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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Piano players
Amish children playing Brooksyne's piano

"Tune My Heart"

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"Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name" (Psalm 86:11).

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise

Leavitt Keener piano tuning 2/23/15Yesterday we had our piano tuned by Leavitt Keener who has tuned our piano since we moved to Lancaster County in 2001. Listening to a piano tuner at work, as a bystander in another room, one could mistakenly think that a child was banging on the keys one octave after another. I was tempted to holler up, "Stop banging on the piano!"

In tuning a piano he initially uses a standardized tuning fork set to a very specific tone. This forms the basis for tuning each note on the piano. If he begins with the wrong tone it will adversely affect his entire tuning job.

The tuner begins near the middle of the keyboard. It’s the starting point and standard for the piano tuner’s work. He gets the pitch from a metal tuning fork that vibrates at a frequency of 440Hz. Its pitch is constant; it is never out of tune. I noticed yesterday that Leavitt also used some type of meter.

Tune my heartAs the tuning fork continued to vibrate sound throughout the house my thoughts were drawn to the first and second lines of a classic hymn. You surely know it and will probably want to break out into song at seeing these words, "Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace." What an unusual descriptive phrase the songwriter uses to petition God for dealing with one's heart. We think nothing of praying for a softened heart, an undivided heart, a steadfast heart, a renewed heart, a loving heart, etc.

Today let us consider the notion of having our hearts tuned. We speak of not only tuning a piano but also a motor in a vehicle. We get a tune-up with the purpose of restoring the engine to optimum performance.

Our hearts need regular tuning as we are confronted with conflicting tones in various settings all throughout life. The tones of this world can influence us and get us off kilter with our spiritual relationship with God, ever so gradually, so that we might even be unaware. Tuning up our hearts to the standard of God's pitch is an essential exercise for all believers. The best tuning "fork" in the Bible is found in Hebrews 4:12, "The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates, even to dividing soul and sprit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

I read that if you put two tuned grand pianos in a room and play a note on one of them the corresponding string in the other piano will start to vibrate. Since we don't have two grand pianos we can't check this out.* Blogger Patti Ann Burke writes, "I want the note God is playing to resonate in my heart." And we say, "Amen"!

Today's daily text is one of those treasures from the Psalms: "Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name."

We are especially gripped by the phrase, "
Give me an undivided heart". What a powerful description of a heart that is in tune with God's heart!

Old fashioned radioWhen I (Brooksyne) was little my dad proudly brought home a second hand (probably third or fourth hand) radio console from the 1930's era. It was solid wood and had the typical dial tuner. As a family we were pretty excited about the "antique" radio and right away we tried to find our favorite radio stations. The problem was we couldn't hear our station clearly without nearby stations trying to butt in. We would try to fine tune it but then we'd run into static as we got further and further from the actual station we were trying to hear. But if we were patient and fine-tuned it sensitively, with much deliberation, we'd finally get the station we wanted. Of course, anyone who then messed with the dial was in big trouble.

Like the radio, when we tune into God's voice and hear His message, there are other messages bombarding our minds and trying to take over or distort His clear, unambiguous message. I pray that I will regularly fine tune my heart to receive what God has for me which means I will not give ear to that which distorts, revises, or adds to the truth of God's Word.

Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I'll praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I want my heart to be tuned to Your Truth and righteousness, for You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.  I place my complete trust in You and reject the godless trends and vain philosophies promoted by the world.  May Your words be embedded in my heart and mind through the faithful study of Scripture so that I might not sin against You and so that I will recognize truth from error. Since I'm often prone to wander, I ask You, Father God, to mount my soul on Thy redeeming love and tune my heart to all that is good, righteous, and holy so that my attitudes and actions are harmonious with the Scriptures, in the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Brooksyne playing Steinway grand piano
* Actually we don't even have one grand piano! Several years ago Brooksyne played a Steinway baby grand at a friend's home in Maryland and I snapped this photo from the balcony.

When Jesus played the piano:
  Here in Lancaster County we are blessed to have Sight & Sound Theatre, sometimes touted as the "Christian Broadway", which has been dramatizing adventuresome Bible Epics for over 35 years, complete with story, song, and spectacular staging. Currently Moses is playing at our Sight and Sound Theater. There's also a Sight and Sound Theater in Branson, Missouri where we  honeymooned in 1976.

We have enjoyed several of these outstanding presentations through the years and each one ends with a clear presentation of the Gospel. Of course, the actors are actually local "real" people known throughout the community and in area churches they attend.

A number of years ago Juanita, my mother's longtime friend, shared the following story with us during a visit in her home located in the Branson, MO area. She and her late husband, Warren, had many contacts in the Branson area and were able to get us some free or discounted tickets to several shows and attractions. In fact in three days we attended five!

The attraction that stood out most was the presentation of a drama called "The Promise" which powerfully presented the message of the Gospel.  Randy Brooks, the actor who portrayed Jesus, did an outstanding job and is himself a devout believer. In a remarkable way he really fit the stereotypical art image we have of Christ.

Juanita told me they had taken their grandchildren to see the play one Saturday evening and the next day Randy attended their church and was playing the piano. Their grandson in wide-eyed amazement proclaimed, "Look, Grandma! Jesus is playing the piano!"

Neck Pumpkins!

Last fall we purchased two huge neck pumpkins at a roadside produce stand that weighed over sixty pounds together. Here's a photo of Stephen holding one of them! The pumpkins store well and finally yesterday afternoon we got around to processing them, assisted by our friends Jesse and Wilma Dourte, who are in their nineties. Having been full-time farmers they continue to plant a garden every summer and can or freeze their produce. Jesse has been calling Brooksyne wondering when they could come over and help peel and cut up the pumpkins. After a nice seafood lunch we all dug into the big job - only two pumpkins but they were equal to about eight or more.

Neck pumpkin prep 2/23/15
After I sliced the pumpkin with Jesse's sharpened hunting knife he went right to work peeling the massive pumpkin.

Neck pumpkin prep 2/23/15
Jesse looking on wishing he could do it all. It's hard to give up jobs, you thought little of over the years, that require strong muscular hands unaffected by the weakness resulting from aging and arthritis.

Neck pumpkin prep 2/23/15

Brooksyne is up to her neck in Neck Pumpkin. Only two neck pumpkins pureed into 72 cups of pumpkin so we're happily sharing with neighbors since our freezer can't hold it all. Otherwise we'd have pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup, you name it......let's just say if we didn't share our pumpkin with others that future photos of us might show us with orange skin coloring due to the orange-colored beta-carotene present in pumpkins and carrots. Too much of a good thing can be, well....too much!

Neck pumpkins are also known as "Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash" Here's an article

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Sarah NoŽlle

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  David Crowder Band

"What Children Believe"  Video  Gold City

"If There Ever Was A Time"  Video  The Crabb Family

Finally today:

Jan, a reader who lives in Mississippi, shared this musical memory:

My funny experience happened in Bloomington, IL, at a Christian Missionary and Alliance Church.  My son was recently graduated from college and he and I both worked at the local rescue mission.  During church services he played the piano and I played my flute, sitting on a folding chair next to the piano bench.  As with many church plantings, this body of believers met in an old building of the Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home and our "altar" was a big platform about six steps up from the auditorium floor.  There was a space of about 2 feet between the back of the platform and a brick wall.  (You can see this coming, can't you?)

Sure enough, one Sunday morning the congregation was standing, ready to sing and as I adjusted my chair (and to this day I don't know how this happened) the back leg of the chair first fell into the opening, then SOMEHOW the chair folded up under me and I fell, posterior first, into the abyss.  My first thought, as I seemed to be falling in slow motion, was to hand Eric my flute, heaven forbid if anything would happen to it!  The final result was my hind end wedged between wall and platform....I was stuck, clear up to my armpits.....arms spread, legs spread eagle (wearing a skirt).....the congregation standing, mouths agape, my son leaping to his feet and yelling "Mom!" and our pastor jumping to the platform to try to rescue me.

My life flashed before me.........actually what flashed before me was the fact that I was stuck and it would probably take 8 fireman and the jaws of life to free me from my bondage. My son wanted to "pull" me up and I said, "Eric, I don't think you can, I'm STUCK!"  Finally, after an eternity, I asked him to take a hold of my hands and somehow I managed to get my legs under me and crawl out from behind the platform.

My jacket was torn from sliding down the brick wall, but my pride was damaged much worse than my jacket and my bleeding arm. I was shaking, but determined to climb back to my perch and play during worship. The best part was after the service when innumerable women came up to me and said, "I'm SOOO glad that was you and NOT me!!!" From what I understand, people still talk about the event, to this day.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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