Friday, March 21, 2014

Thanking God for Johann Sebastian Bach

Today marks the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach.  The great composer was born three hundred twenty-nine years ago.  Christians, regardless of their taste in music, can all appreciate at least one thing about Bach.  On almost every piece of music he wrote, he included the letters SDG.  SDG represents the Latin phrase, Soli Deo gloria, which means Glory to God alone.  

It is no small statement of faith that Bach, a monumental musical talent, recognized that his gifts were given him to be used not for his own purposes but for the glory of his Maker.  May we follow Bach's example and use our gifts in a manner that celebrates the glory of the Giver of all good gifts.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Welcoming March

I hate wet feet.  And during this time of year, I am threatened with cold, wet feet quite often.  March is a transition month, taking us from winter to spring.  In New Jersey, though, the transition is not always evident.  Cold, grey, and wet weather often continues through March in a most discouraging manner.  Most of us keep going, bolstered by the hope of Spring.

It seems to me that this is yet another illustration of faith and the hope that only faith can generate.  According to the author of Hebrews, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.  When we trudge through the slush in March, we can be hopeful because we know that regardless of appearances to the contrary, warm and sunny weather is ahead.  Even though we cannot see that warm and sunny weather, our experience with past springs has provided us with enough evidence to give us confidence that Spring will come.

Our spiritual lives are not so different from the way we deal with the weather.  There are “Marches” in our spiritual lives—times of transition, times that are dreary and discouraging.  But because we know a loving, faithful, and sovereign God, we can be confident that He will redeem our trials and bring glory and joy out of our struggles.  As we experience and remember God’s faithfulness in our lives, we can have hope in hardship not because we are particularly strong and capable, but because our lives are in the hands of a redeeming God.  May we encourage one another in the “Marches” of our lives.