“Reed” This
 

Paul Reed, Associate Pastor and Minister of Music, shares weekly thoughts and inspiration.

 
 
 

Beeps in the Night

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Beeps in the Night

 

We’ve all had those nights when a noise wakes us up. It usually takes a little bit for us to figure out what has caused the sound, either because we didn’t hear it clearly or we just weren’t sure from which direction it came. The other night I was awoken by something beeping. There was about a minute between each beep, so it took several of them before my mind registered that there was actually something beeping and it wasn’t just in my dream. Once awake enough, I knew it was a smoke detector. I had recently replaced every detector in our house but one, and that one was in my bedroom. I finally got out of bed and stood underneath said detector and waited. Sure enough, just a few seconds later and I was assured this was the culprit. I found a step ladder to use and reached up to release the battery. Fortunately, it was a newer model where the battery compartment is simply depressed on one spot and it opens to reveal the battery. I took the old battery out and proceeded to put the step ladder away and dispose of the battery. “Beep.”  “You’ve got to be kidding,” I thought. I set up the step ladder again, went and found a new battery and inserted it into the compartment and closed it up. I got down from the ladder and “Beep.” Back up on the ladder I went and decided to press what I thought was a reset button. Well, that sent the alarm into full Armageddon mode. It may have done some permanent damage to my ears with my head being so close to it, but I quickly hit that button again and thankfully it stopped. I stepped down and once again proceeded to remove the ladder when “Beep.” By this point, I was done with this thing. I got back up and removed the new battery. Then, I removed the entire unit from the ceiling and found that it was connected to some electrical wire. I depressed the wire connector and finally, I was simply holding the unit in my hand with no battery and it not connected to any wires – “BEEP!”  I looked at Debbie and said, “How in the world is this thing beeping!?!” I looked at the detector again to make sure there wasn’t another battery somewhere on it but found nothing. After several minutes, we realized it was finally dead and the event was over and we could go back to bed. But by now, I was good and awake, and I wondered if there was something I needed to do. Did God wake me up for some divine revelation? Did I need to get a pen and paper to write it down? Did He want me to read something from His Word or pray about some specific thing? After asking Him and waiting and thinking about it, nothing came to my mind, so I just went back to sleep.

 

We’ve all had “fun” with smoke detectors. And the stories almost always occur in the middle of the night. For some reason, the batteries don’t go bad during the day. Things like this always seem to come at a time that disturbs our sleep, our rest. A friend of mine once said, “Sleep is overrated.” He claimed he only needed four hours of sleep each night. Any more than that and he was just wasting time. Yes, I thought he was crazy, too. We all need sleep. God has designed our bodies to need sleep and to need rest. And God gives us that needed rest so our muscles and minds can recoup from the day’s activities. (Ps. 23:2; Mt. 11:28; Ps. 4:8; Pr. 3:24) But God never sleeps. Psalm 121:3-4 says, “… the One who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.” God is always watching over us, keeping His protective eye on us. It is so comforting to know that He is watching over me. We may never know what harm we have been shielded from by God’s loving hands, but we can know we are always being held in them.

 

Smoke detectors are good to have. They sort of watch over us while we sleep and can detect a fire before we unknowingly succumb to the smoke. However, the batteries do lose their power and the detectors themselves wear out and have to be replaced. They’re not failproof. But God is. And we can rest in Him with no beeps.

 



Colors of Spring

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Colors of Spring

 

The last several days have been absolutely beautiful! The sun has been shining brightly in the bright blue sky. A nice breeze has gently been blowing. The flowering bushes and trees are blooming vibrant and beautiful flowers. And the new growth of leaves on the trees gives us beautiful shades of light green to view all around us. It is all breath taking as the season of Spring has fully come. We see these colors because of the way the plants reflect the sunlight. The wavelengths of light that are not absorbed by the flower are reflected back to us giving us the colors we see: yellow, pink, red, fuchsia, purple, lavender, blue, etc. However the science works, God did it. Some years it seems that He really shows off His creation skills and wows us with full blooms and extra vibrant colors. It is overwhelming at times as we stop and truly look at His beautiful creation. Today, however, it is cloudy and rainy and a little dark. The Spring colors are all still around us, but not as vibrant with the sun not being seen. The clouds are blocking the sunrays from making those colors pop. There’s still light getting through, but not the full brightness as when the clouds are not around.

 

We live in a darkened world. The true Son Light is shining brightly, but the clouds of our sinful world have blocked His brilliance. God’s beautiful creation is still around us and is wonderful to see, but it has been tainted by the shadow of sin. We see people all around us, but all of us have been tainted by sin. This fallen world of sin darkens everything (Rom. 8:22). But God didn’t want us to stay in darkness, so He gave us His light. Jesus came and is that Light. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12) The darkness that tries to hide God and keep us from knowing Him and the Light, has been pierced through by Jesus. His coming, His perfect life, His death on the cross for our sins, and His glorious resurrection has pierced through the darkness to show us the way to God and give us life. He provides the way for us to escape the darkness and live forever in His Light. “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

 

There may be clouds in the sky, but the sun is still shining. There may be clouds and darkness around us, but the Light is still shining. Just like when there is a break in the clouds and that beautiful beam of sunlight shines through, Jesus, the Light of the world, pierces through the darkness and gives us hope. We, His followers, His children, are to be reflecting that Light to everyone around us. Just like the beautiful colors of Spring, we need to be seen as beautiful witnesses for our Savior. There is joy in this dark world, and His name is Jesus. Let’s make sure people see Him.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021



Why Did You Ask?

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Why Did You Ask?

 

I was recently asked to do something for someone and I happily accepted the request and accomplished the task. A few days after submitting my work, I was sent an email thanking me for my “suggestions” and was then asked to change basically half of my work. I have to admit, I did not receive that well. I was not under the impression that what I had submitted would be manipulated to fit into a certain form or meet a particular criteria. That had never been communicated. I did what I was asked to do, and yet the one who asked seemed to have their own agenda and ideas. So, why did they ask me to submit anything? (Just to clarify, this has nothing to do with anyone in the church.) In my mind, I’m wondering why I was asked to use my time to do something that was never going to be used. That’s a big waste of my time. I replied to the email asking what was meant by “suggestions” and “fitting it in” but have not received an answer. This greatly bothers me. However, in order to maintain this relationship, I’m trying to stay patient and work with this individual. I’m not exactly sure how this will play out, so I’ll continue to do what I can.

 

We’ve all experienced things like this. We’re asked to do something, but after doing it, we may be criticized for it or it is rejected completely. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into what has been asked of us and yet our work is changed or reworked into something entirely different. We are left thinking, “Why did you ask me to do this if you just wanted it your way?” “Why did I waste my time?” This leaves us very frustrated. And when we are not told why, that only exacerbates the problem.

 

Sometimes God asks us to do things for Him and we’re not sure why. However, He doesn’t change our work or what we offer, yet, He does use it sometimes in a different way. I may not understand the particulars to what and why He is asking, but with God, I always know He will use it for good. God never asks us to do things that wastes our time. The task can always grow us in some way, if we will allow it. The project He gives us may be quite difficult, but He’ll give us the strength and ability to accomplish it, and the blessings will far outweigh the effort. I may not see the results for a very long time or I may never see any results, and that can be confusing or frustrating. But I know, because of my faith, that God will bring those results in His timing. And that timing will be perfect. That’s where I find my peace – resting in Him because He is God, and He is good, and He is working for my good (Jer. 29:11).

 

Working with people can be aggravating at times. I’m sure people have gotten aggravated with me and my requests. None of us are perfect. But God is perfect. And we can place our full faith in Him in whatever He asks us to do, knowing He will take and use it for good and for His glory. No matter what we are asked to do, we simply need to obey.

 

“But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a desert road.) So he got up and went.”  Acts 8:26-27a NASB

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


Look What I Found

Look What I Found

 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to work outside. It was a beautiful, warm day with the sun shining and a nice breeze. It was the perfect day to work out in the yard. Several of us were helping my son, Cameron, with some tree trimming and cleaning out some garden spots. I would have called them flower gardens but there aren’t any flowers in them, just plants. Anyway, they needed cleaned out and spruced up to make the house look better to sell. There was quite a bit of stubborn grass in the garden I worked in. It was really wearing me out. At one point, I was on my knees and pulling on a tuft of grass right along the edge of the garden. As I pulled it up, a little snake slithered out from under it. The red, black, and yellow stripes made me immediately say, “Red on black, friend to Jack. Red on yellow, unlucky fellow.” Thankfully, it was red on black, so it was not a coral snake, it was just a harmless scarlet king snake. It couldn’t have been more than ten inches long, but it was beautifully marked. I reached down and caught it so we all could look at it. We tried to show it to Jordan as she looked out the window, but I don’t think she ever saw it as she was enjoying just looking out at the trees. We put it in a container so we wouldn’t harm it as we kept working. A little while later, Connor saw another one just a few feet from where we caught the first one. It was basically the same size. He caught it and put it in the container with the first one. Throughout the day, we would check on them and a younger helper took a real liking to them and held them a good bit in the afternoon. When we were all done, I released them into a jasmine bush to be free and help keep the bug population down.

 

Isn’t it fun and exciting when you find something? I know, most of you would not be too excited about finding a snake or two, but you know what I mean. You may find a coin on the ground and pick it up to see what it is and maybe the date on it. You may be walking along the beach and see a shell that catches your eye or even a shark tooth. As you reach down and pick it up, you say, “Look what I found!” Or maybe it’s when you’ve been shopping and find a particular blouse or shirt that you are happy to have found. There is a sense of excitement in finding it and you want to show someone. No matter how old we get, we never lose wanting to share that joy with someone else.

 

The thought that comes to my mind is: do I still have that excitement and longing to share what I’ve found in Jesus? In Mark 5, we find where Jesus healed a man possessed by demons. When Jesus was leaving, this man wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus did not let him. Instead, He told the man, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” (Mk. 5:19) The man did just that and everyone was amazed. They knew what he was like before. He shared what Jesus had done for him and everyone could see the change in his life. We have a story to tell that is just as powerful as this man’s. We have been saved from our sins. We have been given eternal life. We have been set free from the worries of this world because we have a Savior that always takes care of us. We have hope, peace, joy, and love, and it has all been found in Jesus.

 

May the Holy Spirit remind us all what we’ve been given and restore the excitement in our hearts that we felt for the first time when we were saved. And let’s go out into our own people and say, “Look what I found!”

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

 



Where do you want to eat?

Some of you may remember that I enjoy walking to lunch when I can. These last two days have just been gorgeous, and I have taken advantage of the opportunity. As I was walking today, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to eat. I felt led to ask God to direct me and prayed, “Lord, where do You want me to eat?” I was thinking maybe some sushi at Fancy Q’s or a sub at Larry’s, but Southern Soul came strongly into my mind. I had thought about eating there yesterday, but the line was very long so I chose elsewhere. Today, there was only one couple waiting outside the door, so I was glad to see that. As I approached the door, I saw there was a seat at the bar and could go ahead and sit there and order without waiting in line. I went in and I saw the reason I was supposed to eat there. Sitting next to the only open stool was a man the Lord brought to my mind just the day before. I had prayed for this man and his children then because I had not seen them in several years and had lost contact with him. I was concerned for them as his wife had passed after battling cancer. He and his family were members of another church and it was difficult to keep in touch. When I came up from behind him and called his name, he turned and immediately there was that big smile of his. It truly was a time of pure happiness and joy in seeing him. I was so glad to hear how well his children are doing. He had some difficulties from a fall he had since I had last seen him, but he was doing much better now. We visited for a good five minutes or more before he needed to go and I needed to order my lunch.

That was truly a blessing from God and how He allowed me to see my brother in Christ that I had not seen for several years. And on top of that, having him come to my mind just yesterday and feeling led to pray for him. There were so many other places I could have eaten, even within walking distance, but God led me there. When things like this happen, you may have heard someone say, “That’s a God thing.” I would agree to that because there are no coincidences in life. Things don’t just happen. God can and does orchestrate our lives where He can use us and bless us in great ways. When we allow Him to guide us, we receive immeasurable blessings. Instead of just picking a place to eat because it sounds best, we can ask God where He would like us to eat. We may not always run into an old friend, but there may be another reason He wants us there. He may want to use us in some way. He may want us to be there to encourage our waiter or waitress, and even pray for them. He may want us to eat there so the owner of the restaurant will make enough sales that day to pay their staff or bills. He may want us there to meet someone new and even have the opportunity to share Jesus with them. He may want us there just to see if we will listen to Him and obey.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB says, “Pray without ceasing.” Other translations say, “Pray continually;” “Pray constantly;” and “Never stop praying.” The apostle Paul is encouraging us to always be in communication with God. Be mindful of Him and be listening to the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Be expecting the Holy Spirit to prompt you. And be ready for the Holy Spirit to lead you. If we are communing with God and listening, we will hear His still, small voice. Then we will be ready to do those things He has prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

So, next time you’re trying to decide on where to eat, don’t ask yourself or everyone else where they’d like to eat. Stop and ask God where He wants you to eat. Then, be ready to see what He has in store for you.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021



Play the Right Way

For the past almost seven years, I’ve had the opportunity to play second trombone in The Coastal Brass Choir. For the past three years, I’ve been privileged to lead the group as the “interim” director. “Interim” seems to be fading more and more as time goes by, but it is still very enjoyable to lead and play. We have been working on some music for an upcoming outdoor concert that will take place in just a few days. When putting together an order for a concert, careful consideration of placement of each piece in that order must be taken. Many times, a simple chronological order of when each piece was composed can be used. But, there are certain pieces that are more demanding due to the range of notes and putting two of those back to back can be very taxing. Therefore, that chronological approach will not work. Another thing that can influence the placement of selections is the audience’s familiarity with certain songs and those pieces can be spread throughout the concert to make a more enjoyable experience. Once an order is established, it is rehearsed that way to make sure it is logical, feels right, and doesn’t wear out our lips too soon. We had rehearsed the songs in this concert order a few weeks when someone suggested we rehearse them in reverse order. I thought that was an interesting idea, so we did just that at our last rehearsal. As we completed the entire order, we came to our warm-up song. Since we didn’t start at the beginning, we didn’t play it first. And, since we didn’t need to warm up, we decided to actually play this song backward. Yes, we started at the end and played it to the beginning. This was definitely a challenge and after accomplishing the feet, we decided to never do that again.

 

When composing a piece of music, there is logical phrasing that is followed. That is determined by the composer, and however strange it may be due to the style, that phrasing will usually make sense to the ear of the listener and player. There is a basic order that can be followed. There is a beginning that leads to an end. But when played in reverse order, that sense of phrasing is totally lost. It’s like trying to read this sentence backwards. Sdrawkcab ecnetnes siht daer ot gniyrt ekil s’ti. It just doesn’t work. And although we played it correctly (in reverse) with the notes being in the correct key and in the correct timing, the original melody and chord progression could never be heard. Nor could it even be recognized as that piece of music. One of our members, who has read several of my articles, suggested that I write this experience into a “REED” This article. (For the sake of anonymity, let’s just call him Mickey.) So, I decided to try.

 

God has put things in a logical order. He created the world and then He created mankind. He gave mankind all that they needed – food, a place to live, responsibility, and companionship with Him and each other. Yet, man disobeyed the only command he was given and caused death to come into the world. But God still loved man so much, that He sent a Savior, His only Son, to come and die that death for man so that man’s relationship with God could be restored. And when each person in mankind does that, there is a logical order that is followed. But, when a person decides not to accept the gift of life that God has provided, there is disruption to that order. The salvation of that person cannot take place. The blessings God has for that person cannot be received by that person because the relationship has not been restored. Death becomes that person’s end and if that person never accepts the gift of Jesus, that end becomes the beginning of forever being separated from God. That is total chaos and suffering that God doesn’t want anyone to endure. But, He won’t force anyone to do anything His way. He only composes it for man to play it His way, if man so chooses. If man does choose to live God’s way, it will be beautiful, and life will make sense. If man chooses not to live God’s way, life will be meaningless and not be beautiful as God had designed, and it will not end well.

 

There’s only one composition God has given us. It must be followed note by note. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Thankfully, it’s a simple composition.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021



A New Song

As I was getting ready after my shower this morning, I reached in my cabinet and pulled out a new stick of deodorant. It’s always nice to have a fresh, new stick when the fragrance is the strongest and it just smells good. After applying my deodorant, I then reached for my toothbrush. It was time for a new one of those, so I pulled out a new one with good, straight bristles. Then I reached for, yes, you guessed it, a new tube of toothpaste. I had squeezed the very last speck from the old one yesterday. I got to thinking about all the new things I was using today. It’s nice to have new things. When something is new, it is in its best, most presentable condition. A new shirt always looks the best when put on for the very first time, before it is worn and washed and maybe fades a little bit. A new car always looks the best before small scratches start showing up from normal driving wear and tear. A new loaf of bread always tastes the best and most fresh when those first pieces are pulled out.

 

Now, older things aren’t bad. Just because we have them for a while doesn’t make them unwanted. A pair of jeans always feels better once you’ve worn them and washed them several times to break them in. A new pillow feels better once it has conformed to the shape of your head and neck. And even deodorant and toothpaste still work well after using them for several days. But everything reaches a limit. There’s only so much toothpaste in one tube. A loaf of bread only contains a limited number of slices. And material will only last so long before it wears out and your shirt has a tear in it or you have a hole in your sock. That’s what makes getting something new so nice. It’s new. It’s different. It’s fresh.

 

There are several psalms that say to sing to the Lord a new song (Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 42:10; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1). And even in Revelation we find that there will be new songs sung to the Lord in heaven (5:9; 14:3). Several other places we find the Word telling us to sing to the Lord, but in these passages, we find the distinction of singing new songs. As a singer, musician, and a minister of music, I’ve thought about this quite a lot. Of course God wants to hear us sing, but He also wants to hear new songs. It’s not that the old songs are bad or worthless now that they’re old, they are still good. Yet, He wants to hear new songs sung to Him. Too many times we can sing the old songs and just sing them by rote and not really think about what we are saying as we sing. It’s like just going through the motions. With a new song, we are finding fresh ways to praise and worship our God. We are thinking about the ways God has blessed us and finding new ways to thank Him for those blessings. As we sing or even write new songs, we are growing in the ways we express our praise and worship to God. The old songs can be good to sing to the Lord, as long as we are really singing them from our hearts. But don’t be afraid to sing new songs to Him and find new ways to express your love and gratitude to Him. “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) If we are getting new blessings from the Lord every morning, then we have plenty of new things for which to praise Him and plenty of new material with which to write new songs. God’s greatness is limitless. Find new ways and new words to express your praise to Him.

 

Next time you open something new, think about a new song you can sing to the Lord.

 

“O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things.” Psalm 98:1a

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021