Saturday, April 17, 2010

You do not have because you do not ask!

We are loaded down with cares--for our children, our work, our homes. How many times do we forget to ask God because we feel like our concerns are too little to mention or we just don't take the time to sit down and pray?

I read about a visual example of not having answers to prayer because we don't ask recently that stuck with me (in a devotion by Charles H. Spurgeon on James 4:2). Spurgeon told a story of an angel of mercy who flies around the homes of God's people and brings an abundance of precious blessings. Sometimes while we sleep, the angel of mercy hovers on soft wings, but there are no empty containers in which to pour the blessings. Later, the angel visits another home, where in their prayers, the residents set out a number of empty containers. The angel fills the containers from the supply of overflowing mercy, and when the petitioners awake they find an abundant supply of rich grace. Mind pictures like this one have lasting affects on me. I love them!

Oh Dear Lord,

I don't want to forget to put out my containers by having feeble wishes, small desires, and slender prayers, or hardly any prayer at all. Oh God, like the disciples in Luke 17:5 asked, "Show me how to increase my faith." With stronger faith I will hold on to my big desires, earnest prayer, and great expectations. I will make sure I put out my containers tonight for your angel of mercy to fill with your abundant supply of rich grace and whatever else you have in store for me. In your precious name I pray. Amen.

Picture courtesy of "An angel made of cloud" by Jonina

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Be Still and Know

"Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

How do you sit still in a world that is always running at full speed? Nevertheless, in order to truly know God, inward stillness is absolutely necessary. When emergencies arise my first instinct is flight. Every part of my being throbs with anxiety, and yet circumstances are usually out of my control.

Sit still for more than a second and you will hear God's still small voice say, "Be still, and know that I am God." There is a perfect passivity which is not indolence. It is a living stillness born of faith and trust in our almighty God. Quiet tension is not trust. It is simply compressed anxiety.

Not in the tumult of the rending storm,

Not in the earthquake or devouring flame;

But in the hush that could all fear transform,

The still, small whisper to the prophet came.

O Soul, keep silence on the mount of God,

Though cares and needs throb around like a sea;

From supplications and desires unshod,

Be still, and hear what God shall say to thee.

All fellowship hath interludes of rest,

New strength maturing in each poise of power;

The sweetest Alleluias of the blest

Are silent, for the space of half an hour.

O rest, in utter quietude of soul,

Abandon words, leave prayer and praise awhile;

Let thy whole being, hushed in His control,

Learn the full meaning of His voice and smile.

Not as an athlete wrestling for a crown,

Not taking Heaven by violence of will;

But with thy Father as a child sit down,

And know the bliss that follows his "Be Still!"

-Mary Rowles Jarvis

*picture from our vacation: Fernandina Beach, Florida, sunset