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Friend, if there is no music in your soul, get down on your knees and let the Spirit of God touch your heart.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Acts 16:25
"If you were arrested for your faith and thrown into prison," I sometimes ask young people, "what would you sing that would give you comfort and encouragement?" Their answers are pretty much a reflection of our culture and where we stand spiritually. Some think for a moment and immediately recount songs of worship and music which they have memorized—good stuff, too; not necessarily the same things I would sing, but, nonetheless, music with a message.

Some, however, think for a minute and respond, "I don't know anything like that!" What comes out in the dark night of difficulty depends on what was fed into your soul during the day when the sun was shining. The issue isn't an age one, or even a cultural one. It's a spiritual issue. The focus of your life becomes the focus of your music, and the words reveal what you really are.

Yes, I understand that nothing has been more controversial in the church in the past half-century than music.

I've known adults to actually get up and walk out of a service when contemporary worship choruses are sung, and I've also known teenagers who were introduced to some of the great music of the past 200 years who gave it a new beat and let it feed their souls.

I do take heart in the reality that the book of Revelation talks about: a "new song" which we will sing in heaven—hopefully, one that we all like. But this I know, music is the language of the soul, and it is a bridge in worship that helps us leave behind the dust and dirt of the world that stains and defiles and helps us focus on the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Music is also a link to the past, one which should never be neglected. Wise is the mother who teaches her children some of the great hymns of the faith which have been sung by Christians all over the world for more than a few generations. How to surpass Luther's "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," or the nineteenth-century hymn written by Lidie Edmunds which goes, "My faith has found a resting place, not in device nor creed/ I trust the ever living One; His wounds for me shall plead. I need no other argument, I need no other plea/ It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me."

In recent days a growing number of musicians are discovering some of those oldies and have found that they are good stuff. With the popularity of Irish music, Mary Byrne's "Be Thou My Vision" has been rediscovered. The haunting melody adds meaning to the words, a translation of which goes, "Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart/ Naught be all else to me, save that thou art. Thou my best thought, by day or by night/ Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light."

Some of us think that only hymns such as "Rock of Ages," "The Old Rugged Cross," "Amazing Grace," "How Great Thou Art" and a few others will be sung in heaven, and I sometimes suspect that myself. But I also know that when our hearts and voices are joined in praise and worship around the throne of the Almighty, there will be music such as was never heard on planet Earth.

Friend, if there is no music in your soul, get down on your knees and let the Spirit of God touch your heart. Then let the song of rejoicing flow out of your heart. Don't worry about the sound or the excellence. Focus on the message and I can assure you that you will be blessed and enriched as the result of it.

Resource reading: Acts 16

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Author Biography

Harold J. Sala
Web site: Guidelines International Ministries
Speaker, author and Bible teacher, Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963 and has served at its helm since its inception. Pioneering the five-minute commentary in Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” is broadcast in 49 of the 50 states and is heard the world over in a variety of languages. Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 55 books published in 19 languages. He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children and eight well-loved grandchildren.

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