New Thanks, New Devotions, and New Music

12307991_10153765496242930_8822345687167462891_oGod has been gracious to us by clearing up our nine-month-old son Emmanuel’s hearing problems.  Thank you to all of you who were praying for him over these past weeks.  Prior to today he had failed all of his hearing tests, so our physician scheduled him today for the most comprehensive hearing test possible.  This morning he was sedated and a tiny hole was poked in each eardrum to drain fluid before he underwent the 45-minute test.  Unlike the previous times, no fluid was discovered and he passed the hearing test with normal results.  Whatever problem existed before has gone away without any treatment, thanks be to God!  We had been concerned about finding ongoing specialized care in Nairobi if such were required, and we’re relieved now that it’s no longer a concern.

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Second, I’m sharing here an Advent devotional booklet written by theology students at Neema Lutheran College southwestern in Kenya, which I received last week from my brother in Christ and co-worker Rev. Charlie Froh, who teaches at nearby Matongo Lutheran Seminary.  If you are supporting theological education in east Africa, here is a taste of the fruit of your investment.  God is certainly raising up these students to be fine servants in His church!

at the right hand of the majesty

Finally, in my own free time I enjoy songwriting, and I’ve recorded a collection of songs on my laptop and released them on iTunes and, less expensively, here.  Upon listening to them it will be immediately obvious that these are not professional recordings and that I am not a professional musician!  Nevertheless, I enjoyed making them, and I hope some people will enjoy listening to them.  The full text of the album is printed below (making this a very long blog post!).

  1. After Making Purification for Sins
    “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3b)

After the virgin’s womb,
After they found no room,
After the humble manger where He laid His head,
After the forty days,
After His hunger pains,
After enduring all the lies the tempter said,
After keeping
All the commandments of God,

After the garden’s clash,
After the Roman lash,
After the thorns, the nails, the cross prepared for death,
After His soul’s distress,
After forsakenness,
After He cried out and gave up His final breath,
After making
Purification for sins,

He sat down
At the right hand of the Majesty on high –
He, by whom God now has spoken unto us,
He, the heir of all things great and glorious,
Author of the sacred story,
Radiance of the Father’s glory,
One in nature with the Father reigning,
All sustaining,
Jesus Christ at God’s right hand.

Let God’s angels all bow down and worship Him,
Winds and flame of fire, take up the mighty hymn.
God, Your throne endures forever;
Christ, Your scepter falters never.
We look for your final reappearing,
Judgment nearing,
And the life that has no ending.

 

  1. The Woman and the Dragon
    “And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.” (Revelation 12:13)

War, war has descended; the end has its birth.
Satan, in flames, is fallen to earth.
Christ is gone up, interceding on high.
Heaven had no place for both Truth and a lie.

Flee, woman of God to your wilderness place.
There is no hatred like a loser’s disgrace.
You are pursued by a dragon enraged,
In his final frenzy of carnage engaged.

She was clothed with the sun, and upon the moon she trod.
In her hair were the stars, and her name was “chosen of God”.
Out from Egypt He brought her, and pledged as to a bride.
From her came the Messiah, who for her suffered and died.

And the dragon came on in a murderous wrath,
But on wings of an eagle she flew from his path.
And a river spewed forth from his venomous mouth,
But the earth opened up and consumed it.

Come, blessed Lord Jesus, come soon to our aid,
For your Church is assaulted; her fortitudes fade.
There is error within; there is terror without,
And the lie is so strong, and the truth is in doubt.

Yet she clings to Your promise, omnipotent Word
From the mouth of her Savior, a double-edged sword,
That the dragon will burn and the world be remade,
And the heavens will gasp when they see her arrayed.

For, oh, she is beautiful,
For, oh, she is beautiful,
For, oh, she is beautiful,
For, oh, she is beautiful.

 

  1. Surely the Lord Is in this Place
    “Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’ And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’” (Genesis 28:16-17)

Surely the Lord is in this place,
Hidden, yet present, here with His grace.
This is the house of God;
This is the gateway of heaven.
Awesome, this place!

Here holy Word finds sinful ear,
Wounding and healing, drawing us near.
Here is revealed our sin;
Here is proclaimed Christ, our Savior,
Here in this place.

Here we receive food for our good,
Christ in His body, Christ in His blood.
Here we with angels sing,
Joining the whole host of heaven,
Here in this place.

Here old ways end, new lives begin,
Dead life replaced by Christ’s life within,
Once in a Red Sea drowned,
Raised through the water to freedom,
Here in this place.

Some seek for God in passion’s fire,
Earthquakes of fervor, winds of desire.
God is not found in these;
God will be found where He’s promised:
These means of grace.

Surely the Lord is in this place.
We would not know it, but for His grace.
Come, sinners bound to earth;
Come to this stairway from heaven.
You will meet God.

 

  1. Hallelujah! And So They Fell
    “And Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us, or for our adversaries?’ And he said, ‘No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.’” (Joshua 5:13b-14a)

Hallelujah! And so they fell, fell the walls of Jericho.
Hallelujah! And Israel took the city long ago.
She had no strength to call her own, none of flesh or warrior’s hand,
But she trusted in God alone, shouting out at His command.
Give us voice, Lord, today. Gird Your Church with Your mighty Word,
For the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings to dust the gates of hell.

When Joshua was by Jericho,
He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold,
A man was standing before him with his drawn sword,
Drawn sword, drawn sword in his hand.
And Joshua went to him and said to him,
“Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”
And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord,
Of the Lord, of the Lord. Now I have come.”

Hallelujah! And so they fell, fell the walls of Jericho.
Hallelujah! And Israel took the city long ago.
She had no strength to call her own, none of flesh or warrior’s hand,
But she trusted in God alone, shouting out at His command.
Give us voice, Lord, today. Gird Your Church with Your mighty Word,
For the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings to dust the gates of hell.

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth
And worshiped and said to him,
“What does my lord,
My lord, my lord, my lord say to his servant?”
And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua,
“Take off your sandals from your feet,
For the place where you are standing is holy,
Holy, holy.” And Joshua did so.

Hallelujah! And so they fell, fell the walls of Jericho.
Hallelujah! And Israel took the city long ago.
She had no strength to call her own, none of flesh or warrior’s hand,
But she trusted in God alone, shouting out at His command.
Give us voice, Lord, today. Gird Your Church with Your mighty Word,
For the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings to dust the gates of hell.

 

  1. Out of Starry Darkness
    “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)

Out of starry darkness shone a rumor, shone a sign.
The great event, by seers foretold, was happening.
Out of pagan darkness were the magi drawn, a star before them.
So they came to find their newborn King,
There to kneel, to assume the stance for which we’re made,
There to kneel, frankincense and gold and myrrh displayed
To the mighty King, now humbly laid.

In a midday darkness hung a rumor, hung a sign
Proclaiming one Man hanging crucified a King,
And the earth was shaken when He breathed His last
And left behind a soldier praising God and pondering,
There to kneel, to assume the stance for which we’re made,
There to kneel at the Innocent, by man betrayed,
Who for others’ crimes so dearly paid.

All who dwell in darkness, meet the Lord of light who comes to you,
Forgiveness, life, salvation offering.
Take and eat His body, take and drink His blood poured out for you.
Approach the table of your risen King,
There to kneel, to assume the stance for which we’re made,
There to kneel, to receive the gifts of God conveyed,
To be joined to Christ, in Him arrayed.

In this present darkness there are rumors, there are signs
That, though the night be long, the day comes hastening,
And the saints of ev’ry nation join their voices to a single song,
Preparing for their coming King,
There to kneel, to assume the stance for which we’re made,
There to kneel, to behold the pow’r of Christ displayed
In a kingdom that will never fade.

 

  1. When Our Dear Lord Walked
    “But you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:10b)

When our dear Lord walked ‘mid this world’s groans and sighing,
Let each heavy heart contemplate His first sign,
For He cured no blind man and passed cripples lying,
But instead made copious amounts of wine.

Refrain:
(Sing for joy…)
For the feast that will go on forever,
More alive than this age can allow,
Life that flows through the veins of the Savior,
In His kingdom appears even now.

We are jars of clay, we are frail and unable,
Hungry, thirsty for righteousness that’s divine,
And the Bridegroom calls us to feast at His table,
His own flesh and blood in the bread and wine.

Refrain

For a time wine is mingled with many tears,
For a time festal guests hold a fast,
But in time when the Bridegroom once reappears,
Ev’ry woe will be past.

Weary brother, take heart, we’re already living
Life immortal, for we have been born again.
It is Christ in you, it is Christ, Himself giving,
His the life laid down to give life to men.

Refrain

 

  1. Daily Bread
    “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:15-16)

Father, the eyes of each life you have made
Look unto You, look unto You.
Gracious Provider, Your gifts are displayed,
Faithful and true, faithful and true.
You provide food in the season it’s due.
Ev’ry desire finds fulfillment in You.
You reach down and open Your hand.
All Your grateful creatures rejoice and sing:

O give thanks, both now and ever
To the Lord, who falters never.
Nights and days, in countless ways
He gives daily bread, oh, our daily bread.
Sing praise to God, the only Giver,
Coast and mountain, field and river.
For these gifts each creature lifts
Thanks for daily bread, oh, for daily bread.
So come bless the Lord, by all adored.
Thanks to God.

There is no merit or worthiness here
That You should give, that You should give
Wealth so abundantly, year after year
That all might live, that all might live –
Rich earth below us, cool rain from on high,
Life all around us, warm sun in the sky,
Neighbors, friends, and fam’ly we love,
Fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers sing:

O give thanks, both now and ever
To the Lord, who falters never.
Nights and days, in countless ways
He gives daily bread, oh, our daily bread.
Sing praise to God, the only Giver,
Coast and mountain, field and river.
For these gifts each creature lifts
Thanks for daily bread, oh, for daily bread.
So come bless the Lord, by all adored.
Thanks to God.

 

  1. All Things Are Yours
    “For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 Corinthians 3:21b-23)

All the cloud of witness,
All the keys to heav’n,
Paul, Apollos, Cephas,
All to you are giv’n.
Once you strove in jealousy,
But now no longer.
All things are yours,
And you are Christ’s.

All the wealth of nations,
All God’s work displayed,
Beautiful creations,
All the world remade,
All the proud once feared to lose
The meek inherit.
All things are yours,
And you are Christ’s.

All in life most splendid,
All of death abhorred,
Christ once apprehended,
Christ is now their Lord,
And your end has met its end
In His arising.
All things are yours,
And you are Christ’s.

All your present story
Tells of sin forgiv’n,
All your future glory
Waits for you in heav’n
Where your past, once crucified,
Will never follow.
All things are yours,
And you are Christ’s.

 

  1. Leaving Haran
    “And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8b-10)

My heart feels old as three score, five, and ten years.
I don’t feel bold to set out from Haran,
Fly away, fly away,
Journey blind and leave behind familiar comforts,
All the comforts I called home.

They say God won’t give more than you can handle.
Concur I don’t, ‘cause I can’t handle this.
I believe, I believe
Ev’ry blow is sent to show me I’m a weak man,
I am weak, but He is strong.

Promises beyond imagination have been showered down on me.
When the Lord bestows salvation, His good gift is always free,
And it costs you ev’rything, and it costs you ev’rything,
And I’m leaving home. Oh…

I’ll live in tents and call myself a pilgrim.
In all events I’ll bless His holy name.
All the while, all the while
I’ll be looking for the city with foundations,
With foundations laid by God.
Don’t you pity; there’s a city with foundations laid by God.

 

  1. Prayer at the Close of the Day
    “So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them.” (Luke 24:28-29)

Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward eve’ning,
And the day is far spent. Abide with us
And with Your whole Church. Abide with us
At the end of the day, at the end of our life, at the end of the world.
Abide with us with Your grace and goodness,
With Your holy Word and Sacrament,
With Your strength and blessing.
Abide with us when the night of affliction
And temptation comes upon us,
The night of fear and despair,
The night when death draws near.
Abide with us and with all the faithful,
Now and forever. Amen.

All lyrics, music, instrumentation, vocals, and recording copyright ©2015 by Jonathan Clausing, except for the text for Prayer at the Close of the Day, which taken from the liturgical order of Compline and is in the public domain.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Album artwork copyright ©2015 by Benjamin Clausing. Used by permission. All rights reserved.