Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Song

For those who feel like God has called you to a difficult path, who are weary and discouraged, who are tempted to walk or run away...may you hear your Shepherd's tender voice today. May you listen to His loving words. May you receive from Him more grace, grace to stay. To stay the course, to stay in faith, to stay in hope, to stay surrendered. To stay, and one day see the victory and the harvest.

God bless you.

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me...My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." -John 10:14, 27

Don’t Run Away

Lord, you’ve called me by name, told me who I am,
Promised me that you have good plans,
You’ve given me blessings true,
Amazed me, as I’ve seen more of you!
Yet at times the path you choose for me
Is so different than what I hoped it’d be.
It’s so hard, so filled with sweat and tears,
With every challenge, I lift up continual prayers.
By faith I move forward, one tiny step by step,
Til the moment when I feel I can’t take another breath,
When my strength is gone, and my eyes can’t see,
When weary and overwhelmed, I fall to my knees,
When I look to other paths, where life seems easy,
And cry out, questioning why you chose this one for me.

How many times have I been here,
At the crossroad of faith and fear?

How many times have I heard you say,
“My child, don’t run away.”
Gently, you take my hand, you draw my gaze,
Til I listen to your thoughts, your ways.
“Child, you don’t see now where this painful path leads,
But trust my heart, let your tears be the seeds.
There is purpose in the process, growth through the pain,
What looks easy has little value, lacking eternal gain.
Keep believing my promises, know I want your best,
Stay on your path, and you will reap the harvest.”

Lord, it’s only your grace that has carried me this far,
It’s only your love that has comforted my heart
Each time I’ve cried out in despair or agony,
You’ve never failed or forsaken me.
Still at times I’m so weak,
I need more of your power, your strength.
You’ve called me to an impossible task,
Help me remember my willingness is all you ask.
You alone can raise the dead,
Or move my feet one more step ahead.
Where does this path lead? Only you know.
No matter how hard, or when I want to go,
Don’t let me turn aside, or ever say, “I’m through,”
Because you know deep inside, I want to follow you.

When I hear you speak,
“Beloved, don’t run away,”
Please pour more grace over me,
Help me listen, help me stay.

by Joanna K. Harris ©2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Play Your Song

I love good music. I enjoy listening for the various instruments in an orchestra, trying to identify each one adding its unique voice to the unified whole. There’s something inspiring about all the different instruments working together in harmony to create a beautiful sound. It delights my soul.

It also makes me wonder if God feels the same about us. Does He look at His children and delight to hear each of us playing our special part in His symphony? I think He does.

Ephesians 4:16 says it this way:
"From him (Jesus) the whole body (the church), joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

In this metaphor of the church as a body, it's clear that each of us has a special role to play. As we live that out in love, the whole body grows and is blessed.

Here on earth we understand about physical bodies. We live in them, are limited by them, and experience good and bad with them. From our earthly view, the body is a good metaphor for us to consider.

From a heavenly perspective, where there aren't physical limitations like here on earth, perhaps a better metaphor for us is an orchestra. As the heavenly host is observing our lives, what do they see? What do they hear?

Do they see us working together in harmony? Do they hear each of us playing the special melody God has written...just for you, just for me?

Do you know what your song is?

Are you learning how to play it?

Is anything holding you back from sounding those beautiful notes with your life?

For me, I think I spent a lot of years quietly chiming in with a random note here or there. When it seemed like there was other music playing loudly and it felt safe to contribute without anyone noticing, I'd play a few notes. I didn't fully understand or embrace my role in the orchestra.

Lately it seems like God isn't letting me stay quiet as much. It's like I see the Conductor pointing His baton at me and calling me to sound out my notes loud and clear.

It's not that my song is better or worse than anyone else's. It's just my song. And God wants to hear it. He wrote it just for me. He doesn't want me to leave it on the music sheet. He wants it to be heard.

Because the orchestra needs my song, just like it needs yours.

God has a special song He's written just for you. He created you uniquely. He blessed you with gifts and talents. He allowed you to go through the hardship and pain that He has used to sharpen your ability to play the song that only you have been given.

Where are you? Are you hiding behind the music stand? Or are your eyes on the Conductor, ready to play your song with all your heart?

Heaven is watching.
The world is waiting.
The orchestra is playing.

So play your song, dear friend. 

Play your song.

Toca tu canción

Me encanta la buena música. Disfruto escuchando los diferentes instrumentos en una orquesta, tratando de identificar cada uno agregando su voz única con el todo unificado. Hay algo inspirador en el hecho de que  todos los instrumentos trabajen juntos en armonía para crear un hermoso sonido. Eso deleita mi alma.

También me hace preguntarme si Dios siente lo mismo acerca de nosotros. ¿Mira Él a Sus hijos y se deleita escuchándonos a cada uno tocando nuestra parte especial de Su sinfonía? Creo que sí.

Efesios 4:16 lo dice de  esta manera:
En esta metáfora de la iglesia como cuerpo, es claro que cada uno de nosotros tiene un papel especial que jugar. Al vivirlo en amor, todo el cuerpo crece y es bendecido.

Aquí en la tierra entendemos de cuerpos físicos. Vivimos en ellos, estamos limitados por ellos y experimentamos lo bueno y lo malo con ellos. Desde nuestra visión terrenal, el cuerpo es una buena metáfora a considerar.

Desde una perspectiva celestial, donde no hay limitaciones como aquí en la tierra, quizá una metáfora mejor para nosotros sea una orquesta. A medida que el ejército celestial está observando nuestras vidas, ¿qué ven? ¿Qué oyen?

¿Nos ven trabajando juntos en armonía? ¿Nos oyen a cada uno tocando la melodía especial que Dios ha escrito… justo para ti y para mí?

¿Sabes cuál es tu canción?

¿Estás aprendiendo cómo tocarla?

¿Hay algo que te impide reproducir esas hermosas notas con tu vida?

De mi parte, creo que pasé muchos años en silencio tocando notas al azar aquí o allá. Cuando parecía que había otra música sonando más duro y parecía seguro contribuir sin que nadie notara, tocaba unas pocas notas. No entendía totalmente ni tomaba mi papel en la orquesta.

Últimamente parece que Dios no me está permitiendo estar tan silenciosa. Es como si viera al director señalándome con su batuta y llamándome a tocar mis notas fuerte y claro.

No es que mi canción sea mejor o peor que la de otras personas. Es sencillamente mi canción. Y Dios quiere escucharla. La escribió sólo para mí. No quiere que la deje en la partitura. Quiere que se escuche.

Porque la orquesta necesita mi canción, igual que necesita la tuya.

Dios tiene una canción especial que escribió sólo para ti. Te creó único. Te bendijo con dones y talentos. Te permite atravesar las dificultades y el dolor que Él usa para agudizar tu habilidad de tocar la canción que sólo a ti se te ha dado.

¿Dónde estás? ¿Te estás escondiendo detrás del atril? O ¿están tus ojos en el director, listo para tocar tu canción con todo tu corazón?

El cielo está mirando.
El mundo está esperando.
La orquesta está tocando.

Así que toca tu canción, querido amigo.

Toca tu canción.