Categories
Christian Living devotional

Hearing God in the Stillness

The chapel where my wife and I attend worship was built in 1935. Constructed in the Neo-gothic style, it resembles a smaller version of a Western European cathedral. And like any old building, it has a unique personality. As a musician, I used to enjoy the quirky sounds our little chapel made. The creaky floor boards in the choir loft were my favorite.

But the powers that be decided to install a fancy geo-thermal heating and air-conditioning system in the building. One with a fan motor that runs 24/7. And the incessant drone of moving air–through the vents in the sanctuary–totally ruined the audio ambiance!

But this past Sunday a miracle occurred! Someone switched the HVAC fan to run on a cycle. You can hear the church building again-creaky floor boards and all!

I sat there in the choir loft before the worship service, soaking in the silence. Then it came to me in a moment of sudden insight: “It’s so quiet you can hear God!”

How many times in life does the “white noise” of the world drowned out His still, small voice? All the screens in my home practically scream, “Pay attention to me!” Then there’s the miniature slot machine in my pocket.📲 Some still call it a phone. Yet it’s far more addictive than the kind that once sat on a little table.☎️

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

Psalm 46:10

Stillness does not come naturally to me. I’ve always been a bit of a squirrel.🐿. I savor quiet contemplation with God, but find I must carve this time out if it’s going to happen.

For the past forty or so years–since I was a teenager–I’ve consistently spent time with God at the beginning of every morning. The first hour of the day, it’s just Him and me. I read scripture and devotional thoughts, spend time in prayer, and jot down my impressions.

Incidentally, I found the Lord’s prescription for hearing Him better: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”— Isaiah 30:15 (NIV) The Israelites of that time didn’t listen; but you and I know better.

What is your practice for spending quality time with God? I’d love to hear about it! Please share in the comments, if you’d like.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com. This isn’t my church, but it looks similar.

Categories
Christian Living discernment

Willful Blindness

Does your computer or mobile device interrupt you at inconvenient times? Last virus scan was 73 days ago. “I can’t bother with this right now,” I say while quickly triple-clicking Ask me later. “I’ll just pretend I didn’t see that.” But then the inevitable happened; a virus wiped out my laptop’s hard drive.

Losing important documents and hundreds of pictures (no, I didn’t back them up🥺) was a real eye opener. These days I am more careful to perform the necessary preventative maintenance needed to keep my computer running smoothly.

There have been times in my life when I received a similar message from God. David, you haven’t REALLY talked with me in 7.3 days. Frankly, the Lord’s admonition felt more like an interruption. My heart wasn’t ready for inconvenient truth. “But Lord, I’ve been super busy.” Note to self: Any prayer that starts with “But Lord…” means danger. A wipe-out is imminent.

The unexamined life is not worth living

Socrates

Self-reflection can be helpful, but King David, of ancient Israel, went a step further. He asked God to examine his life.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

Our Heavenly Father’s scans are always accurate. He tells us the good AND the bad. On the other hand, we often only tell ourselves what we want to hear. The world can’t be trusted to give us a reliable reflection either (1 John 2:15-17). My friend Alan, from Devotional Treasures points this out beautifully in a recent post, “The News of the World.”

Willful Blindness. It happens when we consciously close our eyes and ears to information we’d rather not acknowledge. And the outcome can be disastrous.

Kind reader, was your last “heavenly heart scan” simply too long ago? Yes, being searched by God sounds harrowing. But He knows everything anyway. May as well let the Great Physician do His thing.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.


Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Portions of this post were taken from Wakey Wake, Cupcake, which was published on July 5, 2019.

Categories
Christian Living

Close, But Not Quite

According to our church bulletin yesterday, the first hymn was #407, How Firm a Foundation. But when I turned to that number in the hymnal it wasn’t the right song. So I tried 704—maybe the digits got reversed? Nope. How about 497—because 9 is next to zero? Nada. Okay, I give up. I looked up the the correct number in the back of the book. It was 408. The bulletin was so close—just one page off!

So I started thinking about, “close, but not quite,” moments in the Bible. Remember good King Asa? He “conducted himself well before God, reviving the ways of his ancestor David.” – 1 Kings 15:11 (MSG) The Bible says Asa kicked the male shrine prostitutes out of Judah, and destroyed all the pagan idols the evil kings before him made. He even unseated his own grandmother, from her royal position, because of her idol worship! – 2 Chronicles 15:16

King Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and was fully committed to God all his life. But there’s an unfortunate footnote: “He didn’t get rid of all the local sex-and-religion shrines.” —1 Kings 15:14 (MSG) Meaning, he kicked out the prostitutes, but left their pagan temples standing.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.” Yet kings Asa, Solomon and David, who were all, “close, but not quite,” were beloved by God. This must be partly because, though each of them was imperfect, they respected the Lord and kept trying.

This is the one I esteem: He who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”

Isaiah 66:2 (NIV)

A pastor friend of mine has a favorite saying: “Obedience is when you DO.” Kind reader, we can think about , talk and plan to do what’s right in the eyes of God, but if we don’t take REAL action little will change.

It won’t happen if you don’t make it happen

Pastor Ron Bracy

For look at King Asa from a little different angle, please see Repairing the Altar by Chris Hendrix, of Devotions by Chris.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.