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Jason Silver

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2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 |

Thoughts and Reflections on Scripture

2018

January February March April May June July August October November December

December

Friday, December 14th, 2018

I like the word "refuge." It evokes an image in my mind of a truly safe place, perhaps a secure fortress, or a secret hideaway– somewhere I can feel completely confident. For some reason, I think of big rock walls.

Then, when I connect the idea of my Father in heaven as this very refuge, I realize anew how he wants me to view my place in his love. He is my "rock."

We all have been there, laying awake at night, tossing and turning because of a careless word, a flared temper, a broken relationship. Maybe we've done something to cause an enemy to lie in wait for us.

The writer of this Psalm is so confident in his righteousness. He can't recall ever having done anything wrong. He hasn't repaid evil with evil, nor hurt his foe in anyway. He's willing to put it all on the line.

Probably most of us can't say we are completely innocent. At least we're not innocent without the Saviour's own blood acting as a perfect sacrifice!

The Psalmist may seem a bit vindictive, which I guess is understandable: we all would love to see justice done to our enemy. And yet the right response to our enemies is love.

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November

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Sometimes it seems so complicated to be a godly person. As humans we have a way of adding steps, rules, criteria, checkboxes to things in order to exert some sense of control over them... I think faith is no different-- we all want a sense that we're "doing it right." And yet, faith IS different, isn't it.

But this Psalm makes it pretty simple... do the things in this list, and you'll never be "moved"-- some translations have it "shaken," and the idea is that you'll be able to withstand whatever life hurls at you.

Do what's right, speak the truth from the heart, don't slander, don't do evil, don't speak badly of your neighbours, keep your promises-- do these things and you'll be rock-steady.

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Friday, November 23rd, 2018

In so many psalms, we hear the despair of the psalmist as he cries out to God for not hearing his cry, for letting enemies win, for not rescuing from danger.

But not this one! Here, king David is full of praise and thanksgiving! He sings of how God rescued him from the pit of desolation and despair. He can't help but sing a "new song," and spread the good news of his salvation.

As believers, we will all struggle with pain. It's part of being human, and faith in God does not exempt us from difficulties. What's different for those who believe is how we can respond to these trials: we can respond in faith and hope and trust that God loves us and is refining us to be more like him.

Let's join with David in telling everyone "in the great congregation" of the Lord's goodness. Let's share God's love with the world, by being loving ourselves!

Amen

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Friday, November 16th, 2018

I went to a funeral of a friend a few nights after writing this song, and as I stood among the mourners, these words echoed in my mind.

As I took in the eulogies, and watched the photo slideshows, heard his wife and kids cry, I was struck with how fleeting and temporary our lives are. While we are here, what are we going to do? Who are we going to love? How will we try to make this earth a better place?

There have been times when I've cried out to God to hear me, and to save me from my "enemies." I've asked him to save me from going down to the pit of despair, and to glorify his name through my life. Yet it hasn't always gone the way I wanted. In fact, many times it felt like I was crying out to a deaf ear, or worse still, wondered if anyone was there listening at all.

But I want to be like David; I think in every one of his Psalms, where he cries out in doubt and anger, he ends with a statement of faith. Yes Lord, you have turned my wailing into dancing; you have removed my "sackcloth" and clothed me with joy, so that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever!

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Friday, November 9th, 2018

One thing I love about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of Moses, David, Jesus, and me, is that he doesn't seem to mind our calling out to him in confusion and even anger.

For example, the first sentence of this Psalm: "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?" Obviously God will not forget us, but sometimes from our perspective it sure seems like he's moved on and left us in our pain and despair!

There's a taboo among many God-people that we shouldn't complain to God, and somehow just keep a faith that never questions or loses hope. Yet this is not how the great heroes of the Bible behaved!

Somehow they're credited with great faith because they demonstrated this anger, and this weakness!

It sure seems like God would rather we were real with him, than that we were super-spiritual and artificially confident. Faith is like hope- we hold on to it for all its worth, but it doesn't mean we don't doubt!

When our enemies rejoice in our bad circumstances, and when we are fighting sorrow and pain in our soul all day long, go get on your knees, and tell God how he's let you down! And then, like David in this Psalm, remember how God has dealt bountifully with you in the past, and worship him!

Amen!

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Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Foolishness is a subtle concept: to an atheist, we're fools for believing in a Creator, and yet to believers, atheists are fools for not believing.

Both can't be true. Although we live in a post-modern culture that says, "Oh yes it can," I have difficulty accepting that. It's binary: God is either real, or he is not.

I was hoping this Psalm might help us out, but David is being simplistic by saying atheists do abominable deeds. I know a few atheists who try very hard to live upright lives. They aren't obviously perverse, they aren't necessarily corrupt, and are actively trying to do good.

(Yes, I know all of our righteous acts are like dirty rags in God's eyes, but stay with me here...)

So we can't really rate an atheist on his deeds, at least outwardly. However, I consider her foolish because she has faulty logic: isn't there more to lose for an atheist if he or she is wrong?

This unbeliever might consider it a noble pursuit to hold a correct view, but that doesn't help him at all since he won't know if he's correct until he faces (or doesn't face) potential consequences of unbelief.

But for a believer, their noble pursuit, at least as Christians is to seek God's highest glory. They are to glorify him in all the earth, to love others unselfishly, to put others first, and themselves last.

That does seem like foolishness without the insight of God. But that's why I love it!

So I'll be a fool for God! How about you?

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October

Friday, October 26th, 2018

The videos I've included are taken from space, by NASA, and in my opinion, they're pretty amazing! To see our earth from a different perspective, from so far away, one really gets the sense of how insignificant we are in the vast cosmos!

But we're not insignificant to God! The Psalm writer asks: What is man that you are mindful of him? The son of man that you care for him?

And yet - you've made him just a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with honour!

I am so happy to be known by the creator! He cares for me, he knows me! I may be tiny, but to Him I am not insignificant.

How do you feel when you consider how small we are in this universe?

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Friday, October 19th, 2018

I can think of so many times when I called out to God, saying, "Please answer me, Lord!" Each time, it was a desperate prayer, from a desperate place.

Sometimes I felt shamed, other times, I sought justice. Most times I was angry, and convinced myself (true or not) that my anger was "righteous."

So this Psalm is perfect for me, and probably for you too– that is, if you're anything like the rest of us.

And as a result of seeking God and calling out to him, I can say with assurance that he has put gladness in my heart! It might have taken a dozen years, but looking back, there's no doubt where my hope comes from.

So I will lie down in peace, just like this Psalmist, and know that God is for me. Who could ever go against me with God as my ally?

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August

Friday, August 24th, 2018

It's kind of hard to appreciate how much "the law" is loved in Psalm 119. It goes against my instincts, this love of law.

Whether it's statutes, commandments, ordinances, precepts, or decrees, it seems like the Psalmist is really obsessed with rules! I can not relate.

However, one must take note that the rules of God are not like any other directive. Consider how Jesus summed up all the law: to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbours as ourselves!

These are laws motivated by love! Their purpose is to bring us long-life, happiness, comfort, and peace with those around us.

Once we fully submit ourselves to the ways of God, we will also see His word as a light, illuminating and guiding us through difficult times!

Amen.

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Thursday, August 16th, 2018

I find it interesting that this Psalm uses water metaphors such as "the flood," "the torrent," and the "raging waters," I suppose even "swallowed us up alive." It makes me wonder if David is writing about Israel's escape from Egypt when crossing the Red Sea.
Of course, this was way before David's time- but he's encouraging Israel to remember how they were saved in the past!

It brings up an important point that bears mentioning: we should all look back to the milestones in our faith-experience during times of difficulty.

Pain is going to happen; we will all have struggles, it's part of being alive. Using touchstones and memory markers during these troubles help us to hold our faith. (It has the added bonus of being a type of worship! We glorify God when we note the ways he's helped us in the past!)

I love to tell people the way my faith grew way back when I was a child. I asked God to answer little prayers, seeming insignificant and even selfish prayers, and he answered them! I asked him for ice cream! I asked him to help me find lost toys! And he did. My faith continued to grow, and I trusted him to act, even if the answer was long in coming.

What about you? What do you look back on in times of trouble? How do you remember God's faithfulness and saving power when you're in a bad place?

I'd love to hear from you!

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Friday, August 10th, 2018

1 Corinthians 13, a chapter in the Bible about love, is so well known as scripture read at weddings. It's so much more than just a few wedding verses. I'd like to share some of my thoughts today.

When I think about true love, children come to mind. A child's heart is so innocent, and their love is unblemished by disappointment and pain. You can see it in their eyes, as they look to their parents; a spark of something like adoration in their eyes. They just love, maybe by instinct.

From the other side, lets consider the love a parent has for their child. Yes, there are bad parents, but most would do anything, even give their life to save their children.

I remember the feeling of holding my tiny, vulnerable babies in my arms (we have four children), and feeling overwhelmed with waves of powerful emotions. We are given an opportunity to take part in creation, and the responsibility of caring for and protecting these little ones can weigh heavy on one's soul.

I think that's why it's such an appropriate comparison to call ourselves children of the heavenly Father. We are his babies, and he holds us in his arms, looking on us with compassion and love. How he'd like to gather us under his wings, as a hen gathers her chicks. We make a mess of our lives, but his love never changes. He is always there waiting to embrace us back into the family.

What is your relationship to the Father of love? Are you safe in his arms, or running away like a rebellious teenager, overcome by their pain and disappointment? Come home, and immerse yourself in the love of God.

Amen

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Friday, August 3rd, 2018

In 1996 my wife and I left our one year old son to travel to Ireland. At that time, with RiverDance high-stepping for audiences, Enya releasing regular albums, the Titanic Movie making a splash in theatres, and Celtic Worship playing a big part in church worship, Ireland was a popular destination!

We decided to visit after researching my genealogy. I was surprised and pleased to hear, that two branches of my family tree came from the emerald isle!

It was a moving, emotional experience. The landscapes alone seemed to beckon me to bring my family and settle down, among the green hills. The constant drizzle of rain was like the tears of ancestors, suffering through the pain of the potato famine. I climbed among the ruins of castles, feeling the mossy rock under my hand, as if I could absorb the life and memory of that place.

I recall listening to a busker, who was playing her cello on the Cliffs of Moher, her long hair blowing in the wind and her gaze fixed on some distant horizon! Waves battered the shore metres below! Dark clouds roiled on the horizon. Such mystical melancholy! Here I encountered thinkers and dreamers, so much like myself; I had an innate sense that I was among my own people, on my own land.

This is very much how it's like, for a person who finds themself with God, and with God's people. Brothers and sisters, united in Christ's love, finally back to the land of their origin!

But unlike Ireland, the castles and keeps are not in ruins! The keeper is God himself, wide awake and watching to protect us from all evil, to keep us from slipping, to hold us up from harm.

Are you part of this genealogy? If not, what are you waiting for? Your family awaits!

Amen.

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July

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Psalm 132 is pretty cool. Not only does it address David's special love for the Lord, and remind us of his desire to build a temple for Him, but it also recalls that God promised David that one of his sons would always be on the throne.

Of course, we (as believers in the arrival of the Jewish messiah, Jesus), know that this is ultimately true because David's descendant, Jesus, is on the ultimate throne, the throne of God himself!

But just in case you didn't pick it up from earlier segments, the psalmist ends the song by clarifying that he's actually talking about the messiah. He says,

"There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one. His enemies I will clothe with disgrace, but on him, his crown will gleam.’"

Oh David, thank you for your faithfulness and worship! Thanks for your honest heart! I love the thought of a mere human so pleasing to God, that such promises would be made!

I want to have the kind of heart that also seeks after God without any holding back.

God, like David, I want to build you a temple, a dwelling place for the mighty one of Jacob! I want my heart, and the hearts of my brothers and sisters to be your temple!

Please use us as you see fit to bring about your kingdom! May you come and reside among us for ever. Bless us; satisfy our poor with bread. Clothe our priests with salvation, and fill your faithful servants will shouts for joy!

Amen!

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Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Most of us know instinctively, that if we love someone for what they can do for us, it's not really love. It's more of a self-centered neediness, really; a selfish "love." In First Corinthians, Paul tells us that love is not selfish.

But the writer of Psalm 116 seems to have missed that bulletin. He says he loves the Lord, because the Lord has heard him, and has heard his "supplications," his "cry for mercy" as some translations put it.

That got me thinking a bit about the nature of our relationship with God, (or with anyone else for that matter). Who among us can really say we love unselfishly? I guess I have to admit that though I aspire to that, I'm not very good at it.

Other scripture says we love, because he first loved us. I think that's the truth of the matter, really. In our frail, less-than-perfect state, we love mostly as a response.

So how important, then, must it be for us to share God's love with the world. We have to really take it seriously.

If the world is to love God, then they have to know that God loves them, first. We have to make every effort to model God's love. We've got to show the world not the angry, judgemental, and stingy stereotype Christians are known for, but the reckless love that Jesus showed. We've got to be willing to give the shirts off our backs! We've got to go the extra mile! We need to let those without sin throw the first stone (in other words, no one!) We've got to be willing to put the weak first and the rich last! We need to be ready to give our very lives for love!

Who's with me? Who's ready to join God in reckless love!

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Friday, July 20th, 2018

I usually find it difficult to decide upon a background for these lyric videos. This week was no different. Part of my challenge was that in Judaism, Psalm 126 is sung in an upbeat, fast, joyous manner before the Grace After Meals on Shabbat, and numerous Jewish Holidays. (It was even considered to become the national anthem of the State of Israel).

This is definitely not an upbeat tune, and in fact, most would say it's pensive, and even somewhat sad. So, hoping that this was a leading of the holy spirit, I decided to follow my instincts, and use photos of people in deep emotional states.

The Psalm is nuanced, in my opinion – I would say it's more hopeful and expectant, than it is celebratory. Even the words, "May those who sow in tears, reap with shouts of joy," and "Those who go out weeping, ... come home with shouts of joy," demonstrates the challenges we all face in this life. Life can be full of wonders and pleasures, but it often seems like there is more heartache and anguish.

But what better answer to despair than expectant hope? My hope is in Jesus, the Messiah. Lord, save us.

Amen

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Friday, July 13th, 2018

We seem to be on a theme lately, with regards to giving thanks. Because this is one of my favourite topics as a worship leader, I'm going to use today's post to connect glorification of God with giving thanks to God.

We read in scripture that our ultimate ambition, joy, and satisfaction are all found through glorifying God, but how do we do that?

Many passages in the Bible remind us that we should seek God's glory, but since "glory" is kind of archaic language, I think many people haven't processed exactly what that means. How do we glorify someone who is already ultimately glorious? When we say, "Oh God, we give you glory," that seems redundant to one who has all the glory already!

I think it's like this: we glorify God when we ENJOY Him. (I didn't come up with this on my own- it was John Piper who first wrote of "Christian Hedonism.")

While that term seems slightly indulgent to me (and possibly prone to abuse), I do appreciate the concept. Piper summarized it with the phrase, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

Read that again.

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

Are we satisfied in God?

I think I can use my general attitude as a measurement stick. Am I fulfilled? Am I constantly longing for something else? Am I full of thanksgiving?

It's that last one that I want to highlight today.

If one fails to notice the beauty of the world around them, fails to appreciate the tastes, smells, sounds, and experiences of simply being alive, then I think that person is failing to glorify God.

As we enjoy the world, and remember to give thanks for it, we give glory to God! That is worship.

So you can see now why I think glorifying God is intimately connected with expressing thanks to God. When we notice, and appreciate God for the many things he's done, for the moments we experience pleasure, for the people who make us happy, that's when we glorify him.

That's what this Psalmist is doing today. He encourages us to thank God for his faithful and steadfast love, which never ends.

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Friday, July 6th, 2018

I trust in the Lord.

Over and again he's proven his faithfulness to me. He's answered little, teeny prayers. He's come to my rescue. He's helped me through difficult situations. He's blessed me in ways I don't deserve. He's provided for me financially when I was desperate.

Perhaps some would call these assurances mere coincidence, but not me.

This is the essence of faith for me: to find surety in the small things.

For example, last week I lost my wallet. Six days later, on Sunday the pastor mentioned it from the front– and asked the church to pray. I was beginning to despair that the cash was stolen, and that I would need to replace all my debit and credit cards, my government health card, and my driver's license. I'd been carrying a couple of gift cards around with me too!

But an hour after church, I'd found my wallet stuffed in the front of a shoe.

It's so easy to explain it all away. Yes, I put the wallet there. It wasn't some magic appearing act God accomplished. Perhaps I would have stumbled onto it eventually (I don't wear these shoes often as they're kind of uncomfortable). I could choose to not build my faith, and just explain it all away.

But where's the fun in that? And more importantly, where's the faith in that?

Those who don't have much faith sometimes ask for a sign, so that their faith will grow. But the problem, in my opinion, is that these people don't see the signs that are all around them every day! If they only credited God with the little, teeny answers to prayer, they'd find themselves full of faith!

I pray that God builds our faith even more, so like a mountain, we can never be moved!

Amen.

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June

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

I love verse four of this Psalm, and I suspect it's the key to the rest of the song! Verse four tells us to seek the Lord, and to seek his strength, and to seek his presence CONTINUALLY.

What would happen to our lives, I wonder, if we were to really seek his presence not just on Sunday mornings when we're in church, but CONTINUALLY? How would our lives be transformed? What would be different about how we interact with other people?

Imagine being so aware of the presence of God that you could honestly and passionately celebrate his judgements! At least for me, judgements and celebration don't really seem to go hand-in-hand. First of all, I don't think I want to be judged (without the blood of Jesus clearing the way, anyway), and second of all, it doesn't seem right to relish in judgement against someone else.

But if we're so full of God's presence, so aware of his deeds among us, mindful of all the wonderful works he's done, then we'll truly know the loving character of our God! His judgements will seem beautiful to us, because we'll know the compassion and constancy behind them!

Remember, God will never forgot his covenant, the one he commanded for a thousand generations, the one he made with Abraham, and his sworn promise to Isaac, and confirmed with Jacob!! We will inherit the land!

Amen

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Friday, June 15th, 2018

My daughter Rosie has a hamster named Angela Vanilla Peach. She's the cutest little thing, often busy carrying her bedding from place to place, running through the little maze we've connected to her cage, through the tunnels and pipes which join the different parts together. It's fun watching her go about her day, with a purpose beyond my understanding.

It's a microcosm of this whole world, a tiny example of what's happening over every square inch of this earth. Life is everywhere, and every lifeform has a purpose to live, to store up for winter, to procreate, to eat, and maybe even other things that I could never guess.

Isn't it amazing? All of this life is glorifying God by its complexity, it's pleasure in the mundane, it's mere existence!

I worship with the Psalmist: this is a beautiful world we live in! Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!

I'd love to hear how you worship our God through your "mere existence."

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Friday, June 8th, 2018

I wrote a song a long time ago called, "Lift Your Head Up," and in the lyrics, I contemplate how such a simple act as looking up– getting your eyes off the ground, noticing the beauty around you, looking into people's eyes– how this simple act can have a positive impact on your emotional state.

This Psalm goes a step further. It reminds us to keep our eyes on God just the way a servant or a maid might look to their respective masters, "until he has mercy on us."

Another metaphor that comes to my mind, is my dog, Buttons. I don't let him jump up on the furniture without being invited, and sometimes I make him wait a long time before that invitation comes. Oh, how he looks at me, keeps his eyes on me, waits for that call of mercy. His eyes plead, his attention is unwavering.

Are you in need of God's mercy? This Psalm reminds us: keep our eyes on our Master, waiting for that mercy-call.

When you've had your fill of contempt from those around you, when you're tired of the disdain and scorn from the proud, who never seem to suffer, keep your eyes on He who is full of mercy, and don't give up your pleading.

Amen.

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Friday, June 1st, 2018

I like the word refuge.

If you search for the origins on Google, you'll see that it comes from Latin, where "re" and "fugere" mean "back" and "flee" respectively. The words "fugitive" and "refugee" are related, and the sense of those words helps you get an idea of the original source word.

One of my favourite sites, Etymonline.com has this to say:

"shelter or protection from danger or distress," late 14c., from Old French refuge "hiding place" (12c.), from Latin refugium "a taking refuge; place to flee back to," from re- "back" (see re-) fugere "to flee" (see fugitive (adj.)) -ium "place for."

I can agree enthusiastically that God is my shelter and protection from danger and distress. He is my hiding place. I'm a refugee, a foreigner on this earth.

From time to time one hears naysayers downplay religion and faith, and especially Christianity perhaps, as being a "crutch." The insinuation is that if one was strong, if one was able to stand on their own two feet, then they wouldn't need religion.

I don't mind saying I'm weak. I'm the first to agree that I cannot stand on my own. I've proven to myself that I make poor choices when left to my knee-jerk ways.

Does that make me crippled, inferior, in need of a crutch? Absolutely. And what better refuge that a God of love, the creator who calls himself our Father?

There is none better.

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May

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Why Should I Be Joyful?

We've all been in the place where happiness is hard to come by, difficult to imagine, and generally a foreign concept. Whey things aren't going the way we want them to, when our "determined will" hits a brick wall, and everything seems to be out of our control, that's when we can sink into sadness and find it difficult to identify with that "Joy, joy, joy, joy, down in our hearts!"

Of course, you already know this, you've probably heard it many times: happiness and joy are not synonymous. Depression and circumstantial sadness can make it hard to connect with joy.

Lately I've felt joy, even though there have been some difficulties in my life, and this Psalm reminds me why! Because I "know that the Lord is God." I know that he made me, that I am his, that we are all his people, in his care like a shepherd caring for a flock. We're safe.

And so I will give thanks, and come into his house, praising his name.

He his faithful! His love is "steadfast," – unchanging, loyal, dependable.

Why SHOULDN'T I be joyful?

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Friday, May 18th, 2018

Have you ever thought about how weird clapping is? We slap our hands together, either in unison, or in a chaotic approach we call applause, and somehow we all know it means "yay!"

I kind of love it! I'm not sure if other animals do this - trained seals clap, and trained apes, but it appears to be a uniquely human thing as far as I could find out in my quick research.

Clapping has a way of waking up a room. We all love to be celebrated and affirmed, and applause is a universal way of telling people we approve.

So how much more important is it, then, to applause our creator-God, the great lover, who has given us more than we could ever hope for or imagine!?

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Friday, May 11th, 2018

I have only seen the aurora borealis a few times, but each time, it inspires a quiet awe in me. The heavens seem to be burning, a cascade of energy washing the sky with colour.

It could almost be a metaphor for the work of God in us- like a fire, burning away the useless parts, the bright light from the flames exposing our dark, secret places - those areas so in need of the healing power of God. And the resulting illumination reflecting the colour and beauty of the character of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Fires are gathering places. Whether it's a building, or a campfire, people are drawn to them, staring into the flickering flames, mesmerized by the power, the devastation. In a similar way, when God burns in us, filling us with his energy, light, and love, we become not just a curious attraction, but a refuge of warmth and safety.

Remember the burning bush which Moses encountered in the desert? Just imagine seeing a strange glow in the distance, beckoning you. Upon arriving, you realize that the burning is a living thing, not consuming the bush, as much as bathing it, highlighting it, caressing it. Then the bush speaks! It would be terrifying!

God, fill us with your fire. Consume the dross, refine the silver and gold within us. Make us a beacon to the world. Help us to warm the earth with our love and tenderness. Help us to love.

Amen.

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Friday, May 4th, 2018

I remember when I was in college, there was another song based on this Psalm - I wonder how many other people remember it?

The lyrics, as best as I can recall, are:

Great is the Lord,
And greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
On the mountain of His holiness.
Beautiful for situation,
The Joy of the whole earth
'Tis mount Zion on the sides of the north,
The city of the great king...
'Tis mount Zion on the sides of the north,
The city of the great king.

Do you remember that one? It has the typical bounciness of worship "choruses" that we used to sing in the 70's and 80's. It seems a tad "trite" to my ears, nowadays.

It's interesting to note that every era, every decade even, has it's own style of worship song. The chords, the melody, the structure of the songs, the types of lyrics -- it all seems to change from one year to the next.

There are some who feel like giving in to this cultural shift in worship music is somehow akin to backsliding, but for me personally, I find it helps to keep my attention to the subject matter. Once a song is known by heart, it's a lot harder for me to connect to it emotionally, or to rediscover things about the words and meanings that will break through my crusty exterior.

I realize it's not true for everybody. Some people still tear up when they hear "How Great Thou Art" for the 500th time. Some songs do have amazing staying-power, and I love that hymn. But for most of us, we need to change our perspective, to take a look at those words, those ideas from another vantage point from time to time.

Thanks to all who support my ministry! Much love to you!

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April

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

This section from the letter to the Philipians in the Bible is thought to be an ancient hymn of the church. Unfortunately the melody is lost, but I thought it would be a fun challenge to put it to a new tune, and to make it singable enough to be used in worship.

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Friday, April 20th, 2018

I was thinking about the word revival today. It's kind of an old word, it's not a word I really hear much outside of the church, and at least in my church circles, I almost get the sense it's a tired word there too.

I don't know why exactly (and please understand that this is just my intuition, and not necessarily grounded in facts or anything like that)– but for me, when I hear the words "revival meeting," it hearkens back to the old fashioned music my grandparents listened to. I recall fire and brimstone sermons, guilt trips, and not all of those memories are pleasant.

But the sense of the word– to be revived in my faith and faith-practice, well, that's something I think most Christians would want. I know I do!
I would love to see the culture at large embrace Christianity again, and to fall on their knees in tears, admitting to their sins, and seeking forgiveness from the ones they've wronged. I'd love to see a fire of faith sweep our nation, and to sweep all the nations of the world!
Right now, though, in many places throughout the world, Christianity is viewed as a negative thing. Sometimes the label fits, but as one seeking person recently told me, they're surprised by how loving and friendly their new Christian friends are.

A few bad apples may be giving us a unfair reputation, but there are spiritual forces at work that don't want God's love to be known. These forces want the masses to believe that God's people are actually evil, and that evil is actually good!

So I sing with the Psalmist today, "Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved."

Amen!

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Friday, April 13th, 2018

Yesterday I went for a hike at a nearby conservation area, and videoed this beautiful scene, along with a few others I plan to use in the future.

This song has been recorded before, back in 2014. I decided to remaster it, and tweak some parts, adding some 'pads' and a 'synth lead' part.

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Friday, April 6th, 2018

This Psalm is very interesting to me simply because in most English translations, the second half is so hard to understand.

In coming up with the lyrics, I read many English translations before I finally found one that seemed to make a little sense. Maybe it's just me being dense, and you'll say you have never had a problem making sense of the words.

I finally settled on a translation that isn't terribly popular: Today's Living Bible. Since nearly every song in my collection uses the New Revised Standard Version, I felt a bit guilty for going this way, but I would rather a song that made sense.

It's actually quite beautiful, isn't it? It seems fitting too, in a day-and-age when Jerusalem and the nation of Israel are so often slandered by the media and those outside the Christian or Jewish religion.

God bless you!

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March

Friday, March 30th, 2018

I entitled this "But I Will Trust in You," because it is the last line of the Psalm; but up until that line, the writer complains to God about many concerns. He has concerns, such as the oppression and fraud in the city, the evil ones who would destroy what is good. The psalmist writes that he wishes he could fly away like a dove, and rest in the branches of the wilderness, away from all that is wrong with the world.

But he will trust in God.

He'd love to hurry away to some place safe, away from the raging storm.

We can all relate, right? We live in a corrupt world, where lies are truth, and truth are lies. We are faced, each day, with dishonesty and even backstabbing. Our own friends, with whom we worship, can be the ones who try to destroy us.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you O God, will cast them down to the lowest pit, the bloodthirsty and treacherous will not live out even HALF their days... but I will TRUST IN YOU.

Amen.

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Friday, March 23rd, 2018

There's something so beautiful, and visual in this Psalm - it's really short, but it's full of lovely imagery, isn't it?

I can just imagine Aaron, Moses' brother, dressed in his priestly robes. I can visualize his long wiry beard, a mix of nervousness and confidence in his face as he's anointed with oil and prepares to enter the holy of holies.

And the notion in this Psalm of living together in unity, and that unity being like the anointing of a priest- well, that's pretty thought provoking as well!

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Friday, March 16th, 2018

For some reason, iTunes and Spotify and the other music sites didn't have the whole recording of Psalm 34, so I decided this was a good time to remaster this song, and upload it again. That way I could maybe catch up with my one-song-a-week schedule.

I added a classical guitar part, tuned up some bad intonation, and added drums for the last two choruses. Then I had it professionally mastered. Overall, I'm quite happy with the song's improvements.

I love the notion that looking to God causes "radiance!" As we put our face toward God, his image will be reflected in us, shining on us!

I pray that I never take my eyes off our Creator! I want to express his love everywhere I go. I want to be radiant with grace and peace and love.

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Friday, March 9th, 2018

The first time I recorded this, I did it live at my old acoustic piano, and videoed it. I thought it was a pretty enough song, that it deserved a better recording, and to be uploaded to iTunes and other music sites.

I like the refrain in this one- it's strong and resolute; there's something positive and anticipatory about it. "But I trust in you, I say ‘You are my God.’

How many times have I felt the need for God's peace? Often I've felt like I was wasting away from grief, the scorn of my enemies, people scheming together to undermine me! To be able to sing out, at the top of my lungs, that I choose faith and trust! it's beautiful.

Will you join with me in this song of praise?

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Friday, March 2nd, 2018

There was a moment this week when I felt really stupid. I did something– behaved in such a way so that I embarrassed myself. Perhaps the others with me didn't notice, but I noticed.

Have you ever done that? Have you ever felt ashamed of your behaviour? I think we can all relate.

For a few hours I couldn't stop praying. I just felt the prayer bubbling up inside myself. It wasn't always a conscious prayer, but it was an acknowledgement of my dependence on God. I am one of his representatives in this world, and realize that's not always a good thing.

It reminds me a lot of the first half of this Psalm. "Lord, don't let me be shamed! Deliver me and rescue me, hear me, save me, be a refuge for me!

The first half of this Psalm isn't so unusual. It's a pretty typical cry for help. But the second half of the Psalm is something that really stands out (at least to me)! This is why I entitled the song "Proclaim." The writer continues to say the many ways he will tell of God's goodness:

"I ... will praise you yet more and more."
"My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all day long,"
"I will come praising the mighty deeds of the Lord God,"
"I will praise your righteousness, yours alone."
"...and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds."
"...I proclaim your might to all the generations..."
"I will also praise you with the harp..."
"I will sing praises to you with the lyre..."
"My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you;"
"All day long my tongue will talk of your righteous help..."

Pretty neat, eh? I think of all the times we each struggle with enemies, internal and external. It makes me wonder if part of our proclamation is actually our very struggles, our flaws, our weaknesses?

I certainly hope so, because God knows I have lots of them!

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February

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

We may not be living in the trials of those ancient people of Israel, who had their temple overrun, their holy places desecrated, their priests slaughtered, killed and fed to the birds; but there is a different type of desecration we all face as God's people. Every day we endure taunting of a more subtle kind.

I'm not one to get up on a soapbox concerning the evils of the world, but let's face it: to be a Christian in many places on earth nowadays is to be mocked. We are all lumped in with the very worst legalistic, and hedonistic representatives of our faith; (and I use that word "representative" in a sarcastic manner).

One example, we see it regularly on television shows: the pastors are most often portrayed as having grievous, hidden sins; the average church goer is shown as naive and blind to the truths of the world; Christian men are shown as impotent and absent; Christian women are shown as busy-bodies, or fatally submissive. These caricatures seem to give permission for the nonbeliever to stand in judgement of all Christians everywhere for their general "silliness."

O God, your new holy temple, the people, are being defiled. We have become a taunt to our neighbours, mocked and derided by those around us. Will you be angry forever? Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?"

We look forward to the day when we your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise!

Amen.

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Friday, February 16th, 2018

This Psalm is full of a lot of really nasty wishing... when David wrote it, he must have been in a bad mood. He hopes his enemies days are few, that his prayers are counted as sin, that his children will be beggars in the streets-- it goes on and on.
Despite it's sour topic, there is a lot to like about this Psalm. It's a perfect Psalm to sing when it seems your enemies are closing in on you, slandering you, taking advantage of you.

I think the haunting, almost story-like melody really fits well for this one. It's not exactly "catchy," and yet there's something compelling to it.

So enjoy, but I hope you don't find yourself needing to sing it anytime soon! :)

Blessings.

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Friday, February 9th, 2018

"Vengeance is mine, says this Lord."

The above quote is well known, and often quoted - it can be found in Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:17-19.

35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
Their foot shall slip in due time;
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things to come hasten upon them.’

- and -

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

But just because we say it, just because we read it and nod our heads, well that doesn't mean we live it. Are there people in your life for whom you wish God would bring swift revenge?

I asked myself that question. When I considered revenge toward those difficult people in my past, I immediately hesitated, because there are probably people whom I've offended, hurt, or disappointed who wish revenge upon me as well. That's a sobering thought, isn't it? It might not be true, but it's possible.

I think a humble, honest attitude can go a long way to finding peace in this world. I've never been perfect, and I'm certainly not innocent.
The Psalmist in this passage is aroused by the injustice around him: the widow killed, the stranger accosted, the orphan murdered. He sees the cocky bravado of these offenders who say, "God doesn't see any of our behaviour."

Oh Lord, show this godless generation that you are listening. You do know. You want to bring us to yourself, restore us, make us more loving and peace-seeking.

May it be true!

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018

This is another Psalm which asks God to rise up and take notice, to not be silent, but to come to the rescue.

By the long list of nations included in these lyrics, it's evident that Israel was in a bad situation. Enemies were on every side, and there was little hope-- the only hope they could find was in their God, who as it turns out, is faithful and true! A perfect place in which to rest.

Are your enemies closing in around you? Trust in the Lord, God, maker of heaven and earth, and in his Son, Jesus.

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January

Friday, January 26th, 2018

I can't imagine how these ancient people of Israel felt when their temple was invaded while they were at worship. The Babylonians came upon them with axes and hammers. Nothing was sacred, no item left unsmashed or unreviled. They were carried off into exile, and it must have appeared to them that their God was ignoring them, or had forgotten his promises to them. What explanation could there be to answer for God's silence?
There have been quite a number of times when I've cried out to God, asking him "Why!? Why have you cast me off? Why are you ignoring my plight?" All I heard back was silence. I remember as a kid, feeling scared and helpless; as a young teen feeling lonely and abandoned, as a twenty-something, a thirty-something, a forty-something... and I fully anticipate this to continue for the rest of my life.

What does change as I get older is my trust that God's silence doesn't mean he's not there, nor does it mean he doesn't care for me.

God has promised that he will never leave us nor forsake us. He is truly always there for us, despite how things may appear at the time.

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Friday, January 19th, 2018

Have you ever had a bad day? Who hasn't, right?

The writer of this Psalm was certainly having a bad day! He lists the many things going wrong in his life: his stricken heart, his burning bones, too wasted to even eat, groaning, thin, alone, can't sleep, and all the time taunted by his enemies.

I feel for this poor guy, but I actually relate. I've had days like this myself, and the despair is immobilizing.

But as he speaks, he turns things around so that instead of focusing on his own pains and distress, he begins focus on God. He says, God, you're enthroned forever. Your name endures, you will rise up and have compassion. He recognizes Gods faithfulness and justice, and asks for God to intercede now.

I invite you to do the same; don't stop in your despair, but turn your heart to God, and acknowledge what you know to be true and right about God.

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Friday, January 12th, 2018

Deep waters, coming up to my neck, my feet stuck in mire, unable to move - this gives me a panicky feeling just thinking about it!

Then I imagine not being able to find a good foothold, tired, thirsty, barely able to see, and now my enemies are plotting, and accusing me of things I haven't done!

It's a pretty bleak picture.

When we feel stressed and worried, we should take the example of David, and turn to God. We don't have to have our life all together, or to be perfectly holy in order for God to help us! As it says in verse 5, God knows our folly, and the wrongs we've done are not hidden from him. He will rescue us, he will bring us his peace.

So put your trust in God! There's no better time than right now. Don't wait a moment longer.

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Friday, January 5th, 2018

In the society we live in now- at least in the western world, most people believe that faith in God is a waste of time.

Many people say they believe in God, and support the idea that there's apparent order to the universe. But getting from that place, to the point where you'd want to place *trust* in God; and to order one's life by religious principles-- well that's not as popular a notion.

On one hand, I understand; we're all so distracted in this society. We've got lots of other things to do; and we're inundated with reasons to disbelieve, told that faith in God is an uncivilised, ignorance-based position; we're regularly shown caricatures of "Christians" who turn their back on love, on gentleness, who seem to be more angry than peaceful.

Another popular strategy: I often hear the complaint that since God allows such injustice in the world, he's not much of a god. I find it interesting that our own inner sense of right and wrong, put there by God himself, is what we use to judge Him!

But the fact of the matter is, God cares very much for those on the fringes of society. This whole Psalm lays out God's heart. He's the father of orphans, the protector of widows! He provides a home for the desolate, he leads the prisoners to prosperity! He gave rain in abundance, He provides for the needy!

David goes on and on describing this wonderful God, the mighty Lord of Israel.

So don't wait, be counter-cultural! Put your faith in him and invite him to fill you with peace, hope, joy, and love. Let God Rise Up in your life!

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