Silence and Solitude

sandsWhen you find yourself a bit frazzled and frayed by the various stressors you encounter each week, where do you go to find solace? Some people find a sanctuary in solitude and silence.

As a business professional, David Haber spends much of his day crunching numbers and wrestling with the stress of financial decisions.  Haber has said, “The biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is how to not get lost in the daily execution, but to take a step back and really think things through. Quiet moments give you the opportunity to reflect and make smarter strategic decisions . . . Finding balance between work and life, and using silence to help me decompress, is an important part of doing my job well.”

Like Haber, I also think quiet moments are beneficial.  These interludes from the hectic pace of the world rejuvenate me when I refocus my attention on God.

Silence and solitude of themselves are mere emptiness that cannot feed a hungry soul. To stave off starvation, your mind needs to be “stayed” on God. The words of Isaiah echo this truth: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You (26:3).”

Here are a few Scriptures to focus on as you try to keep your mind “stayed” or focused on God:

  • Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that am God.”
  • Isaiah 12:2: “Indeed, God is my salvation; I will trust Him and not be afraid, for the Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation.”
  • Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.” ~JB Phillips

I encourage to check your priorities and to reorder your life. At the top of your To-Do List, scribble in: Quiet moment of silence and solitude—be still and know God.

Rogers Nelson: the prince and the The Prince

prince-2ICP_o_tnRogers Nelson, known to his fans as Prince, was 57 years old when he died yesterday.   CNN reported that, “An outpouring of grief followed as fans paid tribute to the singer who masterfully blended rock, R&B, jazz, funk and pop.”

While Prince Rogers Nelson had many adoring fans, I was not one of them. I just did not like the pieces of music he produced.

I do, however, like peace and what a real Prince has to offer.  Isaiah called this person the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.

Although Prince Rogers Nelson was honored because he sold over 100 million records worldwide, I prefer the Prince of Peace who was known for other reasons:

  • Jesus healed a leper (Mark 1:40-45).
  • Jesus healed the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13).
  • Jesus opened the eyes of two blind men (Matthew 9:27-31).
  • Jesus fed at least five thousand people (Matthew 14:15-21).
  • Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46).

I guess I have to agree with a statement found in Psalm 118:9: It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

The princes of this world have little to offer in comparison to the true Prince—the Prince of Peace.  When you get to know Him, you will begin to experience, “the effect of righteousness” and it  “will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.”  ~Isaiah 32:17

Awe-Inspired Goosebumps

usaf-thumb-450x355I was watching Kansas City play Houston last night, and during a commercial break I peeked at a video on YouTube.  It featured military jets flying low to the ground, and it reminded me of my time in the Air Force.

There were times that I didn’t want to drive through the guard shack and risk having my vehicle searched by the military police, so I would sneak on and off base through a little-known passage.  To navigate this route, I had to drive by the end of the runway.

Whenever a pilot saw my vehicle at the end of the tarmac, he would hug the deck until he was almost on top of me and then go full throttle. To be rattled by the power of the jets was an exhilarating and awe-inspiring experience, that left me covered with goosebumps.

I’m not sure if Isaiah was ever covered with goosebumps, but I do know that He had an awe-inspiring experience when he saw the Lord in His splendor and glory and heard the voice of angels:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” Isaiah cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” ~Isaiah 6

To emphasize the majesty, purity, and holiness of God, Isaiah didn’t say God is holy; he said God is holy, holy, holy.  This means the holy Creator is wholly unlike His creation:

  • He has never felt the pain of a stubbed toe.
  • The ups and downs of the stock market never worries Him.
  • He has never had an infection and never had a shot of penicillin.
  • His resources are limitless.
  • He has never been puzzled by a puzzle.

Our holy God invites the whole of His creation to approach Him in a time of need: We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin; therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. ~Hebrews 4:14-16

It’s awe-inspiring to think that our mountain moving, mercy-filled, and gracious God, invites you and me into the realm of His glory with three simple words— “Come to me.”

Those Between-A-Rock-And-A-Hard-Place Moments

toadLife is filled with those between a rock and a hard place moments. You know what I’m talking about:  You see a light at the end of tunnel and then discover it’s a train bearing down on you.

This was the case with the servant of Elisha and the problems they were having with the Syrian army.  One morning Elisha’s servant went outside to discover that they were surrounded by an army with horses and chariots.   He asked the prophet:  “Elisha, what shall we do?”

In answer to his servant’s question, Elisha said: “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-17).”

When the enemies of sickness, death, and the trials of life surround you, consider some of these eye-opening truths:

  • Jesus bore your sorrows and carried our griefs with Him when He was nailed to the cross (Isaiah 53).
  • You can approach God boldly and ask Him for mercy and grace when you are in need (Hebrews 4: 4-16).
  • God is not blind to your needs (2 Chronicles 16:9): “Certainly the Lord watches the whole earth carefully and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to him.”

In those times when your heart aches the most, you may think of God the least. God has never promised an answer to the “Why me” trials of life, but He has vowed to walk with you.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.  ~ Isaiah 30:18