Monday, April 26, 2010

With Us

This is another old song... so far this blog has been mostly useful for sharing some old songs that didn't make it onto the CD I'm working on. Maybe I'll put some of these on future projects... not sure.

Anyway, I was meditating in the Psalms for a good number of months a couple of years ago, and this song came out of Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kindgoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (verses 1-7,10-11)

I needed to know that God would help "at break of day," and that there was a stream that could "make glad" one who was in distress [me].

Also, the words "Lord Almighty" are translated "Lord of Hosts" in other translations. I like the latter, as it speaks to me of a mighty God with a host of angel armies at his command, ready to fight for me.

But most of all, I needed to know that in the midst of my circumstances I could just "Be still" and know that my God was faithful, that his love was constant and unchanging, and that there was no circumstance that could rob me of the hope He offers in Jesus.

Oceans roar, mountains quake
But here in You, I am saved
Kingdoms fall, nations rage
But You will come at break of day

You are an ever-present help
in times of trouble
Though all the earth is giving way
We will not fear

The Lord of Hosts is with us
He is the God of Jacob
And ever-faithful He has been
The Lord of Hosts is with us
He is a mighty fortress
And ever-faithful He has been

Though all the earth should shake
I will be still
Knowing that You remain
I will be still
Though all the nations rage
I will be still
'Cause You are my hope and strength
I will be still

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

He Is the Image

I wrote this song probably about a year and a half ago, and there isn't as much of a story behind it... but I was meditating in Colossians at the time, and this song came out of it. The lyrics are mainly inspired by the first chapter, specifically verses 15-20...

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. for God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blod, shed on the cross."

I also love to remind myself what Jesus' name means: God Saves. What a wonderful declaration to make in worship. Hence the last line of the chorus: "Forever we will love the God who saves." Glory! Hallelujah!

He is the image of the, of the invisible God
He is the Word come in flesh
He is the resurrection, the way, the truth, the life and
The love of God manifest

He is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Fully God, He bore our shame
He is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Reconciled us through his pain
And forever we will love the God who saves

He is the man of sorrows, acquainted with our suff'ring
Obedient unto death
He is the humble, holy, exalted Lord of Glory
The firstborn up from the dead

Forever we will love You...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Love and Justice

I wrote this song a couple of months ago in response to a study that one of my pastors encouraged me to do on the connection between worship and justice, that is, the necessary integration of justice into the lives of those who claim to worship God. As Christians, we are called to live lives that are concerned with justice for those who are oppressed, and this should be the natural outflow and expression of our worship, especially as we consider the character of God, who's love and justice are displayed perfectly and simultaneously at the cross. In order to appreciate God's justice, however, I believe we need to first understand our own personal injustice against God and his justified indignation against our sin.

A couple of passages were in my mind as I wrote the lyrics for this song. The first was Isaiah 53, where it says that It was God's will to crush "him" (the coming messiah), and to lay upon "him" the iniquity of us all. This convinces me of how seriously God takes sin, and how justified He is in punishing it. Yet he chose to bear the punishment himself in Christ. This leads me to the second passage I had in mind... Luke 7:36-50, where Jesus is annointed by a "sinful" woman. This woman had a very real sense of her need for grace, and it is her acknowledgement of that need that leads her to worship Jesus, the source of that grace. Jesus goes on to tell a parable about two men who had different quantities of debt, both of which were forgiven by their master. When Jesus' audience is asked which one will love the master more, the obvious answer follows: "...the one who had the bigger debt cancelled." So in writing this song I wanted to own this truth and to personally ackowledge that I had a great debt cancelled at the cross. I wanted to say with Paul, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience." (1 Timothy 1:15-16) Hence the lyrics for the bridge: Mine was the greatest debt forgiven...

We must have a clear appreciation of the seriousness of our sin in order to appreciate God's forgiveness of it. But we must also take God seriously and understand that He cannot simply forget our must be punished for his holiness to hold legitimacy. But glory to God! He satisfied both his desire to love and his need to punish sin by bearing the punishment himself on the cross. So we see both God's hatred of sin (in crushing Jesus) and his extravagent forgiveness (in bearing our sin for us in Christ) displayed perfectly at the cross. I want this to always remain at the center of my worship, and to say with Paul, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Galatians 6:14)

Just One, You were crucified for us
O sinless savior You were beaten You were crushed
Unto death our God has loved us
Unto death which we deserved
Into life our God has called us
Into love forevermore

Here where love and justice meet
I will bow and kiss your feet
You who suffered violently, I love You
Here my sinless Savior dies
In three days I see Him rise
Now exalted in my eyes, I love You Lord

Mine was the greatest debt forgiven...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Love Came

I wrote this song... can't quite remember how long ago, maybe a year. I had been spending a lot of time reading 1 John, a book of the Bible which stands out for its strong emphasis on the love of God and the love we are called to display in our own lives. This song came together as I was also thinking about the famous "love chapter" in 1 Corinthians, in which Paul gives and exhaustive list of what love is...

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

All of these things are perfectly fulfilled and modeled in Jesus, who enables us to love by following his example. Thank God that He chose to love us so, and graciously enables us to love him and others in response.

Love is patient, love is kind
He does not envy but He's got a jealous eye
Love is patient, love is kind
He's never arrogant but He's always right

Thank God He's never quick to anger
Thank God He chose to be a savior
Thank God, Thank God love came down
Thank God He looks upon the lowly
Thank God He came to make us holy
Thank God, Thank God love came down

Love is humble, love is meek
He did not seek his own but he bore all things
He bore all things

Thank God...

We love because He first loved us
Because He loves we love...
Because He first loved us

Thank God...