Singing Like a Canary

Scripture is completely saturated with singing.  There a whole a lot of people who think the Bible is full of sin, wrath and judgement.  But that is not a fair assessment.  It’s misguided, and side tracks many.

And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
    belong to the one sitting on the throne
    and to the Lamb forever and ever.”

 Revelation 5:13, NLT

The culmination of the total history of mankind, ends up in this song.  All of the history books, and college lectures and symposiums are merely setting up for this massive choir.  It is what we are all about.

In the Old Testament, it seems everyone sings.  One finds melody everywhere.   Moses sings, the Children of Israel sing.  Miriam sings, Deborah sings. David sings, the Levites in the temple sings.  Most of the Psalms sing. Mary sings, the angels sing. And when the curtain falls on history, everyone sings.  (God’s people are quite melodic it seems.)

“Next to theology I give to music the highest place and honor. And we see how David and all the saints have wrought their godly thoughts into verse, rhyme, and song.”

Martin Luther

But where does this take you and I?  A common denominator is when one comes to a revelation of God.  With a deeper understanding there is a wider capacity to sing.  Another commonality is responding to a miraculous deliverance, from sin or enemies.  These are just a couple of the reasons we should “join the choir.”

“Then I will hold my head high
    above my enemies who surround me.
 At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
    singing and praising the Lord with music.”

Psalm 27:6

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.”

Col. 3:16, NLT

So sing. Sing alone or in a group. It’s the will of God, that pleases Him immensely.

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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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Five Rings to Make Us

Oh, how He loves you and me.

“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zephaniah 3:17, NLT

Five rings– they are listed from the very inside, outward in concentric circles– and each one is a profound truth.  We throw a rock in the lake, and we see the rings grow wider and wider.  We watch and listen to the rhythm of the water, and it does us much good. I love lakes, and a picnic at the beach is like a “dream come true.”

The first ring, the starting point is the phrase, “among you.”  The center point is the “the Lord your God.”  When the Lord is your center we just expect that there is something else just teetering, ready to happen.  His presence, active and decisive as it is, has boldly put things into motion. Salvation always starts at the top, and works its way down.

The second ring is “He is a mighty Savior.”  This is agape love sweating.  Really, the work of salvation can only come from him.  He initiates, and then goes on to complete this saving work.

The third ring is being rejoiced over with gladness . This seems outrageous to us who have been diminished and wrecked by sin.  It doesn’t seem possible, but the Father gets a real boost when he thinks of us.  He is very glad when he gazes on you.

The fourth ring is this–  “He calm us with his love.”  A toddler begins to unravel, and his mother meets him, and holds him closely.  The child sobs start to diminish, and mom begins to restore his broken heart.  He has been quieted. The presence of mom has turned everything around.

The fifth and final work is the Father’s singing.  It is done with a flair and deeply enthusiastic; He sings with a loud voice, He doesn’t seem to hum, and the angels do not do background vocals.  Singing at the top of his voice, it is said he “exults” in you.  He has a way about Him as He sings easily, reveling and boasting in your faith in Him.

“Your God is present among you,
    a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love
    and delight you with his songs.”

Zephaniah 3:17, MSG

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ybic, Bryan