Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

So, Why do I need a Savior?

Many people wonder

(when they allow themselves to think about it),

Why do I need a Savior?”

This is actually a very good question.

*  Asking the “why” question shows that you are a thinking person who tries to do the right things, as you understand them.

*  Asking why a Savior is needed shows your openness to hear an answer.

*  Asking why means that you have enough curiosity to wonder what all of the Jesus talk is really about.

Asking “why?” means you are really close to understanging why…

if  you are brave enough to hear the answer.

Are you brave enough to learn the truth about why we all need a Savior?

If the answer is “YES,” there are three very short statements (4 words or less) to tell the reasons why we need a Savior.

THREE  SIMPLE  REASONS
FOR  UNDERSTANDING  THE  ANSWER  TO  THE  “WHY”  QUESTION

So, why do you
(and I, and everyone else in the world)

need a Savior?

1  Reason #1

  GOD  IS  HOLY.

  We really already know this.  Something deep inside tells us that there is a Someone who is somehow more loving, who is perfect and right.  When we think about the opposite scenario, it just makes sense that if  there was a God who was not holy, He would delight in constantly tormenting us and would force us to fear and respect and worship Him.  We would be living in constant fear, and we would not be able to choose how we want to live our lives.  We would not have any enjoyment in life if  God were evil.  The very fact that beauty and goodness exist at all is proof of the goodness and holiness of God.  A god who was evil and all powerful would not want us to have anything goodUnfortunately, we allow the good things that do exist in life (and the evils that we choose) to substitute for knowing our holy, righteous, just, and loving God.

How we say it:

We say things that reveal what our hearts know (voicing the truth that God has placed inside each of us about His holiness) when we feel inadequate, when we mess up, when we have hurt someone, when we have done something foolish, or when we have been selfish.
And, this is what we say, “I’m not God.”  or  “I’m only human.” 

This is how the Bible says it:

“But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by His justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by His righteous acts.”  ~  Isaiah 5:16

“I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”  ~  Leviticus 11:44a

“I will show my greatness and my holiness. I will reveal myself to many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”  Ezekiel 38:23

“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.”  ~  Psalm 145:17

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”  ~  I John 1:5

2  Reason #2

  PEOPLE  ARE  NOT  HOLY.

  It certainly is not difficult to recognize the truth of this statement.  All we have to do is to watch the evening news to see that people often deliberately choose to do terrible things.  In addition, as we look into our own hearts and consider the lives of people we know (even those whom we love), it becomes obvious that our motivations are not always pure.  Sometimes we are nice to someone because we want a favor.  Sometimes we are impatient or hateful, even with friends and loved ones.  Even people who are really trying to live a good life make mistakes, and we are all aware that our “goodness” is never 100%.

Nobody's perfect, Charlie BrownThis is how we voice the truth that people are not holy:
“Well, nobody’s perfect!”

When we make the statement that “nobody’s perfect”, we are actually in agreement with what the Bible says on this subject.

Here is what the Bible says about us:

“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him (Jesus) the sins of us all.”  ~ Isaiah 53:6

“For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  ~  Romans 3:23

10 As it is written:There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.'”  ~ Romans 3, verses 10 and 11

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”  ~  John 3:19

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.”  ~  Ecclesiastes 7:20

3  Reason #3

  WE  CANNOT  SAVE  OURSELVES!

  We have a problem that we can’t solve on our own.

There   is   a    h u g e                                         G A P_______________   between

God’s perfect holiness  __________and__________ our sinful unholiness.

This gap prevents us from being in close relationship with God.  This huge gap, or separation between us and God exists because we cannot begin to understand who He is with such a big barrier to relationship, and He cannot relate Himself to us while we are in our unholy state.  When the gap (or separation) is present, it’s more than just a divide.

You see, having a Savior is not just a ticket to Heaven.  Having a Savior is for this earthly life, too.  Because God wants us to know Him.  He wants us to know how much He loves us and how He is always working for our good.  He is not a distant Creator.  Rather, He is constantly sustaining life and hope, constantly giving and forgiving, and constantly working for the good of those who love Him.  He wants us to begin to know Him as He is… the loving Father and Lord of all Creation.

God already knows everything about us.  The Bible says that He even knows the number of hairs on our heads.  He wants the barrier of unholiness to be removed from our lives so that we can know Him.

Only then will we begin to:

Understand spiritual truth,
Receive spiritual life (even right now, while the Earth is still our home),
and finally
Be given the free gift of eternal life in Heaven through God’s provision of a way for our unholiness to become pure holiness.

All of this… the truth and life that we need and the way to become holy so that we can someday live in a holy place (Heaven) without our presence making it unholy…

ALL  of this can come to us only through Jesus, when we accept God’s free gift of salvation and pray to ask Jesus to become our own Savior and Lord.  Jesus is already THE Savior and THE Lord, but He will not become your Savior and Lord until you see your need for Him and ask Him.

HERE’S WHAT JESUS SAID about why we need Him:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  ~ John 14:6

 WE  NEED  LIFE! 

Our separation from God means that we have no spiritual understanding because we have no spiritual life.

Here’s what the Bible says about that:

“Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him.”  ~  Ephesians 4:18
(Notice the phrase, “the life God gives”.  This refers to spiritual life (being alive in spirit) as well as to eternal life.  Without spiritual life there is no spiritual understanding.)

4 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  ~  Ephesian 2:4 – 6

(Note:  In the second scripture above, the phrase,  “dead in our transgressions” refers to the natural state of mankind… spiritual death, or the absence of spiritual life that results from being separated from God, who is the Source of life.
Notice also that verses 4 and 5 refer to the great love God has for us, even when we are in this state.

“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  ~  I John 5:1

WE  NEED  TO  KNOW  THE TRUTH!

 WE  NEED  DIRECTION!   

WE  NEED  TO  KNOW  THE  WAY.

Being separated from God also means we are on the wrong road and that He cannot “deliver us from temptation” (save us from the attractive power of sin) because we have chosen the way of sin and spiritual death over choosing God and His way.  So, when we do not have a Savior, we don’t have God’s power within us to enable us to overcome the power of sin, which, as the Bible says, “may seem pleasureable for a while,” but is always ultimately destructive to lives, health, stability, and relationships.

In other words, we are heading in the wrong direction because we don’t yet know that God’s way is the right way and the best way for us.   Being separated from God means that we are on that path of seeking pleasure.  There is an emptiness inside us, and we are continually trying to fill it with things, experiences, pleasures, relationships, and prestige.  However, all we continue to find is emptiness; because what our soul really needs is spiritual life, plus direction and power for living that come from God (through His Holy Spirit within us) after we have been spiritually re-born.

In order for spiritual rebirth to happen, we must first realize that we are on  the wrong road and decide that we want to live in relationship with God through Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord

Here’s what the Bible says about that:

We are lost and on the wrong road, confused and in danger; but God does not want this to be our fate.
“When he saw the crowds, He
(Jesus) had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  ~  Matthew 9:36

We can only be saved through spiritual re-birth, which is possible because Jesus was willling to die to pay the penalty for our sins.  It’s as though a judge pronounces you guilty because he is a just judge, but then he steps out from behind his podium and pays the penalty for you becuase he is also a merciful judge.
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
  ~  Titus 3:5

We can only be free from the power of sin during our earthly lives through God’s Holy Spirit, living within us after we are spiritually reborn.
“And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
  ~  Romans 8:2

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”  ~  Romans 6:14

When we are trying to find our way, all we have to do is look to Jesus.  He alone can provide salvation, which is the only way of escape from the power of sin and the eventual penalty for sin.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

 Remember that in our state of being without Jesus, we are separated from God, which means that we cannot discern truth about God and about spiritual matters without help.  That is why God sends His Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts about the truth of God’s plan of salvation.  It is also why God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within us when we have trusted Christ for our salvation.  We need divine help in our process of becoming more like Jesus.

We have looked at the ways that Jesus will make a difference in this life.  As the scriptures above reveal, a person who has trusted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has received God’s mercy and been washed and reborn through the Holy Spirit.  In addition, he or she has been freed from the power of sin.  This does not mean that we will have a future of complete sinless perfection on Earth.  Rather, it means that when we trust God and turn to Him for strength in our everyday lives, He will help us to gain victory over temptation.  No Christian does this perfectly because we are all in a process of growing in our faith and in our relationship with the Lord.  However, God’s power is available to us if we will only seek HIM.  It’s when we try to handle things on our own that we mess up.

Help in this earthly life is certainly one of the reasons that we need Jesus.  The other reason is that without Him, we cannot enter Heaven.

  HEAVEN  IS  A  HOLY  PLACE  WHERE  NO  SIN  CAN  BE  FOUND
  … but on Earth, we are living with the consequences of our own sinfulness (both individually and collectively).

The Bible says that Heaven is unimaginable to us because we have never experienced anything like it.  We would not even have the words to describe it, because it is unlike anything we have every seen or heard or known.

“But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”  ~  I Corinthians 2:9

“Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”  ~  Hebrews 11:6

Obviously, Heaven would not be Heaven if it were to become unholy.  If there were still sorrow and pain and jealousy and hatred, along with crimes committed and people being victimized, it would certainly not be heaven.  People would have to be changed in some way to make it possible for them to become holy so that they can live in relationship with God while on the earth and then live with Him forever in Heaven.

So, if people are going to overcome the sin barrier to relationship with God and eventually be there, how do they become fit for Heaven?

Here are a couple of ideas that many people have about heaven.

Idea #1:  If you do more good than bad during your lifetime, you will go to Heaven.

Many, many people believe this idea, but it is false.

Remember that Heaven is a holy place.  Holy means totally free of sin.

Idea #2:  Heaven will be what I want it to be.

Often, people say, “This is Heaven!” when tasting something delicious or experiencing something delightful.  However, anything good that we have experienced on earth will pale in comparison to what Heaven is really like.  Even if God were to describe Heaven for us, we wouldn’t understand it until we get there.  We have no frame of reference, nothing even approaching an equal, for comparison.  Imagine trying to describe Disney World to a young child who has lived all his life in a primitive village.  The only way he would really understand how amazing the place is would be to actually go there.  It is the same way with Heaven.  Imagine all of the best and most beautiful parts of life and of God’s creation, without any of the bad things that we experience here on Earth.  It’s all of that and more… multiplied by infinity.

Did you know that God wants YOU to experience Heaven?

He does not want you to miss out on relationship with Him now, and He doesn’t want you to miss all that He has prepared in Heaven for those who love Him.  

Here’s what the Bible says about that:

The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act.  ~ 2nd Peter 3:9

In other words, God is patient with this crazy, mixed up world and with all of the people in it, even though we are now experiencing sin and hurt and pain, because what He has to give us (everlasting life, abundant life on Earth, and living forever with Him in Heaven, fully experiencing His great love for us and the wonder that He has created) is so much greater than anything that  we could imagine.  It will more than make up for any temporary pain in this life.  It will be infinitely beyond the best we could imagine… forever.  He loves us and wants us to know and experience all of this.  He is waiting to finally make everything right (He is a God of justice after all) because God loves you more than you can imagine and because He is a God of mercy.  Even though He is absolutely Holy and could demand anything from us, He loves mercy (and showing mercy to everyone who will accept this free gift) much more than He loves having everything on Earth be perfectly right.

Think about it for a moment.

If God had allowed us to experience Heaven without living on Earth first or a Heaven-like experience on Earth, something would have had to be fundamentally different.

Either we  would have to be created without the capacity to sin, which would have meant that we would have no free will.

or

God would have to render immediate judgement for every wrong that we did, making us fear Him so much that we would behave rightly to avoid punishment.

For a God who loves us and wants us to experience His love, harsh and immediate judgement was not His way.  Neither was it His desire to rob mankind of choice.  So, he lets us choose, delays His judgement, and yet provides us with a way to overcome evil and temptation on Earth through His power when we accept His provision of a Savior… His own Son’s death substituting for any judgement we would have faced….

All we have to do is to admit that we need Him… that we have sinned against God by choosing our own way.  Then, we need to accept this free gift of salvation, believing that Jesus is God’s Son, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, was buried and then raised from the dead, so that He could be the Savior whose death paid the penalty for the sins of all mankind and the Lord of life and giver of eternal life for all who trust Him with their hearts and souls and lives.

Here are some more verses from the Bible about how much God loves us and what He wants to do in our lives.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:10
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!

Romans 8:32
He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:34
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding (praying) for us.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Dear friend, we all need a Savior.

We need a Savior because God is Holy.
We need a Savior because we are not holy.
We need a Savior because we cannot save ourselves.

Only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

*  He will show you the way (and indeed has provided the way of salvation for you through His own death, burial, and resurrection, exchanging His life for yours as the payment for your sins).
*  He will reveal the truth to you.  Through the sending of God’s Holy Spirit after salvation, through relationship with Him, and through the teaching of God’s word, you will be led into all truth.
*  He will provide spiritual life and eternal life for you.

Would you like to know more?  Here’s a link to our page that has many resources for you.  There are links to answer all of the questions that you may have.  Blessings to you as you seek the truth and the answers to your questions.  Every person ultimately has to decide:  what will I do about Jesus?

https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Do you know Jesus? 

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  The blog page found at the link above will help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.

Thank you for taking the time to read the above blog post. May God bless you with understanding and faith.

“He is Jesus!” ~ Reader’s Theater Script

This Reader’s Theater script may be presented in a local church without cost or further permission.  See our usage permission information at the end of this post for full details.

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HE  IS  JESUS!

DIRECTOR’S  NOTE:  This Reader’s Theater Script calls for 3 readers.  Two of the readers should be male, and one should be female.  A media presentation could be added for greater impact, with appropriate slides to aid in telling the story.  This script could be used at any time of year, but it would be especially effective on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday. 

 

Female Reader:  Prophets foretold His birth centuries before it occurred.
An angel appeared to His mother to announce the miracle of his conception.

Male ReaderHis Father chose as His mother an unknown maiden with a heart inclined to God and ready to surrender herself to God’s will.

Female Reader:  He left His heavenly home to come into a world that seemed to have no room for Him.

Male ReaderHe was born in Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy of His royal birth.

Female Reader:  And yet, He was born in the humblest of circumstances in order to identify fully with humankind and because He had no intention of becoming an earthly King.

Male ReaderHis birth was celebrated by angels and accompanied by a phenomenal Heavenly star in order to proclaim His deity.

Female Reader:  Modest working men were the first to hear of His coming, demonstrating that no wealth is necessary to know Him.

Male ReaderWise men of wealth and position travelled from far away to bring gifts to Him and worship the One whose birth could be seen in the Heavens, showing that He was and is the King of Kings.

Female Reader:  He astonished the well-educated scholars in the temple at a young age, demonstrating that He is the Word made flesh.

Male ReaderHe healed sickness, demonstrating His compassion and His power over human frailty.
He raised the dead, demonstrating His power over death and the coming end of sorrow.

Female Reader:  He multiplied the provisions of men, taking care of earthly need and demonstrating that God can take what we offer and do more with it that we could imagine.
He walked on water and calmed the storm, demonstrating His supremacy over all created things and what we call the “laws of nature.”

Male Reader:  He taught with authority because He was the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Female Reader:  He taught profound truth through the simplicity of parables so that all people and even children could understand.

Male ReaderHe wept at the sorrow of death and at the tragic cost of rejecting God’s plan, demonstrating His incarnation.

Female Reader:  He is Emmanuel, God with us,… even in grief, in sorrow, in rejection, and in loss.

Male Reader:  He demonstrated humility in washing the feet of His own disciples.

Female Reader:  He foretold His own death and resurrection and the denial of one of His closest followers.

Male Reader:  He chose God’s will for Himself and submitted to a mockery of a trial so that He could take our guilt.

Female Reader:  He was beaten, despised, humiliated and condemned so that we could be redeemed.

Male Reader:  He carried much more than a heavy wooden cross on His back.
He carried the weight of the sin of all mankind.

Female Reader:  The hands that blessed and healed were nailed to a cross.

Male Reader:  The beautiful feet that had carried the message of God’s love and mercy were pierced so that He could carry our sin to the mercy seat.

Female Reader:  The heart that beat with more love than you or I could fathom was stilled as He gave up His life so that we could have life everlasting.

Male ReaderHe commited His spirit to God and spoke the words of victory that echo through eternity: “It is finished!”

** (Drama  Director’s Note:  Here, a flash of light followed by momentary darkness would be very dramatic and appropriate.  At the very least, there should be a slight pause before the reading resumes.)

Prophetic Voice:  “He was in the beginning with God, and with Him everything that was created was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Male and Female ReadersHe is life, and He came to give life. And yet, …He endured death, …and darkness, …and Hell.

Prophetic Voice “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Male Reader:  He did not stay in the tomb. He was no longer there, for He had risen, just as He said.

Female Reader:  He appeared to Mary, to his disciples, and to other followers. He was not bound by death or by the walls of a tomb.

Male and Female Readers:  He is alive!

Male Reader:  After spending some time with them, He told His followers that He must leave so that the Holy Spirit could come and inhabit the hearts of all believers.

Female Reader:  He told them what he would be doing while they were apart.
He is preparing a place in Heaven, reigning as Sovereign Lord at the right hand of God the Father, and praying for believers.

Male Reader:  He gave them their mission:

Prophetic Voice:  “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.”

Male Reader:  He is with us. He is praying for us. He is preparing a place for us.

Female Reader:  He is still changing lives, touching hearts, and healing hurts.

Male and Female Readers:  He is the Savior of the world.

Male Reader:  He is the Redeemer whose love for mankind could not be crucified.

Female Reader:  He is the Lord of All.

Male Reader:  He is the beginning and the end.

Female Reader:  He is the Bridegroom, whose love for His bride, the Church, is the most pure and sacrificial of all loves.

Male ReaderHe is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

Female Reader:  He is the Living Water, bringing unquenchable life.

Male Reader:  He is the King of Glory and the hope of mankind.

Female Reader:  He is the joy of man’s desiring.

Male and Female Readers:  He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Prophetic Voice joins Male and Female Readers:  He is Jesus!

 

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This post originated in the heart of God before the foundation of the World.
The words were put together by Cynthia A. Boyd to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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“He is Jesus!”, copyright 2012 by Cynthia A. Boyd, all rights reserved.
* Sharing in a publication or on a website: To share this post, only the URL (see below) may be copied or posted unless permission is obtained. Permission may be requested through a comment on this post. The comment will not be seen by anyone but our blog editor, and we will correspond with you by e-mail. http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/he-is-jesus/
* Reader’s Theater presentation: Permission is granted for printing copies for 3 readers and a drama coach in order to present this as a reader’s theater presentation in a local church. However, permission must be obtained for audio or video recording if this is used as a reading.
We’ve done the preparation work for you! (See link below)
Note: A  non – Reader’s Theater  version of this post, written as prose, can be found at:

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Christmas is Good News!

Good News!Christmas is good news!

It is the best news, because  we are not alone.

The almighty God of Heaven and Earth  came to us!
He is with us!

He has demonstrated His love for us in the most profound ways.

God so loved  that He gave

"We love, because He first loved us."   I John 3:19

“We love, because He first loved us.” I John 3:19

He gave  Himself.

God givesHe gave His best.

He gave His Son, Jesus, …fully man and fully God.

Jesus was born in the most humble of circumstances so that He, the King of Kings, could instead serve as our Savior.

Nativity John 3 16

He has experienced what we experience,

walked where we walk,

and lived in our fallen world.

God has chosen to share His longing for us to know Him and know His great love for us

in the person of

Jesus, …

His beloved, only Son.

God looked down upon this world, filled with hatred, jealousy, pain, bitterness, anger, loneliness, shame, murder, adultery, thievery, and callous disregard for others…

Jesus on cross  silhouettebaby jesus and lamb …and His response was… Jesus.

A sacrificial Savior,

a caring Shepherd,

The Lord is my Shepherd

Jesus on hillsideand a forever Friend,

Jesus is the Truth that God loves us more than we can comprehend.

He is the Way that has been provided for us to escape the power and the penalty of all of the sin and wrong in this world.

He is the Life

… the very life of God

that can be born within us.

Anyone who understands this amazing truth and responds to God’s gift of Jesus by saying,

“Yes. I receive Him. Thank You for THE Gift.”

will never be the same.

The Light of the World, the Prince of Peace, the Redeemer and Savior, Jesus, will be a forever friend as well as the Lord of your life.

Joy to the worldIt is possible to sing, “Joy to the World” in the midst of human suffering (even your own)…

… because our suffering is not the end of the story.

His suffering is.

He suffered death on the cross so that we might live

       abundantly,

               eternally,

                      and even joyfully.

God with us ImmanuelThe message of Christmas is that we need Him, so…

       … He came!

He came because of the darkness and pain of this world

       … and because of the darkness and pain in our own hearts.

Jesus loves you moreHe is with us.

       He loves us.

               He lived for us…

 … and He continues to live for us.

(The Bible says that Jesus is praying for us and preparing a place for us, even right now.)

But before He was resurrected and went to Heaven,  Jesus died for us.

He, who had lived a perfect life because of His great love and Divine power…

He, who was and is God.. in human flesh… the living Word of God…

He gave His all to show us  His great love.

 Jesus bowed under weight of cross

So, now, the good news of Christ’s coming has become all about  WHY He came.

He came because He loves us and we needed Him.

and now

Death and sorrow

and illness and pain

and loneliness and heartache

are  NOT  the

end

of the story.

Joy to the World!

Good-news-great-joy

Luke 2:10-11

English Standard Version (ESV)

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

God wants us to know

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd and was inpired by an interesting article about the fact that songs which share the message of the Joy of Christmas may seem incomplete, hollow, and even unfeeling to many people because the messages of “joy to the world” and “peace on earth” and holly jolly holidays may seem to neglect the difficulties and sorrows and tragedies of life. It’s so true that many people are suffering hurt and pain at this time of year and all of the time. We must always be sensitive to the hearts of others and acknowledge their sorrow and loneliness, knowing that devastation in the midst of celebration feels isolating and deeper still.

I must state without reservation that I do agree with the premise of the article I read.  This post is sort of an addendum.  Yes, it is true that we need to be careful to be sensitive to the hurting world around us and and to share the whole truth of the gospel and the fact that Christmas is all about the hurt and pain and God’s desire for us to someday dwell with Him in a holy place where none of the bad things exist.  I agree completely.

Stay with me here.  I wrote this article because the pain in our world doesn’t change the fact that Christmas is still good news since the reason for the good news, for the coming of Christ (and the perfect life He lived, and His death, and His resurrection), is because of our pain and our need for understanding the depth of God’s love and our need for being born into new life.  Not “in spite of”, but rather “because of” our pain, Christmas is good news!

Christmas is still (and always will be) good news!

Note:  Here is a link to the article I had read:  http://www.christianpost.com/news/rethinking-our-holly-jolly-christmas-songs-110783/
and on author Russell Moore’s own blog, where it appeared originally, @  http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/12/18/crucify-your-holly-jolly-christmas/

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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The Reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

He is Risen tombRESURRECTION  SCRIPTURES

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.    Romans 8:11

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.    Romans 8:34

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.    Romans 10:9

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces.    Isaiah 25:8

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; on him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by his stripes we are healed.   Isaiah 53:5

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.”    Job 19:25

God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.    1 Corinthians 6:14

…who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.    1 Peter 1:21

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”   1 Corinthians 15:17

Easter  He is not here for He is risen

Resurrection Quotes

The tomb of Christ is famous because of what it DOES NOT CONTAIN.  —  Sam Morris

We live and die; Christ died and lived!  —  John Stott

The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence.  Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.  —  Clarence W. Hall

Jesus - In front of tomb 1The primary source of the appeal of Christianity is Jesus – His incarnation, His life, His crucifixion, and His resurrection.  —  K. Latourette

…Luke associates John with Peter in Acts, when, after the Resurrection, that strange boldness had come upon the disciples.  —  Alfred Noyes

“The cross is a one time visual representation of God’s grief over sin.”  —  Dean L. Harvey

“Live in the awareness that Christ lives and that He lives in His people.”  —  Julien B. Weil

“The cross is the victory, the resurrection is the triumph…The resurrection is the public display of the victory, the triumph of the crucified one.”  —  Leon Morris

“The best proof that Christ has risen is that He is still alive. And for the immense majority of our contemporaries, the only way of seeing Him alive is for us Christians to love one another.”   —  Louis Evely

♪ ♫  “Christ the Lord is risen today, sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing ye heavens, and earth reply.”   —  Charles Wesley (from the Hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”)

All of heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, hell afraid of it, while men are the only ones to ignore its meaning.   —  Oswald Chambers

According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history.  —  Harvard Law Professor Dr. Simon Greenleaf

Easter greeting card with bells♪ ♫ “Hear the bells ringing!
They’re singing that we can be born again!
Hear the bells ringing!
They’re singing, ‘Christ is risen from the dead!’

The angel up on the tombstone said, He is risen just as he said!
Quickly now, go tell His disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world!  He is risen!  Alleluia!”

—  Keith Green, The Easter Song

There is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ.  —  Brooke Foss Wescott

The Gospels do not explain the Resurrection; the Resurrection explains the Gospels. Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.   —  John S. Whale

♪ ♫  “Up from the grave he arose; with a mighty triumph o’er his foes!
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
and He lives forever with His saints to reign!
He arose!  He arose!  Hallelujah!  Christ arose!

—  from ‘Up from the Grave He Arose’

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.   —  Martin Luther

The resurrection power of Jesus broke Satan’s captive power. When He led the Old Testament saints from paradise to heaven, He led captivity captive!   — Leon Morris

Our justification hinges on a risen life, present in us now because Christ is present with us now.   —  Paul F.M. Zaul

Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.   —  Watchman Nee

The entire plan for the future has its key in the resurrection.   – – Billy Graham

Easter morning discovery at tomb

There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived or that Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three.  – – Billy Graham

Note:  The quotations and scriptures above were found at  http://www.unlockingthebible.org/resurrection-easter-quotes-bible-verses/

Francine Rivers

“It was no accident, no coincidence, that the seasons came round and round year after year. It was the Lord speaking to us all and showing us over and over again the birth, life, death, and resurrection of his only begotten Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord. It was like a best-loved story being told day after day with each sunrise and sunset, year after year with the seasons, down through the ages since time began.”  ―   Francine Rivers  The Last Sin Eater

N.T. Wright

“…left to ourselves we lapse into a kind of collusion with entrophy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there’s nothing much we can do about them. And we are wrong. Our task in the present…is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and a foretaste of the second.”  ―   N. T. Wright   Surprised by Hope:  Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Eugene H. Peterson

“It is not easy to convey a sense of wonder, let alone resurrection wonder, to another.  It’s the very nature of wonder to catch us off guard, to circumvent expectations and assumptions.  Wonder can’t be packaged, and it can’t be worked up.  It requires some sense of being there and some sense of engagement.”  ―   Eugene H. Peterson

Charles Colson

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”
―   Charles Colson

Charles R. Swindoll

“The devil, darkness, and death may swagger and boast, the pangs of life will sting for a while longer, but don’t worry; the forces of evil are breathing their last. Not to worry…He’s risen!”  ―   Charles R. Swindoll

St. Athanasius of Alexandria

“He, the Life of all, our Lord and Saviour, did not arrange the manner of his own death lest He should seem to be afraid of some other kind. No. He accepted and bore upon the cross a death inflicted by others, and those other His special enemies, a death which to them was supremely terrible and by no means to be faced; and He did this in order that, by destroying even this death, He might Himself be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be recognised as finally annulled. A marvellous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonour and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.”  ―   Saint Athanasius of Alexandria   On the Incarnation

Fulton J. Sheen

“Christianity, unlike any other religion in the world, begins with catastrophe and defeat. Sunshine religions and psychological inspirations collapse in calamity and wither in adversity. But the Life of the Founder of Christianity, having begun with the Cross, ends with the empty tomb and victory.”  ―   Fulton J. Sheen   Life of Christ
“No tabloid will ever print the startling news that the mummified body of Jesus of Nazareth has been discovered in old Jerusalem. Christians have no carefully embalmed body enclosed in a glass case to worship. Thank God, we have an empty tomb. The glorious fact that the empty tomb proclaims to us is that life for us does not stop when death comes. Death is not a wall, but a door.”
―    Peter Marshall  (Congressional Chaplain)

John Piper

“The Bible says He was raised not just after the blood-shedding, but by it. This means that what the death of Christ accomplished was so full and so prefect that the resurrection was the reward and vindication of Christ’s achievement in death.”  ―   John Piper   Passion of Jesus Christ
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Note:  The quotations above were found at  http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/resurrection?page=1
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MORE  RESURRECTION  SCRIPTURES

jesus welcomesJohn 11:25-26 Jesus  said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though  he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall  never die. Do you believe this?”

Romans 6:4 We were buried  therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was  raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of  life.

Romans 6:5 For if we have  been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him  in a resurrection like his.

Romans 6:9 We know that  Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has  dominion over him.

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 For I  delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died  for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that  he was raised on the third day pin accordance with the Scriptures,  and  that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/quotes-about-the-resurrection-23-good-sayings/#ixzz2PBXHkv6X

Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.     Author: Watchman Nee
The Word of truth teaches in the clearest and most positive terms that all of the
dead will be raised.  No doctrine of the faith rests upon a more literal and emphatic
body of Scripture authority than this, nor is any more vital to Christianity.
Author: C.I. Scofield
The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but
rather the empty grave clothes – undisturbed in form and position.
Author: Josh McDowellOn what does the Christian argument for Immortality really rest?  It stands upon
the pedestal on which the theologian rests the whole of historical Christianity — the
Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Author: Henry Drummond
He is risen CrossI went to a psychologist friend and said if 500
people claimed to see Jesus after he died, it was
just a hallucination. He said hallucinations are an
individual event. If 500 people have the same
hallucination, that’s a bigger miracle than the
resurrection.
Author: Lee StrobelThe truth of the resurrection gives life to every
other area of gospel truth. The resurrection is the
pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without
which none of the other truths would much matter.
Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so
much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside
all other human philosophy and religious speculation.
Author: John MacArthurNote:  The quotations above were found at
http://christian-quotes.ochristian.com/Resurrection-Quotes/page-3.shtml

Here (below) is an article about proof for the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from  http://christianity.about.com/od/easter/a/7-Proofs-Of-The-Resurrection.htm

Is the resurrection of Jesus Christ an historical event that really happened, or is it
only a myth, as many atheists claim? While no one witnessed the actual resurrection,
many people swore they saw the risen Christ after his death, and their lives were never
the same.

Archaeological discoveries continue to support the Bible’s historical accuracy. We tend
to forget that the Gospels and book of Acts are eyewitness accounts of the life and death
of Jesus.  Further nonbiblical evidence for Jesus’ existence comes from the writings of
Flavius Josephus, Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, and the Jewish Sanhedrin.
The following seven proofs of the resurrection show that Christ did, indeed, rise from the
dead.

The Resurrection Proof #1: The Empty Tomb of Jesus

The empty tomb may be the strongest proof Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Two major
theories have been advanced by unbelievers: someone stole Jesus’ body or the women
and disciples went to the wrong tomb. The Jews and Romans had no motive to steal the
body. Christ’s apostles were too cowardly and would have had to overcome the Roman
guards. The women who found the tomb empty had earlier watched Jesus being laid away;
they knew where the correct tomb was. Even if they had gone to the wrong tomb, the
Sanhedrin could have produced the body from the right tomb to stop the resurrection
stories. Jesus’ burial cloths were left neatly folded inside, hardly the act of hurrying grave
robbers. Angels said Jesus had risen from the dead.

The Resurrection Proof #2: The Women who were
Eyewitnesses

The women who were eyewitnesses are further proof that the Gospels are accurate
historical records. If the accounts had been made up, no ancient author would have used
women for witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. Women were second class citizens in Bible
times; their testimony was not even allowed in court. Yet the Bible says the risen Christ
first appeared to Mary Magdalene and other women. Even the apostles did not believe
Mary when she told them the tomb was empty. Jesus, who always had special respect
for these women, honored them as the first eyewitnesses to his resurrection. The male
Gospel writers had no choice but to report this embarrassing act of God’s favor, because
that was how it happened.

The Resurrection Proof #3: Jesus’ Apostles’ New-Found
Courage

After the crucifixion, Jesus’ apostles hid behind locked doors, terrified they would be
executed next. But something changed them from cowards to bold preachers. Anyone
who understands human character knows people do not change that much without
some major influence. That influence was seeing their Master, bodily risen from the
dead. Christ appeared to them in the locked room, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee,
and on the Mount of Olives.  After seeing Jesus alive, Peter and the others left the
locked room and preached the risen Christ, unafraid of what would happen to them.
They quit hiding because they knew the truth. They finally understood that Jesus is
God incarnate
, who saves people from sin.

The Resurrection Proof #4: Changed Lives of James and
Others

Changed lives are yet another proof of the resurrection. James, the brother of Jesus,
was openly skeptical that Jesus was the Messiah.  After the death and resurrection
of Jesus, James became a courageous leader of the church at Jerusalem, even being
stoned to death for his faith. Why? The Bible says the risen Christ appeared to him.
What a shock to see your own brother, alive again, after you knew he was dead.
James and the apostles became effective missionaries because people could tell these
men had touched and seen the risen Christ. With such zealous eyewitnesses, the early
church exploded in growth, spreading west from Jerusalem to Rome and beyond.
For 2,000 years, encounters with the resurrected Jesus have changed lives.

The Resurrection Proof #5: Large Crowd of Eyewitnesses

A large crowd of more than 500 eyewitnesses saw the risen Jesus Christ at the same
time. The Apostle Paul records this event in 1 Corinthians 15:6. He states that most
of these men and women were still alive when he wrote this letter, about 55 A.D.
Undoubtedly they told others about this miracle. Today, psychologists say it would
be impossible for a large crowd of people to have had the same hallucination at once.
Smaller groups also saw the risen Christ, such as the apostles, and Cleopas and his
companion. They all saw the same thing, and in the case of the apostles, they touched
Jesus and watched him eat food. The hallucination theory is further debunked because
after the ascension of Jesus into heaven, sightings of him stopped.

The Resurrection Proof #6: Conversion of Paul

The account of the conversion of Paul records the most drastically changed life in the
Bible.  As Saul of Tarsus, he was an aggressive persecutor of the early church. When
the risen Christ appeared to Paul on the Damascus Road, Paul became Christianity’s
most determined missionary. He endured 5 floggings, 3 beatings, 3 shipwrecks, a
stoning, poverty, and years of ridicule. Finally the Roman emperor Nero had Paul
beheaded because the apostle refused to deny his faith in Jesus.  What could make a
person willingly accept—even welcome—such hardships? Christians believe that the
conversion of Paul came about because he encountered Jesus Christ who had risen
from the dead.

The Resurrection Proof #7: They Died for Jesus

Countless people have died as martyrs for their faith in Jesus, absolutely certain that
the resurrection of Christ is an historical fact. Tradition says 10 of the original apostles
died as martyrs
for Christ, as did the Apostle Paul. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of
early Christians died in the Roman arena and in prisons for their faith. Down through
the centuries, thousands more have died for Jesus because they believed that the
resurrection is true. Even today, people suffer persecution because they have faith that
Christ rose from the dead. An isolated group may give up their lives for a cult leader,
but Christian martyrs have died in many lands, for nearly 2,000 years, believing Jesus
conquered death to give them eternal life.

(Information in this article was compiled and summarized from the following sources:
gotquestions.org, xenos.org, faithfacts.org, newadvent.org, tektonics.org,
biblicalstudies.info, garyhabermas.com, and ntwrightpage.com)

READ MORE!

Here are links to two excellent articles
about proof of the resurrection of
Christ:

http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/resurrection-evidence.htm

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection

Here are links to some wonderful articles
about the resurrection of Christ and what it means:

http://www.jesus.org/death-and-resurrection/resurrection/what-does-the-resurrection-mean-
for-us.html

http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/did-jesus-christ-really-rise-from-the-dead/

http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Articles/What-the-Resurrection-Means-for-You.aspx

http://www.gotquestions.org/resurrection-and-life.html

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The information in this post was compiled from the sources noted by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Looking for answers for yourself or for a friend?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope
that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers
about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links
provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to
“Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and
eternity and salvation found in Jesus Christ.

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Songs of the Cross

Cross at sunrise

“God proved His love on the Cross.  When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it  was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'”

— Billy Graham

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/billygraha150661.html#rQXbTKzmRxUdLX4C.99

Below you will find 5 songs with messages about the cross.  The music players take a moment to load.  If you wait a moment to click “play” until  the music players are completely loaded, they will work.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

Ephesians 1:7

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“This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

I John 4:9 – 10

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“He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”

I Peter 2:24

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“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”

I Peter 3:18

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

John 3:16 – 17

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* INFORMATION  ABOUT  THE  MUSIC *

Song 1:  “Jesus, My Redeemer” was written by Travis L. Boyd and published as an SATB Choral Anthem by Shawnee Press / Hal Leonard.
(more complete information, including purchasing links, can be found at this link:  https://soundcloud.com/#travis-l-boyd/jesus-my-redeemer )

Song 2:  “More Than a Cross” was written by Travis L. Boyd and published by Lifeway.
(more complete information, including purchasing info, can be found at this link:  https://soundcloud.com/#travis-l-boyd/more-than-a-cross )

Song 3:  “He Took Up A Cross”  was written by Travis L. Boyd and recorded by The Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma, then under the direction of Dr. Bill Green, on their CD entitled, “The Lord is My Light”.  (The SATB Choral Anthem for “He Took Up a Cross” is available on the Adult Choir page of our Worship Sounds Music website at http://www.worshipsounds.com )

Song 4:  “For the Sins of All” was written by Travis L. Boyd and is available as a Vocal Solo and as an SATB Choral Anthem on our Worship Sounds Music website at http://www.worshipsounds.com  )

Song 5:  “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”  was written by Travis L. Boyd and published as an SATB Choral  Anthem with Full Orchestration available by the Lorenz Corporation.
(More information, including purchasing links, is available at this link:  https://soundcloud.com/#travis-l-boyd/amazing-grace-eternal-life )

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Singing a New Song

Sing to the LordWhat does the Bible have to say about new songs or new music, and what can new songs mean for us?

Here are some scripture verses about a having a new song and some thoughts about how new songs can bring new life.

A new song, wherever you are!

Sing a new song to the LORD.  Sing His praise from the ends of the earth, you people who sail on the seas and all the creatures that live in them, you coastlands and all who live on them.

–  Isaiah 42:10

God has given us the gift of music so that we might creatively express thoughts and feelings with a depth of emotional and spiritual meaning that goes beyond what mere words can convey.  He has given music as a tool whereby we might respond and communicate with each other and with Him.  He has given us the ability to appreciate and enjoy music.  And, He has given us the ability to create music.

When we return a new song to God in praise, we have completed a circle of giving.  He gives the capabilities to hear various pitches, to internalize rhythms, and to understand the meaning of lyrics.  He has created, and He gives us the ability to create.  God has given to us a revelation of truth or a new way to express truth that becomes the message and style, melody and rhythm, harmony and expression of the new song.  Together, these elements form the whole of a gift that we can then give back to our Father God as we worship Him.

No matter where we are, we can live in relationship with God in a way that allows Him to give us a song.  Whether your song is one you recently discovered, written by someone else, which expresses exactly where you are on your spiritual journey or whether God used your gifts to write the song 6 minutes ago, He knows when our hearts are pouring out a new message of love and thankfulness to HIm.

Sing to the Lord a new song all the earthA new song as a personal expression of worship

I will sing a new song to You, O God; Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You.

–  Psalm 144:9

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At its highest and noblest purpose, music can be a vehicle whereby we communicate the truths of God’s word or His character and lift that message up to God in worship, with the purpose of bringing glory to Him, encouraging the body of Christ, and sharing a message of testimony and truth that God’s Spirit can use to draw hearts to the Lord.

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A new song as congregational praise

Praise the LORD!  Sing to the LORD a new song.  Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.  

–  Psalm 149:1

sing a new song to the LordThere are times when we need a new song.  Perhaps the songs we already know don’t say exactly what we want to say.  Perhaps God has given inspiration for both melody and words to say something new or to share a well-loved truth in a new way.  Every song begins with an idea, whether that idea is a musical idea or a lyrical one.  However, songs that are written to bring glory to God begin with something more profound:  a revelation.  God speaks to the heart of the songwriter or lyric writer through His Spirit, through the Word, through something that someone says, or a book or article, or even through His creation.  A revelation of spiritual truth can also come through the lessons in a time of trial or even in a time of victory as we learn to trust God in all of life.  All of these kinds of experiences can be used by God to inspire someone that He has gifted with songwriting abilities in the creation of a new song.  This song in turn can become a vehicle for the writer and sometimes for the praise of the congregation or for multititudes of congregations.

A new song as a hymn of praise and a powerful testimony that draws others to the Lord

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see what he has done and be amazed.  They will put their trust in the LORD. 

–  Psalm 40:3

Sing_to_the_Lord_a_New_Song  header

In our experience, the music that Travis has been inspired to write has been a chronicle of our spiritual journey and what the Lord has been doing in our hearts along the way.  Many of these songs were born out of a moment of recognition or revelation when a spiritual lesson was beginning to become a clear guiding light of recognizable truth that God would use to move us further along down the road to becoming more like Jesus.   Many of these spiritual life lessons are truths that we thought we already knew.  However, God has allowed us to experience them in a deeper or more profound way that has changed our perspective, focused our efforts, and refined our character.   For example, we had always heard and read and known intellectually that God is faithful.  However, through some rocky experiences over a long period of time and the simple fact that we were able to hang in there and keep hoping until we saw the faithfulness of God manifested in various situations, God taught us again to trust His faithfulness.  We learned once more that we could choose to trust Him even when we had no understanding of why things happened as they did and even when every fiber of our being was desperately crying out for resolution to pain and crisis NOW!  We learned that we have the easy part (if you could call waiting in desperation easy) of just holding on, while God is not only working throughout the situation but also working in the hearts of we who are struggling to believe while knowing that we must believe even when belief seems contrary to every indicator of reality.  How patient He is with us as we learn the same lessons over and over again, hopefully at a deeper level of spiritual understanding and growth.  Out of such experiences came songs like Travis’ “God is Faithful,” “I Am Here,” (the assurance of God’s presence) and “Much More Than a Song” (the recognition of the fact that God is worthy of praise in any circumstance).

Sing a new songA new song as a Psalm of thanks for what God has done.

Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done wonderful deeds.  His right hand has won a mighty victory; His holy arm has shown his saving power!

–  Psalm 98:1

The fact that God continues to give “a new song” is an encouragement for individual Christians and for the people of God.  It means that God is still at work in the hearts of His people.  It means that God is still “with us” and is striving to complete His work in our lives, as He has promised.  It means that God’s patience (long-suffering) is still delaying His judgement of this world because of His mercy and grace and His great love.  Like a sermon or a book that someone has been inspired to write and to proclaim, a new song means that there are still lessons to learn and souls that need to be saved.  As long as God continues to inspire new songs as messages of His love, His faithfulness, His mercy and grace, His plan for our lives and for all of creation, God’s people are reminded through another means that God is still working to accomplish His purposes.  His Spirit is working in our hearts, His Word is instructing us in righteousness, and the messages that God inspires men to write or speak or act or paint or sing or sculpt (and, especially, to live!) for His glory are testimonies of God’s faithfulness in all of these things.

A new song for everyone!

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! 

–  Psalm 96:1

sing of the mercies of the LordSome of the songs that individuals feel inspired to write may never be heard by many people.  The purpose of a song may be as an individual expression of praise to God.  This kind of new song is very personal to the writer as a part of their spiritual journey and may exist only to serve as a vehicle of praise for that person.  Someone who has never thought of themselves as a song writer may even find themselves singing to the Lord in worship with lyrics that are uniquely their own.  A song does not have to be sung by millions in order to be a valid expression of praise to God.  He knows when your “new song” expresses the praises of your heart or speaks of a lesson learned or a truth that has been understood in a new way.  In essence, every time we sing any song of praise to God, it can be a “new song” of praise to Him when it becomes the very real and sincere praise of the present moment, when our hearts cry out anew in thankfulness and awe.

A new song in Heaven

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain; and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 

–  Revelation 5:9

Our God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  But His creation continues to change even as He creates newness in hearts and lives.  The heartbreak of pain and loss will not always be with us.  All of the trials of this world are temporary.  Someday, He will make all things new, just as He is now making our hearts new.  The process of His work on our spiritual creation gives us some new songs to sing along the way.  Is is a joy to know that someday we will sing of His victory in a place where there is no more to overcome.  We will have overcome all things through the blood of the Lamb, through the giving of our lives to Him, through the Word of truth, and through the word of our testimony.  Our songs of trusting God when we don’t understand will become obsolete.  Finally, we will know Him even as we are known, and God will give us a new song of thanksgiving and praise for all of eternity.

Sing HallelujahA new song of joy

Sing a new song of praise to Him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. 

–  Psalm 33:3

For now, we will continue our songs, both old and new.  We will sing of God’s salvation and power.  We will sing of His faithfulness and love.  We will sing of God’s mercy and His amazing grace.  We will sing with joy, for we know that we are not the only ones who are singing.  Our God rejoices over us as his dearly beloved children, and He sings over us as well.  He is with us.  He is mighty in power and yet tender and gentle in His patience, renewing us with His love until that day when we will dwell with Him and the former things will all pass away.

His song for you and me

The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy. 

–  Zephaniah 3:17

My husband, singing his song, “Much More Than a Song” (available as a Vocal Solo or Choral Anthem on http//:www.worshipsounds.com )

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Looking for answers for yourself or for a friend?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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New Testament Worship Scriptures

From the rising of the sun until it’s setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.

NEW  TESTAMENT  SCRIPTURE  RESOURCE

This page contains scripture verses that tell us to lift our voices in song to the Lord as well as verses that speak of praising, exalting, blessing, worshipping, magnifying, thanking, honoring, and glorifying the Lord.
Verses are placed in Biblical order so that this page can be a useful resource for those who want to use worship scriptures in their personal worship, as well as for those who lead God’s people in worshipping Him. More verses will be added as time permits.

For your convenience, we also have a Page on this blog called “Lift Your Voice (Worship Scriptures)”, which has worship scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments. The title of the page is always visible in our blog header and is a clickable link.  This blog post contains the New Testament worship scriptures from that page, allowing you to view the NT verses without scrolling through those from the Old Testament.  In addition, we also have a post that is Old Testament worship scriptures only. Having the worship scriptures in 3 separate locations on our blog also increases the likelihood that searchers will be able to find these helpful resources.

(Key West photo by Herschel Avra, 2010)

Note: To view a different translation of any verse, begin typing the verse into your search engine, and the Online Parallel Bible, http://www.biblecc.com , will come up as one of the choices. You will immediately go to the page for the verse you have typed and be able to see several translations at once. You can then close the window and come right back to this resource page if desired. (Bible CC is also a great resource when you know a verse or portion of a verse but not the reference.)

New feature: With our most recent update to this worship scripture resource, we added a new feature. The Bible book and chapter are still listed before each verse, and we have now added key words in front of each scripture to help you find worship scriptures with the kind of message you are seeking more easily.

SCRIPTURE VERSES THAT REFER TO PRAISING, EXALTING, WORSHIPPING, BLESSING, MAGNIFYING, AND GLORIFYING THE LORD, AS WELL AS VERSES THAT REFER TO LIFTING OUR VOICES OR SINGING TO THE LORD:

NEW TESTAMENT WORSHIP SCRIPTURES

Matthew 2 worship “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1 & 2

Matthew 5 glorify Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify (give glory to) your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Luke 4 worship And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”‘ Luke 4:7

John 4 worship in Spirit and in truth (Jesus speaking) “The hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23 & 24

John 8 the Father glorifies the Son (Jesus speaking) “Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, the One whom you say is your God.”” John 8:54

John 12 glorify (Jesus speaking) “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for Mine.”” John 12:28 – 30

John 13 glorify, glorified (Jesus speaking) “When He had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified and in Him God is glorified; if God is glorified in Him , God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him at once.”” John 13:31 & 32

John 17 glorify (Jesus speaking) “When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which You gave me to do ; and now, Father, glorify me in Your own presence with the glory which I had with You before the world was made.”” John 17:1 – 5

Acts 16 praying, singing hymns But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one’s fetters were unfastened.” Acts 16:25 & 26

Romans 12 living sacrifice, spiritual worship “I appeal to you therfore, brethren, by the mercies of God , to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1

Romans 15 live in harmony, glorify “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5

Ephesians 5 singing and making melody to the Lord, always giving thanks “…but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” Galatians 5:18b – 20

Colossians 3 sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, thankfulness, giving thanks “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 3:16 & 17

I Timothy honor, glory “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” I Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)

Hebrews 12 offer acceptable worship, with reverence and awe “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship,with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28

James 5 pray, sing praise “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise.” James 5:13

Revelation 7 fell on their faces, worshipped God, blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, might “After this I looked, and behold, a great multititude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, ” Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”

Revelation 7:9 – 12

Revelation 14 give Him glory, worship Him Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gosepel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water.” Revelation 14:6 &7

Revelation 15 sing, glorify, worship “And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and wonderful are Thy deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are Thy ways, O King of the ages! Who shall not fear and glorify Thy name, O Lord? For Thou alone art Holy. All nations shall come and worship Thee, for Thy judgements have been revealed.” Revelation 15:3 & 4

Revelation 19 rejoice, exult, give Him the glory Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of many thunderpeals, crying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure’ — for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” Revelation 19:6 – 8

Revelation 22 Worship God! “I, John, am he who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

Revelation 22:8 & 9

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The scriptures in this post were compiled by Cynthia A. Boyd for our page entitled “Lift Your Voice (Worship Scriptures)”, which contains worship scriptures for both the New and Old Testaments.  We decided to publish the scriptures in separate Old and New Testament posts to make it easier to view the New Testament worship scriptures without having to scroll through the Old Testament scriptures first and to make it easier to find this resource on search engines.  It is our hope that having 3 separate entries (2 posts and one page) appearing in web searches will result in allowing more people to find and utilize this resource.

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For additional inspiration for your private worship and your public witness, see our page called “Lifestyle Worship” http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/lifestyle-worship/

Note: You may feel free to print off a copy of this resource page as a reference for your personal worship and for worship planning. It would be helpful to note dates when specific scriptures were used in worship on your copy of this page.

If you wish to share this blog page with a friend or with your worship team members, please do not print off additional copies. Permission is to make one copy for personal use only, or to update a previous personal copy. Instead of a page copy, please provide your friends with the URL for this page: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/lift-your-voice/

Since additional worship scriptures will be posted as time permits, we will place the date of the most recent update here so that you can compare your copy. Most recent update: October 18th, 2012

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Tidings of Great Joy!

Nativity silhouetteThis post contains the story of the birth of Christ with the scriptural accounts from Luke’s Gospel and Matthew’s Gospel, illustrated throughout with the most appropriate art or photos of dramatic portrayals that we could find.  Following the scriptural story, you will find some information about some of the prophecies that were fulfilled with the birth of Christ.  This information about the prophecies and their fulfillment comes from two different sources, which are noted.

 

THE  STORY  OF  THE  BIRTH  OF  CHRIST
IN  SCRIPTURES  AND  ILLUSTRATIONS

Luke 1

New International Version (NIV)
(Scripture passages are copied from http://www.biblegateway.com )

Introduction

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

Dramatic portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth

Dramatic portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth

5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Artistic deptiction of the angel appearing to Zechariah

Artistic deptiction of the angel Gabriel appearing to Zechariah

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could

Artistic depiction of Zechariah with Elizabeth

Artistic depiction of Zechariah with Elizabeth

not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Artistic depiction of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary

Artistic depiction of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Artistic deptiction of Mary as she expressed her desire to serve the Lord

Artistic deptiction of Mary as she expressed her desire to serve the Lord

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

Artistic depiction of Elizabeth greeting Mary

Artistic depiction of Elizabeth greeting Mary

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Artistic depiction of Mary and Elizabeth rejoicing together

Artistic depiction of Mary and Elizabeth rejoicing together

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

Artistic depiction of Mary glorifying the Lord

Artistic depiction of Mary glorifying the Lord

“My soul glorifies the Lord47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful     of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—     holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,     from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;     he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones     but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things     but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel,     remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,     just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

The Birth of John the Baptist

Dramatic portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth with their miracle baby

Dramatic portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth with their miracle baby

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

Artistic depiction of Zechariah writing on a tablet, "His name is John."

Artistic depiction of Zechariah writing on a tablet, “His name is John.”

62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child

going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

Zechariah’s Song

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,     because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn[c] of salvation for us     in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies     and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors     and to remember his holy covenant, 73     the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,     and to enable us to serve him without fear 75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Artistic portrayal of the prophecy of Zechariah

Artistic portrayal of the prophecy of Zechariah

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;     for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation     through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God,     by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness     and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit[d]; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

Sculptural portrayal of Caesar Augustus

Sculptural portrayal of Caesar Augustus

Artistic portrayal of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem

Artistic portrayal of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Artistic depiction of Mary caring for Baby Jesus

Artistic depiction of Mary caring for Baby Jesus

shepherds afraid8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,     and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”1

The Heavely Host appear to the shepherds and share the good news of the birth of Jesus

The Heavely Host appear to the shepherds and share the good news of the birth of

5 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Shepherds on the way to find baby Jesus

Shepherds on the way to find baby Jesus

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

The shepherds adore the baby Jesus

The shepherds adore the baby Jesus

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.Mary holding baby Jesus19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

20 The shepherds returned [to their flocks}, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Artistic depiction of the shepherds returning to their flocks, glorifying and praising God

Artistic depiction of the shepherds returning to their flocks, glorifying and praising God

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

Artistic depiction of Mary and Joseph taking baby Jesus to the temple

Dramatic portrayal of Mary and Joseph taking baby Jesus to the temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]

Artistic depiction of Simeon thanking God for baby Jesus

Artistic depiction of Simeon thanking God for baby Jesus

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,     you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,     and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Anna rejoicing36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Matthew 1

New International Version (NIV)

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Artistic depiction of Abraham and Isaac

Artistic depiction of Abraham and Isaac

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,

Perez the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

4 Ram the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Obed the father of Jesse,

6 and Jesse the father of King David.

Artistic depiction of David and Solomon

Artistic depiction of David and Solomon

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Uzziah,

9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

12 After the exile to Babylon:

Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,

Abihud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

14 Azor the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Akim,

Akim the father of Elihud,

15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob,

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

Dramatic portrayal of the betrothed couple, Joseph and Mary

Dramatic portrayal of the betrothed couple, Joseph and Mary

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Artistic depiction of Joseph as he slept and the angel appeared to him in a dream

Artistic depiction of Joseph as he slept and the angel appeared to him in a dream

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

Dramatic portrayal of Joseph as he considers the dream and decides to obey and trust God

Dramatic portrayal of Joseph as he considers the dream and decides to obey and trust God

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2

New International Version (NIV)

The Magi Visit the Messiah

Artistic depiction of baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph

Artistic depiction of baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph

Wise men from the east come seeking the baby Jesus

Wise men from the east come seeking the baby Jesus

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

The wise men consult with Herod about where the new King might be found

The wise men consult with Herod about where the new King might be found

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,     are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler     who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

Artistic depiction of the wise men (or Magi) continuing their journey to find Jesus

Artistic depiction of the wise men (or Magi) continuing their journey to find Jesus

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

Artistic deptiction of the wise men worshiping the young child Jesus

Artistic deptiction of the wise men worshiping the young child Jesus

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

Artistic depiction of the angel warning Joseph in a dream

Artistic depiction of the angel warning Joseph in a dream

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]

Artistic depiction of Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt with Jesus following the angel's warning

Artistic depiction of Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt with Jesus following the angel’s warning

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,     weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children     and refusing to be comforted,     because they are no more.”[d]

Artistic depiction of the killing of the innocent children due to Herod's evil decree.

Artistic depiction of the killing of the innocent children due to Herod’s evil decree.

The Return to Nazareth

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Nazareth today

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ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN SCRIPTURE PASSAGES
OF PROPHECY ABOUT THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

baby JesusFor to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6 & 7

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INFORMATION  ABOUT  PROPHECIES  FULFILLED  WITH  THE  BIRTH  OF  CHRIST

(NOTE:  This information has been gathered from two sources, which are referenced with the URL for each site following the information gleaned from that site.)

Mattthew 1:20-23 [20] But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.   [21] She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  [22] All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: [23] “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

1. Promised Through the Seed of Abraham:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Genesis 22:18
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 1:1

2. Promised Through Isaac:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Genesis 21:12
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:34

3. Out of the Tribe of Judah:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Micah 5:2
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:33

4. Born in the Family of Jesse:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 11:1
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:32

5. Born in the House of David (King):

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Jeremiah 23:5-6
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:31

6. Born in Bethlehem:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Micah 5:2
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 2:4-7

7. Born of a virgin:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 7:14
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 1:18

8. Worshipped and Presented gifts by Kings:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 72:10
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 2:11

9. Worshipped by Shepherds:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 72:9
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 2:9

10. Weeping for the Children

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Jeremiah 31:15
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 2:16

11. Flight to Egypt

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Hosea 11:1
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 2:13-14

12. He will be called Lord:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 110:1
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 2:11

13. He is the Son of God:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 2:7
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:22
    (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11)

(The information above came from:  http://englewoodcog.org/Word/Birth_of_Christ.php )

Concerning his nature

Prophesied

Fulfilled

11. He pre-existed creation Mic 5:2 1 Pet 1:20
12. He shall be called Lord Ps 110:1 Acts 2:36
13. Called Immanuel (God with us) Isa 7:14 Mt 1:22-23
14. Prophet Deut 18:18-19 Acts 3:18-25
15. Priest Ps 110:4 Heb 5:5-6
16. Judge Isa 33:22 Jn 5:22-23
17. King Ps 2:6 Jn 18:33-37
18. Anointed by the Spirit Isa 11:2 Mt 3:16-17
19. His zeal for God Ps 69:9 Jn 2:15-17

(The chart above was found at http://www.bible.ca/b-prophecy-60.htm )

Isaiah 9:6-7 [6] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [7] Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. …  700 B.C.

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30 Thankful Verses

Thankful hearts, rejoice!

Here are thirty verses about giving thanks to God.  There is one verse for each day of the month, with some brief devotional thoughts to inspire you.

1  DAY  ONE

  “The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord.   Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:  “He is good; His love endures forever.”   Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud.”    II Chronicles 5:13

Jesus prayed that we (God’s people) would be one.  When we come together as one to praise and thank Him, God’s presence is made known to us as he inhabits (literally, dwells within) the praise of His people.  Today, let us thank God, as the trumpeters and singers did, for His great love that endures forever.

2  DAY  TWO

  “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.”    Psalm 7:17

He is holy and righteous.  Thank God today for His righteousness.

3  DAY  THREE

  “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart:  I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.”     Psalm 9:1 & 2

How are we supposed to give thanks to the Lord?  This verse tells us that we should give thanks to God with our whole heart.  A half-hearted thankfulness results from giving thanks out of a sense of duty, just because we know we should.  However, when we spend some time thinking and meditating on all that God has done (His wonderful deeds), thankfulness is the natural overflow of our hearts in response to our great God.  Spend some time thinking of His wonderful deeds, and thank Him with your whole heart!

4  DAY  FOUR

  “Blessed be the Lord!  for He has heard the voice of my supplications.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”    Psalm 28:6 & 7

Thank the Lord today for being a God that we can trust.  He has our best interests at heart.  He gives His strength, protects us, and helps us.

5  DAY  FIVE

  “Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.”     Psalm 30:4

His saints…   He has accepted us as we are, saved us, and is at work in our hearts to make us like Jesus.  Thank God for His mercy in all of these things!

 

6  DAY  SIX

  “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.”    Psalm 50:14

He has given sacrificially to us in every way, and He always keeps His promises.  Thank God today for accepting your thankfulness as a sacrifice to Him, for the sacrifices He has made to you, and for His unchanging character as a keeper of promises.

  7DAY  SEVEN

  “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”    Psalm 69:30

Thank God for the songs that allow you to praise His name and bring glory to Him through thanksgiving.  Sing one of these songs to the Lord today.

8  DAY  EIGHT

  “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High; To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.”     Psalm 92:1 & 2

Thankfulness is a good thing!  From morning until night, give thanks for God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness today.

9  DAY  NINE

  “O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is His also.  The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.  O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”     Psalm 95:1 – 7a

He is a great God!  Our God is the sovereign ruler and creator of all things!   And yet, he regards us with tenderness, as the sheep of His hand.  Thank God for His might and for His tenderness today.

10  DAY  TEN

  “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.”    Psalm 97:12

We can be called righteous only to the extent that His righteousness indwells our hearts.  Thank God today for living within you.

11  DAY  ELEVEN

  “Make a joyful moise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness; come fefore His presence with singing.  Know that the Lord is God; it is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.  For the Lord is good:  His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.”     Psalm 100 (all verses, 1 – 5)

The Lord is good!  His mercy lasts forever!  (He never tires of showing mercy!)  His truth will prevail, even when it seems that the world is full of lies.  Thank God today for these great truths about who He is.

12  DAY  TWELVE

  “O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people.  Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him; talk of all His wondrous works.  Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”    Psalm 105:1 – 3

We can rejoice and give thanks because when we call upon the Lord, He hears us.  When we seek Him, He responds.  Before we knew we needed Him, He met our need.  These are among the wondrous works of the Lord.  Thank Him today for being a God who knows us and who wants to be known by us.

13  DAY  THIRTEEN

  “Praise ye the Lord; O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever.  Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?  Who can show forth all His praise?”   Psalm 106:1 & 2

Thank the Lord that His mighty acts are so numerous that no one can name them all.  Thank Him for the ways that He is at work that we cannot see.  The Lord is good!  Show forth His praise today.

14  DAY  FOURTEEN

  “Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to the sons of men!  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!”   Psalm 107:21 & 22

No matter who we are, where we’ve been, or what we’ve done, God’s love for us is steadfast.  Thank God today for His wonderful, everlasting love.

15  DAY  FIFTEEN

  “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!  I will sing and make melody!  Awake, my soul!  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn!  I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, I will sing praises to You among the nations.  For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let Your glory be over all the earth.”    Psalm 108:1 – 5

God’s faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  It is beyond any faithfulness that we have ever known.  God’s faithfulness is not dependant on perfection from us.  He is faithful is spite of our sinfulness.  Thank God for His faithfulness today and every day.

16  DAY  SIXTEEN

  “With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise Him in the midst of the throng.”    Psalm 109:30

Where did the Psalmist give thanks and praise to God?  ….in the midst of the throng.   And how?  …with his mouth.  Thank God today, no matter where you are and who is there with you.  Thank Him out loud!

17  DAY  SEVENTEEN

  “Praise the Lord.  I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.”    Psalm 111:1

Where else did the Psalmist give praise and thanks to the Lord?  …in the company of the upright, in the congregation.  You will never know how much your presence and the testimony of your praise may mean to the heart of another believer.  Do not forsake the worship of God with your congregation.  As iron sharpens iron, the faith of others increases our own faith, and your faith increases the faith of others.  Thank God today for those who have been a spiritual influence in your life.  Give Him praise with your whole heart, and remember to assemble with the saints in your congregation every time that you can be there.

18  DAY  EIGHTEEN

  “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God upon the lyre.”     Psalm 147:7

Why are we told in scriptures so many times to sing to the Lord with thanksgiving?  It’s because we matter to Him, and our praise matters to Him as well.  We were created to bring Him glory.  Thank God that you matter to Him, and that He considers you to be of such infinite value that your praise brings Him glory.  Glorify Him with your praise and thanksgiving today.

19  DAY   NINETEEN

  “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.”     Isaiah 12:4-5

To whom are we to make God’s name and His deeds known?  …to the nations, and to all the world.  Our God wants everyone to know Him.  He values all people.  He loves all people.  Today, thank God for the fact that He has allowed you to be part of His great mission to make Himself known and to reach the hearts of people around the world.

20  DAY  TWENTY

  “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”    II Corinthian 4:15

Thank God for His wonderful, incredible grace, reaching out to us in spite of our sinfulness and covering our sin because of His great love.

21  DAY  TWENTY  ONE

  “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”    Eph. 5:20

For what should we be thankful?  …everything.  This is the most difficult thing for us to do, but He is with us and is working all things together for our good.  Give thanks for the hard places in your journey.

22  DAY  TWENTY  TWO

  “Do not be over-anxious about anything, but by prayer and earnest pleading, together with thanksgiving, let your request be unreservedly made known in the presence of God.”    Phil. 4:6

Thank God today for the fact that we have the ability to talk to Him in prayer about anything.  We are to come to Him without reservation.  We do not need to worry.  He hears our prayers and answers them in His wisdom.

23  DAY  TWENTY THREE

  We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power, so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.  May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light.    Col 1:11 – 12

God continues to give!  He gives strength through His glorious power, along with endurance and patience.  He gives us an inheritance as His people.  He allows us to live in the light of His glory and grace.  Thank Him today, with joy!

24  DAY  TWENTY  FOUR

  “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”    Colossians 2:7

We don’t have to stay where we are in our walk with the Lord.  He accepts us and loves us as we are, but He also continues His work in our hearts as we build our lives on Him.  Thank God for His work in your heart and life.  He will be faithful to complete it!

25  DAY  TWENTY  FIVE

  “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.”    Colossians 3:15

Thank God for His peace, and ask Him to help you allow His peace to rule in your heart no matter what circumstances surround you.

26  DAY  TWENTY  SIX

  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”    Colossians 3:16 & 17

Thank the Lord for Christ our Savior!   He has given His all for us, so may we live to bring Him glory!

27  DAY  TWENTY  SEVEN

  “Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas.   You accepted what we said as the very word of God–which, of course, it is.  And this word continues to work in you who believe.    I Thessalonians 2:13

Thank God for the power of his Word, which continues to work in us, and for Jesus the living Word, who has been the physical incarnation and demonstration of the Word

28  DAY  TWENTY  EIGHT

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”    I Thessalonians 5:18

We belong to Christ Jesus!  He has saved us, and God holds us in the hollow of His hand.  How can we fail to be thankful?

29  DAY  TWENTY  NINE

  “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.”    I Timothy 2:1

Thank God for the people in your life…all of the people!  And, when God brings a name or face across your path (whether you know the person or not), thank Him for this person and ask God to help them.

30  DAY  THIRTY

  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably, with reverence and awe.”    Hebrews 12:28

Thank God for His eternal Kingdom and His ultimate victory.  With our thankfulness, we offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence for Him and awe because of who He is and what He has done.  Thank Him for being who He is.

WORTHY  OF  OUR  THANKSGIVING

For all of time, God has been the same.  He has always been worthy of praise and thanksgiving, and He always will be.  Our grateful hearts on earth foreshadow the thankfulness of the great multitude in Heaven.  Give thanks to Him every day!  Amen.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multititude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!”  And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, ” Amen!  Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever!  Amen.”
Revelation 7:9 – 12

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This thankfulness guide could certainly be used in the month of November as many people focus on thanksgiving to God.  However, it can be used at any time!  Everyday, we have 10,000 reasons to thank God and give Him praise!

Note:  The verses used in this post were copied from BibleCC, the Online Parallel Bible at http://bible.cc/
The verses were found using the following search terms:  ‘thank’, ‘thanks’, ‘thankful’, ‘thankfulness’, ‘thanksgiving’, ‘give thanks’, and ‘giving thanks’.  In each case, the Bible translation which seems to convey the meaning of the verse most clearly was used, so the verses represent various Bible translations.  There were other verses in which the thankful terms also appeared.  However, many of the verses in Psalms were very similar to verses already chosen.  Other verses were part of a narrative and would have sounded incomplete when used out of context.  The 30 verses chosen were just the best representation of verses about the subject of being thankful or giving thanks.

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These scriptures were compiled and the devotional thoughts were added by C. A. Boyd

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Our birthday is one week away!

Let’s celebrate all that God has donw!

On November 3rd, we will celebrate the one year birthday for our Boydbrain Music/Worship Sounds Life and Worship blog.  It has been a year full of learning and growing for us.  As we have prayed and studied, worshiped and worked to create the posts and pages on our blog, we have learned a lot about God’s love for us, re-discovered the privelege of worship in some new ways, and gained a new appreciation for the history behind some of the hymns and hymn writers whose testimony of faith has been a blessing to discover and whose work has become a part of our testimony as well.  In addition, we’ve been able to write about our appreciation and love for some special choral groups and some very special people.  We’ve shared personal stories about our family and about the circumstances surrounding the writing of many of Travis’ songs.

We’ve shared our passion for the Lord and for ministry through worship.  We’ve shared practical information and links to some great resources.   We’ve shared the news about recent additions to our music website and changes to our company, which now has a new name.  Some of our favorite posts and pages are not about us at all.  There are some about the grace of God, the love of God, our victorious Savior, the Name above all names, and even a page with the most exhaustive list of worship scriptures we have seen on the web.  There are two posts about Jesus.  One is our evangelistic post, “Do You Know Jesus?”, with some great links to websites that would answer any question a seeker might have.  The other is “His Name is Jesus”, which could be used as a reading in a worship service.  We also have posts specifically for worship leaders about subjects such as worship planning and preparation, creative ideas for worship, and planning a worship ministry appreciation sunday.

In summary, we’ve had a great first year with a lot of personal opportunities for incredible moments of worship.  In contemplation of many of our writings, there were so many moments when truths about God’s word, about who He is, about His marvelous grace, about our wonderful Savior…and the great, great love of God…would just pour fresh revelation into our hearts through His Spirit.  Writing is thinking, and in the writing of our blog articles, we’ve done a lot of thinking and meditating.  We always want our purpose to be redemptive and to bring glory to God.  So, for our birthday, send up a prayer that we will honor God through the ministry of this blog and write as we are inspired by His incredible eternal love story.

We love all of our blog visitors and pray for you!  We’ve had visitors from 140 countries so far and are closing in on 16,000 ‘hits’.  The top 3 search terms that lead people to our blog have always been and continue to be “God”, “Worship”, and “Worship God”.  From the point where we started a year ago, knowing absolutely nothing about blogging, it has been an amazing year.

Thank you to all of you who have spent some of your valuable time reading our posts and pages!

Our desire is to be a source of inspiration and encouragement for everyone who visits our blog.

We’ve had almost 3,000 viewers of our home page who also scrolled down through our archives of previous posts, and all of our 57 posts and 17 pages have been viewed by people around the world that we will never meet this side of Heaven.  That is amazing to us.  All glory goes to our awesome God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving us life, salvation, and a testimony to share.  Here are 14 Top Posts and Pages from our first year, with the number of views through today:

Lifestyle Worship More stats 1,377
Ideas for Choir Appreciation Sunday/ Music Ministry Sunday More stats 1,120
Just for you! More stats 1,020
Lift your voice!  (worship scriptures) More stats 736
Creative Worship Ideas More stats 669
Worship Planning and Preparation More stats 601
Song Story…”Much More Than a Song” More stats 450
Joyfully Sing! More stats 391
The Name Above all Names More stats 385
Understanding Worship More stats 287
Choir Appreciation Sunday More stats 271
Top Ten Music Ministry Thankfulness List More stats 254
Disappointment…and Grace More stats 230
Victorious Savior!                                                         229

Have you seen our Christmas Anthems yet?

Look for this thumbnail photo on our shopping cart page.

This 6/8 anthem is perfect for the Christmas Season. It is especially effective as a service opener or a joyful finale. MODERATELY DIFFICULT SATB 

(PDF Master Copy, $8.00, with permission to make an unlimited number of copies for your Choir)
See and Hear the Anthem Purchase Anthem $8.00 (unlimited copies)

Look for this identifying thumbnail photo on our Shopping Cart web page.

A bluesy, rockin’ celebration of Christ’s birth, your choir will find this one easy to learn and fun to sing! MODERATELY DIFFICULT SATB

(PDF Master Copy, $10.00, with permission to make an unlimited number of copies for your Choir)
See and Hear the Anthem Purchase Anthem $10.00 (unlimited copies)

Look for this identifying thumbnail photo on our Shopping Cart web page.

This anthem features an optional flute descant. It explores the incredible gift given to us through the birth of Christ. MODERATELY DIFFICULT SATB

(PDF Master Copy, $8.00, with permission to make an unlimited number of copies for your Choir)

YOU’LL  FIND  ALL  THREE  CHRISTMAS  ANTHEMS  ON  OUR  ADULT  CHOIR  WEBSITE   PAGE!
Purchase all 3 for the incredibly low price of $26.00 plus your printing costs!
There’s no shipping fee and no per copy fee.  We send you the instructtion for downloading your PDF Master copies by e-mail.
It’s the easy, fast, and affordable way to have great new music for Christmas!

The story of Christmas is re-told with joy for your Choir and Congregation!

Blessings to you from WorshipSounds Music! 

Here’s the link to our website:  http://www.worshipsounds.com

Lifting Up His Name!

Psalm 107:8

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17

What does is really mean to praise the name of the Lord?  In order to praise Him in Spirit and in truth, we must have some knowledge about Who He is.  In other words, we must know the truth about God to some extent in order to be able to offer genuine praise that flows from a heart of gratittude.  In the scripture verse above, the Psalmist acknowledges the righteousness of God, His Lordship, and the fact that He is the Most High God, Lord over all.  The thankful heart of the Psalmist results from knowing that God is good.  He is righteous.  He is the Most High.  As a result of this knowledge and relationship, the Psalmist feels that he has an obligation to respond appropriately to God’s goodness and supremacy.   The Psalmist gives thanks to the Lord and sings praise to His Name based upon revealed truth and what that truth means to him.

Similarly, a child reaches a point when he has grown up enough to recognize the sacrifices his parents are making and have made on him behalf, resulting in his desire to thank his parents and to be good to them in turn.   We are part of our biological or adopted family, the children of our earthly parents.  We carry their name and their hopes and dreams, as well as their investment into our lives, for the remainder of our years.  With maturity comes the acknowledgement that everything about the way the we live impacts all of those around us.     We praise our parents and others who have had an impact on our lives not just for what they have done on our behalf but for who they are and the fact that they truly love us and have our best interests at heart.  Our lives bear the fruit and the image of their sacrifice.

In thinking about our lives in relationship to God, the fact that He desires relationship with us is amazing!   The fact that He is good and acts on our behalf is fantastic!  The fact that He would give Himself for us is miraculously magnificent!  What should be our response ot such an awesome, loving, and merciful God?  Consider the worship quote below.

Worship quote:

“Worship is discovering and declaring the magnificence of God, not just by our image-bearing and not just in sacramental acts, but the way we breathe every breath, take in every sight, hear every sound, and move as image-bearers through every day.”

( The quote above is from http://marshill.com/2011/04/17/what-worship-is )

The term “image bearers” in the worship quote above is a reminder to me of the true meaning of one of the Ten Commandments. When preparing to teach a Sunday School lesson several years ago, I learned that the definition of the word that has been translated as “take” in the commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” is “to bear or to carry.” This expanded my understanding of what God was telling us to do and not to do in a way that is more profound than the very true teaching that we must have reverence for God’s name and only use His name in a way that is honorable. In addition, we are the carriers of His name. We take, or bear, or carry, the name of God with us wherever we are as Christians. So, the commandment is telling us to be very aware of our witness and testimony, making sure that we do not bring shame or reproach to the name of God through our actions, words, or attitudes. To do so would be to carry His name in vain because of the fact that all of our efforts for the Kingdom would not bear fruit as they should in the lives of others. If we have compromised our testimony to such a great extent that our efforts are in vain, this is a very serious situation; but I believe that it does not have to be a permanent one. God’s forgiveness and mercy are always there for us. Every day is a new beginning.  God’s infinite investment of love and mercy in our lives is worthy of our best image-bearing (carrying His name in such a way that our lives bring Him glory).  Today, with God’s help, may we carrry His name and the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in such a way that His glory is seen, not only in our best efforts, but even in our imperfection that has been surrendered to Him. That is worship, dear friends.

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–  This post was written by C. Boyd

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The worship scriptures used in this post can be found on our Worship Scripture Page called “Lift Your Voice” at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/lift-your-voice/

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The worship quote used in this posts can be found in our post called “Worship:  Definitions and Quotations” at this link:  WORSHIP:  Definitions and Quotations

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading this devotional post.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Generational and Cultural Relevance in Worship Ministry

 The message of the gospel always matters. 

 It is always relevant to every life, every heart, every age, every culture, and every generation. 

 Sharing the truth of God’s love, as demonstrated through the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ matters more than anything else in the world. 

However, it’s not easy to find a way to communicate the life-changing and eternal message of saving grace in a world where there are is so much divisiveness.  It can be difficult to overcome generational and cultual attitudes to the extent that what really matters (the gospel message of salvation and new life in Christ) is clearly shared and understood.  In our homes, in our churches, and wherever we go, Christians need to demonstrate the love of God and apply His grace in responding to situations where a lack of generational or cultural understanding seems to be a barrier to communication.  In doing so, we need to remember that everyone wants to feel that they matter and that their opinions and beliefs are relevant.  The reality is that adults are sometimes dismissed by teenagers and children as irrelevant to contemporary culture and to the lives of the younger generation.  In the same way, adults can sometimes dismiss younger people as lacking enough maturity to be relevant to serious discussions and decision making.  If God’s people, the church, are going to make a difference through sharing the eternal truth of salvation in Christ, we have to be willing to take a fresh look at everything we do.  In light of the pre-conceived ideas and differing backgrounds on both sides of every generational and cultural issue, is it possible to find a way to unite the generations in powerful, life-changing worship?  Can the adults to whom church leadership has been entrusted become open enough to make any necessary changes on the path to reaching the hearts and minds of younger generations?

Webster defines the word relevant as:  “bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; to the purpose; pertinent.”  In other words, when we are living and relating, worshiping and sharing in such a way that our ministry becomes relevant for reaching up to God and out to others, what we do matters!

People always matter!  We have intrinsic value because we are created by God in His image and redeemed by God through Jesus Christ, which means that our lives have eternal and infinite value.   The value of our lives or the message that we share is never the question.  However, true relevance that allows God to speak to the hearts of others through us without the barriers of cultural and relational obsolescence brings eternal value to our ministry.  In other words, God can use lives and ministries and talents and hearts that are surrendered to Him to bring about real spiritual fruit in our hearts and lives and in the lives of others.  When we are surrendered to God’s Kingdom purposes, He makes us more aware of changes that we can make to effectively minister to all of the people who make up our congregation.

The message of the gospel is always relevant.  God’s love and mercy always matters.  The problem of perceived irrelevance has never been about the message itself.  When it comes to our relevance in sharing spiritual truth, what we do relationally and the message that we project to those around us (through our lives, our words, our posture, our attitudes, our musical preparation and choices, and even the expressions on our faces) impacts their willingness to hear the message of the gospel.  When we learn to care more deeply about how God can use our lives and our willingness to seek His purpose than we do about what is comfortable and easy for us, God can indwell our hunger to bring Him glory in such a way that His Spirit brings not only relevance but Divine power to the ministry that we have been given.  This process will take some thought on our parts.  We never intend to get comfortable and begin to resist change, and we often don’t even recognize those tendencies in ourselves.  It will take awareness of where we are and a passion for becoming all that God made us to be to prompt the uncomfortable process of change (where change is necessary) and allow us to become more open to considering the types of changes that will make our ministry more effective with people of all ages.

As the chief worship leaders in our church, it is incumbent upon anyone who is a part of worship ministry to be as “relevant” to those we serve as we can be.  If we are going to really allow the Lord to use us to have an impact upon the lives of others, we must be open to new forms of expression and to refining the overall worship experience so that people are drawn to the message of the gospel rather than bored by the absence of passion and a seeming lack of commitment to excellence in what they observe and hear.   In my experiences working with teenagers through the years,  I have discovered that I have to “earn” the right to be heard by them.  The same is true of virtually any age group.  We want to know that whoever is leading us is relevant to the lives we live and is sharing a message with eternal relevance.  Most pertinent to this discussion of relevance, we want to know that these eternal truths mean so much to those who are sharing them that there is evidence of a heart of passion in the sharing process.

The kind of relevance we need as worship and ministry leaders involves bringing clarity, purpose, prerparation, and passion to all of our efforts in leading worship.  

1.  CLARITY
We need clarity because God is not the author of confusion.   Everyone on the worship team should have clarity in their thoughts and attitudes about worship and should understand that the purpose of worship is to bring glory to our God.  Every worshiper should be able to follow the music that you are sharing without confusion so that they can focus on the Lord and worship Him.

2.  PURPOSE
The purpose of everything that is done in the worship service (not just singing!) must also ultimately be to bring glory to God.  If a worship service is planned carefully, one message in song or in testimony or prayer can lead right into the next almost as a progression of thought as we worship the Lord.

3.  PREPARATION
This involves spiritual preparation for all ministry staff and worship minisry personnel.  A lot of prayer time should be invested before we ever reach pre-service rehearsals, ministerial pre-service prayer times, and, expecially, before the worship service itself begins.  As the planning takes place, all of the details should be a matter of prayer as well.  Worship ministry personnel should spend some time in prayer during rehearsals as well.

When it comes to the actual carrying out of the plan for worhip during the service, all of the leadership team should be well prepared so that the service can flow from one thing to the next and not interrupt the focus on our eternal God.  Every worship team member should know what has been planned to happen next.  What Travis calls an “expanded update” for the musicians and ministerial staff can be helpful.  Our church does publish an order of service in the bulletin.  However, the order given to those who are involved in ministry contains more information.  For example, for the staff, it might list who will be welcoming guests and who will lead a prayer.  For musicians, it might tell who is “in” on the first verse, where others come in, how many repeats of a certain song, etc.  However, this planning does not prevent sensitivity to God’s spirit.  Sometimes things change during a worship service; but if your original planning was clear, it is easier for everyone to go with the flow of God’s spirit.

4.  PASSION
Finally, we must have passion in order to be relevant as worship leaders.  Our passion for the Lord is expressed not just through musical excellence and preparation but in a transparent desire to bring glory to God.  We are all individuals, so this focus on bringing glory to God will be expressed in many different ways.  However, our passion should be far more than skin deep.  True passion is not for the sake of appearance.   True passion for the Lord must permeate our hearts and should impact our thinking, our prayer lives, our expressions of worship, and the way that we live and relate as people.  We are worshipers and seekers of God first and worship leaders second, in answer to His call on our lives.  The deep desire and passion of our hearts should be to bring glory to God, fulfilling our calling to lead worshipers and seekers of God in a relevant manner that God can use to draw others to Himself and to inspire believers to seek a closer walk with Him through a more profound understanding of worship.

When we are willing to do whatever it takes in order for the Lord to indwell our worship and use it to impact the lives of others, the spiritual foundation of understanding that the goal of worship is to bring glory to God is primary.  However, without consideration of some practical things that should also enter our awareness, we risk leaving our congregation behind and neglecting the simple relational things that could help to communicate with them more effectively.   We essentially have a dual role as worship leaders of relating to and worshiping the Lord while also relating to and leading God’s people.   This can be a difficult balance, but we can do all things through Christ.  The practical elements of relating to our congregation and thereby becoming relevant to them as worship leaders are not difficult but do require some initial thought and then continued awareness.

First of all, we must realize that there has always been and always will be a “gap” between musicians and non-musicians.  Regardless of whether we are formally trained or simply have learned by years of participation, we will always view our role as a worship ministry leader differently from the way it will be viewed by those who have never participated in music organizations or in worship ministry.  Procedures that we take for granted as normal can seem strange, irrelevant, and even boring and archaic to non-musicians.  We have our own unique language (musical terminology), as well as our own set of expectations when we evaluate what we are doing (our own musical standards).   We must not get so caught up in the use of musical skills and expressions that we leave God’s people behind.  Every song for congregational worship should be singable and in a practical key, for example.  We just need to put some thought into relating musically to people who are not formally trained musicians.

The Apostle Paul always tried to become relevant to those whom he was trying to reach and serve.  (I Cor. 9:19-23)  Paul observed the culture around him in order to reference things that the people knew and build upon their knowledge with spiritual truth in his preaching and in his conversations.   Jesus was effective in ministering to people of all walks of life because they felt he was relevant.  He used stories that related to daily life in order to explain spiritual truth, and he demonstrated continual compassion for the hardships and difficulties and losses of life.  He also saw the hearts of the people with whom he came in contact and was able to speak to their deepest needs.  When Jesus communicated with people, I believe that He gave them His full attention and was fully engaged in communicating spiritual truth.  He could draw a crowd due to more than just His healing power.  People wanted to hear what He had to say.  The truths that Jesus spoke and taught were eternal, and He must have used all that He was to communicate them clearly and with passion.  We, too, can use all that we are to communicate spiritual truth and to focus on genuine worship.  We can relate to the daily lives of people so that they know we care about the joys and sorrows in their lives.  We can relate to people by speaking to their needs and clearly demonstrating genuine compassion and agape love for them.   When led to do so, we can use appropriate cultural references and even current events to share God’s truth in a relevant manner.   We can follow the example of Jesus to become more aware of the manner in which we relate to God’s people so that no only our worship leadership but also our lives make a difference and are relevant in ministry.

When it comes to worship ministry, the need for relevance is evident even in the Psalms.  The musicians who wrote them referenced events central to the history of Israel when talking about how God had protected and preserved the nation in every circumstance they faced.  There was a continual focus on remembering all that God had been to them (Savior, Lord, Refuge..) and all that He had done.   Throughout the centuries since the Psalms were written and since Jesus walked the Earth, there have been all kinds of situations surrounding and impacting the ministry of the local church.  Churches have utilized all kinds of worship leadership and musical expression of various types; and cultural surroundings have been a key factor in influencing changes.  It would be unrealistic for us to fail to recognize the fact that worship ministry has always been in the process of change.  It is Biblical and valid to sing to the Lord a new song, inspired by the way that He is working in our lives.  Christians in our congregations as well as those who have been called to the task of worship ministry leadership have done just that throughout the centuries of church history, singing the new songs of their own generation.  In recognizing that change is a constant process, we must also recognize the resistance to change in our own lives.  It is a challenge for any of us to accept change.  Change can be painful.  Change can take us out of our comfort zone.  Change can be threatening.  However, if we are to be relevant in worship ministry leadership, we must continually ask ourselves what contemporary elements of worship and new songs could be useful and meaningful in worship ministry.   We must also be aware of traditional worship practices and songs which might serve as a barrier between the worship ministry and many people in the congregation, and thus might have a negative impact on our relevance in the church today.

For example, choral praise is an element of worship ministry that has always been dear to my heart.  The Lord continues to give new songs for church choir ministry through those he has gifted with the ability to compose, so I don’t believe that He is finished with the use of choirs in worship ministry for His glory.  In order to be relevant in contemporary worship however, choirs will have to relinquish the role of a performing group and exchange it for the dual role of personal worshipers and leaders in worship ministry.   (The word “contemporary” here is not being used to describe a musical style but rather in the context of an overall worship ministry that is relevant today, no matter the style of the song that is being sung.)  Though there are some excellent examples of choral praise as a part of a vital contemporary worship ministry (such as the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir), there are several reasons that many churches are no longer including traditional choral praise as part of their ongong worhsip ministry.   The following facts are true of many church choirs and represent the type of disconnect that prevents some elements of worship ministry from being relevant to the hearts and lives of people of all ages in our congregations.

  1. Choirs hold music folders when they sing, pulling heads down and limiting eye contact with the congregation.  This also creates a physical barrier between the choir and the congregation.  In viewing photos of choirs, one discovers that singers who are looking down at music appear to have their eyes closed.  When music must be used, choir member need to raise the music up so that their heads do not have to look down to see the music, and they can actually look over the folder as they are singing.
  2. Choirs often “file in” in single file into the choir loft like some formal processional.
  3. Choirs are usually physically placed as far away from the congregation as can be, due to the design of most church buildings.
  4. Traditional seated choral risers do not allow for effective miking of the choir.  As a result, sound is often covered by instruments (and it’s not always their fault!), which means that the message that is supposed to be conveyed is not coming through.
  5. Our emphasis is on the “performance” of an “anthem” instead of on leading our congregation in singing God’s praises.  (Would we be as committed if we weren’t singing an anthem every Sunday?)
  6. Our body language is often stiff and formal.  We are concentrating on a posture that produces the maximum choral sound.
  7. Our facial expressions are often lacking due to our desire to concentrate on singing the music correctly.  (This very disconnect with the congregation, by the way, means we are not singing correctly even if vocal and choral technique is exemplary!)  It is true that God looks upon our hearts, and genuine worship is always the most important thing.   However, we must remember that the congregation is not blessed with x-ray vision to see inside our hearts.  They must rely instead on their senses in order to receive a message that is being spoken, sung, dramatized, danced, or played during a worship service.  As worship leaders, we should in turn use all of our senses and all of our being to communicate so that the message goes forth with the emphasis of all that we are capable of doing in order to express it.

What a difference! This choir is aware that part of communicating the message effectively is eye contact and facial expression. They are visually engaged in worship when they sing.

While you may or may not agree with all of the statements above, I think we can all agree on the fact that in order for overall worship leadership to really effective in making an impact in our churches and in the Kingdom of God, all people who are involved in worship leadership must do everything possible to relate to our congregations.  In other words, we must be aware of the need to be relevant.

The same kinds of visual and audible disconnect that can limit the effectiveness of choral praise also exist in other areas of worship ministry.  The entire worship ministry team must have an attitude of humility and desire to continue to learn and grow in order for God give us the direction we need so desperately.  Everyone who is on the platform in a worship leadership role must be aware that there is a need to be as involved in the message of the music visually as one must be in focus and mental awareness on the technical aspects of music.  The message must speak to our own hearts first and then be communicated through our facial expression, eye contact, posture, and attitude.   It ‘s never just the music that speaks to the heart.  It is God’s spirit working through the music that makes an eternal difference in the lives of people.  If a seeming lack of interest distracts from the message, people may be so bored that they are not open to the truths that are being communicated, thus inhibiting the work of God’s Spirit.

In a time when opinions about what a true worship ministry should be vary widely, we must continually seek God’s wisdom.  A recognition that all music itself and all musical gifts come from God and that the highest expression of music is ultimately to give all glory to God must permeate our hearts and inform all that we do, including planning and preparation for worship.  We must all be aware of the visual picture we present when elevated on a platform in front of God’s people.  What kind of message is being given by our posture and our facial expressions?   How obviously involved are we in the elements of the worship service that do not require our musical gifts?  Are we listening?  Praying?  Hearing from God?  Are we seeking to give Him glory?  Are we doing all that we can do to prepare for worship leadership so that our eyes don’t have to be downcast onto the music when we are singing praises to God?  For musicians, when we are not playing as part of the worship team on a particular song, are we still involved in worshiping God?  When we sing or speak of joy or grace, does our face portray the beauty of these gifts?  When we tell of the sacrifice and agony of our Lord, is the passion we feel for Him evident on our faces?  In everything that we do, we must endeavor to avoid the distractions of complacency, seeming boredom, lack of passion, and poor preparation.  These things focus attention on the question of whether we really believe what we are singing rather than opening hearts to the truth.  Rather, we must first be genuine worshipers and then seek to convey the truth of God’s love through full awareness of our role as a part of a worship leadership team.  Only then can our vulnerability before God and before our fellow worshippers allow us to connect to His life and theirs in a manner than brings relevance to worship ministry as a true reflection of relationship rather than as an artificial performance.

God is real, and our message of His love and salvation is eternally relevant.   Lord God, help us to worship You as we seek to lead effectively and to encourage others to worship You as well.

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This post was written by Travis L. Boyd and adapted by Cynthia Boyd

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Here is a particularly well composed response by an experienced Worship Minister to a question about how a choir should function as worship leaders.  This discussion took place on the forum in the “Music in Worship”  Community on Choralnet.org , and you may view the discussion in it’s entirety by becoming a Choralnet user and a member of the “Music in Worship” community.

“There are some simple universal truths about the choir’s role as worship leaders that I believe apply in any situation.  The first is obvious but so often overlooked and disregarded that it has spawned thousands of conference presentations, books and articles over the last forty years; the choir’s primary role is to lead the people in worship.  Whether the “liturgy” (“work of the people”) is formal or informal, screens or no screens, Catholic or Reformed, Denominational on Non-Denom, hidden in a choir loft or visible front and center it is the same.  Just the fact that you recognize this and want to learn more about it says a lot about your heart, integrity, and training.

First you should have a well defined theology or Credo of the Ministry of Music because everything you do should flow out of that.  Mine is not unique and I share it here so that you might think about developing your own: Glorify, Proclaim, Minister; Glorify God, Proclaim God’s word through song, Minister to and through those who serve.  Think of Glorify as a straight line of praise from the singer upward to God; Proclaim could be seen as a line in the shape of an L—proclaiming the Word to God’s people (horizontal line outward) which brings glory to God as His word is revealed (vertical line upward); Minister to and through those who serve (an inverted T)—I think you get the idea.  We do all of these things throughout worship at different times and sometimes different styles of music.  But to do any of them since the Old Testament the choir has been set apart to perform these roles.  Therefore the choir is in a position of servant leadership.  Next:
Modeling-what the choir does and how they do it sets the example for the congregation in the “what” and “how” in a worship service.  And of course that modeling begins with the director.  Every group reflects their leader.  Our choir is in front of the congregation.  When I want the congregation to stand the choir stands first, when the offering plate is passed in the congregation it is passed in the choir (if we are not singing) even though many singers give their offering on-line or in the mail.  The choir leads the congregation in confession, responsive readings, and of course singing.  Because our liturgy is informal and varies week to week that means we take time in rehearsal to run those things, and “talk” through the order of worship, rather than leaving it to chance.  That models to the choir the importance of those things.  This of course includes the hymns (an essential and extended topic around the choir’s leadership responsibilities).
Authenticity-we often think of this in relation to our own feelings but the choir is charged with the role of leadership which may require one to set their own personal feelings aside.  What I mean is this: one must be authentic to their role, the mood and the message of the music they are making.  I always strive to motivate genuine, personal expression from the personal faith of the singer.  But let’s face it, sometimes we may not feel so joyful on Sunday morning, or mournful on Good Friday.  One principle that seems to represent the greatest level of leadership is a willingness to sacrifice and sometimes that means sacrificing your own personal mood or feelings in order to communicate.  This not acting or “faking it”.  This is about understanding one’s role, their job, and sacrificial leadership.
What flows out of authenticity is expression and that, I think, is a tougher nut to crack.  How do you “free” people up to be expressive?  (For me, this pertains to choirs “seen and unseen”.)  Try to motivate first from personal experience and faith and teach to the idea of their role of leadership, responsibility to authenticity, selfless singing, and embodiment of the music.  They really have to understand and believe in their role and the business of authenticity to their role (above). Address the business of what do you do when your feelings don’t align with the music (answer: sacrifice self for the role of being faithful to the text); share how you feel sometimes.  Maybe you need to “prime the pump”–one of my mentors, Howard Swan, was first a psychologist.  He used to say “act enthusiastic and pretty soon you’ll be enthusiastic”.  Whose spirit hasn’t been transformed by the expressive power of music?  It’s not magic, it’s a gift from God!
Practically speaking they have to lift their folders up so mouths point up and out in order to be heard and faces to be seen; you may need to look into devices or activities that drama instructors use to teach expression.
Our church has been streaming our services for some time now.  The choir has really responded to seeing (and hearing) themselves.  Even though I’ve been at this church 23 years they have a new appreciation for my musical and expressive corrections because they have seen and heard themselves. Video the choir in worship and show it to them in rehearsal.  Is their countenance aligned with the music?  Then take the same piece of music and practice embodying the character of the music.
I hope this epistle has been of some value to you.  And if you like, I’d be happy to continue this discussion with other ideas and experiences independently.  You can contact me through ChoralNet or simply go to www.Belpres.org then navigate through the drop downs: About Us/Church Staff/Worship and Music (on left hand side of page).”
Blessings on your ministry
Scott Dean
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Song story for “Jesus, My Redeemer”

“Jesus, My Redeemer” is an SATB choral anthem written by Travis L. Boyd and published by Shawnee Press (Hal Leonard).  It will always be one of my favorites of all of the choral anthems that Travis has written.  I can take credit only for loving the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision,” from which the tune for this anthem was taken.  I love both the original hymn tune and the traditional lyrics, but the “Jesus, My Redeemer”  lyrics and Travis’ accompaniment and choral arrangement are so meaningful and beautiful to me that I am more than willing to expand my love for the old hymn and include this new version.  Some readers may not be acquainted with the original hymn, so this song story will include some information about “Be Thou My Vision”  as well as the tale of how it inspired Travis to write “Jesus, My Redeemer.”

Here’s the story of “Be Thou My Vision,” as written by Sarah McCabe on suite101.com  (see the article URL at the end of this post):

“”Be Thou My Vision” is a Christian hymn written by  an Irish poet, and put to the tune of an old Irish folk song.  It has deep roots in the history  of Ireland.  St. Patrick played a major role in its inspiration, as did a pagan  king and a forbidden fire.  In 433 AD St. Patrick came to  the Hill  of Slane in County Meath. It was the night before Easter, as well as the beginning of  the Spring Equinox. High King Leoghaire (pronounced “Leary”) mac Neill had  issued a decree that no  fires were to be lit until the lighting of the blaze atop nearby Tara Hill  that would usher in the Spring Equinox.  The first fire, however, was not that of King Leoghaire. Rather, it was a  flame lit by St. Patrick to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  Instead of executing him, King Leoghaire was so impressed by St. Patrick’s  courage that he allowed him to continue with his missionary work throughout  Ireland.
Considered Ireland’s chief poet during his time, Dallan Forgaill, who was  killed by pirates in 598, was known as a studious and scholarly man. It was said  that he spent so much time reading, writing, and studying that he became  blind.  Inspired by the events on the Hill of Slane about 100 years earlier, Dallan  Forgaill wrote the original words to “Be Thou My Vision” in old Irish, as a poem  entitled ” Rop tu mo baile.”  The poem was not translated into English until 1905 when Mary E. Byrne  (1880-1931) wrote a literal  translation of the words in English prose. The words were made into verse  and published by Eleanor H. Hull (1860-1935) in her 1913 work entitled Poem Book of the Gael.

The tune to “Be Thou My Vision” is called SLANE, an old Irish folk melody,  named for the Hill of Slane. Though centuries old, the melody was first  published by Patrick W. Joyce (1827-1914) in his 1909 collection, Old  Irish Folk Music and Songs, under the title “By the Banks of the  Bann.”  The melody was first coupled with Hull’s versified words to “Be Thou My  Vision” in 1919 by Leopold Dix (1861-1935) in the Irish Church  Hymnal.

Inspired by an event that helped change the spiritual climate of Ireland,  penned by a renowned Irish poet, and paired with the tune of an old Irish folk  song, “Be Thou My Vision” stands as a link between Ireland and its Christian  heritage. It is a tribute to a significant event in Ireland’s history and a reminder of the sovereignty, strength, and joy of Jesus.”

THE STORY OF “JESUS, MY REDEEMER”

“Jesus, my Redeemer, You died in my place… brought me salvation through Your matchless grace.”

Travis began to look at the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” with the initial goal of doing a choral arrangement of the hymn with the well-known lyrics.  However, as he began to work with the hymn, he was inspired to write a new text with a different type of lyrical content.  The original lyrics are a prayer asking for the continued nearness of God’s presence to the heart of the believer and for the clarity of vision that comes with knowing Him through His word and through revelation.  The new lyrics for “Jesus, My Redeemer” are a text of testimony.   The believer thanks God for sending Jesus, for His power to save, and for his certain return and the eventual home in Heaven.  Both sets of lyrics have something very important to say, and both texts end with a final verse that talks about Heaven.

Travis’ SATB choral anthem, “Jesus, My Redeemer” was published by Shawnee Press (now with Hal Leonard) and is available through Hal Leonard at this link:  http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=35011508&lid=0&keywords=Travisboyd&subsiteid=1&

“Jesus, My Redeemer” is available from J. W. Pepper, where the entire publisher’s studio demo recording of “Jesus, My Redeemer” can be heard at this link:  http://www.jwpepper.com/8036907.item

It is also available from Sheet Music Plus at http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Jesus-My-Redeemer/3734672

The publisher’s description of this anthem reads:
“Traditional Irish hymn, Be Thou My Vision; flowing accompaniment; easily learned – This anthem utilizes an original text set to the familiar Irish air commonly known as Be Thou My Vision. The accompaniment features a flowing motif, which recurs throughout the piece and is sure to appeal to your pianist. Jesus, My Redeemer contains wonderful harmonies that emphasize a rich text, thanking and praising the Savior for our redemption and grace. ”

“Forever we’ll sing…Amen!”

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Here’s the audio for the Publisher’s Studio Demo from our Sound Cloud recording of “Jesus, My Redeemer.”  (see lyrics below!)

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* A  TESTIMONY  OF  GRACE  AND  SALVATION *
The lyrics of  “Jesus, My Redeemer”, as written for the Slane hymn tune by Travis L. Boyd

Jesus, my Redeemer, My Savior and friend,
Author and giver of life without end,
Alpha, Omega, the Great I Am, Lion of Judah,
God’s meekly, lowly Lamb.

Jesus, my Redeemer, You died in my place,
Brought me salvation through your matchless grace
Your sacrifice came at such a great cost…
Bloodshed and agony on Calvary’s cross.

Such power to save!

Such power to save!

Jesus, my Redeemer, Such power to save!
On the third day, You arose from the grave,
Sealing my pardon and setting me free,
Building a mansion in Heaven for me.

Jesus, my Redeemer, Returning some day!
All Your creation will bow down and say,
“You are Messiah!  Our Savior!  Our King!
Lord God Almighty, forever we’ll sing!” Amen!

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* A  PRAYER  OF  FAITH *
The lyrics to “Be Thou My Vision”  as written by Irish poet Dallan Forgaill,
translated in 1905 by Mary E. Byrne, and converted from English prose to verse by Eleanor H. Hull:

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word;
I ever with Thee, and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle shield, sword for my fight,
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight.
Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower.
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Son!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd  (with the exception of the excerpt from the article mentioned below).

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green celtic crossHere’s a link to the article “Be Thou My Vision:  The History of a Christian Hymn”
(which was edited by the author of this post and included in the article as informational background):

http://suite101.com/article/be-thou-my-vision-a249138

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Youtube video of  “Be Thou My Vision”  (with lyrics), by Robin Mark from “The Mandate”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zstKjGb6uAE&feature=related

There are many other videos of “Be Thou My Vision” on Youtube by such artists as 4Him, Selah, Allison Kraus, Eden’s Bridge, the Irish Tenors, and the Azuza Pacific University Men’s Chorale.

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The Old Irish poem from which the lyrics of the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision”, were translated:

Rop tú mo baile, a Choimdiu cride: ní ní nech aile acht Rí secht nime.
Rop tú mo scrútain i l-ló ‘s i n-aidche; rop tú ad-chëar im chotlud caidche.
Rop tú mo labra, rop tú mo thuicsiu; rop tussu dam-sa, rob misse duit-siu.
Rop tussu m’athair, rob mé do mac-su; rop tussu lem-sa, rob misse lat-su.
Rop tú mo chathscíath, rop tú mo chlaideb; rop tussu m’ordan, rop tussu m’airer.
Rop tú mo dítiu, rop tú mo daingen; rop tú nom-thocba i n-áentaid n-aingel.
Rop tú cech maithius dom churp, dom anmain; rop tú mo flaithius i n-nim ‘s i talmain.
Rop tussu t’ áenur sainserc mo chride; ní rop nech aile acht Airdrí nime.
Co talla forum, ré n-dul it láma, mo chuit, mo chotlud, ar méit do gráda.
Rop tussu t’ áenur m’ urrann úais amra: ní chuinngim daíne ná maíne marba.
Rop amlaid dínsiur cech sel, cech sáegul, mar marb oc brénad, ar t’ fégad t’ áenur.
Do serc im anmain, do grád im chride, tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime.
Tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime, do serc im anmain, do grád im chride.
Go Ríg na n-uile rís íar m-búaid léire; ro béo i flaith nime i n-gile gréine A Athair inmain,
cluinte mo núall-sa: mithig (mo-núarán!) lasin trúagán trúag-sa.
A Chríst mo chride, cip ed dom-aire, a Flaith na n-uile, rop tú mo baile.

(Wouldn’t the original author be amazed to know that these words still live and inspire the hearts of millions of believers!)

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WOULD  YOU LIKE TO READ MORE POSTS LIKE THIS ONE?

Here’s a link to our  “Song Stories”  category to see all of the song story posts:
https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/category/song-stories/

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Click this image to go to our WorshipSounds website.

Click this image to go to our WorshipSounds website.

More Music by Travis L. Boyd

Many more Choral Anthems written by Travis L. Boyd can be found on our Worship Sounds Music website.  Our Choral Anthems are written to be practical for use in local church ministry and in Christian schools and Universities.  You will find that our music is worshipful, memorable, and very affordable.  We also have Anthem Orchestrations, Accompaniment Tracks, Vocal Solos, and Congregational Worship music.

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Looking for answers for yourself or for a friend?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Introducing the choral anthem, “For the Sins of All”

“For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:17

There’s a new addition to the WorshipSounds Music Website!

The powerful message of the anthem “For the Sins of All” is now available for SATB Choir.  There is also a beautiful, full orchestration available.  The lyrics of this anthem tell the story of the amazing, sacrificial love of God and the incredible demonstration of grace in action as Jesus laid down His life in order to provide salvation for us…for the sins of all.

This anthem also has a Full Orchestration available.   In addition, there is a Vocal Solo in of this song on our website’s Home Page in the left sidebar.  The Vocal Solo is available in 3 keys.  Both the Orchestration and our brand new Accompaniment Track (which features the Orchestration) work with both our SATB Choral Anthem and the Medium Voice Vocal Solo.  We do not yet have Accompaniment tracks for the other 2 Solo keys.  You can hear the Accompaniment Track with a Vocal Solo demo at the end of this post.  Scroll down to our Sound Cloud recordings of “For the Sins of All”.

Here are the lyrics to “For the Sins of All”

(Verse 1)
“The tiny cries of a baby in a manger,
A rugged cross on a hill called Calvary,
The perfect plan of a holy, loving Father
Who gave His son to rescue you and me.

(Chorus)
For the sins of all
He walked the road to Calvary.
For the sins of all
He suffered on that tree.
With a final shout of victory,
He changed the course of history.
For only He could answer Heaven’s call
And die upon a rugged cross
For the sins of all.

(Verse 2)
Before the world was ever set in motion,
Before the dawn of mankind had begun,
Before the name of Jesus had been spoken,
The Father chose to sacrifice His Son.

(Repeat chorus)

(Bridge)
Through the life He led and the blood He shed
And the sacrifice He made,
He was reaching out with eternal love
To the ones He came to save.

(Repeat chorus, with tag ending)

* Lyrics to “For the Sins of All”, copyright Travis L. Boyd, WorshipSounds Music

See this and hear this anthem with our Video Demo on the WorshipSounds Music Website on the Adult Choir music pageat www.worshipsounds.com

Listen to the Medium Voice Vocal Solo Demo with Accompaniment Track on our Sound Cloud recording below.


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Do you know someone who is looking for answers? 

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

 

Victorious Savior!

Have you ever been confronted by the reality of eternal truth in such a way that the experience is always remembered and can bring you to tears, even years later?  This post tells the story of such an occasion, when I was confronted with the reality of the resurrection (through “The Resurrection”) and the glory of my victorious risen Savior in an unexpected place.  I will never forget what it was like to gaze up into the depiction of the face of my Savior. with the central figure of the victorious, risen Christ over 7 feet tall and displayed impressively upon a long, raised platform, flanked with the figures of the two cowering Roman guards on the ground.  There was strength, life, vitality, and victory in the figure’s movement, love and benediction in His face, and a gesture of blessing through his raised hand.  Hallelujah, He is risen!

I Corinthians 15:54 is a victorious scripture for all Christians.  Because of the resurrection of Christ, His victory over death, and God’s power over all that is, this verse tells us that “Death is swallowed up in victory!”  (a reference to Isaiah 25:8  “He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces…”)   The source of our victory is our victorious Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and our all powerful God of love, who will demonstrate His compassion with the tender act of personally wiping away our tears.

Here are several translations of this amazing promise from God’s word: 

I Corinthians 15:54

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

International Standard Version (©2008)
Now, when what is decaying is clothed with what cannot decay, and what is dying is clothed with what cannot die, then the written word will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up by victory!”

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
Whenever this destructible puts on indestructibility and this mortal, immortality, then that word which is written shall come to pass, “Death is swallowed up by victory.”

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
When this body that decays is changed into a body that cannot decay, and this mortal body is changed into a body that will live forever, then the teaching of Scripture will come true: “Death is turned into victory!

Confronted by a powerful visual depiction, 
“La Resurrection”

When I visited the Louvre Museum in Paris a few years ago, one work of art struck me with the power of an image that has since been brought to my mind every time I think of our victorious Savior and His Resurrection.  On the ground floor, in the Richelieu Sculpture Gallery, one enters a large doorway to a section of the gallery and is immediately confronted with a sculpture of the Risen Christ striding victoriously from the tomb, with the awe-struck Roman guards on the ground on either side of the central figure.  Greater than life size at over 7 feet tall, the stature of the risen Christ is further magnified by the height of the pedestal on which all 3 figures are mounted.  I could have stood and looked up at this depiction of my Lord for hours, with tears and emotion overwhelming me.  For me, this image was so powerful and moving.  It is impossible to adequately describe the experience of seeing this work of art in person.  It was a visual representation of the very real power of God and His promise of eternal life in Christ.

French sculptor Germain Pilon (1537 – 1590 )West facade of the Basilica of Saint-Denis, in a northern suburb of Paris created this 3 piece work in marble at around 1572.  It had been commissioned by Catherine de Medicis, the widow of King Henry II of France.  It was to be housed in a circular funerary chapel built on one side of the Basilica of Saint-Denis (the burial place of the kings of France).  Construction of the Valois Rotunda began in about 1560, but the structure was never completed due to civil strife and lack of funds.   The Basilica still stands in a northern suburb of Paris (see photo), but the rotunda was destroyed in the early 18th century due to fears that the structure would collapse.

As a result of the incomplete structure, Pilon’s powerful sculpture, called “La Resurrection,”  never left the sculptor’s studio during his lifetime.  For part of it’s history, the sculpture’s three figures were then separated and displayed in different locations.  Now,  on display in the Louvre at the gallery entrance, in front of a wall which provides a backdrop and sections off this sculpture from all the others in that particular gallery, the three figures have been reunited in a setting that allows the emotional and spiritual power of the sculptor’s original vision to be seen and experienced once again.  Though I cannot help but marvel at the God-given talent that allowed the creation of “The Resurrection”, I can’t look upon this wonderful scene without thinking of our very real Savior and His love for mankind, His victory over death, and the salvation that is available to all in Him.  Below, you will see a photo of “The Resurrection.”  Though a picture can be powerful, there is no comparison to gazing up into the face of this depiction of the victorious Christ in person.  And, as powerful as that experience can be, it will pale and be nothing in comparison to meeting our Lord and Savior face to face.  Praise God!  Death is swallowed up in victory!

The Resurrection

Here is the description of the statue from the Louvre’s website
http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/resurrection

“Two Roman soldiers have fallen to the ground in awe at the sight of the resurrected Christ. With head bent at a slight angle and lowered gaze, this handsome, athletic-looking, muscular-legged Christ seems to be rising upwards into the skies. The group was commissioned by the queen Catherine de Médicis for the Valois Chapel that she was having built in the abbey of Saint-Denis, but it never left the sculptor’s studio during his life.

A weightless Christ

If Germain Pilon did not design the sculpture himself, his execution imbues the work with its moving beauty. The slender, lithe, wiry legs, which seem too frail to support the muscular torso, stride forward and barely touch the ground. They thrust the figure upwards, as if the body were weightless, a justifiable impression since this is the glorious body of Christ ascending into Heaven. The position of the body emphasizes this impression of weightlessness: bust pushed forward, head bent, lowered gaze, the risen Christ appears to be leaning forward to bless mankind who must remain on Earth. The gesture of benediction is highlighted by the size of the hand, out of proportion with the rest of the body. Christ’s idealized facial features are combined with a very humane expression and gentle gaze.”

To the reader, it may seem that too much focus is placed upon a work made by a man and not enough focus is placed upon the work of God in providing salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  However, I think that it is fitting to recognize the works of men that do bring glory to God, which is our chief purpose for living.  The very image provided by this sculpture and the impact that seeing it has made in my life is a reminder to me of God’s power and his provision for us.  If I were a sculptor, I would want my hands to produce something that conveys the truth that death has been swallowed up in victory through the saving work of Christ on the cross and the power of our almighty God that raised him from the dead.  I don’t happen to possess this particular talent, but all of us can bring glory to God just by doing what we do “as to the Lord and not unto men”, seeking to bring Him glory.  If you are a singer, sing of His glory and grace, His victory and might, His love and compassion.  If you are a writer, write about it.  Whatever you do, do it to bring glory to the One who gave his all so that we might know him, have victory over sin and hell and death, and live forever in Heaven with the Lord.

None of the gospel accounts of the resurrection tell us exactly how Jesus left the tomb.  The account that follows, from Matthew’s gospel, tells us that he was already gone when the stone was rolled away.  Perhaps he did come striding right through the outer wall of that tomb, giving the guards the fright of their lives, as Pilon depicts in his sculpture.  Perhaps he left through the tomb’s ceiling, bursting through the rocky hillside above.  However he left that place of burial, I’m just glad he did!  I like to think of the risen Christ much as he is depicted in the statue, fully alive!…  strong and victorious! …confident in His purpose! … the compassionate and caring Lord of all creation, reaching out to all mankind in demonstration of the love, the amazing grace, and the power of God.

See Matthew’s thrilling resurrection account below:

Matthew, chapter 28
The Resurrection of Jesus

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

The Guards’ Report

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The Great Commission
 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
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Post written by C. Boyd, in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter Sunday, 2012
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Do you know someone who is looking for answers? 

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

The Name Above all Names

Who is Jesus?

There are many roles defined in scripture for Jesus as our Lord and Savior.   He has also been given many names that are descriptive of his supremacy over all things in every way.  The name of Jesus has saving power and authority over all of Creation.  His name is truly the name above all names! 

Jesus Christ is…..

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
(from John 1:29)

Advocate  (1 John 2:1)
Almighty  (Revelation 1:8; Matthew 28:18)
Alpha and Omega  (Revelation 1:8 and 22:13)
Amen  (Revelation 3:14)
Apostle  of our Profession  (Hebrews 3:1)
Atoning Sacrifice for our  Sins  (1 John 2:2)
Author of Life  (Acts 3:15)
Author and Perfecter of our Faith  (Hebrews 12:2)
Author of Salvation  (Hebrews 2:10)
Beginning and End  (Revelation  22:13)
Blessed and only Ruler  (1 Timothy 6:15)
Bread of God  (John 6:33)
Bread of Life  (John  6:35 and 6:48)
Bridegroom  (Matthew 9:15)
Capstone  (Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7)
Chief Cornerstone  (Ephesians  2:20)
Chief Shepherd  (1 Peter 5:4)
Christ  (1 John 2:22)
Creator  (John 1:3)
Deliverer  (Romans 11:26)
Eternal Life  (1 John 1:2 and 5:20)
Faithful and True  (Revelation 19:11)
Faithful Witness  (Revelation 1:5 and 3:14)
First and  Last  (Revelation 1:17, 2:8, and 22:13)
Firstborn from the Dead  (Revelation 1:5)
Firstborn over all creation  (Colossians 1:15)
Gate  (John 10:9)
God  (John 1:1 and 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; Romans 9:5)
Good (or Great)  Shepherd  (John 10:11 &14; Hebrews 13:20)
Great High Priest  (Hebrews 4:14)
Head of the Church  (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15, and 5:23)
Heir of all things  (Hebrews 1:2)
High Priest  (Hebrews 2:17)
Holy and True  (Revelation 3:7)   
Holy One  (Acts 3:14)
Hope  (1 Timothy 1:1)
Hope of Glory  (Colossians 1:27)
Horn of  Salvation  (Luke 1:69)
I Am  (John 8:58)
Image of God  (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Immanuel  (Matthew 1:23)
Judge of the living and the dead  (Acts 10:42)
King Eternal  (1 Timothy 1:17)
King of Israel  (John  1:49)
King of the Jews  (Matthew 27:11)
King of kings  (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16)
King of the Ages  (Revelation 15:3)
Lamb  (Revelation 13:8)
Lamb of  God  (John 1:29)
Lamb Without Blemish  (1 Peter 1:19)
Last Adam  (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Life  (John 14:6; Colossians 3:4)
Light of the World  (John 8:12)
Lion of the Tribe of Judah  (Revelation 5:5)
Living One  (Revelation 1:18)
Living Stone  (1 Peter 2:4)
Lord  (2 Peter 2:20)
Lord of All  (Acts 10:36)
Lord of Glory  (1 Corinthians 2:8)
Lord of lords  (Revelation 19:16)
Man from Heaven  (1 Corinthians 15:48)
Mediator of the New Covenant  (Hebrews 9:15)
Mighty God  (Isaiah 9:6)
Morning Star  (Revelation 22:16)
Offspring of David  (Revelation 22:16)
Only Begotten Son of God  (John 1:18; 1 John 4:9)


Our Great God and Savior  (Titus 2:13)
Our Holiness  (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Our Husband  (2 Corinthians 11:2)
Our Protection  (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Our Redemption  (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Our Righteousness  (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Our Sacrificed Passover Lamb  (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Power of God  (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Precious Cornerstone  (1 Peter 2:6)
Prophet  (Acts 3:22)
Rabbi  (Matthew 26:25)
Resurrection and Life  (John 11:25)
Righteous Branch  (Jeremiah 23:5)
Righteous One  (Acts 7:52; 1 John 2:1)
Rock  (1 Corinthians 10:4)
Root of David  (Revelation 5:5 and 22:16)
Ruler of God’s Creation  (Revelation 3:14)
Ruler of the Kings of the Earth  (Revelation 1:5)
Savior  (Ephesians 5:23; Titus 1:4; 3:6; 2 Peter 2:20)

“For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17

Savior of the world  (John 3:16 & 17Son of David  (Luke 18:39)
Son of God  (John 1:49; Hebrews 4:14)
Son of Man  (Matthew 8:20)
Son of the Most High God  (Luke 1:32)
Source of Eternal Salvation for believers  (Hebrews  5:9)
The One Mediator  (1 Timothy 2:5)
The Stone the builders rejected  (Acts 4:11)
True Bread  (John 6:32)
True Light  (John 1:9)
True Vine  (John 15:1)
Truth  (John 1:14 and 14:6)
Way  (John 14:6)
Wisdom of God  (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Word  (John 1:1)
Word of God  (Revelation19:13)

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Read more at Name Above All Names
This site is the source from which the above list of the names of Jesus (with scripture references) was copied.  The two larger illustrations that appear on this post also came from this web site.

The copied text mentioned above was introduced and edited for this post by C. Boyd

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Here is a link to a site with even more names taken from scripture…over 500!  http://www.wonderful1.com/page6.html

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DO YOU KNOW JESUS?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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You Are Greatly Loved!

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts throught the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” Romans 5:1 – 5

There are so many ways that the immense and immeasurable love of God is manifested to us, His deeply loved ones.  He has written His love for us into His creation, and He has chosen again and again to show us mercy and grace because of His powerful, perfect, and almighty love.

Here are some ABC reminders of the many ways that God has demonstrated His love to us.

{ A }  God’s love accepts us just as we are.   When we are ready to see our own sinfulness and come to Him for forgiveness and salvation, God is always ready to receive us.  We don’t have to clean ourselves up first or get ourselves right.  He takes care of that after we have come to Him.  The invitation to come to Him for salvation and forgiveness has no other conditions.  It is the beginning point of our walk with the Lord and our journey towards becoming like Christ.

{ B }  God’s love blesses our lives in countless ways.  Every good gift is from Him.  (James 1:17)

{ C }  God’s love covers our sin with His mercy through the blood of Jesus.  “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed in the one to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”   Psalm 32:1 & 2
(Note:  the sin is covered by God only as we confess it and ask for His forgiveness, as in verse 1a)

{ D }  God’s love delights in fellowship with us.  He is never unavailable.  He is God with Us, Emmanuel.

( E )  God’s love is everlasting.   He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.   God’s love for us will never change or grow cold.

( F )  God’s love is forgivingHe is rich in mercy.  As the hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” expresses, He is “ever giving and forgiving.”

( G )  God’s love is generousBecause He loves, He gave the most precious gift ever given…His only Son.

“We love, because He first loved us.” I John 3:19

( H )  God’s love is holy.  There is no impure thought or motivation within the heart of God.  His love is the most pure and holy of all loves.

( I )   God’s love is immortal.   The Bible says that God is love. And, since God will never die, His love (that is the basic character of who God is and the fundamental motivation for all that He does) will never die.  Our mortal loved ones may leave us for a time on Earth, but God’s love has always been, constantly is, and will always be.  It is who He is.

( J )  God’s love is a jealous love.  He wants to be first in our hearts.  To some, that may sound out of character for our merciful and loving God; but He is the one who made us and knows us best.  He knows that our lives will be complete, abundant, full of joy, and our full potential will be realized only as we love Him first.

( K )  God’s love is kindHe has our best interests at heart.   As the lyrics from the chorus to the song, “Trust His Heart”  (recorded by both Babbie Mason and Cynthia Clawson) tell us so beautifully:  “God is too wise to be mistaken.  God is too good to be unkind.  So, when you don’t understand, when you don’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.”

( L )  God’s love is long-suffering (patient even when it is painful to be so).  He allows the world to continue even though our sorrows bring him grief and our sin breaks his heart.  His desire is to allow us more time to come to faith in Him, even in this fallen world.  He sees beyond the present pain to the joy and victory that is to come and continues to show mercy.

( M )  God’s love is merciful.   Perhaps a better spelling for the word would be mercyfull!   Because God’s love for us is infinite in its fullness and in its capacity to forgive, God delights in showing us mercy.  His mercies are new every morning!

( N )  God’s love is near.  He is near to all who call upon His name.  We don’t to wait for someday to know the love of the Lord.  He is here.  He is near.

( O )  God’s love is the origin of all true loveWe love because He first loved us and created us with the capacity to give and receive love.

( P )  God’s love is powerfulHis love has the power to transform lives, heal hearts, and purify souls.

( Q )  God’s love has both…quality and quantityThe quality of his love has a purity that goes beyond anything we experience on earth.  And, as for quantitiy, there is always, abundantly, more of God’s love…enough to fill our hearts for eternity!

( R )  God’s love is redemptiveHe will redeem every experience, every pain, every rejection, every loss, every tear, and every heart that says “Yes!” to His  “Come Just as You Are”  invitation.

“For God so loved…”

( S )  God’s love is saving love.  In the words of Dottie Rambo, “He looked beyond my fault, and saw my need.”   Because of His great love for us,   God met our need for holiness, for relationship with Him, for abundant life, for purpose, for salvation.  He sent Jesus as our Savior and allowed the ultimate sacrifice of Christ to become a substitutionary payment for the wages of our sin.

( T )  God’s love is true.  We may wonder about the constancy of others, but God’s love is unaltered by time or circumstances.  There is nothing that can separate us from the true love of God.

( U )  God’s love is understanding.  There are those in our lives who may love us but not completely understand us.  God, on the other hand, understands us better than we understand ourselves; and the best part is that He loves us anyway!

( V )  God’s love is victorious!  The Latin phrase, “Amor vincit omni,”  means “Love conquers all.”   Our earthly loves are sometimes lasting in spite of obstacles, but we are inevitably separated by the enemy of death.   God’s love has conquered sin, hell, and death!  His love is victorious over all and will ultimately allow us to share in this victory.

( W )  God’s love is welcoming.  We are the prodigals, captivated by our own desires, undertaking risky and ill-advised paths through life to get to the destination we think we want, using other people to get our way, living as if there is no tomorrow, breaking the Father’s heart with our sin and self-destructive ways.  He is the ever-loving Father, waiting and praying for our return, continually watching for a sign that we are on our way home, ready to run to us and embrace us in all of our filth when He sees that we are ready to return, restoring our lives and our status as His own children, ready to celebrate and to give us every good gift!

( X )  God’s love is eXtravagant.  He always goes far beyond in everything he does for us.  He could have made us an earthly home that would have sustained us without all of the beauty and majesty that he has put into His creation.  The colors, the shapes, the textures, the variety of species…in every facet of life…birds, trees, fish, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, insects, flowers, grasses, leafy plants, crustaceans, mammals, food-bearing plants, shrubs, vines, and even microscopic creatures…it’s amazing!  Every idea that we think we have came from Him first.  Drinking straws?  Butterflies have a built in tube for drinking nectar.  The wheel?  Have you ever seen a tumbleweed in the wind?  The internal combustion engine?  Our sun and every other star.  Machines and factories?  Our bodies are a machine.  They are designed so that we can do work and accomplish tasks.  A robotic arm has joints that allow it to bend and move in ways that we take for granted.  Airplanes?  Obvious.  Electricity?  What about lightning and the electical impulses in brains and our nervous system.  Computers?  Our human brains are amazingly capable in storing information and in reasoning that goes far beyond what any machine can do.   What about identification technologies that quickly calculate all the relationships between the swirls of a fingerprint, the structure of a face, or the identifying points in an eye?  We are that individual, each one the Master Artist’s masterpiece.  None of these individual characteristics unique to every person could have come from evolution or natural selection.  Did our ancestors select each other for mating based upon such miniscule identifiers?  Such a thought is preposterous.  No, each of us is formed by God in the womb as a totally unique and individual creation.  Do we carry some genectic traits?  Of course.  God planned it that way.  As the founder of the family, he wants us to be connected to those who are related closely to us.  And yet, there is nothing in genetics that could explain the artist’s signature that is found in our fingerprints.  What about salvation?  He didn’t just send us a do-it-yourself guide.  He sent Himself, gave Himself, and sacrificed Himself in the person of God the Son, Jesus Christ.  Every moment His love and mercy allows us to live is a gift far beyond what His holiness and justice would require, were it not for God’s eXtravagant grace and limitless love.

( Y )  God’s love yearns for what is best.  He has promised to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).  He will not rest until he has accomplished this.  He who began a good work (in us and in His kingdom purposes) will be faithful to complete it.

( Z )  God’s love is zealous for us.  He never loses His zeal for our salvation and sanctification; and He will accoomplish our ultimate glorification as we come to live forever with Him and are complete in Him, becoming like Christ in purity and in perfect love.

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This post was written by Cynthia Boyd and was inspired by the awesome and limitless love of God, with the help of the prompting provided by the message of the Valentine used as the illustration for this post.

Note:  I have tried to include some scripture references and to be very specific in the references to salvation.  If you spot any confusing wording, please let me know.  This blog is being viewed by people all over the world, and I don’t want to confuse anyone.  Thanks, C. B.

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Do you know Jesus? 

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Song Story: “The Magic of Jesus”

Velma Baptist Church, where Travis and Cindy were saved in 1978 and first became involved in worship ministry. Velma Baptist was our home church during the time that this song story took place.

The stories of our songs are really stories of our faith journey.   At the time that these events took place, Travis and I were both teaching public school music.  Travis was a Band Director for grades 5 – 12, and I taught Elementary Music, K – 5.  When Travis and I were both saved at Velma, Oklahoma, on September 3rd, 1978, we came out of the choir loft to respond to the invitation to know Christ as our Lord and Savior.   Having been invited to the church by one of Travis’ band students, we had first attended on Father’s Day.   We’d been attending all summer at the time of our salvation, and we had already begun serving in the music ministry of the church.  God’s Holy Spirit had been at work in our hearts, drawing us to the Lord.  After we were both saved and then baptised a week later, we rapidly became more active in the life of our church, looking for new ways to serve.  Both of us helped with youth, entertained at youth functions (in a band with our Pastor on drums, our part-time Music Minister and teaching colleague on piano, and Travis on bass guitar), worked in Vacation Bible School, went as sponsor on youth trips and to youth camp at Falls Creek,  sang solos when asked, and did all we could to learn and grow as Christians in the first year of our faith walk.   During that year, Travis also began going to a class our Pastor had begun for young men who were called to ministry.   Though he hadn’t yet made public his acceptance of God’s call on his life to vocational ministry, Travis demonstrated his willingness to serve through his desire to attend this special class.  In the midst of all of these rapid changes in our hearts and lives, another change took place.  Travis began to write songs about his faith walk and to sing them when given the opportunity.   The first song that he was inspired to write was “The Magic of Jesus.”

In February of 1979, we attended our churchwide Valentine Banquet.  The entertainer for the event was a Christian magician.  He did a great job with the tricks he performed and then spoke about real magic.  Stating that all of the tricks were just illusions, he explained that the only real magic was the magic of Jesus.  He talked about how magic that is real is truly supernatural, going beyond what we call the laws of nature in a way that defies any ‘natural’ explanation.  Whether walking on water, healing people, or changing a life from the inside out, the real magic of Jesus demonstrates that He is Lord over all of Creation.   This message and the truth that it conveyed inspired Travis to write “The Magic of Jesus.”   Until this point, I know of only 2 songs that Travis had written with lyrics.   He wrote a song called “Money” (while in High School) about how people place too much importance on material things that don’t bring happiness.  Then, when we were dating, he wrote a song for me.   He did write other music, but it was all instrumental.  He wrote original pieces for his bands to play in concert when he was a Band Director, and he did arrangements of well-known songs for his marching bands.  “The Magic of Jesus” was the beginning point of the faith songs that Travis would write for decades to come.   The next time that Travis was scheduled to sing a solo at church, he sang “The Magic of Jesus,” accompanying himself on piano.  When I heard him play and sing this song, I knew that something was happening.  It was my first realization that the Lord was going to use Travis in some way for His Kingdom, even beyond our local church music ministry.  This event took place only a few months before Travis again responded to the invitation in May of 1979.  This time, he was sharing with his church family the fact that he felt the Lord was calling him into some kind of vocational ministry.   Since that time, I’ve been an eyewitness to the work of God through Travis’ life and music.  It really has been magical…in the truest sense of the word.  What God has done through Travis with these messages of faith has been far beyond what Travis could have or would have done on his own.  The ministry of and through music that God has allowed Travis to share flows from the supernatural power of Christ in him….the ONLY kind of magic that is real and eternal.

“Water turned into wine, and He fed the multitude.

Come and see what the magic of Jesus can do for you.

Healing the leper, and causing the blind to see,

The magic of Jesus is here today for you and me.

CHORUS:
If you’ll open your heart, and let the Son of God come in and cleanse your soul,

He’ll mend your sin-torn life, if you let Him take control.

Eternity is just a prayer away…a sinner’s pleading call.

Because the magic of Jesus is the greatest magic of all.”

(lyrics from “The Magic of Jesus”  c.  1979  by Travis L. Boyd)
Song story by Cynthia Boyd

You’ll find many Choral Anthems, Vocal Solos, Orchestrations, Accompaniment Tracks, and Congreational Worship Songs by Travis L. Boyd on our WorshipSounds Music  website @ http://www.worshipsounds.com

Click photo above to go to our WorshipSounds website

Click photo above to go to our WorshipSounds website

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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WOULD   YOU  LIKE  TO  READ  MORE  POSTS  LIKE  THIS  ONE?

Link to our  “Song Stories”  category to see all of the song story posts:  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/category/song-stories/

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He is Jesus!

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and in the day of eternity. Amen.” II Peter 3:18

Prophets foretold His birth centuries before it occurred.  An angel appeared to His mother to announce the miracle of his conception.

His Father chose as His mother an unknown maiden with a heart inclined to God and ready to surrender herself to God’s will.

He left His heavenly home to come into a world that seemed to have no room for Him.

He was born in Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy of His royal birth.

And yet, He was born in the humblest of circumstances in order to identify fully with humankind and because He had no intention of becoming an earthly King.

His birth was celebrated by angels and accompanied by a phenomenal Heavenly star to proclaim His deity.

Modest working men were the first to hear of His coming, demonstrating that no wealth is necessary to know Him.

Wise men of wealth and position travelled from far away to bring gifts to Him and worship the One whose birth could be seen in the Heavens, showing that He was and is the King of Kings.

He astonished the learned scholars in the temple at a young age, demonstrating that He is the Word made flesh.

He healed sickness, demonstrating His compassion and His power over human frailty.

He raised the dead, demonstrating His power over death and the coming end of sorrow.

He multiplied the provisions of men, taking care of earthly need and demonstrating that God can take what we offer and do more with it that we could imagine.

He walked on water and calmed the storm, demonstrating His supremacy over all created things and what we call the “laws of nature.”

He taught with authority because He was the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

He taught profound truth through the simplicity of parables so that all people and even children could understand.

He wept at the sorrow of death and the rejection of God’s plan in demonstration of His incarnation.  He is Emmanuel, God with us,… in grief, in sorrow, in rejection, and in loss.

He demonstrated humility in washing the feet of His own disciples.

He foretold His own death and resurrection and the denial of one of His closest followers.

He chose God’s will for Himself and submitted to a mockery of a trial so that He could take our guilt.

He was beaten, despised, humiliated and condemned so that we could be redeemed.

He carried much more than a heavy wooden cross on His back.  He carried the weight of the sin of all mankind.

The hands that blessed and healed were nailed to a cross.

The beautiful feet that had carried the message of God’s love and mercy were pierced so that He could carry our sin to the mercy seat.

The heart that beat with more love than you or I could fathom was stilled as He gave up His life so that we could have life everlasting.

He commited His spirit to God and spoke the words of victory that echo through eternity:  “It is finished!”

“He was in the beginning with God, and with Him everything that was created was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

He is life, and He came to give life.  And yet, he endured death, and darkness, and Hell.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

He did not stay in the tomb.   He was no longer there, for He had risen, just as He said.

He appeared to Mary, to his disciples, and to other followers.  He was not bound by death or by the walls of a tomb.  He is alive!

He told His followers that he must leave so that the Holy Spirit could come and inhabit the hearts of all believers.

He told them what he would be doing while they were apart.  He is preparing a place in Heaven, reigning as Sovereign Lord at the right hand of God the Father, and praying for believers.

He gave them their mission:  “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.”

He is with us.  He is praying for us.  He is preparing a place for us.

He is still changing lives, touching hearts, and healing hurts.

He is the Savior of the world.

He is the Redeemer whose love for mankind could not be crucified.

He is the Lord of All.

He is the beginning and the end.

He is the Bridegroom.

He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

He is the Living Water, bringing unquenchable life.

He is the King of glory, the hope of mankind, and the joy of man’s desiring.

He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

He is Jesus!

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This post originated in the heart of God before the foundation of the World.
The words were put together by Cynthia A. Boyd to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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He is Jesus!”, copyright 2012 by Cynthia A. Boyd, all rights reserved.
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