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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

“Man Up!” – Simple Praise ♫

I have mentioned many times of my wife’s and my love of music.  I think that this is one of the many things we shared when we first got together at the beginning of the 1970’s.  We both loved to sing… but were at totally opposite ends of the spectrum.  My new girl loved to listen to and sing Christian music.  She was quite knowledgeable of all the old hymns as well as with the more contemporary folk music that was popular among the younger believers at the time.  I, on the other hand… was COOL!  I was the lead singer in a rock and roll band and could tell you about and sing most of the lyrics to almost all the songs played on the top 40 radio stations at the time.

I couldn’t get enough of the stuff!  I even had a little cube radio in the bathroom that I pressed the button on first thing in the morning and every other time I entered the room.  My clock radio was used so much that it got to the point that I had to bang it with my hand in order for it to play!  When I got into high school I would put my new stereo speakers in the window so I could blast my tunes while I washed the car in the driveway!  

So I sang my tunes and Piper sang hers.  What was really strange to me was that Piper never listened to the popular radio stations.  The current array of artist on the charts were unknown to her.  Therefore I introduced her to the “COOL” music and she introduced me to hers… although while I didn’t say much about it because I was head over heels for her… I thought the Christian folk stuff was pretty corny and a bad imitation of the “real music” I enjoyed… That is until she introduced me to the Second Chapter of Acts in 1973.  That one band turned me upside down and I became a fanatic at searching out the “underground” Christian bands that played a similar style of music.

One of the first activities I pursued with the budget given me as the Youth Minister at the First Baptist Church was the development of a lending library of albums by these bands in order to introduce our youth to this genre of music which was relatively unknown in conservative Christian churches at that time.  A few years later I even went so far as to give away most of my secular albums and eight track tapes!

Piper and I learned early on that praise was a powerful tool in controlling and leading our emotions, keeping our faith strong, and in warding off the attacks of depression and/or hopelessness that come at most people throughout their lives.  It would not be uncommon for me to walk through the front door of our home after work and hear Piper or the kids singing praise songs to God.  I could almost always depend on Piper’s first reaction to a tough situation, bad news or a rough day being to break out into a simple whimsical song of praise.  She could almost always turn around any negatives I was thinking about or going through with her song, combined with a sweet smile and that bright gleam in her eyes! 

Nowadays I find myself doing the same thing for her on a daily basis!  It reminds me of the article I read a few weeks ago from an Alzheimer’s Association email I received.  It told the story of a husband whose wife had the disease and how he was doing all he could do to take care of her and pay her back for all the love she had given to him throughout the many years of their marriage.  Those are my exact thoughts and reasoning for all that I do.

Those songs of praise also keep me from giving into the heartache that I feel every day.  When the pressure gets almost over whelming, I know to break into one of those simple songs of praise – whether I feel like it or not!  As I focus my attention away from me and back on to Him, I suddenly have something to smile about. Ephesians 5:19 tells us that the cure for getting drunk on any worldly dependence, habit, addiction or distraction is to “Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts.” (God’s Word ©)  The writer of Proverbs 15:13 also realized the truth to this reaction to the pressures that weigh heavy upon each of us when he wrote: “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but with a heartache comes depression.” (God’s Word ©)

I have seen those who have received my wife’s (temporary – according to the Word of God) condition without any song of praise where the depression in their homes and visible on their faces is so thick that you could almost cut it with a knife!  And I must tell you that this is not for me… nor is it good for my wife.  Depression is just not good for anyone to yield to and as Christians we have the tools and the power to replace it with a joy that pumps us full of the Godly expectation that clears our minds and enables us to move forward to where Papa God wants us to be!

So, do you need hope today?  Do you need spiritual, emotional and physical strength?  Then I would strongly encourage you to break into a simple but heartfelt song of praise unto our God that will lift you out of the depths of depression and hopelessness and into the arena of His unlimited resources that are there for you.  Remember that Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “A joyful heart is good medicine, but depression drains one’s strength.” (God’s Word ©)

Therefore, my prayer for you today is that you yield to His praise and have a joyful, victorious (no matter what the circumstances look like) day today… and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose song am I expecting to sing today?”

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