A Lesson From the Piano Strings

For those of you who know the workings of a piano, you understand that the damper pedal moves the felt dampers off of the strings so that they will ring or vibrate when other strings are being struck by hammers as the pianist plays.  The affect is beautiful; in fact, even the average listener would be able to tell if the pianist was not using the damper pedal.  The sound is flat, dull and lifeless.

As I was thinking about this today, I thought of the wonderful illustration it gives of Psalm 133:

 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

When a fellowship of believers is united, each one “rings” out the praises of God.  What a beautiful song we make when we are all united in our praise and are “vibrating” or responding as the Word is preached or the choir is singing or someone is giving a testimony!

You know, I believe almost anything would taste good drenched in chocolate!  However, if the strings are coated with anything, they will not be able to vibrate.  What sin is keeping you from “vibrating” in tune to God’s Word?  Do you come to church loaded down with the cares of this world?

ID-1009202When we were at our first ministry, I once told Tom that I was going to place a box by the door of our kitchen where he could deposit all the burdens of the ministry, so that he didn’t carry them into our home and destroy our heavenly atmosphere!  We need to apply the same principle to our times of corporate worship as well as to our private devotional times with God.  Always start each with a time of prayer: praising God, but then confessing our sins and shedding all the debris that’s cluttering our lives.  Then our hearts will be “tuned to sing [His] grace,” and we will be ready to be teachable.

So, next Sunday, come prepared to vibrate!  Come and worship and do your part!

Ps 96:3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

Wooing Not Demanding

ID-100159550The law says, This do and you will live.

The gospel says, Live, and then you will do.

The law says, Pay me what you owe me.

The gospel says,I freely forgive you everything.

The law says, Make yourself a new heart and new spirit.

The gospel says, A new heart will I gave you, and a new spirit will I put within you.

The law says, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

The gospel says, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loves us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The law ways, Cursed is everyone who doesn’t continue in all things written in the book of the law to do them.

The gospel says, Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

The law says, The wages of sin is death.

The gospel says,The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The law demands holiness.

The gospel gives holiness.

The law says, Do.

The gospel says, Done.

The law extorts the unwilling service of a slave.

The gospel wins the loving service of a son and friend.

The law makes blessings the result of obedience.

The gospel makes obedience the results of blessings.

The law places the day of rest at the end of the weeks’s work.

The gospel places it at its beginning.

The law says, If.

The gospel says, Therefore.

The law was given for the restraint of the old man.

The gospel was given to bring liberty to the new man.

Under the law, salvation was wages.

Under the gospel, salvation is a gift.

God is Enough – Hanna Whitall Smith

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

You Jew!

IMG_3940“You Jew,” the one teen said.

“Don’t say that. You know what Mrs. B said.”

The conversation had me curious.  What did Mrs. B say to her students?  I happened to be substitute teaching at our local public high school one day when I overheard this conversation.  So I asked: what did Mrs. B say?  I was told that the students were not to call each other ‘Jew.’  My next response was, “Why would you call anyone a Jew?”

“Because it’s a bad name,” came the answer.  Since then, I have taken any opportunity that comes my way to ask students what they know about these people called Jews; and I’ve been shocked to find out that they know very little, AND what they do know is all negative!

One student told me that Jews were poor people, sort of like hobos.  Another said that they were bad people!  Where are they learning this?

As a fifth grade chorus sang a beautiful song in Hebrew, I again started to question them.  As I mentioned the Holocaust, I was shocked to find out that only one girl knew anything about it!  When I asked why people would want to kill the Jews, one girl raised her hand and said, “My Dad said it’s because they killed someone.”  As I continued to question her, she wouldn’t say who they killed; and unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was thrashing it out in my mind on the way home that I realized that she was probably referring to Jesus, but was afraid to say it!

As a child, I was also negative against the Jewish people.  Why?  Because I was told that they killed Jesus.  Did they?  No, my friend – each of us drove those nails into His hands because of our sin.  Yes, the Jewish nation rejected Jesus and, for the most part, are still rejecting Him; but we cannot blame them for Jesus’ crucifixion.

As Twelve Smooth Stones began to take shape, I realized how much I love the Jewish people.  My heart aches for them and their blinded eyes.  Perhaps my greatest desire for Twelve Smooth Stones is that someone, Jewish or Gentile, will read it and relate to Esther’s struggle to find the truth and find it themselves.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I’d be honored to have you read it and share your thoughts. You will find it at Kirkdale Press.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you freeJohn 8:32 

Jennifer’s Bible

Dear readers,

I would like to share something very precious with you.  I know some of you do not personally know our family, but I hope this will be both a challenge and a blessing to you all.  You probably need to know that I am very emotional right now. After spending the last two nights with my newest grandson (again, thanks Mom – now I KNOW what you did for me!!!), I’m a bit weary.  Add to that the overwhelming joy and thrill of another grandson entering safely into this world, and hopefully, you will understand!  Once again, this verse has had its meaning renewed in my heart: A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. John 16:21

I am sharing with you the inscription on my daughter’s first Bible.  It was given to her on her first birthday.  It’s not a cute little white “Baby’s First Bible,” but an Old Scofield King James!  My dear husband wrote the inscription as follows:

To – Jennifer Ingrid MacAvoy on your first birthday: 9/30/86

From – Daddy and Mommy

Jennifer-

To my little princess (or ‘dumplin’, as Aunt Ruth would say) –

I wanted to give you this Bible because you my prayer for you is to be saved at an early age and that you will find God’s will for your life and do it.

A few days ago, I was pulling up the floor in the kitchen and you stood up (on your own) behind me and grabbed my back.  You still can’t walk, but you’re getting close.  No teeth yet! – but lots of beautiful hair from the day you were born.

You are a great joy and blessing to your mother and me.  You remind me so much of your mother – you’re my “little Spunky,” (Since I married “big Spunky,” that’s a compliment!)

Last year we were so glad that the Lord gave us a little girl.  You’re on loan from God to us.  Although God allowed us to be your parents, you belong to Him first.  That’s why finding His will for your life is so important.

I pray that I’ll be the Daddy you need.  Please don’t ever hesitate to come to me for help.

I love you!

Daddy

My husband and his brother are both Baptist pastors (that’s another story!), both first generation Christians.  Between the two families, we have seven children and all of them have or will be marrying godly spouses.  By the end of the year, there will be fifteen children in the next generation – the third generation.  Will they all have a heart for the Lord – we all certainly pray that way; but I write this to say it takes more than just hope and a prayer – it takes dedication and an example.  One of my favorite quotes from my brother-in-law, which he shared with us early on in our parenting, was this: YOU MUST BE DESPERATE FOR YOUR CHILDREN!

The letter above is just a small glimpse into our family, but I hope it will be a challenge to you: Young people – you will not marry a godly spouse unless you are godly! Wear out your Bibles!  Young parents – take a tip from Nike: just do it! Don’t settle for good children – go for godly!  The best gifts you can give your grandchildren are godly parents!  I wish you could see this Bible.  It was Jennifer’s only Bible until she was thirteen.  I’m taking it to Master Club tonight as a challenge to my students, giving them a glimpse of what it takes to be godly!  Grandparents – keep pouring yourselves into your children and grandchildren, and remember: it’s never too late to change a bad habit/example!  (I’m speaking from experience J)  Live a godly example before them.  Our world is dying for a good example from us all!whole family

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4

Birdie, Birdie in My Window

This morning, while my husband and I were praying in the living room, a loud bang at the window got our attention.  We looked at each other, wondering what it was.

“Do you think it was a bird,” I asked.  Tom went out onto the porch, and there lying on the ground was a little chickadee, very still.  I went to it and picked it up – he was still warm.  Poor little thing.  (No, I did not give it mouth-to-beak resuscitation, but I did get a towel and laid it up on the porch, just in case it wasn’t dead.)  Sad to say, he’s still lying there.

As I thought about that little bird’s life taken so suddenly, I couldn’t help but think about the brevity of life.  There are still plenty of birds at our feeder – all alive and active, but what happened to this little guy?  He was deceived.  He thought he was flying through empty space, but a plate of unseen glass stopped him short. He did not intend to die today!  He didn’t mean to fly into my window – HE JUST DIDN’T SEE IT!

During Sunday school this past week, my husband-pastor had us read this verse:  “Who can understand his errors?  cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (Psalm 19:12) He then asked, who knew about our secret faults.  In my mind, I thought what several others said: God and me.   He smiled that knowing smile and said, “No, only God knows.”  Wow!  That was an eye-opener for me!  We call those secret faults blind spots – the sins in our lives that we do not see.  If you are like me, I’m quick to SEE everyone else’s blind spots and proclaim that I am too spiritual to have any!

How often we are like that bird –

we don’t see the very thing that is going to kill us spiritually!

I’m convinced that the term “blind spot” is a bit of a misnomer for the Christian; for God tells us that He will show us the way. “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” (Psalm 25:4) If we want to know our blind spots, God will reveal them to us.  IF WE WANT to know – that’s the defining factor.  This isn’t a half-hearted prayer where we don’t really expect to hear from God.  In fact, I’m convinced that most times, in the back recesses of our minds where we hide those sins  that we don’t want to face, we are able to see our blind spots.  What we don’t see are the far-reaching consequences stacking up ready to pour forth if we do not make the necessary changes.

If that little birdie would have just changed his course ever so slightly, he would have missed my window and could be sitting at my bird feeder right now instead of lying dead on my front porch!  I see so many lives on the brink of ruin only because that person or persons will not deal with sin!  Is it because they cannot change or will not?

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jer. 13:23) …the answer?  NO, but by the grace of God!  Praise the Lord! He will give us the grace to choose and to change if we but ask!

Strong Delusions

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”

2 Thessalonians 2:11

What a powerful statement!  To be deceived by a strong, diabolical lie – this is our enemy’s greatest tactic.  Should we be surprised?  Actually, he’s not very creative – this was his first line of defense in the garden; “Yea, hath God said?” In other words, did God really say that, and if He did, did He mean it, or can you even know what God meant or what He said; and the lie thickens and grows drawing more and more people away to hell!

I’ve been reading a book about an after-death experience.  I chose it, hoping to see perhaps the truth because, quite frankly, I’ve always been amazed that everyone that dies and returns to this life sees bright lights, and all are on their way to heaven.  Certainly, this is Satan’s most effective lie, especially in the times in which we are living – everyone is going to heaven; in fact, is there even a hell?  Yea, hath God said?

As I read on, there was no doubting the writer’s experiences and sincerity in what she saw and believed.  Faith is not the issue: faith in the truth will save you; faith in a lie will take you to hell!  Yea, hath God said…

So how do we really know the truth?  When we read these accounts, they are so genuine.  It breaks my heart to think that this person, after going through horrific trials, and then actually dying, may then end up in hell!  They’re so sincere.  After all, don’t all religions lead to God; and of course, God is in heaven…yea, hath God said?

So what was the missing element in this book and in most after-death experience books?  God is there, heaven is there, the spirit is there, but the missing ingredient is Jesus Christ!  He is not mentioned, and if He is, it’s a passing remark.  Was the cross a passing remark?  Jesus paid the horrible price of all my sins with his precious blood!  Don’t you think that if a truly blood-washed saint of God died and looked into the Face of God – the Father who sacrificed His own Son – don’t you think that the Gospel story would be the message resounding from the rooftops instead of any experience?

Strong delusions – lately, I feel as though I need to double–check every thought!  Satan seems to be on his high horse.  I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised; after all, he is the god of this world, which makes us trespassers!

So, here’s the encouraging word: If you are a true child of God, born-again, trusting in Christ alone, then you have His Spirit living within you.  When you read or hear something that makes you question: go to God in prayer, seek His Word for the right answer, and by all means, seek godly council!

We have the truth!  It is our sure defense.  My former-banker-husband often tells the story about the lesson on recognizing counterfeit money.  They did not handle, look or examine counterfeits – they handled, looked, and examined the real thing!  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  2Timothy 2:15  I’m so thankful for your loyalty to my blog, but if you haven’t spent time in the Word, please do so!  I’m only giving you little spoonfuls, and to survive in this wicked world of lies and deceit, weneed gallons of God’s Word!