Learning to Appreciate the Silence

Silence is uncomfortable. Well, sometimes it can be. I believe it’s so, because silence gives us opportunity to think, to ask questions, to contemplate the world around us; and that makes us uncomfortable. Therefore, we tend to avoid it. Instead, we fill the air with the sounds of music, television sets, YouTube videos, or our own voices, and our mindseye with images from Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram (just to name a few). We’d rather listen to (or read, or view) insignificance than be forced to ponder anything of real importance. However, as believers, it’s often in these moments of silent contemplation that God reveals to us His greatest lessons.IMG_3503

Lately, I’ve been reading “Missional Motherhood,” by Gloria Furman. In one section of the book she talks about how God created us to be consumers of His Word. However, the devil, knowing that God designed us to be consumers, works at getting us to feast on things other than the Word: on stuff. Let’s face it, between social media and television, there’s no lack of exposure to “stuff.” Whether it’s material things, relationships, vacations, children, new recipes, organizational hacks, or makeup how-tos, there’s no shortage of “stuff” to preoccupy our time, energy, or thoughts. In fact, in our attempt to avoid silence and our own thoughts, we’ve become very good at silencing and drowning out the voice of God.

I know I’ve been guilty of this. Particularly as a new mom, it’s easier to sit in front of the television with a sleeping baby, or mindlessly scroll Facebook or Pinterest while nursing, than it has been to turn the pages of my Bible or talk with the Lord. But this needs to change. If we want our children to seek the Lord, then they need to see and hear their parents seeking the Lord. If we want them to have a heart for the lost, then they need to see our heart for the lost, His heart for the lost. If we want our children to live the Word, love the Word, and be consumers of the Word, then that’s what they need to see in us!

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. ~ James 1:22-25 (ESV)

Yet, let’s not stop there, the gospel message is something our children should both see evidence of and hear.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (ESV)

In conclusion, let’s not be afraid of the moments of silence in our lives. Let us instead, appreciate them, make more opportunities for them and use them appropriately. This year–and every year, for that matter–let’s strengthen our relationship with the Lord, let’s listen intently for His voice, and let’s teach our children to do the same.

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Awakening

I’ve been trying to think of the best way to broach this subject, without making light of the grief associated with such tremendous loss of innocent life, which occurred on Friday, December 14, 2012. My heart goes out the individuals and families involved and associated with these events; and you are in my prayers.

That being said…As I drove home from work on Friday, after briefly hearing what was taking place in Connecticut, I had the strong urge/desire/need to read my Bible. As you know, I’ve been studying the book of Romans and decided early last week, to really take my time studying this book, because there are just so many important topics worth discussing. I’ve been writing it all down in a notebook so that I can discuss these various topics at a later date, but during Friday’s studying/reading I covered Romans 1:18-25. Today, we’re going to focus on the first two verses.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. (Romans 1:18-19)

As I read these verses, I couldn’t help but think of all the wicked and godless things that I’ve been seeing in the news over the past few weeks. From stolen nativity scenes, billboards claiming the story of Christ to be a myth, and churches approving of homosexuality (and allowing them to take leadership positions within the church). As well as what’s been splashed across our media for the past few years regarding pornography, human trafficking, child molestation, abortion, rape, murder, divorce, and sex outside of marriage (including adultery, prostitution, and casual sex).

We live in a nation that refuses to acknowledge that God has full authority over all. A nation that wants to remove God from everything: our schools, our government, our money, basically our everyday lives. A nation that doesn’t want to take responsibility for its actions; and therefore, refuses to acknowledge the fact that there is a God. Because to do so means that we must be held accountable to the laws which He’s established.

I have a newsflash for you, whether you believe that there is a God who maintains full authority or you don’t; it doesn’t change the fact that God is real, that He loves us and He sent His son to die for us. If we choose not to believe and choose to live a life of rebellion and of personal satisfaction and gain, we will be held accountable.

The numerous accounts of violence against others and self that have occurred within the last few years, as well as fires, car accidents, natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, famines, typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, forest fires, and floods), our failing economy, threats and rumors of nuclear and biological war….are not entirely separate from our reaction to God and His commands. The more we chase the things this world has to offer, rather than the cross; the more we try to deny His existence, rather than proclaim His glory; the more innocent children we slaughter in the womb, rather than being grateful for the blessedness of life;  the more we try to create God into the image of man, rather than striving to become more like Him (check out Romans 1:22-23)…the worse our circumstances will become.

Unfortunately, this is to be expected. We know, as believers, that according to God’s word, that things will become even more terrible before His return (I am always thinking about Christ’s return (even more so lately, as we’ve been celebrating Advent and Christmas); and since we don’t know when Jesus will return we need to be prepared at all times and we should be sharing His Truth and love with everyone who crosses our path!

However, just because we’re living in the end times, and we know that wickedness will continue to grow, doesn’t mean that we ought to just sit back and let it happen! There will still be times of revival and awakening in our nation and churches. Remember the days of kings such as Hezekiah and Josiah, and the many prophets whose words can still be read in our Bibles today (and even the Great Awakenings of the early 1700, 1800, and 1900s). Before Israel/Judah’s fall, God gave His people chance after chance to serve Him; and awakenings and revivals were common during that age (don’t believe me? Read 2 Kings).

We, the church, need to stop sitting on the fence and standing on the sidelines, and we need to be proactive (instead of reactive) by sharing and living out our convictions before it’s too late; before our Assyrian and Babylonian armies come in to take us apart, and before Christ’s return. As of right now, there are so many that aren’t standing upon God’s word and aren’t living as He called us to, and unfortunately, some of these individuals are simply being deceived and following their wicked leaders; but the truth remains that they won’t be joining us in heaven. Never stop speaking truth in love.

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:6-13)