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

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?

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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, 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 Forgiveness, God's Leading, Obedience, Repentance, The Devil and Pastor Gus | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secure in You

Oh, Lord, You live forever;
So long ago You made this world with Your hands.
And when the heavens and the earth have all passed away,
Even then You’ll remain.
Lord, You’ll remain.

And when the world’s been used up,
And You’ve discarded it like worn-out clothes,
You will still be the same,
For Your life never ends,
And we’ll remain secure in You.
Lord, we’ll remain secure.
Lord, we will remain secure in You.

About This Song:
If you’ve been following this blog or looking back at previous posts, you realize that I have a great fondness for the Psalms. Because many of the Psalms–perhaps most of them–were meant to be sung, my love of adapting them for my own songs shouldn’t be surprising.

Today’s song is no exception. It’s based on Psalm 102:24b and following. I’ve included a little extra below to give more context.

Psalm 102 (New International Version)
A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.

23 In the course of my life he broke my strength;
    he cut short my days.
24 So I said:
“Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
    your years go on through all generations.
25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
    and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end.
28 The children of your servants will live in your presence;
    their descendants will be established before you.”

I don’t know about you, but I find “eternal” to be one of those concepts that’s beyond my ability to comprehend. “Infinite” is another. Then again, everything about God is more than I can fully understand. His love is so much greater than my best feeble attempts to love. Also beyond my comprehension are His mercy and His forgiveness.

So how can I possibly understand the fact that God has always been and will always be?

When I was a small child–and occasionally as I grew older–I asked myself, “If God created everything–if nothing existed before He did–where did He come from? Who created Him?” As childish as that question might sound, it was a source of great assurance. How could I  worship or place my trust in someone who has been created?

I’m different, though. I’m a created being, and so are you. We all face the eventual end of our earthly lives.

I don’t know about you, but I feel so much better about that because “the children of your servants will live in your presence.” We will live forever because God lives forever.

Can I explain that? Definitely not. But I believe it and try to live accordingly–in a way that pleases God.

Those of us who’ve placed our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (that’s something else I can’t fully understand) don’t have to wonder where they’ll spend eternity. Whether I know you personally doesn’t matter. I want you to be there in heaven with me when the time comes.

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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, 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 Eternity, Security | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Because He First Loved Me

God wants me to love Him with all my heart,
And He wants me to love Him with all my mind.
God wants me to love Him with all my strength;
Yes, He wants me to love Him with all my soul.
God wants me to love my neighbor as myself,
And He wants me to love my foe as my friend.
God wants me to love because He first loved me.

About This Song:
This song may be short, but it’s full of Scripture.

Luke 10:27:
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 5:44:
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . .

1 John 4:19:
We love because he first loved us.

(all passages from the New International Version)

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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 new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
SmallGusCover

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in MInd, Soul, Strength | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 considering an additional stanza now 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. And it ought to make a good song for children.

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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 new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Broadman, Children's Song, Dream, Flame, Lifeway | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Can Do for You I’m Doing for Him

Let me feed you when you are hungry;
Let me quench your thirst when you feel dry.
Let me shelter you when it’s cold outside.
Let me cheer you up when you feel cold inside.

Let me walk with you when you’re lonely;
Let me lift you up when you fall.
Let me show you the love of Jesus:
What I can do for you I’m doing for Him.

Let me love you when you need love;
Let me visit you when you’re in jail.
Let me wash your feet when you enter my house;
Let me clothe you in my very best.

Let me walk with you when you’re lonely;
Let me lift you up when you fall.
Let me show you the love of Jesus:
What I can do for you I’m doing for Him.

Let me forgive you when you have wronged me,
Let me turn the other cheek.
Let me bring you soup when you’re home sick in bed;
Let me listen to your ills, not make you listen to mine.

Let me walk with you when you’re lonely;
Let me lift you up when you fall.
Let me show you the love of Jesus:
What I can do for you I’m doing for Him.

About This Song:
Jesus talked many times about the importance of ministry to others. One of His most popular sayings is from Matthew 10:42:
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

But He also talked specifically about ministering to Him by ministering to others. Many of the ideas this song uses come from Matthew 25:40-46:

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.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

But this passage from Luke 6:29 is also relevant:
If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.

There are far too many passages dealing with forgiveness to pin a specific one down.

What do you think, though? Is Jesus speaking to you now the way He’s speaking to me? We (individually) aren’t responsible for feeding and caring for the whole world, but our lives touch people who need something from us–whether physical help, encouragement, or simply a listening ear. Are we willing do that much for Jesus?

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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, 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.

If you’re interested, please check out my most recent novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, at Amazon.
SmallGusCover

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Cold water, Cup of Cold Water, Serving Jesus | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

His Father’s Foreign Missionary

What father asked his only son to be his foreign missionary
And go to share his perfect love with a world so full of hate?
What father let his son be killed so others could have life?
What father asked his only son to be his foreign missionary?

What only son asked to be his father’s foreign missionary
And go to tell his father’s truth to a world so full of lies?
What son brought such good news that those who believe become his brothers?
What only son asked to be his father’s foreign missionary?

What father asks his adapted children to be his foreign missionaries
And share his love and tell his truth everywhere they go?
What father’s spirit guides his children and helps them do all things?
What father asks his adapted children to be his foreign missionaries?

About This Song:
Not only did I grow up in a Christian home where missions was important, I spent almost nineteen of my best non-novelist work years in Information Technology at the International Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia. During those years I went on short-term mission trips to England, Wales, Romania, and Australia. Since then, I’ve also been to Nicaragua.

Although I never felt God calling me to be a career missionary, I had numerous contacts over the years with people God had called to that task. Although these people never saw themselves as “special”–God’s calling was what made them special–they were a real inspiration to me.

God was a mission agency of one when He sent Jesus to earth to bring the Good News of His love and His offer of eternal salvation. God the Father didn’t MAKE Jesus do that, though. But Jesus felt His Father’s call and chose to obey it, even knowing he would suffer and die a hideous death.

A Southern Baptist missionary was murdered in Jordan shortly before I wrote this post originally several years ago. She hadn’t resisted God’s call to go, and she paid with her life.

The same with Jesus. He left heaven to carry out God the Father’s assignment, and those of us who’re believers 2000 years later owe a huge debt of gratitude for the way Jesus carried out His assignment.

We can’t pay God back for what Jesus did and–in so doing–turning His followers into adopted children of God and His own brothers and sisters. And if we take our family membership seriously, we want to share the Good News with others. Whether we go overseas or next door, we show God our appreciation by serving as His missionaries.

Are you a member of His family? Are you helping to spread His Good News?

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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, 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 new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in International Mission Board, Missionary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment