?
Is it worth some act of love to show me you believe in God above?
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

Is my soul worth the chance that I won’t ridicule you?
Is my soul worth the chance that I will listen to you?
Is my soul worth the chance that God will speak through you?
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

What’s my soul worth to you, Christian?
Is it worth a life that shows in every way the joy of God you know?
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

Is my soul worth the chance that I won’t ridicule you?
Is my soul worth the chance that I will listen to you?
Is my soul worth the chance that God will speak through you?
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

About this Song:
Best Small Trans Headshot lightened
This song, written during the early 1970s, is addressed to the Christian who’s hiding his witness under a basket.

It’s a strong appeal from someone  so hungry for the Gospel that he’s willing to  challenge the Christian who–for whatever reason–fails to share God’s Good News with him. This non-Christian is specific in asking why the Christian won’t share:

  • words of love and faith
  • an act of love
  • a life that shows the joy of knowing God.

I can’t speak for other Christians, but even now, fifty-some years after writing this song, the lyrics still condemn me for my hesitation to “intrude” into the lives of others with the message of hope they might be desperately in need of–and perhaps even hungry to listen to. I’m great at making up excuses for keeping Jesus to myself.

  • I may not stutter like Moses, but I’m much better at expressing myself in writing than I am verbally. While I do share my faith in my novels, my songs, and my other writing,  does that excuse me from speaking when the time is right?
  • I may not have riches to share with those in need, but I have more than I need. What’s my excuse for not giving what I have?
  • And if my life is as full of joy in Christ as I believe it is, what’s my excuse for not living more joyfully? Can’t I at least make my joy obvious in making positive contacts with other people?

After traveling to various parts of the world on short-term mission trips and meeting a variety of people who live in vastly different cultures and circumstances, I believe more strongly than ever that every person on this earth needs salvation–for the assurance of eternal life in heaven and the assurance of a more meaningful life here on earth–through faith in Jesus Christ.

Of all the songs I wish I’d been the one to write,“People Need the Lord” heads my list.

Who’s going to tell those people if we Christians don’t?

I’m not responsible for other Christians, though. I’m only responsible for myself.

What do you think? 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.

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

Best regards,
Roger

Eighteen Novel 4x6 Postcard

Links you might be interested in:

Posted in Good News, Hope, Non-Christians, Salvation, Sharing, Sharing God's Love, Soul, Witnessing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment