Growing up, there was always music playing in my house. Listening to music gave me joy when I was sad! It could even give me energy and motivation to clean up my room. One of my best memories listening to music was when I was younger living with my mom and every Saturday was chore day. After breakfast my mom would go to the record player where she would chose two albums and I got to chose two. Ever so gently she placed all records on the stand place the needle on the turntable to start the first song. Then I would  grab a mop or broom and start dancing with them and using one as a microphone. In no time the house would become spick and span! Music can shape us from the inside out. We all have a special song in our heart that triggers a memory. When we hear it, we often flashback to the time when it first affected us. The songs we love we know by heart and they do help help us, if even for only a short time. Each song has a different meaning for everyone. How you feel about a song may not be the same as another person.

There was one special song that both of my Grandmothers loved. They listened to it every time there was a special TV broadcast on with Billy Graham and it never failed to bring tears to their eyes. I really didn’t understand why such a song would have such an impact on so many lives, at least until I accepted the Lord into my heart.  “Just as I Am” is that song! I believe that most Christians know this song and it seems to have a similar effect on most people.

“Just as I Am” reminds us that God accepts us all with open arms! Even with all our hurts, emptiness, brokenness, and shame, He still loves us just where we are (aka “Just as I Am”)!

In Latin culture  almost every church service starts with singing and dancing. Often lasting for well over an hour. Music is a very important part of the culture and Christian (church) experience here!

Did you know that the Bible contains over 400 references to singing and 50 direct commands to sing. For example, Colossians 3:16 says,  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God”. I am so thankful for the many songs God placed in my heart and on my lips! I will always sing about what He has done for me, in me and through me!

As you open doors of your life I want to remind you that God will accept you just the way you are! And I want to encourage you to accept other people just as they are. Let God transform you, and them, from the inside out!

I have a friend here in Honduras whose name is John. John has lived on the streets of Tegucigalpa for many years. Three weeks ago John came to church just as he was, unclean & smelly, walked in and sat down beside me. I gave him a hug and as the music started he stood up and started swaying and clapping his hands. When the music stopped the Pastor stood up and gave an altar call, John stood up and went up front with his arms raised saying, “I want Jesus in my heart!” I believe, for John, that when he comes to church it is for the music. One of the ways I can see this is that he is different when the pastor starts to speak. I really don’t know how much of what is said, that John actually understands. But I do know what he thinks about sermons and service that go too long!  Because John brings out is watch and does a count down. It’s his way of letting me know when he feels the pastor has talked too long! (haha). For John at least, like many of us, it is the music and I believe the Spirit of God that draw him (us) in and open our hearts. I am so glad that God has, “…put a new song in my heart (& John’s], a hymn of praise to our God!” (Psalm 40:3).