Tag Archive | Music

Some Things Should Never Change!

images[5]In my last blog post I mentioned a number of negative things I believe are going on in the church world when it comes to music, which do not lend themselves to a productive worship experience for many people.  Today, I would like to take a positive approach to worship by sharing a couple of scriptures from the New Testament, written through the hand of the Apostle Paul, about what, ideally, our corporate worship should look like.  The Bible says “in the mouth of two or three witnesses a thing shall be established”, so I have chosen two verses which say nearly the same thing.

The first is found in Ephesians 5:19 and 20, “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (ESV)

The second verse is in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (ESV)

It is pretty clear from these verses that the Early Church used this pattern of worship in its services.  Psalms have been used since the time of David as poetic themes from the Word of God set to various musical patterns.  Many churches, as well as synagogues, use these to this day.  Some use them exclusively in worship.  Psalms are simply passages of scripture dedicated to praise and worship of our Father which, when set to various melodies, can be extremely conducive to entering into His presence in the corporate worship setting.

Last night I attended a choir rehearsal of a world-famous and highly renowned choir.  They were rehearsing the familiar old tune from the 1800’s, “The Lord’s My Shepherd”, which is a musical adaptation of Psalm 23.  The associate choir director, a young man in his 30’s, related the story of how four years ago he had been experiencing severe trials in his life which had led him into a sort of depressed state.  One Sunday, as he walked into church, he heard the choir sing the words from this psalm,

“My table thou hast furnished

In presence of my foes;

My head thou dost with oil anoint,

And my cup overflows.”

He said that immediately a peace came over him and his whole outlook and attitude changed as he thought about our Lord who gives us so many blessings that our cups overflow with them!  It was a major turning point in his life that he never forgot.  God used a simple hymn to transform the life of a young man from feelings of depression to victory!

The second form of musical worship mentioned in the above verses is “hymns”.  These anointed works containing much scripture, worship of God and theologically sound doctrinal themes, have been penned by men and women for centuries as expressions of their love for their Lord, often mentioning the omnipotence and majesty of God, as well as the themes of crowning Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, now and in Eternity!  I could go on and on, naming such great hymns as “Holy, Holy, Holy”, “Crown Him With Many Crowns”, “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”, and “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” and so on.  To omit these mighty works, which have endured in the church for literally centuries, from our modern repertoire in favor of some light, fluffy tunes with words that copy current pop or rock lyrics, simply substituting the word “Jesus” for “you, my lover” is missing a sacred opportunity to enter into the presence of the Holy One!

The last type of music mentioned by the Apostle Paul is the term, “spiritual songs”.  I think we all are aware of what “spirituals” are…the African American people learned hundreds of songs by rote, which we still sing, as they were working in hard labor in the cotton fields and wherever they happened to be.  No doubt these songs were a great comfort to them in their physically agonizing times of stress and strain and probably “got them through” much pain and suffering.

Even if we today are not enduring the trials of the American slaves of old, we still have trials and tribulations that cause us to turn to our Creator for peace and help.  This is where many “spiritual songs” have sustained men and women, boys and girls for centuries.  These are “testimony” songs about God’s sustaining grace and power to deliver in time of need; songs about how God rescued us from the pit of despair and put us on the path to Eternal Life; testimonies and praise to Him in upbeat, as well as quiet and worshipful, tunes; and songs simply expressing our heartfelt love and gratitude to the One who has changed our lives!

I believe the Church collectively would do well to consider including music from each of these three categories in our worship services.  Surely this admonition from the New Testament is just as important for us to observe today as it was back when it was written.  Some things are not meant to change!



God’s Symphony

images[2]I was completely blown away when I read some facts about our universe, the many stars, planets, galaxies, and so on…our cosmos!  Its vastness can never truly be comprehended by human minds!  I love the definition of “cosmos” found in my Merriam-Webster dictionary:  “A systematic whole held to arise by and persist through the direct intervention of divine power.”

I believe they are talking about my God, who created it all!  Psalm 148 so beautifully expresses the concept of the entire universe singing praises to God through the “music of the spheres” as one songwriter so aptly put it.  Verse 3 says, “Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars!” (ESV)  Did you know that radio frequencies from pulsars (magnetized neutron stars)  thousands of light years away can now be picked up and heard by electromagnetic telescopic programs circling the earth?  We can now literally listen to the sounds of the universe day and night. These stars are sending radio signals into the universe….The stars are singing!

When you listen to some of these sounds from millions of miles away, which are heard on complex computer programs, it simply blows your mind to hear the different frequencies, tonal patterns and diversity of sound they produce.  God literally has His own string section!  I call it “God’s symphony” and I am sure He enjoys listening to it!

Psalm 148:7 goes on to say, “Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps….” (ESV)  Did you know that whales give off sounds that are quite musical while they are swimming around the world?  Many of these sounds have been recorded and their “praise” is very jubilant and quite melodic!  Verse 10 goes on to speak of “beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds” praising the Name of the Lord!  I know we hear cattle and animals making sounds which could very well be their way of communicating with their Creator, not to mention the beautiful singing we hear from the multitude of birds flying overhead.  Have you ever been sort of “down” or “depressed” and heard a bird singing outside of your window?  I know I have, and it instantly lifted my spirits!

The beautiful part of this psalm is that the Psalmist David waits until the end to include humans in his summary of those who praise the Lord….”Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!  Young men and maidens together, old men and children!”  (verses 11 and 12 ESV)  I guess that just about includes everyone!  He concludes in verses 13 and 14 by saying, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven.  He has raised up a horn for His people (could this be the wind section?), praise for all His saints, for the people of Israel who are near to Him.  Praise the Lord!”  (ESV)

Now, I firmly believe we are all Israelites if we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and accepted Him as our Savior.  We are called upon to worship Him, Yahveh, and His Son, Yeshua, who has redeemed us from our sins and given us Eternal Life! Have you sung to your Father today and joined in His Symphony?  The stars, planets and animals do not have a choice in conveying their worship…you and I do!  That is what makes our worship even sweeter to the Father’s ears! Why not “get your praise on” today!  He loves to hear your music!

Did God Invent “Selfies”?

selfie[1]We live in an undisputed digital age, the likes of which has never before occurred in the history of mankind!  We as “social media conscious” humans enjoy taking “selfies” to share with our friends and colleagues,”tweeting” about our latest conquests or lack of them, “posting” our latest adventures complete with pictures, and generally using our online connections to gratify our need for social acceptance and personal validation.  There is not necessarily anything wrong with this…society accepts this fact and we comply accordingly!  If we are tired of our “selfie” we change it!  If we are bored we “post”!  If we need a pat on the back or a compliment, we brag in a cute way!  You know the old adage, “He who tooteth not his own horn, the same shall not be tooted!”  Well, at least it makes us feel better in some sort of way!

But, did you know that God was the original inventor of the “selfie”?  Well, if you don’t believe me, just read what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”  (KJV)

Of course, you may say, that means to speak to one another in a corporate setting such as the local congregation.  But wait!  Could it be that God knew we needed to speak some things to OURSELVES first before we could share them with someone else?  Could it be that we needed to reinforce the goodness of God, His provision for us, His blessings in our lives, to OURSELVES so we could really get these facts into our spirits?  Perhaps He really did invent the original “SELFIE”!

Yes, I understand that we are not to be “self-centered” or “narcissistic”, a word derived from the Latin “Narcissus”, a legendary young person from Greek mythology who was constantly looking at his reflection in a pool of water and was turned into the narcissus flower!  We know that in order to be totally fulfilled and happy in Christ we must look outwardly, not inwardly to ourselves all of the time.  We must put God first, then others, and in many ways, ourselves last.  As the old song says, “Jesus and Others and You, what a wonderful way to spell J-O-Y!”  Have you ever known a person who was always unhappy, feeling sorry for himself and seemingly going through endless trials and disappointments in his life, simply because he had never learned to look outside of himself and see how he could be a blessing to someone else probably suffering much more badly than himself?  This is very true and a principle of life! We gain joy by giving of ourselves to others and getting our minds off of our own problems!

However, having said that, could it be that God wants us to look “inward” and “speak to ourselves” for just a moment or two about His love, power, goodness, mercy, grace, forgiveness, healing, abundance, and on and on, so that we actually may “convince” ourselves that this is true?  It is like programming a computer in many ways.  We must first program our minds to think correctly about the Word and what we have been given through Christ!  We must first convince ourselves that He is good, that He is Lord, that He is sovereign, that He is in control in every area of our lives BEFORE we can truly worship Him in spirit and in truth; before we can truly share His love with another; before we can be a blessing to those we come in contact with; before we can spread the truth of the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ!

So, why not take just a moment today to speak to YOURSELF in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, meditating and singing about His love, goodness, power and greatness!  After you have finished doing this then SHARE this love with someone nearby.  Then you can share with “one another”, collectively “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Ephesians 5:20, ESV)  Yes, our praise is directed TO and FOR our Lord not only for what He has done for us, but for who He is!  But, do you suppose maybe we first have to speak to OURSELVES, just like we need that occasional picture “selfie” that makes us feel so special, in order to convince our minds that He really is good and His mercy endures forever?  Looking “inward” in reflective self-examination and introspection is not always a bad thing!  I think that God knew we needed this when He made Ephesians 5:19 a part of Holy Scripture!  Think about this the next time you post that “selfie”!


The Story of “Silent Night”

Silent night nativity sceneThe beautiful and much-loved Christmas carol, “Silent Night”, has a very interesting story behind it….I thought you might enjoy hearing how this most famous carol came to be written!

The year was 1818 and a roving band of actors was traveling through the Austrian Alps performing their re-enactment of the story of Christ’s birth in towns all over the area. On December 23 they arrived at Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg, where they were scheduled to perform that evening in the small Church of St. Nicholas.

Unfortunately, the church organ was broken and unable to be repaired until after Christmas. Undeterred, the acting company simply moved their Christmas drama to a private home. In attendance that evening was assistant priest of the church, Josef Mohr. The beautiful presentation put him in a meditative mood, and instead of walking straight home that night, he took a longer route which included a quiet path up a hill overlooking the village below. As he looked down from the hilltop on the peaceful, snow-covered village, he reveled in the majestic silence of the wintry night and, gazing upon the picturesque winter scene, remembered a poem he had written a couple of years before about the night the angels announced the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to shepherds on another hillside far away in Judea.

Mohr, who was very determined to introduce music in the mother tongue of the Austrian and German people, instead of insisting they sing songs and hear sermons in Latin which was not understood by anyone, decided that the words he had written might make a good simple carol for his congregation the following evening at their Christmas eve service. The only problem was he had no music to which the poem could be sung! So the next day Father Mohr went to see the church organist, Franz Gruber. The organist had only a few hours to compose a melody for Mohr’s poem, and due to the fact the organ was inoperable, he had to come up with an extremely simple melody and chord pattern that could be sung with a guitar! Gruber managed to do just that,  and by the time of the Christmas eve service, he had composed a simple but beautiful musical setting for the poem, one which could easily be sung by the common people and whose accompaniment could  be strummed on the guitar. They had just introduced a Christmas carol that could be sung without an organ!

On that Christmas Eve in 1818, the congregation heard for the very first time the beautiful carol, “Silent Night”, sung by Gruber and Mohr, who also accompanied them on his guitar!

Weeks later, when the organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived to repair the organ, he heard Gruber play his composition as he tested out the newly refurbished instrument. Deeply impressed by the beautiful, melodious carol, Mauracher took copies of the music and words to “Silent Night” back to his own Alpine village of Kapfing. Two well-known singing families, the Rainers and the Strassers, heard and were captivated by the beautiful new song, putting it into their Christmas season repertoires.

The Strasser sisters spread the carol across northern Europe. In 1834, after they performed it for King Frederick William IV of Prussia, he ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas eve! Twenty years after it was written, the Rainers brought “Silent Night” to the United States, singing it (in German) at the Alexander Hamilton Monument located outside of New York City’s Trinity Church.  Josef Mohr and Franz Gruber had maintained their church work in relative obscurity through the years.  It was not until people began asking years later, as its popularity at Christmas increased, “Who wrote this beautiful song?” that  Gruber’s son spoke up and said, “I know the story of this song!” and produced a copy of it after his father’s death.  Josef Moore died of complications from tuberculosis when he was not quite 56 years old, and is buried in the courtyard of a school he started in a small town in Austria during his priesthood.  Neither man ever knew the worldwide scope of the song they had penned that Christmas Eve in a small town in the mountains of Austria!

In 1863, “Silent Night” was translated into English from the original German, and today the words of “Silent Night” are sung in more than 300 different languages around the world!  It has been recorded musically by over 740 artists all over the world, making it the most recorded song of all time!

The original German lyrics go something like this:

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schlaft, einsam wacht;
Nur das traute heilige Paar,
Holder Knab im lockigten Haar;
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh’, Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh’.

Did God in His sovereignty allow a simple church organ to “break down” and be out of commission at a most important time so that someone would compose a simple song, one that ordinarily would not be thought of as nearly complex enough for the traditional organ masterpieces of the day, that would be sung around the world as a best-loved rendition of His birth? Did God anoint two men who were moved by the events recorded in Matthew and Luke to compose perhaps the most famous of the carols that are sung all over the world to this day? I believe He did! I am thankful that they were obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to pen the words and music that will go down in history as one of the greatest songs ever written:

Silent night, Holy night,
All is calm, all is bright;
‘Round yon virgin, mother and child,
Holy infant so tender and mild;
Sleep in Heavenly peace, Sleep in Heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight; 
Glories stream from Heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing, “Allelujah”;
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

May we remember the true meaning of the season as we celebrate His birth! Be blessed as you worship Christ the newborn King and, if you have not done so, why not allow Him to enter your life today as your Lord and Savior! I wish you all a Blessed Christmas and wonderful New Year filled with the wonders of His Love!

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!

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!

How to Influence Your Child for God!

Last week I shared about the birth of my new granddaughter and concluded by mentioning that this week in a “Part Two” post I would give some ideas for parents on how they can create a God-centered environment in the home, conducive to worship, and ultimately instrumental in bringing a young child to the point where he or she will make a personal decision for Christ!

As way of personal testimony, I will never forget how at the age of four my father, a Godly man who later entered into full-time ministry, asked me pointedly, “Becky, have you ever asked Jesus into your heart?” It seemed natural to me at the time, as I had been exposed since the cradle to Christian music, Bible stories and a church that was preaching the Gospel! I had even sung solos publicly; my whole life, largely because of the influence of my parents, centered around the Lord, ministry for Him and the music ministry He was calling me into! But, I remember thinking to myself that I really had not specifically asked Jesus into my heart, so I told my dad I would like to. I knelt at a little rocking chair in my younger brother’s nursery (I remember this vividly to this day!) and prayed a simple, childlike prayer of repentance and acceptance of Jesus as my Savior. I used my own words, but my dad remained with me to encourage me, and I knew fully well what I was doing. That is my simple story of conversion, not very dramatic, as some who have been delivered from lives of crime, drugs, immorality and the horrible effects of their sinful lifestyles, but, nonetheless, it is the way it happened and I have never looked back. Oh, there have been times when I have not been as close to the Lord as I should have been and strayed a bit from the straight and narrow path, but He never abandoned me and always accepted my prayers of true repentance. I know my salvation is assured through Christ’s blood!

Here are some ideas I have thought about that will encourage a Godly atmosphere for your child….

1. Purchase or download some worship DVD’s and CD’s that your baby or young child can watch and listen to daily during active hours, rest times and even while falling asleep. There are so many wonderful resources available for young children that are “age appropriate” and will keep their attention, while helping them focus on Jesus and their worship of Him. Even infants and small children retain much of this in their subconscious which will go with them through life. Also, their memories at this age are the best they will ever be and concepts taught before the age of seven or eight years old remain intrinsically in the brain for life! That is why it is so important to plant seeds of life and hope in Christ in a young child’s mind. If a parent constantly exposes their young children to secular rock, rap, hip-hop and other genres that are not Biblically-based, these are the things the young child will want to hear throughout his life; it will largely be all he or she knows. This is very sad! I observed this during my teaching of private voice lessons to young children. Much of the music some brought to sing was appalling and totally age-inappropriate. I could not blame the child, but rather the parent, for allowing such filth into their home. If you are guilty of listening to music or watching TV programs that blaspheme God, degrade people with foul language, glorify immoral lifestyles, or anything else contrary to the Scriptures, get these things out of your home! Trust me, children pick up on these things faster than you think!

2. Read children’s Bible stories, chapters from an easy-to-understand version of the Bible, classics from literature and the animal world, and other types of books to your child. My mother read to me from a Bible story book from the time I was a baby and I still remember these accounts from the Word of God as if it were yesterday. Encourage your child to memorize Scripture. I remember memorizing many verses and short chapters from the Word, particularly the Psalms, Gospels and Epistles, as a young girl attending Christian Day School; these passages have stuck with me my whole life! Amazing! This just proves that the things you put in a child’s mind first stay with him or her the longest.

3. Enroll your child in some type of private music lessons by the time they are five or six years old, if possible, depending on the maturity of the child.  Piano is a good basic instrument to start with and, will serve as a good basis for another instrument of his or her choice later on down the road. Expose your child to great classical music, as well. I began piano lessons at age four with my mother, and later transferred to a professional music studio at age seven. Some children are not ready that early, but nearly all of them can sing, so some form of private or group vocal lessons is appropriate, if not group keyboard lessons. Check with local studios in your area; you may be surprised what is available now for very young children!

4. Finally, “live the life” in front of your child! Don’t just preach to them, quote scripture and tell them the right way to go; show them by your life! I believe we as parents and grandparents can have a tremendous impact on our children. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV) May God give us all the faith and courage to do this!