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Martin Luther and Singing in Church

Martin Luther wrote many hymns. One of his most well-known hymns is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

The story below is from The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book, available at VOMBooks.com.

Martin Luther believed that only God’s Word deserved more praise than beautiful music. “The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music,” Martin said.

As a boy, Martin loved music and learned to play the lute. When he was a teenager, he made money going from house to house and serenading people.

Before his time, there was no congregational singing in church. Martin changed that. He also encouraged the people to sing in their own language rather than in Latin, as was the custom. His changes were considered to be very bold actions.

What Do You Think?
What do you think? Do you like singing along with a group in church, or would you rather that a few people did all the singing?

Martin made big changes in the way music was used in church services. If you could change something about the music in your church services, what would it be?

Martin believed that music is a gift from God and a way to teach His truth. What are your three favorite Christian hymns or songs? What is at least one truth each song teaches?

What do you think is the purpose of songs that are not Christian songs? Do you think it’s beneficial for Christians to play, sing, or listen to songs that don’t teach Christian truths? Why or why not?


Message from a Christian in a Muslim Country

Iran

Brother X is a Christian who works in a Middle Eastern country where preaching the gospel is against the law. He was asked, “How do you feel knowing that people are praying for you?”

Brother X answered, “Living in a place that forbids Christian worship, or even discussion of the gospel, can be very frustrating. The most important thing to me is knowing that even though I may be alone physically, I am not alone spiritually!

“Each day as I face new challenges, I can be sure that my Christian brothers and sisters around the world are standing with me in prayer. As we face new and growing persecution, we can stand firm in our faith when we remember those who are cheering us on.

“Being far away from this country does not stop you from changing the nation. From where you are, you can be part of the most exciting missions work in history through your prayers. I invite you to become part of the greatest adventure in the history of man: bringing the gospel to unreached nations.”

(Source: Christians in Crisis)


Diwali

An important Hindu festival is Diwali, the Festival of Lights (also spelled “Divali” or “Devali”). It will be celebrated this week.

More than 900 million people in the world are Hindus. India has the largest number of Hindus. Diwali is celebrated in many countries where Hindus live. In India and some other places, Indians of other religions also celebrate Diwali.

During the days of Diwali, people light lamps, set off fireworks, eat desserts, give gifts, and recall legends about gods and goddesses honored in Hinduism.

Hinduism
God has made us with a longing in our hearts to be close to him. (See Acts 17:26–27 and Ecclesiastes 3:11.) Many Hindus feel that longing, too. But they do not believe, or have not been told, that the way to be close to God is through his Son, Jesus. So they try to fill that longing with other gods, rituals, and works.

Some Hindus add Jesus to the list of gods they honor, but do not forsake other gods. The Bible tells us we must have no other gods.

Pray that Hindus will meet Christians who can tell them about Jesus, the light of the world, and that they will open their hearts to Him. Pray especially for radical Hindus who oppose Christianity in India and other places.


Blind to the Truth

Sundar Singh was a Christian from India who died many years ago. He once told the following story.

“Suppose you are walking down the street and you see a blind man coming toward you. It is your responsibility to move to one side so you won’t run into each other. It is not the blind man’s responsibility. He does not know you are nearby, because he can’t see you. If you and the blind man accidentally bump into each other, you would say, ‘Excuse me.’ Then you would help him on his way. It would not make sense to get angry with the blind man for the accident.

“In the same way, if a person who is blind to the truth persecutes us because we follow Jesus, we must not get angry. We should forgive him. We must love and pray for him. Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44).”

[Photo: Varanasi, a Hindu stronghold in India]


Lots of Bibles

Camouflage BibleCamouflage Bible

Last year, The Voice of the Martyrs delivered more than 1 million Bibles and New Testaments around the world with the help of God and generous supporters.

How many Bibles is 1 million? If it took one person five seconds to hand someone a Bible, it would take them about 58 days, 24 hours a day, day and night, to hand out 1 million Bibles.

VOM workers praise God for everyone who helped make the Bible deliveries happen. They pray they can distribute even more Bibles in the future.

Read about VOM’s “A Bible for Every Believer” project here.