Quieter

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Psalm 23:2

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

We live in a world today with a lot of noise. When I say noise, I don’t necessarily mean audible sounds, although for many of us with young children that may very well be the case except before they get up and after they go to bed. When I say noise, I mean all the things that distract us causing us to focus on and think about the wrong things.

What do most of us do when we first wake up…we grab our phones. You don’t even have to go to your preferred news website to hear the noise. You just click on your preferred social media and not only will you see posts from news outlets there, but you’ll see the posts and banter back in forth from your “friends” or a celebrity you follow. Nearly immediately your blood pressure goes up and anxiety is heightened based on something they said you agree with or disagree with. Nearly everyone has an agenda these days and is speaking out against or in favor something. While yes, certain things need to be brought to light..the fact of the matter is nearly everything we read is focused on problems, and it’s not just from the clickbait negative headlines news outlets post. I’m already getting anxious, and we haven’t even looked at today’s long personal and professional to do list, opened our email with the unexpected fire to put out, or dug into our mail with the bill we didn’t see coming.

What do you do during these times to calm your self and get your mind back focused in the right way? Yes, I would recommend the centering breath Dr. Jason Selk taught me…breath in for 6 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and out for 7 seconds. This simple method has helped some of the world’s greatest athletes calm their nerves in the midst of some of sports highest stress situations and perform at their best. However, this does not give us the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Pastor and author Francis Chan said, “People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him. They are nourished by God’s Word throughout the day because they know 40 minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them throughout the week, especially when they encounter so many distractions and alternative messages.”

We just started a new small group Bible study this week about the seven “I am..” statements from Jesus in the book of John. This first week we studied John 6 and specifically John 6:35 where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” Jesus had just fed 5,000 and the same people came back to Him looking for more food. He reminded them that no earthly food would sustain them eternally. Their fathers ate manna and still died. He was the only food that could give them eternal life and that is what they should be focused on…Him and eternal matters…not temporal matters.

If our stomach growls after just a couple hours without earthly food needing 3 meals per day and Jesus tells us He is more important as the bread of life, how many times are you eating His bread throughout the day? Based on His words, how many times do we really need it?

Be real and ask yourself the following questions…

  1. How many times am I in His Word each day..even once?
  2. How many times do I pray and talk with Him throughout the day?
  3. How many times do I even think about Him throughout the day?
  4. How many times do I mention His name to others throughout the day?

Are you eating His bread throughout the day so He can feed you and quiet your heart, mind, and soul? We are facing really challenging times of unrest right now, and although I’m not going to say they are the worst our world has ever faced, I will confidently say there has NEVER been a time with so many negative distractions and alternative ungodly messages being thrown at our brains because of the access to our minds through the amount of technology and media we use on an hourly basis each day. There is a slow trickle to normalizing and justifying what the Bible says is clearly wrong through the messaging we are constantly receiving and then even getting Christians to think they are in the wrong by disagreeing and following the Bible.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

We must find ways to lead us in the right direction and to quiet our hearts and minds through eating the bread of life every hour of every day, and even more importantly, we must teach our kids and grandkids the same. Their little fragile minds are like Play-Doh and are being shaped by whomever and whatever we let mold them. What foundation is being formed in their mind?

Let’s be fed by Him. Let’s go to His Word. Let’s go to Him in prayer and talk to Him throughout the day not just about the big things…but about the little things. Let’s tell others He is the only bread that will quiet our hearts and minds and satisfy our eternal hunger so they can be fed too by the only food that lasts.

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted In the Earth!

Psalm 46:10

Do Not Lose Heart

Good morning!

If you need some encouragement today, open right up to 2 Corinthians Chapter 4.
Paul opens and closes his letter with the message “Do not lose heart”, and I love the three message points he gives to support this message.
A third grade writing teacher would be proud of his intro, three supporting points, and a conclusion that restates his main message!
Paul gives us examples of how we may lose heart, specifically in ministry. Have you ever felt called to something and then when you are smack dab in the middle of it you start questioning the entire thing? How could this have been from God, it’s going terribly off track?  There are so many examples of this all around us.
  • Families fighting through government red tape to adopt a child.
  • Missionaries overseas who lose their funding unexpectedly.
  • A new college grad, eager and ready to serve but cannot find a job.
  • Parents everywhere who question their decisions and if they’re messing up their children!

Whatever ministry God has called you to, know that you are not alone in doubts, setbacks, feeling crushed from every side. (verse 9).  I love the encouragement Don’t Dig Up in Doubt What You Planted in Faith. 

The next point we are given is where our power comes from to overcome – the Holy Spirit! We are like jars of clay filled with an amazing power from God. The power is from Him, not from ourselves! If He calls you, He will equip you, even if in the moment you find yourself scratching your head and wondering how it will work out. You can’t do it alone – but He will do it through you!
Finally, Paul refocuses us on why we should not lose heart – because our glory is in eternity! All of the worries and afflictions of this life are nothing in comparison to eternity with Jesus! As our earthly bodies waste away, our hearts are being renewed and we are closer to eternity. If you’ve never seen this 4 minute video on eternity, click and watch Francis Chan as he shares this powerful visual.    https://youtu.be/86dsfBbZfWs
It’s so easy to focus on the small part of our lives that’s on earth, instead of the forever that will be with Jesus in heaven.