30daysofpraise, Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, prayer, religion, Uncategorized

Sing Of The Lord

“Glory is his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. “ 1 Chronicles 16:10

Holy God when I seek to worship you through song today help me to distinguish between music that elevates You rather than me.  I want to lift up my voice in celebration of You – your glory and majesty and power.  Amen

Last year my husband and I were attending a church that had an excellent teaching pastor.  However, for various reasons we decided to keep looking for a church that fit more of our needs.  We had become friends with the pastor so I felt the need to talk with him about why this church just didn’t seem like the right place to call “home.”  Way down on my list was the music.  It wasn’t a gamechanger but I included it just for feedback.  My comment was that I was sure, because I’ve heard some before, there was music to be sung written after the 1800s.  He agreed and replied, “Yes, but I don’t like the ”Jesus Is My Boyfriend” music either.

Music has always played a role in the world’s religions – whether hummed, chanted, drummed, or played in an arena like a rock band.  But no other religion finds itself with a songbook as large, widespread and popular as Christianity.  We have songs to celebrate the life of Jesus, to thank the Lord for rescuing us, songs to remind us of the pain Jesus suffered for us, songs to inspire us to trust in the Lord and songs to glorify God.  And it’s important to pay attention to when we fall into the trap of honoring the work we do rather than the work God does.  We also don’t want to reduce Jesus to our “buddy” or as the pastor said, our boyfriend.

"Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!" Psalm 105:2

This got me thinking about the different types of Christian music and when we should be singing ones that are written solely for the purpose of glorifying God.  Now some of you might be thinking, “if it’s Christian music, doesn’t it all do that?”  If that’s your initial thought I’d like to challenge you to listen to the words of the favorite songs you hear on the radio, and maybe even in your church.  Are the lyrics really about you or about God’s glory, holiness, power and authority?  Here’s a popular song by Phil Wickham that I have in my Christian playlist:

"I searched through the Earth for something that could satisfy
A peace for the hurt I had buried deep inside
Knees on the floor, I finally found everything I needed
You lifted my soul and opened up my eyes

I never knew anything lasts forever
Till I found You, till I found You
I never dreamed anything could be better
Till I found You, till I found You
You're rewriting my story
And I'm brand new like a morning
Oh, I never knew anything lasts forever
Till I found You
Till I, till I found You"

In just these few lines the word “I” or “my” is repeated 16 times.  So who are we really singing about here? This song is perfect for expressing to the world how we were changed by our faith.  But it is not really a song glorifying God.

When my youngest was a teenager, she thought it funny when she would play a song in the car that had cuss words in it.  She wanted to see my reaction.  She didn’t think a few bad words here and there were important.  “It’s just a song,” she once said.  We are challenged, as Christians to watch everything that leaves our mouths, even songs.  What we have running on repeat in our head reflects where our heart lies.  When we come into worship are we singing about ourselves or our savior?  

When I selected the music for my wedding, I took care in the messages I wanted to send to my guests about this beautiful union.  Today, when I think of a song to sing glorifying God I want to take the same care.  To focus on Him, not me.


Here’s a few modern songs that glorify God.  Do you have a favorite song that glorifies God?  Add it in the comments!

Only A God by City Alight

Holy, Holy, Holy (various artists)

Worthy of It All by CeCe Winans

Ancient of Days by City Alight

Revelation Song by Kari Jobe

Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) by Michael W. Smith

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship & Brooke Ligertwood

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

Music

Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:18-20

There’s no consensus in archeology as to when humans first started creating music.  One theory is that it must correlate with the creation of language.  When you think about it that makes sense – we go about our days humming, whistling, or like my dry cleaner, putting our conversations to some mysterious tune.  Scientists have found ancient flutes dating back around 300,000 BC.

What scientists will never answer is why do we have this thing called music and from where does it originate? From a Christian point of view, we know that God gifted us with so many human-specific attributes (although birds do have lovely songs!) such as the creation of music.  The first known “hymn” detailed in the Bible dates from somewhere around 1500 BC.

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:
“I will sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.
“The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  Exodus 15:1-2

That praise song to the Lord goes on for 16 more verses!  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a recording of the exiles singing this?   As I write this, I’m listening to a beautiful Spotify playlist called “relaxing piano Christian.” What continues to amaze me is that year after year, decade after decade, and century after century this beautiful gift of music finds new ways to stir our hearts and minds.  I thank God for the notes He has placed out in the universe for us to sing, to play and to hum.  And I look forward with anticipation for each new song’s foray into His mysterious ways.

30daysofpraise, Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

His Grand Orchestra

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12

The other morning my husband and I were out for an early morning walk.  The clouds were building to the east and I commented that I hoped it would rain.  You see, living in Southern California we don’t see a lot of rain.  And I love the rain.  I love the sound of it hitting the pavement, especially when it wakes me in the middle of the night.  We get up just to watch it rain.  I even love the sound of the water hitting under my car as I drive down the road.  There are so few times when the rain becomes a long, monotonous affair where I live that I never get tired of it.  At my daughter’s house in Missouri, I could sit for hours watching and listening to the thunderous rain come down!  

The sound of rain is just one instrument in God’s beautiful orchestra.  The music of His creation is so glorious!  And that’s what I praise today.  

I’ve been praying the last few days for God’s direction for these last few days of praise.  And on my way to have lunch with my parents – which typically is a difficult visit – my playlist of Christian music came on.  A fun and almost silly song began playing which put me in just the right frame of mind for my impending encounter with my parents.  And I praised God for His music.  And then I praised God for putting this entire line of thought in my head!

When I think of all the beautiful instruments in God’s orchestra what also comes to mind are the voices of some of my closest friends.  Their laughter and warmth.  Their sarcasm and wit.  I told one of them, in preparation for her day at a school office, that no matter what is thrown her way I know the office will be blessed with hearing her joyous giggle.

During the stresses of the last year and a half I started doing a sort of mediation technique to help me rest in God’s peace.  When I’m at our local park with my dog I sit down on the grass and do a centering countdown.   It goes like this:

  1. What 10 different things do I see?
  2. What 9 different things do I hear?
  3. What 8 different trees can I find?
  4. What 7 different smells can I smell?
  5. And so on..

It’s amazing just sitting and listening to the music of God’s creation.  The breeze rustling in the trees.   Birds chirping. Children laughing.  Moms talking on their phones.  Cars driving by.  Airplanes overhead.  Bees buzzing.  My dog panting.   So many sounds, some of which are exactly the same as at the time of creation others unique to this very time and place.

And of course, there’s what we traditionally call “music.”  I marvel that since the beginning of time we humans have been creating new types of music and songs.  When you look at a music book there seems to be a limit to what can be created.   There’s only a certain number of notes to use, right?  And yet day after day,  year after year someone creates a new song or even a new sound!  How else can this happen than by some glorious design by a being who loves music and who loves the sounds of the earth?

Praise God for music that speaks to us when we need it most.  Praise God for the sound of crashing waves.  Praise God for thunder and chickens squawking and the crunching of gravel under my feet.  Praise God for his magnificent orchestra of life!


30daysofpraise, christian encouragement, Uncategorized

Praise At The Ready


Day 12

You never know when you will have the opportunity to share your faith.  God will place people in your lives that He wants you to share your love for Him.  We must always be ready.  And although you are not responsible for the path they eventually take, God calls us to take even the smallest part in that path. When my youngest was in college she became best friends with a beautiful, smart, funny young lady from Belgium.  They were field hockey teammates, roommates, and now lifelong friends.  We sent my daughter’s car out to her their sophomore year.  It gave them so much freedom to explore the St. Louis area and beyond.  

As my daughter grew closer to Christ through the Christian athlete organization Athletes In Action, she also began discipling other athletes.  But her best friend didn’t seem interested.  However, one of the many things they did have in common was their love of music.  I saw many a video of them driving along singing at the top of their lungs to a popular song while they cruised the streets of St. Charles, Missouri.  Their favorite was “Africa” by Toto which had experienced a renewal at that time. And while they played upbeat, fun, pop and country songs my daughter also played songs about her faith.  Beautiful Christian songs.  Songs that spoke of her love for Jesus.

One day her friend hopped in the car and said to her, “Play some of those good, sad songs.”  My daughter was confused.  Her Belgium friend, while fluent in English, had a funny way of using the English language with her French/Dutch accent.  She said, “You know, those Jesus songs.”  And my daughter was ready to serve in God’s name.

My daughter Madie (L) and her friend Rou (R) taking “Sandy”, her car, out for another favorite activity — milkshakes

I suppose many Christian songs may sound “sad” to some but so many of the lyrics speak to our deepest needs.  We express our longing and our hope through these “sad Christian songs.”  Most of my favorite songs fall into this category.  Music gives us a beautiful channel to lift up our voices to our Father to say, “I love you” or “I need you.”  We might also say we are hurting or we have been healed.  I have plenty of shout out loud “praise the Lord” songs in my “Inspirational” playlist.  But I frequently play the ones that tug at my heart.  

I have a friend that doesn’t want to go back to her church right now because they have decided not to play music and sing songs.  She has said, “I can listen to a sermon anywhere.  I miss the voices being lifted up to God.  I miss the worship.”  

Sometimes we need a good “sad” Christian song.  That beautiful expression of our love for God can bring so much love and peace to live in us.  I’d like to share with you one of those songs.  “You” by Fellowship Creative, shows the need for God our Father, God our Counselor.  It praises God for His ability to mend all brokenness.  I hope you enjoy listening to it.

What’s your favorite “sad Christian song” and who can you share it with today?  Let’s praise God with our beautiful (and not so beautiful ) voices.