Something to think about!
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|Rhythms of Grace: a Journey into Rest||
Quietness has had a bad press in our noisy world. In our modern western society, quiet is often considered synonymous with dull, boring, colourless or insipid, and, for many, is to be avoided at all costs. And sadly, many naturally quiet people also labour under the curse of that particular characterisation.
However, as I stood for some time, admiring the delicate tracery of the snow enhanced branches, and the deep peace of the wintery landscape descended, I heard the Lord saying:
Quiet is powerful. Quiet is beautiful!
Something to think about!
Have you labelled yourself or others as 'negatively' quiet? Now’s the time to change your thinking!
Please click on the icon above to get in touch, & share your thoughts,
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This February has been characterised by cold, still days, when the whole earth appears motionless. Although the birds are singing, and spring bulbs flowering, there is, nonetheless, the sense of creation resting, biding its time, waiting.....
Contrast this with the over-riding message in western society; multi-tasking and full diaries are the signs of success: busyness has been elevated to a virtue. Television adverts, fast paced and image rich, scream at us to join the 'in crowd', and magazines commission articles telling us how to cope. Children are not exempt, rushed from one 'enhancing' activity to another, often protected from a healthy period of boredom from which creativity can flow, and all in the name of 'good parenting'.
Sometimes it's no better in the Christian world: meeting attendance, ministry commitments or programme involvement are often used as the yard-sticks to measure spirituality, and so the way to heaven is frequently littered with burn-out believers. And sadly, many Christians have not learned how to be quiet, how to be on their own with the Lord, or how to access His presence without the atmosphere of a Spirit-filled meeting.
However it's never too late to call a halt to constant busyness, to learn new habits of rest, although because they are habits , time & patience is needed to replace them with new ones. The soul will shout & scream for a while, because resting requires trust, and we so want to be in control, but the rewards are worth the effort.
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Some starting points:
You can find more on this subject in the Solitude section of the website or by clicking on Silence in the Category section to the right of this page.
Do you need to take time out from a busy schedule to be still?
If you haven't yet filled in the survey, (see post below)
I would be grateful if you would do so.
Other comments can be submitted by clicking on the icon above.
Storm Gertrude has brought some dramatic scenes to the UK. However, the birds are singing this morning: announcing a period of calm before the arrival of Storm Henry later this evening.
The wind howling round the house last night, and today’s lull, remind me of the story of Elijah in
1 Kings 19 (click on link to read):
Elijah had had a great victory against the prophets of Baal, but on hearing that there was a death threat against him, collapsed into fear and depression & made his way to Mount Horeb, where he had this encounter with the Lord:
Then [the Lord] said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
[1Kings 19:11-13 NKJV]
We are always fascinated by the dramatic: photographers venture out to capture the moment, others to view the spectacle, often oblivious to any danger. The extraordinary draws crowds & gives excitement to humdrum lives. It can be the same in our spiritual lives: I love the amazing things God is doing in our day, but it can be so easy to get focused on the spectacular, & miss the Presence in the commonplace.
Several things strike me from this story:
When Elijah was struggling he went back to Horeb, another name for Sinai, the place of Covenant. For us the place of Covenant is the Cross – it’s the anchor for our lives. The New Covenant was signed & sealed in Jesus’ blood, and it’s the Cross we need to return to in our dark periods, to revisit what has been purchased for us.
See The Power of the Cross on this website.
Having just experienced an amazing demonstration of the power of God in his standoff with the prophets of Baal, it’s quite likely that Elijah was looking for a personal powerful encounter at Horeb. However in that place of Covenant, it wasn’t in the drama of the wind, earthquake or fire, that God met him, but in the ‘Still Small Voice’ which questioned him.
The question was important. I don’t think it was accusing or judgemental, but instead was designed to get Elijah to identify & articulate his problem. Our human response is so often to ‘stuff’ the problem down, God’s way is always to get it out into the open where we can acknowledge it, and He can deal with it.
Having exposed the root issue, the answer came. God’s wisdom was released. Biblical wisdom is essentially a ‘plan that works’, and is very practical. The Lord’s plan was set out, along with the comforting revelation that it wasn’t all down to Elijah, in fact his ‘season’ was nearly over, and importantly, he wasn’t alone after all.
If you are struggling today: go back to the Cross, the place of Covenant, invite the Lord to come present to you, & listen for His still, small voice.
Share your experiences of the Still Small Voice, by clicking on the icon above.
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To be able to hear God, to receive His words of encouragement & hope, (see the last post), we have to become quiet inside. And that's difficult when there's noise & tumult around us.
It is good, every so often, to leave behind the blare of appliances, televisions, I-pods & traffic,
and take a walk in the quiet of His Creation.
Allow your inner self to become really still, then listen for His voice....
Take some time out in the countryside or local park, to re-charge.
Let the quiet descend, & walk, listening!
For more practical suggestions about developing periods of quietness in your life,
take a look at the SOLITUDE section of the website,
and the blog posts under SILENCE listed in the right side bar.
Prayer walk the neighbourhood. Pray that in the silence that comes with darkness, people would start to hear the voice of God, speaking to the depths of their being. Pray for His light to shine in their dark places, a revelation of His love to envelop them.
We live in exciting times, when the Spirit of God is moving powerfully. There is an increasing number of testimonies of people with no prior knowledge of Jesus, having an encounter with Him in their dreams. Let's pray for our friends and neighbours to have a revelation of Him during their night hours.
Darkness brings silence. As the earth moves into winter it brings a silence with it. Some November days are so still, it seems as if all life has drained away. The Father reveals Himself through His creation. In harmony with the season, set aside time to slow right down. Take a trip away from background music, the bustling city streets and enter the silence. Listen to the 'heartbeat of the earth', the 'divine breathings'.
Allow yourself to become really still. Many people are afraid of silence. Our world is so full of noise, it can be threatening to be alone with your thoughts. Break through that barrier, ask the Lord to come present to you and He will. Just be in His presence. Let the silence creep up on you and overwhelm you. Let everything become absolutely quiet inside. And listen. Listen to Him.
Journey into Rest - Seasonal Blog: a Diary of Seasonal Living.
LIVING WITH A SEASONAL RHYTHM
We can scaffold rest in our lives by punctuating our days & weeks with breathing spaces. Paying attention to the passing seasons is one way of doing this. So come on in & enjoy the Creator's symphony....
AUGUST, SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER
The Season of Fruitfulness
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