I have been particularly arrested by the truth of what God did to bring about a full reconciliation of humanity to himself through the cleansing blood (and resurrected, glorified life) of Jesus. The work of the cross completes us with the gift of salvation. The work of the resurrection illuminates for us the power that is ours in Jesus (the victory won)! We also have the benefit of ongoing counsel and fellowship because of the gift(s) of the Holy Spirit.
“Spirit of the Living God” heavily references the ‘veil’ that was torn for us at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross, giving us access to His very presence, the “inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” Did you know that there was an actual veil in the inner court of the temple at Jerusalem? This veil was four inches thick, made of fine linen, beautifully embroidered, and it separated the ‘Holy of Holies’ (where God’s presence dwelt) from the rest of the temple creating a type of barrier between sinful man and a Holy God. Once a year on the Day of Atonement, after a time of preparation, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the people.
But at the moment of Jesus’ death, that same veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, symbolically giving us full access into the Holy of Holies. We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. In other words, Jesus’ body broken for us and his blood shed on the cross made atonement for our sins so we can enter into His glorious presence. Jesus is our high priest!
Beloved, He draws us in. He calls us in. He is ‘all about’ reconciliation. He wants us to be with Him where He is, not standing afar off on the periphery. Read Jesus’ prayer to His father from John 17: “Father, I want those you have given to me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
As you listen to this song, let the Lord speak to your heart about how he would draw you near to himself as you draw near to him in your worship.
Again, this whole record I’ve been searching out the heart of God regarding the scripture where it talks about the “true worshipers worshiping the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.” I want to press in to living a lifestyle of worship that is the fruit of knowing without-a-doubt who I am in the Lord. As a worship leader, my heart is to encourage others in that reality and lifestyle - living and worshiping in the full knowledge of who we are in Christ and what he has done for us at the deepest level. In this song particularly, I wanted to challenge our tendency to ‘ask’ for things that have already been given to us as believers in Christ. That meant declaring some things by faith that we usually find ourselves asking repeatedly for. We do an awful lot of asking, but I have found that we do a lot less ‘declaring’ in the authority given to us in Jesus: “our chains ARE broken! our hearts ARE free! You’ve given us the VICTORY!” (lyrics in this song). That subtle change in authority can affect how we view our own hearts and freedom. It can affect how we live.
This is Matt (Julie’s husband), and I am part of the guest blogger team for today. Together with Kevin (Julie’s producer), we hope to give you a glimpse into how we recorded the music for Julie’s new album “You Are My Joy.”
My part starts when Julie has finished an initial song idea. We have a complete studio set up in our house where we record all of the basic tracks. Usually we will start with a piano and a scratch vocal track that we use to layer on the rest of the instruments. After these initial tracks it is almost always drums that are recorded next, followed by guitar, flute, keyboards, and the various other instruments. With all of the recording, the goal is always to get a good take as soon as possible while the musician is still “fresh.” It doesn’t always happen quick, but when it does it is magic!
I’m excited to have guest blogger (and dear friend) Karen Brubaker share about the writing of her song “Deliver Me” which I covered on my new album. I have known Karen since she was a young girl, I mentored her when she was newly entering the worship ministry at our church, and have played piano with her for several of her flute performances. Karen currently studies in Switzerland where she is pursuing her Master’s in flute performance.
Here is the story behind the song “Deliver Me,” by Karen Brubaker: Read More...
Sometimes as a songwriter, a song will come to you in bits and pieces, where you least expect them - this song came literally in the middle of the night, in the literal “middle of the night” as the phrase and melody “The fire burns… the fire burns …” When songs ‘start’ like this - when the Lord drops a song-phrase or theme in my spirit - I’ve learned to ask immediately of Him, “What are you wanting to teach me? Why are you highlighting this for me now? And what does this mean?” This phrase “the fire burns” also came during a crucial point in my faith-walk where I was learning more & more about finding complete security in the Love of the Lord.
These questions put me on a search of the scripture which led almost immediately to Song of Solomon 8:5-7 where it talks about a Love that burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. (There is a love!!) Verse 7 says, “many waters cannot quench love, rivers cannot wash it away.” As I delved deeper into a study of God’s love, I found myself in the familiar passage of Romans 8 where we see the answer to the question, “what can separate us from the love of God?” In verse 38, Paul gives us the answer: “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is a love … a love that burns like a blazing fire, a love that burns like a mighty flame that cannot be quenched: this describes the Love that God has for His beloved!
In Deuteronomy and John the writers say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,” and “A time … has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” After continually being drawn to and spending time in these scriptures, and after really pressing in to searching for the answer to the question ‘what is God looking for?’ my earnest response was a desire to give the Lord my whole heart in worship for all He has done for me. I know these verses speak also to a broader act of living a lifestyle of worship and not just musical worship, but because the Lord continues to draw forth a song-response from me, I knew this heart-cry needed to be written and sung in order to be fully realized by me, for me. It needed to become a part of me. This song has even aided in the process of what God is still doing in redeeming the gift of music, redeeming my voice, and continuing to draw me towards composition and songwriting. My hope is that these words and this song will become a heart-response for you as well in your pursuit of loving God with your whole heart.
I am so pleased to announce the release of You Are My Joy, available today on CD via my website, all online stores, and all streaming services! This album was created through a Kickstarter campaign I ran to support my previous release, Fire In The Night. Because the crowdfunding event earned double its expected amount, I was able to spend a good portion of this last year writing, recording, and producing another entire studio album! The songs on this album were influenced directly from scriptures I was studying this last year (Philippians 2, Psalm 116:7, Song of Solomon 8:5-7, Romans 8:35-39, Revelation 1:18, Hebrews 10:19, Psalm 71, John 4:23-24).