Book Review: “The Bard And The Bible”

I love going into bookstores.
For me, the feeling of being surrounded by books, perfectly placed on shelves in an array of multicolored backings and bindings is extremely appealing to me!  And don’t even get me started on the smell of those pages and bindings, for I have been known to plant my face firmly within those pages as I try to capture the ever inviting fragrance bound there…I’m weird like that, and I won’t apologize.

As I usually wander around the isles of these book stores, I occasionally  come across something unique.  Something that grabs my attention and it compel me to pick it up and read it.  Have you been there?  Let me tell you about my recent find: I recently picked up the new devotional by Bob Hostetler that is entitled “The Bard And The Bible” and it’s not like any other 365 day devotionals that you have ever read.

Author Bob Hostetler
A one of a kind devotional: 
Usually, what I have found is that a 365 day devotional is typically a group of randomly selected spiritual thoughts bound together in one book.  Well, this devotional isn’t like that at all.  In fact, I am really enjoying The Bard and the Bible because of this uniqueness.  Hostetler has brought the rich, eloquent phrases of Shakespeare together in a coherent devotional that sheds deeper meaning on many passages of the Bible that we’ve all grown up with.

Now I know what you might be thinking, “a daily devotional with quotes from Shakespeare, will I even understand this book?  It sounds too complicated for me.”  Let me ease your mind and tell you IT IS NOT!  Believe me, this is a great devotional to get you thinking.  Yes, it will challenge you, but in a good way!  I love history, and in this devotional I not only experienced a spiritual challenge for the day, but I got to learn more about Shakespeare and his plays through the eyes of various characters.

This is a one of kind devotional that I think many will love!  It’s one of those soon to be treasured keepsakes (in my opinion) that you will want to pick up with your morning coffee or tea and read.  I recently bought my own copy, and I find myself already doing just that!

I give “The Bard and The Bible” thumbs

And I recommend you pick up a copy too!
Follow the hyperlink in the title above or go to these other links listed below:


Finding the Melodies of Life (a metaphor of holiness) – Chapter 4 “Blaring for Jesus”


Chapter 4

Anything Blaring for Jesus”

(Corporate Holiness)

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” -Halford E. Luccock


Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”  -Andrew Carnegie


There’s an old saying about playing music that goes like this; “If you can’t hear the person next to you, then you’re probably playing too loudly.”  This applies in life under so many different categories as well.  There is a vast difference between hearing something and listening to something.  We can hear background noise, but hearing something does not mean that we are actively applying our sensory perception to that sound.  We hear a multitude of sounds every day all around us, yet we seldom apply our ears to actually listen to these sounds and noises, they are just background noise. 


When I was first able to play my cornet in a band setting, I was so proud of myself!  The practices alone in that little chapel had been paying off, and I was getting better at playing that brass instrument.  I could now play my “C” scale with very few mistakes, and my embouchure on that small metallic mouth piece was getting stronger with more confidence.  But there was a real danger in this overconfidence of mine; I wanted everyone to hear how good I was sounding.  I had these dreams of people standing up and applauding my amazing musical abilities, and so when we began to play our first song, “Anything for Jesus” in that little beginner band, I played as loudly as I possibly could.
too loud

I don’t think that the musical terminology “triple forte” could even begin to describe how loudly I played that song.  Perhaps a more appropriate description of that moment would be that I blasted the song “Anything for Jesus”…it should have been renamed “blaring for Jesus” right then and there.  The bandmaster stopped the song midway through a measure, and I thought to myself “he’s going to congratulate me on my performance, I hit every note and it sounded great!”  Instead of congratulating me, however, the bandmaster looked at me and said quite solemnly, “Scott, you are playing too loudly, so loudly in fact that I cannot hear anyone else!”  Then he looked at the entire band and said, “If you can’t hear the person next to you, then you are playing too loudly.”  His words stung me for a moment.  I thought I would receive a compliment for all of the hard work that could clearly be heard in the proficiency my playing, but instead I had been told to play softer.  I was so conscious of my own abilities and my own progress that I had failed to see the big picture in this beginner band.  I wanted everyone to hear ME and to say how greatly I had improved but I had failed to understand how important it was for the rest of the band to be heard as well. 


The disciples were arguing among themselves as they tried to figure out who would become the greatest in the kingdom.  They had been with Jesus for a while now and perhaps they felt that it was time to have some sort of “disciple midterm exam” to see how they ranked.  What I would have given to be a fly on that wall during that heated discussion, each disciple comparing their accomplishments and achievements, all the while vying for status a position, fame and recognition.  They didn’t get it.  Jesus had not selected His disciples for the purpose of notoriety and fame; instead He had selected those who were willing, those who were available and those who would serve.  Jesus interrupted their dispute because He knew what they were thinking and He responded to their shallowness and appetite for attention: “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”       (Luke 9:48)


Jesus still calls us to serve Him and to spread the good news of His mercy and salvation.  But our service isn’t about tooting our own horn for the sake of our glory and positional aspirations!  Corporate holiness has little room for “blaring for Jesus”, but has concert halls ready for the symphonic sounds of togetherness as we collectively strive to reflect Christ. 


Much Later

These same disciples, post Ascension of Jesus, were gathered TOGETHER in prayer and complete submission before God.  As they yearned to hear from Him, they were united and joined together, prepared to play a tune that would shake the very foundation of the world…and still that tune is being played.  We call this moment Pentecost, for as they gathered together and yearned and prayed the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they were able to speak in the various tongues of those who had gathered in Jerusalem that day.  How were they able to do such an amazing thing that day?  The Holy Spirit did the work, of course, but how did the Holy Spirit fall upon them?  The answer is that they were together, united under one holy purpose and they had become the least of these in their humility and their service before God.  They had stopped blaring their own tune and begun to play the music of a holy calling.   

Ephesians 4:15-16 (NIV)
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”


There is no doubt that individual holiness is crucial and should always precede corporate holiness, but without corporate holiness the band cannot improve, cannot become cohesive and cannot become synchronized.  We not only have a responsibility to play the music that God has called us play as an individual, but we have a responsibility to play the music in unity, together as a cohesive band.  When we can play the notes as a synchronized, single minded orchestra, the music then can become fuller and more pronounced as does the message of Christ. 


What we can learn from the Old Testament Hebrews

The people of Israel, God’s chosen set-apart people, were to exercise qadosh not just as individuals but as a corporate body.  Sometimes we miss the point of why God had called His people to be set-apart.  We often misunderstand this to mean that the Jewish people were the only ones worthy enough of this claim, yet time and again they failed to live up to their calling.  We often misunderstand that their “setting-apart” to mean that they were some sort of exclusive club in which they were to look down their noses at others nations living in that same time and space.  The truth behind God’s purpose for setting the Jews apart was to show the rest of the world how to live.  God was showing the rest of the world how to be restored to their original created intent.  Being set-apart as a corporate body isn’t so that one part of the body can be “blaring for Jesus” and be seen by the rest of the world, but instead the corporate body can properly display and reveal the Holy Christ who brings restoration to everyone seeking Him.  Jesus came for the least of these, and still He desires this reconciliation of the world to Him regardless of race or creed. 


How is your corporate holiness today?  Is there cohesiveness and unity in the body of Christ where you serve?  Or are there many cornets blaring for Jesus, out of sync and far too loud for anything else to be heard?  Jesus desires us to play the music He has called us to play.  He desires us to become His reflection in this world and to be joined/grafted into His body which is His mouth piece here on earth.  Unfortunately, this synchronized unity rarely remains intact in churches today.  Oh if we would just humble ourselves, become the least, ready to serve instead of being served.  Perhaps like me you need to stop playing at triple forte so that others in the band can be heard.  Remember, if you can’t hear the person next to you then perhaps you’re playing to loudly.  


(tune Anything for Jesus)

Jesus thou hast won us,

Saved us set us free

Now Thy hand upon us,

Bids us follow Thee.

Sin’s dark ways forsaking

Filled with new desire

We, our vows are making

‘Neath the blood and fire.



Lord our vow performing

We will fight for Thee

Hell’s dominions storming

Other souls to free


2.  Comrades here remind us

We are not alone,

Thou to them dost bind us,

They and we are one;

All, our vows observing,

One great Army make;

Praying, fighting, serving

For thy Kingdom’s sake.


3.  On to full salvation,

This shall be our goal;

Thine in consecration,

Body, mind and soul;

On to holy living,

Weakness left behind;

Perfect service giving,

Perfect joy to find.

Previous Chapters:

“Finding the Melodies of life (a metaphor of holiness) – Chapter 3 “Practice makes qadosh”

Previous chapters:



Chapter 3

Practice makes perfect qadosh

Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” –Unknown

All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 26 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! 27 I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (MSG)

I must be careful here when I use this metaphor comparison of practicing to become perfect in music to be similar to holiness.   We must strive for excellence in our personal and spiritual lives, this is true, but holiness is not perfection in the way that we view earthly perfection.  The literal meaning of the word qadosh which we use when we refer to holiness is not perfection, but rather it implies the personal intent to be set apart.  Being set apart means that we as children of God (those who have a relationship with Christ) must separate themselves from the old ways of living…in this we must practice and strive for excellence.  Being set apart takes practice and discipline.  When we become saved we receive the Holy Spirit (initial sanctification) we are made aware of our short comings and sin.  At the altar we commit our lives to Christ, it is at this point that the Holy Spirit begins this work within us to help us maintain the commitment to Christ to remain set apart.  In the Wesleyan tradition they would call this progressive sanctification, meaning that the Holy Spirit’s help enables us to make steps towards reflecting the very image of Christ in our lives.  Is entire sanctification possible?  Yes, but let me again reiterate that our aim is not perfection but reflection of Christ.  Practice makes perfect…perhaps we should alter this phrase to say, practice makes qadosh. 


Coming home from school when I was just learning to play the cornet was something I began to dread.  I knew that as soon as I came home, I would have to make my way across the courtyard where we lived in the church parish house into that tiny chapel and pick up my instrument and begin to practice my scales.  I began to hate coming home after school to practice.  While I was sitting in that little chapel, my friends were having the time of their lives playing soccer and having wild adventures and doing it all without me there.  But day after day, hour after hour, I would sit there and try to make that cornet sound like an instrument instead of a screeching and dying animal.  Many times while in these practices I would become frustrated with the lack of progress I was making.  I would want to quit numerous times but over the frames of his glasses, my father would look at me and remind me that “practice makes perfect”.  Boy did I begin to strongly dislike that phrase!   What does practice makes perfect mean anyway?  Is it just something someone says to keep another striving harder?  There in that little chapel, sometimes with tears in my eyes as frustration mounted, I wanted to do anything but practice…in fact I wanted to run away from it all, to quit and not look back…but I didn’t.  As I’ve grown older and hopefully wiser, I can now see the wisdom in that phrase, for as a child I needed prodding, encouragement and even discipline to complete the task of practicing, let alone perfecting anything.  Over and over I would try, and over and over again I would fail.  When confronted with a task such as practicing, failure is a very real, tangible practice partner. 


Ask anyone and I’m almost positive that they would agree that failure at something, anything is never our aim or desire!  Failure, in my opinion is feared above most things.  But when failure is viewed in the aspect of practicing, one learns to embrace it.  Don’t misunderstand me though, I don’t mean to say that we strive to fail, but what I am saying is failure journeys along with us in the practice room as we strive to perfect the music.  Failure is a part of the practice; it is both to be hated and something to motivate us to do better next time thereby removing that failed attempt and replacing it with a successful one.


“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” 
― Billie Jean King


When I sat in that little chapel practicing for what seemed like hours, I was being set apart to get the music right.  I wasn’t placed there to make the music sound perfect but in my practice I was striving to sound better, to play better and more confident in my music abilities. 


God created each of us for His holy purpose.  He wants fellowship with us on a daily, even moment by moment basis, but without the practice of spiritual disciplines which includes intentionally setting ourselves apart with the intent to study of His word and prayer; we will not truly become His holy people.  The practice of solitude with God means that we MUST set aside time for the most important relationship that we have here on earth and beyond. 

Holiness cannot take up root in our lives, or will be extremely stunted if we do not seek to have qadosh as a key ingredient.  Being set apart means so much more than just getting away from the old sinful life, it means that we are intentional about living for Christ every day…and that takes practice! 


    “Holiness, as taught in the Scriptures, is not based upon knowledge on our part. Rather, it is based upon the resurrected Christ in-dwelling us and changing us into His likeness.” ― A.W. TozerPreparing for Jesus’ Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope


Is it your desire to be changed by the Holy Spirit for a holy purpose?  Then practice it daily even moment by moment!  Without personal intent within the realms of Holy Spirit led prodding we will not become proficient children of God. 

I am reminded of a song as I close out this chapter, it goes like this:

(Song #495)

I’m set apart for Jesus,

To be a king and priest;

His life in me increases,

Upon his love I feast.

From evil separated,

Made holy by his blood,

My all is consecrated

Unto the living God.


I’m set apart for Jesus,

His goodness I have seen,

He makes my heart his altar,

He keeps his temple clean.

Our union none can sever,

Together every hour,

His life is mine for ever

With resurrection power.


I’m set apart for Jesus,

With him to ever stay,

My spirit he releases,

He drives my foes away.

He gives full strength for trial

And shields when darts are hurled;

With him and self-denial

I overcome the world.

William James Pearson (1832-92)

The Song Book of The Salvation Army: Issued by the authority of The General.

“Finding the Melodies of Life” (a metaphor of holiness) – Chapter 2 “Finding your voice”

Need to catch up? Here are the previous chapter(s):


Chapter 2

Finding your voice

“I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water.” –Ray Charles


In brass instruments and in even woodwinds the requirement for practiced embouchure is one of the most pivotal lessons a new beginner can learn.  Embouchure is the application of one’s lips or mouth onto a mouth piece or reed in order to create the desired sound or vibration that leads to music.  The facial muscles are applied in such a way that to a beginner it can cause discomfort jaw ache.  The momentary ache felt by the new beginner pales in comparison to the music that is created out of such discomfort.  When the lips are properly applied to the instrument there is a connection that is made, there is hope and a glimmer of what can become of this instrument.  You see, playing music isn’t only about looking the part, holding the instrument in the correct manner, but it requires the musician to sacrifice something of themselves for the purpose of performance.  


I remember holding that instrument up close to my face, then being taught to pucker my lips into the formation of a strange grimace while making a small hole within my lips so that the air could exhale from my body.  I was giving something of myself into that lifeless instrument for a greater purpose. 


The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.Genesis 2:7 (NIV)


Picture it for a moment, creator God, the artist and conductor of life, breathing the essence of life into the lifeless; He was giving something of Himself into his creation for a holy purpose.  God looked at the world He had created, the animals, the trees and oceans, and finally our first parents, and He said “it was good”.   God breathed life into the very fiber of human kind and in that moment this symphony of life began for us all.  Notice that before God poured the breath of life into man, he wasn’t a living being, man was dormant and still.  Just think about that for a second, ponder it…soak it in…is your mind blown yet?    Without the very life breath of God, the entirety of our existence would remain and always continue to remain just dust.  The Hebrew word for breathing life into us is;  nishmath chaiyim, meaning “the breath of LIVES” which implies not only life but intellect as well. While this breath of God expanded the lungs and set them in play, his inspiration gave both spirit and understanding to mankind. 

When we apply ourselves to the everyday tasks of life, what we are doing is exercising the very breath of God in our human existence.  Our intellect – God breathed, our temperament – God Breathed, our sense of identity – God breathed.  When we come to the understanding that we were created to be intricately connected to our Creator God, our worldview and sense of purpose begins to change as well.  With this higher understanding, it then becomes all too clear how pivotal and vital God views our part in this life.   We were created with Divine intent not some cosmic accident, when we understand that this very breath of God exists within us, the appropriate response to this knowledge is to exhale into our world love, exhale into our world hope, exhale into our world purpose.  When we play the music God has called us to play, the end result is transformation from fallen creation to restored creation – reconciled to God. 

But there is still something missing in our relationship to the Great Conductor of life.  What is still required of us in order to exhale or to breathe the breath of God in our lives?  When we pick up the instrument God has handed us to play and place it to our lips we must apply muscles, we must strain, learning new principles…spiritual embouchure.  Another word for it is spiritual discipline. 

Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Disciple: The Path of Spiritual growth, writes;

A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all he can do is provide the right conditions for the growing of grain. He cultivates the ground, he plants the seed, he waters the plants, and then the natural forces of the earth take over and up comes the grain…This is the way it is with the Spiritual Disciplines – they are a way of sowing to the Spirit… By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done.” 


In our giving, in our application of spiritual embouchure, there is pain and sacrifice.  What drives us to sacrifice?  What motivates us to keep going when we face and encounter discouragement and frustration?  Faith.  Faith must be our motivator, the oil in the valves of who we are in God’s symphony.  We prepare ourselves; we pick up the instrument or gifts of God, placing them to our lips with the knowledge that we will most likely fail before we succeed.  Spiritual embouchure is risky.  We are essentially putting ourselves out there for God and for the music that He desires us to play.  Finding our voice is not easy; we have to give something of ourselves in order for us to reach that discovery.  Just as God breathed life and inspiration into our bones so too we must give something of ourselves in this life that we live.

Notice the words of the Apostle Peter, he understood what it meant to give something of himself for the purpose of God’s symphony: 
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)

Because that breath of life exists in us, which urges us to play the music God has placed in us, we then must enact our spiritual embouchure which will be painful, difficult and it might cause our hearts to ache…but when we do so, we are participating and we begin to catch a glimpse of the performance of Christ in us so that others might be saved.   Give it a try, exhale deeply, let His presence permeate our lives so fully that the pain we encounter along the way only strengthens our resolve to play His music in our lives.  

“Finding the Melodies of Life” (a metaphor of holiness) – Chapter 1



Chapter 1


(Music 101)

 “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.” -Michael Jackson


 I remember at the age of around seven years old, my father forced to me learn an instrument.  Now I say forced, but in his loving way, he convinced me to pick it up for the first time…but I would have to say he forced me to practice that instrument.  Before I could become a musician I had to become familiar with the instrument I was to play.  I can still recall picking up that cold metallic brass cornet for the first time.  It felt foreign in my hands.  This instrument, similar to those that I had heard great musicians play was now placed in my hands, and I had no idea how to play it.  The first thing I had to do in order to play it was to become familiar with how it felt in my hands.  I had to learn how to place my fingers over the valves in the proper manner, while sitting with correct posture, which I had a great deal of trouble learning.  These were things I had never considered to be important much less required of me in order play a musical instrument properly.  The orientation of the instrument is of the utmost importance for proper implementation for performing music.  

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3 (NIV)

If we are to become oriented with the music that God has placed in our very souls, we have to become oriented with the very God who created that music in the first place.  But it doesn’t stop with knowing this creator God; it then becomes all important to know how God has made us.  Our personalities, our temperament, our peculiarities are all vital to the orientation process.  If our desire is to fool ourselves or convince ourselves of something that is not true then we will never learn the true music of our souls.  In Romans 12:3, Paul reminds us of how important it is to have a sober judgment of ourselves.  In other words, look carefully in the mirror, be honest with yourself.  If we ever want to grow up in our faith, then true maturity begins with becoming familiar with who we are – faults and all.  Only when we begin to take a long hard look at who we are now, will we then begin to see who God wants us to be.   God has a whole different melody for us to play; it’s a new environment to explore and to learn, and if we never learn to understand who we are and who God has intended us to be, then we will never learn to play the music of our souls. 

Turning over that cold brass instrument in my hands so many years ago…I have a confession to make, I never thought I would ever be able to learn to play it.  The task seemed too daunting, my perception of myself – too limited, and if I had refused to become familiar I would have never learned to play the music. 

Many of us are like this; too limited.   Perhaps we never had someone to cheer us on or encourage us.  Maybe, our self-confidence is so small that even imagining God wanting us to play the music for Him seems too good to be true.  Some of us even think our abilities and our gifts will never amount to much, or are so insignificant that God won’t even notice if we don’t play.  But the fact of the matter is, God will notice, He DOES want you to play the music and He has been there from the beginning encouraging you to pick up your instrument of gifts and get oriented.  This experience requires faith, faith in our performance, faith in the music we’ve been created to play, and faith in the conductor (God) that He knows what He’s doing.  This, above all else, either propels us into the ultimate performance of our lives with faith in hand; or causes us, through doubt and fear to create sounds and noises that in no way reflects true music at all. 


God’s purpose for all of us is to be joined together, fitting perfectly into his symphonic masterpiece and once we are oriented and understand His will for our lives, we can begin to play, but first we have to know what we’re playing.


Orientation begins with the instrument…and it begins with you.   If music is to be played at all, an instrument has to be selected.  God has given us so much by way of gifts, abilities and talents, but if we don’t explore them we will never be able to master them.  Exploration into the instrument is vital.  If I had, on that instrument orientation day, picked up my brand new cornet and tried to play it from the wrong end it would have looked rather foolish or even downright embarrassing.  I had to first explore, touch, feel, hold and finally position the instrument properly in my hands.  When I understood how the instrument was to be held, how each valve coincided with the fingertips on my right hand and finally how my left hand was to hold the instrument firmly for balance and posture, then I was ready to move on to actually putting the cornet to my lips.     


 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14 (NIV)


Our orientation with God and what He has done for us is the most pivotal moment in our lives.  It can become the turning point, or the moment of clarity in which we decide that God, the great conductor, has a composition of complex melodies and harmonies waiting for us to play, if only we become oriented with what He has given us.  King David knew and was familiar with the ways of God.  He also recognized and acknowledged the way that God had made him: “Fearfully and wonderfully”.  When we become familiar or know them “full well”, as David states, we too then have begun our orientation of the part we are to play in this symphonic life. 


So don’t hold back, take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.  Recognize who you are, and who God desires you to become.  It can sometimes be painful when we see our glaring failures along the way, but these pains are necessary even vital to our growth.  It’s orientation time…take a look, I dare you.  

Finding the melodies of life (a metaphor of holiness) – Introduction




“Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”  -Ronald Reagan


The band begins to play.  Moments before, the sounds of their tuning and dissonant chords filled the theatre with broken parts, and sour notes as tuning slides, timpani, and valves are oiled and adjusted.  But as the music begins to be played by each musician, the notes that were once discombobulated and disjointed become unified, harmonious and beautiful.  The auditorium is alive.  Music is ignited!  The bandmaster, with baton waving erratically in the air, guides the musicians through the movement reminding them all of accidentals, dynamics, and key changes.  His role is no less important than that of the musicians he stands before.  Slowly and melodically the masterpiece, made up of notes on a page, reaches its climactic ending; and as the last notes are played, held out and released, there is brief moment of silence.  Within that brief moment, resides all of the work, all of the practices, all of the blood sweat and tears, and just as the last notes are released so too is the passion and love that the musicians have contained for so long for this musical composition.  It reaches out from the finale on stage, ever so slightly touching the listener, caressing their hearts and in turn drives them from their seats to their feet in accolades of fervor and joy.  This…is music!


Music is like breathing air, one needs to keep breathing in order to survive.  That is what I know about music!  Music is a part of me; it is sewn into the very fabric of who I am.  If one were to take out the stitching of melodies, harmonies, key changes, and accidentals; one would in some way begin to take away a very intrinsic part of who God has made this person to be.  Perhaps music doesn’t resound in all of us in the same way, but let me offer you an experiment in music for just a moment.  Have you ever experienced an epic moment in your life where you heard a composition of music, in any genre, that automatically pulled you back in time to another moment within your history?  One solitary second you are driving down the road listening to the radio, then this very specific song comes on and Bam, you are transported back in time to a point in your life where this very song is tied ever so tightly to an emotional or physical response.  Have you been there?  So have I, and this is how intrinsic music is to our very heart and souls.  It speaks to us beyond our hurts, beyond our joys, and calls us to take notice, to remember and to always embrace the melodies that God has placed inside of us all.  These melodies are so much more than mere songs heard on the radio or in music videos on Television.  They are the melodies we were created to perform in our lives, conjured up in our souls and in the very fabric of our being.  God has called us to sing or play the music of our souls on the stage of this life, not only for our own amusement or enjoyment alone, but because He revels in our creativity, He celebrates with our inquisitive hearts, and He wants us to play the music that we were created to play.  But the question that begs to be answered and hangs in the air like the last resounding notes on a page is this: do we know how to play the music? 

Some say that we can learn as easy as riding a bike, but what if no one ever taught us to ride that bike?  What if that parent wasn’t behind us pushing and cheering us on?  If you have ever wondered what melody God has called you to play, then this book, these prayer thoughts are for you.  If you have not wondered what tune has been placed in your heart, perhaps this is THE moment to begin exploring and plumbing the depths of your heart.  Believe it or not, God has planted that seed in your life to perform the tune of your lifetime for the world to see and hear.   We are called to play the music.  But how do we find our tune?  Do we even know how to play? 


This is where it all begins…Music Orientation 101 for the soul:


Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me
.” -Heni Nouwen

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