Saturday Music: You’ll Be in My Heart

Lord willing, we returned from Disney World yesterday.  So to commemorate the trip, I’m adding what is most likely my favorite Disney song, “You’ll be in my Heart,” as sung by Phil Collins.


“Saturday Music” is a weekly blog series about the music of our lives.  Click here to read all of the posts in this series.

Last Day at Disney World

Today is the last day at Disney World. We’ve spent four days visiting the theme parks and now, well, now we need a vacation. 

Gathering up all of our family is a big deal. Gathering us all up, spending lots of time with each other — while hot and without a lot of sleep — is an even bigger deal. I always really look forward to the times we can all be together, but my expectations are always a way out of line. It’s impossible for this many people to be around each other this way without having some sort of regular drama. 

The trick is, as Sweet Wife reminds me, is to keep things in perspective. No family gets along perfectly on vacation she tells me. She’s probably right, but I’d always like for us to do better and to cherish the moments as they actually happen. 

3 Disney World Observations

A few thoughts after a couple of days in Disney World…

  1. People need to up their game related to tattoos. These babies need a lot more thought if you’re going to wear these gems for a lifetime.
  2. We’ve gone crazy with these automated strollers. It really does seem like we’re on the set of Wall-E. 
  3. People are amazing patient. There are thousands of people here. It’s also very hot. There are also lines. How this magic combination doesn’t result in daily brawls is impressive. 

How to be Forgiven

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.  (Psalm 51:3-4 ESV)

Psalm 51 was written by King David and contains his appeal to God for mercy and forgiveness.  David had committed adultery and murder, had finally been confronted about his sin, and being found guilty, he brought his broken and contrite heart before God.

David’s sins were heinous.  They had a tremendous impact on those around him.  He had violated Uriah and Bathsheba’s marriage, violated his own marriage, precipitated the death of his own son, no doubt hurt the morale of his own army and hurt his own reputation.  But the greatest, most grievous part of his sin was that he sinned against God.  He had committed evil against God.

This is the same for our sins, no matter how great or small they are.  We affect ourselves and others when we sin, but the greatest problem with our sin is that we sin against God.  This is bad, but there’s also some great news here.  When we understand how bad our sin is (no matter how great or small) and when we understand whom we’ve sinned against, then we’re own our way to understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If we sin against our brother, and that sin was isolated to just our brother, then we would be in trouble.  We might not ever have access again to our brother or, our brother might not forgive us.  This would be devastating to us.  Our sin, in this isolated example of a case, would not be forgiven.

God is the Creator and is our Redeemer and Sustainer.  He is the sovereign God who is the author of righteousness and is Righteousness.  He is perfect and holy.  Because of this, when we sin in any sort of way, our sins are against Him.  But here’s the good news: this righteous and holy and perfect God has made a way for all of the sins against Him to be forgiven.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come to us and meet the requirements of a perfect life and then He offered Himself up as a substitute for our sins.  Then, when we rose again on the third day, His resurrection defeated death and guaranteed that He wouldn’t have to come and do it all over again.

If you’re reading and understanding this, then it’s not too late to offer up a prayer of confession to God and seek His forgiveness and mercy.  When we follow the pattern of David, it shows us the condition our heart must be in to receive God’s forgiveness.  Namely, when we know that it is us that sinned and when we know that we sinned against God, then we are ready to receive God’s forgiveness.

Sunday Worship: The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of their life is costly
and can never suffice,
that he should live on forever
and never see the pit.

For he sees that even the wise die;
the fool and the stupid alike must perish
and leave their wealth to others.
Their graves are their homes forever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they called lands by their own names.
Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.  (Psalm 49:7-12 ESV)

This describes us.  We can’t ransom one another.  We can’t give to God the price of our life to save ourselves or others from the pit.  “The fool and the stupid” both perish, but the wise also dies as well.  And on top of that, the wealthy won’t be able to use their wealth for not even one second after they die.  “Their graves are their homes forever.”

This seems hopeless, right?

Let us then consider verse 15 from this Psalm:

But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me. Selah  (Psalm 49:15 ESV)

This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are doomed in our sin; we can’t save ourselves.  It is hopeless.  But God.  He is the one who is eligible to and then does “ransom my soul from” hell.  Why does He do this?  Because He is gracious and merciful and loving.  Why would He pick me?  I don’t know.  I certainly don’t deserve His love.

The same is true for you, too.  He loves You and has made a way for you through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Acknowledge your hopelessness.  Seek Him while He may be found.  Ask for forgiveness because He will give it.  Surrender your life to Him.

This gospel message He gives us is certainly worthy of our praise!

Amen and amen.

“Sunday Worship” is a weekly series that can hopefully be used to help prepare our hearts to worship God Almighty.  You can read all of the posts in this series by clicking here.

Saturday Music: Suspicious Minds

When I was a kid, there was no King Jesus in my life, but there was another king — Elvis.

My dad loved Elvis, and for the longest time I was pretty certain that dad would make a good fill-in if Mr. Presley ever needed such.  We had a lot of Elvis albums and 45s around the house and we all played them regularly.

Ironically, though, this song, Suspicious Minds, was not on any record we had, but it’s probably my favorite Elvis song.

I’m not a very big Elvis fan any longer, but I do still like this song a lot.  It’s a song with a message, but in this case, I don’t get into the message a whole lot.  In other words, when I play the song, I’m not advocating (or not) the message.  It just simple and it sounds good.


“Saturday Music” is a weekly blog series about the music of our lives.  Click here to read all of the posts in this series.

“Time is Stealing You from Me”

Nineteen years ago today, my lovely Sweet Wife gave birth to our first daughter.

We had been married a little over two years when she popped up beside me on a Sunday afternoon and showed me the pregnancy test.  We had just returned from a road trip to see our beloved Crimson Tide play and she had made me a bowl of chili for supper.  I was digging in and then – boom!  There she was, beaming at me.

Sweet Wife immediately dug into the pregnancy books to learn all she could about being pregnant and she was an amazing mother to that sweet unborn baby.  She was also incredibly sick and was unable to eat certain foods and be around certain smells for much of the pregnancy.  It was a really tough time for her.

I made regular trips with her to the doctor and both of us hoped each time that we’d get to take a peak at the little one inside of her.  Usually we got a look and it was exciting each time.  At the right time, they looked a little harder and found out the baby was a little girl.  We were both beaming at the thought of a daughter and we immediately set out trying to pick a name.  We eventually picked a beautiful one and when we found it, we never questioned it.  It was just right.

Later on, we enrolled in the “birthing classes” and that was actually a lot of fun.  The classes were held at the hospital where the baby was to be born and Sweet Wife and I would meet there once a week or so after heading over from work.  I don’t remember much about the classes except we laughed a lot, talked about Sweet Wife breathing right and we learned about how important it was for Sweet Wife to stay relaxed.  We figured out pretty quickly that listening to Jim Brickman was a great way to help with that, so he quickly became an integral part of the birthing process.

We started listening to his CDs more at home and quickly made plans to have a portable CD player on hand for the birthing so that Sweet Wife would remain calm and collected.  So when we arrived on the day labor was to be induced, Jim Brickman and the CD player were along for the ride too.

Labor was started early in the morning and the baby wasn’t born until late in the afternoon, so it was a long day for Sweet Wife.  We had a really nice and talkative nurse and Sweet Wife loved on her that day and I’m sure made the nurses day better.  At the time, though, the nurse didn’t make my day better.  When she found out I was an accountant, she spent a good part of the day asking me questions and I wasn’t real fired up about that.  Did we listen to much Jim Brickman during the day?  I’m not sure.  With all of the accounting talk, I kind of don’t think so.  But later that night, Jim and I spent some time together.

Our daughter was born around 5:30 p.m., and the next few hours were sort of a blur with Sweet Wife being moved into a room, the baby being warmed and batched and such.  Family and visitors were all around, pictures were taken and everything was exciting.  But then the day needed to be over because the new mom, Sweet Wife, was tired and hungry and needed to bond with her sweet little baby.  So everyone finally cleared out and it was just the three of us, the two new parents and their sweet little child.  As that first day faded away, the new mom settled for a short rest with the new girl in the hospital bassinet beside the bed.

With all of the visitors gone and with my sweet girls resting, I moved a chair out in the hall, plugged in the CD player and put it beside the chair and then sat there and listened to Brickman’s “By Heart” album.  Quite frankly, it was one of the most surreal moments of my life.  We had prayed for months and months for a safe pregnancy, a healthy baby and a safe birth for Sweet Wife.  And those prayers had been answered.  Now the prayers would be different.  We had our own child and now things were different.

I don’t remember any other song that night, but the album’s title track, By Heart.  In particular, I remember one of the stanzas very well from that night:

When you go, I’ll stop the clock
I won’t ever let this moment stop
Time is stealing you from me
But it can never take this memory

Time is stealing you from me.  

Those words resonated with me like few others have.  Sweet Wife and I had been together for just a few short years at the time, but time was stealing her from me.  I could feel it.  I knew it was happening.  My first daughter was less than a day old, but time was stealing her from me.  I knew it.  I could feel it.

And so today, here we are, 19 years later.  Nineteen years later.  Time has marched onward.  Two more daughters were safely born.  Loved ones have died.  Jobs have changed.  Friends have come and gone.  That first sweet daughter has grown up and is already in college.  Right now, she’s three states away working for the summer and in a few days she will head to another state for her second year of college.

Sweet Wife and I are indeed blessed.  We are indeed blessed.

But time is slipping away.

Unfortunately, I have wasted, wasted, wasted too many of these days.  Man, the regrets that I have.  There have been so many stupid things said and done.  So many times I have forgotten the words, time is stealing you from me.

My Sweet Wife and my daughters are in Christ.  I know that we will in some fashion spend eternity together.  But we’ve also been given a life to live and our lives to share.  I hope that today and everyday that I’ll remember that time is stealing you from me and that I’ll use these words to change my perspective and to live and to love as God has called us.

Write Your Own Speech

I’m doing all that I can to avoid the political circuses of this week and next, but it has been almost impossible to avoid the hubbub of the “dubbed” speech.

Regardless of which side you’re on, this part of the political process in the United States is embarrassing.  It’s embarrassing that someone would “lift” part of another’s speech, it’s embarrassing how the woman has been attacked by the press following the speech and it’s embarrassing that everyone freely acknowledges that the people giving the speeches don’t actually even write the speeches — and this applies to both sides!

[And if your friends on the left act all high and mighty about this event, then point out the allegations that have dogged the current vice president concerning plagiarism and how these allegations knocked out his own run for the presidency in the 1988 race.  It’s very convenient how this lapse in character is overlooked.]

Accordingly, here’s an idea I think all in the political process — at any level — should follow:  Write your own speeches.

This is a novel idea, right?  (No pun intended.)

Who cares how eloquent you are or how bombastic you are if you can’t clearly communicate your own ideas?  How can we expect you to solve the complex problems you’ll face at any level of government if you can’t idle yourself, pick up a pen (or turn on a computer), organize your thoughts and present them in a way where they are clearly communicated?

Some would say that the president or other high officials have to give too many speeches for them to personally write each.  I would then say maybe they are giving too many speeches.

Just a thought.