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I was a hymn snob.

Cruciality@wordpress.comMy original plan for The God of All Comfort was to base it solely on hymns. A good friend of mine heard me pontificating on why. “The best music is complex music. The 7/11 songs (seven words sung eleven times) bore me.”

Ann wrote me a dear and gracious letter which convicted me to the core. (The letter is in The God of All Comfort.) One sentence I particularly remember was “Dee: I know you would never criticize someone for praying simply. Why do you criticize the simple worship songs that stir peoples’ hearts?”

The next Sunday, my pastor, Mike Lano, preached on Ephesians 5:15-21, a passage we will look at thoughtfully for the next several days.   He explained that the main point in this passage is:

I. Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) Then under that are the following evidences of being filled with the Spirit.

A. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. (v. 19)

B. Submit to one another. (v. 21)

Pastor Lano explained that we need all three kinds of music in a worship service, for each has its unique value. While the older people tend to prefer the hymns, they should submit to the younger people, and sing those spiritual songs with their hearts. While the younger people tend to prefer the spiritual songs, they should submit to the older people and sing the hymns with their minds.

I was convicted and converted from being a hymn snob. Truly, I have come to see the great value in beautiful simple worship songs — that the repetition can be a contemplative exercise, bringing us into the arms of God.

This group has been wonderful in suggesting all three kinds of music to one another, referring us to u-tube, writing out lyrics, and sharing how specific songs have touched their hearts. You have also listened well to each other’s musical suggestions.

Before you look at the questions, I want you to know you are ministering to some women who are in “high-tide grief.” Their grief is so fresh and deep, they are not ready to participate, but they are writing to me, and they are thanking me for you. Please pray for them and continue to keep them in mind. Many of you have been comforted by The God of All Comfort and are able to therefore comfort others going through any kind of trouble.

1.  Meditate on Ephesians 5:15-21. Take it slowly, praying through it, asking the Lord to help you see it anew. Share what you are seeing.

2. For those of you who have The God of All Comfort, you can read about this more carefully in the close of the chapter Songs in the Night. Share anything that stands out to you.

3. Think about songs of lament and share your favorite psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs of lament. This will minister to all of us, but especially to those in high tide grief.

4. What do you think this Ephesians passage says to churches that have a traditional service that is primarily hymns and a contemporary service that is primarily spiritual songs?

5. Why do you think music can be such a consolation? Why do you think singing is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit?

6. How do you need to be in submission to others in regard to music?

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65 comments

  1. A Funny Little Story About Hymns and Praise Songs
    By Author Unknown

    An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

    “Well,” said the farmer. “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

    “Praise choruses?” asked the wife. “What are those?”

    “Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.

    “Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

    The farmer said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the CORN, CORN, CORN, COOOOORRRRRNNNNN,’ then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”

    As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

    “Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

    “Hymns?” asked the wife. “What are those?”

    “They’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.

    “Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

    The young man said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you,

    Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
    Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
    Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
    To the righteous, glorious truth.

    For the way of the animals who can explain
    There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
    Hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain
    Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

    Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
    Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
    Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
    They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn chewed.

    So look to that bright shining day by and by,
    Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
    Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
    And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn,

    then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and change keys on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.”

    1. oh, that is SO funny (and educational)!

  2. To me, the point of this story is this:

    You’ll notice that when each guy (the “hymn” lover or the “praise chorus” lover gave their version of what THEY were used to they both said the same thing, “Martha, the cows are in the corn.” Same thing! It’s all in our perception, right?

    It isn’t a matter of what’s better, more godly, more holy…it’s a matter of perception. I really believe God honoring music comes in all styles. Did I open a can of worms here?

    1. At least the worms have a good flavor 🙂 I agree with you — to a point. It sounds as if the INTENT (conveying that the cows are in the corn) is the same. But the IMPACT they have on us (and maybe even the “message” that is delivered) may differ. And if the impact and the message vary even a little, singing both the hymn and the praise versions of “the cows are in the corn” may help us understand and visualize the message more fully!

      I’m grading papers right now — and so far, they have been “really good papers.” But I haven’t written those words on any of them. I’m trying to “tune in” to the student’s choice of words, as well as the unique things that strike me about the papers, because it just doesn’t seem right to write “really good paper” on most of them. Writing the same thing all the time gets old (but is much quicker and easier for me), plus those who have put some effort into the assignment deserve a little more feedback.

      Though the comparison to grading papers isn’t perfect, it does illustrate that looking for different ways of saying the same thing helps us see a bigger picture. (and with hymns & praise songs, the differences in melodies/musical styles may deliver a slightly different message, too).

      I used to be a hymn snob (and still sometimes am), but it’s not because of the praise songs. It used to make me a little nuts when people I knew well got up in front Sunday morning to lead worship songs and put on these “looks” or expressions that I had never seen before. I felt distracted by the “fakeness.” A few years ago, I briefly discussed this with a student and she gave a perfect “imitation.” It mostly bothers me when it seems that the people and the “act” don’t match. I haven’t experienced this for a number of years, but if I do see it, in order to worship, I choose not to look at those who are in front. Sometimes I wonder what truly is a heartfelt expression of worship versus “evangelical socialization.” Since God is one that judges the heart (and because I my walk and talk aren’t always aligned either), I try to look away from some worship teams just so that I don’t get distracted from worshiping God. The habit of “looking away” from distractions actually may be why I haven’t noticed this “issue” for several years. Recently I was asked by a church leader about something (related to a “praise team”) that had received complaints. Unless it’s a doctrinal issue or a knock-down drag out fight, I’m likely to “tune out” church problems.

      Now I’ve opened another can of worms!

    1. Sorry, Dee (and everyone), I did take us down a rabbit trail!

      #1. Some of the ways hymns are uniquely valuable is that they usually (not always) have deep theology in them. Some of the ways praise choruses are uniquely valuable is that they usually (not always) have simpler, catchier melodies so one can concentrate on the words more than “singing it right.”

      #2. I do not raise my arms and close my eyes when worshipping, even though that may not be my heart stance. I used to! I did it because everyone else was & I thought it was expected. After much time in the “furnace” in my walk with God, I would much rather worship truly from my heart “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23) Renee’s reflections cause me to examine my own heart to see if I have any trace of “fakiness” in my public worship. Let it not be so!!

      3. If I am being distracted by a worship team because they seem fake, or perhaps, for me, too loud on the instruments, I would concentrate on the God I’m worshipping & willfully tune out the rest.

      4. In my time alone with God I sing of His faithfulness, pray psalms, try to use David’s example of “reminding” God and myself of the wonderful things He has done for me.

      5. I have spent many, many months (years) in high tide grief. I truly know what it’s like not to feel like worshipping! One song that has been a blessing to me is, “For Those Tears I Died.” Here’s a link from youtube:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJqvJTFIcrI&feature=related

    2. 1. I agree with Marlys’ answer on this one. Another way that many hymns are valuable is that have stood the test of time and often have rich history associated with them. In contrast, some newer praise songs speak to/ reach a younger audience more easily.

      2. I usually don’t raise my arms/close my eyes because I haven’t attended churches where most people do (habit!). However, there have always been some in the congregations I’ve attended who regularly raise their arms and close their eyes. I do it when I almost can’t stop myself 🙂

      3. If a worship team seems fake, I try to concentrate on worshiping God or even on listening to those behind/around me. If the instruments are too loud regularly, I might sit in a different place the next time. However, if I’m asked, I’d give my opinion on that (because I do enjoy the sound of corporate worship, congregational singing). That happened recently; and after that, a talented teenager sat at the soundboard. As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t noticed any seemingly fake worship teams for several years; but if I do, I hope I don’t get asked about them!

    3. Happy Saturday Everyone!

      Before I present my view I want to share that my mom just happened upon my sister while shopping at Walmart yesterday. They chatted for a few minutes and Mama heard the same old excuses. When Mama called to tell me about it I told her that I had been praying for them to talk. Found out that my sis is walking down the menopause road. Thanks to all who prayed with me concerning this.

      Okay Renee…here’s the point of view from the worship team member. Like you I was concerned with other’s authenticity in worship. Certain songs, certain phrases and the hands go up. The Lord dealt with me on that and taught me that I need only be concerned with myself and how I am worshipping Him. When I stand in the choir and sing I don’t automatically clap or raise my hands just because everyone is. Before I leave home for church I ask for a voice to sing praises. I’ve made my focus Him and Him alone. I find when I am totally focused on Him I am able to worhsip out of adoration and thankfulness.

      I’m glad you brought this up because I struggle when I hear all the praise due God going to us the choir. I have learned to follow the Spirit’s leading no matter what everyone else is doing.

      I believe the hymns express scripture in powerful ways. Now that I am on the other side of adversity many hymns speak deeper to me. “A Mighty Fortress” comes to mind. The phrase ‘His rage we can endure, For lo, his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.’ gives me strength. Having done some serious battle with the kingdom of darkness, I know I can ‘endure his rage’ because when I speak the name of Jesus and God’s truth those dark forces run for cover.

      In my private worship I sing and I find that my voice is at it’s clearest and most pleasant when I sing to Him alone. I’m not concerned with singing in harmony or with the melody. I just sing. That ‘voice’ is not one I want to share publicly.
      My choir director tells me I have a strong soprano voice and I find I would rather be in the background singing than singing the lead. (though I will confess I have dreamt of singing lead).

      I chose “God of All Comfort’ as a Valentine’s Day present to myself. I rcvd it Thurs and am at ch 3. Oh Dee! Now I know why you needed much prayer to write this book. I am still praying for you as you lead the blog. Learning to run to God through the psalms is what helped me make it across the raging river of grief.

      Looking forward to next week’s study. Have a Blessed Valentine’s Day my Sisters of Comfort.

      Maryls just want you to know I sent myself a Valentine’s Day ecard. It says LIVE LOVE LAUGH. My message to myself is: YOU’VE MADE THROUGH THE FIRE!

      1. Tammy, Thanks for perspective from the worship team 🙂

    4. As a worship leader in a church that does blended worship I find this discussion very interesting. We are a smallish rural church, non-denominational but we have people from many different backgrounds.

      It is great to have these discussions about what we like and don’t like, how we feel, why we do what we do in using music of all types to worship, but I’d like to offer a perspective from someone who plans the music for worship services using different styles of music.

      I am a veteran of the “worship wars” with more wounds than medals to show for it. There have been times that it has been hard to have a pure heart before the Lord during worship because of the almost constant comments and criticisms directed toward the music, based mostly on personal preference.

      As a worship leader I prayerfully select music, listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Our team works hard at rehearsals, doing our best to have an offering pleasing to Him. I take that role very seriously whether we are singing hymns, psalms, or spiritual songs.

      I have been accused of being fake during worship–putting on a show, looking differently than I do normally, raising my hands to look spiritual, etc.

      My question is, “If you are worshiping, what are you doing looking at me?” It may not be your favorite song or even style of music but is it about you? There are times I feel the Holy Spirit nudge me to include a song I don’t even like, but that He knows will minister to someone in the congregation. There may be times I have a song I love and want to sing and it just won’t fit into the worship set that Sunday, so we don’t do it. It’s not about me.

      During worship I may “see” the congregation at moments as I look out over the church body, but my focus is on God. I pour out my heart to the Lord and then open my eyes to see people with arms folded, because they don’t like that song, refusing to sing (how do I know? They have told me or our pastor). I see people looking bored. I see people laughing and talking during worship singing. I see people’s faces that look a million miles away from what is going on during the singing. And I see some people so engaged in worship of the King, their faces are changed. Some with raised hands. Some not.

      Do I judge them because they don’t look like they always do? Not my place. It hurts my heart to see people not “getting” it during worship for whatever reason but that is between them and the Lord. My job, my ministry, my calling is to be a gate keeper in the house of the Lord. I cannot lead where I cannot go myself so I must make sure that my heart is right. This is my mandate as a worshiper:

      “Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
      Who may stand in His holy place?
      The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on what is false and who has not sworn deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
      Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
      Lift up your heads, you gates! Rise up, ancient doors!
      Then the King of glory will come in. Who is this King of glory The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates! Rise up, ancient doors! Then the King of glory will come in. Who is He, this King of glory THe LORD of Hosts, He is the King of glory.” Ps 24: 3-10

      It is what I seek every week no matter the style of music. I appreciate all types of music and think they all have a place. Just as we are different, so too with music. Different types speak at different times to different people. But it is not about the music–it is about the heart. Have we come to worship Him. If we have and our hearts are pure and our hands our clean, the style of music is less important.

      Blessings,

      Kim

        1. Kim, I feel your pain. I too have been accused of being fake. Not sure how you can fake worship. It is what it is…worship. It is painful when being put under judgement and criticized for service. It was years ago for me, so this is not a fresh pain for me…but I do relate.

          What amazes me is the amount of worhsip leaders that are a part of this study. I posted first and then read the previous comments and found that quite interesting :)…Robin

      1. Well said, Kim! Thank you. I, too, enjoy a wide variety of music: everything from old, old hymns to contemporary Christian rap. I’ve come to appreciate it all! Thank you for your perspective.

  3. 1. The first thing that strikes me about Ephesians 5 is that the chapter (vs 1-2, 15. . . ) is about how we live (NIV) or walk (NASB). The psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs flow from a life filled with the Holy Spirit. The chapter doesn’t appear to be limited to an “order of worship” on Sunday morning (or on the Sabbath). The psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, AND submission to one another occur in the context of lives lived in obedience to God.

    Right now, I’m thinking about whether conflicts related to style of music in church are actually conflicts between psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs, or conflicts from another source. Sometimes preferences for psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs may be the source of conflict, but I think that more often the conflicts are because of differences in musical preferences and exposure. For example, a younger person who thinks he/she doesn’t like hymns may like contemporary versions of some of them. Someone who claims dislike of “spiritual songs” most likely remembers and even likes spiritual songs from his/her past.

    In churches, similar conflicts occur over the version of the Bible— and the proponents/opponents of a certain version may be the same ones who support/oppose different musical styles. Eph 5 also addresses several right/wrong behaviors; musical style is not one of the right v wrong categories. For choices that aren’t clearly right/wrong, mutual submission and love are guidelines (commands?) for behavior throughout the week, not just on Sunday morning. Increasing one’s exposure to a variety of musical styles might help in “submission” to other musical styles on Sunday morning.

    1. Sorry, I wrote the response above while Dee was posting questions based on our rabbit trails! (The answer above is for the original #1)

  4. I wish I could offer something profound to the discussion. Thanks to all of you who have shared insights that do provoke my thinking. My desire is that we could value blended services and see the value of praise songs and hymns within a single worship service. Each have something that points me to the King and often convicts my heart, challenges me to a new (or refreshens an) understanding, reminds me of how deeply I’m loved by the Savior and hopefully stirs obedience. This is my first time to participate in the blog…a new thing for me. Thanks, Dee for reaching out to us in this manner.

    Having just finished a study of Exodus, I’m wrestling with how we should approach God as we come to corporate worship services. I feel sometimes we are much too casual or thoughtless in both our traditional services and our contemporary services. How should we enter into His presence in corporate worship? How important is form and style? What responsibility do I have before I enter into a corporate worship service?
    I fight the temptation to be legalistic.

  5. Marlys, love your story! I think the argument over style of church music is more about change than it is about music…just my opinion.

    While I love the familiarity of hymns from my childhood or hymns that touched me at a particular time in my life, I enjoy the movement of spirit in praise choruses. Coming from a liturgical background, the weekly repitition of the music of the liturgy is a strong part of worship for me. I love the sung prayers:

    The Kyrie: In peace, let us pray to the Lord. (Lord, have mercy) For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord. (Lord, have mercy) For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the church of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord. (Lord, have mercy)For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord. (Lord, have mercy) Help, save, comfort, and defend us, grcious Lord. (Amen)

    The Gloria: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

    The Offering: We lift our voices, we lift our hands, we lift our lives up to you: we are an offering. Lord, use our voices, Lord, use our hands, Lord, use our lives, they are yours: we are an offering. All that we have, all that we are, all that we hope to be, we give to you, we give to you. We lift our voices, we lift our hands, we lift our lives up to you: we are an offering, we are an offering.

    The Great Thanksgiving where joining “all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the host of heaven, we praise Your name and join their unending hymn”singing: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

    Those are but a few of the sung parts of our liturgy. Hymns and spiritual songs are also a part of the mix. Though raised hands are not a part of our tradition, sometimes it just becomes necessary to do so. And often in these songs that I know from weekly repetition I close my eyes, but often I raise them to the beautiful stained glass window above the altar depicting Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

    The worship music I love the most, the music that really moves me meditatively into worship is the music of the Taize community. If you do not know what this music is, go to their website and read about them and listen to the music. This music is repetitive like praise choruses but soft and quiet. It is the repetition of a line of scripture, usually a psalm. Often as the congregation repeats the phrase, a cantor sings a psalm over the top. Combine that with a guitar, perhaps a flute, violin, or piano, and you are simply and beautifully carried into worship and ultimately silence… communion … you and God.

    1. Janet, I like what you said, “Though raised hands are not a part of our tradition, sometimes it just becomes necessary to do so.” Isn’t that so true? Even though my church isn’t a “hand-raising church,” sometimes my hands just kind of pop up on their own!

  6. For those in the high tide of grief right now, I would suggest the Taize song: Jesus, remember me. It is a repetition of the words of the theif from the cross: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

  7. Just as we each have different ways of communicating, I think we each must respond as comes to us naturally. Some people talk with their hands, some like to dance hearing the rhythm in the instruments, sometimes heads are bowed and sometimes raised to the heavens. I find myself doing all of those things(except I draw the line at dancing), but what is most important is that we are thinking about the words and responding to them. True worship spreads. It warms the hearts of those close to us and encourages the praise team. My pastor says it is what reaches the hearts of unbelievers. When I am alone I very often just open my hands to the heavens and in the shower I often raise my hands. That reminds me of something I want to ask. Does anyone else have revelations in the shower. I don’t know what it is but it seems like my mind is more open and stuff just ‘comes to me’. Maybe my brain is like a sponge, more absorbent when wet…

  8. Anne,
    I think it is that we are literally naked before our God in the shower, being washed clean. The shower calls upon all our senses and opens us to receive. (And we can’t run and answer the phone, or do the laundry, or sweep the floor at the same time we’re in the shower. God knows when He has us cornered!)

    1. lol! I went out to look at Taize Community. I thought it was funny that the first thing I looked at was a commentary on Psalm 30. It was good.

  9. It’s been a few days since I’ve been on. I must say I smiled through most of the reading. I love the hymns because of the deep Biblical truths in them that I memorized as a child and can turn to in my hour of need. I love the praise song too because they are more simplistic and I can close my eyes and focus on worship more easily. I have to continually work on my attitude about the contemporary service at my church and simply choose to attend the traditional service. Years ago I felt like God was encouraging me to lift my hands during worship and so I timidly tried it with one hand, when I did I was amazed and my worship dramatically changed forever. It was as if the Holy Spirit washed over me in waves and waves of love. Suddenly I was in the presence of God as NEVER before and it was life changing. Once I experienced this I could not get enough worship. I can tell you that I am pretty shy and NOTHING can keep me from raising my hands now. It doesn’t matter who sees me or what they think. I am over caring who’s looking because when I lift my hands God shows up! Every time! It is amazing! As to the worship team question, I don’t know what they look like because I have learned to tune everything out except God. My favorite music is when the whole church sings loud and proud. I don’t know how else to say it. I love to sing with deep conviction and intensity. I recently learned about Sacred Harp Music (shaped note music). If I get the chance I will attend one of these all day music events and sing my little heart out.
    Prayer request: My husband’s cousin’s baby died in-vitro one week before her due date, she then had to have a c-section, they are in such pain.

  10. Good Morning. Thank you so much for this site and the blog/comments. I so appreciate the opportunity to read them and be comforted in some sense. I am hoping that this reaches the community as I am unsure of how to reply to this blog. Can someone let me know if this is the correct avenue? I am not sure if I can do this only through the blog on the web site or is there a way to correspond from the blog that I receive through my email? Thank you again and I hope all have a blessed week! Susan

    1. Whatever you did, Susan, you have arrived on the blog.

  11. 1. I’ve been reading and re-reading the Ephesians passage over the weekend and every time I open to it in my parallel NIV/Message Bible, my eyes land on the Message version of verse 11: “Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness.” Then I think no, that’s not the right verse and my eye begins the journey down to verse 15. However, it gets caught again at “Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins, Christ will show you the light!” No, Janet, verse 15! I arrive at vs. 15 and there it is: “So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!”

    Now, I don’t want to see that as a message for me. But every time I open that book, there it is, same scriptures – in The Messge.

    Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent – 40 days in the wilderness leading to the cross of Good Friday and the glory of Easter. This journey through Ephesians 5 is going to be my focus for Lent. I’m not going to waste my time on tv and computer games. Instead, I’m going to fill my evenings with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. I’m going to watch my steps, examine my busy work in the light of Christ and focus more on relationships, making the most of every chance I get to shine that light on someone else. My mantra for Lent – Vs 21: “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.”

  12. Another song that has touched my grieving heart many times is “I Will Serve You:”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUpfhoo5jzQ&feature=related

  13. The New Living Translation of Eph 5:15 says, “So be careful how you live.” I’ve been meditating on that for several days. Doesn’t that about sum up the Christian walk? If I am being careful, I am putting some thought into what I’m doing with my time, how I’m treating others, and my attitude about the circumstances of my life.

    Personally, I don’t believe I can live as carefully as I should without the constant grace of God. Left to my own devices, I end up in a mess every time.

    I’ve learned the very hard way that I MUST be fed a constant diet of God’s Word & prayer in order to live a God-honoring life. My spirit needs to be reminded of God’s perspective!

  14. I love what Kim T. says because it so beautifully illustrates what happens when we lay down what is comfortable or usual to us–our tradition, so to speak–and allow the Lord to nudge us out on a limb where we aren’t comfortable!

    She felt the Lord’s nudge to raise her hands and when she did, He showed up! Not because she raised her hands (although the Psalms are filled with references to raising hands to Him), but because in her wanting to please Him more than be comfortable, she was obedient to the King’s call! That is what worship is all about!

    Kim T., I have heard that story from more than one person concerning raising their hands during worship. It signifies a surrender to Him. To be more concerned with what He thinks and asks of you than what people around you think of you. Having the fear of God (not obeying that nudge from the HS) vs the fear of man (“we don’t do that here…what will people think?”) As a worship leader, I cannot be concerned if Sister So and So thinks I’m putting on a show and I look fake when I raise my hands. I do it in obedience to His call. (And what many don’t realize is that I raise my hands at home, in my car (with one hand still on the wheel! lol), etc. because it is my surrender to worship not something I do at church up on the platform.

    Ps 22:3 says that God is enthroned on our praises–we often hear the quote from the King James that God inhabits our praises. Whatever. Worship is exactly that. To worship Him and draw near to Him because He is worthy to be praised. And when I forget myself and magnify Him, He draws near to me.

    I also did not grow up in a tradition of expressiveness in worship, but the Lord has brought me on a journey of worshiping in freedom. One writer said she draws the line at dancing. Never say never! I don’t dance in our services, but I dance before the Lord in my private praise. It is not beautiful or graceful, but I do it as an offering to Him just as King David danced before the Lord with all his might.

    If you struggle with this, I would just say this: Ask the Lord what He would have you do in worship and listen to His voice. I am a speaker and dramatist. Sometimes I speak in churches where expressiveness is not their tradition and I want to honor them. If I feel led to raise my hands, I can very discretely hold my hands palms up to Him in front of me. He looks on my heart and knows I am submitted to Him first of all but also submitting to the authority of that church. Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord and be foremost concerned with what He says and asks of you and the rest of the stuff takes care of itself!

    Blessings,
    Kim

    1. Kim, when I reread my post, never say never is exactly what crossed my mind. I think I may be dancing on Sunday. Thanks for posting Kim and for your faithfulness as a worship leader.

  15. Hey all. Just wanted you all to know I am still here and participating but just silently now. I am doing this with a friend who is in this grief stage of infertility. So this study has been bringing comfort and peace. I am sharing some things found here. Thanks and I am praying for you all and the silent observers. May the God of all comfort give us all comfort in our time of need. He is so good in all things.
    Much love,
    Angela

  16. Hi. I am a bit intimidated about giving my thoughts here, as I am clearly not as involved here as the other writers are.

    My thoughts are really a combination of many of the things already stated here. Hymns were the staple of my childhood, and in times of great strife I return to them because they are so reflective of Scripture and truth. They provide the same kind of foundation for me that Scripture does. I love worship songs, however, because they reflect the sound of my soul. Those are the words that in times of great joy or heartache that I cry out. Both types mean so much to me, and my life (and worship) would be incomplete without both. I thank God for exposing me to such wonderful variety of styles in which to worship Him.

    I’ve never experienced a situation where I thought someone’s worship didn’t match their true lives or hearts at any church in any role in which I have served. Honestly, I don’t know how I could possibly know the status of a person’s heart. If they are living in a pattern of a sinful lifestyle, can’t they still be moved by the Holy Spirit in worship? I mean, thank God that they are in church and ARE still moved by the Holy Spirit to be touched by the worship. Doesn’t that give them a better chance at being redeemed from that sinful lifestyle – that at some point, the words they are singing and responding to WILL impact them enough to submit to God? And aren’t we all sinners as we respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting us to worship? Where is the line as to what is too much sin to be able to have a face that reflects worship and raising one’s hands? Are the people who are in the “too much sin” category supposed to stand with their arms to their side, or is there another position they should assume?

    And a thought about people’s faces changing – I think that is natural, isn’t it? Worshiping God is an experience like none other, and when I am in His presence with a congregation of like-minded brothers and sisters, and God has blessed us with His presence, my face surely changes in a manner that people don’t usually see it. At least, I hope it does. Isn’t the Bible replete with stories about people who have been in the presence of God and their faces reflecting a look that others had never seen before and that let others know immediately that the person had been in the presence of God?

    And one last note – I so love the song “For Those Tears I Cried.” I haven’t thought of that song in years and am so glad a writer mentioned it. Curious enough, I remember in the early 70s when that song, and also one called “He’s Everything To Me” were first introduced into worship service and there was SUCH an outcry and revolt from adults who did NOT want that music among hymns in worship. THOSE were the radical songs of the day.

    I guess my point is – it’s an individual thing, it’s for God to discern as to who is being authentic and not at all my concern, and it is really mostly a matter of taste, preference and styles of the day. God calls me to worship Him with a pure heart and that should be my only concern. And, I would struggle to believe He would ever be part of me or anyone else causing distress in His church over which songs to sing. Can we really believe God would be in that argument?

    Thank you for letting me speak to you. I have been touched this morning by your words and they have impacted me in a really good way. God bless Dee and the wonderful people here who support her with their writing and their hearts.

    1. Lee, Great point about how people’s faces do change in the presence of God! (also fun to be reminded of another one of seem to be the early songs in contemporary Christian music “He’s Everything to Me”).

      I guess I think the whole issue “authenticity” is complicated — because it ranges from appearance (when a person really is being authentic) to prolonged sin which calls for church discipline.

      It really is confusing for young believers to figure out contradictions between the authority of Scripture and the behaviors of some people who are often “in the front” in church ; and those so-called “secret sins” by church leaders impact people so differently at different stages of their spiritual growth (and in different relationships with the leader). I’ve actually been drawn to a church in which a leader’s sin was handled firmly but graciously. On the other hand, I wasn’t “in the middle of it” and don’t fault those who may have left because they felt their concerns were ignored. Sometimes, I wonder if I’ve become hardened when I hear about (prolonged) sin in “powerful places” in the church because I do tend to “tune out.” Yet those sins grieve God’s heart, and some worship is corporate. Because what goes on in the body impacts all of us, lifestyles of worship leaders range from “non-issues” to detrimental to the body of Christ.

      Now I’m going to find “He’s Everything to Me” on YouTube! Haven’t heard that for a LONG time!

    2. Thanks so much for you thoughtful words! I especially liked what you said:

      Worship songs reflect the “sound of your soul.” Beautiful!

      And THIS is PRICELESS: “Where is the line as to what is too much sin to be able to have a face that reflects worship and raising one’s hands?” Wow. So, so true.

      Here’s a thought. Isn’t worship, by nature, a personal thing between my Lord and me? I know it’s been said before, but when we’re worshipping God we don’t really pay attention to what others are doing, right?

      But, as I write this I think about the times when I’ve given into the temptation to watch other people during worship. That almost always spoils it! And isn’t that just what Satan wants? Do you think for a minute he wants us worshipping his arch-enemy & the Saviour of our souls?

      Anyway, thanks Lee for the great thoughts!

    3. Lee, I love that you pointed out that the songs that have become a part of our tradition began as the radical music of the day. Beethoven and Bach would raise an alleluia to that!

      We serve a radical Saviour. Jesus broke the norms, pushed the envelope – always in a move closer to his Father. We are called to follow. When our worship becomes ho-hum and routine, something needs to shake us up and bring us back into communion with God. Music, someone said, is as close as we can get to heaven on earth. St. Augustine said that when we sing we pray twice. As my husband (who can’t carry a tune in a bucket) says, “My voice really is a joyful NOISE unto the Lord!” And he belts it out, often to the chagrin of the folks in front of him (a big reason we choose a front pew)!

      There are many styles of Saturday evening/Sunday morning worship. We sort ourselves out by heritage or choice and worship with “our own people” each week. We define worship as “the way we do it” in each one of those places. Imagine from a God’s eye view what all those different styles in all those different places all at the same time must sound like. Imagine as 10 a.m. worship circles the globe from time zone to time zone. Combine that with the continual song of the heavenly choirs of angels. What an amazing grace! How sweet the sound!

      1. AMEN to that, Janet!! It must be a glorious sound in God’s ears!

  17. Dear Dee,
    Just one thought from me, and one comment.
    THOUGHT: What do I think Heaven is hearing when I sing, songs, hymns, or praises. Isn’t that the real issue. Why split hairs?

    COMMENT: My hubby of 46 years died suddenly on Feb 6, 2009–one year ago. A college friend from Montana State Univ. (1967-1972) sent me an IPOD fully loaded with praise songs, the repetitive ones, the beautiful ones we sing often, and the instrumentals of them following without the words. I can not fully explain how very much just listening to these have gotten me thru some very dark days this year. I turn it on in my car, in my bedroom, beside my praying chair—it keeps me solid in the love of my LORD, even thru this deep valley of the shadow of death, and may I say, there are many shadows.
    A reader, and grateful sister for your ministry, in our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
    Bonnie W.

  18. I am so blessed by all of the replies I read on this site!! I was also blessed by the picture of the ostrich, which made me laugh out loud when I opened my email. There he was, looking straight at me with that expression! It stil makes me smile to think of it. 🙂

    4. What do you think this Ephesians passage says to churches that have a traditional service that is primarily hymns and a contemporary service that is primarily spiritual songs?

    Verse 20 jumps out at me because in it we see that we are to be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This far supercedes what style of music we use in our worship services. A division of services may seem like a good way to avoid a “worship war”, but this passage shows that using psalms, hymns & spiritual songs is a necessary mixture. Only when we combine our personal music affinities can we build a symphony of praise to God that is fitting of verse 20. Verse 21 states “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” If we were not intended to bring a variety of worship music before God, this verse would not be necessary. We submit because we share and compromise. And out of that submission comes our best offerings to God.

    I like services that include varied music because I can learn from each kind of song. I love hymns because of their deep, poetic truths about God but I also love contemplating Him in contemporary songs too.

    5. Why do you think music can be such a consolation? Why do you think singing is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit?

    Both music and the Holy Spirit work at our deepest levels. Singing and making music is a whole-soul activity because we can reach and express a much wider range of emotion and truth than we can by other means. In the same way, the Holy Spirit shines the light of Christ through our entire souls.

    Music is such a consolation because it utters the unutterable.

    Many of my fondest memories and most touching church experiences are realted to music. I love the way in which our congregation comes together to sing, one voice and one heart before God. I also love Christmas Eve candlelight services because of singing Silent Night in a big circle as we hold our candles. As we sing I watch the light spread from person to person as each candle is lit, just as the love and knowledge of Christ spreads by fellowship with other believers. We proclaim the miracle of Christ with our voices and we are reminded by the candles that with Christ in our lives, the path before us is ever illuminated, even when we don’t realize it.

    6. How do you need to be in submission to others in regard to music?

    Because giving glory to God and worshipping Him to the best of our abilities is the aim of music in church, we must be careful to not let sin and strife into our hearts. Since music is subjective it is possible to adopt an attitude of “I’m right and you/they are wrong.” However, if we are bent on honoring God not only with one voice but also with one heart, submission is a must. One can learn a lot when willing to be submissive to others’ points of view. It can open up a whole new world and much more worship to God!

  19. Last night, I listened to some Native American worship music and remembered hearing about a church that wouldn’t allow Native American drumming. But I also remember hearing about a time when organs/pianos weren’t allowed in some churches, too. As I was thinking about the Ephesians verses, I realized that I don’t know the difference between hymns and spiritual songs — at the time/place Paul wrote to Ephesus. My view of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is what has been passed down through Western European tradition. Sometimes, I LONG for more exposure to worship music from different cultures. Experiencing the traditions of different denominations here gives a taste. Music that I know is often comforting, but I often find new musical (and cultural) styles to be freeing.

  20. Good Morning! For south georgia it’s frigid. I have much sympathy for those who live in this weather all winter. I am so looking to spring!

    1. Eph. 5:15,17 “See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise….understand what the will of the Lord is”.
    This is what has been jumping out at me every time I meditate. In my NKJV study bible, the notes for v.13 states ‘to walk circumspectly is to step gingerly. We should watch our path to avoid contact with undesirable influences.’ When I first read those words I thought of a land mine field. Unless you know where the land mines are you can’t walk in the field without risk of serious injury. Spiritually speaking unless we are aware of the land mines in our fields we will keep ‘blowing ourselves up’ with the same mines (sins). The cross reference for the phrase ‘will of the Lord’ led me to 1 Thess. 4:3 “The will of the Lord is your sanctification…”. The cross reference for this verse led me back to Rom 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” This is my journey at this stage of my life. Renewing my mind–reprogramming my mind–with God”s Truth.

    3. The songs of lament I thought about were the psalms I learned when I went through ‘Woman of Worship’ study. The one that is playing in my head right now is Psalm 42.

    Why are you downcast, O my soul
    Why so disturbed within me
    (repeat)

    Put your hope in God
    For I will yet praise Him
    (repeat 3 times)

    My Savior and my God
    (repeat 2 times)

    (Danny Chambers c.1992)

    4. I think this Ephesians passage says that music, whether traditional or contemporary, has it’s place in worship. A very important place. One is not to be esteemed over the other. The question for us should be is the music focusing on God? Are the words expressing His truth and not just man’s opinions?

    5. Music is consolation because it reaches to the depths of the soul. One can be alone with music not expecting to hear music’s opinion about your situation. Music does not tell you to get on with your life. Music joins you in your pain expressing what you cannot.
    I’ve never thought about singing as evidence of being filled the Spirit. I think it means that when we have fully focused our attention to praising God through song on a daily basis, we have put the wants of the flesh aside and the Spirit now has room to fill our hearts with heavenly songs.

    6. As a member of the choir I need to be in submission to my choir director. Just because he selects songs I don’t particularly like,(I am a southerner who is not excited about southern gospel music), doesn’t mean that I can sit out and not sing. I have learned to look for God’s truth in the song.

    Welcome to all new posters. I think you are doing great!

    1. Thanks for the land mine illustration! Very vivid and definitely leaves a picture in my brain.

      I agree about spring. I couldn’t have the Valentine’s Party (at assisted living) I had planned because of the weather.

  21. Tammy, The land mines illustration is powerful! Thanks!

  22. I love this discussion about submission. Submission has become almost a “bad” word even in the church although that is what we are called to do–to submit to Christ, submit to the spiritual authorities, to submit one to another, as well as the one we often struggle with in our marriages, submitting to our husbands.

    I think we have trouble in the American church in thinking the church is a democracy, like our government. Instead we are a part of the Kingdom of God and that involves being submitted to those in Spiritual authority over us.

    I think we especially see it when it comes to music because that is such a personal preference. As someone mentioned, we think we are right and “they” are wrong. In the Love and Respect study by Emerson Eggerrich, over and over he stresses in our differences in marriage–one or the other is not wrong, just different.

    Last night at worship practice, we practiced a song (Blessed Be Your Name) that each of us has done, but not done together. (There are several new members of our Praise team that once served in music in other places.) After practicing it, one woman spoke up and said we were doing the song wrong–much too loud–she had done it at funerals in the mission field and to her, it should be quiet, contemplative, worshipful. To me, even though I sang it through my tears the Sunday after a teenage friend of my daughter died of cancer, it was not a quiet and worshipful song, but instead almost an anthem, a draw the line in the sand song. i.e. “You give and take away, Lord. Sometimes I’m in the desert place. Sometimes I’m in the sunshine. But I choose to say, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord’ through the tears and through the shadows and through the darkness! With Job, I will say, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.'” That is how I see that same song–not quiet but with a strong sound.

    This woman doesn’t particularly like me being the leader. She would prefer that we do music by committee–we kind of all decide what songs to do, what we like and don’t like and work it all out with everyone having equal voice, but that is not how our Pastor and Elder’s have set it up. And just like this…there are two very different perspectives on what makes this song memorable! Then it comes down to submission to my role in the church, just as I submit to the Pastor concerning the music, and in our home, I submit to my husband’s wishes. And sometimes that is hard and we don’t like to have to not get our way, but as is expressed over and over on these comments–it is not about what we like or dislike, or getting our way, or being right. It is about surrendering our hearts to Him in worship through the gift of music. Just like the financial ministries always say that where we spend our money reflects our true heart and what is of value, I think how we deal with not having our way with music we like reflects where our heart is in worship. Can we put aside our personal preference and lay down our preconceived beliefs about what church is supposed to be like and what is acceptable and just draw into His presence and worship? Not always easy, but necessary if we are to honor God. I liked what one writer said about being in heaven and hearing the worship from every tongue and tribe and nation. Wow!

    One last thing–I think music is such a consolation because of how God designed us. I think that is also why it is so controversial. Once my husband and I were flipping radio stations trying to find something to listen to. We came across an oldies station with music from our teen years. We stopped turning the dial and just began to sing along. Now, if you’d asked me if I knew all the words to that song, I would have said that I didn’t. I hadn’t heard them in years and I might have been able to recite a few but not the whole song. But once the music started, I never missed a word. Those long ago words were hidden in my subconcious mind and brought out when the music started. That is powerful stuff! When God gifted us with music, it opens our hearts and minds like nothing else. Having the words to music that sings of His faithfulness and worth (instead of Credence Clearwater Revival :0) in our hearts and minds consoles us with His presence and the truth of His promise.

    As far as being filled with the spirit, I think being able to sing when things are hard is that sacrifice of praise that Hebrews 13:15 speaks of. Giving thanks in all circumstances no matter how difficult.

    Blessings,

    Kim

  23. This hymn is for my sisters in high tide grief:

    Day by day, and with each passing moment,
    Strength I find to meet my trials here;
    Trusting in the Father’s wise bestowment,
    I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
    He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
    Gives unto each day what He deems best,
    Lovingly, it’s part of pain and pleasure,
    Mingling toil with peace and rest.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/day-by-day/1BFBD0BC2215B08C7A291BFBD0BC2215B08C7A29

    Sisters, in seven years I miscarried a baby, lost my husbands parents unexpectedly, lost another son to the drug world, lost my grandparents, nearly lost my son to acute appendicitis, my son was nearly decapitated in an auto accident and lost my dear daddy. I am acquainted with grief, but I am a living testament to the faithfulness of the Father who brought me through and when you come through you can say I love Jesus more than anything. He’s everything to me!

  24. The Lord brought this precious song to me this morning. I’ve prayed about how to explain why this song comforts me when my grief threatens to swallow me alive!

    I guess it’s that when my whole world is crumbling, I KNOW God is still God. I KNOW He is all powerful, all loving and all sufficient. Okay, so I don’t understand even a little bit why He’s allowing this to happen at this time, but I MUST trust Him! I KNOW He has all the answers! How do I know? Because the Bible says it, and I believe the Bible. Besides, where else can we turn?

    My Redeemer Lives by Nicole C. Mullen:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p4G2GbPYQA

    It’s my prayer that this song is a comfort to you also.

    1. Marlys, Thank you, that song is beautiful!

  25. Good morning all. I have been away for a few days, due to snow days and school closings and sled riding!

    I started this lesson earlier this morning. First of all, I have prayed for all the silent sisters, in high-tide grief right now, who are just observing for now. I know the Lord knows each one of you by name, and your particular grief and suffering, and may He draw close to each one of you and walk with you across your rivers of grief, bringing you safely to the other side.

    And this is to Livingloved: Haven’t seen you on for awhile, and have been thinking of you and praying for you.

    1. Ditto to that! Livingloved, I’ve missed you too and have been praying for you. I also miss others of you who were posting when this study first started (and I first joined this blog) who welcomed me so graciously.

    2. I have also had you, Livingloved, on my mind. Praying for you.

  26. #1. Meditate on Ephesians 5:15-21, share what you see.

    This passage contains several warnings:

    to be careful how I live
    to be wise, not unwise
    to make the most of every opportunity
    to not be foolish
    to not get drunk on wine (or, do not indulge my flesh, don’t run after worldly things)

    And instructions for wise living in accordance with God’s will for me:

    be filled with the Spirit
    speak to others with psalm, hymns, and spiritual songs
    sing and make music in my heart to the Lord
    always give thanks to God for everything
    submit to others out of reverence for Christ

    In reflecting on making the most of every opportunity, that includes what I am doing with my time, even my inner thought life. I can be foolish and have destructive thoughts such as bitterness, resentment, etc.. or I can be speaking and singing psalms and hymns to my own soul.
    Being filled with the Spirit will not lead to selfish living for myself only.

  27. #2. From The God of All Comfort, chapter 3

    I noted how Dee wrote that being open to all kinds of music led Dee to experience more of the presence of God. Also how as Dee sang day and night, her sould began to find peace, hope, and even joy.

    That took me back to Psalm 30 and my time with the Lord in that Psalm. How it is the presence of God that leads me into joy, I need so much my relationship and fellowship with Him. It is not something I can truly experience (joy, peace, singing) on my own without Him.

    #3. One song we have sung in our church is “Lord Have Mercy” by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant. Just the refrain brings me to tears:

    Lord have mercy
    Christ have mercy
    Lord have mercy on me

    It is a song of repentance and of returning to God.

    I have built an altar where I worship things of man….. I have taken journies that have drawn me far from You.
    Help me love You again.

  28. #4. What does the Ephesians passage say to churches that have a traditional service (hymns) and a contemporary service (praise songs)?

    Make the most of every opportunity (verse 16)

    Each service may be an opportunity to reach a lost person who may be drawn by one type of music or the other, so why not offer all types of music in one service?

    Understand what the Lord’s will is (verse 17)

    Takes me to 2 Peter 3:9, “… (the Lord) not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance”

    Isn’t the main focus of our service to shout out the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone?

    We are to sing and make music to the Lord and be in submission to one another; don’t think your preferences are more important than someone else’s.

  29. #5. Music can be such consolation because it seems to have the power to lift you up to a higher plane. I remember the first time I attended a Christmas concert at my church. The voices of the choir, the candlelight moved me so much, I felt that this must be a little bit of what heaven is like! Music can pull some very deep emotions and intense longings out of you, a longing for God.

  30. February 17 Hymn Snob
    Ephesian 5:15
    King James Version says to walk circumspectly…I remember a minister once talked about the word “circumspectly.” He demonstrated that a Christian should walk as if going in rotating motion (spiritually). Hard to explain, but imagine a skater or ballerina who as they move forward are going around and around and are considering all angles.
    Webster describes “circumspectly,” as to look around, be cautious: careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences: Prudent.
    Vs. 16…making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Again, I referred to Matthew Henry on this. He explains that we should not waist our time on evil, such as drinking or hiding in any addictions, but to take advantage of every moment to further the kingdom (in my words).
    Vs. 17 I think this verse is speaking to the previous..don’t be foolish, but understand and do the Lord’s will.
    Vs. 18 Do not be drunk on wine which leads to debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. I had to look debauchery up…extreme indulgence in sensuality. I looked up sensuality, because I am guessing it is more than simple sexuality…Webster says that sensuality is: deficiency in moral, spiritual or intellectual interest. Wow. Sooo debauchery>sensuality is a deficiency in moral, spiritual or intellectual interests. Therefore, drinking will rob us of these three things if not more. I would have to add that vs’. 15, 16, 17 and 18 all lead to the previous conclusion.

    Addictions can be way more than just drinking…eating, obvious addictions..drugs of all kinds, but closer to home computer (facebook), sleeping too much which I am not struggling with now, but have in the past when in pain. I couldn’t for just reasons take drugs or alcohol to relieve my grief, but knew that if I sleep, I wouldn’t have to think about my pain..Sleep was an escape for me. There was a time in my life that getting up in the morning was too painful (evil) to have to face another day. Thank you Jesus that you have renewed my hope in You and I don’t have to struggle with that anymore. Verse 16 makes so much sense now to not waste my time because the days are (painful). I have never thought of it in this light before…not only because the world is worldy and it is…, but because of the pain that awaits me close to my own heart. My son is the most precious thing in the world to me and in no way evil. But the pain has felt evil. I am looking at this whole picture theoretically. It might be a stretch, but this has ministered to me tonight.
    Vs. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
    I love this one..it does seem like everyone has ministered to each other so much in song with this study. It has been music that has gotten me through so much in all of my life. Music/songs minister.

    It is Black History Month and I am teaching my students historical songs written/sung in the days of slavery and civil rights. I taught/sang among others, Precious Lord, to them and we broke the words down to the feelings of the slaves and what they were going through at this awful time in history. This was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite song and was sang at all of his rallies. It was also his request that this be sung at his funeral.

    In addition, I lead worship at our church and sang it a couple of Sundays ago because it ministers so much and is still so applicable today in our own trials. Hopefully it will minister to you as well.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeeZr6uIHj4 Elvis singing
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJwUpW7ioiA&feature=related Kelly Price
    You can also find Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson versions of this song. It is so rich and meaningful.
    Precious Lord
    Precious Lord, take my hand,
    Lead me on, Let me stand,
    I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
    Through the storm, through the night,
    Lead me on, through the fight.
    Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me on.
    God Bless you all…