Eternal Life

God loved the world so much
That He gave His only Son,
So everyone who believes in Him will not die,
But have eternal life.

Christ lived a sinless life;
Yet He died a sinner’s death.
His Father reached into the tomb
And brought Him outside alive again.

I know Christ Jesus lives;
He’s given me new life:
A life of hope and joy and peace
And the promise of eternal life with Him.

God loved the world so much
That He gave His only Son.
Won’t you believe Jesus live and died and rose again
To give you eternal life?
Won’t you believe Jesus live and died and rose again
To give you eternal life?

About This Song:
One of the first songs I ever wrote was about John 3:16-17, which says,

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (NKJV)

Although I thought my song was pretty, my tune and the adaptation of the words from the Gospel of John doesn’t fit in with the kind of songs I’ve written more recently.

Yet I felt I ought to have a John 3:16 song in my song bag arsenal. After all, that Scripture is the heart of the Gospel message.

About a month ago I started rethinking how I could reword it, trying to remain true to the intent of Scripture, and set it to a tune more to my liking.

Every song I write is a struggle in its own way, but this one was particularly difficult. I prayed over every change, and the changes kept coming. God may yet “suggest” another change, but–for now–I believe this version is the keeper.

I’d never expected it to have four different emphases. The first stanza refers to John 3:16. The second is the Easter story in a very small nutshell. The third is what I consider my own personal testimony about what being a Christian means to me. And the fourth is an invitation to non-believers to consider the truth about Jesus and become believers, too.

You may view the lead sheet for this song by clicking here and save it without cost. And if you’d like, you may go to the Listen tab on my website and find a recording of “Eternal Life” on the Tascam recordings drop down box. (I did it more slowly than I’d intended.) I hope you enjoy it.

Any comments? I’d love to hear them.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Australia, Children, Dog, Eternal Life, Eternity, God's love, Invitation, John 3:16, Lostness, Missions, Searching, Testimony | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Skies Reveal God’s Glory

The skies reveal God’s glory;
Without speech, without words,
Each day tells the next day
About the wonders of God.

Like a ready runner,
The sun moves across the sky,
And–where its light shines–
Some of God’s splendor is seen.

There is no place where the sun doesn’t shine,
Where it doesn’t shine–
Or where God’s wonders cannot be seen.

The skies reveal God’s glory.

About This Song:
I often visit a website for photographers. It has the the most unlikely name, The Ugly Hedgehog. The participants are an interesting mixture of novices, professionals, and every degree of experience (or inexperience) in between. Certain subjects show up frequently in the pictures they post. Among the most popular are hummingbirds and eagles.

I don’t always take the time to look at each day’s posts, though. But I’ll always take time if I see “sunrise” or “sunset” in the subject line. Those are, in my humble opinion, the two most beautiful times of day, and a photographer who can capture one of them even half-way adequately deserves a prize.

So it’s no wonder I would be so fond of Psalm 19:1-6. . .

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5     It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.
(NIV)

1 How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
    How plainly it shows what he has done!
2 Each day announces it to the following day;
    each night repeats it to the next.
3 No speech or words are used,
    no sound is heard;
4 yet their message goes out to all the world
    and is heard to the ends of the earth.
God made a home in the sky for the sun;
5     it comes out in the morning like a happy bridegroom,
    like an athlete eager to run a race.
6 It starts at one end of the sky
    and goes across to the other.
    Nothing can hide from its heat.
(GNT)

I love the images the psalmist uses in these verses–especially the one about the skies “announcing” God’s glory without the use of speech or words. Also noteworthy are the comparisons of the sun to a “happy bridegroom” and an “eager athlete” who’s ready to run a race.

Just as no camera can perfectly capture the beauty of a sunrise or sunset–some do come close, however–I can’t say anything else about this passage. It speaks for itself.

Does this song say something special to you? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Athlete, Bridegroom, God's Glory, Skies, Sun, Sunrise, Sunset | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When God’s People Meet Together

When God’s people meet together,
The Lord is in their midst.
When His people begin praying,
His Spirit makes them one.
When God’s people feed on His Word,
They grow in grace and love.
When they celebrate His presence,
Glad songs pour from their lips.

When God’s people are disheartened,
His grace renews their strength.
When His people need direction,
He leads them on their way.
When His people ask forgiveness,
He cleanses them from sin.
When God’s people come together,
The Lord is in their midst.

About This Song:
A number of years ago, I belonged to a church well known for the divisiveness among its membership. Not a good or godly reputation for a church to have. We needed to come together with a willingness to let God unite us. Only by praying together, studying His Word together, and praising Him together could we once again become the body He wanted us to be. That process required the renewing of our strength, forgiveness for our sins, and guidance in the right direction.

I took piano lessons for a couple of months around that time. Because of my musical background, I was making fast progress (at least my teacher seemed to feel that way). Enough progress to write this song and give it a simple piano accompaniment that both amazed and pleased him. Although I finally gave up the lessons because practicing piano interfered with playing my guitar, those lessons were a good experience.

I was never entirely satisfied with my lyrics, though. So I recently tackled the task of revising them. Maybe these will prove to be the “right” ones. You can probably come up with a number of additional verses of your own. If you do, please let me know. I might like yours better than mine!

Another song dealing with a divisive church is “Adding Up Fractions.” See the 11/25/2012 post.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Conflict, Forgiveness, Guidance, Prayer, Unity, Worship | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Servant of All, Lord of All

Jesus Christ was everything that God Himself was;
Yet He never insisted on having His own way.
He had every right of God Himself,
Yet He gave them up, He freely gave them up
To become the servant of us all.

Jesus could have stayed in heaven at His Father’s side,
Yet He never refused to do His Father’s will.
So He humbled Himself and became a man,
And such a life He lived and such a death He died
To become the servant of us all.

Jesus Christ is back in heaven at His Father’s side;
God raised Him from death and restored Him to life on high,
So when the name of Christ is heard,
Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess
That Jesus lives as Lord of all.
Yes, Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

About This Song:
Although many of my songs have somewhat of a folk song feel–I learned to play guitar during the “folk fad” of the 1960s and never got that style of music out of my blood–this one comes closer to being country.

It’s also chock full of Scripture. Here are the most obvious verses:

Matthew 12:18. . .
“Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
(NKJV)

Phillipians 2:8. . .
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
(NKJV)

1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.
(NKJV)

Phillipians 2:11. . .
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(NKJV)

If we needed further evidence of Jesus as Servant, we could look at the Lord’s Supper the night before His death, when he took a servant’s role and washed his disciples’ feet.

Would that all of Jesus’ followers were as willing to serve others as their Master did. What a difference that would make in this poor, hurting, sin-filled world of ours. Maybe the lost would be more willing to listen to us–and to accept God’s free gift of eternal life.

Confident in the knowledge that ultimately all will call Him “Lord.”

What about you? Is Jesus your Savior or simply an interesting historical figure? My prayer is that you will soon “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” if you don’t already.

Does this song speak to you in any particular way? If so, how about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Foot Washing, Lord, Lordship, Obedience, Servant, Servanthood | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Not Just Some Miracle Worker

Christ was not just some miracle worker
Whose magic died with him,
For Christ is still alive and he changes the lives
Of those who believe that he came here
To die for their sins,
Came to die for their sins.

But this world is far too ready when it
Comes to accepting Christ as man and nothing more.
But this world is quite unsteady when it
Comes to accepting Christ as God in human form.

Christ was not just some man out of history
Who changed B.C. to A.D.,
For Christ stepped out of time to make room in eternity
For the world if the world would only believe,
If the world would believe.

But this world is far too ready when it
Comes to accepting Christ as man and nothing more.
But this world is quite unsteady when it
Comes to accepting Christ as God in human form.

Christ was not just some radical peasant
Who was crowned with thorns King for a Day,
For Christ has a kingdom that is not of this world.
I don’t know where it is,
But I know that I’ll see it some day,
I’ll live there some day.
Some day.

About This Song:
I may have mentioned that I wrote a rock opera–The Identity of Divinity–many years back to “straighten out” the theology expressed by Jesus Christ Superstar at the peak of its popularity.

My work, which was presented by a dedicated team of friends, students, fellow church members, members of local bands, and even a few people I’d heard of but didn’t actually know yet- (approximately fifty people were involved), played to several hundred approving members of the community.

I can’t recall whether I wrote “Not Just Some Miracle Worker” for that rock opera or whether I’d written it previously and decided to use it in The Identity of Divinity.

Nonetheless, this song really emphasizes the fact that Jesus isn’t just someone who existed at one point in time but not now. And even though He was a man, He was also God.

Those things require a lot of faith to believe, but Christianity involves the believer’s willingness to do so.

That’s why Christianity differs from the other so-called world religions. Christianity isn’t a religion. Our salvation doesn’t depend on pleasing God or trying to appease Him. None of us is good enough to do that.

Christianity is a relationship. Christ is the mediator between us and God Himself. If God the Father is the Judge, then Jesus serves as our lawyer. Not to claim that we’re innocent, but to remind His Father that He (Jesus) had already endured a horribly unjust death sentence just so we wouldn’t have to.

Do you have that kind of relationship with God through faith in Jesus? I hope so.

How about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Belief, Christianity, Miracle Worker, Miracles, Relationship, The Identity of Divinity, World Religions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Then Dawned Sunday

Then dawned Sunday, the first day of the week,
When into the garden silently came
Troubled women to anoint the body of their friend,
Who–Friday on a cross–had been slain.

These women had endured his trial; these women had watched him die.
They’d wept as they saw his body torn by pain.
But they never stopped to think–they never realized–
That what he had told them was true:
That they’d see him in the flesh, alive again.

The women approached the tomb in the stillness of the dawn,
When they saw that the rock was gone from the door.
“Fear not,” an angel said, “the one you seek is not dead,
But has risen and lives today, and his spirit will live with you evermore.”

Then dawned Sunday, the first day of the week,
When out from the garden joyously ran
Shouting women to proclaim that one who had been slain
Had lived, died, and arisen as God and man.

About this Song:
This is one of my oldest songs–thirty to forty years. I used rhymes a lot more back in the early days of my song writing. And this particular song falls  more distinctly into the folk sound I’ve never really outgrown than some of my more recent songs.

Honestly, there’s one thing about this song I don’t like, and I don’t know what to do about it. That’s the part about the angel saying Jesus’ “spirit will live with you evermore.” While Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come to believers following his ascension, I don’t believe any of the Gospel accounts of the women in the garden had the angel(s) say anything about that.

Poetic license is one thing, but purposely misquoting an angel is something else.

Suggestions, anyone? How about leaving a comment?

I hope you had a blessed Easter and that your thoughts were more about the significance of Jesus’s coming back from the dead than about the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs. I can assure you the Easter bunny was NOT present at the empty tomb on that glorious Sunday morning.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Dawn, Easter, Resurrection, Tomb, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our King, Triumphant

Come listen, friends and strangers, too;
You’ll never guess what’s happening.
That Jesus fellow’s coming into town.

You know just the one I mean;
He resurrected Lazarus.
That very man is riding up the street.

The crowds are so excited now;
They think he’s our Messiah.
Let’s go and see this new king for ourselves.

You know what the Scriptures say:
There’s nothing to be scared of.
Our king will come upon a donkey’s colt.

The cheers are getting closer now;
Let’s gather up palm branches
And praise the Lord for sending us a king.

Something tells me such a day
Will never be forgotten:
Our King Triumphant, riding into town!

About This Song:
In 1993, when I was still working at the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, I was asked if I wanted to share an Easter song at the IMB’s pre-Easter chapel service.

Since I’m eager to share my music anywhere I can, I jumped at the invitation and began working on a new song. Although I recorded an accompaniment to use with it–regrettably, it wasn’t as good as the ones I’m able to record now–the song was well received, and I use it as often as I can around Easter.

I play guitar in my church’s nursing home ministry and do one solo each week. On the Wednesday before Palm Sunday I always do “Our King, Triumphant.” I don’t know whether the residents recognize it from year to year, but the other folks on our ministry team seem to enjoy the annual repeats.

The song is based on John 12:9ff, but also makes reference to Zechariah 9:9. . .          Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Note that the narrator of the song changes between the second and third stanzas. Someone first alerts the people close to him that Jesus is coming. Since word of Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead had probably made the rounds and was still fresh on people’s minds, that proves a good way for the first narrator to identify who Jesus is.

Then the rest of the song shows someone else’s reaction to the announcement. He or she listens first with interest (perhaps even with a little skepticism), but gradually gets caught up in the excitement of the event. Even more important, however, he or she recognizes that Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday will probably have special significance for years to come.

As indeed it has.

What about you? Would you have been one of the skeptics or would you have joined in the celebration of the coming King? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

 

Posted in Donkey's Colt, Easter, Jerusalem, King, Palm Branches, Palm Sunday, Triumphal Entry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment