Leaving a Mark

As I prepare to write, I stand amazed at how quickly and thoroughly our new puppy has impact wherever he goes.  In about ten seconds time he has chewed a box, tried to pull out the computer wire, chomped on the trashcan, brought out a towel, carried papers away and various other “accomplishments”.  I am confident he is leaving a mark every place he visits, albeit not always a positive one. (It’s a good thing he’s so cute)

While still a baby, and not yet trained, this tiny little furball can alter numerous situations around him quite quickly and decisively.  It is dumbfounding to me.  (I’m also becoming a strong advocate for crate training)

I pray, as I go about my day today, that I can “leave a mark” (a good one), on people and situations with whom I come in contact.  I am confident that this can’t happen without prayer, thought, focus and initiative.  Hebrews 10:23-24

    Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. [24] And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (emphasis added)

If I am not alert to the presence of God in my life I can just go through the day, leaving little or no mark.  I can sometimes be like a phrase I once heard, “Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.”

One of my friends, when I was a young Christian, used to greet me excitedly saying, “Did you have a Jesus day?  Did you have some Jesus conversations?”  This would always get me thinking, because when I consider the life of Jesus, and read again and again the accounts of that life I am utterly amazed at Him, and called so much higher.  Everywhere Jesus went…every person he spoke to, every situation he was in …he made a difference.  He left a mark.  The sick were healed and “casual conversations” led to decisions that altered eternity for men and women.  When Jesus spoke with individuals they felt heard and understood- loved, and often very challenged.  He spoke with authority.  He also cried with compassion.  He was dependent on his relationship with the Father.  He spoke the truth that resonated with hurting, troubled and complacent hearts.  He made huge “dinner parties” from mere leftovers, kept to what was truly important over the urgent and showed us what love really means.  He did this in an unparalleled way -by giving his own life for those who disregarded him and spat in his face, including me.  Yes, I am amazed.  I pray I can leave some mark today that reflects Jesus in me and points someone to him in a life-changing way.

Matthew 5:16

    In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

1 John 2:6

    Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Yes, our new puppy leaves a mark everywhere he goes.  Like him, I pray to leave more of a mark where I go… and challenging as it is, I pray it will be more like Jesus than Denver….having  a “Jesus day”, that brings Him to situations and conversations I encounter, one person at a time

Col. 3:17

    And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Hebrews 13:20-21

    May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, [21] equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


The Power of Music

Have you ever thought about how different a movie would be without a soundtrack?  Watching the scenes, without musical accompaniment, would be sort of like eating  food without  flavor.   I truly enjoy  great soundtracks, however I’ve had to train my ear to hear them well.  So often, I have just taken them for granted, unaware of the mood that they are helping to produce.  We can usually know when something scary is going to happen by the music that’s playing, or when someone is falling in love by the score in the background.   I’ve come to realize the contributing role that music plays in my emotions.

If I may ‘wax philosophically’ for a moment I’ll share a quote:  “Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.” (quote attributed to Plato). (Wordsworth Dictionary of Musical Quotations, 1991, p. 45).

God’s creation exudes harmony.  To me, the wind, the waves, the streams, the birds, the thunder and the the crackling of a fire are all parts of this orchestra.

Isaiah 55:12

    You will go out in joy  and be led forth in peace;

    the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,

    and all the trees of the field  will clap their hands.

Somehow, God’s presence within us has the ability to soothe, to comfort and express love- much as a mother does when singing to her child.

Psalm 42:8

    By day the Lord directs his love,

        at night his song is with me–

        a prayer to the God of my life.

 As I read scriptures about songs I found that they were used in so many ways:

To awaken – Judges 5:12 ; to celebrate victory – Psalm 18:1; to express joy and praise – Psalm 28:7; to express love to someone – Isaiah 5:1; to alleviate fear – Isaiah 12:2; to find comfort – Isaiah 49:13; to mourn and bring down – Micah 2:4, etc.

I realize that my personal playlists of songs reflects so many of these areas.  I have greatly increased my use of music over the past year.  I find it helpful it setting my mind.  There are songs I like to wake up to…such as “What a Wonderful World”, “You Raise Me Up”, “Light Your World” (to name a few).  Some songs help me feel close to God (they are on my quiet time play list), some inspire me and help me exercise,  and then there are some (my dancing music playlist)  that help me dance through the kitchen  and laundry room.  I have some that comfort (think ”Be Still My Soul” and “Abide with Me”)…I try to stay away from dirges that bring me down (although I do have quite a long “country” playlist I enjoy).  My favorites are playing now…some nice background music (with a “fair shake” of Kenny G and Il Volo).  I like to keep these songs in the background when I’m at home.  (I rarely use earphones, as I don’t want to shut people out, which can happen when I can’t hear them)

A philosopher (some have attributed to Plato) has been quoted as saying,
“Let me handle the music for one generation and I will control Rome.”

In other words, the things we listen to, and pour into our minds affect our thoughts and actions.  It makes sense to me, in order to help “set my mind on things above”, to have playlists that agree with this desire.

Give it a try.  You may be surprised at the lift that songs bring to your heart, and the pep they put in your step!