Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mercy Is A Song

Music is the most important thing in my life.

Not buses. Not baseball. Not planes. Music.

Therefore, it is no surprise that God speaks to me more through music than pretty much anything else in my life (even right up there with His Word, assuming I'm taking the proper care to read it). Every day, there is a different song playing in my mind over and over. My mind is picking it apart, analyzing the orchestration, deciphering the production layers, and finding the tasty bits of lyrics that are like nothing I've ever heard before.

My process of music study is very complicated. I could write a rule book on it, and I probably will someday, just because it is so interesting. Certain limits of weeks for how long an album is active, what it actually means for an album to be 'active' or an artist to be 'approved,' what is required to move on to another album. And I have kept various iterations of this structure going for almost 14 years now.

Do I do this because I like making rules for myself? It is true that I like there to be some semblance of structure when I do anything or everything just become chaos. But I do this because I want to get the most out of the music that I can. I want to be blessed by the music as much as I can.

And that is why I am extremely picky about what music I listen to. I am pretty flexible when it comes to style or genre, but I care most that the music blesses me when I listen to it, instead of tearing me down. I want the music to allow God to speak to me.

So, obviously, I primarily listen to 'Christian music,' that catch-all sometimes-derisive label for music that talks about Jesus. I see it as 'decent music,' or the kind of music that angels are probably singing. There are different levels of spiritual depth in the lyrics, and there are different levels of musical depth as well. But if it blesses God and blesses me in the listening, then I am satisfied.

Too many Christians don't listen to Christian music because it doesn't appease them. So, they listen to the music of the world. Yes, there is plenty of decent music in the world, but it is vastly outnumbered by music that is littered with darkness. That is why I am so leery when I hear something new from the secular world: who is the artist, what do the words say, what are hidden meanings, etc. And more importantly, would the angels be listening to it?

The music I study is so vital to my life. I let it permeate my being. When people are out there opening their souls to all kinds of darkness, I open my soul to God through music and let Him sing to my spirit. I let Him encourage me, direct me, convict me, and reveal the deepest meanings of what I am living. The more I am in tune with God, the more the music revitalizes me; the less I am in tune with God, the music seems to just fade into the normalcy of the day.

And this is why I am writing this. I want to encourage you by the music I listen to. And what a better way to do this than to teach directly from the very song I am hearing?

"Mercy Is A Song" is the title of this blog post, not just because it is a cool name, but because it is the title of a song by Matthew West off of one of the more recent albums I've studied, All In. It is a song about how God's mercy sings to our hearts like a song. This is what I feel daily, as I try my best to stay in sync with God's words to me, first through the Bible, and second through song. I am a product of what I put into my soul through the music I hear.

What I will begin doing regularly is writing short devotionals here based on what God has told me from these songs, starting with song one and working my way through all the songs on the specific album. I won't plagiarize or quote entire songs lyrics (I will include links to listen to the songs on YouTube or buy them on iTunes or Amazon), and few of the devotionals will be reading back to you what you can already hear in the songs. This will be a companion to what the artist is trying to say.

I want to encourage you through the wisdom of God, and I also want to show you quality Christian music so that you can see why you should include it in your life. The more you listen to it, the more you will see why it should be your primary source of musical entertainment. The songs of the world will clearly pale in comparison to what the music that makes God pleased has to offer.

And we must remember that these songs were written by humans who are themselves imperfect and are living under God's grace. There are many, MANY amazing people in the industry, but there are also some who have lived or may be living lives that don't please God but are still making music that does please Him. God can use sinners to do amazing things. I know this because He uses me.

So I invite you to open your ears and open your soul to the songs of the Lord, as He desires to speak truth and encouragement into your life. I hope you see the power of what God continues to do through song.

"Mercy Is A Song" by Matthew West - YouTube, iTunes or Amazon

(Note: I do not receive any monetary revenue from this blog. I use no ads or sell no products. I do this because I want to write about the things I want to write about without having to worry about copyright restrictions. I myself am a copyright holder, and I therefore understand how important it is that the artists and songwriters receive their due credit and payment for their hard work. I hope that the people who read this blog will be encouraged to not only enjoy the songs but actually buy them from legitimate sources. If anyone has any questions or concerns, please post in the comments.)