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 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.

MADE UP MIND MONDAY

Overcoming is not something you always feel, but it’s what you believe. You’ll never change your situation until you change how you think. As long as you let your surroundings dictate your decisions, things are going to stay the same. Faith is acting on what you believe can happen through the power of God. This is not always an emotional move, but it has to be a mental move. When you see the mountain moving in your mind, it’s easier to speak to it and command it to disappear. 

So today is not about how you feel, it’s what you believe. Let your determination be greater than your worry and stress. Declare today as, “MADE UP MIND MONDAY”!!!

GO BACK

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation that you are not sure where to go. You want to move forward, but it’s easier said than done. You’re not at a stand still because you want to be, you just feel like you can’t move on. You would love nothing more than to be out of the current situation you are in, but you just don’t feel a release to move forward. How do you move on from where you are?

As strange as it may sound, sometimes the best way to go forward is to go back. I know you might be thinking, to go back means you’re giving up ground that you’ve already traveled, but understand, I’m not talking about going back to live, I’m only suggesting that you visit where you’ve already been. What is ahead of you is unknown, but what is behind you has already been conquered.

Going back means, you want to be reminded of how you got where you are. You’ve made it this far because God has brought you through so many adversities. As you look ahead, you may not know what the road is going to look like, but behind you are steep mountains you’ve crossed and dark valleys that God has brought you out of. There are past healings and miracles you’ve experienced and you will remember them when you go back. There is no way I can write everyone of your blessings that you’ve had, but I’m sure you’re starting to remember them as you’re reading these words. Perhaps you’re on your way back now.

You are going to come out of this trial, but sometimes the strength you need to move forward can only be found in the faith that you have already used in your past. So don’t worry about moving forward today, just take a little time and go visit where you’ve already been.

RELATIONSHIPS

Everything comes down to relationships.

Relationships can take you to highs you’ve never experienced, but they can also bring you to lows you’ve never experienced.

If you have some good relationships, be thankful and make sure you let the one’s you’re close to know how grateful you are to have them in your life.

If you’re in a bad relationship and you’ve done all you can to strengthen it…walk away and stop letting it drain your energy.

Make sure you know the levels of relationships. Being close to someone doesn’t always mean they’re close enough to trust.

If you are in a restored relationship, take it a day at a time and do not get in a hurry. Rebuilding takes a while.

Relationships are vital to our existence and it’s imperative that we strengthen the good ones and end the bad ones.

YOU CAN DO THIS

START THE PROJECT.
KEEP THE PROJECT MOVING.
FINISTH THE PROJECT.

You haven’t started the project, because you’re afraid you may fail.
Believe in yourself and START THE PROJECT.

Your project started awesome, but you’re having a hard time staying motivated and focused.
Commit to being consistent and KEEP THE PROJECT MOVING.

Things were going great with your project, but some unexpected events happened and it’s just lying there. Pick it back up and FINISH THE PROJECT.

What is your project?
What phase of the project are you in?
Imagine how excited you’ll feel when the project is completed.

Be encouraged, inspired and challenged…YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR (ROUND 3)

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about struggles that all married couples face. I have stated repeatedly, that for a marriage to be successful, you have to fight for it. I believe, next to our relationship with Jesus, there is no relationship more important than marriage. That’s why this blog series is called, “SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR”!!! With that being said, let’s get ready for round 3.

I had the privilege of going to an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC ) event this past week. They refer to it as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). It is a full-contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts. Because of the variety of different fighting styles, it’s a very exciting and high energy sport. We were sitting very close to the ring and could hear every punch and kick. We could see the intensity on the faces of the fighters when they were on the mat fighting to win. We also witnessed different ones getting cut and bleeding. I wasn’t crazy about that part…lol. Nevertheless, it was an incredible night and one I’ll never forget.

As I was writing today, I couldn’t help but think about that night. Since my blog series is about fighting, I began to notice some interesting comparisons in what I saw then and what I see in some marriages today. I watched several fights for over six hours and honestly, the fighters that stood out to me, were the ones that had the strength to come back and win after being knocked down. It was the ones that were pinned against the cage or pressed against the mat in a hold that seemed impossible to get out of. In the UFC, when a fighter can’t get loose, he will do what’s called, “Tapping Out”. That’s when he takes one of his hands and starts tapping. That signals the referee and says, I’m out and can’t take anymore. The referee can also call the fight if he feels like one fighter isn’t able to fight back.

When you see a fighter down and everyone thinks it’s over, but then he or she somehow gathers enough strength to slip out of a hold and turn around and win…my friend, that’s someone that believes they have something worth fighting for. It doesn’t matter how many punches you can throw, the true test is how many you can take. How well a fighter can recover after making a mistake, says so much about their ability and character. Even the most talented make errors, but what makes them great is their desire to not give up. When a fighter refuses to surrender, they call that, “HAVING HEART”. The great ones have heart. They don’t sit out because of a set back, they actually stand out when it would be easier to give out.

It’s the same in a marriage. You don’t gage it by not making mistakes, but rather by how well you recover after an error is made. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are going to make a mistake. You are not perfect and the day will come when you will make a mistake. Your marriage will be pinned against the cage or pressed against the mat and it will be hard to see your way because of the hold your in. It’s in times like this that will determine if you have a good marriage or a great one. Sure, you could tap out and say I’m done. However, the real fighters don’t quit that easy. The ones with heart assess their situation and figure a way out, not a way to surrender. They’ve saved enough strength for a comeback. They combine strength and will, then make their move. All of a sudden, what seemed impossible starts to change. The one on the mat is now the one in control of the fight. Just seconds ago, what looked to be hopeless is now victorious. All because somebody realized they had “SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR”!!!

So what about you? Is your marriage on the ropes? Has a mistake been made? Are the financial struggles causing you and your spouse to want to give up? Are you facing something that you thought you would never have to deal with? If you’re not going through a difficult time, then the blog ended at the last paragraph, but if your marriage is in some incredible hold and you can’t seem to get free, you are who I want to encourage. Instead of surrendering and becoming another divorce statistic, why don’t you prepare for a comeback? I’m sure everyone watching thinks it’s about over, so why don’t you shock the crowd and show them how much heart you really have. I think you’ve got enough strength to turn this fight around. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but I am saying that great ones find a way to recover.

Here are some tips for preparing your comeback.

  • Make sure God is first in your life. (You cannot do this without Him).
  • Be faithful to church.
  • Seek council from someone that understands what is trying to defeat you.
  • Prepare for patience. (This problem didn’t happen overnight and it won’t end that soon either).
  • If someone made a mistake, understand that your spouse will need healing even after an apology.
  • Commit to not using words that cause a setback. (Make a list of digressive words and progressive words).
  • If you have children, make them aware that you are fighting for your family. (Don’t think they don’t feel the tension).
  • Make time for each other. (Hiding under a work load will not help the situation).
  • Remind each other daily that you believe your marriage is SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR!!!

If you have a comeback story, I would love for you to share it with me.

If your marriage is in need of prayer, I would love to hear from you too, so I could help pray for your marriage.

Email me at: denny@dennylivingston.com

IT’S NOT WORTH IT

If you’ve ever really been hurt by someone, it doesn’t matter if it was years ago or just a few days ago, I’m sure you haven’t forgotten it. The pain is even worse when it’s someone you were really close to. It’s hard to deal with when you’re not expecting it from a friend or a family member. You think to yourself, only an enemy should make you feel this way. There are so many emotions that you feel when something like this happens. You’re shocked, upset, confused and when it eventually comes back to anger, you feel an incredible amount of vengeance.

Like a smart lawyer, you begin to build a case against them. You look for anything you can use to get them back and prove your innocence. You go back almost everyday and re-live everything that happened. The problem is, each time you go back, your anger and hunger for revenge increases. Down deep you are extremely hurt, but after a while, the anger masks that hurt. You don’t know why this happened or the motive behind it. Honestly, it could be a list of many things such as, jealousy, envy, lust, resentment and politics. It’s sad, but things like this have ruined a lot of relationships.

You have a choice. You could do what Jesus said and forgive them, but it’s just so hard to let someone off the hook that easy. If you forgive them, that means you have to let it go and who wants to do that. They need to pay for what they’ve done and letting IT go means you have let THEM go and that’s just not fair. You’ve spent all of this time building your case and it doesn’t seem right to just throw all the evidence away that you’ve collected. Sure, you believe they’ll reap what they’ve sown, but you want your revenge to be what they reap.

I have a lot more I could write about on this, but I’m starting to remember some things from the past, so I’ll move on…lol.

I know what it’s like to be hurt by friends and family and treated in a way you didn’t deserve. You could chase down every rumor and confront all the people that have talked about you. With all the evidence you’ve collected and the things you’ve planned to say, you could really let them have it. You could tell them and everyone around, the kind of person they are, but the truth is…”IT’S NOT WORTH IT”.

The reason I say this is because, for you to get the revenge you think you deserve, you’ll become a different person when it’s all over. The anger will have turned to bitterness and the danger is you changing into what you’re fighting against. By the time you’ve gathered all of your evidence and replayed the past over and over again, you may have allowed what one person did to you, affect how you now treat others. It’s just not worth it. You can’t let the actions of someone else cause you to change into someone you’re not.

I am no expert on this issue, but I do have some personal experience and I will tell you this, what they did to hurt you will bother you, but the anger you can easily let in, will haunt you. You won’t know the difference in hurt and hate, because the hate was caused by the hurt. The line is blurred and you think you’re not sleeping because you’re hurt, when the truth is, you’re more obsessed with revenge and hate. I’m not saying that it’s easy to move beyond the pain, because I know that it’s hard to move when your mad. I’m only saying, if you remain in the pain, the person you’ll become is not the person you always were and, “IT’S NOT WORTH IT”.

Why let a group of people change you? Why let one person’s actions change you? God can replace whatever you’ve lost in a relationship. It’s not fair to let the wrong actions of people force you behind a set of walls that you’ve built and refuse to let anyone in. “IT’S NOT WORTH IT”. God may be trying to send someone to speak in your life, but they’re having a hard time finding you. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve learned to be cautious with what I’ve gone through, but I refuse to be closed off.

I am not going to let the ones that hurt me, make me hate them.
I am not going to allow the pain of the past become the way I live in the future.
I will not let the wrong actions of others cause me to become bitter.
I have too many things to do than to spend my time plotting my revenge strategy.

I pray today, that this blog will help someone that is currently going through this struggle. My hope is, that after reading this, you will decide to not let the hurt turn to hate. I encourage you to throw away all of the evidence that you’ve gathered and move beyond the pain. Last, but not least, I pray that you would get a glimpse of the person you’ll become if you continue down this road of revenge and stop and say, “IT’S NOT WORTH IT”!!!

“CHOICES”

It is not your choice whether or not you get hurt. The truth is…sometimes it just happens.
It isn’t even your choice if someone doesn’t like you and wants to bring you pain.
It’s not your choice to sometimes cry because of things in your past…sometimes it just happens.
Once you realize what you’re not in control of, then you have a choice to make.
You may not have chosen some of the things that have happened in your life, but you don’t have to choose to carry the weight of it around all the time. You do have that choice.
Deal with it, but don’t take it with you everywhere you go.
Your past hurt may have affected your night, but don’t let it ruin your day.
You may have lost friends, but don’t let that keep you from finding a new one.
Some things in this life may not ever go away, but it’s my choice whether or not I carry it with me everyday.

3 WORDS AFTER A STORM

I didn’t know it was coming. Nobody warned me or even suspected it was going to hit. I was simply doing what I do when out of nowhere everything started to change. Dark clouds began to roll in and the sound of thunder was so strong the ground began to shake. Lightning was flashing all around me and the wind was quickly picking up speed that was sure to cause severe damage. It all happened so fast, all I could do was call on the name of Jesus and find protection as fast as possible.

This unexpected storm lasted for quiet some time. I wasn’t even sure what was going to happen before it came to an end. I tried my best to remain positive, while everything around me was being shaken. Soon the dark clouds began to dissipate. The sun began to break through and I knew the night was over. I had prayed, cried and held on with everything inside of me and it was finally over.

As bad as it was, when I look back on it and put everything in perspective, here’s the conclusion I’ve come to. Yes, it was unexpected…yes it did some damage…but I’ve learned the “3” greatest words after a storm. “I MADE IT”. Those three words say it all.The sky turned black, however, “I MADE IT”. The wind almost blew everything away, however, “I MADE IT”. I didn’t know it was coming and I didn’t know when it would end, but, “I MADE IT”. I prayed and cried through the night, but joy came in the morning…”I MADE IT”!!!

I’m not sure who this blog is for this morning. Maybe your marriage is in a storm, perhaps your ministry is feeling the affects of extremely high winds. Whoever you are and however bad this storm is, I want to encourage you to hold on with everything inside of you. Don’t give up and don’t get mad because you didn’t know this was coming. Trust in the Lord and make up in your mind that you are going to get through this storm. When it’s all over, get ready to say the three greatest words after a storm. “I MADE IT”!!!