I have always been moved by certain music, granted I can’t sing a tune to save my life, but I do love music and I am moved by it. But, the thing is (as I get older and continue to grow in wisdom and fall more in love with Jesus)…I pay MUCH closer attention to the words! If a song doesn’t line up with God’s truth, then I can’t listen to it like I used to, even if it sounds really good. Now, with that said, some songs may be fairly neutral, and then some songs I just grew up listening to that I just flat-out enjoy because they have good memories attached to them. For example, “Guitars and Cadillacs” by Dwight Yoakum, now I love that song! Makes me want to two-step with whoever will do me the honor! BUT, when it says, “guitars, cadillacs, and hillbilly music are the only things that keep me hangin’ on,” clearly that’s where I draw the line. I just can’t belt out those lines like I used to. Praise Jesus, I have Someone better to keep me hangin’ on! But, you get my point. I have listened to things in my past the now make me want to heave at how I grieved the Holy Spirit, praise Jesus for growth in wisdom and for His grace. Words have power, and music has power, too.
And when TRUTH gets put to music, that is power to the soul!
In my office, we play contemporary Christian music all day long. OFTEN, my patients will find me humming or even singing the words (to myself, of course!) and it keeps me focused on Who deserves my praise and Who I am really working for each moment. Well, yesterday, it really occurred to me how there have been 3 songs lately that have just really ministered TRUTH to me in a way that was significant. For someone who loves worship music as much as I do, it seems a bit funny to only list 3. Even after I thought of these 3 songs, there is another one playing even as I type that I think deserves mention! When is the last time that God’s truth changed you? Was it in a bible study, a song, or reading His Word? Oh Lord, give us ears to hear what the Spirit is saying!
The first song that came to mind is “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band (words written by John Mark McMillan). Two years ago in April, my husband and I lost our first baby in the first trimester. In the most appropriately astonishing demonstration of His love, the Lord spoke to me in a dream in the early hours of a Tuesday morning about what we were supposed to name this child, and gave me very specific scriptures to confirm it. We officially knew our baby did not live on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, my Tuesday night bible study sisters were praying for Justin and I, and God’s grace did abound, as it always does. I’ve never felt pain like that, neither physically nor emotionally.
God’s sovereignty proves faithful, because my best friend Julia and I had tickets to Beth Moore’s conference in Little Rock 3 days later on Friday night. I did not know if I should go or even if I could go, and thankfully with much brokenness I went. And my friend was by my side, and my husband gave me his blessing, and my God beckoned me get up off the couch of my suffering and meet with Him 6 hours away in a coliseum filled with thousands of women…and He saw me, and He ministered to me, and He healed me. And though I remember the subject Beth taught on (fulfilling our calling)…God used this song to tell me how much He loves me. And I soaked in these lyrics, and He bathed me in His grace, and as tears billowed out of my body, indeed I knew and I believed that…
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
From that second, and praise His Name for the rest of my life, I will know His love deeper and stronger than I ever could have without the weight of that storm and His mercy. He is The Restorer, and oh how I love Him back!
The 2nd song is “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United. I was listening to my friend Ashley lead us in this song at a women’s conference this past January. These lyrics, repeated over & over in my ears and riveted my soul,
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Strangely, while she sang, I was sitting down while everyone else was standing, and I was praising God with my eyes closed tight, and I heard the Holy Spirit deep within myself saying over and over again “my answer is Yes, my only fear is You.” And every time I hear that song, those words come to my mind and I am reminded that saying YES to Jesus is what He wants from me, and the only fear I should have is Him. He is Holy and He is good and His ways are right. Always. And He calls us out upon the waters, just as He did with Peter. Our eyes fixed on Jesus means we stay above the waves, and our eyes off Jesus and on our circumstances means that we struggle and fear ensues and we feel overwhelmed.
That is how I was feeling coming in to this conference. Overwhelmed by decisions that needed to be made at work, the temptation to return to my previous struggles with striving and driving toward the world’s view of success, and just needing God’s wisdom and freedom desperately. And as truth put to music usually does, it spoke God’s Word to me and the Holy Spirit confirmed it, and I was set free. Not set free from the reality of decisions that had to be made, but lifted above those circumstances to walk upon the water, wherever He would call me, taking me deeper that my feet would ever wander and making my faith stronger, and the thing that just slays my soul…In the Presence of my Savior. He is right here lovingly leading me to a place where my trust in Him no longer has borders. Oh, He is so good and He is so very much my ever-present help in time of need!
The 3rd song is “Blessed Redeemer” by Casting Crowns, actually I didn’t even know this was a Casting Crowns song when I first heard it. Our choir did a beautiful rendition of this song at Easter, so much so that I had to download it. Easter was different for me this year. It was perhaps more real to me as a 33 year old woman than in any previous year of celebrating our Savior’s resurrection. Surprise? Coincidence? No, I’m pretty sure 33 is significant for obvious reasons here. And as they sang so beautifully, these words pierced my heart like the sword pierced His side,
Blessed Redeemer, precious Redeemer
Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading
Blind and unheeding, dying for me
Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree. And I believe that I did, like never before. I had just finished the book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, called The Wonder of His Name, where she took us through 32 life-changing Names of Jesus through the lenton season (the 40 days leading up to Resurrection Sunday).
When you know someone by their nickname, it’s different than when you only know them by a formal name. For example, when someone calls me “Shar” or one of my other nicknames, I know that they have been through some LIFE with me. I love how Jesus has so many Names in God’s Word. It speaks to the magnitude of His Person, doesn’t it? Each Name causes us to know Him more, and the more you know someone, the more you hurt when they hurt.
That is what I felt when I heard the choir sing these lyrics. And I was glad to feel His pain, because that makes the reality of His Victory over the grave and death and sin that much sweeter. He did it for me, and He did it for you, and He finished His work so that we might truly live.
It amazes me how God can use the most likely or the most unlikely ways to speak His Word to us. It is to our great benefit to fill our minds with truth rather than lies. The world has every possible twist to truth available if we will listen, yet our Father pleads that we:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT
What and who we listen to matters. It could be music, it could be news, it could be conversations with certain people at work or at home or even at church. Pay attention to the things you allow your mind to dwell on. God cares what we meditate upon and he cares what goes into our mind as well as what comes out of our mouths. Now, you will undoubtedly find me singing along to Guitars, Cadillacs again someday…maybe even while my husband pushes me around the dance floor (I wish he loved to two-step as much as I do, but alas he does NOT!)…but the tunes I allow to influence me day by day are God’s Truth set to music, and I believe that has made all the difference. It is one of the profound ways the Lord has used to transform my mind FROM conforming the world’s way TO following Him and really loving His ways. So, let’s tune-in to what God is saying through His Word and through hymns and songs that contain the truth of His Word.
So, what songs has God used to speak His truth to you lately? I’m so curious to know! Use the comment section and testify 🙂