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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stand Still

Have you ever noticed a bird standing still? I have the good fortune to live in a lakefront community where I can watch the birds as they skim over the water, perch on trees or rest on the bank. It is a very calming and restful sight. One of the things I always wonder about birds is why do they stand still at times. As I write this, there's a group of four white ibis standing still on the lawn just outside my apartment. What are they doing? Are they thinking? Contemplating their next move? Or just enjoying the view?

Birds are very intelligent creatures. They know how to forage for food, where to find the perfect living conditions and how to protect themselves and their young from predators. Man is also very intelligent, but sometimes I wonder if that intelligence isn't undermined by our constant busyness. When was the last time you stood (or sat) still without doing anything? And I don't mean while you are sleeping. In Exodus 13: 14 Moses commands the Israelites, "Fear ye not, stand still , and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever."

There are other places in the Bible where people were commanded to stand still so they could hear from God. Elijah had that experience after Jezebel threatened to kill him because he had slain the prophets of  Baal. Elijah became afraid and fled to a cave. Elijah, great man of God who had performed so many miracles, wanted to die because of fear. The Lord appeared to him and told him to stand on the mountain before the Lord. Now see what happens.

"And, behold, the LORD passed by , and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice" (1 Kings 19: 11 -  12). 

There's a lesson here for us. God does not speak to us in all the noise and confusion. We have to escape from the busyness, the hustle and bustle of today's life to a place where we can "be still and see the salvation of the Lord." Many times during His ministry when the crowds pressed upon Him, Jesus would call His disciples aside so they could "be still" and then return refreshed and renewed. 

What about you? Do you make time to be still so you can hear from God? Impossible, you might say. But there may come a time when you have no choice but to be still. What if you were lying in a hospital bed? The world will go on without you. Make time now, if only ten minutes out of your day when you turn off the ringer, close your door and be still. Quiet your mind and let the Holy Spirit infuse your soul, your spirit and even your body with His peace and calmness. Be still. You can do it.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Lord Shall Fight For You

The Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace …Exodus 14: 14.
The Ten Commandments Pictures, Images and Photos
Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seems difficult and insurmountable? Have you been fretting and complaining and telling yourself there is no way out? Such was the position of the children of Israel. They had been toiling under Pharaoh for four hundred and thirty years, and they had become sick and tired of their situation. Have you been in a place for so long it seems it will never end? You may have even become so used to your discomfort that when deliverance comes you hesitate, you look to the right and to the left,  shake your head and say, “No, I think I may be better off where I am. At least I know what to expect under Pharaoh, but I don’t know what may happen if I leave here.”

Such must have been the position of the Israelites as they followed their leader, Moses, out of Egypt and into the wilderness. The Lord Himself went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to give them light, and for a while everything seemed fine. But they were still in the wilderness when the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he decided to go after them. And when the Israelites saw the Egyptians in hot pursuit, they lashed out at Moses. “Are there no graves in Egypt? Didn’t we tell you to leave us alone? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die out here in the wilderness.” (Read verses 11-12). 

Photo credit: greyerbaby from

How easy it is for us to give in to fear, anxiety and anger when the chips are down. When God’s promises are not immediately fulfilled. When, in spite of the pillar of cloud and fire, we think God has deserted us. But Moses said to the Israelites, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord … The Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace” (13 – 14).

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So, are you in the wilderness? Is the Red Sea before you and the Egyptians after you? Do not be afraid. Do not murmur and complain. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He is ever present in the time of trouble. He will fight for you and He will deliver you.

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