grace, quiet time, Uncategorized

“The Grace of Our Quietness:” Continued Thoughts

When I wrote “The Grace of Our Quietness” and posted it earlier this week, I felt that I had veered off course from the series on “A Contemplative Life.”As I thought about the grace of our quietness, I realized that it is applicable in many areas of life. Not only should we extend the grace of our quietness by not repeating what we’ve heard about another person, but we should also extend it when someone needs a friend, a shoulder, an ear to listen, a heart to care. They may not need our opinions or comments, but they could use our support and quiet presence.

The grace of our quietness dovetails perfectly with our thoughts on A Contemplative Life.  Just as we extend the grace of quietness to others, we should extend it to ourselves. if we are going to lead a more contemplative life, we must find times when we can be quiet. To “be still and know.” After all, contemplation requires quietness.

The grace of our quietness, extended to ourselves, moves us to a more contemplative life.

praying-in-difficulty

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The Grace of Your Quietness

Unless you live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic with no communication of any kind, you know that our country is probably in the worst shape–at least morally and ethically–than it’s ever been. Road rage, senseless killings, a son who kills his mother because they argued over the “D” he received on his report card. Then there’s our government. I think there are still a few Christians in the Congress, but the voices of those who are in power, who want power, who are angry, or who just want to be heard, are so loud that if the Christians try to speak up, no one can hear them. From the Oval Office, we hear nothing but criticism, ridicule, and bragging. This is not happening just in the federal government but at the state level as well. So what can we, the everyday citizen, do about it? What can we, as Christians, do about it?

I Timothy 2:1-4 (King James Version)

I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (emphasis mine)

The Bible is very specific that we are to pray for all that are in authority. Whether we voted for them or not, whether we like them or not, we are to pray for them. And yes, it is hard to pray for people you don’t like. But we are to do it anyway.

The other thing we can do is to offer them the grace of our quietness. A few weeks ago, I heard a man say that if we know something bad about someone – their marriage is about to implode, their finances are on the rocks, their kid is in trouble, whatever, that we should offer them the grace of our quietness. In other words, don’t share their information. Let it stop with us. Let it stop with me.

“If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” This statement is as true today as it was when we were kids. Don’t say anything. Offer them the grace of your quietness.

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Step Out of the Traffic

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (Psalm 46:10 The Message)

When the late Eugene Peterson translated Psalm 46:10 for The Message he obviously had planted a hidden camera in my car! “Step out of the traffic?” Yeah, right. I drive about 50 miles–one way–to work. Over an hour–one way. There are days when it’s enough to make me lose my religion!

Of course, Eugene Peterson was not speaking literally here. “Step out of the traffic” was his way of saying “Be still.” “Traffic” is whatever keeps you from focusing on God, be it your trip to work, housework, school work, family, politics, etc.

A number of years ago I tried to focus on God while driving into work. I played praise and worship music on the radio, and I would pray out loud in English and sometimes, in tongues. Needless to say, I prayed with my eyes open! I guess praying like this is okay, but I was still in “the traffic,” literally and figuratively, and could not effectively hear God’s voice.

To “take a long, loving look at me, your High God” I have to be still…to find a place where there are no distractions, no “traffic,” and no noise. A place where I can look into God’s face, see the love He has for me and tell Him how much I love Him. A place where I can be reminded that He is Sovereign God, maker of heaven and earth, and ruler over all-even politics. I will not preach here, but only draw your attention to II Chronicles 7:14:

 “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”