Tag Archive: religion


Be Still

Let’s start the new year talking about stress…

Did you know:

  • Work stress causes 10% of strokes?
  • 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments?
  • It is estimated stress increases your risk of
    • Heart Disease by 40%
    • Heart Attack by 25%
    • Stroke by 50%

(http://www.stress.org/stress-is-killing-you/)

We enter a new year filled with excitement of all that can occur in the upcoming 12 months, and rightly so! But we may worry as well-there are so many unknowns that may flood our minds, and the anxiety about the future adds to the stress we have on a daily basis. While we may have a number of valid concerns on our minds, we often get all worked up over things that are nothing more than what MAY happen.

It is distressing how stress is so ingrained in our society. It seems companies are most “productive” when they keep their employees under the gun to get projects done by an arbitrary deadline. We hear “I need that done yesterday!”, then chaos ensues and our blood pressure goes up.

And somehow this is perfectly normal in our culture; everyone is stressed, everyone is rushed. We need to stay moving and we need constant noise. You know the horror that everyone experiences when there are even 12 seconds of silence on the radio. We have music at home, at work, at the gym, at the store. If it were quiet, what would happen then? We would end up lost in thought, and i use “lost” literally. We would not know what to do with ourselves, or which way to turn. But that is exactly what we need-we need to stop, and think, because we were given direction to our thoughts, if we only listen.

We are told “Be Still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) God speaks to us, not in some thunderclouds or hurricane, but in the stillness, as we read His Word. The problem is that we have become to loud and too busy to have time to listen to God. We are like little children, with our fingers in our ears, shouting over our parents’ voices.
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So what will it take to change? God has so much to tell us, but we need to listen, to truly hear what He has to say. Let’s put down the screens, and pick up a Bible. Turn down the volume, and just

BE. STILL.

Viewer Discretion Advised..

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You’ve seen this before, right? Before a particularly detailed documentary you probably shouldn’t have let your children watch. Before a TV episode you regretted for weeks. Sometimes we think we can handle what we are about to see, then later we are haunted by grotesque nightmares night after night. I had an experience like this a couple weeks ago.

I had done some reading about the persecuted church and Chistian martyrs worldwide. Then last week I was looking up some statistics on worldwide martyrdom of Christians when I saw it-

A picture of 2 girls from Indonesia who were beheaded in 2005. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that in my entire life. That image will probably be seared on my brain for years to come.

As I tried to process what I had just seen, I was convicted. I mean, 2 young women- someone’s daughters, possibly someone’s sisters,and loved ones lost their lives for something I have all too often been silent about. And why? Because I was afraid people might laugh at me or look at me strangely. So now, I pray for boldness and resolve to continue “fighting upstream” against the current no matter the cost.

The challenges here in the United States don’t yet come in the form of angry mobs ready to slaughter me and those I love. The current I fight against is the current of society that tells me I should “get rich or die trying.” A current that tells me that although God commands my love and respect, I can still do what I want, how I want and when I want. A current that tells me that I can give God as much love and respect as is convenient.

For example, how can we think that we can take “the Lion of Judah” out of some “cage” and show Him some attention on Sunday mornings, then put Him back until the next week?

Really??

Oh, and don’t forget about Super Bowl Sunday! Well, apparently on that special occasion, I am “legalistic” and “too religious” if I do any more than sing some worship songs to God during an especially long commercial break.

I can feel it already- the sneers and comments (“Did he just go after our Almighty Super Bowl?!”) Well after all the times the Bible says to show God reverence and live on HIS terms, I can not live otherwise. (Lev. 19:30; Lev. 26:2; Ps. 2:11; Ps. 89:7)

These girls were bold enough to be a witness for Christ even though there was obvious danger and it eventually cost them their lives. If people around the world can have this faithfulness even to death, why are we still afraid of the sneers of classmates and work associates? Why are we terrified that someone might disagree with a Facebook post or status, or that someone might actually “unfriend” us?

So, before you go, I invite you to watch this short video about another person unashamed to suffer for her beliefs. Is what you are living for also worth dying for?

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Have you ever played the “Telephone Game”? I used to enjoy it as a child. Someone would whisper a word or phrase into a neighbor’s ear, with the goal of having that phrase make it all the way around the circle. But it would never take long for the original saying to turn to a hilarious jumble of meaningless words! While this game is immense fun for children of all ages, it has recently struck me how often we as adults play “Telephone” in our own lives.

We are told in James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” We are to be quick to hear, and slow to speak. However, the reality is that all too often we talk far more than is necessary, and don’t listen nearly as much as we should. We hear rumors and spread them like wildfire, not taking the time to see if they are true, or considering the implications of what we are doing. Even in the news, we often hear, “There are reports of…”, “It appears that…”, or “There is speculation that…”. And isn’t it telling that there is an ever-growing audience for gossip magazines? There is a drop in the value of truth and facts in our society. While fact may be stranger than fiction, it’s often not as interesting.

This brings a whole new significance to what the apostles Peter and John said when they were arrested and told not to preach. “…but they answered, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’” (Acts 4:19, 20 ESV) They weren’t spreading rumors, but speaking of what they had experienced. They were witnesses to the power and glory of God. As Christians, we are blessed to have experienced God’s power in how He changed us from the inside out. What is it, then, that keeps us from spreading more than empty gossip and rumors? Let us boldly speak of “what we seen and heard”!