March 2 – Music In The Making

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Can you tell by now there is a rhyme and a reason to what’s going on? Somebody is orchestrating a piece of music that has been written for quite some time. And you and I are coming in at this particular stanza.   You probably feel like I do; sometimes ill- equipped! What am I doing? I don’t know the first thing about playing an instrument. By the way, which one am I supposed to be playing?   Stop! Stop worrying yourself. Close your eyes and lean into the rhythm. It’s there. It’s you! Not only are you part of the music, you are the actual “notes” themselves. You are destined and designed as a song of honor by the Father of Creation Himself.   So no time for wandering and worrying about stuff! You’ve got music to make! Press in and focus on the Conductor’s every direction and let Him take you where He wants your song to go.  

The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me– Psalm 42:8 New King James Version

1 Chronicles 16:31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”

January 17 – Word Trumps Wonder

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 I’ve often thought how wonderful it must have been to be alive when the Son of God walked the earth. It seems like it would have been a lot easier to believe in Him. In my mind, I also tend to think surely everyone must have been completely enraptured by His mighty works.

Surely they knew this was indeed the Son of God! However, the Bible gives a number of accounts that don’t validate my mental ideologies.

One such instance occurs around the feeding of five thousand men and their families (John 6). After Christ transformed two tiny fish and five small barley loaves into a massive smorgasbord, the crowd was set on making him king. But in less than 24 hours, many of that same bunch turned their backs on Him.

His words were too heavy for them. Besides, in all reality, they were more interested in the miracles than the message anyway.

Thankfully, this was not the case with everyone. While people were leaving in droves, The Lord turned to His inner-circle disciples and asked if they wished to leave also.

Now, Simon Peter, one of the twelve, does not maintain a flawless track record when it comes to saying and doing the right thing. But on this day he spoke with great wisdom. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

He and those who chose to stay that day didn’t allow their limited understanding to keep them from standing under the grace and truth residing in His words.

I estimate our day is no different. Though Christ is not present in physical form, His message and ministry still lives on. And to those who dare to believe, His glory is as visible as it was to those who walked with Him in the days of old.

The decision just has to be made to hold fast to His Word that is never-ending…instead of looking for His wonders that are often here today and gone tomorrow!

 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NKJV

Biblical Meditation: Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

January 13 – The New You

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Right around the corner from me, another 100 year-old house is getting a “face-lift.” We live in a historical district and it is a wonderful sight to see these mammoth-sized memorials being restored.

As Jen and I were walking the other day, we took an investigative snoop of this particular home’s progress. The roof is finished. New windows have been installed. The outside has been scraped and painted.

Everything is moving along. But as we looked through the window, we saw there was quite a bit more work to be done before this house could be considered “renewed.”

Then it hit me. Here lives a picture for those of us who have been raised with Christ. We have been born again. Now the old self must be renovated and regenerated. The process is tedious, time-consuming, and often tiring.

But not only does it save the “house” and add worth to it, it positively affects the “whole neighborhood.” And so, the new you “in-Christ” will add value to every life in your path. It’s time to roll up your sleeves, and start “pulling off the wallpaper” of evil practices and fleshly ideas.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will patch any holes we find and paint those walls with behavior that heaven can back up with applause.

Jen talked to the man responsible for much of the restoration going on in our area yesterday. She mentioned how our family thought he was much like “superman,” flying from house to house with a “magic” paintbrush.

He laughed as he explained his intermittent feelings of despair along with triumph. He saw his progress as sometimes painfully slow.

Don’t be discouraged by your pace as you go. Strap on your tool belt and lace up those work boots. Let’s start stripping off the old and let’s being putting on the NEW YOU!

 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:9-10

Biblical Meditation: 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

January 11 – Read the Instructions

 

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How often have you started a book without reading the introduction? Or how about the time you tackled a project without bothering to check out the instruction manual? You are not alone.

Honestly, I really would rather skip the “basic first stuff.” It’s all because I want to be done before I ever get started. More times than not, I find myself back at the instructions, but only after much unnecessary confusion and frustration.

I think, “Surely I should be smart enough to figure this out!” Yet, for some strange reason, the simplest of solutions seem to elude me. That’s because instructions and introductions represent the starting place.

In order to understand the heart behind a person, place or thing, you have to go to the source of its origin. Over the years I have met people who desperately tried to make sense of their lives but who had no clue where to start.

Consequently, they often end up experimenting with a myriad of avenues only to end up at a dead-end road. Then they find they’ve settled for some intellectual, philosophical, hermeneutical hog wash.

But that’s really not necessary. There is a God and He has provided instructions with an introduction to His plan and purpose for humanity.

All you and I have to do is be willing to read and receive. In the Bible, found in the very first book, chapter, and verse, are the words, “In the beginning.” Also the same words are recorded at the beginning of the Apostle John’s account of Jesus (John 1:1-2).

What’s interesting to me is the fact that they were written by two different authors in two different time periods. Yet the essence of the message is still very much the same. In both accounts they say, “Stop and consider the origin, or the Source.” In other words, “Don’t take another step toward the future without learning how it all began.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s powerful stuff to me. Even though it takes a little extra effort, I have learned that this process will save me precious time and energy, and give me invaluable insight in the long run.

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2 NKJV In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 NKJV

 Biblical Meditation: John 15:10 AMP If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.

January 6 – Strange People

DSC_0539Little babies provoke people into grabbing them, even if it’s a child they don’t know.   When we had our first child, I really had a tough time with the ‘grabbers.’ I was not very fond of sharing my baby! I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph were going through when Simeon takes their baby out of their arms and begins to walk around with him! Even if he was saying a blessing over the boy, this still must have been a little bit hard to swallow.   If that wasn’t strange enough, a little lady in her nineties starts throwing her hands up and praising God, all the while telling everyone their child is going to ‘set them free!’ Now granted, with the angel visits and the sheepherders’ arrival, Mary and Joseph were probably not too taken aback. However, I don’t care who you are, these people were a little strange!

Take Anna, the ninety-one year old praising widow. For eighty-four years, she lived in the temple, night and day. That’s like camping out in one of the local congregations 24/7.   Not only that, but she was apparently known as a prophetess, and if you know anything about the Old Testament prophets like Samuel and Elijah, you can imagine her conversations were not “light and fluffy!” All of this, coupled with the fact that her diet consisted primarily of fasting and prayer.   Nonetheless, this strange woman’s story is highlighted in the best-selling book ever written. And not only that, for all of us who know that baby as Jesus, the Lord and Master of our souls, she is a witness.

This Anna brings to light one of my favorite definitions of the word “strange.”   In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, “strange” can mean “foreign; belonging to another country.” So what does that tell you? Maybe all of us should “deluge” ourselves with the Master and His ways until others think we are from another planet!   Seriously, stop right now and thank God for all those strange people you’ve passed off as crazy, or just a little annoying. Who knows, God may have them on a special assignment to change your life.  

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38

Biblical Meditation: Luke 2 & 1 Peter 2:9

November 13- Daddy to the Rescue

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

My wife told me about a little boy who struggled when it came to paying attention. Although his parents would go over and over their expectations for his room, his toys, and his clothes, he had a hard time getting it. They tried everything to help him, and finally came to the realization their very smart and loving son just had difficulty with instructions. He required extra attention in this area.  As frustrating as this matter was for them, nothing would ever change their love for their son. Right around the same time, there was a neighborhood bully who liked to pick on the boy. One day the torment got so bad, the little guy screamed out, “DAD!” Well, before he could call again, his daddy was “Johnny-on-the-spot!“ The dad looked the bully square in the face and let him know he’d better never bother his son again. You can imagine what this did for the son’s confidence. It is interesting to me how the father didn’t bring up his son’s most recent struggle when the call for help came. No, because the struggle wasn’t a factor; love was! No matter what character flaws the son might have, he was still daddy’s boy! How true this is for each of us. Daddy-God loves us, bottom line. And He knows our flaws better than we do. But when we cry out for Him, He comes running to the rescue. He doesn’t look at our mistakes; He looks at His Fatherly Love.

Choose today to focus on the reality of the rescue. You are not alone in this world. Your Daddy is watching and waiting to hear from you!

Lorenzo

 

November 11- The Heartbeat of Heaven

If God wanted to “get” us, He could do it “six ways to Sunday (any number of ways).” And quite honestly, He’d have every right, based on our track record of ill behavior throughout the annals of history.

But that’s not what He’s about. O, how I wish I could articulate the fullness of His way and reasoning for the care and keeping of us. In the midst of our most wicked wanderings, never once has He truly administered full payment of retaliation. On the contrary, mercy and grace has always been present.

Let us find rest for our weary souls in this reality as the world seems to spiral in a continuous state of calamity. For on the night the Savior was born, the heavenly host of angels announced the heartbeat of the Father of Creation. May we remember it today…and never ever forget.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14