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Posts from the ‘Song’ Category

Lamentations to Return


Text: Lamentations 3:37-44 and other ‘return’ messages preached by the prophets

I wrote the song ‘Returning’ as I reflected on the messages of the prophets of the Old Testament. Their message, though despised so many years ago, is still timeless today as it still beckons people to return to the Lord.  Reading through the prophets has opened my eyes to the patience of God and yet his consistent character of mercy in judgment.  Clearly, when the Lord announces judgement on his people it is the last thing that he wants to do; it is the ultimatum for a stubborn and proud people. Tracing the steps of my own life, I see so clearly where I turn away from God in willful disobedience and forsake not only his love for me but also his grace.  Lovingly, God intrudes on my actions and thoughts outside of his desire for me and brings me back to dependency; a trust exclusively found in him.

The verse in Lamentations has unique significance in my own personal prayer life as I seek the Lord in prayer.  Often times it is a struggle to devote time to prayer and really pray.  I can pray throughout the day – and I do, but I notice a difference when I really pour out my heart and pray with complete attention and direction.  Sometimes the difficulty in my absent prayer life results from disobedience.  These are times when I know I should approach God but am reluctant to do so due to sin.  I am comforted in these times when I take the step to return back to the Lord in confession and repentance.  For in those times of returning I am drawn back to the heart of the Father and his love for me.

Returning

Verse 1:

You are everything, you are my delight

You are my song, in the night.

You have encompassed me

Yet I have turned away, forsaken your love,

Unfailing love.

Pre-Chorus:

And like a father, you come break my world in two.

And like a child I come running back to you.

 Chorus:

And I am returning to you.

 Verse 2:

When it seems that you, have covered up your face,

In a cloud, a darkened cloud.

And all the prayers I pray

Cannot e’r get through.

What must I do, what must I do?

The Revealing and Concealing God

‘Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.’

Isaiah 64:4

These words from Isaiah still resonate with me as I marvel about a God who acts on behalf of the one who waits for him!   In a culture of nations practicing idol worship augmenting a false understanding of who God was, here, the Lord declares in a loud voice through Isaiah the prophet, ‘Look, this is who I am! I am your God who acts on your behalf!’  What kind of God acts on behalf of his people?  The one true God does, and he has proved his love in action through sending Jesus Christ into the world to save sinners. I think Paul might be alluding to this passage when he writes in 1 Cor. 2:9-10,

“However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”

In my own life, I have been learning how to wait on the Lord.  I have been acquiring the secrets of staying close and pressing in to know not just the plans of the Lord for my life, but the Lord himself. I am thankful that God graciously gives direction, and reveals from piece to part to whole by his Spirit.

In remembrance of this aspect of my spiritual journey, I penned the song, ‘Daybreak’ which was framed through the experience of both waiting on God and learning to hear from him.  Specifically, I was on break from a missionary project in Eastern Europe.  I had a chance to travel and go to Italy and spend some time on the Italian Riviera. One morning I got up early and hiked up a trail along a cliff that led me to a secluded place where I could pray. Juxtaposed to me were the crashing Mediterranean Sea waves and opposing overcast skies.

As I spent time in prayer calling out to God, I marveled at how the sun broke through the clouds.  As it did, I enjoyed the presence of the Holy Spirit as he ministered to me and strengthened me despite the difficulties I was personally facing from my missionary endeavors. In that moment I learned the Lord does not just speak to give us direction and solve problems in our lives, but that he speaks love to us like a Father as he calls us by name and reminds us how he has acted on our behalf through his son.

Daybreak

Verse 1

Look outside and see the ocean breathing.

As it throws its foamy waves upon the shore.

It looks as if the day is getting started.

It seems as if the sun is marching forth.

 Pre-chorus

And everything is singin’ out your name.

Beauty like a symphony of praise.

Chorus

And I’ll wait for the sun to rise,

To settle into cloudless skies, yes I’ll wait, yes I’ll wait.

And I’ll wait just to hear you speak,

The words my soul has come to seek, yes I’ll wait, yes I’ll wait.

 Verse 2

Morning light shines brightly over water,

Reflections dance on rock and reef and into sand.

Standing at the dawning of a new day

Ready for your light to lead me in your way.

Pre-chorus 2

         And now I come to hear you speak my name.

Alone with you before the break of day.

Chorus 2

And I’ll wait for the sun to rise,

To settle into cloudless skies, yes I’ll wait, yes I’ll wait.

And I’ll wait to hear you say my name

Cos’ I don’t wanna end the day the same, yes I’ll wait.

Outro

 Yes I will wait, yes I will wait, yes I will wait…

Salvation Well

The song from ‘Salvation Well comes from meditations in Isaiah Chapter 12.  Though the song in Isaiah is a song for the millennial kingdom, there are present implications for worshippers of God  today. Of highest note in the brief passage in Isaiah is the mention of a well of salvation upon which to draw from. In the past revealed in part, Jesus is now the full revelation of God and he is also the well of life that is not a broken cistern, but instead an overflowing well able to both hold, offer and supply what each man eternally needs; life, and life abundantly.

‘Salvation Well’ celebrates the infinite wisdom of God in the progressive revelation of his beautiful plan in capturing the hearts of nations and inviting them to true Yahweh worship.  Announced from old throughout the writings of the prophets, God is glorifying himself by bringing Gentiles to his name, and causing a people who were not a people to become God’s people through Christ.

Personally, this song is a hymn of great rejoicing since I know that God has granted me salvation and that he intends for his great salvation to encompass the earth drawing all men to his name. The song of salvation is ultimately a song of openly displayed love; the true love of the Father. God’s heart revealed through Jesus is complete in one sense but yet the full understanding of the love of God and his patience in dispensing his divine grace is not fully understood and completely realized until the final consummation of his present but not yet kingdom.  Until it is, it is up to those who know Christ to follow his command to bring the light of the gospel to all the nations.

Verse 1: 

You are great, you are wise.

Revealing all your perfect ways, giving us a song to sing of

Love, unfailing love.

Salvation now announced of old, redemptive love,

A spring of joy and hope, A song of hope!

Chorus:

Salvation well, Lord we come rejoicing!

Giver of life, we drink from Christ’s supply!

Here we are, send us out.

Let your blessing go from here to the nations!

Outro:

Well of Salvation that never runs dry.

We take in your grace, your love our supply.

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