Saturday Song: Now I Belong to Jesus

After reading this post from Desiring God, I felt inspired to play some old hymns that I haven’t sung or played for quite a while. I couldn’t help but smile fondly at the hymnal when I pulled it from my piano bag. I remember reading some of my first words out of a hymnal like this… but this one was mine.

Without looking, I can tell this book apart from its hymnal twin in my bag, just by the feel of the cover. I have been playing out of this little book for 20 years now. I know how each page falls open and where each dog-eared hymn is. The margins are full of my notes. It is full of the songs that helped raise me. It’s been my companion at funerals and weddings, at Christmas programs and my grandma’s living room. When I play the old hymns, I hear the voices who used to sing with me harmonizing with the notes – sweet echoes from the past.

As dear as this little hymnal and the memories are to me, the words in it remind me of a deeper affection. A longing that is universal: to belong. Not just to fit in to a temporary group or fragile social structure, but to belong securely, completely, forever.

Tonight the little hymnal reminded me that I belong to one who is more constant than the most faithful companion ever could be.

Jesus my Lord will love me forever, from him no pow’r of evil can sever; He gave his life to ransom my soul- now I belong to him!

Once I was lost in sin’s degradation, Jesus came down to bring me salvation; Lifted me up from sorrow and shame- now I belong to him!

Joy floods my soul, for Jesus has saved me, Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me; His precious blood he gave to redeem- now I belong to him!

Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me. Not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.

…You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefather, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 18-19

A Toy Piano and the Promise of Eternal Life

 

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Triggers can be unusual, capricious things.  At least for me, they are almost always unwelcome. Last Wednesday, my trigger was a small, worn-out, Little Tikes piano. A toy piano like the one I started playing almost from the time I could sit up by myself. A toy piano like the one my grandpa tried to teach me to play  by ear — even though I didn’t understand why this was necessary since I had perfectly good, color-coded music. Wasn’t it easier to just use that? Years later, I learned to appreciate that lesson from my first piano teacher. But it was too late. My suspender-wearing, organ-playing, book-reading, pocket-knife-carrying, even-tempered, loving grandpa with a wood shop in his basement was gone. Last Wednesday, that little, out-of-tune piano in the church nursery brought back what little I can remember of my grandpa’s voice… and it reminded me how much I could miss a man who has been dead almost 25 years.

Then, with a goodness and comfort that passes all understanding, the Holy Spirit stopped me from lingering alone in that hurt. He prompted me to also remember that there will come a day when I won’t miss my grandpa anymore. In my future, there is a day when both the pain of missing Grandpa and the joy of being reunited with him in heaven will be consumed by the unimaginably perfect joy of living in Christ’s presence.  And no one will be able to take that joy away from me. (John 16:22)

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Lord, tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait- the sky, not the grave is our goal. Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed rest, blessed hope of my soul.

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll. The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, a song in the night, o my soul!

– Horatio G. Spafford, It Is Well

If Christ can be trusted with such a future, then He is to be trusted with my present and my past, whatever the joy, pain, or memories… even the ones triggered by little toy pianos.

Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Saturday Song: My Story

Caught this song for the first time as I was driving home.  Wonderful words — the story of every believer in Christ.

Listen to the song here

If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
And if I told you my story
You would hear freedom that was won for me
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life overcome the grave

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long

For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell
For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long

Saturday Song: In Your Arms

This song came on the radio as I was working on a weekend project.  With the busy-ness of this semester, it was a good reminder to rest in the peace of God and his great love.

Click Here for music

“In Your Arms”

Meredith Andrews with Jason Anderson

I’m turning the world off
Embracing the silence
Walking away from all the voices
That are screaming in my ear

I’ve been too caught up
I’ve been so stressed out
And all of the noise replaced the whisper
That used to be so clear

So I close every door
And put my face back on the floor

And I’m in Your arms
Where I belong
There’s no other place for me
Than right where You are

Some things just don’t change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I’m in Your arms

I’m letting my fears go
Giving You control
For You are the one who holds me closer
In my soul’s darkest night

Everything I see
Is so temporary
So help me to run the race before me
With eternity in sight

Now I close every door
And put my face back on the floor

And I’m in Your arms
Where I belong
There’s no other place for me
Than right where You are

Some things just don’t change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I’m in Your arms

To sit at Your feet
At Your table of mercy
To gaze on Your beauty, my Lord

To drink from Your well
And be changed by Your glory
How could I ask for more?
Jesus, how could I ask for more?

Than to be in Your arms
Where I belong
There’s no other place for me
Than right where You are

Some things just don’t change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace

And I’m in Your arms
Where I belong
There’s no other place for me
Than right where You are

Some things just don’t change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I’m in Your arms

You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I’m in Your arms

Saturday Song: the musician’s mission

Tonight I read this excellent blog post from Desiring God: Preaching Jesus With Our Songs

Here are a few of my favorite thought-provoking quotes:

If Ivan Illich’s words are true, “We live in a world that does not carry within itself the reason for its own existence,” then music must play a significant role in our achieving clarity and inspiration. Music can say to the hardened heart, “There is meaning to your existence! There is purpose behind why you are here!”

We must value and uphold words, sound doctrine, passionate preaching and proclamation, and clear teaching; but the very realities we’re tasked with preaching and teaching are simply too profound, too glorious, and too weighty to remain in the realm of monologue and dialogue. We must sing. These realities are not to be merely analyzed, but they’re to be felt, experienced, enjoyed, and delighted in — all things that music and song serve.

All great beauty opens us up to experience things we otherwise would never experience. It expands the soul. It produces a longing in our hearts for wholeness in a world of brokenness, for something right and ordered in a world of chaos. When we perceive various forms of beauty around us, they have a unique quality of moving us by their beauty toward the glory of our Lord.

Music is an ongoing exercise that, at its best, creates channels for the gospel to illuminate our lives in light of who God is. God gave Moses a song in Deuteronomy 31 so that when the children of Israel went through various trials and troubles, the song would confront them as a testimony to whom their God was. This is true of all great music; it speaks with clarity of the God of beauty behind the music.

Monday Musings: In Need

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Ps. 18:6 “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”

Going through old songs and rediscovered this beautiful prayer. Thankful it is answered with Ps. 23:5-6, and many other promises like it:

“You fill my cup to overflowing. Surely Your goodness and love will be with me all my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.”