Well, as most of you know, I love Chris Rice’s music. 😀 And so I decided to do a blog on his “Heaven” songs. He sprinkles the theme of Heaven throughout a lot of his music, but there are a few that are specifically Heaven-Centered, and I think he does them beautifully. So here are my top Heaven-Centered Chris Rice songs, and why I like them.
Missin’ You One of his earliest songs I listened to, this one originally stuck out to me when I was a teenager. It’s a beautiful melancholy tune about missing Jesus, even though we’ve never met Him. It’s full of longing, and it was a song that I really connected to emotionally. I have a soft spot for the songs that are just “oh Jesus, I want to see You so badly!” And this one does it beautifully.
‘Cause somewhere behind those stars Is Someone who belongs to me And I know in my deepest heart There’s a place for You until I find the place You’ve made for me Still I’m missin’ You
Smile This is one that I liked relatively well at first, but on multiple listens has become one of my favorites of his. It’s the perfect way to describe the desire to someday get to Heaven and see Jesus. It’s basically the more cheerful version of Missin’ You, and actually uses some of the lyrics from the former song as background words, which is just perfect. Smile has a nice tune, honest words and make for a great worship song.
I just want to be with You I just want this waiting to be over… Every minute takes an hour Every inch feels like a mile ‘Til I won’t have to imagine And I finally get to see you smile.
Questions for Heaven While this song may not exactly be deep, it’s fun. It’s a short little song about going through your day and collecting questions you would ask Jesus when you get to Heaven. While the carnival-esque music in this one isn’t my favorite, the lyrics are quite fun. (I’ve also caught 4 lyrical references to other songs of his in this one, which I hope was intentional.)
Why did You bother with so many stars?
Do You ever play tricks on the angels?
And what happened to all of those dinosaurs?
Where’s the Garden of Eden?
And what causes de ja vu?
Breakfast Table This is a song that I more recently discovered and got into. This is a Heaven song/Love song. It’s about a guy who’s spouse has died, and he’s imagining their reunion in Heaven. It’s a very pretty description of just enjoying life in Heaven with someone you love, and whether or not it’s theologically accurate doesn’t change the sweetness of the song.
Save me a seat at the breakfast table Save me a dance around the milky way… And, baby, we’ll change our minds just like old times And maybe we’ll just fly away Or maybe we’ll stay
Circle Up This song is one of the few of his that is actually about BEING in Heaven. It’s a lovely song with a cheerful tune about dancing with the angels and Jesus as you worship. This is one of my family’s favorites, and it doesn’t have any trace of melancholy in it, though the music is mellow, as always. You can’t help but smile when you listen to it.
Circle up, circle up around the throne
Old and young, saints of every history
Great and small angels are and seraphim
Grab a hand, twirl a dance, circle up and worship Him
Deep Enough to Dream And finally, one of my very favorite songs of his. This was one of the first songs of Chris Rice that I discovered, and I loved it instantly. It’s a mellow, sweet song about a guy falling asleep and dreaming about Heaven. The sleepy melody and beautifully contented lyrics are a brilliant combination.
Deep enough to dream in brilliant colors I have never seen Deep enough to join a million people for a wedding feast Deep enough to reach out and touch the face of the one who made me
And oh the love I feel and oh the peace Do I ever have to wake up?
And Your Praise Goes On/Come to Jesus: While these aren’t strictly Heaven songs, they both have storytelling lyrics that end in Heaven. Both beautiful, and the former is another one of my favorites.
O Freedom: I didn’t include this because it’s not an original, but it’s still a super pleasant version and fun to sing.
Wind and Spirit: This is more about God coming back to earth instead of us ascending into Heaven. But I really like this one.
Sneakin’ Into Heaven: This one is a little story about someone who sneaks into Heaven “with a borrowed halo”. Not one of my favorites, but it has Heaven in the title, so I had to at least mention it.
Baby Take Your Bow: This is more of a funeral “we’re saying goodbye to you” song than about Heaven, but it does have the lyric “just be yourself and you won’t help but make the angels smile”.
With February being “Purity Month” at my youth group, where we annually discuss what the Bible has to say about relationships, sex and purity, I wanted to share some thoughts of my own. Quick summary of my life: I grew up in the purity culture, planned super strict boundaries for myself when I was young, became friends with several guys for the first time and became more comfortable around their “species” 😉 , went through a serious relationship, and am now back at home, single and evaluating my thoughts on “purity” and “physical boundaries”. While I have much to figure out still about love and relationships, I have discovered some reasons why physical boundaries are personally important to me. So here are my top 5 reasons that I choose to set boundaries for myself.
——————— 1. Living a Lifestyle of Purity is Biblical and Part of My Faith It feels like an obvious answer, but it’s not a cop-out. It is a real reason for me. I do love and live by my faith. However, when I say that purity is a part of “my faith”, I in NO way mean that my purity has any bearing on my salvation. Whether or not I am a virgin when I get married does not affect the fact that I’m a redeemed child of God. But purity, whether physical, mental or of the heart, is something that God values, and I should strive for it my entire life, now and long after I get married.
There are plenty of Bible verses that talk about “abstaining from sexual immorality”. People can go around and around, debating what constitutes “sexual immorality”; so instead of trying to please everybody, I should listen to what God is telling ME it means so that I can create convictions to please Him. So I prayerfully set my boundaries in order to avoid what I believe to be sexual immorality. Whenever I’m in a relationship, I want to be ready to say no to anything that I feel is wrong, even if the other person believes it’s ok. I want to live above reproach and be able to read Scripture and know that I am doing all I can to live by it. ——————— ——————— 2. It’s Not Just What I Have To Do, But Who I Want To Be Though my boundaries have shifted and changed somewhat since I was in high school, I’ve mostly kept the same conservative preferences. And that applies to my physical boundaries between genders. If I shared my specific convictions with people, there may be some who would feel that my boundaries are unrealistic, or even legalistic. And I try very hard to not push my boundaries on others or judge those who are less conservative than I am. But I don’t have these boundaries simply because I feel obligated to, but because they are what I want to have.
Though I don’t believe that my life or my marriage will be perfect just by having strict boundaries before I’m married, I do believe that there is honor, and reward, in adhering to my convictions. I want to experience guilt-free relationships; I want to do it right. While some people feel “freer” when there are no rules and they can do whatever they want, I feel the freest when I abide by the margins that God sets in place; I can have a clear conscience, and know that within those margins I can truly enjoy what God has given me. ——————— ——————— 3. My Boundaries Remind Me Why I Believe What I Believe In the heat of the moment, when I’m running on emotion, it’s easy to suddenly take things farther then I wanted them to go. I’ve personally experienced that moment when my flesh just says “pish posh to my rules, I don’t care, I’m doing this because I want it now”. And I don’t want to find myself in that place, where I’m running on so much adrenaline that I am ready to ignore what I believe to be right in order to satisfy a momentary high.
Now as a human, since I know that I still mess up, it’s possible I’ll still make mistakes in this area despite my boundaries. So I want to prayerfully consider what I definitely believe is wrong, and then set up boundaries so that making a first mistake doesn’t bring me to the danger zone. Say that I’m dating someone and that, for example, I don’t think kissing is wrong, but since I’m nervous about where it could lead, I make it something that I don’t do. If we end up having a kiss, I haven’t done something that I feel is “immoral”, but I have crossed a boundary I set up; and THAT gives us a chance to do a double take and reevaluate whether our relationship is amping up to cross any physical danger lines. That may be extreme to some people, but it’s just an example. And ultimately, I want my convictions to point me to God by reminding me: “your relationship should honor God, not your flesh”.
——————— —————————————— 4. I Don’t Want to Be Distracted By the Physical in a Relationship I think this is true for most girls, but definitely for me: physical contact (particularly with guys) connects with my emotions. A hug from a friend makes me feel secure. Having my back rubbed when I’m sad makes me feel cared for. Being kissed makes me feel desired. While these are not bad things, and the fact that I feel something is actually important in a relationship, I don’t want the physical excitement to ever, ever cloud my vision of who I’m dating. I want to be with them for who they are, not because they give me physical affection. I want to love them for their personality and their character, and not be confused by the emotions stirred up by our physical contact. If I’m just dating a guy because of the physical affection I can get from him, that’s shallow and demeaning to both him and me. It needs to be about so much more.
Yes, you can make the argument that physical contact IS important in a relationship; it can be a way to show love, it can be comforting in hard times, etc. And I agree– to an extent. I used to think anything other than high fives with guys was wrong, and I don’t quite think that anymore. 🙂 But wherever I specifically choose to draw the lines, I want to be preventing the kinds of contact that is actively stirring up sexual desire. I DON’T know who I’m going to be marrying, and I don’t want to give parts of myself that I’m not ready to just because I think I will eventually. It makes it much harder to leave the situation, and it can create guilt and shame. When it comes to hearing God and my own heart, I will do whatever I can to make sure my heart is not clouded by deceiving emotions.
———————————— ————————— 5. I Believe in Redemption Sometimes we do things that we never thought we would do, and we feel stained. We feel like we’re no longer “pure” because of it. Maybe we thought that we could be one of those people who did things perfectly as we envisioned, like the “good” Christian we strived to be, until suddenly we made a mistake that we never imagined ourselves making. We may think it’s easier to just say, “what’s the point? I’ve already messed up, so why bother trying to do anything different from now on?”
The reason is because it doesn’t end there. God doesn’t leave us in a state of feeling broken and sinful, but He tells us that we are redeemed and that we were already forgiven before we even made any mistakes. He’s not scolding us and saying, “Well, I thought my grace was enough for you, but I didn’t think YOU were going to mess up in THAT area. So you’ll just have to suffer for a little while I figure out what to do with the rest of your life.”
No; God is gracious and loving and He knows how to heal all our hurts and turn our life around, no matter what the circumstances. Yes, there are consequences. Yes, there are still struggles and we still have regrets and we still feel pain. But I know that because of Christ’s redemption, not only for my salvation but for my life, I can start again. I can choose to follow God’s Word to the best of my ability, and His grace will carry me through what I don’t feel I can do on my own. That’s how I can surrender to God: by trusting Him with the rest of my story.