Category Archives: Music

Facing the world in difficult times

Hymns stick with us because the words are powerful. They speak to me. Nurture me. They’ve survived through the years and evolved into modern versions. One hymn that particularly strengthens me is Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel. Third Day, Selah, Alan Jackson, Hillsong, and Michael W. Smith have recorded updated renditions. I like country, so Alan Jackson’s version appeals to me.51FmMkM0Z9L._AA160_

Consider the words of the refrain:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Where better to look? Who cares for us more, deserves our attention more? Looking toward Jesus calms me, comforts me, even lowers my blood pressure.

Look full in His wonderful face. A face of love and sacrifice, strength, reassurance, compassion.

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. Things like a broken toe, floods, terrorists, job searches—the things I’m tempted to focus on instead.

In the light of His glory and grace. Glory that fills the earth and outshines anything on it. Grace that provides the way to God.

Turning my eyes upon Jesus should be my first reaction. I’m sorry to say it isn’t always, but I never regret doing so. A lesson I’m trying to remember: keep my eyes on Jesus instead of the wearying things of the earth and those things will fall into their rightful place. God is in control.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
 No light in the darkness you see?
 There’s light for a look at the Savior,
 And life more abundant and free!

Through death into life everlasting 
He passed, and we follow Him there; 
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
 Believe Him, and all will be well: 
Then go to a world that is dying,
 His perfect salvation to tell!

Do you take comfort from hymns? Listen to the old ones, the new versions, or both?

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What helps me through difficult times?

Difficult days come. They hit me and knock me down. Sometimes they knock me flatter than a blob of ice cream on the sidewalk on a 100-degree day. Staying down’s tempting, but I don’t like the idea of watching the party when I could be in it. Allowing myself to spiral deeper isn’t appealing.

So, how do I stop the dive into that melted sugary ooze? I remember who my God is and who I am in Christ. To do that, I read the Bible and listen to music. My current favorite song for that purpose is Overcomer by Mandisa. Great words, upbeat tempo (echoes of American Bandstand here). thBoth combine to encourage me, lift my spirits, point me forward. Check out the words at http://www.songlyrics.com/mandisa/overcomer-lyrics/ and see if agree they’re that good. Put-you-back-in-the-cone good.

What about you? What helps you out of the doldrums?

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What did you choose as your wedding music?

Recently I purchased Britannia: The RPO [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra] for the Royal Wedding. The song assortment got me thinking about music selections for weddings and receptions.

Britannia: The RPO for the Royal Wedding

Britannia: The RPO for the Royal Wedding

An American couple planning an ordinary wedding chooses between an individual instrument (we had a harp at our outdoor wedding), a band (probably some friends), a DJ, or a prerecorded selection. The royal couple had every possibility at their disposal—famous artists and live performances, of course.

Also, an American couple picks from their own preferences without concern for ceremony and historic influences. Maybe it would please Grandma Jane if they included a specific song, but they can do what they want. The royals have expectations as demonstrated by the inclusion of God Save the Queen on this recording.

Ultimately, the music choices create an audio snapshot of the wedding day. When I listen to this CD, I’m transported to a place of elegance and happiness. A nice result.

What about you? What did you play at your wedding? What format did you choose?

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What’s the Bible say about God?

Many ways exist to categorize what the Bible says about God. I found a favorite on the CD Very Best of Aaron Jeoffrey. The song He Is summarizes the books of the Bible in a few words. For instance,

Very Best of Aaron Jeoffrey

Very Best of Aaron Jeoffrey

in Genesis “He’s the breath of life,” in Psalms “He is our morning song,” in Isaiah  “He’s Prince of Peace,” in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John “He is God, Man, Messiah,” and in Revelation “He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Singing through the names of God moves me every time. I get a picture of who he is. Check out the song for yourself.

Does a song like this work for you? What other ways do you use to capture the essence of the Bible and God?

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