All posts filed under: Arts

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Temple Incense Spices

Incense and Intercession [by Helene Rudolph] Alongside the fragrant precious anointing oil was the Temple Incense.  Incense is associated with intercession in scripture. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; thee shall be an equal part of each.  And with it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure (and) holy.  And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I shall meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.  And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the LORD”. Whoever shall make (any) like it, to use as perfume, shall be cut off from his people”. (Exodus 30:34-38) Pleasant Smells Revive the Soul The priesthood of old burned incense daily as a fragrant offering unto the LORD.  The Jewish Talmud records that women, as far …

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Skillful Musicians or Musicians of Snobbery?

While there has been much discussion that  musicians must excel to be part of a worship team, one wonders if Christian leaders often revert to snobbery rather than skilfulness when selecting musical players. Biblical Pattern In the first book of Chronicles we are shown the selection pattern used in David’s tabernacle to determine those who were to have a ministry in music. “And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.  And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then waited on their office according to their order.” (I Chronicles 6:31-32) The musicians selected were Levites, those separated to the work of the LORD. “And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethern to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.” (I Chronicles 15:16) …

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The Lost Art of Story Telling

For thousands of years, the Elders of a people have verbally passed true life stories down to their children.  This was a major way for history to be recorded before the time when individuals began to record events on writing materials. Today, with the invention of the printing press and the explosion of digital technology, communication is transferred, more often through electronic means than from the voice of a loving father. This makes one question, ‘Who’s voice are your children hearing?” Story Telling is an Elder’s Duty The Israelites understood it was their responsibility to pass true stories from one generation to another.  In fact, they recognized it was the way the Lord God would make His ways and acts known to the nations. Even within the Song of Moses, this reality was communicated to the congregation. “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations.  Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:” (Deuteronomy 32:7). Not only was the Song of Moses sung to the …

The Cassia plant source of one of the ingredients of the Holy anointing oil. Source: sylvan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Holy Anointing Oil

[by Helene Rudolph] Exodus 30:23-33 sets forth the instructions given by God to Moses concerning the making of the Holy Anointing Oil, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Vessels were set apart unto God for sacred purposes, by anointing them with oil. With the mixture mentioned in this passage, Priests, Prophets and Kings were also consecrated for service to God, during the Old Covenant days.  (See I Sam. 10: 1- 6). “Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.” (I Sam. 16:13) The Recipe There were four fragrant ingredients added to the extra virgin olive oil namely myrrh, cinnamon, sweet cane (calamus) and cassia, to compound this oil.  Each of these fragrances carries a unique symbolic. Put together this oil carries a powerful message in and of itself.  The Holy anointing oil’s message speaks of sacrificial living, about walking righteously and upright according to God’s righteous standards and about judgments in humility. A Warning “And you …

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Craftsmen in Captivity

Coveting Works for Gain History records that craftsmen, artists and musicians have been consistently targeted by their enemies.  They are often taken into captivity since those who carry a Babylonian spirit desire to make merchandise of their creative gifts. Multiple stories of coveting works for gain are documented repeatedly throughout the Bible. “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!” (Habakkuk 2:9) They Only Want to Worship Moses was called to bring deliverance to his people the Israelites, who were slaves to Pharaoh (Exodus 5).  Pharaoh became furious when he discovered the Israelites wanted to go into the desert and sacrifice to the most High God.  Ever consider that it was a Jewish workforce who helped build the Egyptian Pyramids? Today that Egyptian spirit still runs rampant. Have you wondered why anointed musicians and artists who only want to exalt the most high God are targeted in our modern age?  It all has to do …

Jacob's sons show their father Joseph's cloak telling their father Joseph was killed by a wild animal Credit: Wikipedia Painting by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

Coat of Many Colors

We live in a world that often obsesses about the latest fashion trend.  Models and actors display top designers’ latest creations in magazines, fashion shows, movies, television and other multi-media venues. A culture of image-making has emerged causing a mass identity crisis for youth and adults alike. How tragic it is when an individual is shunned because of the clothes they are wearing, yet this happens multiple times a day.

While most of our garments are bought on a rack at a local shop, the mass production of clothing is a more recent phenomena.  At one time, all clothing was made by hand and tailored to fit an individual’s frame. Sewing and designing clothes was a skill passed down from generation to generation. Mothers were concerned that their children wore garments suited to their local climate and lovingly designed clothes which fit the environment. Proverbs 31 gives a detailed description of a virtuous woman who is known by her many good deeds and creative works.  This includes making garments for her household and her community. Her …

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It All Begins with a Story

The Bible is a collection of 66 Books containing hundreds of stories.  It starts with, “In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1), and ends with John’s vision of Jesus declaring, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). These biblical stories record the history of mankind from Adam to Abraham and the birth of the nation of Israel.  It gives a chronicle of Israel from generation to generation.  It tells us of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, unto the early years of the church age. The Bible contains prophesies, some fulfilled within the context of the entire Bible, some fulfilled the past 2,000 years since the New testament writings.  Still others of these Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled today and some will be fulfilled in the future. More copies of the Bible has been sold or freely distributed than any other book in the world.  It is recognized world-wise as the greatest Book ever written.  It …

Blind leading the blind by Francesco Pieter Brueghel the elder (1525-1569) Credit: Choo Yut Shing/Flickr/Creative Commons

Insight into Riddles

Webster’s Dictionary defines riddle as,  “Something proposed to be solved by guessing or conjecture; a puzzling question; an ambiguous proposition; an enigma; hence, anything ambiguous or puzzling.”

Encyclopedia Britannica describes a riddle as a, “deliberately enigmatic or ambiguous question requiring a thoughtful and often witty answer. The riddle is a form of guessing game that has been a part of the folklore of most cultures from ancient times. Western scholars generally recognize two main kinds of riddle: the descriptive riddle and the shrewd or witty question.”

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary calls a riddle, “a mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed.” Hebrew Definition The Hebrew word ‘hdyx’ (chiyah) is the original word translated to ‘riddle’ in the Old Testament.  ‘Hdyx’ is also translated in some scriptures as, ‘dark sayings’ and ‘difficult questions’. The Hebrew word ‘hdyx’ is  translated into English as, “riddle, difficult question, parable, enigmatic saying or question, perplexing saying or question”. Form of Entertainment In today’s society it is common for family members to watch television and play video …

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Come-back Singers

Michael Jackson was just 50 years old when he died June 25, 2009. While no one will deny the man’s God-given talent for song and dance which was displayed in his early years, there are many questions surrounding his bizarre behavior in the second half of his life. The day of Michael Jackson’s death, I attended a weekly worship and prayer meeting where one spirit-filled Believer stated that she had been thinking about all the ‘old’ singers who have started touring again. Since many things in life begin with the natural (I Cor. 15:46) and then the spiritual, she wondered what implications this resurfacing of old musicians might have in the spiritual realm. Michael Jackson, as so many legendary acts like “The Eagles” and “The Rolling Stones,” wanted to make a come-back into the entertainment world. But as a believer that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the only one to be worshiped, I have to wonder if any person who claims himself to be the King of the music world will be …

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God Sings Over Us

The Greatest Singer/Songwriter “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Like many of his prophetic counterparts, Zephaniah uncovered the great truth that our great LORD is a God who rejoices over His people. Not only is this a God who sings over His people but He is also a songwriter. Isaiah, the prophet who’s writings are literary wonders also recognized that our beloved Bridegroom has a song which He makes known to His bride. “Now will I sing to my beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard”(Isaiah 5:1a). “…and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee” (Isaiah 62:5b) In Psalm 42:8b, the Psalmist tells us, “…and in the night his song shall be with me…” Scripture based Songs In my early years as a Christian, most churches sang scripture songs which I discovered was an easy way …

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Sound – The prerequisite to Music

While music is a huge industry, very few singers and musicians take the time to learn about sound, the prerequisite to music.  While the term “sounds of heaven” is often quoted in Churches, most Christians are clueless as to the true meaning of that phrase. If music ministers don’t understand God’s purpose for sound, they will not be adequately prepared for the battle. As the Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the church at Corinth, when discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit: “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”(I Cor. 14:7-8) Sound and Light Vibrations In the beginning God spoke (sound) and said, “Let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). This sound and light was the release of the Creator’s Glory since it was another three days before He created the sun …

Eurasian Wren singing (you can hear their song at the end of the article) Credit: Pieter van Marion/Flickr/Creative Commons

Birds teach us about songs

Birds Sing at Certain Times It is recognized that there is a time for the singing of birds and their songs communicate different messages.  King Solomon recognized this truth and even sang about it. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come…” (Song of Solomon 2:12). It appears that the Psalmist realized the power in song when he wrote; “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 104:33) Singing at Dawn The best time to hear bird songs is at dawn when birds all over the world demonstrate their greatest amount of singing activity.  With little wind and less disturbances, sound travels the best in the early morning.  Songs which are broadcast at dawn can be twenty times as effective as those broadcast at midday. However, with so many variety of birds competing for the same audience, they have a remarkable knack of sharing the stage. Mankind also is encouraged to worship …

Queen Esther's feast where she exposes Haman by Johannes Spilberg the Younger (1619-1690) Credit: Rauantiques/Wikipedia

Artists and craftsmen point the way

Since the early stages of mankind, artists of the day have used imagery in their drawings to relate and preserve stories of their era.  In countries where Cave Drawings have been discovered they have served as confirmation to other historical documentation. Drawings of floods, famines, as well as animals fleeing from fires are just some of the images explorers have uncovered over the centuries. Since mankind has long recognized that artistic talents could draw images to record actual events, it is not surprising that Art would be created to depict the Heavenly Creator.  Dedicated hands can take stones and create works that glorify God. In Biblical times, the people of Israel were highly advanced in Literature, Music and Science, but were surpassed by other nations in the area of Arts.  This is likely due to God’s commandment not to “make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it;” (Leviticus 26:1). …

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Dance of the Two Armies

A Dance Company After years of sojourning in a strange land and acquiring a large family with many goods, the Jewish patriarch Jacob set out for his homeland. Scriptures tell us that when he was on the way, he encountered the Hosts of Heaven. “So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp. And he called the name of that place Mahanaim” (Genesis 32:1-2) The english word Mahanaim is taken from the Hebrew word ‘Machanayim’ which means ‘double camp’(#4266 – Strong’s Concordance) and refers to #4264 – Machaneh (Makh-aneh) which is translated: “An encampment (of travellers of troops, hence an army, whether lit. (of soldiers) or figurative (of dancers, angels, cattle, locusts, stars or even sacred courts) army; band, battle, camp, company, hosts, tent.” It has been suggested that this double camp of the angels of God were as a ‘dance company’. Antichoric Dance Alfred Sendrey in his book, “Music in Ancient Israel” interprets Genesis 32:1-3 as, “What Jacob saw in …

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Intercessors: Engaging the enemy

I consider myself an intercessor and it has taken the full length and breadth of 30 years to understand what intercession is and who I am in this gifting and calling. Intercessors, in their various roles, stand in the gap for people in prayer and worship to enhance God’s presence, draw people in and bring them into a more intimate experience and connection with God. Not everyone is called to intercede in this way.  There are many roles that intercessors play and one person does not do it all. I am a dancer and along with other women, I dance in church during worship with ribbons, scarves and flags. As intercessors we need to be sensitive to shifts in the spiritual realm.  We often find ourselves pressing into these shifts to enhance the worship and/or step into warfare to exercise authority over the enemy and his strongholds. There are moments in worship on Sunday mornings when I grab a flag and begin to intercede with the flag during the height of worship. At other times, …

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Does God Dance?

A Bible verse recently caught my attention: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in his love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NASV) The Hebrew word, ‘rejoice,’  means to “spin around under violent emotion.” The phrase “rejoice over you” literally means to “dance, skip, leap, and spin in joy.” So, the latter part of this verse is more accurately translated, “He will dance over you with singing.” I love the visualization that comes to my mind when I read this.  God is portrayed as a mighty warrior, singing and dancing over me with shouts of joy. It describes how a warrior must have felt in the Old Testament after winning a hard-fought battle and realizing the victory was his. I can envision power, authority and strength exuding from him as he steps into a victory dance. I imagine whooping, hollering, leaping, dancing and victory shouts. We see it today, as well. It’s not much …

A church worship service. Photo: Joachim S. Muller/Flickr/Creative Commons

Did God create you to dance?

Should we be dancing in church? Well, if a 2006 study is correct, it appears when God created humans, He hard-wired each of us to dance — more on that in a moment. I still remember a service at a church I was attending in the 70s. The Jesus people movement was in full swing and the congregation was made up of people 30 years and younger. Back then everybody had long hair, including the girls. One particular Sunday evening service we kicked back the chairs and began dancing before the Lord. We broke up into groups, joined hands and whirled around in circles dancing and singing. The thing that struck me the most was the utter joy and excitement on people’s faces as they danced and worshiped the Lord. I was attending seminary at the time, in a denomination that frowned on this type of activity. But they faithfully preached the Bible and people were saved through this ministry. I had a professor by the name of Dr. Dahns. He was a former United Church Minister …

Jennifer Garner at the opening of The Invention of Lying at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009. Photo: Reza Vaziri/Flickr/Creative Commons

Was actress Jennifer Garner impacted by a miracle?

Actress Jennifer Garner, 43, recently announced that she and her three children are starting to attend church as a direct result of Garner’s starring role in the Christian movie Miracles from Heaven. Garner said they have rarely missed a Sunday since. Jennifer who  separated from her husband Ben Affleck comes from a Christian background and growing up lived for a few years in Calgary, Alberta. Garner made her big break playing a CIA officer in the ABC spy-thriller Alias where she won a Golden Globe and received three Emmy nominations for her performance. She has also shown up on the big screen acting in movies such a Daredevil, Juno, Dallas Buyers Club and recently Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day. Miracles made from Heaven, produced by Affirm Film that lists popular pastor T.D. Jakes as one of its producers, is scheduled for release March 16, 2016. In the movie, Jennifer plays Christy Beam, the real-life mother of a young girl named Annabelle who was miraculously spared serious injury after falling down …

Selena Gomez in concert. Photo: Ronald Woan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Selena Gomez surprises crowd with a performance at Hillsong concert

I sometimes get a bit gun-shy writing about the faith of celebrities because invariably something hits the media that can taint their testimony. But then I ask how any of us would fare if we were faced with media and others watching, listening, photographing and videoing everything you said and did, day and night. So my tendency, right or wrong, is to give them the benefit of the doubt. If in this growing anti-Christian climate a person is willing to step up and profess their faith in Christ, I say God Bless. Former Disney star Selena Gomez is latest to come out publicly about her faith in Jesus. Selena, 23, is a singer and actress who was the one-time girl friend of Canadian pop star Justin Bieber. She just released an album in October entitled “Revival.” It debuted as #1 on the Billboard 200 and went on to earn a Gold rating. On February 25th, Selena surprised a Los Angeles crowd attending Hillsong Young & Free Revival concert, when she stepped on stage, and joined …

Audrey Assad’s haunting song of martyrdom

You have to read the story behind this song, Even Unto Death, just released by Christian singer Audrey Assad. It is part of her new album, Inheritance, scheduled for release on February 12. She wrote this song after watching the martyrdom of 21 Egyptian Christian men on the shores of the Mediterranean by the Muslim extremist group ISIS. In the video, ISIS led the 21 men, dressed in orange, to the beach where they were beheaded simply because they believed in Jesus. To live, all these Coptic Christians had to do to was renounce their faith in Christ. Audrey wrote: “You must remember that night, months ago, when I saw the video of those 21 precious Egyptian men kneeling on a Mediterranean beach. I stared at the procession … I knew that I was looking into the sickening, quaking black hole that is death. The captives prayed, their lips moving silently, their eyes closed or raised to the heavens. What were they whispering, in those last, fast-fading moments of their lives? Were they afraid? What …

VIDEO: Heavenly Joy’s response to Howard Stern was so cute

I was watching America’s Got Talent and this cute five-year old girl named Heavenly Joy came out. Her talent was singing. She was incredible and actually reminded you of child-star Shirley Temple (1928 – 2014) whose Hollywood film and singing career started in 1932 at the age of five. Heavenly Joy received a standing ovation for her expressive performance of “In Summer” from the movie Frozen. The judges unanimously voted her through to the next round. One of the judges, Howard Stern, turned to Heavenly Joy and said, “I think Shirley Temple is living somewhere inside of you, is that possible?” Heavenly Joy replies emphatically, “Not Shirley Temple, Jesus.” “There you go, now you are talking,” Stern replies.  

The 100 year voice

[by Earl Blacklock] Marian Anderson was a black singer in the U.S. whose singing ability was considered exceptional. Famed conductor Arturo Toscanini once told her she had a voice “heard once in a hundred years.” In 1925, she began singing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and was an immediate success. She followed that up with an appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1928, and a tour of Europe in the 1930s. She sang at the White House for the President and the King and Queen of England. A black singer in the U.S. during the 1930s faced enormous obstacles. In 1939, she was barred by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) from playing at Constitution Hall. There was a public outcry against the decision, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the President. She, along with thousands of other DAR members, cancelled her membership in the organization in protest. She went further, helping to persuade Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes to permit Marian to sing in an open air concert on the steps …