The Songs Transformation!

Spring      spring scene

God’s amazing transformational power surrounds us. This week as we “Spring” forward Jesus’ resurrection power is evident in His creation as new buds emerge on barren limbs, blades of grass push upward from the earth, and beautiful flowers adorn our pathways. However, these are only one proof of Our Lord’s constant renovating force. We have also experienced intimately it in our salvation moment, when He reached down to rescue us from enslavement to sin. Then, outside our hearts and in our lives, He strives to pursue His perfect will in us and all we do for Him.

Just this week I have again witnessed His marvelous transformational power in action! This past Saturday, March 15, through the talents of a specially assembled group of musicians, He took The Beatitudes Songs to an entirely new level, as they “laid down” the accompaniment tracks for these powerful messages in music to a sound and style that will immediately connect with lovers of Contemporary Christian music.

The process of these songs have been astounding. From quiet summer mornings when inspired words flowed onto paper, then as these lyrics became majestic melodies under the touch of Annette Herndon, followed by in-depth critiques by Babbie Mason that elevated them to a higher level for rewrites for our album producer, David Staton.

Beech Creek Studio2           Beech Creek Studio1    Beech Creek Studio3

This past Saturday we proceeded to the next step at the magnificent recording facilities at Beech Creek Studios in Brentwood, Tennessee, owned by Mike Gay. Dirk Johnson (band leader & keyboardist), Dave Cleveland (guitarist), Jimmy Carter (bass guitarist), Kelly Back (guitarist), Steve Brewster (drummer), Pete Greene (engineer) transformed these songs to an incredible sound I never imagined, as Annette and David Staton sang the vocals.

Included below is a short video of one of the song sessions.

 

Below are samples of five of the songs that will be on the album. These are in power point format so that you may see the lyrics as your listen to a portion of the melodies. (Just click on the song name below, open the file, click on Slide Show at the top, and then on From Beginning Slide. It should play automatically for you.)

Treasures from Jesus – (Introduction)          The Splendor of My King  (The Poor in Spirit)

My Heart Will Break No More  (Those Who Mourn) 

Close to You (Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness)     When Mercy Came (The Merciful)

We are “almost there” with the production of the Beatitudes Songs album, which I feel will be an incredible tool Our Lord will use to steer hearts to discover His astounding Beatitudes stored up for every believer. They are life changing and make us difference makers for Him while on earth! Music moves our hearts, and I know God will use these songs to bring souls even closer to Him. His timing is always perfect. We are now in the process of reaching out to various artists for the final vocal recordings for these songs. Please pray that Our Lord will lead us to the exact artists He desires to sing the Beatitudes to our world and that He will speak to them to collaborate in this wondrous endeavor for Him!

Beech Creek Studios group foto

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This blog is also on questforthebeatitudes.org

Beatitudes Image_Page77Two weeks ago the website to accompany The Beatitudes Bible Study Group Leader Guide came to life!  This site gives an introduction to the Bible Study, offers numerous online resource materials, provides a location to order the Study Guide and related materials, and also presents my blog site.

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Please visit http://questforthebeatitudes.org/ to view the latest blog about the Study Guide and how it came to pass.  My next blog to be posted later this week will share about a new major vision the Lord has given me about another essential instrument to help carry the Beatitudes to our generation.

I thank you so much for following my previous blogs, and I wanted to post so you would know about our Quest for the Beatitudes website, but I will continue to post blogs on this site as well.   Please consider visiting the website and becoming a pioneer to share the Beatitudes with those around you.  Our Lord’s great desire is that His Beatitudes be known in today’s world.  Many have heard of the passage, but it has largely been ignored and unexplored throughout centuries of Christendom. Jesus wants all His children to experience these heavenly blessings and promises.  Come be a part of this spiritual endeavor today!  May God bless you richly and I hope that we will stay in touch!

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Marlin

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We Are Spiders for Christ!

Spider5

Our local newspaper headline recently read “A bumper crop year for spiders!” That has certainly been the case in our “neck of the woods” due to the persistent rain and moisture. This year they have been abnormally large, numerous and “hanging around” everywhere.

Spider web1  While walking outside this year one easily becomes draped in spider webs or, even worse, suddenly in a staring contest with an immense arachnoid dangling just inches from your face. Due to repeated instances of this nature spiders have captured my attention much more than usual this summer and fall. A pervading wariness has possessed me of their presence and the need to maneuver carefully around their countless web kingdoms extending across every nook and cranny.  Meanwhile numerous spider invoked shrieks have emanated from my daughter, her friends, and hay workers when abruptly encased Spider 2in a “spider encounter”—screams building to an early prequel to Halloween over these past few months.

But in spite of the negatives we must remember that God’s creation is wonderfully made and spiders are worthy citizens from which we can learn. Have you ever considered the amazing attributes of their webs?

How do they attain such extraordinary anchor points and then  pull the outer strands web anchor pointstogether to produce such an intricate pattern? And of course, that pattern has a specific purpose—to capture and ensnare their next meal.  Their elaborate nets are amazing to observe and ponder.

Even though spiders are generally labeled as menacing and nasty, there are positive lessons we can learn from them.

 

Should we not be like these spiders weaving webs for Christ’s Kingdom on earth! Are weWeb for Christ weaving a web daily? Are we attaining extreme anchor points to attract others to Him? Our goal is not to ensnare nor trap prey to their death, but to invite and entice unsuspecting sinners into the Good News net of the Gospel where they can find new life. We position our prey not to be devoured, but consumed with the glory, grace, and salvation invitation of our Lord! Do our web designs direct them to our King?  Let’s be effective spiders and weaving winning webs for Christ!

websAsk God daily to spin your web to influence for His Kingdom. We never know how powerfully He can use our strands of His love in the space where we exist. We must be just as patient, purposeful, and extensive as a spider preparing for their prey—but rejoice because that soul was caught in the web of Christ!

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We Are Leaves on a Tree

tree of life

Consider the vital role of leaves in supporting life for our world. In leaf unfurlingspringtime they emerge and unfurl to take on crucial “respiring responsibilities” to absorb carbon dioxide for their tree and convert it to oxygen for other living creatures.

They take in the “bad air” and transform it to “good air” for our planet to thrive.photosynthesis diagram  Leaves use the life giving energy of the sun to power photosynthesis, that complex physiological process producing the oxygen essential for mankind and the animal kingdom of our world. The primary purpose of leaves is to channel CO2 to their tree and provide life-giving breath for our planet.

tree in fallAnd then when their “tree time” ends, they further invest themselves as enriching nutrients to the soil surrounding the roots of the same tree they served in life.

leaves on a treeAs leaves of the Body of Christ our task is so similar—to take in the spiritual energy of Our Son and channel that power to radiate life-giving love to all around us.

light through the leafThe Spirit of Jesus Christ in us acts just as transformational as photosynthesis does  in leaves. His Presence in us will  positively impact our environment with the “good love” that dispels “bad love”, causing it to disappear. Our Son Light is seen in the compelling expressions, actions, and reactions of love that usher others to God’s gift of eternal life. This is our essential mission in life.leaves of love

However, just like leaves, we will one day find ourselves in the “October of life” and the beginning of our “fall”. leaf fallingWhy do we call this season “fall”? Like leaves our formerly green and flexible “soul stems” attaching us to the Tree of Life have now become crisp and brittle twigs. The never ceasing winds of life will soon detach us from our “earthly tree”.  Like leaves we fall individually to the earth, but we’re not alone. Many crusty companions await us “on the ground”.leaves waiting on others

And together we rejoice in our “soul” purpose of having offered life to our world.  photosynthesisAs members of the Body of Christ our “leaf life” has been the perpetual release of the oxygenizing Gospel message of Christ to all those around us–the essence of our existence.

Just like leaves….
We each have a life cycle to complete,
We each fall eventually to the ground,
We each should leave valuable nutrients for our world.
What leaf legacy will we deposit to enrich spiritual soil for successive generations?

Think about this.

tree with no leavesWhat would a tree be with no leaves? Eventually dead. Even as their roots strive to draw nourishment from the soil, their leaves are vital for the tree’s life and productive process.

we are leavesLeaves evidence a living tree—one that it is alive. In the same way our active witness are the visible leaves that demonstrate we are “living” Christians. This testimony enhances our environment and offers spiritual promise to others.

 Like leaves emit oxygen, we must exude the essence of eternal life for others. When time comes for our “fall”, and we have fallen, our spiritual legacy remains to enrich the generations to follow. Future generations can stand on our example, life lessons, and testimony as they begin to build their own heritage.

leave legacy

We like leaves one day must “leave” and our “leaf of life” must leave a spiritual heirloom to keep the message of Christ flowing. The majestic current of Christ has been coursing through generation to  generation for over 2,000 years. If we are not active and effective leaves our world could become a desert. Yet Christ living in us will never allow that to happen.
leaf and fruit“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

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Spiritual Lessons from Squirrels

squirrel4Our front yard is a sprawling Embassy Suites of squirrel-dom. Trees teem with their astonishing agility, races across branches, fearless leaps from one tree to another in a seamless trail, and swirling around the trunks in endless circles. It is amazing to observe their amazing antics and ability to live life considerably removed from the ground.Squirrel18
As I watch these wondrous creatures spiritual snippets race through my mind. For example, just as they live the majority of their existence “off the ground”, so should we. Although our feet are in full contact every day with the world, Our Lord shares that we are not to be “of the world”. Squirrels present us the challenging role model to reside in the celestial and spiritual habitat that God has designed for his children.
Squirrel13Another attribute of squirrels are their high metabolism which produce a constant appetite. They are never-ending nibblers, incessantly ingesting needed nutrition to feed their ever increasing energy level. They know where and what to dig for and devour. Our spiritual metabolism should be at this same level, with a desperate urge to fill ourselves with His Word. God promises that we will be filled to overflowing, yet will never become overweight in our spiritual knowledge. Likened to squirrels’ anxious appetites our consumption of God’s Word is an urgent and increasing need as we move through life.

Squirrels are natural “hoarders” permanently packing nuts away for the future, whetherSquirrel19 they be buried, placed in tree trunks, or tucked away in their puffy cheeks. Squirrels are always planning for a time of need.Squirrel9 So should be our mentality—not one of self-sufficiency nor of satisfaction, but a mindset that we are continually preparing for our eternal heavenly citizenship one day. Our awareness that our actions will not “save us”, but that our “good works” will be revealed one day in heaven to determine our life’s legacy on earth.

The danger point for the squirrels are their fluffy, furry, beautiful tails which make them so appealing, as opposed to the revolting hairless Squirrel11tail of a rat. That tail makes all the difference in the world in their adorability, and also acts as a Squirrel8balancing rod for their frequent tree-to-tree acrobatics. I can’t help but think that any squirrel must be extremely proud of their tail and the balance and beauty that it represents in their life. Whatever our “tail” may be, we must be ready to surrender it to God and wholly depend upon him for all our needs. The beauty of God’s Spirit living in us should be the most satisfying aspect of our daily existence. “More of Him and less of us” living.

 
Squirrel16Squirrels are very nimble and quick, constantly alert for any lurking danger. They react in a less than a split second. Our adversary, the devil, seeking devour God’s children, moves even faster. Our Lord promises that at the moment we call upon him and he is there. When we resist the devil and call out to Jesus, the Evil One must retreat. A squirrel never Squirrel1disables his protective radar, and neither should we. Complacency opens the door to disaster, while dependency on Our Lord keeps us “in check”.

 

These are just a few profound spiritual lessons I acquired from the furry friends frequenting our front yard. Wherever we look in God’s creation, there is always a message left dangling for us to perceive. I hope that these observations struck a chord with you as well!Squirrel17

May the Lord bless you with His nest of security, elevate you to the spiritual heights to Squirrel12which he desires to transport you, and instill an insatiable appetite for the eternal nuggets of his wondrous wisdom.

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The Beatitudes Bible Study –A group experience!

BEattitudes

“In the opening pages of his book, “Let the Beatitudes BE My Attitude in You, Marlin Harris says that the “Beatitudes are character-building callings from the Master himself to take up a sacred quest to become the person God created you to be.” I couldn’t agree more.

The Beatitudes have the potential for transforming our lives if we truly understand the meaning behind Jesus’ words. Jesus calls us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind; and then, out of that love, serve others. It is a call to a relationship, not just a checklist of do’s and don’ts. The Beatitudes remind us we that are blessed; that we will have a deeper joy when we follow His teachings.”

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—Wanda S. Lee, National Executive Director, Women’s Missionary Union, Southern Baptist Convention, former missionary nurse to St. Vincent, Windward Islands, and author of The Story Lives On and Live The Call

Shortly after distributing copies of “Let the Beatitudes BE My Attitude in You” toward theBeatitudes Study Cover_GroupLeader[1] end of last year, several persons shared that they felt God was directing them to conduct a group Bible study on The Beatitudes, using the book as their guide.  Through them the Lord “messaged” me to develop a Group Leader Guide to provide a “group experience” of the Beatitudes.  Honestly, I believe that the Beatitudes can be even more powerful when various individuals can share this study in an experience together.

 

We are currently setting up a Quest for the Beatitudes website where group My heart like Your Heartleaders will be able to review and download materials to assist them in their group study. Powerpoint presentations can be downloaded to provide strong visual support for each study. YouTube links to videos for various songs quoted in the book will be available, as well as very moving musical excerpts from The Story.

A new dawningA “Beatitudes moment” is the pivotal point in each lesson to bring home the main message of that Beatitude. At the conclusion of every lesson are suggested outside class activities to become even more familiar more with each Beatitude. Each study may require up to an hour and a half to fully experience all the components presented in the Group Leader Guide, but the lessons are designed to be flexible so that the leader can accommodate the study to the different needs, interests, and time constraints of the group.

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Jesus desires that his Beatitudes message impact this generation and you can play a very important role in helping to make this happen! The Beatitudes have been lying relatively untouched for two thousand years and God wants them to become a dynamic part of who we are as his followers.

cross and hands--testifying of GodIn today’s world people enjoy group experiences, particularly one interlaced with discussions, music, videos, and unique group experiences. Each study members will have a variety of experiences, but always toward the same end goal—to fully experience every Beatitude, allowing God to become greater and even more personal in their lives, as is His supreme longing with each of His children.

 

 

The Beatitudes Bible Study Group Leader Guide is being published with Crossbooks ofCrossbooks LifeWay and should be in production in a month to six weeks.  I will keep you posted on this blog site, Facebook page—Marlin J Harris—Let the Beatitudes, and via Twitter (MarlinHarris1) as soon as I know a specific date.  The website will be launched shortly before the book production so that the materials will be ready and waiting on Group Leaders.

 

I deeply thank all of you who have followed the Beatitudes Blog each week. I pray that the Lord will lead you to guide one or more groups through this Group Study, impact many lives around you, and then that your group members will do the same. Discipleship is God’s design for growth—first within each of us, and then out to others.

Spiritual growth

Marlin J. Harris -This blog will continue with additional messages related to the Beatitudes, and others that the Lord has placed on my heart over the last months.  I pray Our Lord’s greatest blessings on each of you and thank you for your faithful interest in the Beatitudes. Let’s keep this Quest going! Please post your interest in the Group Leader Guide in the comments section and–I’ll get right back in touch regarding any questions and to share additional details!

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Conclusion (Part 2 of 2)

Beatitudes -5

The Purposeful Sequenced Order of the Beatitudes, their “Mentalities, & Concluding Questions

Why are the Beatitudes sequenced as they are?  Each one fully prepares you for the next.

God be mercifulThe Poor in Spirit: We cannot enter into a realistic relationship with God until we comprehend his greatness and grandeur and, simultaneously, our poverty and insignificance in comparison to him.  Yet, regardless of these two infinite extremes, God seeks a personal relationship with each one of us, although we are minute spiritual beggars before him.  He yearns to enlarge us with his amazing spiritual riches.

Those who Mourn: After we have encountered our Supreme and Caring Creator, Mourninghow  can we not turn life’s problems and wearying burdens to him?  When we arrive at this mindset to release our burdens to Christ and depend totally on him the heavenly consolation of this Beatitude becomes reality. Life becomes so much easier!

meek-footwashing

The Meek: Once we transfer the weights of our world to Christ, we know that He can manage our life infinitely better than the “mighty me” that strives to dominate our every decision. Put the “me” in the back seat and let Jesus become our designated driver.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake: We have set aside three God's  Word gives lightmajor distractions: spiritual pride, emotional and spiritual burdens, and an addictive preoccupation with self.  Our primary desire is to know and experience God more deeply every day.  We dive into and dine upon his Word—The Scripture and Jesus Living in us.

_64857147_jesus-(ferdinand-kingsley)-The Merciful:  Banqueting on God’s Word unlocks the deep expanses of his justice, mercy, and grace.  His standard of Justice in holy and perfect, His Mercy motivated our salvation, and His Grace fully satisfied Justice and Mercy. God’s unconditional love resurrects our lives.

The Pure in Heart:  Our deep comprehension of God stimulates supreme confidence toThe cross in your heart open up our heart and plea for his intimate scrutiny to reveal any secret, resilient, or unknown sin impeding a full relationship with him.  We want a pure heart! With those sins identified and confessed we are now totally transparent before God. We see him and the world through his eyes.  Also we desire to purify every relationship we have on earth.

The Peacemakers:  Our view of the world is the same as Christ’s and his burden vine & branchesbecomes our burden. We are protagonists of his peace and ready for spiritual “battle” to promote his peace with all in our pathway. His heart is our heart!

following Jesus

The Persecuted:  Effective peacemaking brings persecution in this world. We must be prepared and expectant for any evil opposition that confronts us. Every aspect of our being is now in tune with God.  Our only desire is to be with God whether here or “there”.

Each Beatitudes prepares us for and leads us to the next! 

The Mind of Christ

The Beatitude Mentalities

Each Beatitude attitude is in reality a “mentality” acquired through the sincere experience of each one.

 The poor in spirit:  I recognize my spiritual poverty which will result in heavenly riches.

 Those who mourn:  I release all my hurts and worries to him.

 The meek:  I submit myself to Jesus and turn the cheek, and will never be derailed from his will.

Those that hunger and thirst for righteousness:  I maintain a stay hungry feast on God’s Word.

The merciful:  Let his mercy fill me and flood through me to others.

 The peacemakers:  I will be a piece of God’s peace on this earth.

Those persecuted for righteousness sake:  I am ready and willing to give it all up for Christ right now!

Concluding questions for final reflection:

Beatitude pix11. How have the Beatitudes made you different than who you were before?

2. What major purposes for your life has God revealed to you through the Beatitudes?

3. Is God spiritually empowering your life now through:  Intense daily communion with him,  Daily intake of his Word,  Daily searching and sensitivity to his workings in your life,  Courage to make a daily difference for him,  Becoming more beautiful in and for him!

4. Will you lead others to and through the Beatitude Quest?

Peace beyond beliefLet the Beatitudes become God’s attitude in you.

Be in full fellowship with Him.  Become the “who” He created you to be.  Let God see his beauty in you! Become a hero and difference maker in this world as he changes you every single day!

His spirit will become your beloved Master and master you more each day.

Commit to the quest to be all that you were meant to be in Christ, because at the end, you’ll be so glad you did!accross the bridge

Next week we’ll discuss “The Beatitudes Bible Study Group Leader Guide” currently under production by Crossbooks of LifeWay to help you Lead the Quest for others!

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