Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

I don’t like sitting still.

I am the type of person who tries to accomplish something in thirty seconds while I heat my coffee in the microwave. When I watch a movie, I break it into two to three segments because I cannot sit for an hour and forty-five minutes doing nothing but watch a screen. I strategize the best way to do things to save time, money, energy, resources, etc.—I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.

None of these things are wrong in themselves, but I falter when I cannot sit still long enough to hear God’s voice or contemplate the fact that He is God; sovereign, more than able, and in control.

This past week, time slowed down for me and I didn’t know what to do with myself—until I entered into the presence of God. It was while I was in prayer when I realized that I need to learn how to be still in His presence.

I cannot approach God the same way I approach a to-do list. God cannot be divided into segments to fit my schedule and when I’m in prayer I should give Him my undivided attention.

When we look closer into the meaning of be still, we discover that God is admonishing us to “calm down” or “let go of your concerns.” God is trying to get us to come to a place of total surrender to Him.

Will you join me on a journey to calm down and be still in the midst of our circumstances?

Prayer: Lord, help me to lean on You when I want to know every detail but You desire me to wait. Help me to be still when I want to rush ahead. When I become restless help me to understand that You are God.

 

 

 

 

“As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.” (Proverbs 27:19, ESV) If you have ever gone on a job interview, you probably did your best to make a good first impression. Hopefully, you dressed neatly, combed your hair, and had good hygiene. (And turned…

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13: 15, NKJV) Is it possible to live a lifestyle of constant praise? What would our lives be like if we were to develop the…

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”  (Titus 3:1-2, English Standard Version)

I don’t think it’s my imagination that respect for one another has declined within our society. We have forgotten how to treat others with common courtesy. And we can be quite vocal in our rudeness. This lack of respect can be seen in family life, the workplace, toward leadership, and across social levels. The effects of this disrespect can be seen in damaged relationships, increased anger and stress, and disregard for the well-being of others.

When I respect you, it means I accept you for who you are. I value you as a person. We may have different intellectual abilities, different economic levels, different religions, politics, and cultures. Just because we have differences does not mean I can belittle you or criticize you. Even if I disagree with your opinions, I can respect your right to have those opinions. I hope you will show the same courtesy to me. After all, the same Creator made us both in His image.

A Modern Story

A young man I knew seemed well on his way to a successful ministry. Then for some unknown reason his  life fell apart. Later, a similar thing happened to his older brother. Both showed great potential; both failed God. But why? The man who pastored them during their youth explained the root problem.  It seems whenever it became necessary for him to give pastoral counsel, their mother would dispute his correction. She did not accept the pastor’s role as their spiritual leader and did not teach her sons to respect him either. This lack of respect helped shape the character of both men, but not in a positive way.

An Ancient Story

David and King Saul had a complex, difficult relationship for many years. Saul’s mental instability as well as his spiritual problems caused him to seek David’s life. His jealousy and hatred disrupted David’s life for years and kept him on the run. The story recorded in I Samuel 26 gives us a glimpse of David’s character. In this instance, Saul was the vulnerable one, and David’s men could easily have killed him. But David refused to allow this. “But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless’” (verse 9).

What David demonstrated here, and at other times as well, was respect. Respect for the man God had once anointed. Respect for a man who once enjoyed God’s favor. And importantly, respect for God’s plan and timing. Later as king, David showed respect for Saul’s crippled grandson. Despite the hardships he endured, David did not allow those difficult times to destroy his respect.

Is Respect Important?

Respect is the glue that holds relationships together. We can go even further and say it holds society together. Respect is affirming, showing others they are important to us even if we have our differences. Respect nurtures trust. We feel safe when we are respected and feel we can express our opinion without being ridiculed. Respect says I value you and recognize your worth.

We all need to be respected and give respect to others.

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10, ESV)

Prayer: Lord, help me to show respect toward those I interact with each day, regardless of how they might treat me in return. You created us all in Your image and love us all the same. You gave Your life for us. How can I value others any less than the value You placed upon them?

So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed” . . .  But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a…

“Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with…

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”  (James 1:14-15, New King James Version)

Embarrassing moments. Ever have one? Let me tell you a story about one of mine.

A few years ago, a group of us met twice a month for prayer and Bible study. This particular evening, I would host the group. You can imagine my dismay when shortly before my friends would arrive, I found an uninvited visitor in my kitchen. A little field mouse had apparently made its way into my garage and then into my house. I had no traps and no time to run to a store to buy any. (And no hope a trap would work that quickly.) My visitor was now hiding somewhere behind a cabinet, but that didn’t mean he would stay there. I could just imagine him taking a run along my counter top while my friends watched.

The Plan

I quickly developed a plan. I usually set out some type of dessert and beverage in the kitchen where we would snack and chat for a few minutes. It was all rather informal and gave us time to catch up with each other’s news. But tonight, I planned to move everything into the living room, turn off the kitchen light, and keep everyone away from a chance encounter with the mouse.

It didn’t work! At all!

First, Nancy needed a glass of water. (“No, no. Don’t bother. I’ll just get it myself,” she said.) Norma insisted on carrying her own plate to the kitchen. And so it went. Before the evening was over, it seemed everyone had some reason to go into my kitchen. I never heard a scream, so I assume my other visitor stayed out of sight. Or my friends were just very polite.

Hidden Things

Hidden things. Little faults and failures that would lessen our “perfect” image if others knew. Things we hope they won’t discover. When no one “screams,” we feel our secret is safe.

Sin is sneaky—just like that mouse. My unwanted visitor no doubt squeezed into my kitchen through a small crack or opening. They don’t need much space to get in. Or perhaps I left the door to the garage open just a moment too long while carrying in groceries. Sin is much the same. It takes just a tiny bit of space for it to sneak into our lives. It may have been just a small matter that tripped us up and left the door ajar. We let down our guard—just a little. Certainly not enough to really matter. Right? But Hebrews 3:13 warns that sin is deceitful. Satan knows all the tricks and whispers all the right things to soothe any uneasiness we may feel.

Even if my friends never saw the mouse, I knew it was there. I could have left it alone. After all, it wasn’t that big. We could coexist. But no! I recognized I had a problem and headed to the hardware store the next day for a mouse trap. The same is true with “little sins.” Why ignore them and open the door for an even bigger infestation? Little compromises, little lapses in integrity, little sins lead to bigger and bigger problems. It’s time to find a mouse trap.

“He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13, NKJV)

 

Christian, walk carefully, danger is near!
On in your journey with trembling and fear;
Snares from without and temptations within
Seek to entice you once more into sin.

—Anonymous