MUSIC OF THE SOUL
Speaking to one another in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing and
making melody in your heart to the Lord.
- Ephesians 5:19
In his book "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain,"
Oliver Sacks devotes a chapter to the therapeutic role of music
with people suffering from Alzheimer's. He writes of watching
people with advanced dementia respond to songs that bring back
memories that had seemed lost to them: "Faces assume expression
as the old music is recognized and its emotional power felt. One
or two people, perhaps, start to sing along. others join them and
soon the entire group - many of them virtually speechless
before - is singing together. as much as they are able."
I have seen this occur at in the Alzheimer's care facility
where my wife's mother lives. Perhaps you've experienced it with
a loved one whose mind is clouded, and a song calls forth an
awareness from deep within.
Paul encouraged the Christians in Ephesus to "be filled with
the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the
Lord" (Eph.5:18-19). Songs that glorify God can reach the deepest
level where the meaning never fades. More than words, harmony, or
conscious thought, such music is good for the heart and soul.
There's wondrous music in my soul, Since Jesus' blood has made me
whole; Now my heart sings His songs of praise, For all His
blessings all my days. - Hess
A HEART IN TUNE WITH GOD CAN'T HELP BUT SING HIS PRAISE.
ARE YOU DISTRACTED
Martha was distracted with much serving.
- Luke 10:40
In data collected from over 20,000 Christians in 139
countries, The Obstacles to Growth Survey found that, on average,
more than 40 percent of Christians around the world say they
"often" or "always" rush from task to task. About 60 percent of
Christians say that it's "often" or "always" true that the
busyness of life gets in the way of developing their relationship
with God. Its clear that busyness does distract us from our fel-
lowship with Him.
It seems that Martha too allowed busyness to distract her
from spending time with Jesus. When she welcomed Him and His
disciples into her home, she was occupied with preparing the
food, washing their feet, and making sure they were comfortable.
All of these things had to be done, but Luke seems to intimate
that Martha's busyness in preparation degenerated into busywork
that distracted her from reflecting on Jesus' words and enjoying
time with Him (Luke 10:38-42).
What about us? Are we rushing from task to task, allowing
the busyness of life and even work for Jesus to distract us from
enjoying sweet fellowship with Him? Let's ask God to help us
diminish our distractions by making Jesus our focus. - Marvin
Lord, I don't want to miss out on moments of intimacy with You.
Help me not to be so busy that I fail to devote time each day to
prayer and reading Your Word. Amen.
IF YOU ARE TOO BUSY FOR GOD, YOU ARE TOO BUSY.
UNDERSTANDING ONE ANOTHER
Counsel in the heart of man is like deep
water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
- Proverbs 20:5
One of the best ways for a man to love his wife is to
understand her. Peter explains that it is imperative for a
husband to "dwell with [his wife] with understanding" (1 Peter
This principle works both ways. Husbands want to be
understood as well. Actually, we all do. Everyone, married or
not, longs to be understood by others at the deepest possible
level. We're born with that need. and we never seem to outgrow
It's feeble avoidance to say we can't understand one
another. We can and we must. It takes time - time spent in one
another's presence asking questions, listening intently, then
asking again. It's as simple and as difficult as that. No one, of
course, can fully plumb the mystery of another person's heart,
but we can learn something new every day. The wise man of
Proverbs called understanding "a wellspring of life" (16:22), a
deep source of wisdom to all who seek it.
Again, I say, understanding takes time - one of the most
precious gifts we can give to others. How we choose to spend our
time is the surest indicator of how much we care for those we
Ask the Lord today to give you the grace to take the time
to understand the important people in your life. - David Roper
To those whose lives we touch in life, To whom our love we would
impart, The greatest gift that we can give, Mav be an
understanding heart. - Branon
LISTENING IS AN OPEN DOOR TO UNDERSTANDING.
DEJA VU ALL
After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at
the Sea of Tiberias.
- John 21:1
Baseball legend Yogi Berra is known for his oft-repeated
quips like, "It ain't over till it's over" and "It's like deja
vu all over again!"
I wonder if the disciples felt deja vu when they saw Jesus
standing by the shore (John 21). Discouraged and distracted by
their own needs in the shadow of Peter's denial and their
desertion of Jesus, they had abandoned their calling to follow
Jesus and returned to their previous occupation - fishing.
Then, after a fruitless night of fishing, a voice from the
shore called out, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat,
and you will find some" (John 21:6). When they did, the nets were
so full that they couldn't be dragged in. No doubt their minds
raced back to their first encounter with Jesus - when He showed
up on the shore of their careers and, after another miraculous
catch of fish, called them to leave their nets and follow Him
Like the disciples, we may want to return to our own agendas
when we get discouraged in our walk with Jesus. But then Jesus
shows up again on the shore of our lives to extend forgiveness
and to draw us back to those moments when He first called us.
It's like deja vu all over again! - Joe Stowell
Son of the living God! Oh, call us Once and again to follow Thee;
And give us strength, whate'er befall us, Thy true disciples
still to be. - Martin
JESUS CALLS US TO FOLLOW HIM AND REPEATS HIS CALL WHEN NECESSARY.
SORRY ABOUT TEARS
[Jesus] groaned in the spirit
and was troubled.
1 John 11:33
My friend was making a major change in her life - she was
leaving her employer of 50 years for a new venture: She cried
when she said her goodbyes. And as she did, she frequently said,
"Sorry about the tears."
Why do we sometimes feel the need to apologize for crying?
Perhaps we look at tears as showing a weakness in our character
or a vulnerability we don't like. Maybe we're uncomefortable or
think our tears are making others uncomfortable.
Our emotions, however, are Godgiven. They're a character-
istic of our having been made in God's image (Gen.1:27). He
grieves. In Genesis 6:6-7, He was sorrowful and angry about His
people's sin and the separation it caused between Him and them.
Jesus, God in the flesh, joined His friends Mary and Martha
in grieving over the loss of their brother Lazarus (John
11:28-44). "He groaned in the spirit and was troubled" (v.33). He
"wept" (v.35). "Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the
tomb" (v.38). I doubt that He apologized.
Someday there will be no more sorrow or separation or pain,
and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev.21:4). In
the meantime, the tears may flow. No apologies needed. - Anne
He knows our burdens and our crosses, Those things that hurt, our
trials and losses, He cares for every soul that cries, God wipes
the tears from weeping eyes. - Brandt
IF YOU DOUBT THAT JESUS CARES, REMEMBER HIS TEARS.
SPEAKING THE TRUTH
He sent prophets to them ... but they
would not listen.
- 2 Chronicles 24:19
In the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," Atticus Finch is a
respected smalltown lawyer in the segregated South during the
1930s. When he takes on a case that pits an innocent black man
against two dishonest white people, Atticus knows he will face
terrible prejudice from the jury. But his conscience compels him
to speak the truth boldly in the face of opposition. The Old
Testament prophets were often sent to preach the truth to a
stubborn people. "[God] sent prophets to them, to bring them back
to the LORD; and they testified against them, but they would not
listen" (2 Chron.24:19). Their message often resulted in
persecution and sometimes even death (Heb.11:32-38).
During Christ's ministry on earth, His message also resulted
in angry opposition (Luke 4:21-30). Yet, in the sovereignty of
God, the terrible miscarriage of justice that sentenced Jesus to
death on the cross purchased our redemption.
Now, as representatives of the risen Christ in this world.
we are to promote reconciliation, justice, and integrity (Mic.
6:8; 2 Cor.5:18-21). And in so doing, this may mean speaking the
truth in the face of opposition. This is the charge to every
believer until that day when Christ sets all things right (Rev.
20:11-15). - Dennis Fisher
The life that counts must toil and fight, Must hate the wrong and
love the right; Must stand for truth, by day, by night, This is
the life that counts. Anon.
IT'S BETTER TO DECLARE THE TRUTH AND BE REJECTED THAN TO WITHHOLD
THE TRUTH JUST TO BE ACCEPTED.
THE OLYMPIC EXTRAVAGANZA
1 Kings 10:4-10
Let your light so shine before men, that they may
see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
- Matthew 5:16
The opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics on
August 8, 2008, impressed the world. I saw it on TV as more than
90,000 people watched it live in the Bird's Nest Stadium in
Beijing. It was inspiring to hear about China's 5,000 years of
history and the inventions she had contributed to the world:
paper-making, movable-type printing, the compass, and fireworks.
The Queen of Sheba was greatly impressed by what she saw
during her visit with Solomon (1 Kings 10:4-5). The sights of
Jerusalem so overwhelmed her that she exclaimed, "The half was
not told me" (v.7). Above all, she was impressed with Solomon's
wisdom (vv.6-7). She was convinced that the subjects of Solomon
were happy because they continually stood before him and heard
his wisdom (v.8). She concluded by praising Solomon's Lord for
making him king so he would "do justice and righteousness" (v.9).
Solomon's impact on his people made me wonder about our
contribution to the world. We're not concerned about impressing
others with our possessions or abilities, but we all should want
to make a difference in the lives of people. What if there was
one thing each of us did today that caused people to praise the
Lord? - C.P.Hia
This is the wish I always wish, The prayer I always pray: Lord,
may my life help others, It touches on the way. Anon.
CHRISTIANS ARE WINDOWS THROUGH WHICH JESUS CAN SHINE.
To be continued