Making Time for Quiet

In an interview for Costco Connection, Melinda Gates discussed the need for periods of silence in her life.  “I take a lot of time for silence…Because only in that quiet time can you shut out the noise of the world and really take in what you’ve heard and what you’ve seen.”  (‘This Woman’s Work, by Stephanie E. Ponder, Costco Connection May 2019)

Gates was discussing the humanitarian work she does to improve the lives of women and children around the world and her strategy to keep from being overwhelmed.  She went on to say, “I’ve seen a lot of misery and even death in the developing world.  But you have to take that in and you have to process it.”

Gates is correct in that there is much pain and suffering in the world.  For those who seeking ways to assist others in need, the options are limitless and many times overwhelming.  We must recognize that individually we cannot do everything.  But, we can do some thing.

So, how does one decide what challenge(s) to tackle?  I believe that Melinda Gates is absolutely correct in that one must make ‘time for silence.’  It is necessary to shut out all ‘the noise of the world’ and process in order to decide on the plans of action that will be helpful to those who in need.  I would take it one step further–in the times of silence we need to listen for God’s voice to direct our paths.  Stillness allows us to shut out the voices that are not God’s and to focus on what He is telling us.  In Psalm 46:10, we are told to “Be still and know that I am God.”

If we are still and take the time to listen to God’s voice, He will direct our paths, as a shepherd leads his sheep. God will show us the problems that He is calling us to solve.  When I take the time to sit in silence and listen for His voice, I can be sure that my actions will produce good results. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”  Psalm 37:23

Twyla Paris wrote about this in the lyrics to her song ‘Where He Leads Me:’

There are many wondrous voices,

Day and night they fill the air,

But there is one so small and quiet,

I would know it anywhere,

In the city or in the wilderness,

There’s a ringing crystal clear,

And to be every close beside Him,

When He calls me I will hear.

 

I encourage you to make time daily to spend in quiet fellowship with the Lord and to listen for His still, quiet voice directing your footsteps.

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Building on a Solid Foundation

My granddaughters love the song, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock.”  They’re too young to understand what it means to build on a solid foundation, but they enjoy dong the hand motions, and it is instilling into them the need to build their lives on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.

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The song is based on a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  This teaching is found in Matthew 7: 24 – 27:

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

My husband is a civil engineer.  Recently, a client had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove soil from a building site that would not have properly supported the building and replace it with soil that would compact properly.  It was a lot of money for ‘dirt’ and it was painful for the client to write that check.  However, in the long run, it will save a lot of money over having to repair a damaged foundation.

Several years ago, the owner of a commercial building being erected near my office made a different, and very costly, decision. He took a chance that the engineer was wrong and poured his foundation on the existing soil.  When the building began to be erected, the foundation cracked.  The owner was then forced to tear out all the construction that had been done, replace the soil, and start again. He wasted much time and money–much more than if he had done the job properly the first time.

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We make these same type of decisions with our lives.  We can build on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ in the beginning and avoid costly mistakes and much heartbreak.  Or we can decide to do things our way until our foundation cracks and our world falls apart, before turning to the master builder for help.

Following Jesus does have a cost.  We have remove the ‘bad dirt’ of selfish ambitions and worldly pleasures.  In exchange, we build our lives on a structure that is strong and doesn’t crumble when the storms of life come our way. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to remove the bad dirt from their lives; they delay the decision to follow Jesus until storms destroy the life that they have build on a weak foundation.  Fortunately, Jesus does respond to them when they call out to Him from the rubble of their lives.  He cleans away the debris and provides a firm foundation for them to start the rebuilding process.  He cannot, however, reverse the clock–time has been wasted and heartache has ensued.  Any many times the problem which arose from a weak foundation have implications and cost for the rest of a person’s life.

Have you built your life on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ?  If not, I urge you do not delay any further.  Only with Jesus as your foundation will you be able to stand firm against the storms of life.

Knowing Who You Are

I’d like to share a story by H. B. Kelchner that illustrates the importance of knowing who we are and not being defined about what others think of you.

“One time I was holding a meeting in a certain city and somebody attended my meeting who did not like me or what I preached. He sent an open postal card through the mail to the pastor’s home. He called me a liar, with everything else he could think of, and signed his own name and put it through the United States mail. When I came to the pastor’s home that evening, he said, “Preacher, here is some mail for you.” But when I looked at it, I said, “I am sorry, this is not me.” Another preacher sitting there took it. The longer he read it, the more angry he became. He said, “Brother, you could make yourself some easy money; you can sue him.” “But,” I said, “Brother, when I do that, I have to admit that it is me; and it is not me, so why should I worry?” So many people do not know who they are. I have heard people say, “They called me a liar; and I am not a liar. I’ll take them to court and sue them.” Well, if we are not a liar, then surely they are not talking to us. If I go down the street and someone runs up behind me saying, “Mr. Smith, you old Mr. Smith,” they can say all the things about Mr. Smith they want to; it is not going to bother me because I know my name is not Mr. Smith. My name is Kelchner. Many saints of God have not learned who they are and every time the devil sends a little dog barking along their Christian pathway, they get out of victory. As the common saying is, “They lose their sanctification, ” and want to start a fight. It pays to know who you are.”

From “Living Your Christian Life NOW in the Light of Eternity” Book 1, by H. B. Kelchner

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are:

  1. tA Child of God–“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1
  2. A New Creation–“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ” 2 Corinthians 5:17
  3. Heirs of God–“And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him” Romans 8:17
  4. Chosen, Royal, Holy, Special –“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” 1 Peter 2:9
  5. Valuable–“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? ” Luke 12:24
  6. Precious–“Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you.” Isaiah 43:4
  7. Loved Forever by God–“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you.” Isaiah 54:10

Don’t let others try to define you. If someone says something untrue or unkind, remind yourself that they are not talking about you. You are not that person. You are a valuable, precious, loved, chosen Child of God.

Photo by Luiz Paulo on Pexels.com

Do Not Fret Because of Evil Men

There is no doubt that our nation is becoming ever more accepting of sin and wickedness.  Over the past several decades, we have legalized the murdering of unborn children, accepted adultery and other forms of sexual immorality as the norm, and determined that everyone should do what is right in his or her own eyes.  As a person who strives to honor and glorify the Lord in my life, I find it is easy to become discouraged.  Our nation is pulling further and further from God and Christian are becoming persecuted for standing up for our beliefs.

As I read God’s word, however, I realize that this is nothing new.  Sinners have always done evil and tried to persecute those who serve the Lord.  David wrote often about his sufferings in the years between being anointed to be the next king of Israel and the fulfillment of that promise.

Psalm 36 opens with these words from David, “An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:  There is no fear of God before his eyes.  For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.”  (Psalm 36:  1,2)  Wow!  Interesting choice of words, for sure:  “in his own eyes, he flatters himself.”   I have never thought of those who are leading our nation deeper into sins as flatters of themselves, but it does make senses.  Those who support the killing of innocent, unborn children have convinced themselves that they are ‘protecting the rights of women.’  This is certainly an example of self-flattery.  Not only have they convinced themselves that abortion is not a sin, but they congratulate themselves on doing something good and noble.

David continues, “The words of his [the wicked] mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.  Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.”  (Psalm 36: 3, 4)

It truly is discouraging to witness politicians and political activists leading our nation to even greater depths of sin.  Yet, I know that God is on the throne.  He allows mankind to run the show for a while, but He is never far away and He will not allow this evil to continue indefinitely.  In Psalm 37:7 – 9 David reminds us of this.  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.  for evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

 

An Open Letter to Target: Regarding your New Restroom Policy

This is a well-written blog in protest of Target’s policy to allow men in ladies’ restrooms and women in men’s restroom. We need to protect our children’s innocence and privacy.

Mary From Martha

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a woman. I am a frequent shopper in your stores. I am first and foremost a mother. Your recent change in policy of who you allow to use each restroom concerns me. You stated in your blog post, “We believe that everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally.” and “…you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target.” As a business owner, I do understand your right to make a stance as a company. As a parent, I will never understand why you would trade the safety of our women and children for the sake of not hurting  feelings.

I realize that everyone needs to feel accepted, loved, and wanted. I know the struggles of a person struggling to find their identity. I also know that as of September 2012, a Gallup poll showed that approximately 3.4% of Americans identify as

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Saying Goodbye

Within minutes of posting my last blog, I received word that my mother had passed away, quite suddenly and unexpectedly.  She was going about her routine of getting ready for bed when she just dropped dead.  It was quite a shock and hard for me as I was out of town at a conference.  I was able to get back home in less than 2 hours and join my family in the emergency room as we comforted one another and spent a final few minutes with Mom before her body was taken away.

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It was amazing how very evident it was that we were saying good bye to an empty shell.  It was her body, but Mom was not in it.  Her soul and all that made her Mom was gone.  Fortunately, we have the comfort of knowing that she is in Heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Paul told the Corinthians that this earth is not our home. While we are on earth, we are away from the Lord and when we leave the earth, we go home to the Lord.  “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”  (2 Corinthians 5: 6-8)

About 50 years ago, my mother accepted Jesus’ free gift of the forgiveness of her sins. In the intervening years, she yearned for the day she would go the Heaven and be in Christ’s presence.  She is there now, and I have no doubt that Jesus is far more wonderful and glorious than we can image.  My mother lived her life to honor the One who saved her and set her free from the bondage of sin.  She took every opportunity to share His love and her faith with anyone who would listen.

It is hard to let her go.  I miss her far more than I imagined possible.  Every day there are things that I want to share with her.  Yet, I wouldn’t bring her back even if I could.  She is where she wants to be and where I will go someday.  She can say as Paul said, “I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  (2 Timothy 4:7)

Good bye, Mom.  You will be missed and remembered every day of my life.  And following your example, I will honor Christ in all that I do and share His love with those He puts in my path.

Called Children of God

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!…Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”  1 John 3:1, 2

tumblr_inline_n6nv3igi311sfx920I have recently begun reading Beth Grant’s book, Courageous Compassion: Confronting Social Injustice in God’s Way.  It is a challenging and heart-wrenching expose on the injustices committed against the most vulnerable members of society in countries around the world.  Beth and her husband David have committed their lives to serve as missionaries in India.  This commitment led them to reach out to prostituted women and children and help them to see the possibility of being freed from a life of slavery into a life as a child of God.  While the book is focused on the social injustice of sexual slavery, the principals are applicable to any ministry of compassion.

As I am reading this, God is reaffirming in me that we need to view every person through God’s eyes–as someone He created and loves; as someone God wants to set free from sin; as someone for whom God has a plan and a purpose.  In Beth’s words,

“If one believes a loving God created each human life in His image with a divine purpose, and that it is His will for that life to be lived with dignity and wholeness, that shapes how one views and relates to exploited teenage girls in Moldova.”
 

This viewpoint should also shape how one views the homeless person walking down any street in America carrying all his belongings on his back, the drug addicted mother who doesn’t take proper care of her children, the disabled person who needs help with the most basic functions of life, and the mentally ill person struggling to make sense of life.Embed from Getty Images

If we truly believe that each of us is created in God’s image, we must treat each person we encounter with dignity and compassion. We must share God’s Word and God’s love with them.  We must help them to believe that no one can fall so far that God cannot pick her up and transform her into His child.  God looks at each of us and see us as He intends us to be, His children whom He loves and whom He wants to transform to fulfill His divine purpose for our lives.

My prayer is that I will look at the most vulnerable members of our society with eyes full of compassion and love. May I will allow God to teach me how to treat each one with dignity and grace., so that they too will know the blessing of being called a child of God.

Will you allow God to use you to share His love with those in need of love and compassion?