A Stranger to Your Holiness

Below are the lyrics to a CCM song that I listened to over and over, circa 1982-83. The album is Steve Camp‘s, “Shake Me to Wake Me“, and there are several songs of reasonable significance on it.  Unfortunately, I no longer have a copy, if you should find one, I’d be happy to take it off your hands.  You’d make this “Jesus Freak” a happy man. Even if you can’t do YouTube, I encourage you to read these lyrics as if it were a poem.

Lyrics to “Stranger To Your  Holiness,”  by Steve Camp

Looks like the boy’s in trouble again
Living much too close to the edge of sin
Now he finds himself where he should not have been
Oh God, why is Your peace so hard to find
And the answer to the questions that haunt my mind
Oh Lord, Your ways are not like mine
And it pounds like thunder within in my breast
All the anger of my humanness
And though I call You “Lord” I must confess
I’m a stranger to Your holiness, a stranger to Your holiness
Can we really be what we were meant to be
Jesus’ people, living by the Spirit and living free
My heart longs to serve, but wanders so aimlessly
Oh Lord You deserve every part of me
Hear my cry of desperation as I see the wickedness of my ways
You alone are my salvation, and Lord I’ve learned this one thing to be true
Is that the closer I get to You, I see I’m a stranger (to Your holiness)
Don’t wanna be no stranger, and it burns like a fire…

As I follow Jesus as His simple disciple, I’m very aware of the issues that tangle me. It is like a net that drops and I get quite caught in it. But we really are asked to shake these things off. In 35 years of following Him, I find my personal sin is more clear to me then ever as I follow Him. “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” Lord hold me close as you continue to deal with me.

“Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. 2We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.”

Hebrews 12:1-2, CEV

Mr. Camp reaches into places that the average Christian musician misses, and communicates relevance to all those who seek His face.  This particular song has a lyrical integrity and sensitivity that makes it stellar.  As I ponder the words I find myself with someone who understands me and my issues.  I hope this blesses.

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Karma, Grace and Bono

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Bono/U2 360 Tour 2011

Bono, on God’s grace:

“At the center of all religions is the idea of karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth… It’s clear to me that karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called grace to upend all that “As you reap so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.”

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I think ‘fallen men’  automatically try to convert God’s grace to a thing more palatable. We gravitate to making it work; we feel that He expects us to do this, at least. Grace is not logical, and that makes it hard to explain. The fact that we have received a gift of grace grates at our very core.

But we can only enter His kingdom by grace alone.

We deserve nothing, but are made sons and daughters anyway. Karma is what we want. We understand it; It makes logical sense. We have settled on this in our minds. We have the hardest time accepting this grace. For the most part, we believe we are saved by grace through faith, but we often think we must work things out ourselves. He saves us, and we ‘reason out’ we now have got to crank out something acceptable with the ‘rest of our lives.’

We want to prove we are worthy, by our good deeds. But God’s grace is radical, and we are saved by grace– being saved, and we will be saved by grace alone. We will start and finish by His mercy and grace, “not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

8 “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

Ephesians 2:8-9, NLT

We can only enter His kingdom by grace alone.

I desperately want grace, and not karma. To a massive degree, I have this atrociously bad habit of sinning. I can find no comfort in sanctification by my effort. I’m not consistent enough, strong enough, or good enough to enter in on my own merits. I must have God’s grace or I’ll be lost. What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?”

Psalm 116:12

The person who has been serving the Lord for 70 years still must come into the Kingdom by grace and mercy. All of their accumulated good deeds, and saintly demeanor cannot purchase their salvation. God’s grace through faith is the ‘narrow way’ to life. Just give me Jesus.

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Madness Dancing

Madness Dancing, by Bob Bennett

1990 Cornerstone Music Festival

Songs from a playlist on my ‘iTouch.’

An old classic by a Christian singer/songwriter that is one of my favorites. This expresses my own heart toward worship, and reminds me of a ‘first-love.’

Bob has many more wonderful songs. I can recommend him, that is if you like this kind of stuff. I couldn’t find the lyrics, after an intense search, but I hope you like this at least.

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Thy Mercy Beams I See

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies

By: Charles Wesley

Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true and only light,
Sun of righteousness, arise,
Triumph over the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till thy mercy’s beams I see,
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.

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Wesley’s hymn resonates within.  Being of a sad and melancholic temperment I find a deep assurance in these words that describe my issues so clearly. But He is my light, He scatters my unbelief and doubt.  I will lean heavily on Jesus, as He leads me out of my darkness.