Tag Archives: silence

Watching and Waiting

One of the hardest things for us to do in this age of technology is to watch and wait. When a website takes longer than usual to load, we mutter not-so-nice words under our breath. When the street light seems to take forever to change or the person in front of us does not notice it changed and move at a rate we expect, we get frantic. When we push a button a few times for the elevator, we continue to push it again if the elevator does not rush to our floor. We live a life of rush, of busyness, of frantic racing from place to place or task to task. But God’s Word tells us that we were never meant to be zooming around everywhere like a chicken with its head cut off.

In Proverbs 8:34, it says that we will be blessed if we listen, watch, and wait. This seems simple. Listen. Watch. Wait. But to do these three things is not so easy. To listen, means we need to be intentional. You may have heard the phrase, “Put on your listening ears.” For a child of God to have listening ears, it means we have ourselves ready to listen. The noise of the world isn’t drowning out God’s voice. We have made time to hear. We have found a place that will promote the stillness we need to hear the still small voice.

Not only are we to listen, but we are to watch. We watch God move with our eyes. We watch what He has for us. But we don’t act. It says we watch and wait. This is not the typical sequence of action for us. We are accustomed to watching someone show us how to do it, and then start following the How-To video to accomplish the same project or cook the same meal. God wants us to listen and watch for Him, and only move when He wants us to move. To be in His will, to walk so closely to Him, following His instruction, requires us to listen, to watch, and to wait. This is what abiding in Him is all about—and living this way results in living a life that is blessed.

“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” – Proverbs 8:34 [ESV]

Advertisements

Voice of God

One of the topics people discuss with me most is hearing from God. Many people expect to hear from God with an audible voice like in the movies. I guess they assume a voice like Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones will speak to them, and if they do not hear a voice, God is not speaking. The truth is many people do not hear an audible voice; God speak through His Creation, through His people, through events. Most importantly, God speaks through His Word and His Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is in your gut. You may be doing something you aren’t supposed to be doing and the Spirit will say, “What are you doing? I have better for you.” Perhaps you are looking in the mirror and seeing someone who does not look how you desire, but the Spirit reminds you, “You are Mine. You are My beloved.” Maybe you are sitting in church when you feel this great need to go sit beside someone and pray with them. Or you are at work and you are eating your lunch when God tells you to go share a passage with a fellow co-worker.

God speaks. Often when He speaks, we are not listening. Often when He speaks the noises of the world are so loud we aren’t paying attention. Often when He speaks, we are expecting some audible voice to come from the sky, but He is speaking to you in a totally different way. Today go to that quiet place, the place where you are able to have your listening ears on. Just sit silently. Ask Him to speak. Ask Him to move everything away and let it be all about Him. Just listen.

“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’” – Jeremiah 33:2-3 [MSG]

Something Outta Nothing

[Elisha and the Widow’s Oil – 2 Kings 4:1-7]

Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” (ESV)

This woman:

  • Lost her husband
  • Was about to lose her kids into slavery (see Leviticus 25:39-41)
  • Would then have no one to work the family land which would leave her deeper in debt

Humility – go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors

Faith – empty vessels and not too few

Solitude – then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons

I HAVE NOTHING … NOTHING EXCEPT A JAR OF OIL

God of the impossible – Luke 18:27

  • Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” [NIV]
  • “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” [MSG]

See beyond the nothing… except a jar of oil

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. – Ephesians 3:20 [MSG]

 Study Questions:

1) The woman who approached Elisha was the wife of one of the sons “of the prophets.” This is similar to a disciple. The students were known as the “sons” and the instructor would be called “father.”

When the woman asked Elisha for help, what was Elisha’s response?

2) Considering this interaction between Elisha and the widow:

How do you respond when someone approaches you with a need?

How do you respond when you have your own need?

What could you do differently?

3) In tonight’s passage, we read about many different problems this widow had to overcome. Not only did she have to overcome the loss of her husband and potential loss of her children and her income stability, she had some inner obstacles to overcome.

What were some of those obstacles?

How did Elisha direct the widow through those obstacles?

4) What obstacles are you facing?

In Silence

I’m currently reading Exodus. In Chapter 14, I read this– And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you only have to be silent. [ESV]

Fear not
Stand firm
See the salvation of the LORD
Be silent

These are hard things for us. So often our lives are steered by fear and pride. We don’t always stand firm but instead turn tail and run. We aren’t always thankful for this great salvation from the Lord. Being silent– that’s hard. It’s hard for me (anyone who knows me knows I can talk) but it’s difficult for everyone. Jesus wants us to enjoy His company in silence, away from the noise of the world. It’s so we can hear Him.

Today, remember that the LORD is with you. He is fighting with you. It’s His battle. And He wants you to fear not and stand firm with the confidence only He can give you. In the silence, as you watch Him move and work out His great plan, you will see the salvation of the Lord and His glory will be seen by many. God is alive. Amen.

Fooled by the Noise

I was at my desk calling out to my daughter. It was very loud in the next room but I heard a response. I responded only to hear laughter. My son was pretending to be my daughter. The noise level made it hard to hear and it was not so easy to detect what was happening. He found it hilarious. I told him to turn down the television.

We have had much advancement in technology to make it easier to connect with people. The downfall of technology is the fact that there is a lot of noise. Nearly everywhere you go you will find noise. If you are at the supermarket, you’ll hear the beeps from the cash registers. You will hear the self checkout area’s robotic register voices conversing with customers. You will hear music sometimes interrupted by announcements over the PA system. You will hear customers catching up in the middle of an aisle while others have hour long conversations on their cell phone as slowly making their way through the store. You will hear the sound of boxes being opened to restock shelves and the rattling of shopping carts. This is just one example.

Today, look around and see where you can turn down some noise in your life. It is important to have some quiet time to spend with God—time with no distractions so you can hear properly. If you do not have that time, consider a way to accomplish this quiet time today.

“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”  – Matthew 14:22-23 [ESV]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

Settling Down With God: A Study of 1 Kings

Image This book is a 10 Session Bible Study book great for both individual study or group Bible study.

I just finished working on this new project, Settling Down With God: A Study of 1 Kings. Funny enough, when God gave me the title, I initially thought that He wanted me to write about coping with AdHd in a biblical manner, because AdHd is something that both my daughter and I have learned to deal with over the years. Nonetheless, I waited for His direction and later learned that I was way off course.

I was very excited to dig deeper into 1 Kings for this project, as it is always a book I enjoy reading. There is so much there; I am always amazed.

For my first three books, and my 4th book (the Daily Good complimentary 14-day Devotional), I actually used my own personal photography. Each of the photos on all four of those books were taken in Australia. I wanted to do things differently this time around. My daughter is quite the artist and I asked if she could design the book cover. She merely was told that it was a Bible study book on 1 Kings.

As my daughter completed the book cover, I was working on the text. When we both were finished, my daughter sat by my side and helped to edit the cover till it was as she thought best for her vision. She told me that the puzzle pieces were used on the cover because it represents how each one of us is a special piece, we each are different, but we belong to one body. Then she said at the same time, our lives are made up of different pieces. I was so impressed by what she has already learned so far, to see her vision brought to life, and to work with her on this project.

Contact me for more information.

CONTENTS PAGE:

Image

SAMPLE SELECTION:

ImageImage

Saying Nothing

In King Lear, William Shakespeare wrote, “No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.” I have considered my personal experience and the challenge to “say nothing.” We don’t like to not say a word. When someone comes up to us and says something that differs from what we think, we like to share what we think. When someone does something that goes against what we hold dear, we like to bring it to their attention. When words are said against us, we want to speak up and defend ourselves. We want to speak our mind or as we say, “Share our side.” When we see injustice or are on the receiving end of injustice, we feel the need to say something. When someone passes us while driving or accidentally bumps us with their shopping card, we might desire to open our mouths.

Proverbs 21:23 says, “Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble” (NLT). Is it really that easy? To say nothing, we certainly must have the patience Shakespeare noted. We also must be confidently founded in Christ. We must be humble and not care what others like, but be focused on God.

It is not always best to be silent. There are some situations when we should be speaking up. But when we find ourselves in a situation where speaking is not going to be beneficial, we need to ask ourselves if it is good for the Kingdom? Will what we have to say represent God in the way He should be represented? Is this about Him or us? It is important to look at our motives for speaking up.

Let us pray like the Psalmist, “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” (141:3 NIV). May our mouths glorify our Father with the words we speak.

A Gentle Blowing

I have been so busy with this semester’s coursework that my writing has been very scarce lately. More recently I have be plagued with a cold which has taken its wrath upon my ear. I went to the doctor only to find out that I had a very bad ear infection, and I was given antibiotics to aid in the healing process. As I opened the bottle and peered at the pills inside, I started to remember a time I’d like to forget.

Some people take pills daily for whatever health reasons or simply to fulfill a vitamin regimen. Most people have no problems taking pills; however, I am not most people. I can remember a day when ibuprofen and I didn’t get along. It wasn’t so much the medicine that left a mark, but how the medicine was administered.

When my children were younger and unable to take a particular kind of medicine, I always went to the store to get the appropriate medicine in a form they could take best. Perhaps I took that extra time because of this image still stuck in my head, or possibly it was because I wanted to show some grace.

God is so very gracious with us. We are all sinners. Romans 3:23-24 states: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (NIV). The love He has for us is incredible, with no words great enough to describe how amazing. His grace is something we all receive, and we are all to share it with others.

There are many people who look at God as an angry God in the Old Testament. People will page through the books and read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and not see His love. But if we look solely at the story and don’t grasp the full picture, we miss God’s grace and we miss seeing the love that has been there since the very beginning. 1 John 4 tells us that “God is love.” When reading the Bible front to back cover, it can be seen that God is love. God is faithful. God is just. And God is so very gracious with all of us.

I know some people who believe God will just toss a lightning bolt down to remedy a situation without seeking another solution. What these people do not understand is that from the very beginning, God has been moving and working in our lives for us. He is not against us and not looking for any of us to fall, to hurt, or to not be with Him. And He is not so forceful, administering what He wants without grace. At times He is so gentle, that He is like the wind gently blowing by. If you read about Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal, you will note that God’s glory was shown. It was a great victory. When Elijah was on Mount Carmel he believed that God would be faithful and God answered with fire. Yet after that event, Elijah ran away and hid. He got fearful and let his fear get the best of him. In 1 Kings 19, God did not go after Elijah and pour His wrath upon him for not continuing his mission. He was “a sound of gentle blowing.”

God comes to us again and again with His loving arms wide open. He meets us wherever we are and asks us if we are ready to come back to Him. He is not forceful. He gives us an invitation, not an order. We have the free will to make the decision. As John 3:16 states, “whoever believes in Him will not perish.” It doesn’t say all will believe. He put out the invitation and He simply wants us to respond. He would love if we all checked yes, but He will never force us in the matter.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” – Isaiah 49:15-16 [NIV]