Running The Christian Race (Part 2, Sensual Music)

By admin On April 16th, 2012

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To go to Part 1 of “The Christian Race”, just click here.  

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.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Sebastian_Bach

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“All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hubbub.”

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―     Johann Sebastian Bach (courtesy-www.goodreads.com)

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bach – hausmann – Wikipedia – US public domain

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MUSIC IN THE MODERN WORLD

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In centuries past, music was not so accessible as it is today. In the 1800’s, many houses had a piano, or some other instruments. And such households were limited to whoever had enough musical ability to entertain family and guests. And yes, there was also the option of going to hear concerts of sorts.

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But today, the access to music is infinitely greater, it seems. People now have the ability to listen to the best-of-the-best music, 24/7/365. And the choices of the kinds of music available are also widely varied.

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And it seems, as goes the world, so goes the Church-world, howbeit to a lesser degree. The Christian world has likewise been flooded by music. And the kinds of music a Christian can choose, is almost as varied as the music enjoyed by the secular world.

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The question to be discussed herein is this: How does today’s music influence Christians? And how does music relate to running the Christian Race? And what does the Bible say is the best kind of music to listen to, as Christians? And do Christians have the responsibility to be careful about what kinds of things they listen to?

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These are the questions which will be discussed in this article.

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This article is divided into two parts:

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1. Short discussion about running the Christian Race & winning the prize, and the constellations concerning these things.

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2. Discussion about sensual music, and how it affects the listener.

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WHY IS THIS WOMAN RUNNING SO FAST?

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(THE FLEEING WOMAN OF REVELATION 12: (The Fleeing Woman of Revelation 12 sketch above can be seen in winter in the northern sky. It is Ursa Major, AKA The Great Bear, and her right leg and her torso is commonly known as the The Big Dipper . She appears like this in the early fall in the pre-dawn hours, and is running westward. The pathway with Bible books of course, are the artist’s embellishment)

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THE WINTER CONSTELLATIONS

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“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman….and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:  And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon….And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon….And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness….And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” Revelation 21:1-3, 14, 15    

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This Woman of Revelation 12 is definitely fleeing to the mountains . As you canwinter four constellations see in this sketch below, The Dragon of Revelation 12 is spewing out his water of falsehoods: false gospels, false ideologies, various temptations, false brethren who will embrace her with the poisonous wine of the The Great Harlot of Babylon. These are what comprise this wave of water coming forth from the Dragon’s mouth. (see “Flood Waters of Satan”)

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WINTER CONSTELLATIONS-SEEN IN FALL: This sketch to the right is how this constellation group appears in the eastern sky in fall. This is the four primary constellations of the Winter Constellations. They can be seen in this position, in the late fall above the eastern horizon. The Woman of Revelation 12 is commonly called Ursa Major or The Big Dipper and appears in the north. Orion the Soldier is the at the bottom is to the south of the Woman. The The Dragon of Revelation Constellation’s mouth isThe Hyades Cluster, and the tip of his tail is Pleiades, and his Wave of Water is primarily the Auriga constellation. The Glorious Horse Constellation  head is of Perseus Constellation and his rear end is Cassiopeia Constellation.

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THIS WOMAN IS FLEEING…

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BUT SHE’S ALSO RUNNING A RACE

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“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every mConstellation- Woman of Revelation 12 flees to the mountains Mark 13:14an that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 1st Corinthians 9:24, 25

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But this Woman is also fleeing TO something. She’s fleeing to the mountains, especially to Mount Zion (see “Woman of Revelation 12-Fleeing to the Mountains-Part 1”). She’s fleeing to a close walk with Jesus.

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 But this Woman is also rsummer constellations with doves & womanunning the race to win the Prize, Jesus: Jesus as her Prize, but also her answered prayers for others, as the prize; these are the jewels in that glorious Victor’s Crown. This is made clear by the Summer Constellations, in which this same constellation appears as a woman with child trying to grasp this Revelation 12 Crown Constellation

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(This concept sketch above right of The Revelation 12 Woman fleeing to mountains is not a star-chart. These particular constellation are NOT in these positions.)

The constellations on the lower left are two constellations from the Summer Constellations.

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APOSTLE PAUL: THE MARATHON MAN

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Well a crown is nice. But there has to be just a bit more information about what this crown is all summer constellations with doves & womanabout. Listen again to Scripture… “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus…Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Philippians 3:14 & 4

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So this above verse lets us know that the crown also represents all those who the Christian is praying for…. “Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown”. So Paul considered those at the church at Philippi (and the other churches as well) as part of his crown; part of his prize.

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PAUL GAVE ALL

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But what summer constellations with doves & womanabout all the fun stuff in the world? After all, a Christian has to have a little fun sometimes, right? Maybe this Virtuous Woman needs to “let down her hair” every once in a while. Get out. “Do up the town”, so to speak. What does Scripture say about all this?…

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“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” Philippians 3:7, 8

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So, is Paul being a little extreme and severe? After all, society tells us not to take our religion too seriously! You might say that Paul is what society calls ‘a religious fanatic’!

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Painting: Paul the Apostle-Artist-Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier- circa 1500s

 

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A FIRE NEVER SATISFIED

.Campfire Pinecone - Wikipedia - Share-alike license

Well, shouldn’t we live a life more like the people of this world, with worldly aspirations and pleasures (see Jeremiah 45:5)? The fact is, a Christian will never be satisfied with just a little worldly fun (see Ecclesiastes 1:8). There will always be a clamouring and a fire burning within, for more and more of this world! (“There are…things that are never satisfied…a fire that will never say, ‘It is enough’.” Proverbs 30:15, 16 (condensed)).

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Yes, the desires of the things of the world are like a raging fire, that burns to the depths of the human soul. This is why the Bible says that the human heart is desperately wicked“. The desires of the selfish heart cannot be extinguished. The more a man fuels that fire within, the more it cries out for more!  

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Campfire Pinecone – Wikipedia – Share-alike license

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PAUL’S FUN & RECREATION

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But how did Paul enjoy himself? How did Paul unwind? Did Paul ever just go do secular things to get some “R & R”? After all, Paul was not under the letter of the law.  Paul the Apostle-Artist-Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier- circa 1500s

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But Paul had a whole different attitude about what brought him fun. Just listen… “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20, 21.

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Here was Paul’s “fun”. To become Christ-like was Paul’s great joy: to walk along the dusty roads, and sing, pray and meditate on God’s Word; to go into a synagogue or forum, and begin to preach the Gospel; to go into this or that city, and work day and night in behalf of the church in that city; and yes, even to suffer for the Name of Jesus! ThesSt Paul Preaching in Athens (Raphael, 1515) Wikipedia US public domaine kinds of activities were Paul’s joy and recreation.

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Listen to Paul’s own words… “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2nd Corinthians 12:10.

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And that same joy can be to every Christian; but only if that Christian wants it. Of course, most of us will not be called to travel over land and sea as was Paul. But whatever our calling, God offers the same joy and zeal, as Paul enjoyed.

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 Paul Preaching in Athens (Raphael, 1515) wikipedia US public domain

 

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THE JOYS OF HEAVEN

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To those who are the Elect of God, there’s no need for the amusements of the world, in order to be fulfilled… “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of Salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Psalm 61:10.

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Does this verse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marianne_Stokes_Candlemas_Day_.jpgsound like the Christian life is a total bore? On the contrary, God gives the Christian more joy in prayer, Bible study, and witnessing than from all the hobbies and entertainments of the world (see Luke 14:33).

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And Paul made a very dramatic exhortation to Timothy… “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that wars, entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:3-5.

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So here Paul is exhorting us too, to keep from getting entangled with all the many things that the world is entangled with. We’re in a war! We’re in a race! There’s an enemy to overcome! There’s a crown to be won! (Nevertheless, the Christian may have to lovingly do such things for his or her family’s needs and happiness.)

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Nevertheless, the Christian can have hobbies. And the Holy Spirit in-dwelling the Believer can give great joy to that Christian in ways that the world just cannot understand…

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Picture- Devoted Young Lady- wikipedia public domain

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GOD DOESN’T ALWAYS SPELL THINGS OUT IN DETAIL

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Now God doesn’t always address every issue in Scripture. Some indulgences are not specifically dealt with in the Bible. Gambling, for instance, is not directly dealt with. Also, many people question whether or not it’s permissible to smoke certain herbs. It’s natural they say. God created them to be used by Man.

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Now God leaves many questions up to the individual Christian to search out for his or her own self. And of course, the Bible says that Man is constantly being, “tried every moment” by God.

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Listen… “What is man, that Thou should magnify him? and that Thou should set Your heart upon him? And that You should visit himhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Magnifying_glass_on_book_icons every morning, and try him every moment?” Job 7:17, 18.

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There have no doubt been many Christians who have fallen into habitual drunkenness, and all because of the seeming ambiguity of Scripture concerning this subject.

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But none need stumble on any question concerning the Christian life. Because God does lay down basic principles in Scripture. And one need only examine these principles and concepts to find the answer to these seemingly puzzling questions.

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And that is what this article will attempt to do.

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JEREMIAH CALLED TO PURITY

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“And every man that hath this hope in Him (in Jesus) purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1st John 3:3 

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Now in order to rightly understand how music plays a role in our Christian life. let’s spend a moment discussing the concept of the importance of guarding our heart and soul.

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God admonished Jeremiah… “Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before Me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as My mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.”Jeremiah 15:19.

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Someone might answer to this verse… “OK, so Jeremiah was a prophet. He had to be holy!” But this admonishment is given to each and every one of us, as well! And so, if we also want to be God’s mouthpiece, we must likewise take forth the, “precious from the vile”, out of our own hearts and lives, just as did Jeremiah!

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NEW TESTAMENT AGREES WITH OLD

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Listen to the New Testament Epistle of James… “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8.

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There are those who mistakenly believe that the New Testament is all “hugs and kisses”.  But verses as this above verse, should dispel any suhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:123.The_Prophet_Jeremiah.jpgch notions! Oh yes, there is much discourse about God’s mercy in the New Testament. But there’s also much discourse about departing from evil, and humbling one’s heart before an Almighty God. God’s people must purify the heart, just as surely as did Jeremiah, 2,500 years ago.

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And such passages as this one from James (“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8.)

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Yes, this above passage is every bit as scathing as any Old Testament passage.

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Just listen to this entire admonishment… “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God…Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble…Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.  Humble yourselves in summer constellations with doves & womanthe sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” James 4:2-10 [condensed for brevity’s sake].

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What a fiery passage from the New Testament! So, now it becomes apparent, by such fiery New Testament passages, that those fiery Old Testament threats were also for our admonition as well as for those in Old Testament times.

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The_Prophet_Jeremiah by G. Dore Wikipedia US public domain

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HOW MUCH DO WE WANT TO WIN THE PRIZE?

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“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

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Which of us really wants to win the prize? Do I want to win the prize? Do I want to win Jesus? Do I likewise want to win for Christ, all those for whom I have been praying?

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Well, I do want to win Jesus! And I do want to win all those for whom I’ve been praying! And I do pray for strength to let go of any and every thing that gets in my way from winning that prize!

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Whether it’s hobbies, or career, or worldly endeavors, or whatever affects my heart and mind. Whatever steals time away from my personal preparation. Like a marathon athlete, we need every possible advantage in our favor… 

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“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1 

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THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC & ITS EFFECTS…

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“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1 

 

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Let’s take music, for instance. Can music have a positive or negative impact on my Christianity? Well, many in the Christian community say that music is neutral. It’s only the words that count, they say.

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Is that true? Is that really true?

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What does your heart tell you? Never mind consulting your heart.

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Listen… “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9 

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And so, our heart cannot be trusted! Let’s instead, just ask any professional musician. A good guess is, that any musician who really knows how to affect an audience, will tell you that music is definitely not neutral. There is music that can make us excited. There is music that can make us feel erotic; Some music can make us feel noble; other music can make us sad; make us happy; some music makes us want to dance; and some music can even make us feel holy!

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JUST ASK A MOVIE MAKER…

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Just tell a music coordinator in the movie industry that you think music is neutral. He might just double over and roll on the floor with laughter! That man or woman makes a living by tugging at people’s emotions…through music. They can take a scene that would otherwise be rather dull, add just the right touch of music, and make you laugh, cry, worry or rejoice, or however else they wish to make you feel. They can turn that otherwise drab scene into a heart-wrenching, tearful experience…with just the right type of music!

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“HOW ART THOU FALLEN,

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“O LUCIFER, SON OF THE MORNING”

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Now any biblical discussion about the music of this world and even in the Church would not be complete without at least a mention of Lucifer and his musicianship. So the first biblical mention of Lucifer’s musical abilities is found in Isaiah. Listen…

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“Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and THE NOISE OF THY VIOLS: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” Isaiah 14:11, 12.

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So in these above words of Isaiah, it is mentioned here that Lucifer had music abilities, where it says… “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paradise_Lost_12.jpgTHE NOISE OF THY VIOLS…O Lucifer, son of the morning!”

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Here it is revealed that Lucifer was somehow intimately connected with viols. These viols would, no doubt, be stringed instruments.

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Now many theologians also attribute this following passage to Lucifer as well… “the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created…Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee…Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” Ezekiel 28:14, 15, 17 [condensed].

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So if both these passages apply to Lucifer, then it is a dramatic testimony to Lucifer’s musical abilities! Tabrets are percussion instruments. Pipes would be wind instruments or organ pipes. Viols of course, would be stringed instruments, as already mentioned.

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Lucifer Fallen Gustave Dore Wikipedia US public domain

 

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LUCIFER’S EARTHLY OFFICE

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Now it could be conjectured about Lucifer’s position in Heaven, or perhhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Martin,_John_-_Satan_presiding_at_the_Infernal_Council_-_1824.JPGaps about him being the chief choir director in Heaven. But instead of mere conjecture, let’s just stick to the facts. Lucifer was cast out of Heaven and now is known as “the god of this world” (see 2nd Corinthians 4:4).

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And we also know that he is called, “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” Ephesians 2:2

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And given these three facts (his in-built musical instruments, his being, “god of this world”, and his being, “the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience”), then it is not too difficult to deduce that this fallen angel has the ability and opportunity to continue his musical abilities right here in this fallen world, Planet Earth.

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We’ll just leave it at that for now.

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Satan presiding at the Infernal Council – Wikipedia – US Public Domain

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MUSIC AND THE GOLDEN IMAGE

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“That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:” Daniel 3:7

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Old King Nebuchadnezzar was pretty clever. Daniel, Chapter 3 gives the account of that giant golden image which King Nebuchadnezzar set up (representing himself). When he set up his golden image on the Plain of Dura, he also put together an orchestra and singers, to add to the moment. After do-doing he commanded, when the music began to be played, that the whole world fall down to worship this image (of himself). He seemed to understand the power of music.

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ALL NATIONS BOW DOWN

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But this little scenario was much more than just a local situation! Just listen to thesehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Martin,_John_-_Satan_presiding_at_the_Infernal_Council_-_1824.JPG words… “Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Daniel 3:7. 

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Notice that it says… “all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image”. This is a prophecy. This concerns the whole world!

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Satan presiding at the Infernal Council – Wikipedia – US Public Domain

 

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DANIEL 3, FOR LAST DAYS

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The Lord had set up this story from Daniel, so that He could warn us of what we can expect http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TV_highquality.jpgin these last days. Even now, does television and motion pictures combine the pride and sinfulness of Mankind with swelling strains of music, to cause the world to revere the attributes of Satan. Just look and listen to the various blockbuster productions which come to the theaters, and even into our living rooms, these days. Do you think these incredibly powerful high-tech productions have an influence upon the hearts and minds of men, women, and children? Only a liar or a blind fool would dare deny the powerful influence of today’s dramatic productions. Even the music today is so incredibly power, as we listen to the radio. And the words on much of this music is selling a lifestyle of licentiousness and debauchery, which has ruined the lives of millions of young people (and even some old people who should know better!) 

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For a more in-depth look at the subject television, just click here… “Television and The Image That Speaks”

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TV – highquality – Wikimedia – Creative Commons License

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JUST PLAY ROMANTIC MUSIC TO A MARCHING ARMY…

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So if we think that music is neutral, let’s just ask the question… 

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Question: “Would an army march to war, with, say, dinner music?

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2nd Question: “On the other hand, would you have a candlelight dinner with your spouse to the sounds of a marching band?”

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The answer to both questions is: “Of course you wouldn’t!” We instinctively know that music is a language. Music conveys a message. 

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AS IN THE DAYS OF SODOM…

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“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2nd Timothy 3:13

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We live in a very sensualized society, today, to put it mildly. Much of the world around us has been influenced by eroticism. Just look at the newsstands at the check-out isles of stores. Just look at the various programs on television. TV is literally teeming with sensuality. We are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Betty_Boop.jpgpractically bombarded with sensuality from morning till night. And if you have Internet, that stuff actually comes looking for you…doesn’t it? Even the shows for little children are quite often filled with sensualized music and cartoon characters. And anyone who dares to criticize these things is mocked and derided by advocates of sensual music. It has become a sensual society. And everyone is affected by it.

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“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew  24:22 

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Could this be what this verse is speaking of? Is today’s high-tech sensuality getting so powerful, that God will actually need to cut short this sinful world and bring it to a speedy end? for the sake of his Elect?

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EROTICISM: TODAY’S GOLIATH…

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“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:3-5

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So, Christians in earlier centuries, did not have nearly the battle that we today must fight in the area of eroticism! Sensuality is a great evil giant for many of today’s Christians to overcome. It is truly a “Goliath” of our times!

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So the question is, “Are we going to face this giant called sexuality, and conquer this arch-enemy?” Young people today have a terrific battle to win in this area of their lives. And if they are running a race to obtain the prize, doesn’t it make complete and perfect senhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:PD-USse that listening to sensual music is going to have a negative impact on our self-purification?

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Even if the words of a song have a somewhat Christian theme, is not that song sending out a dual message, if the music makes a person want to dance the sensual dances of today? Music is a language. And music can preach its own sermon, if it doesn’t rise to the same holiness of its lyrics.

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Here’s a true story. One Christian musician was singing songs for his very young daughter. That musician noticed that some of the “Christian” songs he sang to her made him a little embarrassed. Hesummer constellations with doves & woman confessed that while some songs were just fine, there were others that had an air of sensuality to them. This made him extremely uncomfortable to sing those songs in his innocent young daughter’s presence!

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STANDING BEFORE GOD

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In today’s High Technology world, people are assaulted by morethe accusing finger share-alike license www.signsofheaven.org worldly philosophies than ever before in history. People are led to believe that they must conform to the “acceptable” ideas which society (and the Church) puts upon them. But the young person and older alike have only to answer to God for their own choices in life. None of those who try to tell people just what right or wrong is, will ever be called to stand in their place on Judgment Day. Each man, woman, and child must stand and answer for his or her own self, before a holy God on that Day. So why should we let any other person be our guide or conscience?

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“NO SOLDIER GETS ENTANGLED IN THIS LIFE”

2nd Timothy 2:4

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Listen… “But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:” 1st John 2:27. 

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The Bible is to be the guide-book in all matters of the heart. We have been called to be Disciples of Jesus. We are chosen to be soldiers in the Lord’s army.

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The Apostle Paul put it this way… “No man thhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Force_Sergeant_on_guard_duty_at_Baghdad_International_Airport_031121-F-0881Z-002.jpgat warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” 2nd Timothy 2:4.

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The world situation is more dangerous than ever before. We are nearer to that “battle of that great day” than ever before. The pitfalls in our pathway are multiplied, today. If ever there was a time to be vigilant and watchful, it is now!…

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“Watch ye therefore: for ye know summer constellations with doves & womannot when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch!” Mark 13:35-37   

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Soldier – Air Force Sergeant on guard duty – Public-Domain.

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WHO IS TO PLEASE WHO?

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It seems we have things turned around backwards in today’s Christian World. We have gotten the notion that it is God who needs to bend and conform Himself to our tastes, when just the opposite is true. We are called to become a new creation. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. We are called out of this very changeable and fickle world, in order that we might be changed into the never-changing image of Christ. Heaven is not a place of changing fashions and whims. It is a timeless realm of Christ-like love, majesty, and hohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cano_-_San_Juan.jpgliness.

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Just look at this painting of the Apostle John. Finally an artist who understood what John was all about! John’s only desire in life was to become fully dead-to-self, so that Christ could freely live out His life through John. And by reading John’s later epistles, it becomes evident that John achieved that goal. John’s own personality doesn’t show up at all in those three epistles. It seems that Christ is the one who was writing those epistles.

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But John wasn’t the only Follower who desired to be Christlike.

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Listen to Paul’s own confession… “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

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Paul also was seeking to fully die to self, so that Jesus might fully live through him. 

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John The Apostle by Alonzo Cano 1635-1637-wikipedia-public domain

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GOD, A LOVER OF VARIETY

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Nature itself, testifies that God loves variety. Just behold the many varieties ohttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ramphastos_sulfuratus_-Panama-8.jpgf animals and birds and creeping things. Just look at all the many kinds of trees and shrubs and plants and flowers. Look at the varied landscapes, and oceans and lakes and streams. Enjoy the many kinds of foods which God has ordained for Man. Lift up the eyes to behold the ever-changing sky, and clouds and stars and planets. Yes, nature is a testament of God’s love of variety.

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And because Man was created in the image of God, he too has a love for variety. And God has placed us in a world which has many, many, types of things to enjoy: the beautiful, Cuttlefish.ogv - Wikipedia - Share-alike Licenseand the not so beautiful. And in spite of the beauty, or the lack thereof, all these many things in nature have been ordained to be our teachers… “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ” 1st Corinthians 4:15.

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And also this… “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? ” Job 12:7-9.

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Ramphastos sulfuratus Panama wikimedia share-alike license 

Cuttlefish.ogv – Wikipedia – Share-alike License

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FREEDOM BRINGS RESPONSIBILITY

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And along this same line of thought, it is evident that music can likewise be varied. The various notes and chords and timing, etc., can be arranged and rearranged in many different ways, to make music diverse and interesting.

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But it must be remembered, that along with such liberty in choosing what wehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vegie_buffet.jpg listen to, there also comes responsibility. With choice comes responsibility. God has given Mankind the freedom to choose.

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Listen… “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,” Galatians 5:13.

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There are things which are good. But there are also things which are not good for us. But God has not laid down exactly what we must choose. And yet God, in His glorious Word has laid down certain principles, which are to be applied when making choices in life. One great principle is that of the life of Jesus Christ, is to be our great Role-Model in all matters of the heart.

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WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?

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Charles Sheldon wrote that novel, “In His Steps”, in which a fictional congregation decided that they were tired of being so worldly and un-Christ-like. And so the minister of that little church http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_M_Sheldon.jpgchallenged the church members: for one year, each parishioner would ask his or her self before doing anything, “What would Jesus do?”  

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Well needless to say, the lives of every church member changed dramatically. All of a sudden, these church members began doing their everyday tasks much, much, differently. Because before each situation, they had to ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?”.

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This novel has sold over 30,000,000 copies. And though it was not a very theologically sound book, it nevertheless presented that one wonderful concept which is worthy of emulation. After all, isn’t this what the Christian life is all about: becoming like Jesus?

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Charles M Sheldon US public domain wikipedia

 

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CHRIST IN ME

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And really, if we think about it, we need to let Christ live out His life through us. And so, to put it in the most blunt terms, we should endeavor to live out our lives, seeking to do what Jesus would do. In http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABrooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Discourses_with_His_Disciples_(J%C3%A9sus_s'entretient_avec_ses_disciples)_-_James_Tissot.jpgother words, the Christian should want to do everything, exactly as Christ would do: to speak the words that Jesus would speak: to go to the places that Jesus would go: to pray the words that Jesus would pray: to eat the food that Jesus would eat: to give the offerings that Jesus would give: to sing the songs that Jesus would sing: to listen to the music that Jesus would enjoy, etc., etc……

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OK, so this would be a very good starting point for every Christian to walk as Jesus walked. Yes, it’s the starting point and the finishing point as well!

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Listen… “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4.

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Yes, Christ came to show just how the Law should be lived out in our lives.

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Jesus Discourses with His Disciples – James Tissot – by Brooklyn Museum – by Wikipedia – Public Domain

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“BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD”

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“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

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This above passage from Romans is one of the most dramatic statements in Scripture, regarding the Christian’s duty to God.

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The first statement… “present your bodiehttp://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/james_tissot/s a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God”, about laying our entire life on the altar is absolutely awesome!

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But then in verse 2 (“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”), Paul reveals the Christian duty of becoming transformed by the renewing of his or her mind. And the fact is, the Devil is most likely working 24/7 trying to prevent this from happening in your life and in my life!

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Nevertheless, it is one of the most basic of Christian duties to become transformed into the image of Christ. The Bible says this in a number of different ways. But the bottom line is this: the Christian goal is to grow into the likeness of Jesus. In every area of life, the Christian is to transform himself.

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Tissot-Signature-Brooklyn Museum

 

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“EARTHLY, SENSUAL, DEVILISH”

.Rock Music Christian CHURCH Pomona - Wikimedia - Public Domain

Yes, in every area of life, the Christian is to transform himself.

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And music is no exception. The Christian is not to conform his or her musical tastes to the tastes of the world. The Christian is not to please his or her self. The Christian is to conform musical tastes to Heaven. The Christian is to please God. Not the other way around!

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Unfortunately, there are a great amount of Christian music today which are conformed to the popular music of the world. And it is very easy to find a radio station which selects music which appeals to Man’s earthly & sensual nature. 

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Rock Music Christian CHURCH Pomona – Wikimedia – Public Domain.

 

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BRIDGE-BUILDING BACK TO THE WORLD

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Thus, by allowing one’s tastes to align so closely to worldly tastes, ohttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New_York_Skylines_21.JPGne is unknowingly building a bridge back into the world. And this bridge will be there, for not only myself, but my friends and church-members, and even my children: because the example I set for others has a powerful influence on others!

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And though I think I’m strong enough to resist going back into the world; yet what about my family, and friends, and children, and church? Will they be strong enough to resist too?

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Listen… “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” Romans 14;21

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Bridge – New York Skylines – Wikimedia – Creative Commons License

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WHAT WOULD PAUL DO?

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But the supreme rule to use in any questionable situation, is this: “What would Jesus do? What would Jesus say? What would Jesus listen to? Where http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CastingoutMoneyChangers.jpgwould Jesus go? What would Jesus eat? Who would Jesus have fellowship with? What would Jesus watch? How would Jesus react?” 

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The greatest witness that one can proclaim to the world, is a Christ-like character. And as far as possible, the Christian should endeavor to keep his or her life as free as possible from that which will taint the purity of Christ.

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Of course, there are times when it is difficult to imagine what Jesus would do in a particular situation, since Jesus would probably not even be in certain situations which the Christian finds himself in at times. At such times, it might be easier to ask, “What would Paul do?”

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After all, Paul was perhaps the greatest role-model in Scripture, nesummer constellations with doves & womanxt to Jesus.

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In Paul’s own words, he said… “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1st Corinthians 11:1.

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And so, God has given these two examples to the world, so to make the Christian life more simple. And by using these two role-models to decide what to do in complicated situations, can make our pathway clear.

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Casting out Money Changers Carl Bloch wikipedia US public domain

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“STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON EARTH”

Hebrews 11:13

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For those who choose to be in the Lord’s army, they must believe that God will supply their needs on the run (2nd Timothy 2:3). God knows the needs of His people. The Christian’s duty is to engage in the purification process, so that he or she may become a Christ-like witness to the world.

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Listen… “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PProg_04_p24_ISawAManClothedWithRags.jpgshall see Him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1st John 3:2, 3. 

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This passage tells us that the heart-purification process is not optional for any Christian. It is mandatory according to this passage… “And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.”

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It doesn’t say, “some people” here. It says, “And EVERY MAN…”.

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And God gives His people reminders and warnings, to Remember Lot’s wife when they begin to get complacent and start to make a nice comfortable life in this world. Paul says, “Our conversation is in Heaven” Philippians 3:20

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For those who wish to run that Christian Race, there must be an earnest endeavor to shut out every unnecessary earthly diversion, that they may be faithful soldiers and that they may engage in the perfecting of their spiritual warfare skills.

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Listen… “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” 1st Peter 2:11 

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I Saw A Man Clothed With Rags – Pilgrims Progress – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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PARABLE OF THE WEDDING BANQUET

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“A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come….Then thehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nobel-banquet-table.jpg master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind….For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” Luke 14:16-24.

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As this parable says, there will be many who begin as Christians, but by and by they become enamored by the things of the world: romance, career, travel, amusements, etc., are the temptations which paralyze the Christian life today. 

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Banquet Table Nobel-Hansbaer-wikipedia- share-alike lic.

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“BUT HIS WIFE LOOKED BACK”

Genesis 19:26

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The above parable of The Wedding Banquet, is quite often the sad fate for all http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Genesis19-17.jpgwho get too busy with worldly endeavors. And looking for romance is just another one of those worldly endeavors that robs a Christian of his or her time and energy that would otherwise be devoted to drawing closer to God. It is now the last moments of earth’s history. The Bible warns to, “Remember Lot’s wife!” If God’s people want to begin to nestle down in this world, when the Bible commands to flee, then are we not being like Lot’s wife?

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The Lord is trying to get a message across to His people. That message is FLEE! Flee from temptation! Flee from corrupting influences! Flee from the wrath to come! Flee from earthly entanglements which will surely ensnare!

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God knows our needs. If God sees that we need companionship, then He can bring that to us in whatever way He desires. We just need to keep focused on our great commission of getting out the Gospel, and of purifying our hearts. 

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Picture – Lot Escapes Sodom – www.thebiblerevival.com offers free Bible clipart – Public Domain.

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“KEEP THYSELF PURE”

1ST Timothy 5:22

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“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power:” Colossians 2:8, 10   

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The above verse warns against adding “other things” to the pure religion of Christ. We are complete in Christ. Nothing needs to be added to Christ in order to make Him “an easier pill to swallow”. The world is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God (see Romans 8:19). It is impossible for the world to see Christ in God’s people if there is an insistence on bringing in worldly elements and mingling them with the purity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Just listen… “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1st Peter 1:15, 16. 

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A significant part of being holy is being pure. There should not be a mingling of the sacred with the common.

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Listen to Scripture… “Ye shall keep My statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.” Leviticus 19:19.

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God is using these mundane objects (cattle & seed) in this verse to make a spiritual statement. The point that God is making is that there should not be a mingling of the common with the sacred in our worship. 

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Goldkey_logo_removed wiki public domain

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“YE ARE…A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD”

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“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:” 1st Peter 2:9

.PICTURE - Most Holy Place of the Heart Signs Of Heaven

We have been chosen to be, as Peter, in the above verse put it, a, “Royal Priesthood”. Even the Book of Revelation testifies to this heavenly calling… “And (God) hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10.

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Now as New Testament priests, there is no more brick-n-mortar temple. No, today’s New Testament priestly action takes place in our heart. We are now the Temple of the Lord.

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Listen…“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1st Corinthians 6:19, 20.

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“PRAY WITHOUT CEASING”

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God has called us to be priests together with Christ. We are to be co-labhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-06831.jpgorers with Christ, pleading for the people. Scripture commands us to… Pray without ceasing.” 1st Thessalonians 5:17.

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As a Christian goes about his or her day, they are constantly praying and thanking the Lord, and interceding for others.

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Listen again to this great encouragement… “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” 1st Peter 2:9.

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USMC – Prayer before Bible study – Wikimedia – public domain

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PRIESTHOOD: HIGH AND HOLY CALLING

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In Scripture, the priesthood was a very high and holy calling. It wasn’t to be taken lightly. It was a life and death matter. An unconsecrated priest could actually be struck dead, should he enter into the Holy Place with unrepentant sin. And so the thhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tissot_The_Two_Priests_Are_Destroyed.jpgought of today’s Christian should be exactly like the faithful priest of long ago. He must have a trembling heart at God’s holiness. All presumptuousness and flippancy and worldliness must be banished out of the Christian’s heart.

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No, the True-Worshipper will not literally be struck dead, like these two in this drawing. But those who enter into the life of a Christian, will never know the deep spiritual and holy things of God, until they enter into this most solemn priestly office, by faith.

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Listen… And they (God’s priests) shall teach My people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 44:23.

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TEACHING BY EXAMPLE

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As God’s royal priesthood, we are to be an example to the Church. And by example, we are to, “teach My people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them tohttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Father_and_son_enjoy_a_leisurely_afternoon_of_birdwatching.jpg discern between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 44:23.

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As priests, we have the high and holy calling to proclaim Jesus to the world, by our every thought, word, and action. Now being an example to the flock doesn’t give us the right to exercise a censuring lordship over the flock. But by our godly example and chaste conversation, we are to lovingly exercise that quiet patience which Christ would exhibit to them, if He were standing in our place.

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Father & Son – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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POWER OF PRAYER

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And so this is where priestly prayers come into play. As a royal priesthood, we are to crhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ebenezer_Newman_Downard_Morning_prayer_1860-61.jpgy out to God for His erring people (and for our own sins too!). We are to enter our chambers and secretly cry out for our families! For our friends! For the entire Christian community! This is how change is to be effected amongst God’s people. Never by lording our views in harsh words!

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Listen again to Peter… “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” 1st Peter 5:2, 3

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morning prayers Ebenezer_Newman_Downard_Morning_prayer_1860 wikipedia public domain

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“BE YE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY”

1st Peter 1:16

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“And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 44:23  

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The whole point to this is…there should be no mingling of the common with Jesus www.thebiblerevival.org public domainthe sacred in worship, or in everyday life, as far as possible. Of course, the Christian must use the things of the world. But in our worship and in our behavior, we must strive for purity.

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But never should anything be voluntarily mingled with the purity of Christ: Things that are fashionable. Things that are “cool”. Things that are comical, or theatrical, or political, or ethnic, or satirical, or folksy, sensual, extravagant, etc., etc… None of these things have any place in worship.

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This is what God is telling us when He says to not mingle the sacred with the common!

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Listen again… “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 44:23  

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JESUS WAS HOLY IN ALL HIS BEHAVIOR

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Jesus Christ, when on Earth, was very serious-minded, and very holy. Oh yes, He possessed inner peace and joy. Yes, He no doubt had a warm sympathetic smile. But He was not flippant or comical or any such thing. The music He preferred was http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_on_the_Mount_of_Olives_by_Giovanni.jpgalong the lines of the Psalms, or something quite similar, such as hymns and spiritual songs… “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16. 

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Christ on mount olive wikipedia public domain

 

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“WITHOUT HOLINESS, NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD”

Hebrews 12:14

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Christ was eternal and unchangeable. Christ was holy, through and through. Andhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PS_Kr%C3%B8yer_-_Hip_hip_hurra!_Kunstnerfest_p%C3%A5_Skagen_1888.jpg so should His people be! At all times! At home or at work. In the grocery store or out camping. Wherever we are, the holiness of Christ should emanate from within.

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No, we don’t need to talk King James English! But with sincerity and truth, the Christian is to be pure in thought and this will manifest itself in the life of that Christian.

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God can not bless the efforts of His people if there is an attempt to engage in such mingling of the common with the holy. The Devil may use such efforts for his own brand of evangelism. But Christ never will! And never should His people, either!

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PS Krøyer – Hip hip hurra! – Kunstnerfest på Skagen – 1888 – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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THE POWER OF SENSUALITY

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Any really good solo musician can testify about the power of giving a musical http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paradise_Lost_12.jpgperformance. There can be an almost drug-like high from the performance of earthly and sensual music. It is similar to the narcotic effect of, say for instance, a new romance. But this “high” is borne of pride and sensuality. It is the same pride which caused Lucifer’s fall from grace. Lucifer fell because of his beauty and pride.

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Listen… “…the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created….O covering cherub…Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness…All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.” Ezekiel 28:13, 16, 17, 19.

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Lucifer Fallen – Gustave Dore – Wikipedia – US Public Domain

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WE CAN SHARE SATAN’S PRIDE

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Most theologians attribute this next passage to Lucifer, who became known as Satan and http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Brown_Wax.jpgthe Devil. Notice that this passage speaks of his musical talent… “…the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created….O covering cherub“.

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And those very talented musicians, when honest, must admit the overwhelming narcotic-like pride which comes over them during and after a well-done performance.

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This narcotic-like pride is not confined to secular musicians who perform sensually-charged music. Christian musicians who perform this type of music are likewise susceptible to this Satanic rapturous-narcotica. 

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James Brown Wax wikimedia share-alike license

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HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SPIRIT OF HOLINESS!

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When the Lord plants His Gospel seed within the Believer’s heart, there is a transformation which takes http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-photo/jeastty/3/1303829593/mall-witnessing.jpg/tpod.htmlplace. Now God’s Spirit begins to gently nudge that child of promise in the heavenward direction! Now the desires begin to ever-so-gently change, so that this new Believer starts to long for new and different things. 

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And musical tastes should also begin to change! Now that Believer begins to desire the same music that Heaven loves! And in the process of time, that Believer is transformed into the likeness of Christ! More and more, Christ begins to live out His holy life through that Believer!

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Mall witnessing, Panama City, Panama

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“LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT…AND RUN THE RACE”

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The point to all these things is just this: If those who want to win this race are going to have to cut loose of any and every thing that’s slowing them down. The goal is to become Chrihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paradiso_Canto_31.jpgst-like. It is imperative to let go any influence that will have a counterproductive effect upon the spiritual life. 

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For those who wish to win Heaven, then why not listen to the same music that heaven listens to? Do the Heavenly Host listen to sensual music in Heaven? All who believe that angels in Heaven listen to earthly, sensual music, desperately need to study, study, study the Bible very prayerfully!

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At this point someone might say… “Well are you trying to earn your way to Heaven by good works?”

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KEEP BACK THY SERVANT FROM PRESUMPTUOUS SINS”

Psalms 19:13

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Oh yes, Salvation is by grace. It cannot be earned. It’s a gift. But those who are truly saved will not be presumptuous about their Salvation. If I am presumptuous and “taking it easy” with my Christianity, then am I really a Believer… or am I simply a “make-believer“? 

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If I refuse to get in the race, especially now, when time is almost done, am I just kidding myself?  And while we should never judge others, let’s not let any other person drag us down, either by their bad example, or by coaxing us back into vain and time-consuming ventures. Satan is going to throw every possible obstacle in our way, to keep us from running that race.

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Listen… “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,” 2nd Corinthians 6:17 

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“PSALMS, HYMNS, AND SPIRITUAL SONGS”

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“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16 

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As a boy, David sat with his ancient version of a folk guitar (a harp), and strummed and either sang or spokeDavid Playing Harp www.thebiblerevival.com US public domain his spiritual poetry. Through the hills and valleys could be heard these beautiful strains of soft music, as his words of praise and truth ascended. Likewise, Christ and His Disciples probably gathered around a fire at night and at the night’s end, they joined together to sing spiritual songs and hymns. And as they walked from place to place, Christ quite possibly led out in some spiritual song or psalm, as they joyfully went toward the next adventure. 

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While it’s impossible to dictate to others, what kind of music is or isn’t appropriate, there is a cardinal rule which each Believer, who is striving for the mastery should always follow: in every questionable situation, a child of God should inquire, “What would Jesus do?” Or perhaps, what would Paul do, (as Paul was a God-given role-model for Christians-see 1st Corinthians 11:1).

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To ask these questions will quite often make simple, the questions of life which seem very confusing.

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David Playing Harp www.thebiblerevival.com US public domain

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WE’VE TARRIED TOO LONG ALREADY!

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Time is short. We’ve tarried too long at the wine which the world offers. We’ve been sleeping at our post. There is no more time to be found dilly-dallying at the broken cisterns of the world. Instfive wise virgins matt25 www.thebiblerevival.com public domainead of being watchful and vigilant, we have frittered precious moments enjoying the many cares and pleasures of the world. Our hobbies, our careers, our sports, our excursions, and yes, even our much music listening have greatly eclipsed the time we should have spent hiding God’s Word within our hearts: that is, putting on the armor of God.

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And now the call goes out to enter into the wedding feast. And we have just barely enough oil in our vessels to keep our lamps burning bright enough to see our way to the doors. We have not a moment to lose! We need to hurry the rest of the way!

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One of these days, when we finally cross the Jordan, and reach the other shores, there will be plenty enough time to enjoy all the many incredible things which God has in store for those who refuse to give up. But right now we are entering the last great climactic finale of this Earth’s final battle. We need to remind ourselves that we will have all eternity to enjoy what God has in store for us!

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five wise virgins matt25 www.thebiblerevival.com public domain

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WHAT DO I DO?http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:At_a_loss.svg

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So many Christians are perplexed about these seemingly gray areas of Christianity. Too many of us are confused as to exactly what should I do in this area. Or what should I do in that area of life? Is this good? Or is that bad? And in every case which is not clearly defined in Scripture, the Enemy of Souls will use all such biblical ambiguity to present a counterfeit. And music is no exception!

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Question Marks – At a loss – svg – Wikimedia Commons – Share-Alike License

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FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE!

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Actually the solution is quite simple. Instead of worrying about the little peripheral aspects of the Christian life, the Christian should instead concentrate on the big issue: the purification of the heart.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_040327-N-1261P-058_Navy_Chaplain,_Lt._Marc_Massie_assigned_to_Naval_Mobile_Construction_Battalion_Seventy_Four_(NMCB-74)_studies_his_Bible_for_an_upcoming_service.jpg

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This is the important issue… “Have I chosen to forsake all of this self-seeking world, in order to follow Jesus? Am I studying my Bible each day? Am I meditating on God’s Word throughout my day. Am I praying as I go about my everyday duties of life? Am I trying to imitate what Jesus would do in every situation of the day? Am I pleading with God to chastise me in the areas where I need help?”

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These are the really important questions that we should be asking ourselves.

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And so, if this is the caliber of Christianity I am pursuing, then all the other peripheral issues and questions will eventually work themselves out. Because as I grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the things that I love today, may just be the things that no longer love, say, 6 months from now, as I ascend higher and higher up that Heavenly Highway of Holiness: as I more and more become transformed into the image of Christ.

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Chaplain reads Bible – Wikimedia – US Govt. Public Domain

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CONCLUSION…

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So in conclusion, is this asking too much of Christians to give up these things for the sake of winning the race to Heaven? What does Paul say?…

.Paul the Apostle-Artist-Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier- circa 1500s

 

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” 1st Corinthians 16:13

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One more question for Paul… “How much of this heavenly music should I listen to?”

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“…every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in ALL things.” 1st Corinthians 9:25

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“THINGS TOO HIGH FOR ME”

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“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” Romans 14:13-15 

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There are many seemingly beautiful and touching songs written. There are many sentiments pennhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bernhard_Plockhorst_-_Good_Shephard.jpged which touch the human heart. It is impossible to know just how the Lord works in the hearts of others. And it is likewise impossible to know how God is working with the “lost sheep” whom He is calling back. It even becomes more difficult, because that crafty old counterfeit “Jesus”, Satan, likewise works, when it benefits him, in ways that are extremely similar to God’s ways. So, it’s very confusing, to say the least, to try to figure things out in the world.

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Listen… “…neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” Psalm 131:1. 

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Sometimes we just need to realize that God’s workings are higher than we can know. There are many things going on in the world which we cannot understand. To try to dictate to others, exactly what kind of music they should be listening to is an impossible task for a human mind, no matter how wise we might think we are.

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And anyway, we’re not to be mere Pharisees, only concerned with outward behavior. Just because we might convince another to turn off some TV show or radio song, doesn’t necessarily indicate that person’s heart and desires have been changed. And so any such repentance is worthless, until there is a change in the heart. And only God can change the heart.

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Bernhard Plockhorst 1825-1907 The Good Shephard wikipedia public domain

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BE AN ARISTAPHAGIST (Choose the very best)

(see 1st Cor. 10:31) 

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It was Herbert Shelton who coined the word, “aristaphagist”. It is composed of two Latin words which mean to “choose what is best”. Of course, Herbert Shelton was perhaps the greatest health reformer in the twentieth century, and possibly of all time. So he applied the term in regards to diet and health.

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But for those who are striving to run the Race, and fight the good fight, the only desire should be to win Christ.  It was Wesley who once said, “I value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.”

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A Christian just needs to do what will bring the highest benefit for himself, and not so much dictate to others what is good for them. And if those around us have different opinions on these or other matters, then silence is usually the best course to pursue, on such questhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpgions which the Bible does not directly address.

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But the point to this little section, concerning being an aristaphagist is just this: The life of Jesus was all about choosing what was best. And so, the Christian should try to imitate Jesus in this regard as well. Whether it’s the type of music we choose; or it’s choosing a healthy diet; or it’s deciding what is to be the very next duty of the day. That’s all that needs to be said about this word and about the concept behind this word, aristaphagist.

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Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market-by-Daderot-Wikipedia-share-alike-license.jpg

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ONE MORE WORD OF CAUTION

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“And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. Let my lord, I pray thee, passsummer constellations with doves & woman over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.” Genesis 33:13, 14 

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We are living in a less than perfect world, to put it mildly. Things are not the way they will be, when we reach those heavenly shores. We just cannot expect the things around us to be perfect. Much patience and silence is required when we are surrounded by the world. If a hymnal has a less than holy song, or if others around us have different ideas about music, silence and longsuffering are required. And such situations will inspire to prayer.

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Signs Of Heaven website is to be an encouragement to those who wish to run that Christian Race and to fight that Good Fight of Faith. The Christian greatly desires to share his or her truths with others. But the Christian must not try to compel others to begin making changes in their life in order to appease. Whether it be music, or diet, or dress or television, etc.. It is not the Christian’s  commission from God to bend the consciences of others who are less inclined to walk as Jesus walked. God’s army is a volunteer army. No one should force others to join.

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“I WILL LEAD ON SOFTLY”

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Rather, we should be inclined to be more like a silent gentle breeze among our family. Not a gale force wind! After all, we appreciate how God has been tender with us. As we look at this painting of Jahttp://www.wikipaintings.org/en/francesco-hayez/meeting-of-jacob-and-esau-1844#closecob, we recall his gracious words about his family and flocks. He said, “I will lead on softly”. Jacob saw how God had patiently worked with him through the years. And now Jacob was likewise determined to be gentle with his family.

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By prayer, watchfulness, and daily consecration, we can cry out for our loved ones, and have confidence that God hears our prayers. We can cling to God’s precious promises, too. As we focus on our own Salvation, we can summer constellations with doves & womanrest assured that God will work in the lives of others. And if God will peradventure bring a loved one into the fold, then they will also desire to run that Race and fight that Good Fight. 

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meeting-of-jacob-and-esau-1844_ wikipaintings public domain

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You may also wish to read… (Lucifer’s Music Solo: Pleasing God or Man?)

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To write a comment, question, or suggestion, just click here…”Comments, Questions, Suggestions”

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THE END

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A HEAVENLY HOBBY

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.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1_vermont_night_stargazing_panorama_2009.jpg

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things; that brings out their host by number: He calls them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.” Isaiah 40:26

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vermont night stargazing panorama 2009 wikipedia share-alike lic.

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The above verse is a plea from God to look up at the Heavens and behold Who has created these things.

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In this busy work-a-day world, there are many very interesting things which can occupy one’s time and energy: hobbies, and careers, and entertainments and worries, and habits, to name just a few.

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But as the child of God devotes his or her life to God, there should be a jealous guarding of one’s own heart… “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

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The Christian wants nothing to get in the way of running that Christian Race.

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 New York Times Square – terabass – Wikipedia – Share-alike License

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“AND WHEN YE SEE THESE THINGS…

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LOOK UP, LIFT UP YOUR HEAD”

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But having said this, there is one hobby which every ‘Noble Berean’ may take up, which only compliments the pursuit of the heavenly Prize.

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Yes, Signs Of Heaven becomes a wonderfully rewarding hobby which, unlike many less meaningful hobbies, pays off with rich, heavenly rewards. Everlasting rewards!

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And unlike these people in this photo with equipment, all you need is fairly good vision, and a dark, starry night.

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And once a person really gets to know these heavenly messengers, it will become very apparent that the message connected with these signs is truly a message to be heeded.

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Thus will the Christian be able to share this message with others. And there are perhaps many nuances and hidden biblical truths to these signs which have yet to be discovered.

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Astronomy Amateur Wikipedia share-alike license

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“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25

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ABOVE STAR-CHART – Summer Constellations with Two Turtledoves (Sagittarius) & Flower of the Field (aka: Scorpio) & The 12-Star Crown (aka: Corona Borealis) & The Cross-Scepter (aka: Ophiochus & Serpens) & Revelation 12 Woman (Ursa Major) & Arcturus Star – www.theheavensdeclare.net

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FIRST FIND ORION & 7 STARS

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The very first step in finding these many constellations, should be to find the two main constellations: Orion, and the 7 Stars (aka, The Big Dipper).

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These two constellations represent Christ (Orion), and His Church (7 Stars).

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And just as these are the easiest constellations to find, so too, the first place to begin studying the Bible is the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

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These four books present Christ and His Church, when He walked the earth, just as Orion and the 7 Stars represent Christ and His Church, as seen up in the heavens.

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Then, once you are comfortable finding these two constellations, you can begin to locate the next closest constellations, and so on.

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ABOVE PICTURE – winter constellations – Orion & Revelation 12 Dragon (Hyades, Pleiades, etc…) seen at Eagle Ridge – Signs Of Heaven.org – Not for profit use!once you are comfortable finding these two constellations, you can begin to locate the next closest constellations, and so on.

ABOVE PICTURE – 7 Stars Constellation as the Cross (aka Big Dipper) – winter – signsofheaven.org – not for commercial uses

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ANOTHER HEAVENLY HOBBY: PRAYER-WALKS

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Now if you’re fortunate enough to be able to go on nightly walks, and you live in an area where you can safely view the stars, here is another Heavenly Hobby which Signs Of Heaven endorses…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Starry_Night_at_La_Silla.jpg.

Why not combine star-watching with prayer, as you walk? What a great way to draw closer to God!

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It cannot be over-stressed, just how wonderful it is to walk under the dark canopy of Heaven, while lifting up one’s heart to our Heavenly Father! There is a closeness to God that cannot be described with words!

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(And even if you cannot safely do this, you can always do such prayer-walks in the daytime, in a safe place, such as a mall, which is every bit as effective, prayer-wise.

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And for those who are in confinement, one can view these starry signs on the Internet, or simply listen to Scripture on audio.

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Either way, all such may enjoy God’s richest blessings at this very time in which God is pouring out all Heaven’s treasures upon anyone willing to forsake all, and follow Jesus!)

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Starry Night at La Silla Wikipedia share-alike license

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THRICE-DAILY PRAYERS

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marines_at_Prayer_by_Alex_Raymond.jpg.

Now of course, the Bible commands us to, “pray without ceasing“. The Christian is to constantly talk with our Heavenly Father throughout the day.

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But the Bible also holds up the godly life of Daniel, who, when captive in Babylon, still set aside three times daily, in which he knelt for special prayer.

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And furthermore the Bible also says… “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17.

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Even those who are bed-fast or in a prison cell can begin to imitate Daniel in this way. And if one is fortunate to be able to walk, then this thrice-daily prayer regimen can be combined with three walks daily and even nightly.

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Marines at Prayer by Alex Raymond wikimedia public domain

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