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Psalm 31:3, “You are my rock and my protection. For the good of your name, lead me and guide me.”

Have you ever been to a symphony? Maybe as a student, in your younger years, you played in a band. If I were to ask what you thought was the most important part of an orchestra or band, what would you say? Some may say the violins or flutes because they carry the melody. Without them you may not understand the song. Some may say it's their favorite instrument. The instruments are important, but the most important part of the symphony boils down to the conductor. Without the conductor the players would go their own way, play the music wherever and at whatever timing, and not only would chaos erupt, but the disharmony would soon follow. It is the conductor who leads the players to make great music instead of just noise.

I was in a band through my high school years playing the flute, and on occasion someone, including myself, may have started playing before the conductor gave the signal. One sheepish look at the conductor always caused the player to stop and wait for the conductor to count out the timing and signal to start playing. When I think back to my band years, I can reflect on some lessons we can learn or refresh ourselves with.

-Practice is important. The only way to play the notes well or learn timing is to practice. The only way to learn to read the notes or to play the correct notes takes practice. Let me tell you, just a slight move of your fingers or the wrong breathing can take a flutes sweet note to a very sour note. At first, I struggled, but over time and with practice I was able to sit in first chair by my senior year, but it required time and study to learn.

We are asked to share the gospel. Do you think when you first tell the Good News you'll be flawlessly perfect? Of course not, you're still studying and learning. Do you give up? Again, I hope the answer is no. You keep at it, you keep practicing. We all need to keep practicing kindness, faithfulness, prayer, and witnessing and much more.

You don't always have to practice alone either. The Lord has told us that He is with us when we spend time with Him, pray with Him, witness for Him. The more we practice, the more He is helping us learn and grow.

Musicians need to practice alone, yet they also spend many hours with their conductor practicing over and over, learning to watch the conductor and the hand signals, and learn timing. After a while they grow and learn and create beautiful music.

-Watch the conductor. When musicians keep their eyes on the conductor they will know when to start playing and when to stop. If they get lost, the conductor helps put them back on track.

Do you keep your eyes on Jesus? When you feel lost or off track do you look back to Jesus to show you the way? Jesus is our Conductor, and He is the one to watch through our life’s journey- Hebrews 12:2, “Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne.”

-Don't watch others. As a member of a band, you can listen to the other parts being played and be blessed, but you still have to watch your music and what is written for your part in it. There are many parts to a music score, each playing at various times or different notes. A bass cannot play the trumpets notes and a flute cannot follow the percussion music. They may all be played at the same time but have to play their part to make the music sing.

We are all vital in God's plan and each of us have different parts (talents) needed to share the Good News. God knows what instruments need to be played and at what moment. Our responsibility is to trust God, watch our own music, and stop comparing our music to others. If we are busy watching others, we may miss our part and turn the music from beautiful to chaos.

-Lastly, don't quit. It's easy to feel you're failing when things fall apart, or you mess up. I played four years in a band, and it took me three years before I was first chair. I always struggled the most with timing and still do occasionally (probably more now since it's been a few years since I played). There were moments I didn't feel good enough or felt I would never measure up (especially since my director taught me to play, and just happened to be my dad, for two of those years). But I kept trying because I felt the Lord led me to learn the flute.

There are times we may feel out of sync with God's leading. We are either a little ahead or a little behind. Our best answer is to stop, watch God's timing, and start again at the right moment. It's almost like jump rope being double-dutch. You don't just jump into the swinging ropes. You wait, watch the timing of the two people swinging the ropes and at the right time jump in.

When you mess up, God won't ask you to leave. He'll stop, make sure you're with Him, and start again. Don't quit, simply look up and start again.

Jesus is our perfect conductor. When we follow His leadership, He provides the right direction and guidance in our lives. Instead of discord and disharmony, let our Master Conductor help you hit the right notes every single time! God wants you to be part of His orchestra, will you let Him be your Conductor?

Are you finding some time to dig into God's Word? He is ready and willing to share with you and teach you. Let's continue our study with 2 John 7-13

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