Friday, August 24, 2012

"Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace . . ."


Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Come Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
~Robert Robinson

My husband, Danny, and I both play acoustic guitar.  However, our instruments are strung differently.  His has steel strings while mine, more of a classical style, has nylon ones.  Much easier for my fingers to handle!


Left to right - my guitar and Danny's

While I don't play guitar in church every Sunday, Danny does.  His strings take quite a beating as a result, so he makes a point of replacing them every two months.  That way, he avoids the risk of one breaking in the middle of a song (believe me, this has happened!), and the tone of his guitar stays crisp, clear, and bright.

New strings on any instrument naturally want to stretch.  I'm always amazed, though, how little tweaking Danny's strings require once he's tuned his guitar.  They slip, but only marginally.  It is a breeze returning them to their rightful pitch.

Not so, my guitar!  I'll never forget the first time Danny put new strings on it for me.  No sooner does he get it in tune when those pesky, pliable, nylon babies decide it's time to stretch.

And, stretch.

And, STRETCH!

Believe it or not, it takes a full two weeks of tuning and playing before I can trust the guitar to last through a song without a sour note.

And, isn't it the way with some of us when we ask God to "tune our hearts" so that we might sing in perfect harmony with Him?  Like the steel strings, there are those who require little adjustment from the Lord to stay in tune with His desire for their lives.  But others, with their nylon strings, will stray and wander time and again before finally coming into sync with God's will.

Hearing, at last, His heavenly melody.

Trusting fully in His perfect pitch.
~
When it comes to obeying the Lord and following His will, which kind of string are you?

Will you pray with me?
Tune our hearts, Father, that our life songs sing Your praise.  Thank you for the grace and mercy You show us when we slip and hit that wrong note.  Keep us in perfect harmony with Your will for us.  Amen.


36 comments:

  1. Music is one of the best ways to connect with God. And He surely wants us to be in tune with His each time :)

    Lovely reflections Martha, could truly relate to them as I play a veena myself which has the same physical features like a guitar!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Me!
      A veena? That's a new one on me - I'll have to look this one up. :)
      Yes, music is a glorious way to connect with God. When I worked with children's choir, we had a motto: Sing once, pray twice. So true!
      Blessings always!

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    2. This should help:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saraswati_veena

      This is what I play!

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    3. I checked it out, Me. What a unique instrument this is! Next, I'll have to look for an audio so I can hear how it sounds.
      Blessings!

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  2. I have always admired people who can play any instrument. Happy to read that you play the acoustic guitar. What better way to praise the Lord! I always imagine David praising the Lord with his songs and his choir. What a sight it would have been!

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Susan, and for your kind comment on my wall this morning. :)
      Yes! Wouldn't that have been amazing to see and hear King David praising the Lord with harp and lyre? I just love his Psalms. And, it's amazing how many contemporary Christian songs are inspired by the Psalms of the Bible.
      Blessings always!

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  3. I think God definitely made my heart with nylon strings! Thank goodness for His patience and persistence.
    Great post. :)

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    1. Thanks so much for dropping in, Jessica!
      Oh, you know it, my friend . . . I, too, have been "prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love." (Quote from another verse in the hymn mentioned above.) And, yes, His patient, loving hand always steers me back onto the right path. Praise Him!
      Blessings always!

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  4. I really did not know that there are different types of strings. We do always look for harmony in our lives...be it music or any other areas of our lives. Sometimes we have to create harmony with patience. Lovely post.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Janu!
      Oh, yes, harmony is key both in music and in life. I sing mostly harmony in our praise band, so it is particularly near and dear to me. And, I know the discordant dangers of hitting a wrong note! :)
      Blessings always!

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  5. I learned to play steel strings and have come across nylon only when my brother decided to buy a classical guitar. I have grown corns :P playing steel...It's true that tuning comes easy with it...

    But I guess, oh well, my heart strings need to be stretched inorder to stay in tune with the Lord...it needs more discipline ~ but when played, it oozes out the best music... better than anything else ;)

    I love love love this Martha ~ I pray with you...may God find our hearts ready to play and sing His plans in our lives...

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Melissa!
      Wow! I'll bet you do have some callouses and very strong hands. I can't strum Danny's guitar for long without my fingers aching.
      Yes, I so agree - we do need to allow the Lord to stretch our heart strings until we are perfectly in tune with Him. And, it IS the best music ever!
      May we all sing of His praise and His glory!
      Blessings always!

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  6. What an amazing comparison and so apt Martha. Are't we all strings in his hands to sing with him in tune? I guess I am more of the nylon variety though at times I turn to steel. Beautiful

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Rimly!
      Yes, we ARE all strings in His mighty hands, meant to be made perfect through His love and grace.
      As you can see in my comment to Jessica, I have been in the nylon category myself; would like to think that these days, I favor the steel.
      Blessings always!

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  7. Beautiful metaphor, Martha. And how wonderful to be able to share the gift of music with your sweetheart in such a way! XOXO

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Linda!
      Yes, I do feel so blessed that Danny I share musical talent and can share our gifts with those at church.
      Blessings always! :)

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  8. Hi Martha:
    I've NEVER doubted.
    I've never had a moment when I didn't feel God in my life. I feel him like I know to breath. It's just automatic.

    Yes. There have been times when I've felt down, afraid, angry. But when those times appear I know HE is only a heartbeat away. I only have to reach out and ask HIM to take away the negative feelings welling up inside me. Sometimes after I ask, it's an instantaneous release and it's at those times that my faith is deepened further, for there is no other explanation that I can conceive as two why I feel immediately better. This happens frequently as a matter of fact.

    However, it's the other times when time stands still and I don't get that immediate positive injection, that I get distressed. These are the times that I feel like the nylon strings. Thankfully, it doesn't happen often. And eventually, I do ride out the storm.

    Thanks for the reminder that we all have different ways of dealing with our storms.
    --
    Chris

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Chris!
      We all have those "nylon string" moments from time to time. But, your faith is strong, my friend, and it shows in your writing at your blog and in your comments here.
      And, aren't those instantaneous releases an absolute blessing? Oh, how I treasure those in my life!
      Blessings always!

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  9. Hi Martha, I really like this part: Keep us in perfect harmony with Your will for us.How true is that! So often I sing out of tune....

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Nelieta!
      May your song continue in perfect harmony, my friend! And, when out of sync, pray to find the melody.
      Blessings always!

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  10. Two guitar players wow, that is so cool. Guitar and piano are two of my favorites, other than drums of course. I know about those strings stretching and the tuning it takes, glad you have Danny to help you out. My heart is always hitting sour notes, thank goodness it is tune-able.Always good to read your words Martha, I am glad I was able to finally get here. <3

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Jan!
      My friend, I KNOW how tune-able your beautiful heart is with all you do so unselfishly for others. Your love for family and your constant courage in the face of challenges are inspirational to me always.
      Keep harmonizing with the Lord!
      Blessings always!

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  11. I don't play a musical instrument, Martha but it is wonderful that both you and Danny do - and the same one too. When you I read your post, I recalled beautiful lines from one of Rabindranath Tagore's poem. Written as a love poem, this was made into a hymn and sung in our Catholic Churches in India.
    There are numerous strings in your lute
    There are numerous strings in your lute, let me add
    my own among them.
    Then when you smite your chords, my heart will break
    its silence, and my life will be one with your song.
    Amidst your numberless stars let me place my own
    little lamp.
    In the dance of your festival lights my heart will
    throb and my life will be one with your smile.

    Praying that each of us may be pliable strings for God's "music".

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Corinne!
      Oh, what a beautiful hymn you have shared here, dear friend! I absolutely love it. :)
      And, yes, may we all allow our Lord to tune us to sing in harmony with Him so that our "lives will be one with His smile".
      Blessings always!

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  12. Well, you did it again. I'm officially spoiled.

    Outstanding insights. That line from the hymn (your title) was something I used to pray on Sunday mornings back when I was a pastor. I didn't want to wait until the service started to tune my "instrument."

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Andy!
      I'm so glad this post struck a familiar chord with you today. (Okay, okay, just couldn't help myself . . .)
      And, how cool is it that you would pray this line in the title before Sunday service? It is such an important thing for which to ask the Lord.
      Blessings always!

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  13. Have you put some audio clips of your and Danny's singing on your blog? Would love to hear you. Great analogy to the string tuning. You always find some great connection between ordinary life and scripture.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by today, Galen!
      You can listen to our music at our website - http://www.wix.com/dannyorlando/kumcrossroads. Hope you enjoy the songs!
      And, thank you for your kind words. I do my best with God's help. :)
      Blessings always!

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  14. Galen's comment took the words right out of my mouth. Great post and I'm heading over to hear your music! You are multitalented!

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Adriene, and I do hope you enjoy the music. :)
      Blessings to you!

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  15. So I learned today that you play the guitar... amazing. I never knew because you don't play at church. Also, a lovely analogy with the guitar strings. What a gift to stay in tune with God... to bend one's will to his plan. Something I am continually trying to practice.

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    1. Glad you stopped by, Lynne!
      I think staying in tune with God is a constant practice, one we hone through prayer, scripture, and communion with Him.
      Oh, and I do play at church with the band on certain songs, just not all. :)
      Blessings always!

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  16. I know I need lots and lots of tuning!!
    thanks for the interesting guitar lesson too!

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Annmarie!
      Oh, don't we all need the tuning? To sing in harmony with the Lord is my hope and my dream. Just so blessed to be a part of our praise band and able to lead praise and worship every Sunday.
      Blessings always!

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  17. Hello, Martha! I think I'm more like the nylon string that requires a lot of tuning. Thank God for His patience and for never giving up on me. ;)

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  18. This is a tough one to answer for me. Me and the big Guy tend to have long discussions about the why of this or that.. I must be that string that takes a while to break in.

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