More Good Music

I recently rediscovered the early solo recordings of one Rod Stewart.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of just about everything he’s ever done, starting way back with the Jeff Beck Group and The Small Faces all the way to the present.

But there’s something about the Mercury recordings he did that are magical. I think most people will agree that Maggie May is a classic. There are plenty of other gems from this era, including Reason to Believe, You Wear it Well, and Mandolin Wind, among others.

I listen to these recordings and most of them sound fresh. Maybe it’s because they sound a lot like the Americana/Roots music coming out these days. Maybe ol’ Rod was ahead of his time.

It’s just good driving during rush hour/laying in bed with your headphone on/road trip/anywhere music.

Here’s the link if you’re interested:

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Do Thou for Me

“Do Thou for me, O God the Lord,
Do Thou for me.
I need not toil to find the word
That carefully
Unfolds my prayer and offers it,
My God, to Thee.

It is enough that Thou wilt do,
And wilt not tire,
Wilt lead by cloud, all the night through
By light of fire,
Till Thou has perfected in me
Thy heart’s desire.

For my beloved I will not fear,
Love knows to do
For him, for her, from year to year,
As hitherto.
Whom my heart cherishes are dear
To Thy heart too.

O blessèd be the love that bears
The burden now,
The love that frames our very prayers,
Well knowing how
To coin our gold.  O God the Lord,
Do Thou, Do Thou” (Amy Carmichael).

There are times when we simply don’t know how to pray for a circumstance or a loved one. Try as we may, the words will not come.

I think even then God hears the groans and sighs of our petitions and knows what they mean. He hears the deepest desires of our hearts and knows best how to grant them.

Even when we have words, they aren’t always the best ones. Sometimes, we ask without such a limited point of view. Sometimes we ask selfishly. Sometimes we have too small a view of God and ask too little.

In Jan Karon’s Mitford series, Father Tim Kavanaugh always has his go-to prayer, or “the prayer that never fails,” as he calls it. The prayer goes “Thy will be done.”

You can never go wrong with leaving the matter in God’s hands.

The Prayer of Relinquishment

“Today, O Lord, I yield myself to You.
May Your will be my delight today.
May You have perfect sway in me.
May your love be the pattern of my living.
I surrender to You my hopes, my dreams, my ambitions.
Do with them what You will, when You will, as You will.
I place into Your loving care my family, my friends, my future.
Care for them with a care that I can never give.
I release into Your hands my need to control, my craving for status, my fear of obscurity.
Eradicate the evil, purify the good, and establish Your Kingdom on earth.
For Jesus’ sake, Amen” (Richard Foster).

Tonight at Kairos, Chris Brooks spoke on the prayer of relinquishment. Basically, you hold your hands balled up in a fist facing downward. As you open your hands, you pray to release any burdens you carry that are too heavy for you or are wearing you down.

You then turn your open hands palms up and pray to receive from God whatever He has for you that day.

A friend of mine prayed something like this: Lord, I come to you with open hands. If all I have from you today is You and the next breath, that will be enough.”

Essentially, all prayer is an acknowledgement of my inability to control my own life and my dire need for God to take over and do for me what I cannot do for myself.

Above all, may our prayer always be that prayer that never fails– Your will be done.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Afternoon

I did something completely unexpected and spontaneous. Even for me. I was cruising happily down Franklin Road in my vintage Jeep when I came to the intersection that leads to Radnor Lake State Park.

I’m aware that the temperature was hovering somewhere in the mid to upper 20’s. I’m also aware that it had snowed a bit the night before and the possibility of black ice on the roads existed.

Still, I chose to turn right onto the Otter Creek Road that leads to one of my favorite places on earth.

I confess that not all my spontaneous choices work out. Some end up being rather meh. Some just don’t work at all. This time, I chose right.

All of Radnor Lake was covered with a soft and think white blanket of snow. Fewer people braved the icy weather, so it was much more peaceful and quiet. I could actually hear my self think, hear the sounds of nature hibernating but still very much alive.

I got out my smart phone to snap a few pictures to remember this one day when I hiked in the snow. I even saw a squirrel and a red cardinal. Plus I got in my 30 minutes of exercise for the day. How is that not a win-win?

Snowpocalypse 2019

Well, it has started already. They (and I’m sure you know who I mean by they) are hyping the fact that snow is coming to Middle Tennessee. I’m surprised they haven’t declared a state of emergency. After all, some of that snow might actually stick to the ground.

I’m all for snow. I’m not much of a fan of driving on icy roads, but I like snow. Maybe that’s because I haven’t seen all that much snow in my lifetime compared with those who live further up north than me. I suppose if you see it all the time it gets old– like it does here when it rains for two weeks straight.

But enough with the hype. I’d rather not get my hopes up for snow and/or get my nerves up for having to drive on snowy and potentially icy roads.

I think I know what I’ll do in the face of all the possibilities that exist with the weather. I think I’ll sleep on it.

Surrendering to the Mystery of the Fire

“When all Christians surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within; when we submit to the saving truth that we reach life only through death, that we come to light only through darkness; when we acknowledge that the grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die, that Jonah must be buried in the whale’s belly, that the alabaster jar of self must be broken if others are to perceive the sweet fragrance of Christ; when we respond to Jesus’s call of ‘Come to me,’ then the limitless power of the Holy Spirit will be unleashed with astonishing force upon the church and the world” (Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus).

How cool would it be if that were to happen? How amazing would it be if all whose who belong to Jesus fully embraced their identities as sons and daughters and chose to live out of the power of the resurrection? What if I actually lived out all the time what I confess to believe?

I can’t imagine, but what comes to mind goes something like “Eye has not seen not ear heard what God has prepared for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

You Can Never Have Too Many Coffee Mugs

I added yet another coffee mug to my collection today. I wasn’t planning on it, but it spoke to my caffeinated soul in a way that I could not resist. Plus, it’s another excuse to drink more coffee.

I can’t think of anything more appropriate. Yes, I drink coffee because adulting is hard. If I wasn’t forced to wake up every morning at some ungodly hour, I would have no need for that wonderful potion made from magic beans (with lots of creamer and sugar thrown in).

I adult better because there is coffee. Other people appreciate the fact that I drink coffee because it allows me to form sentences and to not forget to wear pants.

So you’re welcome.