Behind the Songs: Psalm 45

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: Psalm 45

Next in “Song Stories” is Psalm 45. I previously wrote about this song when the original EP was released. That blog post can be found here, and it fully explains the writing process I went through (and it has a video of Psalm 45 in concert). This song remains one of my favorites, both in album form and in its ever-changing live form!

Psalm 45

Behind the Songs: Help Me

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: Help Me

In continuing my ‘story behind the song’ series, next up is Help Me. The best glance into this song is a video explanation I did right after I wrote it last year. This song is themed around Psalm 91, hinging on one of its closing verses: “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges my name.” This song basically comes down to a name, the name above all names: Jesus.

Help Me

Behind the Songs: Season Of Singing

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: Season Of Singing

The message of this song (straight from Song of Solomon 2) had been stirring in me for quite some time: “Arise, my beautiful darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.” Processing, singing, and praying through these verses… I knew there was a song-in-the-making that the Lord wanted to draw out, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen for this album.

Around the same time, Kevin (my music producer) sent several song samples for me to work with ‘just to see’ if anything came of them. And almost immediately, Season of Singing fit with one of his song samples. (And there’s a story behind the music that might come out one day too!). I added a bridge / response to his original arrangement, a few back-and-forths with edits between us, and it was done! This was a new ‘way’ of writing for me, but it totally fit and worked out for this one! Kevin's song brought forth this song, a true collaborative work.

Season of Singing (Song of Solomon 2)

Behind the Songs: Agnus Dei

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi
(Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world)

I have always found richness & beauty in the church music and requiems written by some of the greats - Bach, Brahms, and Mozart, and even the more recent renditions by the likes of Fauré and Rutter. The richness and depth in their compositions reveal a breadth of expression that we miss out on in some of our more contemporary pieces.

I wrote this Agnus Dei several years ago when I wanted to make the singing of this traditional Latin text accessible to a broader corporate expression in the worship context. It opens with a choral rendition of the Latin: “Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,” then breaks into a very repetitive chorus in English: “Lamb of God we praise Thee … You take the sins of the world. You’ve taken the sins of the world.” Read More...

Behind the Songs: In The Secret

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: In The Secret

This song came after a spending a really enjoyable time with the Lord during my quiet time. I was literally elated from being in his presence and felt led to spend some time in my ‘creative space,’ just having a good time in the safety of his presence. I had been in Matthew 6 where it talks about: “when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” I started to just sing those words to him ‘in the secret / behind the closed door’ of my living room at my piano, enjoying being in the creative place and in the fullness-of-joy that his presence brings.

In the Secret

Behind the Songs: Behold

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: Behold

As a worship leader, my favorite thing to do is to point people directly to Jesus, to worship Him in spirit and in truth, and to behold him … to look upon him in all his glory and majesty. A friend and I both had the desire (at the same time!) to write a song about “beholding the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” We got together, shared our thoughts, she shared her song idea, I shared mine, and our producer built an amazing arrangement around “Behold,” making it one of the highest places of worship on the album.

Behold

Behind the Songs: Magnify

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: Magnify

Magnify comes directly from Isaiah 54 which begins with the words: “Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the Lord.” Before I ventured back into music, one of my closest friends said to me: “Julie, when I talk with you, I hear barrenness.” A huge part of this barrenness came from me not making music anymore, which was the very thing the Lord wanted to redeem in me. Her words were a huge wake-up call.

I know that the prophets & the psalms were written for specific events and specific time periods, but they can also speak directly to the seasons & condition of our hearts. This is what happened with Isaiah 54 for me! It speaks so much of God’s deep compassion as Redeemer, his desire to establish us in righteousness, and for me … drawing out a ‘song,’ that magnifies his name (which you’ll hear in this song).

Magnify (Isaiah 54)

Behind the Songs: Turn

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: Turn

Over the coming days I'll be posting the stories behind the songs from Fire In The Night. First up is Turn.

This song speaks of the simple message of the goodness of the Lord toward me, drawing on familiar lyrics of old hymns (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus and Amazing Grace). Turn came during a devotional worship time before the Lord while I was offering up spontaneous songs of gratitude for the salvation and deliverance of my soul.

Turn