Fellowship Is Not Friendship

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV)

In the life of the believer, fellowship in not just friendship. It is that deep spiritual, emotional, and intellectual connection we make with those people God places in our lives. Fellowship with our spouse, our family, and our friends is that blessing of God which helps to sustain us during the darkest moments of our lives when God seems far from us. They are God’s manifested grace, mercy, and love to us when we walk in that isolated place we call “loneliness.” Fellowship is powerful and we need it.  We were never meant to walk through this life alone.

We can rejoice in God’s choices for us. He has ordained our associations and the places of our habitation.  We should not lightly esteem, or easily walk away from, those whom God has given to us. Fellowship with others brings healing and wholeness to our hearts. In true fellowship that “threefold cord” with the Holy Spirit is not quickly broken.  We can walk confidently into God’s plans for our lives because He gives others as help for our journey. We do not have to “go it alone.”

Fellowship is imperative and precious.

It is worth our finest efforts.

Never let go.

“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

The “Health And Wealth” Gospel–Part 1

(Author Note: This is not meant to be an exhaustive treatise on the subject or any excuse for those who call themselves Christian and manipulate others for their own financial benefit and gain. Enough said.)

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant, which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV)

There are very few topics which generate more heated discussions in Christendom than that of the so-called “health and wealth” gospel.  I have heard passionate arguments on both sides of the fence. Like all, I have struggled with it, but ultimately I am left with: what was God’s original intent before sin came into the picture and made a mess of things? How did He manifest this in the lives of His servants?

No matter what we believe on this subject, we would probably all agree that there was no poverty, lack, or sickness in the Garden of Eden and there will be none in Heaven. If we start with the premise that what God created as “good” at creation is also His perfect will, then we must at least consider that God does not want us sick or broke. From there it is likely to get sticky. As I understand it, poverty and sickness are part of the curse of the law that Christ redeemed us from.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

There are many who hold fast to the view that wealth is evil, citing the well-known “truth” that “money is the root of all evil.”  But is that what the Scripture really says?

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NKJV)

Money itself can not be evil. It is an inanimate object. It is the sin in our own hearts that makes wealth problematic: the love of money. I believe the root of our strong beliefs and emotions about wealth are likely two-fold.  We are afraid of the greed and envy we suspect (but are usually not willing to admit) is hiding in our own hearts and we have seen the abuses of wealth by others. Thus, I have one question: should this be motivation for our behavior and the standard for belief? Do we pattern our lives, as Christians, on what we fear in ourselves and what we despise in others or, should we pattern our lives on what God has said in His Word?

Clearly God does not have a problem with wealth, per se. Look at Job, Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon, and others. None of these men had problems paying their bills. Their wealth was not the central focus of their lives. It was, rather, a by-product of something else: their relationship with the Living God and their faithfulness and obedience to His commands. God blessed them, and just as we find great joy in blessing our children with gifts and provision, how could we say that our loving Father would do less?

I can’t speak for any others, but as for me, I have always been afraid of money and wealth. I did not despise it. I was terrified of the responsibility of it. I was afraid of other people’s greed and envy if they thought I had it. I was afraid of the visibility which came with money. I was afraid of its seductive and destructive power. Easier to be “average” and just bump along like every one else with just enough to get by.  Like many, I had the attitude of: “just us four and no more” when it came to considering God’s financial blessing in my life.

Like a hammer, money is only a tool. It is a convenient and portable medium of exchange for something we value more than that piece of green paper we call the “dollar.”  A hammer can be used to pound nails and build a house or it can be used as a weapon to kill. The hammer can only do what the hand is wielding it makes it do. It has no will of its own. Likewise, money can be used for good or for evil purposes depending on the heart of the one who is using it.

We are commanded to go into all the world “making disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19 NKJV). Practically speaking, we are not all able to go to the mission field, but there are many fine mission organizations doing just that. It is a fact each one of these require money (and other things) in order to do the job God has called them to do. And, as I was often told as a child: “Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.”  We can, by extension, be a part of the work these mission groups do with our financial support. As we sow into the work they are doing, we then share in the spiritual blessings that result from our financial partnership with them. Like it or not, money is the international means of exchange.

What if the whole point of wealth and money is not about us? What if the only point of wealth is to advance the Kingdom of God, establishing His covenant on the earth (as noted earlier in Deuteronomy 8:18)? By espousing poverty (in its various forms and degrees), do we actively thwart God’s purposes? Do we cause the Gospel to not go where it should because we discerned the purpose of wealth incorrectly?  How can we possibly be a blessing to others if we have nothing extra to give?

We knew someone many years ago, who by any standard would have been considered wealthy. He was a committed Christian with a heart for the Gospel and was very generous in his support. When others would question him about his obvious wealth (and the visible results of it), all he would say was: “When you are an irrigation ditch for the Lord, even the evaporation amounts to a fair bit.” That was usually the end of any discussion on the subject.

God gave R. G. LeTourneau multiple inventions that resulted in great wealth. He was eventually able to sow ninety percent of his income back into the propagation of the Gospel, living on the other ten percent. Even on that ten percent, he did not have trouble paying his electric bill. His inventions are still in use today, and there is a university which bears his name that is training young men and women to use their God-given talents and abilities in service to God.

When we look at others, we view them through the lens of our own soul. We often ascribe to them the motives lurking in the darkest corners of our own hearts.  It is obvious to all there is no shortage of examples where wealth has been misused, even within the church.  The issue here is not whether or not you have money.  It is only an issue of whether or not money has you.

Wealth, in and of itself, is not the end game. The use of our wealth (in whatever amount God has blessed us with) must be about stewardship. Stewardship is about what we do with what God has given us. I do not know why God gives some “one talent”, some “five talents”, and others “ten talents” (parable of the talents: Matthew 25:14-30); that is within His sovereign will and I am not wise enough to figure that one out.  I do know we cannot judge whether someone has been a faithful steward of God’s financial provision by the car they drive, the house they live in, or the clothes they wear.  It is impossible to know how obedient they have been to God’s required stewardship on outward appearances alone. We can not see their heart nor judge their intent. We can only judge if we have been good stewards with what has entrusted to us. We can only judge whether we have a “love of money.”  We will only give an account before God’s great throne of judgement for our financial stewardship.

My husband has a standard set of questions for others when the subject of wealth and money comes up.  He is especially vocal when the subject involves criticism of those within the ministry that are wearing, driving, or living in an example of what others would call wealth.  He asks: “Why should it only be the rock/rap stars, business tycoons, actors, and sports stars that are allowed to have that level of financial blessing? Why do we believe Satan treats his servants better than God does?  Why would anyone want to be a Christian if the only benefit is “fire insurance” for the life hereafter? They can be broke and sick without the Gospel. The Gospel means “good news.” Most Christians aren’t living like there is much good news in their lives. Why isn’t the world saying about us: ‘Man, those Christians really know how to live’?”

It is time for those of us who profess Christ as our Lord to examine our hearts and make the Gospel and the Great Commission top priority with our financial resources. It has been estimated that only between five to twenty percent of church-goers tithe (depending on the source of your information).  What could be accomplished for the Gospel if we were at least obedient in this alone?

I do not believe God is opposed to wealth and the enjoyment of His manifested financial blessings. He is, however, opposed to greed and envy. He has a specific purpose for wealth: the advancement of His kingdom to all corners of the earth.

The question then becomes: how much do we value the Gospel? What do we think it is worth in comparison to the other things we value in our lives? Do we value the “Great Commission” and our obedience to fulfill that mandate more than whatever else we spend our money on?

Where else but in God’s economy can we take something with no intrinsic value, like a piece of paper money, and exchange it for something of eternal value, like salvation of the lost? If we are not faithful with the $10.00 He gives us, why would we think He would ever give us the opportunity to be faithful with larger amounts? It is time to be faithful in the small things like money, so that He will trust us with true riches.

That’s my “two cent’s worth.”

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?  ‘No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.'” Luke 16:10-13 (NKJV)

Helpful Link: http://www.bible.com/bibleanswers_result.php?id=161

(The “Health And Wealth” Gospel, Part 2–Health, to follow)

Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

Why Should I Care?

Several days ago, my daughter was giving me a difficult time about all the effort I have been putting into this blog. I had been telling her how excited I was that I now had five “subscribers.”  In her usual direct way, she asked me: “Why do you care, Mom?”  She recently started her own blog.  A number of her friends at school also have blogs, primarily as a vehicle for their college essays and other writings. I have been “bugging” her (nicely, of course) to start a blog and do the same (which she finally did over Christmas break).  She succinctly told me that she did not care if she had any subscribers or even if most people read her posts.

I was forced to think about it.

Why did I care?

Why should I care?

Initially this blog started out in obedience to what I felt God was leading me to do. The concept of writing about my thoughts and feelings and putting them in a format where others, and who knows what others, could read them, was terrifying.  By nature, I am a very private person. Strong emotions expressed by those I don’t know make me extremely uncomfortable.

In the beginning, I hoped no one would read this blog. If I could have fulfilled the task without the risk of anyone reading what I had written, I would have been happy.  Each post was a lesson in trust and faith. What if someone blasted me for what I had written, as I have seen in the comments section of other blogs? What if they called me (or intimated that I was) an idiot? How could I survive having to admit that I agreed with them?

With each post, I noticed a surprising thing beginning to happen. I began to care. I began to care that, not only what I had written was the best I could write, but I began to care others actually read it. I took a bold step (for me) and had this blog linked to my Facebook page and my meager list of “friends.” As each new post popped up for everyone to read, I waited to see if anyone would “like” it.

Which brings me back to my daughter’s question: Why should I care?  I realized that I care for a couple of reasons. When you put a lot of time and effort into something, you obviously hope someone will appreciate your efforts. But more importantly, I wanted to effect change and bring encouragement. I wanted to take my experiences and have others know that God would lead them through, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

A little over ten years ago, my father put together two three-ringed binders of essays that he had written. These essays are my family history in anecdotal form.  As I was writing the post about music, I went searching through his essays to clarify my facts.  I began to read and was amazed at what I found. I had forgotten what a precious gift these essays are. With his usual sense of humor he had related stories of his growing up years, how he met and married my mother, and his thoughts on a number of his life experiences.

My father is getting up in years and it is an unfortunate fact of life that he will not walk on this earth forever. When he slips from his mortal body to walk into the arms of His Savior, I will have him with me every time I read his words. His personality jumps off every page. This legacy is a wonderful blessing to me and will be passed down to my daughter and each generation thereafter as a reminder of their heritage.

I believe deep within each one of us is the desire to make a difference, a desire to leave something behind of eternal value.  So much of what we do in our every day lives doesn’t accomplish this.  Through out history it is the written word which has survived.  Clearly, the written word is important to God. He gave us His written Word as a compass and guide. His Word will survive for all eternity. It is His Word which communicates to us His thoughts, His character, and His purposes.

Do I believe anyone will really care what I have written ten years, fifty years, or one hundred years from now?  No, I don’t. I am not a writer, nor do I pretend to be. What I do care about is that what I write here will be what I feel He has led me to write. If I do that, if I am obedient to what I believe He has asked me to write, then I have accomplished what I set out to do. It is my desire all will be encouraged to continue in hope and faith as they walk in this marvelous adventure we call the Christian life.

It isn’t so much that I believe I have something important to say. It is that I believe He has something important to say.  For whatever reason, He has chosen this imperfect platform as one of the small ways in which to do that.

That is why I care.

It is a very humbling revelation.

“The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of a fool pours forth foolishness.  Proverbs 15: 2 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

To Dance For The King

To Dance For The King“Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes pleasure in His People; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” Psalm 149: 3-4 (NKJV)

There has been much discussion within  various denominations over the years, as to whether or not it is appropriate for a Christian to dance. I grew up in a fairly liberal Baptist denomination where dancing, while not encouraged, was not particularly discouraged.  I have memories of a few awkward high school dances where I stood along the wall while my fellow classmates were doing their best to imitate the popular dances of the 1970s.  I don’t recall having much fun at those dances. It seemed to me like so much wasted time and effort as people gyrated in the dark in hopes of having a good time.  I am sure many of my classmates would have disagreed with me, but these dances always left me feeling socially awkward (which I was) and dissatisfied when all was said and done.

I have had some experience with dance since then. My daughter began her ballet training at age 3 with Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, MS.  I did not know then that ballet would play such an important role in her life, or that God would call her to it. I only knew, from the first time she could pull herself up to stand, she stood on her toes. I have a picture of her doing an arabesque in her crib at age eighteen months or so; another premonition of what was to come, although I did not recognize it as such.

The director of Ballet Magnificat attended the same church as we did at that time. Kathy Thibodeaux saw her dancing and playing in the nursery one Sunday and spoke to us about bringing her into the studio for ballet classes. They were offering a one week summer ballet workshop for three-year olds and we felt it would be a great way to see if our daughter had any interest or aptitude.  The rest, as they say, is history.

God’s original purpose for dance was to worship Him. There are many examples in Scripture of dancing before the Lord. In fact, King David was severely criticized by his wife  as he danced with abandon in praise to God. She paid a tremendous price for that contempt.

“Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. . . Now as the ark of the LORD came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.  So they brought the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.  And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.  Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed, everyone to his house. Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, ‘How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!’ So David said to Michal, ‘It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.’ Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” 2 Samuel 6: 14, 16-23 (NKJV)

David’s dance before the Lord, honored and pleased Him. And yet we have not, until recently, included dance as part of our worship services. Like the other creative and performing arts, we have largely abandoned dance to secular influences; its purpose has become to entertain, entice, and seduce.

About three years ago, we took our daughter to see a ballet performance of “Carmen.”  My husband has always enjoyed the music and, as this ballet was performed by a premier Russian ballet company, we felt it would be a wonderful gift to our daughter.  We paid the added price for premium seats so Hannah would have an unobstructed view of the stage and the dancer’s feet.

We found this was not a traditional rendering of the story, but a contemporary one; not totally unexpected, but somewhat of a disappointment. In fact, most of the music we enjoyed was not even in evidence.  The storyline of “Carmen” is one for the mature anyway, but we felt that since our daughter was an adult, and this was a classical ballet company, it would be treated with some measure of finesse and discretion. To say we were mistaken would be a gross understatement.

The first act of the ballet wasn’t too bad. We didn’t particularly enjoy their interpretation of the story, but this was more of a stylistic difference, as the dancing was superb.  The second act however was completely different.  As the second act opened, the male and female principal dancers entered the stage in nude body tights. We knew that this did not bode well, and we were right. They proceeded to dance in a way that almost anyone would have considered pornographic.  We sat there in shock and disbelief at what we were seeing, not quite knowing what to do. What we should have done was to get up right then and walk out, but we were in prominent seats and were hesitant to stand up and leave in the middle of the performance (always considered to be extremely rude in dance world etiquette).  Hannah shut her eyes, as did I, and then, in what seemed like an interminable amount of time, the act finally ended and we walked out of the theater.  We were not alone.  We saw many others getting up to leave as well.

For me, this is a prime example of what the dance world has become. It doesn’t seem to matter which of the dance genres we are talking about, the rapid slide into moral degeneration seems to be evident everywhere in dance and the wider world of the arts. Age doesn’t seem to be relevant either, as many dance schools across the country are teaching very young girls to dance like pole dancers at a “gentlemen’s club.”  The competition dance circuit is rife with this practice.

As our daughter was considering where to continue her dance training in college, this became a primary concern. There are many highly regarded dance programs all over the country, each training dancers with excellent technique, but few with much respect for modesty or propriety.  After much research and prayer, Hannah narrowed her choice down to Belhaven University located ironically, in Jackson, MS, where she began her dance training. In fact, when she was first taking class at Ballet Magnificat, Belhaven’s dance program was in its infancy, offering only a dance minor. Their dancers took class at Ballet Magnificat. Now a full-fledged, highly regarded program, Belhaven University is training dancers to change the world of dance, honoring God with excellence in all they do.

We must restore dance, and all of the creative arts, to what God intends– a vehicle for worship. Christian dance companies are now forming all over the country and beginning the process of restoring beauty, grace, and worship to dance. Churches in many denominations are now including worship dance in their services with increasing regularity.

As in all endeavors, the secular dance world should be taking their lead from the church.  As Christians, we should be setting the standard in the dance world, not the other way around. We need to be impacting our culture through the arts, not taking our cues from culture as to what is acceptable.  As Christian dance companies seek to maintain the same technical and artistic proficiency as their secular counterparts, the dance world will begin look to the church for excellence, innovation, and leadership.

The creative arts are a gift from God and were meant to be an avenue for the expression of worship. When we don’t use the arts to worship Him, this worship defaults to the enemy. There is no neutral territory in this, or in any other area of our lives. It is time for us to take an unyielding stand for righteousness and return the arts to their original purpose: an expression of deep, heartfelt worship. While I am not advocating all artistic expression must be overtly Christian, there is no room for cultural tolerance or acceptance for that which does not honor Him. God did not suggest that we worship and honor Him in all that we do, He commands it.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Christian Ballet/Dance Company Links:

Ballet Magnificat; http://www.balletmagnificat.com/

Ballet Emmanuel; http://www.balletemmanuel.org/

Ad Deum Dance Company; http://www.danceaddeum.com/

Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

Let There Be Music In The House

Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. 2 Samuel 6:5 (NKJV)

I come from a musically rich heritage.  My father, who was a mechanical engineer, was also a pianist who, as a young man, studied for five years at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While he never played piano professionally, he played in countless churches.  I do not know who said it, but when my father’s musical skills were discussed, someone said, “Oh, Bruce plays by ear. Don’t ask him to read the music.” It always amazed me he could listen to a melody and then sit down at the piano and play it, complete with harmony and embellishments. He could always be counted on to sit down to play at the “drop of a hat,” and he would even drop the hat.

My sister, who is a medical technologist, by training and profession,  plays the flute and piccolo (previously playing in several community orchestras and now exclusively in her church orchestra) along with the handbells in the handbell choir. She is actually quite good (although she will tell you otherwise) but she doesn’t enjoy performing. She would rather play in an orchestra than be the center of attention.  She follows in the footsteps of a paternal grandfather who also played the flute.

My brother became an orthodontist after giving up on several instruments, but he still loves music!  He used to play the first five or six bars of the “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano with great aplomb, but never quite made it past that point. He dabbled in saxophone (which he hated–he wanted to play the trumpet), piano, and who knows what else before finally putting them aside after high school. One of his sons now plays the piano, taking up the mantle his father laid down.

I played the violin for a short time as a young girl, and the piano from second grade through college graduation, when I no longer had access to one. Like my sister, I did not like performing. I remember waiting, one Sunday morning in the pew at church to play a piano solo for the offertory.  My heart pounding and hands shaking, my father, seeing my discomfort, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “It’s time to get nervous now.”  Trying to interject a humorous moment didn’t lessen my nervousness, but I was comforted by his love and concern.

One of my favorite hymns has always been the Swedish hymn, “Day By Day”.  I remember sitting next to my father on our piano bench at home, during an especially difficult time in my life, listening as he played this beautiful old hymn. The words and melody have been a comfort so many times during my life. I was reminded of this hymn again recently.

Day By Day

Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best –
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Everyday the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Power,
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
this the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in my every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy word.
Help me Lord, when toil and trouble meeting
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
‘Til I reach the promised land.

Hymnist :  Karolina W Sandell-Berg (Lina Sandell)  (1832-1903)
Music by:  Oscar Ahnfelt, 1813-1882

It is unfortunate we no longer sing some of these hymns. While I enjoy and appreciate much of the new “praise and worship” music we sing in church today, it is some of these old hymns which still have the power to soothe and encourage during especially difficult times.

Hymns like “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “Amazing Grace” are still widely heard in many churches, but there are many more wonderful, inspired hymns that seem to have been forgotten. It is too bad that even when these older hymns are played, they are played more like funeral dirges than the praise and worship songs they were intended to be.  No wonder people don’t enjoy them much. It gives me hope to see some of these old hymns re-born by such groups as, Selah, and others.

Many of these hymns have an incredible history. The older I get, the more I realize that understanding history is important. It was only during my daughter’s high school years that I began to realize how fascinating the study of history is. For me, history was always taught as names, dates, and places to be memorized; an incredibly boring process with little to recommend it. I never understood then that history is the study of people and how their decisions affected the lives of others.

When I begin to look at the “when and why” of some of these old hymns, I begin to understand what tremendous faith and courage they represent.  They help me to remember and understand my spiritual heritage.  Remembering keeps me connected to those who have gone before me in faith. They help me to stand strong in faith when I would rather give up.

My daughter has now added a new twist to my family’s heritage for music. Her instrument for praise and worship is dance.  God has gifted her to play an “instrument” that is as expressive as any piano, flute, or violin.  Her interpretation of music as she dances makes her one with the other instruments in the background.

For those that do not play an instrument, we can always lift our voices in song, whether on Sunday mornings as part of the congregation or in a choir. Even if we aren’t musically gifted, we can still sing our praises to the God Who is worthy of all praise.  As a pastor once said: “Everyone can sing. Not everyone should record.” It is our heart for worship that pleases God.

I am so grateful to God for the gift of music. Music adds such beauty, richness, and enjoyment to my life. It expresses the deepest feelings of my heart without uttering a word.  It is also a vehicle for my most earnest praise and worship. Music renews my spirit and restores a peace to my soul. Music brings the presence of God to me in a way that nothing else can.

God inhabits the praise of his people.

“But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3 (NKJV)

(I have included a You Tube rendition of “Day By Day” in the Comments section, for those who are unfamiliar with this hymn.)

Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved