Tag Archives: music

What About Your Candle?

Luke 11:33-36

33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

As I read Luke 11:33 my first thought was, “Where’s your candle sitting Shari?” I love scented candles. Not of the floral design, but those that cause a visitor to wonder if I just pulled some fabulous dessert from the oven. The one I’ve had wafting through the house this weekend is salted caramel. Yum! But what about the candle that was lit within my heart in 1996 when I accepted Jesus as Lord? How evident is that candle? And where is it sitting? That was the questions I ask myself. I’m so frustrated with my own service for the Lord of late. I’ve allowed so much to strangle my spirit and my spirituality has suffered.

Some would say, that’s life. But for me, that’s death. That exactly how Satan convinces his prey that we’re “fine.” You can’t be on fire every day. I’ve heard that said numerous times and it makes me want to puke every time I hear it, because it’s a lie of the Devil. While it’s true we all have down days, we’re just a heartbeat from settling into as a lifestyle. So what about that candle?

Good vs. Evil

34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

This verse reminds me of the children’s song

Oh be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above is looking down on you with love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

What we see and hear every single day effects our character and witness. “Be not deceived” God warns in Galatians 6:7.

I love, love, love bluegrass music. But after about the third song about someone’s cheatin’ wife being buried in the back 40, my mind is in a dark place. I have to shut that off and listen to some gospel. But there are days that I don’t shut it off. I just keep listening, and the stories go from killing her to killing himself with alcohol to get over her “Four ounces at a time.” Yes… I actually have that song on my play list. And I say to myself, I’m fine… yet evil won out.

Lead vs. Follow

35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

The “I’m Fine” theory is what lead me to a heart attack and open heart surgery. I did not take heed. I wanted to appear healthy in the world’s eyes. As I scurried about the church in my little “church lady” ways, no one had any idea that in the basement of my favorite place in the world I’d just had a heart attack. I was following the world and not the Lord. God had told me that I wasn’t fine. He’s done the same thing spiritually and I’ve ignored that too. Leading vs. following isn’t necessarily right vs. wrong. You can lead yourself and others astray, or you can follow someone in the path of righteousness. You can lead someone to Christ, or you can follow someone to Hell. Your mind’s eye and your ears have got to be tuned into Christ to keep the candle burning and your body filled with the light of His word and ways.

Light vs. Dark

36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

In the battle of light vs. dark, the light always wins out when given the opportunity. Darkness has to flee when light enters the room.

James 4:7 says: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Glory to God, He wins! But the key to personal victory is our submission. The world is ready to fill you full of darkness through music, television, books, magazines, internet and any other means of media as well as people. It can all be evil, the same way it can be good. It’s our choice that makes the difference.

What are you filling your eyes and ears with today? Is it filling you with light or darkness? Is your candle burning brightly for the cause of Christ, or is it so dim the world doesn’t even see its flame?

Light the world for Christ today! Fill your mind, body and soul with everything good!

Carried to the Table

 

Carried to the Table (Writer(s): Leeland Mooring, Marc Byrd, Steve Hindalo)

I had forgotten this song until I did a study today about Mephibosheth… and suddenly i remembered… 2 Samuel 9 I believe. How awesome it is to be a guest at the Kings table and all my brokenness is hidden beneath. God only sees the healed and unashamed Shari. Oh, like the song, I’m flawed and unfinished, but not in the eyes of God….


The story of Mephibosheth found in 2 Samuel 9 is the story of David honoring his promise to Jonathan. He had promised that he would take care of Jonathan’s family if something were to happen, and not long after Jonathan and his father Saul were killed in battle. Mephibosheth, being five years old, was swept up by a servant and run with in fear. The culture of the day would have had the predecessors’ family killed if a new family was on the throne, so there was no doubt some concern in Mephibosheth’s life for his safety. The servant fell on the child and he was lame from then on. He likely didn’t know how close David and Jonathan were or anything about the promise.Table

David sought out Jonathan to stand true to his word.

This piece of history is a wonderful example of the redemption available to those who come humbly before the Lord. Mephibosheth, in all his brokenness, feeling unworthy of the honor, fell at the Kings feet and with his request for grace he was made to sit and dine with the King. Nothing to be ashamed of, he was as a son of David, and his brokenness was concealed by the King’s table.

I understand broken and unworthy. I also understand grace, because I too dine with the King of kings and Lord of lords. He never looks on my brokenness, only the fact that I am His child and because He is King, and I am chosen, I have the right to sit at the table.  So do you.

Then Sings my Soul

then sings my soulSinging ~ it seems to be where my focus of late has been and I have to be very careful, because the flesh can rise up within me, and the very gift that God gave me to glorify Him can become an instrument of distraction. It’s such an enjoyable experience in its own right but couple that with the praises of men and it’s suddenly missing the point. The point being that God gave us our voices to vocalize Him to a lost world. It’s not that I don’t think singers are worth their hire or that they shouldn’t be encouraged through complimentary remarks, because I think anyone who serves the Lord in any capacity is worth their hire and deserve encouragement. It speaks of that in the book of Nehemiah 13:10 when it was said “And I perceived that the portions of the Levite had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.”  The singers went home… that would be a sad day. But I don’t write of being worth my hire, I write of being worthy of my calling and that comes with an accountability factor for having been given the gift of song, or any gift we’re given (insert yours here, you’ve got one.)

David wrote in

Psalm 33: 1-5

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.

Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Have Gift Will Travel

David obviously was a talented musician and people enjoyed him. When Saul was troubled in soul after being disobedient to God and losing the protection of his position as King, David was summoned to play music.

1 Samuel 16:23

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

David’s anointing in music brought peace to Saul’s troubled soul. And for me that’s what music is about and why so many people are drawn to it. But in the same manner that I’m drawn to perform and others are drawn to listen, the music should edify the soul and encourage the listener. I’m not one to sing “the blues.” And I don’t mean the genre, I speak of the mentality or spirit of being blue. If I’m singing I want it to take the listener to a place of comfort. That’s what gospel music does for me. Secular music is fine, and I like singing a silly song or two or a love song, but I want to leave the listener happy and I want my life to always point others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. A dark song takes people to a dark place… and God’s not in the darkness.

Having a Gift takes Time

David said to play skillfully. Well, let me tell you… that takes time! As well as a tolerance of joint pain and calloused fingers. But if the musician/singer is going to be worth their hire, God expects an investment. And with the blessing of God upon me with opportunities to sing His praises I’ve been putting more and more time into song. But that’s not to take away from my gift of words which can happen so easily because the music is a finished product that springs immediate joy up in my soul. The words require creation… and study and must be formed from the ground up. But they have the same effect on the soul… encouragement. And they have the same accountability factor. Both are labor, but are labors of love.

Having a gift is Good

David wrote that the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. And one of His things of goodness is the gifts that He grants. Are you using yours for His glory? Are you using it to its fullest potential? That’s the questions that I ponder myself today…

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I’ve come to appreciate the weird

CHICK WHEAT

How easy it is to fall into the mundaneness of life. We are creatures of habit and routines that become the accepted way of our day and anything outside that realm upsets the apple cart, or the wheat cart as related to today’s scripture. I’m one who’s more apt to be anything but the norm but I too can get into the mundane of life spiritually speaking very quickly. I have to work at keeping my faith on fire because Satan stands ready to quench it at every opportunity and often times with a good dose of normal.

Matthew 3:11-12

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Fire Starter and Fashion Stopper

John the Baptist fanned the flames of the religious crowd. They thrived on normal, religious practices and ceremonial acts that looked fancy and gave their self-righteous egos a boost. But enter on scene the camel clad, bug and honey eating John, preaching repentance and stirring up the fires of faith and the normal seekers were out of their element and not very happy about it. John had caused quite a stir in the community by preaching of the Messiah that was about to be made known and in the process calling out the Sadducees and Pharisees calling them a “generation of vipers” in verse 7. I would venture a guess that that is the equivalency of our “snake in the grass” sentiment of today. Yes, John had upset the norm.  His taste of style didn’t fit their flair, nor did his taste of locust and honey likely fulfill their dietary delights. To be honest, if John entered my home town I’d think he was a little weird too.

I’ve come to appreciate weird.

I attended for my third year, Winter Jam (a Christian Rock Concert) kicking and screaming all the way. Not really, but it’s not my favorite music; however it is some of my favorite people and friends of the faith, so I go… with a “bless me if you can attitude.” And God said… “Okay I will.” And He did. With the exception of couple of the acts who I considered to be loud and obnoxious, at which time I scoped out the merchandise tables. But my point is this… to the judgmental religious crowd the Winter Jam scene is all locusts. It really bugs them. So much so that they feel compelled to preach and condemn on the banks of the river while the Holy Spirit has arrived in the water.

It’s not their norm. Those weird dressing people with the long hair and strange message in music upsets their wheat cart.

Well, it didn’t upset mine. I felt the fan blowing the chaff (unimportant, useless things) out of my life as the Holy Spirit moved the crowd and moved my heart to do more for the Kingdom of God. It wasn’t my normal, Baptist service. Those bands will likely never don the platform of my home church, and that’s okay, because that’s not how we worship there. Our multigenerational crowd worships in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

And that’s what matters most.

Goal for 2016… Be less normal. Unusual. Some might say I’ve been practicing that for years…

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Rest, Reasoning and Relaxation with God’s Word

chick ponderingEvery time I pick up God’s precious word it speaks to me. Sometimes like a child in Sunday School class who wants to tell you everything that happened at the house this week. They need to catch you up on the latest and greatest; and other times in commentator form… slow and detailed. And then I realize, no, that’s how I read it. And guess which one I’m apt to be reading as. There’s nothing usually slow and detailed about me. More likely than not I’m a “Let’s skip to the chase” kind of gal.

Skipping details can, if you’re not cautious, gets you into trouble. It may not be coincidence that fast talkers are slow learners.

My morning began about 4:30 a.m. as I lay in bed with my mind rushing to and fro like an intersection at rush hour. I need to get this done and this done and this done. I want to do this, but I have to make sure this is done first and wait… I’ll have company this morning so… GET UP!!!

So I do.

I brewed the coffee, picked a couple of tunes on the guitar, worked out a fiddle lesson for my niece Phebe, ate some cereal and settled in on the couch. And when I finally stopped trying to write my day for me, God said… shssshhh. Let’s just be still for a minute and so I was…

And there in the stillness I heard the songs I’d been practicing lately

Peace be Still

There is a Time

Come as You Are

Each one of those songs preaches a sermon to my heart, each one has made me shed tears. This morning His word brings them together. The world is chaos. Between the political mayhem and the arrogance of anti-God rhetoric on the television my mind is often tumultuous; and that’s not good for someone who’s mind already runs like a race horse. I feel like I’m about to wreck!

PEACE BE STILL

Mark 4:39 

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

I love the song, I love the scripture, and I love the Lord Jesus who calms the chaos in my mind with just three small words. Oh what power there is those words though! No matter the turmoil Isis and other political parties try to stir they cannot un-calm the peace of God. They do not have the power over the ocean.  They can stir no more than a puddle. Thank you Jesus for that peace this morning!

THERE IS A TIME

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

The seasons work in perfect harmony for creation. In West Virginia we’re in Autumn, the leaves have fallen to the ground and the earth is gray and barren around our home. But if I just wait a few more months, the earth will come back to life and a new season will begin. This chaos that we experience on earth… it too is a season.  The arrogance and anti-God rhetoric will die and God’s purpose will be fulfilled.

We read of a city John saw coming down from God out of Heaven,
The walls are of Jasper, the gates are of Pearl, the streets of pure gold;
He tells of a pure river of life that flows from the throne,
And after we’ve reached that beautiful place we’ll know as we’re known

Lyrics from “Let’s meet by the River”

COME AS YOU ARE

My new guitar piece that I’m working on is a song by Crowder called “Come as you Are.” Oh my stars… the lyrics to this song are just beyond! I don’t know of anyone in my life who’s not been broken in one form or another, but recently my heart breaks in two as I see the anguish on the faces and I know that I have the answer but they refuse to listen. They’re trying to fix their own life, scrubbing and buffing the fenders of the car until they shine, not noticing that the engine is missing. They want their lives to look perfect to the world, and to the world it just might… but God looks inside. And what He sees is an empty space that He longs to fill and provide the peace that they desire, but aren’t willing. And I am not of this world… so I see it too. That’s the spiritual discernment that God affords His children.

Matthew 11:28

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

I am so grateful to serve a God Who is Able to

Calm my storm

Give reason for ever season

And give rest to the weary…

When Change has gone too far

chick change

Change has gone too far when the gospel no longer looks or sounds like the good news and Jesus no longer looks or sounds like the Jesus found in Scripture. – Outreach Magazine

That was a quote in an article in Outreach Magazine that  I read this morning that caused me to go, yep, that’s what I’ve been thinking, I just hadn’t put it that eloquently. I would say something more along the lines of “That doesn’t work,” or “Show me where Jesus was in that.” Both of which immediately put those on the other side of my argument on the defensive. And this comment might, but I think not. Because this comment puts Jesus right in the front of the conversation; and you have to go around Him to argue it. Once you’ve done that the argument is essentially over because Christ is no longer in the picture.

I’m all about change, I love the latest and the greatest. If there’s a new tech toy trending, I need it. Not, I want it… I need it. No, it’s not a healthy need. But I have a curiosity level that resembles that of a toddler. If you don’t believe me look at the “stack” of techy things in my living room; I’ll go one further and say look at the stack of instruments in my living room. I go from old to new it matters not, because I can make the old new again. But here I am at 52 years of age learning to play the fiddle, mandolin, guitar and upright bass. I figure I don’t have enough years left to try one at a time and that plays well into my Attention Deficit Disordered personality.

The problem lies when we treat church the same. I must reiterate the thought that I’m all about change, until the change has Jesus standing on the outside of the church asking to be allowed back in.

When change works:

Jesus was a culturally adept Savior. The culture was the people He met on the street, the hard working blue collar workers as well as the prostitutes and politicians. It was not the people at the church who were trying to fit the world into their building. Jesus said they were stinky, empty tombs.

Matthew 23:27

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

And while that is certainly an excellent description of the religious crowd it could just as well be said to those who are shouting loud how “culturally correct” they are and yet I don’t see Jesus. Jesus met in the middle with the commoner on a level ground where everyone could love on Him. Yes, He was extreme, but He spoke clearly. Yes, He offended…those whose hearts were not right with the Lord, He did not offend His own people.

As a youth leader I want to keep it hip and fresh. Yes, I am aware “hip” is an old word, I am an old woman, but I still like youthful things. That is why I attended Winter Jam with a few of our youth back in the winter. It wasn’t my genre of music, I’m a bluegrasser, but I enjoyed parts of it. It was the parts that I didn’t enjoy that I still have an issue with and are always in the forefront of my mind when I’m pondering the direction of our youth ministry.

  1. When the music level of a few of the bands got to the point where babies cried and my ears physically hurt I didn’t see nor hear Jesus. And I don’t really think He would approve of them causing hearing loss in His creation. Just sayin’.
  2. When a few of the groups screamed into a mike and called it music, and said they were proclaiming the gospel, yet I didn’t understand a word they said, I disagree that they are proclaiming the gospel. Jesus may have hung out with rockers, but He spoke clearly.
  3. When one group of guys “pranced” across the stage and sang a song about a chainsaw I thought… I don’t see Jesus.

Now for the flip side of that coin. If we expect youth to sit in a church that makes no attempt to keep it relevant to their world they’re not going to see Jesus either. I’m not talking about the preaching time. That time is between God and the man of God. And if He is preaching the Word… leave Him be. Kids need to be in a preaching service, whether that is one of their own or the regular worship hour. They need to see the gospel preached. But when it comes to the Sunday School hour and the youth ministries, that time should be their time, exclusively.

  1. Keeping it culturally correct doesn’t mean doing everything they like.
  2. Whatever it is that you do, when you’re done they better have seen Jesus, or you were just entertaining.
  3. Only infants like to be read to. If they are above the age of two, stop it.
  4. Invest in them both financially and on the clock.
  5. Find out what’s trending in their world, good or bad and then talk about it.
  6. Make sure it’s a two way conversation.
  7. All of these rules apply to adults as well!

 

Three ways to encourage God to encourage you

Chick Bluegrass

My heart was overflowing this morning. I’ve spent two days in a prayer conference listening to great men of God expound the truth of the glorious gospel. They stirred my soul…convicted me of my mediocre living for Christ and then encouraged me to do more. I followed that with Wednesday night service at my own church; where, going in half prepared because of my week of traveling, God still came down and met with that group of teens. A packed house in our little class room, knee to knee they sat, some listening… some not. That’s okay, I don’t always listen either.

I’m straying away from the “But Now” series for today; kind of a station break of sorts to encourage you with the message that God gave me quickly today. It was the verse of the day on Biblegateway.com and it bated me in, hooked me and then reeled me into the rest of the chapter like an eager fish.

Psalm 33

Three ways to encourage God to encourage you!

PRAISE HIM AND BE HAPPY!

Praising God makes you pretty! Who knew? Well God for one, and I guess the writer of the Psalm had figured it out.

Vs. 1~   Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.

There’s something about a person who’s in the process of praise. I’m not sure I’d call it a Shechinah glory, but the presence of God is obvious, it’s beautiful and they’re happy. Even if they’re in the throes of the worst battle of their life, if they begin to praise God He brings an unexplainable joy to their soul.

Tell somebody how good God is, and watch your heart get happy.

PRAISE HIM WITH BLUEGRASS (and don’t be a slacker)!!!

Okay that’s not in there, but it’s close:

Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

See… I’m not lying. Those were the tools of bluegrass in the formative years. God said to play a new song and do it well. This is my take on that… When you sing before the congregation of the Lord, or before the kitchen table as I have this evening, sing like it’s the first time you’ve stood before Him and  give Him your  best. I cannot tell you the times I have been ill prepared and well prepared to sing, and Heaven came down, and times that I’ve sang and Heaven didn’t even open a window. It’s a matter of the heart. But God loves a good bluegrass song! And other genres too, that just happens to be my fav. Sing a song to the Lord and He’ll encourage you.

PRAISE HIM JUST BECAUSE

For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

God is good all the time.

A few days ago when ISIS was at it again, I awoke in the middle of the night and began praying for that family. My heart was broken. I didn’t have to know them, I just knew if it was someone I loved I would have wanted someone to pray for me. I didn’t know how to pray. I wanted to pray… God send a bomb down on top of those people and let it not kill them right away. I was that angry. And then I thought, “No, God died for them too, I have to forgive them.” But how? How is it humanly possible to forgive someone that heinous? It’s not. But with God, all things are possible. And God is good. I just have to go on that and praise Him in the good times and bad and let Him have His day of judgment on them. Praise Him for He is worthy, and if ISIS stops our praise, they’ve won another battle.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of blessings in Psalm 33. I encourage you to read the rest yourself.

On a personal note, if I encourage you… please pray for this ministry, God’s will and share the messages so that I might encourage others. I can’t do it without ya. And it sure wouldn’t be as much fun.

But Now… that’s not My song

Chick knows

Job 35:10-15

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.  Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:

So today is not about me… again. But I thought it was when I lay in bed this morning arguing with God that I was growing weary of this “but now” series. My Attention Deficit Disorder thought there was likely something shinier I needed to be looking at. Ha! God said. My Word always shines!

So last night I’m sitting at home and I get an unusual call from a fella who’s near and dear to me, but the last thing he usually wants to discuss is church; because he knows I’ll be on him like white on rice. But this time he’s on me. Sunday morning, when I was where I was, and he was where he was, he’d seen a video on one of the cable music channels. He had previously heard this song on a local radio station, but this time it had images to go with it and a purpose; and none of it was good. The song is titled “Take me to Church” and can be found on Youtube by clicking the song title. I don’t recommend it if you’re squeamish, but it was needful for he and I to see it, because God had a message for us both.

I quickly skimmed the song facts before returning my friends call to answer as to “what I thought of the song.” The song was successful in that it’s intended design was to slam Christianity. The singer, Andrew Hozier Byrne, was quoted on songfacts.com

Written in the wake of a breakup with his first girlfriend, this is both a love song and a contemplation of sin, drawing influence from the late atheist writer Christopher Hitchens. Hozier described it to The Guardian as, “a bit of a losing your religion.

I found it odd that he was quoting an atheistic view point, but capitalizes the name of God in his article, as if God were someone. Well, He is Someone. But He’s not who they characterize in the video. The song criticizes the oppression of gay people in Russia and is said by Hozier that it’s not “an attack on faith.”

Well, this seriously isn’t an attack on Hozier, because he’s not the one responsible for that song. He was a tool, and mightily used by Satan himself. The friend who called was not affectionate of gay people. As a matter of fact, you would more than likely find him either telling or laughing at a gay joke. He’s a red-blooded American boy brought up in the heart of the country. But this song struck a chord in him. The chord that it was intended to strike; the one that paints the church as a narcissistic governing body of people that preach hate.

So, I had some explaining to do. Because it is unfortunate that we are portrayed that way because of a few (by comparison to the numbers who don’t preach hate).

So back to the “But Now” scripture in Job that I whined to God about. Elihu, the “friend” of Job is he who speaks the words in scripture. He too touts to Job that it is obviously because of his wrong living that he has landed in these dire straights.

Elihu is not singing God’s song.

Neither are the religious that damn the homosexual. Because as it says in John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” And the gay person is no greater a sinner than the drunkard or the glutton, yet they are all sinners and need redemption.

God does hear vanity, and He ain’t happy

Elihu said that surely God will not hear vanity, insinuating that Job was being self-centered because of his suffering. Really, Christian folk do that? Yes! Every time we fail to hear the cry of a hurting soul because of their sin, thinking that they “brought their suffering upon themselves,” it is we who are vain and stand in the place of God, judging.

Judgment will come… on the sinner and the church folk too

As I said before, this isn’t about Hozier. He needs to know that Jesus loves him. But what Satan meant this song to do is convince him that Jesus hates him, and that’s a lie right out of the pits of Hell. Christian’s who preach hatred will have their day before God. I’m not saying they’re lost, because Christian people make bad decisions and God doesn’t throw them out of Heaven for it. But they will stand before an Almighty and Powerful God and answer as to why they drove someone away from Jesus.

But Now… God’s song is “Jesus loves me this I know.”

Click on the song link and give the Devil his due!

But Now… Somebody get my fiddle!

chick fiddler2 Kings 3:15

But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.

One thing that will almost assuredly bring joy to my soul is music. And stringed music that much more; it’s the basics that I love. So my “But Now” verse for today was literally music to my ear when I see the Lord setting the stage for victory through a bluegrasser! (Yes I know that’s a stretch, but a girl can dream can’t she?) Although it was harp that was played, it was still the foundation for the fiddle that would come along in the 16th century. And it matters not to me what particular instrument but rather the fact that God used it and my favorite thing in the world (the Word of God) together.

To set the stage for you in this text, it is the story of two Kings, normally at odds with one another. But this day they had formed an allegiance against a common enemy. King Jehoram of Israel met with Jehoshaphat king of Judah and together they met with the king of Edom and made this agreement in 2 Kings 3:7-8

And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses. And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

But as they traveled, 7 days into the journey they ran out of water and then began to wonder if it was God’s will at all for them to go to this battle, and whether or not He had set them up to get them killed!

10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

Ha! can I relate to that one. Halfway down any road in life I’ve asked myself that question, so you’ll find me throwing no stones at the kings. But here they are at the crossroad of battling Moab or tuckin’ their tales and turning home and they decide to seek the wisdom of God, which would come through, at that time, a man of God named Elisha. They’re not as privileged as we who are saved today and seek God’s wisdom from within.

I love Elisha’s response when they arrive to ask him to seek God for them; he has to get at least one jab in to the king of Israel who at that time worshipped other gods. He promptly tells him if it wasn’t for his buddy he’d not give him the time of day. That’s Shari quoted… read it for yourself…

14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

Elisha preached it like it was, and the king of Israel did not take him to a happy place. But here comes the fiddle! Okay it was a harp. But before Elisha gives them an answer he needs to set the tone for worship and he does that through stringed music. The rest of the story, they find water and they win the battle through the hand of God!

The lesson here? Before any battle, be it of flesh or foe we need to seek the Lord and we need to do so with a heart of worship. The Battle is His alone. Elisha set his mind on the things above by using the tools below. We have them at our disposal… we just fail to use them. One of my favorite fiddle pieces that would cause Squire Parsons to grimace at the least is “Beulah Land.” Oh…. I have but to lay my bow to the string and draw the first note before God enters my presence… I think He likes Squire’s song too.  Are you facing a battle and needing an answer? I suggest you take Elisha’s advice and call the minstrel, and make sure it’s a song God likes…

But now… Somebody get my fiddle.

A New Member of My Family

Photo: 1975 Fritz Otto Kaiser viola purchased today... needs some work, but the more I learn about her the more I'm determined she's a beauty!

I’d like to introduce you to Gretchen, a German made viola purchased from a Pawn Shop in Lewis County, West Virginia yesterday. Her name means “Pearl” and although I have yet to get her valued, I’m hoping she’s a Pearl of great price. This morning as I looked upon her in the case and ran a cloth across her wood I realized she has much in common with the common Christian, who also are pearls of a great price!

The beauty of a pearl is in its luster. Any marring of the surface of the pearl will diminish the luster, thereby reducing the beauty of the pearl. Because pearls are relatively soft gemstones, their surface is susceptible to damage from hard objects,as well as over-exposure to arid environments (i.e., air conditioning, desert climates) and ultra-violet rays. Also true in the care of a violin (or viola in the case of Miss Gretchen). Her wood is dry and worn, likely from the climate it was stored, the surface is marred a little, she’s lost a little of her luster. She was so far out of tune, one string almost detached from no one having played her. The bow was without rosin and squeaked across her out of tune strings making me cringe when I picked her up out of the case at the Pawn shop. She had been cast away un-cared for until the day I found her.

Her resemblance to many of the Christians that I meet on a daily basis had the same effect on my heart… broken. Because I knew there had been an earlier day that she was in fine tune; her song was one of beauty and brought joy to the hearts of music appreciators. But over time she had spent less and less time with the Master and now she lay dry, on a storage shelf and there was little life in her. But I also knew that with a little TLC (tender love and care) I could possibly restore her to her earlier glory and once again she’d be back in service.

So, child of God… does my new found friend Gretchen bear a resemblance to you? Have you pulled away from the Master in service, thinking your song would be better sung in a version the world would accept. After all the gospel song is not appreciated in every venue. And while that’s true, its the only venue that the anointing oil of God is upon, and the location with the greatest blessing.

Matthew 13:45-46 speaks of that pearl of a great price – Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. And while I’m uncertain of the value of Miss Gretchen in the world, I know of the value of her to me already. I didn’t have to sell all that I had to purchase her, she was just $75.00. But the price paid for you and I by the Lord Jesus was indeed priceless. He gave His life so that we could have a relationship with Him and enjoy that precious oil of favor. Away from Him we are dry and brittle and apt to fall apart.

It’s the Lord’s day! you’ve been given another chance for restoration. I hope today finds you a.m. or p.m. in the house of the Lord singing His song.