The Sagamore Hotel, with its sweeping view of Lake George in upstate New York, has a history of catering to the elite. The hotel lobby is a vision of elegance and tranquility.
In the center of this spacious area sits a shiny baby grand piano, just calling for gifted fingers to touch its keys. Then one sees the neatly framed notice on the closed lid: “We kindly ask that you do not play the piano. Thank you.”
In other words, the piano is for display only — not for producing music. Its true purpose has been denied; its potential wasted.
Two instances in the New Testament echo this prohibition.
When the crowd was shouting praises to Jesus, the Pharisees wanted Him to rebuke them. He refused to do so.
When Peter and John were warned by the religious leaders not to teach or preach in the name of Jesus, they replied, “We cannot help but speak the things we have seen and heard.” They were flogged — but the message continued.
The sound of praise coupled with the majesty of Jesus’ Name is music that must never be silenced! It has the power to lift the soul and fill the earth with God’s glory. It carries the message of life and hope. It is the song of redemption.
I will let my words and actions be a song of praise to my Savior.
The fall foliage in upstate New York was predicted to be spectacular. Rain and cool weather were the precursors. Then an unexpected heat wave hit in late September and early October. Without the cool nights needed to break down the chlorophyll, the reds, oranges and purples, already present in the leaves, lost their intensity. While those hot fall days extended the pleasures of summer, they robbed the trees of their autumn glory.
We love it when life gives us sunny days and balmy evenings. All seems well and predictable. Then temperatures shift and chilly winds of adversity begin to blow. We resist the disruption. And yet, it is the changing seasons of life that bring out our true colors.
When we attempt to cling to what has been, holding our position and defying God’s purposes, we are like the last brown withered leaf on the tree. But the heart that responds to God’s touch in the changing seasons will glow with the beauty of His grace.
When it seems like the last bit of life has been drained out of you, get ready for the burst of color that announces the next season. We are being transformed “from glory to glory” by the power of His love. And all who see will stand in awe.
I will prepare my heart for changes God wants to bring into my life to make me a brighter expression of His love and power.
During a recent clean-up of a forgotten corner of the church, artifacts from the past began to emerge. Among them, a portable electric typewriter and a box of cassette tape recordings.
The typewriter is still usable, but why bother when a computer can do so much more? The cassettes contain valuable information and inspiration, but no one can hear it. At one time, they gave voice to the Gospel message. Now they are silent.
Each new generation of technology quickly makes the last obsolete. As we celebrate the new, let’s not forget it’s the MESSAGE, not the means, that is most important.
How can we harness new techniques to give voice to the unchanging message of God’s love? How can we be sure the message doesn’t die with the old cassettes, 8-tracks and CD’s?
The best “technology” is already in God’s plan: A face-to-face, heart-to-heart, person-to-person recounting of God’s working in our hearts and lives, based on the written Word of God. That Word, written in our hearts, and passed on to others, will live forever. Jesus said it: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Mark 13:31)
So—speak it, repeat it, share it, believe it! Never underestimate its enduring power.
I will do my part to keep God’s Word alive by sharing its message personally with those around me.