The Maker

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It seems to me that God has become the proverbial “elephant in the room.” He is huge and wonderful and fills the room. Everyone sees Him and tiptoes around Him and accommodates the space He takes. Like the elephant, God is obviously here and cannot be ignored, but NOBODY TALKS ABOUT HIM!! Like if we pretend He isn’t there, then maybe He will go away.

I don’t want God to go away!! I cannot even fathom what this world would be like without God’s presence. I see Him in every sunrise and every sunset. I hear Him in the birdsong early in the morning and in the sound of the waves on the shore or the rain on the roof. God is reflected in the faces of my kids and grandkids, in my mother’s smile and my sister’s goofy laugh, in my husband’s hug and my father’s work-worn hands. When my dog curls up at my feet, it’s like God is saying “I’m right here with you.” Flowers! And music!!!! I don’t even want to think about what this world would be without God’s gift of music.

So why DON’T we talk about God? What are we afraid of? What keeps us from behaving as though God were standing right next to us all day long, part of our conversations, our best friend? Why do we often treat our Maker as though He was the black sheep of our family rather than the reason we exist?? Or perhaps it’s more like the elderly aunt whom we only visit on Sunday’s and then we shout at her because she’s hard of hearing but the rest of the week we never think about her at all!

Because whether we want to acknowledge Him or not, God is here. Right here. Right there where you are. Right now. I love the passage in Psalms 139:7-12…

I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

No matter how dark my world gets, God is there and always has been whether I acknowledge Him or not. No matter how beautiful and wonderful my world gets, God… in all His majesty and glory and tenderness and mercy… is there smack in the middle of it. I love my Maker and my Maker loves me.

Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once
And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me

The song in my head this morning is The Maker from Chris August. It woke me up before daylight, and the cool thing is that I haven’t heard this song in weeks!! Click here to listen.

Featured image taken in Ifrane, Morocco courtesy of Karen Thomas Smith.

Appetizers

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It is truly a wondrous thing to know that The Lord of the universe quiets us with his love and sings over us with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17.) It is something that I’ve come to depend on, to count on. Even more wondrous to me is that this same God knows exactly which song I need to hear!

Holy Spirit you are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by your presence Lord

As I hear these beautiful words from Francesca Battistelli singing through my mind, I have just learned that my dear friend went home to be with the Lord. After fighting for all he was worth for years, he is finally and forever at peace and without pain. And while I sing of the Holy Spirit and my desire for more of God’s presence, my friend is IN God’s presence. While our hearts long for the glory of God, my friend is basking in His glory from now until the end of time.

I am so thankful our God gives us little moments of joy in our lives that give us a glimpse of His glory here and now. An appetizer for the heavenly banquet to come. For me, nothing compares to watching my grandchildren dance, or hearing my 7-month-old grandson laugh out loud just because. The sheer joy of sitting in my porch swing listening to the birds and smelling the sweet fragrance of the lilacs blooming, watching God paint another stunning sunset. Flowers! Reading my son’s poetry and listening to his passion for writing… Hearing another son sing and the privilege of accompanying him. Those times when all my kids are home and hearing them laugh together. Just being in the presence of my children!

Is that how God feels about us? Joyful just to be in our presence?? Holy Spirit, you are welcome here!

There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord

Click here to listen to Holy Spirit from Francesca Battistelli.

Hello???? Are you getting this????

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At five o’clock this morning, Journey was blasting from my husband’s cheap plastic clock radio… One of those $5 ones that doesn’t catch the FM station too well. Imagine “so now I come to you with open arms” paired with lots of static and white noise blaring in the dark at 5:00 a.m. I’m talking top volume here. My foggy brain was deep in sleep and hearing a completely different song and wondering why he wasn’t turning the clock OFF!! I fumbled in the dark, climbing across to his side, until I finally got it to stop. Apparently he had gotten up and failed to turn the thing off. Doesn’t he know I’m retired? 

The song in MY head was Drops in the Ocean from Hawk Nelson. So there I was, sound asleep with God singing these beautiful words over me.

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If you 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

In the middle of this sweet state comes “so here I stand with open arms.” Isn’t that poetic?? God is singing over me in my subconscious sleeping brain to just look at his hands and his sides if I want to know how much he loves me, and then God blasts “here I am with open arms” right into my hearing, physical ears!! Like God is saying, “Hello???? Are you getting this???”

Speak Lord for your servant is listening!

Click here to listen to Journey and Open Arms.

Click here to listen to Hawk Nelson and Drops in the Ocean.

It’s Personal

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The song in my head this morning has been there all night. It kept me from going to sleep. It was there every time I woke up, which was often, and it’s one of my favorites. These words humble me. The music forces me to sing harmony, and I can never get through this song dry-eyed. So rather than copying the lyrics in song form, I’ve written them as though I were speaking them, because that’s how I always hear this song.

How deep the Father’s love for us! How vast, beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure. How great the pain of searing loss! The Father turns His face away as wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon the cross, my sin upon His shoulder. Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything… No gifts, no power, no wisdom… But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection! Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer, but this I know with all my heart…His wounds have paid my ransom.

It’s personal, this thing Christ did for me. His death on the cross was not some grand gesture for all of mankind as a whole. It was God’s love for ME that nailed Jesus to that cross. It was MY life He was saving! Everything I am and everything I hope to be is because of HIS immeasurable love lavished on me. His wounds paid my ransom. I am free. Unchained. Unfettered. And forever grateful.

Featured image: the dogwoods have been spectacular this Spring in Kentucky. This picture focuses on the tree with the blooms as a bonus. If we focus on the tree on which Jesus died, the cross, we get the bonus of His love and mercy, His forgiveness and grace.

Click here to listen to the Selah version of this gorgeous song.

Click here to listen to the Phillips, Craig & Dean version.

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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