Tag Archive | Prayer

The Down Side of Quiet

If you have been visiting here for long, you may know that one of my favorite topics is Quietude. Quiet. A little time for gathering the thoughts.

Even though this article is about noise, silence was mentioned as well. I thought this author had some interesting perspectives, pro and con.

I enjoyed the pros, of course.

I hope you enjoy reading it too.

Noise Cancelling: The Good and The Bad

Noise cancelling has it’s benefits and draw backs. We have to make sure we tune out the right things so we can best hear God’s voice.

Noise Cancelling
I travel a good bit these days, and spend a decent amount of time on airplanes.  Over the years, people have become more and more comfortable listening to anything and everything to block out the noise of the airplane, announcements being made, or crying babies.  Companies (BOSE, Beats, etc) have become better at creating headphones that can block out all noise around you so you only hear what you decide to listen to. And this doesn’t just apply to airplanes. People use these to focus at work or simply walk around outside.

People spend a lot of money on these headphones to accomplish one simple goal: block out distractions and noise. We want to have control over what we listen to or don’t listen to.

The Downside to Noise Cancelling

Airplanes:  If you can’t hear anything that means you cant hear any important announcements (safety, or emergency notifications).

Jogging/Running:  If you are completely blocked out from noise, a car could honk its horn at you, or someone could try and warn you about something around you, and you may not hear the warning signals.

The Lesson

Sometimes we decide that we know better than God does about what we should be listening to.  God gives us warning signs or direction through many different mediums throughout our lives.  If we don’t allow God to speak to us through a specific channel we are only hurting ourselves.  Using an extreme example, if you decide to block yourself off from anyone who isn’t a Christian in an effort to protect yourself and not be tempted, you are not abiding by God’s greatest commandment to “Go out and made disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20)  While we have protected ourselves from the “noise” around us, we have limited God’s ability to work through us.

Related Post: God is Calling Us All to Listen

I would encourage you to ask God to speak to you. Start to listen to His voice everywhere you go.  God can speak through anyone or anything.  Don’t block Him out.

The Positive About Noise Cancelling

With that said, there are times that silence is important and being able to cancel out distractions can be helpful.

Basketball Players:  If you’ve ever watched a Duke basketball home game, the fans do everything in their power to distract the other team and make them mess up or miss a shot.  Players on the floor have to find a way to block it out and perform to help their team.

Football Huddles:  Or think about a football team in a huddle.  The purpose of the huddle is to block out noise and allow everyone to understand the next play’s plan.

Airplanes:  Sticking with this analogy from before, think about the pilots of the airplane.  They can’t be distracted by the passengers.  Their job with all the noise going on around them is to get everyone to the destination safely.  They actually wear headphones to talk with each other and block out the actual noise around them.

The Lesson:

Christianity is similar in that there are times you need to clearly hear God’s voice and not be distracted by the enemy who is doing everything in his power to knock you off track.  I grew up with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) so I understood at a young age how the smallest of distractions could affect me.  I had to learn how to block them out.

When I want to hear from God, I need silence or an environment where God is welcome (worship, church, etc).  God doesn’t need complete silence to be able to speak to you, but sometimes you need complete silence to listen.

In those times, cancelling out your surrounding is a good idea.  After getting alone away from distractions, though, we should come back to full awareness of our surroundings so we can see and hear God move. Ultimately, it’s about doing what’s needed to be able to hear from God. We block out the distractions but lean in to listen to Him however, whenever, and wherever He chooses to speak to us.

So noise cancelling can be both good and bad. In the end, don’t block out God or limit His ability to use you or speak to you by attempting to block out others.

Written by Charles Hamrick

I am very simply a follower of Christ.  While here, I enjoy the passions that God has given me that include my family, friends, church, sports (specializing in golf), traveling and simply experiencing God’s creation to the fullest.  I additionally have a passion for writing and sharing what God is speaking to me on a constant basis.  I love the fact that our creator chooses to use the least of us to communicate His heart to others.

Whisper

The world we live in, will not just give us a quiet place.

We must find it, or create if for ourselves.

So if that is what you need, I’d like to help you with that.

A tiny slice of quiet time, just for you.

Any time, day or night. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you.

 

 

 

 

Quiet Time Musings

This week has been a breakthrough week in my mind.

Making a quality decision  to not ignore quiet time, and to put that time to better use.

By putting it to better use in this instance means to to use that time to create my own thoughts, consider my own beliefs, understand what things I think and why.

I can always find time to read someone elses words. I’m not saying that that is wrong, certainly not, because it does help to create questions for further thinking in my mind. I’m only saying that I need to find out what I, myself think about things.

One of my favorite/best ways to get my thinking to get moving, is to read scripture. It creates many questions, and answers many as well.

The place I landed in my thinking was about space. Quiet space. Loud space. Crampy space. Spacious space.

I then looked up my favorite verses about space, and realized yet again, why I love living where I live.

I grew up in a larger city forty miles north of here. Houses. Streets. Voices. Traffic.

White houses out my window in rows. Utility poles breaking every small stretch of sky.

Someone elses noise always, always, always filling my head.

Some people, and their different personalities, thrive on just such environments. I however did not. I always wanted to be out. Some place green. Some place that I didn’t feel smothered.

My Grampas’ house was like that, but as a child, not very accessible.

Psalm 31:8b (ESV) You have set my feet in a broad place.

Then we moved here. My children called it Podunk. It isn’t really. Podunk, to me, would be much further than the few miles we travel from here to get to town.

Psalm 18:19 (ESV) He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued  me, because he delighted in me.

It is close enough to be close, and far enough to be far. Away from the hum of the city.

I knew I always wanted to be where I didn’t see only rows of white houses, and poles scratching at the sky. I just did not know how much. Nowadays, a trip to town quickly makes me want to return home.

It was very difficult to find quiet space back then, and it often involved a camping trip, or a car ride to a empty country road. Not impossible, but often difficult.

I am positive that living here, has saved my sanity. I have now spent almost exactly half of my life here; and I’m grateful. I am grateful for the overstuffed chair, that sits by the window, and looks out over a really broad space.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Maybe to you this does not sound like a gift; Your personality prefers the hum of activity.

Psalms 139:13 -14a For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

(He knows how He made you – He will show you another way)
Maybe you are here just wondering when your gift will arrive; You’ve been waiting and praying.

Matthew 6:8…. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

(Hang on!)

Questions to consider;

  • Does my quiet time require total silence, or maybe some music or other ambient noise?
  • Do I require quiet EVERY day? Every week? More than once a day?
  • Does my quiet time involve time together, alone, with someone else?
  • Does it contain devotions? Book reading? Bible reading? Audio reading? A quiet video? Or just staring out the window – at my street, or at my space?
  • Does my quiet time release me from the stress and pressure of the daily grind?

Please feel free to leave a response in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

 

⇓ Click Here ⇓

Enjoy some quiet. It’s Under the Hill.

29jan2017

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Give Up!

Back in September, we read  David’s story

It was a story about loss, and persistence, and restoration.

Here it is again, in a nutshell;

David – Returned home to find that his entire village had been destroyed. Not one living thing was left, not one building standing. His wife and children were taken away, and he had no way of knowing whether they were alive or dead. Here’s what David (and his men) did. You can read this account in 1 Samuel 30. Here’s what he did –

1. He wept bitterly, until all of his strength was gone.

2. He then found strength in the Lord his God.

3. He inquired of the Lord to see what he should do (He prayed)

4. He took a portion of his men with him and pursued the enemy. He got EVERYTHING back, and then some. God honored the fact that he did not quit, but that he and a small number believed God could restore. (Nation, Families, Finances, Churches)

Now here is another story, this time about Daniel;

Daniel – Chapter 9. Now Daniel finished reading the scrolls and saw that the captivity was coming to an end. He could have said hip-hip-hooray and stopped praying, but he didn’t. He didn’t stop crying out to God, he called out to God what He had already promised! Three things he did –

1. He repented, for his sin AND the sin of his people.

2. He interceded. He took the promises of God’s word and brought them before Him all the more.

3. He gave thanks. He gave thanks for what He had done and what He would do. He thanked Him for His promises and covenants.

Both of these men could have given up. They could have stopped. They could have taken the freedom God gave them, and hidden themselves away. They never would have gotten the promises of God fulfilled in their lives.

Instead, they were persistent. First in their belief that God would care for them, and then, in their tenacity to continue moving forward, through pain and loss, to receive the prize at the end of the line.

The questions here for you and I are these;

  1. Will we persist?
  2. Will we believe God?
  3. Will we go on until we reach the prize?

To be sure, there are prizes here on this earth that are worth fighting for, but in reality, they will all fade away.

My persistence will lead not only to some of these, but to the ultimate prize – Living in the Presence of God. In His kingdom. Forever.

Pretty sure of this am I?

Yes.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  Romans 8:35
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalm 16:11

 

How about you?
Are you sure?

Floating Near the Surface

In my previous post, I used this statistic; The average person in Western society is bombarded by 35-48 thought fragments  per minute. Per minute folks!

It is no wonder that our children (and our adults!) can’t concentrate. There is so much “noise” all the time – there is no room to hear our true voice, the one that lives inside of us.

And, after hearing all the noise that is provided to us, sorting out the truth is just that much more difficult. Our moral compasses have a difficult time defining true north.

This is why I advocate for quiet time. Just some time, a little, or a lot, depending on your personality and your circumstances.

Taking some time to turn off the noise, and do a deep dive into that really makes us who we are.

I find that without that time of quiescence, I find myself floating near the surface of truth, but not really connecting to it.

The quiet helps me to separate the truth from the noise.

Once I sort that out, I can burst through the surface, and really begin to connect with my dreams, my aspirations, and my passions.

In short, I can be who I was created to be.

In Mark 6:31 Jesus says this; “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
My goal is to do that for a little while each day, and longer when it is possible.
How about you? Have you connected with your inner life? Have you determined your dreams, and aspirations, and passions? Do you know what you’ve been created for?
I challenge you to find out. A little or a lot.
Are you up for it?

 

Peeling eggs. Digging holes. Hairy legs.

So. What does peeling hard boiled eggs, digging holes, and shaving legs have to do with each other?

Let me tell you.

I am physically and/or genetically incapable of doing any of these things.

Eggs? Forget about it! No matter what or how I do it, they break apart in pieces.

Holes? No matter how hard I push, press or stomp on the shovel, a hole is nowhere in sight, only exhaustion.

Legs? Gaping cuts that bleed for days.

These things, I give up on. I cry uncle.

There are some other things however that I refuse to give up on.

Creating a quiet space for my heart and mind, eradicating brain fog, and following with all my being what I believe God has laid out for my life

None of the above things listed are easy. (At least for me obviously)

But important?

I have to ask myself, are they important in the scope of my life?

I have definitely decided that I can do life without some things. The perfect hard-boiled egg can be purchased at the nearby grocery. Digging holes? I have young grandsons for that, or I can call Bobby. That is what Bobby has done all his life, and he does it very well. Hairy legs? No one ever died from hairy legs, but there are creams and lotions and potions for that.

The final three, I have decided, are important for life, and health, and happiness.

In this work-a-day world, finding a quiet place is not always easy. The world is a noisy place. Some noise is to help elevate our moods, and keep us moving. Some of that noise I am convinced is because if we are quiet, we may not like the soundtrack that is playing in our head.

For my own mental health, I know that I simply must take that time to quiet myself. Even for a moment, and even if I don’t like what I’m hearing in my head.

peace and quiet..

**********************************

I was writing this on a Saturday evening. I was not completely sure where I was going with the whole thing.

When we went to church on Sunday, I found that the teaching there, really well with my topic.

Eggs? Digging holes? Hairy legs? you ask? No not at all.

But the peace part, how in my noisy life do I get there?

Where is that peace regardless of the things I can and can do?

Regardless of the circumstances I am facing in my everyday life?

The remedy was expounded upon by Pastor Ty.

Here is part of the scripture he used.

Philippians 4:4-9 English Standard Version (ESV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness[d] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I will rejoice, because in my life, there have been many trials, and God my Father has been walking by my side through them all. He has never told me that there will be no hard times, only that He will remain by my side. He will never leave me. It is these trials that make me stronger.

And it causes my peace to grow.

The peace of God is more than I can comprehend, and it guards my heart. It keeps it safe from all of the jabs I get from the world and the enemy. I can count on God my Father to carry my heart next to His.

And it causes my peace to grow.

I can change the way I think. It is a choice. I have always said that fear and worry were an inside job. And here, Pastor Ty says it too. He confirms my thinking yet again. “Worry is an inside job. Anxiety is borrowed stress, borrowed from tomorrow. Every time you borrow stress, it turns out badly.”

And it causes my peace to grow.

I can CHOOSE how I think. I can CHOOSE to reject anxiety. I can CHOOSE not to be stressed. I choose these things by choosing to think about what is true, and honorable, just and pure, lovely and commendable, excellent and worthy of praise.

And it causes my peace to grow.

My circumstances may or may not change, but the way I choose to think of them will.

And in that quiet place, my peace will grow.

Now. Back to the eggs, and the holes and the hairy legs.

I can spend my good time and energy on these things that do not matter, and will disappear in the blink of an eye, or I spend my energies on things that will not only help me, but others as well.

With this choice – my peace, and yours too, will grow.

PEace and quiet

Shadows

black and white cemetery christ church

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Prophecy – is normally only seen in shadow” – Gary Ellis

Excerpt from “The Dead Zone” – Stephen King

Johnny Smith: I’ve been tutoring this boy named Stuart. In the vision, I saw him drown. But that’s not the point. In the vision, something was missing.
Dr. Sam Weizak: How – how do you mean?
Johnny Smith: It was like… a blank spot, a dead zone.
Dr. Sam Weizak: First of all, tell me, did the boy, in fact, drown?
Johnny Smith: His father wanted him to play hockey. I talked him out of it. The boy’s alive.
Dr. Sam Weizak: Ah. Yes. Don’t you see how clear it is? Not only can you see the future, you can…
Johnny Smith: I can change it.
Dr. Sam Weizak: You can change it, exactly. Here. Yes, John. That is your… your “dead zone.” The possibility of… of altering the outcome of your premonitions. It’s fascinating. Let me make a note.

The thing he couldn’t see, the thing in the shadow, was what thing he could change.

There are many times when God tells us something, perhaps not audibly, but it comes in as a “Knowing in our knower.” (Mark Anderson)

It can come as an encouragement, or a warning as in this example.

If God has given you a prophecy, a word, a knowing; then you can always count on it, no matter what you see with your eyes.

If you have behaviors or thoughts that take you consistently away from that promise, you can change that.

That dead zone is a place where you can change things.

Change them by hanging on, getting stiller, listening longer, and waiting for the answer to come from the shadow. If He has said it, He will do it.

Things will change. Hold on.

And soon;  Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,

 

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 

Psalm 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
Even if the days seem dark, we have a promise.
We wait, and walk, and wait some more, with Him, to see His promise fulfilled.