The Broken Circle

circleThis past Tuesday night the contestants on The Voice sang “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” The aspiring musicians sang a different rendition of the song when it came to the word “Lord.” Instead of singing “Lord,” they substituted the word “Oh.”

In an effort to harmonize with the pitch of the producers, The Voice hopefuls were off key with the original message of the song. Changing from “Lord” to “Oh” might be a small change if all a person is concerned with is spelling; however, it has major implications when we consider the often skewed circle of a once grateful nation.

The producers of the show eliminated the “Lord” at the time our nation once expressed gratitude for His grace. Their lack of grazioso stated a motif that was more buzzard than blessing.

Kudos to coach Blake Shelton who said: “I was sitting in my chair singing that song how I grew up on it, with ‘in the sky, Lord, in the sky.’ I sang it as loud as I could. And that might be why I didn’t realize until after the fact that ‘Lord’ was either taken out, or it was just performed some other way.”

The title of this show, The Voice, reminds me of a story in I Kings 19. God spoke to Elijah and said: “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.” At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Social media indicated that many of the people who watched the show asked the same question: “What are you doing!”

Doing what they did is a far cry from what President George Washington did when he proclaimed Thursday the 26th of November 1789 as a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” devoted to “the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

Oh Lord, may I always remember Your blessings, grace, and mercy. For these I give thanks.

The Bad Day Blues

baddayOne of the central figures of the Bible is David. This king from the Old Testament was no magician, but he witnessed one of the greatest vanishing acts in the history of mankind.

While David and his men were away from their camp and in the heat of battle, some of the enemy had managed to ransack the camp and take the people hostage.
David and his men returned to the camp in hopes of a good meal and a restful night’s sleep. When they arrived, they learned of the tragic events that occurred a few hours earlier. The grief-stricken and heart-broken soldiers were overcome by their emotions and began to blame David. Their loyalty vanished, and bitterness reared its ugly head.
David began to experience the bad day blues. When times like this happen to us, we can learn from the 4 Don’ts of David’s Day (I Samuel 30:1-8):
1. Don’t Stuff Your Emotions (David wept and cried out to God)

2. Don’t get bitter.
(1) Whenever we internalize our feelings too much, the pain intensifies and we lose perspective.
(2) We look for whoever is available, and we begin to play the blame game.
(3) Whatever the reason, we need to look for the opportunity to forgive (Ephesians 4:32).

3. Don’t go it alone (David encouraged himself in the Lord). David moved from an internal focus to an external focus and eternalized his perspective—He began to look at his situation through God’s eyes.

4. Don’t do nothing—Do something! David began to fight the present evil. Assess your situation, get advice from wise friends, right the wrongs that you can, and move on with your life.

Annie Johnson Flint wrote the following words, and they are appropriate to our discussion:

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways, all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Think About It!

Vet’s Day 2013

vetsVeteran’s Day is always observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Today is November 8th, so Monday is the 11th day of the 11th month. I hope you pause sometime on Monday and give thanks for those who have served our country from the time of its birth in 1776.

Please read the quotes below, and give some thought to them.

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” —G.K. Chesterton

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham

“The God who gave us life, gave us Liberty at the same time. … Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the People that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.” –Thomas Jefferson

Since I’m an Air Force veteran, I have also included a link to the Thunderbirds. You can watch these awe-inspiring pilots, by clicking here.

No Ivory Tower

When you look at the life of Jesus, it is easy to see that He was no ivory tower Savior.  If He was alive today, He might very well be dressed in blue jeans and tennis shoes as He went to the ghettos to visit the needy.

Jesus talked the talked, but He also walked the walked.  There was no hyperbole in the inviting words He spoke in Matthew 11:  Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

This invitation was for the lawyers as well as the lepers, and both learned that He could be touched by the untouchables of society.  In stark contrast to the  burdensome code of the Pharisees that created an ever-widening gap between man and God, Jesus was reachable; and, even the misused and abused woman at the well  found Jesus to be approachable.

Read what is said in the book of Hebrews, and you’ll discover a personal, and compassionate Savior:  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

Come to me is still His invitation today.