Posts Tagged ‘Michael W Smith’

Golden moments that take your breath away

January 19, 2014

forsythia and snow

One morning as I awoke to find the Virginia landscape covered with a fresh blanket of snow, I marveled at the beauty of the God’s creation while visiting my daughter. As I looked out of her kitchen window, I also noticed a plaque with these words:

Life is not measured by the breaths we take

But by the moments that take our breath away.

I thought of the splendor of the morning sunrise and the evening sunset, the purple mountain majesty of Colorado Rockies, and other scenes of Nature that move me to tears. I flipped through the photo gallery of my mnd, as I savored a series of special “golden moments” that left me speechless in the presence of God.

As a junior in high school, my English teacher, Mrs. Hortense House, required her students to memorize “Barter,” an exquisite poem by Sara Teasdale. I can still recall the poem by heart, and the words came to mind, especially the last stanza, as looked out of the window and then read the quotation:


Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Sara Teasdale

Take a look at this video-clip of images related to the poem:

I also recall the lyrics to a song by Michael W. Smith with a similar title:

You Take My Breath Away

Glory so beautiful
The earth displays your majesty
How could you ever be
So mindful of someone as me
You captive
Splendor I have never seen
Nothing else can compare
You’re infinite, you’re everywhere

You’re everything I can’t explain
You set my heart on fire
And here I stand amazed
You take me breath away
You take me breath away

See me, all I am
These empty hands are all I can give
That you would die so I’d live
Your sacrifice I can’t believe
You fascinate
You stole my heart, I can’t forget
And now that I’ve felt your love
No turning back, I can’t get enough

With just one word
With just one glance
I’m lost in this divine romance
And every single day more than I can say
You take my breath away

You’re everything I can’t explain
You set my heart on fire
And here I stand amazed
You take me breath away
The morning breaks, my soul awakes
You are my one desire
And I here stand amazed
You take my breath away

Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh
You take my breath away
Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh
You take my breath away
You take my breath away

Our lives are filled with breath-taking “golden moments” for us to savor and cherish each day.

By grace: A quintet of songs

October 30, 2013

Ephesians 2 8-9


Take a look at the Verse(s) of the Day for October 30, 2013 as rendered in the Amplified Bible:

8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;

9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

The Amplified Bible offers perhaps the most common definition of grace as “unmerited favor.” To receive grace is to receive a gift, something so valuable that it must be given away because no one is wealthy enough to purchase something of inestimable value and worth. A common acronym for grace is “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.”

In reflecting upon God’s grace, a number of songs come to mind, hymns from the past and contemporary music as well. Here are five songs, a quintet with the number five being symbolic of grace,  related to the subject of grace:

The first song I thought of was the traditional hymn “Grace Greater than All our Sin.”

A contemporary song of grace is “Your Grace Finds Me” by Matt Redman.

A song with a simple title is “Grace,” written and performed by Michael W. Smith

One of my favorite contemporary compositions is “By Grace Alone” with lyrics and music by Scott Wesley Brown and Jeff Nelson, offered by Maranatha! Music

Another composition related to grace has been recorded countless times and is recognized around the world. Without a doubt “Amazing Grace” is the most popular hymn in the English language. Wintley Phipps gives the history of the hymn and closes with an unforgettable rendition of “Amazing Grace”:

God’s grace is truly amazing; I shudder to think where we would be without this precious gift received by faith.

God is great: three musical reminders

October 15, 2013


Taken from 2 Samuel 7:22, the Verse of the Day for October 15, 2013 brings to mind three musical selections that proclaim the same message that God is great!

“Great are You, Lord” by Michael W. Smith is the first reminder of this profound truth:

A similar expression of God’s greatness is offered with “How Great is Our God” by Chris Tomlin

Singer Aled Jones along with orchestra and chorus give a stirring rendition of one of the most popular hymns of all times, “How Great Thou Art.”

As we go through the day, no matter what we encounter, let us remember that God is great!

Ten for Twelve on 10-4-12 (not exactly)

October 8, 2012

Isaiah 62 with its 12 verses comprises the theme for the New Year: “Twelve for Twelve in 2012.”

At the beginning of the New Year, I posted a blog in Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe based on my theme and scriptural focal point for 2012. In this case, I had selected Isaiah 62, a passage that most providentially contains twelve verses. In studying the chapter, I decided to write a series of poems, as I personalized each of the twelve verses, calling the collection “Twelve for Twelve for 2012.” Here is the link to the first installment, published in two parts, inspired by Isaiah 62:1: “One for Twelve”:

And so the series continues with the tenth installment “Ten for Twelve,” a personalized poetic rendering of Isaiah 62:10, that should have been posted on October 4, 2012 (10-4-12).  Here is the verse from the New Living Testament:

Go out through the gates!
Prepare the highway for my people to return!
Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders;
raise a flag for all the nations to see.

Ten for Twelve

Isaiah 62:10

Come before me with thanks and go out through the gates.       

Prepare the highway for my people to return.  

As a father sends for his sons and then awaits                             

Their arrival, so I prepare your grand estates.

The time is short for those with eyes to discern. 

Make smooth the road and remove all the stones that impede.        

Prepare the way of the Lord,   so shall He return.  

Behold, I instruct you that you might also learn.                       

I unfold my Word that you might harken and heed:        

Implant my Word in your heart as precious seed. 

Raise high my banner that all the nations might see                                             

The majestic power of the King of Glory.     

In keeping with the tradition set with the first and subsequent poems,  I had every intention of posting this blog on the 4th of October, but somehow I did not complete the entry until today, October 8, Columbus Day, a day of special significance, especially since I live in Columbus, Ohio, a pioneering city named for the famed explorer.

The famed explored viewed his assignment to seek another route to the East as a mandate from God.

In preparing to post the poem, I noticed that it was actually composed a year ago on October 9, 2011. Perhaps what I considered a delay works toward an even more suitable occasion than the originally intended publication date. As my mother-in-law so often quotes, “God’s delay doesn’t mean God’s denial.”

Click here to learn more about Christopher Columbus, who was believed to have been a Messianic Jew, who embarked upon his voyage to the New World as a fulfillment of his spiritual mandate from God, in some sense, “to prepare the way for Lord,” which I see as a theme in the passage from Isaiah and in the poem that it inspired.  Michael W. Smith offers a spirited rendition of the song “Prepare ye the Way of the Lord.”

The passage and the poem also bring to mind other songs related to idea that “The King is Coming,” one such version is by the Gaither Trio:

The reference to “flag” in closing couple brought to mind the term “banner” which is used in the New King James Version of Isaiah 62:10.  A song using the word “banner” almost immediately came to mind: “Onward, Christian soldiers,” composed by General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. Recently In discussing previous revival movements, I made reference to General Booth and his fervent prayer for God to “Send the Fire,” in light of our praying for “another Pentecost.” Here is video footage of William Booth reciting the lyrics to one of his most recognized hymns, along with other inspiring quotes from this respected Christian leader, as the hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” resounds in the background.

In working on this blog entry, I discovered a YouTube video entitled “Isaiah 62 Song: Surely Your Salvation is Coming” from It provides a musical rendition of the entire chapter based on the King James Version of the text, a most pleasant way to conclude the Ten for Twelve posted on 10-4-12 (not exactly).