DiM | “The Maker” by Chris August

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

April 28, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “The Maker” by Chris August which currently sits at #17 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

This is an emotionally centered song of encouragement with a generally Christian theme, though not explicit. It is theologically shallow, save for one solid line in the bridge. It falls squarely into the category of “well, that’s a pleasant song”. Let’s look at the song and then look at some related passages of Scripture to help us ground our thoughts in the Word whenever this song plays on the radio.

Official Music Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

The Maker by Chris August

I see You in the sunrise
I see You in the rain
I see You in the laughter
I feel You through the pain

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can’t believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive

CHORUS
Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once
And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me

I see You, You are creation
I see the grandness of Your majesty
The universe is singing all Your glory
I can’t believe You live inside of me

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can’t believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive

CHORUS

More than just some words upon a page
You’ve shown me in a million ways
But there is one that stands above them all
Hands of creation on a cross

CHORUS

Publishing: © 2015 Word Music, LLC (ASCAP) / Wondrous Made Songs a div. of Wondrous Worship & Llano Music, LLC (BMI) (Adm. by Music Services) Produced by Ed Cash
Writer(s): Chris August / Ed Cash

Discussion

The song doesn’t press beyond the emotional level of “wow, God’s Creation is awesome and He loves me!” Is that bad? Well, if you are looking for real encouragement it falls short, but if you’re just looking for a pleasant song that acknowledges God as the Creator then it’s fine. I’d like to really give this song some solid points, though, for the bridge. Were it not for the bridge making a clear reference to the Cross, my overall opinion of the song would have been panentheism. I didn’t catch the line when I was just listening to the song on the radio or when I was reviewing the music video, but it is clearly in the lyric and once I started looking for it I found it in the video, so it’s there. It really saved the song in my opinion. I read his biography on TCM.com, and recognized that he really is just a musician trying to make a living playing music but also wanting to make “more Christian songs”. I think we should expect more of church worship leaders, but for “good, clean entertainment” I think he fits the bill, and hope the best for his career. Truly, I’d like to see evidence of a more grounded walk with Christ in his music with a little less of the artistic appeal to emotional inspiration we see in secular music. The world is lost, unbelievers who reject the God of Creation and are left to empty words of affirmation for their “inspirational music”. We have Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. We have the Truth of the Gospel preserved by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. That’s real, that’s deeper than any fleeting emotion or empty praise of men.

Psalm 95  (ESV) | Let Us Sing Songs of Praise
1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
 let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8     do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”

Compare the overall focus of Psalm 95 to today’s song and see how they compare and contrast.

The strong point of this song is that it connected “the Maker” to Jesus’ Death on the Cross. Let’s flesh that out a bit more.

John 1:1-18 (ESV) | The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Indeed, Jesus is our Creator. He loves us enough to lay down His life in payment for our sin. Repent, therefore, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “More Than You Think I Am” by Danny Gokey

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

April 21, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “More Than You Think I Am” by Danny Gokey which currently sits at #16 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

We have another song of encouragement, with an extra shot of espresso. Danny Gokey’s voice is amazing, and this song was masterfully produced, but I cannot recommend this song to anyone for any purpose beyond practicing discernment. This song displays a theology along the lines of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. The real answers the Bible offers for the hurting, the questions, and the fears we face are far greater than any man-made philosophy, pep-talk, or song.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

More Than You Think I Am by Danny Gokey

You always think I’m somewhere on a mountaintop
But never think behind bars
You’d be amazed the places that I go
To be with you, where you are

So forget what you’ve heard
What you think that you know
There’s a lot about Me
That’s never been told

CHORUS
I’m more than you dream
More than you understand
Your days and your times
Were destined for our dance
I catch all your tears
Burn your name on My heart
Be still and trust My plan
I’m more than you think I am
More than you think I am

Rumor has it there’s a gavel in My hand
I’m only here to condemn
But let Me tell you secrets you have never known
I think of you as My best friend

So much has been said
Even done in My name
But I’m showing you now
Who I really am

CHORUS

Let me open your eyes to see
The heart of Me, differently oh oh
Come closer than you’ve ever been
Let Me in like never before
Bring Me every broken part
The wounds and scars of who you are
Hide in Me and you will see…

CHORUS

More than you think I am
More than you think I am
I’m more than you think I am

Publishing: © 2014 Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Goes Something Like THiS Music/Nichols’ Boys Music (BMI) © 2014 G650 Music, Pure Note Music, Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) © 2014 BMG Platinum Songs/Creative Heart Publishing/Admin by BMG Rights Management (BMI) Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.
Writer(s): Danny Gokey/Bernie Herms/Tim Nichols

Discussion

The musical and vocal talent in this song is fantastic. The lyrical content is at-best drivel (on the order of Sarah Young) or at worst dangerous (like Bill or Beni Johnson of Bethel, CA). For the unbeliever, this song is absolutely dangerous because it falsely elevates the unbeliever to the status of God’s Best friend. To the Believer, it is still dangerous if it serves to reinforce bad theology. We will not be trying to put a good construction on this song. Let’s get to the major problems in the lyrics.

There’s a lot about Me, That’s never been told. Okay, so this is the point in the song where my head sort of exploded (not literally). It is one thing to tell someone they have been taught a false gospel, or have been deceived by false teachers, but to claim that God is telling the listener that He is going to tell them things about Himself that have never been told is absolutely treacherous. While one can make the philosophical (or metaphysical) argument that there is a lot about God that has never been told, whatever God hasn’t revealed of Himself to us in His Word is NOT for us to know or speculate on in the here and now. When we see God in the Kingdom of Heaven, we will stand amazed at all that He is, and still not fully know what He has not revealed, for we are the creation and He is the Creator. God is not revealing things about Himself to us individually that He hasn’t revealed of Himself in His Word. He simply isn’t. God’s Word is the standard by which we measure all things. If God were to reveal something of Himself that has never been revealed, we’d have no way to confirm it in His Word. Therefore, I know that God wouldn’t do it. What’s worse, if any claim to a revelation of God (Father/Jesus/Holy Spirit) is such that it cannot be validated in Scripture then we know that it isn’t of God; rather, it is a demon posing as an angel of light. There is also the lines invoking some sort of post-modern “forget what you know or think you know”. What is that? To whom is this song addressed, Christians? Forget what they’ve heard? like the Gospel? This actually reminds me a lot of Rob Bell and his nonsense.

But let Me tell you secrets you have never known, I think of you as My best friend. This is attempting to say a lot more than “God loves you”. This is intended to paint a picture of God wooing the listener, in much the same way as Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” mysticism. But notice the 2 lines before this one… “rumor has it there’s a gavel in my hand”… This line is intended to refute the idea that God is a Judge. When Jesus first walked this earth, it is true He didn’t come to judge, but to save. From what did He come to save? God’s Judgement. Oh, so there IS a gavel. Yes.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

2 Timothy 4:5-8 (ESV)
5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

But isn’t there a passage in John where Jesus does call the disciples His friends? Yes. Let’s look at it.

John 15:12-17 (ESV) 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Still doesn’t reflect the context of this song, and even refutes the earlier points of some secret as-yet untold revelation of God. Nonsense. Jesus IS the revelation of God and He is returning to Judge creation.

But I’m showing you now, Who I really am. This stanza is horrible. Who is doing the showing? What is being shown? This song is designed to entice the listener to forget what they’ve heard about God, forget that the Bible is the Word of God, how He has revealed Himself to man, and to openly embrace some new secret that elevates the status of man to “best friend” of God, whose name has been burned into God’s very heart. This is mysticism. Just open up for something new and never before revealed encounter with god, and do so stripped of any discernment, whatsoever. Dangerous.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) | Preach the Word
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Good Fight” by Unspoken

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

April 14, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Good Fight” by Unspoken which currently sits at #17 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

Today’s song is presented as a song of encouragement. The singer in the song is cheering the listener on. At points, though, the singer seems to be God but not quite. Ultimately, this song seems to have inverted our relationship with God making it about God supporting our fight and our struggles (in general) rather than us preaching and teaching His Word. The “good fight” isn’t defined in this song. The point of the song isn’t the fight, but a generic appeal to perseverance and a blanket “you’re gonna make it” so keep striving.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Good Fight by Unspoken

Until you stop breathing, till you stop bleeding
Until your heart stops kick drum beating
When it’s hard times, when it’s long days
And the enemy is right up in your face
When your back’s against the ropes
And you’re feeling all alone

(chorus)
Keep fighting the good fight (never give up never give in)
Keep letting your light shine (holding it high as long as you live)
‘Cause I’m never gonna leave you
Always gonna see you through to the other side
Keep fighting the good, fighting the good
Fighting the good fight, good fight

Even in the roadblocks, even through the rough spots
When you feel you’re giving all that you got
I’m with you in the next step, giving you the next breath
I’ll be the voice saying you’re gonna make it
When you’re out there on you’re own
You are never alone

(chorus)

Just keep on singing, keep on dancing
Joy will be your banner and my love will be your anthem
You may never know what your tomorrow holds
But you can know that I am holding your tomorrow

Keep fighting the good fight
Keep letting your light shine

(chorus)

Publishing: © 2013 Centricity Music Publishing (ASCAP) / Tyrus Music (ASCAP)
Writer(s): Jon Lowry / Chad Mattson / Tyrus Morgan

Discussion

The perspective of the one singing the song is difficult for me to nail down. The chorus, second verse, and the Bridge seem to be speaking from God’s perspective, but the first verse doesn’t. The first verse is a form of personal commentary, describing our life as some epic struggle. Who is the enemy? Whose enemy? If this is one person encouraging another person, okay… but if this is God singing, it just doesn’t seem to fit. The overall focus of the song is too fixed onto the individual, the listener. I think that is the song’s fatal flaw, it urges the hearer to focus on themselves, their struggle, their fight, their perseverance, their works without a clear Gospel message of “It is Finished”. The song’s focus is upside down. While there are elements of truth offered (we are never alone, God holds our tomorrow, and each breath we breathe is by His grace) they are stacked in the wrong order… with us at the top.

The “good fight” is undefined. It’s left completely open to the interpretation of the hearer. So, while the song has a “keep fighting the good fight” push, in not defining what the good fight is it leaves the listener to define it for themselves and then be encouraged in it. Is every fight/struggle/trial “good”?

Fighting the Good Fight

Our text for understanding this phrase will be 1 Timothy. I encourage you, dear reader, to spend some time today or in the next couple of days just reading through it as a single letter rather than broken up into chapters and sub-headings. The Apostle Paul is sending instructions and encouragement to Timothy, because he will have to carry on Paul’s ministry without him very soon. Let that sink in… Paul isn’t just commenting on matters of the church, he is providing guidance that will last beyond his death, guidance from God the Holy Spirit about how the Church will continue after the Lord has issued the upward call for Paul. I’m going to focus on a few passages that lead up to what Paul’s charge for Timothy to fight the good fight. This will be, as it were, a fly over of 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 1:1-7 (ESV) | Warning Against False Teachers

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

After greeting Timothy, Paul dive right into the need to address false teaching. This issue is at the top of the to-do list, and it comes by way of reminder. Paul had already told Timothy when he was going to Macedonia, and now it is the first issue he addresses in his letter. This is of utmost importance. People have wandered away from sound doctrine and stewardship from God that is by faith. They’ve devoted themselves to myths (Jewish myths, Ancient Greek myths, Gnosticism, Stoicism, etc) endless genealogies (again, Jewish myths), and ultimately making confident assertions about things of which they have no understanding.

1 Timothy 1 (cont..) Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Here we see our first charge to Timothy to wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. Timothy is to take up Paul’s charge that Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. What is that good warfare? Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the sinners lost in unbelief that they might find Faith, repentance, forgiveness, and new life in Christ Jesus. The next portions of this letter start addressing conduct in the church, leadership, and worship.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV) | Pray for All People
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

He goes on to instruct how we are to pray and then gives instructions regarding general conduct and leadership roles in general. In Chapter 3, Paul gives specific instructions on Overseers (Elders) and Deacons. After which, Paul now take some time to remind Timothy of the purpose of his letter.

1 Timothy 3:14-16 (ESV) | The Mystery of Godliness
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God,a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

And so, again, what we see here is Paul’s central focus on the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the mystery of godliness. And, again, Paul shifts to give Timothy clear warning regarding false doctrines.

1 Timothy 4:1-11 (ESV) | Some Will Depart from the Faith
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. 6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things.

In Chapter 5, Paul gives specific instructions on matter of conduct within the church, how to treat the older men and women with respect, the care for widows and honor for elders. This portion carries over into the beginning of Chapter 6, where Paul addresses those who are under the yoke as bondservants. This is a continuation of what is being taught in Chapter 5, but we’ll pick up here:

1 Timothy 6 (ESV)
6 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

False Teachers and True Contentment
Teach and urge these things.3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession*, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.

It is clear that Paul’s charge to fight the good fight is to preach the Gospel, unstained and free from reproach, until the day of Christ’s return. So, is winning lawsuits or exposing the hypocrisy of the unbelievers “fighting the good fight”? Is championing affirmative action, or second amendment rights what Paul would consider “the good fight”? Is being accepted into a pagan society or having your Religious Preference honored by unbelievers “fighting the good fight”? While some of these things can be argued as “good”, these are not what Paul charged Timothy with in fighting the good fight. Preaching the Gospel to sinners, rebuking false teachers, and building up the Church, the Body of Christ, in sound doctrine, Resisting the doctrines of demons, myths, and false “knowledge” of this world… this is the good fight.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

April 7, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns which currently sits at #16 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

Today’s song is not a song of worship; rather, it is a plea for forgiveness sung from a husband to his wife. It doesn’t come to a resolution, and it isn’t a specific “please forgive me”; rather, it’s more of a “can we both just accept that we are broken and in need of forgiveness?” I think this is a good song to include on the Album, just not sure it is complete enough to get significant airplay. Today’s post will be less focused on this song, and more focused on the Marriage Relationship as described in God’s Word.

VEVO Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Broken Together by Casting Crowns

What do you think about when you look at me
I know we’re not the fairytale you dreamed we’d be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night

It’s going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together

How it must have been so lonely by my side
We were building kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind
I’m praying God will help our broken hearts align
And we won’t give up the fight

Publishing: © 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) / G650 Music (BMI). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Writer(s): Mark Hall, Bernie Herms

Discussion

The first verse seems to be an apology for not living up to a hyper-romanticized view of what a marriage is “supposed to be”. Our culture suffers greatly from this problem of hyper-romantic view of intimate relationships, though it has largely abandoned all standards for sex and marriage. While the Church at large predominantly holds onto Biblical Marriage (many are slipping), many within the church maintain a hyper-spiritualized, hyper-romanticized notion of marriage that simply isn’t Biblical. We’ve taken the worldly notions of “soul mates” and “destiny” and “prince charming” and baptized them in churchisms. Rather than keeping the covenant of Marriage as a foreshadow of Christ’s relationship with the Church, we’ve created “sanctified fantasies” of marriage being God’s perfect gift created for our personal fulfillment and contentment.

The song has a misstatement that I’d like to address first to get it out of the way. Marriage isn’t eternal, or “forever” in the Western sense. Sure, the Hebraic understanding of time allows for “everlasting” to be limited by covenant or “an age” or truly ‘eternal’, but in our cultural context when we hear “forever” we are thinking of “infinity”. Jesus clearly taught that in the resurrection there will be no marriage or being given in marriage (Matthew 22:29-31 ESV). Marriage in this life is a foreshadowing of the eternal relationship between Christ and His Church in the Resurrection. With that established, let us focus in on the 2 references to God in this song between a husband and a wife.

Only God Can Change Our Minds

Before we jump into scripture, I’d like to make one thing clear: a good marriage isn’t a thing that God hands you as an answer to your prayers. Marriage is a covenant relationship between 2 sinners before God. Nowhere has God promised to change your spouse so that your marriage will be better for you. Both the Husband and the Wife need to be submitted to God by Grace through Faith for His Glory and Honor. When the Apostle Paul teaches on marriage and households there are always instructions for both and they are both to be submitted to God. I think the best example can be found in his letters to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:22-33 (ESV) | Wives and Husbands

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Egalitarians miss the point of this passage entirely. Now then, let us look at how to best approach the line “Only God can change our minds”. This isn’t something that we can find in any of the marriage texts, so we need to approach this concept within the context of being part of the Body of Christ. I think the best place to look is Romans 12, but let us begin in Romans 11:25.

Romans 11:25-36 (ESV)

25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
    he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience,31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
    or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
    that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 12  (ESV)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Such a wonderful passage. Now, the context here isn’t specific to marriage. In fact, it’s far more hostile an environment. Paul is addressing Christians who are maligned and persecuted by the Jews. But these principles apply directly to Christians dealing with spouses, even in contentious or broken marriages. In many ways marriage is the proving grounds for understanding life in the Church. There is a reason and a purpose for Paul’s inclusion of a man’s marriage and conduct in his family life in the list of qualities of an Elder or Deacon in the Church. You cannot faithfully pastor a congregation if you’ve neglected your spouse or your family. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. For those of you in that covenant relationship, that is your first ministry in Christ. Please note that I’m not saying you have to be a perfect husband before you can be a leader in the Church. In all things bear the fruit of repentance, for we are all sinners. But failure to lead, pastor, shepherd your family is a disqualifies you for Church leadership… step down, focus on your family, and allow God to restore your marriage, your family, and then your position within His church for His Glory.

I’m praying God will help our broken hearts align

This is such an important prayer for married couples. The two shall become one flesh. This is where God designed sex to unify a man and a woman. Within a marriage where each spouse seeks to outdo each other in showing honor, the complementary design of man and woman are such that they compel each other to become one, to align. Sin in our hearts and flesh lead to death of our mortal bodies as well as our relationships. As sinners, we are to continually die to ourselves and present ourselves to God as living sacrifices. We are also defer to our spouses and resist the temptation to seek our own passions and desires directly. It’s the opposite of quid-pro-quo, we don’t demand service on credit; rather, we seek to meet the needs of our spouse before our own, knowing that in so doing we will be made whole and one flesh.  The Apostle Peter also had some encouragement in these matters.

1 Peter 3:1-9 (ESV) | Wives and Husbands

1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Verses 8 and 9 are a return to the body of Christ as a whole, but are worth including here as they still apply to husbands and wives. The whole of the New Testament is focused on the redeemed growing in the knowledge and fullness of Christ. Therefore, the only way that we can ask God to align us with our spouses is by submitting to Him and allowing the Spirit of God to keep us and grow us in Christ Jesus.

Law

The problem with the song is that it remains sort of stuck in the Law. The singer is caught up in the “we’ve done it wrong” moment. We’ve looked at a lot of what the Scripture has to say regarding the covenant of Marriage, and that covenant is indeed Law. But do not walk away from this topic thinking that observance of the Law (even of marriage) will grant you the Love and restoration in your marriage you so desire. Love and restoration flow from Christ Jesus and can then be expressed outwardly in love.

1 John 4:7-19 (ESV) | God Is Love

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

March 31, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe which currently sits at #16 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

Today’s song is beautifully sung, and wonderfully (and simply) composed. Overall, it is reminiscent of the writing style of the Psalms, the singer is both calling out to God and confessing that He is the singer’s Salvation. I would have liked to have seen the song progress into more of a corporate understanding of God being our salvation and I really wish the industry as a whole would drop the whole “walking through deep waters” bit (more on that later). All in all, I think this song is fairly helpful for the individual Christian, though it does not preach Law and Gospel so it does not benefit the unbeliever.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

I Am Not Alone by Kari Jobe

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You’re my strength
You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

Publishing: © 2014 Worship Together Music / KAJE Songs (BMI) (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Small City Music (APRA) (admin. by Music Services) / Sony/ATV Tree Music Publishing / Upside Down Under (ASCAP) / Ben Davis Publishing / Watershed Music Publishing (BMI) (Admin. By Watershed Music Co.)
Writer(s): Kari Jobe, Marty Sampson, Mia Fieldes, Ben Davis, Grant Pittman, Dustin Sauder, and Austin Davis

Discussion

The first verse paints a picture of persecution, reminiscent of several of the Psalms that call out for help from the Lord God. For the life of me, I don’t know why the industry is fixated on this “walk through deep waters” bit save for following Hillsong’s lead. Perhaps it is just a bit clunky of an attempt to invoke the sense of drowning in one’s circumstance, but we aren’t led to walk into deep water, so why is the singer walking into deep water? We are led through valleys of shadow, which is a good place to round out the first verse. The middle portion reminds me of Nebuchadnezzar’s Furnace. Again, they were thrown into the fire for having stood on the Word of God in opposition to a false god, and idol. Let us look at that story in Daniel 3 first, and then we’ll look at a couple of Psalms to maybe better frame the imagery of this first verse.

Daniel 3:14-28 (ESV) | The Fiery Furnace

14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. Andwho is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so,our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took upShadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

I copied the whole portion, because the point of this entire narrative isn’t simply that “we can stand in the fire and God will be with us”; rather, that no matter what happens, all is done by God for the Glory of God (Soli Deo Gloria).

Now, let us look to the first portion of Psalm 69 for a framework to deal with the whole deep waters bit.

Psalm 69:1-18 (ESV) | Save Me, O God

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David.
1 Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in deep mire,
    where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
    and the flood sweeps over me.
3 I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
4 More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
5 O God, you know my folly;
    the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
7 For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
    that dishonor has covered my face.
8 I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.
9 For zeal for your house has consumed me,
    and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10 When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
11 When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
    At an acceptable time, O God,
    in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
14 Deliver me
    from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
    and from the deep waters.
15 Let not the flood sweep over me,
    or the deep swallow me up,
    or the pit close its mouth over me.
16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
    according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!

It’s quite the wonderful Psalm, I do encourage you to read the full Psalm, we’ve only read half of it. Finally, for the closing out of the first verse, we have an allusion to the 23rd Psalm.

Psalm 23 (ESV) | The Lord Is My Shepherd

A Psalm of David.
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

The Chorus is simple and straightforward. I am not alone, for God will go before me and will never leave me. The second verse keeps within the framework established in the first. I was really excited to see the lines at the close of the second verse, “Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear“. Amen, what a wonderful confession. The Lord fights our every battle, and It is Finished. There is a wonderful shift in the focus of the song toward the end… a shift from the singer to the Lord.

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You’re my strength
You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

If there were anything else I’d want from the song, is that should this song be incorporated into Sunday Morning worship, as a special or what have you, there should be a switch from the Individual to the Corporate. We are not alone, for there are many members of the Body of Christ.

Romans 12:3-5 (ESV)3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge