Archive for the ‘Quietness and Silence’ Category

At 10:25pm last night i got a call from my grandson Ethan. Papa, how do you hear from God? Honestly i was a little taken back by the directness of his question. It took just a moment for me to shake my head and grasp the magnitude of such a question from a 13 year old. i tried to imagine what might bring him to ask such a question but found no quick and easy answer.

I told him that i hear God most often through reading His word. Then he shared that he has been at church camp this week and they gave out bibles. He  informed me that he took one because he didn’t have one. How’s it possible that my grandson doesn’t have a Bible? He went on to tell me that the night before he had made a commitment to God and his mother to read the bible every night. My mind is just ready to explode, how do you hear from God, to having no bible, to committing to read every night!

He began to tell me how he wanted to hear from God regarding he and his best friends relationship. Details not required. He told me that as he was riding his long board home he saw a book laying on the ground. He picked it up and saw that it was a children’s book called A Boy And A Turtle. He had obviously left it on the ground because he said he was going back to get the book. After several minutes of huffing and puffing he again found the book and said he wanted to read it to me. Yep it’s now 11:00pm but there’s no way i’ll miss this opportunity.

All I can tell you is that it was incredible. If it wasn’t a word from God for him regarding his question to God to help him with his problem regarding his best friend then it most certainly was a beautiful simplistic picture for me as to things i have been reading, studying, meditating on and just pondering over in my mind.

The author of the book is Lori Lite and it’s sub title is “A Children’s Relaxation Story.” It’s so much more!

A boy sat watching a quiet pond. A rainbow danced at the water’s edge.

When i take time to be quiet i better recognize God and His promises (which are the Rainbow).

A turtle on the other side of the pond also noticed the rainbow.

There are others that will follow your lead as you take time to be still.

The boy removed his shoes and placed his feet into the warm water. He shut his eyes and imagined that the colors of the rainbow that filled the pond could also fill his body.

The promises of God will fill us when we sit in silence and dangle our feet in the water.

The turtle, curious about what the boy was doing, also put his feet into the warm water and shut his eyes.

People around you may be curious about what your doing as you read the word take steps to apply it.

The boy drew a breath of warm air in through his nose and felt all the stress of the day slip away.

When you are full of God the stressful things won’t seem stressful because you are being still and knowing.

The turtle also drew warm air in through his nose and gave a gentle sigh as he let the air out through his mouth.

As you breath out through your mouth you cannot speak you will not be able to grumble and complain.

The boy imagined that the color red was flowing up from the pond into his feet, making them float like petals on the water. The turtle also felt the red flow into his feet as he started to drift toward the boy.

We feel in red – ACTIVITY. The red ray furnishes provision for the physical body. It brings about:

  • energy
  • enthusiasm
  • interest and passion
  • security

The boy felt the red turn to orange as it traveled up his legs. The orange allowed his legs to relax and let go of their tightness. The turtle also felt the orange travel up his legs as he drifted closer to the boy.

Orange is a dynamic energy like red but more thoughtful and controlled. Orange brings about:

  • creativity
  • playfulness
  • exploration on a practical level
  • relief from boredom
  • equilibrium

The boy felt the orange turn to yellow as it warmed his stomach and chest. The yellow filled his body with an inner glow. The turtle also felt the yellow warm his body as he drifted even close to the boy.

Yellow is naturally associated with the sun itself, and so with its life giving and sustaining energy. Yellow enriches, lightens and activates many of the systems of the body. It’s bright sunny energy brings about:

  • clarity of thought
  • orderliness
  • memory improvement
  • better decision making skills
  • alleviates confusion

The boy felt the yellow turn to green as it touched his heart and poured into his arms and hands. The gentle green filled his heart with love and made his arms feel like blades of grass swaying in the breeze. The turtle also felt the green touch his heart and pour into his arms and hands as he drifted still closer to the boy.

Green is the merging of yellow (mind) and blue (spirit). It is located exactly at the point of color balance – midway between red and violet on the color spectrum. The human eye is able to recognize more variation in the color green than in any other color. Its energy contains:

  • harmony
  • sympathy
  • health
  • abundance
  • balance
  • growth and expansion

The boy felt the green turn to blue as it explored his neck and jaw. The blue felt peaceful, like the ocean rising with the tide. The turtle also felt the blue explore his neck and jaw as he drifted even closer to the boy.

Blue is the color of distance – oceans, skies, the heavens. The energy of blue helps us to look beyond the immediate environment, expanding our perceptions towards the unknown. Blue is the color of Divinity. It brings:

  • Peace and understanding
  • Enhances the easy flow of communication with yourself or others
  • Calms and relaxes

The boy felt the blue turn into purple as it swirled around his head. The purple washed all the thoughts from his head, leaving his mind completely still. The turtle also felt the purple swirl around his head as he drifted so close that his head touched the boy’s hand.

Purple is the ray of spiritual learning. It should be viewed as both a completion as well as a beginning of the energy beyond the visible color spectrum. Purple is a combination of both red and blue and this is key to understanding this color. It brings a stabilizing energy to the directness of red. It lends practicality to the undirected spaciousness of blue.

  • darker tones are associated with sorrow
  • deep purple signifies high spiritual attainment
  • pale lilac brings love for humanity
  • bluish purple brings idealism
  • sparks the imagination and inspiration
  • integrates other energies for healing purposes

The boy smiled, and together the boy and the turtle felt the rainbow’s colors embrace them in a soothing white glow.

They knew that they had experienced the wonder of color.

I think that this is experiencing the wonder of God, His promises and His word.

When we wait God embraces us in soothing ways and as for the white glow… we become clean and we begin to choose to not sin.

There are two ending i got. The first is that the turtle was actually God and as the boy sat quietly God came closer and closer while revealing himself in a greater way than the boy had known.

Second option is that the boy and the turtle experienced the reality of God and they became closer friends in doing so together.

Oh the lengths that God will go to speak to us! This makes me want to go across the street and dangle my feet in the pond.

2 Timothy 3:16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),

MEASURE #7 Today i am presenting three perspectives of the same verse and the application is simple. Prioritize! Which one is you in this season? Many can quote Pslam 23 but how many go to the next level with it? Perhaps readers will print this out and put their own name in the one that applies to them?

Psalm 23… Perspective #1 – GOD’S Thoughts – The Holy Spirit speaks it to me. I receive it. It’s personal and intimate to me.

The Lord is ed’s Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], ed shall not lack.

He makes ed lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads ed beside the still and restful waters.

He refreshes and restores ed’s life (ed’s self); He leads ed in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for ed earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

Yes, though ed walks through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, ed will fear or dread no evil, for You are with ed; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort ed.

You prepare a table before ed in the presence of ed’s enemies. You anoint ed’s head with oil; ed’s [brimming] cup runs over.

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow ed all the days of ed’s life, and through the length of ed’s days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be ed’s dwelling place.

Psalm 23… Perspective #2 –  GOD’S Purpose – Act on it – i have received it, now… give it! It is for the benefit of others. I become a willing vessel of God and fulfill His purposes.

ed is a Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield for others], they shall not lack.

ed makes others lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; ed leads others beside the still and restful waters.

ed refreshes and restores others lives (them selves); ed leads others in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for their earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

Yes, though others walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, they will fear or dread no evil, for ed is with them; ed’s rod [to protect] and ed’s staff [to guide], they comfort others.

ed prepares a table before them in the presence of their enemies. ed anoints their head with oil; their [brimming] cup runs over.

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow them all the days of their life, and through the length of their days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be their dwelling place.

Psalm 23… Perspective #3 – ACTIONS – The Flip Side. If Psalm 23 is NOT profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness.

The Lord is NOT my Shepherd [DOES NOT feed, guide, and shield me], i shall lack.

He DOES NOT make me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He DOES NOT lead me beside the still and restful waters.

He DOES NOT refresh and restore my life (my self); He DOES NOT lead me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, AND] NOT for His name’s sake.

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I DO fear or dread ALL evil, for You are NOT with me; Your rod [DOES NOT protect] and Your staff [DOES NOT guide], they DO NOT comfort me.

You DO NOT prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You DO NOT anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup DOES NOT run over.

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love DO NOT follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days, the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall NOT be my dwelling place.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell

Comment from yesterday. – HOPE and WAIT…hummm…They seems SO opposite sometimes not something I can do at the SAME TIME.  I have a hard time using them in the same sentence together, especially when I fall back into…WHEN IS MY TIME COMING. I do like the comment about what I should be doing while waiting instead of just saying and feeling I’m waiting.  Waiting feels passive, hoping and trusting feels more like a God assignment.

Hope: to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence, to believe, desire, or trust

Wait: to be available or in readiness

Put the two together and you get, “To be available or in readiness, looking forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.”

Simply waiting is allowing time to pass… that would be passive. Waiting on the Lord is not about waiting, it’s about placing my hope in the Lord as time is passing, and that’s all about God.

Esperanza in English means “to hope”  while esperando means “waiting for.” Both come from the root word esperar which in Spanish means “to hope” and “to wait.” Speaking a little Spanish can help bring the two together.

For the reader with yesterdays comment I must remind you that I said my question of “When is MY time coming” was a wrong question and thus all I can expect is a wrong answer. The real question… if there is one, is this. Am I waiting and hoping for MY time to come? Or… am I waiting and hoping in the Lord. One is about “doing” and the other is about “being.”

“All human wisdom is contained in these two words–“Wait and Hope.” ―  Alexandre Dumas

 

 

The title for yesterday’s post was “When Will my Time Come?” Mistake! That word “my” is a problem… for me. It’s not that it’s a bad word but i’m trying to remove it from my vocabulary, specifically if it refers to a possession, like the word time. Time is not mine in an ownership way.  i can’t create it, i can’t sell it. i am assigned the task of managing it for the one who owns it.

When will my time come as though the time i am in right now is slop? What happens to today if i am focused on the idea that there is something better ahead of me? Today is important, it counts for just as much as “when my time comes.” So what’s needed is an attitude adjustment regarding my waiting.

Many times, i don’t wait. And i certainly don’t wait in silence. Much of the time, i hurry and i push. i split time into tenths of seconds. i have been known to express anxiety when a traffic light turns red and holds me up for a bit.

There is a word in Spanish, which is the verb esperar and it means both “to hope” and “to wait.” There is a plant called esperanza. It grows and blooms in the driest conditions, offering blossoms in gold or orange. When the blooms come, they can remind those watching of waiting in silence. Waiting in silence, creates space for faith to grow within me.

I will wait on the LORD…and I will hope in Him…Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!…Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD. (Isaiah 8:17; Psalm 27:14; and 31:24)

Waiting on the Lord is the same spiritual reality as hoping in the Lord. “I will wait on the LORD…and I will hope in Him.” Waiting is allowing time to pass. Waiting on the Lord is not about waiting, it is about placing my hope and expectations in the Lord as time is passing. Living by grace is looking to the Lord to work on my behalf and within my heart.

Truly, “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him” (Lamentations 3:25). Therefore, let us “hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption” (Psalm 130:7). Yes, let us “hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 131:3).

The proper question is not when will my time come. In fact there is no question to ask when i am waiting, hoping and trusting in Him. It’s a privilege to seek, to dwell in the house of the Lord, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. That’s what i’m doing while i’m waiting.

If i ask a wrong question, i will get a wrong answer.

Waiting…. it’s the thing that I seem to do the most of. The verse i shared yesterday has some key words that I may have not done justice to. “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”  John 16:21

So when my time comes can i reasonably expect it to be accompanied by pain? I understand that was about child-birth and i’m using it for drams, plans, God assignments. From experience i’d have to say yes. As a disciple my giving birth to a dream or a vision comes with trials, tribulation, and pain until my time comes.

Isaiah 40:31 says, Those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

This is one of those verses with a tough flip side. Those who DO NOT wait for the Lord [who DO NOT expect, DO NOT look for, and DO NOT hope in Him] shall NOT change and will NOT renew their strength and power; they shall NOT lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall NOT run and WILL be weary, they shall walk and faint or become tired.

That doesn’t sound very exciting when it’s put that way. With out waiting for the Lord there is no change, no renewed strength, no power and that’s how it feels sometimes. Still a disciple of God but a tired and weary, perhaps almost dead disciple of God. All the characteristics of a battery but no power, a dead battery.

Then there’s that part about they shall not lift their wings and mount up (close to God) which speaks volumes to me. It says that instead of lifting my wings and mounting up i will be grounded… as in crawling in the dirt, and if i’m not close to God then i am close to what? When left in that place i will be constantly weary and faint and very tired. Those very words are what i hear the most of every day from people.

i will be a person who waits, expects, looks for and hopes, gladly for “my time” so that change, renewed strength and power will be mine.

And I close with this, “But when ed’s God dream is born he forgets the anguish because of his joy that his God dream is born into the world.” 

Usually for me i don’t come out of times of silence with any more than the rest which comes as part of being in God’s presence. But every now and then i get a sense of something in the wings. i relate it to being pregnant or being the husband of one who is.

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”  John 16:21

Translation – ed giving birth to God’s plan has pain because his time has come; but when the plan is revealed ed forgets the anguish because of his joy that a God plan has been brought into the world.

Not being a woman i can’t express the entire journey in a way that a woman can, but being a father and having experienced the process from the sidelines i think most women would agree that it is the most intense experience we go through.

As a father there is the initial excitement when the word comes that “we” are pregnant.  The plans and dreams begin.  All i could see were the possibilities of what a baby was going to bring into my life.  Nothing i share will prepare you for the reality of it all – it’s experiential.

Everything was changing…my ideas that have been important to me, the way i related to those around me, my goals were adjusting, and i begin to understand that those who have not been on this journey really do not understand it all.

As the day got closer for the arrival, i was thrilled at the thought of seeing my little one, but also my inadequacies and doubts begins to take over…will i be able to handle it…will i make wise choices…will i have all the resources that i need…will i have enough love?

There is a time when all you can think of is “when is this baby going to come?” There is no peace until the baby is comes.  And… there is no turning back, the only way out is to finish the journey, whatever it takes.

Once i saw that babies face, the anguish, the fears, the hardships were quickly forgotten because they have entered my heart like nothing i have ever known.

This is very much what it’s like with finding and doing God’s will. If I am not willing to go through the process then I may not be equipped because God’s will is birthed through the Holy Spirit…its Jesus being brought forth from mankind over and over again.  Its the way He has chosen to advance His Kingdom…through weak and frail people that He fills with vision, with purpose, and makes them ready in His timing.

i must keep pressing through the anguish because once the plan or purpose has been birthed, nothing will fulfill my heart like the Son!

The past seven years have been built around Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.

Verse 5 is the why, For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.

It’s in that place that i can get out of the wind and the ocean calms and the waves subside. “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give the rest”. Exodus 33:14.

Verse 8 says, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].

“My presence shall go with you” means just that. God’s presence goes with me wherever i go, at Onething Campus, at the grocery store, to Costco and Sam’s Club, every where. The power and the peace that comes as rest goes with me everywhere i go. Not everyone goes with the presence of God, some even deny His presence and there are penalties for those choices.

Many times i enter the chamber (garden) to meet God while i am still emotionally out of breath. Silence and solitude, listening to God and meditation all take time………….. time i am sometimes not willing to give.

If i go with the Presence of God i will be known by my lifestyle. The rest that comes with His presence brings about an attitude of praise and gratefulness. That differs from those that do not have that rest and only grumble and complain. If I go with the presence of God i will praise God in difficult times and i will not allow my so-called problems to outshine my Praise,

So what does Praise look like? my Praise is honoring God for who He is. Praise can also be thanksgiving as it Honors God for what He has done.
When I honor God for who He is I Praise and as i go with His presence everywhere despite my situation, my praise brings God into my situation immediately? His presence is what i’m seeking, not some answers or direction. Dwelling in His presence is the answer, it is the direction.

The word is reposition. i am to reposition myself by replacing some of the things that keep me emotionally out of breath. It doesn’t just happen on it’s own. i must leave one place to enter a better place. i must leave parts of the world to enter His presence.

I posted yesterday about a time of silence a clearing of the mind so to speak. Here’s is a story I found months ago, it fits here. The story goes like this…

Swamiananda, and his disciple Ranga, were strolling on the beach by the ocean. It was a cold day and the wind was blowing strongly over the ocean, raising very high waves.

After walking for some time, Swamiananda stopped, looked at his disciple and asked: “What does the choppy ocean remind you?”

“It reminds me of my mind. Of my rushing and restless thoughts”, answered Ranga.

“Yes, the stormy ocean is like the mind, and the waves are the thoughts. The mind is neutral like the water. It is neither good, nor bad. The wind is causing the waves, as desires and fears produce thoughts”, said Swamiananda.

“I wouldn’t want to be on a boat, in the middle of the ocean, in a storm like this”, said Ranga.

“You are there all the time.” Responded Swamiananda and continued, “Most people are on a rudderless boat in the middle of a choppy ocean, even if they do not realize it. The mind of most people is very restless. Thoughts of all kinds come and go incessantly, agitating the mind like the ocean’s waves.”

“Yes”, Ranga interrupted him, “You don’t have to tell me. This is the reason I am with you. I want to calm down the waves of my mind.”

Swamiananda looked at Ranga for a while, smiled and said: “You don’t calm the ocean by holding the water and not letting it move. What is necessary is to stop the wind. The wind is made of your thoughts, desires and fears. Don’t let them rule your life. Learn to control them by controlling your attention, and then the ocean of your mind becomes calm.”

“And how do I do that?”

“Suppose it is possible for the ocean to disregard the wind, what would happen then?” asked Swamiananda.

“The waves would cease. However, no one can stop the wind.”

Swamiananda looked at him with a mysterious smile and said: “Why not? The wind, the ocean, and thoughts are all within the mind. When you can control the mind, you can control everything within it. But first you have to control your mind, which means you have to control your attention.”

“Yes master”, said Ranga, ” this is what I am trying to do. You say whoever controls his mind can also control the wind. Can you do that?”

“First learn to calm down the ocean of your mind, and then find out if you can calm down the ocean. It is better to learn to control the mind, than enjoying mental tricks. When you calm your mind, you can calm down everything.”

James 1:6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

i’ve been serving at the Onething Prayer Center almost seven years now.  It still seems strange and just doesn’t fit completely. i was told at the start it would take time to get used to a life of prayer and the slower routine. my mind is so used to thinking about things to do for others, to plan, to prepare, to…….. It hasn’t all fallen into place like i hoped or thought it would.  i question why. It is by far the hardest thing i have attempted to do.
My word for today is Psalm 37:23, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm;” I don’t know if these are the words i needed to hear today. Is God delighting in my way? It seems that my steps are firm but, it’s in-between the steps that i’m a little wobbely.
Last night i watched an old movie called Paint Your Wagon that i have enjoyed for years. i can’t really tell you why other than the theme song of the movie resonates with me on some level. Below are just a few words to the song. Here goes….

Gotta dream boy? Gotta song? Paint your wagon and come along.

Where am I goin’? I don’t know. Where am I headin’? I ain’t certain.
All I know is I am on my way.

When will I be there? I don’t know. When will I get there? I ain’t certain.
All that I know is I am on my way.

I came across this prayer from Thomas Merton:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
i’m listening for God’s voice and direction in the quiet.  Most of my life, i’ve lived in the noise and clutter of the world. It’s again now time for the silence.
“All I know is i’m on my way.” i pray that God is delighting in the way that He has chosen for me….that He will make my steps firm. David asked “what am I doing in the meantime?” His answer was “Hoping.”