Calm Down and Be Quiet

Do you ever feel like the world is just loud and it is hard to hear from God? Or maybe you are just so busy with all the day to day that you do not have time for downtime. It seems like everyday we are busier and busier and somedays we just forget to “Be still and know”  Psalm 46:10 – The NASB translation actually says “Cease striving and know that I am God…” Isnt that what we spend most of our life doing? Striving for success or love or happiness or freedom or to be seen or to be heard or….

A lifelong friend of mine once said that I was one of the few people she listened to and sometimes she just needs to be told to “sit down and shut up” – isn’t that what God tells us to do time and time again in His Word? To trust in Him to handle even the smallest of details. God says this same thing through Isaiah to Ahaz in chapter 7. Ahaz and his people “trembled likes trees of a forest shaking in the wind” at the news of nearby fighting and invasions of other kings. Though these kings were plotting evil and Ahaz knew it, God says “sit down and shut up, I’ve got this!” It’s hard to just sit down and be quiet when society tells us we should always be striving for more!

Being quiet doesn’t necessarily mean not speaking. The Theological  Wordbook of the Old Testament says that shaqat means “be quiet, tranquil, at peace.” and further describes it in the following way:

The basic idea of the root is ‘tranquility.’ It implies the absence of strife, war or trouble o the one hand, and worry or anxiety on the other. It may also imply the absence of a pressing obligation, or again, of some disturbing element that mars a relationship between individuals.

How can you realistically practice this today? Is there a thought or worry in your mind that you need to let go of? Do you need to carve out space in your planner to just “Be” – to be with God or to be with His People? Are you the type of person that can easily just calm down and trust God or is that a last resort for you? Whatever you are facing today- face it with God and imagine a lifelong friend telling you to just “sit down and shut up” and to let God handle it!

Be well! Dwell with God, in His Word and with His People!

 

 

 

Have you made room for God to dwell in you?

Welcome back! I hope you all have had a fantastic few weeks of rest and joy and time for peace and praise! To be honest I thought I would have this written and ready to post weeks ago. I am not sure if it was my natural procrastination that held me back or if it was because the Holy Spirit had something new for me to see before I shared. I will go with the Holy Spirit’s reasoning and timing 🙂 But let’s not wait another moment and jump into it.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Leviticus is full of laws – 613 commandments to be exact! These are the do’s and dont’s of the covenant God made after rescuing the people from Egypt. Isn’t it comforting to know that God is still rescuing His people thousands of years later and thankfully we do not have 613 commandments to follow to dwell with God!

Often at the beginning of a New Year, I see plenty of people de-cluttering, refreshing, renewing their homes, lives and bodies. Many make a resolution to renew their health – both physically and spiritually. I myself spent an entire day cleaning my office and de-cluttering my book shelf.

20171231_160544 As I reflect on this I am reminded of Leviticus 26:9-13 which provides the promises of obedience of those 613 commandments mentioned above:

9 So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. 10 You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. 11Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. 12I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that [you] would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

http://biblehub.com/nas/leviticus/26.htm

Breaking the bars of our yokes- doesn’t that sound great?!!! However, the remaining verses warn of the punishment of disobedience. Not so great!

The New Testament tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. (Matthew 22:37). I don’t know about you but sometimes that word ALL trips me up. I find myself distracted, my mind running rampant, my heart hurt by or for others and my soul just unsettled. God instructed the Israelites to make a sanctuary to dwell among them (Exodus 25:8). The definition of sanctuary is the “Physical area devoted to the worship of God.” 

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I long to have a physical place of sanctuary in my home but have not yet found the right spot. However, my friend Christy excitedly shared with our small group months ago about her Jesus Chair and the peace she felt when she was in that chair, headphones on worshipping and praising her God. So much so that she had to advise her husband to stay clear when she was in “the chair.” That time was sacred to her. 

To me, sanctuary is not only a physical place but also a soulful place- the place I feel closest to God. The place where I feel Him break the bonds of my yokes and encourage me to take up His yoke (Matthew 11:28). This place of sanctuary may be the traditional church setting, or on the water, watching a sunset, gazing into a warm fireplace – we are so lucky that because of sacrifice of Jesus we are able to bypass those 613 commandments and come to God freely to dwell in sanctuary with Him!

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Come back on Thursday and I will share a video focusing on how Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28 how we can find that peace and sanctuary!

In the meantime, here are a few questions for those of you that would like to think a little deeper. I encourage you to read Leviticus 26 and Matthew  chapters 11 and 22.

1)  Do you have a space in your home set apart to meet with Jesus?

2) What image does the word “sanctuary” bring to mind?

3) Are there “old” things you haven’t cleared out to make room for the “new” yet?

4) What is one thing you can do today to dwell with God?

Read, think and pray! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below or feel free to private message me. I learn and grow so much through the belief of others! I truly believe we are better when we gather together!

 

Twas the week before Christmas

and all through the house…fill in the blank. How is your house? Is it calm and peaceful? Are you preparing for company? Preparing to travel? Planning a quiet time at home? or preparing to avoid the sadness that comes when miles or jobs keep you separated from loved ones?

The word on my mind the past week is sanctuary. I don’t want to miss out on the important lessons from the bible about this word but I also think before we can claim sanctuary in our souls or our homes we have to take time to pause. And who besides me finds it hard to pause…especially the week before Christmas?

Take a few moments to pause and breathe and reflect and thank God for the many blessings you have. Sit in quiet with just the twinkle of the lights on the tree or the flicker of the fireplace or maybe just the dark. Ask God to give you peace during this week. Peace like you have never felt before. No hustle and bustle, no stress of family dynamics, just peace and thankfulness for another day with breath in your lungs. 20171214_075831

God didn’t send his son to make us rush about like crazy people in the “spirit” of celebrating Christ’s birth. He sent His son so that we can be free and live in peace now and forevermore (John 3:16). So that we can find peace and reconciliation with God. So that we can draw near to him to dwell in that place of Sanctuary. Let’s let our homes be a place of peace this week. Let’s let our hearts be a place of peace. He is the Prince of Peace. Let’s let him rule in our lives each day this week (and ever-after)!20171203_194202

I pray that you enjoy this week. Enjoy the food, enjoy your people, enjoy the lights, enjoy the peace. And if your home is missing any of these things come on over! We have plenty to share!!

You may find me rambling a bit between now and the new year but invite your friends and join me back here on Jan 8 as we learn more about sanctuary and dwelling!

Merry Christmas! May there be Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men! (Luke 2:14)

Psalm 15 – Peace and Quiet

I had originally planned something different for this video but God just took me in this direction instead. I have for MONTHS been craving some quiet time in a cabin. Although the circumstances aren’t exactly what I envisioned- I am at this very moment (Monday, Dec 4, 2017 at 1:19pm cst) sitting in a cabin by myself – listening to the wind blow and spending time with God. The remainder of my day will be hustling and bustling, chaotic and crazy but I am soaking up these moments now so that I can soak up those blessings later.

I would love to hear how you are soaking up the quiet moments in this season of life? Please share below in comments and also feel free to share this (or any) post to someone who might be encouraged! Have a wonderful day!!

 

The Tabernacle – God’s Dwelling Place

Years ago when I first began doing bible studies I participated in a Beth Moore study about the Tabernacle. I was so fascinated by what I was learning and the in depth information that was provided as God gave direction for every step of the building process. As I reviewed Exodus 25 verse 2 really stuck out to me. “Tell the Israelites to take an offering for me. You are to take my offering from everyone who is willing to give.” (CSB).

Did you catch that? “willing to give!” Not demanded to give, not ordered, or to give to avoid penalty or punishment – but willing to give. Have you ever wondered where the items for this offering came from? The Israelites had just left Egypt. They were pursued through the land and witnessed the parting of the Red Sea. If you flip back with me to Exodus Chapter 12, God gives instructions for the Passover followed by the Exodus. Let’s look at verses 35 and 36 specifically:

The Israelites acted on Moses’s work and asked the Egyptians for silver and gold items and for clothing. And the lord gave the people such favor with the Egyptians that they gave them what they requested. In this way they plundered the Egyptians.

 

Going back to Chapter 25 what do verses 3-7 tell us that God asked the people to give willingly? Gold, silver, bronze, yarn, linen etc…sound familiar??? God knew and God prepared a way for the Israelites to make an offering for him. Even as they had just escaped hundreds of years of slavery, He did not leave them without provision. He knew what they needed and He knew they needed a physical reminder that He was with them. He answered their needs in so many ways.

 

God still does that for us today!. We receive what we will need before we even know we need it! The Israelites were limited in the access to God through the Tabernacle. God provided His only Son for us to take away that limitations – we can dwell with God anywhere at anytime. He provided what we needed before we even needed it! God is so good! All the time!

  1. What do you know about the Tabernacle?
  2. Have you welcomed God into your heart to dwell?
  3. Where do you feel closest to God?

Come back on Thursday for a short video about peace and dwelling with God!

 

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