Saturday, January 29, 2011

Out of Tune

Call me old fashioned, but I love watching a live orchestra performing. The beautiful sound produced from a dozen different instruments made of wood and metal. Together their sounds combine in tones and pitches, blending in one harmonistic accord. Those sounds stir deep within my very soul.

I have so many favorites, but Overture 1812 by Tchaikovsky and Stars and Stripes Forever by Sousa are close to the top of my list. Most are not familiar with the sonata in the pieces, but remember the thrilling ending of cannons blaring or the thunder of fireworks, lighting up the night sky.

As I watch in wonderment at these talented musicians perform, I don't consider the hours, days, weeks or years of practice it took to arrive at that particular moment. I don't consider the diversity of the instruments which they play. I only receive what I hear and I enjoy their gift.

Each Violin, Cello, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Flute, Cymbal, and Drums working in unison, playing their part. The sound would not be achieved if not for each of these participants sharing their gifts, talents and performing their individual pieces..

But what if each group decided not to play their part of the composition? What if the trumpeter's said to the Violinist's, “We don't like your sound, you can't play like us.”  Or the percussionists mocking the flutist's saying, “Your notes are not as majestic as ours.”  Sounds ridiculous right?  But isn't that what we do when we pass judgment on a brother or sister in Christ?

We are all gifted with spiritual gifts given to us by the Lord for our specific purpose, but when someone is jealousy or envious of another's gift it harms the whole body. Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Corinthian church.

Paul wrote, “But God made our bodies with many parts. What a strange thing a body would be with only one part. The eye can never say to the hand “I don't need you.” The head can't say to the feet, “I don't need you." In fact some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary” (1 Corinthians 12: 18-22 NLT).

Jesus spoke directly to this issue when He said, “Stop judging others and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. Why worry about the speck in your friend's eye, when you have a log in you own?” (Matthew 7:1-3 NLT)

So how do we combat this plague of jealousy and envy? The book of Romans gives us the answer, “Who are you to condemn God's servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let Him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord's power will help them do as they should.  So let us aim for harmony in the church and build each other up” (Romans 14:10, 19 NLT)

Believers working together in unity and harmony with one purpose, is a sweet sounding symphony in the ears of the Lord our God. When each member is focused on the Lord and serving Him with all their heart, there won't be time to compare, judge or ridicule another believer. What a thrilling ending we will have when we stand before Jesus. 

Let's make some music!

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful” (Colossians 3:15 NLT)

Copyright©2011 –tathorpe- All Rights Reserved-

Link to Overture 1812                          Link to Stars and Stripes Forever

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Over Burdened?

Feeling tired? Do you wake up in the morning under pressure to be everything to everyone in your life? Do you force yourself out of bed to perform all the tasks that leave you exhausted? Do you ever wonder “Where's the joy? Where's the reward for all this hard work?”

We work harder than any generation before us, but the harder we work the further behind we are, playing catch up with every step. Who is that unseen taskmaster who so brutally drives us on? Take a look in the mirror.

Christians can be the hardest in the world. Some feel to be approved by God they must be the most gracious, forgiving, hard working, and self-denying creatures on the planet. Being perfect husbands; perfect wives; having perfect homes; raising perfect children, holding down jobs and serve, serve, serve! This is the lie of the enemy and it has been firmly cemented into Christian life.

We have taken on the yoke of bondage willingly, because we don't understand what the scriptures say about freedom in Christ. Many are familiar with the phrase unequally yoked and equate it to being married to an unbeliever, but that phrase applies to all of our relationships. It simply means: opposing forces or not walking together.

Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

Although we have been set free, we still struggle with worldly issues of performance. As long as we keep trying to earn God's approval through our performance, we will not experience the life Jesus purchased for us. We will not grow in love, as He desires, but live in fear of what God might do. We become unequally yoked with Jesus.

We are supposed to rest in Jesus, but how is that done? We have to believe that all our sin has been paid! If we are trying to earn salvation by our righteous acts, we are not walking with Him in freedom from guilt, shame and unworthiness; we are walking in our own efforts.

Through Jesus death on the cross and resurrection, and by our acceptance of His payment, we have been set free from performance. We have become joint heirs with Him in perfect, right standing with the Father. Have you received this truth?

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 NKJV)

Copyright©2011 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seeing Clearly

What would you do if you could not fail? Take a moment to ponder this question, without including thoughts of money whatsoever. No lottery winnings or mega jackpots dancing in your mind. What would you do if you could not fail?

Would you open a shelter? Would you feed the hungry? Would you clothe the needy? Would you encourage those who are discouraged? Would you speak up for those who have no voice? Would you go on that mission? Would you start a school? What would you do?

I hope there are a number of things that come to mind. Ever wonder why those things inspire you? They're the seeds planted in your heart by the Lord, you might even consider them the mission statement of your life.

Then why have these dreams not been realized? Mostly because we're afraid of failure, money issues cloud our thoughts and we just have too much on our plates right now. “Someday, I'll…..” might keep the dream alive, but someday never seems to come.

Somehow we get the idea that life consists of going to school; getting married; having children; caring for the family and growing old; end of story. Somewhere in that time we carve a few moments to spend with the Lord, maybe serving in a ministry for a few years, and think our work is done. I don't think we have been properly instructed in spiritual things.

Our lives have a purpose beyond our imagination and they are fully complete in Jesus. When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we became new creations, “The old has gone and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Why do we hold ourselves back from our God given mission? Fear, insecurity and unbelief kill the vision. When Jesus was with his own people he only did a few miracles around them, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58)

Trust your vision and step out in faith knowing that God has planted these dreams in your heart for His purpose, and then you'll begin to experience the joy that only the Lord can bring.

Copyright©2011 tathorpe –All Rights Reserved-

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Having Trouble?

Trouble, seems to be the name of the season on a global scale these days. Everywhere I look, there is an awful event occurring somewhere. Most people don't have to look too far to find trouble, because it's in their own household, economically, physically, and socially. Every single person I know has had an enormous amount of trouble in their lives, in one form or another.

The Bible has a lot to say about trouble, but the theme that is interwoven throughout scripture is the evidence of God's work among people, especially among his own. Nothing that happens to you is a surprise to God, it all serves his purpose.

Trouble can be a form of discipline, causing us to consider the choices we've made. (Psalms 32:3-4). Trouble can grow our faith and bring us to a deeper level of trust. (Psalms 9:9-10) Trouble can equip us to share the burden of another, further developing the character of Christ. (Psalms 34:17-19). Trouble is not always a negative, but we should look at it as an opportunity. Ask the Lord to show you how you need to respond.

As we move swiftly into the future and the return of Jesus, we should not be surprised at the amount of trouble in the world. I believe it is a wake up call to those who have fallen asleep and those who have not yet trusted in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We have been told the signs of the times that announce His return (Matthew 24). These signs are like that of the “voice in the wilderness” crying out for all to hear. Are you listening?

When we see these events taking place, we should remember what Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace that I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLT).

Copyright©2011 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-