Friday’s Findings

Modeled Words of WisdomWhat words of wisdom do your children see in your marriage?

20 Ways to Be Refreshing in the Local Church – “Try some of these on for size” this Sunday!  You’ll see they fit because they are biblically practical.  What awesome services we will have this Sunday!

Bible Study StrugglesHere’s some sound, practical advice from Paul Tripp if your daily Bible study has gotten into a rut.  This is an excellent post!

He Loves MeFour of my favorites singing a simple truth to encourage your heart today.

Bluegrass & the Gospel: Makes People Grin

 

Every once-in-awhile, I am blessed to have a guest blogger from right here in the mountains of East Tennessee. Wayne is a simple man born and bred in the Boones Creek area. His love for Christ and others is infectious. He grew up hard, but the grace of God continues to mold and shape him into Christlikeness. His viewpoint on life is biblical and full of plain ol’ common sense. So, with joy I share with you today a recent writing of his. Besides, I have a genuine love for bluegrass, too!

Did you happen to see the video of Earl Scruggs and Friends. Not only was there some great pickin”, there’s a lesson to learn. As the video took us through the door into the midst of some very talented musicians, we immediately picked up on the toe-tappin“, hand-clappin” tune of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”. If you could see the sheet music, you would note that each musician was seeing five lines and four spaces with matching notes to the old familiar tune. Granted, there was a considerable amount of talented liberty taken by each individual, but each was following the fundamental notes, the original standard, the very foundation of this song penned by Earl Scruggs. Now, as the music progressed, did you find yourself, pattin” your foot, maybe tappin” the table with your fingers. I know you grinned, no-one can listen to that and not grin…So, what made it so special. It was the individual musician. Their zest for the moment, their excitement, their pure enjoyment of playing the fundamental song their own special way.

Let us take a lesson from that. We have the fundamental, original standard, the foundation, the absolute truth of the Word of God. What we must learn is to present it with zest, excitement, enjoyment in our own unique way to all who will allow us to do so. Ponder on that a while and look for ways to make people grin.

Earl Scruggs and Friends

Word of God Speak

While typing yesterday’s post, a song that has touched my life in so many ways kept running through my mind.  I remember the first time I heard it.  Let me recount that memory for you as I share some thoughts penned in my 2013 Journal. My mother had just come to our house to stay after four weeks in the hospital due to cancer.  Her temporal life ended in our back bedroom on January 23, 2014.

It was January 1, and the first passage I read a minute or two after midnight to begin the new year was Lamentations 3. The Lord spoke to my heart as fresh as the first time I had ever read this familiar passage, This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 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 (3:21-23).  I sat on the edge of the bed with Denise having just left Mom in her weak condition and having just written about my conversation with Mom in my 2012 Journal which was my final entry for the year.  I read this passage, and then Denise and I prayed together before catching a few hours of sleep.

January 1, 2013

Thank You, Lord, for rest through the night.  The opportunity to sleep in a bit and serve Mom around 3 a.m. was also a blessing. One of the first songs I heard this morning as I listened to Pandora was Word of God Speak.  As I listened to these lyrics, my heart yearned for this to be true this year.  How often we want to talk, to say something. The first stanza of this song is so simple, yet so profound. How really okay it is to be at a loss for words in the presence of my God.  What would it be like to just concentrate, meditate on Him; to hear Him pour His Word down on my heart like rain?  How often I must have those moments this year.  To be still and know that my Heavenly Father is in this place, wherever that place is.  Even as I type this, I am listening to these words.  I don’t need to be heard.  I need to hear what God says.  Lord, speak to me; I need to hear from You.  Interesting that it has been raining through the night into this morning.

I ended my January 1 entry with the lyrics of this song and the following, “It is the Word of God and music that stirs my heart, that I need this year as I face each day, each joy, each trial, each decision, and each tomorrow as we move closer to being Home.”

Psalm 46:10-11  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Word of God speak

Would You pour down like rain

Washing my eyes to see

Your majesty

To be still and know

That You’re in this place

Please let me stay and rest

In Your holiness

Word of God speak

Nothing Ever Can, Nothing Ever Will

After a long week of sharing my heart and hopefully some help concerning the subject of suicide, I want to end the week on a high note; a note of hope; a note of promise!  We have been singing this song in our congregation since the middle of June.  The lyrics have stirred our hearts, given us hope, and pointed us continually to Jesus Christ!  Rejoice in the truths, raise your hands in praise, and drop to your knees in submission to our God Who always wins!!  Worship here: Nothing Ever Can, Nothing Ever Will

 

“Nothing Ever Can, Nothing Ever Will”

Ross King

1) Every power on earth and in heaven

Is a shadow in His light,

No authority, law or government

Challenges His sovereign might.

 

His reign and rule have no boundary,

All that is, His hands have wrought.

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord our God.

 

2) We are well aware we were orphans once,

Bent and broken in our shame,

Then He sought us out and adopted us,

Now we bear His royal name.

 

Every sin or crime we have ever done

Is no match for Jesus’ blood.

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord, our God.

 

3) We are rescued out of darkest night,

Freed from Satan’s evil hold

And the kingdom of our Savior’s light

Is our soul’s eternal home.

 

Though the enemy tries to steal and kill

What the death of Christ has bought

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord, our God.

 

Bridge

Our God is victorious,

He always wins! He always wins!

In love He reigns over us,

He always wins! He always wins!

Our God is victorious,

He always wins! He always wins!

In love He reigns over us,

He always wins! He always wins!

 

4)  We, the Church, declare: Jesus Christ is King,

For He conquered death once for all.

We will live in light of His victory

Following His gospel call.

 

And when the story ends we know Jesus wins,

For His power cannot be stopped.

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord, our God.

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord, our God.

The Ministry of Music

Yesterday, not too long after arriving in the patient’s cardiac ICU room, he was telling me about his love of ministering in a local nursing home and using music to bring a smile to otherwise lonely people.  As he told me his story, his own countenance brightened.  I can only imagine him singing and leading those dear folks in song, especially the ones about heaven!

Many times over the years, Denise and I have had the joy of ministering by the bedside of a dear loved one or precious church member in the hospital or their home.  In recent years, we have often ended our visit by singing a hymn or gospel song.  I remember once, a dear lady who was in the ER struggling to get her breath, and we began to sing very softly, “When peace like a river attendeth my way.  When sorrows like sea billows roll . . . .”  Later on we sang, “We have a heavenly Father above.  With eyes full of mercy and a heart full of love.  He really cares when your head is bowed low. . . . “ As we moved through those songs and on to others, there was a certain calmness that came over the room.

In the midst of their battles with cancer, my parents loved to hear the songs of the redeemed.  We often played a CD of invitation hymns that ministered to my dad’s soul in a very special way.  For my mom, a dear family in our church provided an iPod for her to listen to the piano music of Rudy Atwood as well as some of her other favorites.  In the wee morning hours, sometimes, there would be Mom fixing her ear buds so she hear the songs of grace and promise.  That was new fangled gadget for her! J

Today, this week, be a blessing to a downcast, hurting soul.  Give them a CD or an iTunes card.  When you stand to sing in church, do so joyfully so the folks around who may need encouragement will be uplifted as you sing from your heart to the Lord!

Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!

2 Serve the Lord with gladness;

Come before His presence with singing.

3 Know that the Lord, He is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;[a]

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

5 For the Lord is good;

His mercy is everlasting,

And His truth endures to all generations.

Ephesians 5:19 – Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord

When God Is Near

Praise God For Music!

How grateful I am that God created music!  Since I can remember, music has been a big part of my family.  My mom was an excellent pianist having played since she was six years old and learned the style of Rudy Atwood.  My dad sang, which was a chore to him.  I will say that he learned to play the radio quite well. 🙂   I played the trumpet and treble clef baritone in the band, and my wife played the clarinet. My oldest daughter plays the piano and my youngest daughter is multi-gifted as she can play several  instruments.

Music has been a strong guiding force and source of encouragement as well as “setting the atmosphere” in our lives many times.  Music has shown up in so many venues of our life such as in the car, at church, around the table, at a concert, while washing the car, driving through the countryside, on a date, on the back deck, running early in the morning, etc.  Music has touched us in so many ways from excitement, tears, raising a hand or two accompanied with a shout of praise, exhortation, foot tappin’, and on and on.

Due to a year of many trials in all “shapes and sizes” (James 1:2), music has found a common resting place in our hearts to encourage, edify and strengthen us.  Here’s one song that I often hear as I run.  It is one that folks in our church have found to be a “song in the night.”  Let the words minister to you today, and thank God for music!

I’ll Never Forsake You

Job 35:10  But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night.

Psalm 32:7  You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psalm 119:54  Your statutes have been my songs In the house of my pilgrimage.

304 Songs In June

While checking my email, I saw a subject line from Pandora entitled, “304 songs in June.” I clicked on the post and was informed by Pandora how many songs I listened to during the month, which was my go-to-station, and that I like 61 songs enough to give them a thumbs up!  Sometimes it’s a bit scary to know that the internet sometimes knows more about me than I know of myself. 🙂

Let’s make a spiritual application here for a Monday.  When the month of July comes to an end, how many songs will you have sung to the Lord?  What will have been your go-to-station—music that fed your soul or your flesh?  How many songs will you have given a thumbs up of rejoicing; hands raised in the air?  God wants to hear you sing!  He’s listening!

Psalm 95:1-2  Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 100:1-2  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

Psalm 147:1  Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

Acts 16:25  At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,

Colossians 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

God Wants To Hear You Sing

Sing Out, Men!!

 

Psalm 13: 6 – I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 30:4 – Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Psalm 47:6 – Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.

Psalm 89:1 – I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 149:1 – Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

Acts 16:25 – And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

Colossians 3:16 – 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.

I see two threads woven through the Scripture passages listed above.  The first is very obvious as singing is mentioned in each verse.  The second is not so obvious, but it is the point of this blog post.  These and many other references found in the Bible were written by men who sang.  Some of these men were David, Asaph, Paul, Silas and a host of others!  These men were not whimps, but men of God who fought, endured hardships, and stood for righteousness!

Men should be the spiritual leaders in every area of the Christian walk, and therefore, we should also be the leaders in singing praise to our God!  I love it when we have an all-male choir or just have the men sing a stanza in congregational singing.  Their voices ring out with leadership, authority and praise!  Men, I want to challenge you to be the leader in singing at home and at church.  I also want to ask you to watch this video and join us January 2015 for Men’s Prayer Advance.  I have experienced this gathering, and it is a bit of heaven on this side!

Men’s Prayer Advance – Singing