Musings from the Threshold

Category Archives: Music

Wonderful Merciful Savior

We’ve been busy this week with the chicken pox. Four out of eight of the Blessings have them this round, and we’re hoping there won’t be too many more rounds to finish off the business of building lifetime immunity. We’re doing lots of cuddling around here.

These two don’t have the pox, but they sure look sweet cuddling!

I’m not feeling very wordy, but I’ve found these words to this song resonating this week.

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh you rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we’ve hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Listen here if you’d like

Songs, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

We’re working on getting back in the habit of having a hymn and a Scripture song (or, occasionally, a chorus) that we sing daily each week. This springs from a desire to instill the great hymns of the faith and the Word of God into our children, and, thankfully, they all seem to enjoy it. I have been deeply blessed over the years as the Lord has used the words of hymns and Scripture songs to bring His truth to my mind in times of need, and I pray that this habit will be seed in the lives of our Blessings.

This week’s hymn is May the Mind of Christ My Savior. Such a wonderful prayer:

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Words: Kate B. Wil­kin­son, be­fore 1913; ap­peared in Gold­en Bells (Lon­don: Child­ren’s Spe­cial Ser­vice Miss­ion, 1925).

Music: St. Le­o­nards, Ar­thur C. Barham-Gould, 1925


A pdf of the sheet music can be found here.

Our Scripture song for the week is Romans 12.1-2:
I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, *
that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect.
(repeat to *)

Fourteen years

Fourteen years ago this week (September 19, 1997), Rich Mullins went home to glory. I did not learn of his homegoing until the following Monday (September 22, fourteen years ago tomorrow). I’ve used up most of my 15 minutes sitting here trying to find words to express my thoughts and memories. I think it’s just not going to happen today, so here is a favorite Rich song. Be blessed.


Bonus – some much more lucid thoughts on Rich from Andrew Peterson

Preparing for Life

Though autumn has long been one of my favorite seasons, it is generally associated with death.  Is that how you’ve viewed it?

In the “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies” sense, yes, autumn is tied to death, but as I’ve walked in creation this fall, I have been struck by how busily nature is preparing for new life.

Will you walk with me around our pond and catch a glimpse, through my meager photographic offerings, of some of the preparations being made for new life?

Our wise Father has creation sow her seeds throughout the year – some in the spring and summer, to quickly sprout and bear new life; some in autumn, left to winter in the cold hard ground.  He has created the times and the seasons, and His infinite wisdom has devised a planting plan far superior to any we could develop.

So too does He have plans for our lives better than any we could concoct for ourselves. 

Does it feel as if you are in a season of death?  Left to winter in the cold hard ground?  Does it seem unfair?

He knows. 
He sees bigger than I do, than you do. 
He loves greater. 
He works stronger. 
He has a plan.
And He is preparing you.

The Lord brought to mind verses about His ways being higher than ours.  I went to look them up, and was tearfully surprised by the surrounding verses.  I’ll hush and let Him speak:

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:6-11


Oldie/Goodie – If He Goes Before Me

An encouraging post from my friend Angela reminded me of this song from my younger years.  I’ve had it running through my head all day, and found it on youtube so I can share with you.


This album (Whitecross – In the Kingdom) was a large part of the soundtrack of my life my second year of college, when I engaged in the public education system for the first time since Head Start. I especially loved this song as a reminder on my way to classes. My circumstances are much different now, but I’m still so thankful that He goes before me!

Deuteronomy 31:8 “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”

I Have a Shelter

Shawna recently shared a wonderful song with me. Here are the lyrics:

I Have a Shelter
I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows

I have a shelter in the storm
When all my sins accuse me
Though justice charges me with guilt
Your grace will not refuse me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
Who bore my condemnation
I find my refuge in Your wounds
For there I find salvation

I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to heaven

Isn’t that beautiful? Sovereign Grace Music has made a free download of the song available here.

Everything Sad is Coming Untrue – Review

I’ve been listening to Jason Gray’s new album for so long that the folks at Centricity Music probably think that I’ve forgotten I promised I’d write a review if only they’d let me have a copy. There’s a lot to this project, and it has taken me a while to absorb it enough to write a review. I’m not a professional reviewer, for that matter, which I’m sure makes it more difficult. 🙂

The short version:
Jason Gray’s “Everthing Sad is Coming Untrue” (ESICU) is a purposely “pop” album that loses no depth to its playability. I find myself singing the songs repeatedly; the music is catchy and singable. And the lyrics are worth many a listen; the depth reflected there is rare in a pop Christian album. Like a thread running through the album, the work of God to make all things new shines as a hopeful theme. In short, ESICU is a musical investment that will challenge and encourage you – and leave you with some great tunes running through your head.

The extended play version:
From the first song, More Like Falling in Love, Jason challenged my thinking. Lyrics like, “It’s gotta be more like falling in love than something to believe in, more like losing my heart than giving my allegiance” caught me off guard and made me uncomfortable. I mean, aren’t we supposed to be belieiving and surrendered? I’m someone who doesn’t like the whole “falling in love” idea to begin with, because I think it’s reflection of a culture that takes too lightly the commitment that is love. It took me a while to get past my prejudice to hear the heart of Jason’s song, at which these additional lyrics give a peek: “I need a truth that lives, moves and breathes to sweep me off my feet. … It was love that made me a believer. More than a name, a faith, a creed, falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me.” The love of the Lord Jesus has swept me off my feet more times than I can count, and for that I am deeply thankful.

Jason’s music also challenged my actions. Fade with our Voices asks if our worship has hands and feet. “Does it stand up in the face of injustice? … Is it more than a song that fades with our voices?” As you can see in the video I’ve embedded at the bottom of this post, the idea of our actions being part of our worship has become an important part of Jason’s life and ministry. In Holding the Key, he addresses one of my hot buttons – the need for us to be both real and approachable with each other: “We were made with these hearts, meant to be open, and we lock them away, afraid of being broken. But we’re given each other to set it free – and you’re the one holding the key. … your listening ear is the grace of God.” Another challenging song, Better Way to Live, talks about “when we step aside from the center of our lives, and learn to love mercy more than being right.” Some of Jason’s lyrics hug (perhaps even cross!) the “meddlin'” line … and I’ve been blessed by his boldness.

Then there are songs whose lyrics reflect the cry of my heart. Lyrics like “Jesus I come, come to You again, like it was the first time I came to you for new life… believing, help my unbelief… I need You now as much as I did then, I need a new beginning… take me back so I can move ahead” from For the First Time Again. For someone who is a “runner,” and who longs to learn to run in the right direction, Hold Me Back resonates strongly: “Father please hold me back, be the strength I lack, ’cause it’s just like me to run from the One that I need. You hold me back… it’s just like You to run to the one who needs You… with the love that won’t let me go before it makes me new.”

Some of my favorite pick-me-up songs from “Everthing Sad is Coming Untrue” are Help Me, Thank You (“the two best prayers I know”); Jesus Use Me, I’m Yours (“my dreams, my plans, my heart, my hands”); and I Am New (“I’m chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved, I am new… the One who is making everything new doesn’t see me the way that I do”). Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 1) holds the promising lyrics, “life is coming alive, death is destined to die… when we learn to live again and let forgiveness win, there’s no wound that Love won’t mend and finally redeem.”

The last song on ESICU, like the first, challenges my thinking. Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 2) takes a deeper look at some of the heartbreaking realities of our world and dares to ask “how could it be that everything sad is coming untrue?” Yet deeper still, we have the assurance the He will make all things new. “Broken hearts are being unbroken, bitter words are being unspoken, the curse undone, the veil is parted, the garden gate will be left unguarded. … Oh I believe that everything sad is coming untrue in the hands of the One who makes all things new.” Though we may not see everything sad coming untrue at present, we do have an eternal hope, based on the victory of our Lord Jesus, the One who makes all things new!


And speaking of anniversaries…

It’s our 14th!

Happy Anniversary, Babe! I’m so glad to be yours, and thankful you love me even when I’m seven weeks pregnant and horribly emotional. 🙂

For some reason, I can’t find songs from our wedding on youtube, but here are a couple from our reception…

Andrew and Amity sang “Two Sets of Joneses” for us:

And Lynn surprised us with “If You Could See What I See.” I couldn’t find a video with Geoff Moore in it… the best I could find is this one with shots from the TV show Beauty and the Beast (loved that show, btw):

Someday, I’ll like to get digitalized the video of Andrew and Daniel singing the song Daniel wrote for us.

The song I most would like to find to embed is Steve Green’s “God Causes All Things to Grow.” Debbie Smith sang it at our wedding, and it is still such a blessing to me. Here are the lyrics:

Dreams dressed in white
Vows made by candlelight
Hoping to find out what true love is all about
A quiet fear
Where do we go from here
So many wake and see love slowly disappear

God causes all things to grow
Through every season we know
He will guard the life
That He’s planted in our souls
And when we feel the cold winds blow
We’ll hold to what we know
God causes all things to grow

You know where I’ve failed
My weakness has been unveiled
And yet by grace you choose to love and to forgive
So come what may our home is here to stay
A witness to the lasting promise He has made

And we know God causes all things to grow
Through every season we know
He will guard the life
That He’s planted in our souls
And when we feel the cold winds blow
We’ll hold to what we know
God causes all things to grow

Forever and Ever!

A friend had a neat post this morning about music that pulls our heartstrings. There are some lovely pieces of music listed in the ensuing comments, and I’m guessing there will be more than one post that comes of it on my blog.

One of the pieces of music that has brought me to tears more times than I can count is the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. I’ve always loved it, but it gained a whole new significance to me in the early 1990’s.

I was blessed to attend, with a group of family and friends, one of the performances in the New Young Messiah tour in 1993. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening, but the portion of the performance that had a profound affect on me was the Hallelujah Chorus. It was, in keeping with the treatment of Handel’s great work, a more modern rendition, and even included some ballet dancers.

As I stood and raised my voice in praise with the thousands around me, I was brought to tears as I thought of an eternity of praising our Savior with saints through the ages. I wonder if perhaps we’ll praise Him in every style of music that has been used throughout human history. I am certain that there will be no judgment of this style or that style of music or praise, because, at last, our focus will be where it truly should be – on our precious Lord!

The experience brought to mind some of the passages that talk about the praise due our Lord:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
(Isaiah 6:1-3)

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
(Revelation 4:8-11)

And one of my favorite passages, Revelation 5. The portion in italics, we love to sing; the portion in bold is part of the text on which the prelude to the Hallelujah Chorus is based:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:1-14)

I’m not making any statements on my view of the “end times” here. I just believe that once it’s all over and done, we are going to have some fabulous praise and worship together! And I think that it’s going to happen in a great many musical genres.

So, here’s a traditional version of the Hallelujah Chorus:

Looking forward to Forever and Ever!