If you are a regular reader you know that the Lord often stirs me with music. Various phrases of this song have been rolling around in my head. I finally tracked it down through lyrics and then YouTube. What a blessing! I played it for hours as I ran around doing grocery shopping and was blasting it all the way home down the road while surrounded by huge trucks and the windows open to the spring air.
I think this is more than fitting for Easter Monday or perhaps Pentecost Sunday? Maybe just any day that you are longing to be closer to Jesus. Seems to me this is some of the best new church music!
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
I put the lyrics below the song in case you want to follow along. Brandon Lake wrote the song and posted this comment on YouTube.
“Just Like Heaven” was written after I had a very simple but powerful revelation that when we’re in the presence of God we’re getting a taste of what heaven and eternity is going to be like. When you get a taste of heaven, you will want more. We were made for eternity. That’s where I want to live. We don’t have to wait until heaven to experience it — God wants to bring heaven to earth. This song is my personal journey of crying out for more of His presence.” Written by Brandon Lake, Jeff Schneeweis, and Jacob Soote
Isn’t it just like Heaven When You walk into the room? There’s not a thing that’s hidden When every eye is on You Can’t get enough of Your presence It’s the perfect point of view Isn’t it just like, just like Just like Heaven?
Ooh Come a little closer, stay a little longer Ooh I can’t get enough of You Ooh Come a little closer, stay a little longer Ooh I can’t get enough of You
Doesn’t it sound like Heaven When You’re singing over me? There’s not a voice more constant Your melodies they never cease Here I will stand in Your presence In my true identity Doesn’t it sound like? Yeah, it sounds like Just like Heaven
Chorus repeats: Ooh Come a little closer, stay a little longer
Holy, You are holy You’re such a perfect Father I’ll worship You forever Holy, You are holy I’ll lay down any treasure For us to be together Holy, You are holy You’re such a perfect Father I’ll worship You forever Holy, You are holy I’ll lay down any treasure For us to be together
Oh, enough of You, oh-oh A little more of You I just want more of You, Lord I just want more of You, Lord I just want more of You I can’t get enough
Jesus said in New Revised Standard version of John 15:12-15
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
NRSV John 16:7, 22 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
He went to the Cross for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was to fulfill the promise of the Holy Spirit indwelling us. The same Spirit that inhabited Jesus.
Friday was brutal suffering. Unimaginable anguish. But He knew, Sunday was coming!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
I have spent most of my life following Jesus. One of my greatest Christian teachers was Francis of Assisi. He chose to be stripped of possessions and riches and to follow Christ unhindered by things. For several years I was a Third Order Franciscan through the Episcopal church. Recently my friend, Bonnie, reminded me of a quote from Francis on his deathbed. He is purported to have said, “I have done what was mine to do. May Christ now teach you what you are to do.”
How might we go about doing that? The Book of Common Prayer Morning Prayer Rite 2 in the general thanksgiving says “…show forth Your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to Your service ….”
On Monday and Tuesdays when I do not “feel” like writing I am reminded that I give up myself to His service by writing this blog. It is mine to do. I pray what I write will encourage others to follow Jesus. I pray the things I tell about will inspire others to pull down strongholds and walk on with the Savior of our souls. I pray I might amuse others and help lift them from the doldrums of the daily grind. I struggle to put into words my relationship with a Holy God through the power of the Holy Spirit given as a result of the life, sacrifice, resurrection and then ascension of Jesus Christ.
So what is Christ asking you to do?
I have found over the years that if I feel stuck spiritually I need to go back to the last thing the Lord asked me to do, and be certain I did that.
Francis also said, “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
So there were things like: volunteer at the homeless shelter. Try to help organize the shelter donations. Set up the construction of a new donation out building. The Church carried that out.
Bonnie also quoted these steps:
Do what is necessary.
2. Do what is possible.
3. Let God take care of impossible details and do as He leads.
But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
The wind chimes are playing in the breeze outside the office window this morning.
The giant tuned wind chime off the deck only rings when winds are strong. Harder to get a photo of this one!
I often listen to the Calm app and select Mystic fountain for the background sound. Can even make it my sleep sound. It is a dribbling source of water with wind chime ringing occasionally in the background. Why do I enjoy the wind chimes so much? First it reminds me the wind is moving.
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8 NIV
The wind blows – is similar to the action of the Spirit. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Volume 2, p. 281 says:
“This verse contains a wordplay which cannot be adequately expressed in English. The Greek word pneuma means both wind and Spirit. The work of the Spirit (pneuma) is invisible and mysterious like the blowing of the wind (pneuma). Man controls neither.”
Exactly! I cannot control the wind. I cannot control the Spirit of God or how It wants to use me. Like the wind chime, I can yield to that power.
Obstacles ought to set us singing. The wind finds voice, not when rushing across the open sea, but when hindered by the outstretched arms of the pine trees, or broken by the fine strings of an Aeolian harp. Then it has songs of power and beauty. Set your freed soul sweeping across the obstacles of life, through grim forests of pain, against even the tiny hindrances and frets that love uses, and it, too, will find its singing voice. —Selected
Streams in the Desert Devotional February 4
Obstacles set me singing? Not quite there yet, but working on being more like the Aeolian harp below. Set your freed soul sweeping across, through and against the challenges of life, and perhaps you, too, can sing !
There are signs like this is almost every city around the world.
Like in Ireland, in Gaelic’
Why is this important? Important enough to hang a cardboard copy in my office?
Just this morning I was reading Isaiah 55 and in verses 8 and 9 He said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Yahweh. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Yes, I must yield to His ways if I am to have the BEST life!
“While traveling on the road of God’s will I hit a dip in the road and got jostled off the path. The dip occurred where the Lord asked me to do something, but fearing His will I inwardly said, “No!” Francis of Assisi was familiar with me when he called himself “Brother Ass.” I locked my knees, dug in my heels and soon resembled a stubborn donkey that must be pushed, pulled and cajoled to be made to move. Blind to my disobedient nature and still pouting before the holy ways of the Lord I decided if He really loved me, we could compromise on another way.
“I stepped onto the Treadmill of Debate, a perpetual conveyor belt going nowhere but in circles. Fearful and resistant to God’s will I asked, “Why?” and presented Him with all of the “What-ifs” and “If Onlys.” I formulated brilliant reasonings for resisting His ways, deluding myself and dropping further and further away from His light.
“Until I accepted His will, relinquished my ideas and gave all things over to Him I could not continue on the adventure of serving God. As usual, when I actually arrived at the point of resistance it turned out to be so unlike what I had imagined might occur, that later I wondered why I was so silly and donkey-like not to yield immediately in trust to Him. My efforts to control led me onto a futile treadmill going Nowhere. God’s mercy urges me to let Him direct my steps and enjoy His fellowship in the Now Here.
“Help me to trust You more, Lord. I want to live present to You in the Here and Now for in this experience alone is my salvation. As I begin to err, thank-you for taking me off the highway and into Your discipline. You truly are “able to keep me from falling and to present me without blemish before the presence of Your glory with rejoicing!” (Jude 24)”