This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.
If you’ve been around our blog for a while, in times past I’ve written a few songs, some lullabies, some hymns, etc., and many of the tunes were inspired by the names of or phrases I applied to our animals in some way.
And with the recent addition of our new cat Sophie, it didn’t take long before I was trying to think of something for her. And I did come up with a little phrase, which turned itself into a new hymn…
The initial lyric for her song was:
Sophie is a trophy
…mostly because “trophy” rhymes with “Sophie”. 🙂
(On an aside, she’s ended up being pretty prolific with the litter boxes, and with the wafting we usually know when she’s “gone”, so I thought a fitting lyric might be:
Sophie dropped a loafie
At least it is in the litter. 🙂 )
But back to the story: After the initial little lyric, a melody started forming from the phrase, and I worked it out in full, and the chords on the piano.
And once that was in place, since I’m not any kind of poet lyricist, I looked for a hymn from the past with words that were 6-6-6-6 meter, which basically would fit with the new tune, and I did. It was written by John S. B. Monsell in 1866, called “I Hunger and I Thirst”. I liked the words and decided to go ahead with them, and then apply them to the tune I had written, with some small modifications to make them fit better.
I took piano lessons from age 5-15, and so music has been a good part of my life. But if you think about it, what is music actually? We all sort of know about it, understand it exists, participate in it when we sing or hear a song, but what’s going on “under the covers”, so to speak?
I would suggest that it is all God’s specific doing, and that it is inherent and literally built in to creation by the Creator. Let me try to explain…
Sound is based on waves of vibrations in the air, like a Sine wave, where the wave starts at a mid point, goes up to a point, and goes down below the midpoint an equal distance, and this repeats over and over. The characteristics of the wave give the distinctions of the sounds: the higher the wave apexes from the middle, the louder the sound is, which is called amplitude, where we get “amplify”, or make louder; the closer together each wave is to the next one in the cycle, the higher the sound, which is called frequency (ie. how many times a wave happens per unit of time). If we were to pipe sounds into an oscilloscope, you could see these represented, and watch the changes as the sound changed.
This in itself shows a constant in creation. But there’s more…
Most believe it was Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras) that discovered an interesting “phenomenon”. Two different tones together could be categorized mathematically in 2:1 ratios (ie. the frequency of the upper tone being 2 times that of the lower tone) and 3:2 ratios (the frequency of the upper tone making 3 vibrations in the same amount of time that the lower tone makes 2). Then, if you crawl up tones using the 3:2 ratio, on the 12th iteration, you land basically, with some slight mathematical variance, on the 7th iteration if you had crawled up using the 2:1 ratio, thus ending the cycles of each before starting a new round (this is where we get the 7-note scales and the 12-note chromatic scale, for you musically-inclined folks).
Notice anything about the numbers in the above description? 12 and 7? In the Bible, 12 represents God’s power and authority, or governmental foundation, or the number of completion; and 7 is the number representing completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual).
Coincidence? These are mathematically built in to nature, and shows an extraordinary degree of order. If I had nothing else, for me personally, this would show some intelligence put nature together. This is absolutely amazing to me!
Further, the base structure when notes are played together is called a “chord”, and the base structure of that consists of 3 notes, and 3 in the Bible also represents completeness.
But now, looking beyond that, I believe there are many spiritual representations in music, and how it’s used.
First, God would have us sing to Him. Many, many verses, but here are a couple:
Ps 105:2 – “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.”
Ps 135:3 – “Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.“
Usually in any song, there is the melody, or the tune we might all know, and the other parts sung with the melody that form chords which sound good together, which are called harmony parts, all working together to make the music, and to make it sound better. I think one can glean a couple things from this:
This is similar to the body of Christ, His people, working together in…wait for it…harmony (see this definition). 🙂
1 Cor 12:12-14 – “12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.“
Not everyone in the Church has the same function, and yet they are all important for the complete picture:
1 Cor 12:15-20 – “15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.“
Another thing that I think can be observed: when an orchestra with multiple kinds of instruments, and multiples of those, play together, there is usually a conductor. His job is:
To help lead and keep everyone together as they make their way in unity and not chaotically to the end, and the orchestra follows the conductor’s lead
To help with the interpretation of the original composer’s intent
To set the speed (or “tempo”) of how fast the music is played, with the idea it’s not about how quickly you get to the end, but how you get there
To me, this is similar to the Church, where:
Pastors and leaders help guide Christ’s flock through their earthly pilgrimage to the end, helping keep away from chaos and instead in unity, and the people follow their lead as it conforms to scripture:
Heb 13:17 – “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.“
Pastors and leaders should rightly divide God’s word (the composition) as to how God would have it interpreted:
2 Tim 2:15 – “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.“
Our Christian walk is not about how quickly we get to the end, but how our pilgrims’ progress in this life is to be travelled as the Lord would have for us, in the manner in which He would have us get there:
1 Cor 9:24 – “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”
Heb 12:1 – “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,“
Finally, here is a quote from Martin Luther:
Music is hateful and intolerable to the devil. I truly believe, and do not mind saying, that there is no art like music, next to theology. It is the only art, next to theology, that can calm the agitations of the soul, which plainly shows that the devil, the source of anxiety and sadness, flees from the sound of music as he does from religious worship. That is why the Scriptures are full of psalms and hymns, in which praise is given to God. That is why, when we gather round God’s throne in heaven, we shall sing His glory. Music is the perfect way to express our love and devotion to God. It is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
All in all, I believe music is a gift architected into creation by the Lord, thus revealing Himself in nature, and is to be used for His glory and means by which we worship Him, and which is also graciously something we can enjoy as we praise and give thanksgiving to so great a God!
After putting together a little song to help remember the names of God, called Jehovah is His Name!, I had wanted to do something with the armor of God, which over the last few years has become more of a focus in Sue and my spiritual walks.
Here is the Scripture text I used:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
I had a tune I had already written called “I Hate Cockleburs”, in honor of the time spent pulling them out by hand in our 11-acre north field, and since, continuing to sweep that field, clearing them twice yearly before they seed out. The “lyrics” went like this:
I hate cockleburs, yes I do I hate cockleburs, how ’bout you? I hate cockleburs, I hate cockleburs, I hate cockleburs, yes I do!
(On a doctrinal aside, I don’t “hate” them as I hope I hate sin. And actually, I recognize weeds and the like as a reminder of God’s hatred of sin when He cursed the ground [see Gen 3:17-19] and His perfect wisdom and goodness in bringing them forth. And so, I use the word “hate” as something of typical usage, and because it fit with the tune’s meter. 🙂 But, to return…)
The cockleburs were indeed a pain. But, the effort in pulling them paid off, and there are very few now every year. And each time I try to remember to ask God to weed the gardens of our hearts, so there will be good soil, and no thorns or weeds. See Matt 13:1-23
Also, the tune is in a minor key, and I thought that would work well with a song about armor and battles.
And so, over a fairly long period of time, the Lord did grant I finally finish working out the lyrics with the cocklebur melody, and adding the harmony parts. With this one, as with when I did Moses’ Song of the Sea from Exodus 15, I attempted to stay as close to the actual Scripture verses themselves as possible, trying to use only minimal artistic license to make it all work out. 🙂
Fifteen years ago today, the Lord granted Sue and I be married. Our fathers performed the ceremony, we appreciated our family and friends participating with us, and it was a joyous day!
For me, our marriage has been joyous, and Sue has made that possible. She is a godly woman. She is the most considerate person I know. She evidences God’s graces in her all the time, and she would be the first to acknowledge those are none of herself, and loathes her own sin.
I marvel at her cheerful and uncomplaining willingness to serve others and me, especially in bringing her out from a life of comfort to something of a wilderness, with mud and poo everywhere, often on us. 🙂 She never complains when hauling a heavy 5-gallon bucket of feed up to the goats to go milk them; she never complains when having to haul four 6-gallon water containers up to them in a wheelbarrow; she never complains when she has to carry two of them by hand from the cistern to the house to fill the Berkey and indoor elevated dishwater tank.
We have a ton in common, in beliefs and principles, and even had similar life paths growing up. For instance, we both had sung in barbershop quartets before. What are the “odds” of that happening? (100% when it’s part of God’s plan! 😀 ). We even grew up in the same general area, and attended the same church but at different times. We often wonder if we had ever crossed paths at any time. And then God brought us together in His perfect timing. By God’s graces, we get along extraordinarily well, and she makes our relationship easy.
She has forebeared much with me, and has been a great help. I am ever thankful to God for her, and other than having been given God-fearing parents, she is the best temporal gift I have received in my entire life. If God could have designed a wife/help-meet in perfection for me, she was it!
We have always viewed each other as gifts from the Lord to each other, and in fact, this was the theme of our wedding:
Jam 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.“
It is how I felt when I asked her to marry me, and still do today.
I considered it so much so in late 2002, with anticipation of asking her for her hand in marriage (after graciously receiving permission from her parents), that I wrote for her a song to God about her as that — a great gift from Him!
After the one time of singing it to her, the song has just been in my head all of these years, with a little help from some handwritten notes and the lyrics saved on the computer, and so for this fifteen year anniversary, I wanted to surprise her with having recorded it and putting it out in a blog post with my thoughts about her.
But, then I thought, you know, she’s the only person who has ever heard this song before, and perhaps she would like to keep it as special only to her. And so, I surprised her with it the other day, and asked what her thoughts were about sharing it as part of our fifteenth anniversary blog post, and she agreed.
To get to that point though, we thought we’d share a little about the engagement day on February 8, 2003…
We spent the day in Carmel, CA, visiting the shops and then planning to end up at the beach later. Little did she know that two of my best friends at the time, Bob and Jeff, were running around purchasing dinner, and getting a table and chairs and table cloths and flowers and a cooler of food and a piano-type keyboard set up on the beach for us…
A couple of funny anecdotes:
At one point, Sue and I went into a shop that had mood rings. She’s like, let’s try them on. Well, hers was all blue, which means relaxed and emotional, and mine was black, which mean nervous and anxious. I thought, ahhh, this stupid ring is going to blow the whole surprise! 😀 Sue did wonder why I wasn’t relaxed and romantic like she was. 🙂
And then, it was time to get down to the beach. Once there, Sue went into the restroom, and right then my friends came out of their restroom and said “It’s not set up…we need more time!” I was like, ok, I’ll try to stall her, and they disappeared before Sue came out. Whew!
And so, Sue and I walked down the beach the “wrong” way for a bit, and then started moseying back the “correct” direction, slowly as much as I could.
Well, as we got closer to the spot, I spied that my friends had completed their covert operations, and we headed toward the dinner table.
My friends video-recorded basically the whole event, and we took a few stills from the video:
Putting the ring on her finger after her saying “yes”:
And right about then, we turned around to face the sun, and this is what it looked like, setting over the ocean! Wow wow wow! What a gift of timing from God!
Then, Sue and I hung out on the beach for a while drinking sparkling cider, and left when it was darker, and my gracious friends, besides setting up everything and filming it, sat there until we were done and cleaned up everything. It was a wonderful time, and we thank the Lord for it!
To Bob and Jeff: I will forever have a debt of gratitude to you both for what you did that day, handling all of that, filming it, and just waiting there until we left, and cleaning up everything. A guy couldn’t have asked for better friends!
What follows is the song I believe God specially granted me to write (besides that we can do nothing without Christ, I have never written a song with those kinds of chord progressions before). In it, I wanted to acknowledge God as God, thank Him for His many gifts, and then for the gift of Sue (my Love) specifically, my prayer for myself toward her, specific ways He used her to help me in bringing her to me, my prayer for us as a couple, and then bringing all to God’s glory in the end.
These are our continued prayers. May God glorify Himself through us, and may we be godly servants of His and others! I am forever grateful to the Lord for granting me the gift of my Love, Sue!
(Click the play button on the inline player right below the title to listen to it. It was only recorded using the laptop sitting on a pillow on the piano, and I have a slight verbal fumble at the end which I wasn’t going to re-do the whole song over after many takes, but you should still get the idea. 🙂 If you don’t see the inline audio player, you can listed to it by clicking this link.)
The Gift of My Love
Verse 1 Father, may You be praised Here and now and in the heavens Father, exalt Your name Here and now and forever
We bow before You, holy Lord Singing praise and worship at Your throne Be magnified, oh Holy Lord Praying humbly before Your throne
Verse 2 Father, I want to thank You For Your many blessings to me Father, Your endless love Is shown each day to me
You give so generously Beyond any of my dreams You give so ever freely Above all of our dreams
Chorus And so I thank You, Lord, for the gift of my Love I thank You, Lord, for her I thank You, Lord, for the gift of my love Please bind our hearts together
She’s beautiful, gentle, wonderful, so special A blessed gift of grace from You
Verse 3 Father, You gave a love, A gift who sets my heart afire Father, she’s far beyond My deepest hope and desires
Her beauty’s endless as the sky I melt when I gaze into her eyes Her smile’s as bright as the sun She’s come to me from above
Break May I cherish her, this Love of mine May I honor her through the end of time May I love her as You love your own Thank You for this Love, from love You have shown She’s my Love, thank You for my Love
Who’s helped break through the pain Of hurt and sorrow, a broken heart You’ve mended me back together With her You have restored me
And set me free To love again Thank You for this love May it never, ever, ever, ever end
Verse 4 Father, be glorified By us, the two of us together Father, our lives are Yours May we worship You forever
We bow before You, holy Lord Be magnified, oh Lord Singing praise and worship at Your throne Our love eternally before Your throne
Fine For Your glory forever Be glorified forever Through us be glorified forever Praise your holy name forever
With the addition of our cat Tuscan, and God granting little melodies for many of our other animals, He did so again for Tuscan, a little tune with the lyrics:
Tuscanosis, Tuscanosis, Tuscano-o-o-sis
(I had “Little Mimi” for Mimi’s song, “Williaminator” for William’s, and “Brodey-so-squodey” and “Nessa-bo-bessa” for their’s, so I went with a little something different. 😀 )
And then once again, it was just a matter of trying to find some words. This one was a little difficult, because the meter for the melody is really 4-4-6, which looking around on the internet for hymns like that produced few results. And so, with there being many with 8-6 meter (common meter), I set out to find one that was 8-6 but sounded 4-4-6.
After a lot of searching and collecting four possibilities, I narrowed it down to the one I liked best, which was I Long for God, The Living God, by Thomas MacKellar, which I found here.
And with just a minor tweak of one line, and futzing with the melody a little to make it work better with how the words sounded, here are the results!
These lyrics have a little more extra meaning to me, which is partially why I chose them…
To me, there is nothing more important in this life, and all eternity, than having God — having the Lord Christ, having His Spirit indwelling in us, abiding in Him, having all our life and existence in Him.
But the difficulties of this life and the temptations of the devil, can spurn us to enter the slough of despond, where we might wish to have this life end and go to be with Christ now.
Ps 55:4-8 – “4 My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. 5 Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. 6 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. 7 Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. 8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.“
Not only do I believe despondently desiring the end of this life is sin and self-seeking, for which I am responsible and must seek repentance, but we are called to be His servants here on this earth for as long as He sees fit, and we must strive to the end, with His help and by His graces.
Ps 55:22 – “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.“
2 Cor 12:9 – “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.“
May we be found in obedience to Him and doing our duty toward Him all our days, for His glory, and we pray for His strength and faith to do so!
Ps 73:25-26 – “25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.“
Some years ago, I thought I should learn the names of God — what He calls Himself in His word — so that I could acknowledge Him as He has declared Himself to be acknowledged. I believe in the regulative principle of worship, in that, the Bible, and thus God Himself, declares how He will be worshiped, and that is to be our sole guide. Since He has given Himself many names, a few of them I knew already, like Jehovah-Jirah (our provider — I even wrote a blog post on that one), and Jehovah-Rapha (our healer), but I wanted to be able to know more of them so I could call Him those in my prayers.
Well, I did a search, and I’m not sure if this is the exact page I found that first time, and I don’t think it is, but it does have the names I learned way back then: Redemptive Names of God and What They Mean, and here is another site that has a similar listing: Names of God (I am not vouching for the rest of the content on these sites):
While these have manifestations in the temporal world, they really are more about the spiritual relationship of God toward His people.
Also often used in the Bible:
Yahweh (Jehovah, the LORD capitalized in many Bibles)
God is eternal, unchangeable, in covenant relationship
God, strong/mighty one
the Lord, master
Fast forward until late last year. If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll have seen I’ve written some hymns or lullabies that were based on little tunes I came up with about our animals, which you can read about here under our blog’s music label.
One I’ve had for a while is for our dogs Brodey and Nessa, and the words went like this:
Brodey so-squody, he is not a grody toady
Nessa bo-bessa, walla walla professah Nessa
(I often call Brodey “Brodey so-squodey” and Nessa “Nessa bo-bessa” 🙂 )
Those covered the first two measures, but with some tweaks to the 2-measure melody, I eventually filled out the whole tune into a song. I “sang” it for Sue and she thought it would make a good song in the round. Hmmm…..
I struggled to come up with lyrics. But one day, I was thinking about the names of God I had learned, and since there were eight of them, which goes into music evenly, I wondered if I might make that fit into the song — the Jehovah names of God and their meanings, and with that, it would be easier for others to learn them. It might just work…
And so, I started trying to work it out, and God granted I was able to indeed work the lyrics into the tune with some tweaking of the music — Jehovah is His Name! And it worked nicely in the round too!
I think it worked out fairly nicely, and thanks to the Lord for granting this to be able to learn His names and acknowledge His greatness, mightiness, love and care!
In trying to find the original website that had the eight names I learned, I have since discovered there are many other names of God in the Bible (again, I cannot vouch for the site’s content), but it was nice to be able to take these I had learned and put them into something perhaps usable for God to glorify Himself maybe in some way. 🙂
May His name be praised forever; blessed be the name of the LORD!
Heb. 11:8-10 - "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
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