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’ parable of “The Prodigal Son.” Although He tells 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.

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I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

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

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.
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Best regards,
Roger

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test — please ignore

From As I Come Singing

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Test — Please Ignore

Testing to see whether we’ve gotten rid of “Roger Bruner’s Tribe Meets Here” when a post goes to Facebook.

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God Keeps His Promises

When we make promises, sometimes we break them
And hurt the people we love the most.
But God’s not like that. He’s always truthful.
He always does the things He says He’ll do.

God keeps His promises; He is so faithful.
We need not worry; He keeps His word.
He is our Father; we are His children.
He always gives us what He knows we need.

About This Song:
Ever since I started writing Christian novels–seven or eight years ago–I probably haven’t averaged one new song a year. I can’t simply set out to write a new song. I need a catchy idea–often a single line–to start with. God shares those with me only periodically.

At my church’s nursing home ministry one Wednesday, Pastor Chadwick presented a devotional about the dependability of God’s promises. One point really got my attention. When people question our word and our truthfulness, it hurts. They’re accusing us of lying.

So how much more it must hurt God when we His children don’t accept His promises without question. We react as if He was lying. Or incapable of keeping His promises. How foolish we are to do that.

He’s proven his dependability time and time again. He’s never let one of us down. He may not always do what we want Him to do, but each of His children knows from personal experience that He truly loves and holds each of us in His hands.

Why should we doubt Him–His intentions or His abilities?

That devotional thought solidified in my mind as “God keeps His promises.” When I first wrote the words, the stanzas were reversed. When I changed the order, I kept the original title. It summed up the whole meaning of the song in those four words.

As you can see from the lyrics, I ended up not dwelling on how we upset God by our failure to take His promises seriously enough, but on the fact He always keeps His word. As opposed to the fact we often fail to.

The melody turned out to be very basic. I often spend weeks trying to work out a tune, but this one came so easily I almost worry whether I’ve accidentally copied something I’ve heard elsewhere but don’t remember or recognize.

God is faithful, though, and I prefer to believe He wanted to bless these lyrics by inspiring the tune and having me offer the completed song to the director of my church’s preschool choir.  You can see a video of their performance (I’m playing guitar almost inaudibly) HERE.

How are you at keeping promises? Do you sometimes break them, no matter how hard you try not to? God forgives us for that.

But we’ll never need to forgive Him for broken promises. He always keeps His word, and I count on that in every part of my life. Do you? If not, you’re missing out on something special.

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I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

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

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.

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Best regards,
Roger

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Sowing Seeds of Love

A farmer sows his seeds, and they fall everywhere.
Some seeds die where they land, but some will multiply.
Some seeds fall upon the path and some on rocky soil;
Some seeds choke among the thorns, but some fall on good ground.

God’s children scatter seeds of love with all their words and ways.
Some people do not listen; some do not understand.
Some follow, yet they soon turn back–from worry or for wealth.
But some show they’re God’s children now by sowing seeds of love.

About This Song:
This song is based loosely on Matthew 13:3-8 and 19-23, Jesus’ familiar Parable of the Sower. Here are the relevant verses:

3. A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

19 “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
(NIV)

You’ll notice I referred to this story as the Parable of the Sower, which is the heading the NIV uses. And that makes sense. After all, the farmer sowed seed that fell on all of those different kinds of soil.

Different kinds of soil? Hmm. Maybe that’s why some translations call this the Parable of the Soil. I think that makes more sense, because the story really isn’t about WHO sows the seed. It’s about WHERE the seed lands.

If I understand correctly –Jesus explained it pretty simply to His disciples–those who preach God’s Word share it with all kinds of people. Some will reject it outright. Some will accept it for the moment and then fall away. Others will really take it to heart and let it change their lives.

If you’re a Sower of God’s Word, don’t be discouraged that your message won’t reach or win everyone. Jesus had that problem, too.

If you’re not a believer, what kind of soil are you?  Are you receptive to God’s message of love?

Please leave a comment if this song has said something to you.

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I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them (including today’s), go HERE. RogerBruner.com/LeadSheets.shtml

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Farmer, Seed, Soil, Sowing, The Devil and Pastor Gus | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Light in Our Lives

When Moses came down from the mountain,
Toting two tablets of stone,
His face was shining so brightly,
It frightened the people below.
He calmed them and called a debriefing
To tell of his time on the mount.
The people all listened intently,
For they saw God’s light on his face.

They saw God’s light on his face, yes,
They saw God’s light on his face.
The people all listened intently,
For they saw God’s light on his face.

When we come back down from the mountain,
After a time with the Lord,
We pray to meet unbelievers
And share the way of the Cross.
We lovingly tell them the Good News,
Not sure just how they will respond.
But we know they’ll more likely listen
If they see God’s light in our lives.

If they see God’s light in our lives, yes,
If they see God’s light in our lives.
We know they’ll more likely listen
If they see God’s light in our lives.

About This Song:
The inspiration for this song is Exodus 34:29-35:

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.
(NIV)

This Scripture fascinates me. I can only begin to imagine what being physically in the presence of God would be like, but I couldn’t have blamed the Children of Israel if they’d been skeptical about it.

They weren’t skeptical, however. They had no choice but to believe and accept that Moses had been in God’s presence. God had given Moses an unmistakable sign by anointing him with a frightening radiance–a special glow. The Children of Israel recognized that sign for what it was.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t expect my face to light up that much, no matter how special my prayer time with God might be.

Still, the people we try to share our faith with may very well be skeptical. Unless, of course, they see something in our lives that almost shouts, “It’s true! Listen to him. Believe him.”

If we are truly God’s children, each of us has the potential to glow–at least periodically. We won’t glow the same way, any more than we’ll all share Moses’ radiance. But no matter what form our glow takes–whether a smile of approval or ears that are really willing to listen–it will help to convince unbelievers that we’re real. And that the God whose love we’re trying to share with them is also real.

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I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

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

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Children of Israel, Glow, Moses, Ten Commandments, Witnessing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Are You Gonna Strike Your Match?

Where are you gonna strike your match?
Where are you gonna strike your match?
Will you strike it in the warmth of a well lighted church
Or take it to the cold and dark outside?

If you light your candle in a warm, bright room,
Few will even notice it’s there.
But take that candle outside and build a fire,
And those who’re cold and lost will feel the flame.

Where are you gonna strike your match?
Where are you gonna strike your match?
Will you strike it in the warmth of a well lighted church
Or take it to the cold and dark outside?

Take it outside.

About This Song:
Some years ago when Dr. Keith Parks was President of the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board), he gave the chapel devotional that inspired this song.

It seems pretty simply at first, but–when you think about it–this song isn’t about matches and candles. It’s about sharing the love of God with other people. Particularly those who need it most because they’re lonely, depressed, or suffering bad circumstances and don’t know how much God wants to comfort them. Those are the people who’re “freezing” outside in the darkness. They may or may not ever voluntarily come into the warmth of the church seeking help.

While the Bible says we need to minister to one another within the Body of Christ (i.e., the church), we’re also supposed to reach out to others in need. No matter how lovingly we treat our fellow believers, we’re just lighting candles inside a warm, bright building when we do that.

We’re also compelled to go outside the church and share the Good News.

It’s outside in the darkness–in the fallen world we move through day in and day out–that the small flame each Christian bears makes such a difference. Where are you lighting your candle–in the warmth and safety of the church or in your daily walk as you encounter people in need?

Comments are welcome.

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I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

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

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Fire, Matches, Sharing God's Love, Visibility, Warmth | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment