Knowing God in Silence

Be still and know I am Lord 

“Be still and know that I am God.”(Psalm 46:1)

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Clashes, bangs, bleeps, ringtones, sirens, horns, chatter, revved motors, doorbells, motorcycles, store speakers, televisions, radios, videos, kids playing, adults playing, clocks- sounding- the- hour, outdoor chimes, you tube, mowers running, workmen pounding, noise echoing, noise resounding, noise reverberating, noise ascending, more and more NOISE! We live in a world of sound.  It goes before us, encircles around us, and follows behind us. Where can we find the silence we need to more personally know God?

Although we can hear and know God through nature and in the sounds of this life—a thunderclap, geese heading south in formation, a baby’s first words —and appreciate with awe the beauty of His creation, there also needs to be a location where we have God-time in silence.

Enter a Quiet Zone: That place where we can be still and know God without the interference of distracting noise. But where is such a place?

**But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (King James, Matt. 6:6)

**But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (International Standard Version, Matthew 6:-6)

**Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. (The Message, Matthew 6:6)

Whether we go into our closet, our room, or another location, it should be a “quiet, secluded place.” When alone with God in this spot, we can just remain in silent awe and respectful thanks of His mercy and grace. We can silently converse with Him in our thoughts, pray to Him in our hearts, and love Him with all our being. There will be no phone signaling us away from this communion with God. The background noise will be muted sound, so we only hear His voice within.

 But the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

When can this happen with all the sound around us? It may be early morning or late at night when others in the house are asleep. It may be a time when the children are at school. It may happen on a walk through the woods or on a fishing boat where no one else is around. Wherever your “closet” is, God will be there too, a silent voice inside each one of us:  “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:1)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 07/31/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

 

 

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The Crossroad Where Jesus Waits

 

Man walking on Bible

Choices. My choices. Your choices.

They are not separate and apart.

It is not about me; it is not about you.

My life affects you as yours impacts me.

Though our paths are different,

We meet at the crossroad

Where Jesus waits.

That crossroad in our lives, where we will meet each other heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul, is the place of worship, the place of prayer, the place of tears and joy, the place of redemption. What we bring with us to that meeting place can be a positive or a negative exchange of influence. Will we bring encouragement, joy, burdens, weariness, sadness, hope, love, sorrow, loss, peace? Whatever we bring, there will be an effect on our Christian brothers and sisters, on our children and grandchildren, on our families, on all those we encounter. There will be an impact on our worship, on our fellowship, on our singing, on our hearing and listening, on our reading of the Word, on our prayers. There will be an influence we will take with us as we leave to follow our own paths and make our choices in life.

These life choices are so important. They should be thoughtfully considered. They must be prayerfully brought to the Lord. Your choice may save a soul, leading the way to Jesus. My choice may cause someone to stumble and wander away from the crossroad, lost. I may affect your choice in some way, and you might impact mine. We share responsibility toward each other.

God gave us choice in this earthly life. We can be deliberate in trying to make the right decisions on our life journey as we meet others, or we can be selfish in choosing what we want as if we are on a solitary path, affecting only ourselves. Such a lone path does not exist. There is always a place where paths intersect, and even, at times, follow parallel lines, side by side, before truly joining at the crossroad where Jesus waits.

Let us carry Light with us on every path, every intersection, and every encounter. It is my choice. It is your choice. The choice we have is to meet Jesus and take Him with us on our path through life–or pass on by without Him. We are each at the crossroad daily, with every choice we make.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ” (Matthew 5:13-16)

God gave us choice in this life.

Will we meet Him?

Where He waits for us?

At the crossroad of every choice?

    (Sharon G. Tate blog 07/24/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

The Artistry of God

God making everything beautiful men cannot fathom

Drawing the earth with His finger

Splashing colors on the canvas–

Blue and green, yellow and almond,

Orange and purple, crimson and white,

Spinning the wheel, colors from colors.

Rainbow arcs, Aurora Borealis dances.

Awakening dawn, sunset aglow.

Our Creator, with His palette.

Are we in awe of our God’s artistry? Have we thanked Him for the vibrant colors He created for us to enjoy? Do we stop—look– and see? Or do we walk by, gazing down at our phones, and miss the beauty all around us?

I recently watched a video about real people who were color blind. They were each given a pair of glasses made by EnChroma, which allowed them to see all the tones of color. The expressions of joy, amazement, surprise, and awe on their faces as they saw all the diverse hues for the first time was inspiring. One man exclaimed in excitement: “Is this what you see all the time!”¹

Maybe that is our problem, those of us who are not color blind. We can view all the colors all the time, so we may take this gift for granted and disregard the moments of pure joy, amazement, surprise, or awe that could have been. How can we recapture the “first time” views of what those people saw in God’s creation?

 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:7-10)

 11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. (Psalm 96: 11-12)

 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)

Yes, this is what we see all the time. Rejoice, be glad, be jubilant, sing for joy. God is ever-present in His creation, surrounding us with shades, tints, dyes, and hues in a continuum of color. Stand in awe before the canvas. Be in awe of the Artist.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

¹Playground video made by EnChroma

(Sharon G. Tate blog 07/17/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

GOD-PRESENCE is Ever Present

God-is-Present

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A fun, but long day with the grandkids, a one more kiss and two more hugs parting, and then off in the car for the two and a half hour drive home. It was about 6:30pm and starting to sprinkle. Within an hour, the sky had darkened due to the coming rainstorm. The drizzle soon became a downpour.

The vehicle in front of me was continually changing speeds, slowing down and speeding up erratically. The rain wasn’t coming down as hard, so I decided to move away from this driver. Looking behind me, all I saw in the left lane was wet pavement and rain; in my lane, water was rising off the road from the cars farther back. All clear.

I began to swerve over to the other lane to pass, looked to my side—and suddenly saw a very low, sleek black sports car a few inches from the bottom of my window, right next to me. Swerving quickly back to the lane I started from, I avoided a crash, while the other vehicle sped ahead, the water from the road gushing up behind its black body with no visible eyes. The driver never had his lights on, and he did not put them on as he moved forward, a blur of water rising off the road, merging with the coming darkness.

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Moments like these make us more aware of God-Presence. It seemed surreal to look over my left shoulder and see that vehicle so close to me. Yet, even while sensing the danger and making the instinctual move to swerve back, there was this other sense happening, the God-Sense. He was there, the barrier of protection I didn’t see but felt. Even after, He was there, calming my heartbeat, my anxiety, my “what if” thoughts. I drove on—in the right lane.

Can we possibly recall all the times when the “what if” could have happened—but didn’t?  Was it God-Presence there with us? What about the times when the “what if” did happen? Did we perceive the unseen “Sixth Sense” during these occurrences?  John tells us, “God is Spirit…” (John 44:24)

 God-Presence was promised to Moses and the Israelites:

 “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

God-Presence is promised to us as we come together in His Name:

For where two or And He said, three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

God-Presence is present with us everywhere:

23 “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off?
24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24)

God-Presence is with us through life and death:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

God-Presence cannot be circumvented, avoided, or evaded:

David asks these questions of the Lord regarding His presence, fully knowing the answers: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? (Psalm 139:7)

Praise God for His Presence in our lives– in moments when we are not fully aware, in times when we earnestly seek Him in prayer, and during the “what ifs” when we truly despair. We are in need of His Presence daily in our lives to give us wisdom, strength, courage, and instinct to confront the “black vehicles” that come so very close to our paths, attempting to draw us into the darkness. God’s Light delivers us and sustains us more often than we  will ever know.

     Thank you, Lord, for Your ever-abiding Presence in our lives. Amen.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 07/10/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Freedom in Christ–With Wings like Eagles

eagles soaring

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. 

(Isaiah 40:31)

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Trees were falling, broken and wounded. The machine, crushing through a densely wooded area, dropping pines and poplars in its path, shifted forward—but, then, suddenly stopped, idling in neutral, before one dead and worthless tree, leaving it standing, as the engine roared and the machine moved ahead, felling more trees.

In the early evening, when the machine rested, an eagle came and perched at the top of this one tree that stood out against the small buffer line remaining of the once dense woods. Perhaps, there had been a nest in a nearby tree that was taken for harvesting. No nest was visible now, no eaglets ready to be born. The eagle, majestic atop the barren tree, seemed to stare intently at the surrounding land, surmising the loss. It remained in this lofty position for what seemed a lengthy time before it, finally, let go of its hold and flew away, not looking back.

eagle in dead tree

Watching this scene from the drive by my home, it felt like I was viewing a symbolic enactment: The bald eagle, our national emblem, surveying the devastation; trees felled by a machine; a nest of baby eaglets possibly destroyed; nature harvested for money; beauty salvaged without conscience; a young man with goggles, vision somewhat blurred, maneuvering a machine capable of destroying the present and the future; man, the driving force behind it all. It seemed like a warning, one that we have disregarded with careless neglect and indifference to the negative effects we can impose on our present and our future worlds.

As I watched this scene play out, I recalled another warning that was unheeded:

34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:34-35)

A disregarded warning, affecting both the present and the future–Jerusalem was destroyed.

And what of America? Will we continue to care more about money and greed than our young and our unborn? Will we not tend and nurture this world which God gave to us as its caretakers? Will we allow technology to blur our moral conscience? Will we continue to disregard the offer of Jesus to come onto Him, to follow Him, to obey Him, to allow Him to take us under His arms of protection?  Do we, in this country, have this same rebuke: “You were not willing.” Will we, in this country, have this same end: “Look, your house is left to you desolate.”

 “The eagle represents freedom. Living as he does on the tops of lofty mountains, amid the solitary grandeur of Nature, he has unlimited freedom, whether with strong pinions he sweeps into the valleys below, or upward into the boundless spaces beyond.” ¹

We, too, can have freedom in Jesus who set us free from a dead tree, the cross. On this Fourth of July, a day designated to remember and celebrate our independence, let us pray that we will not merely perch and sit and sit in a worried state of mind over the fate of this nation, but let us instead, like the eagle who did not dwell in that dead tree, take action, move forward, and “mount up with wings like eagles…run and not be weary…walk and not faint.” We are the ones who can make positive changes in our world, through our daily walk with the Lord, who did not stay on the tree but arose and yet lives that we might be free.

 ¹ baldeagleinfo.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 07/03/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word