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My thoughts on secular music..I used to listen to not just the tune but also the lyrics of the songs before I got saved.My favourite songs I realise now were such a good pointer to how I felt inside..hopeless,angry,lost...when I became saved I found some christian music that had nice tunes(some similar to what I liked)and healthy lyrics so the transition was easy for me.I'm not sure what God thinks about the tunes of secular songs...can't do much harm can they?The lyrics however...can be terrible in some cases,in the case of love songs,if you sing the songs to God(and really mean it)don't think he'd mind.
My thoughts on today's reading.Exod 13:22 neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left it's place in front of the people.
So even though they blew it by losing faith God was still there.It gives me a lot of encouragement to think that even though I blow it a couple of times God still guides me.The part in chapter 14 where God tells them to turn back,then camp in a place near the sea.I just love the commentary from the link Mike gave..it really blessed me because I'm at that point of my life where God guided me to a path that didn't make sense to me at all and now I know now that he wants to wipe out what's left of egypt in me.
I used to be quick to judge the israelites that after seeing what God had done in egypt they still didn't trust him enough then I looked into my life then realised how i grumbled and fretted when God told me to leave my comfort zone..
Then I used to wonder just how silly the egyptians were to see the sea part,the israelities go through and they had the guts to follow.Didn't they know God parted it for the Israelites and not for them?When i read that the cloud brought darkness to one side and light to one side,then read the commentary too...it may just be possible that egypt in the heat of the pursuit didn't even know what they had walked into until it was too late.
I loved all the readings so far but today's hit a strong cord because it's like finally i understand why I am where I am.
God bless you all

I gre up being very involved in music, both secular and sacred, (I sang in a chapel choir, but wasn't a christian). When I became a Christian I still listened to a lot of secular music, the "worst" of it was depressing out of wedlock relationship songs, or as you said Mike, depressing self centred songs.

However, when I moved to Canada to marry my wife I was exposed to many great indie Christian artists and enjoyed a lot of CCM. We rarely listen to our old music, and don't think to turn on the radio at all most days. (I find Christian Radio stations hard to take too!) We listen to a great variety of Christian music from praise and worsihp through to alt CCM and indie.

I like to think of it as music with a message.

It bothers me when young Christians cling to their pre-christian brands of music, I think for youth, music is more identifying than many other things in their lives, (after all, "what's on your ipod?" would be a common question), and answering "50 cent" might compromise your credibility when sharing the gospel.

Ultimately though each to their own, I know that God likes it when our minds are on Him, and that's more likely to happen (for me) when litening to Christian music rather than secular.

" Hardening of the heart" made me wonder a number of times as I was going through the readings during these last couple of days. Thanks for the link in which Bob discusses this in-depth but I still continue to wonder...

God appears to continue to harden the hearts of those who are already predisposed to harden their hearts and so they continue to get locked into sin never having the chance to experience God's grace? So if you are naturally predisposed to do evil as God has chosen you to be so, you are doomed forever.

Exodus 13:17-15:18

I decided on the first of the year to make Ecclesiastes 7:13, as it read in the NLT be my focal point this year. It reads: Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don't fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked?

Because of that resolute, this year it seems that without even actively looking those key verses or ideas, finding out how God does things, I am drawn to His examples and so it is with the following verse,

When Pharaoh let the people go, God led them not by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God said, Lest the people change their purpose when they see war and return to Egypt. (Exodus 13:17 AMP)

So often, I fight against doing things God’s way because it doesn’t make sense, but God’s ways are not our ways. When it seems like that which I’m trying to escape from is breathing down my neck and I think I am about to fail because of some unknown sin or missed direction, and or even think God has left me, I am just being used as a set-up for God to defeat that which has threatened me and desires to take me back into captivity.

There are so many things in this reading that I’ve never really studied that can tell me, show me just how God does things so I can fall into line and I will try to study them throughout the day and post back tonight.

Thank you Anka for today’s comments they have given me a lot of food for thought. Roslyn it thrills me heart to have confirmed that Mike’s hard work in maintaining this Blog and the reason for its existence, folks just sharing the thoughts and ideas on what is read, is bring forth much fruit. Thank you Mike.

Grace and peace,

I think that if non-Christian music is causing you to despair or lust or doubt God, then you should turn it off. I think there is lots of exploitative music (and tv and movies and magazines) that treat people like objects, glorify violence, etc. and those should make your heart sick and sad. I also think that there is lots of beautiful music in the world that doesn't name the name of Jesus, and yet it glorifies him by being beautiful and truthful or simply fun. If it is true, noble or praiseworthy it doesn't have to be CCM (although it can be)... "All truth is God's truth." (St. Augustine)

Has anyone ever written music and recorded anything on the "Song of the Sea"? Just a thought. Have a blessed day.

I believe that if we are to be salt and light of the world, we need to understand the popular culture, and contemporary secular music is part of that culture. As long as we listen and understand it, and use it as a link to share God's love, I think that is ok.

Mike that is a great question that you asked today about music....... I am a hugh fan of CCM music. I too used to liston to all the hard rock and attend many concerts in my day. Now I am quite content to liston to rock that has positive and encouraging words and messages. I am a big fan of KLove radio, which can be heard in almost every state in the US and online. I used to be a financial supporter as well because I believe that God uses Christian music and stations such as this to spread the gospel. I feel that there might be some folks out there who would not darken the doors of a church, but might attend a Christian concert or liston to a Christian radio station, sometimes unknowingly I might add. The music today in my opinion, is modern sounding and keeps up with the demands of the youth and culture (a remark made by Kitty when she justified that it was important for youth to idenfity with something) Why not listion to music they can identify with that has positive and encouraging words sung.

Have you ever had a silly tune that seemed to stick in your head before? I have, and I would rather have it be a tune about God.

Great reading today about the parting of the Red Sea and God's protection of the Israelites. I have read those verses many times, but enjoyed reading the commentary of Bob D. along with the reading. I don't often have time to go to the links that Mike gives us with our reading, but I am happy when I do. It often fills in the some of the blanks for me. Mike gave some good advice last week I think it was about reading only today's reading if you happen to get behind. By following his advice, it will free up more of your time to go to those links. I am glad I did today.

If anyone is out in California over the summer on vacation we have some great Christian concerts that are held usually in August and are right near the ocean. You might want to consider this a good vacation get away. Check out this web site for more details: WWW.spiritwestcoast.org There will be concerts in Del Mar (southern Ca) in the month of May 2006 and in August in Monterey. There are many great speakers and bands. You can either camp or stay at near by hotels. I have a great time at the music festivals and have attended many of them. This is a great opportunity for you to bring your non Christian friends. I have seem more people except Christ for the first time at these concerts than I have at church. If you volunteer to help with the festival in some way, you usually get a reduced price on your ticket. It it less expensive to buy your tickets early too.

God Bless you all today and keep up with you daily reading....... Laura

It seems to me that the song matching today's story of the Israelites is Sara Groves' "Painting Pictures Of Egypt".

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacked
The future seems so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I've learned
And those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned

I listen to a mix of contemporary Christian songs and secular stuff. Some favourites are Third Day, Rebecca St James, Delirious!, Jennifer Knapp, Matt Redman. U2 score very high for me. Not sure which side of the Christian/secular line you place them (I suppose such a line does exist?). They seem to be on both sides! Interesting quote from Bono of U2:

"I often wonder if religion is the enemy of God. It's almost like religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building."

And in another place he said:

"Can a song make a difference? Songs can change the world. They're not like movies where you see them once or twice - songs become part of you. They're more like smells. Freedom has a scent and it's like the top of a new born baby's head."

I recently experience that "songs become part of you" very vividly. The first LP I bought when I was a teenager in the 1960's was Bob Dylan "Highway 61 Revisited". My children recent gave me the CD version for my birthday. Listening to it I re-discovered that those songs are part of me, engraved in my head somewhere, vivid memories come flooding back of hitch-hiking through England on a wet day singing "Like a Rolling Stone" to comfort myself. So, you should be careful what music and lyrics you listen to - they all become part of you. Including a paraphrase of Genesis 22:

Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God says, "Out on Highway 61."

Thoughts from the Train
The Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the [Red] Sea by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. When Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked up, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them … Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest. (Exodus 14:9-14 AMP)

When the enemy is throwing everything at you along with the kitchen sink it doesn’t mean you are doomed. It could just be God setting a trap. When the trap is sprung all the enemies arsenal will be taken out in one fell swoop.

The Lord said to Moses, Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward! (Exodus 14:15 AMP)

When God has given you instructions, don’t stand around holding a prayer meeting you know what to do. Get to Moving! He is actually preparing a table for you in the presence of your enemy.

When I am finished with Pharaoh and his army, all Egypt will know that I am the LORD!" (Exodus 14:18 NLT)

Don’t’ wait until you get knocked upside the head to recognize that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is God, then it might be to late because you just might find yourself at the bottom of some river.

The cloud settled between the Israelite and Egyptian camps. As night came, the pillar of cloud turned into a pillar of fire, lighting the Israelite camp. But the cloud became darkness to the Egyptians, and they couldn't find the Israelites. (Exodus 14:20 NLT)

The Presence of God in a place will calm, illuminate or protect the believer. However, that same Presence will vex, frustrate and blind the unbeliever all at the same time. So don’t be surprised when you receive differing reactions out of the same crowd. As long as you have not done anything that is immoral, illicit or illegal and you are not around someone who just has a negative reaction to you that reaction may indicate they are not saved, but not always. You just might have found someone who instead of clicking with you clucked.

Micah Girl,
Great quote from Augustine! The sacred/secular divide is an artificial obfuscation at best and more likely harmful. By lumping artists this way we rob ourselves. So many themes explored by so-called secular music are integral to God's heart, and many of these themes seem to be ignored by sacred artists.

Not, take this with a caveat: I stopped listening to CCM for the most part a few years ago. Perhaps things have changed.

This is a great blog. Old Testament is really inspirational and reveals God's mighty works in people's day to day struggles.

But as for the secualr music thing, yeah I can admit songs on narcissism, sex, drugs, promiscuity or even modern pop like Britney Spears etc... lands us into negativity and ungodliness. Well, I personally like romantic or soft listening which is mostly about commitment and love, so I dont have much problem :-) Also, I love Simon and Garfunkel, once again they dont conflict big deal with my Christian beliefs.

But people who listen to extreme stuff, your problems will start only when you start to relate to that stuff and it starts to become a part of you. And then the deception starts. Be careful.

But otherwise, I think it's perfectly OK to listen to most music that is not typically CHRISTIAN. Hmmm.. by the way, Classical Music and Jazz and the likes are also great harmless listening. So, you see, throwing out all CDs except Christian CDs would be unwise and hysterical.

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