So gear up and take that leap

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-ThumbnailThe scripture for today, July 3 (7/3), is Acts 7:3 as found in the New Testament of the Bible: 

” ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ “

This is part of a speech by Christian Stephen soon after the church began. He was reminding the Jewish leaders how God told their ancestor Abraham to leave his religion, home and family, and move to where God had something special for him ~ to begin the Jewish nation and religion.

But when Stephen got to the part where, since Jesus’ arrival, now God wanted his audience to leave the Jewish religion and move on to a still better one ~ the Christian religion ~ they were outraged. They were not like Abraham; they did not want to change. So, not liking the message, they killed the messenger. These religious leaders stoned Stephen to death.

Have you learned “new” things in the Bible that your religion is against? It is hard to change. You could lose your friends and family like Abraham did; you could even lose your home as Abraham did. It takes a great big “leap of faith” to follow that “new” truth you have discovered in the Bible.

But when God does the recommending, you can know he has something special in mind for you. So, gear up and take that leap!

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00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-ThumbnailSTEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR was a coward as a teenager and his best friend was crucified. But little by little through the years, he stepped up and exhibited courage at increasing levels. How did he do it? What happened to him?  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or PASTE THIS……….  https://bit.ly/2XBFXvJ  

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Short history of music in the temple

The scripture for today, June 26 (6/26), is 1st Chronicles 6:26ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible.   

“Elkanah his son, Zophai his son, Nahath his son, Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son and SAMUEL his son. The sons of Samuel: JOEL the firstborn and Abijah the second son.”

This is a little long, but I think you will enjoy it.

The prophet Samuel came from a musical family who descended from Levi’s son Kohath. Samuel’s son, listed in this scripture, was Joel. Verse 33 called the son of Joel and grandson of Samuel “Heman, the musician.”  Just what did Heman the musician do?

David told the Levites to appoint “singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps, and cymbals.”  Heman was the first one they appointed (I Chronicles 15:16f), and he had two assistants, ~ Asaph and Merari (I Chronicles. 6:39, 44). David put them in charge of the music in the house of the Lord, and they performed their duties according to the regulations (verses 31f).  

So what David appointed was a choir and orchestra.  When David first appointed them, Heman had 120 relatives in his clan, and his assistants had 220 and 130 in their clans (I Chronicles. 15:5-7; 19-22; 27-28), so they had a total of 470 musicians. Wow! And these musicians had a full-time job!

They were to minister before the Lord “according to each day’s requirements” of sacrifices as written in the Law of Moses. Heman and the others were responsible for sounding the trumpets and cymbals and playing the other instruments ~ lyres, harps, and cymbals (15:19-21) ~ for sacred song (16:37-42). In addition to playing the prescribed lyres, harps, and cymbals, trumpets were to be sounded to announce sacrifices, etc. (16:4-6).

By the time David was old, there were “four thousand…to praise the Lord with the musical instruments” (I Chronicles 23:5)! What an amazing choir and orchestra they had by this time! Remember, they were all male Levites, and were to help Aaron’s descendants, the priests, in the temple every day and at special feasts (verse 28, 30f). And what instruments were they still playing? Cymbals, lyres, and harps “for the ministry at the house of God” (I Chronicles. 25:1 & 6).

Years later after David died and his son Solomon had completed the grand Temple in Jerusalem (II Chronicles. 5:1), “all the Levites who were musicians…stood on the east side of the altar dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres, accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison as with one voice to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and the other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord” (verses 12-13).

Can you imagine such an orchestra and choir? The tinkling of the harps and lyres, with cymbals keeping the tempo, and trumpets calling attention to it all? And all those singers! Was God pleased? Indeed he was, for in the form of a cloud, “the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God” (verse 14).

All this occurred around 1000 BC. Three centuries later, when Hezekiah was king, the same instruments were being played ~ cymbals, harps, and lyres (II Chronicles. 29:25f). Why? Because they were prescribed by David, Gad the seer and Nathan the prophet as commanded by God through his prophets. (Acts 2:29-30 says David was a prophet too.)

So we see that during Old Testament times, God commanded that they have full-time musicians to sing and play during daily sacrifices and special feasts, and they had to be male Levites, and they had to play cymbals, harps, and lyres, sometimes accompanied by trumpets.

What a family Samuel had! And I’ll bet he was musical himself. How proud he would have been of his descendants.

Interestingly, although God specified every detail of the instruments that had to be played in the Old Testament, nothing like that was specified in the New Testament. Did God forget? Perhaps God took us to a higher plain in the New Testament era. We do know that in I Corinthians 14:15, we are told to both pray and sing with mind and spirit.

And in Ephesians 5:19, we are told to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” The term “make music” in the original Greek language of the New Testament is to play on strings. Since we are to make music in our hearts, then it looks like we are to play on the instrument of our heart. How beautiful!

About 50 years ago, when my father died, the funeral was in a little country church. The music consisted of a small group from the congregation who sang hymns without the accompaniment of an instrument. They were not good performers ~ they twanged a lot and sometimes were a bit off-key. But it was some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Why? Because their singing was accompanied by their heart. They were telling my family, “We love you,” and I really felt that they did.

God looks down at our singing ~ no matter how good or feeble ~ and says, “I can tell you love me.” And that’s all that matters.

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THE OLD OLD STORY SET TO OLD OLD TUNES has 40 songs about the Old Testament and 40 about the New Testament ~ all set to common folk tunes.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….  https://bit.ly/2YwJVHI 

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Delirious exultation and sacred peace

0-COVER-GIRARDEAUYou are my God and the only God. You give life, you radiate love, you judge rightly, you bestow mercy.  I lift up my spirit, my heart, my soul to you.  I will sing my praises to you through each day of my life no matter how difficult Satan may try to make it and no matter how short or long I live.  I will sing your praises on and on. I will still be singing when I close my eyes here and walk through the gate into your realm. There I will lift my voice in highest praise, then bow at your feet in delirious exultation and sacred peace.

Thank you, God, for the friends who came to see me moments ago. You hear my weakest plea. You hear me when I am down and when I am flying high in jubilation. You hear me in my sunset moments, on cloudy days, in darkness and the shadows of a late dawn.  Though there are millions of souls asking for your attention at the same time, you hear us all and come to us all as though each was the only one.  How do you do that? You are God; that is how. And you love me. With my mind, my heart, and my soul I thank you and worship you.

I am pleased to announce my RESTORATON REPRINT LIBRARY

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  • Reprinted Book I – The Best of Alexander Campbhell’s Millennial Harbinger 1830-1839
  • Reprint Book II – Instrumental Music in the Worship of the Church, written 1888 
  • Reprint Book III – Writings of the Church of Christ in London 1600-1699 (pending)

To buy now, click a book or paste this……….  https://bit.ly/2Vg8kit

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The God of Everywhere

00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-ThumbnailThe beauty of the earth and the glory of the skies declare praises to you. Each hour holds a special wonder of you, each day a throng of delights to carry me through the night. You are my courage amid fear, my expectations amid disappointment, my audacity amid timidity, my hope amid doubt. You are my light through the darkness, my path through the wilderness, my life through danger. May your name be proclaimed by children, declared to be true by atheists, lauded by the world. Arise, oh universe! Praise the God of all things and of your very existence!

Thank you for your church, your family. You set it up so perfectly. Congregations of your family here and others there all around the world.  Each congregation survives because you teach us to love one another and overlook intentional and unintentional mistakes. Brothers and sisters hand in hand, praying for each other, eating glad meals with each other, worshiping you together.  Always there with a smile and a sigh, always there with laughter and tears, always together. Always your children, always a part of your family.  Even when we travel and meet people in other parts of the world, we instantly have an immediate love whether it be to Asia or South America, Europe, or New Zealand, the Middle East or North America, Africa or one of earth’s poles. Where ever we find each other, we are still family. You are our forever Father and I worship you.

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00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-ThumbnailWORSHIP THE FIRST-CENTURY WAY is a follow up to its companion book, WORSHIP CHANGES SINCE THE FIRST CENTURY.  It was written for denominational leaders with prayers for wisdom throughout and quotes from famous theologians.  Buy as a gift or purchase in bulk for the entire congregation.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….  https://bit.ly/37akvlF

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Can they just turn it off?

The scripture for today, June 22 (6/22), is Ephesians 6:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Joseph-Cover-Thumbnail“I am sending him to you for this very purpose: That you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.”

Have you sent a letter to anyone in your family lately even if they don’t have email just to see how they are? How about your elderly parents, your grown children, aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews? Do they love you? If they do, they are going to worry about you until they hear how you are. Or do they only hear from you when you need money?

I have a letter written by my great grandmother to her daughter (my grandmother) saying (besides the usual chit-chat), “You never write.”  I have another letter written a generation later by my grandmother to her daughter (my mother) saying, “You never write.” And I have a letter from my mother saying to her daughter, “You never write.”

Each generation goes through this. We grow up, go out on our own, get busy, and forget to write our loved ones. They spent somewhere around 20 years raising you, taking care of you, making sure you were clean, your clothes decent, you did your homework, you got along with your friends, your scratches were healed, you ate right. How can they devote that much daily time and energy (both physical and emotional) on someone until they are grown, and then just turn it off? Just quit caring? They cannot.

So today, sit down and write a letter to someone who helped raise you. If you think you don’t have anything to say, you really do. Tell them what you had for lunch yesterday, what song on the radio you heard, where you went, who you saw. Just chit-chat things. All they want is to know how you are. Then they will feel a lot better. Because they love you.

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0-Joseph-Cover-ThumbnailJOSEPH THE OTHER FATHER speculates what it might have been like for Joseph to raise the Son of God.  Several months before Jesus’ crucifixion, he was rejected in Nazareth and they said, “Isn’t (present tense) this the son of the carpenter?”  Jesus apparently did not try to save his step-father’s life with a miracle and keep him from heaven. What kind of things did Joseph talk to Jesus about on his death bed?  What precious memories?  To BUY NOW, click a book cover to PASTE THIS……….  https://bit.ly/30FFlbC

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