It’s Personal

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.

Part The Waters

I think every mother gets those moments in life when she feels overwhelmed with love for her child, about to pop her buttons with pride. “How was I lucky enough to be this kid’s mom?” I’ve had those moments through the years with all my kids. Watching my oldest graduate from the United States Air Force Academy. Sending my daughter off to the mission field, knowing she was following God’s call on her life. Reading my youngest son’s poetry does it every time. Too many to count.

I had another “momma moment” yesterday morning at church… The great privilege of accompanying my third child, Daniel, as he sang in worship. Now, I know every mom is proud of their children, and we all think ours are the perfect kids. That said, I will tell you that all my kids can sing, and they’re all musical in one way or another. They all grew up singing in church, and I encouraged them all to share their gifts with others. And Daniel did just that yesterday.

So this morning, the song in my head is the one he sang. Part The Waters/I Need Thee Every Hour. Originally recorded by Selah, it’s a powerful arrangement. It opens with these lyrics…

When I think I’m going under, part the waters Lord
When I feel the waves around me, calm the sea
When I cry for help, oh hear me Lord and hold out your hand
Touch my life… Still the raging storm in me

… And moves into the traditional hymn, I Need Thee Every Hour.

I need thee every hour most gracious Lord
No tender voice like thine can peace afford
I need thee, oh I need thee
Every hour I need thee
Oh bless me now, my savior
I come to thee

I need thee every hour in joy or pain
Come quickly and abide or life is vain
I need thee oh I need thee
Every hour I need thee
Oh bless me now, my savior
I come to thee

It is a very good thing that I was playing the piano and required to focus on the music. Otherwise, I’d have dissolved into a puddle of tears as I listen to my son’s powerful voice cry out these words to the God who loves him… who cared enough for him that He would send His only Son to die for him. Who among us does NOT need The Lord every hour of every day? Because the moment I think I don’t need God is the moment it all starts to fall apart.

When I climb out of the boat onto the waves to walk toward Jesus, my eyes are fixed on Him and I know I can do anything. But when I start to think how impossible my task is, or feel the waves of life rising up around me, I know that God can part the waters and give me a dry place to land. He hears me when I cry out to Him. Only He can calm my storm.

The quality is poor because it was recorded on an iPhone… But please…. Click here to listen to Daniel sing Part the Waters/I Need Thee Every Hour

Click here to listen to this arrangement from Selah.

There Is A Fountain

It’s not Thursday, but I have a throwback song in my head this morning… An old hymn that I grew up singing and playing called There Is A Fountain. It’s still one of my favorites to this day. I love contemporary music and expressing myself through it, but old hymns like this one are rich and forever embedded in my memory.

Hymns are so strong, so well written. They have lasted for hundreds of years for a reason. A lot of them were written out of places of pain and sorrow, yet there’s so much hope in them, and that resonates with people. – Allan Hall

So many people through the generations learned the basic tenants of theology through singing and hearing the old hymns. Personally, I’m excited that there’s a huge trend toward contemporary artists putting out new music based in existing hymnology… Bringing back old standards set to new tunes or in new arrangements. The one I’m hearing this morning was recorded by a group called Selah, and they’ve done many of the older hymns in a new way.

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away

There, since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supplied,
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die

Click here to listen to Selah sing this wonderful song. I just listened again, and ended up in tears of gratitude for our Saviors precious gift.

Click here to read about Selah and the way God has been with them through their struggles and tragedies in the middle of serving Him with their music.

You Raise Me Up

A few weeks ago, I wrote a short post about a song called, Hope Can Change Everything (read it here.) This little post is my number-one-viewed on the blog. Every day somebody will bring it up on their computer because they searched for “who sings hope can change everything.” Or they want to know who wrote it, or to find the lyrics for this song performed by the K-LOVE Fan Awards Artists. (Listen here.)

People need hope. People are searching for hope. People are looking for a Home for their hope… A place their heart can rest and feel at ease. A place where they feel secure and safe in their hope. For me, that hope rests in my one and only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As I write, these words come to mind…

Till my hope finds a home
I will call upon you Lord
Till I don’t feel alone
In this ever-changing world
Until my heart finds peace
Until my mind can rest
I will call upon You, Lord

Is there any better place to put our hope? Is there anyone else more worthy to be the Keeper of our hope? The chorus to Hope Can Change Everything says it

Reaches in the heart
Of your darkest night
Lifts you off the ground
When you’ve lost the fight
Keeps you hanging on
Through the disbelief
Every day, every step, every dream
Hope can change everything

Isn’t that exactly what Jesus does? He reaches into our deepest part and lifts us off the ground into his sweet embrace. The song in my head when I woke up this morning was You Raise Me Up as recorded by Selah (hear it here.) Jesus raises us up and gives us hope, so that we can stand on mountains.

When I am down, and oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until You come and sit awhile with me

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up—to more than I can be

You Raise Me Up words by Brendan Graham and music by Rolf Levland

I captured the featured image while vacationing this summer in the Smokey Mountains. I love how it looks like the light of heaven is shining down into the gray mist.

An ocean between

I just got back from vacation at the beach, so the song in my head this morning has particular meaning. I woke up with these words from He Is With Us by Love & The Outcome.

It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding onto you and me

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I cannot fathom how far it would be, or how devastating to my inmost part, to have an ocean between me and God. It just simply is not on my radar!!

BUT… If it seems like there’s an ocean between God and me, then I need to get in the boat! The boat that is Jesus Christ and His immeasurable love for me. If I am IN CHRIST, I won’t sink into the vast deep water, because He alone will carry me across!

There’s an old hymn I love that was made popular again by the group Selah a few years ago.

Oh the deep deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In it’s fullness over me
Underneath me
All around me
Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward
Leading forward
To Thy glorious rest above

Oceans. Two completely different perspectives. Praise God that “He is with us always. Always.”

Listen to He is With Us by Love & The Outcome

Listen to O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus by Selah

Jump in!

“Don’t underestimate the God who loves you.” This line was in my head every time I woke up in the middle of the night and again this morning. I wrote about this song, Pushing Back the Dark, a couple of days ago, but this one line is still running on a loop in my mind. And I am hit with the realization that I DO underestimate God and His love for me.

The thing is that I know with my head that He loves me. I’ve read the scriptures, and there are many, that tell me God loves me and how much. After all, Jesus Loves Me, this I know because the Bible tells me so. I’ve been aware of God’s great love for me since I was a little girl. But how do I move it from my head to my heart?

Don’t underestimate the God who loves me! Psalm 130 says to wait for the Lord and put my hope in His word. With The Lord is unfailing love and full redemption. Unfailing, everlasting, never-ending.

The band, Selah, covered an old hymn a few years ago called O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus. You can see the lyrics and listen here. Man I love this song! The deep, deep love of Jesus is VAST. Unmeasured. Boundless. FREE!!!! Flowing, as a mighty ocean, in its fullness over me.

See, I don’t want to wade in the shoreline of Jesus love. I want to swim in the depths. I want to swim in the ocean of Jesus love… constant, vast, overflowing, underneath, pushing me toward the shore of my destiny for Him. Soothing, healing, calming, immeasurable, Deep. I want to let the waves of His love wash over me. I don’t want to stand on the shore and watch it. I don’t want to hunt for the shells and the sponges and the remnants of His love in the sand… To be admired and kept on a shelf as a remembrance of a time I felt His love, if only briefly.