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Mike,

I think we need to keep our minds on GOD, and Contemporary Christian does it for me... Chris Tomlin... Rich Mullins... Third Day... Michael W. who incidentally did have the song, Lord your leading me on his second worship album does the trick for me...

Music is vitally important for us as Christians... So glad there is such a rich history and new fresh songs that are part of GODs repertoire right now...

I love music of all kinds, but, since I've started to listen to Christian stations, I find that I no longer want to listen to any of them anymore. I am happy with the Christian music. I have to admitt, that there are times I cannot understand all the words, and I tell myself that this particular song must be directed to the younger set! lolol They seem to understand it perfectly. My husband still likes his secular stations, and it never fails, if he hears the Christian station, it is playing one of the more upbeat tunes, with hard to hear lyrics. lolol I am winning him over, slow but sure. I liked todays readings. I am struggling everyday, to loose my "egypt" habits. But, I know I will, God has led me back at this time in my life, so, I don't think he will leave me hanging, now. I know I have his love and understanding,and grace. What more do I need?
I love reading all the comments, thanks to you all!

Jackie

i have found music to have the power to influence my mood and thoughts,beautiful music whether secular or Christian uplifts me and creates peace in my heart and a desire for purity and love( basically really good stuff).. but then when you add the lyrics you need huge doses of discernment as to whether the beautiful music is enough or are you wearing down your reactions to what isnt right?how long does it take for something to become so familiar to your ears that you dont hear it anymore?most of my friends that iv asked not to use Gods name in vain have said that it was a habit and they werent even aware that they were doing it?so sometimes you just have to protect your soul even if its hard..i find if i listen to a certain cd of don fransisco songs he has a way of making people from the Bible become real to me..his song about Peter after he has betrayed Jesus and is utterly wretched then the chorus of "he's alive and im forgiven" is so full of joy and wonder i cant listen to it without feeling his joy personally.a lot of the old secular music i really loved is pretty harmless but my kids are faced with lyrics that makes your hair stand on end and it is "in" to listen to it,iv tried finding the coolest Christian cds i can to give them other choices but sometimes the world is just too enticing and i can see that its hard for them....and about the readings i also struggle so with the concept of God hardening ones heart i know that God cannot do anything that would be wrong or unfair so i feel so guilty each time i find myself questioning something.

Good comments.. I use to hate the Christian radio stations (too much fake joy for the Lord I thought) but God has totally changed my heart on this. When I travel for business, where bad habits and a return to "Egypt" was a regular struggle early in my walk, I immediately log onto my computer and turn on our local Christian station and it helps remind me of home, my family, and my desire to follow Christ. It is one of the ways I have been able to change the environment of a hotel room and bring Christ into the room with me in a tangible way.

Contemporary music was one way that God used to lead me back to himself. A group of young people (high school and college age) were conducting a prayer meeting in a school basement/cafeteria. They had such joy and such zeal for the Lord and for his Word that I couldn't help being drawn toward them, and Him, even if I was a bit older than they were. It was one person with guitar and a bunch of others that led the singing which was definitely inspiring, even when they went off and just sang praises, possibly with no understandable words. It really was heavenly.

I love all kinds of music-that is music that I can understand the lyrics of- that lets out almost all hard rock and rap-I don't listen to anything with obscene words or questionable lyrics and I encourage my teenagers not to listen to those songs. I love songs that tell a story like ballads or anything that has beautiful melodies. As a violinist I especially love classical music. In the car or at home while listening to the radio I always sing along, but when I sing on my own I always sing hymns. I don't think God minds if we listen to secular music on occasion. God wants us to enjoy ourselves and have good times, after all, Jesus' first miracle was at the wedding in Cana. I think the key is balance and awareness.

I couldn't help remembering the song "when you believe"sung by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston...a secular song true but I still like it alot.Going back to Egypt....been there...a long time and honestly I don't believe any believer'll fit into Egypt..Some times no matter how many prayers God seems not to answer,it's better off in the desert with Him than back in Egypt.
I believe there in music what's right or wrong are the lyrics.Yeah I do sing to God and when I do realise I'm way off tune,I lower my voice but still sing along:)
I've asked God to test my heart and motives many times...haven't had all As in my test...more Ds.Sometimes just listening to some of my thoughts make me cringe cos I know God hears them too..I'm glad I get to renew my mind daily with His word...I'm glad that God's more loving and patient with me than I am with myself.
God bless you all

I also listened to secular music, but since there is such a variety of Christian music now, I do listen more to that. I don't believe any music is bad for you, but you need to be leery of content, just like you need to be leery of TV show content ect.

Music ... well ... last weekend I traded the Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Madonna, Pharrel Williams cd's for my 'homemade worship'cd's in my car. We don't have K-love or other Christian radiostations here in Holland. So I downloaded ( I know ... illegal, but we don't have Natalie Grant, Rebecca St James, etc in the stores here) a couple of songs and made my own cd's. Because some of the music I heard on the radio made me ill. Such as my own cd's ... I still like some of the 'world' music, but I know that all of them don't have songs full of sexuality, addiction, narcissim. It's funny how I all of a sudden irritated myself listerning to Sexyback by Justin Timberlake. But before my rebirth I danced around the house on that song. Not even realizing what the lyrics were. I'd sing along, but never really listerened. Even though it a song about sexuality, it's quite empty, eh? I now realize that most of the songs of the world are quite sad ... Mostly I just stop listerning to songs that are 'sad', they don't really harm me, but it irritates me. The struggle I have with being in the world is television. I don't watch a lot of tv anymore. It's really weird, cause I do watch a couple of shows and there's adultry, premarriage sex, and I get irritated when I watch it. How weird is that? Maybe it's the beginning of the end of me watching tv? Well ... of course there are plenty of tv-shows that aren't of a bad influence. Anyway, I am cautious, I think that's really important.

The verses that really stood out for me are:
Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.’
Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.

"Painting Pictures Of Egypt" by Sara Groves

I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way
The places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling after me like a long lost friend

It’s not about losing faith
It’s not about trust
It’s all about comfortable
When you move so much
The place I was wasn’t perfect
But I had found a way to live
It wasn’t milk or honey
But then neither is this

CHORUS:
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 closed off to me
While my back was turned

The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy to discard
I was dying for some freedom
But now I hesitate to go
Caught between the promise
And the things I know

BRIDGE:
If it comes too quick
I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?
If it comes too quick
I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?

I think that there's absolutely nothing wrong with listening to secualar music whatsoever, unless it's inherantly evil, which mos of it isn't. The only things I will ever turn off MTV are the Tatu song (few years ago now) and Beautiful by Christina Aguilara because they have homosexuality in the video which I don't want to watch and more importantly don't want my son to watch. Other than that it's great.

I like music (got no musical talent but like it anyway) and you know you listen to a lot of secualr music and if you really listen to the lyrics a lot of it is actually worshipful we just don;t realise it, Nirvana, one of the most un-Christian bands you can think of did a rock version of Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam, and there's another secualr song that springs to mind that I can;t remember the artist of called "One of us" and the chorus goes "yeah yeah God is great, yeah yeah God is Good" I think the whole concept of not listening to secular music smacks of being over-pious and seperating oneself from the world complaetely which is a poor witness for God. It's much better to be in touch with the world, to admire the beauty of the art that man can create and still maintain a Godly morality and lifestyle.

Rant over ;o) PLease ignore all the typos.

On another note I loved the parable of the two sons because it reminded me of the way my friend at church presented it to the children in the family service, she used a digital camera and did slide show using two brothers and their dad from the church, she had funny photo's of Mark (the dad) telling them each to go and work in ther garden, and the one who said he would but didn't sleeping, playing on his computer etc and the other one out in the garden with a huge spade. She then asked the children "who was the good boy?" to which my own son (he's only 3) shouted "ME!" until she gave him a sweetie for getting the right answer! What a great way to explain the parable to the children.

Just a comment about your note on the verse in the Psalms: Gods glory shines in our gatherings together in the assembly in us not actually in the church buildings, as we are taught that God does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 17:24), meaning that He dwells within each one of us

Exodus 15 - I believe I was born to praise His name. No matter whether it is a worship or a praise song, the minute I hear the music I can feel my body giving in and I begin to cry because I love Jesus so much. I cannot sing but as long as I am singing to Him, I am ok. There is a song that says "let it be a sweet sweet sound in your ears" That's what I think about when I am in church. Not who is standing next to me.

Proverbs 6 - One thing I like about this verse is it made me reflect on my church. We have several crosses hanging in church so no matter where you sit you will face a cross lower balconey, upper, lower level corner anyplace. So when I am singing or praying that is where I look and think I am so glad on 4/13/2003 and forward the cross follows me. Tomorrow we are having a singles confernece in church I am looking forward to being in fellowship on a Friday night. I will certainly pray for this ministry as I look at my cross.

Of course I love Exodus 14. amazing story. I like v 14 "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." ...I know many times we have a tendancy to worry when God is telling us this very thing.

"The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." Love this (is also a great song by Jars of Clay on the City On a Hill cd!)

v 44 means so much to me. "He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." God spoke to me about it a couple years ago at a retreat and I'll never forget it! it would be hard for me to explain, it just has sooo much meaning. A pastor spoke on it and it was like a life changing word.

Yes, I struggled with music for years too. In the early 90s pretty much music was my life and some of those musicians were my gods. I too have to be careful what I listen to. I went through a period where i wouldnt let myself listen to anything but Christian but then i started feeling restricted and wanted to listen to other stuff as well, well I know my relationship with the Lord is about freedom. So now I am free to lisen to what I want..the catch, I want Christian music. Occasionally i listen to some secular, but if the lyrics are sexual, referring to drinking, drugs I turn it off. The ones that got me were the narcissistic ones...(Bible dude, we probly had a lot of the same taste) but so many of those songs are on self-pity, self-loathing, you dont even realize they are harmful but I notice when I listen to it, the focus goes onto me! (ugh...then i sit there thinking of myself and of course i get depressed).
Bottom line...where does your mind's eye focus on when listening to music. If its anythig other then God, be very careful. I do listen to some secular, but in moderation. Its a personal thing to each person...what is God saying to you? One thing we should never forget, music is a verrry powerful influence...its seeps in your brain and can sow bad fruit or good fruit.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

“…What do you think is the line of listening to / enjoying secular music, versus it literally being bad for you? Please let me know your thoughts on secular music - do you listen to it? Do you avoid it? Are you cautious about it in any way?…”

Before I became a Christian in 1978 I was rock music fan. I must have attended more than 200 rock concerts in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. Much of that music was obviously satanic if you listen to the lyrics. After I was saved I took my LP rock albums and smashed them all to bits with a hammer before I tossed them in the trash. One of the most immediate and dramatic changes that took place in me back then after my conversion was my taste in music. I admit that occasionally some of the secular music does appeal to me but I don’t seek it out . Often I was exposed to it at work and there was nothing I could do about it. When I now hear a rock song I used to love years ago it doesn’t appeal to me much if at all. Today I only listen to Christian music and that is all I will buy. If a secular song gets in my head all it takes to get it out of mind is to play my Christian CDs. I have more than 300 of them. I think it does matter what kind of music that Christians listen to because I believe it does have an effect on us spiritually. I believe that the original purpose of music was to glorify and praise God but that Satan after his fall perverted it.

“ The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. If heed is not paid to this, it is not true music but a diabolical bawling and twanging.”

- Johann Sebastian Bach ( 1685-1750 )

EXODUS 13:17-15:18

As for the route that the Israelites took from Egypt to the Promised Land I believe that the traditional route, as shown on the maps, is accurate based on what I have read in the Old Testament. I have traced it before.

Note how useless Pharaoh’s horses and chariots were in trying to destroy Israel ( 14:23 -28 ). That is because God supernaturally protected them. Military might is nothing to God. Reading of how God drowned Pharaoh’s armies in the sea eerily reminds me of the the enemies of Israel today who have threatened to “drive the Jews into the sea.” Well, that was Pharaoh’s mistake too and they would do well to consider it.

“ The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.”

- Proverbs 21:31 ( KJV )


Yes, I think music is an important part of worship as apparently Moses and the children of Israel did as well in singing the Song of Moses ( 15:1-19 ). I once attended a church where the song leader couldn’t sing well at all but he was enthusiastic and it was contagious to the rest of congregation. I can’t sing either but watching Him helped me overcome my own fears about singing out loud in church. At first, yes, I was self-conscious about it. I know that God isn’t concerned about what we sound like but rather about whether our hearts are filled with praise and worship.

The Song of Moses will one day again be sung in Heaven along with the Song of the Lamb by the saints of God ( Revelation 15:3 ).

MATTHEW 21:23-46

Another great worship song I love to sing and hear sung by choirs and choruses is ‘Cornerstone.’ Here are the lyrics ( by Lary Goss ):

“Jesus is the Cornerstone, came for sinners to atone
Though rejected by His own, He became the Cornerstone
Jesus is the Cornerstone
When I am by sin oppressed, on the Stone I am at rest
Where the seeds of truth are sown, he remains the Cornerstone
Jesus is my Cornerstone
Rock of Ages, so secure, For all time it shall endure
'Til His children reach their home, He remains the Cornerstone
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me find my rest in Thee
'Til the breaking of the dawn, 'til all footsteps reach His throne
Ever let this truth be known, Jesus is the Cornerstone.”


Amen. Yes, Jesus is the cornerstone. When I read this passage I always think about how ungodly men since the dawn of civilization down through the ages, from Babel to the New World Order, have attempted to build their own utopian kingdoms on earth excluding the Lord from their plans. All have failed. Only the kingdom that God builds, with Christ as the cornerstone, will stand for eternity.

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

- Psalm 127:1 ( KJV )

PSALM 26:1-12

Much is said here that can be applied to local churches. I like to attend churches where people will stand up and give personal testimonies ( v.7 ) of what God has been doing in their lives, where people are clearly happy to be there ( v.8 ) and where they praise the Lord ( v. 12 ). I see two different types of congregations here: one where the people walk in truth ( v.3 ) and another of evil doers ( v.5 ) which would also, as I see it, apply to apostate Christianity which denys the truths of God‘s Word. The apostates tend to blame those who walk in truth and who adhere to sound doctrine for divisions in the Church but the truth is that it is the heretics which cause division. In such a case then, division is a good thing. It is the petty disputes that are a bad thing. Granted there is no joy in attending a church where there is strife and division and where that is present it will make it very difficult to worship.

“ Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be DIVISIONS among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also HERESIES among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”

- 1 Corinthians 11:17-19 ( KJV ).

PROVERBS 6:16-19

The sowing of discord among brethren ( v.19 ) ties in with what I was talking about in my comments on Psalm 26 concerning heresy and disunity. Those who do this are sowing seeds of lies rather than the good seed of God’s Word and they are bearing “false witness “ ( v.19 ) rather than being true witnesses of Jesus Christ.

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