Let’s Get Loud! [Get Ready for Christmas]

“Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord.12 This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”

 13 Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:
 14 “Give glory to God in heaven,
       and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.”

Luke 2:11-14, NCV

How very busy things get.  Think of it, shepherds are meeting singing angels who are meeting people.  It must of been a bit of a zoo!  It’s verse 13 that, ‘a very large group of angels’ made their entrance that night.  History is being made, no doubt.  And these are not quiet, or stoic angels, they are large and musical and filled with much joy.

And as happy as this angel-crowd gets,  it doesn’t phase them that the God in heaven, now in human flesh has been born in a manger.  Every angel, and almost every person sees this too; that this is not the place to have babies!  Angels being angels, I kind of think they were not thrilled with the hospitality shown to God.  (They probably said some ‘un-angelical’ things under their breath).

So, you see this swarm of angels descend on the Nativity.  And they are ecstatic, belting out at the top of their lungs, songs of worship and praise.  The squalid environment isn’t a problem for them at all.  The cow manure, sheep feces, filthy straw can all be smelled, but that means nothing at this moment.

Friends, my heart is very much like this dirty stable.  Everything is so filthy, and the smell makes my eye’s water, and the flies are thick and intrusive.  It is all so sad, and pathetic.  There are many others with clean, white hearts, why should He choose my heart to abide?

The choir is singing now, and I think I missed my cue.  But all of them are in deep, wonderous worship.  They belt it out with the enthusiasm of rabid fans at a NFL game.  But I examine my heart, I see so many issues, some things that are actually destroying me.  But the angels, well, they just keep singing.

I know Christmas is still several weeks away. Yet this is the time to prepare for a special holiday in your heart. May this year be the most meaningful time you’ve ever had.

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Beyond Worship, [True Understanding]

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“But I will sing about your strength. In the morning I will sing about your love. You are my defender, my place of safety in times of trouble. God, my strength, I will sing praises to you.  God, my defender, you are the God who loves me.”

Psalm 59:16-17, NCV

I’ve always considered singing as strange.  To vocalize with music as a bit bizarre.  The dictionary doesn’t clarify it, but makes it even stranger,

“to utter words or sounds in succession with musical modulations of the voice; vocalize melodically.”
 
And yet from this strangeness, David can find a solid reason to sing.  At this time in David’s life, things are quite tense.  Saul has been focussed on him, and has come very close to pinning David down.  I’m sure David is struggling with anxiety, doubt and despair.  And yet, it is from these considerable issues that David starts singing.
A precedent has been set.  Singing while in deep water.  The song has a theme and direction.  David sings about God.  He sings about His strength, and love, and protection.  I suppose if you are walking through an evil mob– it is really good to be watched over, and to be securely protected is very much appreciated.
When evil is immense and active, our first response should be to sing.  When we direct ourselves toward the Lord, and begin to sing to Him, the enemy scrambles for cover.  Worship scares him.  Satan is confused and frightened when we start to praise our God.  (I tend to think he has an allergy.)
I consider myself to be pragmatic and logical.  There are things I see right through.  Pyramid schemes, Nigerian banking plans, and multilevel marketing are things that are discernible to me.  But this particular Psalm punches through, and I confess I have come to understand this extraordinary power of worship.  When I decide to worship, all heaven breaks loose.
Often, I think, we can “sugar-coat” worship, and make it for feeling good about ourselves.  And yet when we do come into His presence, it is a joy and there is peace for us.  And this is terrific.  But we should reformat our thinking.
Worship is warfare.  As we stand and praise Him, the kingdom of Satan is substantially degraded and minimized.  Worship does this and more. It is an offensive weapon against dark forces. It is a defensive weapon to protect our minds.
Satan fully hopes that we will forget this idea of worship, he strategizes actively against it.  It frightens him when we start to understand.  Worship of the True God drains Satan of his power and authority.  Perhaps sinners truly become kings and queens when we start to praise our God. And that doesn’t sit well with the darkness.
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The Day Jesus Sang

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“Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.” 

Matt. 26:30

This is the only place in scripture where it was recorded that Jesus sang.  There is no question that He sang on other occasions, we just don’t know the specifics.  The hymn on the way to the Mount would’ve been from the Book of Psalms, and most likely one of the Psalms of Ascent that would of coincided with that particular date. These hymns were known as the Hallel Psalms (meaning “Praise” psalms), and consisted of Psalms 113-118.

Jesus ‘singing’ tells us a lot of His frame of mind while heading for His death in just a few hours.  When a man is about to be executed at a definite place and time its unlikely that you will find him to be musically inclined.  Yet Jesus joined His brothers in singing to the Glory of God. He sings from darknesses depth.

“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.”

John 4:23, NLT

The search in on!  The Father looks into our hearts to find something special.  Is it there?  Will He choose you?  Let’s not foolishly think that because you play the piano or the guitar you’ll be a “shoe-in.”  “Spirit and truth” is the awareness needed.  Being ‘filled with the Spirit’ is the only thing that is really necessary.

“Be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.”

Ephesians 5:19, NLT

An insincere heart can’t worship sincerely.

God is looking for worship that’s sincere and strong.  If we are not “spirit and truth” worshippers we can’t fake it. It is malfunctioning. But we can commence to begin.  We can start by preparing our hearts.  Putting them under the spigot of the spirit and of truth.  Let them soak like a sponge in God’s grace.  Things that are dry, will saturate themselves in God.

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CCM Classic Spotlight–Rez Band

 The Rez Band was the ground breaking effort to enter into hard rock and make a definitive statement.  They pulled this off, quite exceptionally.  This particular song is called “Rainbow’s End,” and it’s done live in 1979.

Lyrics to “Rainbow’s End”

Weave the rainbow in your eyes, Quiet evening lullaby, Cross your heart to never die, Broken on the wood.

Hey.

Silenced by the deafening roar, Driven from the nether shore, Violent tremors, wars, and more, No, not one is good.

Forty days and forty nights Noah sailed a sea of tears, And the lesson of the flood shouts across the years.

Now he will destroy the dark, Jesus is the living ark, Oh, nothing in the world, nothing in the world, Nothing in the world compares with him, No one ever loved you more, He alone is Heaven’s door, He is the promise, he is the promise, He’s the rainbow’s end.