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

 

 

 

 

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

The Ultimate Sacrifice: Voices Silenced…Voices Still Heard

Salvation

Knowing. Most people do not know when they are going to die, but there is One who did. Jesus Christ knew that His part in God’s plan meant the ultimate sacrifice for a human, the form He had on this earth. He must give His life so that we, the rest of mankind, might have life eternal. There was no other option. Christ prayed in the Garden:  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). But Jesus knew His Father’s will, the plan from the beginning, would prevail, and He would fulfill the needed sacrifice.

Knowing. What would it be like to “know” the fate that awaits us in this life? The inner controversy over knowing one’s genome history and testing for predictive disease like Alzheimer’s or pancreatic cancer involves the question we would have to answer: “Do we really want to know it will happen to us at some time in our lives?” For many, this might be a looming dread, affecting every day forward from the point of awareness. For others, it could be a positive affirmation to live life more completely and appreciate every day given. Knowing could make us more fearful and vulnerable–or knowing could make us more purposeful in our life journey.

Knowing. Our Lord made His earthly life purposeful, with God’s purpose, knowing what was to come. He shared and taught His Truth and mentored the disciples to follow His lead. He healed the sick, gave the example of prayer, and took time to pray alone with the Father. He cared for His friends and wept with them when a family member died. He loved us all, even those who were not yet born.

Knowing.  Jesus knew His task on this earth and questioned His earthly parents who were looking for Him, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). He knew the plan, for He was in the beginning with God:  “ 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… 14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5,14). His task on earth was to teach God’s Truth and give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom from sin that we might have everlasting life with Him.

Knowing. Soldiers who go to war also know they might have to make this ultimate sacrifice to help secure the freedom of others-loved ones, acquaintances, strangers, and those not yet born. We designate a Memorial Day every May to remember their sacrifices. Like Christ, they are not really dead, for they speak to us through the freedom we have from their final bequest—their lives.

ArlingtonCemetery

“Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?” ¹

Knowing. We know, through faith, that Christ lives and still inspires us to strive toward His higher purposes. And we praise and thank Him. We know, through our experience in this earthly realm, that fallen soldiers live through the legacy of freedom that they bestow to us. And we thank them.

The Ultimate Sacrifice: Voices Still Heard

     In Remembrance

 

¹Beecher, Henry Ward. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes

(Sharon G. Tate blog 05/29/16)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Walking by Faith: The Sight of Blindness

 

we-walk-by-faith-not-by-sight- dark

 Snow-capped mountains, violet valleys, peaceful sands;

Earthquake ruins, flooded towns, tsunami whiplash.

We view the beauty, witness destruction, wonder why.

With mortal eyes, we watch; with spiritual eyes, we see.

Human vision is dim; Spiritual faith is Light.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 1

 With all that our eyes can witness and watch in the world around us and beyond us, we cannot truly see/understand the creation of God and the ways of God unless we have the faith that suspends physical sight, interpretation, explanation, and analysis. Science demands a logical, tested, proven reason and answer. Faith accepts the Creator—and He is the reason and the answer.

When we close our eyes, the full panorama of the mountains, the valleys, and the sands can be seen, not merely the captured snapshot of what is physically before us with open eyes. What we can envision in this “blindness” is far greater than what we can view in the limitation of physical sight. Such is the power of inner light, what we see “by faith, not by sight.”

Through the outer light of physical sight, we view the destruction–the earthquake ruins, flooded towns, tsunami whiplash. Through the inner Light of spiritual faith, we see beyond the destruction and find the child under the collapsing debris, the woman unable to swim in flood waters, the man trapped in the pull of the wave. We change our focus to see the person, the need, and we listen to hear their cries. This happens through a God-Light within us that emits Light when we obey Him in faith.

 “Behold, a King will reign in righteousness…
The eyes of those who see will not be dim,
And the ears of those who hear will listen.” (Isaiah 32:1-3)

 When we follow the King, we walk by faith, we see with faith, and we hear in faith. In the physical sense, we are blind to the world’s view- but we are not blinded, for we have our faith and can see much more than those who view life without God-Light. Our eyes are not dim, for by faith we gain understanding and perception; our ears are not dull, for through faith we are able to listen, not just hear.

A computer can “see” mountains, valleys, sands, ruins, floods, tsunamis. It cannot close its eyes and activate a God-Light within its parts and pieces. It has no conscience, no consciousness, no soul–and human scientists cannot create this inner Light. The sight of blindness, illumed in faith from one Source, will light our way up the mountains of life, down through its beautiful valleys, and across its scorching sands. It will lead us out of the debris of self-pity, save us from the floods of emotion, and lift us out of the tsunami waves that threaten to drown us in discouragement and loss of hope. If only—we walk by faith in the sight of blindness to shine His Light within.

1  II Corinthians 5:7

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 05/01/16 ) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word 

GO YE! “WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE”

With God all things possible

              “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible,                             but with God all things are possible.’ ” (Matthew 19:26)

 “Go, Sharon. Go, Mary. Go, Gary. Go, Joe.”

The last words of Jesus to His disciples, as recorded in the books of Matthew and Mark, include the word “GO.” A comparison of various translations of the passage in the Bible where the Great Commission is given in Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19 also include another word–either “Go ye” or “Go you.” Even if the pronoun is not included, there is the understood “you” in the directive “GO” –Go (you).

Jesus did not say: “Go one. Go someone. Go somebody. Go anybody. Go others. Go no one. Go nobody.” The pronoun was not indefinite but personal, and yet, it was also not these forms: “Go she or Go he or Go they or Go we…” Instead, the chosen words by Jesus were “Go you.” My name can be substituted for “you” and so can yours: “Go, Sharon. Go, Mary. Go, Gary. Go, Joe.”

 ” God made you different so you can make a difference.” 1

The God-created differences in each one of us make us uniquely able to effect change around us and within others we personally come in contact with through our work, school, social relationships, and other connections.

 “If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world.” 2

In Luke’s account, the disciples do not immediately “go” forth. Instead, Jesus tells them to wait until they receive the Holy Spirit to help them go forward in this cause to spread the gospel to all the world:

 44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49)

They had to be different from the world–their minds opened to understand the scriptures, their appearance altered when “clothed with power” from God, their hearts changed by their witness of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Through God, it was possible to reach out to the nations and change the world. Man alone could not “go” forth and complete this important work.

That powerful helper, the Holy Spirit, is still here. That understanding of scripture is made available in the full Word of God. That heart change is possible from belief in the testimonies of those who witnessed Christ on this earth. The world is in desperate need of Jesus and His message of hope, forgiveness, and salvation. That “world” starts in the family home, the neighborhood, the workplace, and the community. It’s where difference begins and goes forward in ways we can never imagine, for “with God, all things are possible.”

 “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” 3

                                                            GO YE!                                                                             

1Author unknown. wisesayings.com

²Elaine S. Dalton. wisesayings.com

³Mahatma Gandhi. brainyquote.com

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 04/03/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

BEING PRESENT WITH GOD—IN GOD’S PRESENCE

Presence of God

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)
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As I look out across the room when the bell rings, I see 25 students in their seats. Yes, they are “present” on the attendance list, but are they going to be “present with me” in the lesson and discussion? Some gaze out the window in a blank stare; others look down at their phones; a couple pretend to look at me, and even smile, while texting in their pockets; a group of four continues to talk; several try to hurriedly complete homework; some are quite animated from a caffeine-fix lunch; one runs in as the bell sounds with a grand entrance; and a few are focused, waiting for the class to begin.
“ARE YOU WITH ME TODAY, CLASS?” A few heads turn. . .

Presence with focus is a very difficult combination to achieve in this age of multi-tasking and multi-sensory overload. We are constantly distracted by messages, notification beeps, keeping up with the recent Facebook posts, and the busyness of the day—yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Yet, relationships rarely progress to a deeper level when “presence with focus” is missing.

God gives the gift of His full presence, focusing on each one of us individually. David, the Psalmist, reveals this personal relationship:
1) You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
2) You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3) You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4) Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
5) You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6) Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139:1-6)

We cannot fully comprehend the meaning of God-Presence, but we do know that He expects—and we should give– our full presence as we enter this relationship with Him in prayer, in communication, in devotion, and in living before Him.
“The most common Hebrew term for ‘presence’ is panim , which is also translated ‘face, ‘implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord.” ¹
(7)“Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. (8) My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:7-8)

A face-to-face encounter in a relationship is one in which emotions are not easily hidden. It is when we are more vulnerable and open, when we cannot normally delay a response, like in an email, text or message. We recognize each other’s face, and we know each other’s name. Although knowing one’s face and name can merely involve a show of recognition in an infrequent acquaintance—knowing the person’s face and name in a meaningful relationship means an awareness of his or her presence on a deeper, more personal level.

The Lord knows all our names in a very personal way:
(12) Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ (13) If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” (14) The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:12-14)

God’s presence is always with us:
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

The important questions we have to answer:
Are we always present with Him?
Will we never leave Him , nor forsake Him?

¹ “Presence of God” http://www.biblestudytools.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/17/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Manger–The Garden–The Cross: God’s Gift of Grace

Free-Wallpaper-Christian-Christmas-Luke2-11

A child born, fulfilling His prophecy:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
A man kneeling, praying His sorrow:
“ ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’ 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 20:42-44)
A Son lifted, rendering His obedience:
“ . . . Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (Luke 28-30)

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The child, the man, the Son–as one,
Carrying the burden of the promise-
At the manger, the Garden, the cross;
Compassion, redemption, salvation.
God has blessed us—every one.

The Reason to Rejoice this Season—and all Seasons
“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying God and praising God for
all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
(Luke 2:20)

As it has been told to us through the Word, let us rejoice in the birth
of Jesus and the fulfillment of the prophecy that led to our salvation.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 12/20/15) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word