Monday, August 29, 2011

Contented (Psalm 131)

I wanted to write a song, based on Psalm 131, that expressed a simple, contented affection for God. Psalm 131 is a beautiful picture of contentment, like that of a child who has been fed and satisfied, who rests in the arms of his mother without a care.

"I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me..."

There are times to think about lofty things and to search out the mysteries of life and faith, and then there are times to rest in contentment, knowing that God is God and we are not, that God's wisdom surpasses ours, and we can rest in knowing He is with us and He cares for us.

At the end of a day, as I slip off to sleep, I want to know that sort of contentment.

Chords throughout: E B/D# C#m7 A
My eyes are not haughty
My heart is not proud
And all that concerns me
Is loving You now

Here in the quiet
Under your wings
I am contented
Simply to sing

I love you
I want you
I love you
Jesus, I do

Monday, July 11, 2011

Not My Own

This song is about pride. C.S. Lewis made an insightful comment in The Screwtape letters that much of our issues with pride could be resolved by a sober-minded appreciation of the fact that we did not create ourselves. We have nothing to do with the fact that we exist. Every breath we take, every thought we have, is predicated on the initiating grace of God (to create us in the first place) and the sustaining grace of God (to continue our existence each and every moment). There is nothing for me to take pride in that is not first predicated on God's initiating and sustaining grace.

And if I am created, how can I reasonably maintain authority over my own life? The thing created must belong the One who created it. I was made by Him, and for Him.

If it's not enough to realize that I did nothing to accomplish my own existence, it should be even more humbling to realize that I did nothing to accomplish my own salvation. Many object at this point, but this is the Christian Gospel (and what distinguishes the Christian gospel from many, perhaps all, others). To be sure, I accepted the gift of God's grace, but I did nothing to deserve it.

So my creation and my salvation are all of God's grace, and I am left with only one reasonable conclusion, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price...." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Obedience to my Creator is only reasonable, and love for my Savior is only natural!

Verse1 : Am F C G
I did not make myself
You made me, God my King
And I am yours, I am yours
I could not save myself
You saved me, God my King
And I am yours, I am yours

Pre-chorus: F C
You humble all the haughty
Lifter of the heavy heart
Your love and tender mercy
Are the only hope I've got

Chorus: F C G Am7 / F C Gsus G
I am not my own, I was bought at a price
Jesus I am yours now
You will reign alone on the throne of my life
Jesus I am yours forever

Verse2 : Am F C G
Wonderful, fearfully
You made me, God my king
And I am yours, I am yours
By your blood, You redeem
All of me, God my king
And I am yours, I am yours

Friday, April 1, 2011

Do You Not Know?

As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, one of my pastors is doing a sermon series on hope, and for the past few weeks he has focused on the necessary aspect of hope that includes waiting. Isaiah 40 is one of the most beautiful passages in scripture about what reasons we have to wait on God in hope.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40: 30-31)

(The word above translated "hope" can equally be translated "wait": but those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength.)

This is preceded by a whole chapter of reasons why we can wait on God with confidence.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28).

Juxtaposed to our circumstances is a God who is creator, re-creator, redeemer, and sustainer. He will not grow tired or weary. This portrayal of God brought my attention to the end of the book of Job, where we also have a description of God's might and strength, which remain true and constant despite the tragic condition of Job's life at the time. In the midst of his circumstances, knowing what he knows of God, Job is still able to say at one point "I know that my redeemer lives" (Job 19:25).

This song took a while to write. I had the chorus early on, but it took a bit of finagling for me to get a verse rhythm and melody that I liked. I also had the words for the first verse fairly quickly, mainly because they come out of the primary passage of the song, Isaiah 40. It wasn't until a few weeks later that my mind was drawn to Job's story, which provided the content for the second verse.

Verse 1: Em Bm7 C G - G/F#
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
He sits enthroned o'er the earth
Nations are dust, men are as grass
Em Bm7 C
But He is of infinite worth
D C D C (Am7sus)
Who can compare to my God
Sovereign and mighty to save

Chorus: Em C G D/F#
Those who wait for Him
Will renew their strength
And those who wait for Him
Will rise up on wings
And those who hope in Him
They will run and not...
grow faint
On You, O God, we wait

Verse 2:
Who told the seas, "Thus far and no more"?
Who drew the lines of the shore?
Who made Orion shine in the night?
Who but the Lord of all lords
Here in His shadow I wait
I know my redeemer lives, and...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

With Us (2)

I just recently worked on a new recording of this song, previously posted here.

For some reason, this song has been back on my radar, perhaps in connection with the world events that have been happening recently, the unrest in Libya and the Middle East, and especially the Tsunami in Japan.

We need to know that in the midst of nations raging, mountains quaking, and seas roaring, we have a God who is strong, before whom we can be still and confident.

Verse: (C#m A B)
Oceans roar, mountains quake
But here in You I am saved
Kingdoms fall, nations rage
But You will come at break of day

Pre-chorus: (A B)
You are an ever present help
In times of trouble
Though all the earth is giving way
We will not fear

Chorus: (E B/D# C#m A)
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

Bridge: (E B/D# C#m A)
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

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wonder of Wonders

Hey friends, I know it's been a little while since I posted a new song, but I ran into some kinks with the previous music player I was working with and had to switch to something else before I could start putting up new songs. Anyway, here goes...

Wonder has been a theme of my thoughts on and off for the past year. There's something so child-like about wonder, that I think us adults frequently miss it, the sense of "woah" about life that allows for mystery and grandeur.

I'm a cynic and a skeptic by nature. If something seems too good to be true, there's probably a catch, or so the nagging voice in my heard says. That that voice in my head has never really helped me. His wagging finger doesn't really point anywhere. And my actual experience of life tells me that God is real, that God is good, and that God is wonderful. His wonders are beyond measure, and I would do well to sit and be still before him, to let his mysteries wash over me. Above all, I desire to "have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge..." (Ephesians 3:18-19)

The prayers of Paul for the Ephesian church have so blessed me in this meditation:
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people..." (Ephesians 1:17-18)

I want to intentionally live my life in a place of wonder, continually amazed at the grandeur of God's love for us in Christ. This song is a part of that.

Verse: (C F)
Wonder of wonders, You have my heart
You are my one desire
Oh my Beloved, lovely You are
You set my mind on fire

Pre-chorus: (Am7 G F C Am7 G F)
Spirit of wisdom, Spirit of truth
Spirit of revelation
Lord I desire the vision of You
Hear now my supplication

Chorus: (C Am7 F G)
You are exalted, beautiful Jesus
Merciful Savior, coming King
And for the glory of Your appearing
I will surrender everything

Bridge: (Dm7 C)
Spirit reveal the deep things of God
How high and how wide, how deep is Your love

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Father in Heaven

I've been listening to a series of sermons by Tim Keller on the Lord's prayer, and one of his messages especially touched me. "Father in heaven..." Keller really drove home the difference between the kind of prayer that Jesus was advocating and the kind of prayer that was predominant in his day and age (and is arguably predominant today as well).

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:7-8)

If we come to prayer anxiously, it is because we don't realize it is our Father we are speaking to, and when we come to prayer with a set a of demands, it is because we think we're speaking to a business partner rather than a friend. The ability to call on God as Father completely transforms our approach to him. We need not assert ourselves (doing so is really ridiculous when you realize that God is not obligated in any way to us), but we can have an incredible confidence that God hears our prayers with a caring heart. Dad pays attention to the concerns of his kids.

The main scriptures I pulled from were Matthew 6:7-13 and 1 John 3:1.

(hope you enjoy the new instrument...)
Verse 1: (A F#m D E)
Father in heaven, O what a name
I am invited to call You each day
What wondrous love You lavish on us
That You would call us daughter and son

E/G# A
E/G# A
Give us today our daily bread
E/G# A E
Forgive us all our trespasses
E/G# A E/G# A
And lead us not into temptation
E/G# A E
Heavenly Father, deliver us

Verse 2: (A F#m D E)
Heavenly Father, hallowed be
Your name forever from sea to sea
As in the heavens, Your kingdom come
Here on the earth now, Your will be done


E/G# A E/G# A E/G# A E
Yours is the king- dom, the pow- er, and glory
E/G# A E/G# A E/G# A E
Now and forev- er and ev- er, Amen