Thursday, March 14, 2019

BE STILL


"Be still and know that I am God." 
(Psalm 46:10)


Every Tuesday night, our church has prayer service, followed by a short teaching from our pastor or a guest. Recently, our pastor taught on the above verse, and as he was teaching, the Lord told me to look up the word "still." Then the Spirit of God quickly downloaded the following revelation into my heart.

Interestingly, that very same morning prior to the evening service, I had spent time studying the Bible, praying, and worshipping and singing to the Lord. When I finished, He said, "I want you to be quiet (still) before Me, because I have things to say to you." As I sat in tranquil silence, His Spirit began to counsel and reveal deep truths that ministered to my spirit. It was such a sweet time of fellowship.

That evening after church, I meditated on Psalm 46:10 and began to have a clearer vision of God’s heart and what He wants for us. Be” is an imperative verb that gives a command. God is not asking us to be still. He is commanding us to be still for our own spiritual, mental, and physical health and well-being. Therefore, the definition of “still” gives new meaning to what God requires of us – to be calm, quiet, and tranquil. 

God is relational and desires fellowship with us. That was His purpose in creating man. Unfortunately, we are so busy with our active lives that we have a tendency to spend less time in His Word, prayer, and fellowship. If we manage to slow down, do we sit with an attitude of calm, quiet tranquility and rest, and wait patiently for God’s Spirit to speak to our heart? Or are our thoughts diverted to all the things we think we should be doing? 

You may say, “Oh, I have tried listening for God to speak to me, but I don’t hear anything.” God says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). So, are we really seeking God with all of our heart, or are we spending a few hurried minutes in prayer before we begin our day?

God knows that stress is the root of many illnesses. We become so busy and preoccupied with all those things that require our attention, that we end up with an over-scheduled life that distracts us from the things of God. 

Most of us are hurried and often overwhelmed  by the demands, commitments, and stressors that come with living life. If we are not careful, those things can lead to frustration, anxiety, and too often, unmanaged stress. I have discovered in my life, that if I fail to take the necessary time to be still before the Lord, my stress level increases as I attempt to juggle multiple writing projects and self-imposed deadlines. 

God tells us to be still long enough to hear from Him, for He says, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Cast all your anxieties on Me, because I care for you." "Call to Me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you" (Matthew 11:28; I Peter 5:7; Jeremiah 33:3; Psalm 32:8-9). Just look at all the wonderful benefits we receive when we spend time with Him.

Psalm 46:10 continues, "Be still…and know that I am God." In other words, "I am sovereign and unchanging. There is nothing impossible for Me." Jesus said this about His Father, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26)

Abraham asked God how it was possible for Sarah to conceive a child in their old age. God responded, "Is anything too difficult for the LORD?" (Genesis 18:14)

Job who suffered greatly, finally understood the Person and power of God. He said to Him, "I know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures My plans without knowledge?' Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know. You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You" (Job 42: 2-6).

Even though Job was blameless, upright, feared God, and shunned evil, he initially did not have a relationship with Him. He had heard about God, but he had not experienced Him with his heart.

God wants us to not just hear about Him; He wants us to personally know Him. And that cannot happen unless we are still before Him…seeking Him with all our heart and investing time in prayer and His Word. 

How do we communicate with God? Jesus answered that question, "The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:26). "Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words" (Romans 8:25). "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" (Romans 8:14)

"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14). That is why we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and be led by Him, because the flesh will always try to lead us away from Him. 

We need to be still before God and know that there is nothing that we bring before Him that He doesn’t already know and have a solution. "For He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20). And that power is the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we invite the Person of the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, we have an open exchange between God’s Spirit and our spirit. That allows an intimate, two-way radio connection between us and our heavenly Father. 

The Lord says, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). "Be still and know that I am God." He wants to be that loving, soothing, comforter, counselor, and oasis where we can recharge and share our heart with Him. For He is the One who formed us in our mother’s womb and knew us before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5). What better person to spend time with than the One who created us and knows us intimately? 

PRAYER: FATHER, help me prioritize time for You and be still, so that I may find peace and tranquility in Your presence. I am so used to being in perpetual motion, that it is difficult to stop, even for my own sake. I invite Your Spirit to fill me to overflowing, so that we may enjoy sweet fellowship as I learn from You. In Jesus’ name, amen.



















Wednesday, March 6, 2019

I am excited and happy to announce that my new book, JOURNEY WITH GOD: A Compilation of Devotionals and Prayers is now available on Amazon. 
Some have asked if this is a book of daily devotionals. They are devotionals and prayers, but they are not set to a numbered calendar to be methodically read each day. You can read them at your own speed and return again and again to the ones that have been most meaningful for you. There are also lined pages in the back of the book for taking notes.

I am so very grateful to my faithful blog readers, friends, and family who have encouraged me on this journey and continue to encourage me to share the life-changing lessons that I have learned and continue to learn in my daily journey with God.

Forty-eight years ago, I became a Christian on one very cold and snowy, winter’s night in January of 1972. It was a night that would forever be etched in my memory and change my life forever—for the better. That night began an amazing and exciting journey with God.

God is a personal and loving Creator who loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from an eternity separated from Him. Over the years, I have learned so many wonderful and astounding truths and lessons from God and His Word. It was for that reason, that in 2014, a dear friend asked me to share those truths with others. Her request sparked the first blog with many more that followed and more that continue to be written as I learn new things from God each and every day.

Each week, in preparation for writing a blog, a great excitement is generated within my heart, as I anticipate what God will reveal next. He has an amazing way of making Himself known in Scripture, nature, people, and life in general. All that He has created provides an opportunity to learn the deeper truths found in His Word where His heart is revealed. My reason for writing blogs and this book is to show the heart of God and His astonishing love and meticulous care that He has for each of us.

God gave me the title for the book; however, I was sure He must have meant, “A Journey with God” instead of “Journey with God."  God quickly corrected me, “Journey with God is an imperative statement.” In other words, it is His instruction to journey each day with Him. It is not just a one-time experience. Each day presents new opportunities to learn from Him.

JOURNEY WITH GOD is divided into eight sections. Each section (labeled “PART”) has seven selected lessons from the many that I have learned, with the exception of PART FIVE, which has nine lessons.

These are the sections listed under “CONTENTS”:

PART ONE: TRUTHS I HAVE LEARNED 
PART TWO: BUILDING FAITH 
PART THREE: GROWING IN GOD 
PART FOUR: HEALING SPIRIT AND SOUL 
PART FIVE: LESSONS THROUGH CHILDREN AND ANIMALS 
PART SIX: LESSONS IN NATURE
PART SEVEN: GOD’S METAPHORS FOR LIFE 
PART EIGHT: MIRACLES BIG AND SMALL.

This is the link, if you choose to order the book from Amazon. Free 2-day shipping is offered to Amazon Prime members.


Thank you all for your continued love and support in my amazing journey with God. May He richly bless you as you daily journey with Him.



Monday, February 25, 2019

SETTING GOALS
My mother always stressed the importance of setting goals, aiming high for desired results, and then striving to achieve them. As I was praying and asking God to help me set goals to think on those things that are pure and righteous; speak what edifies; do those things that please Him; and be all that He calls me to be as His child, I felt a pause in my spirit to meditate on those four words: think, speak, doand beThe result was humbling. On the surface, those words may seem simple and to the point, but with God, those words carry a much deeper meaning, thereby, requiring a greater responsibility in our walk with Him.

1. THINK: What things should we think and not think?

—Think on things of excellence: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—think about such things" (Philippians 4:8).  
—"Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you" (Romans 12:3).
—"Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh?" (Romans 13:14 NIV)
—"If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become "fools" so that you may become wise" (I Corinthians 3:18).
—"Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know" (I Corinthians 8:2 NIV).
—"If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall" (I Corinthians 10:12).

2. SPEAK - What things should we speak and not speak?

—"What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs" (Matthew 10:27)
—"The mouth speaks what the heart is full of" (Matthew 12:34)
—"In all things speak the truth in Christ" (Romans 9:1).
—"This is what we speak not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words" (I Corinthians 2:13).
—"Speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). —"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19)
—"If anyone speaksthey should do so as one who speaks the very words of God" (I Peter 4:11).
—"Speak to each other about these things every day while there is still time so that none become hardened against God, being blinded by the glamor of sin" (Hebrews 3:13)
Speak in faith"For assuredly, I say to you, whoever [speaks] to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says" (Mark 11:23 NKJV).

3. DO— What does God call us to do and not to do?

—"Do not speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters" (James 4:11 NIV).
—"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things" (Matthew 6:34 NKJV).
—"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).
—"Do not be afraid; just believe" (Mark 5:36). "Do not be afraid" appear in the Bible 365 times. This is a command, which tells us that every day, we are not to be afraid. This truth should be embraced in this present day, so that no matter what happens, we will rest in God's hands. 
—" Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
—"Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go" (Joshua 1:9).
—"Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Hebrews 13:16 NIV).
—"Do to others, as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31 NIV).
—"Do not deceive yourselves. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise" (I Corinthians 3:18 NIV).
—"Do not be conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2 ESV).

4. BE —What does God want us to be and not to be?

"Be" is a definitive verb that states something decisively and with authority. It is a command and not a suggestion. This truth must be embraced in this present day, so that we can rest safely in God's hands.
—"Be strong and courageous" (Joshua 1:7 NIV).
—"Be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:28 NIV)
—"[Be confident in this], that He who began a good work in you wil carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6 NIV).                               
"Be not carnally minded but be engaged in wholesome thinking, as we clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:1).                      
"Be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2 ESV).
                
 For brevity sake, the above is an abbreviated list of commands and warnings that God has given us for our benefit and well-being. That is why it is critical to study and uncover the deep treasures that His Word holds for us.
    
This brief study of think, speak, do, and be, caused me to understand the extent of what I was asking of God and what that request requires of me every day. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

This is a wonderful promise to all who faithfully and diligently pay attention to God's commands and warnings. Then we can take hold of the promised hope and a future beautifully designed by our Creator.

God encourages us to seek Him now with our whole heart while He may be found; call on Him while He is near (Isaiah 55:6). For He truly desires fellowship with us, so that we may really know Him. When we do, He will respond with magnanimous love as He shares His heart and instructs and guides us in how to navigate this challenging world in which we live.  

PRAYER: FATHER, You care for me so much that You know every detail of my life, every thought, dream, hope, fear, and every word before I speak it. May my goal always be to think and meditate on your Word, to speak Your Word in faith, to do Your Word, and to be a living testimony of Your Word. In Jesus name, amen.