To Those Who Win the Victory

To those who win the victory,
God gives the right to eat
From His tree, the tree of life,
That grows in His garden.

Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life,
The only Way to God.
He is the door to His Father’s fold
And bids lost sheep to enter.

To those who win the victory,
God gives the right to eat
From His tree, the tree of life,
That grows in His garden.

Jesus knocks at the door of your heart
And waits to be admitted.
He would live and work through you
To help you to do all things.

To those who win the victory,
God gives the right to eat
From His tree, the tree of life,
That grows in His garden.

As you seek to run the race,
Problems will distract you.
Keep your eyes upon the prize
And victory will be yours.

To those who win the victory,
God gives the right to eat
From His tree, the tree of life,
That grows in His garden.

About This Song:
These lyrics come from a number of different Scriptures:

Revelation 2:7. . .
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God
(NIV)

Revelation 3:20. . .
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
(NIV)

John 10:7-9. . .
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
(NIV)

Hebrews 12:1-2. . .
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. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(NIV)

John 14:6. . .
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(NIV)

Philippians 4:13. . .
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Do you remember the Boston Marathon bombings? I do. Perhaps the better question is how we could ever forget them.

I can’t imagine the joy the first few people felt when they crossed the finish line or their terror when they learned about the bombings and realized that the goal they had worked so hard to reach was deadly. If the timing of the bombs had been different, those winners could have been the victims.

Christians will never experience that kind of terror at the end of their “good race.” The path they’re running may be fraught with troubles and even danger–Jesus promised that–but we don’t have to worry about unexpected dangers when we pass over from this earthly life to our heavenly life with God Himself.

And what a grand victory each of us will experience. We’re not competing with one another for the prize. Every Christian will be a winner; in one sense, we’ll all be in first place. That’s the kind of victory I’m looking forward to.

Are you assured of that kind of victory? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Boston Marathon, Good Shepherd, Racing, Running, Sheep, Shepherd, Tree of Life, Victorious Living, Victory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neighbor

A man went on a business trip that took him far from his home.
A Sunday stroll took him to the worst part of the city.
His shoes and clothes bespoke such wealth; his watch and rings so glittered.
Thugs beat him up and picked him clean and just left him there dying.

A preacher came along that way en route to church that morning,
A sermon forming in his mind about God’s love and caring.
He saw the man, his clothes stripped off, another hapless street bum.
An illustration he could use, he noted as he rushed by.

A deacon from that preacher’s church came by there moments later.
He saw the blood and bruises and he feared he’d get infected.
He knew he’d be late if he stopped, so scared that he’d get robbed, too.
It wouldn’t do to get involved and fail to do the Lord’s work.

A homeless man awoke near by, his cheeks red from the cold winds.
He looked into that dying face, his heart filled with compassion.
He took the blanket from his back and wrapped it round the victim;
He tore a patch from his own shirt and worked to stop the bleeding.

Though old and bent, that homeless man ran to the busy curbside.
He waved his arms to stop a cab and pointed to the stranger.
“Take him for help or else he’ll die.” The cabbie hesitated.
“My coins are few; take these for him. Come back. I’ll find more for you.”

When you are bruised and broken, who would you want for your neighbor?
A man whose love is only words or one who’ll tend your bleeding?
A man who always counts the cost or one who holds back nothing?
And who will YOU be neighbor to? Will God’s love reach out through you?

About This Song:
Novelist John Grisham probably doesn’t know that his book, The Street Lawyer, was a major inspiration for this song. I’d long wanted to retell Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan in song. With its emphasis on the homeless, The Street Lawyer gave me the handle I needed.

The comparisons aren’t perfect, of course, but they make the point, I believe:

  • A traveler gets robbed, beaten, and left for dead
  • Hypocritical religious people see the victim, but don’t want to get involved
  • A man the victim would probably have otherwise despised comes to his rescue
  • The rescuer does everything he can to help the victim
  • The rescuer arranges for the victim to go elsewhere for additional care
  • The rescuer offers to make good for any additional cost

And just as Jesus then asked his listeners who the real neighbor was, this song ends by challenging the listener/reader to be the kind of neighbor Jesus described.

A free lead sheet of this song is available here. You may also listen to it on the Yamaha recordings drop down box here.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Caring, Helping, Homeless, John Grisham, Neighbor, Prodigal Son, Street Personn, The Good Samaritan, The Street Lawyer | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Won’t You Tell Me About That Cross?

Won’t you tell me about that cross that’s hanging down from your neck?
Did you get it as a gift or purchase it for yourself?
Did you put it on by choice or wear it out of habit?
Won’t you tell me about that cross that’s hanging down from your neck?

Won’t you tell me about that cross you’re wearing as a necklace?
Do you often have it on or mostly keep it boxed up?
Is it just some pretty shape or does it have some meaning?
Won’t you tell me about that cross you’re wearing as a necklace?

Won’t you tell me about that cross you’re wearing upon your neck?
Do you like to dwell on it or take it much for granted?
Does it tell what you believe or is it merely jewelry?
Won’t you tell me about that cross you’re wearing upon your neck?

I wear this cross upon my neck to tell how God loves me.
I wear this cross upon my neck to show I love Him, too.
I wear this cross upon my neck to say that God loves you,
For His Son died upon a cross,
But He rose from death to give us life,
When we trust in Him.

About This Song:
Thanks to my former pastor, Randy Mathis, for making me think more seriously about the reasons people wear crosses.

If you’re like me, you probably see dozens of people wearing crosses–both men and women–during the course of the day. Some crosses are small. Petite. Some are large and heavy enough to ward off an attacker if the wearer took it off and swung it.

Some of them are quite plain. Some, like the crosses I’ve made for my wife and me, are wooden. Others aren’t just fancy; they’re fine jewelry. Probably quite costly.

Could you picture yourself taking part in the following conversation?

You: “You must be a Christian.”

Cross Wearer: “Why would you think that?”

You: “That cross you’re wearing. It’s outstanding.”

Cross Wearer: “Thanks, but it’s just a cross. No reason for you to get nasty and accuse  me of being a Christian.”

You: “But don’t you understand the significance of the cross?”

Cross Wearer: “I understand that you’re nuts. Get lost before I call a cop.”

Hmm. Not funny, is it? But isn’t that apt to be the way the conversation would go with many cross wearers–maybe even most of them?

This song addresses that issue–and gives the explanation.

I’m not suggesting that you go out and make enemies of every cross wearer you run into by coming on that strong, but I am asking you to evaluate your own reason for wearing a cross–if you do. Are you trying to identify yourself to other Believers? Or does the cross just happen to be the piece of jewelry you put on today?

How about leaving a comment

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Roger

Posted in Cross, Crucifixion, Jewelry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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