First and Second Mile Blues

If you’ve come to walk just one mile
And to tell me what you’re taught to say,
Go on home; I’m not gonna listen.
I don’t think you’ve a thing real to say to me.

But if you’ve come to walk all the way
And tell me how you really feel,
Have a seat; I’m ready to listen.
I think you might have something real to say.

About this Song:
Roger-2021
I was visiting my original in-laws in November of 1979 when the ideas for two songs came to me. This is one of them. What you can’t tell from just looking at the words,  however, is the rhythm was so tricky–so challenging–that I never bothered to write the tune down until 1993. And even then it was just an approximation.

It was as much a challenge to play as to write down, and the effect of age on my hands has made it impossible to record. How I regret that! Nonetheless, I managed to do a self-video a few years ago. Feel free to watch it here.

I’ll never forget doing a program at Allen Memorial Baptist Church in Salisbury, Maryland, one Sunday evening closer to 1979 than to now. I was sitting on a stool. “The First & Second Mile Blues” made me so nervous that the guitar bounced up and down on my knee from start to finish, and I’m not sure how many right notes I hit–if any. No wonder I decided never to do that song in public again!

But my friends at the Ashland Convalescent Center are pretty low key and uncritical, and I don’t get as uptight about mistakes as I used to. So sometime within the last ten years I chanced doing it for them. It not only went well, they actually seemed to like it.

Enough about that, though.

If you’re familiar with Jesus’ teachings, the idea of voluntarily going the second mile in doing something distasteful for someone rather than just the required first mile–that teaching can be applied to so many aspects of life–then you understand where the idea came from.

None of us is in a position to try to pass our wisdom along to others in a forceful and distasteful way. Especially if it’s unsought. No wonder we tend to describe people who witness that way as “Bible thumpers” and accuse them of hitting listeners over the head with their Bibles.

They can’t seem to understand that nobody wants to listen to them until they’ve established themselves as genuine examples of what they’re proclaiming. As Christians, that often means going the second mile to establish a credible relationship.

Do people willingly listen to your Christian witness or are they too busy running from you because of the way you’re trying to ram Jesus’s love down their throats?

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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I Come Believing, Lord

[I never recorded this simple song, but a free lead sheet may be found here.]

I come believing, Lord,
That You’re the God of Light,
And as I go my way,
Help me to shine.

I come believing, Lord,
That You’re the God of Strength,
And as I go my way,
Help me be strong.

I come believing, Lord,
That You’re the God of Truth,
And as I go my way,
Help me be true.

I come believing, Lord,
That You’re the God of love,
And as I go my way,
Help me to love.

I come believing, Lord,
That You’re the God of life,
And as I go my way,
Help me to live.

About This Song:
Roger-2021
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I like to write songs about God’s attributes–and how He is the source of whatever goodness we have.

If you have any doubts about our need for goodness, look at the low moral condition not just of the United States, but of the whole world. More and more, “progressive” world citizens are denying the existence of God. In the process, they are also ignoring the codes of conduct based on God’s Ten Commandments and inviting everyone to do his own thing.  It would seem that everyone has his own set of rules for what’s right and wrong. So that ultimately means everything is right and nothing is wrong.

Hmm. Tell that to the fetuses (and even some live babies) who’ve been tortured as they were put to death.

I make no apologies for being a Christian and believing that God’s way is the only right way to live. He is the only source of light, strength, truth, and love. And ultimately of life itself.

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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Perfect Peace

[You may listen to an old recording of this song here. Get the lead sheet here.]

When I feel like running away
From all the things that keep troubling me daily,
I fall at the foot of the cross
And bathe in God’s perfect peace.

As God’s love floods into my soul
And washes those things that keep troubling me so,
I watch as they shrink in His hands
Till they seem so harmless.

I no longer feel like running away;
Troubles are real, but they look small in God’s hands.
When I place my life in His care,
He gives me perfect peace.

As God’s love floods into my soul
And washes those things that keep troubling me so,
I watch as they shrink in His hands
Till they seem so harmless.

I no longer feel like running away;
Troubles are real, but they look small in God’s hands.
When I place my life in His care,
He gives me perfect peace

About This Song:

Roger-2021
I recall a time when a dear friend was undergoing an immense amount of pressure. She had to temporarily step back from her official responsibilities to keep from going off the deep end. She wasn’t running away, though; she was just taking time to “fall at the foot of the cross and bathe in God’s perfect peace.”

What about you? Do you have a problem that makes you feel like giving up and running away?

If you take them to God expecting Him to magically solve them for you, you may be disappointed. But be assured He wants to give you a sense of peace about them.

You recall the old spiritual “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”? In hands as full of this world’s troubles, how much smaller your problems look in comparison. Yet how reassuring it is to remember that He always has room for your problems and mine.

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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Because He First Loved Me

[The lead sheet for this song is here. You may listen to it here.]

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:
Roger-2021
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)

It’s ironic that so many people on the far-left are afraid of the Bible, Christianity, and Christians. They think we are the worst of haters, and they may be correct about a minuscule minority. But how can “real” Christians be that way? We became Christians because of the truth in John 3:16…

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

We believe in that kind of life, and it requires the kind of love Jesus modeled. He forgave those who were putting Him to death. Can we do anything but love those who hate and condemn us?

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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The Younger Son

[You may listen to this song here. A free lead sheet is available here.]

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:
Roger-2021
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.

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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His Father’s Foreign Missionary

(An old recording may be heard here. The free lead sheet is here.]

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:
Roger-2021
Not only did I grow up in a very missions-oriented Christian home, 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 they didn’t see 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. She hadn’t resisted God’s call to go, and she paid with her life.

The same was true 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. But 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?

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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Life

[You may listen to a recording of this song here. A free lead sheet is available here.]

Life is the toughest of races;
We are not done till we breathe our last.
But if Christ is living within us,
Our victory is assured.
God declares us all winners
When we follow His way to the end.
He welcomes us all with a “well done”
And presents the prize of eternal life.

About This Song:
Roger-2021
Although I wrote this song for the 2000 Olympic outreach in Sydney, Australia, I dedicated it to Dianne, the sister of our then-current church accompanist, Kim Fox. Dianne had fought a brave but losing battle against cancer.

The apostle Paul wrote these things about running and races…

2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Galatians 2:2 (NIV)
I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

Galatians 5:7 (NIV)
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

1 Corinthians 9:26 (NIV)
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

Philippians 2:16 (NIV)
. . .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.

While no one quotation says this, I believe Paul would agree that each of us has his own race to run. We’re not competing with other people, but against the temptations and snares of this world. Had Adam and Eve not introduced sin into the world, life would be easy. Pleasant. Wonderful. Perfect.

We must deal with sin, though. And not just our own. We often have to endure the consequences of other peoples’ sins. The obvious example is countless millions of innocent Jews who lost their lives because of Hitler’s sins.

I’m not an athlete. What little I know about running I’ve learned from others. But the easiest way to lose a race is to take one’s eyes–one’s concentration–off the goal. The runner can’t afford to think about that big meal she’s going to enjoy in an hour or wonder how close the person behind her is. She must focus on the finish line and nothing else.

When we accept membership in God’s family through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, we launch from a starting block. We get off to a strong start. God urges us to run straight towards Him. I imagine Him standing at the finish line beckoning us on. How well we keep our eyes on Him affects the outcome of the race.

That brings up another issue. Running a race successfully is quite different from simply finishing one. I want to run the best race I can–the personal race God designed just for me.

I hope your eyes are set firmly on that Divine Finish Line, too. Wouldn’t you like to share a comment?

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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More Than Just the Way I Am

(You may listen to a recent recording of this song here. A free lead sheet is available here.)

 Although I'm not like the prophet Daniel
 With vast knowledge and wisdom and power,
 I praise the Lord every day of my life for making me
 Just the way I am.

 Just the way I am, just the way I am,
 The Lord made me just the way I am.
 Just the way I am, just the way I am,
 The Lord made me just the way I am.

 No, I'm not like the prophet Daniel;
 My abilities are nothing like his.
 But I thank the Lord every day of my life for making me
 Just the way I am.

 Just the way I am, just the way I am,
 God uses me just the way I am.
 Just the way I am, just the way I am,
 God uses me just the way I am.

 How I long to be more like my Savior;
 He's merciful and loving and kind.
 So I pray for him to keep growing me
 Into more than just the way I am.
 More than just the way I am,
 More than just the way I am,
 I pray He'll grow me into more than
 Just the way I am.

About This Song:

Roger-2021
Although I don’t normally republish a post until at least three years after the original posting, I have a special reason for doing it this time. I originally published this song in January as “Just the Way I Am,” but a couple of months ago I felt led to add a third stanza. With that change I decided to rename it “More than Just the Way I Am” and share the change here.

Because the Bible study class I’m in has been in Revelation for several years now, I’ve read through Revelation at home three or four times. In fact I’m reading it again now. After considering what Daniel prophesied about end times I turned my attention to the book of Daniel. The day after I started I ran into these verses from Daniel 2: 20-23a

 May the name of God
 be praised forever and ever,
 for wisdom and power belong to Him.
 21 He changes the times and seasons;
 He removes kings and establishes kings.
 He gives wisdom to the wise
 and knowledge to those
 who have understanding.
 22 He reveals the deep and hidden things;
 He knows what is in the darkness,
 and light dwells with Him.
 23 I offer thanks and praise to You,
 God of my fathers,
 because You have given me
 wisdom and power.

Something in those verses suggested a song for me to write, but it took a while (days, maybe weeks) to catch on that the Daniel passage could effectively be linked to Psalm 139 without actually attempting to set either passage to music as such.

God has created each of us intentionally. He didn’t mass produce us. Each of us is unique. So although I don’t have Daniel’s abilities, I’ll bet I have some he didn’t have. And God has a use for each of them. A use that’s just as important in its own way as Daniel’s abilities.

So I’m not going to be jealous of other people’s abilities any more than I am of Daniel’s. We’re all important in God’s eyes, and we’re all useful to God if we allow Him to use us.

Please check back here again next Wednesday or, better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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Yes, He Does!

[You may listen to a recording of this song here.]

God wants me for his child. Yes, He does!
He loves me as His own. Yes, He does!
He wants what’s best for me. Yes, He does!
He provides all I need. Yes, He does!

God does such wondrous things. Yes, He does!
He gives me light and life. Yes, He does!
He gives me air to breathe. Yes, He does!
He gives me sleep at night. Yes, He does!

God forgives all my sins. Yes, He does!
He soothes my hurting heart. Yes, He does!
He finds me when I’m lost. Yes, He does!
He lifts me when I fall. Yes, He does!

God wants me for his child. Yes, He does!
He loves me as His own. Yes, He does!
He wants what’s best for me. Yes, He does!
He provides all I need. Yes, He does!

About This Song:

I wrote this song in 2011 for one of the children’s choirs at church. Unfortunately, it turned out to be too complicated. (It has some clapping at places that would keep the singers on their toes.) Nonetheless, it expresses things (the best I can) from a child’s point of view.

Far too often, we adults overlook the significance of being a child of God. Just as we tend to place a greater emphasis on earthly life than we do on eternal life after earthly death.

I’m adopted. The couple I consider my parents brought me home from the hospital–just as if I had been born to them. My daughter is adopted, too. Even though we didn’t get her until she was five months old, we became the only parents she knew.

I loved my parents, but they’re both dead now–and living with our Heavenly Father. How much better to focus on my sonship with God than on my sonship with them. As His adopted son, I’ve come under the watch-care of the strongest, most powerful–yet most loving–power in the universe.

He knows every detail of my life–past and present. He not only knows the hairs of my head, He knows where each one I’ve lost over the years has gone.

Like any normal human parent, God wants what’s best for me. Unlike even the best of earthly parents, He’s able to provide it.

Yet He knows better than anyone else–far better than I know–what’s good for me and what isn’t. He gives me everything I need and more, yet He never spoils me with things that would hurt me or come between Him and me.

I could go on, but you understand what I mean. The song says it all.

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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A Child Much Loved by You

[You may listen to an old recording of this song here. More recently I lower the key to A on the final stanza, but don’t have a recording of that. The lead sheet available here is also all in the original key.]

Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

About this Song:
Roger-2021
Long before Kathleen and I got married–or even lived in the same state–we liked to pray together electronically. Either in an Internet chat room no one else was using at the moment or by email.

We agreed at the outset that formal prayers didn’t cut it for us. But since Jesus had referred to God as Abba–“Daddy”–we felt comfortable thinking of God in an equally father-and-child way.

So I ended up writing this song to describe the idea–that we would first climb into God’s lap in our imaginations. Then we would look into God’s face (in a purely spiritual sense, of course), lean against His arm, and then whisper in His ear–whatever we wanted to say to Him. And of course that also put us in the right position for Him to speak back to us.

Praying that way couldn’t last twenty-four hours a day, however. We would have to end our prayer eventually. But that didn’t mean we wouldn’t continue to enjoy fellowship with Him. Furthermore, spending that time with God should energize us to action. Hence the last stanza.

As a novelist with twenty published books and one I’m working on now, I have to laugh at one aspect of my lyrics. Using the passive voice–“a child much loved by You” rather than something like “a child You love very much”–would be a real no-no in one of my novels. But as the title and ending line of each stanza of this song, that doesn’t concern me. It fit.

What do you think? When you pray, do you do it formally or informally? How do you feel about our approach to prayer? Please share a comment with the rest of us.

I write Christian novels as well as songs. The two most recent ones are shown below and their pictures are links to the Amazon pages. The eighteen-book picture is a link to my Amazon Author Page.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. Please join me then. Better still, sign up to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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