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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

2 of - The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life - Book Review

When King Solomon had the Ark of the Covenant brought to the temple at its dedication, he had the Levites play cymbals, harps, lyres , & trumpets. Singers raised their voices to praise God with this magnificent musical accompaniment. The glory of the Lord filled the temple with a cloud after this musical display. (2 Chronicles 5:12-14).

When a vast army of Moabites, Ammonites, & Meunites came against Jerusalem, King Jehoshaphat & all of Judah stood before the Lord & prayed. When the Israelites returned to Jerusalem in victory, they went to the temple of the Lord with harps, lutes, & trumpets praising God in music & song. (2 Chronicles 20:21-22,28).

In 2 Chronicles 29:25-28 we read that King Hezekiah opened the doors of the temple & cleansed it from idolatry, one of the first he did was reestablish music & song there. He furnished the Levites with cymbals, harps, trumpets, & all the instruments of David.

After rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah immediately established the singers in the temple.

The book of Nehemiah indicates in the time of David there were directors of music for the singers & songs of praise & thanks. Nehemiah realized how important music was in the service of God in the temple & for the worship of God among the people.

After Jesus instituted communion as a memorial of His death, Matthew 26:30 says, "When they had sung a hymn, they went to the Mount of Olives." Mark 14:26 states that Jesus sang this hymn along with His disciples right before He prayed in Gethsemane shortly before He was crucified. This was probably not the first time that they had sung together, but this is the only time recorded in Scripture that our Lord sang.

This hymn is believed to be from the psalms called the "Great Hallel" or the "praise Psalms," which were Psalms 113-118 & 136.

A song can lift us into the presence of God & comfort our hearts even in life's darkest hours.

Paul & Silas was severely beaten for preaching the gospel & thrown into prison with their feet in stocks, but they sang praises to God in the midst of this seemingly hopeless situation. God moved with a great earthquake that shook the entire foundation of the prison & they were set free.

Throughout time, great men in Church history have understood the profound effect of music on the heart & the importance of godly music in the life of a Christian.

Martin Luther, who is credited with igniting the flame of the Protestant Reformation, was a wonderful composer.

One of his greatest hymns, which was one of my favorite growing up, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

Martin Luther had a legendary love for music. He often played after dinner with his family & guests & composed songs for his children. Music was not just a recreational tool for Luther - it was an integral part of his life & he found a source of strength & comfort in music.

Luther was well aware of the power of music & insisted that its proper use was "to the glorification of God & the edification to man."

During the Wesleyan Revival in the 18th Century, Charles Wesley wrote more than six thousand hymns, including some that became classics of the Church, like "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sink," "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," & "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."

Listening to music is not meant to replace a Christian's time in studying & mediating on the Bible, or prayer & intimate fellowship with the heavenly Father & our Lord Jesus.

Music either pulls you into the heart of God or pulls you into the heart of God or pulls you into the heart of the world. God is crying out to the Church & to every Christian believer, "Do not be ignorant or fooled by music & think your listening choices are harmless to your walk & relationship with me!"

Since the fall of Lucifier, music has been a major weapon in the battle for the heart.

Often our greatest songs of praise are borne in trials & temptations.

Many Christians today have lost the song in their hearts for God. When the heart is bitter & unforgiving, when the heart forgets God, when the heart becomes entangled with the things of this world, it loses its song.

In Exodus 15, the children of Israel sang the right song when they were delivered from the army of Egypt, but they sang it on the wrong side. They should have been singing this song even when they were in bondage in Egypt, not simply after a great miracle & deliverance from God.

Our God will never fail us. Our God will never leave us, or forsake us, & His strength is perfect in our weakness.

Yes, indeed - God is my Salvation. God - yes God! is my strength & song, best of all, my salvation!

Our song is never a song of anxiety, fear, or worry. He is our strength, our defender, our provider, & our deliverer. We should be raising the roof with our praise - song to God.

We cannot keep silent about the wonder of our God & His amazing works. God cries when the song of our hearts goes silent.

Don't lose your love song for God by turning away from Him when things get tough.

Yahweh your God is there with you, the warrior-Savior. He will rejoice over you with happy song, he will renew you by His love, He will dance with shout of joy for you (NJB).

This song of God is a hymn of deliverance; victory, & Salvation. Psalm 32:7 says that God "surrounds us with songs of deliverance." God sings because He knows that He has made you in Christ & that He has given you a name & divine destiny.

But God, says, "No matter anyone says, you are my beloved, My treasure, My pearl more valueable than all the treasures of the earth."

God sings to us. We sing to God.

Nothing is more important to our life than the thoughts that occupy our minds on a daily basis. The critical question becomes "What are you thinking?"

Our hearts are built on the foundation of our thoughts. The heart is molded & shaped by our thoughts. Thoughts are the blueprint of the hear, & the heart becomes the image of its thought. We are what we think.

We can't ignore the importance of our thinking if we want to love God with all our heart.

Tozer encourages Christians to "form the habit of a holy thought life."

God commands us to love Him with all our mind (Luke 10:27).

Our thought life should prepare our hearts for the Lord so that He might live & reign from its throne room. King David, in his last admonishment to his son Solomon & the children of Israel, exhorts them to frame their thoughts carefully so God can prepare their hearts to love & serve Him above all else.

The heart is like a mirror, reflecting the image of its thoughts. God should be the only image that dominates our thinking.

The author, Tim Rowe has a doctorate of jurisprudence & a bachelor's degree in biblical studies, history, & classics. An attorney & author. He is the president of Goodness of God Ministries & lives in Indianapolis with his wife & son.