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Are You in Tune with God?

I spent five years as a member of my school band.  Playing the alto saxophone as a novice required hours of practice each week.  As long as I put in the necessary time, progress was made, developing an ear for music.  However, the older I became, other things took priority causing my musical talent to slip.  Before long I was one of the worst members of my junior high band, completely out of tune with the songs for our spring concert.

He was stating the matter plainly [not holding anything back]. Then Peter took Him aside and began to reprimand Him, Mark 8:32.

If setting aside time to perfect an instrument is key to remaining sharp, then spending a portion of your day praying, reading the Bible and listening to worship music is crucial to staying in tune with God.  Delaying, postponing or skipping this portion of your day will have a similar impact on your life.  Initial signs may be relatively obscure.  However, the more Bibles collect dust, prayers cease and Sunday becomes a day without attending church, attitudes, behavior and life styles will change for the worse.

But turning around [with His back to Peter] and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan; for your mind is not set on God’s will or His values and purposes, but on what pleases man,” Mark 8:33.

Whenever someone makes a scene in public, this is an obvious sign that an individual is out of tune with God.  After Jesus laid everything on the line to his disciples, disclosing his future death, Peter scolded Jesus.  While its unclear how long this occurred, Jesus responds with a powerful statement, referring to Peter as Satan.  Instead of meditating upon and pondering what Jesus said, Peter had an emotional outburst.  Though its never pleasant to see someone explode, these acts serve as a warning that you are not in tune with God.  Therefore, the next tune you are about to lose it, be still so that you can get back in tune with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Few Wrong Notes

As a former alto saxophone player, it doesn’t take much to ruin a concert.  One wrong note, breathe or mistake can lead to humiliation.  However, sometimes a musician might deviate from the script, experimenting with a certain song or sound.  For Neil Young, a few wrong notes at a cafe in Ontario opened the door for this 18 year old aspiring artist.  As Paul Harvey famously stated, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens, Psalm 150:1.

Hollywood’s version of a few wrong notes is illustrated by the Tom Hanks movie That Thing You Do.  When Guy Patterson, a back up drummer called into action after the regular drummer breaks his arm, he speeds up the song with a faster, hipper tempo.  Subsequently, lead vocalist and song writer Jimmy Mattingly is forced to follow this beat.  When this version of the song That Thing You Do hits the air waves, the Wonders become an overnight sensation.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, Psalm 150:6.

In the book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis uses a piano analogy to introduce the Law of Human Nature.  Without knowledge of notes or reading a music sheet, chaos usually ensues.  However, when basic principles are introduced, people develop an ear for what’s right and wrong.  In this life, God has given every individual a conscience to guide us.  The more individuals become in tune with God, a few wrong notes are easily recognizable.  Unfortunately, for those who wander down the wrong path, justification and realization take over blinding people from the truth.  Before arrogance or pride take over, may the Holy Spirit open your eyes to the few wrong notes you are playing so your final song will end in eternity.

by Jay Mankus

Staying in Tune

There was a time in my life when I possessed musical talents.  For three years I played the alto saxophone, improving each year.  When I visited my grandmother for the holidays, I quickly picked up the piano, able to play Christmas carols.  Unfortunately, some where along the way, my interests waned, forgetting the notes, rhythm and ability to play an instrument.

Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen, Amos 5:23.

C.S. Lewis adds a piano analogy within Mere Christianity.  In one of his introductory chapters, Lewis takes three key components: tune, notes and music sheet.  For performers to correctly play an instrument, it must be tuned properly to produce a quality sound.   Next, individuals must have the knowledge to play the appropriate key or note.  Finally, unless you understand how to read a music sheet, a song doesn’t flow or make sense.

And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him, 1 Samuel 16:23.

Beyond music, these elements are essential if you want to stay in tune with God.  The conscience in connection with the Holy Spirit enables individuals to discern God’s still small voice.  Convictions, gut feelings and minds swayed by prayer serve as notes, clues as to where to go and what to do.  Finally, as people begin to read and study the Bible, principles for life are revealed like notes on a music sheet.  While C.S Lewis’ words are more than a half of a century old, these timeless truths provide a guide to stay in tune with God.

by Jay Mankus

 

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