Sunday, January 27, 2013

Silence is Golden

There are those rare moments when the Bewley home is invaded with all the grandchildren, seven to be exact.  This seems to happen after they have had days of stored up nervous energy that must be released. I’m not sure if their parents plan it that way or we just get lucky every time we keep them. It’s not unusual to hear little feet running throughout the house amidst hair curling screams, laughter, momentary crying, and occasionally a fight or two.  The energy they expend is comparable to a dozen Energizer Bunnies. Needless to say Phyllis and I love it all but relish the moment when nighttime comes. With bathes given, teeth brushed, and pajamas on their little batteries finally run down.  We tuck them in bed, and suddenly start to relax to the most beautiful sound—silence. While we would not take anything for the noise of their presence, yet we appreciate the often repeated slogan--silence is golden. The reason being, the quiet time is what prepares us for all the activity we will experience the next day. The same is true of our spiritual lives.  The silence is what makes the noise productive.  It is no wonder our Father said, “Be still and know that I am God.” However, this is an exercise most fall short of. Matt Redmond in his book “Facedown” says, “There’s a time for every kind of sound when we worship….yet there is also a time when the most appropriate response is simply to be still—and in that stillness know that He is God.” A.W. Tozer commented “that in some instances absolute silence might well become our greatest act of worship.” Most often when we visit God we tend to focus on the noise more than the silence.  By doing so we overlook much of what He attempts to say to us and do for us.  Getting back to those grandbabies, when the noise ceases and they are laying in their beds still and composed, I take advantage of the moment. It is during this stillness that I begin to cover their little faces with kisses and with words of unconditional love.  It’s in that small caption of time that I tell them I will always be there and will never forsake them. Although, I may have said it a dozen times during the day, the noise keeps them from hearing it.  Now with eyes and hearts connected, the message begins to resonate and they fall asleep knowing that all will okay when they awake because they are loved beyond their greatest expectation. How much more does God communicate the same to us? When we worship in the stillness the noise will not overtake us. That’s why Silence truly is Golden.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Familiar Friend

One of the worst things to happen to an individual is to become too familiar with the familiar. The end result--we take advantage of and take for granted that precious commodity that gives life.  This can happen with a mother, father, sister, brother, a husband or wife. We get so accustomed to their being at our disposal that we fail to appreciate all they do for us. Such familiarity has caused untold hearts to ache and has drawn tears from many an eye. While it is certainly bad to treat our family with such disregard, it becomes even worse when the Holy Spirit is involved.  In a time of reflection this week I have given serious thought to that possibility.  I never want to appear unappreciative to those who pray for me, hold my hand, and offer encouraging words during the good times as well as the bad. I especially do not want to treat the Spirit this way. He is my comforter and helper and offers assistance far beyond what others do. So the prayer of my heart is not to become too familiar with the familiar.  The passion within me is to wake up every day feeling as if I had met the Holy Spirit for the first time, yet yield to Him as if we had been friends forever.  The thought of hearing His voice is wonderful but to know that voice is even more wonderful. Individual familiarity is not a bad thing unless you forget how special the person is.   For all of us the Holy Spirit is beyond special, and forever remains available as our familiar Friend.        

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Beginnings

We are just two weeks into 2013. Most people start the year off by making a list of resolutions. It is a time when we normally come face to face with our failures and broken promises with the hope of doing better. We often say, “I realize I wasn’t all I could have been in 2012 but this year is going to be different. I’m more determined than ever.” Yes we experience failure, however failure is never final.  Rick Warren says, “We usually think of failure as being a negative experience, but wise people learn from failure and use it to their advantage. They learn from it and grow from it. They use it as a stepping stone.” This means we choose to look beyond the past and to be different.  Surely it must have been under similar circumstances that Paul wrote Ephesians 4.  Here he talks about stopping and starting.  He speaks of the old versus the new.  He encourages us to be “renewed in the Spirit,” and to “put on or become a new man.”  By doing this he reveals a great truth. Changing who we are is directly related to our choosing who we want to be.  Simply stated, we are who we are because of the choices we made yesterday and the person we are tomorrow will be based upon the choices we make today. So during this New Year we can choose success over failure. If this be true should we not incorporate God into our lives resolving to study seriously the things we choose to do, the places we choose to go, and the words we choose to say? Our future depends on it! This can be our year of new beginning.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Gift of Grace

Over the holidays our oldest granddaughter was overcome with the losing spirit. She wore her mother’s expensive one of a kind antique necklace out to the mall and lost it while trying on clothes. She and her mother retraced their steps and asked store managers if anyone had turned it in but they never found it. Not only did she lose the necklace, but my wife and I had given her $50 for Christmas and she lost it.  We searched the vehicles, the house, looked in her shoes and clothes but could not find it.  We were assured that she had lost it at the mall. She had a great attitude about it though. She said “well someone got blessed whoever found it may have needed it more than me.” We felt for her so before the week was out I pulled her aside slipped another $50 dollar bill in her hand and said, “Now don’t lose this one.”  She reluctantly took it and said “Thanks Papaw.”  However, I made one mistake, I said, “if you find the other one you can     keep both.”  What was I thinking? Sure enough on the last day as she was packing to go home, she looked underneath the mattress and there it was. I told my daughter, “Now we know who got the blessing.”   The reason I gave the second time was because I loved her and had more to give. My resources were much greater than hers. When you think about it God’s grace is like that. He replaces our stuff because he loves us and has more resources than we do. He has more forgiveness than we have sin, more peace than we have problems, and more care than our carelessness. Because of this He is always slipping into our hand another gift—a gift of grace.