Be Still

stART of Stillness

You may be a Bible study pro, and some are just beginning to test the waters of your faith and exploring God’s word. Wherever you are, God desired for you to be here. God made it very clear to me that all the writing I did that none would go to waste. Much of what I worked on did not make the final cut for the Be Still bible study, but I will be sharing it here. It is my sincere hope and prayer that God will reveal himself more clearly to each one of us and that each one reading here will deepen their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Growing in your faith, and trusting in God not only brings us peace and the ability to be peaceful people, but as we will see all of our efforts will bring honor and glory to Him and Him alone.

God loves us and sent Jesus to bridge the gap that our human sin nature caused. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus allowed believers the honor of close commune with the Father. Christ followers, are not just saved by grace, sealed for eternity in Heaven, but are awarded with the Holy Spirit. His very goodness can fill our weak fleshy bodies. The Holy Spirit gives us the means to experience a full life despite our Earthly circumstances. However, it is only by His power that we can reach a level of fulfillment, joy, hope, and peace this side of eternity. He isn’t just the God of the Old Testament, or the New Testament, but of the current and present age. He is active and alive. He longs to be in relationship with his beloved children. No matter where you are right now, I guarantee He longs for a closer relationship with you. Do you believe that is possible?

Open your Bible to read all of Psalm 46. This is where we will be parked today, so leave it open for easy reference.

Read through a second time and look for all the attributes, names, and descriptions of God. Record what you find here.

possible answers

 

  • refuge (v.1)
  • strength (v.1)
  • holy (v.4)
  • Most High (v.4)
  • Helper (v.5)
  • speaks/has a voice (v.6)
  • Lord Almighy (v.7)
  • fortress (v.7 & v.11)
  • peace (v.9)
  • exalted (v.10)

Verses 1-3 speaks of mountains shaking, landslides, roaring dangerous waters which are all too commonly experienced and even viewed in awe and fear while watching World News programs. On the heels of natural disasters, verse 6  speaks of nations in uproar and unrest. Literally, the forces of politics and government, threats of uneasy relations, and acts of war are also in our current reality. The forces of nature, and the condition of political instability are easily feared by many. The reality is that no matter how democratic a country we may reside, we must remember that at no point in time are natural disasters, or nations’ governments out of God’s control. He is sovereign over all. When we practice the act of submitting ourselves to the Father, and become still, the results are life changing.

Take an in-depth look at what Psalm 46 is calling us to do; it invites us to take some personal inventory, to step back and realistically examine our relationship status with Jesus Christ. By challenging yourself to dig deep into the study of this scripture, the journey can increase your dependence on God. From my personal experience, every moment you are still before The Great I AM will be worth all the time you have sacrificed and set aside for Him. All you do to develop a more intimate personal relationship with the one who loves us enough to die for us will be worth it every time. Unlike our Earthly relationships, God never gives stingily, or with strings attached. There is no manipulation, or withholding of love until you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. He is waiting arms outstretched. Are you ready to spend some quality with the lover of your soul? I sure hope you answered positively. He wants to reveal Himself to us. He wants to deepen your trust and faith. Are you ready to let him prick your skin and get under your skin for some fine tuning of your heart and mind?

Most often, where does your fear reside?

Most believers would agree they desire to live a life of great closeness to Abba Father. However, the actual reality seems to be something not easily realized.

Find some paper, perhaps a sticky note (whatever is closest to you) and write out Psalm 46:10. Feel free to be as artistic as you want. Make an effort to commit to hide these words in your heart.

Look at the words of Psalm 46:10 as your personal invitation to come sit at the Father’s feet. Accept Psalm 46:10 to know Him in a very up close and real way. Each of us have crazy, busy lives and He is calling you to BE STILL. According to this scripture, what should we experience when we are still?

What does Psalm 46:10 say will result with our stillness, and knowing God?

Like the famous question which came first the chicken or the egg, the same can be said of this continuous circle, and process of being still and knowing God. Please do not quickly make the assumption that this study is going to force you to add one more thing your daily “to do” list. The hope is that you would willingly turn to Him, and abide in Him on an regular and consistent basis. By practicing times of stillness with no other agenda other than getting to spend time with the Lord, your knowledge and heart will literally develop beyond your current perception and understanding of the Great I Am. As we increase our spiritual muscle we develop an internal strength to relinquish personal power to Him who is All Powerful. As we become more aware of His control, we can avoid letting circumstances control our responses because our God has it all under control. Unlike us humans, nothing, literally NOTHING (no thing) surprises God. He never acts out of haste, or with unwarranted wrath because He is righteous. It is easy for us to get carried away by emotions, fear, anger, and hurt in a moment of weakness. If we aren’t careful our responses can become unhinged and ungodly to say the least. Can you identify 2-3 triggers that can cause you to fly off the handle in anger, or become depressed, perhaps things you frequently worry about?

By the end of this study, it is my prayer that you will learn the art of remembering the very words of Psalm 46:10 and put your faith to work. It sounds like an oxymoron, but just as God is asking us to practice stillness, it is a call for our active participation with Him. By remembering God’s teachings, we allow Him to remind us to be still, even amid a flurry of activity and imminent turmoil. He calms all of our fears, he offers strength and direction in the moments of stillness. We are assured and can literally feel His presence, and have the courage to move forward. When we are in close communion we will even be able to hear Him speak to us. It seems unreal and unbelievable, perhaps even foolishness to those who have never experienced life in complete oneness with the Father. However, many Christ followers not only have encountered our Savior once or twice, we too are learning to lean in, being still and letting Him grow and groom us to be more like Him with every passing day. If this sounds like something you are yearning for, and you seek to know Him more, you must be learn to be still. By the way, He will get all the praise!

If you haven’t done so already, Write out Psalm 46:10 on a mirror, white board, chalk board, index card, or post-it note somewhere to be displayed so you can submit its truth to memory. Additionally, write out a prayer asking God to help you know Him better. If time is a factor, ask the creator of time to multiply yours. Confess any apprehension you may have to Him now regarding your apprehension to stillness. Remember, nothing you can say to Him will surprise Him.

Take the time to find and listen to the song Open the Eyes of My Heart by Michael W. Smith. 

faith

Control

I have been parked in the book of James for many weeks now. I am reading scripture, praying for wisdom and deep understanding. I plainly ask the Holy Spirit to shine a light on any dark places where I do not fully allow his truth to penetrate and expose my hardened callouses and sinful pride. I am watching Francis Chan’s video series on James, working through a guided study by Max Lucado, as well as healthy discussion in my adult small group.

Lucado posed a question that seriously captured my attention; it is this:

Would you change the way you are living if you could see your future?

Why or why not?

In high school I lettered in debate of all things. Believe it or not, I am not fond of arguing. I do like researching and presenting logical facts, as well as being able to present and defend both sides of a question. My first response to this question on a personal level is YES. Yes, I would want to see the results of my lack of faith and sinful actions. Therefore, if I could quickly see the bellyflops and heartache of my poor choices, I would steer clear and adjust my words and decisions. Wouldn’t anyone want to avoid deep hurts to themselves and others they love? I would certainly change the way I am living if I could see into my future.

Take time to read James 4:1-10

Let’s look at it more pragmatically. As Christ followers, there are certain truths we all profess to believe.

  • His ways are higher than our own. Isaiah 55:8-9
  • We pray for God’s will to be done. Matthew 6:9-13
  • All good things come from God. James 1:17

I’m about to sound like I’m steering off course here, but stay with me. Do you remember the popular television game show, Let’s Make a Deal? The audience was typically dressed up in crazy costumes and trying to get noticed. As the chosen contestant was presented with different choices along the way hoping to be one of the final standing to play for the big prize hidden behind a door, box, or curtain. The excitement was fun for all, and what made it even more entertaining is that there was always the possibility someone may get ZONKED and end up with nothing of value other than a good laugh.

All of us have a free gift of grace, Jesus took care of that on the cross. He knows each one of us, and knows us better than we know ourselves even down to the number of hairs on our head. We live in a fallen sinful world, and many of us may think we get zonked more than average. Moreover, what the world would consider a ZONK, bad luck, a series of unfortunate events, etc. isn’t always what it seems. Many of the worst situations in my life, have been times that I turn to God and lean into him with a comfort that can not be explained until you have lived it personally. In life we have choices to make everyday. We don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.

If I truly want to pray, and live according to God’s will, I must trust him. I must be willing to be obedient to let him lead me. I must give up my craving to know ahead of time and stop “helping him out.” That is something I have a tendency to do. I want control, so sometimes I try to get a sneak peak by snooping around, nowadays cyber-stalking is such an easy temptation. I tend to want things to go the way I want and I find myself manipulating situations to formulate my desired outcomes. When I do these things, I am not letting God do his will. I am acting as the world would and quite honestly seeking their approval and applaud. In my meddling, I am working against God. I must allow God to do a work in me and be content, satisfied, and filled with joy without knowing what is behind each door. I must stay in his word, able to hear his voice, and go where he leads. I desire to know God’s will, but more than that, I must be willing to do God’s will. I must be obedient to act (have my go-shoes on Designer Shoes of Peace). Faith and love are action words. Create in me a pure heart Lord that allows me to bravely walk upright along the path you have designed for me. I humbly give up my rights to be in control. Let my life be lived for your kingdom, and set apart from this world. Thank you for delivering your Holy Spirit to reside in me. Continue to transform my thinking through the reading of your faultless God-breathed scripture.