Giving Thanks in Praise and Worship
I love listening to music. I guess it started on the late 1940’s, sitting with my Granddad on the
front steps of his old house in Ponsonby, smoking his cigarette. (Him not me!) in his ‘British’
daily wear of suit with waist coat and tie while he played tunes on his banjo. It was relaxing and comforting for a little boy. In later years it was listening to my Dad who often played old war song tunes on his mouth organ or accordion (squeeze box’.) or playing old ‘78’ records on the old wind up gramophone (which was also good for putting little plastic toy animals onto and spinning them off across the room). These songs were often melancholy western cowboy ballads or opera but a bit scratchy to listen to. Then came the electric, (don’t touch it or you will break it!) radio-gram. Although still in mono the sound was great. Dad had a little paperback that told the stories of many operas. I loved the classical music and the stories behind them and it gave me a greater appreciation for music. The Mormons also used to call in occasionally to see Dad with a record of the Salt Lake City Men’s Choir singing. It was great to listen to those rich voices and brought some Christian Hymns into my life. Dad always knew the Mormon men had an ulterior motive so when he was approached to join their church that was the last we saw of them and their music. Sunday noon on radio station 1ZB was the Sunday request sessions and again after the valves on the radio warmed up we always tuned into hear this. Of course, in the late 50’s and early 60’s came Rock & Roll. (before it all got ‘demonic’, although our late parents may have thought it already was!) And yes I still do enjoy those older R&R songs…at least you could understand the words and sing along to most of them…( Do ditty ditty dum ditty dum and bam shibam!..well at least it rhymed!) Several years after we were married, my younger brother, who owned a stereo shop, gave us a stereo unit with speakers as well as a a set of head phones. I remember playing the classical record Peer Gynt through these and listening for the first time the different orchestral instruments coming together into play. It was so amazing. A bit like our Christian ‘family’, especially when we all come to work together in harmony. Every little bit playing its part.
All these types of music brought out different emotions and sources of enjoyment to my mind, but I think I was most affected in my Spirit by the massed choirs at Billy Graham Crusades during the late 50’s. The music and words seemed to go deep into my spirit. In later years we had the Pentecostal foot stamping, hand clapping praise to quiet and modern reflective worship that extolls the love of God. This praise and worship I love more than anything and at times different Christian songs, especially about Gods amazing love still brings tears to my eyes and causes me to dance…not a pretty sight but dancing mainly on the ‘inside’ and at least tapping my feet, clapping and raising my arms!!
Maybe it’s just age, coupled with hymns we sang in church in our younger days or heard at Billy Graham Crusades or maybe it’s just age related just plain nostalgia. In recent times my wife Daphne and I have taken to watch You Tube before going to bed, especially worship such as Terry MacAlmon or the Gaither Vocal Band and many of the different singers involved with them. Songs range from old to modern and it’s great to go to bed on. I often wake in the night to songs still going through my mind.
Recently a song came up on You Tube that was to the tune we used to sing “Be Still My Soul” too, however it had new words to it that really touched my spirit. It was renamed “I Then Shall Live” (by Gaither Vocal Band) Have a listen, its very good. It speaks of life and how we should live our lives when we are filled with the love of God.
Music is great. It lifts the spirit, and is an immense source of enjoyment whether you are pretty tuneless like me or a good singer. However, the greatest of these forms of music for Christians must be praise and worship, where the songs and tunes are not just for our enjoyment to receive, but are a special way in which we can give our thankful praise and worship back to Father God, acknowledging who He is and what He has done for us. It builds us up in our Spirits and brings joy and rest to our soul. Whether or not we can sing or ‘dance’, it does not matter. God looks at our heart attitudes and any ‘tuneless’ song we may sing is pure joy to His ears. Praise and worship can put a song in our heart, help us to be thankful, acknowledge who our God is, fill us with His love and help us rise above our circumstances while honouring God for his love, faithfulness, provision, healing, goodness, compassion, and mercy to us.
The Bible has a lot to say to us about singing, dancing, making music and praising God, especially in Psalms. There are myriads of scriptures but here are a few for you to look up yourselves. Check these out these scriptures and be encouraged. (Comments from The Message version)
PSALMS 9:2, (Singing, whistling, laughing and jumping for joy) 13:5-6, (Singing at the top of my lungs ) 47:16,(Sing your best songs to God) 59:16, (Singing God’s prowess) 63:3-4, ( My lips praise you, my breath blesses you and my arms wave like banners of praise) 68:4-5, (Sing hymns to God, sing out, enjoy God and cheer Him) 95:1-2,(Shout His praises, Sing praises and ‘lift the roof’ with our singing) Psalm 96, (Sing to God a new song, worship Him) 100:1-5,( Applaud God, Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourself into His presence and worship Him) 105:2, Sing to Him and translate His wonders into music) 108:3, (Sing in the town and the country, The deeper His love the higher it goes) 147:1,(Praise is beautiful and fitting) 150:1-6. (Praise God EVERYWHERE and and in everything) Also Isaiah 12:5,( Sing praises to God , thank Him, Sing your hears out) James 5:13 ( In every circumstance…SING!)
Praise and worship helps us be so thankful. Here are some other songs for you to look up on You Tube, Spotify or whatever you use.(1) “In Everything Give Thanks” and “Thank You Lord for your blessings on me” by Charlotte Ritchie and Jeff & Sheree Easter. (2) ‘The Promise’ sung by The Martins . (3) ‘Hear my Song Lord’ by Gaither Vocal band and (4)’ I Know how to say Thank You’ by Sarah DeLane. Have a listen and may we all raise our voices in praise to God almighty, being thankful and living our lives as a sacrifice of praise as the Lord designed us to live, and maybe think about what Jesus has said to us as portrayed in the lyrics of ‘The Promise’ song . Be thankful, praise Him, worship Him, and lets SING OUR HEARTS OUT to the one who loves us most
Be Blessed in Jesus precious name