The Majesty Of Music



Photo by Maggie Hazen from FreeImages

There are a few things that transport me to another level of worship. One is nature. Not just any nature, either. The ocean, with waves crashing against cliffs is pretty good, but better is the high country—beyond timberline. I’ve only been there a few times, but it’s like a different world.

Coming out of the darkness created by evergreens growing in tight clusters, you discover fields of wildflowers, glacier patches, blue-green lakes, and a sky that’s such a rich blue it looks like you could eat it. Oh, and rocky peaks that look more like cathedrals. And crystal cold streams. All I can think is, This is the world God created.

Music has that same effect on me. Not all music. Just like nature, there are pieces and then there are pieces. Some I enjoy because they are fun or they fit my mood or they are performed well. Others feel as if a piece of my soul is drifting on the sound waves. And still others feel as if my soul is reaching up to God.

Some years ago my church hosted a nearby university (California Baptist) choir and orchestra in concert. They were spectacular, and I had one of those majesty of music moments. What’s more, I bought one of their CD’s, Glory, and have played it frequently. The songs would run through my head when I woke up, and I could hardly wait to play them again.

In fact, I posted one of the songs some time ago with Sandi Patty performing it. The song is spectacular and Sandi Patty is … well, Sandi Patty.

But here’s the choir I listened to—not the music I have, but it kind of brings nature and music together, I think. I hope you enjoy.

This article first appeared here in April 2012 and was reprinted in November 2015.

For a little bonus, here’s one of my favorite classic music pieces, Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto in D major (especially from the 8:30 mark, then right after Perlman’s solo, around the 13:30 mark).

But what I’m really enjoying right now is a collection of pieces put together on YouTube as an autumn selection. (This one is long!)

Published in: on November 6, 2019 at 5:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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Gratitude, Day 2—For The Beauty Of The Earth


As I said on Facebook today, the holiday that is getting squeezed out of existence is Thanksgiving. I want to keep the focus in November on what God has given, what I’m thankful for. So here’s the second installment in the Thankful series.

And today I’m mentioning something I think we can easily take for granted—the beauty of this home God has given us. I mean, all of it. Not the broken parts that sin has ruined, but the parts that allow us to see the beauty of God’s original design.

I’ll start with mountains because I love them so much. I don’t think there’s a better place in all the world than the land above timberline.

Maybe flatlanders don’t know that at a certain elevation, trees stop growing. That’s timberline. What does grow is grasses and wildflowers. But there’s also lots of rocks and glaciers and pools of icy blue or icy green water from melted snow. I’ve never, never seen anything so purely wild and beautiful.

But the ocean comes close. I love the ocean when there aren’t any people around. That’s usually in the winter or toward sunset.

And speaking of sunset, that’s another thing I am so grateful for—the colors of the sky. I love the oranges and pinks and yellows, but I also love the blue and whites and the black and dotted whites with the silver white peeking over the horizon. Yeah, I pretty much love the sky. Angry gray clouds are beautiful but so is misty fog.

But since I mentioned color, I’ll say, I’m really, really grateful for flowers and leaves that change colors. I mean, the wealth of color here is SoCal is off the chart. We have trees that blossom, bushes with flowers, and of course flowers themselves of every kind. Walking in SoCal is like walking in a rainbow.

So, yes, rainbows are certainly on the list of things for which I’m grateful. I mean, have you ever seen an ugly rainbow? Even a stubby piece of a rainbow is beautiful. The rainbows that come from the sun shining on the water spraying from a hose are beautiful. The prism rainbows flashing against a wall from a piece of jewelry are beautiful. Rainbows caught in the break of a wave, those are beautiful too.

But of course, saying rainbow makes me think of rain. I’m grateful for rain. So very grateful, and so longing to have a few days of much needed rain come our way. I don’t get to see it much any more except in pictures, but I also love snow. I mean, what renews the world better than a coat of new-fallen snow?

Obviously I’m not going into details about, say, the moon, or the beauty of the desert, which I rarely see, or any number of animals which are truly beautiful. The point is, I could put many, many more things on this list—things for which I’m grateful, and which illustrate just how beautiful this world is that God gave us to live in.

Above all, the beauty He created tells me a little about His own beauty. I’m grateful God showed us Himself through the beauty He created.

Published in: on November 2, 2018 at 5:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Majesty Of Music


There are a few things that transport me to another level of worship. One is nature. Not just any nature, either. The ocean, with waves crashing against cliffs is pretty good, but better is the high country—beyond timberline. I’ve only been there a few times, but it’s like a different world.

Coming out of the darkness created by evergreens growing in tight clusters, you discover fields of wildflowers, glacier patches, blue-green lakes, and a sky that’s such a rich blue it looks like you could eat it. Oh, and rocky peaks that look more like cathedrals. And crystal cold streams. All I can think is, This is the world God created.

Music has that same effect on me. Not all music. Just like nature, there are pieces and then there are pieces. Some I enjoy because they are fun or they fit my mood or they are performed well. Others feel as if a piece of my soul is drifting on the sound waves. And still others feel as if my soul is reaching up to God.

Some years ago my church hosted a nearby university (California Baptist) choir and orchestra in concert. They were spectacular, and I had one of those majesty of music moments. What’s more, I bought one of their CD’s, Glory, and have played it frequently. The songs run through my head when I wake up, and I can hardly wait to put on the CD again.

In fact, I posted one of the songs some time ago with Sandi Patty performing it. The song is spectacular and Sandi Patty is … well, Sandi Patty.

But here’s the choir I listened to—an older version of it, but fittingly, they are singing Majesty. I hope you enjoy.

This article first appeared here in April 2012

Published in: on November 23, 2015 at 5:42 pm  Comments Off on The Majesty Of Music  
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God Is Great


Lookout_Moutain_West_View

When I was younger, I heard a little poem prayer people sometimes quoted before meals—usually when they wanted to get started eating right away:

God is great
God is good
And we thank Him
For our food.

Amen

Since the purpose of said prayer was to quickly dispatch the necessary requirement of thanking God for our daily food, I didn’t think much about how profound those four lines are.

But the truth is, they give us some of the essentials of the relationship a Christian has with God. Not all the essentials, certainly, but there are some key ingredients, starting with God’s greatness.

ElkmtsThat’s where all people start, according to Paul in Romans. We look at the world around us—the vastness of the heavens, the power of the ocean, the majesty of the mountains, the intricate beauty of the rose—and we’re looking at the evidences of God. Everywhere we look, there’s the mark of greatness. Nothing is done half way.

Colorado_beautyOh, sure, in our urban society today, we may have to work to reach a place where we can see the sky at night, or the ocean, or the mountains. We may need to calm our busy lives in order to notice the roses or the bougainvillea or the tulips.

But when we look at our world, we see things we can’t make, things we can’t control—not in the ultimate sense. The incredible thing is, as apologist William Lane Craig has pointed out, the more we learn about the make up of our universe, the more remarkable it becomes. The heavens are far more vast than what we knew, the life-sustaining balance between energy and matter more precise, the make up of our bodies more complex.

Whether we look in our ignorance or look in our knowledge, we see greatness:

For since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that [men] are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

V_4_above_Ice_Lake (13,500 ft.)It’s really astonishing to me that anyone can look at our world, as atheists do, and think it came about by chance. The reality is, that those holding to a “big bang” origin of course are not dealing with origin at all. They must presuppose the existence of something that came together somehow, in a random manner, for no planned purpose, to create the greatness of the universe.

Apparently there is no attempt to explain the existence of that supposed matter or energy credited with setting in motion the creative process. There’s no attempt to explain how order could come from disorder, in contradiction to known laws of physics.

The greatness of creation, in fact, does not inform the understanding of those bent on denying God:

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.Professing to be wise, they became fools (Rom. 1:21-22)

Regardless of man’s denials, God is great. Great in His creativity and originality and design. Great in His power and strength and might. Great in His purity and holiness and sinlessness. Great in His justice and righteousness and impartiality. Great in His love and mercy and forgiveness.

Published in: on July 7, 2014 at 7:15 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Wonders Of Creation


1024pxRockyMountains
Sometimes I think I prefer the mountains to every other place on the planet. That usually lasts until I spend a few minutes on the beach. I never think I’d want to live in the desert, but on the occasions I’ve had to drive through a place where the rock formations are unique and the colors vibrant, where there are flowers in the most unexpected spots and the trees are the most unusual shapes . . . well, it makes me realize, the world God created is wondrous no matter where you look.

I think that about the night sky too. The moon is the most glorious sight . . . until I find a place away from city lights and view the starry host, so vast, so breath-taking.

Then there’s falling rain, sunsets, snow-covered anything. There’s no end to the beauty. And “beauty” doesn’t quite do creation justice. It’s awe-inspiring. Magnificent. Breath-taking.

No offense to architects or engineers, but the best man-made stuff doesn’t hold a candle to . . . well, a candle flame. Or a rainbow. Or a rose.

“And God saw that it was good” might be the greatest understatement in history. Unless you understand “good” to mean perfect, matchless, complete, a reflection of the nature of the One who created nature.

Psalm 104 is a grand description of God’s wondrous creation:

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the clouds His chariot;
He walks upon the wings of the wind;
He makes the winds His messengers,
Flaming fire His ministers. (vv 1-4)

The fact is, creation is an announcement of God. In the words of the Keith and Kristyn Getty song, “Creation Sings ”

Hallelujah! Let all creation stand and sing,
“Hallelujah!” Fill the earth with songs of worship;
Tell the wonders of creation’s King.

It’s the only proper response to what He has made. Praise God for His wondrous creation.

Published in: on February 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm  Comments Off on The Wonders Of Creation  
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The Majesty Of Music


There are a few things that transport me to another level of worship. One is nature. Not just any nature, either. The ocean, with waves crashing against cliffs is pretty good, but better is the high country — beyond timberline. I’ve only been there a few times, but it’s like a different world.

Coming out of the darkness created by evergreens growing in tight clusters, you discover fields of wildflowers, glacier patches, blue-green lakes, and a sky that’s such a rich blue it looks like you could eat it. Oh, and rocky peaks that look more like cathedrals. And crystal cold streams. All I can think is, This is the world God created.

Music has that same effect on me. Not all music. Just like nature, there are pieces and then there are pieces. Some I enjoy because they are fun or they fit my mood or they are performed well. Others feel as if a piece of my soul is drifting on the sound waves. And still others feel as if my soul is reaching up to God.

Recently my church hosted a nearby university choir and orchestra in concert. They were spectacular, and I had one of those majesty of music moments. What’s more, I bought one of their CD’s, Glory, and have been playing it ever since. The songs run through my head when I wake up, and I can hardly wait to put on the CD again.

In fact, I posted one of the songs a few days ago with Sandi Patty’s performance of it. If you haven’t listened to that one, I encourage you to do so. The song is spectacular and Sandi Patty is … well, Sandi Patty.

But here’s the choir I listened to — an older version of it, but fittingly, they are singing Majesty. I hope you enjoy.

Published in: on April 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm  Comments (7)  
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