Silent In His Presence…

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Psalm 46:1-11 (KJV)

1   God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.for: or, of
2  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;midst…: Heb. heart of the seas
3  Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4  There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.and…: Heb. when the morning appeareth
6  The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.our…: Heb. an high place for us
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

If the Lord’s silence is good for us, then how should we respond when we feel as if there’s a wall blocking our access to Him?

The only way to break through is to keep on praying.

It’s important that we remain on our knees and continue talking to Him.

First, pray to God, requesting that He let you know the reason for His silence.

While Jesus was on the cross, He demonstrated that we can approach the heavenly Father with our questions. (See Mark 15:34.)

Our Lord invites us to talk with Him about anything because He understands us perfectly.

He knows the motivation behind what we’re asking and has an accurate read on where we’re at spiritually.

Second, ask Him to reveal His will for your life and to guide you.

Remember that His timing may not match yours.

Third, trust Him. Be still in the Lord’s presence as He works in your life, and believe that He always sees the way clearly, whether or not you do.

Be aware that God desires for His children to listen—even when we feel as if He’s not talking, even when we feel like giving up.

Finally, open the Bible and start reading.

The Holy Spirit living within you will interpret God’s Word to your heart, and you’ll begin to hear Him speaking to you.

In addition to talking to God, practice being silent in His presence.

When you listen carefully, He will satisfy the deepest longings of your heart with a sense of Himself. Then feelings of anxiety will give way to peace.

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When He Chooses To Be Silent…

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Job 34:29 (KJV)

29 When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only

The Bible speaks of times when God chose to be silent—to an individual or to humanity as a whole.

David cried out to Him but discerned no answer (Psalm 22:2).

Then there was Job, who must have felt the Lord had abandoned him.

And during the gap between the Old and New Testaments, God had no prophet for 400 years.

We don’t always hear from the Lord when we expect to.

Sometimes we’re so caught up in the world and our own interests that we simply can’t detect His voice over all the noise. There are also other reasons for His silence—He may be choosing to remain quiet because …

He wants our attention.

We can’t expect God to answer simply because we’ve summoned Him. Perhaps He is reminding us that He is in charge.

There is unconfessed sin in our life.

When we’re willing to deal with our sin, God is ready to talk to us. To continue living in sin, however, communicates that we’re not interested in His will for us.

We’re not ready.

If we’re doing our own thing and are unwilling to walk in obedience, God might be waiting for us to make up our mind to follow Him.

He’s teaching us to trust Him.

If we’re motivated to love God only when there’s indication that He’s listening, our relationship with Him is based on feeling rather than faith.

He’s teaching us to distinguish His voice from others.

When God speaks softly, we listen more closely and eventually recognize His voice better.

Whatever the situation, we can be certain of one thing: God’s quietness is always for our good.

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Are You Too Busy For The Lord?

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Psalms 143:5-12 (KJV)

5   I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
6   I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
7   Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.lest…: or, for I am become like, etc.
8   Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
9   Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.flee…: Heb. hide me with thee
10Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
11Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

What do you think about when you wake up?

Are your thoughts instantly focused on the day ahead, or are they centered on the Lord?

Although most of us have busy lives that consume much of our time and attention, the most important and time-saving part of each day is that spent in quiet solitude with God.

Yet many believers feel so rushed that they don’t think there’s time for the Lord.

They immediately jump onto the treadmill of life and then wonder why they’re so frustrated, confused, and dissatisfied.

Even if their desire is to follow God, they don’t know where He’s going since they haven’t stopped to get directions for the day. There’s also a disconnect because they’ve ignored their relationship with Him.

No one can have intimacy with Christ without daily communication.

Perhaps the problem is our own human logic. We think spending time reading the Bible and praying each morning will result in having less time and lower productivity.

However, when we seek Christ’s direction and wisdom for the day and invite Him to control our lives, He’ll accomplish more through us than we can do by ourselves.

He’ll give us wisdom for good decisions, increase our strength and energy, and free us from time-wasting anxiety.

Are you too busy for the Lord?

If so, you’re denying yourself the blessing of an intimate relationship with Christ.

When you make time for Him, He’ll fill you with peace and joy, guide your decisions, grant you wisdom, empower you to obey, make you more productive, and comfort you with His love.

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The Fullness of Joy…

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Psalms 37:1-8 (KJV)

1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.verily: Heb. in truth, or, stableness
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.Commit…: Heb. Roll thy way upon
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.Rest in: Heb. Be silent to
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts.

But many people take this passage out of context, forgetting that their own mindset plays a vital part in bringing it to fruition.

As my mother once said, “Where your mind goes, your feet go, so be careful what you think about.”

What is your responsibility when it comes to claiming promises from God?

Delight yourselves in the Lord (Ps. 37:4).

Christians should rejoice in God and desire to walk in obedience.

The Lord must have first place in your life before you can claim the promise in this verse.

Commit your way to the Lord (v. 5). Allow God to change any aspect of your ambition that is not His will.

Remember that when He doesn’t answer a prayer as you wished, it is for a reason.

Trust in Him (v. 5). God is merciful, all-knowing, kind, and generous. You can trust Him with your hopes and dreams.

Rest in Him (v. 7). Resting in the Lord means trusting Him to answer prayers in His timing or transform your aspirations so they conform to His will.

Wait upon the Lord patiently (v. 7).

Jesus waited three decades before beginning His three-year ministry on earth.

According to His example, waiting is one of the key principles of Christian living.

Do your desires align with God’s purpose and plan for your life?

He longs to give His followers abundant blessings and fullness of joy.

So allow your dreams to be conformed to the Lord’s will, and follow His guidance faithfully.

Only when you surrender to Him will you experience God’s best for your life.

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Prayers That Never Go Past The Ceiling…

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1 John 5:14-15 (KJV)

14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Since praying is such a common practice for believers, over time it’s easy to fall into habits that result in a lifeless and empty prayer life.

Instead of a dynamic conversation with thoughtful requests and active listening for God’s response, our prayers can seem more like grocery lists.

Because communication with the Lord is such a vital part of the Christian life, we occasionally need to step back and examine how we’re doing.

Begin by asking yourself these questions:

How effective are my prayers?

Is God answering my petitions, or does it seem as if they never go past the ceiling?

Who am I praying for?

Are most of my requests for myself or others?

What am I asking the Lord to do?

Have I looked in the Word to see what He wants, or am I trying to get Him to intervene according to my plans and desires?

When do I pray?

Is it only during emergencies or when I need something?

If you discovered any selfishness in your answers, you’re not alone.

Most of us struggle to enter God’s presence with our eyes focused on Him instead of our needs.

But the only way we’ll be able to pray with impact is to fill our minds with Scripture so we can find out what the Lord wants to do.

Your prayer life can become effective and dynamic if you’ll approach the Lord with a clean heart (Psalms 66:18), align your requests with His will, and believe He will do what He says (Mark 11:24).

Then you’ll be able to pray with absolute confidence knowing that He will hear and answer your petitions.

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Tasks That Seem Beyond Your Ability…

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Nehemiah 2:1-10 (KJV)

1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.
2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.
6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.queen: Heb. wife
7 Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
9 Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.
10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

After Nehemiah heard about the desperate condition of the Jews who had returned from exile to Jerusalem, his heart was burdened (Neh. 1:3-4).

By getting his attention in this way, the Lord could reveal what He wanted Nehemiah to do.

Scripture doesn’t spell out the man’s reaction on realizing that he was to be a part of the solution, but we can imagine a sense of inadequacy probably engulfed him.

How could he possibly help? He wasn’t even near Jerusalem, and as a servant of the king, he didn’t have the freedom to pack up and leave.

But whenever God puts a burden on our hearts, He will open a door to accomplish His will.

In this case, the Lord used Nehemiah’s sad expression and desperate prayer to prepare a pagan king to send him on his mission.

How do you respond when you sense the Lord is calling you to a task that seems beyond your abilities?

Do you list all the reasons you can’t possibly do it?

God already knows everything about you and the situation.

He’s not asking your permission to proceed; rather, He is calling you to move forward with faith and obedience.

He didn’t make an error in choosing you for the task, but you will make a huge mistake if you refuse to do it.

God will equip you for whatever He calls you to do.

Because the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer, we have all we need to fulfill the Lord’s mission.

Instead of letting inadequacy hinder you from obeying, let it drive you to your knees so you can arise with renewed insight and power.

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The Silent Treatment…

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John 11:1-27 (KJV)

1   Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2   (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3   Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4   When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5   Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6   When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
7   Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8   His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
9   Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
10  But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18 No w Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19 And  many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Have you ever felt as if God were giving you the silent treatment?

Perhaps you prayed and asked Him to give you direction for your life but didn’t hear a thing. Maybe you are going through some physical illness or a family problem, and nothing’s happening even though you’ve pleaded with God.

How do you respond when the Lord doesn’t appear to be answering your prayers?

Do you take advantage of the opportunity to learn something from the experience, or do you simply conclude that He is ignoring you?

Typical responses are disappointment (God let me down), discouragement (I should stop praying), confusion (Where is God?), feelings of guilt (I did something wrong), anger (God isn’t faithful!) and fear (God has deserted me).

Today’s passage gives us a good example of a time when the Lord seemed unconcerned with the life of someone He loved. On hearing that His friend was sick and about to die, Jesus delayed doing anything for two days! His disciples and the dying man’s sisters—Mary and Martha—no doubt wondered why Jesus seemed not to care.

Yet they continued to trust Him, and ultimately their faith was strengthened.

When we can’t hear God, it doesn’t mean He’s asleep or unaware of our circumstances.

It also doesn’t mean He is going to deny our request.

However, He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him that is independent of how He responds to our prayers—we must love Him just because He is God.

Consider the basis of your love for the Lord, and ask Him to help you make it unconditional.

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Operating With Limited Knowledge…

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Romans 8:26-27 (KJV)

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

The Holy Spirit is a practical helper.

He is part of the Trinity, which means He’s one with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ. ‘

And He is all-powerful and all-knowing, just like the other two members of the Godhead.

In other words, the Spirit dwelling within us knows exactly what God in heaven wills for our life.

Since even the most intelligent people operate with limited knowledge, it is wise to depend upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance, especially in prayer.

We do not know what the future holds; as a result, our desires may not fit God’s plan.

Or it might never occur to us to request something that the Lord knows we will eventually need.

There are believers who give up on prayer because our human limitations prevent fully understanding how it works.

But those who stop communicating with God miss out on the awesome work of the Spirit.

He directs our prayers, impresses upon our hearts the truth about what we have asked, and ultimately opens our minds to God’s will.

Believers never have to worry about offering up a wrong prayer.

In our humanness, we often ask for something that we think will satisfy our fleshly need. But the Holy Spirit won’t present a request that goes against the Father’s will.

Instead, He intercedes to ask for what is right.

And at the same time, He whispers to our heart that what we have requested is not suitable.

If God’s will is our true desire, then we’ll be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

He is our prayer link to the heavenly Father, and where He leads, we must follow.

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