Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Lord’

O Come, Emmanuel (ThePianoGuys version)

When a piece of music moves me to tears – it is time to share it. Listen for yourself and see if this is not the the most emotional and beautiful
version you have ever heard.

May God Bless you this Christmas Eve

32 Things I’ve Learned

This Thursday marks 32 years of marriage for Greg and me.  Many don’t know this – but we were 20 and 21 when we got married – still in College and had no job, prospects or money.  We just went for it!  And it kinda worked out  😉  And although I don’t recommend or even advocate people getting married as young as we were – there is something to be said for growing up together.  We were too poor and stupid to know any better – so we just plodded along and most of the time it worked out okay.  This is not to say that our marriage did not have any bumps and bruises along the way.  I think it’s a given just from living that long with another person!  If someone says their marriage doesn’t ever have any friction or difference of opinion – they are lying – or someone is stuffing their personality and opinions down deep.  This can happen sometimes to save conflict, or to keep up appearances – but is not very real or truthful.

Besides sharing the same faith, belief system and values – there are some other things I’ve learned about our relationship through the years and what has made it work.  We are far from perfect and sometimes I think I am hopelessly flawed.  But somehow it has worked out anyway.  For those of you interested in what makes a long-term marriage work  – Here is my list…

 

1.  A sense of humor is a must

2. Money doesn’t bring happiness – but it sure can help

3. You don’t marry the other person’s family – despite what others will tell you.  You marry the man.

4. No one knows you as well as someone you sleep with.

5. Your partner cannot fill you up.  That’s God’s job.

6. Friendships come and go – your spouse is your only reliable best friend.

7. Always be kind

8. Learn to look beyond the flaws

9. Keep forgiveness in your back pocket

10. Always stick up for each other

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously

12. Appreciate the little things

13. Have children – the only real expression of your love in human form.

14. Appreciate your differences

15. Don’t be needy

16. Don’t be jealous

17. Enjoy music

18. Take a walk everyday

19. Adopt a puppy or two

20. Be happy and content in your own company

21. Love your neighbors

22. Make a difference

23. Learn to communicate and dream together

24. Laugh a lot

25. Walk away from unhealthy people

26. Be totally honest

27. Love those who marry into your family like your own

28. Be friends with your grownup children

29. Leave a ministry job if it is affecting your marriage

30. Be ready to reinvent yourself

31. Talk about everything everyday

and last but not least…

32. Be the person he would fall in love with all over again.

 

wedding picture

What Wondrous Love Is This?

On this beautiful Palm Sunday, this hymn closed our service.  It is beautiful.

Enjoy and God Bless!

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,

what wondrous love is this, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss

to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,

to bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,

when I was sinking down, sinking down;

when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,

Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,

Christ laid aside his crown for my soul!

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.

To God and to the Lamb who is the great I Am;

While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;

While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;

And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;

And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

It Could Have Been Worse

Cover of "It Could Have Been Worse"

Cover of It Could Have Been Worse

For some strange reason I have a weird way of looking at things.  Good things happen.  Bad things happen.  Really ugly things happen.  I find myself thinking – this could have been worse.

Does everyone think like this?  I’m not sure.  I don’t think so.  I see people around me that are stuck in a quick sand of bad circumstances that have bullied them and beaten them down – until they are a mere shadow of their former selves.  Somehow they have not been able to rise above the negative, hurt and sadness in their lives.

Jeremiah 29:11 says:

 

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

This in itself should give us that ability to “press on” even in times of unusual stress and bad times.  But sadly, I know it is not.

When something bad happens to me my first response is not, “Thank you, Lord – I see this is going to hurt but I also know you’re going to teach me something through this”  Not at all!  But I have found that much later it helps to practice this one thing:    I have allowed my thoughts to go to a place that could have been worse.   There is always something worse.

I fell the other day.  My own stupidity.  Tripped over a carpet end after trying to go over a puppy gate.  I got my one foot caught on the end of the carpet and the other foot did not make it over the gate.  I hung for a moment suspended in an awkward straddled position and then gravity propelled me forward and on to an oak side table.  The momentum was so great that the side table actually broke as I fell on it.  Can you say, “Ouch”?  Needless to say my side that hit and broke the table was VERY sore and badly bruised.  My foot that was caught in the rug, twisted as I fell – another “Ouch” – and I had several other bruises on my arm and hand.  Oh I still have the visual reminders of my fall – and probably will have them for a while.  A bruise is still a bruise after all – and it still hurts.

But oddly enough, as in other unfortunate circumstances that have come my way (and plenty of them) – I have started allowing my thoughts to take me to a place of “what-ifs” instead of just “Oh-Nos!”   You know that place.  The place that is “better” or “worse” depending on how you look at it.  It’s more than just a “glass half empty or full” it’s a place of real discovery.  The discovery is in how I choose to be defined by what happens to me.

I always try to choose blessing and see God’s protection on my life.  Even in the bad things that come my way.  Even in the bad fall.  Here’s what I thought:  “This could have been so much worse.  If I had been older, had less padding and my bones had been more brittle, I surely would have broken my hip or cracked a rib.  I would have not just twisted and bruised my foot – I would have badly sprained or broken it.  The blessing is that I only have bad bruises and a little limp while I recover but  this too shall pass.

I remember an ugly thing that happened years ago now – as I tried to help another person and got too emotionally involved.  Even then, God was protecting me.  That person ended up betraying all my kindness and the friendship,  accusing me of some ugly things.  It could have gone down a much more dangerous and ugly road if I hadn’t realized first I needed to say goodbye.   But as it turned out – God used that person to turn things around, force me to become wiser about who to discuss things with and confide in.  And even though that hard lesson cost me that friendship – I have not stopped being kind and helpful.  I still reach out and want to help people.  I know it could have been worse.  Much worse.

Maybe you have an issue or circumstance that is weighing you down.  You can’t see anything positive about it.  You feel like it’s the worst experience of your life.  You don’t see any way out.  Here’s a thought for you today:

Look at the blessings and protection from God on your life so far.  Think of how things might have been worse if left entirely up to you.  Try to think of ways that God has truly intervened on your behalf.  Are there things in your story that are more than just coincidence?  Can someone benefit from your story of God’s grace in your life?  Are you able to still be positive and joyful even through your pain and trials?  Can you see any way that others might learn a life lesson from you?  Can you look through a different “God lens” and see how things could have been worse?

I am praying for you today.

 

God Bless 

Thanksgiving Prayer

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is Thanksgiving.  The Turkey is in the roaster oven, the stuffing is made and a pie is in the oven.  The house is cleaned and prepared, ready for family to gather, eat, laugh and eat some more.

As I think of this day – I am reminded of so many reasons I have to be thankful.  And like you – I think about them all year-long.  Sometimes the simple things we are thankful for – are hard to express.  So many of our blessings are taken for granted – until something happens.  I have been more thankful this season because of that reason.  Those “things” that happen in our lives only cause us to pause and take a breath.  They make us truly grateful for small blessings.  Here are a few of mine:

1)  I am thankful for health for myself and my family members.  In this season I am reminded of how many of my friends are touched my bad news concerning health – and I know for those people, Thanksgiving has a whole new meaning.

2)  I am thankful for a happy home with laughter and joy, not a whole lot of material things or money – but happiness and contentment just the same.

3)  I am thankful for my wonderful husband of 31 years.  He is without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to me – and the biggest blessing in my life.  He has stood by me and defended me in all and every situation – always believing the best in me – and I am forever grateful.

4)  I am thankful for two wonderful children – who are both grown-up and on their own journey in this life – with its many twist and turns and obstacles that could trip them up and make them turn down a wrong path – if they allowed it.  I am grateful that they had a strong foundation in godly things and know the Lord personally.  I am so proud of both of them and their lives as they continue to bless and inspire others.

5)  I am thankful that both my husband and I were raised in similar Christian homes – full of love and laughter – Christ centered in every way.  It helped to prepare us for many things we would encounter in our long marriage and in church work through the years.  Both sets of our parents have been married to one person for over 50 years.
And so as I reflect on these blessings my prayer for all of you is this:

May you find joy and laughter in the simple things of life as you look around your table today.  And if you are alone this Thanksgiving – I pray you will be reminded of the small blessings of the past – and how it has touched you and made you the person you are today.  May smiles and not tears be your companion today and may you have at least one friend to share this memorable day.  Amen.

 

God Bless

10,000 Reasons

I sit here with my second cup of coffee to start out my music week with students. I am listening to the following song written and sung by Matt Redman, a song that has been popular lately on Christian radio.    ( I do not listen to Christian radio unless it’s internet classic Christian without commercials.) It was introduced by our youth to our church family yesterday.  It is simple and beautiful.

Matt Redman tears the house down around midnight

It has been running through my head since we first heard it.  don’t know why some songs speak to me.  Others I literally have to ‘put up with’ in order to get through them.  I am very picky when it comes to music.  And although I listen to any genre and decade of music – it has to be really good before I like it.  This goes for classical – to classic rock and everything in between.  Unless a song really speaks and moves me – it is just noise.

Enjoy this great song – have a great day as you reflect on your own reasons.  If you love the song like I do – you will have this tune following you all day 🙂

God Bless

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy nameThe sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

[Chorus x2]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
Lord, I’ll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name

Trusting God

Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand (Photo credit: Jenn Durfey)

The other day I walked and talked with a friend.  I felt safe.  There was a quiet understanding and acceptance there – a  freedom to be all I am supposed to be.  A human touch and validation can soothe in the dark and gray areas that lurk in the corners of our heart and mind.  Especially true if you, like I have known the sharp betrayal of trust from a ‘friend’.

Sometimes we can talk more freely to a trusted friend – and not feel that same freedom when we talk with God. Even when we know He will not betray us – or hurt us in any way.   I don’t know if it’s because saying things out loud to Him makes us feel silly, and seem unnecessary – as He already knows it all before we utter a single word – or if in saying things out loud confirms just how foolish, jealous, prideful, secretive, malicious and self-serving we are – even in what we feel are the best of circumstances.  But I do know this:  just because He already knows – does not discount His absolute validation and understanding, His stubborn acceptance and love.  As I learn to trust more – with all my feelings, no matter how silly they seem to me – I find no condemnation there.

I once heard a powerful message on the subject about being truthful with God.  We can hide from those around us – and even ourselves – but we cannot hide from Him.  We may fool ourselves into thinking that He will not know if we do not speak of it – yet scripture and everything we know about God would say otherwise.  And still He wants us to come to Him and confess it – say it out loud.  I like to think of it like this:  If I’m walking and talking with a good trusted friend – I would not hold back in expressing myself.  How much more should I trust the one who made me?  The one who has a unique “take” on my multifaceted personality – who is not surprised when something is difficult for me to get over – or I cannot seem to ‘get it’?  Who lovingly understands when things are frustrating for me.   He patiently waits for me to finish my rant when all I want are answers to questions when there are no answers.  How much more confidant should I be to bring all to Him – the things He has asked me to walk away from – the things that still bother me – the tears that no one sees?  And the absolute feeling of failure because I am still ‘going there’?  The fear of betrayal.

If you are on a similar journey – learning to open up and empty out your heart to God – and you’re finding it difficult knowing where to start, remember what it is like talking to your very best friend – someone you trust with your secrets, private emails and conversations.  You know they will not betray you – no matter how crazy you sound.  They will keep it to themselves and only want the very best for you.  God is much more trustworthy than your most trusted friend here on earth.  He will not turn you in, ‘rat you out’, embarrass or humiliate you.  He will listen.  He will quietly wait for you.  And then He will lovingly show you what to do next.  He is on your side – in your corner and has your back.  Forever.  Trust Him today.  Start that conversation with this:

Dear Lord – I know I’ve blown it big time in the past.  I’ve been a big failure and disappointment to others, myself and to you.  I don’t want to live that way anymore.  I’m tired of feeling bad, guilty and tired all the time.  I need you to replace all the icky stuff in my life with your forgiveness, peace, joy and love.  I believe you came to earth, died for my sins and rose again to give me eternal life.  I believe all I have to do is accept you into my life and that you and I together can begin a new life.  I need you as a trusted friend to help me through my many problems and decisions.  I am going to start today to trust you.  I believe that nothing is impossible with you.  Help me to come to you whenever the going gets tough – I am going to talk with you everyday and together we will figure it out.  Thank you so much for loving me.  Amen

If you sincerely prayed that prayer above – you’re ready to have daily conversations with Him.  Let Him into your thought life – your daily circumstances and everything that touches and affects you.  Nothing surprises Him – nothing takes Him off guard.  He is willing and able to be your support and help in time of need.  And because He made you and formed your unique personality – He knows just how to help, comfort and support you – like no one else can.

God Bless

Here I Am, Lord

When my daughter was a junior in high school, her director found out that I could play the piano (somewhat mysteriously I might add, as I did not promote myself whatsoever) and asked me to play the following piece of music to accompany the concert choir that my daughter was in for their spring concert.  It required that I come to first period (in the morning) and rehearse with them for a couple of months.  I was terrified as it was a very difficult piece to play – and still is.  I had never heard the song before or since, until…last Sunday in the church we are attending.  It is a United Methodist Church – and in their black book of songs – we turned to this song as we ended the service.  It was just as I had remembered it.  I have a voice student learning the song from the arrangement I kept from that experience some 8 years ago and it is still as beautiful as before.  I found a similar version to this song on YouTube and just had to share it with you – it is from a Lutheran college choir – and the arrangement had me spellbound.

I hope you will take the time to listen to it today.  It is very special.

God Bless

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them, They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give My life to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

Be Ye Glad

Yesterday, on Easter Sunday – we attended a beautiful service with much music, scripture and reflection.  As the pipe organ swelled and the choir sang majestic praises – it was very emotional for me.  After the service we had a brunch with my parents and when we got home I saw that one of my friends had posted this song on facebook, and something resonated with me right there and then.  It was something intangible, something I couldn’t put my finger on – I just knew that this song was exactly what I was feeling all morning long as I too, found an inner joy and peace at the celebration of our Lord’s defeat of death and the grave.

I remember singing this song in choir years ago and I also found it in a songbook for some of my vocal students to sing over the years.  It’s one of my favorites.

In this Easter season – it is wonderful to reflect and “Be Ye Glad”.

Enjoy a wonderful arrangement of this song by “Glad”.

 

God Bless

In these days of confused situations
In these nights of restless remorse,
When the heart and the soul of a nation
Lay wounded and cold as a corpse

From the grave of the innocent Adam
Comes a song bringing joy to the sad.
Oh your cry has been heard and the ransom
Has been paid up in full, be ye glad

Chorus:
Oh, be ye glad, oh, be ye glad.
Every debt that you’ve ever had
Has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord.
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad

So be like lights on the rim of the water
Giving hope in a storm sea of night
Be a refuge amidst the slaughter
Of these fugitives in their flight

For you are timeless and part of a puzzle.
You are winsome and young as a lad.
And there is no disease or no struggle
That can pull you from God, be ye glad

Can You Wait?


The following devotional appeared on my phone app the other day from bbh and I thought it was so good, I just had to share it with you.  We are all going through various trials and situations – I know that this will speak to someone today who really needs a little extra something.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord – Psalm 27:14

“The reason that we many times do not see or feel the Lord is that we are not waiting on the Lord. We are still on our own timetable and we are still running madly ahead of God and hoping He will catch up to our plans. But that is not how God works. He doesn’t change just because we are fickle and He does not hurry just because we are impatient.

Believer, I do not doubt that your trial is real, that your burden is heavy, or that your discouragement is deep. But put your eyes upon this promise, wrap your mind around this word: when we wait courageously on the Lord, He will strengthen our hearts. God is never late and He is never insufficient.

What will the future bring? Wait on the Lord. When will this sorrow end? Wait on the Lord. How can I survive this ordeal? Wait on the Lord. How should I handle this decision? Wait on the Lord. The answer echoes through the tunnel of time and from the soundboard of millions of satisfied saints. Wait, I say, on the Lord.

The trial may not go away tomorrow, but neither will the strength that God has promised to give you. The pain may not diminish, but neither will His grace.”

Waiting on the Lord also means releasing.  There is a freedom when we know that we can release whatever we are holding on to.  I love that He will give more courage and strength when we simply – wait.  

If you are impatient by nature like me – then this is never easy.  God works behind the scenes and all around us while we are not aware – and His silence can often mean wait.  How often have I been impatient and like a spoiled child – DEMANDED my own way NOW!  When we jump ahead of God’s time-table for our lives – He will not stop us – but it is not the best plan for our lives.  The more mature we become – we are ready to accept that silence and waiting are a form of spiritual discipline.  It is not meant to punish us with the “silent treatment” like many people do when trying to get their own way – God does not think as we do.  His silence is meant to teach – and from waiting comes a spiritual depth and wisdom – found in no other way.

Next time you’re tempted to jump ahead of God – just ask yourself this:

What is God trying to teach me?  Could there be a reason He is not answering me?

When was the last time you had to wait?

God Bless

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