Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a

How many times have you fretted over….

~something that you had absolutely no control over?

~an upcoming event which caused fear or anxiety?

~the unexpected outcome of a serious matter?

God doesn’t want us living our lives in such a state of unsettledness and panic. His command for us to “be still” is a tender reminder that He is in the midst of every test or trial we face. To “know” that He is God, is to recognize His perfect track record of provision and perfecting. When we relinquish the feelings of doubt and despair, and replace them with promises of peace and protection, we can face the future no matter how uncertain. God is on our side, and He WILL sustain us! We can’t prevent the storms that arise on the horizon, but we can be assured that we are never alone.

Have You Seen God Blessing Others Through You?

True story. Marion and Ed have managed a small Christian bookstore for 23 years. They’ve watched as other local merchants have struggled to survive. Many–affected by the unstable economy–have had to make the difficult decision to close their doors. Yet, Marion and Ed persevere, ably serving the local community.

In the past six months since releasing my first publication (Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour?), I have visited alot of Christian bookstores. Part of my marketing plan is to get exposure for it, and where else to go, but to a bookstore to see if they will stock my item?

On the list of bookstores to visit was Marion and Ed’s shop. My husband, Ted, accompanied me while on this marketing mission. While driving to the bookstore, Ted asked me what I would like for my birthday, which is later this month. I drew a blank. I really hadn’t thought much about it. And, besides, if there was anything I “need,” I knew I could just go get it (within reason). I told him I’d think about it.

When we arrived at Marion and Ed’s bookstore, I went in to do business. It was a small place, filled to capacity, but everything was neat and orderly. As I was wrapping up the conversation, my eyes were drawn to the area where a large selection of Bibles were on display. Ted walked in about this time, probably to see what was taking so long. I recalled the question he had asked me just before we arrived at this particular store. It suddenly dawned on me that what I desired for my birthday was a new Bible!

Marion was so helpful in finding exactly what I wanted, and even assisted me in finding a fancy carry-case for my Bible. As we completed our transaction, Marion sweetly commented, “This will help me pay my bills this month.”  She hugged both of us before we left; I felt like I was saying good-bye to a dear old friend.

Afterwards, as I reflected on this experience, I realized that I had witnessed God blessing someone through me. I could have purchased the Bible I wanted in any number of stores prior to that day, but God knew I would be crossing Marion and Ed’s path. He wanted our purchase to occur in their store, in order to meet a need they had. Marion’s words humbled me, realizing that my birthday gift was not just meeting a desire I had. God had allowed me to be a part of a perfectly-timed blessing in Marion and Ed’s life! How special is that!?

Miraculous Intervention!

I am thanking God for His protection this week. In what could have been a very terrible accident, He miraculously intervened!

It was early evening, and I was headed out for a meeting down the road from my home. As I passed an open field, I caught a glimpse of movement to my left. Instinctively, my foot went to the brake pedal, prepared to stop. The doe hesitated, then began to sprint. By this time, my vehicle was parallel to her location, and she seemed to be coming straight at me. I wasn’t sure if I should speed up or stop to avoid a collision! 

Bracing for an impact of some sort, I was suddenly confused. The deer was down, I was sure of that. A brief moment and a “bump” later, I could see her on the ground, behind me. She was injured but still alive. I am not sure what happened, but there was absolutely no contact with my car! No damage at all. Someone who came down the same back-road about ten minutes later, reported that there was no trace of a “down” deer. I am optimistic that the outcome-for the doe-was a good one.

I don’t mean to upset animal lovers with my story, but this time of year can be hazardous for drivers in rural areas. Many of us may know someone who has had a run-in with wildlife during rutting season. My experience was a vivid reminder of the caution we need to take. Be on the lookout for Bambi!

Chore or Delight?

I am not a morning person. I usually get a second burst of energy in the latter part of the evening and regret it the next day. Even when I do rise up early, it seems to take awhile to get myself going. I’ve tried to develop a routine, (which always includes coffee!) ; however, after a couple days, I feel myself struggling with the temptation to delay the snooze button on the alarm clock. Sigh.

I know that, as a Christian, if I want my relationship with God to become stronger and more mature, I should have “quiet time” to pray and read the Bible. I want to rise up early, spend the fresh, uninterrupted part of my new day with Him, before the craziness kicks in. Am I regarding this daily duty as one of anticipation, or is it just another item to check off on my “to-do” list for the day?

The words to “Holy Place” written and composed by Mac Lynch seemed to speak to my heart recently. Not only does it contain a simplistic message, but the hymn gently reminded me that the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father is precious and unique. And necessary. As you read the lyrics below, reflect inwardly on your approach to spiritual matters. Allow the soothing presence  of your Creator to be the source of strength and support for each coming day.

“There is a holy place, far from my rapid pace; where I seek face to face, My God and King. I must go every day, and that without delay, to read His Word and pray and praises bring.

(chorus) The Word of God will light the darkest path, its treasures flow with strength anew. Help me to hide its words within my heart; take this hour, make me more like You!

So from my holy place, back to my rapid pace, I bravely run the race He set for me.         He’ll lead me all the way, if I His Word obey and on the altar lay anxiety.”

Taming the Tongue

Only YOU can prevent forest fires!  Remember this slogan, made popular by Smokey the Bear? This ad campaign was initiated by the United Staes Forest Service  in 1944 as a means to educate the public about the dangers of forest fires. In 2001, the message was updated to “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.” It’s been estimated that Smokey Bear and his wise words are recognized by 95% of adults and 77% of children in the United States!

Now if only the same percentages of individuals heeded the counsel found in God’s Word. James 3:5 tells us that “the tongue is a little member (of the body) and boasts great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindles.” Once a spark begins to smolder, it doesn’t take long for it to develop into a raging blaze. Our conversations and comments can spread wildly out of control, causing a wildfire of warring, injurious words. It can set us on a course of destruction, leaving behind a trail of hurt and desolation.

Yet, the same fire that possesses the ability to maim can be the warmth we seek when chilled to the bone. Under different circumstances, its intensity and constancy can be a balm which restores and refreshes our weary souls. Our speech carries the same powerful energy!

This comparison between our tongues and a fire is a powerful reminder that our excuses for loose lips, critical comments and false facts will fall flat before an Omniscient and Omnipresent God. Developing restraint with what we say depends on developing the recognition for why we say it. Next time you are tempted to speak inappropriately, remember that you can prevent the outcome from developing into a disaster! Check your motives, pray and ask God to help you use your speech for sowing a peaceful presence instead.

Fill up, please!

“God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” Psalm 63:1

The Atacama Desert, located in South America is known as one of the driest places on earth, averaging about one millimeter (0.04 inches) of rainfall per year. The air is so arid, that even the mountain-tops, measuring a height of 22,589 feet, are completely free of snow and ice. That is one barren piece of land!

The Atacama Desert valley

Yet, despite the seemingly uselessness of such a place, the Atacama Desert has become a scientist’s delight.  Due to Its high altitude and dry air, almost non-existent cloud cover, plus lack of light pollution and radio interference from populated cities, the Atacama Desert is one of the best places to conduct astronomical observances.

Our Christian walk reflects the highs and lows of such a marvelous wonder! It’s in the times of our “dry spells”, that we tend to see our neediness, and feel the most vulnerable, crying out to God for satisfaction or a solution. Our spiritual tanks have become depleted, thirsting for replenishment. The psalmist’s yearning for “my God” is personal and deep, magnified by the awareness of  a greater and spiritual void.

God’s presence and ability to fill that empty space is readily available. It is we who allow our circumstances to obstruct the view, causing us to search blindly and desperately for answers. Finally, in exasperation and exhaustion, we cry out “my soul thirstheth for thee.”  An endless reserve of thirst-quenching nourishment is immediately poured upon our weary souls, refreshing our spirits anew.

The fog has been lifted, enabling us to see the Master’s panaramic portrayal of perfection. We can encounter infinite blessings and benefits, once our thirsty souls are filled to capacity!