Sunday, March 23, 2014

Be Still and Know ... Know What?

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

Be still and know, says God in the much-quoted psalm. Our Maker ties our ability (and willingness) to be still with knowledge. But knowledge of what? What is it we don't know when we are not still?

When I go-go-go with little time to enjoy a slow meal, a relaxing walk or time set aside for reflection on the events of my days and weeks, I've noticed a few things.

I become restless inside.

My sleep suffers and so does my ability to listen deeply. With many basic needs unmet, I become self-centered. I don't stop to smell the roses and have little time or energy to consider the needs of others. I become impatient and have trouble relating to others, especially the hurting.

Can you relate?

When we don't stop to become inwardly still, we miss out. We neglect the sunset that calls us to reflect on its Maker. We miss the beauty all around us, whether in nature or in people. When we go-go-go, we miss out, and it hurts us (and others).

This is a terrific formula for burnout and a lack of compassion. But Psalm 46:10 implies that our lack of stillness helps create an even bigger problem, one that transcends our temporal lives.

If we're not inwardly still, if we're always on the go with few rest stops to reflect on life and what's of eternal significance, this go-go-go lifestyle affects our ability to know and recognize Truth and God Himself. Though we may complete our to-do lists through such haste, we have missed our Maker, the One who imparts wisdom and helps us live the rich, full lives we crave.

God's call for us to be still and know is of critical importance. And it feels very different from haste.

When I take time to be still, perhaps through gardening, music, or painting, nature walks or simply sitting with God in silent, trusting prayer, peace returns. My mind quiets down and I experience a deep rest in my soul. And in that stillness I experience God's presence.

I hear God's gentle whispers of love and comfort and there, with God, I rest.

Such stillness is a gift, for in it I discover the God who never left me, though I'd wandered off once more. And the more I sit with Him, the more I recognize His voice the voice that rescues me from impatience and haste unto love.

Be still and know that I AM God, says God to you and me.

Be still ... that you may know, experience, and believe that I AM God. Your God.

Be still!
Dr Mari

Listen to Fernando Ortega's rendition of Be Thou My Vision to help you be still today.

For more inspiration, read Seek and You Will Find: The Joy of Relationship.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Inspiration for Today: The Importance of Yielding

"We cannot be filled with the Spirit until we are prepared to yield ourselves to be led by the Lord Jesus to forsake and sacrifice everything for this pearl of great price." 
(Andrew Murray)

Yield. There's an unloved word. It means to relinquish. To give up, as to superior power or authority. To surrender.

Any volunteers?

Counter-intuitive and difficult as it is, yielding our wants and desires is a path to life the abundant life Christ offers.

As we yield, we give up our right to forge our own path. We step aside to let Another lead. And as we surrender the illusion of control over our lives and destinies, we discover a freedom previously not even accessible to the self-centered, self-actualizing existence.

Yielding involves forsaking and sacrifice no doubt about it. But the pearl of great price is more than worth it!

Yield!
Dr Mari

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday Reflection: You Are Perfect ... Really?


Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. 
(Romans 12:2)

Today is Ash Wednesday. As we begin a journey to a deeper understanding of and closeness with Jesus, here's a great mystery to ponder about what he accomplished on the cross, For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14).

I don’t know about you but, when I look at my life, I don't see perfection at all. Yet, the Word tells us that we have been made perfect, even as we are “being made holy.” 

Really?

When we look at our lives, we see neither perfection nor complete holiness. We see victories and brokenness; we see mistakes and success. We see our humanity. And, though at times we feel redeemed, we don’t always act like it.

Yet, by God’s grace, the reality of our lives as Christians is redemption, restoration, and growth in holiness. It is impossible to stay with Christ and remain unchanged. It is not possible to behold Christ’s holiness and continue to willfully sin. The Holy Spirit living in us is always at work, as it was in Jesus. Jesus’ presence changes us—we begin to crave his righteousness. God’s promise of maturity in Christ is accomplished in us as we stay close to him.

Our destiny in Christ is not one of doom, gloom, and persistent sinning. Our destiny in Christ is to mature in him and grow in holiness. 

If we’ve been stuck in a rut feeling like we can never do what God calls us to do, our thinking needs to change. We need to fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word, which reminds us that we are not our own, we were bought with a price, and God’s plan for us is good. 

Lent is a wonderful time to dwell in God's Word daily as a new spiritual discipline. Reading the Bible helps us not conform to the pattern of this world, which can so quickly become our default in life. God's Word renews our minds and transforms us, making us more and more like Jesus. God’s Truth empowers us to surrender to His perfect will—like Jesus did. And His will is that we should be holy.
    
Ponder with me: Are you resisting God's will to make you holy in a particular area? Why?

Pray with me: Heavenly Father, strengthen me with power through Your Spirit, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith (Ephesians 3:16-17), and help me grow in holiness.

Have a blessed and meaningful Lent, 
Dr Mari 

This excerpt was adapted from my study of the book of Hebrews (The Radiance of God's Glory) published by Bible Reading Fellowship in the current edition of The Journey.