WHATEVER IS “WORSHIP MUSIC”…

We are an integral part of the Church, The Body of Christ.  When the Church weakens we suffer . . . when the Church prospers, we’re part of that!

The music in Church is called “Worship Music” . . . it can be either a strengthener, bringing a sense of nearness to God or it is part of a problem, i.e. entertainment with miked up sound, celebrities on stage and simplistic words

There can be more:  “speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. . .” (Ephesians 5:19.)  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God.” (Colossians 3:16).

A Church leader (the pastor, in fact) told me that the music must relate and appeal to many different types of people.  So at that church old hymns are not used, or if they are they are applied to a rock-and-roll beat.  He grew up with the old hymns and thinks they do not appeal to people.

I have a quandary:  what is not appealing in an ancient song?  Is the tune “old fashioned”?  Many hymns have lasted thousands of years.  The Psalms certainly have.  Are the words obsolete?  If they are truth from Scripture how can they be obsolete?

The hearts and souls today have the same needs as in time past.  What in a tune that Charles Wesley composed is ugly, unappealing?  What is not encouraging, comforting, instructive, inspiring?

Why is our deep, powerful history cut off from us by leaders in the Church!

Fanny Crosby was blind but composed songs, hymns and spiritual songs:  she wrote 9000 hymns.  (Christianity.Com).  Hymns such as:  “Blessed Assurance,” “Saved by Grace,” “Draw Me Nearer,” “Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “To God Be the Glory,” “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross,” and “I Am Thine, O Lord,” not only expressed Fanny’s deep devotion to her Savior, but were backed up by a life that demonstrated the sentiments that she wrote about in her hymns.

The brothers John and Charles Wesley started a powerful, spiritual move.  Charles opened his Bible to Psalm 40:3 where he read, “He hath put a new song in my mouth; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.”  The next day he started his first hymn, probably it was “And Can It Be?”  It is a powerful, wondrous rejoicing in the freedom to be found in Christ:  Here are some of the words of “And Can It Be”:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused the quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

He believed in learning through song. Wesley wrote 6,500 hymns:  where are they?  They are here still. . . to be learned and sung and meditated on.  For decades there poured forth from him an unstoppable stream of spiritual songs.  Charles Wesley, like Martin Luther, believed hymns were a means of teaching theology.

The old songs have brought and taught us through an amazing history that glorifies Jesus Christ . . . the old together with the new: “Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.” (Psalm 33:3)

It is not too late to revisit and reuse at least some of the rich heritage of church music.  It’s not too late:  bringing our history in songs to the forefront of the Church will be part of our saving from a secular culture.  Indeed, we will rise above it in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let’s find our roots . . . rooted in the power of the Word of God, hymns, and spiritual songs written by our Christian forebears . . .  A song or hymn or spiritual song accompanied by gifted artisans of music . . . or songs sung by beautiful voices a cappella, just with voices and harmonies . . .

All of us will be inspired, encouraged and strengthened.  We can still have the new but bringing the old back will be an exciting adventure.

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SILENT NO MORE

This Country, our United States, has a well known group called “The Silent Majority”. We speak, well, silently. We speak via voting, via choosing to eat at Chick-fil-A (particularly in New York City). We buy Bibles, more than one translation. We belong to a Church. We believe in our Christian heritage. We know that freedom is priceless. We allow others to disagree, because that is what the Bible teaches; it is what Jesus did . . . even allowing himself to be crucified.

We should be silent no more. There is too much at stake. Because we who know Jesus have the same power in us that created the heavens and earth. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) That power that raised Jesus from the dead is inside of every Believer!

As I’ve lived my life, a Preacher’s kid, it’s been important to grow in knowledge and to understand the wisdom of the Bible. I’m grateful to have been brought up reading it, to know a lot about it and consequently about the Almighty, All Knowing, and All Powerful Jehovah . . . about Jesus. I’ve been grateful. I wanted to grow spiritually, meaning, I would obey what I knew to be true and put it into practice in my life.

But sharing it? That was uncomfortable, unless I was asked. I would tell myself, “If the Lord wants me to testify about Him, He will open the door.”

Lately it is different. Why didn’t I think this way before? Now, because of the truth of the gospel, the reality of the forgiveness of my sins, eternal life through Jesus Christ, passion is rising. I’ve put a personal message with a Bible verse on piece of paper that I give out. I’m ready to speak up as a Christian. One beautiful server at a restaurant, I’d given her my paper message, walked up to Eric and me, “Are you Christians?” And we talked to her about Jesus.

We can speak “the truth in love” if we’re ready. (Ephesians 4:15) We who know Jesus, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, we know that He is the way to peace with God; we should be no longer the Silent Majority. We can be bold. Step up. Speak out . . . “Speaking the truth in love . . .”

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STAY NEAR THE SHEPHERD

Lately, the hope that God is involved in every moment in the lives of us, His children, came into question.

Can I, a faulty child of the Father, expect Him to answer every prayer?

Yesterday I was riding my bike home . . . there were six miles between me and home. The weather had reported “no rain” for the day. It began to lightly sprinkle. I prayed, “LORD, please don’t let it rain (or lightening) until I get home.” It sprinkled on and off. It did not begin to rain until I was three fourths of a mile from home. I walked into the house damp, not soaked, no lightening, safe.

I asked the LORD the question, “How much do You desire to be involved, to interact with me?”

Then I read Psalm 23. He is my shepherd: I shall not want (by implication to fail). He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness . . . I fear no evil for He is with me . . . comfort is present . . . a table is prepared . . . He anoints my head with oil . . . my cup runs over . . . goodness, mercy follow me all the days of my life . . . I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever . . .

Yes. The LORD is interested in every day, every hour, and every part of my life.

Keep close. Stay near the Shepherd.

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LIVE READY

Live ready  – – –  watching for His return. “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching . . .”*
Live ready  – – –  Listening for the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit.
Live ready  – – –  to smile
Live ready  – – –  to mourn with those who mourn
Live ready  – – –  to be taught… – – – *“He shall teach you all things”
Live ready  – – –  to see opportunity
Live ready  – – –  to step up
Live ready  – – –  to step down
Live ready  – – –  to speak  – – – *“the truth in love”
Live ready  – – –  to be  – – – *“swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”
Live ready  – – –  to forgive
Live ready  – – –  to follow – – – *“My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me…”

*Luk_12:37; * 1Th_4:16;  *Joh_10:27; *Jas. 1:19; Eph. 4:15

1Jn_2:27  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Joh_14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Mat_6:15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

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IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE, LIVE IT UP

Why would we not!

We are alive.  Hurricane Irma has passed and we’re still here.  It was a lesson in the power of God . . . my reaction to this force is to fall at His feet (in my head and heart).

As I woke today, two days after hurricane Irma something came to me, (maybe you learned it as a child, like I did) Psalm 100:  “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing.  Know that the LORD He is God:  it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.”

My husband and I have come to the book of Job reading through the Bible, at the same time that our Sunday school class began the same Book.  Remember Job, sitting in ashes; from his head and heart came this:  “Though He slays me yet will I trust Him. . .” (Job 13:15). He had lost it all, like some people in the path of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  We can do the same, even as we mourn loss of loved ones, property and the familiar.

So, as the song goes, “let’s just praise the LORD . . .”

Go ahead and believe God, obey Him, learn of Him.  “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30).

All of us have the option of getting to know Him, the God of the Bible.  Make sure the God in your head and heart matches Him . . . this is where living is found.

What do I have to lose!

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