Wednesday, March 29, 2017

CHRISTIAN MUSIC

Christian music used to be so simple.  You knew what to expect.

You went to church.  You waited until the song leader indicated that it was time to sing.  (I went to a small church.  We didn't have a music director.  We did well to have fifty people there.  We had a song leader.)  You  picked up your hymnal and the music portion of the service began.  You turned to the page selected by the song leader, the pianist (only a pianist...no guitars, drums, horns, etc.) played a short introduction, and you started to sing.  A very familiar tune.  Someone's favorite, for sure.  I think my daddy's was "In the Garden," but I'm not sure.  We didn't talk about it much.  I have no idea what my mother's was.  Again, we didn't talk about it much.  What was there to talk about?  This is the way it was.  Everywhere.  This was the ritual.

Admittedly, there was not much life to the ritual.  Don't get me wrong.  I loved the people.  They were either neighbors or people my parents knew or relatives.  I loved them.  I loved the songs.  I loved the pianist.  She was only a year younger than me and we took piano from the same wonderful teacher.  Marla was better at it than I.  She had that playing-by-ear thing going on sometimes.  I don't do that.  I wish I did but I don't.  Sometimes we girls would sing.  There were four or five of us.  Sometimes Marla's mother would play and we girls would sing.  Sometimes Marla would play and we girls would sing.  Sometimes Marla would play, "Whispering Hope," and I would sing.  That made me only slightly nervous.  Playing the piano would have made me sweat bullets.  I'd much rather sing.

Over the years Christian music has changed.  If you listen to Christian radio, unless you're listening to a lively gospel station, you hear some contemporary, upbeat music that just might make you tap your feet.  I like some of it, but some of it I find a bit problematic.  The rap music makes me wince.  In the first place, it doesn't do much for me because, truthfully, if I can't understand the words (and this is radio, folks, there's no lipreading) it doesn't do much to minister to me/help me minister to others/bless me/encourage me/draw me closer to Christ/teach me to reach others.  It could be any of that other foul stuff on those other stations, for all I know.  Right now, I'm trusting that it's not, seeing's how it's on a Christian station.  But "Christian" rap is just, for the most part, a bit garbled, in my humble opinion.  It has the rebellious sound that the other rap music has and the words just don't always come through the speakers.

Then there are the "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs.  I wish I had come up with that cute little phrase, but I didn't.  I heard a guy on Christian radio tagging them as such once and I realized that's a good name for them.  You know the ones, don't you?  There's one out right now called, "Hold Me," and honestly she could be singing it straight to her boyfriend as she says, "I love the way you hold me," and "Just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down that's when your smile comes around."  There isn't a real hint that she's talking to God.  I looked up the lyrics online and she doesn't even bother to capitalize "Your" to make sure everyone knows she means any part of the Trinity.  I searched for something that made me know it was a Christian song and the word, "Lord" is in there three times.  You know, like, "Lord, I was born a ramblin' man."  Or "Oh, Lord.  Stuck in Lodi again."  Or "My Sweet Lord," George Harrison's tribute to Hinduism.

Call me old-fashioned (I've been called worse) but I think Christian music should have something to do with Christianity.  You know, God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.  It should say that Jesus Christ is my life, that He is the One Who gets me through my day (which I think is what "Hold On" is supposed to convey.)  It should tell you about Him, lead you to Him, praise Him, worship Him, scream that I'm nothing without Him, encourage you that He is your help in times of trouble.

You probably aren't getting the fact that I love contemporary Christian music by reading this, but I do.  I love the songs that do what I just described, not the ones that someone hoped would be crossover songs and make it on the pop, rock, or rap charts.  I like the ones that don't do a lot of "oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh" but that have actual words and that lift Jesus Christ up to people, that offer what He wants you to have, that praise and worship Him.

Church is for worshiping the Savior and telling folks about Him and what the Bible says, and I think the music part of the church service should do that as much as the sermon does.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Age Entry #18

This is the last of these posts unless something else comes to mind. With this last post I want to bring us back full circle to the scriptures we began with and give you a few more to encourage you.

In our first post the scriptures we used began with the first of The Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)

The New Age says there are many ways to God, but in John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” So whether Oprah or anyone else believes that, as we saw in one of our last posts, Jesus’s words are the final say-so.

In our second post is one of the main scriptures we should all be reading and thinking on now, Matthew 24. Although I didn’t post the whole chapter, we should be reading it in its entirety because Jesus has a lot to say, including: “See to it that no one deceives you,” Matthew 24:4, and in verse 11, “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” He is speaking of the end times as His disciples had questioned Him about that specifically.  If it were not possible for us to be deceived, why would He warn us against it?

Paul laid a foundation for our study in Acts 20:27-31, especially in verse 30 when he said: “and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Notice "from among your own selves.") Our study took off from there as we showed how easy it is to be deceived if we don’t read and study the Bible for ourselves and not just swallow everything that comes down the pike just because someone stands in a pulpit (or on a stage or on TV) and says it.

The book of Jude has only one chapter, but verse 4 there contains a similar warning: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Notice the phrase, "certain persons have crept in unnoticed." Also, licentiousness has to do with being sensual, disregarding morality.) While I love a lot of the contemporary music, I am seeing some of this in a few of the newer songs. I have also noticed over the last few years how much Christian people are enjoying using the words "passion, passionate, and intimate" when referring to the Lord and their relationship with Him. I understand the point they're trying to make, but I have to wonder if there aren't other terms that could be used that would make the reference more Godly and less worldly.

If you’re reading this, you are a thinking person to whatever degree God has given you the ability to think. Use your own mind and your own Bible (not The Message or The New Century Version, as we saw in earlier posts!) and talk to God. Ask Him to show you all His truth. Do it with an open heart.

I have often had this radical thought: Maybe it’s good to forget everything I was ever taught as a child (and maybe even as an adult!) and read the Bible and study it for myself, letting God tell me what HE wants me to know instead of listening to what others want me to believe.

I hope these posts have blessed and helped you. Thank you to so many of you who have spoken to me about them. It has been very encouraging to me. God bless you all.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New Age Entry #17

Star Wars. There. I got your attention.
This one is pretty long. Sorry about that. But there’s a lot to chew on here. I hope you’ll try to stay with me.
The Bible says in Mark 12:30, “and you shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your MIND, and with all your strength.” (Emphasis mine.) As we think on this, we can make a list of things that we could do but don’t because they don’t show our love for Him or are not honoring to Him. One of the items on my list would be the kinds of movies I watch. Of course, we all slip up sometimes. Maybe we visit friends and they’re in the middle of a movie when we arrive. We’re sorta stuck in cases like that. (They really should turn off the TV or ask if we want to join them in watching, but I digress.) :)
I’m probably going to lose some of you here, and that will have to be a matter of prayer for you. (I’m almost finished with these posts, though, so hang in there, if you can!) Some of the movies that I would say you should stay away from are…wait for it…any of the Star Wars flicks. Yeah, I know. You’re about to click away from this post.  Please don't.
In light of our New Age conversation, though, let me just throw out some thoughts. I know there are probably those of you (as there are others) who say that “The Force” and “The Dark Side” in those movies represent God and Satan. Um. No, they don’t. Not when you go back and read the very first few of my posts that explain what the New Age is. Remember? Everything is God to the New Agers.
Here is a portion from “The Empire Strikes Back” from a website called allaboutworldview.org.(www.allaboutworldview.org/new-age-theology-and-star-wars-faq.htm ) 
“During an extended scene in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Yoda, the Jedi master, takes Luke as an apprentice and instructs him more fully in the ways of the Force. In true guru fashion, Yoda tells Luke, ‘For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life breeds it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the force around you, here between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes, even between land and ship.’ Talk about the Force takes place in other scenes throughout the Star Wars series, providing a comprehensive initiation into New Age theology.”
Notice that the Force is referred to as “it.” God is not an “it” in any of His three Persons.
http://www.mt.net/~watcher/starwarsmessiah.html Here is a bit from this site regarding Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999):
ANAKIN : Master, sir...I've been wondering...what are midi-chlorians?
QUI-GON : Midi-chlorians are a microscopic lifeform that reside within all
living cells and communicates with the Force.
ANAKIN : They live inside of me?
QUI-GON : In your cells. We are symbionts with the midi-chlorians.
ANAKIN : Symbionts?
QUI-GON : Life forms living together for mutual advantage. Without the
midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the
Force. They continually speak to you, telling you the will of the Force.
ANAKIN : They do??
QUI-GON : When you learn to quiet your mind, you will hear them speaking to
you.
ANAKIN : I don't understand.
QUI-GON : With time and training, Annie...you will.
Remember that quieting the mind is part of the New Age training. They say you are to empty your mind so that you can hear. Sounds good, but Christians are to meditate ON THE LORD AND HIS WORD, not empty our minds. When you empty your mind and don’t think on the things of the Lord, you have opened yourself up for anything to drop in, including thoughts that Satan throws at you.
How about George Lucas? What kind of ideas do we think he might like to get across in his movies? Let’s find out. From Wikipedia:
Lucas was born and raised in a Methodist family.[7] The religious and mythical themes in Star Wars were inspired by Lucas' interest in the writings of mythologist Joseph Campbell,[71] and he would eventually come to identify strongly with the Eastern religious philosophies he studied and incorporated into his films, which were a major inspiration for "the Force". Lucas eventually came to state that his religion was "Buddhist Methodist".
(Maybe you don't trust Wikipedia, and that's okay.  You can do a search yourself.)
I won’t use up space here talking about Joseph Campbell. If you do a search for him, you’ll find that he was into all kinds of New Age stuff and apparently a mentor to folks like Lucas.
If you were producing a movie, what ideas would you try to get across? Would you, as a born-again Christian, think it the best thing to try and inspire people in Eastern religions or New Age or would you think God’s best for you…and for your viewers…would be to try to help them understand about Jesus? There are those who say that movies like Star Wars do try to do that, but they are being led down the wrong path. Satan will do ANYTHING to try to derail our faith, including twisting God’s words. Didn’t he do that to Adam and Eve?
I know some of you or your loved ones are very much in love with the Star Wars movies and couldn’t possibly tear yourself away from them. (Or could you?) As I said before, that will just have to be a matter of prayer for you.
Stay tuned! :)

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Monday, September 26, 2016

New Age Entry #16

We’ve been looking at the New Age daily guide entitled “A Course in Miracles.” Here are some of the quotes from the “Jesus” of that book: (NOT the Jesus of the Bible)
“There is no sin.”
“A slain Christ has no meaning.”
“The journey to the cross should be the last useless journey.”
“Do not make the pathetic error of clinging to the old rugged cross.”
“The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol…It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray.”
“God is in everything I see.”
“The Atonement is the final lesson he (man) need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.”
Do you think the real Jesus Christ… the One in the Bible…would ever utter any of these?
(Most of these quotes come from an interview with former New Ager, now Christian, Warren B. Smith here:
http://www.lamblion.us/…/warren-smith-testimony-new-age-jes… )
Stay tuned! :)

Friday, July 29, 2016

New Age Entry #15

Our last New Age "discussion" was on “A Course in Miracles,” what I call the “New Ager’s Bible.” You’ll remember that it is a daily guide to teaching the New Age. I last wrote about it, giving two of their examples: “My thoughts don’t mean anything” and “God is in everything I see.” You may want to refer to my Facebook page “New Age Installment for September 30.”
“A Course in Miracles” is part of what Oprah Winfrey was pushing on her show before she left it and started her OWN channel. She had a New Age friend named Marianne Williamson who helped her do this. Many people were persuaded to follow this teaching. Oprah believes that Jesus is not the only Way. In her “OWN” words: (Begin at about the 43-second mark of the clip.)
And should you think I’m picking on black people, here’s Joel Osteen:
There’s a lot of truth in what he said in this short clip, but he denied Christ. Plain and simple.
Stay tuned! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Entry #14 in The New Age Series - Special Entry

This is an unplanned entry in our series that I thought I'd include.  A Facebook post I saw recently  included a prayer request for healing from health issues.  I had suspected for a long time that this person is into the New Age, but the comments from the friends pretty much confirmed it.  I know that everything said on Facebook doesn't necessarily reveal the type person the comment is directed to, but I think you will agree that we generally tend to associate with more people who are like-minded than not.  I thought you might be interested in what people said to the person in response to the prayer request.  This is by far not all of them, but it's enough to give you an idea how far away from Jesus Christ people really are.

"Sending you healing energy and light."

"I am sending prayers and reiki for you (sic) healing and highest good.  Blessings."

"Seeing you filled with helping healing energy."

"Seeing you in healing, peace filled moments.  Love you!"

"Sending you love and healing energy."

"Love and light to you."

"Positivity and love surrounds you, sending good vibrations straight on over!"

"Sending healing thoughts and light your way."

"...sending much love and will pray a novena for you..."

"Prayers for you.  Sending white light."

"...I see you healthy and whole!"

"Sending healing energy to you..."

""Healing Light Blessings"  (This one was superimposed on a pink lotus flower, a symbol of Hindu beliefs.)

"I am knowing your wholeness in all ways and ease and comfort now."

"Done and done.  Don't know why, but the light I was instructed to send you is a beautiful bright, limey, spring green.  Much love!"

"...The universe will help.  Keep your hands and your heart open."

"I go to the Source.  I accept this purging.  I am the vibrant light to restore health."

"Sending prayers n love your way.!!!  God we ask that whatever is trying to attack your child that you heal and send the infection and all of its problems back to the pit of hell where's they came from.  Father God we ask for healing and strength in ... body mind and faith.  Your words say where two or three touch and agree,father we are all touching and agreeing that no weapon formed shall prosper.  God you said any thing we ask in your name so God we praise you and give you all the thanks and glory.  We claim victory right now in Jesus name.  Amen."  (There were a number of typos here that I did not correct, but you get the message.  This was one of the very few redeeming comments.)

"Sending bacterial balance and ease of flow so that your body can rejuvenate..."

"Oh no!  Visualizing destroying the infection.  Sending you love and healing energy."


Some of this you may not think is so "off," but please understand that when the New Age folks speak of "energy," it isn't in the same way that others do.  We think of energy as being pep, vigor, ability to plod through a project without pooping out.  We say, "That kid has so much energy I can't keep up with him!"  We think of energy as having stamina to finish working in our garden or cleaning our house or painting a room or just getting through a work day.  Their idea of energy is something from within.  A force.  So when they say they're sending someone energy, it's like they're sending them "a thing."  Maybe some sort of a spirit?

Which makes sense when you pair it with the comments from people sending "reiki."  You'll remember our discussion on reiki from Entry #12 when we discussed The Daniel Plan and Dr. Oz.    Here's a little more.  According to one internet definition, reiki is:

a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being.

Channel?  Energy?  This sounds very New Age, doesn't it?

Here is a website from an M.D. with his comments on Reiki.  http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/reiki.html

He calls it nonsense.  I call it witchcraft.

You'll notice that one comment says they were "instructed" to send a light that was green.  Instructed by whom?  I have never read or heard of Jesus Christ instructing us to send light.  HE is the light.

Also, people in the New Age are taught to visualize or "see" things.  You'll notice that several of the commenters said they were visualizing things for this person.  This is not a Christian practice and therefore not found in the Bible.

You'll notice that one person mentioned that "the universe" will help.  The New Age followers believe that all of the universe is "God."  (He created it, but He isn't it.)  Remember?  They believe that God is "in" everything.

You'll notice that one person was praying a "novena."  That is a Catholic practice (also practiced by a few other Christian denominations.) so it depends on how you feel about those.  It is a prayer prayed for someone for nine days.  I guess it would depend on what the person is praying as to whether that's a good thing or not.

In light of our New Age postings over the past months, I thought this was a timely occurrence and wanted to share it with you.  I mention no names or places and even refrained from revealing whether this person is a male or female.  My intent is not to embarrass this person but to let people know that the New Age is real and is going on today.  Please...let's pray for this person, really ALL of these New Age people, that they will discover the real God who created the universe and His Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, and His Holy Spirit who empowers and guides us once we become Christians through the blood of Jesus as we accept Him and His sacrifice for us.  May God draw all these people to a forever relationship with Him!  Amen!