Thursday, March 16, 2017

Yours is the Name

Psalm 71:23  
My lips will shout for joy when I praise you -  I, whom you have delivered.

Music has always been so powerful to me.  As a young girl, I listened to the radio every minute of my spare time.  I used my entire allowance to buy the old 45's.  I almost lived for music.

I grew up in the Church of Christ, which does not use instruments during its worship service.  There were even some people who believed anytime you listened to Christian music, you should not have instruments, citing Ephesians 5: 19:  "Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord."  This never made sense to me, because if you had to make music in your hearts instead of using instruments, why didn't we have to sing in our hearts, too, instead of using our voice?
At the age of 40, I began to attend the Mennonite church, eventually becoming a member there.  The very conservative church I first joined not only didn't use instruments in their worship service, but also did not allow any kind of instrumental music AT ALL, even in our homes.  They had all kinds of reasons, none that made sense to me, either, but I obeyed the bishop and let go of instrumental music.

One thing that three or so years of no instrumental music (no Beatles, no Monkees... showing my age here...) did for me, was to cleanse me of music that was less than pure.  I had grown spiritually.  When a time came that there was so much upheaval that I withdrew my membership from that church, there was no going back to music that had sin in it, or even the hint of sin.  That meant listening to the oldies radio was pretty much out of the question.  Christian music stations replaced it.
And eventually I joined a Mennonite that allows instrumental music.  Music is such a powerful tool of worship.  The Psalms are just full of musical worship.  It speaks to our very souls.  I am grateful it's back in my life.

I have many conservative friends who don't like contemporary Christian music, and would even call it sin.  While I respect them, I don't feel that way.  There's a lot of contemporary music I don't care much.  Too much of it reduces God to nothing more than a best friend.  Some of it, you could almost sing to your boyfriend or girlfriend.  I think God is too holy to treat him in such a casual way.

This morning, after I dropped a daughter off at work and a son off with a friend, all alone in the car, I turned on the Christian radio station.
And a powerful, worshipful, contemporary Christian song came on, that I haven't heard in a while.

Two and a half years ago, my daughter and I found my husband dead on the  floor of the family lakehouse.  That time, and the terrible things that followed in the months after, were life shattering for me.  I wasn't real sure how to continue on with my life.  I wasn't sure I even wanted too.  I did know giving up wasn't an option, and as I continually turned to the Lord, he got me through it.  I learned to pray in a new way.  I learned to journal my prayers.  I set my alarm for 5:30 in the morning, and sometimes spent as long as two hours, pleading and praying to my God.
It was terrible.  It was glorious.

During that time, there was a song that I listened to over, and over, and over.  I listened to it and I cried and cried.  It spoke to me in such a powerful way.  It told me there was only ONE NAME that mattered.  Only one whose favor I needed to seek.  The only one whose friendship and affection I needed in a time when I felt very lonely.

That's been a while ago.  I have gotten through that terrible time with a new outlook on life.  I stayed faithful when I wanted to give up.  I got through it, with the help of my Savior, and came out of it stronger and more firmly on the solid rock than ever.

So when that song came on the radio this morning, while I was in the car alone, I joyfully turned it up, loud.  I drove home on the familiar highway, tears streaming, hand raised, worshiping my God.
Maybe you wouldn't wanted to drive next to me during that time, but it was probably very safe, because I was in the hands of my Lord.  Oh, how I love him!!

So here is that song.  Listen to it, and think hard on the joyful words.  Raise your hands and worship.  God is SO good!!

Yours is the name, the name that has saved me,
Mercy and grace, the power that forgave me,
And your love is all that I've ever needed.

Yours Will Be the Only Name 

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