First thing every morning when Fiver and I step out onto the back porch, I like to stop and take in the ambience of the yard for that day. It’s funny because it seems like Fiver likes to do the same thing! He is not like our last dog who would trot right across the deck and down the steps to the lawn without a second thought. Unless he spots something moving on the lawn, Fiver will usually stop at the top of the steps and take a good look around before he commits himself to the stairs!
As I am standing on the deck with the crisp newly found spring air caressing my senses, I find that my glance is normally led to the left and into the forested area that lines that side of our yard. For the last few days I have been taken in by the melodies of the different birds that are hiding themselves amongst the trees. Lately their songs have seemed to be louder and more precise.
Since we’ve been here in North Carolina, I have become familiar with the beautiful chords of the Cardinals that inhabit the shrubbery around the yard and the squawks of the raven’s that seem to send out the alarm every time Fiver comes into the yard! But now I have become aware of additional tones of harmony that are echoing through our woods.
With the onset of warmer weather the yard has been inundated with robins searching for whatever goodies that they can peck out of our re-awakening lawn. I am also beginning to see other unknown varieties of birds with their green, blue and/or yellow feathers reflecting from the morning sun as it peaks over the tree tops from the east. It is actually quite enchanting to stand on the deck and enjoy the symphony of music that is being broadcast in natural stereo throughout the backyard!
After coming back in the house today, I poured my morning brew of Java and sat down at my computer, pulled up my Bible study program and focused in on the highlighted verse left up from the previous day at Psalm 119:54. As I read aloud from The Message Bible, I immediately found myself, in my mind’s eye, standing on the deck again listening to the morning’s concert. Today’s first scripture verse read: “I set your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way.”
As a guitar player, the Apostolic Bible Polyglot, which is an English version of the entire Bible with a Greek interlinear gloss that is keyed into a concordance, brought the message right to my heart. It declares that “As strummed chords of music were to me, (so are) your ordinances in the place of my sojourn.” Then there is the Contemporary English Version which simply reflects “No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs.”
Those birds singing their hearts out in the morning are just doing what comes naturally to them. It is almost like they cannot hold back their voices as the warmer weather and the breaking rays of sunlight shines upon the very branches they are standing on at that particular moment in time! While reading today’s verse I began to think of myself in the light of the birds in the yard and I wondered what songs I sing throughout the days of my life.
As I reflected that line of thought, I realized that this Psalm is something that Piper and I could actually have written ourselves. Not only has music and song been a central part of our lives since those early days of dating back in high school, but it has also been the inner songs of the Word of God that has carried us through both the good and the tough times of our lives.
I have been blessed through the years in that our ministry calling has enabled me to express my creative side by the writing of songs, plays, puppet skits, a book or two, a Children’s Church curriculum and three original Vacation Bible School programs. But I think the greatest blessing (at least to me… If she could speak, Piper might have a different viewpoint!) is the ability to make up and sing scripture songs as we deal with daily activities that we face in the midst of the attack on my wife’s health. I kind of do it now without much thought of “why” I do it. I think all the Word that we have pumped into our hearts over the years and especially concentrated over the last eight years, is just sort of “hard-wired” into our DNA!
I find myself singing these songs to Piper in the house, out in the yard (thank God we only have neighbors on one side of the house…) in the car and even in the grocery store! Psalm 119:171 states that “My lips shall utter praise…” while the next verse continues the thought by declaring: “My tongue shall speak of thy word…”(KJV) And then there’s an old favorite of mine in Psalm 40:3 that vocalizes my actions saying: “He placed a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…” (God’s Word ©)
So let me be so bold as to ask you to STOP and LISTEN to your heart today…
And once you have quieted yourself… reach out with your inner ear and listen to what song is playing in the deep recesses of your life. What are you hearing? Does it harmonize with the notes spoken of in our scripture verses today? Or is it a discord of tones that just don’t seem to blend together into the symphony of music that the Lord wants you to live by?
Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What melodies am I expecting to hear from within my heart today?”
PS: More to come!