Monthly Archives: October 2013

Be Still!

Be Still!

As a kid, I often heard one or both of my parents tell me in no uncertain tone, “Be still!” It was almost impossible and I often paid the price for not doing what I was told. I was in perpetual motion unless I was sleeping. That’s O.K. when you’re a kid, but it can cause problems when you become an adult if you don’t grow out of it.

And most of us don’t grow out of it. We live in a go—go—go world, but the more we go the farther behind we seem to get. All kind of things bid for our time, attention, and money. All those gadgets that were hailed as time saving tools have instead created an endless work cycle that never seems to end. We work—work—work with unlimited projects on impossible deadlines and then come home and shift into gear for the second or third shift. And—time passes quickly and before we know it, years and decades have passed and we never take the time to be still.

We never get still and as a result we rarely hear God’s gentle voice as he speaks to us with direction, encouragement, or to admonish. We are either coming or going and his voice often becomes garbled and indiscernible in the jet fumes of our frenzied pace. Our inability to hear God on a regular basis only creates a more chaotic life. We are convinced we can have it all—but we can’t.

We all have our limit. And believe it or not you will run out of gas at some point, usually at the worst possible moment. Stress will undo everything you have tried so hard to do with your hectic pace and it will kill you long before you accomplish everything on your limitless to-do list. At some point you will crash and burn.

What would happen if you were to hit pause as you hurtle toward the earth like a flaming meteor? What would happen if you were to get still and quiet for an extended period of time? What if for the first time in your long or short life you shut the door, pulled the shades, turned off your cell phone, TV, and radio, took a deep breath, and invited God to join you? What would happen indeed?

One thing for certain is God would show up. But…unless you be still you will never know!

Standing Firm (Part 15)

Let’s start with the most important thing first. To begin with—you must know that you know that you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Do you? I am not asking you if you walked a church aisle, talked to a preacher, knelt at an altar, or prayed a prayer. I am asking you—do you know Jesus Christ personally? That is, have you the experienced the life-changing transformation he brings from the inside out from having a genuine relationship with him? Have you placed your complete trust in him? You can’t stand firm if you don’t know Jesus.

People often confuse church attendance, baptism, Bible reading, prayer, giving, mission work, or ministry as evidence that they are saved. Busyness and church activity do not save you—Jesus does! Do you know that you know that you know Jesus Christ? This is not a hope so, this is a know so. Are you intimately acquainted with him? Only you and God know the answer to this question beyond a shadow of a doubt. Make sure your answer is yes—not maybe—not I think so—not I hope so.

Secondly, do you understand what that relationship entitles you to? Have you grasped and begun to embrace the benefits of those blessings? It is far more than a free trip to heaven for eternity. It is far more than just eternal life. Have you grasped what it means to be in Christ?

Being in Christ means you have a secure position of victory. Jesus has defeated the enemy and you are in Christ, which means as long as you rest in that positional security you cannot be defeated. According to Ephesians 1:3, God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Every means all! In other words, what Jesus possesses right now is available to you because of your position in Christ.

Most believers have no clue of the power or potential contained in these blessings because they have been taught that those things are only available once you get to heaven. Listen closely, eternal life began the moment you came to faith in Christ. You need these things now to live the abundant life Jesus promised. We won’t need spiritual armor or spiritual gifts in heaven. We won’t be doing spiritual warfare up there. Much of our spiritual inheritance is available now so that we can live obediently and faithfully as son and daughters of the King.

God has equipped us for kingdom living, but we must embrace our position of being in Christ to fully experience it!

Standing Firm (Part 14)

The ancient Chinese General Sun Tzu once said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” These are wise words that every warrior should heed.

We must know our enemy, but it is just as important that we know ourselves. We must discover and come to grips with who we truly are—that is, the real me. Most of us fall into one extreme or the other—we see ourselves as abject failures who can’t do anything right, or as overwhelming successes who can’t do anything wrong. Neither extreme is true. What each of us need is a realistic, credible assessment of our own strengths, limitations, and weaknesses, as well as a biblical understanding of who God says we are. All these components reveal the real you and the real me.

The ability to stand firm on a consistent basis demands that I know who I really am. You can bet your enemy knows. He has studied you. He has the latest intelligence on who you are and what you will do in any given situation rather than the inflated assessment of who you wished you were or what you hope you will do. He is betting on your natural tendencies, your engrained belief system, your learned habits, those hidden spiritual strongholds, and those unhealed wounds from your past—as well as your physical and emotional limitations.

Each of us must take a long hard look at who we are. This is not a condemning look, but rather a realistic look. If each of us understands our strengths, limitations, and weaknesses, that information will make us better warriors because it will drive us to the feet of Jesus. It will (or should) convince us of our utter dependence on him. Otherwise, we are deceived by who we think we are. The apostle Paul put it this way, “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is nothing” (Galatians 6:3). And—deception is one of the enemy’s most valuable weapons.

Therefore, the next few blogs will be a tool to help us evaluate ourselves, not some other brother or sister. That responsibility rests with them and the Lord!