Published March 28, 2017

Paul's Epistle
"What's the Music Saying?"

Every now and then – and it's been a long time since I did it in this column – I like to audit the messages in the songs that have been popular enough to reach the top 20 for a given month. Southern Gospel music, after all, is "message music." So, since we had the Top 20 for April on the air last weekend, let's look at what I found.

One of the recurring themes was our trust in, and faithfulness to, Christ and His Word. The Taylors' "We Are Not Ashamed" says it this way:

   "We are not ashamed, no we are not ashamed of the Gospel – the truth we will proclaim.
    We are committed and we choose to tell the world the good news, the Gospel – we are not ashamed."

Similarly, "I Choose To Stand" by the Mylon Hayes Family says,

   "I'm not ashamed to stand for Jesus, for one day He stood for me.
    Though the world may criticize me and I face adversity
    I've made my choice to serve Him, even if I stand alone."

We as Christians make that choice because we stand firmly on the truths of God's Word. That's celebrated in the Legacy Five song, "Still."

   "The Bible will still have the answers and God will still be on His throne
    He will still pour out sweet blessings and hear all the prayers of His own..."

Indeed, we know that when we pray, as Jeff & Sheri Easter sang, "Someone's Listening"...

   "Someone's listening, Someone hears me.
    Someone knows me better than I know myself...."

Of course, the Lord's faithfulness to us also shines through in "Never Forsaken" by Tribute Quartet:

   "Never forsaken even when I'm alone, Never forsaken while I'm traveling home.
    He's watching down and I'm looking above, I am never forsaken, I am safe in His love."

"Only Faith Can See" by the Erwins illustrates that unique resource a Christian has in Christ, and the vital and transforming nature of faith:

   "Some see a mountain, faith sees the mountain moved.
    Some see the waters, faith can see us walking through.
    So in this moment, just keep on trusting and believe,
    There are some things only faith can see!"

Greater Vision's "Never Will I Ever Again" echoes the uniqueness of Christ and what He's done:

   "Never have I ever seen another One like Him, never ever will I again.
    One Who will carry all my burdens and forgive me of all my sin...
    I've never ever known a love like this, never will I ever again."

Speaking of Christ's supreme love, it's celebrated in the Whisnants' song, "I Love You This Much"...

   "I love you this much, as He bowed His head at Calvary.
    Oh what mercy was revealed as His precious blood was spilled.
    With arms open wide my Savior died, I love you this much."

And Christ's willingness to go through that still amazes us, as presented in the Kingsmen song, "Here I Stand Amazed"...

   "Amazed at all You've done to save me, In awe of Your mercy with no end.
    Astounded by Your love, Lord, I just can't say enough..."

In fact, all of that is surely enough to make one shout. Jason Crabb, in "If I Shout," puts it this way...

   "For anyone who's ever seen the mountain of their sin just disappear...
    For any life once empty, but now finds itself alive and full of songs, victory songs...
    If I shout, know I'm shouting from a heart that's been washed clean..."

Of course, any sampling of Southern Gospel songs will include songs about heaven. Examples are "There Is Coming A Day" by the Talleys, "Saving Us A Place In The Choir" by the Kingdom Heirs, "Living In The Promised Land" by Triumphant and "If We Ever Gotta Look" by the Hoppers:

   "We never could imagine the splendor of the mansions or the river that is crystal clear
    If we ever got a look at what's waiting up there, we wouldn't wanna stay down here..."

That — and our promised reunion with Christian loved ones — is why we're "Homesick For Heaven," as the Jim Brady Trio sings.

There are more songs, too – but I've run out of space. It should be quite apparent, though, that the current Top 20 songs all do, indeed, celebrate the Gospel – the Lord and His faithfulness to us in our Christian lives, as well as the promise He's made to us for our future home in heaven with Him.

Keep on singing — and enjoying — the Gospel!

- Paul

Note: Writer/publisher info for the songs referenced above can be found here.

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