Wednesday, March 25, 2020

So Special

One of my sisters just wrote a blog about the difficulties inherent in hearing compliments.  And it made me think of a song I wrote quite some time ago, as I was struggling with one of the ingrained messages from my childhood, "What makes you think you're so special?"  The implied message was "You're not special, don't think too highly of yourself."  I understand why my mother wanted us to absorb this kind of humility, but I don't think it's the right tack.

Because we are special, each and every one of us.  Yes, "special snowflakes", one in a million, all special in our own tiny way, but individually created by a Heavenly Father who has a unique purpose and destiny for each one of us.  The Bible says of Christians  that we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).

It's difficult for me to sing the first verse of this song.  It's so deeply ingrained to say that I am nothing special.  How dare I boast and proclaim that I am special?  It's just not done.

But the more I have considered this, the more I felt that I wanted my own children to understand that they ARE special, without losing sight of the fact that everyone else is special too.  And I want my own heart to be aware of that too, because ultimately I think that this is the message that God has given us in the Bible.

So Special

So special, I am so special, I am precious in the eyes of God.
So special, I am so special, I am precious in the eyes of God.

All of creation is waiting to see
The praise and the wonder that I'm going to be.
I was created by the Father above
To stand in his presence
And pour out his love.

So special, you are so special, you are precious in the eyes of God.
So special, you are so special, you are precious in the eyes of God.

All of creation is waiting to see
The gift and the glory that you're going to be.
A world that is hurting needs us to go share
The love of the Father
With people out there.

So special, they are so special, they are precious in the eyes of God.
So special, they are so special, they are precious in the eyes of God.

For Such a Time as This

A friend posted this verse on Facebook, and I thought that the time had come to share this song through the blog.

When Esther became Queen, and then the Jews were in great danger from the plots of Haman, she was initially afraid to risk her life in order to speak out, and her uncle Mordecai challenged her that, "if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14 NIV).  In the end, after much prayer, Esther used her position to great effect.

Esther was a queen, but all of us have been placed by God to be able to accomplish good things.  "We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus, for good works which he has prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). So this song came to me.

In this time of social distancing and coronavirus, we may not want to be literally touching people, but it is definitely a time for reaching out in many other ways.  What is God calling you to do "in such a time as this"?

For Such a Time as This

For such a time as this I have called you
For such a time as this you were born
For such a time as this I have given you my spirit
For such a time as this.

There are people that I love who've never met me.
There are people that I love who've never heard.
There are people who are hungry for a smile or for a touch
There are people who are desperate for a word.

For such a time as this I have made you
For such a time as this you were formed
For such a time as this I have brought you through the fire
For such a time as this.

For such a time as this I have called you
For such a time as this you were born
For such a time as this I have given you my spirit
For such a time as this.

Monday, April 24, 2017

In These Last Days, God has Spoken to Us in His Son

This is a poem or prayer, or meditation that I had lost for a long time, and did not have memorized.  I was glad to find it again.  Yesterday, someone shared that their professor on the book of Hebrews had claimed that almost all theological questions find answers in Hebrews.  I won't go that far, but it is certainly a rich book.  This is a meditation on Hebrews 1: 2-3, and since that's not a complete sentence, let me give you Hebrews 1:1-3:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 


In these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son

A meditation on Hebrews 1:2-3

Jesus, you are appointed heir of all things.
You're the one the Father chose to have it all.
Keep me from grabbing, clutching things to myself.
In You, I have it all.
Apart from You, there's nothing left to own.

Jesus, through You the Father made the world.
The ages past, the present,
And all the future there will ever be
Were spoken into being through You.
And You made me.
You knew me, and planned me, held me in Your heart,
Before the beginning.

Jesus, You are the radiance of the Father's glory,
The light that shines forth from the blazing sun.
Help me be a true mirror,
With veils and masks stripped away,
So that I can catch Your light,
And shine it truly into the darkness I see.

Jesus, You are the perfect engraving
Of the Father's underlying essence,
The exact representation of His being.
I am like a coin that's blurred and fuzzy.
I long to be new-minted.
Melt me in the fire of Your love
And stamp Your image plainly on my heart.

Jesus, You uphold all things by the word of Your power,
By the spoken word that creates and brings forth life.
Hold me up, Lord.
Hold me together,
And speak Your powerful word into my life.

Jesus, You made purification of sins,
Cleansed, purged, made it right.
The work was finished, final, and complete.
Complete it in my heart, O Lord.
Bring your cleansing, purify my inmost being.

Jesus, You sat down
On the right hand of the Majesty of the Father.
Your work was finished, You entered into Your rest.
Bring me too into that Sabbath rest,
That having run the race, I may sit at Your feet
And worship You forever.

Amen.


(Why sunflowers?  I recently had a dream about growing sunflowers, and as I was waking up I questioned what sunflowers were about and immediately felt that sunflowers represented the fruit of relationship with the Son.  I am hoping that putting a picture in this post will reduce the likelihood that Facebook will associate this link with the Kiva logo.  Much as I like Kiva, I don't think that that picture encourages people to click through to this blog.)



Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Prayer from Hebrews 1

This is another poem being brought forward through my house-cleaning spree.  I finally found a copy of the first little book of poems I put together, long lost.

My first inductive Bible study, one that formally pushed us as a group to dig hard into what we were seeing in the text, was on the book of Hebrews, a book that before I studied it I had considered rather boring.  That study did two things for me.  One was that it awakened in me a longing to do more formal academic study of the Bible, and eventually led me to seminary.  The other was that one assignment suggested that we ask God for a poem or song related to what we were studying.  And that request led to all kinds of things.

This prayer is one of the first that came out of that request.  In case you haven't read Hebrews recently, here is a link to Hebrews 1, from which this poem came.

Father,

You have spoken to us through the prophets
In portions, a bit at a time–
And the word that you spoke overwhelms me,
Your law is so awesome and fine.

You spoke to the people through angels,
Great creatures of wind and of fire.
People shook at the visions in terror,
Such fear did their speaking inspire.

And now you have spoken in Jesus,
Not a shadow, but the brilliance of Your light.
The Word that created the planets
is spoken to us in the night.
The Word that holds all things together,
Came down to destroy all our sins.

When the world is changed like old clothing,
The Word that is Jesus will stand.
A better will never be spoken,
Through Him you have reached out Your hand.

The ears that I hear with are shallow,
The eyes I can see with are dim.
Father, speak Jesus into my being,
'Til my life is completed in Him.

Amen.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Half of the Story

I think I wrote this song in 1998 or thereabouts.  But as we're coming up on Good Friday and Easter, it seemed appropriate to share it again.

Half of the Story

When I was little, there were times when I'd say,
"Mom I don't like it when the story's this way:
The lions are gonna gobble Daniel, he's dead."
And she'd turn the page and she would shake her head.
"You'll have to wait and see 
Just what the end will be."

You're seeing half of the story
This isn't finished, my friend,
We're only halfway through the story.
There will be glory and praise in the end.

When Jesus hung dying on that terrible cross
The people around him knew all hope had been lost.
The story is over when the hero dies
But then Easter morning came, and what a surprise
God had the final say
Death had to go away.

It was only half of the story.
It wasn't finished, my friend,
It was only halfway through the story.
And there was glory and praise in the end.

Now all around me I hear people say,
"How can God love us when the world is this way?
There is pain and betrayal, destruction and war."
But I've got to say what I have said before:
"Don't stop the story now
God will come through somehow."

We're seeing half of the story.
This isn't finished, my friend.
We're only halfway through the story
There will be glory and praise in the end.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Waiting

This is an old song, but one that has come to mind recently, so maybe it's time to get it out to the world in this format.

Waiting


Waiting for fruit to ripen,
Waiting for seed to grow...
Sometimes it seems your Kingdom
Comes only in ways that are slow...

     But I don't have to wait to know that you love me
     I don't have to wait to know that you care
     I can seek you each day in the Word you have given
     And come to you in prayer.

Waiting for dawn to brighten
Waiting for bread to rise
Your Kingdom is slow, but certain
Someday I'll see with my eyes

     The things that today are only a promise
     A glimmer of hope I can barely believe
     The things that I know you have promised to give me
     Someday I will receive

     And I don't have to wait to know that you love me
     I don't have to wait to know that you care
     I can seek you each day in the Word you have given
     And come to you in prayer.






My Life's Song

I am trying to declutter my house, or at least to get it ready for a major decluttering push.  And in the process I came across a booklet of songs and poems that I gave to people in 1999, which is a long time ago now.

Despite the title, his one is just a poem; it never had a tune to it.  It still feels right to me, so I thought I'd share it here.

My Life's Song


When I'm stretched to the limit and aching
With tension I cannot release,
Then use me O Lord, as a drumhead.
Let me throb with the rhythms of peace.

When I'm empty and feeling so keenly
The holes that remain in my heart,
I ask You to breathe through my spirit.
Let love's melody then be my part.

Please use every part of my life, Lord--
The strengths and the scars and the pains--
'Til all are caught up in Your music
And only Your glory remains.

Amen.