Category Archives: Musical Musings

I love music of all sorts. It makes me think, and sometimes thinking makes me write stuff about wot I thot.

Will You Go Through?

To God be the glory, great things he hath done!

So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,

who yielded his life an atonement for sin,

and opened the lifegate that all may go in.

(Fanny Crosby)


To God…..

God. Believe in Him or not, He is real. If you don’t believe it now, one day (fairly soon I think) you most certainly will.

…..be the glory,…..

When us mere mortals think of glory, our programmed minds usually spring to something like a sporting victory, and the glow that surrounds such a thing for some people. That glow, my friends, is a false god. There is only One who actually, truly deserves glory.

…..great things He hath done!

He created the stars also. If you are grimly hanging on to the religious belief that in the beginning was nothing, which then exploded, and billions of years later via rock soup and monkeys here we all are – then you have infinitely more blind faith than I do. The heavens declare the glory of God. Open your eyes.

So loved…..

Wait a minute? What IS love? If you listen to the “experts” at Fox News or most other media outlets, you may be forgiven for thinking that it has something to do with diamonds, dimensions, or determination. If you love someone, so we’re told, we’ll do stuff for them, with them, or to them. We’ll buy them stuff, and never expect anything in return. Apart from being “loved” right back of course. Yup – when it boils down to it, love is all about the exchange of stuff. Right? We give and we get. Fair and balanced.

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

(1 John 4:10, NLT)

No. Love has absolutely NOTHING to do with us at all. On our own, we are absolutely INCAPABLE of anything even remotely approaching true love. God alone IS love, and God alone has demonstrated what love IS.

…He the world…..

Wait a minute? What IS “the world”? And why does God love it? Good question. The world is us. You know – “we are the world” and all that cutesy philosotainment they feed us:

“We are the world

We are the children

We are the ones who make a brighter day

So let’s start giving

There’s a choice we’re making

We’re saving our own lives

It’s true we’ll make a better day

Just you and me…”

I’m not going to be PC here. That, and almost everything else like it, is garbage. You know the song. It talks about God, so it must be OK right?

“Send them your heart

So they’ll know that someone cares

And their lives will be stronger and free

As God has shown us by turning stone to bread

So we all must lend a helping hand…”

And there, my friends, is the ultimate lie of this and every other age:

WE ALL MUST LEND (God) A HELPING HAND.

God AND…

Jesus AND…

God’s sacrifice of His own Son AND….

That is what the world is. Arrogant, prideful, blind. We ALL think from time to time that we (the world) can do something to help GOD! Astonishing.

The world is indeed us. We are imperfect, God is perfect. We can do NOTHING to bridge that gap. We are lost, and without hope. We have collectively and individually rebelled against the One who created us and the universe we see stretching out into apparent infinity. We nailed the One who came to open our eyes to a cross. We crucified God.

But, He still loves us. He loves us enough:

….that He gave us His Son

Who yielded His life….

So while we are all singing blindly along about “saving our own lives” and lending God a helping hand, God Himself has given absolutely EVERYTHING to get our attention. He gave His Son to save our wicked souls. But we are so full of our own importance that we simply (if anything) say: Oh! Thanks God! Now what can I do for you?

One of the unique truths presented by Biblical Christianity is that there is, as I’ve already said, NOTHING that we can do to help God save us. Think about it. True Christianity teaches that ALL humans are so far gone that it took the death of GOD HIMSELF to meet the requirements for our recovery. Christianity is not some sort of “sinners anonymous” 12 step program during which we feel better and better about ourselves as we check each box off.

WE CAN NOT DO ANYTHING TO MEET GOD’S STANDARD.

God has done it all for us.

….an atonement for sin.

There. I said it. The “S” word.

So – what is sin?

There’s nothing complicated about sin. It simply refers to the fact that we are imperfect. One of our biggest imperfections is to look at everyone else and point out their imperfections. We are very good at that. The problem is, though – we are imperfect at it. Sometimes we look at people we love and overlook certain things that drive us crazy about people we don’t love. Most of the time we look at other people and point out things that drive them crazy about us. And we end up hating the sinner instead of the sin.

God, however, is perfect. He hates the sin, not the sinner. And that is why He can still love US. But even though He loves us, we are still fully, completely and eternally responsible for the things we do that God hates. When society sends someone who has committed a crime up before a judge, we don’t expect the Judge to smile sweetly and say “it’s OK. I love you Mr. Criminal. What you did was very, very bad, but you can go free anyway.” We expect the Judge to lock the rapist up and throw away the key… or send him to be fried. So WHY do we expect the ultimate, perfect Judge to overlook our crimes? WHY do we think that a perfectly holy, righteous God is going to smile sweetly and usher us into heaven without demanding that we pay the price for our sin?

But we can’t. We can’t pay the price. Why? It has already been paid for us, that’s why! Paid with the life of the One who created the universe.

The absolute uniqueness of true Christianity is that it tells us that God came to us, rather than tries (like all other religions – including much that calls itself Christianity) to teach us how to get to God.

Jesus Christ is not a swear word. He was and is God made flesh, a willing and perfect sacrifice for a fallen creation. His perfect, sinless life met the requirements of a perfect, sinless God. And when Jesus freely offered His life for us, He became the atoning sacrifice that satisfied the righteous anger that God has towards sin.

So, there is nothing complicated about sin. There is nothing complicated about the solution. God has answered all the questions, done all the work, offered the only way out. He has offered it to everyone – regardless of race, wealth, intelligence or anything else. Nobody can buy it. Nobody can earn it. Salvation is a free gift.

The lifegate has been opened for us. Will you go through?

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Wild Angels

If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone….

(Psalm 91:9-12)

Nobodyʼs leaving this World tonight
The way Iʼm feeling weʼll be alright
So many people going nowhere
The poor forsaken nobody cares

I wonder what youʼre thinking
I donʼt know where you are
Canʼt stop my heart from sinking
Before it gets too far

Wild angels in the sky…
Diamonds fall like rain
Nobody told you why…
Isn’t that a shame?

Wild angels in the sky…
Thunder in the air
Donʼt let it make you cry….
You wonʼt have a prayer

The room is empty, the city sleeps
We pass by gently and shadows creep
But come tomorrow thereʼs no relief
And Iʼm still looking in disbelief

I wonder what youʼre thinking
I donʼt know where you are
Canʼt stop my heart from sinking
Before it gets too far

Something out of nothing
Tell me if Iʼm right
Stranded here forever
Take me home tonight

Maybe let it happen
Keep it in your mind
Maybe thereʼs no answer
Donʼt get left behind

(“Wild Angels” by Tony Clarkin; from the new Magnum album “The Visitation”…)

Psalm 91:11 is the verse featured on my daily calendar this morning. I love thinking about angels – what they are, and what they do…

Since 1988 I have listened a great deal to music by an English band by the (unfortunate some may say) name of Magnum. I have always been intrigued by their lyrics, which with very very few exceptions have all been written by one man. I have no real idea what his motivations are, and he usually refuses to talk about what his songs ‘mean’. But Wild Angels (and other songs) from their new album (released here in America next Tuesday) does nothing to lessen my interest in what he is wanting to get across.

I have no wish to impose my faith on this band, and they have never marketed themselves as “Christian”. I DO, however, know that one of the members at least professes Christian faith. So I don’t think I’m doing too much harm to them by taking these lyrics and examining them through the lens of a Christian worldview….

The first thing some people may ask me is why are you looking at “secular” music lyrics when you have all that you need in the Bible? Well, because they are there, they appeal to me, and I love listening to the music that goes with them! But, as with EVERYTHING else in this life, it is vital that a Christian looks at “secular” things THROUGH the Bible. In other words, Bible first, everything else a distant second.

If you’re like me, though, the things of this world often initially seem more “exciting” than simply opening up the Bible and reading it. I’m afraid I sometimes need a trigger to get me fired up again about digging in to the mind of God as EXCLUSIVELY (yes, I do believe that) revealed in His Word.

For the last few weeks I have been preoccupied with stuff, and haven’t been focused on the right things – or perhaps I haven’t been focused on things in the right way. So Psalm 91:11 suddenly leaped out of the page to me, and my mind (full of lyrics to an album I haven’t even heard yet) took the verse and ran with it…..

The first thing you MUST do when looking at a verse from the Bible is examine its context! Psalm 91:11 is an excellent example of this. Taken by itself (For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go) it could be understood to mean that everyone has this incredible ‘security detail’ with them at all times.

Nope.

If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone…. [Psalm 91:9-12]

Looking at a few more verses quickly tells us that this protective force is conditionally, rather than universally, available. Taken in its context, the awesome fact that angels are available and able to protect us wherever we go pales into insignificance compared to the truth revealed in verse 9. These are very, very BIG ‘IFS’ we’re given here! Let’s look at the first one:

IF you make the Lord your refuge…

I have to assume some prior understanding and belief here. For instance, if you don’t believe in God as revealed in the Bible, then you need to dig a lot deeper than we’re going here. Please feel free to contact me if you like – I would be happy to help you dig! For now, we’ll simply say that these 7 words tell us that we have a CHOICE. Without exception, human beings crave a “safe place” from the storms of life. Even the most extrovert, adventurous person realizes that he or she needs a place to retreat to. This verse, of course, is talking of a spiritual refuge perhaps more than it is a physical refuge. And we for sure all need that! So, the Almighty Creator God of the universe and everything in it is available to be your refuge. Your choice.

Then:

IF you make the Most High your shelter….

If the idea of a refuge (safety, but quite possibly uncomfortable) isn’t enough, we are told that God will also SHELTER us. A refuge is a passive idea. It is somewhere we can go, but it doesn’t necessarily convey the idea of our needs being met and our comfort being addressed. When we truly grasp the fact that GOD wants to SHELTER us…..

Wow.

Your choice.

…Evening has come
Flickered in candle light
There must be some
Spirit in here tonight

…And do you know
Someone looks out for you
But they will show
Patience in getting through

The visitation yeah
Will bring you nearer
And give you comfort so
Youʼll see things clearer

No conversation will
Explain the feeling
But when the moment comes
Thereʼs no concealing

(excerpt from “The Visitation” by Tony Clarkin; from the new Magnum album “The Visitation”…)

Again, I must stress that I do not know what the writer of these words is wanting to convey through them. But to me, the message (when placed in context with the other lyrics on the album) is very clear.

In order to make it through this life to ‘the other side’, we need the help and guidance of someone greater, more powerful, more loving, more knowing than we are. When the shadows fall in our life, and we are looking at things through the dim flickering of our own understanding, we will get lost. There MUST be some Spirit in us if we want to understand what is going on! Now, there is only one GOOD Spirit out there, and that is God’s own Spirit. Anything else is counterfeit, evil, and deadly. But if we are filled with God’s Spirit, then we indeed know that Someone is looking out for us! And if we don’t yet have that, let me tell you that God is incredibly patient in His attempts to get through to you.

When we yield our life to God – admitting that there is nothing WE can do to reach Him therefore we have only one choice; allow Him to reach us – we will receive comfort and understanding. We will see things clearer. We will be sheltered in a refuge that can NEVER be breached.

There is nothing I can write that will explain that feeling.

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