Certainly I’ll Be With You

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

What are your highest aspirations for yourself? Do you occasionally find yourself wondering, “What’s the point?” “Will I ever get there?” or similar to Moses, “Who am I to carry out these plans?”

God commended Moses because he persevered in faith to fulfill the divine calling on his life. Chosen to lead the Hebrew slaves out of Egyptian bondage, Moses hesitated to carrying out God’s request. But God assured him, “Certainly I will be with you.”

God’s presence was a key part of Moses’ equipping as a leader. And His response to us is the same. We can confidently accept the responsibility God gives us because He has promised to be with us always.

The advent carol, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” is the cry of our hearts. God responds to our pleas for his presence and promises to come to us. This is expressed in the refrain: “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel!” He is faithful. Let us trust in that.

This Christmas season, as we celebrate the greatest gift we will ever receive, let’s remember God’s faithfulness and that His Spirit present with us today.

Reflection Questions:
1) What are your highest aspirations for yourself professionally?
2) Are you trusting in God that he will see your plans through to fruition?
3) What can you do today to partner with God to achieve your goals?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we know that apart from you we are nothing. You put plans in our hearts through inspiration. Help us to trust that you will see your plans through. Guide our understanding and shape our will to follow the pathways you want us to take. Amen.

Owe It All

“But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” ‭Psalm‬ ‭130‬:‭4‬ ESV

Psalm 130:4 ends with the phrase “that you (God) may be feared”. Other translations interpret “feared” as “reverence” (NIV), “awe” (GNB), and “worshipped” (MSG). Frequently, I find myself in awe of others. Although it is natural to revere people who have accomplished great things in their live, I remind myself that these great minds and leaders of history are but small images of God (Imago Dei).

Consider the engineers who pioneered the first railroad through vast mountain ranges. As magnificent an accomplishment as that was, I am reminded of the verse: “Were you there when God made the mountains?” (‭Job‬ ‭15‬:‭7‬ GNB). And consider the great minds of the academy or creativity in the arts. I am reminded of the Psalmist words: “You created me, and you keep me safe; give me understanding” (‭Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭73‬ GNB). Without the Creator, we could never appreciate great art or intellectual discoveries. And lest we forget, “all of us come from the dust, and to dust we all will return.” (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭20‬). We owe it ALL to Him.

One of God’s purposes for us is to discover and utilize the gifts we have been given. The key word being “given”. When we are prideful, it is all too easy to claim ownership of our accomplishments. Let’s instead view our achievements as mile markers on our journey through this time on earth. Our destination is heaven with our Father, Creator, and Savior.
Reflection Question: When have you claimed an achievement as your own? How did you authentically give credit where credit is due?

Music at St. Francis Center

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Homeless and displaced people are one of the most marginalized communities in our society. Within classical music culture this is particularly apparent. Inside the concert hall, homeless people are persona non grata. However, they are certainly in need of the gift of music, which has the capacity to restore dignity and beauty to every human’s experience.
Since writing “Making a Musical Difference” a month ago, I connected with St. Francis Center in Denver. St. Francis offers a safe haven, day services, and employment programs for homeless people who congregate on the 16th Street Mall and surrounding parks in downtown Denver. The local non-profit “provides a place for transformation,” welcoming between 700 people on an average day and up to 900 on their busier days.
On Wednesday, I gave my first official performance at St. Francis. While many of the guests don’t have much exposure to classical music, they received my performance graciously, expressing their appreciation through scattered applause and words of thanks. I believe, given time, music will work its restorative magic.
I look forward to performing bi-weekly at St. Francis Center throughout the summer. I believe that music can transform lives, offering hope, beauty and dignity to those whom our society often overlooks. I am reminded of the words of Peter Maurin: “Modern society calls the beggar “bum” and “panhandler” and gives him the bum’s rush. But the Greeks used to say that people in need are the ambassadors of the gods.”

We Are Qualified

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Exodus 3 presents a wonderfully inspiring discussion between Moses and God. When God calls Moses to deliver the Jewish people from Egypt, Moses doubts what he is hearing saying, “Who am I? I’m not qualified.” God is the one who is qualified, and He works through us if we allow Him to. God spoke into Moses’ doubt and inadequacies. In the passage from Exodus, He makes that clear saying, tell them (the Jewish people) that God sent you. God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

Reflection Question: What doubts do you have today and how are you letting God speak into your situation?

Today’s Prayer: God, you speak into our hearts when we are facing challenges. Help us to hear your voice over the doubts that so often seem to drown it out. Amen.

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Renewing Our Perspective

Spring Mountain Musings Banners2This week’s newly designed mountain scene (Garden of the Gods) got me to thinking about the ways in which our relationship with God changes based on our perspective. If you’ve ever been around mountains, you know that from a distance, they appear majestic, even intimidating. However, as you approach them, they often appear smaller. That’s how our relationship with God is like. At first, the idea of a relationship with God is hard to grasp. However, the closer we draw to Him, the more intimate or “smaller” our relationship becomes. Of course, neither God nor the mountains actually shrink; their potential is still there and a certain respect needs to be retained. Nevertheless, it is our engagement which allows us to transform our awe into relationship.

Reflection Question: How can you “shrink” the distance between yourself and God today?

Today’s Prayer from Anselm of Canterbury:

I pray that I may so know you and love you
that I may rejoice in you.
And if I may not do so fully in this life
let me go steadily on
to the day when I come to that fullness
Let me receive
That which you promised through your truth,
that my joy may be full.

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