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Lessons I Learned from a Bird

In Job 35:11 (NASB) we read, “Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?”  Could God use a bird to deliver a spiritual lesson to us?  My husband, Russell Bafford, had a chance to experience this very thing and I invited him to share it with us today on my blog:
Several years ago, I had this encounter with a bird….
While walking along the Ohio River at Paducah, Kentucky one sunny morning I saw a bird standing still at the edge of the river.  He had long, skinny legs and a long, narrow beak … probably a heron of some kind.  He remained motionless for the longest time.  I became mesmerized at the sight of him standing there, and focused on him wondering what was going to happen.  Then, all of a sudden, bam!  He poked his long beak down into the water just a few inches in front of his legs, and he came up with a small fish which he promptly swallowed.  Shortly after that he flew off.  After reflecting on what I had just seen, here are the nine things I learned from that episode.
1. This bird knew where to go to find what he needed.  Not to a junkyard… not to a barnyard…not to a desert…not to a mountaintop … not to a mall parking lot … not to a football field … not to a rooftop … but rather to the river.  Are you looking for a job in the wrong place?  There aren’t many cowboy jobs in downtown New York.  If you want to make surfboards, you better not look for a job in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  If you are looking for a Christian companion, go to where those Christians hang out … probably not to the local taverns and bars.  (He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.   Prov. 13:20)
2. He had to leave his resting place to find what he needed.  This took some effort on his part.  It would have been easier for him to stay in his bed, and hope the food would come to him.  But even this bird, with his bird brain, knew better than that.  He knew he had to go out and look for himself.  Do you wish you had a job, but wish someone would come to your door to offer you one?  Do you wish you had more friends, and wish they would come to your door offering to befriend you?  Get a bird brain … go look for what you desire!
3. He didn’t know the exact location of where his food would appear, but he did know the general vicinity of where it was most likely to appear.  Even though the river is about a mile wide, he only went to the river’s edge.  A fish that was 20 feet beneath the surface wouldn’t do him much good; he had to have something just a few inches down.  A 50 pound fish would be too much for him to handle, but a one ounce fish was just about the right size.  Could you really handle a million dollars right now if it was dumped into your lap?  Would a thousand dollars be easier for you to manage?  Our Lord told us to pray for our DAILY bread … not a year’s supply!  There must be a reason for that.
4. He looked for his needs using the physical characteristics, senses, skills, and attributes with which God had endowed him.  Those skinny legs look an awful lot like another reed growing up out of the water’s edge.  His eyes were several inches above the water giving him a pretty wide view of the water around him.  Be real with yourself.  God gave you much more than a bird’s brain!  Make a serious assessment of your skills, talents, attributes, and interests keeping in mind they are a gift from God proportioned to you in just the right amount according to His divine will.  Don’t be surprised if others don’t have the same exact mix of attributes … that’s because God made you unique!
5. He had patience… he stayed at it until his needs were met … he never gave up.  This took time.  He was willing to spend the time needed.  How long are you willing to wait on an answer to prayer from the Lord?  Look at some examples we have from scripture … when Moses went up Mount Sinai to seek the Lord, he was more than just a new believer.  He was more than a neophyte in spiritual things.  After leaving Egypt the first time, he spent 40 years biding his time in a foreign land most likely gaining some maturity in his spiritual life.  Then God finally told him to go back to Egypt, and bring His people out.  Moses saw and participated in some mind-boggling miracles brought about by God’s own hand.  And now this giant of the faith was summoned by God himself to ascend Mount Sinai for further instructions.  But once he was up there he waited … one hour … two hours … three hours … then one day … then two days … then three days … still no response from God … (How patient are you when you pray?  If we were really spiritual, we would all get an immediate response from God, right?) … Moses waited another day … then another … then after seven days had past, God finally spoke to him.  If this spiritual giant of the faith had to wait a full week before God answered him, how long should we be prepared to wait on our sovereign Lord?
6. He was focused on the task at hand … not distracted by other things going on around him.  There was a lot of background noise around him.  There was a lot of other activity by animals and people going on around him while he was trying to stay focused.  These other distractions did not care about his needs; they were unconcerned about his goals and objectives.  The distractive influences had their own agendas that were different from his.  Do you start with good intentions only to take your eye off the ball when the first distraction comes along?  Then, once distracted, do you go back to the task you started?  Did you ever begin a discipline of regular prayer & devotion time only to be distracted?  Did you go back to resume the practice?  There is a reason they are called DISCIPLES … because it involves discipline.   Let us learn from this bird and resolve to emulate his focus and his discipline.
7. He recognized what he needed when he saw it.  He had a pretty good idea of what his goal looked like.  Things that did not match his goal were ignored.  It has been said, “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will get you there.”  People often struggle for years to get a goal established in their lives.  Most Christians want to know what God’s will is for their lives.  This is a good place to remember Romans 12:2 which says: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)  Are you looking to the celebrities in America’s popular culture for advice and direction?  Look somewhere else.  The key to knowing God’s will is to renew our minds to think His thoughts, to look at things the way He sees them, to respond the way our Lord would respond, to embrace and exercise the same value system our Lord has demonstrated for us.  This is not easy, but it is something to which each serious Christian should aspire.
8. He took what he needed when it got within his reach.  Even if he spotted a perfect fish 10 feet away it wouldn’t do him much good because it was beyond his reach.  It had to be within his reach.  Is it a surprise to you when God provides that for which you have prayed?  Should it be a surprise?  It should be a cause for rejoicing and thanksgiving, but should it really be a surprise to us when God answers our prayers?
9. When his need was met, he went on to something else … as if he was confident God would meet that same need again on another day in a similar way.  Remember how Jesus told us to pray   “… give us this day our daily bread …”
I really learned a lot from that bird.  How about you?

Hope

The word “hope” is often used casually in day-to-day conversation as a word which conveys a desire for something to happen in the future.  Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it this way, “To cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence; trust“.

I would like to share a few words today of how this word “hope” has played a role in my own life!

I was thinking back the other day on my earlier life, particularly my teen-age years…awhile ago!!  I have fond memories of many things, some not so pleasant, some wonderful…but sandwiched in between each memory is a little thing I can only define as “hope”.  What made those years so special and poignant in my mind today is the fact I was looking forward with anticipation and hope to my adult life, where I “hoped” to fulfill all of my dreams and ambitions!  I could hardly wait to get out of school, to begin my career, to get married, to start a family, on and on.  I could see my music career blossom (I hoped!), my handsome husband and adorable children, my gorgeous home, lots of travel, lovely clothes, lots of money to spend, and on and on!  Did all of my hopes materialize?  Well, you probably know from your own life that rarely do things turn out the way you “hoped” they would!  Did that mean I was a failure?  Or did God perhaps have a slightly different plan in mind for my life than I had “hoped” for?

Sure, many of the things I hoped would happen certainly did, but not always in the way I had envisioned. Was my life a success?  “Hopefully” in God’s eyes it has been.  Certainly, in my mind, I have failed to achieve the great dreams of my youth.  However, maybe a far more important goal has been reached; that of being a blessing to even one person who needed to receive a touch from the Lord; encouraging even one person in their walk with God; leading someone to Christ; blessing someone with the gift of music; teaching a young child to play an instrument or sing God’s praises! Did it always involve the big stage or worldwide adulation?  Hardly!  However, God, who is the final judge on success and achievement sees us all on a completely different scale than the world does.  It is by His standards that I hope to someday be judged and hear Him say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant!”

So, how does “hope” play into my life now that I am older and have much of it to look back on? I look to the Psalmist David, who said in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”  (ESV)  In Psalm 42:5 he says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”  (ESV)

Even as we get older (and we are all on that path!) we should never give up on “hope“, which is really trust in God!  Hope for the future; hope for our nation; hope for our children and grandchildren; hope that the ministry God has destined for us to fulfill will be brought forth in our lifetime; hope for abundance in every area of our lives, spiritual as well as material!  Hopelessness brings despair, which leads to despondency.  At this time of year many people are deeply lonely as the holiday season conjures up old, painful memories.  Some even resort to taking their own lives during this time, listening to Satan’s lies that there is no hope for them and therefore they should end the misery they are feeling.  Some have chronic pain and health concerns in their physical bodies that make them want to give up and “throw in the towel”, so to speak.  Today, I would like to encourage everyone who feels a sense of hopelessness in their lives to look up and let God bring you into joy and victory through His Word and your praise and worship to Him!  Proverbs 10:28 says,, “The hope of the righteous brings joy….”  (ESV) and Paul writes in Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  (ESV)

Should we lose hope as we grow older and realize that some of our dreams did not transpire and our lives turned out quite differently than we anticipated?  Absolutely not!  We need to continue to hope for the future, realizing that if we had received everything we thought we wanted, our lives would probably be a big mess in many ways!  Our Sovereign God knows best what (and who) we need in our lives, and even as we look backward with fond memories, being careful not to “live in the past”,  we can also look ahead to even better days, days of fulfillment of God’s promises to us, our children and grandchildren, rewarding days filled with the benefits of a life lived for the Lord and confidence achieved through valuable lessons learned!

Perhaps you are waiting on God for the fulfillment of a dream or the ability to carry out the ministry you believe He has called you to!  Perhaps you are waiting for that special someone to love, one who will become your spouse!  Never give up hope….God has a timing for all things as you trust Him!  Just give your circumstances to God and watch Him work as you leave them in His hands!  By way of personal testimony, I became a widow over seven years ago when God called my husband home after he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  I really never knew what loneliness was until I was forced to come home to an empty house night after night.  Even though I looked for love and found some romantic relationships during this time, I did not find my “Mr. Right” immediately.  When I had all but given up hope of ever finding my “life’s companion”, God brought my wonderful husband to me and we have been happily married for almost three years now!  He knew just the right person was there for me and He knew the right time for us to meet!  So, never give up hope!

What does all of this have to do with music?  Well, I would start singing songs about “hope” to the Lord….you might start with the old hymn, “The Solid Rock”,  which says,  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!”  Never lose HOPE, and don’t forget that FAITH goes along with hope!!

Musicians and Warfare

Did you know that in the Old Testament there are several passages that recount the stories of musicians not only leading worship, but leading processions carrying the ark of the covenant as well as troops going into battle against their enemies at the command of God? It’s really pretty interesting stuff!

II Chronicles 15:11-29 details the entire account of the Israelites returning the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its permanent place in Jerusalem as God had commanded. Verses 16 – 24 mention these facts: “David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy….The singers…were to sound bronze cymbals…were to play harps…were to lead with lyres….Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, should direct the music, for he understood it….The priests should blow the trumpets before the ark of God….” Verse 28 sums up the entire processional this way, “So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.” (ESV)

Wow! It sounds to me like they were having a loud, jubilant, boisterous time of singing and playing instruments in praise to Jehovah! I believe they were rejoicing, happy, excited and thankful because the ark of the covenant was finally coming home! I see a parallel today as we worship God for His many blessings to us, bringing us “home” into His Kingdom through salvation, guiding and directing our steps and providing for our needs! Their loud, joyful songs and shouts of worship to God even caused King David to get so excited that he danced and rejoiced before the Lord, much to the chagrin of his wife, Michal. Verse 29 says…”Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and rejoicing, and she despised him in her heart.”

I am not sure just what the reason for this was; perhaps she was jealous of his intimate, seemingly uninhibited worship and relationship with the King of Kings. Perhaps she wanted first place in his heart, instead of allowing David to give God (Yahveh) the glory reserved exclusively for Him! Whatever the reason, The Word tells us in another account of the same incident in II Samuel 6:21-23, “And David said to Michal, ‘It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will make merry before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes’….And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.” (ESV)   It is dangerous to try to share God’s glory with anyone!

One account of musicians leading armies in warfare is in II Chronicles 20:21 and 22, “…he (King Jehoshaphat) appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army and say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.’ And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.” (ESV)   Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “rout” this way: “A state of wild confusion or disorderly retreat; a disastrous defeat; debacle; a precipitate flight”.

Need I say more? When the musicians obeyed God and led the Israelites, praising and worshipping Him, He sent the armies into a panic, scattering and confusing them, so that they fled! Verse 23 goes on to say that the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction and helping them destroy one another! Really, God does not need our help; only our obedience! When we have perfect trust in Him and believe Him to honor His Word no matter what the circumstances look like around us, He always comes through!

So, “get your praise on”, start singing to the Lord, playing that musical instrument and shouting before the victory is won. The Enemy of your soul hates it when you sing and shout before God works a miracle; he cannot stand to see you happy, calm and confident in God’s imminent miraculous provision and deliverance! So, why not begin to praise and worship the Lord right now? Sing, play and praise your way to victory!

My Thanksgiving Acrostic

001 facebook_cover (1)Here is an acrostic I made that contains verses about thanksgiving, music and praise to God.  As you read through it, remember Psalm 95:2, “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” (ESV)    Let us think about all of our blessings and the One who made them possible as we feast and enjoy the company of those we love on this special day!  I hope you will enjoy this little Thanksgiving acrostic:

                   Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts     to the Lord.  (Col. 3:16b, KJV)

                   He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  (Psalm 40:3, ESV)

                   All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! (Psalm 145:10, ESV)

                   No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.  (Psalm 84:11b, KJV)

                   King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.   To him be honor and might forever. Amen.  (I Timothy 6:15b & 16, NIV)

                   Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (Ephesians 6:19 & 20, KJV)

                   Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!  Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.  (Psalm 33:2 & 3, ESV)

                   I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.  (Psalm 101:1, ESV)

This is the Victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  (I John 5:4b, NIV)

                   It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sings praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the   morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.  (Psalm 92:1-3, ESV)

                   Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!         (Psalm 115:1, ESV)

                   Give thanks to him; bless his name!  (Psalm 100:4b, ESV)

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

The Story of Paul and Silas

There were a couple of preachers mentioned in the Book of Acts named Paul and Silas.  Of course, most of us have heard of the Apostle Paul and his fearless preaching of God’s Word even in the face of great persecution!  Less well known, is his partner, Silas, who participated in several of Paul’s adventures in ministry to the Early Church.  Paul and Silas were not too interested in being “politically correct”! When they cast out a demonic spirit from a young girl who had been used by her wicked masters as a fortune teller, the masters became extremely angry because she could no longer bring in the money they were used to collecting from her services.  When these evil men saw that all hope of gain from her services was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, drew them into the marketplace before the magistrates and brought them up on false charges.  The magistrates, urged on by the violent mob, tore off the apostles’ clothes and commanded they be severely beaten with rods and cast into prison!  The jailor promised to keep them from escaping, thrusting them into the inner chambers of the prison, and binding their feet fast in the stocks.  (Read the entire account in Acts 16:16-24)

So, what did Paul and Silas do?  Did they begin to complain and cry out about being falsely accused and the harsh treatment they were forced to undergo for the cause of Christ?  Did they try to contact the Church leaders and circulate petitions for their immediate release?  Did they weep and wail to God, asking Him to explain to them why they were forced to endure such horrible pain and suffering?  You and I might have done this, but the Word of God says in verse 25, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”  Evidently they made a great noise with their prayer and praise meeting!

Apparently, God heard it, too, and was pleased with their praises and worship to Him.  It seems He began tapping His foot along with their praise songs, because the Word says in verse 26, “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” (KJV)  When God gets ready to release you from your bondage, nothing on earth can stop Him!  God can work in amazing ways to confound even wicked leaders!  I believe we have been seeing some of this lately in our own country! Remember the Tower of Babel, where God did not allow wicked men to prevail and confounded their languages?

Getting back to Paul and Silas, verse 27 says that the keeper of the prison, awakening out of a sound sleep, was ready to kill himself with his sword when he saw the prison doors open and all the prisoners’ bands loosed!  “But Paul cried with a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”  (Acts 16:28, ESV)  The result of their obedience to the law and not just escaping caused the jailor to ask them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.'”  (verses 30 and 31, ESV)  Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to him and all that were in his house!  Then the jailor washed and cleaned up their bloodied backs from the beating, and he was baptized, along with his household!  He also gave them supper in his own house and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. (verses 32 – 34)  The next day the magistrates came and publicly apologized to the apostles, letting them out of the prison and asking them to leave the city. (verses 35-39)

Wow, what an amazing story!  Just another day in the life of the Apostle Paul?  Or is there a deeper truth for us today from this story?  Could it be that God wants us as His children to offer Him the sacrifice of praise and worship even when we are faced with extreme difficulty in our lives, wickedness in our leadership, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles?  Does it sometimes seem that all of our prayers are futile?  God sees all and in His sovereignty can deliver us out of even the most extreme persecution if need be.  Sometimes He doesn’t deliver us from it, but allows us to go through it, to show His power, delivering us out of severe pain and suffering as we praise and worship Him in the midst of it, just as Paul and Silas did!

What a beautiful lesson of God’s deliverance and power in the lives of His servants!

Real Men Don’t Need Church?

  scared-man-5621790[1]              Chris_Kyle  

Guest Post by my husband, Russell D. Bafford, Sr…. 

Look around any evangelical church service on a Sunday morning and count the people you see.  It is likely women will outnumber men 2 or 3 to 1.  Why is that?  It is because the Christian churches in the USA have become feminized over a period of decades.  Some more so than others, but most have succumbed to the societal trend that shuns, or de-emphasizes, masculine interests, values, and goals in favor of “softer, kinder, gentler” interests, values, and goals of women.   Books, essays, seminars, conferences and a host of other forums have acknowledged this phenomenon, and there has been much collective hand-wringing about what should be done to reverse this trend. 

Worship music can help men feel welcome, or it can drive men away.  More on that later, but let me first share some observations I had as a young boy growing up in the Midwest in a mainline protestant church.  None of the men I saw in the church seemed to care much about what the Bible had to say.  It was just not relevant to their daily lives … or at least it seemed that way to this impressionable young boy.  I never saw my own father read the Bible or pray.  Then I encountered a man who had a profound, lasting effect on me.  He never spoke to me; I don’t know his name; but what I saw him do has been etched in my memory for at least 50 years.  While sitting in the waiting room of my dentist, I saw this man come in, sit down, pick up the Bible from the table, open it, and read it.  He didn’t flip through the pages quickly.  He actually read one whole page and then the next one and then the next …  I was amazed.  He didn’t look like a wimp.  He didn’t look crazy.  He looked like he was genuinely interested in the contents of that book.  He looked like a real man, and today I know he was just that.

Nearly twenty years later God would use the contents of that book to draw me, through conviction and repentance, to Himself.  As I read the Bible through for the first time, I saw God-fearing men portrayed in a different light.  They were courageous, brave, bold, stern at times, stupid at times, compassionate, warriors at times, and they could even be gentle.  The first century Christian men I saw in the Bible were not limp-wristed wusses who trembled at every peril they faced.  Their courage and boldness came from the Lord in a measure far beyond what they could muster on their own.  As a result of what the Bible had to say about men, my paradigm of a Christian man changed.

Fast forward to 21st century worship music.  When men are forced to sing praise songs to the Lord that contain romantic lyrics such as those that express a woman’s desire to be embraced by the strong man of her dreams, then many men lose interest.  Such lyrics might resonate with a single woman, a divorced woman, or a woman who has an unbelieving, cold husband, and there is a place for those expressions of love and desire in women-only events.  However, don’t be surprised if the men in the crowd are less than enthusiastic about mouthing those same words of romantic affection.

Want to really engage the men in your worship?  Sing songs about Christ’s kingdom, His power, His blood, His sacrifice, commitment to Him, service for His kingdom, and in general … what He has done for us.  Read the words Martin Luther wrote in A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, and you’ll better understand what concepts resonate with most Christian men.

Real men need to worship God with other believers, too.  Christian men WANT to do that!  Our churches need to encourage their participation without requiring them to leave their masculinity outside the building.

“…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:25, NIV)

Was Lucifer a Musician? (Part 2)

Yesterday, I detailed the warning prophecy given by the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 28 of his book. If you did not get a chance to read this post, please do so before reading the rest of Part 2! It is important for continuity.

As I mentioned, Ezekiel 28:11-19, often attributed to a description of Lucifer, was actually a lamentation directed towards the King of Tyre, inhabited by the Israelite tribe of Asher. Wondering if there was actually any correlation between this prophecy and this description of Lucifer we have referred to for centuries, I went online and found the following written in the 1700’s by Jonathan Edwards, the fiery revivalist preacher and pioneer of the Reformed Church, as well as a major figure in the First Great Awakening. He writes the following of this passage: “Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub, being the archangel…conceived rebellion against the Almighty and drew away a vast company of the heavenly hosts with him….This angel, before his fall, was the chief of all the angels, of greatest natural capacity, strength, and wisdom, and highest in honour and dignity, the brightest of all those stars of heaven, as is signified by what is said of him, under that type of him, the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12), ‘How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!’ This signifies his outshining all the other stars, as the morning star outshines the rest. It is yet more manifest from what is said of the king of Tyrus (Tyre), as a type of the devil, in Ezekiel 28:12-19….It is exceeding manifest that the king of Tyrus is here spoken of as a type of the devil, or the prince of the angels or cherubim that fell. Because he is here expressly called an angel or cherub, once and again, Ezekiel 28:14, 16…and is spoken of as a fallen cherub. He is spoken of as having been in heaven under three different names; Eden (the Garden of God or Paradise of God) – v. 13; the Holy Mountain of God – v. 14, 16; and the Sanctuary – v. 18.

“He is spoken of as in his first estate, or the state wherein he was created, to be perfectly free from sin, but afterwards falling by sin (v. 15)….The iniquity by which he fell was pride….He is represented as being cast out of heaven, and cast down to the earth for his sin. (v. 16, 17)”

So, I am convinced that this portion of Ezekiel is not only  directed against Tyre, but also depicts in a sort of allegorical way, a picture of Lucifer, whom we also know as Satan. The name Lucifer literally means “morning star” in Latin, or “light-bearing“. No wonder Jesus actually saw him fall from Heaven as lightning!

In Ezekiel 28:13 we not only read of the ten precious stones that covered him, but of the workmanship of his timbrels and pipes. Isaiah 14:11 says, “Your pomp is brought down to Sheol (or the grave), and the sound of your stringed instruments….” (NKJV)

These verses list instruments from all three of the musical families: The timbrels (or tambourines) are a part of the percussion family; the pipes are indicative of woodwinds, brass and flutes; stringed instruments (also translated harps) include the violin family, guitars and pianos. It seems to me that Lucifer could have actually been a musical instrument!! Not only could he play an instrument, but the Word speaks of the workmanship of his timbrels and pipes; then it mentions the sound of your stringed instruments.

Wow! Does this send chills down your spine? Is it any wonder that Lucifer (Satan) controls the music of the world and is called the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience….” (Eph. 2:2, NKJV)? It is fairly obvious when one observes the music being lewdly performed on the stage, TV, and on the airwaves that the majority of the latest “hot” trends derive themselves from the basest of desires, ultimately having roots in Satan’s musical kingdom. Most of the popular hip-hop, rock and rap groups claim some sort of allegiance to the darker side, including the occult, profanity, disrespect for authority, indulgence in sexual appetites and promiscuity and complete and utter abandonment of God and His principles. Who else could be behind this music but Lucifer, the brightest of the archangels and chief of the musicians and worship leaders in Heaven? He hates God and all He represents so much so that after he was cast out of His presence, he determined to spend his remaining days deceiving people, especially musicians, into making music that is as anti-God as possible.  And he is pretty good at his job!

Does he try to influence Christian musicians and worship leaders, as well? The answer, unfortunately, is yes, if they allow him to gain access to their minds and talents. Petty jealousy and vying for authority, the exact same things that got Satan thrown out of Heaven, run rampant among church musicians and worship leaders today just as they did when Satan and one-third of the angels were cast out of Heaven thousands of years ago. If musicians who love God give into the work of the Enemy, they also can fall prey to his deceptive voice speaking things such as, “Why aren’t you in charge of the music around here?”; “Why is that person up there playing and not you? You’re more talented than they are!”; “Who does he think he is, coming in here and ruining your starring role on stage?”;  “Show her who’s in charge around here…don’t let her up here to perform!”  Sound comical?  Sadly, often times these ideas often dominate church music programs.  They also hinder the work the Holy Spirit desires to perform through worship.

Competition, envy and jealousy have no place in a church, not in the pastor’s role, nor in the music minister or worship leader’s, nor in the musicians who regularly lead worship. These are things we must guard against, even while realizing who our Enemy is, a disgruntled musician named Lucifer, who has made it his lifelong task to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and often tries his best to do it through music! Let’s take authority over any spirits of strife, jealousy, envy or competition in the music and worship department and let the Holy Spirit move in freedom and power to change lives and transform hearts!

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