Sunday, February 26, 2017

Are There Any Absolutes?—part 1


Are There Any Absolutes?—part 1
            I am deeply indebted to the work of Francis Schaffer for opening to me a very clear basic understanding of how philosophical thought has shaped the thinking of modern and postmodern Christians.  After reading his Escape from Reason and The God Who is There as well as other of his great works, it became clear to me how many Christian musicians came to believe that there are no absolutes in music.
            For centuries philosophers believed that it was possible for all thought to come under a unified filed of knowledge.  They often fought bitterly over just what that unified field of knowledge included.  Although philosophers did not agree on the content of that unified knowledge, they did agree that philosophical endeavor could and should bring about a philosophy of hope to the world.  
Thought for the Day
If a Christian musician’s music is to be Christocentric, it must be congruent with God’s Word and Bible principles of musicing.




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Forgiving your Brother 490 Times


Forgiving your Brother 490 Times

            Matthew 18:15, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”  “Matthew 18:21 ¶ Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”  These verses are on the same subject that we considered very briefly yesterday.  Do you think that this topic bears repeating?  I do because I know Christian people who have let their hearts fester for decades over wrongs that have been done to them.

            If you think yesterday’s admonishment of Jesus to forgive another seven times in one day is hard to understand, how about today’s admonition for a Christian to forgive another seventy times seven?  Let’s see, seventy times seven equals four hundred and ninety times (490).  I do not know about you but that seems to be a lot of times to me!  I have never had to forgive anyone nearly that many times in my lifetime.  To tell you the truth, I do not know how I would accomplish such a monumental task. I guess that I would have to go about it one forgiveness at a time.

            I have been thinking this morning about the number of times that my precious Savior Jesus Christ the righteous one has forgiven me in my lifetime.  I am sure it has been more than 490 times.  Since He freely has forgiven me all those times, He was not wrong in asking me to forgive another who has wronged me only a few times.  How about you, are you nursing a very old wound that you should have let the Healer heal in your heart?  If Satan cannot get you to rob a bank perhaps he can get you to harbor resentment and hurt in your body, mind, and soul.  If he can, the hurt will eat away at the health of your body mind and soul.  And by the way, the issue is not whether or not your brother asks for forgiveness, but rather whether or not you will forgive him. 

Prayer for the Day 

Lord, it is another day so I will need grace for this new day.  I want to thank You that You have enough grace for me so that I can live victoriously throughout this day.  Thank you for caring so much for me.  Lord I am asking you to help those musicians who are struggling over being able to forgive others today.  Help them to also know that Your grace is sufficient for them to meet every need of their lives.  Help them to know that Your grace is able to help them to forgive others who have wronged them.  This I pry in Your strong name.  Amen.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Forgiving Your Brother


Forgiving Your Brother

            St. Luke 17:3 -4 records the words of Jesus, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”  Wow!  The words of Jesus often trouble us because, most of us do not like conflict so we fail to go to our brother directly and rebuke him (or her) when he or she trespasses (commits an offence) against us.  It is much easier to do the wrong thing and go to someone else and talk to them about the offence against us than it is to go directly to the offender.  Jesus said to rebuke (epitimao 2008) i.e. to censure or admonish the one who committed the offense. 

            If you think the first part of what Jesus said to do is difficult to understand, how about the second part?  Jesus very succinctly stated, “Forgive him.”  When I read this the other day I decided to look up the word aphiemi (863) to make sure it meant forgive.  Sure enough it means: let go, disregard, keep no longer, leave behind, and of course forgive!

If you think the first and second parts of the admonishment that Jesus gave are hard to understand, how about the third part?  Jesus told His disciples to keep on forgiving even after many offences.

            Musicians are very emotional people.  They get hurt very easily because they are sensitive people.  It is no wonder that they get hurt when someone actually does something to them that is definitely wrong.  However, it is never right to fester over something that someone else has done which is wrong.  You may be right about the situation, but if you do not forgive, the offender you are in the wrong. 

Prayer for the Day



Dear Lord, I want you to give me forgiving spirit.  Help me to be able to forgive those who have committed an offence against me.  Help me to forgive others even if they do not ask me to forgive them. Lord, you said I Your Word to forgive so help me to be able to truly forgive.  This petition I am praying in Your all-powerful and wise name.  Amen.  

Song for the Day All Your Anxiety by Edward H. Joy 

Quote for the Day

 My former pastor and great friend Rev. R. E. Carroll once told me , “Garen when someone has committed  a wrong against me, when I go to prayer I say to the Lord, ‘Lord handle me, Lord will you please take care of my attitude.’”


Thursday, February 23, 2017

THE PSALMS ARE INSPIRED.


THE PSALMS ARE INSPIRED.
            As was mentioned before in my blog posts, I have prepared each post with the presupposition that the entire Bible is authored and inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The Book of Psalms is therefore the inspired word of God.  Hibbard, in Whedon's Commentary states, "The Psalms are the only collection of sacred songs plenarily inspired which were ever given to the church, and as such presents a claim upon our reverence, faith, and devotional use which belongs to no other." Commentary on the Old Testament by D.D. Whedon, ed., Psalms Vol. 5, p. 7.
            The Book of Psalms is the only inspired collection of sacred songs extant in the world today.  Since it is an inspired songbook, it is important to study the various places in the Old and New Testaments where the writers quote portions of the psalms and thereby attest to the inspiration of the Psalm collection.  It is also worth noting that in the New Testament there are more exact quotations, references, and allusions to the Book of Psalms than to any other Old Testament Book.
             David claimed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in II Samuel 23:1-2 where it states, “Now these be the last words of David.  David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.”  So, David directly claimed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he declared that his psalms were breathed out (ruach 7307) from YHVH (3068) so thoroughly that he stated that God spoke by or through his psalms. The psalmist David further declared that God’s word (millah 4405) was actually in his tongue (lashown 3956). 
Quote and Thought for the Day 
 “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.” Acts 1:16  This statement by St. Peter is significant in that it attests to the fact that the Holy Spirit’s inspiration on the Book of Psalms. Ac 1:20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Righteous is the Main Thing


 Righteous is the Main Thing
            Proverbs28:5 -6, “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.  Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”  It is a strange thought to some Christian musicians that wicked men and women do not understand God’s judgment.  Because God does not exact judgment at the end of each day, some musicians are duped by Satan into believing that sinners have it better in this life than Christians. 
            God’s Word attests to the fact that it is better to be righteous and poor than to be rich and perverse.  The reader should remember that I did not make this comparison but rather it was the inspired Word of God.  Rich people do not have to be perverse, but riches can buy many opportunities to experience perversion.  The Christian musician that does not possess much of this world’s goods should be advised of two things.  First, the righteous should concentrate on being righteous and second, should not fret over those who are perverse and also possibly rich.  The Christians responsibility is to walk carefully before God and his or her fellow man.  God will bring judgment on the wicked whether or not they understand that He will. 

Quote and Thought  for the Day
 1Timothy 6:5-6 “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Remember to concentrate on being content every day.  That is the only way that you can keep the main thing the main thing.
Prayer for the Day
My precious Lord I want my life, my heart, and my actions to be pleasing in Your sight.  Help me to always be a good and faithful musical servant.  I know that it is not my might or power or worldly wisdom that my life will be pleasing unto You.  Help me to have the wisdom to ask You for Your wisdom.  Help me throughout this year to seek your will for my daily walk. Help me to concentrate on being righteous.  This I am asking in Your wise and wonderful name.  Amen.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Seven Note Creation-part 2


The Seven Note Creation-part 2  

       When we study the te'amim (which is the musical notation found above and below the texts of the entire Old Testament), we find that both the psalmodic and prosodic systems of notation have a tonic note.  (See chapter 8 of my book, Music of the Bible in Christian Perspective and The Music of the Bible Revealed. by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura, Berkley: Bibal Press, 1991.).  This tonic note is called "silluq".  This term means "end" and has the same function as the tonic note of our "modern" diatonic scale. God created and rested in seven days and God made a seven note scale with a resting note.  After the seventh day the sequence of days re-begins and after the seventh note the musical scale re-begins--all this is more than a coincidence!  It is the work of an omniscient creator.

       Outside of our knowledge of the te'amim, the Pentateuch is relatively silent as to the specifics of the beginnings of music.  However, we do know that God imparted musical knowledge to man before the flood.  Genesis 4:21 explains that Lamech’s son Jubal “was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ."  We also know that Adam was given domain over the erets (776) so he no doubt had wisdom concerning music. The more we learn about God’s seven note creation the more we are drawn to the conclusion that a God this wise is capable of guiding us in developing a unified Christocentric music philosophy in the twenty-first century.  Praise God   

Thought for the Day

When a composer or arranger repeatedly avoids the use of the tonic, he or she obscures the finality which is necessary for the proper presentation of the gospel.








Monday, February 20, 2017

The Seven Note Creation-part 1


The Seven Note Creation-part 1  
        We have often discussed God's creation of the seven note musical scale.  Before God created man, He created, “the heaven and the earth.”  It is important that we understand the significance of God creating the mathematical ratios that make the seven note scale possible. The perfectness of the number seven is a part of Gods eternal laws. The world was brought into being and set in motion at the will of God in accordance to His laws.
        A part of these laws was the eternal concept of seven days ending with a Sabbath and a re-beginning on the eighth day.  God, without doubt, created music in the beginning to conform to these laws.  The eighth note of the musical scale is essentially the same as Sunday of the next week.  Sunday is the eighth day or the day of re-beginning of the same sequence just like the eighth note of the musical scale.  If you sing the diatonic major scale and stop on the seventh degree which is a leading tone in the major scale this tone demands resolution.  The note of resolution is the eighth degree of the major scale which is the same as the first degree i.e. the tonic.   The concept of seven degrees in a musical scale cannot be improved upon since the number seven is always the number of perfection in Scripture, and eight is the number of regeneration and re-beginning. 

Thought for the Day 
The fact that the music of the Occident used a seven note scale made it amenable to correct organization that made much of it congruent with the purposes of public worship.




Sunday, February 19, 2017

Is it OK to worship with Joy?—part 3


Is it OK to worship with Joy?—part 3 
            Yesterday we discussed very briefly that maybe the reason that often our worship is so sedate is that we, among other things, are not hearing intelligently what our loving heavenly Father is saying to us or that we haven’t been obedient to His voice.  If we are experiencing the chastening of the blessed Holy Spirit because we have not obeyed what we know the Bible teaches clearly, worship ill not be very joyous.
            Finally let’s take a quick look at the Hebrew word samach, which according to Strong means “probably to brighten up, i.e. (figuratively) be (causatively, make) blithe or gleesome:--cheer up, be (make) glad, (have, make) joy (-ful), be (make) merry, (cause to, make to) rejoice…”  Wow!  Blithe and gleesome doesn’t sound like God’s Word is commanding that our worship must be very staid, does it?.  It means that Christians who are happy serving Jesus should get happy once in a while and furthermore, it should show on their face and their whole person!  Does that make me phanatical?  I think not. 
Thought for the Day
 Psalm 33:1 teaches “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.”  It appears to me from this Scripture that the only people who are sad worshipers are those who are not righteous.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Is it OK to worship with Joy?—part 2


Is it OK to worship with Joy?—part 2

            Psalm 34:2 “My soul (nephesh 5315) shall make her boast (halal 1984) in the LORD (Y@hovah 3068): the humble (anav 6035) shall hear (shama) thereof, and be glad (samach 8055).”  Today I want to deal with some of the original word meanings in this verse.  Nephesh literally means a breathing creature.  So if you are still breathing and the Lord has been good to you, you should get happy once in a while when you music unto him.  If this goes against the grain with you take a look at what Strong wrote about the word halal “a primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate”

            If you believe that only those who are naturally verbally expressive should praise the Lord overtly, take a look at the word anav (6035) which is translated humble in Psalm 34:2 and is defined by Strong as “depressed (figuratively), in mind (gentle) or circumstances (needy, especially saintly):--humble,   lowly, meek…”  If you meet any of these criteria you have the right to make your boast in the great and wonderful God that we love, serve and worship.  He goes on to say that shama means “to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience… diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear(-ken, tell), X indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim, publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound…”

Thought for the Day

 Psalm 147:1 states very clearly, “Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.”  So, singing in worship is not a chore but rather a pleasant part of public and private worship.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Is it OK to worship with Joy?—part 1


Is it OK to worship with Joy?—part 1

Psalm 34:2 “My soul (nephesh 5315) shall make her boast (halal 1984) in the LORD (Y@hovah 3068): the humble (anav 6035) shall hear (shama) thereof, and be glad (samach 8055).”* There are some well-meaning Christians that believe that our worship should be sedate and staid.  By the term staid I mean prim or self-resistant which goes along with the concept of the worshiper maintaining an attitude of quiet peace i.e. sedateness. 

            I do not promote an atmosphere of chaos in public worship, but I do believe that Psalm 35:27 teaches us to make a great acclamation unto the LORD when it says, “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant” and Nehemiah 8:10 teaches us that we should worship YHVH with joy when it states, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

*We will deal with the original word meanings in the posts that will follow..

            Thought for the Day

Everyone that I have known in my life time who was extremely happy made some acclamation of joy.  So, I maintain that if a worshiper is happy in the Lord, it is appropriate for him or her to let others know it in public worship.  God wants to be a living sacrifice not a dead one.