Sounds of Music, Words of Truth

sounds of music worship
But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” (Luke 4:4)

Many of us have seen the 1965 musical The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews (Maria) and Christopher Plummer (Captain von Trapp).1 This year marks its 50th anniversary. Compared to the raucous musicals of today and the TV programs and movies that are ever-pushing the envelope toward open and gleeful wickedness, the classic is a pleasure to watch.

However, “poetic license” is often taken as the media’s authorization to distort truth, and the story promotes a worldview without a personal Creator God. The film certainly reflects the accepted view that nature is the ultimate source for truth and that our feelings are the way we can verify what is truth “for us.” Unfortunately, many of our churches have come into sync with Maria’s opening song:

The hills are alive with the sound of music,
With songs they have sung for a thousand years.
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music.
My heart wants to sing every song it hears.

With obvious delight swirling from her dancing and with her heart beating in time with the “hills” message of revelation, Maria continues to sing:

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
That rise from the lake to the trees.
My heart wants to sigh like a chime
That flies from a church on a breeze.

To laugh like a brook when it trips
And falls over stones on its way.
To sing through the night
Like a lark who is learning to pray.

Enraptured with religious feeling and natural beauty, Maria later tells the Abbess, “I can’t seem to stop singing wherever I am. And what’s worse, I can’t seem to stop saying things—anything and everything I think and feel.” Throughout the film, the heart is featured as a trustworthy guide to life’s activities and decisions. During a discussion about Maria, Sister Margaretta suggests that rules often conflict with our heart because “after all, the wool from the black sheep is just as warm.”

The message? “Rules from any source should not govern your life. Your heart is the most trustworthy guide.”

Sadly, much of the evangelical world has shifted from attention to “every word of God” toward a “sound” of Christianity that feels good. For example, far too many churches are more centered on the performance of their worship team than on the words of the songs they sing. Often, the sound and volume of the music override whatever good words are in the song—so much so that many of the words cannot be understood. Yet, the audience will applaud the performance because it sounds and feels good.

It is still true that many churches are trying to strike the right balance between modern expectations and genuine worship. It is also true that most pastors are trying their best to teach and preach God’s Word. Some congregations, however, tend to reward non-controversy over a clear stand on God’s Word. Some are caught up in petty disputes that drive those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness back into the godless world—or worse yet, harden their hearts against the “living word” that could free them. Perhaps the sounds of the world are drowning out the message of God. Perhaps the “renewing of our mind” is held back from “transforming” our lives (Romans 12:1-2) because the heart is beating too loudly with the “lust of the flesh” (1 John 2:16).

This is not a new problem among the churches. Among the seven churches to whom the Lord Jesus addressed Himself in the early chapters of the book of Revelation, there were only two (Philadelphia and Smyrna) that were not reprimanded for some serious difficulty. Two (Ephesus and Laodicea) were warned that they were even in danger of losing their very “church-ness” (lose its authority as a church, have its lampstand removed). Those seven churches, representative of all churches since our Lord returned to His throne, set the stage—both good and bad—for what we should pay attention to.

Ezekiel faced a similar problem when God commissioned him to challenge the exiled Israelites to pay attention to the reason they were in exile and to God’s promises of their future restoration. God warned Ezekiel that the message would be difficult to hear and even more challenging to embrace. In several places, God insisted that Ezekiel was to preach the message “whether they hear or whether they refuse” (Ezekiel 2:5, 7; 3:11). Some were openly defiant, but more were generally accepting, encouraging others: “Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD” (Ezekiel 33:30). But they were merely listening to the pleasant “sound” of godly words.

So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. (Ezekiel 33:31-32)

God’s observation to Ezekiel is surely applicable today. Poll after poll has noted a slippage in the religious fervor in America. Not only has the overall “Christian” percentage slipped a few points, but more and more younger people are moving from identity with a recognized denomination (Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, etc.) to what has come to be called the “nones”—those who refuse to be identified with any religious movement. Some might consider themselves “Christian” and would not identify as Islamic or Hindu or another religion but consider themselves to be “spiritual.” One-fifth of the U.S. public—and a third of adults under 30—are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.2

It has been clear for some time, however, that the “Christian” majority is Christian in name only. That is, they either have a family history of Christianity or they themselves attend some church from time to time. Their religion is mostly an intellectual awareness, a superficial affirmation, or a pleasant assurance about their lifestyle or their life after death. They feel good if and when they think about Christianity, but most of their lives do not reflect any kind of commitment to following Christ or His commandments.

Today’s churches and the Christians who are among them—like the church in Pergamos who dwelt in the middle of “Satan’s throne” and yet remained faithful (Revelation 2:12-14)—are given the grave responsibility to emulate the good characteristics identified among those seven churches in Revelation.

– Detest evil and test for truth while taking the “long view.”
– Remain faithful in the face of tribulation and bold in the face of suffering.
– Maintain a faithful testimony even during the darkest time of error.
– Declare the name of Jesus Christ under all circumstances.
– Be generous in service and in charity and grow more effective over time.
– Be aware of strengths from the Lord and continue guarding the Word of God.

The Lord Jesus also identified several bad characteristics that churches must avoid. They are not to let their love grow cold or permit false teaching to remain. Churches are warned against compromise (the doctrine of Balaam), those who are “Nicolaitans” (people conquerors), or those who are false prophets (Jezebels). Nor should churches become indifferent to growing deadness or confuse worldly success with spiritual success. It is possible for a church to become “unchurched” by Christ and possible for a church to incur His anger, causing Christ Himself to actually “fight against” that church! Woe to the church and its members who become specifically troubled by Christ for their disobedience or are plundered suddenly while unaware of their disarray. They’ve lost their “ear” for the truth of God’s Word.

The sounds of music can motivate as well as dull. Godly music sets the stage and prepares the heart for the clear instruction of the Word of God. Music has always played a strong role in the assembly of God’s people, and it is as much a part of worship in eternity as is the activity around the throne (Revelation 5:9; 14:3; 15:3).

The widely variant sounds of music can be used either appropriately or inappropriately in many settings. One would never use the somber laments of respect for the dead to call an army to alert. In fact, “if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8). Would Miriam have used a dirge of sadness to praise the works of God in delivering Israel from Pharaoh (Exodus 15)? Can one imagine David strumming sedately on his harp as he sang Psalm 149 and instructed the nation to “rejoice” and “dance” and “be joyful in glory”?

Yet these “sounds” are only the carrier for the message! Musical sounds do not save anyone. In our church assemblies, music can be an effective means by which we give the message of truth, but that truth needs to be clarified by the words of truth. As wonderful as are the unwritten “speech” and “knowledge” of the creation (Psalm 19:1-2)—and even though the “invisible” nature and power of God are “clearly seen” by the creation (Romans 1:20)—it is by the “word of God” that faith is transmitted to the mind and heart of all humanity (Romans 10:17). The sounds of music are very important! They can uplift us and give expression to our feelings of joy and praise. But if the sounds outweigh or overshadow the words of God’s Word, then the sounds get in the way of the message. Opposing the truth of God’s Word and the sounds of godly music are the unfettered sounds and words of an ungodly world. The cacophony of the “sound and fury” of the Devil as he “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” is horribly powerful (1 Peter 5:8).

Every instrument has a sound, a “breath,” that can praise the Lord (Psalm 150). Those sounds can be orchestrated together in a majestic hymn or carol or chorus. They can bring the walls down around Jericho or call the builders of the Jerusalem wall to war! Those sounds can bring tears of joy or sadness. They can thrill our hearts or chill our souls. The sounds of music, rightly played, sync our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our bodies in a single purpose. In the assembly of the saints, the sounds of music should draw all of who and what we are to listen to the words of God.

And herein lies the challenge for us. The “sounds” of the world are everywhere. The “noise” of evil is a strident screech that threatens to engulf any effort to sing the song of truth. But sing we must!

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. (Psalm 96:1-3)

References

The Sound of Music. 1965. Directed by Robert Wise. 20th Century Fox. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.
“Nones” on the Rise: New Report Finds One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation. Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew Research Center. Posted on pewforum October 9, 2012, accessed June 22, 2015.

by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min who is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Henry M. Morris III, D.Min. 2015. Sounds of Music, Words of Truth. Acts & Facts. 44 (8).

VIDEO I Wonder Who Can Get This?

January 22, 2016 by Andi Garcia

I have lived exactly what he’s talking about! He is right in all he says. If you aren’t familiar with Brother Marcus, you can find him on Youtube and Facebook. Follow him, he’s always on fire for the Lord!

Be blessed!

https://kingdomdaughterblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/brother-marcus-keeping-it-100/

Kingdom Come

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

Words and actions are sure indicators of a person’s priorities. In Jesus’ case, His priority was announcing (His actions) the kingdom of heaven (His words) (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). What exactly did Jesus mean by announcing that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”? And why did He teach His disciples to pray that God’s kingdom and will would be manifest on earth?

Though there will one day be a geographic dimension to the kingdom of God on earth (Revelation 21:14-21), geography does not define the kingdom of God. Jesus drew a parallel in Matthew 6:10 between God’s kingdom and God’s will—they mean the same thing. The kingdom of God is a matter of authority, a matter of God’s will being embraced and obeyed. Jesus told a parable of a nobleman who went to “a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (Luke 19:11-12). What the man received was not land but the right to rule in his home country. So, when Jesus taught His disciples to pray for God’s kingdom to come, He meant for God’s authority and rule to be welcomed “on earth as it is in heaven.”

We can be part of the answer to that prayer today by embracing and obeying God’s will for our life.

Before we can pray, “Lord, Thy kingdom come,” we must be willing to pray, “My kingdom go.” Alan Redpath

Empowering Ourselves

Gaius’s way is God’s way.

And it can be our way. When we selflessly refuse to look out just for ourselves or our own property, we give God the freedom to prosper our souls. When we serve, in whatever capacity we find, not only do we empower others for ministry, we receive the benefit of knowing we have obeyed our loving Father.

Sometimes we hold back on service for fear that we can only take care of ourselves. Our own pressing needs and those of our family force us to try to keep something in reserve. Or we become so used up by the busyness of our lives that it seems we have virtually nothing left over.

I’ve learned, however, the very answer for our own impoverished souls may be to offer whatever we have left to someone else. We may need to be like the Old Testament widow, down to her last drop of oil, who gave what she had to Elijah. But then, just as the widow learned, God replenishes.

I’ve discovered that it actually seems to please God when we feel like we have nothing to offer because He works through us, and we don’t get confused about who’s doing what. Out of our emptiness, God uses us.

It takes a special calling to be a career missionary or a pastor. But the power behind those messengers of God comes from faithful people like Gains, who look so ordinary in many respects until you notice their open hands, open hearts, and open homes helping to make a way for the Gospel.

By David Jeremiah

VIDEO Trouble In Town – Raising Awareness For Religious Freedom Of Christians

 

 

two men walking

No prophet is accepted in his own hometown (Luke 4:24).

A 2013 article in Unfinished magazine details the exciting growth of Christianity in the “new India.” With more than 71 million believers in Jesus, the country is now the 8th largest Christian nation in the world. But even though faith in Christ is spreading “at a rapid rate among middle and high caste Indians and young people,” there are challenges for the new believers. “With great receptivity to Christianity also comes alarming religious animosity, resulting in persecution and violent resistance.”

Jesus knew the bitter effects of persecution and resistance. As He returned to “his boyhood home” of Nazareth, He went to the local synagogue and selected a prophetic passage from Isaiah (Luke 4:16). His purpose was to announce that salvation had come through Him—not just for the Jews but also for Gentiles. By referencing Elijah and Elisha and their individual ministries to “foreigners” (non-Jews) as He described His mission, the locals got the message. And they didn’t like it.

“No prophet is accepted in his own hometown,” Jesus said (Luke 4:24). Unable to accept the fact that they weren’t the only ones to receive God’s grace and moved by a festering anger against Gentile overlords, the people turned against Jesus. In fact, they tried to push Him off a cliff on the hill where the town was built. But in a display of divine power, Christ simply “passed right through the crowd and went on his way” (Luke 4:30).

Opposition and persecution are challenges for many believers in Jesus today. Yet God’s kingdom continues to grow. Those who suffer for Him, He says, will be blessed (Matthew 5:11). And His presence and power are with us, even when we face trouble for believing in Him.


Raising Awareness For The Religious Freedom Of Christians

According to the 2020 World Watch Report published by Open Doors USA, 260 million Christians worldwide are experiencing religious persecution. One America’s Jenn Pellegrino was at the Museum of the Bible in Washington this week, where she spoke with some officials who are fighting on their behalf.

Original here

VIDEO Anonymous Kindness – Homeless man…

When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

When I first graduated from college, I found myself needing to adopt a strict grocery budget—twenty-five dollars a week, to be exact. One day, while entering the checkout line, I suspected the groceries I’d selected cost slightly more than my remaining money. “Just stop when we reach twenty dollars,” I told the cashier, and I was able to purchase everything I’d selected but a bag of peppers.

As I was about to drive home, a man stopped by my car. “Here’s your peppers, ma’am,” he said, handing the bag to me. Before I had time to thank him, he was already walking away.

We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us

Remembering the simple goodness of this act of kindness still warms my heart and brings to mind Jesus’s words in Matthew 6. Criticizing those who made a show of giving to the needy (v. 2), Jesus taught His disciples a different way. Instead of making giving all about them and their generosity, He urged that giving should be done so secretly it’s like their left hand isn’t even aware their right is giving (v. 3)!

As one person’s anonymous kindness reminded me, giving should never be about us. We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us (2 Corinthians 9:6–11). As we give quietly and generously, we reflect who He is—and God receives the thanksgiving only He deserves (v. 11).

Have you ever been the recipient of anonymous kindness? Share your story at Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

Giving quietly and generously reflects God’s generosity.

By Monica Brands 

INSIGHT

Today’s article describes acts of giving motivated by humility and kindness. There is no greater example of kindness and generosity than our God. Paul wrote that God’s kindness was at the heart of our rescue: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4–5). Peter challenged to spiritual growth those who had “tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:3 NASB). And Paul wrote to the Romans: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NASB). Paul made it clear that God’s kindness is behind the call to repent—to change our minds about our sin and our need of God’s forgiveness. When we are generous to others, we model the generosity and kindness our loving God has shown to us.

Bill Crowder


Homeless man… is the pastor?

Pastor James dresses up as a homeless person in front of his own church to see what people do…

From Earth to Eternity

But Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.” Luke 16:25

The choices we make now ultimately determine the way we spend eternity. And our choices affect those who will be here long after we are gone. Through this parable of the rich man and the poor man, we see that there is also a relationship between our choices on earth and our condition in eternity.

From here on earth, in the midst of daily living, it is often hard to understand eternal consequences. But in this parable, as the veil is pulled aside on the afterlife, we have a glimpse into our own potential destiny. On earth, the rich man lacked compassion, and there was no compassion for him in eternity.

The tragic part of this story was not just the mistreatment that occurred on earth but the torment that endured throughout eternity. We cannot come back and change our lives once they are gone.  Now is the time to commit ourselves to Christlike living—it is the only decision that will follow us into eternity.

It does not require great learning to be a Christian and be convinced of the truth of the Bible. It requires only an honest heart and a willingness to obey God. Albert Barnes

%d bloggers like this: