Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Hymn, "Precious Lamb"

The hymn for today is a hymn of repentance, which is something we all need, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

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Monday, February 23, 2015

New Hymn, "Stand, Ye, Still"

The hymn for today is an encouragement to trust in God and not in ourselves.

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Psalm 91 has always been a favorite plea for those facing battle against impossible odds.

I present it here, using the ACV by Dr. Walter L. Porter, knowing the impossible odds we now face in this ministry.

1He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. 3For he will deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence. 4He will cover thee with his pinions, and under his wings shall thou take refuge. His truth is a shield and a buckler.

5Thou shall not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flies by day, 6for the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come near thee. 8Thou shall only behold with thine eyes, and see the reward of the wicked. 9For thou, O Jehovah, are my refuge! Thou have made the Most High thy habitation. 10There shall no evil befall thee, nor shall any plague come near thy tent,

11for he will give his agents charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13Thou shall tread upon the lion and adder. The young lion and the serpent thou shall trample under foot.

14Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him on high because he has known my name. 15He shall call upon me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him, and honor him. 16I will satisfy him with long life, and show him my salvation.”

Do you remember Gideon’s story from the Book of Judges? I recently got a reminder of it as I was in prayer seeking clarity on why our favored strategy for certain aspects of the ministry was no longer working. It had indeed gone through a drastic decline several months before. I was asking God why nothing seemed to be working, valiantly trying to avoid the tired old canard, “Why me?” as I was asking, and before I could even feel successful formulating what my heart was crying out over, into my spirit came, “Because this has to come from Me.”

I sat there, admittedly a little stunned. I had been crying out, maybe even weeping, certainly in fear over the consequences of failure in the eyes of my leader, great and good man though he is, rather than contemplating the awesomeness of God Almighty, from Whom the admonishment came, “Because this has to come from Me”.

God was intervening directly in my life, but instead of seeing it as a time of celebration I was seeing it as a time of fear, and dread, and terror. I was trusting false evidence appearing real and forgetting to trust in my God.

On the night between Thursday, February 19, 2015 and Friday, February 20, 2015 I got no significant sleep at all, and what little I did manage was filled to overflowing with lurid, nightmarish images of people speaking in a language that I did not understand, words flowing across the screen of my mind and morphing back and forth between the Hebrew and English alphabets as they did so, and it was all insistently interspersed by words that would not allow themselves to be unheeded throughout that long night, “Should I not bleed as He has bled for me upon the tree? Should I not scream as He did scream for me in agony?” That couplet harassed me insistently and would not leave me in peace to sleep. At one point, about 1 or 2 in the morning, in spite of knowing that a good man lay trying to sleep in the room that shares a wall with mine, I was crying and audibly weeping, choking out a modern hymn and praise song to God in spite of the absolute terror in which I found myself. It was just before 6 in the morning when I finally gave in and began to compose the music and write the words for what would be my 1,000th hymn, which you see here.

On the morning after the major, pitched battle to receive and write this hymn, well, I guess some might say that I was still feeling the effects of it when, no matter how hard I tried, I could not share it without tears. Indeed, it was the counselor whom I sought to share it with who reacted by telling me that I had wrestled all night with God, just as had Jacob on the trail to his brother’s lands.

My name, by the way, I have not forgotten. Well do I remember it and, more importantly, that other name by which my Lord has been known to call me. It is the name of a Patriarch well versed in the interpretation of dreams, one whom his own family sold into slavery, exiling him from themselves, by their own evil, in a foreign land, there falsely accused by a frustrated, wayward wife who sought physical gratification outside the marriage bed, only to be spurned by a righteous man, who then, by the gift given him by God, saved the land from death.

The night before I began writing this article, I was talking to some of those whom this ministry stands and fights for, when it was revealed to me why our usual strategy has not been working. It was a man here for a mere four days who was revealing to me what those who have known me for some time could easily have shared, but did not. Though I am dismayed by it, I do understand.

I understand that this city, whose government has made itself our enemy has been using our own media outlet as a weapon of warfare against us, one by one picking off those whom God has placed under our charge. Of those who are our overnight guests, any who go on camera for us wind up getting targeted by the city, and soon are not seen again inside our doors. Those who still come are frightened and, because of that fear, will not come on camera for us.

These guests are people, and, in the eyes of society and the laws of this land, people have rights. They have rights that they should be free from harassment at the hands of the government, that if the government has no legal and proper warrant against them, that government should be leaving them alone, not assaulting them by beating them about the feet and commanding them to wake up and move along. This is sleep deprivation, which the world sees as torture, which international law sees as a crime against humanity, but which, so far with impunity, this city uses against its own people, meaning that it is therefore violating its own nation’s Declaration of Independence.

There is an old adage, “You can’t fight City Hall.Well, there is an even older adage, “You can’t fight God.

God is the warrior who never shall fall,
once having defeated death.
He is the ally who reverses all,
leaving all His children blessed.
Never forget, in the battle you face,
there is none greater than Christ,
and if you trust in Him, whatever lot,
then you shall shine in the Light.

There is a tendency, even among God’s faithful, to seek to avoid battles. It is far easier to co-exist than it is to stand up for righteousness. I’m sure that we’ve all seen those bumper stickers that use the images of various belief systems all formed into letter-like forms to spell out the message that it is better to co-exist than to be insistent for the righteousness of God. These, of course, are only ever sported by those who are not genuinely committed to a relationship, built upon Love and self-sacrifice, with the Living God, who is the Maker, Keeper, Designer, and Maintainer of all things. This is because they are a tool of the enemy of God used with the goal that God not ever be taken seriously.

It is a serious matter to hold oneself up as wiser or more just than even God. It is a serious matter of hubris gone to seed. It is people such as this who do battle against the Living God, who see it as no difficult thing. To laugh in the face of your Maker is to laugh in the face of life—and death.

To look upon Creation and see nothing but randomness upon randomness piled upon chaos is to do battle against the wisdom of God having at your side only insanity as a weapon of warfare.

Those who accuse people of faith of clinging to a “God of the Gaps” are themselves relying upon a randomness of the gaps, and seeing it erode day by day as ever more function and design is clearly and undeniably discerned from the efforts of genuine scientists doing genuine science in battle against the ignorance of the darkness that can never overcome the Light. It is in people such as this that hubristic ignorance takes its deepest root, and, seeing the way in which the realities of life toy with their utter futility, it is with confidence and joy that I, then, hand myself over to God for battle.

Should I Not Bleed?
PDF of this article.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

My 1,000th Hymn! "Should I Not Bleed?"

Through illness, rejection by those I serve, nightmares, and seeming demonic oppression, comes the hymn for today. By estimation, it is my 1,000th hymn.

It will tear at the heart of certain heresies that claim to be within the church. I, therefore, hope it rebukes and blesses.

Play the score on MuseScore

Get the PDF from Google Drive

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Hymn, "Have Mercy and Have Grace, oh Lord!"

The hymn for today is a hymn of repentance, be it national or a smaller group, and can be adapted for individuals, as well.

Play the score on MuseScore

Get the PDF from Google Drive

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two New Hymns, "Lift Me Up and Take Me Over", and "Sing Out Praise"

Yesterday, I did write "Lift Me Up and Take Me Over", but was sick enough that I stayed out of the common area where I can pick up an Internet connection. The streak continues, therefore, and the hymn for today is "Sing Out Praise".

Lift Me Up and Take Me Over PDF

Sing Out Praise PDF

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Hymn, "Lift Every Praise to the Lord!"

The hymn for today is about praising God FOR suffering, even as did the Apostles and Disciples in the Book of Acts.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

This Path Leads to a Cross!

The cry of the human heart cannot always be translated; like a dimly lit room its contents cannot always be discerned.
One should not assume that the person unable to articulate their cares is simply unwilling to do so, and the person so suffering should not doubt their sanity, or simply strive to figure it out themselves, but should ask the Father of Lights to illuminate for them and, like Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, show them, the reason for their dismay.
It can be disturbing to be confronted with the sure knowledge that you do not know your own heart. Such a thing is perfectly understandable.
There have been times in my own life, when I lived alone, in my own apartment, that the tears would begin to flowfervently flow; passionately flow—and I would have no clue as to their origin, cause or purpose. I would be there, alone in my apartment, loudly weeping with no knowledge as to what had so afflicted my heart.
There would, though, always be that Spiritual arm around me, and I would cry out in my soul, asking Him to heal, to comfort, and to show me why I was so horribly torn.
I have suffered many things in my life: heartbreak, betrayal, rumor, slander, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, at the hands of wicked, married women who sought only their own pleasures and manipulations and who had no concept of truth and consequences (and this, no less, within a large, conservative congregation that to this day bears much influence over their region, yet seemingly never corrects or rebukes the women), and at the hands of friends and even at the hands of siblings.
My life has not been an easy one as I have striven to live the Truth even as my assailants continue to determine to forever live a lie. Do you remember Paul’s beseechment of the Lord, that a “thorn in his flesh” be removed? God refused his prayer, stating that “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is manifested in your weakness.” I think that every one of us suffers such an assault, and suffers it so that we must needs depend only and ever on God for our life and salvation, and not on ourselves.
There was an old minister who, preaching to the people, said, “How long? Not long!” And there is a truth in that. Our suffering is lengthened by our indulgence of it, and deepened by our basking in it, and intensified by our refusal to lay it on the altar and walk away, never looking back.
The strength of our communion with Christ can be governed by the intensity of our disunion with our suffering in this life. I have never known a single individual who was ever able to praise and wail at the same time with the same mouth and the same heart. Is this not, in fact, encoded within the admonition to proclaim with your mouth that Jesus is Lord while believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead? Is it really not? How can you be believing God even as you are complaining about your suffering? And, should you speak out praise while your heart signs petitions of complaint, which is the truth; where is your soul really residing?
I do not justify abuse or deceit or disloyalty. No. But do you remember what happened to Peter when he looked at the waves instead of his Lord? Likewise, when you focus in on the trials and travails of life rather than on the One leading you through that morass, you, too, will begin to be swallowed up by the storm-tossed waves of your suffering instead of being lifted above them to walk on them with your Lord, Savior, and Master, Jesus Christ.
We have, in our society, a dreadfully distorted view of love. We seem to have this image that if we love someone we must necessarily always want to be forever in their immediate company and presence. Do you really think that Jesus wants to be around you in the depths of your depravity and sin?
Are you not, in fact, an embarrassment to Him? Yet He died and rose again to set you free from that. Even though, without the purifying that for most of us accompanies physical death (though some few eyes will twinkle), you are never physically in His presence, and this because of your sinfulness, Jesus suffered the indignity, depravity, sacrilege, and insult of the cross so that once you have left this life behind you will be forever in His immediate company and presence.
Is this not Love? I ask it again: is this not Love? To sacrifice oneself for the benefit of others is, in fact, the very jot and tittle of the command, “you must love your neighbor as yourself.” Αγαπη means self-sacrifice.
It is the second commandment, behind, “You must love the Lord your God with all of your heart and all of your soul and all of your strength and all of your mind.” How can you not understand that if you refuse to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others that you are not walking with Christ at all? How can you not understand this? How many of us claim to be walking with Christ but will refuse to lay ourselves upon that cross, whatever it might in reality be, and, like the Apostle, will in fact cry out for its removal?
How many?
How many?
Indeed, are there any who truly understand?
This path leads to a cross! Take up your cross and follow Me!” You cannot walk with Jesus except you carry your cross and lay yourself upon it!
How is it, then, that the Word tells us that Jesus, His eyes fixed like flint upon Jerusalem, went boldly forth upon His cross?
Why, indeed?
Why, for the joy lain forth before Him!
What joy is this?”, you ask! “What joy can there possibly be in such torture and disgrace?”
In His Word Jesus gives us a little picture of it when He tells us about the prodigal son.
The disgrace, embarrassment and shame heaped upon that father by his own son is akin to the suffering that we, daily, bring upon our own Father, indeed upon our own Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
When he repented and turned back to his own father, what were the reactions, and who had the joy?
The one who repented received the astonishment of grace, but the joy was had by the one who forgave. Look upon this, and look upon it well: the one who refused to forgive could not even comprehend the joy of the one who forgave, not even when begged to do so.
There is joy and celebration and rejoicing in heaven. When? When a sinner repents and is saved from the hell of his depravity by the finished sacrifice of Christ upon that cross!
He rose up from the dead, conquering hero over the death of sin, depravity, debauchery and perversions of every stripe, showing us that death need not be our end!
But He did not get there without suffering, He did not get there without pain, He did not get there without embarrassment! He suffered all of that and infinitely more, at the hands of your perversions and debaucheries and depravity and pride and greed and selfishness and sin.
He did not scream and moan and lament about his “rights”, for “as a lamb that is led to slaughter, and as a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He opened not His mouth.”
Surely He prayed that there be another way, but there being not another way He went forth. Without recrimination, without objection, without rebuke, He went forth.
Are we not to do the same?
Shall we forever lay our destiny upon our pride, or shall we, finally, let it rest, in the hands of our most gracious and Loving Savior, upon that cross?
That, you see, is the path of joy. That is the path of righteousness. That, my friend, my Dear Reader, is the path of Christ.
For most of us the greatest sacrifice we will ever offer up is the silence of our tongue in the face of the Satanic assaults upon us. But such a sacrifice is not complete and pure and righteous if with it we refuse to offer up our “rights”; if with it, we refuse to cancel the debt that we see as owed to us; if with it we refuse to forgive.
If we were to truly look into our hearts and turn on the bulb of that dimly lit room to really gaze upon its decrepit contents and the filth therein piled high we would see the ludicrousness and the lunacy forever exposed within us every time we start screaming about our rights, and we might even fervently and passionately weep over it all.
Above all, let us see the true nature of Godliness and sacrifice and Love; let us see the true nature of being upon that cross, and the destiny that rides therein that certainly leads to joy.
But first, this path leads to a cross!

New Hymn, "Make Me Over"

The hymn for today tells about the joy of forgiveness.

Play the score on MuseScore

Get the PDF from Google Drive

Sunday, February 1, 2015

New Hymn, "For the Glory of God"

The hymn for today is from Ezekiel 33. What do you do when confronted with the sin of others, wanton and flagrant? Do you cower and hide, keeping silent behind the walls and doors of your edifice temples that you claim are the Church, or do you swallow hard and obey the commands of the one that you claim as Lord, King, Savior, and Master? I’d be willing to bet that you know what the Bible says you must do.

Play the score on MuseScore

Get the PDF from Google Drive