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On this page you can listen to the songs, read the stories behind them, and add your own voice to the narrative.

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Nothing I Desire

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“Nothing I Desire” was the first track on the original release of WMD and was the obvious choice to remain as track 1. It’s the song I still sing the most from this album in my times of worship and it sums up what I want this project to express. When Gert Kumi played violin it just put it over the top. This is also the most collaborative track in terms of instrumentation.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocal, bass: Mark
Percussion: Anthony DiBlasio
Piano: Aaron Niles
Violin: Gert Kumi
Written c. 2001
Recorded in NYC

Lyrics:
Nothing I Desire
Nothing I Desire
Nothing I Desire
Compares with you
Compares with you

So take all that I am
I lay down at your feet
All me dreams all my plans
All that would compete
For your heart for your love Lord
It’s all for you

I Will Not Shrink Back

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There is a place in the Christian life for resolution.

To understand this song (especially its message of seemingly untempered self-effort) you have to understand the unique time in which I wrote it. In the early part of 2002, after much prayer and deliberation I began to ‘set my face’ towards going to Afghanistan. It was the most radical, ridiculous, inane (or insert the ‘s’ if you like) idea I had ever had. And it began to grip me, intoxicate me with visions of living the sold-out life I had always dreamed of.

But then the vision began to fade. If you’ve ever similarly contemplated striking out in a bold new direction you’ve probably experienced this. The second thoughts, the doubts, the voice of reason, once the initial high starts to wear off. And the darker voices too, the taunts of “who are you kidding?” and the more diffuse but no less crippling “yeah, right.” It wasn’t too late to bail out, turn around, forget the whole thing. It made me feel sick. I didn’t WANT to bail out. Sort of.

I decided I had to do something, quick, or the whole thing would slip through my fingers like so many high-flying dreams had before. So I wrote this song. And it became a line in the sand, an anthem, a ‘declaration of firm intent’ to keep going in the direction that seemed right to me. It ‘worked’ I suppose; Somehow or another I pressed on. I got past that dry spot and persevered with what God was calling me to do. And this song became a sweet memorial of that time and what God was able to accomplish.

Exhortations to self-effort are not absent from the Scriptures (consider Hebrews 10:39 from which the song is drawn, or the many “I will” passages in the Psalms), but they are always to be understood with a background of grace, knowing that, in the end, it’s only God’s power working through us that will get us where we need to go. We “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” but all the time we know that it’s “God’s power at work” in us (Phil 2:21). A profound mystery. This song emphasizes the former part of the equation, but with an understanding that even our effort is a work of his power. This is the spirit in which I wrote this song, and I hope that you would understand it the same way.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, bass, electric guitar, organ, tambourine, shaker: Mark
Djembe: Anthony DiBlasio
Written 2002
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
I will not shrink back
I will not shrink back
Though foes may come against me
Though men and flesh may fail
I will not shrink back

I will go on
I will go far
Into the land where you will lead me
I will not fear
I will believe
I will be saved
I count it gain to suffer loss
All for the glory of the cross
I want to know you in your power
And in your pain

I will not shrink back
I will not shrink back
Though men may doubt and waver
Though pleas would stay my hand
I will not shrink back

This is my desire
To live my life for you
For you are more desired
Than anything I could hold on to

Bold I Approach

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A song for a time of seeking God, based on the promise of Heb 4:14-16 and the words of Samuel in 1 Sam 3:10.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, bass, piano: Mark
Djembe: Anthony DiBlasio
Written c. 2000-2001
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
Bold I approach
Drawn by your love
Washed in your blood
I draw near to you
I draw near to you
I draw near to you
Precious Lord

Speak Lord, for your servant hears you
Speak Lord, for your servant hears you
Speak Lord, for your servant hears you
I’ve come to do your will

Accepted In the Beloved

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Written during a period when I was home in the ‘States, I was going through a very tough time in the aftermath of a broken relationship and feeling very condemned and much like a failure. At some point I found my way back to the truth of the Gospel and wrote this song. It doesn’t get any better – and truer – than this: although in ourselves we’re more broken, sinful and wretched than we could ever possibly imagine, yet because of Christ, and only in him, we are more loved and accepted of God than we could ever possibly hope. May you find rest in this place.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, bass, drums, electric piano, synthesizer: Mark
Written 2007
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
No shame, no condemnation
No sense of failure, no being afraid
True love and deep compassion
Accepted in the beloved
Accepted in the beloved

Here is a good place
Here is a safe place
Here is a place where I can rest and be free
Here in the arms of my loving savior
Accepted in the beloved
Accepted in the beloved

This love, brought with a passion
Bought with the blood of one who loved to the sky
Heals me with deep compassion
Accepted in the beloved
Accepted in the beloved

Beautiful, beautiful
The savior glorious
Flawless in holiness
Beautiful, beautiful
My every righteousness
In you

Jesus my living savior
My spotless sacrifice
Beloved of God
Clothes me with deep compassion
Accepted in the beloved
Accepted in the beloved

One Thing

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A song of consecration based on the words of Christ in Luke 10:42.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocal: Mark
Written c. 2000-2001, New York
Recorded in NYC

Lyrics:
I will choose this one thing
It is the better thing by far
To sit at your feet and listen
Jesus make your home inside my heart

There are many voices that clamor for attention
Still you wait patiently for me
But at the day’s end should something remain undone
Let it not be you, let it be me

Sorry

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A song of repentance. Here I address one other reason why we sometimes can’t or don’t want to worship: our sin (see “I Will Worship,” below). Sin, no matter what else it does, breaks God’s heart and hurts our relationship with him. I think sometimes that if we knew just how much it did so, we’d do it far less. In the 2nd part of the song I try to take it beyond just saying “sorry” and talk about what true repentance (aka “godly sorrow”) looks like (see 2 Cor 7:11).

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, bass: Mark
Djembe: Anthony DiBlasio
Written c. 2002
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
Sorry, sorry
I hurt you, I hurt me
Cleanse me, forgive me
And make me whole again
And make me whole again

I will have sorrow leading to repentance
Earnestness and eagerness to change
O change me Lord, please burn me with your fire
I want to live a life worthy of your name

Your Mercies Are New

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This song, the last one written for the album, is based on a quote by Adoniram Judson, pioneer missionary to Burma (Myanmar). Left to rot in a Burmese prison, chained in a dark room together with a group of surly, bitter men, one of his fellow prisoners taunted him, asking “So what do you think now of the prospects for your work here?” His simple answer: “The prospects are as bright as the promises of God.” He was released some time after and the effects of his work continue to this day. His faith-filled words are a constant inspiration to me. I think this song is second after “Nothing I Desire” for the one that I keep coming back to.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, bass, piano, tambourine: Mark
Djembe: Anthony DiBlasio
Written 2008, Kabul, Afghanistan
Recorded in Afghanistan, NYC, and Beverly MA

Lyrics:
The future is as bright as your promises
Tomorrow is as good as your mercy
Forever is as wonderful as your love can tell
I will trust you Lord

New, new, your mercies are new
Every morning, every day
All the time and all the way
New, new, your mercies are new
I will trust you Lord

How great is the love of God
How strong, how wide
So I will wait for you, Lord I will wait
More than watchmen for the morning
More than watchmen for the morning

Land Of My Calling

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This was the first song I wrote in and about Afghanistan, my first couple of months in, very much first impressions, very much rose-colored glasses. But I love it. The prayer of anyone who’s ever gone someplace to bring the light of God: “May we never be the same, this place and I, because you’re here in me.” The drum loop was what I thought at the time sounded like a typical Afghan beat. It doesn’t at all really but I still like it.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, drum loop, harmonium, bass, damboura, percussion: Mark
Written 2003, Afghanistan
Recorded in Afghanistan and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
Diesel fumes and wood smoke haze
A streetwise seller’s knowing gaze
The synchronized swishing of a pair of donkeys’ tails
Hooded women floating by
Wizened looks on weathered eyes
Wondering if peace’ll ever prevail

This is the land, the land of my calling
The land of my growing
The land of my pouring
Here will I stand in the strength of a blessing
May we never be the same, this place and I
Because you’re here in me

Staccato horns and chak-chak hands
Spangled camel caravans
The greetings of the children in my native tongue
White and purple fields of death
Deadly toys at shallow depth
But don’t they know the war’s already one

And if I could love like I am loved
There could be healing, there could be blooming
And if I believe I know I’d see your glory
Pouring down like springtime rain
On these barren hills

A hardened people torn by war
Wondering what they’re living for
As they call the faithful once again
To pray to a god so far above
But from the tears there will arise
An army of the ransomed bride
Singing songs of freedom, joy and love

I Will Worship

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This is a very important song to me. Sometimes, let’s face it, we just don’t feel like seeking God. The reasons could be many but here I address three that are most common to me: coldness of heart, sadness, and just plain distraction. The key, I’ve learned, is to just worship God in the midst of whatever state of mind/heart I happen to be in. It’s very strange and counter-intuitive; you think that if your heart is cold, you should try to figure out why, and not approach God until you’ve figured it out. While it’s good to try to trace it back to root causes, now (hopefully) I no longer wait until I’ve figured it out to approach God; rather, I just take whatever state I’m in – good, bad, or ugly – and just worship him in that. It feels weird, but it ‘works.’ And I believe God is glorified when we choose to seek him, no matter how we happen to feel. And of course in the very act of worship the heart is changed and very likely the journey out of whatever negative state I am in has begun.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocal, bass, harmonium: Mark
Written c. 2001, New York
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
I will worship you in coldness
When my heart is petrified
When my soul can’t grasp your greatness
Still you will be glorified

I will worship
I will praise you
I will sing though I can’t see
Still you will be Lord almighty
Still you will be friend to me

I will worship you in sadness
When I’m hurting, when I’ve cried
When I can’t recall your gladness
Still you will be magnified

I will worship in distraction
When my mind’s preoccupied
When by lesser things abstracted
Still you will be glorified

Living Water

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Just a very simple worship song, written to counteract the relentless spiritual ‘dryness’ I was tempted with during my time in Afghanistan.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, penny whistle, recorder: Mark
Written c. 2004, Afghanistan
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
Living water, living water
You’re everything I need
Living water, living water
You’re everything to me

Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
You satisfy my soul
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Come Jesus, make me whole.

Abba father, Abba father
I rest in your embrace
Abba father, Abba father
How I long to see your face

Fight On

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The Hebrew word for “fighter” is לוחם (locheim). In life there are struggles we face that just seem to be so far beyond what we could ever possibly bear. But Scripture tells us that it is God himself who arms us and strengthens us for the battle (Psalm 144). This song was inspired by a poem from the devotional book “Streams in the Desert” (entry for November 16th). Along the way, whatever we’re facing, we all need encouragement to stay in the fight.  May this song bring that encouragement to you.  Dedicated to my dear friend David who, as of this time (fall of 2011), is engaged in the battle of his life.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, bass, electric guitar, organ, harmonium, tambourine, shaker: Mark
Djembe: Anthony DiBlasio
Written c. 2002-2003
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
Praise be to the Lord my rock
Who trains my hands for battle
You are my deliverer
My mighty God and fortress
I stand strong in your great strength
Your presence is my power
As I praise you you will give
The victory before me
Saints and angels call along
Until you give the victory song

Fight on, fight on
Though the night be dark and long
Fight on, fight on
For tomorrow comes the song

Darkness falls around my head
The enemy seems stronger
Faith grows weak and hope so dim
And love seems as a shadow
Still you draw me on towards
The crown that lies before me
Pressing on I gird myself
With armor for the battle
So lift your weary head and see
The triumph o’er your enemy

Wherever Morning Dawns

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The title track, taken from Psalm 65:8. On the original recording of Where Morning Dawns I announced the title of each song before I sang it (for some reason). For this song I retained that practice.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocal, bass, organ: Mark
Written c. 2001
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
Wherever morning dawns
Wherever evening fades
A song of joy is fitting for my king
Wherever I will go
Whatever I will do
An offering of worship I will bring

You are my God, you are my king
You are my savior, my everything
I give my life, my soul’s delight
To know your love
And follow your light

Sun filtered through my window, early morning, Kabul, Fall 2008

All My Fountains (Psalm 87)

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Psalm 87 is one of the reasons I believe the Bible.  Written by a poet in ancient Israel, a tiny nation perennially beset by enemies on every side, larger, stronger, and bent on its utter destruction, this Psalm somehow foresees a day when all of these nations – bitter enemies – will be brought in, somehow, to the family of God.  It’s preposterous, beyond idealistic; even treasonous.  Utter foolishness to man, but the very heart of God.  The scattering of the nations described in Genesis 11 is not to be permanent, and there will be a day when people from every nation, tribe and tongue will worship God together as one, through the reconciliation God has provided in the Messiah (Rev 7:9-10).  On that day every “stream” of desire we’ve ever tasted will be run up to its true source:  “All my fountains are in you.” The ambient music that serves as a denouement at the end of the song was the last music recorded for the album (Jan 2012).

Credits:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, bass, electric guitar, harmonium, shaker, tambourine, synths and programming: Mark
Djembe and percussion: Anthony Diblasio
Written c. 2001
Recorded in NYC and Beverly, MA

Lyrics:
He has set his foundation on his holy mountain
The Lord loves the gates of Zion
More than all the dwellings of Jacob
Glorious things of thee are spoken
Zion, city of God
Zion, city of God

And as they come from every tongue
And tribe and nation, every one
We’ll gather in that holy place
Enemies no more of grace

And we’ll hear you say:

This one was born in Zion,
This one was born in her

And as we come before your throne
Blood-bought children now called your own
We’ll gaze on you, our glorious king
And lift our voices as we sing:

“All my fountains are in you.”

I Want To Love You More

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I close out the album with this track, which I wrote and recorded in the summer of 2004 after I had begun to be exposed to the fabulous tradition of Afghan/Persian poetry.   It’s based on the poem “Maihan ai Maihan,” which is actually a patriotic poem (“maihan” means approximately “homeland.”)  I was struck at how over the top some of the sentiments expressed in the poem are if applied to a country (i.e., “my being overflows with your love; I bow down before you; etc.”).  I borrowed and re-worked some of the lines, added some of my own, and produced this simple love song to God.  At the very end of the track if you listen carefully you can hear the Mynah birds outside my window which were part of the permanent background soundtrack of my time in Afghanistan.

Credits:
Acoustic guitar and vocal:  Mark
Written summer, 2004, Afghanistan
Recorded in Afghanistan

Lyrics:
You created me from nothing and with love you cared for me
And set my feet on solid ground and showed me how to live
For you alone

And I want to love you more
More than I did yesterday
Than I did before
Yes I want to love you more
My being and my un-being
I sacrifice to your love

Greater love has no man than he would lay his life down for his friend
And this you did for me pouring out your life as if
For me alone

You are to me everything I need and all I want and so whether
Awake, asleep, a fool or sane my heart I bow
To you alone

(This is a mourning dove, not a mynah bird, but you get the idea.)

Album Credits

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mark Giacobbe

Album cover, concept, and photography by Mark Giacobbe

Special thanks to Anthony DiBlasio, Gert Kumi, and Aaron Niles for contributing your talents to the project.

© 2012 Mark Giacobbe