When I was a new Christian, I lived in Pensacola, FL in a Christian commune in the inner city. We had two houses, one for the girls and a beautiful two story Southern Colonial one with a wrap-around porch for the boys.
People hitch-hiking from all over the world usually passed by and stopped into the boy’s house for a pertinent Bible study, a free meal, a warm shower, clean sheets, and a safe place to spend the night. Some of those who accepted Jesus as their Savior stayed on with us.
We slept in rooms full of bunk beds, and we learned what it meant to “live by faith.” We worked together to learn more about God’s Word, to obey God’s precepts, to get local jobs, and to dwell together as a Christian family, although we were from a diverse cultural heritage.
The Lord taught us melodies for many Psalms, and these songs still resonates in my soul to this day. One song in particular has become the cry of my heart, because I cannot survive without God’s presence in me, every moment of every day of my life.
Cause me to hear
Thy loving kindness in the morning,
For in Thee do I trust;
Cause me to know
The way wherein I should walk
For I lift up my soul unto Thee.
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Deliver me, oh Lord
Teach me to do Thy will
*Quicken me, oh Lord
For I lift up my soul unto thee. – Psalm 143:8-11
* “Quicken” in the King James version of the Bible means to come alive, to vitalize, animate, energize, bolster, embolden, invigorate and encourage. God’s presence in our life does all of this and so much more. He gradually becomes the center of our focus.
As usual, the Psalmist felt the same way that we often do, and that is so very comforting. Even the apostle Paul admonished us to speak to our self in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs; to sing and to make melody in our heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).
Music is one of the most healing activities in which we can participate. We do not have to carry a tune (as they say, not even in a bucket), or sound professional, as long as the words are coming straight from our heart throughout the day.
I used to sing like a bird, until my immune system attacked my vocal cords. I would take my guitar, close my bedroom door, sit in the middle of my bed, and sing to the Lord for at least an hour every day after work.
God instructs us in many places in His Word to sing aloud to our heart’s content. In God’s timing, I look forward to Him healing my vocal cords, so that I can vocally worship Him again; but for now, I sing in my heart all day long.
Music awakens parts of our self – in our spirit, soul and body – and brings healing to many damaged aspects of who we really are. Due to a lack of musical ability, we often refrain from expressing our self in this way.
However, the vibrations of musical sound in our body bring us pleasure, relaxes tension, calms nerves, reduces pain levels, releases endorphins, centers our soul in the Lord, and makes us feel more secure, joyful and peaceful. Focusing on the sounds of nature, even of a cat’s purring, does this same thing for us.
Each deep breaths, which we take while we sing, floods our body with needed oxygen, encourages gratitude and satisfaction, decreases cortisol – which causes stress, and increases the response of our immune system, etc. The type of song that we sing can even help us to relate to and improve our moods of both depression and joy.
Therapists use singing as treatment for certain neurological dysfunctions, because it will benefit our brain by increasing our ability to reason, remember, solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Singing also helps us to connect to our authentic self within, and it makes us more vulnerable and devoid of wearing masks to disguise our inhibitions.
Father God, remind us that You love to hear our praises. So much of Your Word relates to the benefit of singing. Having a joyful, singing heart helps us to adopt more kindness, liberality, and affection for others. We have more courage to ask for help and consideration from others, more peace to hear Your voice in our spirit, connectivity to the rhythm of the world around us, and exploration of our feelings of perception, discernment and inspiration.
Thank You for rejoicing over Your Saints with singing (Zephaniah 3:17), for enabling the widow’s heart to rejoice (Job 29:13), and for releasing Paul and Silas from jail when they sang in their prison chains, rather than complaining or grumbling against You (Acts 16:25). You are our hiding place, and You surround us with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). We sing of Your power, mercy, provision and defense each new morning, and we exalt You and praise Your name forever (Psalm 13:5-6, 59:16, 68:4-5).
Thought for the Day:
Singing brings us freedom, healing, and positive feelings, because it releases us from our negative emotions, brings equilibrium to our thoughts, allows healing to take place in our body, and helps us to make more analytical choices rather than emotionally over-reactive ones. a