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

The Faith Song

 

Faith’s acceding to God’s leading,
And it’s going without knowing.
Faith’s revering and adhering to God’s Word.
Faith is moving without proving
And agreeing without seeing;
Faith’s abiding in, not hiding from the Lord.

About This Song:
In 1994 I got the idea for a musical drama I was going to call Covenant Child–about Abraham and his sacrifice of Isaac and God’s deliverance of Isaac because of Abraham’s faith. I wrote the play and a few of the songs, but I never felt inspired to go any further than that. If you’ve listened to any of the songs on my website (the Listen page), you may have heard the instrumental Covenant Child Prelude. Because I’m not a keyboardist, I had to memorize that piece in order to record it.

This little song–I play it straight through in 3/4 time and then in 4/4, which makes it sound faster–is descriptive of Abraham from start to finish: Abraham left his home country to follow God’s leading to an unknown land. He moved his family and his possessions without any proof that God’s promise would be fulfilled. He agreed to go without being able to see the end results. So he abided in the Lord rather than hiding from and failing to obey God’s commands.

It applies equally to the sacrifice of Isaac. God directed Abraham to take Isaac with him to a far place to sacrifice him, even though He had promised that Abraham’s off-spring–Isaac was his only son, and his birth was a miracle in old age–would father millions. But Abraham took God’s command to carry out the sacrifice just as seriously and faithfully as he had the command to move. Even as Abraham was about to kill Isaac, he didn’t question the fact that God was in control and would carry out his promises anyway he chose to.

God honored Abraham’s faith by sparing Isaac and using him to be the father of the Jewish people.

I claim to have a great deal of faith in God. But would I react the way Abraham did to being uprooted so completely and moving so far away? Or to sacrificing my only child, knowing that she was to be a blessing to all humanity?

Abraham wasn’t perfect, but what an inspiration. The next time you feel God tugging at your heart about something that seems humanly unreasonable, think about Abraham. I will.

Has there been a time you’ve felt God calling you to do something that seemed impossible? How about sharing it in a comment.

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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.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Abraham, Faith, God's Provision, Isaac | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Father in Heaven

Our Father in Heaven,
Holy is Your name.
May Your kingdom come on earth,
May Your will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our wrongs as we forgive.
Lord, keep us back from temptation’s door,
And keep up safe from the evil one.

Our Father in Heaven,
Holy is Your name.
May Your kingdom come on earth,
May Your will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.

About This Song:
Only rarely do I abandon the earlier version of a song for a total rewrite, but I wrote my first set of lyrics for this song at least as far back as the 1980s. I wrote the newer version in 2001.  I didn’t change the words much on the italicized part of the lyrics, which I use  as the refrain. Overall, the most significant difference between the two versions is the mention of “the evil one” in the newer one.

To say the least, I didn’t want to change the wording any more from Scripture than I felt necessary. No way I could improve on the way Jesus prayed this prayer.

At the same time, He gave us this prayer as a model. Not necessarily something to be used as is. So perhaps wording it my way is one way of following the model.

You can find a recording of this song on the Listen/Home Recordings page of my website.

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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 As I Come Singing, Lord's Prayer, Model Prayer, Roger E. Bruner | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jonah’s Prayer

In my distress, O Lord, I turned to You;
Down in the world of the dead,
I called Your name.
In the depths of the deepest oceans,
Where the waves crashed over my head,
Lord, I feared You might not hear me,
But You quickly answered my cry.

Lord, I feared You might not hear me;
Lord, I feared You might not come.
But You rescued me from danger;
Let me walk close by Your side.

In my despair, O Lord, I turned to You;
Choked by seaweed that was wrapped around my face,
I could barely call Your name.
At the roots of the very mountains,
Where I felt my life slipping away,
Lord, I feared You might not find me,
But You quickly came to my side.

Lord, I feared You might not find me;
Lord, I feared You might not hear.
But You rescued me from trouble;
Let me walk close by Your side.

About This Song:
When I open my Bible, only God knows what might inspire me to write a song. In this case, I had been reading about Jonah’s adventure in the belly of the whale; you’re free to believe this story is only purposeful fiction, but I believe it’s true. Jonah’s prayer, found in Jonah 2:2-9, really struck me. As human beings, only a handful of people will ever encounter what Jonah did–maybe only Jonah himself.

But each of us has problems that seem so overwhelming we FEEL like we’re trying to survive underwater inside a giant fish. I’m jealous of Jonah. Even in the most desperate of imaginable situations, he remembered to turn to God for help. He had come to the end of his rope, otherwise.

How many of us, however, continue to grapple with the seaweed that’s choking us while trying to free ourselves from situations we have absolutely no control over?

Shouldn’t we turn to God for His help first? How about leaving a comment about sometime when you felt like your situation was hopeless, but you turned to God and He helped you through it.

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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. If you’d like to see “On Aging Gracelessly,” check it out HERE.

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 Deliverance, Hopelessness, Jonah | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Better to Be Poor

It’s better to be poor
And have riches in the Lord
Than have vast earthly wealth
And let it ruin your health.

It’s better to eat soup
With your family and your friends
Than eat the finest steak
At the table of your foes.

It’s better to be patient,
For patience can bring peace,
Than always lose your temper
And make bad matters worse.

It’s better to speak softly
When anger fills the air
Than try to SHOUT your LOUDEST
When you wage a war with words.

About this Song:
The biblical book of Proverbs is chock full of King Solomon’s tidbits of wisdom. The four I’ve used for this song are the only ones I could find that fall into an “It’s better THIS than THAT” pattern, and I’ve searched Proverbs numerous times looking for more. If anyone reading this post can find another one, I’d be most grateful.

Proverbs 15:1

New International Version (NIV)
15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Contemporary English Version (CEV)
15 A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.

Good News Translation (GNT)
15 A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.

Proverbs 15:16-18

New International Version (NIV)
16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord
    than great wealth with turmoil.
17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love
    than a fattened calf with hatred.
18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,
    but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Contemporary English Version (CEV)
16 It’s better to obey the Lord and have only a little,
    than to be very rich and terribly confused.
17 A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred.
18 Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments.

Good News Translation (GNT)
16 Better to be poor and fear the Lord than to be rich and in trouble.
17 Better to eat vegetables with people you love than to eat the finest meat where there is hate.
18 Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.

I’m not sure what translation I based my wording on, but apparently not the three I quoted above. Isn’t it amazing how much difference exists among various translations of the Bible? Of course, some are transliterations rather than new translations–but those often help us get a special feel for the assumed intent of the biblical author.

Does this song bring to mind anything you’d like to share? If so, please leave a comment.

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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 yet including today’s), go HERE.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. If you’d like to see “On Aging Gracelessly,” check it out HERE.

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 Anger, Patience, Poverty, Proverbs, Wealth | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment