A Song is just a Song?

I find it interesting that shortly before Moses died, the Lord instructed him to teach the children of Israel a song.  Not just any song; and definitely not a “top-40” tune that tickles the ears and causes your toes to tap.  It was a serious song that would remind them of where they had been and prepare them for where they were going.  (It’s found in Deuteronomy 32… uh, don’t expect the praise team to sing it anytime soon! :))

God gave this song to Moses along with these instructions:   “Now write down this song… so that it may be a witness for Me… this song will testify against them…” ~ Deut. 31:19,21

Music is not neutral.  Every song is proclaiming a message.

Think about the songs that were sung at your wedding…  What if they were not just catchy tunes that called forth lovey-dovey feelings or the rote recital of a prayer?  (I actually talked my husband into singing a duet with me!  T23-wedding-paris-ceremony-636x636hat feat alone assured me that “he had it bad!!”)
What if the words of those songs rose up in judgment to testify for or against your marriage?

Take “The Lord’s Prayer” for example – if this popular song was included in your ceremony, is “Thy kingdom come/Thy will be done” still the cry of your hearts?  Is depending on God for daily bread and living a life of forgiveness a reality in your home?  Are you resisting temptation and giving the Lord all the glory forever??

As the Psalmist would say: “Selah” (Think about it!)

If we fall short of the loving feelings and actions featured in the lyrics, we can always pray to the One who gave us the gift of music and ask Him to restore and strengthen our love.

In the words of one popular wedding tune:

“Lead us to a place/ Guide us with Your grace/ Give us faith so we’ll be safe”                                                                  (“The Prayer” ~ Foster/Sager/Testa/Renis)



A Peek into the Heart of God

Charity suffereth long, and is kind…is not easily provoked…Beareth all things… endureth all things.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4,5,7

The archaic translation of the KJV sounds funny to my ears.  “Love” makes more sense to my modern ears.  But the Holy Spirit began to woo my heart away from modern sensibilities and opened my eyes to the heart of God.

Today, when we think of “charity”, we think of giving to the poor and needy.  Seldom does the word make us feel warm and fuzzy inside and cause us to desire face time with those we are closest to.  But the word “charity” is an apt word that comes much closer to what Paul is writing about than our overused and undervalued “love.”


When you toss a dollar or two into the hat of a street person, you never expect that person to jump up and give you money back… Do you?

When you buy groceries to support a Food Pantry, you never expect the recipients to knock on your door with a bag of food for your family… Do you?

That is the heart of charity – loving without expecting anything in return.  It is loving your spouse, children and friends all the while knowing that they have weaknesses and blind spots; knowing that they will let you down and cause you pain from time to time – yet loving them anyway.

I have taught this principle and felt good about it.  But this week, the week we honor the sacrifice of Christ, I was challenged to dig a little deeper.

If you were walking down the street and the homeless person knocked you down, spit on you and smeared your face with trash, how likely would you be to put a dollar in their hat?

I can answer for myself: “Not very likely!”  Yet our Lord and Savior went through the worst treatment imaginable, suffered long, bore it all, endured it all… all for Love.  Love for you and me.  Love that we can never repay.

And this is the love He desires that we extend to each other.  When we do, we can rest assured that, whether we call it “charity” or “love”, it will never fail.

May your celebration of Easter be meaningful and rich in love…



Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

In his wonderful book, “Prayer,” Philip Yancey shares this story:

   “During a trip to Nepal, a physical therapist gave my wife and me a tour of the Green Pastures Hospital, which specializes in leprosy rehabilitation. As we walked along an outdoor corridor, I noticed one of the ugliest human beings I have ever seen. Her hands were bandaged in gauze, she had deformed stumps where most people have feet, and her face showed the worst ravages of that cruel disease. Her nose had shrunken away so that, looking at her, I could see into her sinus cavity. Her eyes, mottled and covered with callus, let in no light; she was totally blind. Scars covered patches of skin on her arms.

    This creature crawled to the very edge of a walkway, pulling herself along the ground by planting her elbows and dragging her body like a wounded animal. I’m ashamed to say my first thought was, “She’s a beggar and she wants money.”  610988133e088a806fec32d24284fb19

   My wife, who has worked among the down-and-out, had a much more holy reaction. Without hesitation she bent down to the woman and put her arm around her. The old woman rested her head against Janet’s shoulder and began singing a song in Nepali, a tune that we all instantly recognized: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.””

Oh how sweet to know this truth!  No matter where we are or what our circumstances may be, “Jesus loves me, this I know!”

He loves my  grandbabies who sing this song with gusto and He loves the rock star who sings the sensual songs of the world.

He loves those who are hurting and those who are happy; those who ail and those with perfect health.

He came to our planet and gave up His life so that we could experience this love.  All that is required is to believe that He died for our sins and accept His forgiveness.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.””  ~ Romans 10:9,13



I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart

“When you obey me, you remain in my love… I have told you this so that… your joy will overflow.”  ~ John 15:10-11 NLT


According to Jesus, there is a formula for joy: Joy = obedience + love, or to simplify: Joy is found in loving obedience.  I discovered this truth today as I looked up scriptures that highlighted the example of Christ that his “followers” should follow.  Jesus was always challenging us with choices that seem way out of our reach and this one definitely is a stretch.  We all want to remain in the wonderful, comforting love of the Lord, but coupling it with obedience raises the difficulty factor.

So many times when we walk in obedience we find ourselves questioning the Father’s plan and struggling to embrace joy.  Could it be that the elusive emotion is not joy, but happiness?  Happiness comes and goes with the circumstances of our lives; but true joy abides and cannot be impacted by the situation we find ourselves in.  Knowing that we are loved and held in the palm of the Father’s hand should cause joy to explode in our hearts, no matter where those (physical) hearts may currently be residing.

   Dear Father, as I struggle to obey joyfully, please help me to never forget that your never-ending, perfect love is also written into the equation.  YOU are love and when I am in You, joy will occur as naturally as the breath I breathe.  Thank you for this truth.  Please help me to remember it…  Joyfully yours, Amen.