Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Private Lessons - Psalm 86:11

Private Lessons
Psalm 86:11
Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

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BlogFam, I come from a family of very skilled musicians – instrumentalists and vocalists. Some of us have been formally trained and others of us are just naturally gifted in this regard and a few of us are naturally gifted and have also been formally trained.  Such is the case of my sister.  I have been around music my entire life and I have heard many phenomenal singers and YES, I do admit my personal bias; but I must say that my sister has one of the most glorious voices I have ever heard.  The sound that comes from her voice is a distinctive mark of the likes of Leontyne Price and Jessie Norman.  Yes, she can sing hymns and contemporary Gospel but to hear her sing a Negro Spiritual or a Classical piece in English, Italian, or French or even the Lord’s Prayer is literally like hearing the sound of an artist’s masterpiece that has come to life. 

BlogFam, my sister’s voice is exquisite.  I honestly do not even think that she realizes how anointed her voice is to the extent that she commands the room when she sings.  I know the angels in heaven applaud because she has raised her voice to God and the angels recognize it because the glory of the Lord shines through her voice.  Her voice is magnetic and electrifying, soulful and captivating, pure and holy.  Her voice is truly an instrument that God has selected.  My parents recognized this gift and have encouraged her and invested in her.  She has a natural gift and she has been formally trained.  She has had the privilege of having had private instruction over the years in order to enhance what God had already placed inside of her.

The private instruction that she received was not open to the public.  The two people in the room included my sister and her teacher. I am sure that they had conversations about her voice that no one else was privileged to hear.  I am sure that her instructors told her things in private that surely enriched the sound we heard in public.  I have no doubt that there were times that she did not feel like having the spotlight of a private lesson. I have no doubt that there were moments where she wanted to walk out of those private lessons because these lessons highlighted the areas of improvement that the public may never have caught on to but that her private instructor was hired to address and coach her toward correction.  Private lessons were also costly but the investment of time and money, I believe my parents and my sister would say were was necessary and was worth it in order to be wise stewards over the gift that God had placed in their care. 

Now, friends, I have never had private voice lessons and I am not mad or upset about that because I have had many private lessons along my journey in other areas of my life – not the least of which is in the area of faith.  We all are blessed with spiritual gifts inside of us that are unique to the time, places, situations, relationships in which we find ourselves.  These gifts must be nurtured and because of God’s manifold grace and mercy, God chooses to give each of us Private Lessons in order to enhance our gifts in ways that the public would never know needed to be corrected. 

There is nothing like having Private Lessons from the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is able to see into the depths of our souls and expose to us the weight and the sin that so easily besets us.  The Holy Spirit is able to see precisely what areas need to be improved so that we can be the best witnesses that we can be on behalf of the Kingdom of God.  Unfortunately, too many of us skip the Private Lessons and rush to the public platforms in order to put our gifts on display for immature and selfish reasons.  But please be clear that skipping the Private Lessons will only keep you from getting the private correction that is necessary for your growth and maturity.  AND as you frustrate the grace of God by skipping the Private Lessons, you create opportunities for that same correction to take place on the same public platform where you wish to be displayed.  Just because you skip the lessons does not mean that our God will skip holy correction.

Our scripture of reflection for today is Psalm 86:11
Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

When is the last time you asked the Lord to have a Private Lesson with you?  This Psalmist’s prayer is for the Lord to have a Private Lesson with him so that he might know the Lord and rely on the Lord.  He desires Private Lessons so that he can have an undivided heart, a heart that is exclusively controlled by the Spirit of the Lord.  He knows that the Private Lessons he receives from the Lord will also direct him to reverence the name of the Lord.  

When we seek private Lessons from the Lord, just as my sister’s Private Lessons, we are asking the Lord to invest in us time, talent and treasure so that we can be all that He would have us to be. When we seek private lessons from the Lord, we are asking the Lord to teach us whatever it is we need to know and we are expressing our dependence upon Him for our life.  When we seek Private Lessons from the Lord, we realize that we do not have to be driven by the opportunity for our witness to be on display for we recognize that it is the Lord’s prerogative to provide the platforms for us to serve in the Kingdom.  When we seek Private Lessons, we also come to understand that the lesson we need is sometimes not the same lesson that our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ need and we also learn to accept that while my sister or brother has a platform upon which their witness is being displayed now, we have no idea what kind of Private Lessons the Lord had to teach them back then or what lessons they might be ignoring for the sake of being seen by people while ignoring the Private Lessons of the Almighty God.

BlogFam, it is time for you to schedule a Private Lesson.  It is time for you to pray this prayer of the Psalmist so that the Lord, Himself can invest in you.  There is so much that God wants to do in and through you but you keep running to the platform, when it is time to go backstage and learn your lines, and take your cues from the Heavenly Father.  It is time for you to schedule a Private Lesson or two or three or it might not be a bad idea to just keep a standing appointment….  Your teacher is waiting…
Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

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Leontyne Price "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess
October 8, 1978

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