Have you ever heard someone complain about the music in church? Have you ever heard someone say they didn’t want to go to a particular church because there was no air conditioning? I know some people who did not attend church because they did not like the music that was planned for that particular Sunday. I know people who skipped church during the hot summer months because the air conditioner was not working. Some people only attend church when it suits them, when it is comfortable, when it fits into the schedule.
Today’s passage talks about God’s kingdom being like a treasure hidden in a field, an awesome treasure that is found. The Message states that “the finder is ecstatic.” Ecstatic. What joy!?! How awesome!?! What a treasure!?!
How awesome it is to have a thirst for God, to want so badly to grow closer to Him. I know people who are so desperate to know Jesus, they risk their lives and travel miles barefoot to get to a church. They have to worry that people will attack them. Some people have their Bibles taken. But they want so badly to know Jesus. There are people who want God no matter what, and then there are people who want God, but do not really want to undergo what it might take to get to know Him. Remember this great treasure. What a beautiful, amazing treasure we each can find.
““God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.” – Matthew 13:44 [MSG]
My son started playing the trombone at the start of this school year. Some people warned me that I would be in for trouble, and that the noise of his practices would drive me crazy. I have not found that to be true at all. When he practices, I always want to be nearby so I can listen in to hear his progression. I heard his struggles with notes, his first successful run of notes, his hushed “yes” under his breath, and his silly behavior to get him through it all. Now I recognize the songs he is playing and it sounds great. It was such a blessing to be able to have these moments and to continue to have these moments.
God loves to hear our beautiful music too. Some of us may be struggling with notes, and not have an ear to even reach the notes that are written. I remember this one time my son made this high pitched squeaking noise come out from his trombone that I jumped a foot in the air. I prayed that it never happened again, but I stayed in my chair and kept listening. God loves every time we sing, even with the squeaky notes that cause others to cringe. It is not about hitting the right notes, about getting the song just right. The most beautiful music comes from the heart.
Our God is an awesome God. He is our Lord, our Creator, the great I AM. He is our Comforter, or Saviour. He is our All in All. Today, as you are faced with struggles and triumphs, the good and the bad, don’t forget to sing to the Lord. Praise His great name. If you’re like me, it’ll warm your heart.
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!”
– Psalm 150:6 [NASB]
At times we slip up and end up having to face the music. I would say it is usually not fun; however, it is a part of life. When you make a mistake, make the wrong decision, go against the rules, etc., there are consequences. This morning my daughter didn’t want to school, because she knew she would have to face the consequences of forgetting her homework at school. She understood she deserved the punishment for missing her homework, but she didn’t want to face the hardship of the punishment.
I have taken notice to a lot of parents who try to keep their children from punishment and discipline. I use the word “discipline” also because punishment is given to those for justice of wrongdoing, but discipline is training that will help correct and perfect a person. I have heard a parent say, “Well I feel bad for him.” It is okay to empathize about the situation, because we have all had to undergo consequences; however, we cannot try to teach them to avoid the consequences. We cannot tell them ways to get around facing the music.
In the Bible, we have a lot of promises of blessing and of love. We can read some verses standing alone and feel like we are basking in the love of the Father and the world is ours. But if the Bible is read closely, there is another side that people like to leave out of the equation. There is punishment and discipline in life. There are consequences. Our consequence for sin is separation from God. We have redemption through the blood of Christ; however, it doesn’t give us a free pass to go on sinning, nor does it change the fact that there are consequences for our actions. We are not perfect either, and so we need discipline to help make us a better person.
Today, maybe you have some consequences that you need to face for your actions. Perhaps you have been putting off being honest because you do not want to face what comes next. Or maybe you are a parent and you try to shield your child from facing punishment. Please know that if you “protect” your child from punishment, then you are saying that their actions are okay. You are teaching the child that they do not deserve the punishment.
My daughter went to school today without her homework. She will be stuck serving time instead of enjoying recess. It will help her to understand that she needs to remember to do her homework. We all make mistakes and misjudgments; we all face the consequences. Nonetheless, if you are honest about your shortcomings and you face the music, you experience personal growth and you become a better person. You may not see it at first, but understand that God loves you and He wants the very best for you.
“For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
– Hebrews 12:10-11 [NASB]
When I was a little girl, I can remember sneaking over to my parent’s secret stash of records (yes records). I would pull the record out of the cover, and delicately place it on the spindle. As I got older, I was given a radio and tape player combo. It was one of my prized possessions, and every moment I had, I would sit and listen to the radio and record clips to playback later. My favorite artist at that time was Amy Grant. “Father’s Eyes” was my all-time favorite.
I never lost this passion for music. Though I am not blessed with a voice that moves people to tears (unless tears of pain), I simply cannot get enough of music. It is the same way with God’s Word. I can read the Bible over and over again, and it’s never enough. I have this undying thirst to quench.
I always tell people that faith and music was what I had going for me as a child. Oddly enough, I can look back on the past year and see that most of this year was focused on God, His Word, and music. I have dabbled in music and video editing, participated in music promotions, and even written some music. But as I messed around in the world of music, my heart was still with my Best Friend.
The great thing is that although my singing is not appealing to many, God loves to hear me sing; He loves to hear us all sing. This might be a bit surprising to some people who feel that we must walk before God in a conservative manner, pretending to be something we are not. I’m sorry, but who wears a tie that is that straight? Who stands so perfectly? No one.
God doesn’t want a show; He wants our heart. You can give Him that wearing flip-flops and a stained shirt. Our best isn’t the most expensive outfit we have in our closet, nor is it what society has labeled at the top of the list. Our best is all of us, our whole being. And before you ask, no, you cannot haggle to get a different deal with a more fair percentage. This percentage is perfectly fair.
Yesterday was a tough day for me. I started to get the sense of being overwhelmed. This feeling didn’t last very long. I could feel it coming, and I acted quickly. When storms come your way, when things seem to pile up, or when you just need a moment to breathe, where do you go? What do you do? Do you take a walk? I do at times. Do you call a friend? I do at times. Do you take a nap? There are times I only wish I could. Yesterday, I wanted to scream. I wanted to stomp on the floor like a little child who did not get her way; however, I didn’t.
When we don’t get what we want, when things are not what we planned, we can’t act like a 2-year-old and think it will get better. We need to understand that God has better things planned that our human minds cannot even fathom. We also need to keep ourselves in check. Even when things seem so bad, I just turn my head to the left or the right, and I see someone who has it worse. We all have something we are going through– it is how we react to the situation(s) that show our true colors. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all very blessed.
So when I felt myself getting overwhelmed, I put on my own private jam session. I don’t have the records to sneak, nor do I have my old radio and tape player combo. Today we have iTunes. Click, click, and there it is with no skipping and no stopping. And as the music began, I looked upward and sang. I sang loud. Yes, God doesn’t need us to sing loud, but I wanted to let Him know that I wanted nothing more than to sing to Him at that very moment. I wanted to thank Him for everything. I have so much to be thankful for, so much that I could sing praises 24 hours a day and it wouldn’t be enough.
Psalm 150, the Psalm of Praise, comes to mind. Verse 6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” [NASB].