That’s Good News Indeed!

Good News
by Wes King, on the album A Room Full of Stories (1997)

Well, I don’t want to hear
The latest gossip in this town
And I refuse to let the things
I can’t change bring me down
Whatever is lovely, holy and pure
Well, I will think on these things

Give me the sunshine
A blue night
A blanket of shining stars
Tell me the Good News
Now, sing Hallelujah
Christ in me
That’s Good News indeed
Good News indeed

Well, I have had more
Than my share of petty quarrelling
And now I long to join
In peaceful, hopeful harmonies
Whatever is good, honest and true
I will think on these things

Give me the sunshine
A blue night
A blanket of shining stars
Well, tell me the Good News
Now, sing Hallelujah
Christ in me

Give me the sunshine
Now open the curtains
And let me see
Well, tell me the Good News
And I’ll sing Hallelujah
Christ in me
That’s Good News indeed

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)

PS: Hey, is the commenting option shut off again? It’s awfully quiet on the blog again. If you don’t see a comment box when scrolling down below these words, click onto another of my past blog entries and let me know in another comment box. It’s been doing this to me a lot lately. I can fix it easily on my computer, but as I write this I am a few hours from home, typing on a phone.

Surprise Me!

Maybe the joy I get from secular music such as this will be exponentially increased in the new heavenly songs in our mouths as we all praise Jesus together, free from our earthly desires that are the norm here.  In heaven, what would we need to desire, for all will be full and perfect! I look forward to finding out what God has prepared for us who love Him.

In the 1980s, during my teen years, while I was getting ready for school, I’d usually play vinyl records on the turntable. I didn’t want to be the only one picking the music, though, and so sometimes I’d ask my sister to choose one.

She’d say, “I don’t know what to put on. What do you want to hear?”

Huh? What’s the joy in that? If I told her what I wanted to hear, that’d be the same as me picking the record myself.

I told her, “Surprise me!”

I liked all of the music in my and her record collection. Even if what my sister chose wasn’t one of my top favourites, I enjoyed it because my beloved sister was the one who set it up.

I was just thinking about that memory and comparing it to how it will be in heaven. Of course, my analogy is shallow and doesn’t fully grasp the enormity of what heaven is. The similarity lies in that I don’t know what to expect, but I know it will be good and I will enjoy it because the One who set it up is my Beloved.

I have a few ideas as to what heaven will entail, made familiar to me by the words of Scripture, but God does say that it will be beyond what I can envision. My imagination is pretty wild, and so I have faith heaven will be absolutely out of this world – literally – largely because sin and its destructive consequences will be gone forever.

So much is in God’s Word, but this one little piece is jumping out at me right now, in Ephesians 3:20…

“…Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…”

I looked up more info on the Greek word for “think”, and here’s what I found:

Info on the word “think” in Strong’s Concordance

It’s something to ponder, eh? (See what I did there? But really!)

Anyway, all this to say that I look forward to the surprise that God has in store, the details of which I cannot comprehend yet. I trust that it will be good, for all that I know of Him, from reading the Scriptures, has proven good.

Maranatha!

Reading and Writing

A “Taste of Home”. The man in the mural is Danny Lytton. He once came to my old farm to help round up a couple Belgian horses I was boarding for horse loggers. The Belgians didn’t want to leave. Danny was so good with horses, he managed to coax them to the trailer.

I’m sitting in my fave little local cafe (there are only two – one we call “The Dry Place” because the food is too dry for our liking and the coffee always tastes burnt, and this one my family and I call “Taste”, short for “Taste Of Home”, because we kept forgetting its real name years ago, which first was “One Another, A Coffee House”; then it was “Bicycle Tree”; and now it’s “Rise & Grind Coffee Shop”, but one of my sons calls it “the kaif”, phonetically pronouncing cafe that way because he plays with words like his mom does).

Ah, it sounds like Jim Croce (whom my son might call Jim Croas phonetically) singing over the speakers right now, something about a Georgia girl he hopes will take him back. Now Gordon Lightfoot is singing about how it would be if his love could read his mind.

While I sip a soy cafe au lait, I have been reading a book, the latest one I’ve bought. It’s a slow process because so many things I read in it remind me of points from my own Alaskan past, so I go make notes in my manuscript documents. That, and I make penciled notes in the book itself.

Here is a page from the abovementioned book, which is called “Alaska in the Wake of the North Star”. Having looked at the publisher’s website (Hancock House), I feel I should contact them about my book, as it seems to fit with a lot of what they have published.

I would love to know if anyone reading this also makes notes in the books they read. 🙂

Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days

Especially for my American neighbours, a photo of a turkey in my wood cookstove last month – Happy Thanksgiving to you!

As I woke up this morning, a song by The Judds ran through my head. It was one to which I’d listened many a time on my 40-minute drive to work in the early 1990s, but haven’t heard much since. The harmonies of that mother and daughter duo filled my head and my heart back then from a tape plugged into my bright red 1964 Chevy II’s cassette deck. Multiple cassettes in cases slid around the dashboard in front of me while I turned corners. The range and year of music heard in my car went from Mozart and Rachmaninoff to Metallica and Patty Loveless and multiple notes and tempos in between.

Cassette tapes are part of that “good old days” thing for me, but how much more nostalgia there is in years further back, even before my time, and not just regarding recorded music. I love reading and hearing about days of old. Some things were harder before “progress”, but the heart of earlier times sounds so much sweeter to me than the way the world has gone today.

And so I do what I can to give my life a sprinkling of olden days flavour.

I went to the kitchen with that song still in my head, got the fire started in the woodstove, mixed up a batch of cinnamon raisin bread dough (for a son who yesterday said he longed to try some), and while the dough was rising, I went to my desk to blog about these thoughts.

The lyrics to “Grandpa” are even more relevant today than they were when the song was released in 1986 – the year after I graduated from prison without bars high school. Here they are:

Grandpa
Tell me ’bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like
This world’s gone crazy
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
Where the line between right and wrong
Didn’t seem so hazyDid lovers really fall in love to stay,
And stand beside each other come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept,
Not just something they would say?
Did families really bow their heads to pray?
Did daddies really never go away?
Whoa oh Grandpa
Tell me ’bout the good old days
Grandpa
Everything is changing fast
We call it progress
But I just don’t know
And Grandpa, let’s wander back into the past
And paint me the pictures of long ago
Did lovers really fall in love to stay,
And stand beside each other come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept,
Not just something they would say?
Did families really bow their heads to pray?
Did daddies really never go away?
Whoa oh Grandpa
Tell me ’bout the good old days

And now, back to the kitchen I go, to add smaller dry wood pieces to the fire and open the dampers a bit more so the oven can come up to temperature. I must also roll out the bread dough, put it in a pan, and bake it. I anticipate our house smelling mighty fine in the near future, should the Lord leave me here on the earth that long.

And that was Day 5 of my Just Write Challenge. (Today and henceforth I won’t put the day number in the title field of my blog entry, as I don’t have any delusions that anyone but me is following or counting. I write because I enjoy it. This is my break from the gotta-do’s.)

Into Freedom

Some songs hurt too much to hear because someone I love has left their earthly body and gone to be with Jesus, and the song was special to them and to me. Memories fill in the spaces between the lyrics and blend with the sounds of the instruments, reaching out with silken tentacled arms that wrap around my throat and squeeze.

“Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison is at the top of the pain list for reasons of indescribable agony. I love it, but it is playing at a café where I am sitting and it is all I can do not to run outside and cry… yet, I am cemented to my chair with every note cutting into my soul.

I wonder if I am the only one so afflicted by songs heavily drenched with the spirit of someone beloved and missed.

This version by the Zac Brown Band especially tears my heart out. But I am going to be brave and listen, and know in the depths of my heart that I will again see my loved ones who died in Christ, better than before, singing, dancing, pain-free, sin-free, joyously free for eternity!

More posts in Holy Sheepdip on the topic of tears: here.

And a more pleasant topic, love: here.

Sweetest Song I Know

I can’t get enough of Armor Music Ministry’s a capella version of this song. Maybe you will like it, too.

“Sweetest Song I Know”

Verse:
I’ve heard them sing “He Paid The Price” and “Jesus Bore It All”
I’ve heard them sing  “I’m Coming Home” and “Hear The Master’s Call”
I’ve heard them sing the modern songs and songs of long ago
But, “Amazing Grace”, is the sweetest song I know

Chorus:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
No sweeter song could ever be found
And I’ve heard of a fountain filled with blood
But, Amazing Grace, is the sweetest song I know

Verse:
It was the song my mother sang in sweet and humble voice
Like music from the world above, it makes my soul rejoice
Those soothing words and melodies, like rippling waters flow
But, Amazing Grace, is the sweetest song I know

Chorus

Repeat chorus

(I dedicate this song to my friend, GeeDub. May it make him smile and dance.)

Dear Lady

No stairway built by man can assuredly carry us to God.

“Dear Lady can you hear the wind blow
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?”

The music of Led Zeppelin has moved me deeply since my early teens. I have, however, gone through years of trying not to love it, having assumed it to be “wrong” and “unGodly”. But it was what I felt I needed to do at that time.

Knowing that Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page, bought the former castle of Satanist, Aleister Crowley, gave me an unpleasant self-righteous jolt that I shouldn’t associate myself with such people.

I don’t want to know about what Aleister Crowley believed or what he did. I read a bit about him and it was enough.

But who am I to say that anyone else’s evil is worse than my own? I myself was born as a sinner like the rest of mankind ever since Adam and Eve. I, like anyone else, had the choice to believe what I heard and read about Jesus or to refuse.

Who of us is without sin?  Who of us is without need for reconciliation with God?  Some make that reconciliation – which only happens through Christ. Some haven’t yet.  Many have died without it and that is eternally sad.

I pray that the remaining members who participated in the band called Led Zeppelin accept Christ, if they haven’t already. And who knows, maybe the drummer who already died believed in his heart, maybe even in his final moments like the thief on the cross next to my Lord, that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Maybe John “Bonzo” Bonham is with Him. Maybe he’s playing the drums before Him. Maybe he’s jamming with Him! He who created us and our ability to excel in our skills must surely be the master of all the arts! I believe I will find out someday.

Even the most pious-seeming song-writers may have deep, dark, hidden wickedness in their lives. As Scripture points out, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. Even if we seem to be pure and good and clean, our good works are not what reconcile us with God: it’s Jesus who does that, and all we need do is accept that fact.

Sometimes music is the only thing that comes close to soothing me.  If it takes the recordings of Led Zeppelin to cause even a fleeting smile within me when I’m in the depths of despair and heartache, well, it’s a medicine that at this point I feel safe to take, regardless of what is or isn’t in the lives of the humans who orchestrated it.

I’ll close with some music from someone else’s interpretation of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, which Led Zeppelin covered nicely, too. Here is Glenn Kaiser’s version. I like how he adds this:

“Jesus, He taught me how to walk
If I don’t walk what Jesus taught
Nobody’s fault but mine”

(This post is from a pile of drafts that has accumulated over the years. It was originally started in January of 2013. I have a few other posts to do with Led Zeppelin, which may eventually show up in this blog.)

 

Simplify

It feels good to have everything out of my room,

with brand new carpet in place.

I almost don’t want to put stuff back,

 I’m happy to play in an empty space.

I didn’t mean that to be poetic, but it worked out that way.

On a related note, the song “Simplify” by Wes King comes to mind.

Should have talked it over
Should have thought it through
I think I might have bit off
A little more than I could chew
Well, I have got to get out
From underneath this weight
Or it’s gonna kill me

But the shining of the silver
The glimmer of the gold
Kept giving me a fever
But left me feeling cold
I’m right back in the middle
And if I don’t come out soon
Come in and get me

‘Cause I keep slaying all these dragons
But more keep coming
And I keep praying for this fight to end

Uh, oh, here I go
Wading through a lot of stuff you know
Juggling it all while I’m balancing on a wire
Slow down, I have found
Seems that every time I turn around
Got one foot in the muck
And another foot in the mire
Well, I’m scaling down
Pulling back, got to try
To simplify

I put my golden ring on
Unseen I went down where
War and peace collided
Inside the dragon’s lair
When pleasure is your master
Convenience is your key
Your heart’s divided

Well, I keep weighing
All these options
More keep a coming
And I keep straying
From the way I’m told

Uh, oh, here I go
Wading through a lot of stuff you know
Juggling it all while I’m balancing on a wire
Slow down, I have found
Seems that every time I turn around
Got one foot in the muck
And another foot in the mire
Well, I’m scaling down
Pulling back, got to try
To simplify

Removed by Music

Do you ever imagine, while driving, that you might die suddenly in a motor vehicle accident, and the loud music to which you were listening is still blaring from the speakers when too-late rescuers find you? Then they look at your phone and review recent track history to see what song was playing when you crashed. That song gets played at your memorial and your loved ones cry.

I envision it occasionally. I did today while driving from my house to the store.

Here I sit in my car, finishing the coffee I brought from home, letting my phone charge a bit before dashing in for groceries, and writing a blog entry.

“More Than A Feeling” by Boston plays on my car’s stereo. I dug that one out to download recently as my teenaged son is learning to play guitar and I thought he might like its intro. He’s always throwing songs my way that move him, and they re-move me as they are mostly songs that originally moved me, too, at his age, and continue in their movement now.

But back to the thought of being removed from this body while music plays. If it had happened on my drive to town today, it would have occurred during one of these tunes:

1. Don’t Come Around Here No More by Tom Petty

2. Put Another Log On The Fire by Tompall Glaser

3. Call Me The Breeze by Lynyrd Skynyrd

4. Travelin’ Shoes by Ruthie Foster

Then I parked and Starman by David Bowie came on. I could have been accidentally or purposely shot during that and have died as happily as during any of the previous songs.

Lady Gaga and some guy just sang “The Shallows” together, and now John Mayer is singing about how someone’s Body’s A Wonderland while his hands do the great things they do to a guitar.

Off I go to brave the grocery store. If I don’t make it out, pick some fine music to play in memory of me and enjoy the rest of your day.