What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Hymn

So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God

Today I share a few thoughts and the song, What a Friend We Have in Jesus. This is the absolutely brilliant and fun to play Kathryn Scott version. She adds a Chorus and some musicality you’re sure to enjoy. Here ’tis (song begins at 4:30 – but preamble is worth the listen!):

Download this song (and more!) for “Name Your Price” Here: www.reflect.bandcamp.com

How to be God’s Friend

Tonight has me thinking about what a gift it is that God invites every one of us into friendship with him. How close does God want to be? What is our part? How do we get in on friendship with God? First of all we must open the door!

behold-i-stand-at-the-door-and-knock-sarah-broadmeadow-thomas

I love how my NLT translation puts that verse:

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20

Sharing a meal together as friends… with Jesus! Is that something that you are interested in? Yea, me too. So lets simply open the door and let him in!

Next, to be a good friend to God means trusting him and loving others. This, of course, is adapted from the passage of Scripture where Jesus says:

“You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14 NLT

The surrounding context (surrounding chapters) inform us that his commands equate to trusting him and loving others.

Here is the immediate context:

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain in My love. 10If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

12This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

14You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain—so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 17This is My command to you: Love one another.” John 15

For heaven’s sake don’t ask yourself, “what is the most loving thing I can do for or say to this person right now”. I guarantee you will get that one wrong nine times outa ten. Instead, ask God! Chances are if you are flowing with him, the most loving thing will just flow naturally because you are filled and flowing in the Holy Spirit and he has poured the love of Papa into and through you.

Our mission in life:

“Love the person you are with in the moment”

Living in the perfect will of God is as simple as this.

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Ellie sings "her song", Keep You Safe, by JJ Heller

there is no fear in loveToday is Ellie’s birthday. Born on 5/5/10, dedicated to God on 10/10/10 (the same day she said her first words). Elisabeth means “dedicated to God”.

So, we decided to record “her song” today and share it with you. This was playing in the hospital room as she entered the world.

I love how this song, “Keep You Safe”, can also be heard as if our Father God were singing it to us. Well, that’s how I like to think of it.

He is Perfect Love and his love will remove all fear from our lives as we let it in. He is your Good Shepherd and will keep you safe and quiet your heart. I pray you experience His profound love for you today!

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 (Berean Bible)

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Gift of Music for Hospice Care

Meet Lani Leary. She is in Hospice work. I came across her story today and felt compelled to share this because who wouldn’t her story relate to? Who of us won’t one day have to deal with the death of a loved one? One day almost all of us will be intimately acquainted with the process. Lani can bring some comfort and preparedness to our hearts for when that time comes. Give it a listen:

We are all going to die (unless we aren’t). This doesn’t have to be a scary or lonely thing to go through at all. One of the most moving things I have ever done is to supply our music to bring comfort to those who are in their final moments.

I remember once how I felt led to play “I’ll fly away” at the close of a concert and later learned how at that very moment someone was transitioning into glory down the hall. Or how the many times I have played “Amazing Grace” or “How Great Thou Art” at the bedside of the dying.

Once I walked into a room of a woman surrounded by family at the very moment the woman left her body and I was able to encourage the family with the above mentioned songs.

I remember playing our song “Come Lord Jesus” (among others) on the first day of Spring in 2015 for a man of God named Danny Betters a few hours before he passed on. I later played this song at his “celebration of life” gathering.

All amazing moments!

Note to Hospice Care Workers:

We want to take this opportunity to reach out once again to those angels who are faithfully serving in Hospice care. We want to make sure you know that our Hymn CD’s are a free gift that we trust you will find useful in your holy work.

Please visit this link to download our albums, “Reflect Hymn” and “Reflect Amazing Grace”!

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Top Ten Modern Wedding Songs

top ten wedding songsCatherine and I (Daniel) are publicly announcing that we are offering our services to Northeast Wisconsin to perform at Weddings and Wedding receptions. This has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of our musical career thus far and if you are planning a wedding, we would love to perform or entertain at yours.

As I was researching popular modern wedding songs as I was putting together our Wedding Singer Page at our website I realized that I already knew and have performed many of these songs already. Here is my list compiled from several other references with a strong dose of personal preference thrown in. (As a seasoned songwriter myself I thought you’d appreciate my insight).

I Will Be Here (Steven Curtis Chapman)

This is just a really great wedding song on so many levels. I can see why and how it has become so popular.

Love Never Fails (Brandon Heath)

Song based on 1 Corinthians 13 and the brilliant idea that God is Love.

Feeling Love for the First Time (Daniel Lovett)

Of course as the maker of this list I have to promote our own original love song you are sure to enjoy! This reflects our own budding romance and captures some of those feelings you have when you look into the eyes and are in the arms of the one you love. May your love never grow cold!

The Luckiest (Ben Folds)

This song sounded SO sweet when we sang it at a recent wedding. Of course, for time’s sake we only sing the first verse and chorus (which is the best part of the song anyway!)

I Won’t Give Up (Jason Mraz)

Such a talented songwriter and performer, this song by Jason Mraz is so much fun to play and has amazing lyrics and melody.

Thousand Years (Christina Perri)

This song often moves me to tears. Christina Perri is gifted by God on so many levels and I truly appreciate the gift this song is to the world.

Giving it all to You (Haley and Michaels)

Again, I suppose it goes without saying but Catherine and I are meticulous when it comes to capturing the nuances and beauty of these songs. This is a gem.

This I Promise You (Ronan Keating)

What a great wedding song

All of Me (John Legend)

And finally:

Come Away With Me (Norah Jones)

Do you agree with this list? Let me know in the contact form some of your favorite wedding songs! And don’t forget to download a few of our worship songs on the right hand side of this website!

 Notable mentions:

Way Back Into Love (from the movie Music and Lyrics)

Somebody Loved (the Weepies)

Such Great Heights (Iron and Wine)

Here We Stand

 

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Enter the Silence, New Worship from Reflect Worship

A friend called me up a few years ago. He was distraught. He wanted to reconnect with God and didn’t know how. He felt his sins had taken him so far from God. He asked me for help.

I had just read something in the Bible that I knew was perfect for him. It was exactly what he needed and he told me so. “You should write a song about it”, he said. I told him that I would. That very night most of the song was written. I entitled the song Enter the Silence because this is the advice Jeremiah gives us when we need to take care of business with God:

“…The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:
Let them sit alone in silence…” (Lamentations 3:25-27 NLT)

This Scripture is from Lamentations three. As you can probably guess from the title of the book in which it was found, it is not a warm fuzzy Scripture. But sadly, oftentimes neither is life, especially when we are suffering the weight and devastation of our sins… as was the case in this horrifying book of the Bible.

But in spite of the discipline, which the Bible agrees is not so pleasant at the time, God gives us hope. In fact, it is his discipline that is a sign that he loves us and accepts us as his children. How crazy is that in light of what his discipline sometimes entails… I mean, this is the book of Lamentations!

Jeremiah is lamenting the murderous rampage of his people by the Babylonians, babies wacked against rocks, pregnant woman cut open, woman being raped, the king forced to watch his sons killed and then have his eyes gouged out, mens wives and daughters being taken as sex slaves by Babylonian officers.

It was horrific.

I guess the reason I say all this is that even God’s saints are not spared suffering either. Of course the Israelites mentioned in Lamentations were suffering for many years of grievous sins. They had abandoned God (who is Love) and were guilty of horrible idolatry. They had been worshipping demons, sacrificing babies, and engaging in vile sexual perversion, etc… They were reaping what they had sown. Just like we often do as well.

But what about innocent Christians today who are getting their heads chopped off by ISIS and then their decapitated corpses nailed to crosses? What about the Christian women being raped publicly as they worshiped Jesus? (Article on this here).

What About Christian Persecution Today?

I just watched a film with my wife called Furious Love. In this film Darren Wilson goes to and explores the darkest areas of the world to see if God’s love is any match for the darkness the enemy has to offer.

One story he covers is of a region in India were zealous Hindus are massacring Christians. One surviving girl whose family was slaughtered said, “Why is this happening to us? What did we do? But the Bible says we are blessed for suffering for the Name of Jesus.”

He also interviews Daniel who had just taken a trip to war-torn Congo. The Christians there are heavily persecuted. There are hardly any women who have not been raped. Daniel had to fight back the intense fear that nearly had him vomiting at the thought of being caught by the rebels.

He tells a story that was told him of the rebels randomly killing two men on a bus. One woman who was holding a baby starts to lose it because one of the men was her brother. The rebels then take her baby and bash it against the bus until it is dead then shoot the woman.

Jesus is all that these Christians have left. Daniel recorded the sounds of them worshiping the Lord with all their heart and it was beautiful!

God tells us in his word that we, as Christ followers, are “counted as sheep to be slaughtered”, but that in spite of that and all the raping and murder and baby bashing and persecution – in spite of everything the devil will throw at us – nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Please Read Romans 8) This is supposed to mean something to you. Sadly, our choice to remain in sin will rob us of having this mean anything.

I have experienced a small taste of the infinite intensity of God’s love. I know that it makes all the difference. It gives us hope beyond all the hell that surrounds us and torments us. Our suffering is drowned in perfect love.

This is not cheep. This kind of hellish persecution and suffering are a reality for believers all over the world.

God also tells us in his Word that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that shall be revealed to us. (Rom 8:18)

All the madness. All the pain, suffering and anguish the devil can heap on us is not worth comparing with experiencing the love of Jesus. Has his love captured your heart? Have you let it? Invite it in now! Invite Jesus to reveal his love for you even now!

And to think that some of us still engage in taking the bait of the enemy. The sin he so easily ensnares us with. We know that sin wages war on love and that to engage in sin is to be complicit to the enemy who steals, kills, and destroys. We must repent. We must be holy (which means to be fully surrendered). We must remain loyal to love. God will give us the grace we need to do it.

At the outset of every day please pray, “Father God, I ask for and receive the grace I need to live an abundant life of love in Jesus for your glory. Thank you.”

Lamentations three points us beyond the suffering and reminds us of a God who can wipe away every tear and restore the hope and sunshine back into a devastated and despairing soul. Hope springs up in Jeremiah when he remembers the LORD and his faithfulness. God can and will “make everything sad come untrue” as one poet has said:

“Is everything sad going to come untrue?”

—Sam Gamgee to Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings

“[Some mortals] say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”

—C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, chapter 9.

everything sad coming untrue

Here is Lamentations 3 in its context. Please read prayerfully. It doesn’t hide the fact that the darkness is very dark, the pain and consequences of sin are very dire. Our song Enter the Silence adapts its lyrics from this chapter:

I am the one who has seen the afflictions
that come from the rod of the Lord’s anger.
2 He has led me into darkness,
shutting out all light.
3 He has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old.
He has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged and surrounded me
with anguish and distress.
6 He has buried me in a dark place,
like those long dead.
7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape.
He has bound me in heavy chains.
8 And though I cry and shout,
he has shut out my prayers.
9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall;
he has made my road crooked.
10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion,
waiting to attack me.
11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces,
leaving me helpless and devastated.
12 He has drawn his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.
He shot his arrows
deep into my heart.
14 My own people laugh at me.
All day long they sing their mocking songs.
15 He has filled me with bitterness
and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.
16 He has made me chew on gravel.
He has rolled me in the dust.
17 Peace has been stripped away,
and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”
19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:
Let them sit alone in silence

beneath the Lord’s demands.
29 Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.
31 For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.

33 For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.
34 If people crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the land,
35 if they deprive others of their rights
in defiance of the Most High,
36 if they twist justice in the courts—
doesn’t the Lord see all these things?
37 Who can command things to happen
without the Lord’s permission?
38 Does not the Most High
send both calamity and good?
39 Then why should we, mere humans, complain
when we are punished for our sins?
40 Instead, let us test and examine our ways.
Let us turn back to the Lord.

41 Let us lift our hearts and hands
to God in heaven and say,
42 “We have sinned and rebelled,
and you have not forgiven us.
“You have engulfed us with your anger, chased us down,
and slaughtered us without mercy.
44 You have hidden yourself in a cloud
so our prayers cannot reach you.
45 You have discarded us as refuse and garbage
among the nations.
46 “All our enemies
have spoken out against us.
47 We are filled with fear,
for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined.”
48 Tears stream from my eyes
because of the destruction of my people!
49 My tears flow endlessly;
they will not stop
50 until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
51 My heart is breaking
over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem.
52 My enemies, whom I have never harmed,
hunted me down like a bird.
53 They threw me into a pit
and dropped stones on me.
54 The water rose over my head,
and I cried out, “This is the end!”
55 But I called on your name, Lord,
from deep within the pit.
56 You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading!
Hear my cry for help!”
57 Yes, you came when I called;
you told me, “Do not fear.”
58 Lord, you are my lawyer! Plead my case!
For you have redeemed my life.
59 You have seen the wrong they have done to me, Lord.
Be my judge, and prove me right.
60 You have seen the vengeful plots
my enemies have laid against me.
61 Lord, you have heard the vile names they call me.
You know all about the plans they have made.
62 My enemies whisper and mutter
as they plot against me all day long.
63 Look at them! Whether they sit or stand,
I am the object of their mocking songs.
64 Pay them back, Lord,
for all the evil they have done.
65 Give them hard and stubborn hearts,
and then let your curse fall on them!
66 Chase them down in your anger,
destroying them beneath the Lord’s heavens.

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Our Father (Holy is Your Name), New Worship Song from Reflect Worship

May your kingdom come

My favorite part of our song Holy is Your Name and the prayer Jesus taught us to pray is when we ask that heaven come invade this earth. It’s what we all desperately need. “May your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Our song translates that last line:

“Make this world below, like your heavenly home!”

May we invite heaven to rule and reign in our hearts and homes each and every day. We can tell you that as we sincerely pray this then we will begin to experience and feel the change. Heaven moves in and hell is pushed out. Life suddenly starts to make sense and we begin to have a “flow” that wasn’t there before. Our priorities change from self-centered materialistic pursuits to heavenly godly pursuits. We become more interested in loving our neighbors, seeing marriages restored, and inviting people to come to know and love Jesus in a personal relationship over having or doing the next… well, whatever it is this world foolishly pursues (1 Jn 2:16).

Heaven reigning in our hearts means we choose to “be holy as he is holy“. We do this by staying fully surrendered to God and by maintaining a clean conscience before God and others. We now live holy (wholly devoted) lives like Jesus so that our loving heavenly Papa can use us as his instruments to bring heaven to earth… just like Jesus did.

Jesus modeled the Christian life for us. He was the most “normal Christian” to ever walk the planet. He showed us how to daily manifest heaven on earth by “doing what he saw the Father doing” and by “speaking only what the Father gave him to say“. He told us that we, as his followers, will do what he did and that we will do even greater works because he is now with the Father. Do we believe him?

Having heaven reign in and through us means having LOVE reign, and who wouldn’t want that?

And so, to our loving heavenly Papa, we pray with all the saints and angels of heaven:

“Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.” ~ Jesus (Matt 6:9-13 NLT)

Please enjoy and share this really fun version of the Lord’s Prayer.

More About This Song:

It is wonderfully exciting to be able to share this song with you! It turned out better than we could have hoped. We wrote this in our car as we drove with our two little girls for a family outing to Bay Beach in Green Bay, WI.  We are honestly thrilled now to hear what it has become!

A huge THANK YOU goes out to some of the talented musicians who contributed to the song:

  • Esther who provided the creative backing vocal
  • Sam who laid down some really cool drums
  • Mike who played the fabulous bass
  • Catherine on piano and main vocal, and finally
  • Daniel on the ukulele and vocal

In case you missed the few other song previews we have released, here are a few links to videos and song stories to some of our new songs we are really excited about!

Come Lord Jesus

Forgive, new Reflect Worship Song

Captivated Worship Song

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Captivated, New Worship from Reflect Worship

Captivated Worship Song

“I am won by your unconditional love.”

This is a line from our new song Captivated. Is God’s love really unconditional? Really? I guess I find this astounding. What does it even mean?

I’m not used to that sort of love. Who is?

It’s no wonder we have difficulty with believing, much less receiving this unconditional love from our Papa.

the crossLove without conditions. You can do whatever you want with it. Receive it or Ignore it. Cherish or Spurn it. Run into the arms of love or Run from it by choosing sin instead. Honor this love or Insult it. But, nothing we choose to do could ever make him love us any less! We can’t mess this up because his love doesn’t depend on our response. He will still love you… completely. Infinitely. Forever. He is Love!

This song Captivated will appear on our new album Reflect Love. When people ask me what our new album is about I tell them the theme is, “God is Love, in whom we live and move and have our being.”

This is based on two verses:

God is Love

and, wait for it…

In him we live and move and have our being.”

God can’t help it. He just IS Love! He can’t escape it. And the awesome thing is, we can’t escape him. We are in him! Love is God’s character, his DNA, his very essence. He will always do and act and think in the most infinitely loving way toward you and everything and everyone else he has made!

So, what is love?

Recently a friend of mine challenged me to “meditate daily on Corinthians 13…above all else, love is what we need” (he sent me this link). It really made me think. I am fairly familiar with that passage of Scripture, but his challenge took me deeper into it and to ask the really hard questions. Is this what my life looks like right now? Is this what people see in my responses to convos on Facebook? How I treat my wife, kids, friends, or even enemies?

Let’s take a look at the passage:

Love Is the Greatest

…So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. Let love be your highest goal! (1 Cor 13 NLT)

 

The apostle whom Jesus loved (John) informs us that “we love because he first loved us.” We love each other because He first loved us. We love God because he first loved us. So receiving his love is a pretty big deal as we cannot be expected or even begin to love if we don’t first receive the love of God, right? We must connect to the vine, our source of life and love. “Abide in my love“, Jesus says.

I love to tell everyone I meet:

“It is the primary responsibility of every human being is just to let God love you!”

That’s it. Once we are good receivers of God’s love, everything else falls into place. When I was first learning this concept I would drive around and pray, “God, I receive your love… I receive your love.” I would very often feel what I call the sunshine of heaven coming into the widows of my soul and warming me. Even now I am praying this and feeling the Lords love.

Enjoy this worship song! We hope it connects you to the Lord and his love in a really special way:

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Forgive, New Song from Reflect Worship

Forgive, new Reflect Worship Song

Forgiveness. Nothing can heal and even protect our heart from all wounds like forgiveness. In fact, nothing else ever will. And though forgiveness is vital to healthy spirituality (and our salvation) let’s not pretend that it is easy.

Forgiveness is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Where is the justice in just letting someone off the hook? To let them walk free after what they did to me? To forgive their debt? Where is the justice in that?

Well, one needs to look no further than the cross to find the answer. The justice for all wrongs and wounds was meted out and inflicted upon the LORD Jesus Christ as he was brutally tortured and nailed to a suspended wooden beam to suffocate in agony. His heart literally exploded from all the pressure and stress and strain of not only the physical torture he endured, but also of bearing the hellish torment of every sin ever committed. Because he loves us that much Jesus experienced the hell (the justice) that you deserved. He experienced the hell (the justice) that those who have wounded you deserve. He forgave us once for all at the cross and so, he asks us – No, he even requires – that we forgive those who have sinned against us.

Here is our latest song Forgive:


(adapted from a poem by Rosamond Herklots)

This song “Forgive” is about how forgiveness is such a vital element of the Lord’s Prayer:

“…forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” Luke 11:4 NLT

Do we think about the fact that we are asking God to be as forgiving to us as we are to others? Hmmm… that should make us stop and ask ourselves, ‘God, is there anyone I am not forgiving? Will you help me to learn to forgive everyone fully from my heart?’

Jesus was once asked by his disciples:

“Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 NASB

I think about that as it relates to forgiveness as well. I would suggest that apart from a move of God and a profound act of grace from God on our behalf, it would be impossible to forgive. But with God…

I think about my friend Jon Stoffel. As they were out for a family outing, Jon, his wife, and his daughter Olivia were shot in a random act of violence by a distraught man. Jon and his daughter were killed and his wife survived. His last words to his wife in his parting moments were, “Forgive the shooter.”

I think about the families of the nine victims who were shot and killed by Dylann Roof in the South Carolina hate crime shooting who, by the grace of God, extended forgiveness to him. “This is how we deal with hate crimes”, they said. What the devil intended for evil God turned into good as the healing message of forgiveness went out across the world.

I think about Jesus last words to those who crucified him:

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 NLT

I think about Stephen, the first martyr, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit was able to say in his last moments:

“Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” Acts 7:60 NLT

I don’t pretend to suggest that forgiveness is ever easy. Our wounds may run very deep. But God’s love and grace can run deeper still and by His grace we can experience a “peace that passes all understanding” and extend that peace to others.

Who wouldn’t want that?

forgiveness kitten

I have written many other blogs on Forgiveness. Here are a few of them:

One of my favorite quotes about forgiveness:

‘Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.’ – Anne Lammot

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Be Thou My Vision, Song Story

Download this song (and more!) for “Name Your Price” Here: www.reflect.bandcamp.com or you can visit here and learn more about our efforts to get this album into nursing homes.

Reflect Hymn-150x150

Be Thou My Vision is a song that comes from an unknown source during a spiritually rich period of time after St. Patrick (385-461 AD) brought the Gospel to Ireland. Patrick’s story is one of my favorite stories of history and I will attempt to give you an interesting and accurate account of his life and impact upon Ireland and subsequently the world.

(Incidentally it is difficult to weed through all the legends and folklore that have arisen around Patrick’s story. So, in order to arrive at the truth – and be a good journalist – you have to find credible sources for the facts. Thankfully we have a few surviving documents that were written by the man himself. Any information you find in this blog are from those sources.)

If you want an amusing and quasi-accurate account of his story please watch the following video. They did their homework but of course it does take some humorous artistic license:

Rome at the time of St. Patrick was about to fall. It was withdrawing troops from outlying regions back to protect Rome. The problem was that Rome provided stability. They protected the people from raiders and pirates and slave traders. Once they were gone the pillaging began in full force. At the age of 16 St Patrick (whose real name was Maywin Socket) was captured in a massive slave collecting campaign. He was loaded onto a ship bound for Ireland along with thousands of others. Prior to this Patrick was running with the wrong crowd. Even though he was raised in a Christian home, his father was a deacon, his grandfather a priest, he had no interest and was, I suppose you could say, part of a gang of thugs and troublemakers.

Once he arrived in Ireland he spent time in a village where he got to know some of the other prisoners. These prisoners possessed a faith that intrigued Patrick. He also spent much time out in the elements caring for cattle and other animals, sometimes in very wet and cold conditions. It was this hardship that caused him to cry out to God and his faith began to take root and grow.

Soon he was praying quite often and getting (and giving) encouragement with other believers when he could. He began to love his captor and the people of Ireland and learned their language.

After six years God gave him a dream that told him his ship was ready, indicating that it was time to make his escape.

This gave him the courage to make an over 200 mile journey to the coast. It took courage because slaves who tried to escape were flogged and sometimes killed. He indeed found a ship that was preparing to sail and asked to be taken aboard. At first the captain refused and sent him away but then a crew member encouraged him to come aboard.

He had a subsequent dream in which Jesus told him, “He who gave his life for you, he it is who speaks within you.”

In fact, I was surprised by how much of his life was guided by his supernatural and visionary experiences with God. Eventually he returned home and served as a priest for many years until God once again gave him a dream in which a man (an angel?) named Victoricus came bearing letters from the people of Ireland and he heard the voice of the people say, “We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us.” He obeyed the heavenly vision and returned with several other missionaries to live among the people of Ireland and share the good news of Jesus with them. He had a long and successful ministry even though heavily persecuted and harassed by both unbelievers and those “in the church” alike.

During the early period of his life he did something he was extremely ashamed of. Later on in his life and ministry he confessed this deed to someone he trusted. His trust was misplaced as the man then turned on him and told his superiors in the church of his deed. This caused him a great deal of trouble but it is the reason we have one of his documents (Confession – which relates to his confession of faith, not of sin).

It is an interesting read, please click on the above link to read and learn more!

This song is the third most popular hymn in the world by my sources and rightfully so. It is a beautiful prayer that God would be our vision. This is the most noble vision statement of all.

Be Thou My Vision

Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light

 

Be thou my wisdom and thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, and I thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one

 

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and thou only, first in my heart
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art

 

High King of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all

 

Words and Music by Eleanor Hull and Mary E. Byrne
Public Domain

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