Friday, December 2, 2016

Singing about Our Chief Corner Stone

Singing about Our Chief Corner Stone

            My Son in law sent me the quote below by pastor Jim Cymbala the other day and I have been thinking about it ever since.  It is one thing to sing about Christ but it is totally another to have a personal relationship with the Christ about whom you are singing!  We as Christian musicians need to be sure that when we sing the gospel we are worshiping Christ rather than the gospel music.  A Christian should never sing or play sacred music for his or her aggrandizement.  As you will see when you read the quotation below, pastor Cymbala got it right when he said, “Sadly, some people use gospel music as a platform to go higher in their field…”  Gospel music should never be used by a musician as a stepping stone.  The gospel message should never be a stone to step upon because it is the message of our Chief “corner stone” Christ Jesus. 
Quote for the Day

            "Gospel music has become very popular in recent years. Unfortunately, there are people involved in gospel music today who have no acquaintance with the gospel itself. The truth is that without the good news of Jesus Christ, there is no hope, no matter how much money a person may have earned in the music industry and how well they are known. Without Jesus there is no joy and no peace. The world testifies to that every day. So many celebrities have all the things this world has offer, yet they have to stay drugged up to keep going. When you have Jesus, you don’t need escapism, because you can give your burdens to him and have hope not just for the here and now, but for eternal life.

            Sadly, some people use gospel music as a platform to go higher in their field; but you can’t go higher than the gospel! There are songwriters who try to write lyrics for gospel songs that are general enough to cross over into mainstream music, and so the gospel message is watered down. Whether we sing gospel music, or listen to it, we need to be a partaker in what we’re singing about. The next time you’re singing a gospel tune, whether the song sings the Lord’s praises or tells about the attributes of God and what he’s done in a person’s life, or shares the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, think of the words you are singing – or writing – and let them come from a heart of gratitude for all that he has done!" ~ Pastor Jim Cymbala 

Scriptures for the Day

Ephesians 2:20, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”

 1Peter 2:6, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thank you for a Great Month of November 

Thank you for a Great Month of November 

            This month was the 47th month of my blog which contained devotional and philosophical thoughts for Christian musicians. I have written over 2,572 posts since this blog was started in January of 2013. There have been several times this year when I have experienced a certain amount of writer’s burnout.  However, I am praying that my posts in 2016  and in 2017 will stimulate both the regular and new blog members to remain faithful to their musical Ministeries. It is my continued prayer that each new post will bring honor to our heavenly Father in 2016.  The over 1,132 page views of my blog this month were experienced by people who read a mixture of philosophical and devotional thoughts.  We have had 77,554 page views since the blog was started in January of 2013.  Since I started this blog the page views have come from 122 different countries. 

            These views have come from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Argentina, Armenia, Angola,  Aruba, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Colombia, Congo [DRC], Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong,  Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland (Republic of),  Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordon, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYROM) Macau, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia,  Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands (Antilles) New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru. Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Porto Rico, Qatar, RĂ©union, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand,  Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks & Caicos Islands, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, USA and Zimbabwe .  We would like to welcome to our blog family Guyana that had its first page views this month.

             The ten countries with the most page views this month were:  USA, France, Germany, Netherlands China, Portugal, Canada, South Korea, Ukraine, and Poland.

          If you are from a country that has had page views in the past 47 months and has been omitted from the 122 countries listed above, please email me your country’s name.  Please pray with me that God will allow this Music Philosophy Blog to continue to go places where I will never have the opportunity to minister musically in person. Please pray for me, as I have mentioned before, I am in the process of writing a general music philosophy book and a devotional book for musicians. My philosophy book is now in the hands of the content editor. Please pray the editor of the devotional book is in the process of moving to Scotland and is very busy at this time.

       Once again I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to view my music philosophy blog during the month of October and a special thanks is in order to those countries that faithfully view this blog month after month.  Please continue to pray that God will guide each post and allow it to reach those who need encouragement to keep ministering for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  

       The main reason that I started this Music Philosophy blog is that, although there is much music philosophy information on the net, not very much of it is from a biblical perspective.  Please share the blog address with your friends.   If you have an area of music or fine arts philosophy that troubles you, please feel free to let me know and I will include it in our discussions.  My email address is
      Sheila and I have a very serious unspoken request that we are asking our blog family to pray about.  I know that god is abundantly able to take care of this serious situation but it is far beyond our control. 

Prayer for this Blog in December

            I want to thank You Lord and Father for the 122 countries that are a part of our blog family.  It is my sincere and earnest prayer let this blog will go around the world to places where I cannot go.  Lord, thank You that You are answering my prayer by guiding people from 122 countries to find and read my blog posts. Please continue to help me in 2016 as I prepare a post for each day to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. This is the month that we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US.  Lord, I want to thank You for all your goodness to me!

            Only You know Lord who is out there ministering musically that needs a fresh anointing for musical ministry.  Help me to know which philosophical and devotional thoughts will help these busy pastors and musicians.  Lord, as I continue to develop posts for the month of October, I am not sure which aspects of music education and music ministry to write about that will stimulate and encourage the blog family.  Please anoint the blog, the blogger, and the blog readers during 2016. If it is your will I am asking that the number of page views will increase during each month.
             Lord, I am praying that you will help the content editors for the two books that they are now editing and making final preparations so they can be sent to the publisher. Also, thank You Lord for helping me to proof read the 17 chapters of the philosophy book to make corrections.  I am asking that you will be with both of the content editors who are very busy at this time. I am asking You Lord, to multiply time

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Levite Ministers of Music-part 3

Levite Ministers of Music-part 3 
             It should be pointed out to avoid confusion that the Jeduthun mentioned in the earlier posts is generally believed to be synonymous with the name Ethan of I Chronicles 6:44, and 15:17 and 19, whose father was Kishi (Kushaiah).  Another Ethan mentioned in I Chronicles 6:42 was the son of Zimmah.  We do not have record of the father of Jeduthun, but the name Ethan was only used these two times in conjunction with Asaph and Heman.  All the rest of the times (which were many more) the trio is recorded as Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun.
            At any rate, as we discussed earlier, these three chief Levites in I Chronicles twenty-five were the scholars under whom a complex system of twenty-four divisions was organized, each division consisting of twelve vocalists and instrumentalists, separated by lot and totaling 288 musicians in all.  Furthermore, we can hypothesize that the six sons of Jeduthun, the fourteen sons of Heman (notice no daughters are mentioned in verses 8-31), and the four sons of Asaph made up the leaders of the twenty-four divisions and were leaders of a second degree--each having eleven students.  A study of "Levite Music Administration"  in my Book Music of the Bible  explains that the chief musicians, teachers (the sons of Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman), were the sons of each chief musicians, and the number of students and teachers per lot are numerated.
            From verses six and seven of chapter twenty-five we see that the various members of the 288 musicians were instructed in the following:  Songs of the Lord, cymbals, psalteries, and harps.  Furthermore, verse seven tells us that all 288 were cunning (995)or could teach or perceive concerning music.  Verse eight refers to the 288 musicians as teachers and scholars.  As we can see from the explicitness of the scripture, the Levite musicians were organized.  I Chronicles fifteen gives the specific job of each of the musicians:  verse nineteen names three leaders (chiefs), vocalists, and cymbal sounders; verse twenty names eight psaltery (lyre) players; verse twenty-one names six harp players.  The words alamoth and sheminith give specific instructions as to how the instruments were to be played.  (See Chapter VIII of Music of the Bible).  Finally, verse twenty-two mentions another leader "And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song:  he instructed about the song, because he was skillful."  Various writers have made conjecture that he was a voice teacher or a choral director.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Levite Ministers of Music-part 2

Levite Ministers of Music-part 2

            I Chronicles 15:16-24 is another example of Levite music organization.  Verse sixteen states, "And David spake to the chief (8269) of the Levites to appoint (amad 5975)A their brethren to be singers with instruments of music. . ." and verse seventeen continues, "So the Levites appointed (5975)A Heman. . .Asaph. . .and Ethan. . ." and verse eighteen "And with them their brethren of the second (4932) degree. . ."All of these musicians as well as the students mentioned in chapter twenty-five of I Chronicles were all under these three chief musicians.  It would seem there could be little doubt that the chronicler is stressing the organization, excellence, and administration of the Levite musicians.  The example left for us is that everyone had a rank and a job and as far as we know they worked together in harmony without one single complaint recorded in scripture.

            I Chronicles 23:1-2 states, "When David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son King over Israel.  And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites."  In chapter twenty-five we see a complex organization of church music.  Verse one states, "Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals. . ."  Some writers believe that the term "captain of the hosts" means the chief of the Levites.  If this is so, perhaps Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun--all chief of Levites--helped King David set up the organization mentioned in verses eight through thirty-one.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Levite Ministers of Music-part 1

Levite Ministers of Music-part 1
Although we do not know all the significance of the order and organization imposed on the Levite musicians, we do know from scripture that they were accustomed to a high degree of organization.  6:32-48 tells us of some of that organization when it states in verse thirty-two, "And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem:  and they waited on their office according to their order (misphat 4941)."  Misphat means a formal decree giving this statement the import that their placement was of importance to the program of organization.
            Verses thirty-three to forty-four of I Chronicles chapter 6 tell us that Heman the singer stood in the middle and Asaph stood on his right side and Ethan on his left.  Evidently they stood in their respective positions with their sons or brethren (vs. 33 and 44).  We are not informed as to why they stood in this order, but it was important enough for the chronicler to record.
            I Chronicles 16:5 also explains the order and chain of command of the Levite musicians.  "Asaph the chief (7218), and next (mishneh 4932) to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obededom:  and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals."  This example show their rank.  Asaph was chief and the rest were "next" or Mishna which means of the second rank.  Note that this organization specified that the Levites of second rank would play melodic musical instruments and that Asaph the conductor would sound or direct with the cymbals.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

To my Faithful Blog Readers

To my Faithful Blog Readers
Some of my faithful readers have for many months read my thoughts on music. It is my desire that you now have greater insights into the Scriptures concerning music in the Bible.  Church musicians are not usually language scholars and, on the contrary, they have general tendency to avoid original language study concerning Bible music.
            All too many musicians' libraries consist of a host of volumes on music history, theory, literature, a few volumes of hymn stories, and their favorite hypnology text without a single concordance or lexicon to study the original Bible languages.  I hope that your word study appetite has been stimulated until you will at least invest in the standard works that are now keyed to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.
            As we are now more than half way through the second decade of this twenty-first century, every Christian musician needs to not only be prepared spiritually and musically, but also have a deep understanding of the significance of music in the Bible.  It is important that musicians be able to understand the music of the Bible in Christian perspective.  I Corinthians 2:12-13 states, "Now ye have received, not of the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that ye might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

            No music blog will be able to completely guide church musicians in the twenty-first century.  Only an understanding of what the Book of Books has to say about sacred music will serve as a guide for Christian musicians of the next century.  If my blog has stimulated you to study music in the Book of Books, the many hours that it has taken to prepare these posts have been well spent.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sing unto the LORD

Sing unto the LORD

            "Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name."  (II Samuel 22:50).  Romans 15:9 says, ". . .I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name."  In Psalm 108:3 David proclaimed that he would sing praises among people and nations.  Isaiah 42:11-12 is an exhortation to praise God in the islands.  Again the Psalmist David declared in Psalm 57:9, "I will sing unto thee among the nations."  Paul and Silas sang praises unto God in the prison (Acts 16:25).  Finally, we are admonished to, "Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints." (Psalm 149:1).  The writer of the Hebrew letter (2:12) said, ". . .in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."

            We are instructed in God's Word to sing among sinners, among saints, in foreign countries, in the time of persecution, and in God's house.  We are instructed to sing praise unto Him everywhere.

            "Praise ye the LORD.  Praise the LORD, O my soul.  While I live will I praise the LORD:  I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being." (Psalm 146:1-2).  "I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live:  I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." (Psalm 104:33).  We should praise the LORD as long as we live, for He is worthy of our praise.  Finally, in the Revelation John speaks of those who win victory over the beast, his image, and his mark.  "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." (Revelation 15:3).

            Rather than becoming overcome by the responsibility to sing unto the LORD, the Christian musician who sings should consider it an honor and a privilege to sing for God’s glory.  The Christian singer never quits singing unto God.  He or she may retire from regular every day music ministry but my Bible teaches that everyone who breathes must use that breath to praise the LORD.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Philosophical Outcomes—part 3

Philosophical Outcomes—part 3
One thing for sure, public education will not directly teach the next generation of church musicians wrong things about God because they are not allowed to openly teach the knowledge of God (as taught in the Bible) in their music philosophy.  Although federal law has mandated that public education can no longer retain God in our educational knowledge, the fact that they will not directly teach false concepts of God does not indicate that no “God-education” will take place in public schools and universities.  By eliminating God as the Creator and Lord of music education, public education relays strong false messages about the nature and value of music to our young people.
 Public education can no longer recognize God in the development of a philosophical basis for music education.  As a matter of fact, teaching God as the basis of all philosophical thought is forbidden.  The only safe path in public education is to omit the authority of God in any philosophical discussion of music.  In public education, no sacred music concerts are legal and the sacred classics may only be taught or performed as music literature.  It is often mandated that there be no Christmas or Easter concerts.  The only time that it is totally legal to mention God in the music classroom is when the music instructor stubs his toe on the desk leg. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

I remember so distinctly those thanksgiving weekends when the whole family would gather at mom and dad’s place.  If it was not snowing we would go quail hunting and if it was snowing or had snowed the day or two before, we would go rabbit hunting.  I think the best part of rabbit hunting was walking through the snow covered fields taking in all the beauty that God had provided by the pure white covering he had painted over all the areas that our eyes could take in.  For as far as we could see observing those Kansas rolling pastures and fields that had been harvested earlier in the fall.

            We took this Kansas utopia for granted as though those hunts on Thanksgiving Day would go on forever.  In the earlier days dad would hunt with us but in the years that followed he would only go as far as the barn yard and then he would disappear in the distance as we got farther and farther away.  Those were wonderful times, but of course they did not last.  Like a vapor those times of hunting have disappeared.  Dad and mom are both gone.  He farm has been divided into three different tracts of land with three different owners.  The smokehouse, chicken house and all the pigeon pens are gone.

            As I look back on those Thanksgiving days, I would like to say to all of you out there who are meeting together at your mom and dad’s house, don’t take these times for granted.  Hug your mom and dad and tell them how much you love them.  If you are now “grandpa and grandma” and the married children and your grandchildren are gathered around your table, be sure that you include Christ our blessed savior in your festivities.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Philosophical Outcomes—part 2

Philosophical Outcomes—part 2

 Any musician who believes the end of all human endeavors is the gratification of self will ultimately come to different philosophical conclusions than a musician whose life is sold out to Christ.  For the committed Christian, music begins and ends with God.  To the humanist, music begins and ends with self.  The musician who has submitted his or her music to the Lordship of Christ believes that all church music is sung and played to glorify God since God owns music.  Conversely, the secular humanists (and the religious humanist) believe that music belongs to man’s true humanness since all music is about self-actualization.  This type of thinker owns his or her music.

 We cannot trust public education to produce Christ-centered musicians who have a Christocentric music philosophy.  Christians never should have trusted the world to formulate music philosophy for Christian young people.  It has always been the responsibility of Christians to train their own. Although many Christian parents have ignored it, the world has never been a friend of grace.  Could you imagine the ancient Hebrews calling in the Philistines to train their Levite sons?  The 20th century church did just that--they called in the worldly musicians who outwardly profaned the name of Christ to train church musicians.  The result was generation after generation of Christian musicians filled with Philistine philosophy.