Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

Archive for the ‘choir music’ Category

Glory

GLORY IS A SPECIAL WORD IN SCRIPTURE—
a word infused with the essence of God himself. It appears (along with its cognates) over 500 times in Scripture. One verse in particular is of great significance to us:

Psalm 66:2:

Sing out to the honor of his name;

make his praise glorious

In this verse, the psalmist (King David) exclaims with strength and power, “Sing out to the honor of His name“. The psalmist then follows this declamatory proclamation with an even stronger assertion:

Make His praise glorious!

There is to be nothing ordinary about this praise, it is to be of the highest order and of the greatest magnitude.
To create a powerful platform for praise, God inspired King David to marshal a corps of 4,000 professional musicians who were spiritually prepared, skillfully trained, highly organized and spent their lives giving praise to God.
The musicians were organized under three men of God (Levites) who carefully crafted their worship in a musically and theologically acceptable manner. (See 1 Chronicles 23 and 25.) David and his musicians would take no chances that their musical sacrifice of praise would be presented in a frivolous or careless way. This was music that was to exalt “the honor of His name and make His praise glorious!”

The result:

a spiritual environment

that brought this high worship of God

to the Israelites

in a way that united the best of music and poetry.

In Scripture, it’s important to note that glory is not only an attribute, it is an actual place: Glory…heaven, the dwelling place of God.
In looking forward to “glory”, Jonathan Edwards made this observation:

“If praising God in song is very much the employment of heaven…let all be exhorted to the work and duty of praising God [here on earth.]
(See: “Thankgsgiving Sermon”, 1734)

Note the reformer’s words regarding the use of music as a “work” and a “duty”. Like David’s original musical organization, music in heaven will be a joyous fulltime occupation infused with His glory, majesty and greatness!
For twenty-first century Christians this must all seem strange, having been persuaded by their culture that music:

a. exists for their own personal pleasure.
b. is all good–style is relative!
c. can be utilized for any purpose.

Today, begin your preparation for glory right now — forget popular culture and sing in the great tradition of King David and his spectacular choir of Levite musicians. Sing — and then memorize — a great hymn of the faith! You’ll be glad you did! To God be the Glory!

–Center for Church Music

My Father

Heavenly Father, I appreciate You 
Heavenly Father, I appreciate You. 
I love You, adore You, 
I bow down before You. 
Heavenly Father, I appreciate You. 

The Lord’s Prayer – Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Andrea Bocelli

click below to listen as Sister Ruth Byskal sings this old hymn:

My_Heavenly_Father

I trust in God wherever I may be,
Upon the land or on the rolling sea,
For, come what may, from day to day,
My heav’nly Father watches over me.

Chorus
I trust in God, I know He cares for me,
On mountain bleak or on the stormy sea;
Tho’ billows roll, He keeps my soul,
My heavn’ly Father watches over me. 

He makes the rose an object of His care,
He guides the eagle thru the pathless air,
And surely He remembers me,
My heav’nly Father watches over me.

I trust in God, for in the the lion’s den,
On battlefield, or in the prison pen,
Thru praise or blame, thru flood or flame,
My heav’nly Father watches over me.

The valley may be dark, the shadows deep
But O, The Shepherd guards His lonely sheep;
And thru the gloom, He’ll lead me home
My heav’nly Father watches over me.

12 Keys in Our Choice of Music

Music choice is important. But how are we to evaluate the music in our lives? Here are twelve major principles, based on the Word of God, which can help us, as Christians, to do so. They can be applied to any music, but they are worth considering in relation to the music we use in the services of the church, both what is presented from the platform, and what is sung by the congregation.

1. HUMILITY. In the complexities of understanding and evaluating music, none of us has all the answers (cf. Rom. 12:3, 10; 14:1).

2.UNIQUENESS. We are each different as to the music in our lives, and with respect to how it affects us (cf. Rom. 12:3-6a; I Cor. 12:14, 27).

3. INTEGRATION. Earthly things can have a valid place in our Christian lives, as we assess them biblically and use them wisely (cf. I Cor. 7:31; I Tim. 6:17b).

4. ORIGIN. The source of a piece of music can affect it in significant ways (cf. Prov. 15:2, 28; Lk. 6:45).

5. TRADITION. The wise person appreciates the heritage of the past and will continue to employ it and be enriched by it (cf. Deut. 32:7; Jer. 6:16; contrast Acts 17:21).

6. PURPOSE. The purpose of the musician and of his music will influence how it is used, and therefore how it affects us (cf. I Cor. 9:25; 10:31; contrast Phil. 3:18-19).

7. BALANCE. Music with its various elements in balance reflects the nature of God and accomplishes the purposes of God (cf. I Cor. 14:33, 40; Tit. 1:5a).

Such elements include: melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, and dynamics. If there are lyrics, the music should serve as an appropriate vehicle to enhance their message.

8. SEPARATION. We must not, with our music, encourage or glorify that attachment to this sinful world that God hates (cf. II Cor. 6:14-17; I Jn. 2:15-17).

9. ASSOCIATION. Communication problems arise if the music accompanying a Christian message is associated in the mind of the hearer with a corrupt and sinful lifestyle (cf. I Cor. 8:4, 7; 14:8; 15:33).

10. EFFECT. Music is a medium of expression (in a sense, a language) which can communicate with powerful effect (cf. I Sam. 16:23; Col. 3:16; and see Gal. 6:7).

11. MESSAGE. The message a song delivers depends upon several components working effectively together:

Words + Music + Performance + Musician’s known lifestyle + Social context = the Total Message of a Song (cf. Ps. 139:15-16; I Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:16).

12. RESPONSIBILITY. Music is a stewardship from God that we are responsible to use according to His will and purpose (cf. Deut. 12:29-31; Lk. 16:15; and see Est. 4:14; Acts 13:36).

Editor’s note – This article was written and originally published by Robert Cottrill the editor of http://www.wordwisehymns.com.

Fathomless billows of Love!

WONDERFUL PEACE

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the Anchor of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

Ah, soul! are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your Friend ere the shadows grow dark;
O accept of this peace so sublime!

Wonderful Peace, lyrics by Warren D. Cornell
~
Here are 3 versions,  midi, choir, pianist, soloist.
Please leave a comment which is your favorite and why.
  1. http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/o/wonpeac1.htm
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrzNN1NIS18
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=najxNnM6OH8
  4. http://espace.wheaton.edu/bgc/audio/cn026t0236a.mp3 – George Beverly Shea Nov 16, 1949

~~


O Lord, great Jehovah, how we love You, because You first loved us.  And so loved us when we were sinners that You gave Your only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him would have eternal life.  That we know we’ve passed from death unto life, when we have fellowship one with another, and love one another,
and the blood of Jesus, Thy Son, cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Father, let the Holy Spirit
wave after wave, sweep over our souls,
and cleanse us from the things of the world. Come into our hearts, Lord, and not only be Saviour but be Lord.  Take our intellectuals and cast them from us, Lord, if they’re contrary to Your Word.  Let us see only Jesus, and Him crucified.
Let us walk
not according to our guidance of our mind,
but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Grant it, Father.
We love You and we cherish You and we throw all of our heart open Lord. Let the King of glory come in.
“Lift up, ye everlasting gates, and be ye lifted up; and let the King of glory come in,”
taking full possession as Saviour and Lord, as King, as director, as governor,
as giver of peace,
as director of our path. Grant it, Lord.  We ask it in the name of Him that taught us all to pray like this:

 

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth,

as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”


-William Branham – Door To The Heart – Phoenix, Arizona March 12, 1960

~ Chapter 3 ~ Music – The Sound and the Unsound


“A thought-provoking look at humanity’s most influential form of expression, MUSIC  – The Sound and the Unsound

Music

THE SOUND

AND THE

UNSOUND

 

C H A P T E R  T H R E E

MUSIC AND RELIGION THROUGH THE AGES

“As soon as they went out from the Presence of the Lord, they started building cities, they started making instruments, they started in science – making brass and iron, and they started playing music. Where did it come from? Who went out? Cain, the serpent’s seed. “9

Within man there exists an inherent impulse to worship. God even provisioned our physical beings with an instrument through which we can declare our devotion – the human voice. When we choose to vary  the  melody  and rhythm of our vocal sounds, the result is music, and nothing characterizes the very essence of worship like the unornamented songs of man.

The Bible gives us very few written clues concerning the first music  produced by man, but our oldest existent vocal traditions, such as that of the Jewish cantor, the Moslem muezzin calling the faithful to prayer, or even the chanting of the North American Indian, indicate that mankind’s first musical expressions were likely a part of his religious experience. As man’s musical skills developed, he began to fashion instruments from what he found in nature – bones, horns, willow bark, animal skin and gut – and he adapted these materials to suit his personal needs. Jubal, the great-great-great-great grandson of Cain, was “the father of all such as handle the harp and organ, ” (instrumental music) Genesis 4:21, reflecting the love of beauty and the arts, which was his birthright.

In time, as men developed their artistic abilities, music began to take on many forms and serve many functions, both sacred and profane. From generation to generation, musical expression played such a vital part in cultural development that the religious morals and social values of a given community reflected in the quality of the music that they produced.

Most music produced by the people of the Bible never developed beyond simple homogeneous songs and chants with basic accompaniment of harps, trumpets, and cymbals. Much of the Hebrew music was consecrated to the service of the Temple worship, but throughout the Scriptures there are numerous accounts of secular use also: songs of triumph after victory, songs at marriage celebrations and festivals, songs for shepherds and for kings.

In the great temples of ancient Egypt, the priests trained choirs in the singing of ritual music to pagan gods. Their songs were complemented by the clapping together of sticks and disks.

At the same time, in other parts of the world, more primitive societies evoked their deities in a wild abandon of religious fervor and emotional ecstasy, accompanied by the pounding of syncopated rhythms on a hollow log.

Music has always left behind evidence of its effect upon a given society. One can even trace the rise and fall of civilizations by making a parallel study of the types of music listened to during the corresponding era.10 Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Greek philosopher Plato said, “When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state change with them. Through foolishness they deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong in music, that it was to be judged good or bad by the pleasure it gave.”

At the time of Christ, both vocal and instrumental music were flourishing. Jesus and His followers participated in the traditional Jewish synagogue music, and undoubtedly this directly influenced early Christian songs. The ornamented cantonal melodies were adapted to the new teachings of Christ and absorbed into the fledgling Christian faith. It was common practice for a cantor to serve a synagogue on Friday evening and then place his skills at the disposal of the Christians on Sunday.11

Instrumental music played no part in the life of the early Christian church. Instruments had too many associations with the debauched life of Rome, and only the voice was considered to have the purity and nobility worthy of God’s ear. Cantorial chant evolved gradually into a slow-moving, unison singing called plainsong (later known as Gregorian chant), which dominated Christian worship for a thousand years. During the  Middle Ages, there was an attempt by the church-world to gain widespread control of music by deeming certain chords to be un-harmonious and therefore blasphemous and unworthy to reflect the glory of God. The church denounced all music that was unsanctified by a sacred text.

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg (accusing the Roman Catholic church of corruption) and the Reformation was born. Luther, an accomplished musician, threw out much of the old church music and wrote new hymns, bringing the language of the people (rather than Latin) into use for sacred songs. He declared, “ Nothing on earth is more powerful than noble music in making the sad joyful, the arrogant discreet, the despondent valiant; in charming the haughty to humility, and in mitigating envy and hatred.” Luther believed that music in the church served as a resounding sermon,12 and he is accredited with saying that he didn’t care who preached, as long as he wrote the song. By acknowledging the staying power of music in the worship experience, Luther single-handedly established congregational singing as an important part of the Christian church service. Elements of harmony, which had been reserved previously for highly trained musicians of the church, were now being mastered and sung by the common people. Music and religious worship became bonded into one, inseparable experience. It seemed that the fellowship of a common faith could be expressed through song far more effectively than through a formalized cannon, dogma, or ritual of the church.

In secular use, music was becoming a melting pot of sounds. The clash of cultures, which had been launched by the Crusades in 1096, brought many different musical traditions together, and increasingly these new harmonies and rhythms found their way into the music of Europe. Near the end of the sixteenth century, new printing methods and a newly developed system of musical notation made possible the duplication of every kind of music and placed it on the open market. It was the dawning of a new day for both the composer and the performer. Music was on its way to becoming a universal language.

With the passing of the centuries, there was also a darker, more sinister form of music finding expression and establishing its place within the musical brotherhood of mankind. This music involved a complex primitive theology embracing fetishes, totems, and magic. It was born in the sacrificial incantations to a river god, nurtured by the unimaginable horrors of slavery, and released upon the New World to wage war with the God of Christianity. It was called  ‘voodoo,’ and its throbbing beat prophesied of the evil fruit it would yield.

By the early 1600s, the Western colonization of other lands was a growing concern. Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the New World and Africa were already well established, and an armada of ships operated by slave traders plied the waters from Western Europe to the coast of Africa. After picking up their human cargo, they would continue their voyage across the southern Atlantic to Brazil, Central America, the West Indies, and the New World. And wherever they were sent, the slaves took their music with them – an agonized inspiration that would become the cornerstone for virtually every American musical expression to follow.13

By the time the New World was being recognized as a blossoming mission field by the various progeny of Luther’s reformation movement, the rhythm and melody of Africa had already joined with the harmonies of European music, which the church had so carefully nurtured, and a powerful new musical form was born.

Taken from the magazine ONLY BELIEVE (no longer in publication). The regression of music amongst our churches is a cancer which, if not properly dealt with, will suck the true Life out of The Church. This downward spiral is caused by a lack of discernment and a general lowering of standards by a generation wanting something new and different rather than stand fast, and hold to what is tried and true, proven, and right. Many have failed to heed the warning expressed in this article. Innumerable groups, bands, and various musical artists spawned forth since Brother and Sister Smith published this article in December 1991, [Vol. 4, No 3].  No doubt the Christian artists she names here gave birth to groups like: MercyMe,KutlessNewSongSidewalk prophets The David Crowder band,Casting CrownsJeremy Camp, and Third Day to name a few. If Brother Branham called people like Pat Boone, modern day Judases, obviously these are too. What kind of person feeds off these groups, and promotes their demonic inspired lyrics and music within our churches? I pray this article will help someone. (the pictures are mine) – [DM – discerningMusic editor]

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

That little chorus, “Jesus Loves Me,” has no doubt influenced more children for Jesus Christ than any other chorus or hymn. The lyrics were written by Anna Warner and published in 1869 in her best selling novel entitled Say and Seal, and the refrain was later added by songwriter, William Bradbury.

   It was just a poem in this novel, spoken by one of the main characters as he comforted a little boy who was dying. The were simple lyrics, but to the point.

Jesus loves me! this I know

For the Bible tells me so;

Little ones to Him belong,

They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me,

For the Bible tells me so.

 

   This little chorus has not only affected children, but adults of all ages as well. Three is something soothing and powerful about this reminder of God’s unfailing love through Jesus Christ. It does not get any simpler, or richer, than that – Jesus loves me!

   The love of God is not just some principle; it is a person. It is not some ethereal feeling from God; it is real fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.

   Bank on it; depend on it; be persuaded by this word from God!

   You are eternally secure because God, the Creator of everything, stooped to die for everything about you, so that nothing can now separate you from His everlasting, comprehensive, secure love.

   Charles Spurgeon, on his deathbed, said to some of his final visitors, “As time has passed on, my theology has grown more and more simple. It is simply this, ‘Jesus loves me!”’ That is it!

Jesus loves me! this I know,

For the Bible tells me so;

Little ones to Him belong,

They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me…

The Bible tells me so!

 

Written by Dr. Stephen Davey,
President and Professor of Practical Theology;
Shepherds Theological Seminary

Remind Me Dear Lord

Engraved Blessings

Someone has said that memory is a sepulcher of broken bones. Someone else has said that memory is a nursery in which children who have grown old play with their broken toys. Memory is the library and the treasury of the mind. Psychiatrist Rollo Mays says, “Memory is not just the imprint of the past upon us; it is the keeper of what is meaningful for our deepest hopes and fears.”
Memory is selective. Often we forget what God has done for us. Charles Spurgeon said, “We write our blessings in the sand, and we engrave our complaints in the marble.” Memory becomes impressed with burdens. The word remember is used 14 times in Deuteronomy, and 9 of those warn of forgetting.
True praise ought to come from the heart, not the memory (Matt. 15:8). Worship is the believer’s adoring response to all that God says and does.
Engrave God’s blessings in your heart, and you’ll never grow weary of praising Him.

* * *

Never forget God’s blessings. Praise Him for all He has done.

Don’t load your mind with past burdens but enrich it with a memory of His blessings.

Author: Warren Wiersbe | Source: Prayer, Praise and Promises 
 Scripture Reference: Matthew 15:8 Psalm 103:1-12
 
 
 

~><~

Remind Me, Dear Lord

Words and Music by Dottie Rambo
The things that I love, and hold dear to my heart
Are just borrowed, they’re not mine at all
Jesus only let me use them to brighten my life
So remind me, remind me dear Lord
 
Roll back the curtain of memories now and then
Show me where You brought me from
And where I could have been
Remember I’m human and humans forget
So remind me, remind me dear Lord
 
Nothing good have I done to deserve God’s own Son
I’m not worthy of the scars in His hands
Yet He chose the road to Calv’ry to die in my stead
Why He loves me, I just can’t understand
 
Roll back the curtain of memories now and then
Show me where You brought me from
And where I could have been
Remember I’m human and humans forget
So remind me, remind me dear Lord
 
So remind me, remind me dear Lord
 

 

 

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