Symphonic Praise

Daily Post: Symphony

symphonyMusic. Music in general, all varieties and styles, has been such a large part of my life, it many ways it defines who I am.  Mostly, I’ve been a vocal guy, participating in high school choir, college Chorale, and various small singing groups along the way.  That said, I have great respect and admiration for those who play instruments in bands and symphony orchestras.  In one brief stint, from 6th grade to 8th grade, I spent time trying to learn to play the coronet.  I was ok, but in my band director’s ears, probably mediocre at best.  When I got into 9th grade, at Andrews High School, my band director made me choose between band and football.  Seriously?  This is no contest, I was the starting fullback, and band was never again even in my rear view mirror.  Today, lots of football players also march in their high school band, but that’s how much things have changed over the last 49 years.

One of the timeless things that hasn’t changed, and will never change is the importance of how each individual believer makes up the eternal worship and symphonic praise to God, our Creator.  In the New Living Translation of Psalm 98, the translators have captured the idea, the significance, of the Symphony of Praise that should be a major part of our lives today.  Because it will most certainly be part of our experience in God’s presence throughout eternity.

Psalm 98
Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!
The LORD has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel. The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!
Sing your praise to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and melodious song, with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in.
Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
before the LORD. For the LORD is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.

If we view this image of the psalmist as a whole, we see the reasons for our worship, the instruction of who is to participate, and all the different sights and sounds that make up the symphony of praise.

The sea and everything in it, the earth and all living things, the rivers, the hills… all join in the activities of praise and worship, which humans should be leading them to do.

The reason humans should lead the symphony is based in the Lords: deeds, victory, saving power, righteousness, promises fulfilled, and faithfulness.

The humans are to sing a new song, shout to the Lord, sing praise, sing with the harp, trumpets, and ram’s horn… all joining in this great symphony.

Do you see what I see here?  The Holy Spirit used this psalmist to help us understand that every single human being, every created living creature, and all of the created plants life, all the earth itself, is supposed to participate in this worship.  Yet the only ones with choice, are the ones who are charged with leading the praise.

The psalmist doesn’t say, “if you can sing or play an instrument, be sure to sign up for the heavenly praise team.”

The psalmist doesn’t say, “I realize some of you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, so you can just sit this one out.”

The psalmist says, “No one is exempt from this most important, all-significant activity of praising the God of heaven.”

So, let’s be clear.  This psalm assumes the true Christ follower will join this praise party out of full devotion, some with overwhelming emotion, for what Jesus has offered them in His grace.  It begs the question, doesn’t it?  Do these words apply to you today?  Were these words just written for a different people group, at a different time and to a different culture, having no application for people today?  I think you know the answer here, but I’m not going to let you off that easy.

Psalm 98 is not really a choice thing.  It is spoken/written as an admonition, as instruction; not as optional for those who aren’t “musically” capable, or see themselves as “musically challenged.”  Think of it this way.  When humans fail to offer their voices (a gift of God) or their skills with instruments (a gift of God) in worship and praise to God, it is from a rebellious and stubborn heart, filled with a form of pride that robs God of His glory.

Wow.  That’s severe isn’t it? Well, perhaps it is, but I’m convinced it’s true.  The psalmist isn’t asking you to get up on stage and lead the praise.  The psalmist isn’t suggesting you do a “solo” on your instrument.  The psalmist is saying, “know your AUDIENCE!”

The audience, is the object of our worship and praise.  We sing to, and worship, Jesus. We lift our hands and our voices in a symphonic praise to exalt the King of kings.  I’m not singing for anyone around me.  I’m singing for the one who lives inside me, saving me with His powerful right hand, offering me grace every single day that I live!

And here’s the thing:

1 John 4:4
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Don’t wait until Sunday morning worship… join the symphony of praise today!

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Daily Post:  Triumph


The world leaders in early conquests of America, Mexico and Peru during the 15th-17th centuries were called conquistadors.  While not necessarily “nice guys”, they were at times brutally efficient in their triumph over the native populations in Central and South America.  Perhaps one of the most famous was a Spanish adventurer named Hernando Cortes, who conquered the mighty Aztec Empire in Mexico.  Conquistar in Spanish translates, “to conquer.”

Conquistador might be a term easily used today to describe that individual who is ruthless in their actions, whether business, sports, or board games.  This person efficiently thinks several moves ahead of their opponents, arriving at the end game, seeing what needs to be done to conquer, then doing it … ensuring their triumph.  You may have known folks like this.  The actions of these “type A” personalities are often the underlying basis for the question, “Why would you do that?”  More often the answer resolves, “Because I can.”

In this world many times people of faith seem caught up in what is happening in the now, all around them; their circumstances, troubles, or pain.  What is needed at these times for most of us is a long-view approach to life.  Things change.  The old phrase “time heals all wounds,” may not be true in a literal sense, but the take away for us remains, “this too shall pass.”  At times people of faith also suffer from a sense of spiritual myopia, or spiritual amnesia, when they lose sight of God’s Master Plan, and how their lives fit into this plan.

God never intended for any believer to struggle with faithfulness during their time here on earth.  As a loving Creator He gives us everything, every resource we need, from His vast storehouse of Grace, so we can not just exist, not just insist, not just resist, but to be triumphant in our daily lives.  The words of Scripture are not intended to be just lofty spiritual thoughts, they are much more than this.  God’s words are pure energy, igniting fires, instructing arguments, commands, edicts, and tools with which to build the skills required for becoming Conquistadors.

Why else would the apostle Paul write… [Romans 8:37]
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!”

Why else would Jesus say … [John 10:10]
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Why else would John write … [1 John 4:4]
You are from God, little children, and have overcome (conquered) them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Why else would Jesus tell John to reveal this truth … [Revelation 2:26-27]
The one who is victorious and keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations — and he will shepherd them with an iron scepter; he will shatter them like pottery — just as I have received this from My Father.

As adventurers on this planet, we are here but for a short time.  We are too keep the end-game in our eyesight.  We have a vision of our future, whether near or far, and we know that our King will triumph in the end.  As followers of the King of kings, and the LORD of lords, we do well to act as He intended …  we are triumphant, victorious, overcoming Conquistadors.

Go victorious now into this day, speaking the truth in love, to those who cross your path!


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