Be still, and know that I am God; Psalm 46:10
We are living in a technological age geared to speed. Speed records are being set in travel enabling us to circle the globe in an unbelievably short time. This accelerated tempo is experienced in every area of living today. A twenty-four hour day is insufficient time to complete all we have scheduled on our calendars. We are always in a hurry, rushing from one thing to another. It is no wonder that tensions build up almost to the breaking point. We keep our smart devices, radios and televisions on because we cannot stand the stillness. It is as if we are on a carousel revolving so rapidly we cannot get off.
As we are now crossing the threshold of a new year, it is an opportune time to reevaluate our lives in the light of the future. How are we going to use this year? For our own interests or for God’s glory? Do we have our priorities in the right perspective? What has top priority? Are the things we are doing of most importance in the light of eternity?
Our Scripture verse for today says, “Be still and KNOW that I am God.” Ask yourself, “How well do I know God? How real is He to me? Is He only a casual acquaintance, or a dear, intimate friend?” Perhaps our greatest need this year is to deepen our friendship with Him. This will mean spending time with Him. We need a quiet time, a “Be Still” time, each day, alone with the Lord, to become better acquainted.
It is not easy to be perfectly still in God’s presence. The harder we try the more difficult it becomes. We remember something we have forgotten to do. The phone rings. The noise of the world about us becomes louder and louder. Yet times of quiet are necessary for our spiritual well-being. Dr. Gilbert Little, a Christian psychiatrist, was asked for a simple rule for mental health. He answered, “Be still and know that I am God.” Rest is not only important for our physical life, but for our spiritual life, too.
The world says, “Be active; be busy; be industrious.” But God says, “BE STILL – be quiet; don’t rush.” This is not just a cessation of activities, but a quietness of heart and spirit in which we are aware of His presence. In the center of our soul is a place where God dwells, and where, if we enter and close out every other sound, He will speak to us. It has been said, “It is not in the college or academy, but in the silence of the soul, that we learn the greater lessons of life – and quiet hearts are rare.” Many times we do all the talking instead of being quiet enough to listen to Him.
As we continue to wait before Him, the sounds about us fade away; and we are aware of being in the quietness of His Holy Presence.
In 1 Kings 19:11-12, we read that is was not in the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire that God spoke to Elijah, but in a still small voice. It is not the stillness of the soul that God speaks to us.
An explorer went on a trek into the jungle with some nationals as guides. The first two days the group hurried so fast that they were able to cover many miles. On the third day the explorer planned to start at daybreak. When it was time to leave, he discovered the guides were not ready. He asked them what was wrong. They replied, “We must wait.” “Wait?” he said “Wait for what?” They replied, “We have been going too fast. Now we must wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.” Have we been hurrying so fast that we, too, need to wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies?
May we take the time this year to be Still before Him that we may get to KNOW HIM in a more personal and real way. Be still and reduce self-activity; be still and quit rushing about.
“BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!”
Matthew 2:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
In Matthew, the second chapter, we read of the wise men making a long journey in search of the newborn King. Guided by a star, their search came to an end in Bethlehem. With great joy they bowed in worship of the Christ child, presenting Him with gifts.
Herod had asked them to return to Jerusalem to give Him a report on finding the Babe. Very likely this was their plan. However, their course of travel was completely changed. God warned them not to return to Jerusalem. They were to return to their home "another way." Although they may have wondered why, they obediently followed God's direction.
In a few days we will enter a new year. As God places it in our hands, we will have the privilege of using it for Him. Most of us already have plans for it. Yet we can never be sure of what lies before us. Next year's path may lead us in a completely different way, a new way we have never walked before. It may bring a sudden change in our life.
God may say to us, " I want you to go "another way" this year." You may be comfortably situated in your home, everything going well for you. Suddenly a change comes and you are to be moved to a new area. This is not what you would choose, but God says, "This is 'another way' for you to take this year." You may have to walk "another way" as someone dear to you has been removed from your life. "Another way" for you may be a serious illness. We may not understand why we must go "another way", but God does, and He never makes a mistake.
We should be ready to accept changed plans as the wise men were. When God leads us "another way" we need to be ready to follow.
God says, "I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known." Isaiah 42:16
"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." Galatians 6:9 NLT
Sometimes life is not fair. We keep doing good. We take care of our kids. We volunteer our time for a church committee. We pay our bills on time. Overall, we do a pretty good job of living. But, nobody really notices and we certainly don’t get any major rewards for it. Meanwhile, movie stars can misbehave, go through rehab several times, act immature or just plain stupid and get away with all of it. It’s enough to want to give up and say, "Why am I trying so hard?"
"Don't give up. Don’t get tired of doing good." If we hang in there and continue on the path of life God has shown for us, there is a reward—we will reap a harvest of blessing. This is a pretty significant quantity guaranteed here. It’s not just one or two, or even a few, it’s an entire harvest of blessings.
God’s dream for you is fulfilled as you follow the pathway of right living — the path of righteousness. The "way" of life He has dreamed for you. Don't get tired of walking with the Lord—the path of life is pleasant and the rewards are huge.
Hang on...your Friday is coming!
Dear God. Take away any discouragement and confusion I have about which path to follow in my life. Let me clearly see that the path of righteousness leads to dreams come true and a harvest of blessings. Amen.
Bible Readings for the Week Ahead:
Monday: James 4:17
Tuesday: Romans 12:21
Wednesday: Isaiah 1:17
Thursday: Colossians 3:17
Friday: Matthew 5:10-12
Saturday: Luke 16:13
Sunday: 1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Have you ever found yourself caught up in a difficult situation? It is moments like these that you should tap into your resources of accountable friends, mentors or spiritual leaders to give you the advice you need to help you get over any hurdles. You may be asking the question, "Why? Why do I need to seek counsel? I can figure this out on my own". The reality is, our judgment can be very clouded because we are so close to it especially when it involves, us. If we are honest with ourselves, we give ourselves more credit than we should at times because we are bias when it comes to us. If it were left to us we would always be the A student never failing in anything.
The truth of the matter is, there is always room for improvement in every aspect of our lives. There is also another side to this, if we are not careful, we can be very critical of ourselves...too hard. So we need to have balance, a place where we can meet in the middle and we can find this in getting wise counsel.
Just ensure the circle of people you choose as advisors can truly be that for you, a trust circle. You are not looking for friends, you are seeking people to help you become better at what you do and are unapologetic about it because they see the good in you. They see greatness! Now ensuring you have these people in your life is only half of the assignment. You must be willing to do the work necessary to let your greatness be realized. This will only come by acting upon the sound advice that is given.
Give yourself a gift today, find you a mentor or an accountability partner. Someone that can relate or have gone through what you have gone through but you see they have overcome many obstacles. Seek out someone that by their words and presence make you a better person.
Insider Tip: If you cannot seem to listen to constructive criticism with an open mind, perhaps you got a severe case of old- fashioned stubbornness. If so, ask God to soften your heart , open your ears and enlighten your mind.
"IMPACT IS EVERYTHING!" - Dr. Kahala Bolton