Remember Us (An Advent Song)

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Nearly 20 years ago I composed a riff that lingered upon my fingers waiting for words. The riff survived unsullied. It was only four years ago or so that lyrics were birthed, in part, I think, by Andrew Peterson‘s Behold the Lamb of God and by a sermon at Bethel. Finally, Remember Us was manifested in full.

Imagine those 400 years between the Testaments when God was seemingly silent and the Israelites waited. This is a song that might have been sung by those holding to the promise of a Messiah. Consider those in our day who suffer under the weight of our warring and need to be met in a real way by the saving grace of Jesus. This is a song that might be sung in waiting and in longing.

A sorrow spread o’er the land
And an aching in the heart of every man
While the nations rage on in war
We, Your people, cry out

Remember us, Lord

Oh, Yahweh, where have You gone
Your prisoners of hope wait for the Prophesied One
A Messiah foretold of old
And, in our hearts, the longing

Remember us, Lord

A Priest and a King, it was said He would bring
Justice and healing in His wings
Here, our nation is torn from within
And, over us now, silence is reigning as King

Oh, come, be our King

We know in the fullness of time
With peace, You will come and set this world aright
To the everlasting promise we hold
We shout for the glory to come

Remember us, Lord

As we enter the season of Advent, you might consider following this Family Advent Art & Reading Guide from James D. Witmer at Story Warren which presents daily devotions from Sally Lloyd-Jones’ The Jesus Storybook Bible and ornament art projects painted by Melissa Ellen Fink. (You can see a sample in the track art for the song above.)

I’ve also heard that Russ Ramsey is giving away his Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative eBook for free from November 30 – December 2. Here’s a brief excerpt (speaking of John the Baptist):

He was, as the prophet Isaiah had said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.'” (Isa 40:3, Mt 3:3)

Prepare for what? A collision of worlds. Like a meteor falling to the earth, heaven was bearing down on the land of his forefathers. An old promise, so old that it had become little more than a legend, was about to be fulfilled—and nothing would ever be the same.

The Messiah was coming.

Now, may you know that this Savior is near. His promises fail not. In Him, hope is secure. Should we cry out with the psalmist, or the prophet, or the languishing Israelite that the Lord would remember us, then might we also rejoice in the knowledge that His love has come. O, that His kingdom might come again and again today.


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#MissionText: Considering Copyright

If you’ve been following my #MissionText journey through the writings of Oswald Chambers, you may have noticed that I have not posted in several weeks. There are two reasons for this lapse and I can excitedly say a lack of discipline is not one of them – yet. First, we’ve been busy welcoming a new little one to our home. Second, it entered my mind to consider whether or not I might be infringing on copyright as I post lengthier excerpts from these works.

A quick Google search showed me that copyright of all Oswald Chambers’ writings is held by Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. I submitted an inquiry via their website questioning whether I might continue this journey of reading or whether they might have thoughts on some alternate approach to sharing my thoughts during this journey. I was encouraged to receive the following message from the chairman:

Dear Joshua,

Many thanks for your email and query. So glad you are being blessed by the words of Oswald Chambers. Normally anyone can quote from an author providing it is no more than 6 lines of text. You do not need permission for that. But I notice you are blogging which I assume has a limited readership – so in one sense you are not publishing for gain. So I think you are quite safe if you keep to a reasonable length of quote.

I trust the Lord will help your ministry.

Now to keep in consideration that “reasonable length of quote” both for copyright considerations and for the palatability of my posts. I’m currently working my way through another book and continue to tweet small pieces as I do. Onward and in word we go.

New Shepard 🚀

This. Is. Amazing! Hello, future!

It’s been a long way, but we’re here. – Alan Shepard

Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle successfully flew to space, reaching its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.

They say any landing you can walk away from is a good one. – Alan Shepard

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Fain tuh WAH. Thank the LORD.

Our family returns thanks after meals. We do so with this common prayer:

O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good and His mercy endureth forever.

Over the past few weeks, as we cue the kids for prayer before or after a meal, Simeon folds his hands and starts in with “Thank the LORD. Thank the LORD. Thank the LORD.” ad infinitum. He’s just now finding more words, so it sounds more like “Fain Tuh Wah.” – gets me grinning every time.

We have so much for which we thank the Lord in recent days! We’ve welcomed Isaiah Elden to our family. Thank the LORD! We’ve been surrounded by an encouraging and supportive fellowship of family and friends during this time of transition. Thank the LORD! They’ve cooked meals, cared for kiddos, and done our laundry. Thank the LORD! After a long hunt, we stumbled upon a vehicle that has proven to be ideal for our current situation. Thank the LORD! The Prayer League was recently gifted money for the purchase of a washer and dryer to be installed in the basement of the Mission Home. Thank the LORD! Thus, Adrienne will no longer need to manage three flights of stairs to keep our laundry moving. Thank the LORD! The tests I underwent this past week showed clean result and my chest pain has subsided for now. Thank the LORD! As of today, it seems Adrienne’s blood pressure may be coming down – hopefully for good. Praise the LORD! We live in an age where technology can keep us so well-connected when apart from one another. Thank the LORD! We have breath in our lungs and a song in our heart. Thank the LORD! Jesus loves us! Thank the LORD! I could go on and on. Thank the LORD! 

Psalm 107 is a liturgy of thanksgiving and may well be my favorite psalm. As you gather this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to read this psalm out loud and share with one another the good works of God. (emphasis mine)

Psalm 107 (NKJV)

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons —
Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.

Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters,
They see the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep.
For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
Which lifts up the waves of the sea.
They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
And are at their wits’ end.
Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.
Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

He turns rivers into a wilderness,
And the watersprings into dry ground;
A fruitful land into barrenness,
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
He turns a wilderness into pools of water,
And dry land into watersprings.
There He makes the hungry dwell,
That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,
And sow fields and plant vineyards.
That they may yield a fruitful harvest.
He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

When they are diminished and brought low
Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,
He pours contempt on princes,
And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;
Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,
And makes their families like a flock.
The righteous see it and rejoice,
And all iniquity stops its mouth.

Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

His works are indeed wonderful. However you choose to give thanks this year and whatever words you use, remember that it’s the LORD whom we thank. He is the giver of all good. For what goodness are you giving thanks this year? Fain tuh WAH! Fain tuh WAH! Thank the LORD!

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