Free Music for Nursing Homes & Hospice!

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It is our sincere desire to put smiles on the faces of people in nursing homes everywhere, and to bring comfort to those in their last moments. That is why we are offering both our Hymns albums as free downloads (SEE below)!

Even if you simply have a loved one or know someone in a nursing home, please download the music, put it on a CD, and send it to them!

Activity directors, please download these albums (Reflect, Amazing Grace & Reflect Hymn) for your use in activities. The album is already being used for the “iPod project” for music therapy in many facilities. Click here to learn more

Reflect Hymn-150x150The songs we have selected for these recordings include many of the most well loved Hymns of the faith, like Amazing Grace, In the Garden, and Old Rugged Cross. We trust you find it useful. Our Hymns albums has been used for worship before or during church services, as dinnertime music, and most especialy to bring comfort to those in their last moments. See below for Testimonies!

Thanks for listening and please pass on this info on to someone you know who is serving those in nursing home!

Daniel n Catherine

You can also go to www.reflect.bandcamp.com to begin downloading. Be sure to download both albums! Enjoy!

TESTIMONIES:

Since its release, I have been sending out the “Reflect Hymn” CD to various Nursing home facilities throughout Northeast Wisconsin and recently I received back this report about how the Reflect Hymn project is being used:

“Daniel, Having a chance encounter with an old friend who works the night shift at our local nursing facility, I wanted to share with you her comments about your music.

She told me that a copy of your music on CD; Reflect Hymn, appeared at their nurses station, and that they had been playing and enjoying the music.  However, she said the greatest benefit seemed to come when your music was played exclusively in the rooms of those patients who were experiencing their last days.  She told how the staff all remarked that such a great sense of peace seemed to envelop the room and the people in attendance, that they have a policy of always playing this music for such times as this as it provides such comfort.

I thought you might want to know this, since I know you send out these CD’s as a sample of your work when booking concerts at various Nursing Homes.  Even though this facility has never had you there in person, your music is being used and valued, which I just ‘happened’ to find out a few weeks ago during my ‘chance encounter’.

Blessings, Cindie”

I was so moved when I received this report. What an awesome blessing! I would love to see every nursing home throughout Northeast Wisconsin to receive a Reflect Hymn album for their use for the above mentioned purpose, or to use for a church service or bible study, or even just for music therapy. If this is something that you would also like to see happen please donate toward this ministry.

 

Here is another letter I received:

Hi Daniel…

Recently you came to Shady Lane Nursing Home here in Manitowoc to entertain the residents and I was in attendance with my mother who was a resident there at the time. She just passed away this past Thursday March 25th. I bought one of your CDs and played it for her every night when she was drifting off to sleep. This past week when she had slipped into a deep sleep on comfort care at Shady Lane I played it in her room….it was very soothing. I think the staff at Shady Lane enjoyed it as well. I plan to give these CDs away as a result. If it is alright with you I would like to play it next to her coffin at the funeral.

Thank you.

A Recent Encounter (2015):

Outside of a nursing home I was about to go in and entertain at a lady stopped me and asked, “You’re a musician right? I am a hospice nurse and have your Reflect Hymn CD. I use it so often that it doesn’t play anymore. Do you have another with you?”

I was able to provide her the Reflect Hymn and also our latest Hymn project Reflect, Amazing Grace. She was on her way to someone who was passing that very day.

Thank you for listening,

Daniel Lovett

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Most Popular Christian Hymns

After extensive research and comparing various lists of most popular Hymns, I have compiled a list of my own!

Here are the Top 10 Christian Hymns

(I have included lyric videos of those we have personally recorded. Please click on the blue titles that are linked to pages that go into further detail containing complete song stories, etc…)

1. Amazing Grace, John Newton (1779)

2. Holy, Holy, Holy, Reginald Heber (1861)

3. Be Thou My Vision, attributed to Dallán Forgaill, (6th century A.D.)

4. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson (1757)


5. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, Martin Luther (c. 1528)

6. How Great Thou Art, Carl Gustav Boberg and Stuart K. Hine (1885)

7. How Firm a Foundation, R. Keene (1787)

8. Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Thomas Chisholm (1923)

9. In Christ Alone, Keith Getty and Stuard Townend (2001)

10. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Isaac Watts (1707)

Please visit this link for the source of this information: Top 10 Most Popular Hymns of All Time and Their History

25 Best Loved Hymns

The Top 25 Christian Hymns

Continued from the above Top 10 List Above (Source: The 25 Most Popular Christian Hymns):

11. It is Well With My Soul, Horacio Spafford (1873)

12. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus – Helen Lemmel, England (1922)

13. Old Rugged Cross, George Bennard 1922

14. In the Garden

15. Abide with Me

16. Fairest Lord Jesus

17. Blessed Assurance, Fanny Crosby (1873)

18. Praise To the Lord The Almighty, Joachim Neander (1665)

19. All Creatures Of our God and King, St. Francis of Assisi (1225)

20. All Hail The Power of Jesus Name, Edward Perronet (1779)

21. To God Be The Glory, Fanny Crosby (1872)

22. Jesus Paid it All, Elvina Hall (1865)

23. Crown Him With Many Crowns, Matthew Bridges (1852)

24. At the Cross, Isaac Watts (1707)

25. What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Joseph M. Scriven (words 1855) and Charles Converse (Music 1868)

FREE DOWNLOAD OF OUR HYMNS (Please visit THIS PAGE that explains why we are giving away our CD’s – btw tips are greatly appreciated!):

You can also go to www.reflect.bandcamp.com to begin downloading.

———-

Further links and resources:

The 100 Most Popular Christian Hymns (with lyrics, song stories, desktop backgrounds and more)
Top 50 Most Loved Hymns
Top 250 Most Loved Hymns (clickable links to resources for each song)

Top 100 HYMNS list:

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Abide With Me
Alas And Did My Savior Bleed?
All Creatures of our God and King
All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
Amazing Grace
Are You Washed in the Blood?
At Calvary

Battle Hymn of the Republic
Be Thou My Vision
Before The Throne of God Above
Blessed Assurance
Blest Be The Tie That Binds

Child of the King
Christ The Lord Is Risen Today
Cleanse Me
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Count Your Blessings
Crown Him With Many Crowns

Day By Day
Doxology

Eternal Father, Strong To Save

Face To Face
Fairest Lord Jesus
Faith is the Victory
Faith of our Fathers
Fight the Good Fight

God Leads His Dear Children Along
God Will Take Care Of You
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Have Thine Own Way, Lord
He Hideth My Soul
He Is Coming Again
He Lives
His Eye Is On the Sparrow
Holy, Holy, Holy
How Firm A Foundation
How Great Thou Art

I Am Thine, O Lord
I Love To Tell The Story
I Need Thee Ev’ry Hour
I Surrender All
I’d Rather Have Jesus
I’ll Fly Away
In the Garden
In The Hour of Trial
In The Sweet By and By
It is Well

Jesus, Lover Of My Soul
Jesus Loves Me
Jesus Paid It All
Just As I Am

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
Lord I’m Coming Home
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Love Lifted Me

Moment By Moment
More Love To Thee
Morning Has Broken
My Faith Looks Up To Thee

Nearer My God, To Thee
No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus
Now We Thank All Our God

O Come All Ye Faithful
O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
O Holy Night
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O Worship The King
Old Time Religion

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
Peace, Perfect Peace
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Precious Lord Take My Hand

Rescue The Perishing
Revive Us Again
Rock of Ages

Safe in the Arms of Jesus
Saviour, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling
Standing on the Promises

Take My Life and Let It Be
Take Time To Be Holy
The Old Rugged Cross
There Is A Fountain
There Is Power In The Blood
Till The Storm Passes By
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Trust And Obey

Victory In Jesus

What A Day That Will Be
What A Friend We Have in Jesus
What Child Is This?
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
When We All Get To Heaven
Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go

Yesterday, Today, Forever

 

TOP 250 Hymns

A
A Mighty Fortress (featured)
Abide with me: fast falls the eventide (featured)
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended (featured)
Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed (featured)
All Creatures of our God and King (featured)
All Glory, Laud and Honor (featured)
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (featured)
All People That on Earth Do Dwell (featured)
All Things Bright and Beautiful (featured)
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (featured)
Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound) (featured)
America the Beautiful (featured)
An Evening Hymn (featured)
And Can It Be, That I Should Gain? (featured)
Angels From the Realms of Glory (featured)
Angels We Have Heard on High (featured)
As with Gladness Men of Old (featured)
At the Name of Jesus
Away in a Manger
B
Baptized in Water
Battle hymn of the Republic
Be Still, My Soul
Be Thou My Vision (featured)
Beneath the Cross of Jesus (featured)
Blessed Assurance (featured)
Blest Be the Tie That Binds (featured)
Bread of the world, in mercy broken (featured)
Break Thou the Bread of Life
Breathe on me, Breath of God
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning
C
Christ Is Alive! Let Christians Sing
Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation
Christ Upon the Mountain Peak
Christ the Lord is risen today (featured)
Christ, Whose glory fills the skies
Come Down, O Love Divine (featured)
Come, Christians, Join to Sing
Come, Thou Almighty King (featured)
Come, Thou Fount (featured)
Come, Thou long expected Jesus (featured)
Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain
Come, ye thankful people, come (featured)
Come, ye that love the Lord
Comfort, comfort ye my people (featured)
Comfort, comfort ye my people (featured)
Crown Him with many crowns (featured)
D
Dear Lord and Father of mankind
E
Eat This Bread
Eternal Father! strong to save (featured)
F
Fairest Lord Jesus (featured)
Faith of our fathers, living still
Fight the good fight
For all the Saints, who from their labor rest (featured)
For the Beauty of the Earth (featured)
For the Fruits of His Creation
Forgive Our Sins As We Forgive
From All That Dwell Below the Skies (featured)
From Heaven Above to Earth I Come
G
Gift of Finest Wheat
Gloria Patri
Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken (featured)
Glory to God
Go to Dark Gethsemane (featured)
Go, Tell It on the Mountain (featured)
God Be with You Till We Meet Again
God Is Here
God Moves in a Mysterious Way
God of Grace and God of Glory (featured)
God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand (featured)
God, My Hope on You Is Founded
Good Christian Men, Rejoice (featured)
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah (featured)
H
Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise (featured)
Hail to the Lord’s Anointed (featured)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (featured)
Hark, the Glad Sound
Have Thine Own Way, Lord
He Is Lord
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
Here I Am, Lord
Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face
Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! (featured)
Hosanna, Loud Hosanna (featured)
How Great Thou Art
How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds (featured)
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord (featured)
I
I Come with Joy
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
I Love to Tell the Story (featured)
I Need Thee Every Hour (featured)
I Want Jesus to Walk with Me (featured)
I Will Sing Of My Redeemer (featured)
I love Thy kingdom, Lord
I sing th’almighty power of God (featured)
If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee (featured)
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise (featured)
In Christ There Is No East or West
In the Bleak Midwinter (featured)
In the cross of Christ I glory, Towering o’er the wrecks of time (featured)
Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (featured)
J
Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love
Jesu, Thou joy of loving hearts!
Jesus Calls Us, O’er the Tumult
Jesus Christ is Risen Today
Jesus Loves Me, This I Know (featured)
Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun (featured)
Jesus, Lover of My Soul (featured)
Jesus, Priceless Treasure (featured)
Jesus, Remember Me
Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee
Joy to the world! the Lord is come! (featured)
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (featured)
Just as I am, without one plea (featured)
K
Kyrie
L
Lamb of God
Lead on, O King Eternal (featured)
Leaning on the everlasting arms (featured)
Let All Things Now Living
Let All the World in Every Corner Sing
Let Us Break Bread Together (featured)
Let Us With Gladsome Mind
Let all mortal flesh keep silence (featured)
Lift High the Cross
Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates (featured)
Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song
Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming (featured)
Lord Jesus, Think on Me
Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord, Be Glorified
Lord, I Want to Be a Christian (featured)
Lord, Speak to Me That I May Speak
Lord, You Give the Great Commission
Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing, Fill our hearts with joy and peace
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (featured)
Low in the Grave He Lay (featured)
M
Many and Great, O God
May the Mind of Christ, My Savior
Memorial Acclamation C
Morning Has Broken, Like the First Morning
My Faith Looks Up to Thee (featured)
My Hope is Built on Nothing Less (featured)
My Jesus, I Love Thee (featured)
My Song Is Love Unknown
N
Near the Cross (featured)
Now Thank We All Our God (featured)
Now the Green Blade Riseth
O
O Come, All Ye Faithful (featured)
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (featured)
O For a Thousand Tongues (featured)
O God, Our Help in Ages Past (featured)
O Jesus, I have promised
O Lord, Hear My Prayer
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High (featured)
O Master, let me walk with Thee
O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing! (featured)
O Word of God Incarnate
O Worship the King all glorious above (featured)
O for a Closer Walk with God
O little town of Bethlehem (featured)
O perfect Love, all human thought transcending (featured)
O sacred head now wounded (featured)
Of the Father’s Love begotten (featured)
Oh, How I Love Jesus (featured)
On Eagle’s Wings
On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (featured)
Once in Royal David’s City (featured)
Onward, Christian Soldiers (featured)
P
Parting Hymn
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (featured)
Praise the Lord! Ye Heavens Adore Him
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (featured)
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven (featured)
Precious Lord, Take My Hand
R
Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart (featured)
Rejoice, the Lord is King! (featured)
Ride on! ride on in majesty!
Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me (featured)
S
Sanctus
Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (featured)
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Send Me, Lord
Shall We Gather at the River? (featured)
Shine, Jesus, Shine
Silent Night, Holy Night (featured)
Sing Praise to the Lord
Sing praise to God who reigns above (featured)
Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle
Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling (featured)
Soldiers of Christ, arise
Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
Soon and Very Soon
Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart (featured)
Spirit of the Living God
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
Stand up, and bless the Lord
T
Take My Life, and Let It Be (featured)
Take Up Thy Cross, the Savior Said
Tell Out, My Soul
The Church’s one foundation (featured)
The Day of Resurrection (featured)
The First Noel the Angel Did Say (featured)
The God of Abraham Praise (featured)
The Head that once was crowned with thorns
The King of Love My Shepherd Is (featured)
The Lord Be With You
The Lord’s My Shepherd
The Lord’s Prayer
The Old Rugged Cross (featured)
The Servant Song
The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended
The strife is o’er, the battle done (featured)
There Is a Balm in Gilead (featured)
There Is a Fountain (featured)
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
Thine Is the Glory
This Is the Feast of Victory
This Joyful Eastertide
This is my Father’s world And to my listening ears (featured)
This is the Day
To God Be the Glory (featured)
Trust and Obey (featured)
W
We Are Marching
We Gather Together (featured)
We Give Thee But Thine Own
We Praise Thee, O God (featured)
We plough the fields, and scatter
We three kings of Orient are (featured)
Were You There (featured)
What Child Is This (featured)
What Wondrous Love Is This (featured)
What a Friend We Have in Jesus (featured)
When I survey the wondrous cross (featured)
When Morning Gilds the Skies (featured)
When Peace, Like a River (featured)
When in Our Music God Is Glorified
While shepherds watched their flocks (featured)
Y
Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim (featured)

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Nursing Home Ministry (The Early Days)

Wow. I am amazed! The Lord has been so good to me. I have now been serving nursing homes with “spiritually enriching entertainment” for eight years now. I wanted to share the story about how that all began for me in late November 2006.

Early summer of 2006 the Lord distinctly told me, “Get ready”. Get ready for what? I asked. I had no idea. I was working as a framing carpenter at the time, and recovering from a very serious depression (despair is a more accurate word) that had taken me down for seven long years. I had also been continuing to lead worship with my wife in church on a fairly regular basis.

By the end of August my body was telling me it’s time to move on from construction. My wrists throbbed in pain every night. So I got a delivery job with Dunham express.

While out on my deliveries, some of our stops included Nursing homes. Every time I stepped into one I had a very strong impression that I would like to come share music with these people. My heart went out to them. Fast forward to November and my job was now ending. I had also just met Eddie Bieber who for time had entertained at nursing homes for a living. Intriguing… So I mustered up my courage and started cold calling facilities to sell my services as an entertainer.

I knew I was going to specialize in Gospel music. The problem was that I knew five or less Gospel songs that would relate to this audience and I needed to fill up an hour with relevant music. (Speaking their language musically is VERY important. If you play a song that you happen like and no one claps and then one lady hesitantly says, “That was… interesting”, it means that song did not go over well.) I went to work learning the Hymns of the faith.

I started to get a few bookings a week and honestly I didn’t want any more than that at the time. I knew I wasn’t very good yet and would soon “work myself out of a job” if I played more nursing homes and my name became attached to poor performances. I continued to improve musically and vocally and maintained some part time work over the next couple years.

Once I got a handle on what were some of the most loved hymns of those in this area, (and developed a few favorites myself), I went to work recording a Hymns album to leave for the residents.

Reflect Hymn CD (click on the CD cover to listen to this album)

I am pleased to say that our Reflect Hymn album is now in most every nursing Home and Assisted living facility throughout Northeast Wisconsin! It is still being used to comfort the dying, as a prelude to Bible studies and services, and sometimes as dinner time music. It blesses me so much to hear how God has been using this album especially when I walk into a facility and a lady with dementia is humming along to it as she sits next to the CD player playing our album. I was told she does this every day by a nurse, who also asks me if I have a new music? Please?!?!

I am so pleased to say that we now do!

I love our new hymns project which we entitled “Reflect, Amazing Grace”. This album features mainly my wife’s vocal talents and her unique piano arrangement of the most beloved and well known hymn of all time, Amazing Grace:

Our goal now is to get this album into every nursing home in Northeast Wisconsin. We are slowly but surely doing just that. If you’d like to help fund this operation you can donate to our ministry at our website: www.reflectworship.com

Here our my journal entries from that first month of Nursing Home ministry which I was pleased to find the other day:

1/4/07

I was at the Fransiscan Nursing Home today and was so blown away by what happened there. There was this woman in the back with her aged mother, and her mother was so touched by the Hymns that she was moved to tears, and then the daughter was moved to tears by her mom and then I was nearly moved to tears watching them both. It is people like that who are so moved and blessed by the music and simple truths in these Hymns that guide me to an appreciation for them myself. I had once again the most profound sense that this is what I’m meant to do. I love it so much…

It makes me think that all those years singing in church, learning new songs, honing my craft was for this. This is the real deal… the other was a biding of time till now.

Thought for the day:

“My being good does not validate God. He remains unchanged. Yet he created us… “

12-20-06

I am in a bit of a spiritual quandary recently. I am content. I am at peace. I am trusting God’s grace when there is most reason not to. This is an entirely new experience for me and quite frankly, I am not sure how I should feel about it.

For as long as I can remember, I never measured up and I was constantly depressed about it and in a funk… but now it doesn’t even matter. I am still a big time loser/sinner (I just spent the last week avoiding God because of a foolish rebellious thing I had chosen to do) but now I don’t have to measure up or feel accepted based on what I do… I feel his delight because of simply who he is. Love.

I have been spending time recently in Christian inspiration section at Barnes and Noble. I order a large coffee and just sit there and try not to cry as waves of God’s blessing soothe and comfort my soul. I don’t even quite know why I have been selected to be blessed like this. It hasn’t always been this way.

The other day I was a Nursing home doing a Christmas concert and one of the ladies in the back shouted out, “I love you!” I could hardly restrain the emotion that came to me when she said it and I had difficulty getting through the next song. It was as if God were whispering the words in my ear and I was melting.

After that concert as I sat in a coffee shop reading Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz” I wrote this poem:

You stir my soul
Deep with the knowing,
The feeling of your love…
I am moved in waves of reassurance,
Of your kind look,
Of your notice of me…
Broken I let loose
The tightness in my chest,
The tears come,
Tears of joy,
And not of sorrow;
For I have found you,
And the sweetness of your comfort
thank you.

(If you’d like t listen to the song I recorded of this poem, click here: https://reflectworship.bandcamp.com/album/reflect-b-sides-the-still-waters-of-gods-love)

But as nice as this is, I can’t stop here or leave it at that. I don’t know if you remember one of the final scenes in “The Never-ending Story”, when the Indian boy is faced with this challenge to make it through this gate. Many brave warriors and knights have tried and failed… they were killed by these sentry guards with laser eyes or something… it’s a vague memory by now, having seen it so many years ago, and I am not going to go to all the trouble to see it again just to be accurate with this illustration.

My point is this: what did they need to pass the guards and get thru this gate?
Faith. Confidence.

I am beginning to realize the great predicament all men are in… we are at God’s mercy, yet so many of us misunderstand him. We think that if we all band together we can somehow outwit him or something… as if to say, “well we are all doing these things worthy of death and it’s now socially acceptable. You won’t condemn us all? Will You?”

This is not coming out right … this is the great misunderstanding. Can you imagine Love wanting to Judge you? Condemn you? I can only imagine Love, well, loving you. Yet love won’t let criminals run rampant. How do I convey what I see in my minds eye?

We are going to die. We will face our Maker at that time. Are you afraid or will you gladly welcome it? I don’t know how to answer that one myself. You see, based on everything I grew up around I would say I am pretty much screwed. But my heart tells me otherwise. I have a peace that passes all understanding. I, who am not even a good Christian, who am selfish and irreverent and given to addictions of the flesh, who drinks a beer while he reads his bible (on the rare occasions that I do read my bible – at least at the time of this writing) have peace. A peace that makes no sense because I didn’t earn it. Now that’s not to say I should just be content in my sinful state, by all means I should “improve” and be obedient and overcome the misunderstandings I have of my Maker.

The thing is, if you read my biography – the real and honest gut-wrenching one, not the cleaned up and sanitized one that might actually sell (hey, my mom might buy one), you wouldn’t like me. You couldn’t possibly. There isn’t anything attractive in a sinful man, but as a lady (who had died of polio but was sent back by God cause it wasn’t her time) told me, “Jesus is the most handsomest man I have ever met, the kindest, most gentle, and wonderful…” and I can’t remember any more of the adjectives that she attached to her description of him.

But let’s face it. He is who is really what is truly most attractive about any one of us. His activity in our lives. His Spirit at work in us.

(Incidentally, this is why our band name is “Reflect”. It comes from a verse that ends like this: “…that we might be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord, and as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we will reflect his glory even more.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT*)

12-21-06

I walked into a nursing home today to play a Christmas concert as the coroner was wheeling a not so empty body bag out the door. I was going to say a person in a body bag but that isn’t quite true anymore. I wondered as I played and tried to bring some Christmas cheer if it was weighing on anyone’s mind.

At one time I was going to collect wise sayings from my visits to nursing homes and write a book with the title, “wisdom from death’s door”. That is really just for shock value. I am not really that heartless… which I will of course explain in the first few pages of the book. But aren’t we all really at deaths door? Just a heartbeat and a breath away from death… it’s amazing that any of us are alive. I am so happy. Do you know why?

Cause I’m getting to know God and learning to trust him and I realize that life and death are in his hands so death really isn’t that big of a deal… of course this isn’t probably what I would say to someone grieving a lost loved one, but it has some merit.

I had this weird dream that I was fly-fishing and I caught a big rainbow trout, only it had a girls head attached to it. As I reeled it in this man standing next to me said, “Oh, looks like you’ve caught my daughter”. I didn’t know how to feel about this, and I’m not one to waste good fish meat so I was putting the fish in a bucket of water and debating about whether to put this man’s daughter out of her misery with a knife, so she wouldn’t suffer. It kind of sheds new light on that passage where Jesus said to Peter the fisherman, from now on you will catch men…. Or not.

How do you think a person might feel upon arriving to a nursing home and being assigned a room where God knows how many have died before?

‘They took me to that place they said they never would. My own flesh and blood. A burden. Old. Neglected. They have their own lives now, their own kids. Don’t they know that one day they will be me? How will their children care for them?

I arrived to the room assigned for me. Like a cheep hotel or hospital room. How many have died here I wonder.

The room smells. This is not my home…’

It was neat to come across this old journal entry and see what God has done. If you’d like to support our ministry, buy a CD, download our music or donate at our website: www.reflectworship.com

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Reflect Amazing Grace, Album Release

reflect_amazing_grace_cover_220x200

Our latest release, Reflect, Amazing Grace, is an acoustic collection of well loved hymns themed around the song Amazing Grace. What could be more vital and central to understanding God and the good news of Jesus than to have a firm grasp on his grace? The beauty part of it is when we come to recognize that his grace has a firm grasp on us!

Our primary motivation for making this album is that after nearly five years in full time ministry to residents in nursing homes we felt it was time to offer them some new material. On occasion Daniel has walked into nursing homes where ladies will be huddled around the CD player listening to our first Hymns record and humming or singing along. Their caregivers will mention how much the residents enjoy the music and how often it gets played and hint that it would be great to have something new.

Reflect Amazing Grace Album CoverHighlights of this project are, of course, Amazing Grace, featuring Catherine on her piano accompanied by strings and an all new Hallelujah chorus (watch the video). Other tracks that stand out are the opening track, a Sufjan Stevens inspired Fairest Lord Jesus. You might just find yourself humming the guitar solo of How Firm a foundation for awhile… as I did. Before the Throne of God Above opens with a lush open “C” tuned guitar and also features tasteful drums… I could mention something interesting about all the tracks and our hope is that you’ll take the time to listen to them all… which you can do Here!

Our version of I Surrender All was inspired by a song by the band The Civil Wars called Poison and Wine. It has been so freeing for me to see what a privilege it is that we get to surrender to love. That this is who God is! Discard all former misconceptions. He is a loving heavenly Papa who accepts you and loves you unconditionally just as you are. This grace is transforming. It is life changing to realize just how very loved you are. This love, this grace is the most amazing thing you could ever experience. This is who we “get to” give our all to… Jesus. Yeshua. God in the flesh who went to the cross for you and me because he loves us that much!

We pray you are blessed by this latest collection of songs. If you’d like to help fulfill our vision for sending a copy to every Nursing Home in Northeast Wisconsin, please donate here at our website, or purchase the album. All the proceeds go toward our ministry to nursing homes.

Visit our Bandcamp website to listen through the album!

RELATED POSTS:

  • Amazing Grace Song Story and History: http://reflectworship.com/2014/07/amazing-grace-song-story/
    My Own Journey Toward Grace: http://reflectworship.com/2014/07/my-own-experience-of-gods-amazing-grace/
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    Amazing Grace, Song Story

    Amazing Grace

    The story of John Newton, the man who wrote Amazing Grace, inspires and moves me. Here was a man who underlines the profound truth that there is no one beyond the grace of God. There is no one beyond his reach of redemption. (For a more thorough look into the historical details surrounding John Newton see the video at the bottom of this post. Personally, I am more interested in how his story relates to us all.)

    John Newton was by his own admission a wretch and blasphemer. He was raised by a Christian mother who had high hopes for him to become a pastor one day. But she died when he was just a boy. In his adolecsence he pursued his dream of life as a sailor and eventually became a captain of a slave ship. He revealed that during this time he sinned with a high hand and made it a practice to tempt and seduce others.

    Amazing-Grace-text

    I can only imagine all of the lives he destroyed and the horrors he inflicted on others as a slave trader and the wicked man that he confessed to be… but all of this mans wickedness provides a context for how truly amazing God’s grace is.

    God forgave him.

    God embraced him.

    God saved him.

    God’s grace is his unmerited favor toward all sinners won for us by the loving sacrifice of God’s dearly loved Son, Jesus. God’s grace is his smile upon you. It is a warm hug from God in spite of all your filthiness and that which you think makes you unworthy. In fact, it is his loving kindness that cleanses the filthiness from us. As we receive his love and the Fathers embrace, we are healed.

    As I think on John Newtons story I can’t help but think of the story Jesus told of the prodigal son. Jesus told this story to reveal the Father’s heart toward all us sinners. He runs to meet you. He embraces you. He freely forgives and forgets how you have wronged him. He will NEVER bring up your past shame… ever again. You are his beloved child.

    I have been moved to tears so many times by the prodigal son story. When I hear a song about it or when I read the passage in Luke 15, it moves me. Why? Because I can relate. I am that foolish prodigal son who is often so ignorant of how loved he truly is… but I’m gradually catching on. Thank you God for your patience! At other times I have been like that older son who perhaps represents all the religious self-righteous who can’t rejoice in the redemption of their brother. Both need to come home to Papa. Both will find grace when they do.

    I love the Scripture that says, “God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

    There is no one beyond the grace of God. You are not beyond his reach. There is no one you know or have even ever heard about that is beyond the grace of God. With all the profound sinners the world has to offer, Jesus sacrifice covers them all.

    This is scandalous! I once got fired for talking about how scandalous God’s grace is. He forgives serial killers and rapists, he forgives pedophiles and child abusers. He forgives torturers and sex traffickers, He forgives porn stars and porn addicts. These all are, after all, his lost kids that he is reaching out to, aching for them, anxious to forgive them, anxious for them to return home.

    “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV)

    This is the good news.

    God saves sinners, no matter how far gone, no matter how bad off. There is hope for us all.

    And now you can take this message of grace to anyone, anywhere.

    Watch the video below to learn more details of John Newtons story:

    Amazing Grace The Story Behind the Song from Oxvision Films on Vimeo.

    The Story of the Prodigal Son

    Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
    13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
    17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
    20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
    22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
    25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
    28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
    31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” (Luke 15 NLT)

    Click here to learn more about Amazing Grace

    Lyrics:

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Was blind, but now I see.

    T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
    And Grace, my fears relieved.
    How precious did that Grace appear
    The hour I first believed.

    Through many dangers, toils and snares
    I have already come;
    ‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
    and Grace will lead me home.

    When we’ve been there ten thousand years
    Bright shining as the sun.
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we’ve first begun

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    My Own Journey Toward Grace

    amazing grace how sweet the soundFive years ago I prayed to understand grace. I’d been a Christian for most my life. I’d been leading worship for eight years. I’d been in ministry to nursing homes for three years. And, I didn’t understand grace.

    Something had to change. On the way back from a church conference I asked a group of friends from our church to pray for me to understand grace. As their worship leader, this required some humility. But it was worth it. God honored those prayers and he began to answer that prayer in profound ways.

    Soon after, my wife and I became pregnant… well, she did… I obviously wasn’t pregnant… because I’m a boy and boys don’t get pregnant.

    I was very concerned about being a father because I wanted my children to grow up knowing God loved them deeply and for them to be surrounded and immersed in Gods grace every day of their lives. I was more than a little apprehensive that I couldn’t provide that kind of environment for them which was why we waited eight years to have children in the first place. I didn’t know if I could convince them of these truths because I wasn’t quite convinced myself. But now the pressure was on.

    I prayed and prayed and prayed about this and one day I was at a stop light and I heard God whisper to my heart,

    “You know, I created you to love you.”

    Wow! Of course he did! How could I have been so blind? The truth of it hit me in a fresh and profound way that changed everything for me that day. Up to this point I suppose I had been believing the lie that I was created to see if I would amount to anything or measure up. If I failed to impress, I thought, I would be shelved and God would move on to someone else. That was how I felt. Shelved. I didn’t measure up, and God had abandoned me.

    Grace has since taught me that I never have to impress my Papa. He always has and always will love me just for who I am. I didn’t have to earn his love. In fact, there was nothing I could do that could make God love me any less, and on the flip side, there is nothing I could do that could make him love me any more. He just loved me, with a perfect infinite unfailing unconditional love that could bring you to tears in a moment… the good kind of tears that comfort and wash away all the pain of the past, all your shame, all the time wasted in the darkness when you doubted that love.

    “There is nothing you could do that could make God love you any less, and there is nothing you could do that could make him love you any more.”

    Believing I was that loved set me free.

    This is the essence of the Christian life and the primary responsibility of every human being on the planet:

    Let God love you! Receive his love!

    Songs like How He Loves and Jesus prodigal son story made me weep as I let the sunshine of God’s love into the dark gollum cave of my heart. It had been dark for so long, the light of his love was most welcome! It seemed God would always give me what I needed when I needed it and as I could receive it as he led me deeper down the path toward love.

    I would drive in my car and pray, “Jesus I receive your love right now”. I would often feel my spirit light up and His love wash over me. It was brilliant! I still purposefully get alone with God often to experience him and his love… who knew prayer time could be so exciting!

    I was now free to be fully me, abundantly alive like never before, but… I was also free to run back to the darkness. I was free to play in the mud. I was free to be foolish once again. His love would not force me to stay in that love. As much as he desired me to stay in that love, as much as it broke his heart to see me go, his love would let me go.

    How often I have prayed foolish prayers like that found in Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,

    Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
    Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    Prone to leave the God I love;
    Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
    Seal it for Thy courts above

    He simply will not do it. He will not chain you his side. You are not a puppy dog and he is not a cruel master. He won’t force you to stay. His love will not let him. Love has granted you and I free will. We can choose to keep company with LOVE Himself (God is Love) or play in the mud with all the nasty demons of darkness.

    A widely-told story of the author of Come Thou Fount says that one day as he was riding in a stagecoach a lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming. He responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

    Even Solomon whom God named Jedediah (Beloved of the LORD) with all his personal visits from the Lord and profound wisdom wandered from the One who loved him and blessed him so much.

    “With great grace comes great responsibility”

    We have the holy responsibility to remain in the love of God. Remain in the love of Yeshua.

    “Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love.” (John 15:9 NIV)

    Jesus tells us how.

    “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12 NIV)

    Just today my little Elisabeth Grace was shouting out in our front yard one of her bible story songs, “Keep my commandments and you will live!” Then she loudly announced, “The commandment of the Lord is to love others!”

    “I love your song Ellie, and thank you for sharing that with our neighbors.”

    We named her Elisabeth Grace and she has been one of the greatest gifts of grace in my life. Five has biblically been associated as the number of grace. Elisabeth (whose name means “dedicated to God”) was born on 5/5/10 and spoke her first phrase the day she was dedicated when she was five months and five days old on 10/10/10. (She said “Oh my Mama” in case you were wondering).

    Exactly five years after my prayer to know God’s grace we are releasing our album Amazing Grace. Ellie closes out the album singing “Jesus Loves Me”. There isn’t a more profound truth than this.

    FREE DOWNLOAD! (PLEASE read about why were giving it away HERE!)

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    Sample of Reflect Album for Free?!?

    Reflect Worship, I Will Bring You Peace album cover small (Link for free download below)

    We want to spiritually enrich your lives by sharing these songs with you that are themed around Jesus invitation:

    “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28 NLT)

    That’s a promise from your Creator and Savior. Try it! Come to him! It will change your your life!

    In a world where so much is competing for your heart and attention, we want to encourage you to allow Jesus to have first dibs.

    Catherine and I (Daniel) want to help you to that end. On the inside of our album I Will Bring You Peace we wrote:

    “It is our prayer that these songs lead you into a deeper place of trust, peace, and intimacy with Jesus. May you experience a closeness with the One who loved you to the death and worship him always.”

    Every artists desire and dream is for people to take the time to enjoy their art. We hope you take the time to enjoy ours. One of the best feedback we received regarding our album, “I Will Bring You Peace”, was from a young man named Chris (who happens to be our nephew). Chris took the time to get alone and listen through our album and experienced it the way we hope everyone will. He called me up and shared this with me. What he had to say in our conversation so touched my heart and captured perfectly why we do what we do: to move people toward Jesus with our music.

    All tips and proceeds go toward supporting our ministry and producing future music. You may also visit www.reflect.bandcamp.com to download it for “name your price” or click on the photo below:

    Reflect Worship Cover

    MORE REVIEWS:

    Here is what a few others are saying as they experience our newest album, “I Will Bring You Peace”:

    “Enter the process of transparent heart cries, letting go, the gentle wooing of God’s love, biblical and personal declarations of faith and the delight of receiving God’s love all in one CD!  Musically gentle and delightful yet deep calling unto deep.  A treasure to be shared.” ~ Jane Wojta

    We asked Chris if he would write a little about his experience of the album and this is what he had to say:

    “The band Reflect has such a unique dynamic because of their duo between husband and wife. With their music you can be assured that before talent, character and relationship come first which is where the depth of their music really begins. This music is meant to uplift the spirit and that’s what it does for me. When I am hitting lows in my walk with God I have found that sitting still and letting God work in me through the lyrics and the peaceful music, is what my spirit needs during hard times. Thank you Reflect for the depth and care of your hearts!”       ~    Christopher Peanosky

     

    I have submitted our songs to a few independent A&R companies in Nashville and received some really encouraging responses.

    Here is what Taxi, the largest independant A&R Company had to say about our song, Take Me Away:

    “This lovely song features a well-crafted arrangement and an emotionally captivating vocal performance… I love how the arrangement builds as the performance unfolds. In terms of emotion, the bridge seems the most potent aspect of the arrangement. The production sounds very professional.” – Taxi, The World’s Leading A&R Company.

    Here is what an independent  A&R rep from Nashville had to say after hearing a few of our songs:

    • “You See Me” – Good song, I like the hook in the chorus, its pretty good. What I like about this song is that its short and sweet and doesn’t linger on too long.
    • “Erased” – Good message. Pretty good hook, I do like it.
    • “Take Me Away” – I love this song, good job. Good chorus. You both have good voices.
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    Center of the Angels Songs

    “…Lamb of God, Savior to all…”

    This song is all about the names of Jesus. There is most always something very significant about names in Scripture. John (whose name means “grace”) introduces Jesus (whose name means “I AM Salvation”) as, “the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”

    The first, and arguably the most important of the Jewish feasts, was Passover. Historically, Passover marked the anniversary of when God’s chosen people were protected from the angel of death. This death angel was sent as God’s final plague against all the firstborn of Egypt before Israel was freed from their brutal slavery. He “passed over” those homes that applied the blood of a lamb to the doorposts of the house as instructed by the LORD. The lamb was then eaten by the family along with unleavened bread.

    Israel was told to commemorate this day year after year. Every year each family would bring a spotless lamb to the priest in Jerusalem and the head of the family would place their hands on the lamb. The sins of the family would pass to the lamb and the lambs innocence (righteousness) would pass to the worshipper. A wonderful exchange happened. The lamb was then slaughtered for those sins. By doing this they were tangibly expressing their faith and so receiving God’s forgiveness for that year.

    lamb of godEnter Jesus. “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” When Jesus went on that cross it was as if the whole world, every human who ever existed, was placing their hands on Jesus transferring all our sins to him. He became guilty of all our evil thoughts and words and deeds. The Lamb of God was then slaughtered for our sins.

    But it doesn’t just stop there. To all who are willing to receive God’s gift of righteousness, all believers in Jesus, actually become as righteous as Jesus! Because of Jesus we stand holy and blameless and pure in the presence of our holy Papa God. Amazing!

    “…how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Romans 5:17 NIV

    But sadly, all too often people insist on standing in their own righteousness instead of receiving this gift. I know I did. For years I tried to earn grace, to win God’s approval by my own efforts. My ego wasn’t invited to the grace party and I would not stand for that. And so I did as the Scripture says many religious people do. I did not submit to the righteousness of God but tried to establish my own.

    Paul writes about his fellow Jews who stumbled over this point:

    “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.” Romans 10:1-4 NLT

    I have experienced what it is like to live dependent on my own righteousness. A severe depression plagued me for seven years before God released me and brought me back to simply trusting Jesus. God has taught me about Grace and the righteousness we receive by faith (by simply believing). Now I am blessed beyond words, even though I am far… I was about to say “far from perfect”, but how can this be when I possess the perfection of Jesus and am the Father’s Beloved? Is it really true or not? Does our faltering experience dictate truth or does the Living God? This is the conundrum and scandal of grace. I am reminded of a proverb, “The righteous falls seven times but gets back up again.”

    Have you applied the blood of Jesus to the doorpost of your life? Do you trust Jesus and him alone, the One who is salvation, to be your savior?

    “Jesus, Thank you for taking our sins upon yourself at that cross. Thanks you for the gift of righteousness and abundance of grace you extend to us. We receive it and believe it. We thank you that we stand in the Father God’s Presence forgiven, cleansed, and spotless ALL because of Jesus. We don’t rely on our own efforts or performance any more but submit our pride, our ego, before your cross and we come to you.”

    Sing Along!

    LYRICS:

    Center of the Angels Songs

    Wonderful, Counselor,
    Almighty God, Prince of Peace
    Son of man, Son of God,
    Word of Life, We fall to our knees…
    Declaring you are the…

    CHORUS:

    Center of the angels songs,
    From age to age your praise,
    Rings throughout the heavens and earth

    Lamb of God, Savior to all
    Humble King, Emmanuel
    Morning Star, Light of the world,
    Eternal One, Shine on us now!
    For You are the…

    CHORUS:

    Center of the angels songs,
    From age to age your praise,
    Rings throughout the heavens and earth

    Wonderful, Counselor,
    Almighty God, Prince of Peace

    Words and music © 2008 Daniel and Catherine Lovett, Reflect Worship Music

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    The Beauty of Redemption

    (I am finally sharing this post after years of having a particular movie come back to mind time and time again. It continues to bless me with a glimpse of God’s redemption.)

    The Razor’s Edge is a movie in which Bill Murray plays Larry. Shortly after WWI, Larry goes on a quest to find truth, to find something worth living for, to find a purpose to life. He was not content to simply be who everyone else expected him to be, living the status quo life he saw all around him. No, he wanted more.

    And so he parts ways with the girl he was seeing at the time, Isabel, and goes off for a year to tour the world, eventually finding himself up on a snowy mountain peak in Nepal. At the end of the year he returns to London to learn that Isabel had married one of Larry’s wealthy and influential friends.

    One night, while all three of them were out to dinner together they saw in the restaurant an old friend of theirs named Sophie. Isabel related the gossip about her. Evidently she had gotten mixed up with drugs and alcohol and even worse had now resorted to prostitution. Right then and there Larry decides to rescue Sophie.

    Larry takes Sophie home with him, to save her. He convinces her to stay with him each new day and they spend the days just enjoying life. Picnics, outings on the lake, long walks, good conversation… Soon the light comes back to Sophie’s eyes. She remembers what it was to have fun, to laugh again, to really be alive. She has hope.

    It was in this unselfish daily outpouring of redeeming love, giving worth to Sophie, and restoring the beauty of her soul that Larry finds what he was looking for all along. He finds it in true love. He never so much as makes a reference to her past. But instead he gently woos her, wins her confidence and trust and eventually her heart.

    After many days Larry and Sophie become engaged, but Isabel, though married to another, is jealous and sabotages Sophie. She cuts her down with snide remarks and tells her that she doesn’t deserve to be loved by Larry. She doesn’t hesitate to remind her of her past and her words find their mark. Sophie is devastated and begins to drink a bottle of alcohol, a gift from Isabel.

    Sophie leaves. When Larry learns that she is gone, he is soon in desperate search of her. Sadly, he learns that Sophie had returned to her old life and finds her at the brothel, drugged up, drunk, and surrounded by wicked men. He pleads with her to come home with him and she replies, “Don’t you see, you’re better off without me.” The men throw him out and beat him up as he struggles to rescue her.

    The next day Sophie is found dead, floating in the river.

    ——–

    In this story, I see the heart of God for us. We are “Sophie”. We all need a Savior to come to our rescue, sweep us off our feet, and show us how to live, laugh, and love again. But, our story could end as tragically as Sophie’s if we aren’t careful. We have to fight to embrace the love of Jesus. While it may be true that we don’t deserve God’s outrageous love, that doesn’t matter to him. It isn’t about what we deserve at all. It’s all about his passionate love for us.

    There is a verse that saved my life found in 1 John 4:18:

    “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” NIV

    or, as another translation puts it:

    “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” NLT

    This verse gives me hope, that though I may still fear, it’s only because I haven’t quite yet grasped God’s perfect love for me. His love is still there. It still remains to be discovered, embraced and that’s encouraging! And then there’s that whole thing about punishment. Let me ask you, are there any sins left to be punished if Jesus took them all at the cross?

    What remains then is, will we receive his love? Will we fight for that love, to hang on to that love? (Romans 8)

    God will indeed receive you and lavish such love on you, never to mention the ways you went wrong in the past. But, you must not allow the devil to lie to you, and tear you away from the one who loves you so much that he would die for you (and he did). You must hang on to the hope that Jesus offers you. You need to believe!

    There is a similar story found early in the book of Hosea in the Bible. Through this story God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute. Hosea’s wife then leaves him and gets mixed up with other men. Hosea searches for her and when he finds her, he even has to pay a ransom to buy his own wife back.

    God orchestrated this story in Hosea’s life to represent God’s relationship with his people. That even though we have been, and are, unfaithful to him, as Hosea’s wife was to him, and even though we cheat on him with our sins, God still loves us. He will not divorce us as his people but will restore us and redeem us… if that’s what we want.

    “God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

    He doesn’t even wait for our hearts to turn toward him to redeem us. He redeemed us even when we still loved our sin. Even when we are still pursuing our wicked ways, he died for us. This is what Jesus has done for you and me at the cross.

    Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated his love toward us in this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

    It is Christ’s death that redeems us from death. It is Jesus who came to our rescue while we were still “in the whorehouse”. He will restore life and beauty to our souls.

    One more note. We also must be careful not to play the part of Isabel in other people’s lives. Jesus wants everyone to come to the table of his love and grace. We cannot be obstacles to people coming to Jesus. There is room for everyone and we must not make it about who deserves to come and who is more righteous than the next and who deserves his approval more. No one deserves the extravagant love of God. But God is desperate that everyone knows his generous love and redemption.

    Redemption is such a beautiful thing!

    Always remember this:

    You are loved outrageously by an outrageously loving God!

    (Love, by Jaeson Ma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73kZ6wBoqTk)

    ps. Read Luke 15. This is the Father’s attitude toward us, and relates perfectly to this post:

    Luke 15 (NLT)

    1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!

    3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

    8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

    11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

    13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

    17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

    20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[b]’

    22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

    25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

    28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

    31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

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    He is Love

    A message of hope for all who may despair and are in need of some encouragement today:

    LYRICS:

    If you can’t see past your pain and confusion
    If you feel alone and overwhelmed by what you face
    The circumstances of your heart feel too hard to navigate
    & you feel so very far, far away

    You’ve got to know there is joy beyond this heartache
    You need to see there is peace behind this storm
    It all can change in a moment with Jesus
    As his light steals the darkness away

    He is love, He’s all around you
    He is love, He’s come and found you
    Feel His loving arms surround you
    He is love, He is love, He is love

    And if you’re broken and bewildered
    And if you’re drowning in your pain
    And if the sadness of depression
    weighs you down every day… just know that…

    He is love, He’s all around you
    He is love, He’s come and found you
    Feel His loving arms surround you
    He is love, He is love, He is love

    He knows your name, He feels your pain
    He cares more deeply than you’ll ever know
    He knows your name, He feels your pain
    He cares more deeply than you’ll ever know

    He is love, He’s all around you
    He is love, He’s come and found you
    Feel His loving arms surround you
    He is love, He is love, He is love

    If you can’t see past your pain and confusion
    If you feel alone and overwhelmed by what you face
    If the circumstances of your heart feel too hard to navigate
    Jesus is here to heal you now, for He is love

     photo Despair_by_super_sheep.jpg

    So many of us are living lives of quiet (or not so quiet) desperation. We are desperate for a more meaningful life, more meaningful relationships, and most of all, for a love that we hardly even know exists or have only caught fleeting glimpses of. We soon forget these glimpses as we pursue distractions and other vain things to numb the pain, quench the longing, and occupy our restless minds.

    But, you and I were created by a loving God for the love of Jesus. Nothing else will satisfy our hearts. No one else will satisfy… except Jesus alone. Do you believe this?

    When I was in depression I came across a song that spoke to me. It lifted me out of my depression by reminding me that Jesus was with me and that made all the difference in the world.

    This song is my attempt to bring people comfort and encouragement and that you may come to believe that Jesus love really does make all the difference. He gives us a reason to live. He gives us hope where no one and nothing else can.

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