August 19, 2003
I was talking with my friend Tim Daniel after the recent music festival here in our area. Tim came up from North Carolina and shared a lot of really great music. He has worked very hard over the years at developing his musical skills, and as a songwriter, he is a craftsman. We have known each other for almost six years and have visited each other several times, always sharing music. Tim has exhorted me over the years that I have known him to go deeper and deeper into the word of God. Tim says that in order to be the musicians God has created us to be, we need to have a genuine love for the bible, and we need to be firmly immersed in reading and studying it.
I have to admit that it is easy for me to get distracted from a daily pursuit of truth in the word of God. What has been most beneficial to me is the biblical content of the songs that God has given me, and also of most of the music that I choose to listen to. When I sing a song like 'My Daddy Loves Me' or 'Good Choices, Bad Choices' I am keenly aware of God's presence and that I am singing His message. For many nowadays, bible study has become a great intellectual pursuit, and many preachers like to teach out of the bible, explaining the Hebrew and Greek words to give deeper insight into the passage they are expounding. Words like "exegesis" and "hermeneutics" pop up here and there, and the church building becomes like a class room. Worshipping God and loving one another get put off for another day.
And here am I, little David, who got kicked out of school in the third grade because I don't like to sit passively and absorb some one else's thoughts. I have said before, I don't want to use this newsletter to teach you the bible. Conversely, I don't want you to teach me the bible. It's not that I'm not teachable (more about that lie, later). It's just that God is doing such a good job of teaching me what His word means all by Himself. (I can hear those rumblings about red flags already-- take a chill pill, please).
I have difficulty with the concept that 5% of the Body of Christ are called to minister to the other 95%, week in and week out. This makes 95% of the Body of Christ basically disabled. Imagine an eighty man football squad where only four players ever handled the ball. It would be pretty easy to defense that team!
I have listened to so many believers share what a scripture means who simply parrot what the conventional wisdom is. And the conventional wisdom varies according to the founders of any particular denomination. I don't even want to give examples, since the Body of Christ is already divided along at least sixteen different doctrinal debates.
All of that said, I want to share how God's word is working mightily in me (remind you of a song?). I like to take a passage of scripture and read it over and over and over again. Back in '97, I read the "Sermon on the Mount" (which is a totally man-made title, by the way) every day for three months. It's 111 verses, and takes about 15 minutes to read it straight through. I read, pausing and meditating and stopping at 'Selahs' that the Holy Ghost hits me with. Typically, I would read the whole thing, and then re-read one or two passages, inquiring as I do to get the understanding.
I have read I John every day for a month on several occasions. I've written ten or more songs based on that epistle. I read from the book of Proverbs a lot. I've employed the day of the month technique. You know what I'm referring to. Read chapter 19 today, and chapter 20 tomorrow.
I've meditated daily on Psalm 1, verses 1-3 for nearly seven years. It is a recipe for success in life. It says I'm like a tree, planted by the living streams. I'm fruitful, my leaf shall not wither (health and well-being), and whatever I do prospers (and I believe it!).
The first two verses tell me what not to do (three don'ts) and what to do (two do's). I won't elaborate. It's all very simple and basic.
I take the word of God and I sow it into my heart, and it produces life.
I take the word of God and I sow it into my heart, and it produces life, the life of Christ.
I take the word of God and I sow it into my heart, and it produces the life of Christ in me.
Once more with feeling. I TAKE THE WORD OF GOD AND I SOW IT DEEP INTO MY HEART, AND IT ALWAYS PRODUCES THE LIFE OF CHRIST IN ME!!!!!!!!
Have you read the "Parable of the Sower"? It's chapter 13 of Matthew, verses 3-9, and the interpretation is verses 18-23. It's also in the fourth chapter of Mark. I'm not going to explain it to you, because Jesus did such a good job already. All you have to do is read it, delight yourself in it, and meditate on it.
We know that the parable concerns receiving God's word into our heart, and describes three kinds of soil. Only one kind yielded an abundant harvest. Somehow, satan was able to thwart God's purposes in everyone else.
Now, lets look at the basic principles of sowing seed and see how satan applies them to steal from you. That's who I am referring to as "Mister Sow and Sow". He's very intelligent, and he uses his evil genius to steal from as many of God's children as he can. None of us are immune entirely, but we do have the truth that exposes him and the light that he can't overcome.
Mister Sow and Sow sows a lie into your life. "Your singing voice isn't very good." You heard this lie at an early age and you heard it from several different people. It went deep into your heart. You believed it. Now you think you're not a very good singer. You may say things like, "I wish I could sing like..." Mister Sow and Sow found good soil to plant his lie. Good soil means you understand it and you believe it. It produces a hundred fold return. Not only do you wish you could sing like ______, you wish you looked like ______, and you wished you could play keyboard like _______, and you wished your marriage was like _______, and you wish your children listened to you like ________. Given time, this little seed is producing a mustard tree of discontentment in your life. And birds are sitting on every branch of the mustard tree, mocking you continually.
God loves us more than we could ever comprehend. There have been many good, fabulous, terrific, and great things happening in the church. The better it is, the more it gets attacked. My wife and I after fifteen years of feeling like we were failures discovered that God didn't agree with satan's assessment (Is that a surprise?). He sowed in the truth that He loves us. We understood it and believed it. Now I wish I could sing like ME!!!! Jo wishes she looked like HER!!!! And guess what she does. And I do!
Now Mister Sow and Sow plants these lies in our hearts, and sometimes before it really begins to destroy our life, the lie gets exposed, or God's love comes in so powerfully we just don't care any more. This is analagous (fanciest word I'll use, today) to Matthew 13:7 and 22. Instead of the cares of the world making God's word unfruitful, the care and concern of the Lord makes satan's lie unfruitful. Hallelujah!!!! This happens sometimes when we go to a conference, or read a good book, or get around other believers that are excited about God. The truth about His love breaks the power of the lies that were holding us back.
Sometimes Old Sow and Sow uses a lie to upset us, but it's for a short time only. Our twenty minute set is cut back to one song, because some one else decided to swallow the microphone, and we're dealing with the lie that the other musician is a glory hog, or worse, yet, that everyone likes him or her better, so we leave offended. We may stew on this a little while or tell ourselves, "I'll never go back there again," but as soon as we pick up our wife and talk to her about it, we're over it. Maybe it only lasts until we sit down at the piano and sing a love song to God. It's like the seed that fell on rocky soil. It sprouted briefly, but had no root.
Now, you could re-read the parable once more, if I'm not making a lot of sense to you right now, but I think most of you are with me, and this in spite of the fact that as I write this, Mister Sow and Sow is trying to tell me that my message is falling flat. (What a liar he is!!)
Some of the seed fell by the wayside and was devoured by the birds. (v. 4) That's the word that wasn't understood, so the evil one snatched it up. It was of no effect whatsoever.
This is not where we want to be with God's word. If we hear it, but we don't understand it, it is of no effect in our life. But.... This is exactly where we want to be when it comes to the lies of satan. He says, "You can't sing." And I say, "Sorry, I can't understand you." He speaks a little louder, "Your voice isn't very good." And I say, "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're trying to say." He shouts, "No one likes your singing. Your voice is lousy." I can't understand what he's saying, because I'm really into singing my song to the Lord. The more I sing about how much God loves me and I love Him, the sicker Mister Sow and Sow feels. The seed fell by the Wayside. Jesus is the Way. He is the Truth that makes the lie of no effect.
The devil roams about as a roaring lion/ Seeking whom he may devour/ the devil roams about as a roaring lion/ Seeking whom he may devour/ But I've got a lion that's bigger than that/ I've got a lion that's stronger/ My lion is the Lion of Judah/ he has defeated the enemy/ My lion is the Lion of Judah/ He has defeated the enemy/ Satan is defeated/ He's de-fanged and de-clawed/ JESUS crushed his head/ We sing praises to the LORD!
Life is like a farm, and God is planting seeds into the garden of your soul. He plants seeds of love. Satan is trying to plant seeds in your heart also, and his seeds are seeds of death. Whenever we talk to someone, we become God's planter or satan's planter. When we criticize someone, we're doing satan's work for him. He's using us.
There is an accuser/ And he wants to rule your life/ He wants to point his finger/ And he wants to criticize/ He wants to use your mouth/ To speak his nasty words/ He calls it "being honest"/ And he says that he's "concerned"/ He wants to stir up strife/ In the Body of CHRIST/ He wants to discourage/ And he wants us filled with pride
Chorus: We plead the blood of JESUS/ And we give thanks to GOD/ The accuser is a loser/ Defeated by the blood
We believe the word of GOD/ And we listen for His voice/ We delight ourselves in Him/ And we are filled with His joy/ We won't yield our bodies/ To be instruments of sin/ We do battle with the devil/ And through JESUS we win/ We are more than conquerors/ His peacemakers we are/ We are freedom fighters/ For the Bright and Morning Star (repeat chorus)
I was at an airport six years ago waiting for my mother. She missed her flight and was due to arrive about three hours later, so I had three hours to write letters and talk with God until she arrived. I asked God, "Is there such a thing as constructive criticism?"
I had heard so much criticism as I was growing up, that I became a very critical person, always finding faults wherever I looked. As a new believer in my early thirties I realized that I tended to be critical and God dealt with me for many years about how critical words from me had hurt my wife and children. Finally in January of 1996 during a time of deep repentance (as opposed to shallow repentance?) I cried out to God to set me free from this evil in my life. I noticed Proverbs 18:21-22:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.
It's two different verses, but a light went on in my head (the "selah" I mentioned earlier) as I saw the two verses weren't together by accident. I realized that I could sow death or life by the words I used. I realized that according to God, my wife was good and I had favor with Him because of her. I realized that any negative words I spoke to her or about her were sowing death into her life and mine, and also were denying the truth of God's word.
This life-changing revelation came during a period of 100 days when Jo was working in New Orleans and I was working in Pittsburgh. Our marriage was radically changed because of the truth God sowed into my heart.
However, criticism can be so subtle, since satan is the one who inspires it. We think we're just being truthful, or just trying to help, which brings us back to the question I asked God at the airport. When I asked Him, "Is there such a thing as constructive criticism?" He answered me, "If building a wall is constructive." I got the message.
I had been ticked off at my mother, for missing her flight and making me wait. In many ways I had been ticked off at my mother in general for over forty years. I had confessed forgiveness for many years, but still felt slighted and disrespected by her, and had many anti-Mom feelings that sprung from the seeds satan had sown in my heart concerning her. That day, I got truly free. I forgave her and turned it all over to God. When her plane arrived and she stepped into the airport lobby, I was overwhelmed by waves of love I had never experienced for her before. It opened up floodgates of grace and mercy in my life that day, and the free flow of God's Spirit has not been impeded since except for brief periods as described before where I'm just one song away or just need the touch of my wife's hand.
So.... We need to sow. Whether it's the song we sing or the words we speak or even how we look at someone, God has given us the power of death and life, and it's all in the power of the tongue.
God wants to sow life, so that each person would experience an abundant life, full of love. He is looking for people who will sow His word into their own heart, and into the hearts of others.
Satan wants to sow death. He uses lies to try to separate us from God and alienate as many people as he can from God's love. He wants to use your mouth to speak his nasty words.
God's ideal for you, is that your mind would become impervious to satan's lies. Whether it's called putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11) or casting down imaginations (II Corinthians 10:5) or walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) or refraining our tongue from evil (I Peter 3:10) or being crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) or being seated together in heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6), we have a tremendous opportunity every minute of every day to sow seeds of life to the glory of our God.
My heart is new because of You/ The things I do I'll do for You/ LORD You forgave/ Make me Your slave/ All I want to do is live for You/ All I want to do is live for You
Release me from my pride/ So You are glorified/ In You my soul must hide/ And my spirit will abide (repeat chorus)
Let Your SPIRIT fill me/ Cultivate and till me/ Let my greatest thrill be/ To know Your perfect will (repeat chorus)
You can listen to this song at www.MyDaddyLovesMe.org
It's song #8 on 'Draw Near to God' which was recorded a few years ago at my dear friend Tim Daniel's studio in Weldon, NC. I thank God for musical friends. May you be blessed with many wonderful friends in Christ, and may God give you new songs, and may your friends be blessed by your songs, and may your friends receive new songs from God that will be a blessing to you.
Share this message as God leads and help us to reach out to all musicians with God's love, truth, and wisdom.
May He wrap His arms of love around you every day, and may your heart be filled with His love. May the garden of your soul reflect His beauty. May the words you speak and the meditations of your heart be pleasing to Him this day.
I TAKE THE WORD OF GOD AND I SOW IT DEEP INTO MY HEART, AND IT ALWAYS PRODUCES THE LIFE OF CHRIST IN ME!!!!!!!!
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