Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

Archive for the ‘hymnbook’ Category

~ 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]
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~ Chapter 2 ~ 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 W O

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES US ABOUT MUSIC

“A human has to worship. You have to worship something. It’s just in you to worship.” 6

The Bible tells us that the Lord finds pleasure in the praises of His people. There are over 500 specific references in the Bible to music and musical instruments7 – evidence that this is not a subject that God treats lightly. As a matter of fact, the lengthiest book in the Bible is a song book, and it is here that God demonstrates His concern for the kind of music that His children enjoy and perform by providing this example for us to follow:  The Book of Psalms.

The collection of 150 poems that make up the Book of Psalms mirrors the ideals of religious piety and communion with God. They were written by David, Moses (Psalm 90), Solomon,Asaph (David’s choir leader), the sons of Korah (a family of official musicians), and others, for the express purpose of being set to music for worship. They even include musical notations to indicate when key changes are to be made. For example, the instruction selah, meaning “to modulate to the next key,” appears 71 times in the Book of Psalms and is not normally articulated when Scripture is being read aloud.

From the Hebrew language, Psalms translates as “Book of Praise.”  This was the prayer book that our Lord Jesus used in the synagogue service, and it was His hymn book at the Temple  festival. He used it in His teaching, met temptation with it, sang the Hallel (Psalms 115-118) from it after the Last Supper, quoted from it as He hung on the cross, and died with it on His lips.8 The Book of Psalms remains the national hymn book of Israel today.

Far from advocating a single style, Psalms range from the classical presentations, written for the temple musicians, to the simple but expressive ballads, which David composed while tending his sheep. In the Book of Psalms you will find rally songs, marching songs, victory songs, and teaching songs; there are songs of repentance, lamentation, petition, praise, renewal, and thanksgiving; there are songs for saints and songs for sinners.

The Book of Psalms has been called the door into the temple of praise and prayer, and in all ages and in more than a thousand languages, the church has found through the Psalter a means of access to God.

The Bible also shows us that man has long been aware of the effect of music upon our daily existence and its power to influence people both physically and emotionally.

In I Samuel 16:14-23, Scriptures relate an example of how a man was made well – body, soul, and spirit – through the music of a young shepherd boy.

“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed[physical], and was well[mental], and the evil spirit departed from him[spiritual].”

In II Kings 3:15 we learn that the prophet Elisha once used music to create an atmosphere so that he could “inquire of the Lord” for the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom.

“But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.”

As the tribes of Israel were set to war against their enemies, II Chronicles 20:21-22tells us that they put a choir and musical instruments in front of the army.

“…he[Jehoshaphat] appointed singers unto the Lord, that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.

And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.”

In the New Testament Book of Acts, chapter 16, we find the account of two early Christian leaders, Paul and Silas, who were cast into prison for preaching the Gospel. They used the opportunity to minister, through song, and glorify God.

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed,and sang praises unto God: the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. ”

Now, let’s review what we have just learned from these Biblical passages:

  1. In both the Old and the New Testament, music was vital to the life of the believer, both as an expression of joy and as an act of obedience unto God;
  2. God has given us instruction (by way of examples) as to the kinds of music that He wants His people to have;
  3. Far from being merely a neutral recreation, music has the power to influence us mentally, physically, and spiritually;
  4. There are certain types of music which can make demons feel very uncomfortable; and
  5. Music can create an atmosphere wherein God can work miracles.

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- Editor discerningMusic]

Hymns and History Movie Trailer

Volume 1 of this beautiful documentary series explores the origins of several great hymns of the Christian faith, which are traditionally ascribed to the period stemming from the first century through the Protestant Reformation. It gives a panoramic overview of Church history, while examining the lives and legacies of the figures commonly associated with these hymns, and evaluating their influence in bringing them into being. The four hymns highlighted are “Be Thou My Vision”, “All Creatures of Our God and King”, “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”, and “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Colorfully narrated by George Sarris, and featuring original musical performances by Charlie Zahm, Amy Salter Rutherford, Ross Smithe, and others, this film is sure to captivate and delight both young and old alike.

2010 | DOCUMENTARY | SEMI-FINALIST
SAICFF – San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.

Click:

Watch Trailer

To order this video, click the Vision Forum catalogue logo at the bottom right of this blog.


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

 

 

 

 

 

Praise Him!

 

Glory in the Highest

Stop, Look, Listen

 by Chris Tomlin

 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord

Psalm 111:2-4, New Living Translation

 

See This Verse In Context

 

ll the earth together declares/ Glory in the highest to You, Lord/ All the earth will sing Your praise/ The moon and stars, the sun and rain

God’s presence is everywhere. Evidence of His greatness is all around you. All you have to do is look and see it. It’s possible to go through everyday and miss it, but if you open your eyes and your heart, you will recognize His majesty everywhere.

• In the sunrise and sunset. How He has timed everything to be perfect, and made it beautiful.

• In rain and snow. How he provides for us in such simple ways.

• In fields of crops and flowers. Giving us beauty and fulfilling our needs.

• In dogs, cats and other pets. Providing unquestionable companionship when we feel like people let us down.

• In friends and family who are our support and speak truth to us.

• In the moon and stars. He placed each one in their place and knows how many there are, and that tells about God’s greatness. But yet He still knows who you are and cares for you.

Take a look around and see how many things in your life show how great and loving God is. And praise Him.

How Great Thou Art 

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

The Importance of Music or The Power of Hymns

A transcript of a discussion on hymns taken from Back To The Bible’s program Gateway To Joy. ~Editor

Lisa Barry: Elisabeth, let’s start with you. I know that music was an important part of your home life growing up. Can you give us a bird’s-eye view of what that was like?

Elisabeth Elliot: We had family prayers every morning and the first thing was to be herded into the living room where either my father or my mother would sit down at the piano and would play usually the next hymn in the book. We went through hymnbooks. It was just taken for granted that all of us would sing. So, whether the children knew how to read the words, it didn’t make any difference, because little children can learn the words just by hearing them. So, we would generally sing one hymn, but we didn’t skip any of the stanzas as many churches do (we’ll sing stanzas 1, 2 and 5 or something). We had all the verses.

Neither of my parents was a virtuoso on the piano, by any means. But they both knew how to play plain, ordinary hymns. I can remember my older brother, Phil, taking piano lessons and about as far as he got was Hop up, hop up, o grasshopper spry (or something like that); and he gave up. I am number two in the family so I had a variety of piano teachers one after another and never really got very far other than just to be able to play hymns. And to this day, I love to sit down to the piano and play hymns by myself. I do it frequently after supper when Lars is upstairs and I’ve finished the dishes.

Lisa Barry: I think I remember a story of your mother when she was nearing the end of her life and she was having difficulty remembering things. And yet she was always able to play the piano, wasn’t she? And you were surprised by that.

Elisabeth Elliot: Yes, she was staying in a retirement home in Pennsylvania and when I visited her, we were just walking through the place and there was a piano there and I said, “Mother, why don’t you sit down there and play the piano?”

And she said, “Oh, I can’t play the piano.”

And I said, “What do you mean you can’t? You’ve always played the piano.”

So she said, “All right, I’ll try.” And she sat down and she didn’t have any trouble at all. It was all in her head. She didn’t need a book. So, each time I would go there to visit, I would always make sure that she sat down at the piano and played.

Lisa Barry: Elisabeth, what are some of your favorite hymns?

Elisabeth Elliot: I have a long list right here in my book on my favorite quotations, my favorite hymns. And it is a long list. I won’t read them all but I can show it to you. Nobody that is listening can see it, but it is in alphabetical order so I started with “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “And Can It Be?” “Beneath the Cross of Jesus,” “Be Still My Soul,” “Crown Him With Many Crowns”…how far do you want me to go?

Lisa Barry: Hearing that “Be Still My Soul,” you’ve heard the story probably of Eric Liddle who as he was dying of a brain tumor in a Chinese prison camp, he loved hymns as well–had grown up in a family that loved hymns–and apparently, as I understand the story, he sent a nurse out to the front of the hospital where there was a Salvation Army band that had gathered together in that prison camp (a makeshift band) and asked if they would play for him “Be Still, My Soul.” And apparently just days, perhaps weeks, before he went to be with the Lord, that was the hymn that they played so he could hear it inside the hospital.

Elisabeth Elliot: I hadn’t heard that story.

Lisa Barry: I can remember going through a very difficult time in my life around age 20. I would take my hymnbook, sit in front of the fire, and just read the words. I didn’t know a lot of the tunes; I just read the words. And they are so powerful. Hymns can minister to us in so many ways. Can you think of a time when a particular hymn really ministered to you, Nancy?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Why, hymns have ministered deeply to me my whole life. I came actually from a family that was musical on one side much more than on the other. My mother was a wonderful musician, had a great gift with the piano, but also as an accomplished singer. None of us inherited her vocal ability.

But my dad, who really had no ear for music at all, but a great love for praising and worshiping the Lord, had it in his mind that somehow we should be a musical family. He would ask us to sing a table grace for guests that we would have in the home. Or even I can remember taking part of our family on a vacation–a ministry vacation to Korea–and my dad making us little girls sing and play for soldiers on a military base there where he was preaching but he wanted us to sing for them. We could be as off-key as possible and he would not know the difference.

I can remember my parents marching us to what seemed like it was always the front row of church and lining us up and we would sing songs, some of my dad’s favorites. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Hear him kind of clapping his hands together, this is not because the audience was clapping, but just because he was so caught up in the wonder of what God had done for him.

So we grew up hearing my mother sing beautifully and then my dad having a great appreciation for it. In fact, my mother many years ago recorded two–they were called “albums” in those days–one an Easter collection and one a Thanksgiving collection with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Paul Mickelson orchestrating the arrangements. And to this day one of the traditions in my own walk is on Thanksgiving and on Easter, I pull those tapes out (we’ve transferred them to cassette tape). And as old as they are, and not great–certainly not broadcast–quality today, but I listen to those and am so reminded of those songs and hymns and texts that were so much a part of our learning doctrine and theology and the ways of God as children.

Lisa Barry: Which brings us to the present. Not too many people are singing the hymns the way they used to.

Elisabeth Elliot: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get people to recognize the tremendous blessing that there is in the theology of the old hymns! It doesn’t bother me that people sing praise songs, but it bothers me if that’s all they sing. The praise songs generally have a lot of repetition and very thin theology. Whereas as I look at this list that I have, I wonder how many people in today’s churches would know “God Moves In A Mysterious Way,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Jesus Thou Joy of Loving Hearts,” “Loved With Everlasting Love,” “A Mighty Fortress,” and on and on.

I’ve got probably 40 or 50 hymns here in this little booklet. We learned them by heart and children learn them without any effort whatsoever. You don’t have to sit down and memorize, you just sing. And so we learned them and we learned all the stanzas. In my dark times, of which I have had many, I haven’t had this little book along with me by any means, but I can sing them in my head if I’m in a place where I don’t want to be bothering other people. But I know virtually every line of every hymn.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Just outside the studio here, moments ago we were on a break and I heard the instrumental music playing over the sound system “He Hideth My Soul.” And even in the midst of this day of recording sessions, the thought of the words that go with that just so ministered grace and assurance and confidence to my heart. And I think that for those who have not grown up experiencing and learning and singing these hymns, there is a real loss.

I have made a habit, over many years, of traveling with a hymnal. I travel a great deal but one of the things I manage to slip into my suitcase is a hymnal. I enjoy singing through a hymnal and often dating when I have sung that hymn (of course, all stanzas). There are so many of those we miss when we do sing hymns in our churches today. But then I can go back and have, in a sense, in those hymnals a record of God’s dealing with me and how He has ministered to my life with those truths over many years.

Elisabeth Elliot: When I was speaking at a church someplace where I’ve forgotten, they were singing praise songs and choruses. I said something to the lady that was sitting next to me on the platform, I said, “Do they sing hymns here?”

And she said, “I don’t think so. What is a hymn?”

And so I told her what I thought a hymn was. So she went to somebody else and said, “You know, Elisabeth can play the piano. She can play these hymns. Why don’t you ask her to do this?”

So they did ask me and those people were just swept away. They gave me a standing ovation and wanted me to teach them a hymn right then and there before I even had a chance to get up to give the talk on whatever it was I was supposed to give. My heart just went out to them. I thought, surely somebody must know something about hymns. But it appeared that nobody had until then, and they just were swept away. They were just delighted. So it’s a great loss in so many places

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think people who are not comfortable with hymns and singing to the Lord generally are probably not going to be as comfortable in Heaven, because we know that hymns and praise will be the language–part of the language–of Heaven. You go back to the Old Testament and you have the hymn of Moses. And you come to the book of Revelation and you have the hymn of Moses. How many times through the Scripture we are told to “sing to the Lord.” I really believe not just for our public worship as we gather corporately, but that individually there is something very restorative and healing and deepening in our walk with the Lord through singing.

I have women frequently today who talk with me about the area of depression and living with these emotions controlling their lives. And the two things I have said practically to women–two questions I ask are–Are you memorizing Scripture? and Are you singing to the Lord?

I find that in those times of sorrow or confusion or difficulty in my own life, that to quote Scripture back to the Lord and to sing to the Lord–and sometimes it is just sing until the cloud lifts, however long it takes. There is something, I believe very…as we lift our hearts up to the Lord by faith, and singing praise to the Lord sometimes is a sacrifice of thanksgiving, that faith pleases God. And I believe He comes and meets with us; He inhabits the praises of His people. So it’s not really an optional thing in the Christian life. We might quibble about what style, but to sing to the Lord is really the heart of what we are talking about.

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