When “I Love You” Isn’t Enough

Do you ever feel like “I Love You” just isn’t sufficient to express your love, gratitude, thankfulness, and worship of God? Does it ever seem like your words are too shallow or superficial to communicate just how glorious, radiant, majestic, powerful, and holy God truly is? When feelings like these come along, I have found singing songs of worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God with a heart which longs to lift Him high is the only way I can find satisfaction. I believe it is when we praise Him that we have reached the pinnacle of our existence.

The song “My Praise” by Phillips, Craig, and Dean paints a beautiful picture of how I want my praise to be received by Almighty God in heaven.

“Why Sing?” by Michael Bleeker

Singing is a biblical command.

The psalms are filled with the obligation (Ps. 66: “Shout for joy, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise”). But even the New Testament takes up this duty:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20

Singing is a means of remembering and celebrating who God is and what He has done.

I care about the words we sing because they teach of who God is. The message is crucial. Music without a message can only excite emotions.

I remember the tears I shed at the Church’s song in the early days of my newly recovered faith, and how even today I am moved not by the singing as such but by the substance of what is sung, when it is rendered (delivered) in a clear voice and in the most appropriate melodies, and then I recognize once more the value of this custom. Thus I vacillate (waver) between the danger of sensuality and the undeniable benefits. Without pretending to give a definitive opinion I am more inclined to approve of the custom of singing in church, to the end that through the pleasures of the ear a weaker mind may rise up to loving devotion. Nonetheless when in my own case it happens that the singing has a more powerful effect on me than the sense of what is sung, I confess my sin and my need of repentance, and then I would rather not hear any singer. Augustine, Confessions Book X

There are four important aspects of song:

  • Repetition (aids memory) “Hosanna.” We sang “Hosanna” 6x. Why?  Repetition is good. We should remember that repetition without understanding ceases to be worship. Hosanna means “Hooray for salvation! It’s coming! It’s here!”

  • Restatement (aids understanding) “So High.” “You are indescribable, you are beyond expression. And I run out of words for you.” We want to state something again, just in a different way.

  • Rhythm (systematic use of musical sounds) The music is the form, which is there to aid the function.

  • Rhyme (aids memory) There is freedom, taste and see. Hear the call, come to me. Run into His arms of grace. Your burden carried He will take. – “Come to Me”

So, why do we sing?  Two reasons: duty and delight. Lyrics fulfill the duty to remember the person and work of the Lord, and music delights the soul.

Sing and make melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Michael Bleeker is Worship Pastor at The Village Church.

Happy Mother’s Day

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. She is like  merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. She  rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household And portions to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong. She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes  coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known  in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes  linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen. Strength and  dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. She  opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31.10-31 NASB)

A Psalm of Giving Thanks (Ps 100)

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!  Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and  we are his;[a] we are his  people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

From the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Whom Shall I Fear?

One of the worst memories I have of my school-years is of bullies. To this day, when I see a news report in which someone is being bullied a fire starts to build up within. Even as adults, we have to deal with those who try to intimidate us with fear.  They may threaten our job, family, health, or property. They demand we give them exactly what they want or pay for disobedience.

Bullying didn’t just start in the twenty-first century.  When we look back in history, we see that bullying today is nothing new under the sun. In the Old Testament, we can see how scare tactics were used against David; and yet, most of the time he responded in a godly manner. His trust in God allowed him to endure the trials of life. No matter what the threat or how difficult the circumstances, David’s trust in God led him to find peace which led to praise.

An example of this in Scripture is Psalm 27.1-6:

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.  One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.  For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;  he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.  And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD” (Psalm 27:1-6 ESV).