Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

Archive for the ‘Christmas hymns’ Category

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

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~ Chapter 4 ~ 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  F O U R

SPIRITUAL ROOTS

“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.” Ephesians 5:19

For three centuries, a flood of humanity poured into the New World. The willing came from Europe; the unwilling came from Africa. They were master and slave, and nothing has ever exacted such a heavy price on the conscience of a nation as the institution of slavery in America. But from the agony and suffering of the black captives was generated a heroic faith that, over the years, was given a voice that would echo across the land for all generations to come. To the slaves they were known as  ‘sorrow songs,’ or ‘anthems,’  but within white communities they came to be called  ‘spirituals,’  and in them America found its truest, most original, and most influential musical expression.

In the plantation states of the south, newly arriving slaves were expected to learn English and to adopt the professed religion of their owners. But the emotional and mystical ways of heathen, tribal worship could never be replaced by the bone-dry traditions of European faith. And neither could the rhythms, chants, and tribal stomps of the African culture be confined by the structured singing of psalms and hymns . “The spirit will not descend without a song,” was a saying the slaves carried with them from the motherland, and it was in music that the brutalized Negro found a means of liberation.

The enslaved people found much within the Judeo-Christian tradition to identify with and anchor their hope: The Hebrews’  four centuries of bondage in Egypt; the Israelites’ captivity in Babylon; Daniel in the lions’ den; and Elijah ’s journey to Heaven in a fiery chariot. They learned the hymns of their white masters then rewove them with the remnants of their African history to produce expressions of freedom through song that became the focus of both their spiritual and social life.

The majority of the slaves worked under the overseer’s lash, cultivating the cotton and rice that were the mainstay of southern industry. Often they were forbidden to speak to one another while working in the fields, but since their fieldwork required unified effort, they were allowed to utilize the African tradition of worksongs to coordinate their activities. These creative leader-and-chorus rounds were sung with so much musical mastery that they defied notation. Often the song was fashioned by combining verses from the Bible with portions of hymns, sermons or prayers they had heard in church. But in the fields there was also every opportunity to invent new songs and tunes, drawing from their new found faith in a Christian God who could not only break their bonds of sin and suffering, but offered Heaven as a homeland. Best of all, He wasn’t confined to a white church, nor did He negate the humanity of the black man. They heard a promise of freedom, and they made it the theme of their songs.

God told Moses, o’Lord!

Go down into Egypt, o’Lord!

Tell ol’ Pharaoh, o’Lord!

Loose my people, o’Lord!

In 1735 an English clergyman by the name of John Wesley sailed for the New World to proselytize the heathen Indians in the colony of Georgia. After three years, he acknowledged his failure as a missionary and returned to London, determined to find the missing element in his spiritual walk. Then one day, as he listened to a reading of Martin Luther’s preface to Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, he felt that his “heart was strangely warmed,” and a new dispensation of the church was ushered in.

Nowhere did they embrace the new tenets of a faith that was being called ‘Methodism’ more rapidly than they did in the colonies of the New World. Wesley’s teaching of a Second Blessing (also termed Christian Perfection or Sanctification) was “the fuse that set off a keg of repressed religious ecstasy throughout America.”14 Stoking the fires of the revival that came to be known as The Great Awakening was Methodist evangelist George Whitefield and other circuit-riding preachers who traveled endlessly throughout the colonies expounding the doctrine of absolute holiness and attainable perfection. Their preaching style was bold and dramatic, which gave them limited access to the pulpits of the more traditional churches, so they resorted to preaching outdoors. Camp meetings (or bush meetings, as they were sometimes called) changed the structure of worship services for most rural churches in the young nation.  ‘Fire and damnation’ preaching encouraged a new freedom of expression for the believers. They shouted, they prayed, they danced, and they sang like never before.

Once again, religious revival was accompanied by a stirring of the musical waters. Like Luther, Wesley was a songwriter and publisher. His first hymnal, The Charleston Collection of Psalms and Hymns, published in 1735, was the first hymnbook ever published in North America. Wesley’s greatest concern was that singing should be both spiritual and have good musical quality. His instructions to the congregation included admonishments to “ Sing All, Sing Lustily, Sing Modestly, Sing in Time and above all, Sing Spiritually.”15 And it was in the unstructured style of the frontier camp meeting that spiritual singing came of age.

Long before blacks themselves were admitted to white society, they shared a lively, if somewhat uncomfortable, coexistence that was brought about through the cohesive forces of shared religion and music. Along with the increasing number of traditional hymns which were being penned by proficient songwriters such as Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts, Negro spirituals were becoming a major part of the huge revivals and camp meetings of the 1800s. Here the spirit and personality of the black world was not segregated from the white culture. Although white and black worshippers were normally kept separate, “their voices and music could mix, echoing from camp to camp, feeding a musical union whose product would sweep the world.”16 One observer at an early camp meeting wrote:  “As the excitement increases, all order is forgotten, all unison of parts repudiated, each sings his own tune, each dances his own dance, as he leaps, shouts and exults with exceeding great joy.”

They had found something real, and it was a revelation inspired by a new understanding of Scriptural truth. And that, in turn, generated a new brotherhood of holiness and sanctified churches – forerunners of the twentieth century Pentecostal Revival that was to explode on Azusa Street in 1906.

But not every abused and humiliated black man found solace in Christianity. There was just too much magic in the  ‘old ways’  that wasn’t compatible with the new-found faith, so the old faith endured, hidden until the late nineteenth century and the period of Reconstruction that followed the Civil War. Then, a new branch appeared on music’s family tree, and it was called ‘The Blues.’

Although it descended directly from the emotional fervor of the spirituals, the only thing the blues had in common with its spirit-pleasing parent was its ancient roots. Every type of carnal indulgence became the theme of the blues singer: Crime, adultery, prostitution, gambling, alcohol, and imprisonment. Ties with the African elements of syncopation and rhythmic momentum were renewed, taught, and performed by both black men and white men who had listened and learned from this new musical voice. “It is here that the blend of cultures once again began to generate something permanent and prophetic, a rhythmic vitality and melodic gift that would eventually produce ragtime and jazz.”1

Coinciding with the beginnings of blues, ragtime, and jazz, religious music was also undergoing a metamorphosis. In 1875, songwriter Ira Sankey published a hymnbook entitled Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs and the term ‘gospel music’ was born. Sankey and his partner, the revivalist Dwight Lyman Moody, intended for their songs  “to implant the gospel in the hearts of the people”18 by suppressing emotional outbursts and passionate singing.

But, while Sankey and Moody were able to influence their initial development, gospel songs soon developed a character of their own, and this time it was  “a coolly calculated commercial endeavor designed to capitalize on the enormous appeal of the Negro spiritual stylings.”19

In 1921, a young blues and jazz piano player by the name of Thomas Dorsey attended the National Baptist Convention and was overwhelmed by the force of the music he heard being performed. For “Barrelhouse Tom,” it was the handwriting on the wall. He would write religious music, and he would call his songs ‘Gospel.’

Dorsey wrote over a thousand tunes, including  “Peace In The Valley”, “Search Me Lord,” and “Precious Lord Take My Hand.”  “It was music that not only reflected the preaching and testifying heard in black Baptist and Methodist churches as well as the growing number of  ‘sanctified’ congregations across the country. It also made brilliant and liberal use of the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of Dorsey’s blues and jazz background.”20

Touring the Midwest and South in the late 1920s, he performed his music and sold the sheet music for a few pennies apiece. But Dorsey’s voice lacked the conviction and excitement that was necessary for gospel singing, and he knew that if he was going to succeed he needed a new sales technique. He created the first female gospel quartet in history, and soon became a promoter of gospel performers as well as a publisher of black gospel music. He was well on his way to earning for himself the title “Father of Gospel Music.”

By the mid-thirties, several styles of gospel music were being popularized on the church and revival concert circuit. One of the most enduring was the gospel quartet – four or five singers who established their identity through vocal stylizing (such as a featured bass or falsetto) or through dress (porter’s uniforms, white tuxedos, etc). There was also the ‘gospel chorus’ of all-female hand clappers, dressed in choir robes and backed by a thundering piano or organ. And soon the professional gospel artists, such as Mahalia Jackson and Rosetta Tharpe began to make a name for themselves.

By the beginning of  World War II, the careful repackaging of slave spirituals was complete. This new image of  ’gospel music’  had been sprinkled liberally with the glitter of  Hollywood and parlayed into a powerful and wealthy musical empire.

Editors note:
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]

Gifts Received to be Given…

Reposting this article someone forwarded to me - it is worth pondering [DM]
 



Each and everyone of us have been given special

gifts, to share and bless others with. Whether you have the gift of

cooking, writing, sewing, music, counsel, listening,

organization or whatever your gift might be, it is from the Lord

and is to be used for His glory.

At this bustling time of year it is a good opportunity to

slow down and ponder how we might use our gifts to glorify God.

Often during this time of year we find ourselves at the store

buying some item for a friend or family member.

Yet, sometimes the most precious gifts are the ones

that don’t require any money at all.

Have you thought about blessing someone

with a “generous heart”this Christmas?

A heart that knows of the Savior’s love!

What about singing carols for a bed ridden senior citizen,

or visiting a sick afflicted child, gifting a momma

by offering to do her ironing or bringing a meal

to a grieved widow.

You might start by writing a special list out for yourself.

This could be a fun project for little ones

to do and a neat way for mommas to teach

“giving joyfully.” Make it fun by decorating it with stickers,

glitter, and colored pens.

List a few names of people you would like to bless

this Christmas with action gifts.

 

{for example…}

Aunt Martha

*A hug and homemade card

 

Grandpa Bill

*Cut & stack firewood for him

 

Mrs. Smith

*Shovel snow off her driveway and doorstep

 

Un-Saved Neighbor

*Witness by singing Christmas carols

 

We live in a society that is constantly pushing

us to think about “our” needs, instead

of the needs of others. 

Let’s join together in prayer to God

that He give us a joyful desire to serve Him by giving to others

with our hands and hearts.

Learning this important virtue {of joyful giving} is key
to an abundant Christ centered life.

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…” I Peter 4:10

Worse and worse

This is a repost of an article from Mr. Cottrills site linked at the end of this article.

POPULAR MUSIC TODAY

(A Flood of Degrading Music)

These comments relate to a blog posted by my son Jim, in which he discussed the immoral nature of much of the pop music being listened to in Mexico, where he and his wife Shari serve as missionaries. It was a revealing analysis. And from my awareness of the United States and Canada, I’d say that our popular music is at least as bad, possibly worse. Day by day it seems to reach new lows in vulgarity and the glorification of immorality.

Being an old guy, I can remember the early days of television in the 1950’s. I vividly recall a performer being caught be surprise–a sudden fright–and using (I think) the words “O my God!”–then, apologizing to the viewing audience for her improper language! Now…! (Need I say more?)

And I can remember the fuss made about Elvis Presley. On television, on at least one occasion, only his face and upper body were allowed on camera, because his sensual wiggle was considered indecent. Now, many laugh at how “narrow” we were in those days, and how harmless it all was. But, of course, it wasn’t.

The Bible says, “In the last days perilous times will come. For men [i.e. human beings] will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God….Evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:1-4, 13). I could hardly come up with a better description of today’s pop music scene!

The Greek for “worse and worse” is, literally, advance in the direction of worse! And this continuing degradation of sinners in the last days will be accompanied by self deception. “Professing themselves to be wise, they [become] fools” (Rom. 1:22). And they will deceive many others with their cunning arguments, leading them further astray.

There is a fallacious argument you perhaps have heard: that history is cyclical, rather than linear. That similar things keep happening again and again. That is true to some extent, but with important reservations. If something was condemned as bad a century ago, and it’s now considered acceptable, does that mean that something condemned ten years ago and now accepted is precisely the same thing? No, it doesn’t.

We are reminded that, in the nineteenth century, many felt that waltzes were immoral. Now, hardly anyone thinks that. In the mid-twentieth century, Elvis and his ilk were labeled the same way. Now, they’re fine with most folks. Today, some make a fuss about contemporary pop music, but soon it too will be broadly accepted. Supposedly, it’s all the same, round and round. The problem with that argument is that it’s not true.

History does not simply repeat itself over and over. The “worse and worse” of Paul’s warning to Timothy is coming to pass. If there is a repetitious cycle at work, it can more accurately be described as a downward spiral. That is how the world, the flesh and the devil conspire to drive society ever downward (cf. Jer. 26; 16:12; Ezek. 16:47; Hos. 13:2).

In practical terms, something happened in the 1950’s with the early rockers that had never happened before. The new music was marketed to teens as uniquely their own music. Before that, popular music was much more cross-generational. But for the past 60 years young people have been fed a most seductive line of propaganda: “This is yours; you need this. Don’t let the adults take it away from you. They don’t really understand you.”

There are echoes here of the devil’s lie in Eden (Gen. 3:4-5). It has been his argument from the beginning that somehow the Lord is holding out on us. That He could have been more generous to us. But if we’ll but seize what is our “right,” we’ll become like gods ourselves, captains of our own destiny. And the lie’s corrosion is eating away at the souls of our youth. It will doom many to eternal destruction.

How we need, as parents, and as leaders in local churches, to teach our children and young people to be discerning in this area, and teach them to have an appreciation for the best music.

–Robert Cottrill–http://www.wordwise-bible-studies.com/popular-music-today.html

 

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
 

 

 

Trust And Obey – The Token of Integrity

The Token of Integrity

 

  

“With a servant, a warrior, a child, a subject,” writes Andrew Murray in The New Life, “obedience is indispensable, the first token of integrity.” 

God is my Master, my Captain, my Father, my King. I am servant, warrior, child, subject. What have I to do in any of these cases but obey? 

Integrity means wholeness, unbroken condition, the quality of being unimpaired and sound. An integer is something which is complete in itself, an entity. No one can serve two masters. Divided loyalty will mean impaired obedience. “A soldier on active service will not let himself be involved in civilian affairs; he must be wholly at his commanding officer’s disposal” (2 Tm 2:4 NEB). 

O Christ, be Master and Captain of my life. Give me a whole heart united to do your bidding and to do nothing else. Let me hear your voice and no other. Make my life an integer for your glory. Amen. 

 

Trust and Obey

Hymn Writer ~ John H. Sammis, 1846-1919  |  Hymn Music ~ Daniel B. Towner, 1850-1919
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Refrain

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

Refrain

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Refrain

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Refrain

 

 

 

 

 

The Birds Sing!

Although we have no claim on God’s mercies, and although they are altogether undeserved, nonetheless they never cease. We have done much to provoke God and give Him cause to cut off His mercy in our behalf. We have abused His mercy, ignored His mercy, even at times ungratefully accepted His mercy. Still, while God’s mercies may not always be visible, they are always present. The mercies of God may change their form, as the morning light varies from the evening light, but the mercies of God will never cease to give their light. Even chastisement is mercy in disguise; and frequently, under the circumstances which make chastisement necessary, it proves to be more merciful than if God had not chastised us at all.
 
In the ray of sunlight presented by Lamentations 3:22-23 we learn that not only are the mercies of God not consumed, “They are new every morning,” proving the great faithfulness of God.
 
There is great novelty in human life. Each day brings to us new and difficult problems, new and exciting challenges. God’s mercy is ever-present, but the form it takes is ever-changing. God adapts His mercy to our immediate needs of each day. His mercies are not chiseled in stone but are vital and vibrant. We need not exhume the antique mercies which God showered on Moses, Jeremiah, or John. God’s mercies on our behalf are fresh and alive today. As God renews His world by greening it every spring, so too He refreshes and invigorates His people by renewing His mercies to them every morning.
 
With every new morning nature offers a tribute of praise to God’s mercy. The sun rises; the birds sing; the trees sway in the breeze. Shall we alone be silent and ungrateful? Shall the Christian, who has the most reasons to praise God for His mercy, be slow to acknowledge that God’s mercy is renewed to him each day? Will we allow the natural creation of God alone to praise its Creator?
No matter how dark our day may appear to be, let us remember this with Jeremiah, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

~Hymn~

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! 

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