What Joy a Man Feels

What joy a man feels
When he’s found the right words
For just the right occasion.

Like apples of gold
In a silver setting
Are words fitly spoken.

About this Song:
Yes, I know this little piece is almost too short to call a song, but that’s okay. It’s still complete within itself, even though I normally use it to preface “It’s Better to Be Poor,” which I’ll post next week. These words come from two Scripture passages: Proverbs 15:23 and Proverbs 25:11. I’ve included those passages in each of five translations below.

New International Version (NIV)
Proverbs 15:23

23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!

Proverbs 25:11
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given.

**********************************************

Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Proverbs 15:23
23 Giving the right answer at the right time makes everyone happy.

Proverbs 25:11
11 The right word  at the right time is like precious gold set in silver.

**********************************************

The Message (MSG)
Proverbs 15:23

23 Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful!

Proverbs 25:11
11 The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry. . .

**********************************************

New King James Version (NKJV)
Proverbs 15:23
23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

Proverbs 25:11
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
In settings of silver.

**********************************************

Good News Translation (GNT)
Proverbs 15:23
23 What a joy it is to find just the right word for the right occasion!

Proverbs 25:11
11 An idea well-expressed is like a design of gold, set in silver.

Isn’t that the goal of all speakers and writers–both secular and sacred–to convey a well-expressed idea? We–most of us, anyhow–wouldn’t waste time trying to communicate unless we either had something worthwhile to say or thought we did.

As a published novelist, I know first-hand what a struggle finding just the right word can be. I not only make frequent use of a dictionary and a thesaurus, but occasionally also use a “flip dictionary,” which allows me to look for words related to a given object. (For example, suppose I wanted to learn what the bathroom on a ship is called. I could look up “ship.”)

I’m reminded of a joke I heard years ago. An apartment building housed no one but music students. All day long, one could walk by and listen to the sounds of people practicing scales–up and down, down and up. But this one future cellist played only a single note. an A-flat. Somebody finally got up the nerve to ask why he played only one note hour after hour while everyone else was playing scales. His response? “I listen to the rest of you–day in and day out–and you keep searching for the perfect note. I’ve already found mine.”

Are you looking for just the right word–or don’t you have anything worthwhile to say? If you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you always have something to talk about, although your “right words” may not always fall on receptive ears.

How about leaving a comment? I’d love to hear from you.

For a free lead sheet of this little song, click the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page, click on “See list of available lead sheets,” and look for “What Joy a Man Feels” in the drop down list.

     

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

 

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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, 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 (much) 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 having to move so far away? Or to sacrifice my only child, knowing she was supposed 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.

Click on the Lead Sheets tab and look for “The Faith Song” in the drop down box to see, download, or print a free lead sheet.

     

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

 

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The Goodbye Song

There’s no need for us to say goodbye;
There’s no reason for sorrow or tears.
There’s no need for words of farewell,
For we will be together soon.

About This Song:
Some years ago I belonged to a church that hired a summer youth worker.

To lessen the load on any of the members, he stayed a few days in each of a number of homes, including mine. Poor fellow. I don’t even remember his name now.

In fact, the only two things I remember about him are the mustard that mysteriously appeared on top of the toaster one day–and the times we started using the stereo, only to find he’d left it cranked up at full volume.

Nonetheless, his presence in my home and in the church had been a blessing, and I wrote “The Goodbye Song” as a farewell tribute to him. (Incidentally, I grew up believing that “goodbye” is not an actual word. I still believe that, but am using it because I believe most people do now.)

One of these days, I want to use this song in my church’s nursing home ministry. We’re not shy about talking about death. After all, for Christians it’s the doorway to something SO much better than what we experience here on earth.

No matter how long a lifetime–or how short–any of us has, no one lives very long in comparison with eternity.

And one of the things we have to look forward to is the reunion with friends and family who’ve gone on before.

If you’re interested, a free lead sheet for this little song is available here.

     

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

 

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When You Close Your Eyes in Prayer

What do you say when you close your eyes in prayer?
What do you tell God when you call upon his name?
Do you say, “I love You, Lord, for being who you are”?
What do you say when you close your eyes in prayer?

What do you say when God knows just who you are?
What do you tell Him when He sees inside your heart?
Do you say, “I’ve done wrong, Lord, and I want to do right”?
What do you say when God knows just who you are?

What do you say when God knows the words you’ll use?
What do you tell Him? He already knows your needs.
Do you say, “I thank You, Lord, for all you do for me”?
What do you say when God knows the words you’ll use?

What do you say when your thoughts distract your prayers?
What do you tell God when the words refuse to come?
Do you cry, “I need help, Lord. I can’t live on my own!”?
What do you say when your thoughts distract your prayers?

About this song:
Years ago I was introduced to the concept of ACTS, an acronym that represents the four elements of prayer:

  • Adoration: praising God for who He is (and not for what He’s done for us)
  • Confession: admitting our sins to God and asking His forgiveness
  • Thanksgiving: thanking God for His many perfect gifts
  • Supplication: asking God’s help for ourselves and other people as well

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think many Christians concentrate on asking for God’s help–and for the things we want rather than necessarily what we need. At times, we’re all probably guilty of that.

In my prayers, I try to focus on adoration. The very fact that God is not only somewhere “out there” but lives inside us listening to us is worthy of adoration–and praise.

I strongly believe that if we were to spend more of our prayer time thanking God for His “every good and perfect gift,” we wouldn’t have time to pray selfishly.

I wrote this song in 1990, basing it loosely on the ACTS principle. It’s very slow and prayerful and–I hope–thought-provoking. You may download the free lead sheet here.

One really nifty thing resulted from this song. Jeff Ferrier, the pianist in the local Gospel Chickenhouse house band and a wonderful musician, took a recording of me singing “When You Close Your Eyes in Prayer” with guitar accompaniment and wrote a beautiful two-voice arrangement with piano accompaniment.


     

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in ACTS, Adoration, Confession, Gospel Chicken House, Jeff Ferrier, Prayer, Supplication, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Days, Hours, Moments

I could spend my days
Just singing songs of praise
Unto the Lord who’s set me free.
I could spend each hour
Just singing of His power
And of the love that’s lifted me.
I could spend each moment
Singing of my atonement
And the hope Christ Jesus brings.
I could spend my time
Making songs in rhyme
For the Lord of whom I sing.

About this song:
I’m not sure what inspired this song originally, but it turned out to be an exercise in rhyming. You’ll notice that the ending words of each pair of sentences rhyme: “free” and “me”; “brings” and “sing”.

But there are also internal rhymes within each sentence: “days” and “praise”; “hour” and “power”; “moment” and “atonement”; and “time” and “rhyme”.

So the reference to “making songs in rhyme” is actually about writing this song.

The line about “And of the love that’s lifted me” should bring back memories of the old hymn, “Love Lifted Me.”

Believe it or not, I really struggled with the atonement line. Should it be “my atonement” because I’m talking about God making me “at one” with Him? Or should it be “His atonement” because He’s the one who’s done it? I’m still not totally sure, but I don’t think God will punish me if I’ve made the wrong choice.

I purposely started with the longest period of time–days–and then worked my way down to the shorter time spans, days and then moments.

To listen to this sing, go here, scroll down to the drop down box of songs recorded on the Yamaha, and select “Days, Hours, Moments.” A free lead sheet is available here.

As always, comments are welcome.

     

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

 

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Make a Joyful Noise

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord;
Praise Him with the joy of your salvation.
Praise Him with the joy of your salvation,
And make a joyful noise,
Make a joyful noise,
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord;
Praise Him for His every perfect gift.
Praise Him for His every perfect gift,
And make a joyful noise,
Make a joyful noise,
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord;
Praise Him for His every answer to prayer.
Praise Him for His every answer to prayer,
And make a joyful noise,
Make a joyful noise,
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

About This Song:
Trying to identify the various verses from the Psalms that comprise “Make a Joyful Noise” would be like trying find specific grains of sand at the beach.

I did an online Bible search for “joyful noise” since that’s definitely a biblical reference. Just for the heck of it, I did my search in the King James version–the original 1611 one–and found the following verses…

Psalm 66:1
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:

Psalm 81:1
Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

Psalm 95:1
O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Psalm 95:2
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalm 98:4
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

Psalm 98:6
With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King.

Psalm 100:1
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Thanksgiving is many months away. Nonetheless, what better time than now to “make a joyful noise” of praise to God?

That seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? What do you have to make a joyful noise of praise to God about today? How about leaving a comment.

 

     

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

 

 

Posted in Gifts, Joy, Noise, Praise, Prayer, Psalms, Salvation, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only Hope I Have

God’s love and mercy never fail;
They’re fresh as every brand-new day,
Sure as every sunrise.
God helps those who place their trust in Him
He is the only hope I have.

I know how it feels to be punished by the Lord,
Locked in His prison, with no hope for release,
Thrown into such darkness that each day seems like the night,
And choked by the poison of my own bitter thoughts.

Then in my depression, hope returned.

God’s love and mercy never fail;
They’re fresh as every brand-new day,
Sure as every sunrise.
God helps those who place their trust in Him
He is the only hope I have.

About This Song:
The really depressing part of “The Only Hope I Have” is based on Lamentations 3:1-18. I’m including only verses 7-9 here, but take my word for it (better yet, look it up yourself in the Bible), the rest of it is depressing, too…
He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.
He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.
(NIV)

The transition from depression to hopeful comes in Lamentations 3:19-21…
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
(NIV)

When hope comes in this passage, it’s like a blackened sky that fireworks have suddenly brightened like daylight. Here are verses 22-25…
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,  to the one who seeks him;
(NIV)

All of us go through tough times, and I doubt that many of us have been totally free of depression. Depression can be crippling. Dangerously so at times.

Don’t some of us tend to blame God for the bad things in life?  Although God is big enough to listen to those accusations without growing angry, He’s really not to blame.

The free will God endowed each of us with has resulted in sin, and sin has brought about suffering and death.

But no matter how deep we sink into depression, those of us who’ve become God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ still have hope. If we examine God’s Word closely, we find all kinds of promises God has made to provide for His children.

He may not do it in our time or our choice of ways, but He’s always faithful.

What earthly father fails to provide what’s best for his children? That sometimes means allowing them to suffer the results of bad decisions and wrong words and actions.

Can’t we expect even more from our Heavenly Father and put our hope in Him to fulfill His promises?

 

    

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

 

 

Posted in Depression, God's Promises, God's Provision, Hope, Lamentations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment