P.S. Some More Thoughts on Music

I hadn’t planned to do another article on music. However, I’ve had some thoughtful and interesting responses, some of which I felt should be addressed. Hence, the P.S. I’ll start with the one area I’d like to address for sure and add a little more, if space permits. I’m thinking of different tastes in music. For example, young people like their own type of music as do older people. So, allowing for different musical tastes and styles, are there guidelines to separate the wheat from the chaff? I suggest that there are. First, are we willing to subordinate our preference for a certain type of music to God’s will? We might not have to give up music that we like but the question is: “Are we willing to, if He asks it of us?” Second, Does the music and the message honor and glorify God? One type of music that we might use to illustrate is Southern Gospel. Some folk really enjoy it. Others do not care for it much, if at all. Still others detest it. It seems that the problem is in the individual songs and styles. Does the music move the body more than the message impacts the heart and mind? Is the message truly Biblical? Even some of the good old hymns aren’t always completely Scriptural. Some Southern gospel (as well as other types) is shallow and offers little content worthy of spending time on. Some move the heart and mind Godward and give expression to things we want to say but can’t find words to do so. However, what about “secular” music? Good, wholesome, uplifting music of any type is a gift of God. If it creates gratitude to God for great music and doesn’t compromise Biblical standards, then it’s worthwhile. What about soft music? Romantic music, lullabies, soothing music have a place. Cheerful or fun music has a place as does stirring and uplifting music, even great instrumentation, just so long as these do not undermine or violate God’s Word and standards of morality. Selah! Whatever your taste in music, analyze it under the holy light of the Bible and if it stands the test, enjoy it and thank God for it. Just be honest and thorough in your evaluation. Ron

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Music’s Intended Purposes

The right kind of music (which, incidentally, is not discordant or left hanging at the end without the appropriate resolution) gives enjoyment, uplifts, encourages, inspires, calms and challenges. It has even been known to aid in physical healing. For the Christian Disciple, it is a vehicle for worship, praise, teaching and rejoicing. The lyrics to many hymns help us give expression to much that God has worked into our hearts that we find ourselves unable to articulate. Hymns offer comfort, hope, joy, reasons to trust, assurance, instances of God’s faithfulness and provision, as well as His guidance, and they often encourage us that God is in control and knows what He is doing and that it’s right. Godly music will be in accord with Scripture. One thing that I hope you, the reader, will never do is to sing the hymns without thinking through the message. For too many, singing of hymns has become a thing that is done as a religious form without much, if any, thought about the message. In Godly music, the instrumentation will not eclipse the message but support it. There’s a whole wonderful area of exploration in our hymns. We are even blessed by timeless hymns written hundreds of years ago. As to some of our contemporary Christian(?) music, is it God-centered or man-centered? Is it Scriptural? Does it have sustaining value? Does it motivate Godly behavior and attitudes? Does it have real spiritual meat or a slight taste chewed over and over, ad infinitum; ad nauseum? Does the music enhance the message or is it more of the “ditty” type? Music must not manipulate us but rather it should serve us in the pursuit of living to bring pleasure to God and spiritual growth in our lives. Selah! Try to picture, in your mind’s eye, how God might view our music.    Ron

They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness;While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being;” “Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God” (Psalms 145:7; 146:2; 147:7).

Music’s Influence

Commercials use “catchy” tunes to lodge in your sub-conscious so that you’ll be influenced to buy the product promoted. Super markets often use slow music on Thursday nights so that you’ll slow down and see more to buy. On Friday and Saturday, the music is faster. People move faster and make way for other shoppers to carry on the intended cycle. Music can create moods. Martial music motivates to action. Quiet music soothes. These are some ways that music is used to influence us. The danger is that music often bypasses our faculties of discernment and can motivate us in wrong ways. “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created” (Ezekiel 28:13). This is commonly thought to allude to Satan aka Lucifer. It is commonly believed that he was at that time the leading musician of Heaven. Any way that we look at it, Satan knows how to use music. Romantic music can be nice. It can also be used to lull a girl into a submissiveness that makes her vulnerable to a guy with wrong intentions. “Nice” music can be hi-jacked to impart wrong concepts. Little by little, good music has eased many undiscerning people into some of the music that we have today that is demeaning and destructive. Some so-called music has influenced illicit sex, drugs and even suicide. Beware of any music where the instrumentation obscures or conceals sinful lyrics. Selah! A disciple will not allow music to override his Biblically developed Spiritual discernment. He will act on sound principles and not be manipulated emotionally to compromise on holy standards. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we’ll look at God-ordained uses of music.      Ron

The Astonishing Roles of Music

If anything in our lives is underestimated as to its impact, music would have to be at the very top of the list. There are so many ways that music impacts us that it would take a huge amount of time to consider them all. Try to imagine the elimination of all music from your experience. Try to grasp the influence it has throughout your day, most every day for most of us. How does it affect us, even way in the background? Music can be inspiring, moving, soothing, joyous, motivating. It can be discordant, depressing, decadent, demeaning and demanding. It is a wonderful way to honor and worship God. It is a gift that Satan has prostituted, far too effectively, to his own ends. It can be a tool to bless mankind or a weapon to demoralize and destroy human beings. We hope, God willing, to spend two or three days highlighting some of the astonishing roles that music plays in our human experience. I think the multiplicity of influences brought to bear on us, some good and some sneaky and some just plain bad, will surprise most readers. Won’t you stay with us for this surprising look at some of the less obvious ways music makes a difference in our lives? Little wonder that a vast amount of Scripture deals with music. We are even told in Colossians 3:16-17 to, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” Music is the context for internalizing Scripture, teaching, admonishing, heartfelt singing and doing all to the glory of God. Selah! One of the most important choices that we can make in our whole lives is if we’ll allow the music in our lives to please the enemy or if we’ll use it to bring glory to God!    Ron

 

What Do We Really Think About Prayer?

 Religious exercise? “Wish List” for God to examine so that He’ll know what to give us? Doing our spiritual duty? Healing? Financial help? A good image around Christians? Impress God with our fluency in prayer? None of the above!! Prayer is one of the most wonderful gifts a born again Christian can be given. What a high and holy privilege to talk with our Creator, our God and our Savior! He delights to listen to us as long as we are harboring no unconfessed sins in our hearts and lives. Through our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary, the complex requirements to be able to go into God’s Presence have been removed. We have free and open access anytime, anywhere. Prayer is not to try and use God. He is not a celestial genie, waiting with anticipation to fulfill our slightest whim. He is not a puppet for us to control with our strings. Prayer is to be with Him, rejoicing in the consciousness of His Presence. It is a means to express worship, praise, adoration and thanksgiving. It is a means to seek His help in understanding the Scriptures. It is a place to align our priorities with His. It is a place to bring the needs of others before Him in a ministry of intercession. It is a place for rest, renewal, repentance and revival. It is where we go to receive His anointing for the work He is ready to do through us. And yes, it is a place where we are invited to present our own needs to Him. It is a place of submission to His love, will and wisdom. It is where we implore Him to guide us, which He does through His Word primarily. After all is said and done, the highlight of prayer is to be quiet before Him and bask in His fellowship. Consider these timely words from Philippians 4:4; 6-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Selah!More things are wrought by prayer than this world knows of.” (Source Unknown).     Ron

“Legalism” Versus Holiness

Awhile ago, I asked, “What would happen if we were as concerned about holiness as we are about not being considered “legalistic?” Why, in fact, do we even accept a definition of “legalism” that is foreign to the Biblical concept of this subject? Have we taken the time to think it through? Legalism, in the Scriptural sense, is adding any work(s) as a way for a person to be saved. We should be adamantly opposed to that kind of teaching! Here, however, is where we need to be discerning. For any work(s) to make salvation possible, (note carefully) they would have to precede salvation. This is where Satan is clever. He suggests (rather successfully to far too many Christians) that little or no mention be made of Godly living to a potential convert. That would be bringing works into their thinking. Plenty of time for that after they come to Christ. What happens? They make some kind of assent to certain basic facts related to being saved and the (unwitting?) personal worker leaves the seeker with the implication that his or her salvation is a “done deal.” This is dishonest and deceptive. It is not usually intentional to deceive. Nevertheless, it does just that. I mentioned above that works prior to salvation have no saving value. On the other hand, works as the inevitable result of a genuine conversion is the Scriptural teaching. The life of the truly saved person is a life of developing holiness (sanctification). Holiness is not an option but is the outcome of studying, applying and obeying God’s Word. A fear of what has been called “legalism” (but isn’t) has led to false conversions and lifestyles that are little different from the average worldling. It has also given many people an assurance that is dangerous. If they have not had a genuine conversion, they should not assume an assurance that will fail them eternally. Selah! God has never rescinded the call for a separated life of practical holiness. Therefore, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “….come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (From II Corinthians 6:17).        Ron

“Wimp”sicle

I think that I just coined a new word: “wimp”sicle. I think that I would define it as “the state and the acceptance of being a wimp.” A wimp is someone who is fearful, lacks courage and fails to develop some backbone. This is especially not the way for a Christian to be. We have guaranteed victory at the end. We are soldiers and have the strength to fight. We will lose some battles but we will win the war! Our weapons are mighty; our armor adequate. Our Captain is the ultimate, infinite Conqueror. Therefore, “ ….be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. (From Ephesians 6:10) and “….take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (From Ephesians 6:13). Why do we become “wimp”sicle? The answer is found in our going by “feelings” and not by will. This is mostly because our Christianity is still lingering in the midst of theory and not in trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember these words from Zechariah 4:6 which say, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Once we believe in our innermost heart that God is in control and does indeed give us strength and courage and we draw upon it, regardless of “feelings,” He will show Himself mighty on our behalf. The first step is to use our will, in His strength, to decide that we will not allow ourselves to continue being wimps or being “wimp”sicle. Pray for boldness. “Lord,………grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word.” (From Acts 4:29). Boldness is a characteristic of the Spirit-filled believer. Acts 4:13 shows us the source of that kind of boldness: ” Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Selah! If we gave as much effort to walking closely with God as we do to our everyday pursuits, the ranks of the “wimp”sicles would shrink considerably.    Ron