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“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.”

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REVIEW: NEAR JOURNAL

Jacob Vandenbark wanted a way to draw nearer to God, to be consistent in his daily devotions and to be organized spiritually. He looked for something that would help him do this and could not find exactly what he wanted. So he decided to create a system or notebook that would help him accomplish his goals. The result was The Near Journal.

The Near Journal was developed around 5 sections that form five parts for each day’s devotion. The Near Journal can be used to guide the reader’s personal Bible reading and devotional time, or it may be used with a guided Bible Study. The five sections are 1. Room to Write; 2. Personal Growth and Accountability; 3. Cultivating Thankfulness; 4. Power of Prayer; 5. Memorization of Scripture.

Vandenbark writes about personal growth and encourages the reader to select one thing on which they want to improve over the next 90 days, why do they want to improve in that area and commit to focus on that area. The reader is also encouraged to memorize scripture and there is even a method given to help make memorization easier.

For each day, there is a space for the reader to reflect and write about their thoughts and feelings, a place to write what they feel they must do in the coming week to move closer to the goal they set; a place to list thanks, blessings and gratitude, a section to list prayer requests for themselves and for others, and finally a section to reflect on the memory verse for that week and how it might help the reader to move closer to their goal.

This description of the journal sounds as if the journal is very complicated to use, but actually, it is quite easy. I found in going through the journal these last few weeks, that it does help me to focus during my devotion time and it is very helpful in guiding me towards reaching my goal.

I would recommend this journal to anyone who wants to improve their devotional time, who wants to “kick it up a notch” or who perhaps has never done any journaling. I believe you will find that your spiritual life will be greatly enriched.

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Be Still Because It is in the Stillness That He will Meet Us

“Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am GOD.” (Ps. 46:10 Amplified Bible)

As I write this blog, I’m listening to Elevation Worship’s new song “Here Again.”

“I’m not enough,

unless You come,

will You meet me

here again?

Cause all I want is

all You are,

will you meet me

here again?”

“Just what does that have to do with being still?” you ask.

Everything.

Because it is in the stillness that we understand we are not enough. Unless He comes and meets us in the stillness.

***

Merriam-Webster defines “still” as

uttering no sound: quiet;

subdued, muted, calm, tranquil

free from noise or turbulence

Don’t you love those words? There is such peace in the word tranquil. It gives me a visual picture of a lake—no ripples, no movement—just a calm, placid lake. Serene. Quiet. Still.

In the midst of our crazy-busy day, may we find pockets of time where we can sit at the feet of Jesus. Where we can be tranquil, calm, free from noise or turbulence. Where we can be still and know that He is GOD.

autumn autumn leaves bright color
Photo by Walter on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

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A Contemplative Life: Be Still and Know

A few weeks ago, I wrote and posted a blog titled “She Led a Contemplative Life.” If you missed it, click on the title in the column on the right side of this page (then come back to this page). In that post, I wrote about receiving a word from the Lord that he was going to bring a time of refreshing, rest, renewal to me. So that I could recognize this time of refreshing, I knew that I would have to make some changes.

Over the next week or so, I began to think about what those changes should be. I asked the Lord what I needed to do to prepare myself for this time of refreshing and he gave me Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

Me? Be still? Surely he is joking. I am never still. Even when I try to be still, a foot is tapping, a finger is itching and my mind is flying in one hundred different directions at the same time.

So this morning, I went on a treasure hunt to see how other versions of the Bible interprets this verse. Here are a few of those translations:

“Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God.” (Amplified Bible)

“Stand silent! Know that I am God!” (Living Bible)

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

“Cease striving and know that I am God!” (New American Standard Bible)

“Surrender your anxiety!
Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.” (The Passion Translation)

“Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God.” (The Voice)

“Stand silent!” “Step out of the traffic.” “Cease striving” “Surrender your anxiety.” “Be still, be calm, see and understand that I am the True God.” WOW!

Over the next several days, I’m going to take each of those statements and break them down to the bare bones. What do they mean – for you, for me? How can we implement these verses in our lives?

Stay with me. I truly believe God is about to bring a time of refreshing into all our lives.

time lapse photography of waterfalls during sunset

 

 

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Book Review: “Longing for a Miracle”

Ruth Logan Herne is a best-selling author who has published over 50 books. The latest that hit the shelves earlier this year is “Longing for a Miracle.”

“Longing for a Miracle” is full of heart-wrenching emotions – anguish, hope, anger, happiness, grief. It tells the story of forgiveness, of reconciliation, of redemption and of love.

Tasha Sorkos has come home for the weekend to help her mother, aunt and cousin pack up her grandmother’s house and move her to an apartment.

Rafe Karralis has come home from a high-paying job to help save his grandparents’ restaurant.

It is close to the holidays, but Tasha doesn’t celebrate. She suffered a tremendous loss three years prior and still grieves that loss, especially during the holidays. She hasn’t decorated in three years, has not gone to Christmas parties or pageants or plays or concerts. She merely survives until January.

Rafe has come home to help at the restaurant, but more importantly, he has brought his five-year-old daughter, Alexia, home to his grandparents’ house. He wants to give her the best Christmas possible. According to her doctors, it will be her last Christmas.

I will not give away any more information but will encourage you to read this book. I promise you won’t regret it. It will lift your spirits, bless you abundantly and who knows? It may even make you believe in miracles.

This book was given to me as a Mobi file as an award for a contest. The review is my opinion.