July 22, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I make you light bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, (our) generous Father in heaven.”
Words of Jesus from
Matthew 5: 15, 16
The Message Bible
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Let Me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way ˆ loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are My disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.”
John 13: 34, 25
The Message Bible
“Love is a key in a lock,
So if you love people at all,
Knock on your neighbor’s door
Or call out from the hall.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Thou shalt be secure because there is hope…and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. Also thou shalt lie down, and none shalt make thee afraid.”
Job 11: 18, 19
King James Version
“Your Father’s Child”
“When asked, most folks will gladly tell us about ourselves, who we are, what we’re feeling, and where we should be heading. And if we don’t honor ourselves by listening to our lives, we’ll believe them.”
Susan L. Taylor
My Soul Is A Witness
Have I asked Jesus to take my self-doubt and turn it into security and safety in Him?
Susan L. Taylor
My Soul Is A Witness
“Happy are those that hath God for (their) help, whose hope is in the Lord (their) God.”
Psalms 146: 5
King James Version
Not long ago I read a beautiful story I want to share with you. It is about a brilliant oboist in New York who had been selected to perform with a renowned string ensemble in a famous cathedral. This was a benefit concert and the guest soloist was the “featured” performer for the evening:
“That afternoon the musicians all gathered together to practice. They sounded awful. Over and over again they practiced and the piece with the oboe was especially bad. It grated, almost distorted the other instruments and bruised the music. After a couple of hours, the leader of the group was frustrated and angry, insisting that the oboe was out of tune, instructing the oboist to re-tune her instrument so it would match those of the others. The music sounded worse with each attempt.
They took a break and the lead musician declared that it probably would be better if the oboe piece was dropped from the program, because the string ensemble sounded much better without it. The oboist was distraught and went off to a deserted part of the cathedral to practice alone. Alone, it sounded lovely.
During the break, an old man who had been praying in the back of the cathedral and listening to the music came forward and spoke to the musician in charge. He apologized for interrupting but he said he thought he knew how to remedy the situation. ‘I believe,’ he said very gently and firmly, ‘that the entire orchestra always tunes itself to the oboe because with its perfect pitch it has the truest note.’ The other musicians were shocked. Without the oboe, they had forgotten one of the first principles of playing together; they had tuned their instruments to one another, and were so hopelessly out of tune. And then they had insisted that the oboe be tuned to them. No wonder the music sounded so awful. It was they who were out of tune, not the oboist.
The situation was corrected and the music was stunning and unsurpassed in gracefulness. The old man, it is said, was a conductor of a major symphony and could hear what others, less knowledgeable or experienced, could not.”
I share this story because so often, as you and I examine our lives, our accomplishments and our goals – we do so by comparing ourselves to those around us – and sometimes we find ourselves not only out-of-step but out-of-tune.
I’ll never forget growing up in a very traditional environment, going to school with kids who liked to dress and act in a certain way. I was different. I didn’t dress like everybody else. I didn’t think just like everybody else. When the other kids were reading comic books or romance novels I was reading poetry and studying history and English literature. People thought I was out of tune. I loved to wear oddball outfits – unusual colors and unique designs. I was told I needed to “conform,” to “fit-in” and be more like other kids. But guess what happened? As years passed by, I heard people saying, “You have a unique way about yourself – it’s you! It matches your personality.” Isn’t it interesting how society’s compulsion to throw us all in a box and get us to act and walk and talk and dress the same, often takes away the God-given individuality that makes each of us special?
Had the oboist continued to try to fit in with the orchestra, there would never have been a melodious concert. But it took the trained ear of the maestro to comprehend what the problem was and to recommend a suitable remedy.
When you and I focus our lives on living up to or down to the measurements set by those around us, it is no wonder we become plagued with self-doubt, which leads to fear. This is why Job, when talking to his friends, pointed out a solution to self-doubt – and it isn’t in some new popular guru’s method of finding the power of our identity within ourselves.
Our self-doubt melts like ice cream on a hot day when we place our hope, not on ourselves and what we can do, but on God and what He has done by creating us as unique individuals designed to radiate the glory of His purpose in our lives. When we place our hope in God – we become “secure” with the knowledge that the way He made us is beautiful, perfect, and wonderful.
I love this quote from Macrina Wiederkehr, “O God, help me to believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is.” When you and I recognize that our hope in God, our trust in His power in our lives, gives us the security to live above self-doubt, just think what the music of our lives will sound like. It will be majestic!
In the coming days, we are going to study a story recorded in the book of John, where the disciple that “Jesus loved” opens a window on a world that Jesus called His followers – His children – every one of us to live in. And just let me share with you this revelation: this particular incident, recorded in John 21 for us, opened my eyes to how such a varied group of followers could come together under the empowering leadership of Jesus and not only exhibit love toward one another but find the purpose in their lives that took the weakest and infused them with heavenly power. In the words of Richard Sibbes: “Whom God calls He qualifies.”
Lord, Lord, Open Unto Me
“Open unto me – light for
Open unto me – courage for
Open unto me – hope for
Open unto me – peace for
Open unto me – joy for
Open unto me – strength for
Open unto me – wisdom for
Open unto me – forgiveness for
Open unto me – tenderness for
Open unto me – love for
Open unto me – Thy Self for
Lord, Lord, open unto me!”
Mediations of the Heart
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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