As a new school year begins there can be a lot of emotions. For new students, they are worried about adjusting to living away from home, to what going to class will be like, to who they will be friends with. For parents of new collegians they worry about leaving their children in a new place and how they will do away from home, many of them for the first time. For returning students, it is a return to the struggles of keeping up with course loads and maintaining balance in their lives once again.
As I was preparing to lead new students and their parents in worship during a welcome service a couple of songs came to mind that I thought helped address some of these emotions. What is great about songs is that they can help us think about particular emotions we are feeling, and can help us form ways of expressing it to God. Much like the Psalms do in the Bible, more modern songs can really help us in how to pray.
The first song was 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman.
As the sun comes up, and a new day is dawning in our lives will we continue to be signing praises to God? No matter what happens will we bless the Lord with our lives and with our song?
Matt reminds us about the character of God, he’s rich in love, slow to anger, He is great and mighty, His heart is kind, God is good. These are just a few of the 10,000 reasons that we could find to sing and Bless the Lord!
When we fail, when tough days come and we don’t have the strength to handle it. As the course load increases and the pressure begins to become too much where will we turn? As we grow older, will we continue to praise and bless God in all things? Will we still cry out to God for 10,000 years?
In our lives we want to continually be praising God more, and doing greater things to praise God. For students, you are in a stage of life of learning in what is usually considered preparing you for your “future.” I want to challenge that your future is now! This is a time of your life that you can
Sing like never before…
For each of us, we should live our life as never before, worshiping God as never before. As we grow in our faith and in our desire to be more Christlike, let that be our desire. As this new semester begins, let us Bless the Lord!
Lord, I Need You
The second song was Lord, I Need You by several Christian artists and originally released at the Passion conference. You will most commonly find versions from Matt Maher and Chris Tomlin.
The cry out from this song is from the realization that we need God in our lives at all times. Thankfully God didn’t just create the world and let it go but he is actively working in his creation and working in the lives of people. God is the one thing that we need. In the chorus we see that it is only through Christ that we are righteous before God. Without God working in our lives we stand condemned before God and forever separated from Him.
Studying at any university is hard work, studying at MIT is that much more difficult. The pressure of p-sets and exams can become too much. This song can be a prayer out to God that reminds us that it is only in God that we truly find rest. That without God in our lives we fall apart and nothing else matters. We need God because in Him we find the fulfillment in completing what we were designed to do, namely glorify God.
When we sin, as we disobey God’s commands for us, then it is at those times that we need God again. That when we cry out to God as we recognize the sin in us, then God promises His grace, and through His grace we can come back to God and to be where He is. That through the grace given us, and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we are free and we are made holy again. We need God, because without him we can’t sing of how we are now free.
What a great reminder in the bridge, that at all times our song of need should rise to God. We should do so when temptation comes, as our strength fails, and at every other time in life. It is only in Jesus Christ that we find hope.
So what about you?
As this new semester begins I hope that you find encouragement in these two songs. As life changes, remember that we can find 10,000 or more reasons to bless God and that we need Him in our lives at all times. Pray this to God and cry out to Him in all things. He desires to know you well and promises to hear you in all things. When struggles come, learn from the example of songs and cry and sing out to God.
What other songs point you to God and to truths found in His words recorded in the Bible?