Face to Face

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When I was about 14 years old, my grandmother, my Mamaw, bought me a song book. By then, I was pianist at my church and playing for the gospel quartet my mom was singing with, but there was one song in this book that Mamaw wanted me to learn. So, she bought the book for $2.50 which was a lot of money from her black-lung pension existence. It’s called Songs of Faith and Hope. I’ve used this book for over 40 years now, and I knew it was the one I needed when I woke up this morning.

Face to face with Christ my Savior,
Face to face, what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me.

Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!

Written in 1898, these words were a poem written by a tone-deaf mother of five children who sent them to the composer asking him to set them to music. The result of Carrie Breck’s lyrics and Grant Tullar’s music became this old familiar hymn, Face to Face, which has been published in many hymnals and sung for generations. It has also been singing through my mind since I woke up this morning!

Hundreds of songs have been written about what it might be like when we see Jesus face to face. For those of us who have put our faith and trust in God, we know without a doubt that we WILL see our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ face to face some day. Our imaginations can’t begin to fathom that moment when we are ushered into the presence of God and Jesus welcomes us home with open arms and a holy hug. I can’t wait for that day!!

But until then, I want to be that hug for someone else. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus here in my world. Until I see Christ face to face in my next life, I want others to see His face in me in this life. How am I doing with that? I have no idea, but I will keep trying. I will do good when it is in my power to do so. I will love others and love ON others… Love above all things. Because He first loved me.

Click here to listen to Face to Face.

Pray

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God called me in my sleep last night. Or this morning. I’m never sure which it is when I wake up so early with a very specific song lyric in my head and my heart. Was it the wee small hours of the night when all the house is quiet and dark and I’m in a deep restful sleep? Or was it those few moments before waking, when it seems that there is just the thinnest veil between this world and the next?

Though I’m silent, my heart is crying
‘Cause I was made to come to You

This line from Sanctus Real was singing through my mind as I opened my eyes this morning. Pray. That’s the name of the song. Even in my sleep when I am the most silent and still I ever get, my heart cries out to God, because that’s how it’s designed to work by the very God to Whom my heart cries out! His beautiful design is for me to love Him all day long, and in return God gives me a song in the night.

By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
– Psalm 42:8

I must have read this verse a hundred times in my life, but this is the first time I ever really understood it! The song my precious Lord sings over me in my sleep is The Holy Spirit teaching me how to pray (Luke 12:12, John 14:26)… A prayer to the God of my life. And all God asks is for me to love him when I’m awake.

So, this morning I’m going to pray, just like the chorus to the song says, even if it’s just to speak the name of Jesus.

So I pray
God I need You more than words can say
Right here in this moment
You know my heart, You know my need
You know every part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray

Love Him all day. Listen for your song in the night.

Click here to listen to Pray from Sanctus Real.

Say AMEN!

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Martha Robertson:

I know God is able to do more than I could ever ask or think. Saying “Amen!” this morning and thanking Him for His goodness and grace.

Originally posted on New Song Every Day:

If there’s anybody here who’s found Him faithful
Anybody here who knows He’s able
Say Amen
And if there’s anybody here who’s seen His power
Anybody here brought through the fire
Say Amen
Anybody here found joy in the middle of sorrow
Peace in the storm, hope for tomorrow
And seen it time and time again
Then just Say AMEN!

These are the words running through my mind this morning (really most of the night.) They’re from a song called Say Amen by a band called Finding Favour. When I heard this song in my head at 3:00 in the morning, I just started thanking God for all the good in my life, small and large. That’s how I fell back to sleep, in the middle of thanking God for his blessings one by one.

There’s a lot of stuff out there, including music, about finding grace, mercy, love, forgiveness…

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He. Is. RISEN!!

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Easter overwhelms me. More than birthdays or summer vacation or fireworks on the Fourth of July or even Christmas, Easter gets to me. Every time. This year was no exception, and it’s taken me a couple of days to process it (partly because I’ve been sick through it all and the fog in my head is just now clearing.) The sheer JOY of Easter Day is uncontainable. Just like the grave could not keep Him from rising again, this mortal body of mine cannot contain the joy in my heart that Easter brings!

As a church musician, we go through it all. We Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence as we Go to Dark Gethsemane. We play and sing the songs of Lent, which are necessary, and because music is my worship, they drain me physically. I sing the words in my head as I play through the Lenten season, working my way to the cross. By the time I get to the JOY of HE IS RISEN and the songs that go with it, my heart is a wrung-out, dry sponge just waiting to soak up all that Christ died to give me.

And maybe that’s the point. How could I ever know and appreciate all that Christ did for me if I live only in the Easter days of my life? I must experience the grief and shame weighed-down of Christ’s Sacred Head, Now Wounded before I can truly appreciate the victory that came when Up From the Grave He Arose to conquer sin and death! Christ, The Lord, Is Risen Today so that I could have LIFE and have it abundantly!! “The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now.”

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, OH GLORIOUS DAY!!!!

Click here to listen to Casting Crowns Glorious Day.

Featured image by my daughter in law, Emily Price. May your heart’s Easter basket be filled with the goodness of our glorious God!!

 

 

STAY!

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Martha Robertson:

Happy Easter y’all! HE IS RISEN!!!!! Please enjoy these thoughts from last year. They still resonate in my heart and soul and, I hope, in yours.

Originally posted on New Song Every Day:

He is Risen! Christ The Lord is Risen as He said. Up from the Grave He Arose with a mighty triumph over his foes. Christ is Risen from the Dead. Because He Lives I can face tomorrow. All the wonderful songs and hymns of Easter are running through my mind this morning.

Was it a morning like this? Outside my window the sun is rising and painting the sky baby blues and pinks, light wispy clouds float over a quiet earth. Birds are just beginning their morning songs.

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” “They have taken The Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him.” Peter and John saw the burial cloths lying where His body had been, the…

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Sing Your Song

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As I write this morning, we are in the middle of a major thunderstorm. All night, lightning bright as day came in through the cracks in the bedroom window blinds, and thunder rolled across the sky. It’s still dark outside and the rain cries sad tears down my studio window. And still the thunder rolls.

Birds are beginning to sing outside my window, oblivious to the rain or the dark or the lightning and thunder. There, in the middle of dark and gray, rain and dreariness, comes a bright song. It’s so hopeful and routine, just another day in the life of a songbird. This bird can do nothing BUT sing as daylight approaches because that’s its nature. It would never “skip the song today because I don’t feel like it.” Good weather or bad, this bird must sing the song God gave it because that’s how God designed it.

So why not me? God created me in His image, and as a believer and Christ-follower, I have the mind of Christ. Shouldn’t I be singing in spite of the storm around me? Regardless of the rain in my life, crying those sad tears down the window of my heart, shouldn’t I be singing my song… the song God gave me?

Psalms 40:3 says, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” If I sing the song God created me to sing, others will see and hear and know that God is good!

Psalm 98:1 says, “Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!”

Whatever your “song” is, sing it. Dance if you’re a dancer. Play your flute or piano or drum. Paint as to the Lord if you’re an artist. Are you a cook? Let the Lord smell the fragrant offering coming from your kitchen! However God designed you, give it back to Him no matter how dark or dreary… even in the middle of a thunderstorm.

 

Break the glass!

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I’ve seen cardinals peck furiously at glass, almost fighting the enemy bird they see in the reflection. I’ve had mockingbirds on my windowsill, preening and keeping watch. But never a robin. Robins seem to me to be ground birds, or at least that’s where I usually see them hopping along, pulling at worms or whatever they happen to find in the grass.

There’s a robin on this same second-story windowsill this morning. Facing me, his long beak lightly kisses the glass almost as if he is testing the image to see if it’s real. After a time, he turns and looks out at the world, keeping vigil, slowly looking right to left. Then the whole process starts over again. This little bird has come and gone, repeating this cycle, 3 or 4 times in the last hour.   

I think, for some of us, our faith can be just like the robin and the glass. We face God, testing Him, pecking at His image to see if it’s real, if it can be trusted. If HE can be trusted. But we turn away and face the world, looking in all directions for something to sustain us. Finding nothing, we turn back to God and test His image again. The whole process repeats itself because there’s a glass wall between us and God Himself. We can see Him, and we want to get to Him, but something blocks us.

What is your glass wall… That invisible, yet very real, thing that keeps you from getting to the God you can see and Who loves you with an everlasting love? A past hurt that just won’t let you forget? A relationship you know God wouldn’t approve of so you turn away? An addiction that has you locked down, unable to break through the glass? Or is it the fear of breaking the glass itself? Of getting hurt in the process?

Break the glass, dear one! Power through and gut it out. Yes, you will get scraped up a little. You may even get cut, but Jesus is standing ready to hold you in His arms and heal your hurt. He has scars to match your own. He is watching us test the image in the glass. Don’t let Him see you turn away again. Break the glass! Tear it down and feel His grace and mercy.

Click here to listen to the song in my head, Cry Out To Jesusfrom Mac Powell and Third Day.

Drops in the ocean

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Where do you go when you want to know? Most of us grab our smart phones and get any information we need in an instant. Is it going to rain tomorrow? There’s an app for that. How many times a day does someone ask a question or speculate on a topic and everyone in the group picks up their phone to look it up? 

Some things I need to know can’t be found on Google. Like how much my husband loves me, or whether my friend’s test results came out okay, or if another friend was accepted for the graduate program she desperately wanted. How about God’s love for me? Can I Google that or should I look elsewhere? The song in my head tells me where to look. It is Drops In The Ocean from Hawk Nelson.

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If want to see
How much you mean to me
Look at my hands, look at my side
If you could count the times I say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean

It’s all about relationship. Do I want a relationship with my phone or with people? With God? Our Heavenly Father created us to love us, to be His children. To put down whatever is distracting us from Him and pay attention. How often have we done that with our own kids? “Look at me. What did I say? Pay attention.” This song reminds me of the promise in Romans 8:38-39…

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If I want to know about God’s love for me, I must go to the source and open my Bible. And read it. And reflect on what it says and remember what it says. I must look at the hands and feet of Jesus. I must fix my eyes on the wounds He suffered, the cruelty and shame He took on Himself so that I could live this life He gave me. Thousands of times he has forgiven me, even before I knew I needed forgiveness. More than the drops in the ocean. There’s NOT an app for that!!

Click here to listen to Drops In The Ocean from Hawk Nelson.

Featured image: Drop in the Ocean by David Ardley, 2012. Click here for more information on this artist. 

Because He Lives (Amen)

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I woke up to daylight and birds singing this morning. I love that early morning quiet sound of the house before its business as usual. I heard the sound of planes soaring overhead and my dogs anxious to go outside. And in my head, Matt Maher was singing this verse to his song, Because He Lives (Amen).

I WAS DEAD IN THE GRAVE
I WAS COVERED IN SIN AND SHAME
I HEARD MERCY CALL MY NAME 
HE ROLLED THE STONE AWAY

Mercy called my name. I love how God sings over me while I sleep and gives me a thought that will stay with me all day. Today “Mercy called my name” will stay in my heart and give me light and hope when I need it.

AMEN
AMEN 
I’M ALIVE
I’M ALIVE
BECAUSE HE LIVES
AMEN
AMEN
LET MY SONG JOIN THE ONE THAT NEVER ENDS
BECAUSE HE LIVES

I am alive because Jesus lives. I know we are not yet to Easter and He is Risen, but HE IS RISEN! As Christians, we must let the whole world see the joy of the risen Lord written all over us!

BECAUSE HE LIVES
I CAN FACE TOMORROW
BECAUSE HE LIVES
EVERY FEAR IS GONE
I KNOW HE HOLDS MY LIFE MY FUTURE IN HIS HANDS

Amen. Amen.

Click here to listen to Because He Lives (Amen).