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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.

I love to listen to music. Some is secular and it is just fun but some of the secular music stirs up anger or lust or selfishness and that is when the Holy Spirit convicts me to not listen to it. THere is some Christian music that makes me uncomfortable as well and I can't listen to that. Perhaps some of the Christian music that I don't want to listen to is too emotional for me or some of it is just too electric guitar (and hey I did High School in 68-71) and it just doesn't make good listening. I myself couldn't throw out music only because it is secular. But I did throw out all the heavy metal garbage. There is the devil's music and there is God's music and then there is man's music. Holy Spirit please help us be discerning!
Thank you for this one year Bible blog, I love it!

Mike,

Want to share something with you and all our readers. This is my fourth year of doing this daily Bible Study with Mike. In 2007 I decided to copy each day’s study into Word so I would have a permanent record of the daily Bible Study. Looking back on the documents I saved in 2007, I see where on January 1, 2007 there were 1,550 people participating in this blog. On January 1 of this year there were 8,760 participating. How exciting it is to see how the number of participants has grown! Thank you Mike for keeping up this wonderful ministry! May the Lord fill your life and the life of each of the participants with blessings upon blessings!

God Bless!
Pat

My comment on music:

Let me share something personal with all of you this morning. I was born a hearing person. I had cancer in 1970 when no one beat the stinking disease. At that time there was not the chemo or type of radiation treatments used today. They inserted pellets of radioactive cobalt and then removed them after a certain number of days. You were literally cooked from the inside out. Well, the Lord answered my prayers and cured my cancer. He allowed me to raise my son and enjoy my beautiful granddaughter. Cobalt had many long-term side effects for those that were lucky to live long enough to experience them. One of the side effects is deafness. I went deaf at the age of 50 and each day I wake up in the silent world I praise the Lord for allowing me to live to experience the silence. Music was always such an important part of my hearing world. Even though I cannot hear worldly music, the Lord has given me what I call an internal iPod. I, of course, am not familiar with the new Christian music that everyone so enjoys today but the old hymns play on my internal iPod so beautifully that they sound like Heavenly choirs produce them. I praise the Lord for allowing me to mentally hear all the old hymns. You know, he even implanted the words of the hymns so that now when the Heavenly music starts I know each word of the song. I’m 67 now and the Lord has blessed with the gift of internal Heavenly music now for 17 years. How loving and precious our Lord is!!!!!!!

God Bless!
Pat

Hello,

Regarding secular music, I was also raised upon the songs of the 60's, 70's and 80's. Although I was raised in the church, I did not know the Lord and my parents did not model active faith or dialogue with me about the culture at all. I was left to form a world view from friends and the music of the culture. Looking back, I think I pieced together my own beliefs and philosophy through the lyrics of these songs. This to me, is the biggest danger for impressionable youth--that they would listen to these songs and latch onto a distorted view of the world.

As a teenager, I listened to these songs over and over again, essentially meditating upon them in my spirit. I internalized their teachings and had to "undo" a lot of the "stinking thinking" once I became a Christian. As an aside, my experiences in secular universities did the same thing--lots of junk packaged as "wisdom" is lurking in secular universities.

However, I don't believe that all secular music is "bad" nor that all secular universities are "dangerous places"...that seems to be a simplistic view of a complex problem.
I don't know that it's the most efficient use of our energy to throw darts at the world...the world is just acting like the world...how else would we expect them to act?

Instead, I think we've got to be proactive about forming a clear Biblical worldview and making a point to teach it (and MODEL IT!) to our children. When we can articulate, defend and walk out (not perfection but "walk") what we believe our children will be more apt to do the same. Then they can approach the culture (whether CDs, movies, politics, university professors, friends, TV shows, or whatever the world will throw their way,) without being tossed about recklessly on its waves.

They need a sound ship and a firm foundation. If we don't give them this, then there is a big gaping void in their lives that they will be tempted to fill with the "junk of the world."

I also think of Philippians 4:8 with regard to "negative" media:

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

We need to be careful what we dwell upon...and this includes music, movies, literature, ALL media, our conversations, our internal thought patterns, on and on....

Just thinking,

Matthew 21:23-46

In today's readings the Pharisees understood Jesus was talking about them. They had not understood parables in the past, but whether through Jesus' explanations or being allowed to see - they understood Jesus was not referring to them kindly.
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32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness,.....

What was John's message? John had the same message that all the OT prophets proclaimed at one time or another:

TURN BACK TO THE LORD AND REPENT

Don't go your own way. Don't ignore the Lord. Face Him, Acknowledge Him, and repent..... John was preparing the way for the ?Lord by proclaiming the above message, which would prepare one's heart to receive the Messiah. You cannot receive the Messiah based on worldly perceptions, you must be seeking and be broken...

Why broken??? see below.
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44He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."....

The OT scripture here is also from Psalm 118. The same Psalm the crowd was quoting praising Jesus as King.

In OT two foreshadowings of Christ were Moses getting water from the rock (Christ), and Daniel 2 the stone not hewn by human hands.

You must come to Christ and fall on (depend on Him) in a broken state. The broken state comes from quitting your rejection of the Lord (Turn back to Him), and repenting - realizing you are a sinner, and you do not have the answers. Being broken does not necessarily mean you are a quivering, sobbing mass of flesh (although I was at my salvation). It can be as simple as being like breaking a bucking bronco. Just coming to that realization inside that you are not in charge. Walking away from your pride and admitting and submitting to another way. The Way of the Lord...

You do have a choice. You can fall on the stone, or it will fall on you. You can accept God's offer of salvation, or you can be crushed (separated from Him forever.)
======================================================
What did the Pharisees choose?

The Pharisees could have used this place to start asking a lot of questions of themselves and the Lord. They could have turned back to the Lord...

Instead whether through pride or a hardened heart, they looked for a way to arrest Jesus.

NOTE: I wonder if like Pharaoh the Pharisees had their hearts hardened by God. Or perhaps the Lord just did not soften the Pharisees hearts. God letting thebPharisees be the Pharisees for the purposes of His Glory????? Just some speculation - have no clue.

Exodus 13:17-15:18

Crossing the Sea

Skeptics revel in the fact that there is nothing recorded in Egypt about this crossing. True (at least I have not heard of this discovery), however it does not mean it was not recorded. Those records could have been destroyed or just not found (yet).

Speculation: I wonder???? When we are redeemed (saved) there is no record in History of our individual salvation. Since this is a picture of redemption (saving Israel) is it not the same?Redemption is something that is taken on faith.

The Bible however does record it, and the question is:
If you believe the Bible is the Word of God, and God is all powerful - is there any reason this could not have happened?

There are testimonies by the Israelites. Exodus 18 says Jethro (Moses' father-in-law) knew, Rahab had heard of it along with the "ites", Gideonites had heard in Joshua 9, and Philistines had heard in 1Sam4. These people came to Canaan from somehwere. There were millions of them. It would make sense that not a whole lot of history would be writtne about an enslaved people in Egypt.

Guess it goes back to Christ: 'Blessed are those that believe but have not seen'.
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13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Reminds me of Paul's armour of God in Ephesians. You are asked to put it on and STAND FIRM. The only weapon we have is the sword (The Word of God).

God's people are not asked to do anything - then or today - but to stand still and trust in and believe in the Lord. In the face of extreme difficulties this is the answer, and it is the same thing Jesus was talking about when removing mountains - trust in God and have persistent faith, and let God be God.

These people wavered (ex 14:12), but Moses answer was the same as Christ's. The message never wavers: Stand still, stand firm, and trust in the Lord your God.
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13 "In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.

Is this not a picture of our Christian walk. God will lead, God will guide. It is not about what we want to do (even if that is serving the Lord). It begins and ends with God - the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. We just have to submit in our hearts during our walk (the same attitude we had at salvation) and let God run the show.

test double posting issues again

I could write pages (but I'll try not to, considering this is a response to yesterday's blog and I doubt anyone will see it) regarding whether or not we should listen to secular music as Christians. First of all, to answer one of Mike's questions...no, I don't avoid it, and I absolutely can't fathom Jesus wanting us to do so either. I understand that as Phillippians 4:8 instructs, we should keep our minds on whatever is true, honorable, pure, lovely, etc., but we should also remember we are instructed to not be "too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people" (Rom. 12:16). I think as Christians, if part of our servanthood to God is to deliver the news of the Gospels, we need to first and foremost be able to relate to people who are far from Him. And let's face it--the angst of many secular songwriters reveals the emptiness of one's soul. IMO, the hopelessness, sexuality, addiction, and narcissistic themes are all indicative of the absence of, and searching for (even if they don't know it), a Saviour, and these songwriters are the very types of people Jesus would have reached out to when he walked here on our earth, as well as the people who are drawn to that type of music.

Now on the other hand, we Christians are still human and are in need of daily cleansing of sins, so if secular music draws you in and tempts you to sin after listening to it, then by all means, stay away from it. But if you are strong in your faith and secure enough in your walk, I see no reason why you can't listen to a tune of someone who's far from God. Just like you can be friends with someone who is far from God. And truth be told, I'm not 100% Good Christian 100% of the time. I screw up; I sin. And sometimes, because of that sin I have really related to a song's lyrics. The knowledge of this keeps me humble. When I get myself right with God, I can then re-listen to that song with a new and improved heart. And who knows, maybe someday one of these secular songs might draw my daughter in and if it did, I would want to allow her the chance to tell me why she relates to it, rather than just banning it from her ears and giving her the feeling that I'm better than her, or worse yet, that I can't even relate to her.

Further more, there are many songs I love strictly for the melody, or the way the electric guitar, or bass, or piano... (you get the picture...) sounds. I've often found that when I really listen to the lyrics, I'm shocked at what the songwriter is singing about. LOL However, at that point, the music might have already pulled me in.

The bottom line I look for is whether or not a song is gratuitous in sexuality, controversy, etc. And I believe the Holy Spirit prompts me to be disgusted enough to turn it off when that is the case. So when I come across an old '80's hairband whose primary interest is kick-starting their hearts... I'll throw up a prayer to God that they will come to know His goodness and love, and then I'll crank up my radio and enjoy the rockin' guitar riffs! :)

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