Before musicians play a piece of music, they get their instruments in tune.
But how do they know which is the true pitch to align with?
The piano might think it’s got the correct “A” note, but the violin begs to differ. Or maybe the clarinet insists that it’s the only one who truly has the right note; a mere trumpet certainly wouldn’t know.
To settle the arguments of squabbling instruments, there’s only one solution:
Use a tuning fork (or its electronic equivalent).
When struck, a traditional tuning fork vibrates at 440 Hz to produce a pure “concert A” note. Once this correct pitch has been established and sounded, all the instruments can tune to it instead of to each other.
This guarantees that the whole orchestra will be perfectly in tune.
I think there’s a little lesson that we believers can glean from this…
Too often, we want other believers to get in alignment with our viewpoint, our “pitch,” as it were. We insist that only we have the correct revelation from the Word of God about this or that matter, and everyone else needs to get on board with us.
What’s your astrological sign? Are you a Libra or a Leo?
Do you read your horoscope daily and make life decisions based on that advice?
Astrology teaches that the time cycle in which you were born determines your personality, and to some extent the course of your life. But this might leave you with a sense of being powerless, at the mercy of impersonal forces beyond your control.
Isn’t there something better to help you navigate your way through life?
I believe there is.
How would you like a horoscope that is valid for every day of the year, no matter when you were born?
One that contained truths you could always rely on, was written by Someone who knows you and loves you, and is not determined by inanimate objects like stars or an impersonal and arbitrary time cycle?
Isn’t it lovely to receive a long letter from someone who loves you?
In an age of tweets, text messages, and sound bites, perhaps many of us are missing out on this special joy.
Several times a year, I am privileged to receive a long missive from an older male relative. These letters are hand-written, and the latest one was 18 pages long! I treasure these letters, and go back to them time and again to refresh my memory about what he’s said.
In the letters, my relative will share his views on world events, discuss the progress his garden is making, or pass along some wisdom about life. Invariably, he’ll also throw in a bit of cornball humour.
Throughout the letters are woven his love and regard for me. After all, you wouldn’t go to the trouble of writing an 18-page letter to someone if you didn’t care about them, would you?
Would you like to receive a letter like that from someone who loves you?
In fact, you already have!
God Himself has written letters to you in the form of the Bible.
I don’t know about you, but I still have trouble recognizing acquaintances when they’re wearing a mask.
One of the unusual things this pandemic has taught us is just how much we rely on a person’s whole face to clue us in to who they are.
When someone wears a mask, we’re missing half the visual information we normally get from their features. It takes us longer to cotton on to who it is.
We waltz past someone, glance at the top half of their face above their mask, and think they look vaguely familiar.
“That’s not so-and-so, is it?” we wonder, as we keep walking.
Too late, we realize it was so-and-so. We can only hope they weren’t offended that we sped past them without a hello.
This pandemic has been unnerving in many ways. Mask-wearing has robbed us of some of the crucial information we need to identify people quickly. Not only that, masks also deprive us of the ability to see people smile.
Do you ever feel like you’re only seeing half of God’s “face,” as it were?
Has hardship obscured His features from your sight? Do you long to see Him smile upon you again?
This is a busy (and nutty) time of year for squirrels.
The little critters are hard at work storing up nuts and seeds for the hard winter ahead.
Depending on the species, they may either store their nuts in one spot (a stash), or hide them by burying them in multiple locations (known as “scatter-hoarding”). They’ve even been known to shamelessly steal nuts from the stashes of other squirrels.
The jury is out on whether squirrels actually remember where they’ve hidden all those nuts. Some studies suggest they can recall the location of thousands of buried nuts. Other research implies that squirrels fail to recover a good number of their treasures, which allows the nuts and acorns to grow into trees.
One thing is for certain: these little guys are single-minded about gathering up nuts before winter, often using unconventional places to store them.
Just ask Bill Fischer of Fargo, North Dakota. For the past eight years, a red squirrel has been using Bill’s pickup truck to store walnuts. Each year, the poor man has to remove thousands of walnuts from every crevice of his truck, including the engine compartment and bumpers.
This month, the critter set a new record, stashing 348 pounds of nuts in Bill’s vehicle. And this was all the work of one tiny squirrel.
These crafty little animals might exasperate us, but we can learn something from them:
They make sure they’ve “squirrelled away” provision for hard times to come.
I think we should do something similar:
Store up the Word of God in your heart, because you never know when you might need a certain verse to sustain you in a tough situation.
It’s a truism that it’s easier to destroy than to create.
I saw this in action recently in my own neighbourhood.
A two-storey house had been damaged internally by fire, although it looked salvageable from the outside. Nonetheless, the owners and insurers agreed that it should be demolished and a new house built in its stead.
I imagine the original house had taken months to build. It probably involved scores of people in its construction: contractors, carpenters, bricklayers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, and the like.
But it only took one man with one large backhoe a few hours to raze that building to the ground.
It was shocking how quickly the structure was destroyed. What could have lasted for decades was levelled in the space of a morning.
A cautionary tale, don’t you think?
If we’re not careful, we can see the same thing happen in our own lives.
Does your dog or cat come running when it hears the can opener?
Does your husband?
I guess we all tune in to sounds that are important to us, don’t we?
Parents are able to zero in on the specific cry of their child at a playground. They’re able to filter out the sounds of other children to focus on their own.
If you drop some coins on the floor, everyone’s head swivels toward the sound. Our ears strain out the other ambient noises in the environment and prick up at the sound of money tinkling.
Obviously, our family and money are things that are important to us.
But what about the messages that God is trying to send us?
Do we tune in to those with as much attention?
Or are there so many distractions in our lives that we’re unable to focus on the character of God and His love for us?
Maybe we need to adjust the signal-to-noise ratio in our lives.
Aren’t you a bit tired of living in “unprecedented times”?
You’re not alone. I saw a slogan on a T-shirt the other day which read, “I miss precedented times.”
We’re all longing to go back to our normal, predictable lives, the way they used to be.
But even when we’re able to return to a semblance of our pre-pandemic existence, we still aren’t guaranteed a life without injustices, sorrows and unwelcome surprises.
Jesus told us that “in this world, you will have trouble.” And ain’t that the truth!
Even so, we can have hope that with God, we can still live in “precedented times.” How so?
When you read the Bible, you find there are precedents to receiving healing, restoration, wholeness and joy, no matter how dire the circumstances may seem.
When you marinate food before cooking it, more is going on than meets the eye (or the taste buds).
You’re doing more than simply soaking the food in a seasoned liquid to add extra flavour to it.
You’re actually changing its structure and making it yield.
Marinating tenderizes meat, breaking down tough connective tissues to make it more palatable. It also helps meat retain moisture, ensuring that the cooked meat will be juicy and not dry.
Marinades usually have a sharp, acidic ingredient, like wine, vinegar or lemon juice, or an enzymatic one, like yogurt of papaya. Herbs, spices and oils are added as well.
Whether you use a red-wine-based marinade for beef dishes, or a tangy yogurt-lemon one for chicken, your meat is guaranteed to turn out tender and better-tasting.
Likewise, when we meditate on God’s Word, or “marinate” in it, we’re doing more than simply adding Biblical quotations to our knowledge base.
As we absorb and internalize Scripture, it changes us and leaves us better off than before.
Have you ever been at a complete loss for words?
Like if your little boy comes in the house, covered in purple paint, and proudly announces, “Guess what, Dad! I’ve painted your car!”
Or when your daughter announces that she’s dropping out of med school to become an itinerant street juggler?
Maybe you’ve been left speechless after you’ve searched the house for the vintage fishing tackle box in which you hid thousands of dollars, and your spouse says, “That old thing? I donated it to the thrift shop months ago.”
How would you like to leave Satan speechless?
Jesus showed us that it’s possible, as long as you have the key.