Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 19, 2017


This morning’s reading took me to different places that in a manner of minutes caused different reactions. There is so much to learn from the depth of Revelation to the practical advice from Proverbs. For me, Revelation is not a book to quickly read through.  Rather, it is one that needs to be studied and pondered. Correspondingly, Proverbs fascinates me in looking for wisdom principles for each day. God’s Word has practical advice and depth to ponder, and both can be accomplished in one sitting! But there was more to my reading that caught my attention. I want to know Revelation better and live out the wisdom of Proverbs, but what should my/our days look like?

Today’s reading also took me to a rather unusual place … the words of Johann Sebastian Bach! With my southern roots, you wouldn’t call me a classical music lover (although, my wife is giving her best effort to convert me). His ability to compose great scores is beyond the comprehension and capabilities of almost anyone who has ever lived. But his model of preparation and completion is something that you and I can take with us every day. In the book All IN, by Mark Batterson the story is told of how Bach would work on his cantatas.

“They were prayers before they were songs, literally. Before Bach started scoring a sheet of music, he would scrawl J.J.—Jesu juva—at the very top. It was the simplest of prayers: Jesus, help me. Then, at the completion of every composition, Bach inscribed three letters in the margin of his music: SDG. Those three letters stood for the Latin phrase, Soli Deo Gloria—to the glory of God alone. Soli Deo Gloria was one of the rallying cries of the Protestant Reformation, but Bach personalized it.”

I promise that it was not my intention to gain insight for my day from a classical composer. But along with reading the depth in Revelation and wisdom from Proverbs, clarity came in the form of a simple model. Whether you and I scrawl the letters J.J at the top of our daily to do list, or sincerely pray Jesus help me as we begin the adventure of each new day, the intent is the same. We are seeking and submitting to the help of the Savior. What better words could we use to start our day … or any project?

The ending of our day isn’t about completing a composition of music, but we should want the exact same result Bach penned on his work … SDG (Soli Deo Gloria)!  Often we just want to be finished with our day or project, but the sincere desire for SDG — to the glory of God alone — places a much higher value on what we are doing. SDG isn’t what to pray if we are just trying to get through the day. Truly God has a unique purpose for every follower of Christ, and that purpose should be wrapped in the desire for the help of Jesus and completed for the glory of God alone.

My wife has beautifully displayed these words in our home, “Make each day a masterpiece.” Admittedly, some days don’t feel like a masterpiece. But following the words of Bach (who composed many masterpieces), and more importantly, the Word of  God (which is the ultimate Masterpiece), will help us create our daily masterpiece. Live today seeking to compose a masterpiece!  SDG!

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