“…what I testify to is the power of visual art, and especially music…They have the potential to awaken the mind and heart to aspects of God’s glory that were not perceived before. Paintings or photographs of mountains and streams can call forth a sense of wonder and peace. If we are willing to “look along” (not just “at”) these pictures, as Lewis taught us, our eyes will run up the beams to the Original Glory, and the wonder and peace will rest finally in the wonderful and peaceful mountains and streams of God’s power and mercy.
…We must make it our aim that the joy awakened by music be joy in God…Then the effort to delight in God through music will involve a prior shaping of the mind by the Word…Then the effort to delight in God through music will also involve a thoughtful testing after the music has already awakened joy. Is this joy…stirring my desires to know Christ better and love him more and show him to others at the cost of my own comfort? So before and after music has its immediate effect, we pursue the goal that music make us more glad in the glory of God.” When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy
by John Piper
my Prayer: Lord, thank you for using praise music and my worship through that music to awaken my mind and heart to aspects of Your Glory I had never perceived before. Thank You for the joy it brought and the delight I found in You because of WHO YOU ARE. Thank You for the overwhelming and undeniable awareness of Your presence in those moments. Thank You for helping me to completely forget myself and for moving me into deeper praise, no longer centered in gratitude for Your temporal blessings, but grounded and focused on eternal things: Your Sovereignty, Your Holiness, Your stubborn love for me and my desperate and relentless need for You.
Even though the lesson was one of the hardest I’ve ever faced, thank you for teaching me that finding worship through music wasn’t enough, that it only took me part way. It limited true praise to those brief moments. Thank you for showing me that my dependance on music was quenching Your Spirit. It prevented me from finding joy and delight in WHO YOU ARE in the ordinary, everyday moments of my life. Thank You for the understanding that I can’t find that joy and delight on my own, through my own striving, depending on anything in this world to facilitate it.
Holy Spirit, please bless me with joy and delight, so I won’t be tempted to settle for less by depending on anything or anybody but Christ.
the Word: “The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:
“He is good; his love endures forever.”
Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God” 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 (NIV)
“Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet. Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the Mount I’m fixed upon it, mount of Thy redeeming love
Here I raise my Ebenezer. Hither by Thy help I come.
Oh, and I hope by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home”
sung by Kings Kaleidoscope
[CLICK HERE to see a listing of all the blog posts in this series “the search for Joy.”]
I’m sure I walked more than a mile during the first few weeks of January, but since I didn’t log any fitness, it wasn’t fair to count more than I could be sure of. Then, despite my goal to log 30 miles by walking 5 miles a day in the last 6 days of the month to “average” a mile a day for the month, I found everything to do yesterday except get on the treadmill.
Today, I put off the treadmill all. day.
And let me tell you, I did NOT want to put on my walking shoes. I did NOT want to get on this treadmill. I would rather be sitting in the sauna RIGHT NOW. But I made a commitment to God to be a good steward of the body He has blessed me with. I would rather walk outside at leisurely pace on the flat ground than 3mph at a 4% incline, but I made commitment to myself to average at least a mile a day and if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna increase my heart rate and SWEAT. I put my goal out there on the internet because accountability makes me stronger.
So I’m faced with a decision. How many miles am I going to walk today, tomorrow and Tuesday?
We’ll find out in three days, but I’ll tell you this, the decision is NOT going to be influenced by how tired I am. I’m still on the treadmill as I type this and so far, I’ve walked 4.25 miles. I’m tired, but I’m not hurting, so I’m not quitting.