To Be Still

To Be Still

Psalm 46:10 (AMP) “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.”

As I sit in His Presence today, I am waiting. Wondering about some details that just don’t add up. Asking for clarity and divine discernment. Introspection leads to listening. I want to hear His Voice. I want to do what He says to me. So different from my younger days, when dissatisfaction created distance between us, now it only leads to a greater desire to know, recognize and understand Him more. Completion is my purpose. Fulfillment is the potential of my life. To be fully invested in Christ body, mind and spirit until my soul prospers and runs over to every person I encounter in this dark and dying world. To light in every darkness and speak words that lead to life. To love so extravagantly that all they see is God’s Love poured out before them in spite of me.

Yet soon, I will have to close the Bible, turn off the computer and leave the prayer closet/study. The door will be open and life come pouring in like a wave unhindered. I will face challenges. I will have trials. All opportunities to grow a little closer and wade a little deeper into the fathomless grace that I have been given. As I go, my greatest longing is to just be still. To be still and know. To be still and recognize. To be still and understand that He is My God. It would be so much easier if I could stay right here in His Presence. To distance myself from the pressures of life persistently bearing down on my chest, stealing my breath, taking my attention, and just to be still. Oh for a moment of selah today, a moment to pause and reflect on the walls of the strong tower, my refuge, and my strength.

Psalm 46:1-6 (AMP) God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken and slip into the heart of the seas, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its roaring. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her [His city], she will not be moved; God will help her when the morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He raised His voice, the earth melted.

Reading these words today, I am encouraged. Feeling like Peter whose desire for the Lord took him out of the boat to walk on water, but the winds and the waves got in his way. Sometimes faith feels like swimming in an endless ocean, too far out to turn back but so far gone the shore is not in sight. It is then that our life hangs in the balance. It is in that moment that we become aware of grace that is like an ocean – you know the one where we are sinking. God is good. God is always good. He is love. Endless love. Fathomless love. His Purpose and Plan for my life is complete lacking no good thing unless maybe my full attention sometimes. In the past, the adrenaline might kick in right about now. I would have to make the decision to fight for my faith or flee with what is left of my left. Oh, I am too far gone now. Like Jacob in Genesis 32, his wives, children and livelihood crossed over on the other side. Jacob was alone. Nothing to go back to, just Jacob and God wrestling through the dark of night. Holding tightly to the Lord, who said, “Let me go for the day is breaking.” Jacob refused. He declared to the Lord, “I will not let You go unless You declare a blessing on me.” Jacob was given his heart’s desire. No longer would he be known for his struggles, but as the one who came face-to-face with God. Do you remember what happened when Moses came face-to-face with the Lord? God’s Glory shone so brightly on his face that he covered it as not to frighten them. Oh for Your Glory, Lord. I desire that new name. I want to be the one who despite her many struggles and insufficiencies experienced the Glory of Your Grace full immersed and overflowing.

God is our refuge and our strength. His Presence is a mighty and impenetrable fortress that allows us to be still and know – no matter what conditions or circumstances are circling our life. I am so thankful today for His Presence. The Lord does not only promise to keep us safe and secure in His Presence but offers freedom from fear so faith can grow, develop and mature into deep roots that keep us well-grounded so that we learn to thrive in life and not just merely survive. (Psalm 92:14) Jacob fled for his life which didn’t amount to much except the Lord was with him. He served Laban faithfully and flourished even in exile. He encountered the Lord in the stillness of the night upon his return. He was 97 years old. Oh for us to know, understand and recognize that our journey with the Lord is a lifelong endeavor seldom offering immediate gratification or instantaneous harvests. It is a life of sowing and reaping governed by the promise of God that what we plant is what we will reap. God has blessed Jacob in the natural but in his old age he wanted God’s Blessing to reach into the depths of his heart and change him.

Lord, help me to be still. To know, recognize and understand that my life is a process. Grace to faith to trust to confident hope. To complete the cycle again and again until my heart is secure in the stronghold of your love. I don’t want to end the process or escape the pressure. I want you Lord. I will not let go until You bless me with the desire of my heart. Lord teach me to fully rely on Your Sovereignty today. You go before me and fall in behind me. You pursue me passionately with Goodness and Unfailing Love. Teach me to pursue you with my whole heart.

Psalm 37:3-7 (AMP) Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him also and He will do it. He will make your righteousness [your pursuit of right standing with God] like the light, and your judgment like [the shining of] the noonday [sun]. Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him…

Trust is to rely on and have confidence in the Lord. Our ability to trust is in direct correlation with what we believe to be true. Faithfulness is God’s Quality that I believe in along with His Goodness. He is faithful while I can only try to be. My only real chance at faith is created by the amazing grace that I have been given. Do good. Dwell in the land. Feed on His Faithfulness. Such a simple thing, yet a daily challenge with the pressures of life bearing down on us. Dare I believe that in the midst of adversity that God is giving me the desires of my heart? Yes, and a thousand times, yes! Such understanding doesn’t come without a price. It will require my complete undoing. It will take all of my heart, mind, soul and body fully invested in Jesus Christ. It will be in my weakness. It will be found when I fail. Those who commit their life to Christ must put all expectation in the Lord, His Word, His Will and His Way. It is a day by day – moment to moment process to build trust and confidence in the Lord. It is a daily pursuit and endless process that requires endurance. Endurance is marked by stillness. Those who endure must learn to be still.

James 4:6-8 (AMP) But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].” So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people].

Oh Jesus just a few more minutes together before I must leave this place of refuge. This quiet place in our home filled with Your Spirit and like-minded people. I am persuaded today that nothing can separate me from the Love of God. I know that all things work together for my good because I am called according to His Purpose and desire it above all things. Yet still, to be still is such a challenge sometimes especially when the ocean of grace is so vast that I cannot see from shore to shore. What lies beneath the surface frightens me. The length of this journey overwhelms me. The enemy taunts me. His lies raise the hairs on the back of my neck. God gives more and more grace to those who forgo pride and float in humility. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Resist. Withstand. Strive against. Oppose. If I simply resist, the temptation to give up or give in then he must go. The enemy cannot do anything to me other than lie to me. If I silence the lie with God’s Truth – He must go. Our closeness to the Lord allows us to endure such harsh conditions and one day realize that the thing that carried us through was His Grace. It is enough. It is more than enough. It is always sufficient. It leads me to faith. It is the one thing that I trust most because without it – I don’t stand a chance.

Psalm 84:1-4 (AMP) How lovely are Your dwelling places, Lord of hosts! My soul (my life, my inner self) longs for and greatly desires the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young—even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed and greatly favored are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long. Selah.

Have you ever encountered a spider web? You didn’t see it. Like a carefully laid net to capture you, it overtakes you or so it seems. You flail around as if consumed in invisible fire to get away from it. It is not the web that you are afraid of but the little spider that may be lurking in it who more than likely ran away when you destroyed its home. The world’s largest spider is ironically called the Goliath spider…no kidding. It is about 11 inches in diameter making shudder just to think about it. Though a deadly ambusher of small rodents and even a bird – to date it has not consumed a human. Thank God! However, even a small spider will cause a grown man to jump and scream. So many times – this is how those filled with the Power of Christ respond to the words of the enemy. When walking through the woods, I must look out for spiders. It is their dwelling place. Their home and not mind. But in my house, the spiders are quickly killed and disposed of. It is my home and they are not welcome. Where are you living today?

To live in the Presence of God is a place that goes with us. He lives in us. The world is not our home. However, God gave us dominion over it in Genesis. My authority is evident by the Christ in me but if I have no confidence in Christ – I will remain subject to my fear and insecurities because I have no idea of the strong tower and refuge available for those who take grace to access faith and live in it by trust. Just outside the door awaits all the pressure and pain along with cares and concerns that comprise this life we live. I will be tested and tried by the many challenges. The enemy has new lies and careful traps ready to trip me up and cause me to stumble. The Lord offers a strong tower and refuge for those who desire to enter in and to be still. These are His People who will experience blessing and favor in their life. As their soul prospers in the Peaceful Place of God so will their everyday life no matter how tough it gets. Lord, my soul, my life and my inner self long for you. I greatly desire to live in Your Presence today. Help me to do so. Show me the way deeper into the courts called beautiful, peaceful and strong. Teach me to be still today. Show me how to put all my life in you, Jesus!

Psalm 84:12 (AMP) O Lord of hosts, how blessed and greatly favored is the man who trusts in You [believing in You, relying on You, and committing himself to You with confident hope and expectation].

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Weight of the Anchor

weight of the anchor

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NIV) Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. 

What a week? It is only Wednesday. Halfway through and it has tossed me about pretty good. The pressures of life have created a fair share of waves and wakes that keep this little boat called life rocking pretty good. At sea a boat is carried on top of the water, the current, tide and waves move it all around. Every ship or even small fishing boat will have an anchor. I tried to see what the average weight of an anchor might be. They vary from about ten pounds to seventy-five tons depending on the vessel it is their duty to secure. However, what I found is it is not the anchor that is most important but the chain that attaches the boat or ship to it. If a chain is too short, it will cause the fluctuation of the water to beat the vessel rather than secure it causing great danger. The chain must be the proper length to allow the ebb and flow of the waves and wake surrounding it. It is better to have no attachment to the anchor at all rather than an improper connection that could end in the ultimate destruction of the vessel anyway.

The one who Christ sets free is free indeed. But sometimes it is the service and actions of self that overtake the Truth that when Jesus split the veil in two – He stepped into His Rightful Place and now He becomes our confident hope. Not the rules and regulations of religion or self-imposed restrictive convictions that lead to ritual and tradition, it is the knowledge of His Amazing Grace and our ability to flow with it, in it and let it move through is overflowing into life. We must learn more about the hope that is given to us in Christ and how to allow it become the anchor for our soul.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV) This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…

Love the Lord your God. Listen to His Voice. It seems easier to listen to the do this and do that’s rather than the part that says, “Hold fast.” Submission and surrender are not terms of endearment in this world. They are considered strength to the enforcers but a weakness to everyone else. Comfortable in the service of God it is difficult to maintain our grip in the stillness of God. The part called trust. Yet it is in trusting the Lord, His Grace becomes most powerful. I know that this is for someone today. I know that it is for me. As I write it, my computer has shut down. Precious words sent from the Father erased in a technological glitch.

Even those closest to Jesus who walked with Him, talked with Him each day, communed and shared meals with Him struggled to maintain course in the storms of life. Uncertainty caused fear that confidence would never allow. Perfect love expels fear in our life. It doesn’t make the way easier but if our complete confidence in the Lord – our anchor called hope is firmly connected by a link of chains called faith. In the midst of a storm at sea or maybe just some high winds, the anchor at the bottom of the sea holding the great ship cannot be seen. It must be trusted to do its job. The sailors on the ship demonstrate the level of trust that they have in the anchor, its chain and even the sea-worthiness of the vessel. They are at the mercy of the sea. The wind will carry them. However, those who trust can safely sleep in the hull riding out the storm. Stillness in the Lord is not always stillness in life. We must learn to be the ones who hold fast.

Deuteronomy 11:22 and 13:4 tell us to observe God’s commands today. It is clear in the steps. Love God. Walk in obedience. Hold fast to Him. Too often love comes easy, and obedience such a struggle that it is hard to read any further. The hold fast is the ultimate and reserved for the end. It is the place called trust when we move past our superficial love and need to do something in order to rest in His Presence. When Jesus tore the veil, He became the High Priest. Confidence allows us to come boldly before Him with even the most seemingly insignificant detail in our life. Too often we try to love God in what we do rather than who He is. He is the anchor for my soul. As my soul becomes secure in Him, it will prosper becoming stronger and longer allowing us to endure those extended trials and deep hurts in order to remain steadfast holding fast to what we know is true.

Joshua 23:8 (NIV) But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

These words are so important. Someone needs to hear them today. You are still on the watchtower. The Lord has given you the dream, desire or vision but it has taken some time. The thing you are holding onto like a Chinese fortune written on a tiny slip of paper that you have clutched so tightly now seems small and insignificant as doubt and disbelief weigh heavy on your heart. Endurance is expanded by our wait times and increase the weight of our anchor. Each moment given to trusting Jesus is one minute closer to the end and acquisition of that promise but we must not let go. To hold fast to the Lord was the Word of God to the Israelites. The Promised Land belonged to them. The battle was coming to an end and they would have the place God promised them. Holding fast in the hard times keep us focused on the Lord in the good times. We must learn to hold fast to the Lord on the way TO His Promise, so we will not forget Him IN the promise.

Revelation 3:2-3 (NIV) Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Jesus came to give us a rich, satisfying life that the enemy is hell-bent on taking from God’s Children. (John 10:10) Nothing gives the Lord more satisfaction than for His Children to reach their full potential and achieve the purpose of their creation. We are His Priceless Treasure no matter how flawed and imperfect we are. To allow those dreams and desires that were placed in our heart by God to die due to wavering faith and unconfident hope brings Him no honor or glory. To serve Him religiously and obediently will promote certain blessings bound by sowing and reaping or planting and harvest. God doesn’t want to just feed and clothe you but He has called you to prosper. Prosperity is the Promise of God for our life in all things in every season. It is accomplished by trust. Trust in the hope that keeps us weighted by faith no matter what happens in life. We have things to do that are not religions but relational. We have a purpose that is far greater than our human minds can comprehend must less accomplish. My absolute belief and total trust in the Love of God determines the weight of my anchor marked hope. To believe is to receive the blessings of God not because I was strong or finished every task but that my hope always remained secured to Jesus. Jesus is the weight that keeps me from drifting even when the boat of my life is rocking. He is the counter pressure to every pressure so my strength will never be too small. I must simply remain yoked to Him.

Matthew 11 tells us to come to Jesus with every weight and heavy burden. The misconception here is that the Lord removes them all from us and we skip happily through life. He could and would if He thought His People would still reach Heaven. The Word of God says that we are to be yoked with Him. He removed the barrier of sin that kept us from partnering together. However, when two animals are yoked, they must still walk together. Jesus promised to yoke with us. To connect Himself to us and carry the load, but we must continue to remain connected to Him. To watch yoked oxen plow a field does not sound exciting to me, but if I am the farmer and it is my land it may be. If I am expecting a harvest from this planting, it might give me peace despite the dirt on my hands and sweat on my brow. The hope that I have in Jesus Christ may not make the ground any softer, the job any easier, or the wait any shorter, but He always promises it will be worth it. He rewards those who seek Him. He promises success to those who seek Him wholeheartedly. The ones who despite the storms, waves and winds encountered let Him be the Anchor for their soul.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Perseverance and endurance are difficult processes in life. We must hold unswervingly or tightly or fast to the hope that we speak of and profess in our life. The enemy meets our confession with trials and trouble to see just how strong our hope in the Lord really is. To know God is not enough the demons know Him. We must trust the Lord far beyond that which we can see or do holding fast to the anchor called hope. You cannot see that which you hope for. If you can see it, it does not require faith at all because you can do it if you set your heart and mind to it. Those things pursued in simple agreement with others make us unstoppable. Consider the Tower of Babel. However, if a rich and satisfying life is what I desire. It cannot be accomplished outside of Christ. Faith and trust are born of perseverance and endurance. Those things that take us to the end of self to see what we find there. Those who find Jesus will never turn back or give up again. To experience His Faithfulness one time leads us to trust Him next time and the chain of our faith in Him adds another link. True freedom in Christ is to build a firm foundation of faith anchoring our soul with hope. It makes us untouchable and unconquerable and fearless in life because no matter what happens – our soul will prosper and remains secure.

It has already been “one of those weeks.” The pressures of life are weighing me down. Sensing human weakness the enemy is hot on my heels offering me subtle escapes like quitting, complaining or just sitting down refusing to move in overwhelming difficulties. I must hold fast to the hope that I have in Jesus. The Word in my heart fortifies my mind, will and emotions. It will not let them overtake me. Faith is the substance that holds our anchor in place. It is the thing that pleases God not what we do or say. The Fruit of the Spirit is prosperity to our soul. It is born of adversity. “The Broken Way” author Ann Voskamp said, “Growth often looks life total destruction.” I can identify with that on those days when my boat is getting rocked and my faith feels a little shaky. The times when I wonder God did I miss you? Am I still in step with You? This way seems dark and difficult. The wind is kicking up. The waves are rising higher. He is the Refuge I run to. He keeps me in place when all hell breaks loose around me. I must not let go. I will not give up.

Jesus, add weight to my anchor today! I know it may mean a storm, high wind or the unexpected. I trust You, Lord. I want to hold fast to You today! In all things, pulling You closer than ever before!

Isaiah 35:3-4 (NIV) Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Power of Stillness

power-of-stillness

Mark 4:38-40 (NLT) Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Today is Friday. Tomorrow begins a long weekend, I cannot wait. I do not have any solid plans or places that I must be. I am free to stay home and lounge around. Piddle with projects. Discover new ones. I do not have to wear “real” clothes rather delighting in yoga pants and a t-shirt. I love our home. It has become my refuge. Looking back to my younger days, I used to thrive on weekends on the go. Running about as many places and doing as many things as possible until time was up and back to the routine of life, but not anymore. Cramming as much life into every minute, I must have thought I was missing something only to find I have it all right here. Over the years, the more that God has given us and the more we have been able to do – I value the stillness of this sanctuary called home.

Where do you find sanctuary? Where is the place called rest? Do you have a quiet place or retreat? Do you have a refuge to find solace in? A breathing space not consumed by activity and time constraints. I don’t think it is a natural space at all but a place satisfied in our heart. The confidence in knowing that it is well with our soul that soothes the need to find more, do more and be more. Complete trust in who He is rather than what we must do allows us to be still in the Lord. One thing I have noted over the past five decades of life is when that stillness is required to hear the Voice of God, sense His Spirit and build our faith. Fear tells us to run but faith says stand right here. Doubt promotes disbelief that makes us indecisive causing a drift that carries us here and there. Anxiety creates anxiety that will not allow us to stop moving.

Jesus was asleep. One might think that the disciples would notice that He was absolutely undisturbed therefore not concerned about the storm that raged around them. The rocking of the boat did not unsettle His Confidence that He was in full power and had absolute authority the wind and the waves. They panicked. They didn’t tap Jesus on the shoulder and gently awaken Him to tell him about the storm. They shouted. “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” I will be the first to admit that I do that sometimes. When all hell breaks loose, give the Lord a not so gentle reminder that I am in trouble, I am not going to make it, why me or don’t you care Jesus? So Jesus got up and commanded the storm to cease. Turning to them – “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

These men were not new converts. They had given up their life to follow Jesus, witnessed many miracles, heard the Word of God spoken by the Word, and lived in His Presence. Yet still struggled with faith that produced a confidence in hope so profound that not only could they keep their position in the storm but recognized the power and authority that Jesus had over the environment of their life. Faith without confidence is not faith at all but just an idea. It is a concept longing for understanding to solidify our stand that we hope is a reality. Stillness expresses full confidence in God even when our environment is unfavorable, disaster looms around every bend, people lose all senses, and the world comes crashing down around us. It is the strictest of confidence that is completely convinced that God is in control. I will not be moved.

Psalm 46:10 (NLT) “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

On our moving day, the house empty of its contents. Every possession crammed in trucks, cars, trailers and any other vehicle offered to us, I received a phone call from the bank. There had been a miscalculation and there were additional funds needed to close. Not a hundred but thousands. I am discussing this with the lender, when the new buyer comes to inspect their pending purchase. The realtor interrupts me to question a higher than usual utility bill discovered when they contacted the city about new service. It must be settled before closing early the next morning. Meanwhile, all of our helpers were beginning to panic that there might not be room for the remaining items and the rental company had closed for the day. Finally in my car, so loaded it barely moved , I dared to take a breath. I knew in my heart that God had ordained this move to the county for our family. As new chapter of life and new season was turning it felt like all the words were falling off the page. What seemed so certain suddenly chaos! The phone buzzed but my thoughts overwhelmed me. At that moment, I couldn’t even tell you where the kids were or if anyone had loaded up the dogs. I did what any sane, rational, human woman might do…I sobbed.

Well, it all worked out. Every single detail to the tiniest degree just like God had planned. I share all the details with you because doing the Will of God does not always mean a peaceful journey from here to there. “There” is forever. It is the future and hope we live for whether we know it or not. It takes tests and trials of trust to convince our hard, stubborn and wavering heart that God really is in complete control. This is only possible when I yield control to Him. I will never yield complete control of my life to Jesus Christ without storms to try my faith and reveal its insufficiency. God’s Power is only perfect in my weakness. He doesn’t need my help though I attempt to do so all the time. He doesn’t need my opinion, His Word will do exactly what it says it will do. He needs nothing from my but to trust Him wholeheartedly.

Psalm 46:1-3 (NLT) God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

My power flows through Presence. Jesus did not come to bring peace to the world but stir things up. (Matthew 10:34-36) We live here so obviously this stirring occurs in the environment where we live. If you happened to come upon a house that was on fire, would you leisurely walk up to the front door and ring the doorbell. Wait for a few minutes, then knock. Wait a few more and call out to see if anyone was home. Of course, not. You would do everything in your power to alert anyone inside. Get the picture? However, Jesus did bring peace. He packaged it as a gift for those who belong to Him. (John 14:27) Peace is not found in conditions or circumstances but to be still in His Presence and maintain our position. Peace is discovered by faith in confident hope.

With this in mind, it is important to note that while transferring our existence from death to life and allowing God’s Renewal and Restoration to remodel our heart and mind, there may be uncertainty along the way. The transition of moving unsettles me. I don’t like the homeless feeling or nomadic state. I long for the security of my home, refuge, space. Yet there are times when God compromises my comfort to remove complacency from my life. He wants me to invest all of my life in His Kingdom. To live in His Peace. To take full advantage of His Power. My power flows from His Presence in my life.

Psalm 46:4-7 (NLT) A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. 

Stillness is the strong confidence in God’s Full Power and Authority over every condition of our life. It is not in the environmental condition surrounding this life. Love is growing colder by the day. Sin is rampant and quickly multiplying. The world is shaking at the close proximity of Jesus Christ. Christians are finally believing the Book of Revelation just might be true. Believers desire revival again. Movement is not the answer. The power of His Presence is. To step out of this world’s ideology and stand on the Word of God refusing to move at any cost. If you read Matthew 24, it gets worse before it gets better. There is no need to panic. Just to move our life into His Presence fully. God is our Refuge and Strength. He fights for us. He will deliver us. We must only believe without seeing and endure to the end to be saved. He didn’t tell us to win but rather has already given us victory! Do you believe? Will you be still?

Psalm 37:5-7 (NLT) Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Stillness is a position of trust. To be still and know that He is the Lord takes more than a casual relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a full on marriage to Him. To become one with Him. It is to know Him. To believe in Him. To be committed to Him. I love my husband. There are days when I am not so lovable and neither is he but it is our commitment to Christ and each other that bridge the gap of human imperfection, selfishness and pride. Jesus is perfect but I am not. On the days, I don’t understand, become overwrought, or believe the lie of the enemy even for a second, I must decide to remain still based on what I know not how I feel or how things look. His Presence is my position of power in all things and every situation. It is not an emotional reaction but a committed response to who He is not how I feel.

To trust the Lord requires letting go of certain feelings. There are emotions that keep us from fully trusting the Lord and the blessing of His Presence. Psalm 37 lists some of those emotions that must be replaced with faith. Things such as worry (1-2), anger (8-9), fear (12-13), greed (21-22), pride (27-28), ignorance (30-31) and more. There are certain things that comprise our position in His Presence because they destroy our faith. These are some of those things. Certainly the world would justify our feelings and need to react. However, trusting the Lord means to wait until His Word comes to pass in our life. Holding our position in His Presence even though our thoughts tell us to run or escape. To move from this impossibility and settle for less. What are you going to do today? We are free to choose. Lord, help me to choose faith and confident hope over anything I feel today.

Psalm 62:5-8 (NLT) Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. 

Is your home your refuge? Do you find comfort in place where you live? I am blessed to have a peaceful home. Partly because our children are most grown but mostly because our family has invited the Holy Spirit to live here. Most every day, just like you I must go about my daily tasks and responsibilities outside of the four walls of this place. The same Holy Spirit (the Presence of God) goes with me. I can allow Him to be my peace, refuge and strength by faith and confident hope. This allows me to excel in the stillness of trust to allow Christ to have complete authority and power over my life. When we divide our interests between the Kingdom and the world, it makes for a shaky foundation. Our marriage to Christ compromised when we give our attention and love to other gods. The stillness of God including the overwhelming gift of perfect peace and inexpressible joy can be with me always when I choose to live in the Power of His Presence and be still. It allows me to respond to His Promises rather than reacting to worldly problems. My natural home is a refuge only because Jesus lives here, too. He lives in our heart. He goes where we go so we can always be still. Greater is He who lives in me – to believe it means to trust Him, have faith in Him, have confidence in the hope I have in Him and to be still in Him – all day…everyday! So let the wind blow, let the storms surge, let the whole earth shake…my heart is full of His Presence and I will not be moved. There is power in stillness to live in His Presence undeterred and unshaken you will not be moved.

Psalm 62:1-2 (NLT) I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

Whoa

Whoa

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

 

Be still. Know that I am God. What if we could grab hold of these two statements and carry them with us throughout the day, applying them to any and all situations. What would be the result? I have decided that it would be peace. Rest. Calmness. Steadfastness. We would become immovable if we would simply decide to be still knowing that He is God. If you are like me, no matter how calm and tranquil the morning begins in the hours before dawn when the kids and animals are still sleeping, as soon as the day gets going it is off to the races. In the course of each day, hundreds of choices must be made small and large. We are given so many options it is not wonder our heart beats wildly and mind reels in chaotic thought. The enemy thrives in such an emotional environment. If you can picture an adolescent antelope grazing in a plain who is unaware of the pending danger. Inexperienced and young, it has never heard the quiet before the attack. It doesn’t realize all of the mature animals are watching and waiting because they know danger approaches. Before it can catch a breath, the race for its life begins as the stealth lion knows that if he can separate the young one from the herd that he will quickly overtake him. So he waits for that moment when the antelope is not paying attention, or maybe just naïve and unaware to lunge after him. The enemy in our life comes after God’s People the very same way. He watches and waits for an opportunity. He creates many distractions to lure us away. If he can catch us alone, off guard, not paying attention – he will surely overtake us. It happens all the time.

 

We are to be steadfast and immovable in the Lord. To be still and know that He is our God. It is not a play on words but complete and total mindset that forces us to act upon it. It is our only hope of peace in this crazy world that we live in. I want to be still. To be still is to remain in place, at rest and motionless. It means to be free from turbulence or commotion. To be peaceful and undisturbed. No anxiety. No worries. No cares. Just abiding faith and confident trust in the Power of God’s Love to sustain us. There are times when an overactive mind will expose a weakness in our faith that must be swiftly dealt with. As if watching the attack of prey on film, if we could just say, “Whoa!” Stopping the live action long enough to help the inexperienced animal have just one more day. As he runs fueled by adrenaline and fear, we watch feeling helpless and afraid knowing that any moment he will make a wrong turn, trip and fall or run into a dead end losing his life. Today I am telling my heart to whoa, my mind to cease its reeling as well. I must be still. I must know that He is God. I will do it but not on my own.

 

Mark 4:38-40 (NIV)

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

 

Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the boat as it rocked wildly in the midst of a powerful storm. He was unaffected but not unaware. Jesus knew that He had all power and authority over the elements of nature. He was fully at rest and fully in power all at the same time unlike his disciples whose fear finally overtook their faith so they asked Jesus to intervene. But look what they say to the Lord. They do not ask Him to calm the wind and waves but question his love and care for them. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown? Notice also the Lord got up and rebuked the wind and waves not his followers. Instead asking them two things. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

 

Jesus knows our heart and mind. He sees our limitations. He has given us His Spirit to overcome these weaknesses so we are empowered to be steadfast. It is the trials and challenges of this life posed in natural troubles and hardship that force us to examine our faith and prove its authenticity. This is not for God’s Benefit. It is not punishment but discipline as the Lord teaches us the insufficiencies of our faith to offer more grace until we are complete lacking no good thing. The problem is that at the first sign of trouble – most of us abandon ship. We would rather swim through the storm which implies some variation of human control then call on Jesus to calm the wind and waves, waiting for Him to do it, and not moving until He does. Guilty! I am so guilty of this sometimes and I detest this quality in me. What is the driving force in your life today? Is it the wind and waves? Is it the storm? Or is it faith in God and His Word?

 

Psalm 37:7-9 (NIV)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

 

Be still before the Lord. Wait patiently for Him. I almost laugh out loud every time I read this. People say do not pray for patience. Well, if your desire is to follow Christ wholeheartedly – His Spirit will work to produce patience in you whether you pray for it or not. (Galatians 5:2) He will toil the rocky, hard ground of our heart until fertile soil is found, and then the Spirit works that place until patience rise up. Hope cannot be seen or obtained naturally so of course, it will require patience.

 

Stillness would be less difficult if we didn’t have to deal with people all the time. Living with blinders on is not an option, if we want to serve others we must be observant and aware. It all comes to down to patience. Discipline. Commitment. Obedience. We must be willing to trust the Lord and wait on Him if the whole world passes us by. We will catch up. Those who endure until the end will be saved. Patience is produced in waiting.

 

Psalm 130:5-6 (NIV)

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

 

I have to chuckle as I write about waiting today. It is the bane of my existence. The Lord makes me wait constantly and on purpose. It is a difficult process that will yield powerful results but it is painful. I remember as a child into my teenage years, my sweet grandmother telling me all the time that I was not patient. “Lori, you must learn to be patient.” Well Gram, I am finally getting there as I near the big 5-0. I can now do those things that she once told me required patience. Patience is a process. We are not born with them but rather a selfish need for immediate gratification.

 

Today I am reminded that I must wait for the Lord with my “whole being”. Body, mind and spirit must live in agreement with God’s Word and in cooperation with His Holy Spirit in order to wait as the watchmen for the morning. They will not leave their post until the sun rises. They keep their eyes fixed on the horizon waiting for the sun, while watching for the enemy. We will only wait and watch expectantly if we believe wholeheartedly that the Lord will come to us. (Psalm 5:3) Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit that will wait until You come. (Psalm 51:10)

 

I Peter 5:8-11 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

I know what you are thinking right now. I must be strong. I must stand tall. I must fight the enemy so that he will flee. I often have the same thoughts, too. But this is not the case at all for believers. We must just be still and wait on the Lord because He fights for us. (Exodus 14:13-14) Too many times we fight battles that are already won because our faith is not large enough to consider a Savior who is always victorious. Our mind will not accept a priceless battle or effortless war. We do not battle with flesh and blood but principalities and darkness. We are saved because through the Love and Blood of Jesus Christ we live in the undeserved privilege of righteousness again. No weapon formed against us will prosper. The righteous will not be shaken by fear for they trust in their Refuge and Strength – not in themselves. (Psalm 112:6-8) Though the whole earth shakes, we are bound securely by God’s Love and therefore untouchable if we remain there. (Isaiah 54:10) God will not allow the righteous to be shaken or removed from His Love, His Presence or His Body. (Psalm 55:22) If it happens, we bear responsibility. It is a lack of trust. A lack of faith. A lack of confidence in the Lord and His Ability to keep and care for us that leads us from His Presence to pursue lesser things. Jesus wants to make us strong, firm and steadfast again. I want to be strong, firm and steadfast, too.

 

Hebrews 12:26-29 (NIV)

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

 

What if this shaking and shifting that is causing us to examine our faith and recommit our trust to Jesus is not really the enemy rattling our cages, but the Lord once more shaking the earth? What if it is not a test but final preparations for His Return? Too many times we give the enemy way more credit than he deserves by assuming he has some power and authority over us. He doesn’t. The God of Peace will crush satan. (Romans 16:20) For a believer to have strong faith and confident hope produced by learning to patiently, steadfastly, and persistently wait on the Lord until His Word comes to pass – they will live in the Peace of God forever. God’s Peace is like no other. It is not logical but always faithful. It is not something the world will ever understand because it is not of this world. You will not find it in this temporary place called earth but it is transferred from God’s Kingdom and imparted supernaturally to His People.

 

John 14:26-27 (NIV)

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He left a gift behind for me. It is called the Holy Spirit. He is my Advocate. He knows my weakness of heart and mind working to resolve it each day so faith and hope may abound in my life and peace right along with it. On those days when I think about giving up or quitting, He encourages me. On the days that I become prideful, He instructs me. On the days I choose my way, He guides me back to God’s Way. Jesus gave me peace. It is up to me to maintain it in my life. I am the protector of my own peace. I must feed it the Word of God. (John 16:33) I must be obedient. (Romans 8:6) Jesus is my peace. As long as I strive to live and abide in His Love, I will have perfect peace. (Ephesians 2:13-17) Peace is accomplished by remaining still and steadfast trusting, believing and obeying the Lord and taking God at His Word. Our feelings and emotions don’t really matter for they are changing all the time. Jesus gives us victory if we are willing to wait for it. Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always giving ourselves to the Work of the Lord. This is a place of peace. This is where I learn to be still. This is when I will know that He is God. (I Corinthians 15:57-58)

 

Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)

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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

Like wild horses, we must learn to rein in our rebellious thoughts and wayward thinking. We are to be anxious for nothing. Tell the truth. You are worried about something, aren’t you? You are concerned. Lets’ be real. There is something compromising your peace today. I am right there with you but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t tell me you are a worrier because I know that you are really a warrior of Christ. One thing that I have learned over the last five decades of life, waiting is inevitable. Patience and persistence pays off. When you apply it to faith and confident hope, it will become the anchor for our soul that keeps us from drifting or wavering from His Promises. (Hebrews 6:18-20) The enemy is working hard to shake your faith and confidence in the Lord. We must pay attention. The Peace of God always seems a bit crazy and insane because we cannot understand it. We know where it comes from but when it overtakes us – the impact is crazy. The Lord has given me peace. In the stillness of waiting on the Lord, there may be many storms and attacks but if I strive to remain faithful in all things His Peace will soon overtake me. I have been given the opportunity of righteousness or right-standing with God if I choose to live in it. It is this profound privilege that affords us to be still and know that He is God. He is Good. He is relentless working on our behalf to make good from every detail of our life. His Love is unfailing. His Goodness is constantly pursuing me. I must only wait and watch for it to catch up. Whoa today my fellow believer! Stop trying to make things happen and let God be God again. Don’t buck the waiting but embrace it as fulfillment comes to you. Patience always pays off greater dividends than our investment. Be still today in all things. Have faith. God is with us. He is for us. He will never let the righteous be shaken much less fall.

 

Psalm 112:6-8 (NIV)

Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

 

Still Waiting – A Devotion

Still Waiting

Psalm 62:1-5 (NLT)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. 

 

I still hate to wait. I am a very impatient person. Over the last three years of my life, I have had to wait a lot. More than I ever thought possible without me losing it completely. Doctor’s appointments and endless consultations for our son have made waiting inevitable. Those are just the day-to-day waits meshed together with the line at the grocery store, slow teller at the bank, and the traffic just to get home every day. It is not uncommon for an outburst of hysterical laughter to blurt out when I encounter yet another delay in my timeline. I have come to expect it. There is a fine line between waiting on God and standing in a rut. Waiting on God requires expectancy. It is an act of faith and trust in the Lord that keeps us bound to His Presence in complete confidence that He will deliver just as He promised. If I let go of my hope and expectation that God will finish the good work begun in my life, than I am in a religious rut of saying all the right things, doing what everyone thinks I should and becoming weary in my well doing. For those of you (including myself) who are still waiting, God is sending out His Word to us to today. Like the receptionist, who tells us, “You’re the next one on the list!” The Holy Spirit whispers to our spirit and soul, “You are not alone. He’s coming. You are next!”

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God for my hope is in Him.” Our faith in God is bound by confident hope that He will do exactly what He says that He will do. God intends to do more than we can think to ask for. (Ephesians 3:20) His Way is perfect. He tells us that He will perfect that which concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) I must decide do I want God’s Perfect Plan or my comfort zone. God also says that He will make goodness come from every detail of our life. (Romans 8:28) He promises to complete the “good” work that He has begun in each of us. (Philippians 1:6) Why all the scripture references? The Word of God is my guarantee that I can have what He promised. If I hold tight to the Word of God, wrap it up in my faith, make it my confident hope, AND wait expectantly – I will have it in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Why me? Why now? Why wait? Sometimes when the wait is extending in frustration, I get the inclination to leave. I was waiting with my oldest doctor at a walk-in clinic. She had a sinus infection and needed an antibiotic. It was nothing life threatening. I have been in that situation countless times over the last few years. They were busy that day and we were a walk-in so we were being worked in. As people came in after us but were seen before us, I watched my daughter become more agitated by the minute. She fidgeted and fussed in the chair. She was sick and tired of being sick which also applied to her wait. I offered to take her to another center down the road in an effort to be seen more quickly. Finally, I asked the nurse how much longer as we wavered between waiting and leaving. She smiled and said, “You’re next!” Within minutes, they called her name and about fifteen minutes later we were on our way. Now, I knew that they would see my daughter. I was confident that they had exactly what she needed. Leaving would have only prolonged the process… The only way that we will have all that God has promised is to wait expectantly and patiently until He completes the work that He has begun. Are you confident of God’s Love for you today? That is really what it all comes down to. How sure are you that God is for you? How much do you believe that He is working every detail for your good? If you believe that you will see God’s Goodness now in this lifetime, you will wait patiently for Him. It will take bravery because the world will work hard to convince you that God is not real, He is not for you, and waiting is dumb. It will take courage as the enemy wages war on you in this vulnerable position of personal weakness totally reliant on God’s Strength and Power. Yet, those who decide to wait patiently on the Lord will see His Goodness by His Grace.

Luke 15:25-29 (NLT)

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy!” Comparison to anyone other than Jesus Christ lowers our standard of living. Comparison kills faith leaving room for doubt. When the brother returned home, the one who remained with his father was mad. He was hurt. The hardworking and dedicated older son began comparing himself to his younger foolish brother. Red flag, red alert, danger Will Robinson! I am guilty of this and you are too, if willing to admit it. We see the “good” things happening to other people and begin asking the Lord, “Why not me? Why not now? What have I done wrong?” We become envious and jealous not really knowing what is going on behind the scenes. I have had this conversation many times with young Christian woman who look at my family now assuming that it has always been this way. They don’t think someone like me can relate to someone like them. I am not ashamed of my past because God is perfecting it. He is making good on every detail (even my mistakes) and its working in my life. When the younger son returned home, the older brother refused to join the celebration complaining that although he had remained faithful and committed to his father – there was no celebration in his honor. His father reminds the angry son, “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” (Luke 15:31-32) The Father is whispering to us today, “My child, you have always stayed by me and everything I have is yours…” There is no need to become jealous of what God is doing right now in other people’s lives. Do not compare your life as a believer to anyone else’s life. By remaining faithful to God and waiting expectantly, EVERYTHING that He has is yours in the Name of Jesus! We have all been the prodigal but by the Grace of God that flows in the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ we become His Son and Inheritor again! It will be worth the wait. You aren’t missing out but in full preparation to receive all that God has for you with the wisdom to turn it into prosperity rather than squandering it in the world!

Psalm 38:14-15 (NLT)

I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply. For I am waiting for you, O Lord. You must answer for me, O Lord my God.

I do not recall ever pausing to reflect on these verses but today in the silence of waiting on the Lord they make total sense. I have long since stopped running around telling everyone what the Lord is telling me. In Habakkuk 2:3-4 it says, “Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” The Lord told the prophet “write my answer plainly on tablets”. He did not tell the man to go share it with the world just yet. He did not instruct him to seek the counsel of men. Write it down. I keep a journal. I strongly encourage every believer to keep one. Psalm 38 says, “I choose to hear nothing.” God said it so that seals it. “I make no reply.” Stop telling everyone your business. Do not expect that to embrace everything God is doing in your life and strongly support it. I have one example for you – Joseph! I am waiting on You, O Lord. You must answer me. When God gives you a vision, dream, idea or Word – write it down first. Pray about it. Talk to the Lord about it. When the time is run – He will tell you to run with it. You run the risk of disappointment, delays and detours when you decide to seek the counsel of man because it is an act of doubt and disbelief. It opens the door to distraction. Put a lid on it. Zip it. Wait on the Lord!

Psalm 5:2-3 (NLT)

Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

 

I am still waiting because God is teaching me to patiently and expectantly wait on Him to act rather than racing off trying to do it myself all the time. Is that you today? Perhaps, that is why you are still waiting, too. Or maybe God is just not finished lining up everything perfectly. You may be willing to settle for less than His Best, but that is not the kind of Gift Giver our Father is. Each morning – every day – we must learn to make it a habit to bring our requests to the Lord and leave them there remaining in His Presence as we wait for Him to do what His Word says. I have waited impatiently and it is very unpleasant at times. But when I give it to the Lord and choose to wait expectantly and strive to remain patient, I find that He fills me with a peace that passes all understanding and even in the most critical of times there is joy even laughter. Trust in God promotes a lifestyle of joy and peace rather than stress and anxiety but the only way to discover it is wait and see. I pray to no one but you! How many other people do you lay out your dreams, visions, plans and even problems to before taking them to Jesus? Yeah, me too. I am learning the simplicity of giving them all to Jesus and waiting. It is a process. No one wakes up with the gift of patience. They are a hard lesson learned. Especially for all those hard-headed, strong-willed, flesh-driven believers like me. Thank you God that your grace is sufficient for me. It helps me in my weakness. I will be a lifelong learner when it comes to patience. I am still waiting for many of His Promises to come to pass but I will wait expectantly. I will wait patiently (or at least do my best to try). I will settle for nothing less than God’s Best even if I must wait for it (and wait for it some more). God is good. His Promises worth having and according to His Word when I wait in His Presence everything He has belongs to me! I’ll take it even if I have to keep waiting for it!

Psalm 37:7 (NLT)

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

 

Here Comes the Sun – A Devotion

Here Comes the Sun

Psalm 84:10-12 (NLT)
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.

 

Arriving in “sunny” south Florida for a conference, it was disappointing to encounter more overcast cold weather. Hopeful that when we arrived, the sun would be shining providing a little warmth in the midst of unusually cold weather for our state. Granted that during these events there is seldom enough time to enjoy the lush resorts where they take place, it is still quite nice to get a quick walk in here and there to bask in the tropical breeze and soak in the unprecedented light. People travel from all over the world to encounter the sunshine and beaches of Florida. However, the superstar of the South had been hiding behind clouds and cold winds for the last couple of days. Why is it so depressing when the sun doesn’t shine? Most of the time, people are so wrapped up in busy schedules and daunting routines, what does it matter that the sun does not shine outside when it would not be seen anyway other than through a filtered window or a shadow somewhere? Sitting in the conference room listening to the speaker who was now thirty minutes over his allotted time, his words just seemed to drone on and on. The palm trees behind him caught my attention swaying in the wind and I saw it. The light of the sun was out which meant behind me the sun was shining somewhere over the water. Longing to be set free, I hurried to my hotel room to see the sun before it set for the day. Throwing open the curtains and then the doors, I could feel the sunshine overtake me. There over the water shining and reflecting glorious light hung the sun as it slowly began its evening decent. Breathtaking and beautiful I closed my eyes and willed my mind, soul and body to soak it up before it was gone for the night. It made me smile. I felt refreshed and revitalized in that moment. All because I saw the sun. My friend and coworker stopped by so we could go to dinner, I pulled her out on the balcony as well. After some goading, she stopped to watch the sunset with me. At first, she didn’t see the point until she felt the warmth of the light and the tickling of her senses, too. The sun rises and sets every single day taken for granted in its effort. But when it doesn’t shine, we look for it. I knew that the Lord was speaking to me in that sunset so I decided to look for Him.

Did you know that sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D in our body? We need sunlight for healthy bones among many other benefits that come from this necessity in our physical being. Sunlight also is a natural antidepressant that promotes the production of serotonin in the brain. Long periods of darkness or ever overcast weather is proven to cause depression in many people, so it is scientifically proven that human beings need sunlight physically and mentally. So what about spiritually? God is our sun and shield who gives us grace and glory. We need to live in the Light of His Love to be spiritually healthy as well. Those who live by His Grace in His Glory will be filled with inexpressible joy and indescribable peace that comes from an unseen source. When we stand in the sunlight, we do not try to produce Vitamin D. It just naturally occurs benefiting our body. Serotonin automatically is made in our brain without a second thought. I believe that if we as believers spent more time in the Light that we would begin to experience a change in our life internally that would change the external outcomes in our life. We must look for the Light.

Psalm 37:3-7 (NLT)

Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

When I stayed with our son during his recent bone marrow transplant, it entailed almost two months in the hospital with him. I literally slept on a foldout bed in the same room with him. Each morning I would open the blinds in his room to allow light to filter in. He could not go outside for the length of his stay. But on many occasions, when missing the rest of our family or feeling isolated would begin to weigh me down, I would walk outside for a few minutes and soak in the sunshine literally. I didn’t “do” anything except find a bench and sit there for a bit. When I went back inside, I could feel the heat radiating from my skin. I instantly felt better. During that time, I could not engage in my daily routine. My schedule came to a standstill with my primary focus caring for our son which most of the time (thanks to great medicine) meant watching him sleep. In the quiet of those moments, I would seek the Lord’s Presence and sit with Him. How many times a day do you sit in the Presence of the Lord? Do you ever just bask in His Glory? Do you just absorb His Grace and the magnitude of His Love? If we looked at God for who He is I think we would see that He is more powerful than the rays of the sun? He is more majestic than a sunrise or sunset. His Love radiates a warmth that is felt in our innermost being touching our heart and healing our lives. But we miss it in the busyness of life. I will preface this statement with the obvious, I don’t ever want my son to undergo a hospital stay again. But during his previous stay, I have never felt closer to the Lord. In my isolation from the world and all its distractions, I was able to simply bask in His Glory and Grace.

Trust in the Lord. Do Good. Take delight in the Lord. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him. Be still. Wait patiently. Don’t worry. Can you imagine a life based solely on these qualities? I would love to live this life every day. I believe this is the life that the Lord has designed for me in its basic simplicity. Just as I do not have to make Vitamin D or serotonin as it occurs naturally in my body, the Lord invites me to bask in the Son and He will do the same process in my soul. He will produce the joy and peace that I need by His Glory and Grace. We try so hard to make a good life and build comforts through security. The Lord promises that if we will just learn to live in His Presence that He will gives us safety and prosperity. He will give us the desires of our heart. He will help us. He will make our innocence radiate. Our justice is served in Jesus Christ. We do not have to worry, fret or stress over life or the details of it. People are not our problem. We just need to get in the Presence of God and be still for a minute to encounter His Glory and Grace.

Psalm 19:1-6 (NLT)

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.

 

The heavens radiate the Glory of God. The natural sun is a reflection of the Son that is our soon and coming King. The absence of sunshine in our life is like trying to live outside of the Glory of God. A believer cannot maintain their righteousness outside of His Grace. We need His Glory in our life to supernaturally produce the fruits that His Spirit cultivates in us. (Galatians 5:22-23) During seasons of darkness, we must learn to pursue the Light. It is found in the resources of His Word and His Spirit but sometimes on those days when we just can break through the oppression of life – we need to just get in His Presence and sit there. He will come and break through the clouds of darkness and despair flooding your heart and mind with the Light of His Love. But you have to make the commitment to wait until He comes. He doesn’t just shine through our bondage, pain or trouble. But according to the Word of God, He promises to break ever yoke that binds us. He is smashing strongholds to get His Glory and Grace through to you. Be patient. Do not abandon your position of faith because the Son will soon break through the clouds of doubt and fear overshadowing your life if you remain committed to your stand. He will give you the hope that you desperately need to go forward even when the natural sun does not come out from hiding to help you. If you will just make it a point to seek out the Light of His Love found only in His Presence – you will have His Glory and Grace with all of its benefits. If the sun is shining, go sit in it. God has equipped your body to be rejuvenated and empowered by His Light. He made the sun. He gave it the power to connect with the human body and do its work. All the heavens proclaim the Glory of God including the sun. It is a reflection of His Son.

Revelation 22:1-5 (NLT)

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

There is coming a day when the sun will no longer shine. Its services no longer needed. The Light of His Love will shine brightly enough that we will never see another long night. Darkness will be gone forever along with every curse. We will live in His Glory forever. Understanding the natural effects of the sun will never be enough to prepare us for the Light that we will encounter in Heaven. We must learn to live in the Light of His Love every day to be prepared for what God has for us when Jesus comes back. Every day is the right time to bask in His Glory and Grace. We don’t have to wait until we are running on reserves but each day we can meet Him in the morning when His New Mercy arrives and ask for a fill up. His Spirit is with us always. In the midnight hour, we can call on His Light to illuminate us. In the dark times of life, He will be our Light and lead us out. Look for the Son today. Step into His Presence. Let the Lord revive, restore and renew you from the inside out. If you get a chance, catch the sunset tonight. Stop long enough to revel in the Glory of our God! It will be worth it, I promise. It is the moment that you realize, everything is going to be alright! Here comes the Son! Bask in His Glory today!

Job 37:21-24 (NLT)

We cannot look at the sun, for it shines brightly in the sky when the wind clears away the clouds. So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God. He is clothed in dazzling splendor. We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty; but even though he is just and righteous, he does not destroy us. No wonder people everywhere fear him. All who are wise show him reverence.