October 2021

Appreciation

A long time ago, when I was in college, I majored in Early Childhood Education, and in my first year one of the recommended classes was “Music Appreciation.” I remember thinking the name was strange, as I wasn’t sure how you could teach appreciation. By this time, I had already had many years of piano lessons, guitar lessons, and voice lessons, and I wouldn’t have said they increased my appreciation for music. I had loved music as long as I could remember, and as a child I had enjoyed countless hours of sitting by my father on the piano bench. And later, when my sister and I were both fairly accomplished, we played and sang together often. I was pretty sure that there wasn’t any more appreciation I could learn in a 9-week college course.

Interestingly enough, I did learn something about appreciation. During the class each week, we were immersed in the the sound of many different genres of music: classical, band, jazz, rock and roll, and even some country. We learned about composers and their histories. We experienced music. And, in the experience, we also gained appreciation. I finished the course with a new understanding that true appreciation comes with knowledge and experience.

Think about the people in your life you truly appreciate, and why. What are their attributes, and what experiences have you shared with them that have caused your appreciation to mature? Often we find that appreciation grows into admiration, and, sometimes, even into adoration. It is a progression that requires both knowledge and experience.

I have walked with the Lord for more than 50 years, and my complete adoration of Him is the result of both pursuit of Him and intimate fellowship with Him. I have learned of Him as I have experienced Him. He has been completely faithful, utterly dependable, enduringly kind, and unfathomably gracious. He has held me when I was broken hearted. He has healed me when my soul was scorched. He has rejoiced with me when I embraced His victory. He has laughed with me in pure delight over the simplest of things. He has saved me, and He saves me still. He owes me nothing, and I owe Him everything.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He set forth in Him, regarding His plan of the fullness of the times, to bring all things together in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.  In Him we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things in accordance with the plan of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in the Christ would be to the praise of His glory.  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-14 NASB)

Dearly beloved, I pray “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the boundless greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19a NASB)

Until next week, fellow sojourner, pursue Him and discover Him. He longs to be gracious to you. (Isaiah 30:18 NASB)

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