Saturday, February 25, 2012

7 x 70

I spent my week reading "The Shack," a book written by William Paul Young and published in 2007.  As I mentioned this book to other people this week, I realized I must be the last person to read it.  So many people have told me, "Oh I loved that book."  While I have to admit that it was hard for me to emotionally handle the tragedy that occurs in the beginning, the rest of the book just left me in awe.  It's one of those books that I will keep forever and definitely read again.  Yes, it is a work of fiction, but I gives us a view of God, His love and forgiveness, and the love and forgiveness he wants for us. The book goes through all those challenging questions that so many of us wrestle with and gives some answers that fall right in line with what Jesus' message was for us. 

So as I choose this week's song, I have the messages of this book in mind.  One of the most powerful themes is that God wants us to forgive those who have wronged us, even if it seems that those people are unforgivable.  For most of us that is a tough pill to swallow.  But as I learned in the book, and is described in this song, with forgiveness comes healing. This week's song is by Chris August and is called "7 Times 70."

This was a very personal song for Chris August to write, and it comes from his background of living in a broken family.  But his story of sadness and forgiveness is one that we can all learn from regardless of our situation.  Forgiveness is not easy and it may not come instantly. In "The Shack" God says "you may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely."

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Matthew 18:21-22

Seven times seventy times
I'll do what it takes to make it right
I thought the pain was here to stay
But forgiveness made a way
Seven times seventy times
There's healing in the air tonight
I'm reaching up to pull it down
Gonna wrap it all around

Being able to forgive the minor offenses in every day life quickly can really change your behavior and mentality.  Having the courage and strength to forgive those who have caused you great pain will be harder to do but allow you to move your life out of darkness and into light again.  Forgiving yourself of your own failures and mistakes can possibly be the most difficult kind of forgiveness, but the knowledges that God has already forgiven you can encourage you to take that step.

So if you're being faced with a decision about forgiveness today, I hope this song and these words help you along the way.  And if you don't find yourself being faced with such a decision right now, it's likely that you will at some point....whether its small or something major.  I pray that you will remember this song when that time comes.

If you'd like to learn more about how Chris August wrote this song, check out this link:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

More Like Fallin' in Love

With the Valentine's theme in my brain this week, I thought this song by Jason Gray might be appropriate.  It's called "More Like Fallin' In Love.  I really can't resist these Live Studio Videos from KLOVE, especially when there's amazing guitar playing. For me this song is about being faithful out of love, not obligation.

I had to think about posting this song for a bit, because this song touches on some things that can tend to offend certain people.  Any time there is discussion of "religion" not being perfect, it's bound to cause some people to get defensive.  The last thing that I want is to be misunderstood and for people to think that my choice of this song means that I don't approve of religion or the Church.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  But I do acknowledge that there are some parts of the Christian religion in the world's history, and some that exist today, that can go against what Jesus' message was. Unfortunately, it's those things that have made the word "religion" a bad word for some people.

Give me rules
I will break them
Give me lines
I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet
It ought to be

More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
It's like I'm falling, oh
It's like I'm falling in love

Give me words
I'll misuse them
I'll misplace them
'Cause all religion ever made of me
Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
It never set me free

For me this song is about realizing that our faith in Jesus should be based on our love for God and His love for us, not because it's what we're supposed to do, or because we're afraid of the consequences.  We should go to Church because we want to, because it refreshes us, recharges us, brings us closer to God, not because someone "upstairs" is watching and keeping count.  When we realize that God is a "living, breathing" force in our lives now, and we can have a loving relationship with Him right now, our lives can be transformed.

If you've every experienced falling in love, you know that it consumes your thoughts.  The heart beating in your chest feels different.  Your world feels different.  And that's how it can be when you're in love with Jesus...your life will feel different and he can be a part of your everyday life.

This song also acknowledges that even with our faith, we are all still sinners and though we hopefully are less sinful, we still find ways to go against God's intention for us.  And we pay the consequences here in this life.   This is not always understood by some people outside or even inside the Church.  Sometimes people think that Churches are filled with people who are flawless, or at least trying to appear so.  And so Church can be an intimidating place.

...It's like I'm falling in love, love, love
Deeper and deeper
It was love that made
Me a believer
In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me
Yes, as John tells us:
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19

It was God's love for us before we knew him that made us realize our love for Him. So may you realize your love for the Lord, and accept His love for you despite your flaws.  Let that love consume your life beyond the depths of our earthly love that we experience here with our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

No new song this week

Sorry everyone, I'm on holiday this week with my family. Check back next Sunday for a new song and discussion. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Good Morning

This week I'm just going to mix things up a bit.  Over the last few week's the songs have been fairly serious...this week's song was chosen just because it's fun!  Mandisa's "Good Morning" is a song that you'll either love or you'll find it annoying....perhaps depending on whether a you're a morning person or not.  I first discovered this song when I heard that people were calling in to KLOVE requesting it on their morning drives to school.  My kids love this song...we've played it when they wake up, in the car on the way to school...I've even caught my somewhat reserved oldest daughter dancing in her seat with her arms in the air as I watch her in the rear view mirror!
So did that make you want to dance a little bit?  I hope this song picks up your spirits this week, especially at the beginning of each new day.  No matter how hard yesterday was, you can still start each new day fresh, even if it's just with a slightly different perspective to help you through the day to come. 

Today I will leave you with a verse from the Psalms,

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.  May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.  May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90: 14-17

May you feel His unfailing love and be filled with joy.  God Bless.