IN TUNE

Day 6

“IN TUNE”

Written by: Denny Livingston

As our 21-day journey continues, I couldn’t help but remember something I saw my dad do for many years. My dad was an amazing minister and musician, but he was also a piano technician and restorer. He could take an old beat up piano and make it look brand new in just a few weeks. Not only could he make it look new, but he could make it sound new. When dad would bring a broken piano into his shop and set it up, you would stand and wonder how this instrument could ever look and sound new again. You might even try and play it, but there would be no way you could make out what you were playing because it would be so out of tune.

You see, when an instrument is out of tune, the melody of a song cannot be established. Also, you’re not able to build harmony parts because harmony is based on melody. In fact, if just one note is either sharp or flat, it throws everything off, even if the other notes are on pitch. Some people might hear how bad it sounds and give up, but not my dad. An out of tune piano is where my dad’s greatest work would begin.

Dad would use a device called a strobe-tuner. He would set it on top of the piano, plug it into the wall and start the tuning process. The standard musical pitch is set at a frequency of 440 hertz. A strobe-tuner is set at that pitch and can detect when a note is not at the correct level. Dad would go string by string on a piano and find out if it was too low or too high. He would then start adjusting the string with an instrument called a tuning hammer. Dad would say, “Now you can’t move the string up too fast or the string might break. Just move it a little at a time and after a while, it will get there.” He was right, because, in a matter of 45 minutes or so, the out of tune piano would sound great and new again.

After thinking about the tuning process, it reminded me of why we are on this 21-day journey. Just like a piano, we are an instrument that over time can get out of tune. It’s nothing we planned on doing, it just happens. We can so easily find ourselves out of tune with God and off pitch from His Will. Just a slight move can cause us to be flat or sharp. God’s Will for our lives is set at 440 hertz and at times we need tuning to get back to that level.

Prayer, fasting and God’s Word are the tuning devices God uses to help us get back to where we should be. When we start to communicate with Him in prayer, He reveals how far we’ve drifted from the level where we once were. Fasting causes us to focus on God and not ourselves. As we overcome physical hunger, our appetite for spiritual things begins to increase, helping us return to a place of perfect harmony with God. The Word of God is like a two-edged sword, cutting out the things in our lives that have caused us to become out of tune.

Be encouraged on day 6, for little by little, we are getting back in tune with God’s Will and His voice. It won’t happen all at once, but over the next 21 days, we are being renewed in the Spirit of the Lord. You will start to feel a difference when you stand in the presence of God. You’re moving closer to Him, which means you’re moving further away from the things that have caused you to slip off pitch. Soon our melody will return and the sounds of sweet harmony will come forth. Dear Lord, help me to be sensitive to your Spirit by being in tune with your voice.

Psalm 51:12 (NKJV)
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

21 DAYS OF RHYTHM, RESTORATION AND RELEASE (Day 2)

DAY 2

“RHYTHM”

As you get ready to kneel before the Lord this morning, I want you to focus on one word. Rhythm.

Here is the definition of rhythm:

A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

Day 2 is about understanding rhythm. It’s about getting into a repeated pattern of prayer. You see, once something becomes a rhythm, it just automatically happens. The problem occurs when our prayer life is out of rhythm and we have no set pattern whatsoever. Before you know it, you’ve gone an entire day and haven’t communicated with God. In my opinion, whatever the priority is in your life, should become a pattern in your life.

This is why Daniel was such an amazing prophet of God and example to everyone. Daniel not only prayed, but he had a pattern of prayer. Three times a day he would kneel before the Lord and communicate with Him. This is how Daniel was able to rise about so many adversities in his life.

– He endured the pressures of living under a pagan government through the rhythm of prayer.
– When his co-workers conspired against him, he overcame with the rhythm of prayer.
– After being thrown into a den of lions, he makes it out alive through the rhythm of prayer.
– He was able to prophesy God’s Word because he heard God’s voice through the rhythm of prayer.

Make up your mind today, that you’re not just going to pray, but you are going to reach a new level in God through the rhythm of prayer.

Daniel 6:10

When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.

21 DAYS OF RHYTHM, RESTORATION AND RELEASE (DAY 1)

DAY 1

“BEGIN AGAIN”

As a Christian, a disciple of Christ and minister of the gospel, I find myself in a familiar place. I simply call it, “The Begin Again Place”. This is not a play on words, but rather a personal reminder to me, that when things are getting a little crazy and I’m not exactly sure what to do, I have to go back to where things began with God and me. It’s not that I’m having to start over with the Lord, but sometimes life can cause me to become distracted and I find myself drifting. The closer I am to God, the less worried and stressed I become when difficult things come my way. So, the best way I’ve found to get back where I once was, is to “BEGIN AGAIN”.

I am the lead pastor at Point Of Mercy Church and I have felt led of the Lord to start a 21-day prayer, fasting and Bible study campaign. I’m calling it, “THE BEGIN AGAIN PROCESS” and it starts today. As a church, we are facing several things that we need direction in. As a pastor, I understand that I am the shepherd and I have to lead this flock where God wants us to go. If I’m not where I should be in my relationship with God, then I won’t be able to hear and see where He’s wanting to take us. Also, if the congregation isn’t where they should be, the enemy will be able to hinder their progress.

We are a church in a very trying season. We have faced a lot of adversity, but I understand, that where much is given, much is required. Sometimes, God allows things to happen just to test the strength and endurance of His people. I have said for many years, If God is allowing you to go through something, it’s because He believes you can endure it. He wouldn’t let it come your way if He didn’t believe in you. With that being said, God must really believe in Point Of Mercy, because we are going through a time sifting. When this season is over, we will know and understand two important things.

1. We could have never made it without renewing our relationship with God. (BEGIN AGAIN)

2. Through being tested, we discovered who was really with us.

So, here we go, it’s day one of the “Begin Again” process.

Perhaps, as you’re reading this, you find yourself identifying with us. You’re not lost, but you’ll admit that you’ve been in a drift for some time and you need to get back where you once were. Let me encourage you to “Begin Again”. Go back to where you started with God. Be renewed with 21 days of prayer, fasting and Bible study. As crazy and hectic as life may be, make time for restoration. Get back to the place where God’s voice was louder than the noise.

Day 1 starts with a repented heart.

God, please forgive me for allowing certain things, (you can be more specific) to cause me to become distracted from what Your purpose and plan are for me. Today I’m returning to you for a renewal in my heart, mind, body and soul. Let me be broken in your presence and determined in my environment, to keep you front and center in all I do. Amen.

Hosea 6:1
Come and let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up.

NEXT LEVEL TALK

So many people talk about going to the next level, but very few make it. It sounds good, but the reality is, it doesn’t feel good. There is nothing easy about taking what you do for God, to a whole new level. To get there, you will have to endure challenges, bumps and bruises. It will require you to give it everything you have. You’re in for a fight, but once you arrive, you’ll look back and say, “It Was Worth It”!!!

Maybe you’re not there yet, so let me encourage you as you climb, to not give up. Though you are facing extreme opposition, the enemy is afraid of what God is going to do through you, once you make it to that next level. This is exactly why you are having to deal with certain things currently. Gather up all of your strength and energy and stay in this fight. I promise you…you’ll be glad you did.

Stop talking about the next level and start fighting to get there!!!

WE THE PEOPLE

There are two great documents that stand out in my mind as we celebrate Independence Day. One is the Declaration Of Independence and the other is, The Constitution of The United States.

The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776. It was a list of grievances against the king of England intended to justify separation from British rule.

The Constitution was written and signed in 1787. It was a charter of government that came to be ratified by the states, and it continues to be the supreme law of the land.

One document declares freedom and the other one declares unity. I love the way our Constitution begins. “WE THE PEOPLE”. To me, that says it all. In other words, we together will stand in unity to live in freedom from tyranny. We continue to live in freedom today because a group of people determined to live in unity. I feel a great responsibility as an American to remain united. Though it has been over 200 years since both documents were written and signed, let us celebrate our freedom and continue to live as WE THE PEOPLE.

I feel the same way as a Christian today. When Jesus died and then rose from the grave, that was a declaration of freedom from the domination of sin and the reign of death in our lives. The next great event happened several days after Jesus resurrection. It was called, The Day Of Pentecost and that’s when the Church was born. This day was great because 120 people gathered united in an upper room and waited for the Holy Spirit to fall. Their unity could be described as, WE THE CHURCH. This group of people were not only celebrating freedom in Jesus, but they were also uniting the greatest movement that would ever be.

Today, let’s celebrate our freedom from sin, but let’s not stop there. For the church to remain what God intended it to be, we must stand united and carry on the message that was preached over 2,000 years ago. We must continue to declare salvation and freedom in the name of Jesus and let the world know there is no other name like His. However, a divided church can’t make a difference in a broken world, so let us determine to be more united than we’ve ever been before. As an American, our theme is still, WE THE PEOPLE, but as a Christian our theme must be, WE THE CHURCH!!!

GIVE IT TO JESUS

GIVE IT TO JESUS!!! I’m sure you’ve heard that many times and it is so true. There are things much too heavy and too burdensome for us to try and carry ourselves. In the old hymn, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” there’s a great part that says,

Oh what peace we often forfeit
Oh what needless pain we bare
ALL BECAUSE WE DO NOT CARRY
Everything to God in prayer

I love those words and oh how true they are. What a wonderful thing to know, there are things that we don’t have to carry. We have a friend in Jesus who will gladly take the things we give Him and lighten our load. Just give it to Jesus.

There is only one more thing I would like to add to this. Many of us want to be in control and we don’t like it when we feel like we’ve lost that control. With that being said, I believe some people bring things to Jesus, but end up taking them back. They give him their burdens in prayer, then something happens and they end up taking it back and trying to fix it themselves.

Could this be you today? Are you back to worrying and being stressed out? Did you ever consider, that it could be your own fault. Maybe you didn’t think God was moving fast enough, so you ended up taking back what you had already given to Him. Once you’ve given something to the Lord, you have to trust that He is working things out for your good. It may take longer than you want it too, but your impatience might have caused you to start carrying that heavy load again. When you give it to Jesus, you must let Him take control, which means you have to release yours. God doesn’t have it, if you’re still worrying about it.

If you’re carrying a load too heavy and your burdens are too much to bear, GIVE IT TO JESUS AND DON’T TAKE IT BACK!!!

THE NET

PSALMS 31:4

Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength.

There are traps and snares set for us in secrete places and at times, we all slip and fall into one. We didn’t plan to fall or mess up…somehow it just happened, because the enemy strategically set up a snare.

My prayer today is for someone who is laying in that net, feeling unworthy because they slipped. God knows the secret traps the enemy sets for us and He is there to PULL YOU OUT!!!

Hold on tight to the hand reaching to where you are. You can’t get out by yourself, so let God pull you out of the net  you never planned on falling into.

COMPLETE FORGIVENESS

The true power of forgiveness is understanding the completion of forgiveness. Jesus said ,when we pray, we are to say; “Forgive us our transgressions as we Forgive those who transgress against us” Matthew 6:12.

Forgiveness is incomplete when it is received, but not given. Everyone of us are recipients of the incredible mercy of God, but too many times we hold back from others what has never been withheld from us. The completion of forgiveness is allowing to pour out of our life what has been poured into it. It’s easy to receive it, but it’s hard to surrender it.

The Bible says that God makes His mercies new every morning. Maybe we should pray for the same thing. Father, I thank you for renewing your mercy to me this morning, now I pray that my mercy would be renewed for those whom I need to forgive. Perhaps this is cliche´, but some things can only be accomplished one day at a time. Be thankful for the forgiveness you have received and complete it by giving it away. That’s how you, “COMPLETE FORGIVENESS”.

ANSWERED PRAYER

Sometimes I think we ask God to do things that we could be doing. Maybe you think that sounds crazy because there a certain things that only He can do. Yes, that is true, but there are a lot of things that He has given us the power and ability to do as well.

1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it”.

After reading this scripture, I have a few questions.

– WHY ARE WE HIS BODY?
– ARE WE ONLY FITLY-FRAMED INTO HIS BODY FOR OUR SALVATION AND PROTECTION?
– DID HE SAVE US TO HIDE US?
– ARE WE DOING HIS WILL WHEN WE ARE ISOLATED?
– ARE THERE SOME PRAYERS WE CAN ANSWER?

These are some questions that every disciple of Christ should be asking themselves. When I read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I see Jesus training His disciples to do great works, even in His absence. There was a reason He gave the power over the enemy. Not only did they have power to be victorious personally, but they had power to pray for people that needed help.

You would be amazed at the small things you could do that would make a big difference in hurting people’s lives. An encouraging phone call, text or email could bring hope to someone in a valley. Sharing your testimony with somebody who is going through a storm could completely change their outlook. Let your victory bring victory in someone else’s life too. You can pray for these people, but don’t just pray and see what happens…let your involvement bring healing in their current situation. Did you know that you could be the answer to someone’s prayer???

– Feeding the hungry is an answered prayer for someone.
– Bringing a drink to someone who is thirsty is an answered prayer.
– Providing clothes for the less fortunate is an answered prayer.
– Taking care of the homeless is an answered prayer.
– Visiting people who are sick is an answered prayer.
– Bringing a message of hope to those who are in prison is an answered prayer.

Since we are the body of Christ, let’s go and be someone’s ANSWERED PRAYER!!!

THE CORNER

It’s the dead end of where two walls meet. The stopping point for anything caught in it. You can’t go any further once you’re there. This is why we hear the famous phrase, “I’m Backed Into A Corner”. This saying is defined like this:
To be forced into a difficult situation which you have little control over.

Many times when I’m writing, I try to visualize what I’m talking about. In this instance, I couldn’t help but see the old cartoon of Tom and Jerry on one of their famous cat and mouse chases. I can just see Tom running after Jerry and finally getting that little mouse backed into a corner and just when Tom thinks he’s got him cornered, Jerry discovers a way out of no way.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like my life has so much in common with Jerry. Running here and there, trying to find a way out of so many situations. That mean ole cat keeps chasing me and will not let up!!! After so long, I just get tired of running and then I find myself backed into a corner, with no way out. As crazy as it sounds, I can somehow hear the theme music to the Tom and Jerry show playing as I’m typing.

Truthfully, sometimes I feel like God allows us to get chased or backed into a corner. You may ask, why would He do that? One of the reasons, is because that saying means you now have no control. There are times that God can only take over when we’re at a dead end. There is a big difference in someone praying when they realize they are out of options. I could start a list of names from people in the Bible who experienced the corner. We could visit Joseph in the bottom of a well or Moses standing at a Red Sea. We could look at David standing in front of a giant or Hannah praying for God to give her a baby. Check out Simon Peter locked up in a prison cell or John the Revelator left alone on an island. There are countless names, but they all have one thing in common…they were all backed into a corner and knew that only God could bring them out.

You have either been there, or you’re there right now. If this is your current situation, maybe God is allowing this to happen because He wants you to let Him take control. You’ve been trying to fix it yourself, but it’s not working and it won’t. Give this situation to God and I promise you, He will not leave you in the corner. Sometimes He waits for a situation to become impossible before He shows up, because you can’t fix impossible. Once He makes a way, out of no way, you will look back and say, “Only God Could Have Delivered Me Out Of That”. Come on, give it to Him…it’s time for you to get out of “THE CORNER”!!!