Archive for June, 2015

God’s Kingdom is forever

June 30, 2015

Zechariah 14-9The Verse of the Day for June 30, 2014 is taken from Zechariah 14:9 (NLT)

And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped.

This verse brings to mind that not only shall the Lord be king over all the earth, but “of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Other scriptures also proclaim that “of his kingdom there shall be no end,” as Revelation 11:15 makes known:

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.

Throughout the Old Testament God establishes His unique relationship with Israel who are an integral part of the Kingdom of God.

Isaiah 54:5

For your Creator will be your husband;
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.

The Book of Daniel also reveals this truth:

Daniel 2:44

During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.

Daniel 4:3 proclaims:

How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

A similar declaration was also made in Daniel 7:13-14:

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

In 1 Chronicles 17:11-12 we find a similar pronouncement regarding the throne of the everlasting kingdom of the Lord:

And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.

He shall build me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.

Ron Kenoly offers a stirring rendition of “Ancient of Days” which proclaims “Your kingdom shall reign over all the earth . . . your kingdom shall not pass away. . . O Ancient of Days.”

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The Lord will work out his plans for my life

June 29, 2015

Psalm 138--8The Verse of the Day for June 29, 2015 reveals the Psalmist’s confident expectations toward God along with a personal request:

The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

The rendering of the verse in the New Living Translation also brings to mind another passage from Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NLT).

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

This section of scripture is graphically illustrated in the following video:

Although the words of Jeremiah were specifically addressed to Israel concerning their release from Babylonian captivity after seventy years, we recognize the truth expressed in Romans 15:4:

Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.

The prophetic word from Jeremiah can certainly have personal application, in that the plans that God has for each of His children are no less magnificent than those He has for the Children of Israel.

As we ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead us and teach us all along the path that unfolds as a shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). The assurance that the Lord will work out his plans for my life, as the Verse of the Day declares, along with the encouraging words of Jeremiah 29:11-14 also inform us of God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”, so that we need have no fear for our future.

Damaris Carbaugh shares “I Know the Plans” (Debby’s Song) a musical reminder of Jeremiah 29:11

Prayer for patience

June 28, 2015

NASB_2_Peter_3-9

The Verse of the Day brings to our remembrance that God is faithful to fulfill each of His promises.

2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

At times it may appear that our Father is slow when He does not respond to our requests when we think that He should. Just as God is patient, He instructs us to be patient. We must remember that God may not be early, but He is never late. Just as God is being patient toward us, we are, likewise, encouraged to be patient:

Hebrews 10:36 in the Amplified Bible puts it this way:

For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

In a previous blog entry, I discussed patience in light of the Greek word hupomone which is translated endurance, perseverance, steadfastness. As a verb, hupomeno is rendered to abide, endure; to stay under, to undergo, to have fortitude, to persevere.

James 5:11 provides an excellent example of both the verb hupomeno and the noun hupomone in a particular individual who embodies the character trait of patient endurance. The King James Version offers this rendering which contains a familiar phrase that encompasses the character trait most often associated with Job:

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

The Book of Job demonstrates the compassionate and merciful qualities of God, who is patient and who rewards those who demonstrate “patience.” A number of years ago I heard a statement from Graham Cooke regarding patience, and his words who inspired this poem:

A Prayer for Patience

“My suggestion for people in a season of birth or upgrade                                                                                                                                

is to write out a prayer for patience and pray it every day.”  

Graham Cooke

 

For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance,                                                                  

so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God,                                                   

and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

Hebews 10:36 (Amplified Bible)

I look back and pause and then look ahead to see

Clearly who God is, who He wants to be for me.

I still journey down the road less traveled by

And pray that patience may serve as a trusted ally.

I must say “No” to the pressures of this life

And say “Yes” to the rest God gives, despite the strife.

As I stay my mind on Him, I abide in peace.

When I praise God, works of the enemy decrease.

May I remain and not fall by the wayside as some

But like Job wait until at last my change shall come.

Patient endurance seems delayed for some reason,

But fruit abounds to those who wait in their season.

I pray that in this time of transition and shift

That I embrace waiting as a wonderful gift.

Love your neighbor as yourself

June 26, 2015

Leviticus 19-18The Verse of the Day for June 26, 2015 is found in Leviticus 18:19 (NLT):

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Leviticus, the third book of the Pentateuch, literally means The Book of the Law and indicates how the Children of Israel should conduct their lives in relationship to God, to one another and to the wider community. The phrase “I am the Lord” serves as a reminder of the source of the pronouncements that are made throughout the Book of the Law. In chapter 19 the phrase is used not only to punctuate verse 19, but the expression is the final phrase of fourteen additional verses.

The familiar phrase “love your neighbor as yourself” is part of the Ten Commandments, being part of the opening relationship establish in the Decalogue, whereby Israel was commanded to love God first and foremost and then to love others to the same degree as they love themselves.

When Jesus Christ is confronted by the Pharisees in Matthew 22:36-40, they conspired to trap him with a question:

36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

In a familiar account in Luke 10, the Lord Jesus, responds to a similar situation whereby the rich, younger ruler asks what must he do to inherit eternal life. He answers his own question when Jesus Christ asks, “What does the Law say?”

The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

When Jesus told the young man to “Do this and live,” the man seeking to justify himself, asked, “Who is my neighbor?” That question provides the introduction to one of the most familiar parables of the Gospel, “The parable of the Good Samaritan.”

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

When I think of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, I recall teaching in a summer program more than a dozen years ago where we explained the parable and connected it to the virtue of compassion and taught the children this song:

I Want to Touch the World with Compassion

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Whatever I give to others, it shall be given back to me,

Not just the same but to an even greater degree.

Lord, help me to be merciful.

May I see with the eyes of Jesus.

Lord, I want to walk in the steps of Jesus

And always be loving and kind.

May I reach out my hand to others,

To heal broken hearts and give sight to the blind.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

I want to do whatever I can.

I want to be like the Good Samaritan.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

I want to do whatever I can.

I want to be like the Good Samaritan.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

Lord, help me touch the world with compassion.

Even more amazingly, today, June 26, is National Forgiveness Day, a day set aside to forgive and to be forgiven. In light of the unfolding circumstances surrounding the response to the brutal slayings of the nine men and women at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, the Verse of the Day is certainly well-suited.

Click here to read about the response in Charleston as a prelude to National Forgiveness Day.

God is faithful and will deliver

June 24, 2015

2 Thessalonians-3--3The Verse of the Day for June 24, 2015 brings to mind exactly who God is and tells us precisely what He will do:

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NLT)

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

Throughout the Bible we see the faithfulness of God, who never fails to deliver those who serve him.

In the Old Testament some form of the verb palat, the Hebrew word for “deliver,” is translated “to pluck out of the hands of an oppressor or enemy; to preserve, recover, remove; to deliver from danger, evil, trouble; to be delivered, to escape.” Note how the term is used in Psalm 31:1-5 in the New Living Translation:

O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.

In the New Testament the Greek verb ruomai is translated “to draw or snatch to one’s self from danger, to rescue, to deliver.”

In the poem “Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord, “my personal testimony expressed poetically, I make reference being rescued from of a horrible situation:

With lovin arms you reached way down

And snatched me from Satan’s outhouse,

Sought me and flat-out rescued me,

Fixed me up in my Father’s house.

The Verse of the Day uses the expression “guard you from the evil one.” We recognize a similar phrase in the prayer that the Lord Jesus Christ spoke before his crucifixion:

John 17:15 (New Living Translation)

I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.

We are, of course, familiar with closing words of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13 from the King James Version:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

The New Living Translation renders the verse this way:

And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

Although we may not know exactly how God will rescue us, we are assured that He is faithful and will do what He promised, as the following poem reveals:

Just How God Will Deliver Us

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves,

that we should not trust in ourselves,

but in God which raises the dead:

Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver:

in whom we trust that he will still deliver us;

1 Corinthians 1:8-9

Just how God will deliver us we do not know,

But of His unfailing love and power we are sure:

He can send a raven and command a widow

To sustain Elijah and all who will endure.

Though He may not be early, God is never late.

We rest in knowing that our Father is faithful,

As we trust Him, learning to labor and to wait.

For each promise fulfilled we are ever grateful

And express our gratitude in word and in deed.

We sense there never was a more perilous time

But keep walking by faith wherever Christ may lead,

For grand mountain vistas await the ones who climb.

The hand of the Lord brought us thus far along the way,

And we shall finish our course is all we have to say.

Galatians 1:4 in the Amplified Bible also reminds us of  the fulfillment of God’s plan through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah):

 Who gave (yielded) Himself up [to atone] for our sins [and to save and sanctify us], in order to rescue and deliver us from this present wicked age and world order, in accordance with the will and purpose and plan of our God and Father—

The closing poem from a series of teaching entitled “A Five-fold Prayer,” reinforces the message that God is faithful and that He will deliver, just as He promised:

As children run to safety in their father’s arms,

So we, too, run to you, “our shelter from life’s storms.”

Our buckler, shield, deliverer, and our fortress,

Strong tower, defender, who responds to our prayer.

For Lord, you are faithful, who will establish us

And protect us and deliver us from evil.

The contemporary musical group Third Day offers this powerful reminder: “Our Deliverer is Coming.”

Wait on the Lord

June 23, 2015

Isaiah 40-31One of my favorite passages from the Old Testament is taken from the closing verses of Isaiah 40, where we find the Verse of the Day for June 23, 2015. Isaiah 40:31 offers great comfort and assurance revealed in Isaiah 40:28-31 (New Living Translation):

28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

In Psalm 103:3-5 (NLT) we find another reference to being renewed like the eagle.

He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

These passages also bring to mind the closing verses of Psalm 27, my favorite Psalm:{

Psalm 27:13-14

New King James Version (NKJV)

13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

These two related passages from Isaiah 40 and Psalm 27 have become the inspiration for the following song:

They That Wait Upon the Lord

(Isaiah 40:31 and Psalm 27:13, 14)

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up with wings as an eagle.

They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and shall not faint.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

I had fainted unless I had believed

To see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait upon the Lord, and he shall strengthen your heart.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

There are times when you may feel your strength is almost gone.

Pressed and beset on every hand, you just can’t seem to carry on.

But at the point when your world seems to be torn apart,

That’s when the Lord comes through for you,

Your strength He promised to renew.

He will encourage your heart.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

At times it seems you are always climbing up an endless hill.

All the pressures and the trials of life have broken down your will.

Those about you seem to doubt you and say this is the end.

Don’t give up; try one more time.

Straight ahead is the finish line.

The Lord will give that second wind.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up with wings as an eagle.

They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and shall not faint.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

Wait, I say, upon the Lord.

Donnie McClurkin and Karen Clark Sheard offer this comforting advice: “Wait on the Lord.”

Father’s Day Reflections: The Perfect Father’s Day Gift

June 21, 2015

Lonnie JohnsonAs the sun rises on this beautiful Father’s Day, I reflect with fondness on my father, Lonnie Johnson, who passed away in 1996. As I have grown older and hopefully wiser, I have come to recognize my father’s undeniable influence. In my reverie, I thought of these lyrics: “The song is ended, but the melody lingers on.” At my father’s funeral I shared memories of my father and paid tribute to him with a poem that speaks of his enduring influence:

plainsong

for Lonnie Johnson

1922-1996

Your plainsong I know by heart,

a hymn stanza learned with ease,

lined out like the flow of chanted words,

syllables fused into a single sound:

I-love-the-Lord-He-heard-my-cry”

raised and repeated over countless Sunday mornings.

Your plainsong I continue to sing, expressed not in words

but in faithful deeds borne of a heart to serve.

Your rock-solid presence like a mantle clock keeping time

even beyond man’s three score years and ten.

Your plainsong resonates and flows through my being.

I sing with strength of character, integrity,

unconsciously humming refrains, improvising

common melodies with grace notes, making my own

your plainsong that will not let go of me.

I recall something that my father said on a number of occasions when he told me, “Son, I’m proud of you.” Every man since Adam has sensed a deep yearning to hear these words or some variation thereof from his father. On one specific occasion occurring around Father’s Day, my dad made a similar comment that inspired this poem

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift

There was a time when I would stretch my mind,

Make a list and try to think of the perfect gift,

As we approached Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June.

Now let me see what will it be?

I know. . . a portable radio. . .

What about a shirt—extra large—to fit?

Pajamas, house shoes, another Dopp kit?

Each year I would really try, as I resolved:

No more cologne—not another tie!

One year I ran out of ideas, and so I asked,

“Dad, what do you want for Father’s Day?”

He thought awhile and in his own quiet way,

He smiled and had this to say:

“Just between me and you,

Here’s what you can do.

Just keep me proud of you.

Son, just keep me proud of you.”

Now when my daughters ask,

What can they get me for Father’s Day,

I fondly remember, and I smile and say,

“The words of your Grandpa are still true.

As he said to me, so I say to you:

‘Just between me and you,

Here’s what you can do.

Just keep me proud of you.

Girls, just keep me proud of you.”

I continue to thank God for my father and all that he contributed to my success in all areas of my life.

Don’t provoke: motivate and encourage one another

June 18, 2015

Ephesians-6 4In the days leading up to Father’s Day, once again, the focus of the Verse of the Day for June 18, 2015 is on fathers. Revised and re-posted from a year ago, this year’s entry looks at Ephesians 6:4 (NLT):

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 (NLT) provides a similar exhortation:

 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

Not only are fathers not to provoke their children, but all believers in general are not to provoke God, their Father, by means of unrighteous behavior and unbelief, as the Children of Israel did in the Old Testament. Hebrews 3:16 points out what occurred:

For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

The exhortation reminds believers that they should

“Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Believers today are also to learn from the provocative behavior of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness whereby they did not enter into rest that God desired for them because of their unbelief.

Rather than provoking our children to wrath or to respond in anger, Hebrews 10:24 offers this reminder:

 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

This verse applies, not only to fathers, but to all believers. We are not to provoke one another, but we are to motivate one another and by all means “encourage one another” with words that we say and by works that we do.

Listen to a scripture memory song based on Hebrews 10:24-25: “Provoke unto Love and Good Works.”

Birthday reflections: A New Song for My Father

June 17, 2015

Psalm 68--5Most often the Verse of the Day for Biblegateway.com becomes the inspiration for the blog entry at Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe. Today, however, June 17, 2015, marks my 73rd birthday, and this post offers reflective comments that include an original poem of celebration, a tradition that I established with my 21st birthday, long before I began to recognize the poetic gift that had begun to germinate. Most amazingly, the subject for the Verses of the Day for this week have centered on God as our Father, in light of Father’s Day, which is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. On rare occasions, Father’s Day falls on June 17, my birthday, making for a “doubly lovely, Good News Day.”

Even more providentially, the Verse of the Day for June 17, 2015 comes from Psalm 68:5, which I incorporated into the blog entry for yesterday which also related to the concept of God as a father. The same theme finds its way into my poetic birthday offering:

A New Song for My Father

In celebration of my 73rd birthday

June 17, 2015

 

Sing a new song to the Lord,
for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
his holy arm has shown his saving power!

Psalm 98:1 (NLT)

In reflecting upon these past three score years plus ten and three,

To show my deepest gratitude I will go to any length.

I will praise the Lord who has enriched my life in blessing me

With much more than a reasonable portion of health and strength.

Whenever I think of the goodness of my Father, I sing;

A song of praise rises from the deepest reaches of my soul:

A yielded life, a sacrifice poured out as an offering;

Once scarred and marred, a broken man whom God has healed and made whole.

My heart overflows, as I look back over my life and see

How way leads on to way from the first Wednesday until this birthday.

However, once again I see that the best is yet to be,

As I yearn within to express my love in another way

When the pressures of this transient life will no longer bother,

When at last I compose and sing a new song for my Father.

The title of this year’s birthday poem brings to mind one of my favorite jazz compositions with a similar title: “Song for My Father” by the late Horace Silver.

Like a father: Abba, Father

June 16, 2015

Psalm-103-13In anticipation of Father’s Day which is only five days away, the Verse of the Day makes reference to God as a father.

Psalm 103:13 (New Living Testament):

The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

The Psalmist also declares:

Psalm 68:5 (NLT):

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows– this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

Other related scriptures include:

Proverbs 3:12

For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

1 Thessalonians 2:11

And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children.

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

Abba, Father:

God is our father: We have the privilege, not just to call God, “our Father”, but we can call him “Abba, Father.” The word “Abba,” is a transliteration of the word “Father.” Since no English word adequately conveys the meaning of the Aramaic word, “Abba,” the translators use the transliteration of the term. The word conveys a close intimacy that is reserved for parents and children. We might compare the word to “Dad” or “Daddy” or some other term of endearment, but such translations do not really express the closeness implied by the term. Here are three places where the expression is used.

Mark 14:36

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Romans 8:15

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Galatians 4:6

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

The Aramaic expression became the inspiration for the following poem:

Abba, Father

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear,

but you received the Spirit of adoption

by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  

Romans 8:15      

                       

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son

into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Galatians 4:6                                        

                       

Abba, Father,

all creation is groaning and moaning,

wrapped in a winding sheet

straining for relief, release. . .

sighing and crying,

we no longer suppress

the primeval urge to scream

but wail as if travailing in childbirth

Abba, Father,

our heart’s cries rise

from the depths of our souls,

stifled in some by disappointment,

crushed by discouragement and besetting sins—

heart-songs hushed in so many by hardship,

and buried in despair by hope deferred,

muffled and all but snuffed out by offense.

Abba, Father,

hear our yearning to express

what cannot be uttered,

listen to our guttural lament,

the alto rhapsody of

our navy blue notes,

fashioned from the twelve bar blues

of our soulful melancholody

Abba, Father,

hear this ecstasy of our prayer:

this inexpressible, irrepressible,

unspeakable joy infused into

the love song of a captive bird

released from the snare of the fowler,

a new sound, our song of the lark

composed to be sung on the wings of freedom

Abba, Father,

we long to sing a new song of the Lord,

a beautifully crafted ballad,

an aria de capo arranged for our Beloved,

a duet sung in two-part harmony

fashioned from our own Willow Song,

as our midnight cry harmonizes

with the voice of the bridegroom

Abba, Father,

as the Daystar dawns

and the sun of righteousness

rises to dispel the frigid, dark night,

receive these our brand new praise-songs,

songs in the night, sung in the morning,

raised to glorify and magnify your name,

as perfected true sons of God

now emerge to transform the earth

Maranatha Singers offer a rendition of “Abba Father/We Give You Glory” from a collection entitled “Abba”: 18 songs to the Father.