Archive for October, 2019

Heavenly Praise Here on Earth

…For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Mt 5:45b ESV)

I love certain types of music, as most people have their own favorite genres. I have always been musically inclined. I began playing cornet, drums and piano in the fifth grade. Drums are an instrument I taught myself, which isn’t that difficult to do by simply listening to records (yep, vinyl years ago) and replicated what was heard on the recording. Cornet and piano are of course, much more difficult because it involves playing exact notes on the treble and/or bass scales. There are some folks who can play the piano by simply hearing a song and replicating it. However, this is not the norm. Most of us have to work very hard to be able to play something that sounds good. It takes years, unless you’re someone like Mozart, who, by all accounts, was creatively gifted as a young boy, who began playing the piano at age 5.

But music has the ability to soothe or agitate, depending upon the genre. In today’s world, rap and hip hop is actually called music, when in point of fact, it’s simply poetry put to a percussive beat. I don’t consider it music at all. In many other cases, software programs like Pro Tools are utilized after the recording to “perfect” a person’s voice or even the instrumentation, forcing the recorded music/vocals to sound right on the mark. There are telltale signs of this being used today by too many pop artists. I’ve heard some recordings of some of them prior to the use of Pro Tools and it’s pretty sad.

I’ve been singing since before the fifth grade. I’ve always enjoyed it. When I was in my late teens/early twenties, it was very easy for me to sing along with songs from Boston, Journey and others, hitting the high notes without any problems. Of course, over the years because I stopped singing, my vocal chords relaxed and started to “droop” just like everyone else’s and I have a very hard time reaching many of those high notes without going into falsetto. Even then, I have an upper limit. It’s frustrating but it would likely take a few solid years of being trained by a professional to even begin to get some of my old vocal chops back.

I often think also of the fact that the only instrument I’ve continued playing is essentially the drums. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten back into piano and am also toying with the trumpet again, but let’s face it, I’m not Mozart and it’s taking a long time to make any real gains. The fact that we just bought another vehicle to replace the old Ford Escape that had nearly 350,000 miles on it means things like piano lessons have to go away for a while.

But what I’ve been thinking about lately is how God has provided “gifts” to people, in spite of their standing before Him. Just like we read in Matthew 5:45 above, God provides gifts to all of us to varying degrees. That’s what Jesus meant when He stated that God sends the rain and shines the sun on the just and unjust.

Why does God do this? Ultimately, it is because it glorifies Him. Except for rap, hip-hop and country, I generally listen to all types of music. My favorite is classic rock, jazz, and even the classics. Lately, I’m getting back into listening to two of my favorite singers: Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. What I find is that listening to these performers sing as they do, my insides actually begin to “sit down.”

I was watching part of an interview with Sarah Brightman and she stated that she’s always had an affinity toward music. For her, her entire body is her instrument. You’ll note the way she moves on stage, the way she holds or tilts her head while singing, the way her mouth opens wide allowing her vocal chords to be unobstructed when reaching for certain notes, the way she might reach her arms out or up – these are all ways in which she is able to hit certain notes. Her lifetime of singing has given her the ability to understand her body, her head, her nasal cavities and the way sound is created within her. She understands how she must position her head in order to reach the octaves that other sopranos only dream about and she does it with ease.

Sarah Brightman is an example of God sending His rain on the just and unjust. I’m not trying to comment on her belief (or not) in God. However, in the interviews I’ve heard/watched, I don’t hear her referring to God in a personal way. Yes, she’s recorded hymns and other beautiful medleys, but I get the impression she understands that she simply was born with this affinity for music. She’s seriously musically inclined and she makes the most of it.

My frustration with myself has directed me to understand that even though in this life, I’ll likely never hit the highs of Brad Delp (Boston) or Steve Perry (Journey) without having to use a falsetto voice, play the piano like John Tesh or the cornet like Louis Armstrong, or drums like Buddy Rich, the reality is that when I get to heaven, will my musical talents not be there with me?

In other words, while I experience the frustration of not being as good as I once was in the singing department, won’t I be infinitely better when I’m there with the Lord, in a body that is glorified and totally free of the sin nature that includes death and the process of dying here and now? My guess is that God gifted me with some type of affinity toward music in this life. I didn’t create that within myself.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I am artistic, both musically and in the area of art. Years ago, I took private art lessons and can still remember how to do some of those things with water colors. Put a math book in front of me and I get thoroughly bored and frustrated quickly depending upon the level of math. While I’m sure I can be taught how to do the upper levels of mathematics, it is a subject that does not come easily to me. I really have to work at it and it is work for me. For others? Not so much.

When it comes to music and art, I tend to enjoy it in spite of my frustrations that I’m not where I’d like to be. For instance, had I continued playing the piano from fifth grade to now, literally only God knows how good I’d be. I mourn the loss of not having kept piano and trumpet up, though I can still get back to them.

I am convinced that when I see the Lord in heaven, I will utilize the music abilities He invested within me. I find it difficult to believe that there are no instruments in heaven. I’ve stated before that I used to play drums in church, however, now I’m at the point and have been for a while where I personally believe that type of instrumentation does not belong in church solely because of how it can affect our sin natures. Drums are percussive, like the piano, and if not careful can lead to sinful behavior. The piano can also do this but when the piano is used for playing hymns, it rarely causes problems. In heaven, with the complete absence of the sin nature and death, any instrument utilized there would be for one purpose – glorifying God. Will I be part of that heavenly choir and orchestra? I think it’ll certainly be an option and I’ll likely find that as well as I thought I could sing here, I’ll sing that much better there with the absence of those things that impair my ability here.

Why has God gifted people like Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli and many others? I believe He does this because the gifts these people have an use bring Him glory, even if the person using that gift does not recognize that their gift came directly from the Father of Lights.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

When we hear someone like Sarah Brightman, we should immediately recognize that the gift she has fanned into a flame came not from her, but from God Himself. He provided her with that gift to make our journey through this life more bearable. It should force us to praise HIM for her gift, even if she does not do that herself.

We should not be caught up with people for people’s sake. We should enjoy what God has given them because it brings Him glory. The gifts they have literally point to God as Creator. In fact, this very argument can and should be used when talking with them to possibly and hopefully get them to a point of understanding that they did not make themselves. They are the result of God creating them and investing within them the ability to do something that should cause all people to recognize the Creator, not them.

I’m not saying that we should not applaud their talents. That’s respectful. I’m simply saying that certainly Christians of all people should understand that a person who sings as beautifully as someone like Sarah Brightman does so solely because of what God instilled within her. Because of that it is certainly good to recognize her gifts but then we need to ensure that we do not praise her for what God has given her, but we should offer our praise to God for what He has given to her.

Imagine life without music, without beautiful sounds we call song. Throughout the Bible, we commanded to worship, to sing our praise to God. The book of Revelation is complete with references to heavenly choirs. Singing and beautiful instrumentation is as much a part of God’s Creation has human beings are and we should thrill at the opportunity to hear from people who are so gifted. But we must always remember that they are gifted not because of what they do vocally or musically, but because of what God gave them in the first place.

None of us are “self-made.” We are what we are at our root because of what God has gifted us within ourselves. The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we will learn to praise Him.

 

October 17, 2019 at 11:25 AM 4 comments

Updates of Praise

Actually living the Christian life is a must, but how? Is this one of the big reasons God sends trials and difficulties our way?

Continue Reading October 12, 2019 at 6:44 PM 2 comments

Health Updates

I know the Lord has a plan. He has a response. I’m not sure what the end result will be but I know that I need to trust Him for His advocacy on my behalf and to work in and through me to ensure that His will, not mine is accomplished. Will you join me in that prayer? I would welcome that.

Continue Reading October 7, 2019 at 11:12 AM 2 comments

Social Network’s Continued Censorship Against Conservatives, Christians and Patriots

If you have not noticed, Christians are being persecuted mightily. Even those who are not Christian but are conservative and patriotic are finding it difficult to carry on conversations around Leftists who don’t want to hear anything except their particular political bias. They want to shut us down.

Continue Reading October 3, 2019 at 12:35 PM 2 comments


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