A Symphony of Surrender

He walked onto the stage, bowed, stepped up on the podium, tapped the stand and raised his baton… they were ready; all eyes were looking up to him. The conductor had their attention.

This is a beautiful description of a life surrendered to God, our Chief Conductor. Do you know that He is ready and waiting? For some, it’s performance season–you’re ready to go, it’s what you’ve been in training for; for others it’s waiting, allowing others to catch up, but all are practicing for the grand finale. Through various circumstances (James 1:2-4) [1], He is fitting you to play your part in the Symphony He is conducting.

Consonance is used in music to describe accord or agreement; a harmony of sounds. Wikipedia says, “Consonance is associated with sweetness, pleasantness, and acceptability; dissonance is associated with harshness, unpleasantness, or unacceptability.”

SadFive years ago marked a turning point in my life; my symphony of dissonance was revealed. My emotional world was falling apart, I was desperate and needed help; I ended up temporarily separating from those I loved most to find it. I couldn’t see it then but it was the beginning of something good; it began my difficult journey from there to where I am today. It has involved great loss, pain, and grief of soul; I did not know it was possible for a human being to experience this, and still live. Yes, I had been through various types of suffering prior to this point; much of it physical pain in my body. But the greater pain was the inner pain of my heart, aware that something was wrong, and yet I did not understand how to make it right. Thankfully, our Good Father brought me through it by teaching me, humbling me, and showing me what to do. Now, I am making joyous music for Him.

Perhaps you feel like the suffering you are experiencing right now is overwhelming, David felt that way. When we read Psalm 143 we see in verse 4 he says, “Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.” Like David we need God’s guidance and help, we must cry out to Our Father (Matthew 6:9-13). This is where God meets us; especially in our distress.

Throughout my journey, I would have to say that without the tests, trials, and temptations (James 1:2-15) I’d have very little to offer to anyone who is suffering in this deep interior way. By God’s grace and merciful love to me, He has truly taken the ashes of my past and turned them into beauty. Only our God can do that. He has taken the pretty-woman-1509956__480parched places and made them into streams of living water. There is no way to fully thank God for the riches of His goodness to me; I’m grateful and desire to live harmoniously with Him. Romans 5:3-5 says, More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV).

DESIRE
The first step in becoming a member of God’s Orchestra is developing a desire to become a part of what He is doing. He is pulling together a people that are making a lovely symphony of music for Him; yes there are squeakers among us, and loud basses playing at the wrong time perhaps, but the Conductor has a way of shaping us into something beautiful. Joining up involves learning from the Great Master and being willing to surrender to His leading.

PRACTICE
We’ve all heard the old adage: Practice makes perfect. Realizing that we will never be perfect this side of Heaven, we only need to practice becoming like the One who is perfect — Jesus the Christ, our Messiah, and Savior. Being in-tune, a ready player in God’s orchestra requires that we prepare ourselves for the lifting of His baton.
I found this excellent example of how the Holy Spirit works in us when we are prepared: “All musicians in an orchestra must be proficient with their individual parts, but a conductor of an orchestra has to learn entire scores because he or she functions as a musical traffic director, cueing musicians so they enter or leave the musical highway at the right time.”[2] In many ways this is how God uses our lives as we are surrendered to Him. It is so rewarding to live under His direction, guiding, leading and anointing, in whatever He has orchestrated.

DETERMINATION
orchestra-2098877__480Have you been to a symphony recently? I recall a fun school outing with our four children in Lake Placid to see the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra perform. It was a “School Performance” and we met up with some fellow homeschooling friends to attend and have a picnic. I was so impressed with the skill and excellence with which they performed; united as one, in purpose and determination.

Our level of determination, undergirded by our willing surrender to the Conductor, reveals our level of participation. People are looking for consonance, they want to know that there are people representing God who are united and in harmony with one another. Our determination in this task is a key factor as to whether we will be authentic ambassadors for our King.

We will face tests along the way. In the Bible, we are warned and encouraged to endure through many trials (1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV). [3] We are reminded that this life WILL involve suffering. Jesus told us, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV).

LOOK UP
sky-2667455__480Do not lose heart. Look up to the Master Conductor, He will guide and direct you. As stated earlier, He will give you direction onto and off the highway at the right time. How you ask? By knowing the score and the script found in the Bible. When we have desired, practiced and determined to live by God’s Words we have placed ourselves in a position to look up and have His nod, His eyes looking at us, letting us know whether to go ahead or wait. What a treasure we have in being a part of His Symphony!

[1] Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (ESV)

[2] Leading the Orchestra> Learning Specific Scores https://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-a-conductor-of-an-orchestra-actually-do.htm

[3] Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. I Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Action Steps in Response to Sin

What can I do? This question has faced many. It is very difficult for someone to discover habitual sin that has been hidden. Besides the knife in the heart feeling, and a mind racing with possibilities, it’s important to gain what is promised to us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but rather of power, love and a sound mind.”  First of all, realize that fear is your enemy and you need to choose to think rightly and get the help of a biblically sound person. Recognize the power of God to help you and allow His love to motivate you toward a godly solution.

When someone sins against you, they first have sinned against God and lived in rebellion to Him. They have failed to worship God and have an ungrateful heart.[1]

Decide to be a tool in God’s Hand to bring sin into the light (I John 1:7), this is vital. This offers the opportunity for repentance and confession (I John 1:9).  Perhaps this hasbridge-19513__480 already happened on occasion with this person; you must realize that there is a deep, deep stronghold that comes with habitual sin — especially sexual idolatry. Coming out requires much more than confession and repentance, intensive restructuring with God’s Word and accountability is mandatory. Don’t agree to just let it ride and become their monitor; that will not work.

Freedom, found in Christ, comes from walking in the light and hating sin; we must hate sin as God does. Consistent, honest openness and accountability with another party is required. It takes work. Changing the mind and its patterns concerning what is pleasing to God is vital.  Humility is a major factor in overcoming the past, and pride will fight against this all along the way.

boy-1916204__480Action Steps: If you feel sin is present, don’t allow fear and suspicion to rule your heart.  Instead, take steps toward having a conversation about what you are feeling with the one involved (Mt. 18:15-17). If this fails, find one or two to come along and assist you.

In order to prepare yourself:

1) Think biblically: get biblical counsel if you are unable to think this through yourself. Living in High Heels on the Rocks for years will have its affects. The truth presented in love (Eph. 4:15) will be needed to set everyone free, including you.

 2) Act, instead of reacting: God’s Word gives action steps that bring hope. Write out what scripture says about your situation. Differentiate truth from thoughts based in the pain you feel.

3) Pray, instead of panicking: In order to trust God through this process you need to pray and gain power over the enemy, who uses fear to derail us. Reacting will not produce righteous fruit.

4) Exercise faith in God: Trust involves believing God. Responding out of your flesh (feelings) will increase the confusion, which Satan loves to operate in.  God offers clarity to those who will trust Him.

5) Ask for help — this is so important! Do not try to handle the situation alone. There are plenty of resources available to you; there are caring people who can help. Start with your pastor, church leadership, or someone trained to help; they may need to become involved to enact biblical discipline. Glorifying God and freeing yourself, and those you love, are worth it.

Remember, Satan wants to destroy you, your spouse, and your children, but God wants to give you abundant life (John 10:10).  Bringing sin into the light is the first step to freedom.

[1] Taken from Stuart Scott, The Exemplary Husband (Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing, Inc. 2000), 287.

To read the complete article go to: High Heels on the Rocks

Do Not Be Deceived

snake-1634293__480“Sin will take you farther than you ever want to go…”

Satan deceives… Christ restores.
Then he steals… Christ gives.
Satan kills… Christ gives life.
Satan destroys… Christ recreates.
The Deceiver hates… Christ loves.    (John 10:10)

David lusted… sin committed.
Guilt and shame… has to blame.
Tempted further… next was murder.
Took the wife… tried to hide.
Guilty soul… all is dark.   (Galatians 6:7)

Nathan came… all exposed.
Sin and shame… now to reckon.
Decisions to make… Father waits.
Mercy sought… Light is coming.
Repentance came… God forgave.  (I John 1:9)

If we walk in the Light, as He is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Christ cleanses us from ALL sin.  (I John 1:7)