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Posts Tagged ‘Hymns’

Why didn’t I think of that?

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Have you ever had the experience of seeing something for the first time that has been right in front of you for many years?  I lived in a pink bedroom for a year once and didn’t notice it until my wife mentioned she was surprised I’d tolerated a pink bedroom for that year, granted it wasn’t hot pink, but I was still oblivious.

This has been happening to me a lot lately it seems.  In Louisiana we have these wonderful little creatures called Anoles, they’re a small lizard.  I’ve enjoyed watching them, getting them out of the house, once with his squirming little tail still left in my hand.  As I’ve watched them I’ve seen them do things that I’ve never stopped and said ‘Wow’!  Anoles are like chameleon’s.  They change color!  They can instantly change to blend into the background of where they are.  I’m not sure if they’d gotten into our pink bedroom that they would have had that ability.  Another amazing ability of the anole is what you can see in the picture.  The anole is ‘standing’ on the ceiling of our front porch.  I guess hanging is the more appropriate term.  Not sure what he’s hanging on.  The vinyl is very smooth.  If I’d reach up it’d scurry away upside down and change red as it hits the red brick on the house.  What we take for granted is truly amazing.  God, I believe, had designed these amazing little common creatures to confound us, and I’m sure many have as they ponder how they ‘adapted’ these abilities.

100_3236In case you’re not too impressed try hanging upside down from the ceiling in your living room!  Be sure to comment with video included in the comments section!

Something else I’ve not thought of lately is the lyrics of words that are on the radio.  I recall just out of high school I was driving with some of my high school buddies.  A song came on with a chorus of “feel like making love”.  Needless to say it wasn’t Christian radio, and really to that point in my transition to adulthood I sure hadn’t thought of what these words are really saying.  Well, it’s still happening to me with songs on the radio, now with Christian radio, or songs about Christianity on the radio.   A few years back it was a song with a line “I am a flower quickly fading”.  Well I hear something about me being a flower and I’m tuning out.  Give me songs with words like “Onward Christian Soldiers”, “A mighty fortress…” and my attention is fully engaged, but not some flowery song.  Well at youth group this song pops up on the powerpoint.  I listened in awe of these words.   The song is called Who Am I?  Here’s what the song says:

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart.

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are

What had been background noise on the radio as I scurried around in the car was enlightened by the Holy Spirit in my mind as I watched a roomful of junior highers sing these tremendous words.  How could I have missed this for years because I hear something about flowers and tune out?

Well I didn’t learn my lesson.  It happened again Saturday night.  We attended the last session of a wonderful conference called the CCDA.  The Christian Community Development Association is an organization that works with underserved and oppressed peoples around the world.   The CCDA has some family connections and is at least partially responsible for us moving to Baton Rouge.  One of the highlights of the conference are the times of joyous worship.  We sang another one of these radio songs Saturday night.  Just on in the background of my trips around town or in the house, I never stopped to hear the words.  But listen to these!

“Your Great Name”

Lost are saved; find their way; at the sound of your great name
All condemned; feel no shame, at the sound of your great name
Every fear; has no place; at the sound of your great name
The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of your great name
 Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; that all the world will praise your great name
All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of your great name
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of your great name
The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of your great name
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of your great name
Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; that all the world will praise your great name
Redeemer, My Healer, Almighty
My savior, Defender, You are My KingYou can watch it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCg3HU1jhVAWhen will I learn?  I wonder how many times I’ve heard this song before singing it Saturday night?  Probably more than 10.  A song that extols the amazing love and saving grace and might of Jesus Christ is just background noise?  I pray this won’t happen again, although it probably will.

One last realization I’ve recently had.  I am beginning my 20th year of teaching students in many challenging settings.  20 years, the number struck me.  God has sustained me for 20 years.  20 years ago I would have said I could not do this for 20 years.  I’ll just do my time for a year or two so that I can brag that I taught some tough kids for a couple years, then move on to one of the Glenbards or Wheaton schools and settle in for a nice comfortable career.  Except that’s not what happened.  Now I have acknowledged God’s role in all of this before this 20 year benchmark, but it struck me the other day.  20 years, not by my strength, but by His.  I know I can’t go on for another year doing this, but I do know that He will empower me to go on for many more years!  I’m young!  And I’m learning to see what He wants me to see!

Miss Mahalia Jackson

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

When someone has a unique or special talent she is often expected to use that talent to work for her own self promotion and success. Mahalia Jackson was one of those long recognized as having a talent that would gain her fame and fortune if she desired that.  And that was the conflict in her life.

Mahalia was the child of parents who both died at very young ages.  She was raised by an assortment of brothers, sisters, half siblings aunts and uncles.  Her grandparents had actually been slaves.  She dropped out of school earlier than someone probably should, but she knew she wanted to work.

At 16 Mahalia went north to Chicago.  She began to be noticed for her tremendous talent in singing.  She married, although frankly, marriage was a challenge for her.  Here’s what her first husband told her about her aspiring to sing gospel music:  “Halie, nobody can touch your voice. You’ve got a future in singing. It’s not right for you to throw it away hollering in churches. Woman, you want to nickel and dime all your life?”   Louis Armstrong came calling her name telling her she didn’t need to audition, he knew what she could do.

What Decca records, Louis and even her husband didn’t know was Mahalia had made a vow to God to sing gospel music.  She purposed in her mind to never stray from that path.  She forsook the riches of this world to serve her Saviour by “hollering in churches”.  She forsook the prestige of performing with some of the greats in Jazz.  What a great example to all of us!  You’re familiar with Jesus’ statement “what does it profit a ‘woman’ to gain the whole world but forfeit her soul?”

Of course her career path did lead to much recognition.  I’m not sure that it changed her much.  She sang at MLK’s funeral.  She was the first African American to perform at Carnegie Hall in 1952.  You’ve undoubtedly heard of her.  Listen to this beautiful rendition of “How Great Thou Art”.  Worship Him as you do and remember one of Black History’s greats!