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.
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.
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!!
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.