Music from the Harp

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I received a surprise gift at Christmastime last year.

It was a large, hand crafted hammered dulcimer.

A beautiful harp-like instrument, with strings stretching across a wooden platform.

Played with almost weightless hammers of wood, the sound is light and percussive.

There are many types of musical instruments in the world.

As people develop new tastes from one point in history to the next, so the instruments can develop with them.

I wonder what the harp in biblical days would’ve sounded like?

Whatever the instrument we possess, we can use it in praise to God.

Sing your praise accompanied by music from the harp.  Let the cornets and trumpets shout! Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!

–Psalm 98:5-6

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music

Whatever You Do

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Rabbits hop.

Eagles soar.

I play the piano….

If I am anywhere near a piano, I usually have the urge to play it.

In my opinion, any piano in my vicinity is simply silent, waiting for me to tell it what to say.

As I sit in front of the keys, many times my fingers relay a message of praise to God.

The strings and hammers respond with complete obedience and a melodious hymn vibrates from their midst.

Those who hear may or may not recognize the sounds as being an offering, yet God knows every note I play as it pairs with the strings of my heart.

I have a voice.

It is simply silent, waiting for me to tell it what to say.

Will my words be those of praise?

Will they encourage others?

Will they show God’s love?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

—1 Corinthians 10:31

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eat or drink

Be Glorified

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In the last few months, I have been challenged to actively be a part of things, be a visible presence (which is the opposite of hiding who I am) and to be a person who shows courage.

That’s quite the challenge, isn’t it?

Although I could look back through the years and make mental check marks beside the events I participated in, the times I was “visible” and the courage I was displaying, I would have to be honest about the rest—

Those times that I didn’t participate, the times I was truly hiding, even if I was the only one who knew it,

and, of course, the times that I was anything but courageous.

About three weeks ago, I got through this challenge in a small, almost insignificant way.

Later, I became aware of just how significant it had been.

One of our sons was having surgery at a local hospital.

While waiting to hear that he was out of recovery, news came that there was a complication.

Nothing huge, but he was going to have to stay there for an extended time.

I had been praying for him.

Not far from where I was sitting stood a grand piano.

Silently, it only gave the memory of music to those that passed by.

A thought came to my mind.

I argued with the thought for a second or two, struggling with just a twinge of non-participation and the need to hide.

Walking over to the desk where my son had been admitted, I calmly asked if I could play the piano.

Given permission, I sat down and played one song after another for perhaps a half hour.

Hospital employees, along with people visiting for one reason or another, came walking by during the impromptu concert.

When I was finished, I stood up, noticing a brass plaque adorning the piano.

I believe it read, “To the Glory of God.”

A doctor’s name, along with that of his wife, was engraved there, identifying them as the ones who had given the piano to the hospital.

As I began to walk away from it, a man rushed up to me.

He had been friends with the doctor who had given the piano.

The doctor was no longer living, but his wife was.

While I had been playing, this man called the doctor’s wife and told her that someone was playing the piano they had given!

Others came up to speak with me, happy to have heard the music.

I may never know of the comfort God may have given to someone who heard the sounds of the hammers striking the strings, creating the familiar hymns for those that passed.

I can imagine that the doctor’s wife would have been happy that the instrument she had given was in use.

I can also imagine the musically silent atmosphere on the first floor of the hospital that day if I had not taken that first step toward the desk, refusing to hide in my waiting room chair.

Since the ability I have to play the piano was given to me by God, I truly do want to honor Him with my playing.

To do so, I must actually step up to the piano and begin—

to the glory of God.

 

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God;  whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

—1 Peter 4: 10-11

 

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In Remembrance

 

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Remember Jesus?

Remember Jesus when you wake up.

Remember Jesus when you go to work.

Remember Jesus when you are at home.

Remember Jesus when you are talking to others.

Remember Jesus when you walk in a crowd.

Remember Jesus when you see others in need.

Remember Jesus when you eat.

Remember Jesus when you lie down at night.

Remember Jesus as you sleep.

 

 

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

–1 Corinthians 11:23-26

 

 

 

supper final

Be Made Well

 

 

 

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Vulnerability.

What exactly does that look like?

In this past year, I have heard vulnerability mentioned from several sources.

Personal vulnerability can range anywhere from having the courage to ask a store clerk which aisle the light bulbs are on to sharing deep, heart felt feelings with a close friend.

Both situations put us in a place of admitting a little of who we are.

Lost in a store without a clue to find what we need.

Making our emotions audible, risking acceptance.

But what about being vulnerable with God?

In one sense, we are completely vulnerable before God.

He is all powerful and we are mere humans.

In another way, however, we can choose to be vulnerable with God by being honest with Him about ourselves.

Let’s go back to the light bulb search for a moment.

Do we wander around our days through situations at work or school, looking for what we think we need, determined to fix things on our own without bothering God?

Do we research every possible way to solve a problem ourselves without asking Him for guidance and wisdom?

Let’s go back to the idea of sharing deep, heart felt feelings with a close friend.

Even though God really knows us, do we try to hide how we feel about certain things, becoming unwilling to share our deepest thoughts?

The good thing is, we can be vulnerable with God.

We can ask for directions and advice.

We can tell Him all about how we feel, trusting that He will accept us.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 9, we find the account of a woman who had been ill for 12 years.

Upon seeing Jesus in a crowd, she chose to be vulnerable as she went to Him and touched his clothes:

And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. (verses 20-22)

Will you and I choose to be vulnerable?

 

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