Posts Tagged Psalm 46: 10

Renewed Strength

Isaiah 57: 10

You were tired out by the length of your road, yet you did not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewed strength, therefore you did not faint.”

Tuesday I sent you Galatians 6: 9 which reads, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Today there is good news for your tired body and mind. God will provide the strength you need to carry on. There is a reward for you if you do not faint and there is a way to maintain your faith and your strength to continue. The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8: 10). You do not have to be wearied with your many labors. You needn’t feel weighed down or trod upon God is your righteous right hand. He is your strength.

The thing we need to understand about this idea is that the found new strength, that which prevents us from fainting even under a heavy load, is not a passive joy. Notice above that it says, “You found renewed strength.” Why did the hearer find the new strength? Because she looked for it. She sought it. Now we understand that God is our strength so in these times of weariness, we must seek the Lord, our God. You see, just because you are a Christian does not mean you will experience this renewed strength. That strength is found in communion with the Lord. Again, this is not a passive trait. We must actively pursue God. However, don’t let this resound in your head like another to do when you are already tired. The best way to find the Lord is to relax. “Be still and know I am God,” (Psalm 46: 10). It is in the exhalation that you find God. You’ve been holding your breath. Now breathe. Exhale and let go. Breathe in God, exhale out stress and worry.

It is like going to the doctor when you are sick. There is something you have to do and that is to call upon the one who can make you better. That is your part. God, then, restores you to full strength, but don’t lay in bed doing nothing and think you are going to miraculously be restored. You must seek the help you need, then He will provide. Be still but be vigilant. Quietly but determinedly seek God. Call upon Him for help. He is standing by.

I can Hear

Isaiah 50: 5

The Lord God has opened my ear.

Do you know that you stand in the shoes of Jesus? That is what it means to be in him and in him is our goal and calling. This is the New Covenant. What does this have to do with today’s verse? You have been positioned to hear the voice of God exactly as Jesus did. Jesus didn’t speak or perform on his own initiative. Everything he did and said was at the direction of the Father. He heard God speaking to him and followed the Father’s instructions. This is the plan for us too! “But I cannot hear Him speak,” you say. I beg to differ. God has opened your ears as He did Jesus’.

Jesus went further. He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John 10: 27). So, you can hear him. And that is the end of the debate. Jesus says you can hear him, so you can. He knows of what he speaks. The question, then, becomes why are we not following his voice as he said his sheep do? Why are we unaware of our ability to hear him?

When I had my law practice I learned something about this. Often, I would take a vacation to the mountains for a week or two of quiet and solitude. I took my Bibles and books and settled in for some quiet time with God. I noticed, though, that it usually took me a couple of days before I began to hear anything or even receive anything in my spirit. My world was so full of stimulation and noise that it took a couple of days to settle myself. I think of Psalm 46: 10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The King James Version reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” My world was too chaotic, too full of being busy and on the go to ever hear God. I didn’t have the time in my regular day to slow down long enough to hear the Lord speak to my spirit. It took me several days of peace and quiet to be able to really be still in my spirit. I like how the God’s Word translation relates Psalm 46: 10. It says, “Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” Most of us don’t let go of our “stuff” long enough to know Him as God. Even when we go to bed at night we still turn things over in our minds. During the day, the TV is on, people are talking to us, we’re working, etc. How much quiet time do you have just to ponder? People don’t think any more. They don’t have time. There is no sitting on the porch in a rocking chair just contemplating the world.

So, even though God has opened our ears, we rarely have space for Him to speak into. It takes a quiet, calm spirit to hear the Lord. He doesn’t yell, He whispers. He speaks into the stillness. I bet if all televisions and cell phones went on the blink for a month two things would happen; you would read a lot more and you would hear God’s voice. What if you made a decision that you and your family would have one hour of quiet time when no electrical or electronic device could be used. Do you think it would impact your life? You might talk with your spouse, your kids. You might even get to know them. Best of all, you might get to know your heavenly Father better too. What about thirty minutes? Will anyone take me up on thirty minutes? Twenty? Even if you only did one hour one day a week it would make a difference. Maybe you could do it two or three days a week.

I promise you – you can hear God, you can hear Jesus. You only need to give them an environment into which they can speak. If you will do that, you will hear them. Don’t forget to use your journaling skills too.

Targeted

2 Samuel 17: 2

And I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and will terrify him so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone.

What does this have to do with our present day existence, you may ask. I have found this to be an instructive verse for daily life.

Many of us live in cultures that are rushed and hectic. That can pose a problem. First, it is hard to hear the leading of God when hurried and stressed. God speaks to our inner quiet. He does not shout into the chaos. That is why He told us to be still and experience Him as God (Psalm 46: 10).

The other issue, of course, is that our chaotic lifestyle paints bull’s eye targets on our foreheads and hearts. I noticed many years ago that when I was tired, weary and exhausted I was susceptible to attacks. If you don’t think your enemy is looking for opportunities to bother you, you are deceived. The enemy is always looking for someone he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). So, don’t volunteer to be his chow. When you are exhausted, you look like prey. And, you probably actually are. Your defenses go down.

The answer, of course, is to take time to rest your spirit, especially. Take that quiet walk with Jesus and let him give you the refreshing waters that he offered the Samaritan woman. Let him rejuvenate you in body, mind and spirit. He can restore you but only you can set the appointment with him. If “busy” is a word you use often to describe yourself, then you need a check-up from the neck up, as a friend of mine says. Change your priorities. Say no to some events or even to some people. Let’s be honest, as uncomfortable as that can be, we have none the less, grown very adept at saying “No,” to Christ. It makes me wonder, sometimes, why we call ourselves Christians since he seems to be rather low on our priority list. If you will put him back in first position, he will guide you in setting your priorities and he will give you strength for the things you need to do.

Please hear this with your heart. If you are too busy to slow down and spend some time with Jesus in the resting and restoration of your soul, then you are too busy, period. Shall we go so far as to say that busyness is a sin? I know it is a problem in my life and one I have to battle constantly. Sometimes I need to just kick back. Other times I have to get up an hour earlier so that I have time for things that need doing.

Don’t weary yourself with much doing and don’t train your children to do the same thing. Your spirit, your soul and your body need rest. Go to a yoga class, spend time sitting in your garden or take a walk along the water and pray. Make it a priority to care for your triune self. Guard against busyness and overworking yourself. Word hard when you work but then take time to allow Jesus to restore you. It is really important that you do. Otherwise, you become a target.

Ears that Hear

Psalm 85: 8           NIV

I will listen to what God the LORD says.

Okay, fine, I will listen to what God says. What do you think of this statement? Is this something which you might write or say? Why? Why do you want to hear what the Lord says? What is your expectation? Why do you think the psalmist made this statement? The second part of the verse reads, “he promises peace to his people, his saints.” I like how the NASB phrases this part of the verse, “For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones.”

The writers of this psalm demonstrate confidence that they will hear God. I wonder how they receive the word from the Lord. Was it just a matter of being quiet and calm as we learn from Psalm 46: 10 or is there more going on here? Do they inquire of the Lord? What do you do when you want to hear from the Lord?

One method we all can use to hear the Lord is simply to read the Bible. Just by reading today’s verse you see for yourself that it is possible to hear what God says. That can be a mighty big revelation when it goes off in you? God’s voice can be heard in the pages of the Bible and this is a primary way you can hear God speak directly to you. You will see verses come alive right before your eyes.

Another way to hear God speak is through two-way journaling. This can be a valuable tool. I used it today so that I could sort out what was in my own head and what was actually from the Father.
You can also hear the Father speak to your own heart and mind. Sometimes I notice Him because I am involved in something different than what comes into my mind. If I am thinking about X and a thought comes in about Y, it is often because the Father is speaking to me.

He wants to speak to us all. In fact, He is speaking to us. The key is in the hearing. Many times the obstacles are too much noise or too constant a noise in our environment. In other words, we can go days and weeks with little quiet. At one time I had some kind of content playing all of the time. I would listen to preachers on TV while getting dressed in the morning. I listened to yet another in the car. I had constant stimulation at work, and then back into the car for praise music or a teaching CD. You get the point. Even though this was all good content, there was no space for Father to speak, no time when I could hear Him above the fray.

The best tool of all to hear the Father, if you really want to, is to just get still and quiet and ask Him. Talk with Him and let Him reply. You don’t need to talk much. He can carry a conversation. Frankly, He already knows what you are thinking so just give yourself the opportunity to hear Him and you will.

Be Still

Exodus 14: 13 – 14          NIV

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

This is one of my favorite passage in the Bible. It is so bold and declarative. There isn’t a bit of wishy-washy in it. Reading it today, though, I saw a little something new.

The setting here is that the Israelites have fled Egypt only to become trapped between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptians. Moses stood before the nation of Israel and proclaimed God’s provision and greatness. He told Israel they would see their deliverance by the hand of God. They need not raise a sword in defense. Their part was to believe rather than fear, stand firm in that faith, and be still.

That reminded me of another verse. In Psalm 46: 10 we read these words, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Do you see the similarity? The thing that surprises me most about this paradigm for success is that it is a very New Testament, post-Pentecost way of thinking and yet here it is buried in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit has now been sent to dwell in the earth. Even more significantly, he lives within each one of us. So, this is our pattern of success. We pray and believe, and the Holy Spirit delivers.

This is God’s design for our lives. It was always God’s plan. He never meant for us to fight the battles. He is God, He is our Lord. The Lord cares for His subjects. Like the ancient Israelites, we only need to learn and perform our responsibilities and leave God to His work.

We need to practice the three parts of victory outlined in today’s passage: 1) Do not be afraid, 2) stand firm, and 3) be still. Be still and hear the voice of the Lord. Listen to what He is telling you. Then do it. If He says, pray, then pray. If He says sing, then sing. If He says to go dip three times in the river, then you better be getting wet. We just need to be still and allow Him to be God. No matter what challenge you are facing God has an answer. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

In Stillness

Psalm 46: 10             KJV

Be still, and know that I am God.

This is one of those verses which I like and often quote from the King James Bible. It is also probably the one scripture that did more for my ability to converse with God than any other. To come to know God, I had to be still. The NASB version is very instructive on this verse. It reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” This rendering of the verse spoke loudly to me. I was very frustrated with my inability to hear God speak to me. It turned out that I needed to not try so hard. I just needed to be still physically and mentally, then I could and did hear him.

You have heard me mention Dr. Mark Virkler’s Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice and Dr. Jim Richard’s Heart Physics. Each of these are good tools for helping you calm yourself down so that you can hear God speaking  inside of you. My favorite tool of all is breathing. Yep, I said breathing. I have learned how to take a deep breath and clear the stress and anxiety from my mind so I can hear Him speak. Sometimes my mind is so active that it is like a pinball game inside my head. That is when I just need to take a deep breath and relax. In the beginning it might take me a while to settle but now I can usually notice a difference with one big breath. I also turn my mind to a picture of Jesus. Usually in times of busyness and chaos, there are lots of pictures and words running through my mind. So, I take a deep breath and perhaps picture Jesus seated next to a mountain stream. In a moment I join him there and the rest of the world slips away for a few minutes.

You will learn about journaling in the Four Keys. Check out, also, some examples of my journaling at http://www.bornofthespirit.today/learning-to-hear-directly-from-god/. Journaling is another good way to calm your mind. When you give your mind and hands something focused to do the chaos calms.

Once I could hear Father speak to me, our relationship began to change quickly. I began to recognize Him as a Dad every bit as much as God. From there I soon recognized His presence with me. More and more He became an integrated part of my life and more and more I yearned to have Him in every moment of my day. He and Jesus have become my friends. They are who I like to talk with. I point out my observations to them and they share their perspective with me.

As, I said, I have not arrived at the end of the journey by any means, but, becoming more intertwined with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has changed my life, as you would expect it would. I find I long for them even more because life with them is good. Life has stress but when you have best friends like Yahweh and Jesus, it sure helps. They fill me with their peace and take my stress. They take my judgment, replacing it with compassion. Living in them and with them is just better than life without them.

I have shared some of my journey to getting to know the Holy Trinity and how I am intertwining my life with theirs. I invite you to share your experiences and successes so others may find a closer walk with Jesus. Simply click the link below to share your thoughts. Thanks.

Hot Yoga

Psalm 46: 10                          KJV

Be still, and know that I am God.

Today’s Word of the Day is dedicated to my friend, Marco Gravino. This past weekend I attended my high school class reunion. Marco and I attended school together from middle school until high school graduation. I am happy to know and happy to say that Marco is a man of faith. What a joy it is to discover after so many years that people you knew and cared about all those years ago have grown up to have strong faith in God. It is nourishment for the soul.

Marco was, and still is, an athlete. As we talked, we realized that we both have participated in hot yoga. The revelation we gained in yoga is that power is not the answer. In many western societies, the adage, “If you can’t fix it, get a bigger hammer,” is symbolic of our response to problems. We tend to apply power to fix a problem and if that doesn’t resolve it, we apply more power. In yoga, the typical athletic approach of using more force, more muscle simply does not work. When I could not get into a pose, I would muster more strength out of my muscles and try to force my body into the correct position. As all of you who practice yoga know, that is completely counter-productive. Learning to relax into a pose challenged everything in my athletic mindset.

The use of breath is completely different as well. As we muster strength out of our muscles we tend to hold our breath for a big exhalation at the end of an exertion. Yoga, which comes from eastern thought, would have you breathe smoothly and freely. When a pose challenges, you concentrate on relaxing breaths rather than focusing on muscle strength. It is completely counter-intuitive and yet it works.

Marco and I talked about how this is a metaphor for life and Marco said it would make a good Word of the Day to which I heartily agreed. I have found that my life has been punctuated by this tendency to try harder, strive more, push harder. As I am learning to be still and let God be known, I find the secret is very much like yoga. I needed to learn to breathe and relax. This has been the single biggest revelation in my Christian life in the last fifteen years. It has been especially critical in my ability to hear God speak. The New American Standard Version of this verse reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Well, “strive” was my middle name. My characteristic response to a challenge was to work more hours, work faster, work harder. In other words, apply more strength and more power. In my attempts to hear God’s voice, this straining and striving actually made it more difficult. I had to learn to be still. I cannot express what a challenge that was for me. First I would get my body still only to have my mind run rampant. Then I would try to quiet my mind. Before five minutes passed I was usually bouncing my leg or off thinking about all the things I needed to do.

The secret for me was in learning to breathe and even learning how to breathe. I found that in my striving mode, I tended to breath shallowly and from my chest. I learned, though, to breathe from my diaphragm and to breathe deeply and slowly. Now, with one deep breath and a full exhalation, I can instantly calm down my physiology and my mind. Sure, it took practice but I have finally discovered that when I am still and quiet, God can be God. There is room for Him in my mind and heart when I pause long enough to breathe. He is waiting to impart wisdom to me but I must be still so I can hear. When I calm my physicality, when I cease striving, then I give Him the space to act for me. He gets to be God instead of me.

Life is happening all around us every day. Life lessons are in the next breath. From learning how to relax into a yoga pose rather than trying to muscle into it, I learned a valuable spiritual principle and life skill. Relax, be still and let God show Himself. Thanks Marco for pointing out how God is teaching and leading us, giving us valuable life lessons in our everyday walk with Him. Be still, cease striving and let God ease you into your yoga pose and your new revelation with Him.

Page 1 of 3123