April 16, 2015

Don't give your loyalty too quickly

I think too often we give ourselves (our minds, consciences, wills) to some cause, conviction, or belief too freely, and without much consideration.  I look back on some of my deeply held convictions (at the time) with shame at my ignorance, and easily led heart.  As the years have passed, putting some perspective between me and the long-ago held beliefs, I now understand the proverb which reads: "guard your heart above all else, for out of it flows the well-spring of life." 

And even though I am neither very old, or very wise, I do hope that I have learned not to attach myself to any cause or belief, too quickly and without any though, or prayer.  

I am thankful that God gives us His word, which helps me to discern between things I might like to do, and things I need to do.  Discernment is a honed skill, and using the Word as our guide helps us become sharp.  

For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
             Hebrews 4:12-13  

April 5, 2015

My Debt is Paid in Full!!

"After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.  So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."

John 19:28-30 

"Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.  And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.  For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.  Then the disciples went away again to their own homes."
John 20:1-10

"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."
John 20:30-31 

April 4, 2015

Hallelujah!! Forever He is Glorified!

"And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

Revelation 1:17-18 

 "And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne."

Revelation 5:6-7 

April 3, 2015

Christ is Risen!

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

1 Corinthians 15:53-58 

April 2, 2015

Handel's Messiah - Christ's Passion portrayed through Music

For several years, I have been a great lover of Handel's Messiah a classical oratorio, based on scriptures concerning Christ's passion.  I have several CD's of the Messiah, and a couple of books about this magnificent work of musical genius.

Interestingly, it wasn't until 2007, when my brother Joel gave me Messiah: The Workbook for the Oratorio, that I found out that the Messiah was originally written to be sung and performed during Holy Week.  "Handel says he will do nothing next Winter, but I hope I shall perswade [sic] him to set another Scripture Collection I have made for him, & perform it for his own benefit in Passion week. I hope he will lay out his whole Genius & Skill upon it, that the Composition may excell [sic] all his former Compositions, as the Subject excells [sic] every other Subject.  The Subject is Messiah...."

"In Messiah he [Handel] reused a number of his own secular compositions, especially a recently written set of Italian secular vocal duets.  From this source comes most of the music of "And He shall purify," "His Yoke is easy," "All we, like Sheep," and other choral numbers." 

The reason for this has to do with the haste in which Messiah was written:

"The dates on the original manuscript that conclude each part show that, beginning on August 22, 1741, it took seven, nine, and six days for the three parts, respectively, with a further two days for filing out the instrumentation; it was finished by September 14." 

It premiered in the "Musick-Hall in Fishamble Street (Dublin) on April 13...." 

"In number of performers, Handel's demands in Messiah were more modest than most twentieth-century performances would lead the listener to suppose.  He called for an orchestra of strings and continuo (usually harpsichord and organ), with oboes and bassoons doubling the strings and very occasional use of trumpets and drums.  The surviving accounts from the 1754 show that a typical orchestral disposition would have consisted of the following instruments: eight first violins, six second violins, five violas, three cellos, two double basses, four oboes, four bassoons, two trumpets, timpani, and keyboard continuo (harpsichord and organ).  The number of soloists might be the typical four but could also be expanded with a second soprano, a boy treble, and a choice of male and female altos.  For chorus Handel always used male voices - treble voices on the top line, countertenors for the alto - and assumed that the soloists would also sing in the choral numbers." 

"Time has proved Messiah to be immortal...." 

And I would definitely agree with that sentiment.  It is a cherished piece, not only for the musical aspects, which are stunning in variation, but more so for the depth and preciousness of the message conveyed.  It is literally Scripture put to music, and that is powerful.

Now I will list what Scriptures are used in the Messiah.  It is an abundance of texts quoted.

Isaiah 40:1-3, 4, 5; Haggai 2:6-7; Malachi 3:1, 2, 3; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 60:1, 2-3; Isaiah 9:2, 6; Luke 2: 8, 9, 10-11, 13, 14; Zechariah 9:9-10; Isaiah 35: 5-6; Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 11:28, 29, 30; John 1:29; Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 50:6; Isaiah 53:4-6; Psalm 22:7, 8; Psalm 69:20
Lamentations 1:12; Isaiah 53:8; Psalm 16:10; Psalm 24:7-10; Hebrews 1:5, 6; Psalm 68:18, 11; Romans 10:15, 18; Psalm 2:1-2, 3; Psalm 2:4, 9; Revelation 19:6; 11:15; 19:16; Job 19:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 21-22; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 53, 54, 55-56, 57; Romans 8:31, 33-34; Revelation 5:9, 12-14  

Source: Messiah The Workbook for the Oratorio George Frederic Handel - Charles Jennens (Introduction by Christopher Hogwood)